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But It's Not Funny

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You had a pretty bad habit of laughing at everything.

Like, a really bad habit.

The world wasn’t actually as funny as you made it out to be, but honestly, how could anyone fault you for trying so hard to be happy? You were just trying to get by. Though, maybe avoiding serious topics by laughing it off wasn’t exactly the best of strategies—and avoiding feelings by pretending nothing bothered you?

Hah… You knew it wasn’t healthy. You knew it wasn’t funny. But what else could you do?

It was either pretend nothing was wrong or cry. And... you didn't like to cry.

You needed to be strong. Needed to be strong for everyone… and so that meant you smiled when you felt like crying, laughed when you felt like dying, and let no one know your true pain.

Years back, when you had gone to your mother’s funeral, well, suffice it to say that, you were a little too light-hearted about it. You just couldn’t take it as seriously as you knew you were supposed to. It was a problem.

(But it was so much easier to hide from your feelings than confront them, right?)

Though, no one who actually knew you would blame you for that—they’d never blame you for your oddities. They all knew… the things that had happened. They didn’t understand, but they knew.

You’d gone through some shit in your life. Shit that wasn’t just an everyday occurrence. You’d been to the doctor many times, too many times, for too many reasons (both within your control and completely out of your control). Technically, you were in trouble with the state—though not the kind of legal trouble most would expect. It was more of the kind of trouble that you weren’t allowed to go out of the state, mostly because the state—and your family, for that matter—did not want you to endanger yourself (more than you already had).

There was a bunch of legal jargon that went with it, but at the moment all those long words and fancy terms just seemed like mush to your brain—all you really needed to know was that they didn’t trust you on your own. (You didn’t really trust you on your own either).

To make a long story short, one too many trips to the hospital meant that you needed to be watched.

It wasn’t such a big deal though, you really weren’t planning on doing anything else but live in this small town by the infamous mountain, and spend your days grooming animals. After all, with the lovely and comforting company of your service animal, what more could you have asked for?

Well, some friends might be nice, and the ability to travel and explore other cities and towns would be cool. (You'd always wanted to see more of the world) But it was your own fault you couldn’t leave, not that you really had the money to do so anyway. Traveling took money, and money was just something you didn’t have.


 

The door to your shop chimed, someone came in and peered at the supplies before ducking back out. You didn’t notice them, but Luna did.

You must have been standing there, looking dumb and lost for quite a while, because your service dog, Luna, whined before nudging your hand with her wet and cold nose. You glanced down, an apologetic smile on your face, as you absent-mindedly patted her head. She was too good to you, and you knew you were lucky to have such an attentive dog.

Part of you was still bitter about the fact that it had taken so long for you to get her.

It’d taken so long for this lifeline—this wonderful, loving, caring lifeline to be given to you.

At the risk of sounding too-angst filled and too-woebegone; it’d taken too long for someone to recognize that maybe the only thing you really needed was a reason—a reason to live, something (or someone) to live for, and something (or someone) to help you in your day to day life.

Maybe if you’d gotten her earlier you wouldn’t have had so many self-inflicted trips to the hospital—maybe if you’d been treated properly the first time, you wouldn’t have been struggling as hard as you had been—maybe if you’d never had been a victim of—

There were too many maybe’s, what was done was done, and what mattered now was the fact that you were here, and Luna was right here beside you.

She kept you safe and she kept you happy—or, she did her best, at least. (And her best was enough. It was more than enough.)

 

The door rang once more and a short child walked in, their hair cropped to land just above their shoulders and dreadfully, miserably tangled (you felt the strong urge to hand them a brush). They looked less than put together, their overly large sweater stained with what looked like ketchup, and their face covered with a myriad of scuffs and scratches. They looked almost familiar, but you couldn’t place it.

It took you a second to realize there was a squirming cat clutched in their arms. They wore a self-satisfied smile and seemed to be completely ignoring the cat scratches that littered their face—in fact, they seemed completely unconcerned by the cat’s violent attempts to escape.

You tried not to wince at the sight of them and their minor injuries, some of the cuts still oozing blood.

Taking a deep and calming breath, your dog’s comforting presence grounding you, you called out a hearty hello, introducing yourself and offering your assistance. After a second thought, you laid a small wash cloth on the counter, gesturing at the cuts on their face with a sympathetic look.

The kid, though now that they were up at the desk you realized they weren’t nearly as young as you had originally thought, they seemed to be around fourteen or so, shifted the cat in their arms in order to grab the damp cloth and dab at some of the cuts.

Something about their bright and shining face, that little self-satisfied grin, and the determination sparkling in their honey brown eyes still tickled at the back of your mind. You felt like you’d seen them before, but the reason why remained elusive.

The cat was visibly struggling in their arms when they spoke, and their voice was so soft and gentle.

For a moment you allowed that sweet tone wash over you—reminding you of happier memories: of the snow you used to love to play in as a child, your face red and warm despite the chill in the air and the scenery around you untainted, but instead pure and shimmering with the powdery white snow covering it. Their voice was soothing, and oddly mature-sounding despite their childlike appearance.

They seemed so much more weathered than the average kid their age, and they seemed almost otherworldly, in a way you couldn’t quite explain. Either way, it was obvious they’d had experiences that most ambiguously-aged children (teenagers? You still couldn’t tell) had ever even dreamed of having.

“Can you groom cats?”

You nodded, placing a business like smile on your face before stepping forward to reach for the now hissing cat. It batted a paw at you as the messy haired teenager (child?) handed the struggling cat over.

Once you had it, him, in your arms, though, he seemed to calm down fairly quickly.

You’d always had a knack with animals, especially ones like this little guy who were angry and bitter and seemingly tired of existence—maybe they just sensed that you were of a like mind. Or maybe they could see you already had gone through too much, they clearly didn’t need to add to the ever growing list of issues in your life.

Whatever the talent was, or wherever it came from, you were plainly relieved, because it made your job immensely easier.

“I don’t suppose you brought money to pay for this grooming,” you paused, considering them, then asked, “actually, is this even your cat?”

You snorted upon seeing their sheepish grin, which was an answer enough in itself, as they shrugged in response.

“Well, that’s okay, kiddo, since it’s your first time, I’ll do this on the house, okay?” The kid nodded with a somewhat reverent expression on their face.

“My name is Frisk, by the way,” the small kid (teenager, you chided yourself. It was so hard to see them as anything but a child) said in a quiet voice, “he’s so calm with you…” they trailed off in wonder.

You smiled and nodded proudly, “I’ve always loved animals. I get on with them, you know? People are difficult… and well, people can be fake. But like, animals are real. They’re not hiding their intentions, they have no need to. Animals are cool, yeah?”

You realised you were rambling, but didn’t feel as awkward about it. Something about the actual interest on Frisk’s face was making you feel like what you were saying was actually worth listening to. It felt nice to have someone make more than just polite small talk with you.

Frisk was nodding in agreement as the cat, having sensed he was being ignored, yowled for attention. You scoffed, rolling your eyes at the cats antics before turning to Frisk and asking “Do you have some place you need to be, Frisk? Or do you want to hang out here while I finish this little monster up?”

The cat in question didn’t seem exactly pleased at being called a monster, but he stopped his indignant protest when you moved to scratch him lightly on the chin. You felt Frisk’s eyes on every interaction between you and the cat. It seemed they had something on their mind when it came to the grumpy feline. Or maybe, it was something you were doing?

Either way, they seemed almost confused, or calculating.

Frisk shrugged in response, and to you it didn’t seem like they were about to be going off anywhere, any time soon, so with that question answered, you set the cat down on the table and began to work, slipping him into a harness that would—hopefully--make grooming less of a hassle, before you set up a small lukewarm bath and gathered the electric trimmer.

His fur was a dirty orange colour, darker spots dotting it along with a few stripes along his spine—he looked to be some sort of tabby cat colouring, though not like anything you’d seen before, his eyes shone a brilliant green and you tried not to question that knowing look he gave you as his narrowed eyes flicked between you and the bath.

It was almost unnerving how much intelligence you could see reflected behind those eyes.

You gingerly picked up the cat and he fell limp in your arms, as you carried him over to the waiting tub, you called over your shoulder “What’s this pretty kitty’s name?”

Frisk shrugged, though you didn’t see it, before calling back, “I don’t know, I want to name him Princess.” You tried not to laugh at the name, but couldn’t help but snort at the offended look the cat was giving Frisk from his perch on the edge of the tub.

He looked at you, and you looked at him. His tail flicked in agitation. You blew the hair away from your face, “okay ol’ boy. I’m going to need you to work with me here. Tub. You. You’re gonna be pals. We’ll get you looking like fire again, okay?”

Frisk snickered at your little prep talk. The cat did not look amused, however, when you gently pushed him back until he slid into the tub and aside from a few hisses and a couple yowls that announced his displeasure, he didn’t fight you too much.

Frisk and you chatted back and forth as you ever so carefully washed and picked through the cat’s matted fur. Normally on an animal with such terrible mats you’d just cut them off the best you could and give them a good bath, but after seeing how cold the weather outside was and knowing this little guy was a stray, you had been determined to save most of the fur you could. You couldn’t let the poor, angry, little man freeze to death.

Besides, he seemed to like the gentle massages you were giving him, the suds rolling off of his back and into the now murky water.

Frisk paused your conversation, after their phone rang once, then twice. They promptly excused themselves to go answer it. You just continued to work through the heavy tangles in his fur.

They came back in a second later though, seemingly hyped over something. Frisk asked excitedly and without any preamble, “So, you have a sign out there for help wanted! Right?”

It wasn’t as much of a question as their upward curving tone indicated it was, but you nodded in response anyways.

“Well, uhm, I don’t, uhm, have a lot of exper—” They stuttered out before you interrupted them with a hand up, the soap dripping off your fingers and onto the floor.

You didn’t normally hire strangers—you normally didn’t talk to strangers, but something was pushing you to do this. Something was telling you that it was of the highest importance to offer Frisk some work. You recognized this feeling, it was the same feeling that helped you find Luna, and helped you start this small business as a pet groomer. You’d trusted the feeling then, and you would trust it now.

“Frisk, you seem super sweet, and I could use some help, okay? How about we start you as an intern or volunteer of sorts and we can see where to go from there? I can’t offer you any payment yet, but if you like the work enough and are willing to get some certification or training, I’d be happy to take you on.”

You couldn’t help but smile brightly at their beaming face, their eyes wide with apparent happiness. In a flurry of motion, they seemed to be signing excitedly, and your eyes studied their hands for a moment trying to piece together the words.

It’d been so long since you’d seen signs—and even longer since you’d tried to sign. It was something from your mother’s time, something the two of you had done as you’d grown up.

After a second’s pause, they coughed awkwardly and were about to repeat the motions, this time attaching their meanings with words, but you waved the gesture away and instead signed back, your hands clumsy from lack of practice.

“I would love to have you stop by tomorrow. May I meet your parent, to talk over details with them?”

You didn’t think Frisk could look any happier as they quickly nodded before bounding out of the store, their (new) cat momentarily forgotten.

You merely shrugged before returning to the task at hand.


 

Once the fluffy little monster was washed and dried you placed him back on the cool metal table and clipped him into the little cat harness before grabbing some trimmers and a small pair of scissors—it may be cold outside but you couldn’t risk the fur getting tangled and ruined like that again, a quick trim would ensure he stayed warm and his fur stayed healthy.

He shied away from the buzzing trimmer at first before you won him back with a well-placed treat (or two).

An hour later with a freshly cleaned and cut cat, you turned around with a large smile on your face to see… a skeleton? You’d seen various monsters before (and had even groomed a few of them) but you’d never seen a skeleton monster before…

He was really tall and surprisingly thin for such an impossibly tall being. Well, you supposed with a slight sigh, anyone would be considered impossibly tall compared to you.

You weren’t exactly… well, by any standard, you were far too short for your own good—for god’s sakes, you even had a small stepping stool at your register just so you could use it comfortably.

People always thought you were cute and spunky (often belittling you, both physically and mentally)—or they just assumed you were a bratty, little child that spoke out of turn far too often. You weren’t really sure which idea you preferred.

The monster was bouncing back and forth, looking between the leashes hanging on the wall and the treats in a bowl on the counter. He was very clearly excited, and you couldn’t quite understand why. All his movement and activity though was making you anxious.

Upon noticing that you’d finished with the orange and rather grumpy cat, the large skeleton bounded forward, closer to the counter, with a huge grin plastered on his face. For some reason, his presence gave off the feeling of warmth and kindness and boundless energy. However, his size screamed to your senses “DANGER”.

While he seemed sweet in his own way, Luna recognized your slight vestiges of fear and padded up to your side to sniff and lick at your hand.

You greeted the skeleton in a small and shy voice, which was completely drowned out by his boisterous and booming yell, “HELLO, SMALL HUMAN! You are nearly the SAME SIZE as my TINY HUMAN!” You smiled weakly, unsure of what the correct response would be, that was, until you spotted a meek looking Frisk behind the tall skeleton, who continued to speak and announced that his name was the GREAT Papyrus, or something like that—you weren’t paying as much attention as you should have been, the noise and yelling was a little more frightening than you’d like to admit.

Frisk seemed to sense that and placed a gentle hand on Papyrus’ arm. He cut his monologue short and after receiving a stern look from what he called the “tiny human” he continued to speak in a much softer tone—it was more of a yell whisper, which you figured was good enough, at least he was trying.

You tried to breath in and out as slowly as possible, attempting to calm your rapidly beating heart, it was hard though, his yelling, his height, his stature and appearance in general—you tried not to over think it.

 Now was not the time to panic, you were in your shop, there was a wriggling cat in your arms, a warm Luna at your feet, and the whining sound of a very lonely dog in a pen coming somewhere from the back area. You were in your twenties, you were with Luna, you were not alone, you were in your shop, there were noises and they were okay. You were okay.

Running these words through your head again and again as you gently handed the cat over to Frisk, you began to calm down. Papyrus didn’t even seem to notice your momentary panic.

“WOWEE! That cat SURE is CLEAN!” You nodded and gave a soft smile while Frisk handed the angry cat to the large skeleton monster.

You couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the scene that unfolded before you—all tension leaving you at once.

Something about cats and their strange instinct to viciously and repeatedly attack anything they didn’t understand had always been a point of hilarity for you but this… Well, this was just too funny.

Claws do nothing on bones, and it didn’t matter how many time the cat slapped Papyrus’ face with his paws, the skeleton didn’t even seem to notice, or maybe he didn’t care about the cat’s obvious aggression, instead he just shoved his face closer and cooed loving words to the increasingly frustrated Princess. Thinking about the absurd name only made you laugh more.


 

It was hours later after the sun had finally set that you were home, cuddled up in the largest sweater you could find, your ridiculous fuzzy socks making you look more childlike than ever. You lay, draped over the couch in an almost dramatic fashion with your hand poised unintentionally dramatic over your face, covering your eyes from the burning light of the floor lamp. Luna laid on top of you, her heavy body crushing your legs but you didn’t want to move.

You’d rather let your legs shrivel up and fall off than risk waking her up just because you were a little uncomfortable. She was too cute; you couldn’t do that to her.

Over all your day at work had gone fairly well, aside from one angry customer who bitched you out about washing their dog with shampoo that smells of coconuts rather than one that smells like vanilla—you had tried your best to stand your ground, but folded fairly quickly, a laugh and a discount later and they left the store. Honestly though, who the fuck cares whether their dog smelled like vanilla or sunshine or some other shit? As long as they were clean, wasn’t that enough?

You really needed to work on the whole “sticking up” for yourself thing… or at least you needed to stop laughing when people got angry.

You couldn’t help it though. When people were angry your first instinct was to cry, and ever since you were a young child you’d been adamant on never crying…

You didn’t like the messy way tears were. The way they made your eyes sting afterward, and the way that your throat would hurt from your sobs or the sticky feeling of your face after crying for a particularly long time.

Screw the stress relief it supposedly provided, crying was too messy, too weakening to be considered useful.

Plus, people would worry, and that was the last thing you wanted to happen.

With that last tired thought, you roused Luna and the two of you waddled off to bed.


 

Morning came and Luna bounded out of your arms and off of the bed with such enthusiasm that you could only groan your jealousy. She was too much for you, honestly, how could anyone or anything be that god damn excited to wake up?

(She wasn’t normally this excited, either! Usually she was just as grumpy in the morning as you were.)

Apparently you hadn’t gotten up in time because soon the bed shifted from Luna’s added weight and before you could utter a protest her face was in yours and her nose snuffling all of your hair and face and neck and then god, that damn pink tongue was licking you until you finally sat up, pushing her away.

“I’m up, I’m up, god, can’t you let a girl sleep in a little?” She merely blinked at you with those puppy eyes of hers. “No? Figures.” With a sigh you reached over and pet her big blocky head.

She was way too cute. Her slightly bowed legs coupled with the slight chubbiness—probably your fault, you were too lenient when it came to treats—and her pretty little short coat, she was a sweet looking dog, short floppy ears, long clumsy tail, warm brown eyes. She was too precious.

But the licking thing…

It was less than precious.

You sighed with resignation. It was time to get up, you only had an hour until you needed to be opening the store anyway.

“Okay, fine, you win, Lu, let’s go.” She snorted with satisfaction and you quickly got ready for work, making sure to grab a small snack to eat on the way there.

Today was going to be a good day, you hoped.

Chapter Text

“So, Ms. Dreemurr, your child has expressed interest in working with us…” you coughed awkwardly, “by us, I mean my service dog, Luna, and I… she comes with me everywhere, so I hope Frisk does not mind having her underfoot.” You were trying too hard to sound business like, and it wasn't working so well.

You felt ridiculous, but you had to at least try to be professional.

Frisk, who was currently sitting ramrod straight in the chair beside the beautiful, fluffy, and kind looking Toriel Dreemurr, burst into giggles at the look you gave them. You smirked, one eyebrow cocked up in a question and they did their best to quell their snickers.

