When it comes down to it, epiphanies are incredibly less exciting than they're hyped up to be.
Frisk never gets a rush of inspiration, nor do they feel the sudden urge to jump to their feet and shout eureka in the same way some cartoon characters do. Rather, the realization comes to them slowly and with subtlety. Knowledge creeping into their brain bit by bit and piece by piece, until eventually, it all becomes crystal clear.
Mom and Sans like each other.
(And the rest, as they say, is history.)
i can move to this groove (and so can you)
It all begins on a Thursday.
Their head is resting on Mom's lap, Toriel's fingers gently running through Frisk's hair as they absentmindedly stare at the TV screen. It's their monthly movie night, and although they've never watched this particular film before, they're a little too sleepy to actually focus on what's happening. It's Treasure Planet, they think, but they're not entirely sure. Alphys and Undyne brought the DVD to their house last week, yelling something about nerdy poop (which made Mom look particularly cross) and shouting at Frisk for not telling the two of them about space pirates earlier.
Even without knowing what it was about, Frisk knew for a fact there was no way that movie was a documentary of any sort. But they didn't have the heart to correct them and crush Undyne's hopes and dreams (again), so they settled for shrugging their shoulders before putting the DVD case in the living room.
For all the excitement, though, tonight's movie night is pretty tame as far as movie nights go. All their friends have somehow managed to fit themselves in Frisk's tiny, tiny, tiny living room without (Undyne and Papyrus) breaking anything, for which they're thankful. The couch is too tragically small, so only Frisk, Mom and Sans are able to sit down on it — and that's with Frisk awkwardly squishing themselves between the two adults. Papyrus seems to be fine with sitting on the armrest next to his brother, even with his legs dangling all over the place, and Undyne wasted no time calling dibs on the conveniently comfortable rug Mom brought with her when they moved here. Surprising absolutely no one, Alphys's preferred spot is right next to her girlfriend.
When Frisk glances at their two friends on the floor, they notice the way Undyne's hand is placed on top of Alphys's, their fingers laced together. It's — uh. Well, it's really nice being able to watch them be happy and together like this. Extremely nice. Almost as nice as being able to return to the surface, accompanied by all the great friends they made.
It's good to have been able to help.
With how relaxed Frisk feels, it's inevitable that they end up dozing off. Not for too long, because the movie is still playing when they wake up, but long enough that they no longer know what's happening. The first thing they notice is Papyrus's absence on the couch; he seems to have migrated to the floor at some point, and is now stage whispering with Undyne about how many battles she could win if she had a robotic arm. The next thing they notice is the fact that they are no longer squished between their mother and their friend. Rather, their legs are now comfortably resting on top of Sans's lap while a blanket covers them from toe to shoulder. Someone must have fetched it for them while they were asleep.
Dozing off again is a bad idea if they want to be able to fall asleep later tonight, but they don't feel like moving, so they decide to stay still. If Mom notices they're awake, they might have to sit up and that means giving up their current position. Despite the fact that he's made of nothing but bones and magic, Sans's lap feels as comfortable as Mom's.
The comfortableness is slightly lessened when they feel him shift ever-so-slightly in their mom's direction. They think they can feel him bumping shoulders with her, but they're not entirely sure.
"Hey," Sans whispers, quietly enough that Frisk nearly misses what their friend says. "Tori."
Mom shifts towards him, nearly imperceptibly, and, yeah. She's definitely touching Sans to some degree. "Yes, Sans?"
There's a pause, and then—
"Oh," she giggles quietly, most certainly in anticipation. "Who's there?"
"Adores," he responds without missing a beat.
"Aren't you glad," Sans replies, and Frisk can almost hear the grin on his face, "adores not between us anymore?"
The effects are instantaneous. One of Toriel's hands shoots up to cover her mouth, and the other immediately comes down to slap her knee. Frisk moves out of the way to avoid the incoming pundemonium, all but rolling out of the couch as their mom starts howling in laughter. There are tears in the corners of her eyes, which is kind of impressive as far as everything is concerned; they're pretty sure she's heard that particular knock-knock joke before.
Alphys fumbles with the remote and hits pause just as Frisk safely lands on the floor, the blanket wrapped around their shoulders like a super hero's cape. Undyne groans as the movie stops in the middle of a particularly well animated battle sequence, and when Frisks gets back up to their feet, everyone is staring at the two adults on the couch.
"Oh— Oh, my," Toriel gasps, a hand on her chest as she tries and fails to contain her laughter. "I am so very sorry, my friends! I— I've interrupted our movie, haven't I? And... Oh, dear. I've jostled you awake as well, my child."
Well. They were already awake before this happened, but she doesn't know that. They're very good at pretending to be asleep.
"Don't sweat it, Tori," Sans responds before anybody else can. "Not your fault that I'm punstoppable."
There is absolutely no way that should even count as a joke. Frisk can feel their eyebrows furrowing at how terrible it is, but as per usual, it somehow manages to make Mom laugh. Or maybe they shouldn't say somehow. Mom always laughs whenever Sans tells a joke, after all, regardless of the quality of it. Maybe making their mom laugh is one of Sans's special talents. Almost like his talent for falling asleep on any horizontal (and vertical) surface.
"Brother!" Papyrus groans, sounding like he's seconds away from a conniption. "That was atrocious!"
"Hehe... Sorry, bro," Sans immediately replies, not sounding sorry in the slightest. "Guess it's time for me to... expund my repertoire?"
And almost as if on cue, Toriel's barely contained chuckles degenerate into undignified cackles. Papyrus makes a sound that's impossible for human beings to imitate, and Frisk takes this as a sign that it's time to to move closer to Alphys. Between Undyne threatening to pummel the funny (the punny, Frisk's brain offers, the traitorous thing) out of Sans, and Papyrus going cross eyed from exasperation, Alphys is definitely the safest person to be standing next to as long as they're on the floor.
But safety isn't the only thing standing next to Alphys offers them. Indeed, there's no risk of suddenly getting elbowed in the face — but it also offers them a new vantage point. The opportunity to notice, for the first time, the way Toriel's arm keeps brushing against Sans's shoulder, her whole body leaning into him every time a new bout of laughter takes over her. Sans, on his part, keeps shooting their mother these looks. Not awkward or annoyed, like some people get when their personal space is breached, but. Different. It's a different kind of look.
It reminds them of the weird look Alphys and Undyne get when they talk about each other, their lips twitching into a small, pleasant smile and their eyes crinkling ever-so-slightly. It's a squishy kind of look. Squishy, and a little touchy-feely. They wonder if it's a universal look; one that's shared by everyone who has a person they like a whole lot. Maybe it's the look of those who want to be smooched.
It makes them wonder if Sans and Mom like each other the same way Alphys and Undyne do.
It makes them wonder if they want to smooch each other.
They're determined to find out.
Sans lingers at the door when saying goodbye to Mom, and Frisk thinks about what Mettaton said to Alphys and Undyne before Flowey (Asriel) took everybody's souls. Something about kissing and romantic action, they think. Maybe that's what Mom and Sans need, as well. To kiss and get some romantic action.
(Whatever "romantic action" means, anyway.
Mom interrupted before they could find out.)
Some puns are exchanged, all of them terrible, and Sans only says see ya when Papyrus begins to complain about it being too late. The door is carefully shut and locked as both brothers leave for the house they share a couple of blocks away, and Mom turns around with a funny look on her face. Fond, but not the type of fondness she looks at Frisk with. More like the type of fondness parents and adults give each other when they think nobody is looking. It's that type of squishy, touchy-feely look all over again.
"Well," she says, stepping away from the door after what seems like an eternity. She looks a little like she just remembered they were waiting for her to move. "That was an eventful night, wasn't it, little one?"
They nod in agreement. Eventful is one way to describe it, they suppose. Eye opening could be another.
She ushers them upstairs after that, insisting on the usual bedtime routine. A quick shower to freshen up, a pair of comfortable pajamas, and then they're off to brush their teeth. Mom smiles at them when they're done and leads them to their bedroom, fluffing their pillows and tucking them in with all the love and tenderness in the world.
"Goodnight, my child," she tells them, quietly, as she brushes the hair out of their forehead and leans down to kiss them goodnight. "Sleep well. I shall wake you in the morning for breakfast, and we may leave for school together."
They smile and nod, burrowing themselves in their sheets, and watch as their mother closes the door when she leaves. The smell of cinnamon and butterscotch lingers long after she's gone, and it serves to lull them into a pleasant sleep.