“Ah, my dear, as long as you do not mind putting up with my mischievous, little Frisk.” Though her voice was stern, her expression was soft and you could see her deep affection for Frisk. It made you smile, and warmed your heart… though a part of you felt bitter… she was like the mother you never had. The fact that such a matronly and kind person could exist, it blew your mind.

You wished you’d had a mother (or even a step-mother) like her. You wished you’d had someone kind and warm and sweet like she was. She was the embodiment of safety and comfort. Even knowing her for only a few minutes you felt like you could bury your face into her soft fur and cry out all yours fears and that she would tell you again and again that it’d ‘be okay’ and that you would ‘be okay.’

She stood then, and after giving Frisk a gentle kiss on the top of their head, left.


 

For never having worked with animals before, Frisk was pretty good and willing to learn. Actually, for their first day, it wasn’t so bad at all. Their only real mistake was dropping a bucket filled with dirty water on accident—and as a result, soaking both yourself and themselves. (It wasn’t too hard to clean up and dry off, and you’d thought it was funny, so you weren’t actually mad).

You were used to being alone—both in work and in life. You were used to hiding behind the counter and only interacting with people enough to do your job. But now it wasn’t just you.

It was you and someone else—that someone else being a very peppy and a very happy Frisk right by your side.

They seemed to be a pretty good kid, and, well, Luna liked them, so obviously they had to be nice enough. You were surprised, though, at how much you enjoyed Frisk’s company. In many ways, they reminded you of yourself. They were so shy and quiet, not wanting to make a scene, yet somehow being spunky and sure of themselves.

They had a kind of determination you wish you had—a will to see things through and make them right.

They were currently in the backroom, cleaning the hair out of the brushes and shears that’d been used today while you counted tips and set the register straight. It’d been a fairly successful day and they’d learned a lot about being a dog groomer—mostly they learned that it was by no means a glamorous job, but at the very least, it helped pay the bills.

“So Frisk, you’re in high school, right?” You began, trying to make small talk.

They peered around the corner and gave you a quick nod before returning to their task.

“How do you like it?” You prompted.

“It’s okay,” you heard them call out from the other room, and then quietly, so quietly you were sure you weren't meant to hear, “just kind of lonely…”

“I feel that,” you muttered more to yourself than them, a bitter laugh bubbling from your mouth.

They responded with a low hum of agreement.

Something about them pushed you to ask more—to know more about this little individual.

“Are the kids mean to you…?” You felt worried asking such a personal question like that.

They were silent for a moment and you wondered if you’d somehow messed up. Were you prying too deeply? Should you have even attempted at making conversation? You’d never been good at making small talk… you’d never really been good at making friends either… you’d never really been good at… the whole… “social” thing.

Were you being insensitive by asking them these questions?

Just when you were about to lose your nerve and back out of the conversation, Frisk spoke up, “Yeah… it isn’t a big deal though, I’m… uh… determined to…” their voice became smaller, “not make momma worry.”

Your heart squeezed uncomfortably.

“Frisk,” you started nonchalantly, “I think we’re about done with work today… we don’t have any more appointments… Do you want to get a Nice Cream or something? I, er, haven’t actually had one before,” you chuckled awkwardly, fumbling around with one of the dog collars that had been on display. This was your version of extending the metaphorical “olive branch” of friendship.

You’d been in Frisk’s shoes. You’d been bullied—at least, based on their responses you assumed they were getting bullied—and you’d been beat up by kids for many reasons. People didn’t like you for your awkwardness. Your lack of social etiquette. People teased you for being short, for having a soft and scratchy voice, or for being too loud sometimes, for having a messed up family. People made you anxious about the little bit of pudge you had on your stomach, and the stretch marks on your thighs.

People were mean, it just seemed to be human nature.

And, well, no one really had helped you when you were in Frisk’s shoes… You didn’t want another kid to feel so completely and utterly alone like you had—like you sometimes still did.

You wanted to protect them—but you were unsure as to why you felt so tied to them.

They came over to you, looking up at you with a sheepish and disbelieving expression, “really? A-are you sure we can leave early?”

You slung an arm around them, ignoring the way your skin prickled uncomfortably at the close contact, “Yeah, of course. That’s what friends do, you know? Let’s go out and get some god damn ice cream!”

Frisk laughed, and you slapped a hand over your mouth, face burning, “Sorry, I probably shouldn’t curse… right? Your mom would have my head…”

They were still laughing as they nodded, the smile on their face bright and genuine, “Let’s go get some treats then, yeah? I still can’t believe you’ve never had Nice Cream! I think you’ll love it…”

You smiled and nodded back while they gushed, and you pulled out your phone to google the nearest ‘Nice Cream’ stand.

As it turned out, there was one just a block or so down from your little groomer’s shop. With Luna in tow, you and Frisk set off down the street.

The walk was nice and mostly quiet, though Frisk did talk a little bit about one of their (seemingly few) friends, a kid by the name of ‘Monster Kid’. You tried not to snort at the teen’s name and you were slightly relieved that they went by MK. It was much easier to say ‘MK’ with a straight face rather than ‘Monster Kid’ to a literal ‘monster kid’.

(Monster’s ability to name things in the least creative way possible would never cease to amuse you).

You reached the stand, which, to your disappointment, seemed to be empty. Frisk, however, was not to be deterred, and instead just rang a bell perched on the corner of the counter several times. Within a second a very stocky and rather tall skeletal monster was standing in front of you.

“Hey, little pal, whatcha here for?” His voice was deep and rumbling and sent a shiver up your spine.

You tried to ignore the sudden rush of butterflies in your gut—you’d always had a weird attraction to certain voices, and this monster’s voice was… quite nice.

Frisk smiled up at him, “Hiya Sans!”

They then pointed to you, introducing you before continuing on, “She said we could get a treat! She’s never had Nice Cream before!”

He turned to look at you, the white pupils in his dark eye sockets narrowing slightly as he took you in—eyes traveling up and down in an almost predatory way, like he was sizing you up.

“Hey. Pal.” He said shortly, voice monotone and uninterested. It sounded forced though—almost protective. Maybe he didn’t like you being with Frisk? Or maybe it was something else? There was some emotion behind his eyes that you couldn’t quite figure out.

Either way, you didn’t like him staring. So you stared right back—a certain stubbornness flaring up in your normally very meek self.

His eyes flicked away after a moment’s pause and Frisk looked between the two of you in confusion. You could feel sweat gather on your palms, and you tried not to sound as shaky as you felt. Confrontation was not big on your to-do list, but it seemed he didn’t like you. At all.

“I, uhm… Frisk and I, we, uh, nice cream?” You squeaked out nervously—fuck, fuck that wasn’t smooth at all. Luna seemed to sense your anxiety as she butted her head up against your leg, effectively grounding you. You absent-mindedly scratched at her ears and she sniffed your hand for treats.

He chuckled darkly, looking you up and down once more, with the same mischievous grin that seemed permanently plastered on his face. “You’re patella’n me, kiddo,” you didn’t like the way his non-existent lips curled into a smirk, “I meant, what’ll ya have?”

“Oh,” you responded dumbly, unsure of how to recover this situation. Frisk giggled at your awkward behaviour and you shot them a quick frown which had them suppressing their laugh almost instantly, “Uhm, I’d like… the chocolate swirl, and little boss here would like…” You paused, giving them the option to cut in with their order.

They said something you didn’t quite understand—it must have been some monster-magic flavour, you tried not to question it.

Just as you were about to leave, the monster in charge of the Nice Cream stand called out, “By the way, I’m Sans. Sans the Skeleton…”

You cocked your head to the side as Luna perked her ears at him and glanced at you, judging your reaction. “Like… Sans the flesh?”

He chuckled at that, though it still wasn’t very friendly, and closed his eye sockets—effectively cutting off any further conversation.

You frowned, and turned away to leave while Frisk made their goodbyes to Sans. (He cracked an eye open for the kid and waved lazily as Frisk left). They waved back as the two of you made your way down the block.


 

That night you laid in bed, reading one of your novels without actually reading it. You couldn’t focus, you just felt antsy. It must have been running close to one in the morning, but every time you closed your eyes you felt your skin crawl.

Ah. So, it was going to be one of those nights, you sighed.

After struggling to read for another half hour you gave up, marked the page and carefully set it down before getting up to grab your sketch pad.

“Luna,” you called, your voice hoarse and a little too shaky for your liking. Your skin prickled uncomfortably and you tried not to act too paranoid as you made your way to your bedroom, sketchpad and pencils in hand.

You felt a shift in the air behind you and you whipped your head around, but nothing was there… Nothing was there. Nothing was there, you repeated to yourself. Your heart was beating too fast, your pulse racing. Palms sweaty. It felt like eyes were on you, on you, on you. They were on you, on you, on you.

You sprinted down the hall into your room and leaped into the bed, panting heavily. Luna burst into the room a second later, her eyes worried, tail stiff. She looked about ready to fight someone, but when she met your gaze and took in your quivering form, she relaxed and hoped onto the bed to curl beside you.

She situated herself to rest her paws and head on your thighs as you scratched idly behind her ears. She would keep you safe. She would protect you.

As you breathing slowed and the slight panic ebbed you began to take stock of the room—counting three things you could hear, three you could see, three you could smell, three you could feel until you felt much more grounded. Much more present.

You were okay. Luna was here. You would be just fine.

The clock read one thirty and you let out another sigh before resigning yourself to a long, sleepless night.

Chapter Text

Your eyes burned with tiredness as you opened them the next morning. Your phone singing some inane song you’d set as an alarm. Part of you wanted to throw it as hard as you could against the nearest wall. (But phones were expensive and you weren't exactly rolling in money).

You tried really hard to ignore that destructive part and instead chucked it lightly through the open door and down the hall, rather than throwing it against the wall (or even simpler, just shutting the alarm off).

Good enough, you sighed, burrowing further into the blankets.

It wasn’t quite out of hearing range, but it was, at least, easier to fall asleep without it blaring into your ears.

You turned over and let your eyes fall closed once more.

But Luna wasn’t so keen on letting you sleep the day away and about an hour later she started fussing over you.

Firstly, staying in bed all day wasn’t good for you, but secondly, and a little more importantly right now, Luna needed to go for a walk. She couldn’t very well relieve herself within the house, nor could she let herself out.

She whined, and nosed at your shoulder.

Groaning and grumbling you managed to sit up. Luna grunted softly before she, too, sleepily moved into a sitting position. Neither of you were exactly morning people.

You reached for your phone but grasped empty space. “Wha—?” Then you remembered. You threw it. Down the hall. Faintly you could still hear it chirping. You sighed wearily.

“C’mon, girl, let’s head out.”

The weather outside warranted fuzzy socks and a sweater, you decided as you paced around your room still trying to get dressed. Just as it had been one of those nights, it seemed today was going to be one of those days. Nothing you put on felt comfortable. Everything you tried on was making you feel way too frumpy, and not just that, but you felt your stomach was too pudgy for anything, as well.

You pulled on another sweater while studying your figure in the mirror. You weren’t thin, you weren’t thick. You, by all means, were a ‘healthy’ weight. Whatever that meant. Like, sure, you could probably stand to lose a little bit of the weight on your stomach, or maybe tone up your thighs… but… you weren’t ‘unhealthy’ by any means.

Your mind had a way of distorting things though, and each time you looked into the mirror you were just a little bit more put off.

You exhaled bitterly, disheartened as you quickly wriggled out of the sweater you had just put on. Luna was watching you anxiously from the doorway, wearing her service vest with leash attached. She was ready to go. But she didn’t have to worry about appearances.

The only things she ever worried about were you, her food, and her walks.

“Gah, just because you’re ready doesn’t mean we’re leaving just yet… God, how come dogs can be slightly chubby and still cute, but if you’re a human you’re expected to be… to be… like…” You flailed your hands around, attempting to articulate your thoughts through gesturing. It wasn’t really working. But then again, no one was even there to hear you, so did it really matter?

Luna gave a half-hearted thump of her tail when you walked a little too closely to your bedroom door as you were hanging up your discarded clothing. In the end, you’d decided on an oversized grey sweater. It was better than anything else. Pairing it with some leggings and at the very least, you were warm and comfortable.

Saturdays. They were okay, but not your favourite. You liked them just fine, there wasn’t anything bad about them… just… Sundays were the better. Sundays were your “recuperate” day. On Sundays you would be able to laze around in pyjama shorts and a baggy t-shirt without the worry of someone bothering you.

At least you didn’t have to go in to work today, which was always a plus. No one had called in any appointments and there was no real reason to open up your little shop since most of your regular customers were out of town or busy for the holidays.

Besides, it was snowing lightly outside, and you had more interest in playing in the snow like a wild kid, rather than running a small business like a responsible adult.

Luna was pretty good on her walk, though, she was really just pretty well behaved in general, but it seemed she was doing especially well this time around considering last time you’d had to fight her from pulling you across the park to chase after a squirrel.

She did her best, but dogs weren’t always the most predictable of creatures and no matter how well trained they were… instinct was instinct, after all, and her instinct was to hunt the small fluffy rodents. (Not that she’d ever catch one, hell, she got out of breath just climbing a flight of stairs.)

You smiled at the thought, not even noticing the person in front of you until you barrelled right into them. Your face smacked directly into something hard and you bounced off, stars in your eyes as you clutched your throbbing nose. Luna was beside herself with worry as she danced around your feet.

“Wha— Fuck, sorry, though, just ‘cause I’m short doesn’t mean you can just, yanno, like, pretend I’m not there. Maybe you should watch where you’re goi…” Your words caught in your throat as you finally took in who you’d run into.

A rather tall and lanky—and very familiar—skeleton was in front of you, his eyes filled with concern. 

Your mind went into overdrive as you tried to recover your sense; Shit, fuck, shit, this is Frisk’s loud friend… what was his name? Papaya? Pap… Paprika? You knew it was something unusual, but whether it be because you’d just knocked your head pretty hard, or because of your natural talent of getting any and all names wrong, you couldn’t remember it.

“SMALL HUMAN! It has been a while since I, the GREAT Papyrus—” Shoot, well, you were somewhat close, “has seen you! How are you doing, SMALL one?” His voice was booming, but not unfriendly.

You smiled weakly and shrugged, one hand still pressed tightly to your nose, trying your best not to flinch at his loud and overbearing demeanour.

“Did I, Papyrus, HURT you!?” His voice careened to a higher and somehow even louder pitch as his eyes filled with what seemed to be tears. You weren’t even about to question how a giant skeletal monster could cry. With the recent appearance of monsters and the discovery (or was it rediscovery?) of magic, there were plenty of things you had decided not to question.

“It’s f-fine, Papyrus.” Your voice sounded stuffy and plugged, and you were worried your nose might be bleeding, but you’d rather sound like a nasally kid than let a nosebleed stain your clothes. Luna was no longer pacing, and instead had positioned herself at your feet directly in between you and the towering skeleton, Papyrus. She was trying to create a barrier, though considering how large Papyrus was, it wasn’t entirely effective.

“WELL! If that is the case, then, TINY human,” You tried not to twitch at the nickname, “how about you and I, the GREAT Papyrus, do something fun on this wintry day?”

You glanced down at Luna, shock written clearly on your face, your mind was scrambling for a way to politely decline his offer, but apparently you hesitated for too long because soon you felt yourself being lifted up and spun around.

Which only made you panic.

No. No. NO. Your heart was pounding up into your throat and you felt sick to your stomach. It was as though you could feel so many hands touching, touching, touching and they wouldn’t stop please just stop you cried, stop, you were numb though, you weren’t crying, but you wished so much that you could, you wanted nothing more than to—

You pushed at his shoulder roughly and managed to dislodge yourself from his grasp, you had a glare on your face, but there were tears in your eyes which ruined the effect. Your hands were raised, as though poised to strike again.

He, however, looked absolutely crushed. 

And for a moment you felt a swell of guilt, what was wrong with you? He didn’t mean anything bad by picking you up, he was just an overly excited and friendly person… He didn’t mean anything bad…

Before you could apologize however a distinctly more feminine yet still just as loud voice interrupted you.

“HEY! You little punk! What the fuck do you think you’re doing, hitting Paps like that?”

Your head swivelled around to take in a rather large and commanding figure… She resembled a fish… or maybe she looked more like a mermaid—but one with scales all over, not one that was just meant to be… some sort of sick sexual fantasy. Either way, judging by the size and sharpness of her incisors, she could probably tear you to shreds.

Papyrus, bless his heart, tried to cut Undyne off with “It is okay UNDYNE! It was MY FAULT for startling—”

But it was to no avail, she apparently wasn’t done berating you, and actually, it seemed like she was just starting, “What the fuck kind of garbage hits an innocent monster like that? You little shrimp, picking a fight with the sweetest guy I know just because you think he’s easy?”

You frowned, trying to defend yourself, "That's not what happene—"

Papyrus was staring in horror between the two of you, you sitting on the ground, your eyes burning with something between anger and fear, and the large fish lady glaring down at you with disgust. Luna, bless her heart, was standing stiff legged in front of you as though that would prevent the angry monster from eventually killing you—because honestly, with the murderous glint in her eyes, it seemed inevitable that this would end in your maiming and or death.

“God, small, pathetic whelp,” she interrupted your meagre defence and you stood up as she continued to tear into you, her words only enraging you further—it wasn’t your fault you didn’t like to be touched, it wasn’t your fault you panicked, you shouldn’t be getting yelled at for something you couldn’t control—she folded her arms across her chest, still staring you down, “you lay a finger on Papyrus again you tiny, insignificant, speck of dust, I will personally see to it that you neve—”

She didn’t finish her sentence.

You, unable to contain your anger and humiliation lest you start crying, punched her. In the gut. Hard. (And it probably hurt you more than it hurt her, but the thought was there, right?)

With more strength and confidence than you actually felt, you rebuked her angry accusations.

“Back the hell up! I didn’t fucking do it on purpose, you ignorant can of tuna, I was just startled from being picked up suddenly, god.” Your hand was stinging and you tried to be subtle as you wiped the tears from your eyes.

She was doubled over, though you weren’t sure if it was from shock or because you had actually managed to knock the wind from her. Again, Papyrus was speechless, just watching with a mix of horror and… was that amusement in his eyes?