(When they dream, they dream of Sans expanding his repertoire with the ever dreaded dad jokes.
It fill them with — well. They won't say determination, but it sure does fill them with something. Maybe fascination. Maybe a vague sense of horror, too.
But Mom laughs a lot in their dream, so they get over it pretty quickly.)
The school days begins and ends rather quickly, and once Mom brings them home, they spend the rest of the day researching what romantic action means for adults.
Or, well, they try to research it. Try is a very important keyword here.
The parental control filter Mom set up on their computer stops them from making any real progress, but that's okay. They're craftier than she thinks, and getting around it is no problem at all. As Alphys would say, they hack it.
Except they don't, no. Not really. They do, however, visit the skeleton brothers the next day and borrow Papyrus's computer while they're there. Papyrus's homepage is set to some weird site about a flying spaghetti monster, and it takes Frisk nearly a whole two minutes to close all the annoying pop-up advertisements that — uh, well. Pop up. According to Papyrus, Undyne's training regime included a lengthy lecture on how ad blockers and anti-virus programs are for the weak of soul. A true warrior can shove their fist through the computer screen (literally) and exhume all viruses and advertisements.
Breaking their friend's computer isn't something they want to be guilty of, though, so Frisk settles for cautiously navigating through the web without clicking on anything suspicious. They don't know what will happen if Papyrus's computer ends up gaining another virus.
It's possible it might implode, for starters.
Cautiously navigating through the web turns out to be easier said than done. They keep getting redirected to confusing and vaguely scandalous pages every other second, and after the first thirty minutes of dealing with this, they grudgingly accept the hopelessness of this endeavor.
Maybe taking another approach would yield better results.
They try to turn the computer off the traditional way, frown when even that is impossible, and end up pulling the plug.
Being that they're already in his house, they decide asking Papyrus about it is a good Plan B. They find him in the kitchen, cooking up something far too horrifying to mention.
"Greetings, human!" he says, a bright red apron tied around his waist as he glances at what seems to be a recipe book. Not a second later, he pours several ounces of tomato juice into a skillet. "Were you able to find what you were searching for?"
No, they want to say, but then they might have to explain all the reasons why Papyrus seriously needs to stop listening to Undyne and take a couple of workshops on proper computer maintenance. They decide to avoid giving an answer by mentioning they have a question to ask, themselves.
"I see!" he dramatically exclaims as he turns the heat up on the stove, letting flames grow and grow until Frisk can feel the heat on their face. "Very well, human. I, the Great Papyrus, can answer any question you have!"
As boastful as it is, his response is good. He's Sans's brother, for starters, and even without that neat little bonus — they still distinctly remember the book he was reading during their date back in Mt. Ebott. If anyone can help them learn more about romantic action, and whether or not Sans wants to smooch their mom, it's probably Papyrus.
That's their hypothesis, anyway.
They decide to start out slow.
"E— Eh? Romantic action?!" Papyrus gasps, just as dramatically as before. He clutches his chest with a bony hand, leaving a streak of some strange and oily substance on his apron. Frisk isn't sure they want to know what it is. "Why, human, I thought you had long since escaped the dastardly clutches of your attraction for me! But worry not, for I, as your most amazing friend, will—"
They tug at his arm before this goes any further, stopping him mid-sentence and causing him to glance down at them. Once they have his attention, they shake their head and elaborate. This is not about them, but rather, about something else. Frisk isn't the one who wants to smooch a skeleton in this particular situation.
"Aha, so you are only curious!" he says, immediately a fraction less aghast than moments before. Or, significantly less aghast. He's a skeleton; it's not exactly easy to tell. "Very well, then I shall educate you on all matters romantic! Or, as the humans say — I shall school you, yo."
Well. Schooling does take place, but Frisk isn't sure if this is the type of schooling they need. It's confusing and convoluted in the way that Papyrus can only achieve. More often than not, they're left wondering about the practical application of it.
"Why, of course it's practical!" their friend responds, somewhere in the middle of explaining how linguine and tortellini are the most romantic of all pastas. "For you see, I have recently acquired new knowledge of proper dating etiquette! Did you know that the best way to man's heart is through his stomach? Not that I have a heart. Or a stomach. Or, erm, any organs. I'm a skeleton."
There is a beat, and Papyrus somehow manages to clear his throat without really having one.
"Nonetheless!" he shouts, as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. "It's the thought that counts! If you really want to woo someone, you will cook nothing but delicious food for them!"
When their impromptu lesson on all things romantic ends (or, rather, on what foods are considered romantic), Frisk chances a glance at the book Papyrus was reading earlier. Right on the cover, in large and obnoxiously bright yellow letters, lays the title Cooking 101: A Hundred Recipes for Catching a Hot Stud. They consider asking Papyrus if he knows what that even means, and then think better of it.
For now, they concern themselves with lowering the heat on the stove before their friend notices what they're up to. Something smells like it's burning.
Mom takes them grocery shopping during the weekend.
Sans is with them for some reason they don't quite understand, a pair of reading glasses literally taped to his face. They wonder why Papyrus isn't with him for all of three seconds, before they remember the Great Shopping Cart Massacre of 20XX. They wonder if Papyrus and Undyne's faces are still shamefully displayed in the security booth, the words BANNED FROM STORE - DO NOT ALLOW ACCESS written in red sharpie as a testament to the horrors of that particular incident. It's likely that they still are, with how many brave shopping carts were lost on that day.
"Whoa, Tori," Sans pipes up, squinting at a couple of boxes and packages in the pasta aisle. He motions for Mom to come over with one hand, a small shopping basket clutched in the other. "You've gotta take a look at this and tell me what it reminds ya of."
Placing a pair of spaghetti boxes in their shopping cart, Mom smiles in that squishy, touchy-feely way. She takes Frisk's hand, giving it a small squeeze, before walking down the aisle to see what Sans has found. It's too high up for Frisk to see anything, but they can still make out the look on Mom's face as she leans in to glance at the labels. "Lumaconi? What do you..." she says, trailing off as she suddenly gasps. "Ah, it's shaped like a snail's shell! How delightful."
Amazingly enough, Frisk manages to suppress the urge to grimace at the mere mention of the word snail. They don't hate snails. They don't even dislike them. Heck, they're sure humans in another country enjoy their taste as much as Mom does. But, well — lets just say that snails and pie do not go well together.
"Heh, I'd knew you see it," Sans tells their mom, reaching for a box of lumaconi and then turning it around in his hand. "Not genuine snail pasta, I'm guessing. But that doesn't mean the pastabilities aren't worth checking out, right?"
"That depenneds," Mom replies, already shaking with barely contained laughter. "Are you willing to help me search for recipes?"
"Sure," Sans responds, his grin widening as he quietly begins to snicker. "I've got thyme for it."
They both start laughing hard enough to garner some stares, and then even harder when Sans flutters his eyelids (they're magic; there's no point in questioning it anymore) and tells a joke that's a little too saucy for Frisk's tastes. It's a testament to how much time they've spent hanging out with Papyrus, that the voice they hear groaning in their head sounds identical to their friend.
Eventually, they manage to stop laughing long enough to move out of the pasta aisle, sharing weak puns that make Mom's eyes shine and Sans's smile widen. The three of them pick out the rest of the items they need for the next couple of weeks, and while they're at it, Mom invites Sans over for dinner tomorrow. Says he can bring Papyrus along if he wants to, and that she'll try her hand at following whatever recipe they find for the snail-shaped pasta.
Sans says Papyrus has other plans, and accepts the invitation.
There's no linguine or tortellini, but lumaconi does the job well enough.
Frisk watches as their mom collects the empty plates from the table, the sleeves of her shirt rolled up to her elbows. Sans waits for her in the kitchen, rocking back and forth on his heels. He's not all that taller than Frisk is, so it's not too shocking to see him standing on the stepladder they use when helping out in the kitchen.
They wonder if Sans is actually going to help Mom with the dishes, or if he's just there for moral support.
They wonder if this counts as a date.
(Not even ten minutes pass before they hear Mom's startled gasp.
When they peek into the kitchen, Sans has fallen asleep — and subsequently fallen headfirst into the dishwasher rack.
It doesn't seem like he's going to wake up anytime soon.)
Time to further their research.
Mettaton and Napstablook return from their fourth world tour a couple of days later.
Upon hearing about this, Frisk texts their mom to let her know they'll be hanging out with their friends after school. Tells her not to worry; it won't take long and they won't be going very far from home. They'll be back before dinner, promise.