“Shit, fuck, sorry, I shouldn’t have punched you, that’s probably not the best way to stop an argument…” Your voice was trembling and you laughed awkwardly to hide the tears pooling in your eyes. You just punched someone. You, and your small childlike fist, had just punched someone in their gut while they were yelling at you for being an overly aggressive human—not only that, you’d called her a can of tuna… was that, like, racist or something? Or, er, species-ist?

You felt your face burn with mortification, Luna gazing between you and the fish lady with an increasingly nervous expression on her puppy-dog face.

“You punched me.” Her voice was strained, and you flinched away from the sound, “You… you’re so small and tiny and… you punched me…” You could hear the disbelief in her words.

“L-like I said,” you stuttered out, “I’m so sorry, I just, I panicked and didn’t mean to hurt Papyrus’ feelings, and uhm, I’m sorry for like, uhm, punching you, although maybe, like, next time, don’t yell at mildly frightened small people? I mean, I guess?” You were babbling and there was no stopping it.

Undyne was still hunched over, her arms wrapped over her stomach and shoulders shaking—it almost looked… like she was laughing?

She straightened suddenly, eyes bright and face flushed, “I guess I overreacted… heh…” She seemed almost sheepish now.

“Again, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have hit anyone, that was bad,” you mumbled, rubbing your arm self-consciously.

“Nah, punk, it’s my fault. I saw you push Papyrus away and I kind of freaked out… I went… overboard.” She kept chuckling as she spoke, but you could hear a sort of begrudging apology in her tone, “There has been kind of a lot of human on monster hate… and… well, yeah. Sorry, kid, shouldn't have jumped to conclusions” she finished, offering you a hesitant smile.

Papyrus took that moment to break in, “SMALL HUMAN! Do not fear! This is Undyne, a VERY good friend of mine, and Undyne, this is TINY HUMAN, a very good friend of our other SMALL HUMAN!”

You tried not to groan at the emphasize he put into announcing your size. Sure, you were short, but this was just bordering on the edge of mean.

“How about we… we start over, U-Undyne?” You offered with a meek smile on your face. Your cheeks were still stained red and you were pretty sure your hand was bruised from hitting her—because god damn she had some rock hard muscles in her stomach.

She smiled, “Yeah, punk, we can start over.” She then looked over at Papyrus and wrapped her arm around his shoulder, pulling him down to rub the top of his skull. You stifled your giggles as he protested loudly, “Next time, Paps, don’t just pick up people at random! It sends the wrong messages you BONEhead!”

He groaned at the pun, but you couldn’t help but snort. Undyne gave you a strange look before grinning wildly.

All at once the tension dissolved. Monsters were so much more forgiving than humans.


 

Monsters hadn’t actually been around for even a year, but they were slowly being integrated into society. It made you happy to see the monster-run and monster-owned businesses open around your little apartment complex. There was something about their welcoming personalities that just drew you in.

Within the last month you’d gone to a little semi-known bar and grill that was aptly named “Grillby’s” at least fifteen times. The owner, who also happened to be the cook and bartender, was a rather smokin’ hot (pun definitely intended) fire elemental by the name Grillbz. He was pretty calm and just crackling with a somewhat sarcastic sense of humour.

Despite that though, he seemed to be pretty gentle and kind—at least, to you he was. Sometimes when patrons got too rowdy he’d be quick to boot them out. He ran a pretty nice little place. But that wasn’t really the reason you continued to return to this cosy establishment, you’d taken a liken to him on your first visit, and apparently he had enjoyed your quiet conversation enough to encourage you to come back and have a chat every once and a while.

You were kind of relieved when Papyrus offered again to hang out, and this time you accepted without hesitation—it was the least you could do to apologize for making such a scene.

Undyne suggested getting food and you were quick to agree as the three of you made your way down the sidewalk, Luna following at your heels. You stayed pretty quiet the entire time, feeling a bit overwhelmed at the wild confrontation that had just occurred. Your mind was reeling and you were suspicious of how quick Undyne had been to forgive you.

They were nice. Too nice. Where was the trick? There had to be a trick somewhere, right? It couldn’t be so easy. No one was inherently good. They would betray you sooner or later. You needed to be on guard. Subconsciously you gripped all the tighter on Luna’s leash, and she sensing your unease, made sure to walk at your side rather than behind you.

She always had been rather protective.

The familiar atmosphere of Grillby’s was rather comforting as your trio made their way inside. Undyne bellowed a quick hello to everyone and dragged Papyrus over to a table, you following rather meekly behind. Normally, you would just sit at the bar and have a side of fries or something, but it seemed that wouldn’t be the case this time.

It was a break of routine, and you tried to push away the feeling of worry. Today was just not your day.

The conversation wasn’t so bad, though, and you soon found yourself engaged in a lengthy discussion of anime with the rather nerdy Undyne. Apparently she had a ‘good friend’ (you noted the blush on her face as she mentioned this ‘friend’) who had introduced her to anime in the first place.

She was clearly smitten, you could see it all over her face as the two of you talked about the timid and sweet Alphys. You were doing your best not to tease her about it, but Papyrus obviously didn’t seem to hold the same hesitations you did.

“AGH, UNDYNE! You TWO should just DATE ALREADY! The two of you already act like DATEFRIENDS ANYWAY!” He threw his hands up in exasperation as Undyne’s smiled began to strain. You swear you could see her eye twitch.

“NNGAH! Paps, you can’t just SAY something like that! It’s not like that between us… she’s just… uh, a, uh, good friend! Yeah, a good friend.”

You snorted unattractively and raised an eyebrow at her before muttering, “yeah, but I don’t think everyone wants to kiss their ‘good friends’.”

That seemed to set her off as she nearly flipped the table, but thankfully you were saved by the appearance of Grillbz with a tray full of food.

You hid behind your meal as you all but shovelled it into your mouth, Undyne doing pretty much the same in her embarrassment. Papyrus was looking all too innocent as he picked at his fries.

Turned out he was kind of a food snob, as he proclaimed—a little too loudly—that this greasy establishment could never match up to the GREAT Papyrus’ cooking. Grillbz didn’t seem to mind though, instead just chuckling and nodding slightly from his position behind the bar.

As your lunch progressed you realized just how popular both Papyrus and Undyne were. Most seemed to regard Undyne with a lot of respect—some monsters even referring to her as “Captain” and bowing their heads to her. Papyrus, on the other hand, commanded no respect, but he certainly got a lot of affection. It was as though everyone viewed him as a younger brother of sorts.

The nicest thing about the lunch was that no one questioned your place there, nor Luna’s presence. In other places you would often get dirty looks for having a service animal without having a visible disability, but here? People just accepted you. Actually, most people seemed to love that you had a cute pet like Luna. The bipedal dog-like monsters absolutely adored her and she’d made fast friends with most of them.

Plus, it seemed they could understand each other in a way you had trouble comprehending. They could, in a sense, speak both your language and whatever ‘language’ it was that Luna used to communicate. It was pretty damn cool.

Finishing the last of your fries you offered to pay for the meal but Undyne waved you away with a hearty laugh, “Hell nah, punk, it’s the least I can do after giving you such a bad scare earlier,” she paused, seeming to choose her next words carefully, you could see something like respect gleaming in her eyes, “’sides, you’re pretty tough for being such a small fry—that punch was good, though I’m sure if you just let me train you a bit I could get you to be GREAT at punching!”

Your quiet response was drowned out by her loud guffaws and you couldn’t help but laugh too. What strange people! Who actually LIKES to be punched?

A little piece of your soul felt slightly lighter as you spent the rest of the afternoon with the aggressively friendly Undyne and boisterously naïve Papyrus. They were good people…

And for once in your life, you felt pretty damn content.

Chapter Text

You stood in the backroom, washing out a water bowl that one of the dogs had managed to tip the entire contents of their food bowl into. It had turned the dry kibble into a gross gravy-like mush. Plus, it didn’t exactly smell great either, so it needed to be dealt with nowRight now, because you were not ready to deal with smelling that rancid stink for another minute more.

“You’re like a Chihuahua,” Frisk said suddenly, causing your hands to still as your brow furrowed with confusion.

You blinked at her, a pink flush rising to your cheeks. Your eyes were narrowed and indignant. You weren’t sure you liked being compared to a small, yappy dog.

“What?” you exclaimed, “I am not!”

“You’re just so small and angry. Like a Chihuahua! You even shake like one…” They were giggling, their face hidden behind their hands and you were trying your best not to look too offended.

“I’m not even that small! You’re the same size as me, punk!”

Frisk giggled again, “Yeah, but I’m, like, sixteen! And hoowww old are you?” They sang, wiggling their eyebrows at you with a smirk on their face.

“Okay, okay, like-sixteen, go put this bowl back in the kennel, please.” You were trying and failing to sound stern and they made a face which had you laughing a second later. As they left they turned to sign a quick apology for teasing you, but you shook your head, a small smile still stuck on your face.

The door rang and you turned, expecting… not… that.

You blanched at the sight, but tried not to let your discomfort show as you mumbled out a weak “Hello! How can I help you?”

The mass in front of you shivered and wiggled—the skin on its face (well, you assumed that was its face) quivered slightly and a gaping hole appeared in the middle. The creature seemed to be panting heavily and their shaking increased as you stepped out from behind the counter.

It had… so many legs. The head was distinctly dog-like with large, pointed ears and something akin to a snout. There appeared to be a tail on the back of it, and between each leg looked to be the outline of a dog—but you weren’t sure. It was too hard to tell with how constantly the form seemed to shift and move and change.

You approached it slowly, trying to hide your queasiness by being friendly. You cooed at it, gesturing it to come closer.

It seemed to like that and bounded up to you within seconds, its odd, tail-like protrusion wagging sporadically, flicking specks of whatever substance made this creature up all over your store.

You laid your palm out flat in front of its face and…

The thing practically swallowed your hand whole. You were about to scream in terror when suddenly your hand reappeared from the mass with a wet pop… just covered in a thick layer of some sort of grey ooze. It was becoming harder and harder not to throw up.

As you tried to hold back your gags at the unpleasant presence of the creature, you noticed a familiar figure standing behind the shifting mass of goop that somewhat resembled a dog.

“Sans?” You squeaked, almost in disbelief.

“In the flesh… or should I say sans the flesh.” He winked cheekily and you furrowed your brows, “that’s your cue to uh, laugh, or, yanno, emote at all?” Then, seemingly more to himself he whispered, “kid sure knows how to pick ‘em.”

You frowned, “I’m still here, and can definitely hear you.”

He shrugged, definitely not apologetic in the least, “Sorry, kiddo, just findin’ it hard to tickle your funny bone.”

Your mouth twitched and you fought the urge to laugh—He’d been rude to you! There was no way you were going to start giggling just because of a few dumb jokes. Instead you chose to question the… creature… he’d brought with them.

“So, uh, do they have a name?”

At that moment though, Frisk popped their head out from the backroom and squealed with excitement.

“ENDOGENY!”

The quivering mass responded to Frisk’s voice by shaking even more violently than they were before, you swear you could see pieces of slime rolling off of them and splattering onto the floor. Each time it did though, it collected itself back into the creature’s—Endogeny’s form.

Sans, saved from answering your question, watched as you interacted with Frisk. It was interesting—you were interesting. But at least Frisk seemed to like you. He felt an ounce of regret; he’d reacted badly upon seeing you and he knew he hadn’t made the best impression on you, but it was too late to fix that. Fate would sort itself out anyway. That was what it always did.

It turned out that cleaning the amalgamation, Endogeny, wasn’t as hard as it seemed. Their skin was like wet clay, somewhat malleable and pliable, or maybe they were more like the silly putty you used to play with as a kid. The water tended to bounce right off of them, so you opted to use a dry shampoo on their fur—or lack thereof.

Sans watched the entire time and you tried not to feel too awkward as you and Frisk worked. But it was wearing on your patience and eventually you turned around, an angry flush on your face, and snapped, “take a picture, it lasts longer.”

He smirked. You resisted the urge to throw something at him.

It was almost a relief to see him go.


 

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly and soon you found yourself packing up to leave.

“So, Frisk, shall I take you home?”

They nodded, a smile on their tanned face, “Actually, we’re gonna go to Paps’ house, I’m staying the night over there!”

“Ah, okay, kiddo. Then, let’s go, yeah?” You grabbed Luna’s leash in one hand and Frisk’s hand in the other. In your short time of knowing the kid, you felt oddly protective of them. You were pretty sure you’d fight a bitch for this kid if the need ever arose. Though, you weren’t even that much older than them, you shouldn’t really be considering them a kid any more.

As if echoing your thoughts, they spoke up indignantly, “I’m not a kid! I’m nearly an ADULT!”

You laughed as the two of you left the shop, “that’s what a KID would say!” It took all of your willpower not to smirk at them and their flushed face. They were too fun to tease. It was like being with the little sibling you’d never had.

Frisk chatted with you about their family the entire walk to Papyrus’ place, even mentioning a sibling of theirs that… apparently, wasn’t even a sibling. They weren’t even really a human—nor a monster. You’d never really questioned Frisk’s family, nor her mother that by all means could not possibly be her biological mother.

There would never be a more perfect time to ask than now, “Hmm, so, uh, how’d you meet… er, I mean, like, Toriel is your adoptive parent, right?”

They shrugged, “Yeah, I guess so, they’re more like my real momma than… my mother was…” Their voice trailed off and when you looked over at them they seemed to be deep in thought. Gently, you reached out and tapped their shoulder.

“You don’t have to think about it… So, uh, tell me about your brother… Asriel, right?”

They nodded, the haunted look in their eyes replaced with a much more affectionate expression, “Yeah! My brother Asriel is really great… Though, uh, he likes to be called Flowey now… And I mean, he’s also a flower, but like, it’s not a big deal!”

You’d have to keep that in mind—Flowey, not Asriel. Also, what? He wasn’t a human? And he wasn’t a goat monster? He was a fucking flower? Was he conscious? Sentient? You weren’t sure… “I’ll have to meet him sometime. Maybe we can have a little picnic with your mother and your brother next week!”

Frisk agreed enthusiastically, their smile wider than ever. ‘I want to do that soon!’ They signed quickly. You’d begun to notice in the two weeks that you’d been working with them that Frisk tended to switch to sign language when they got overly excited.

“I’d love to meet more of your family and spend some time with them!”

A comfortable silence fell between the two of you as you continued to walk. Frisk led you into a short alleyway and out onto a different street… a very familiar street… it took you a second to realize this was in the same neighbourhood as your apartment complex.

You got a sinking feeling in your gut as Frisk led you directly toward your building, but you were relieved—probably a little too relieved when you realized they didn’t actually live in your building, but rather just a block or so to the right of where you stayed.

You weren’t sure you could have dealt with having Sans as a neighbour. He seemed to hate you… and well, you never really had been good with conflict.

“Do you have family?” Frisk’s voice knocked you from your thoughts and you took a moment to blink at them confusedly.

“Uhhh, y-yeah… I… uh do.” You weren’t really keen on talking about them… There wasn’t much to say other than the fact that you didn’t exactly ‘get along’ with your family. They weren’t the nicest of people, and it wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t their fault at all! The only issue was that… well, they weren’t understanding of mental illness. They weren’t understanding of anything or any of your problems.

You sighed, “they’re okay, I guess.”

Frisk nodded solemnly, seeming to consider your words carefully before asking, “Can I meet them someday? They can’t be that bad if they made you.”

You were saved from having to answer when Papyrus burst through the front door of his house, “OH WOWIE! I knew we had the TINY HUMAN coming over! But I didn’t think that they were going to bring the OTHER TINY HUMAN over TOO!”

He lunged toward you, arms outstretched, and you instinctively took a step back, fear swirling in your stomach. He seemed to take the cue, though, because he suddenly seemed a lot more subdued as he mumbled out a quick apology, “sorry SMALL human, I forgot that you do not wish to be TOUCHED!”

You nodded meekly, and awkwardly patted his shoulder—or rather, his forearm, you couldn’t reach his shoulder. “It’s nice to see you again, Paps, maybe you, Undyne, and I could hang out again sometime.”

Frisk whined petulantly and you smiled affectionately, “Well of course Frisk is coming too, that’s just a given! It’s no party without little boss, here.”

The three of you chatted amiably for a moment before the two of them waved goodbye and headed into the house. You carefully picked your way down the stairs, hands in your pockets, Luna’s leash dragging on the ground beside you.

You were feeling weird—almost jealous? You wanted to head in and join them, maybe sit down for a cup of tea and talk for a while—sharing stories of family and friends, gossiping about nightmare costumers at the groomer’s shop, or complaining about noisy neighbours. It’d been such a long time since you’d just hung out with someone for the fun of it.

You’d lost contact with most of your friends, either because they had given up on you, or because you’d isolated yourself; it was hard to tell who was at fault for your solitude. But that wasn’t right, because no, blame couldn’t be ladled out at your discretion. Everything that had happened was a matter of choice—you’d chosen the path your life was on… even if you hadn’t meant for it to turn out this way…

You hadn’t known the consequences. You hadn’t been prepared for them.

Luna pushed her wet nose into your limp hand and you blinked, suddenly realizing you were still standing by the front steps of Papyrus’ house. Your face flushed red with embarrassment, you hurriedly reached down to scoop up Luna’s leash. Some days it just like your head got away from you and you found yourself staring into space as you thought and thought and thought and the thoughts kept getting thought and it was nonstop. Half the time it wasn’t until someone called your name, or Luna noticed and got your attention that you would snap out of it.

Time flew by when you were like that. It was so hard for you to get out of your own head when you started to overthink.

“Hey, kid!” A deep drawling voice rang out and you flinched, “Sorry, heh, I just saw you out here… I just got off work and was headin’ home. Were you droppin’ the little kiddo off?”

It was Sans, he was in his typical faded blue jacket with its fluffy white fur hood, the black athletic shorts he wore contrasting hugely with the bright white of his bones. You nodded in answer, still feeling odd from your lapse in attention earlier.

He seemed to sense something was wrong, “Hey, it’s gettin’ kind of late, how about I walk ya home?”