She concedes, thankfully, but not before making them promise to check in with her every half hour. They agree to those terms.
Asking Mettaton about romance is a little like tossing their brain in the microwave and then covering it in sprinkles to make up for the charred bits. They could barely comprehend what was happening when they fought each other in the Core, and they can barely comprehend what's happening now.
Lights are flashing. Drums are beating. Music from the last five decades is being brutally murdered and shaped into today's greatest hits. Worse of all, it smells like Mettaton.
"No, no, darling," Mettaton tuts, shaking his head as he inspects Frisk's current pose. For someone who's enthusiastic about human beings, he forgets the limits of their flexibility a whole lot. "You must put your whole body into it. Feel it! Do it like so!"
And when Mettaton's limbs twist and turn at angles that are anatomically impossible for a human being, Frisk feels their stomach flip. They expected to be relegated with tales of Mettaton's romantic films (starring him), or showered in details about his love ballads (dedicated to him). They did not, however, expect to be dragged to Mettaton's private gym and then given a crash course on how to entice the people around them through the art of dramatic posing.
They can't imagine their mom posing this way to woo Sans.
Heck, they can't even imagine Sans putting his hands on his hips and giving their mom a (quote and end-quote) sultry look. He's a skeleton. A bone man. A bone — okay, not a bone daddy. But he might be the most dedicated lazy bone Frisk has ever met. Dedicated to doing as little as possible, that is. Flipping a leg up and lying seductively on a piano is way, way, way out his comfort zone.
Napstablook floats into the condo they share with their cousin thirty minutes later. Says their greetings, mentions they'll be in their room, and quietly leaves.
Frisk runs after them as fast as their legs can take them, Mettaton's rhythmic grunts serving as background music to their daring escape.
They're going to smell like Mettaton for a week.
As they're already in Napstablook's room, they decide to see if they can help further Frisk's research.
"Oh... You have a question?" their friend says quietly, floating near their computer desk. There's some type of music sharing site displayed on the screen, but it's kind of hard to make out what it's about. Might just be the disastrous choice of font and background color, though. Not that it's relevant.
It's best to just get to the point.
"Romantic action...?" they repeat, like they're not entirely sure they heard correctly. When Frisk nods, Napstablook bobs up and down on the spot — this is probably the ghostly equivalent of fidgeting. "Oh... Oh no... I'm not... very good at that. I don't know anything about it...? Oh no..."
There are tears forming in the corners of their eyes. Frisk tries to stop it, but the floodgates are open. It's too little, too late. Oh no is appropriate.
"I'm sorry... I'm disappointing you right...? Oh..." Napstablook continues despite all reassurances, tears floating above their head. It's the deluge all over again. Miniature storm clouds are forming. It's unstoppable. "Sorry... I'm wasting your time... It's terrible..."
The next five minutes are spent cheering up their friend, laying down on the floor with them to hash out garbage-like feelings, and then getting them to smile. It's super effective.
When Napstablook has sufficiently calmed down, they let Frisk sit down on their mostly unused and untouched desk chair. Napstablook clicks out of the music sharing site, and starts to show Frisk a couple of music videos they've discovered since gaining access to the human's version of the web.
"Oh... That's right..." they say, after the sixth or seventh video. "The other day... I found a really nice song. It's popular among humans...? I think... It was really deep... Gave me the shivers."
It's a love song. Or, at least, Frisk thinks it's a love song. Some of the comments on the video boggle them beyond all comprehension, but the lyrics are pretty nice. They wonder if they could use this. Maybe try to help Mom and Sans smooch and get some romantic action, since they haven't seem them do anything of the sort.
The next time they see Sans, an idea forms in their head. One that won't leave them alone. Eventually, they give into it.
They ask him for his cellphone.
He asks why, naturally. They tell him they need to look something up for school, and turning a computer on is such a hassle. He doesn't look entirely convinced, but he hands his phone over anyway. Even inputs the password and unlocks it for them, saying that if they're not careful, they're going to become just as lazy as he is.
He's blissfully unaware of Frisk's ingenious plan.