You shrugged, "I can manage, bye Sans..." you trailed off, noticing the look of worry on his face.

“Look, to patella ya the truth, I think we got off on the wrong foot… So uh, throw me a bone here and I’ll take ya home?” He looked so awkward there as he sheepishly scratched the back of his neck, that you couldn’t help but take pity on him.

“Yeah… uh, sure… I’d, uh, be bonely on my own,” you giggled helplessly at the end of your own joke.

The expression on his face made it all the better as his eyes widened and he let out a most unattractive snort.

“That’s good, that’s real’ good,” he chuckled.

“Well, I mean…” you chewed your lower lip, thinking for a moment, “if you like puns so much, I happen to know a skele-ton of skele-puns.”

He laughed and gestured for you to start walking. The two of you made your way down the sidewalk giggling all the while as you swapped jokes back and forth. All too soon you ended up at the front of your apartment building.

You were just about to head inside before Sans stopped you, “Hey uhm, I made kind of a shitty first impression… sorry ‘bout that, kid… Yeah, like, really sorry for being kind of rude…”

You waved a hand dismissively, “No, sorry, yeah, you’re totally fine… uh, don’t worry about it at all. Besides, I could have been nicer, right? Sorry… Er, I mean, sorry as well…”

He chuckled softly, the smile on his face much softer than you’d seen it before, “No bones about it, I was a real numbskull.”

“Nah, don’t be sorry! I’m sorry, just, uh, let’s start over, how about?”

He nodded, looking slightly relieved.

You were just about to head inside once again when he stopped you once more. If anything, he looked even more nervous than he did when he’d asked to walk you home. “So uh, I was wondering… as, heh, a way to ‘start over’…”

He took a deep breath, like he was mentally preparing himself for something big; you waited with baited breath.

“Look, I lost my number, can I have yours?”

You snorted before you could stop yourself and clapped a hand over your mouth as you giggled, “that is the worst come on I’ve ever heard.”

You could have sworn there was a light blue dusting on his cheeks, but when you took a closer look it was gone and his mildly embarrassed expression was replaced with the typical easy grin. You held out your hand, gesturing for his phone and he handed it to you.

You settled for the name “NOT Tiny Human” and typed your contact information in, “There you have it… Just don’t, uh, text me at like three in the morning and we should be good—or do, I mean, I’m not your boss.”

He snickered and for the third time that night you said your goodbyes, this time actually making it inside. When you turned around to wave one last time, he was gone.

Chapter Text

It was three in the morning when your phone went off. You woke with a start, your heart hammering wildly. Luna groggily whined as you threw off the covers. The room felt too hot and dark and small. Trapped. You felt trapped. Your heart was pounding in your ears and you were covered in a cold sweat.

You felt oddly disorientated, and couldn’t help but wonder, what had woken you up? You squinted into the darkness for a moment, taking a second to slow your breathing and calm yourself, before you slid off the bed to flip on the light switch.

“Luna?” She perked her ears toward you, but otherwise didn’t move, “Luna-ah-ah,” you sang. She snorted, still ignoring your calls.

“Lazy, furry, asshole,” you muttered while you shuffled back toward your bed and crawled in. Luna nuzzled into you the moment you settled yourself down. You let you hand glide lazily to her head and traced the patterns of her fur with your pointer finger, letting the texture of her soft head soothe your worries.

It was always hard to fall back asleep when you’d woken up so suddenly… But Luna’s heavy snores and the soft patter of rain on the window calmed you immensely.

Your phone buzzed again and this time you recognized the sound for what it was. There were two messages and a missed call. The missed call was from your step-mother, but it was from a day ago. You decided it was better to be left alone for now… (and maybe for the rest of your life).

The texts were from an unknown number… the messages were definitely, er, something.

Unknown Sender [3:05 am]

[It was a picture of a can of ravioli]

Unknown Sender [3:12 am]

Penne for your thoughts?

You snorted as you glanced through the texts once more before saving his number under ‘Sansational’.

(XXX) XXX-XXXX [3:15 am]

That’s not even fucking penne pasta, what the fuck, I did not come here for sub-par puns. Also it’s like, three in the morning, why are you not asleep??

Luna’s snoring filled the room and the rain continued its light tap, tap, tapping at the window. You could feel your eyes slowly drooping, and the last thing you heard before you fell totally asleep was the buzz, buzz of your phone—two new messages. Two new messages that would just have to wait until the morning. You couldn't even muster the energy to get back up and flick off the lights before your eyes slid shut.

You drifted off to sleep seconds later.

All too soon your alarm was squealing in your ear, and you were not very up and not very at ‘em. You slid out of your covers, allowing yourself to flop onto the floor like a fish out of water. Your phone finally silenced itself and you let yourself rest for a moment, trying to gather the will to get up.

As you laid on the carpeted floor, staring blankly at the ceiling you let yourself just think—you let yourself get lost in your musings. Lately your dreams had been getting worse. Or, rather, the dreams you could actually remember were getting worse.

It just… it was more of your nightmares… night terrors. Your dreams were about all of the things you’d hoped to put behind you. But that wasn’t going to happen, was it? One day or another you were going to have to face the… face the terror of your history… of the people you used to know, of everything that had happened to you growing up.

You would have to find your own way to come to terms with all of it. You had to.

You sighed, rubbing your eyes as you brought yourself back to the present, it was Sunday. No work. No work on Sundays. Good. Seemed like a good day to stop by Grillby’s.

Your phone started to sing once more—whatever silly ringtone you’d chosen to use for that week—and you promptly sat up to check who was calling.

Another call from your mother. You clicked ignore. The two unread texts caught your eye and you unlocked your phone to read the two responses Sans had given you.

Sansational [3:21 am]

Are you suggesting the pasta is an impasta? That’s impastable!

Sansational [3:22 am]

Okay, I’m alfredo that one wasn’t as good…

“What an oaf,” you giggled, smiling dumbly at the screen.

It didn’t take long for you to type a short response back—mostly just berating him for his poor choice in jokes (and lack of knowledge of pasta, because as it turned out, he didn’t know anything other than ravioli, penne, and spaghetti—you’d have to rectify that, but today was not the day for a cooking lesson).

You started to get ready for the day, washing your face—it was less of a wash and more just splashing cold water on your face to fight your grogginess—and getting dressed in comfortable yet reasonably presentable clothing.

“Luna, I’m gon’ leave you here… I trust you to be good while I go visit Grillbz… er, and uh, just, be a good girl.” She blinked sleepily at you, wagging her tail as she watched you pull on an oversized coat. You slipped on a pair of shoes and moved toward the door, feeling a twinge of guilt as she tried to come with you.

While blocking her from the exit you slipped outside and shut the door behind you. As you walked down the hall and toward the stairs, you could hear her whines. She didn’t like being left behind, especially not when she could see you were already in a weird mood. Not even an hour of being conscious and you were already making poor decisions. Splendid. Just splendid.

It turned out going to Grillbz at, you checked the time, noon, was actually a pretty good idea. There was a nice and friendly atmosphere, but it wasn’t nearly as busy and confining as it was later in the day. A few of the costumers greeted you with hearty hello’s as you walked toward the bar and took a seat.

No one gave you weird looks and again you felt relieved at how accepting monsters were and always had been.

“Not bringing lil’ Luna in?” Doggo whined, leaning against the counter beside you. You shifted in your seat, and shrugged.

“Nah, not today, she’s back home… sleepin’, probably.” You kept swaying back and forth slightly, doing your best to help Doggo see—once you’d found out his impairment, you’d tried your hardest to accommodate him. He seemed to appreciate it—or at least, he always sought you out for a chat whenever you visited the bar.

He’d even stopped by work once, with Lesser Dog in tow. That job had been quite the handful, Lesser Dog was so easily excited and loved all and any forms of affection. It’d taken you so much longer than your normal grooming job because you’d had to calm the silly little (not actually so little) guard dog down so many times.

But it’d been fun and nice to chat with the both of them—even though Lesser Dog was less than chatty, they could convey a certain amount of information with just glances, whining, and short barks. Plus, Lesser Dog got along well with Luna, like two peas in a pod.

“So, I heard ya met our mother,” Doggo stated, though the way his brow was raised and the tone of his voice made it seem more like a question.

You nodded, a smile on your face as you fiddled with the zipper on your coat, and when he spoke again you glanced up in time to see him buy two drinks, one for you and one for him.

“Yeah, and ah, you didn’t have to do that! I can pay you back…” You trailed off when he chuckled.

“Just accept it," he barked, pushing the drink closer to you.

"Anyway, I’m headin’ back to play poker. Thanks and all, I’m glad ya were so nice to my mam, and… everyone’s parents…” He shook his head, his black, plush ears flopping back and forth slightly with the motion, “yeah, well, that’s all. See ya around, pup!”

You smiled and waved as he pushed away from the counter, drink in hand, and moved back toward the other dogs. They all looked to be deeply immersed in a card game of some sort—though it didn’t look like any poker you’d ever played before. Maybe monsters had a different version?

Not that it mattered. What mattered was the drink sitting in front of you, waiting to be tossed back.

“Careful now,” Grillbz rasped out as you threw back the glass—it was definitely unexpectedly strong and you found yourself sputtering.

“Hoo, what was that?”

“Just a mixture of a monster drink and a human one… It isn’t as strong as what I usually make…” He sounded indifferent, but the slight smirk on his face betrayed his amusement. For being an elemental being, he sure was expressive.

“Well, if that wasn’t that strong… m-make me the strongest you have! I’ll prove myself.” Your face was flushed, more from embarrassment at choking on the drink than anything else. He only chuckled in response.

“If you wish, but then you have to drink some water… you are so small, it might affect you too quickly…”

You scoffed in response, “Why does everyone think I’m so small!? Just because ya’ll are so… so… BIG—” He laughed, and you continued in a smaller voice, “I’m like almost average height.”

“Here you go,” he set down a flickering, bright purple drink. The colours changed and fluttered in much the way that candlelight did, though the colour was all wrong to be considered fire. The colour was mesmerizing as you watched it in all its shimmering splendour. It seemed to change constantly, one second it looked to be more of a lavender shade and the next going to a deep violet. It was almost too beautiful to drink.

But you didn't come here to admire the pretty concoctions Grillbz made, you came here to get comfortably tipsy—and maybe even more than that.

Cautiously you took a sip, and you tried not to grimace as you swallowed—the liquid burning uncomfortably as it slid down your throat. You weren’t exactly a fan of drinking, you just liked the outcome of it.

That light, fuzzy feeling, where nothing really mattered aside from the present. You didn’t have much control, but you also didn’t have any worries, and it was a time where you could say what you felt without much regret—well, not much regret until the next morning when you (hopefully) remembered all of your ridiculous stunts.

As it was, you didn’t actually drink all that much nor that often, because something about the morning after made you feel sick to your stomach. It wasn’t like being hungover, where your head would pound and your throat would feel parched, but rather, it was a sense of impending doom. You would always feel so anxious the next morning, and it was awful. It was almost never worth the high to then feel so low.

But at this moment, you weren’t too worried about the inevitable morning-after anxiety. You just wanted that light, warm, fuzzy, and carefree feeling that came with being tipsy—or the wildness that partnered with being fully drunk.

Grillbz snickered at your wrinkled nose as you took another large sip of the drink, but thankfully didn’t stay to tease you about it—he had other costumers to serve.

You’d nursed the drink pretty slowly, but the second one you’d ordered you’d knocked back fairly quickly, which had caused Grillbz to set a large glass of water in front of you. You’d complained, muttering that you were just fine, and he’d only laughed, patting your arm lightly as you clumsily tried to swat at him. The two of you bickered for a couple moments more before he relented and gave you yet another alcoholic drink. Each one had been slightly different from the last—this one was a bright iridescent green.

And when you finished that? The next was an almost translucent colour, just slightly tinted blue.

You were definitely feeling it now. Suddenly thankful for the water, you switched to sipping on that, hoping to catch yourself before you drank too much. Though it felt like a losing battle as you noticed the world was blurring at the edges. You felt as light as a feather and as though your head was filled with bubbles—or maybe cotton, cotton was nice too. You felt kind of silly. You liked it.

“Hey Smalls, it’s a small world, I hadn’t expected to see you ‘round here.” The voice was so richly deep and warm, and just like the first time you’d heard it, you felt that unexpected thrill race through your body, your heart skipping a beat.

“Sansss,” you hissed out the ‘s’, your face flushed, “I didn’t know you came here! It’s nice to see you buddy…”

You paused—feeling comfortable, feeling warm, feeling numb. Yeah, you didn’t like drinking, but you loved the outcome. Was that a problem? Maybe. Was it a problem right this moment? Maybe not.

“You gotta stop callin’ me small though—I,” you frowned, “don’t think I’m really that small… it’s just all you monsters are so big—”

Another pause as you thought to yourself, “yeah, you guys are all just… big boned.”

With one hand you pat his sternum and laugh to yourself. Sans looked conflicted, equal parts annoyed and amused, but he settled for amused and chuckled, “I didn’t take you for the drinkin’ type, or the pun-type…”

He leaned closer, studying your face, “kid, you okay?”

You shrugged, laying your head on the counter, feeling much like a little kid about to get scolded.

“I’m fine,” you sighed. He tilted his head to look you in the eye as he sat beside you.

“Kid, honestly, isn’t it a little too early to… uh… be doing this?” He sounded almost concerned.

But his concern wasn’t needed, honestly, you felt great. You felt great, you told yourself. There was no need to be worried or sad or concerned… you just needed to relax and smile.

So you did just that, “I’m fine! It’s, uh, never too early for fun.”

He frowned.

You continued, “I’m all good, I’m soooo good, no need to worries, hah, I’m actually, like, really great…” you paused, “Are you good?”

“Yeah, smalls, I’m good.” He sighed, rubbing his forehead tiredly. You watched it with amazement before you placed your hand on top of his. He froze. You didn’t notice.

“Uh…”

You smoothed out the wrinkles in his forehead with your thumb, gently pushing at what looked to be hard bone, but turned out to be quite pliable. It filled you with amazement. Even though he looked skeletal, he wasn’t cold, nor hard, like you expected. It was like dense muscle, or maybe… more similar to cartilage? You couldn’t decide.

Sans stayed eerily quiet, the white pupils of his eyes had shrunk to just pinpricks of light, and there was a light beading of sweat on the sides of his skull. His cheek bones were coloured with a light blue flush. You couldn’t feel the thrumming of his soul in his bones, but he definitely could. He could feel how with each little movement and touch, his soul sang a little louder.

He was a patient skeleton, but when you started to reach toward his face with a second hand, he wasn’t as gracious.

“Uh, k-kid, personal space, right?”

You giggled, not for any reason in particular, mostly just for the act of giggling in itself, “Oops, sorry mister bone man.” You patted his head once more then retracted your hand, placing it onto the counter next to your own head.

“I… feel… er, what time is it? Is it too early to feel?” You snorted before adding, "It's always too early to feel."

He nodded in agreement.

"Oh, but no, that's—that's not what I meant. I, just, is it too early to drink?" Your mouth was slightly open and your eyes wide with concern—this was a problem! Was it too early to start feeling funny? Luna was going to be so upset when you got home… right? Or would she even understand?

Dogs were intuitive, but you weren’t sure how far that ability went.

The thought left as soon as it had come, and you were left with the urgency of missing your dog. You missed her a lot, actually. Too much. And that just wouldn’t do.

“Sansy,” you sang, “Saaans…”

He lifted one brow, looking thoroughly amused by you.

“I gotta see my dog now. I just gotta.”

Sans snorted, “Right now?”

You nodded, “Yes sir, right now.”

“Okay…” He started slowly, “Let me take you back to your home, then…”

“Let me finish this first,” you said, grabbing the cool glass.

“Kid, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“I gotta.”

“You gotta?” He asked, his brow bone furrowed.

“I gotta,” you confirmed, taking a big gulp of whatever was left in the glass.

He laughed. You liked the sound of his laugh. You liked it a lot.

“You should always laugh,” you said. He seemed uncomfortable, maybe even embarrassed, but you weren’t to be dissuaded, “I’m serious, Sans. I’m super serious. I like your laugh.”

He rolled his eyes, and rubbed nervously at the back of his head, “Now you’re just being ridiculous.”

“Don’t you mean… ribiculous?”

“Okay, Smalls, you’re going back home.” He got up and reached a hand down to you, offering his support.

You took one look at the hand and slapped at it in your attempt at a high five.

He looked positively affronted, but you just kept laughing.

Chapter Text

He had ended up carrying you at some point, you’d barely made it out of Grillby’s without stumbling around. He didn’t like to admit how worried he was about you—he’d never really had to deal with a drunk human before, wasn’t it dangerous to drink too much? And you were so small and light and fragile in his hands… were you in danger? Should he be worried?

You were pretty much draped over his shoulder—it was easier than trying to get you to walk beside him in the state you were in.

“Hey kiddo, where do ya live? I needa take ya back to your house…”

There was no response, only a tired and somewhat hysterical giggle.

He sighed, feeling altogether too tired and too worried to deal with this, and deal with you, “fine, you’re staying the night with us… I, uh, I know a shortcut.”

Sans took a sharp left, turning into an alleyway and you felt an odd and fierce sensation grip your body—simultaneously it felt like being stretched out and out and out and pushed in and in and in—before suddenly you were in front of his home.

You were in front of his home and your mind was reeling… but even worse, your stomach was churning uncomfortably. Even in your hazy state you recognized the feeling for what it was.

“Put me do—” you hiccoughed, wiggling out of his grasp and sliding away from him to kneel on the ground. He approached you, gently placing a hand on your back and was about to pick you back up when you vomited.

He sprung back as though stung, “Oh, fuck, uh, Smalls, you okay?”

Your gut was being emptied and he thought the correct question to ask was ‘you okay’? What kind of fucking monster moron thinks that’s the logical next step? Before you could manage what would have been a biting retort, another wave of nausea hit you and you pitched forward, feeling wretched and gross as you threw up.

There was nothing funny about it, but in your embarrassment and discomfort, you felt like laughing. You felt like such a shit show… like such a mess. You were mortified.