A suspicious text, sent during the afternoon:
From: Sans (Mobile)
To: Toriel (Mobile)
heeyyyyyyy tori look at this vid i saw it & thought of u ;)
And a more legitimate text:
From: Toriel (Mobile)
To: Sans (Mobile)
Oh, my! What a wonderfully touching musical number. Thank you very much, my friend. I shall watch it and think of you, as well. ]:)
The winky face might have been too much, but Mom didn't say anything about it. It's likely she didn't see it as suspicious, which works in their favor.
They exit the text application before handing the phone back to Sans. He unlocks it a moment later, fingers clicking against the screen and somehow managing to produce enough heat to work the touchscreen, until he comes across Frisk's handiwork.
"... Wait a second," he says, sounding just the teeniest bit perplexed. "Kid, why did you—?"
But when he looks up from his phone, one of the windows is open and Frisk is nowhere to be found.
This just in:
Sticking the landing after jumping out a window is not as easy as Papyrus and Undyne make it look. Ouch.
Here is a list of all the times Mom and Sans have gotten their smooch on, dated to Wednesday evening:
Clearly, they need to step up their game. It's time to take off the little kid gloves and talk to the real professionals.
They need to talk to the one and only person who has successfully kissed their mom.
They need to talk to Asgore.
On second thought, maybe talking to Asgore about this isn't the best of ideas.
Or the nicest of ideas.
They take one look at his face, feel all their resolve shrivel up and die, and then ask for a cup of tea and some company instead.
It's not a bad way to spend their day, anyway. Asgore's really nice to be around.
They decide to ask someone else.
"H— Huh? You want my advice on... what?" Alphys squeaks, more than just a little startled. She keeps picking at her fingers, the controller she had been using to play some sort of game long forgotten. They glance at the TV, squinting at the bright pink letters and the name Tomoda, before repeating their question.
"Romantic action... i-in adults?!" Alphys repeats, her eyebrows raised sky high as color rushes to her cheeks. She looks incredibly flustered about something, almost as if Frisk has asked the scariest question in the world. Her hands are clasped together in an attempt to conceal their shaking, eyes darting back and forth between Frisk and the door. "A-A-Aren't you a little young to be, uh, asking about that? Maybe you should, um... Y-You know, ask your mom? Oh god."
It's a weird reaction. They have no idea what part of what they said caused it. All they want is to figure out if Mom and Sans like like each other, and how to move things along if they do. Alphys should understand that part, at least, even if Frisk isn't giving out any names. They did help Undyne deliver the letter that started her relationship, after all.
But Alphys doesn't look like she understands any of this. She keeps glancing at the door while they speak, almost as if she's expecting someone to come bursting through it. Maybe she's waiting for Undyne to come home. That would explain the sweatiness, but not the alarmed expression on her face.
"Look, um, Frisk," she stammers, as if trying to find the right words to say. "That sort of thing— Romantic action, i-it's...?"
She trails of for a moment, her eyes landing on her controller. There's a pause, and then her eyes are widening to almost comical extents.
"Wait... T-That's right!" she suddenly says, nervousness replaced by a strange sort of decisiveness. "This game I'm playing, it's, u-um... About romance. Like an... educational romance simulator? Maybe you could play it with me and... learn...?"
They consider this for a moment, glancing back at the TV screen and taking in everything they see. There are dialog options, a meter that tracks the player's LV, and several neon colored hearts that seem to represent the main love interests.
In other words, it's exactly like real life.
They play the "educational romance simulator" with Alphys for several hours, taking notes of the twists and turns in conversations and placing asterisks next to them when they resemble something Mom and Sans have said or done. Mom sends them a text reminding them to come home before it gets dark outside.
After saving their progress, they thank Alphys for the help and leave. The expression on her face reminds them of someone who has just dodged a bullet, but they can't figure out why.
It's easy enough to get the opportunity to talk to Sans again, as their friends get together to celebrate some sort of monster holiday that Frisk doesn't quite understand. All they need to do is look for the quietest, most comfortable room — and lo and behold, there he is, surrounded by pillows in the living room couch.
"Hey, buddy," he tells them, some kind of drink in his left hand. "Trying to avoid the kitchen?"
Not quite the reason they're here, but they still end up nodding. With Mom stepping out of the house for a moment in order to buy extra ingredients for dessert, there's no one to stop Papyrus and Undyne from trying to cook (the term cook being used loosely, in this case) what they claim will be the most amazing feast Frisk has ever witnessed. Needless to say, it's in their best interest to steer clear of the place, lest they get roped into taste testing everything.