“Smalls… uh…” he pulled your hair up and away from your face, as you doubled over once more, “shit, uh, I didn’t… I should definitely have warned you before taking that short cut. I just didn’t even think about the fact that you were already intoxicated and the effect of the shortcut would be even more than normal… I mean, even Frisk would get nauseous when I took them… but they never threw up… but uh, I mean, uh, they were never drunk so I guess that makes sense.”

You reached behind you to place a quieting hand on his face, he stilled immediately.

“Sorry, are you alright?” His voice was shaking with nerves, and you were in no state to comfort someone—you were in even less of a position to properly articulate the feelings circulating around your head at the moment—so instead, you chose the easy route.

You chose to brush of his concerns with a joke, “I’m just fine and dandy,” you mumble weakly, plucking a lone dandelion from the crack of the sidewalk. He just stared blankly at you.

“Ge’it? It’s ‘cause it’s… a dandelion… a dandy-lion…” you snorted.

He laughed, too, suddenly looking much more comfortable with the situation now that you’d stopped puking everywhere. “I’d be lion if I told you… that was the worst pun I’d ever heard…”

“You make me sick,” you giggled, pushing yourself up and standing. You wobbled a little on your feet, but managed to stay up right.

He grimaced more than laughed, “Don’t remind me, smalls.”

“I am not small!” You protested, but he shook it off with a smirk. You frowned, “Also… I-I’m s-sorry…” you gestured toward the mess you’d made.

“It’s fine, it’s in the grass at least, really, I shoulda figured a little thing like you couldn’t hold your liquor.”

You tried to protest but he hushed you as he led you into the house. Your small voice echoing behind you with a quiet, “I’m hungry, Sans.”

He only responded with a short and resounding “no.”

You whined, he laughed, you fell asleep shortly after…

And woke up the next morning, dazed and confused.

The couch wasn’t uncomfortable by any means. If anything, it was probably one of the softest and biggest couches you’d ever had the pleasure to sleep on. The only problems you were having was your raging headache and the intense feeling of dread in your stomach.

You didn’t like drinking—or well, you didn’t like this part of drinking.

But in the moment, there was always something so inviting and intoxicating about being intoxicated. Then, after the fact, you were left wondering if you’d made a fool of yourself, if you’d gotten sick, if you’d done something you would regret.

You felt anxious.

You felt more than anxious—you felt panicked.

The more rational side of you muttered quiet little reassurances, but the bigger, more irrational, and anxious side of you screamed that you’d fucked up. That you’d made a mistake. That you’d ruined your own life again. That you were an alcoholic with no control over anything.

And the more your anxiety spoke to you, the more you believed it. The more you told yourself these things, the more you believed them—despite there being no proof, no evidence, nothing to tell you these harmful thoughts were true.

Your heart was racing, and you sat up in your makeshift bed. Yesterday was fuzzy, you had flashes and snatches of memory. You remembered Doggo, you remembered Grillbz teasing you, you remembered meeting Sans at one point. You didn’t remember leaving the bar. You didn’t remember if you went home or not. You didn’t remember how you got here. Wherever here was…

You felt like you’d made some mistake, but couldn’t even remember enough to identify what the mistake was.

You hated that you always felt so anxious after drinking.

You hated that despite the anxiety-hangover you still drank too much sometimes.

You hated that you were in this house and couldn’t remember how you got here.

The blanket suddenly wasn’t enough, and you felt exposed. You felt like you were being watched. You felt—

 “You’re finally up? Gee, kid, and Paps calls me a lazy bones.” The voice startled you from your thoughts and you gave the only reasonable and logical reaction—because you were nothing if not a reasonable and logical person.

You screamed.

 Sans didn’t scream, though he did look quite alarmed.

You blinked, and slapped a hand over your mouth. 

“I’m sorry, I don’t even know where I am, but I mean like, this is probably your house. I mean, that’s the obvious answer, and if it is, I’m, like, sorry. Uh, I shouldn’t have screamed, you just came out of nowhere, I just don’t really know. I got startled. I’m sorry, I’ll try not to scream in people’s houses in the future because that’s probably rude or something…” You tried to say a hundred things at once, and it all came out in a jumbled mess, you could tell by the smirk on his face that none of what you’d just mumbled out made sense.

In an attempt to save grace, you gestured at the couch, “Nice, er, couch.”

He snorted.

You tried again, “Is this your house?”

He nodded, the wide grin on his face looking more and more smug by the minute.

“It’s, uh, nice, too.”

The lights of his eyes danced with amusement.

“So, uhm, where’s Papyrus?”

He shrugged, “at work,” he offered.

You nodded, coughing awkwardly, “Well, hoo, uhm, okay. That’s, uh, cool. Where does he work?”

At this Sans actually laughed, and you hide your face with yours hands, your cheeks flushed with embarrassment. This had been, by far, your most cringe worthy encounter with Sans.

“He works at a nearby restaurant,” he replied simply, not commenting on your awkwardness.

“That’s cool…”

“Yup.”

You sighed, “so, I… I’m sorry.”

“For what,” he asked.

You blinked with confusion. Wasn’t it obvious?

“I’m, uh, sorry for, like, getting scared. And, uh, crashing on your couch, and being here and in your way and stuff like that—uh, I mean, like, sorry for just like being.” You cut yourself off before you began to ramble again.

“It’s fine, Smalls…” He neglected to mention the fact that you threw up, or that he spent half the day and night worrying himself sick over you. No, he’d never bring himself to say any of that—especially not that he was worried… especially not that he was afraid for you.

He was going to say more, ask if you wanted to go out to eat or something, but the tiredness in your eyes, the slight furrow in your brows, and the way you sat—curled in on yourself as though you could make yourself small enough to disappear—made him hesitate.

You didn’t really seem like you would want to go anywhere.

“Well, uh, I can get out of your hair now, if… you… want…” you offered, noticing his slight pause and hoping to diminish his discomfort.

“I don’t even have hair, but nah, you’re not rattlin’ my bones…” his smiled turned from a smirk into something more genuine, something a little bit more kind, and you nervously smiled back, “I imagine you don’t feel so hot right now, so how ‘bout we take a minute to cool off, and uh, I’ll make you something small to eat, how’s that?”

You felt a sudden flush of affection for his awkwardness.

“Something small for the something small?” You asked cheekily.

“Thought ya didn’t like bein’ called small,” he chuckled.

“Yeah, well, it seems like it’s a name that’s gonna stick, so why not just accept it.”

“Fair ‘nough.”

Chapter Text

You spent the morning at Sans’ house. He cooked for you, which was nice, considering you’d caused him nothing but trouble—or at least, based on context, you assumed you’d caused him nothing but trouble (you couldn’t exactly remember).

All in all, he was just a nice person.

Part of you wanted to squint at him, furrow your brows, frown maybe, and wonder why he was being so fucking kind when he truly owed you nothing—the world was made of the worst kinds of people. No one was just inherently good, they all just wanted something. (Most of them just wanted some god damn fucking peace and quiet in a world of chaos, and, well, you couldn’t exactly blame them).

But… you couldn’t bring yourself to truly be suspicious of him. The shy, little smile he had given you as he placed a plate full of eggs and toast in front of you… it thoroughly disarmed you. He was being so domestic, and doing his best to cure your killer hangover, all while cracking jokes and making inane puns (“These are eggsellent,” “do these jokes crack you up?” and your personal favourite, “I think this is eggsactly what you need.”)

For being such a major dork, there was something so dangerously charming about him. On the other hand, and even more prominent than his cocky, jokester persona, there was a tiredness you could see in his eyes—a tiredness that you connected with.

He’d obviously been through something. Hell, he’d probably been through a lot of somethings, and you didn’t know, and you could never be sure because maybe he was just an always exhausted person; one of those people with issues getting enough sleep or staying asleep.

But it didn’t really seem like that was it. He seemed… like he knew something you didn’t. His eyes, their hollowness, the dimness of the pupils when he thought you weren’t looking, showed a sort of sorrow you weren’t sure what to do with.

And, when you’d screamed? He’d been startled, sure, but he’d glossed over it in a way… that was comforting, but not humiliating. It was like he was… was… agh, you didn’t even know what you didn’t know at this point.

In any case, you weren’t entirely sure what you thought of him other than that he was funny and sometimes nice.

It was much too soon to be trusting someone and thinking so fondly of them, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?

You’d have to keep your distance if you wanted to stay safe.

“What’s rattlin’ ‘round in that head o’ yours?”

His voice stirred you from your thoughts and you blinked at him confusedly for a moment as you regained your senses. You shifted on the padded seat, picking up your glass of water to take a sip. He had some scrambled eggs in front of him, drowning in ketchup, but you hadn’t even seen him actually eat any of them. They just kind of… disappeared when you weren’t looking.

“Just thinkin’ ‘bout, uh, multiverse theory…” you answered with the first thing that came to mind—which wasn’t exactly a lie, you were always thinking about things like that, multiverse theory, Schrödinger’s cat, how a black hole worked, etc. Just the puzzles of the world that your brain couldn’t exactly rap around.

But when you mentioned the theory, you could have sworn, for just a second, his eyes darkened considerably, but then he blinked and they were back to normal and you were left wondering if maybe the light had played a trick on you.

He tried a new question, “so what was that… back at the bar? Why so early in the day?”

“What? You don’t start drinking at like… noon?”

He laughed and shrugged. That wasn’t a no, but it wasn’t a yes.

“Was it for fun or…?” Sans let his voice trailed off while he studied your face.

Your head tilted to the side as you considered his question, “uhm, I guess I just wanted something to… lighten the mood, or… what have you…” You laughed, for a reason unbeknownst to you, “And by the lighten the mood, I really just meant, lighten my mood…”

He nodded, a stiff smile on his face, “Did somethin’ happen?”

You shrugged, indicating this was not a topic you were going to encourage discussing. Thankfully, he took the hint.

You took a bite of the eggs, savouring the texture and taste before swallowing.

He was staring at you and you tried not to be bothered by it. You ate another bite. He stared a little bit more. You could feel sweat begin to gather at the back of your neck, you scooped up another bite. He was still staring.

“Is there something on my face or am I just that good looking?” You asked around a mouthful of eggs.

“Er, just wonderin’… what… was that this morning?”

You swallowed, trying not to choke on your food, “Uh, anxiety attack.”

“Anxiety attack?”

“Yeah… it’s…” you took a deep and calming breath, “something I experience from time to time… there can be things that trigger them… but… it also can just be anxiety building up and up… until it, uh, sort of boils over in the worst way possible…”

“Hmm, okay.” He looked like he wanted to ask more, but opted not to. You were grateful for that small mercy.

Silence fell between the two of you as you speared some more of your scrambled eggs onto your fork. A sudden realization hit you and you felt a wave of alarm, “OH, fuck, what time is it? I had work today!”

Your silverware clattered to your plate as you stood abruptly, a panicked expression on your face, “fuck and I just left Luna at home all day. Oh god…”

Sans got up too, albeit with a sense of calmness that you just couldn’t replicate at the moment, “Slow down, Smalls, I… uh, I called Frisk because you were out cold and I, uh, I told them you’d worked yourself to the bone, so you were feelin’ a bit ill and all.”

Your shoulders slumped with relief, “Oh…”

Why are you being so nice? You wanted to asked, but the words died on your lips as you took in his expression. He looked… so nostalgic, like he was reliving something and you couldn’t tell if it had to do with you or if it was something back in his head—something you couldn’t see.

You settled for a short, “Thank you.”

“Here, let’s take a shortcut?” He offered his hand out to you. You grabbed it, hesitating for a split second before shrugging your suspicions off. He practically dragged you toward the doorway, you trailing along behind, feeling somewhat like a petulant child about to be scolded, before he walked through one doorway, and you felt the strangest sensation take over your body—not entirely unpleasant, but not exactly comfortable.

You blinked and suddenly you were standing in front of your apartment.

“Don’t ask,” he stated, when he noticed your wide eyes and open mouth.

“Oh, okay, er, then, uh, why didn’t you take me here last night?”

He snorted, “Well, I asked where you lived, and you didn’t answer…”

“Yeah, but you knew where it was,” you argued.

“Heh, true, but… in the moment… I was a little panicked… guess I’m kind of a numbskull, aren’t I?” His smile widened further and you rolled your eyes at his dumb joke.

“Well, bonehead, thank you for takin’ care of me.”

You were about to walk into the apartment when his boney hand darted and gripped your elbow. You blinked, slightly startled, and not liking the way your skin crawled at being touched. He seemed to notice your tension and let go immediately.

“I was wonderin’ if you wanted to stop by tonight, Paps is makin’ spaghetti and wants you and some friends to come by to enjoy it…” He looked so proud talking about his brother.

You weren’t exactly a social person, and you certainly didn’t like to go out places—especially when you’d already been outside of your comfort zone for so long already, but someone with such a sincerely deep and true affection for their brother… had a kind of integrity you just couldn’t say no to.

You weren’t sure what state you had expected your apartment to be in when you got there, but a dog on its own for over a day was never a good thing. When you opened the door, though, you were pleasantly surprised.

Luna turned out to be fine, if not a little frantic—and then incredibly excited once she noticed you had come home. You swept through the house to make sure she didn’t have an accident, then clipped on her vest and leash to take her for a long, and well deserved, walk. It was nice to just walk, enjoying the company of your sweet companion, and not have to worry about social graces, or whether or not you were being odd or cold or… or insensitive or any of the things people had accused you of in the past.

These were your times in which you could just be, and you savoured every minute of it.

To your surprise and dismay, a very familiar fish-like monster and a not-so-familiar lizard-like monster stood outside the door to your apartment.

“Hey!” You called.

They turned together to stare, but it was Undyne who spoke, “Hey, little punk!”

Luna barked once, short and low and you hushed her quickly—she’d never really forgiven Undyne for threatening you so much.

“Hey Luna,” Undyne greeted easily, not intimidated in the least by the short and stocky dog, “Have ya been keepin’ the pipsqueak safe?”

You scoffed, “I can keep myself safe!”

The smaller monster, a yellow creature that looked like some sort of mix between a lizard and a dinosaur, chuckled and mumbled something quietly to Undyne which had the boisterous fish-woman blushing with embarrassment.

“Hmpf,” Undyne snorted, “Any way, this little lady is Alphys, she was the royal scientist…”

The little monster—Alphys—waved at you meekly.

Her nervousness made you nervous. You waved shyly back. Undyne had to work hard not to yell at the two of you for being so soft.

Apparently the two had come because they’d heard from Frisk you were under the weather. You let them into your small, cosy apartment and set about making tea for the cute couple.

“So, how long have you guys been together?” You asked casually, finding their flustered interactions both adorable and ridiculous.

Undyne sputtered, her blue scales turning a flattering purple-red hue, “That’s, uh, we’re… heh, punk, you’re a little jokester, aren’tcha?” Her smile was too wide, too strained, and the panic in her one visible eye hinted that perhaps you’d presumed a little too much.

You had to fix this, “Oh, uh, er, well, I, yeah, I was just kidding, sorry! Y-you guys just seem like such good friends… Yeah… friends…”

That was smooth, you sighed.

It seemed to work well enough though because the tension in the room lessened considerably. Alphys hadn’t actually seemed phased, maybe she hadn’t heard you—or maybe she was still frozen with mortification. You hoped it was the former.

Undyne slammed her hands onto the counter, making you drop the mug you’d been holding. Thankfully, it didn’t break. You shot her a glare, and she had the decency to look a little sheepish.

“S-sorry, punk, just had an epitome.”

“Epitome?” You asked, incredulous.

“Is that not the right word?” She looked over to Alphys for help.

“D-d-did you mean to s-say epiphany?” The small dinosaur’s voice was the slightest bit scratchy, and a little nasally. It was so quiet that you had to lean in to hear her speak.

“Yeah!” Undyne exclaimed, not at all bothered by her word-choice mishap, “I had an epiphany!”

Suddenly she turned on you, her eyes narrowed and grin wide with devious glee, “A little birdy told me that you and Sans had a little date at Grillby’s!” She snickered, “And that you went home with him.”

“So?” You asked, indifferently.

So, Sans doesn’t just take anyone home. Plus,” she said, enunciating each word with enthusiasm, “He invited you to dinner tonight—A dinner that was supposed to be just for close friends… which means that… you and Sans…”

She jabbed her finger into your shoulder, pointing at you accusingly, “Is there something your best pal, Undyne needs to know about you and Sansy?”

You laughed despite yourself, “Oh god, no, nothing like that…”

She frowned, disbelief clear in her features. You insisted, “No, Undyne, I’m serious—” you snorted, “Literally, I got really drunk yesterday and Sans found me at the bar and took me back to his house—”

Undyne was waggling her eyebrows suggestively and you waved off her ridiculous behaviour.

“Nothing happened. Like, nothing actually happened. I think I threw up and he took care of me,” you could feel your face light up with your own embarrassment. In a smaller voice you mumbled, “Uh, is it okay that I go to the dinner? If… If I’m not like close friends with anyone?”

Alphys spoke up, effectively silencing whatever Undyne had been about to say, “No!”

“No?” You felt your stomach drop with disappointment.

“N-no! I mean, yes! I… I mean that…” She flailed her claws, looking more and more distressed with each word, “I mean that no, no one would mind, and yes, we want you there. Frisk… F-frisk would want you there, too.”

Her stuttering assurances didn’t actually assuage any of your newfound doubts, but as you spent the rest of the evening with the duo, you found yourself forgetting your insecurities and just enjoying their company.

As it turned out, you and Alphys had some things in common—mainly, an appreciation for anime. And while you were no ‘anime connoisseur,’ you also weren’t a newbie when it came to the topic. The two of you, with Undyne’s occasional input, swapped a few show suggestions with the promise of having a nerd-night marathon.

Soon enough it was time to head to Sans’ and Papyrus’ house.

The walk wasn’t long enough, you didn’t exactly feel prepared to be around people again, and you hadn’t gotten any time to recuperate. Undyne and Alphys chatted awkwardly, both slightly flustered by the other’s presence. It was so obvious they liked each other, you couldn’t understand why they weren’t already dating. If there were ever such things as soulmates, Alphys and Undyne would be the perfect example.

They, as a pair, were asymmetrical. Alphys, quiet, meek, smart, and Undyne, rash, bold, brave. They were so very different, but they both had in common their burning passion. A passion, a determination, you weren’t sure you’d ever felt before.

Taking in the sight of these two awkward lovebirds filled you with… envy. You wanted a friendship like that… hell, maybe you just wanted a relationship even the slightest bit close to their bond.

You laughed your discomfort off, pushing back your feelings of envy as you smiled and talked and joked with the two monsters.

Papyrus was ecstatic to see you, though he did not move to pick you up or touch you—you appreciated his respect of your boundaries. It even sounded like he was trying to lower his volume when talking to you.

You felt your heart squeeze with a sudden rush of affection for the impossibly tall and kind skeleton.

Dinner went well, though you haven’t expected how many people would be there. Frisk and the ever pleasant Toriel greeted you when you walked into the house, and a large furred beast—similar in appearance, though much broader, to Toriel—waved, a gregarious smile on his face. He introduced himself as Asgore—former king of all monsters, you tried not to be intimidated by that title. You also tried not to be intimidated by his towering form, he had to duck down just to fit in the house properly. Now that you noticed it, Toriel also had to stoop slightly just to fit comfortably.

You felt so small. You could feel the beginnings of panic creeping up your back to latch itself around your throat, making breathing hard. You were introduced to another monster (a cat-like one, Catty?) and another (and alligator this time? Bratty?). Another (Aaron?). Another (Shyren?). Another. And another. The names were beginning to blur and the faces, though new and distinct each time, were not memorable.

You felt out of place.

You just wanted a familiar face, but instead you kept being side-tracked, interrupted, blocked, and jostled around by all the people mingling in the house.

Your hands were shaking and you found yourself in a corner of what looked to be the living room, it had transformed considerably from when you’d been there earlier. Probably Papyrus—you couldn’t imagine Sans working to prepare the house for company—had placed a table with various snacks in the centre of the room, which a few guests had permanently parked themselves beside.

Maybe later, once you’d orientated yourself just the slightest bit more, you’d head over there and grab some food before it was all gone.

But for now? You’d… just… take it slow. It would be bad enough to panic in a public setting. It was somehow worse to be panicking at your new friends’ house. They’d—or Sans, really—had invited you, Undyne and Alphys had gone out of their way to make sure you come, and everyone you’d met had been nice. You had no reason to be panicking.

Yet, you couldn’t bring yourself to leave the corner; you just wanted to hide and observe. You weren’t sure you really wanted to be here anymore.

Was it selfish to wish that Frisk or Undyne had stayed with you? That Papyrus would have made sure you were alright? Or that Alphys—who was also a shy character—would have understood your nervousness and kept you company? Or… Or that Sans… the monster that had invited you in the first place, would have sought you out? Would have cracked a few jokes, gotten you to laugh, and made sure you felt comfortable among these new people…?

You felt selfish for wanting them to choose you above these people they’d known for much longer, because, honestly, you’d only known them for a few weeks—a month, maybe? And, really, you’d only known Frisk for that long.

“hi…”

You blinked, startled, “H-hello.”

“s-sorry for bothering you… you just looked… nice… oh… I hope I’m not bothering you…” the voice was so meek and small. It made you feel slightly better to know you weren’t the only one out of your element.

You looked up, studying the… monster in front of you. They looked like one of those cartoon ghosts you’d drawn as a child. You gave them a hesitant smile and the ghost-like creature blushed shyly.

“You’re not bothering me… I was, uh, actually, it’s really nice to meet you. What’s… what’s your name?”

“…Napstablook…”

You introduced yourself, feeling more at ease with the friendly little monster beside you. Napstablook, though a bit awkward and a bit sad, was nice. You stuck with them for most of the party. Papyrus was making rounds through the guests, and seemed beyond ecstatic you’d found a friend, and Frisk, who seemed to be the life of the party, eventually found their way over to you again, introducing you to their little armless friend—Monster Kid—as ‘The Boss’.

Everything considered, despite your initial misgivings, you were glad you decided to come.

It wasn’t until later, when you were finally home and curled up in bed with your lovely companion, Luna, you realized: you hadn’t seen Sans at all. You tried not to feel offended, but you were a bit disappointed, he’d invited you after all…

You mentally shook off the feeling and let yourself drift to sleep.

The buzzing of your phone woke you though. You groaned, shifting around under the heavy covers to grab your phone off of the nightstand. The screen was glaringly bright and you squinted at it for a few moments as your eyes adjusted. One new message. Your eyes flicked up to the time, it was too god damn late for this shit, or maybe too fucking early.

Sansational [3:00 am]

Sorry I missed you at the party. Lunch?

You shook your head, smiling slightly. Lunch would be great. Your eyes closed once more and you fell asleep dreaming off bright places with smiling faces. Everything was okay for today.

Chapter Text

“I, like, distinctly remember telling you not to text at three in the fucking morning,” your irritation was more for show, but also because, you certainly didn’t want to encourage this annoying habit.

You were, of course, referring to his multiple late night texts that hadn’t happened just last night, but (once you’d bothered to check) several nights in a row. And honestly, you just were not about that life—meaning, you were going to fight someone, even the rather large and somewhat imposing Sans, if it meant you’d be able to sleep through the night without another three-in-the-fucking-morning text.

“You said I could,” he responded simply, an impish smile on his face.

You sputtered for a moment, your eyebrows furrowed in both confusion and indignation, “What!? No, I did not!”

“Nah, yeah, ya did, kid, you said, and I quote,” he paused, raising his voice an octave to try and mimic yours, “‘don’t text me at three in the morning—or do’ and so obviously, that means do, so I did.”

You snorted, throwing your hands up with exasperation, “I vaguely remember an exchange like that, b-but, like, what the hell man?”

He quirked an eyebrow.

“Who texts someone at three in the morning for no, like, real reason? I mean, like, if you’re dying or some shit, then yeah, I get it, but like, you ain’t dead,” you tried to soften your tone with a smile, but nothing could really hide the exasperated lilt in your words.

Something dark flickered across his expression, so fast you couldn’t quite put a name to the emotion. He scoffed, a smirk on his face and his eyes half-lidded, the bright whites of the pupils shrinking in size slightly as he stared you down. You took a sip of your hot chocolate, the heat of the cup warming your cold hands, trying to ignore the intensity of his gaze.

This little meeting was rather nice, though, there was something strange about sitting in this specific little coffee shop with this particular skeleton.

The way he casually rolled his eyes at you and made some unnecessary joke—another damned bone pun—seemed so weirdly foreign and familiar. Part of you felt—more like knew something was missing and you wanted to know what it is and part of you wondered why you felt like this had happened before.

But it hadn’t, obviously, it hadn’t happened—that was impossible! You’d only known him for… a little less than a month… And there had never been time for the two of you to grow close before this.

In not so many words, this little lunch ‘date’ felt more comfortable than it should.

It was so nostalgic sitting here with him though—it felt like a dream, it felt like a nightmare, it felt like a forbidden wish coming true; a wish you hadn’t even known you’d made.

Above all, none of it really made sense.

He lifted his steaming coffee to his non-existent lips and took a quick drink; his eyes closed softly as he enjoyed the taste. It was… something else… to see a skeleton—no, he’s not a skeleton, you reminded yourself—be so expressive. He sure did look like one, from the hollow space where his nose should be, to the empty eye sockets, to the way his phalanges—his fingers—moved around as he gestured and talked animatedly.

Honestly, it was somehow intriguing and unsettling.

A kid—not a kid, he was probably around his twenties, older than you were—came by the table just as Sans finished his drink.

The guy, some nondescript, awkward being, with a face full of unfortunate acne, sneered at the two of you while muttering something that sounded suspiciously like “dirty monster fucker.”

Your face flamed with embarrassment and rage as you gave an icy glare at the idiotic stranger, “At least I can get it, unlike you.

The guy huffed, his face contorted with anger and disgust before he sauntered off, throwing a quick, “skele-fucker” over his shoulder, a smug smile on his face, pleased with what he probably considered a golden insult. You just rolled your eyes at Sans, hoping that the monster wasn’t too offended by the stranger’s rudeness.

But the look you saw on his face was something you weren’t expecting.

It… almost looked like… adoration. Pure. Unadulterated. Adoration.

And it was aimed at you.

“Wh-what…?” You rasped, taken aback.

The sound of your voice seemed to be enough to knock him to his senses as he shook his head slightly before turning to glare in the direction the stranger had stalked off in. Faintly—almost imperceptible—you could see the smallest bit of blue burning on his cheeks. It looked like he was blushing, but you were at a loss for what could have possibly elicited such a reaction.

He didn’t say much about the little scene that had been caused, instead choosing to brush over the topic with a short one-liner (“What a bonehead”).

The two of you talked about a variety of topics afterward, each one of minor importance, but still interesting and engaging all the same. When it came time to head back to the groomer’s shop you almost felt a little disappointed, and altogether unprepared to leave San’s charming company—because damn if he wasn’t a charismatic person, what with his groan-worthy puns but sharp wit and ridiculous—no, wait, ribiculous amount of knowledge about anything related to physics and or most sciences in general.

You found that you quite liked talking to him. And when he offered to meet again (“Same place, same time tomorrow, smalls?) you felt a flutter of anticipation and excitement.

It seemed like every day your previously non-existent social life significantly improved.

You guys met the next day and both of your ordered the same thing—he even offered to pay, which you quickly turned down, but not without giving many thank you’s and no thank you’s. And the two of you settled down in the booth you’d taken last time and discussed the moon landing (which you’d researched quite a bit last night just for this occasion) and he told you about Waterfall with the beautiful glimmering rocks and shinning, bioluminescent rivers.

As your lunch break came to a close once more he asked again to meet and you readily agreed.

The third time you let him buy your drink and the two of you talked about Luna and why you had her.

“So I thought animals couldn’t come into stores?”

You had nodded, already preparing yourself to answer the too-personal questions people asked once they realized you had a service dog, “yeah, typically that’s how it goes, but Luna isn’t, like, a pet-pet. She’s… different.

“Oh?” He’d asked, seeming both interested and indifferent. How he could manage to be so nonchalant about everything you’d never know.

“Mhm, she is a working dog… meaning she helps me with tasks… and keeps me functioning…” You'd launched into your explanation and the more you’d talked about your dog the easier it was—especially considering how attentive and polite he’d been. He’d only asked a few more questions: ‘how’d you get her?’, ‘did she go through a lot of training?’, ‘can any dog be a service dog?’, etc, before he seemed satisfied.

Never once had he asked ‘what’s wrong with you?’ or judged you.

The fourth coffee-date (you were officially calling them dates—hell, even Frisk had teased you about them) you were running late. Actually, you weren’t so much running late as you were just stuck. Literally, stuck. In a tree.

A rather tall tree, in your defence.

But still, definitely stuck in a tree.

How had you gotten here? Ah, well, you’d just been trying to play the ‘good samaritan’ act when it’d backfired on you.

“Miss? My cat is stuck in this tree and I am not quite so young and sprightly as I used to be, so would you mind climbing up there to grab her?” An elderly woman asked, her voice quavering slightly with worry.

You nodded, flashing your brightest smile, “Certainly, ma’am, a little ol’ tree like this will be no problem for someone like me! I’ll be up there in a jiffy!”

“Oh thank you, darling! I would have been at such a loss without your fearless bravery”—

Okay so maybe that was exaggerated, but you hadn’t been unwilling to help—just a little wary of climbing the tree.

"My cat is stuck. Could you please go get her?"

You frowned, giving the tree a once over, "Can't you... like... ask someone else?"

The older lady shook her head, voice quivering with age, "No, dear, everyone else has turned me down... and Ms. Muffet needs her afternoon snack... I can't leave my baby here by herself!"

A sigh left your lips as you once again looked the tree up and down, "I... uh, I think I can do this."

The issue was that once you’d climbed the tree, the cat had leapt gracefully down, giving you what you considered a rather saucy glare. And what was worse, the old lady hadn’t even thanked you, but instead was focused solely on the little she-devil of a cat that was now meticulously cleaning her fur.

And if the thanklessness of the situation wasn’t bad enough, you couldn’t get down from the tree.

The branch you’d crawled out onto was thick, and you were laying across it, your legs wrapped around with ankles locked to prevent yourself from falling. You were, you had to admit sheepishly, too scared to move from your position, plus you no longer had the drive of wanting to save a ‘helpless’ animal to motivate you to move.

You fished your phone out of your back pocket, your arm wrapped around the branch in a vice grip. Cautiously, carefully, somewhat nervously, you sent Sans a quick ‘S.O.S.’ and prayed that he would respond sooner rather than later.

And luck was on your side, for you received a reply not even a minute later, just a short ‘where?’

He showed up in five minutes, with the biggest grin you’d ever seen on his face—and really now, considering his mouth was always stretched wide in a Cheshire cat-esque smile, it was almost impressive.

Except, when he saw you hanging on to the branch with a death grip, he started to laugh.

And this was no laughing matter.

“Well, this is a surprise, whatcha up to, kid?”

You frowned, your tone turning sarcastic, “Oh, you know, just hanging around…”

“I tree what you mean, but I’m not quite sure I beleaf you. You don’t look like you need me to stick around,” his hands were shoved in his pockets and despite his cool tone you could see his shoulder shake with laughter. This was not an ideal situation.

“Okay, fuck boy, this is not what I had you come here for.”

His eyes flashed with mischief, “Oh? So, what did you want me here for?”

You sighed, “Come on, captain obvious, I think you’re smart enough to figure it out.”

“Well, you look like you’re in quite the predicament… That someone as small and weak as you managed to climb up in the first place is an achievement in itself… No wonder you managed to get yourself stuck,” he laughed, shrugging his shoulders in an ‘oh well’ kind of way.

You could feel the blood rush to your face as your cheeks burned with embarrassment, “I am not stuck. I’m just… taking a break because I got tired climbing up.”

He quirked a brow bone up and smirked. You mimicked the expression.

“So you’re sure you’re not stuck?”

“No! I am not stuck in this tree! God, I’m not that dumb…”

He turned around, waving as he made to leave and you felt your gut drop with a sudden wave of panic.

“Sans! Wait!”

He glanced back at you over his shoulder, eyes twinkling with mirth. You weren’t sure your face could feel any hotter. Actually, you weren’t sure you’d ever felt so embarrassed for such a simple thing.

“…I’m not stuck…” He took another step away, the bright pupils of his eyes watching you the entire time, “BUT,” you emphasized, “It’d be… cool if you could… help me down…” your voice got smaller with each word as you tried not to drown in the humiliation you felt.

It wasn’t a big deal. None of this was a big deal—and it wasn’t a shameful thing to ask for help on such a simple task…

Except it was a big deal! Because it was your fault you were in this situation and it was your own stupidity that led you to being unable to escape.

“What was that?” He asked, clearly enjoying your misery.

“Can… you help…” you sighed, the words rushed out in a jumbled mess, “canyouhelpmedown?”

He cocked his head to the side, now facing you, “Hmmm?”

“Can you help me down?”

He hummed, as though in deep though, “I don’t know, what’s the magic word?”

“I’ll fight you.”

He blinked, seemingly shocked, uttering a simple, “fair enough,” before breaking into loud and contagious laughter—you even managed a weak giggle despite yourself.

Sans moved forward, standing beneath you, his arms outstretched. The fabric of his t-shirt rode up the slightest bit and you could see the tops of his hip bones—huh, you thought wonderingly, he really is skeletal… You shifted slightly on the tree, still maintaining that terrified, white knuckled grip on the limb.

“Do I have to jump…?” You asked, your voice sounding smaller than you intended. It wasn’t a far jump, but it still gave you anxiety.

He only nodded, his characteristic smirk softening into a reassuring smile, “I’ll catch you, no matter what.”

Those words stirred something in you and you… you who had so much trouble trusting others, you who had been lied to, hurt, and slandered in the past, you wanted nothing more than for his arms to catch you and embrace you with their warmth.

This was not normal, but neither were you and nor was he.

How could something so simple end up so profound?

You let yourself fall from the branch, sliding to the side awkwardly, and, as promised, he caught you. You felt feather-light wrapped up in his arms. He laughed, and after a pause you joined him.

“That was ridiculous.”

He agreed, snorting.

“Thank you,” you said, avoiding his gaze.

He shrugged, that light blue flush on his cheek bones once more.

“S’no skin off my back.”

You groaned at the pun, but smiled all the same. The light banter that ensued between the two of you continued the entire walk to the café and again later on your way back to the groomer’s shop.

“Same time tomorrow?” He asked.

“Same time tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

Undyne was staring you down, a devilish gleam in her one visible eye. She looked down right wolfish, like she was ready to gobble you up. Honestly, you were feeling a strong urge to run and hide, but your measly pride prevented you from doing so. You couldn’t lose face in front of her, not after making such a great (read: awkward) first impression.

After all, you needed to live up to Undyne’s aggressive expectations with this oddly aggressive friendship.

In any case, you’d been expecting this sort of confrontation. If anything, it was surprising it hadn’t happened sooner. Besides, in a friend group so tight like theirs was, you don’t just go on two weeks’ worth of coffee dates without someone finding out.

And that someone was not just a one, but rather a two—a rather devious duo, Alphys and Undyne.

The only issue is that they had cornered you on your way home from a long walk. Firstly, you weren’t in your element—you hadn’t even managed to make it into your apartment, secondly, it was way too early in the morning to deal with the accusations these two were throwing at you, and lastly, your beast of a service dog was currently attempting to lick the two previously mentioned pair.

What a traitor.

You weren’t really frustrated with any of them, maybe just a little caught off-guard, which made it difficult to deny their hefty assumption that you were currently shacking up with their boney, funny (read: dumb pun, jokester), skeleton of a friend.

So here you stood, in the hallway of your apartment, gesturing for the truly cruel monster pair to follow you into your little home as your face and neck went up in flames. Despite your many protests, the bright red blush all over was seriously undermining your objections.