Sans chuckles, reacting to the expression they must have on their face. "Can't say I blame ya," he says, and then pats the spot next to him on the couch with his right hand. "C'mon. Might as well get off your feet while you're here, right?"
He makes a pretty good point, so they hop onto the couch and get as comfortable as possible. Couchriel is not quite as plush as chairiel (which currently resides in Mom's room), but it's a decent enough piece of furniture. After a little bit of sprucing up, even they can't tell that Bratty and Catty dragged it out of the dumpster shortly after the mass exodus to the surface. It's kind of amazing what Mom can do with soap and determination.
They don't talk about anything for a minute or so, all too content to stay in silence. Sans takes the occasional sip from his drink, some kind of strange beverage Mom had labeled as adults only and placed far out of Frisk's reach. The telltale sound of destruction can be heard from the kitchen's direction.
But like all things, silences are made to be broken. Frisk thinks about their friendship with Sans, which leads to them thinking about his friendship with Mom, and that leads to the possibility of Sans liking their mom. Getting some romantic Mom of Friend action. They make sure to verbalize their thoughts as they come, like they're ripping off a bandage. While Sans is taking a swig from his drink, they meet his eyes and say something along the lines of do you think my mom is pretty and also maybe you should kiss her and tell her she's the best.
The lights inside Sans's eye sockets flicker and dim for a second, a little bit of liquid dribbling down the side of his jaw as he stares back at them, and then—
They don't know what Mom put in that beverage, but they're not inclined to find out. Not now, when it's all over Frisk's face, neck and arms, little droplets mixed with saliva and what seems to be ketchup staining their brand new shirt.
They don't even have enough time to wonder where it came from before they notice rivulets of the stuff coming out of Sans's teeth, nose, and even his eye sockets. It's an extremely disturbing sight, and if Frisk ever wondered what would happen if either of the skeleton brothers choked on a drink, they now wish they hadn't. Watching milk come out of a human's nose is funny. Watching something that looks a little too much like blood and puss come out of every orifice in their friend's body, not so much.
It's only their luck that Mom chooses that moment to return home, a plastic bag in each hand as she walks into the living room with the intent to enter the kitchen.
She doesn't make it to the kitchen. Not without taking her sweet time freaking out over the mess Sans and Frisk made on the couch.
On one hand, they save Undyne and Papyrus's life by keeping Toriel away from the kitchen for a little while longer. On the other hand, they have to deal with their mother's concern as she thoroughly inspects them, frowning at the new stains on their shirt and frowning even more when she notices the sticky trails running down Sans's face.
They feel pretty gross, so they don't put up much of a fight when Mom insists they shower and change before dinner. It's probably going to take a while for the food to be ready, if the scent of burnt lasagna in the air is any indication, so they have time. They slide off the couch, careful not to drip all over couchriel, and then head for the staircase.
They're not too far away when they hear Mom sigh, a bit of amusement in her tone, and insist Sans should take a shower in her bathroom and pick something clean to wear from his drawer.
Sans doesn't even have a room in this house.
They're still thinking about the drawer when they hang out with Undyne for their weekly cooking lessons. When she asks what's eating at them and they bring it up, her reaction is interesting, for a lack of better word.
"Oh my god," she says, for what seems to be the nth time in the row, the smoldering remains of her microwave long forgotten. As it turns out, trying to instantly cook a meal by blasting it with an enhanced MTT brand microwave doesn't do anything except start a very big fire. "Oooohhhhh my god?!"
They're starting to wonder if they broke her. Maybe they shouldn't have said anything at all. Maybe drawers are taboo in fish monster culture, and — no. That wouldn't make any sense. Scratch that. Undyne has more drawers in this house than Frisk knows how to count. Maybe they just broke her.
Undyne laughs hard enough to rattle the furniture and shake the foundations of the house she shares with Alphys. It would be awe inspiring if it weren't so confusing.
"Oh my god," she repeats, wiping a tear from her eye and smudging charcoal on her face, the ashes of her now very dead microwave still all over her hands. "Wait 'till I tell Papyrus about this. No. Wait until Alphys hears about this! Did you know she has all these stories she writes? Friend fiction, she calls it. It's all nerdy stuff to me, but! They have you! And me! Lots of me! But also Toriel and Sans doing some really freaky — uh."