“You two are totally banging,” Undyne sang as Alphys sipped from the floral tea cup you’d given her. Undyne had her own drink in hand, and was leaning against the small counter in your kitchenette so casually like she wasn’t currently turning you into an embarrassed puddle of a human.

The worst part being how terribly smug she was about the whole ordeal. She just wouldn’t stop teasing.

“Oh my god!” You squeaked, “I am not, have not, and will not be—ever—going to the bone zone with the bone boy.” You emphasized each remark with finger-quotations; but if Undyne and Alphys’ giggles were anything to go by, they didn’t buy your determined and no nonsense expression.

“Bone boy?” Undyne asked incredulously.

“Bone zone?” Alphys asked cackling gleefully.

“Both of you need to shut up, right now, immediately,” you mumbled, your cheeks aflame, “I did not invite you over to get made fun of… I’m not about that life…”

Alphys snorted; Undyne wheezed with laughter.

“Actually, I didn’t invite you over at all!”

Their giggles wouldn’t stop.

“Seriously, you guys! I’m not—we’re not! There is nothing between us!”

They were giggling maniacally now, but you’d paused in your flustered denials, “Besides… how would that even, like, work? He doesn’t have… have… a… uh…”

They watched you struggle to find the words with matching slightly bemused (but mostly amused) expressions.

“You know,” you hissed, “a… d-dick.

Alphys gasped and Undyne snickered.

“So you are a little skele-fucker.” Undyne accused, pointing at you with a wicked grin.

“I am n-not! You guys are… r-ridiculou—”

Alphys chimed in with “ri-dick-ulous.”

But before you were able to shut down their ridiculous notions (more like get teased endlessly by your very determined friends), your phone started to ring; effectively cutting off whatever inappropriate conversation Undyne and Alphys had been about to have with you, about you and your presumed boney lover.

“Is it Sans?” One of them asked, a cheeky (and somewhat smug) smile on their face.

“Is it your vertabae?” The other carolled.

“It’s my… heh, uh, my bother…” They sobered almost immediately upon the nervous tone in your voice, “I need to take this… sorry,” Your face was uncharacteristically serious despite the forced laugh in your voice.

The two monsters exchanged looks as you walked into the other room, phone gripped too tightly and pressed flat to your ear.

“I didn’t know she had a brother…” Undyne muttered worriedly, “it seems serious, do you think the little punk’ll be alright?”

“I… uh, I don’t know…”

They both glanced toward your closed bedroom door, worry etched clearly on their faces.


 

What?” You asked sharply, trying your best to keep your voice down.

It was becoming increasingly harder to stay calm with every word your brother spoke. If it weren’t for the fact that you had company—actual, real, live friends (which was a fact that was not lost on you)—in the other room you would have started crying already—instead, you were doing your best to cope with the crazy news your brother had just dropped on you; by laughing a little too loudly and a little too hysterically to really fool anyone.

Better to laugh than cry, right? Right? (Hint: It wasn’t, but you weren’t sure how else to deal with the current whirlwind of emotions circling through your head).

Your brother was doing his best to calm you down, but it wasn’t exactly helping.

“It’s okay, lil’, it’s all okay.”

“How is this fucking okay!?” You started, your voice high and angry; “you just laid it on me that your—er, our mother is dying, so I mean like, yeah, of course it’s fine, ha, yeah, it’s great… Super. Fucking. Great.” Your voice was bitter and getting louder with each word.

You glanced at the door of your bedroom. You couldn’t—shouldn’t—stay on the phone all day, Undyne and Alphys were over and it would be rude to keep them waiting.

But common sense told you this was more important.

“C’mon kid—”

“Don’t ‘c’mon kid’ me, I’m an adult now and I seriously don’t need you to baby me…” Your voice was shaking, but otherwise steely.

“She wants to see you.”

“Yeah? Well, she should have thought about that before she fucked me over, before she tried to change everything.”

“Don’t be like that, I’ll make sure you’re okay; you don’t even have to stay long—don’t have to say hello to anyone else, but she… kiddo, she really wants to see you.”

If it were anyone else, you would have hung up by now with a quick and sharp ‘fuck you’, but some small part of you wanted to give your brother the benefit of the doubt and hear him out.

Most of you, though, just wished he’d never called. There were reasons you’d isolated yourself from your family—reasons that involved your mother’s death, involved your new ‘mother’s’ appearance, and your half-brother’s stupidity.

You didn’t hate your family, but you sure didn’t like them.

“I don’t want to see her.”

He sighed, and you could hear the exasperation in his tone when he responded with a cold, “Stop being selfish, just come see your dying mother.”

“She’s not my mother,” there was a ferocity in your tone that made him pause, but only for a moment.

“She sees you as her daughter.” His tone was clearly trying to placate you and your anger, but it wasn’t working.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” you replied harshly before angrily ending the call.

With a tired sigh you flopped down onto your bed, the springs creaking with your added weight. Luna stood and leapt up to lay beside you. If she could speak you swear she’d be asking “are you okay?” The pure concern and love in her eyes was overwhelming.

And in that moment you were anything but okay.

“Luna, am I really selfish for not wanting to see her?”

She shuffled a little closer to your, her warmth and presence giving you something to ground yourself with. You turned to her, and were soon threading your hands through her short fur and whispering half-baked sentences, excuses, and reasons on why you should most definitely not go to see your mother-not-mother.

But Luna didn’t understand any of it, despite the intelligence she had. And she never would, but she could, at the very least, sense you were upset, and she was trying her best to make you feel better.

You hadn’t even noticed you’d started crying until she licked the tears from your face.

“Luna, stop,” you groaned, turning away from her as she pushed her cold nose into your ear and continued to lick at your neck and chin. Her silly antics had the intended effect though, as you finally cracked a smile, still feeling like nothing was okay, but that it might, at least, eventually be okay.

“As long as I have you, girlie, I can get through this. We can get through this.”

Her tail thumped excitedly against the bed as you started to get up; she was probably hoping you’d play with her or something.

But, you weren’t exactly in the mood, besides, you still had company—unless they’d ditched you because of the annoyingly and exhaustingly long phone call. You wouldn’t exactly blame them.

“Sorry about that, guys, I, uh, phone call,” you mumbled as you walked out of your room, the carpeted floor making you near silent as you re-entered the kitchenette. They were pretty much still where you’d left them, making small talk that died down the moment you appeared.

Just seeing them made you feel the slightest bit relieved. They hadn’t left. They still maybe wanted to hang out—hopefully they’d stop teasing you about Sans. He was a good friend—and that was all; just a good friend.

“Hey lil’ punk, ya all right?” Undyne asked, looking almost… concerned. Actually, now that you were looking at both of them… You could see worry and anxiety so apparent on each of their faces.

It brought a feeling of amazement to you. You’d lead such a lonely life before you’d stumbled upon Frisk, and as a result all of Frisk’s monstrous friends. It was no longer just you and Luna against the world. It was you and Frisk… and Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, and Toriel. You had a support system… You had friends that were kind, and non-judgmental.

You weren’t alone anymore.

There was a warm feeling in your chest, and you didn’t feel great, but you felt like with Undyne and Alphys, in this moment, here and now, you felt safe, and almost happy despite the stress of the phone call.

“I’m alright, just some family issues,” you replied evasively. You may trust them, you may even love them, but you weren’t about to tell them about your step-mother and brother and all the baggage that came with them. A smaller part of you, deep down in the depths of your soul cried, ‘you can’t tell them, they’ll leave’. ‘You’ll be alone again.’ ‘Alone. Alone. Alone.’

“You can tell us anything, you know?” Undyne called in a voice so soft you almost didn’t realize she’d spoken, you looked up at her with a small smile.

“Thank you, but I’m okay.”

They didn’t question you further, and for that, you were grateful.

“If you s-say so…” Alphys said quietly, “uhm… s-so… do you want to go somewhere for lunch?”

“Yeah, I’d like to get out of this place for a while…”

“Papyrus is always cooking about now, how ‘bout we crash his house?” Undyne had a gleam in her eye as she suggested it, and you could already feel that some sort of plan was forming in her mind.

Despite your better judgement, you agreed and the three of you headed on your way, Luna in tow.

Papyrus was nothing if not ecstatic as you guys showed up at his doorstep. He was actually already waiting, pacing back and forth across the wooden desk as he wrung his skeletal hands together excitedly. Undyne had texted him right as your little group had left, and he’d responded with overjoyed “YES!”

Just seeing how excited he was made you smile, and you began to feel as though the heated conversation you’d had with your brother was melting away—as though being around this fun-loving and kind group could just melt your worries away. Papyrus ushered your little group into the house and you were surprised to see Frisk inside and perched on the couch.

“Hey Frisky-business,” you called out.

They squealed with happiness upon seeing you, launching themselves roughly into your arms. The two of you toppled backward and your eyes widened with a mixture of surprise and fear as you fell.

A pair of strong arms caught you and a deep voice rumbled into your ear, “I didn’t think it’d be so easy to get you two to fall for me.” It was teasing and casual and sent a jolt of happy warmth through your body.

Frisk blushed heavily, giggling all too sweetly as they looked up at Sans with big, round, happy eyes.

You wanted to sing, ‘You have a cru-uh-ushhh’, but mercifully kept quiet. No need to embarrass your adorable little volunteer worker (and at the rate that they were learning, soon to be paid-worker, assuming you could afford it).

Unlike Frisk, you were far calmer and just threw Sans a wink and a smirk as you straightened yourself, “nice to see you, too.”

He shoved his hands back into his pockets, chuckling softly, “are ya hungry?”

“Yeah, tibia honest, I’m starving…” you giggled, “look at me! I’m bare bones.”

Sans outright laughed, and you felt accomplished. You weren’t usually clever enough or quick-witted enough to come up with puns, but skeleton puns were actually fairly easy. To say it shortly, you had a skele-ton of skele-puns.

Lunch was a casual affair, despite how Papyrus’ turned the serving of food into an overzealous production. You and Sans sat side by side and occasionally he’d glance your way, but every time you met his gaze he’d turn away and start a conversation with someone else. He obviously wanted to saying something to you. You just couldn’t figure out what.

It wasn’t until you were finished eating and the main group (sans Sans and yourself) had migrated out to the living room that he coughed, grabbing your attention from the dish you were currently washing.

“You don’t have to do that, kid.”

“You guys fed us, it’s only fair I help out…”

He shrugged, “If you want, I guess…”

Silence stretched between the two of you and you returned to carefully scrubbing the plate clean of spaghetti sauce. Occasionally, you could hear an outbreak of laughter from the other room and something about standing in the kitchen, washing dishes after a home-cooked meal with the quiet company of Sans seemed so… domestic… and so nostalgic, that you couldn’t help but feel almost saddened—as though you’d lost something you hadn’t ever had in the first place.

You couldn’t put a name to the feeling, you weren’t sure if it was anything anyone could ever explain, but the feeling of loss was reverberating in your soul. Another, even more foreign feeling was also making its presence known. You thought back to Undyne’s and Alphys’ misguided accusations and wondered… perhaps there was some truth in the idea.

You glanced at Sans from the corner of your eye, only to see that he was watching you so intensely it made your heart leap wildly in your chest.

He didn’t even look ashamed when you turned to face him, after clearly catching him staring.

Instead, he surprised you with a soft expression and a question, “are you okay?”

And for once, you felt like answering honestly. It wouldn’t be so bad, right? To be honest with someone just this once?

“… No,” you answered, meeting his eyes with an unwavering gaze, “I’m really not okay.”


 

It wasn’t until later, after everyone had left, that Sans and Papyrus were left in relative peace. Things could never truly be quiet and peaceful in a house that Papyrus was a resident in, but it was as calm as it’d ever be.

Sans was lounging on the couch, slipper covered feet resting casually on the coffee table. He had his hands stuffed into his pockets as normal, but wasn’t wearing his characteristic grin. He couldn’t get the expression on your face out of his mind—nor could he forget your spontaneous honesty.

He wasn’t really sure what to do with the information you’d given him, as much as he could remember from your previous meetings, you’d never been so direct. So honest. So candid. And he’d never wanted anything more in that moment of you baring your heart than to just wrap you up in his arms and hold you tight.

But he didn’t, and he wouldn’t. It wasn’t the right moment, the right time. It wasn’t right. Nothing about it was right. None of this should be happening.

And he knew that, he knew it shouldn’t be happening this way—that there was something off about things, and that he shouldn’t have trusted you after only knowing you for a month or two, but he couldn’t help it. You were… like a breath of fresh air.

Somehow, someway, almost impossibly and uncannily you reminded him of his first steps out of the Underground. You reminded him of the sudden safety and freedom he’d felt upon seeing the trees, the rocks, the dirt, the grass, the sky—oh god, the sky, and that lovely burning, yellow, bright, large orb in the sky—the sun. You were like the sun—your soul even more so, with how brightly it shone sometimes.

He wanted to see it shine brightly all the time, not just when you were drunkenly, dopily happy.

He wanted to see you happy. Suddenly he was hit with how strongly he felt for you, especially considering how short the amount of time he’d spent with you. Granted, quality over quantity was what mattered, right? And he could attest to how great his lunch dates, movie nights, and stupidly dumb late-night text conversations were with you.

He shook himself, shifting slightly on the couch. He needed to stop overanalysing his relationship with you—it was too complicated as it was. He didn’t need to add to it with his stupid suspicions and worries.

Papyrus stood in the kitchen, staring intently into the pot of spaghetti sauce. It was bubbling, gurgling, and probably needed stirred, but he couldn’t really bring himself to deal with it just yet. There was a thought on his mind and for once in his life, he was finding it hard to articulate his feelings.

Honesty was the best course of action, right? Papyrus had never been one for lying. He believed, as many others have said, that “liars never prosper”. Or… was it cheaters?

He shook his head, his jawbone clicking slightly, cheaters or liars, they were one in the same… either way, neither of them would prosper.

“SANS…?” Papyrus called.

He waited.

“SANS!?” He called again, finally hearing the tell-tale shuffle of his lazy brother getting up.

“What’s up, Paps?”

Papyrus paused, he was losing his nerve—he had never hesitated before, so why was he hesitating now? The tall skeleton fiddled with the pot on the stove, turning it this way and that way, half-heartedly stirring the sauce with a wooden ladle. He was stalling, he never stalled.

Sans was beginning to feel just the slightest bit apprehensive, “you okay, bro?”

“SANS.”

“Paps.”

“The human… they’re quite cute… aren’t they?”

Sans sputtered, unable to answer, and entirely caught off-guard by the question, but Papyrus didn’t notice. He didn’t notice the look of shock on Sans’ face, nor the fear, nor, even, the smallest flickers of jealousy that were apparent on Sans’ boney face. There wasn’t a whole lot Sans could respond with—anything he said would have given him away. He didn’t know what to do… this… had never happened before. So, he said the only thing he could.

“I-I guess.”

Sans didn’t see the slight blush on Papyrus’s face.

Chapter Text

You’d had a long day (something about spending several hours washing multiple overly excited dogs that had managed to worm their way into a—rather disgusting—sewer just before they’d arrived at your store to be bathed was pretty exhausting—and that doesn’t even consider the clean-up you’d had to do after they were gone).

And now that you were finally home, the clock on your little kitchen counter showing a solid ‘7:03 pm’, you decided there was no harm in calling it a night a littler earlier than your normal. Besides, nothing seemed better than laying your head down to rest and getting to sleep in the next day.

That sounded nice… go to bed, get extra sleep, start tomorrow on a good note…

Which was your brilliant plan until you entered your bedroom, changed clothes, let Luna up onto your bed—watching for a moment as she got herself comfortable—and saw, beside your dog who had gone to sleep almost immediately (if the heavy snores coming from her were any indication), sitting there, clear as day, up on your bed, the screen invitingly bright, with Netflix so tauntingly already opened on the browser, your laptop, the series you’d been watching already up and queued to go.

Maybe it’d be fine to just… watch a few shows…

It wasn’t until the short ‘ding’ and flare of bright, white light from your phone that you realized just how late it had gotten. Your eyes were drooping with exhaustion and your mind felt numb. You couldn’t even remember what had happened in the last few episodes of the show you’d been attempting to watch. You’d been dozing off too much to pay attention.

Briefly you checked your phone, sighing with exasperation at the name that came up.

Sansational [2:56 am]

come over? ;)

XXX-XXX-XXXX [2:59 am]

No??? It’s late??? Go to sleep???

Sansational [3:00 am]

my parents aren’t home ;)))

You huffed, face flushing slightly, eyes rolling even though he couldn’t see it, as you responded to his ridiculous text.

XXX-XXX-XXXX [3:01 am]

Nooo, go to bed, bone boy.

Sansational [3:06]

Wait… Can I come over?

Sansational [3:06]

… Please?

The sudden change from his teasing tone and winking-emoji’s woke you up from your hazy state instantly.

You typed out a quick ‘you okay?’ followed by a ‘sure… come right over’ as you pulled yourself from your warm nest of blankets. You’d never really talked to him about why he always seemed to be up late at night, but in passing, over one of your many coffee dates, he’d mentioned something about nightmares and insomnia. You’d then offered him your home in case he ever needed company. He’d offered you the same.

And even though you’d never taken him up on the deal, you appreciated the gesture either way.

Except now, it seemed that he really did need some help, despite the casual banter of his earlier texts. You suddenly felt stupid (stupid, selfish, uncaring); you should have realized, from the first text, that he probably wasn’t doing alright, considering he’d texted you so late—an occurrence that hadn’t happened in a while after you whined to him (multiple times, actually) about your interrupted sleep.

He’d known what a rough day you’d had, after all, you’d been texting him about it all day. He wouldn’t bother you for something silly, not this late at night.

You felt overwhelming worry now, he hadn’t responded yet, and it’d been a few minutes from your last text.

You paced around your kitchen, putting water on the stove to boil, grabbing out the bread to make toast, and climbing up onto the counter to grab a pair of mismatched mugs. You hopped off, bread and mugs in hand and placed them carefully on the counter before kneeling, shuffling about in one of the lower cabinets to grab out your hot chocolate mix. With a moment of hesitation, you reached back in and grabbed out the marshmallows.