She cuts herself off, her face pinching together like she's just realized something.
"Wait. Why the hel— heck am I talking to you about this?!" she says, scratching the back of her neck as she turns to the microwave's remains. "What do I look like? Your babysitter? Go ask your mom about it, you little punk! No, better yet, forget I said anything. So, uh. Stop staring at me and help me clean this mess up before Alphys gets here!"
They help her, shoveling everything that was caught in the fire into a plastic bag. The mess has more or less cooled down by now, so they don't have to worry about burning their hands or something melting through the plastic.
When that's all taken care of, she drags the bag across the house and opens up a window, squinting at the trash cans outside. Not even a second later, she hefts the bag up and defenestrates it. It misses its mark by two inches, but still manages to knock over some of the trash cans and a middle aged woman who had been walking her dog down the street.
Frisk shouts a quick apology, closes the window, and suggests they both get the heck out of Dodge before anyone thinks to call the police. They text Alphys on their way out, and meet up at the local arcade to kick some serious virtual butt.
In the end, they find themselves going straight to the source.
Drawers and dating advice aside, only Mom knows what she feels and what she doesn't feel. It's simple logic, but simplicity has never been an equivalent of easy.
"... What do I think about Sans?" their mom repeats, a rolling pin in her hands as she works on her latest baked creation. "Well, I suppose I think of him as great friend. He's funny, charming... I will always be thankful to him for taking time out of his day to give this silly old lady some company, as I will be forever in his debt for keeping our promise. I don't know what I would have done if he hadn't been there to watch over you, little one."
She pauses for a moment, positioning the pin over a ball of dough, and then chuckling. She sounds a little embarrassed, they think, but they can't really see her face to be completely sure of it.
"Oh, dear. Look at me, rambling," she says, laughter in her tone as she begins to flatten the dough. "Did I answer your question, Frisk?"
She has, but there's something else they want to know. They're not sure if they'll even get an answer for this one, but they've already come so far, so they might as well go for it. Frisk ends up hesitating for a moment, but they manage to do it. They ask if she and Sans like each other.
The rolling pin stills over the dough for a second or two. When the motions resume, they are stilted and awkward.
"My... That's quite a question. I would like to believe that Sans shares my fondness for him, as well. We are friends after all, but..." she pauses, as if searching for the correct words to say. "That's not what you're asking, is it, my child?"
No, it's not. It goes a little deeper than that.
Mom sighs, letting go of the rolling pin and staring down at the semi-flattened dough. She doesn't turn to look at them.
"... Whatever will I do with you? You're a very precocious child," she says, and they can't help but to think she sounds strange. Like the answer she knows and the answer she wants are not one and the same. It makes them want to take their question back, but that's impossible. Nobody can take words that they've already said back, but they can apologize for them. That's exactly what they do.
Their mom shakes her head, though, finally turning to look at them with an unbearably kind look on her face. They've come to recognize it as the look she uses when she wants to avoid talking about something unpleasant; a look to soothe and disarm the other person, guiding them away from the subject at hand.
"It's not your fault. There's nothing for you to apologize about," she tells them, bending down to pat the top of their head and laughing when she gets powder all over their hair. Rude. "Perhaps, when you are older, I will have a happier answer for you... Or, perhaps I should say, one that's easier to understand."
They've always hated the you'll get it when you're older excuse, but the expression on Mom's face seems so sincere, they can't find it within themselves to voice their complaints.
She kisses the top of their head once they've nodded, and they smile as they watch her finish tonight's dessert. They'll have to wait until after dinner to dig in, but compared to waiting until they're older, dinner doesn't seem too far away.
They can manage it.
The days come and go. The time for movie night arrives once again.
All their friends position themselves into their usual spots, leaving Sans and Mom to sit on the couch as they usually do. This time, however, Frisk decides to sit on the armrest next to their mom as they watch tonight's movie.
It's a good film, really, but that's not what they're the most interested in.
Mom puts her pinkie finger over Sans's own when she thinks nobody is looking. He reciprocates the touch by linking their fingers together. Neither of them move until the movie is over, and Undyne and Papyrus begin to demand they watch the sequel.
It's not kissing, that's for sure. But for now — it's enough.
(Frisk can wait until they're older.
They're determined to keep Mom to her word, after all.)