Maybe Sans would like marshmallows in his hot cocoa. It was something your mother had always done for you when you’d come to her crying after nightmares, bullies, or anything that could bring you done. She’d push your hair out of your face, kiss your forehead, and set about to making two steaming mugs of hot chocolate. And the two of you would talk, and talk, and talk.

You shook yourself from your reverie, pushing the bread into the toaster and looking around to see if anything else could be prepped or done. Everything seemed to be ready.

As an afterthought though, you grabbed out your phone and set some light music to play in the background. It served to ease the silence of your dark apartment.

“There…” you mumbled, yawning sleepily and stretching out, back arching in a catlike manner.

Knock. Knock. It was small and hesitant, but you grinned in spite of the circumstance.

“Who’s there!?” You called out in a sing-song voice.

A muffled groan sounded from the other side of the door, before you heard his deep rumbling tone, “ach.”

You rolled your eyes, “ach who?”

“Bless you.”

The door opened and you were met with the sight of a tired Sans. You worried the edge of your lip, fidgeting slightly; as you took in his exhausted eyes, the dark circles at the bottom of his hollowed, saddened eyes; as you saw the lines of stress replace the laughter that was usually present on his ever-joking face, and you noticed, for the first time since you’d met him, his lack of smile on his always-grinning mouth.

Something was clearly wrong, but he seemed hesitant to say it.

“Come in,” you said, gesturing for him to follow you in—hoping that he’ll talk to you, that he’ll joke, and that he’ll show you that you have no reason to worry.

But the quiet “thanks,” and shuffle of him following you into your cosy apartment only added to your knowledge that something was very, very wrong.

“Hot chocolate?” You asked, giving him a small smile. He matched it with one of his own, but it was too stiff, too sad, too empty to be real.

“I also made some toast, I don’t know about you, but I like late night snacks, s’pecially when I’m not feeling so great…” You trailed off awkwardly, your eyes flicking from him then down to your feet, unsure if you overstepped by bringing up his current state.

He didn’t seem to mind, only nodded, then, realizing you couldn’t see it, grunted in affirmation.

The silence stretched, interrupted only by the hum of the microwave and the light strumming of a guitar from your phone.

Neither of you knew what to say, and for the first time since you’d met there was an awkwardness and a tension.

Would it be rude to ask ‘what’s up?’ You wondered, glancing at him from the corner of your eyes. He seemed to be just as confused, and unsure as you were.

“Sorry for waking you up…”

You blinked, a frown on your face, “no, no, you’re fine. I was already awake…”

For a moment the two of you stared at one another, you took in his weary face, the slight perspiration on his skull, and the too-tired way he leaned against the counter, hands in his pockets. You could only imagine what you looked like yourself, a long day at work, and late night Netflix marathon wasn’t exactly the best combination for a put-together appearance.

“We’re both kind of a mess, aren’t we?”

He cracked a smile, a genuine one, and though it was small, it was fragile, and it was hesitant; you felt a flood of relief at the sight of that little sliver of normalcy. Maybe he wasn’t okay, but really, when was anyone ‘okay’?

The beep of the microwave coincided with the ding of the toaster and you flinched.

He laughed, “jumpy?”

You shot him a glare, but there was no real anger in your eyes.

“Here you go, freshly made hot cocoa…” You handed him the drink, he thanked you, you smiled, “it’s just like my momma makes—made it…”

The words came before you could stop them, falling like dominos, and you felt a heaviness in your chest—don’t think about it, you scolded yourself, this isn’t about you right now, you need to be happy for Sans. Not thinking about your dead mother.

He didn’t comment on your slip up, and for that you were grateful. You turned away, smearing peanut butter onto the bread and humming along to the song that played on your phone.

The two of you ate quietly, sipping your drinks (he liked the marshmallows, you were glad you’d thought of it). An easy, casual banter hiding the things unsaid. You would have been content with just that, not prying, not asking for explanations, but it seemed Sans had something he wanted to say. You waited, watching each of his small hesitations, his starts and stops, the way he would sigh and fiddle with his now empty mug.

It finally came when you’d offered to make him another cup.

“I get nightmares sometimes.”

You glanced at him, mugs in hand, studying the closed-off expression on his face, “Yeah?”

“About things that happened, but...” He hesitated and toyed with the zipper on his blue winter jacket.

“But what?”

“Sometimes it’s hard to remember what’s real and what’s not… It feels like a flashback, but I don’t think the things actually happened.” He looked up at you suddenly, and you did your best not to wither underneath his intense gaze, “The dreams can be violent. Sometimes people I love die. Sometimes I die… but they didn’t happen…”

Your gut clenched uncomfortably, “Yeah… I… I get dreams like that… but… for me, they’re… uh, memories.” They did happen, you finished to yourself.

He nodded, a grimace on his face. Sans stayed silent for a moment, studying you, looking around your apartment, shifting his weight onto his other foot, before mumbling something that you couldn’t quite hear.

“What…?”

“I’m a monster.”

You blinked, once, twice, before sputtering into a somewhat disbelieving laugh, “No way.” You couldn’t help the sarcasm in your voice, despite the seriousness of the situation. He looked up sharply, brow bones furrowed with barely concealed agitation.

“I’m sorry.”

“S’fine.”

“Sans?” You were staring at your socked feet, wiggling your toes against the linoleum of your little kitchen.

He didn’t say anything, only stood, watching you.

“I get bad dreams, too…” You chewed on your lip thoughtfully for a moment, “I don’t like to be touched, it makes my skin crawl, it makes me feel sick…”

He was nodding, a soft look in his eyes, almost like he understood somehow—even though he didn’t—he couldn’t—it was impossible for him to understand.

“Some… people… or… someone I used to know… they… did a bad thing. It made it hard for me to be at home,” you paused, swallowing thickly, your eyes blurring with unshed tears—you willed yourself not to cry, “he’s a monster, Sans. Not like you, or Undyne, or Papyrus. He’s a monster who did a bad thing, and maybe he’s done it to others, too… You’re Sans, you’re a skeletal monster but not… not like, a human monster.”

“Human monster?”

“Yeah,” you sighed, “a human monster.”

“I killed people… I killed in my dreams…”

You weren’t sure what to say, how to respond—there wasn’t anything you could really express through words to make him feel better. Instead you laid a gentle hand at his elbow, looking up at him with a kind face and a small smile, “they’re dreams, Sans… Like you said, they didn’t happen.”

He was nodding, but he didn’t look convinced. He did, however, look relieved.

“Thanks, smalls.”

You giggled at the name, and he chuckled along with you. Sans didn’t say anything more, and you didn’t prompt him to, but you enjoyed his company and you’d like to think that he enjoyed yours too.

“Anytime Sans…”


 

He stayed the night, you made him a bed on the couch with a plethora of pillows and blankets. He hadn’t wanted to be alone though, and you’d ended up sitting with him on the couch for quite a while. In fact, the two of you had sat there almost all night just talking. He didn’t mention the nightmares again, though he did talk about the confusion of what was real and what was not.

You liked talking to him, you already knew that, but it still surprised you how much you enjoyed talking to him.

You weren’t sure when you’d fallen asleep, only that there was weight at your side and over your shoulder, and that you weren’t in your own bed. You were groggy, eyes half lidded and heavy with exhaustion.

“Nngh,” you sighed, blinking the sleep away, as you turned your head to the side. It took a few seconds to register before you realized that the pressure at your shoulder was an arm, and the weight on your side was a rather large, and very asleep skeleton—the same skeleton who had crashed your house late at night.

Your heart picked up its pace as you took stock of your situation. You’d just happened to fall asleep next to one of your friends, which had meant you’d been comfortable and relaxed enough to fall asleep, which invariably meant you trusted him enough to be vulnerable like that—furthermore, you even told him a little bit more about your past, something you didn’t do for anyone.

He grumbled in his sleep as you tried to extricate yourself from his grasp, your movements only succeeded in making him hold you tighter, slinging his other arm around you and leaning heavily into your small frame. You kicked your feet awkwardly against the couch, trying to think of a better way to deal with this.

“S-Sans?” You squeaked out.

A sigh was all you got in response.

“Sans, wake up…”

Nothing.

“Sans!” You called, louder this time, “wake the fuck up or so help me… I will, uh…” you fumbled around with your words, unable to think of any threat fast enough.

He cracked open one eye and laughed, “you’ll what?”

From your position, squished between the arm of the couch and him, you glowered, “I’ll fight you, or something…”

He laughed again and you narrowed your eyes, “Oh, just get up, Sans.”

Sans sighed loudly, making a show of just how ‘difficult’ it was for him to move. He shuffled, groaned, muttered, complained, and whined while he leaned up and off of you and stood from the couch.

If you weren’t so focused on just how red your own face was, maybe you’d had noticed the light dusting of a blue-blush on his cheekbones.

He composed himself before you saw it, and made no mention of the pink on your cheeks.

“You’re such a lazy bones,” you said, rolling your eyes at his grin, “what time is it?”

“I dunno,” he responded languidly.

You huffed, “well, do you have plans for today?”

He shrugged, “depends, do you have something in mind?”

“Maybe some breakfast, or lunch, depending on the time… but, not really.”

“Food sounds good.”

You nodded, “Okay, just let me… like, shower, and wake up, and stuff. Okay?”

“’Kay.”

You headed to your room, checking on Luna (who was still snoring softly, but woke when you came in), and grabbing some clothing to change into. The small bathroom that was beside your room was dark, but cosy, decorated with a single large mirror, floral curtains, and a fuzzy bathroom rug. You flipped the light switched, pulled off all but your undergarments, shoved the curtain back, and screamed.

Sans was there in an instant, left eye flashing dangerously, a light blue flickering with yellow, “What is it!?”

You squeaked, running back into him and pointing toward the offending tub.

He looked between you and the tub with confusion, but took a step forward to peer down into the bath.

“I don’t get what’s wrong…” the colour in his left eye was gone, replaced by the regular dark sockets and light pupils.

“S-spider.”

“Spider?” He asked, incredulous.

“Yes! Spider! Get it… please?” You felt pathetic, but your phobia was getting the best of you.

He reached into the tub, plucking the small eight-legged creature out with ease, “this spider?”

“Ack! D-don’t grab it! Kill it!”

“What? No, Muffet will murder my ass…”

You blinked, curiosity and confusion outweighing your fear, “Muffet?”

“Yeah, Muffet, like, spider-queen lady, lots of arms, have you never met her?”

“No… She sounds… terrifying.”

He laughed, “she’s actually pretty cute, kind of like you.”

Your face burned up red, and his matched with a bright blue. To his credit though, he didn’t stumble on his next sentence, “So, you, the girl who literally decked Undyne, is afraid of a little spider?”

You furrowed your brows, “Oh shut up, I’m not afraid, I just… don’t… like them.”

He leaned toward you, spider cupped gently in his hands, and made out as though to give it over to you.

You squeaked again, “Okay no, no, not necessary, just… take it outside, please.”

Sans’ laugh echoed as he took the spider out of the bathroom, you glared at his retreating back, and as though he could sense you staring, he turned and gave you a wink.


 

As soon as the ordeal was over, you closed the door, stripped fully (your face red as you realized that Sans had just walked in on you half naked), and hopped into the shower. The warm water cascaded down your body and soaked through your hair. You sighed, breathing deeply as you leaned against the tiled wall, letting the now hot water soothe your tensed muscles and relax your mind. You could stay here forever, and maybe you would, but there was an incessant knocking at the bathroom door, interrupting your sense of calm in the shower.

“What do you want, Sans?” You called out.

“Your phone won’t shut up,” he replied easily.

“Who is it?” You responded, feeling a spike of worry—had your brother called again?

“Undyne!” Came the quick answer. You frowned, as far as you were aware she had no reason to be calling you. Right? You hadn’t forgotten about some sort of meeting or something, right?

You turned the water off, feeling cold all too suddenly, “I’ll be out in a sec, Sans.”

Showered, mostly dried, and fully dressed you stepped out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around your head. Sans was sitting on the couch, looking at something on his phone. While you were gone he’d taken the time to straighten up the living room and clean up the mess of the kitchen. The blankets you’d pulled out for him were folded and the extra pillows laid carefully on top.

You smiled, shuffling over to him and flopped down on the other side of the couch, “did she leave a message?”

He nodded, handing you your phone with a serious expression.

Your felt apprehension as you looked down at the screen. It flashed, 5 missed calls. 2 voice mails. 3 text messages.

The first one read: Hey, the littler pipsqueak isn’t feeling great, Toriel told me to relay the message that Frisk won’t be coming in to work.

You frowned, all those calls and texts just to say Frisk was sick? You called Undyne, standing up and pacing as your phone rang and rang.

Finally, she picked up, “Hey kid! What took you so fucking long to answer?”

“Undyne—er, well, I had… a guest… er, yeah. I stayed up late, and stuff.”

You could hear her snickering over the line, “Let me guess, Sans?”

“N-no, well, I mean, yeah, but,”

“BUT NOTHING!” She cackled, “I KNEW you guys were a thing!”

You groaned, “Undyne, please—”

Undyne interrupted you, asking all about Sans and what the two of you were up to last night—you were trying not to blush at the implications she was leaving. Before she could tease you much more, though, Alphys cut through in the background, reprimanding her for something.

“O-oh… yeah, uhm, so the lil’ punk isn’t doing so well… and well, they don’t want you to worry, but, I think you should visit them anyway… They… they’re not… well, Toriel said they’re sick, but… er, well, it’s best if you just visit them yourself.”

You felt a spike of anxiety, “w-what happened?”

“Frisk got attacked.”

Chapter Text

“Frisk got attacked.”

(A simple phrase, could mean anything.)

Three words and you were chilled to your core. You choked, unable to speak, the words repeating in your mind. Again. Again. Again. Attacked. Frisk had been attacked. Your friend had been attacked.

You vaguely heard Undyne asking if you had heard, but you still felt unable to respond.

“Smalls?”

You started, as though just remember Sans was here, in the room, watching you try not to panic. You straightened, tightened your grip on the phone, and swallowed thickly, “Is… I mean… Frisk is okay, right?”

“Yeah! Frisk is a bit beat up… but they’re okay! They want to see you.”

You blinked, “Well, yeah, o-of course, I want to see them too. What happened?”

“We don’t know,” Undyne mumbled, sounding a bit irritated about the fact, “I swear, when I find the people that did this to Frisk… they’re gonna pay.”

You nodded, but quickly realised she couldn’t see you, “Y-yeah. Definitely. Uhm, look, are they up for visitors today?”

“Toriel has them on lock-down, she asked me to let you know Frisk would not be coming into work for a couple days… Look, lil’ punk, Tori will patch Frisk right up, and I will make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

You felt another chill at the venom in her voice. She really was protective of her friends. It warmed your heart to know you had such loyal friends, but you even that comforting knowledge couldn’t erase the fear and anxiety you felt.

Who had attacked Frisk? What had happened to them?

You knew Frisk had trouble at school, but you couldn’t imagine it’d gotten bad enough for someone to actually hurt Frisk.

“I’ve got to go now, punk… we’re gonna talk to Tori and see when we’ll be able to see the pipsqueak. I’ll let ya know what’s going on.”

“Alright, Undyne… Thank you for calling me… I… uh, I’ll call Toriel soon.”

She hung up and your shoulders slumped. It had been… an eventful morning.

Sans coughed, clearing a throat that could not possibly exist, but you humoured the gesture and turned to face him.

“So the kid is hurt?”

His tone was almost indifferent, it made you uncomfortable, but you nodded, “Yeah… Toriel said something about Frisk being sick? But, Undyne made it sound more like Frisk got hurt or attacked by someone else… I don’t really know a whole lot more than that…”

“I’ve got to get going,” he said quickly, beginning to edge his way from your tiny kitchen toward the front door.

You blinked, surprised by his changed demeanour, “Oh—I mean, okay.”

“See ya ‘round, Smalls,” he called lazily, with a short wave, and before you could say much more he was out the front door and gone from sight.

You peeked around the doorframe of your open door, but he wasn’t there. His departure left you feeling brushed aside, but you couldn’t wonder about it for too long—you had more important things to worry about, namely: Frisk.


 

You were unable to see Frisk that day… nor the next… ultimately, Toriel was not currently allowing visitors for Frisk. She wouldn’t explain why, nor would she explain what had happened to Frisk, and you were left to stew in your worries and anxiety.

Nearly a week passed before you received a text on your phone from a certain little friend, but not the friend you were expecting.

Unknown Sender [10:32 am]

Frisk would like to talk with you. – Asriel

You blinked, wracking your brain for why the name “Asriel” was both familiar and unfamiliar. Suddenly you remember a conversation a while back with little Frisk about their flower-shaped ‘brother’.

XXX-XXX-XXXX [10:34 am]

Flowey?

Unknown Sender [10:38 am]

Asriel, if you would, please. Hurry here. Toriel is out. - Asriel

XXX-XXX-XXXX [10:40 am]

Ok ill be there asap

“Little Lu, I’m headed out, it seems important,” you smiled at her, but the action did not hide the worry in your eyes. She seemed to sense your apprehension, giving you a small lick and comforting wag of her tail.

Quickly, you grabbed you’re a bag and threw your keys, a phone, and pair of headphones in before rushing out of your apartment. Nice clothes be damned, you were still dresses in baggy joggers and a loose-fitting t-shirt, but you could not care less about appearances. You could feel worry mix with anticipation in the pit of your stomach—whatever it was that Asriel himself had to call you over for must be important.

You arrived at their front door, hair falling out of the haphazard holder you placed it in. Gingerly, you knocked, “hello?”

The door creaked open, but it was otherwise silent and empty.

Cautiously, you called out once more, “hello?” before slipping into the house, closing the front door behind you. It was dim, the lights were out, but even that detail couldn’t diminish the overwhelming warm atmosphere of the house itself. It was comforting, even in its emptiness. Figures that a house owned by the warm and gracious Toriel would just naturally be welcoming even with her absence.

“Up here,” a voice called. You glanced up the stairway, briefly looking at the photos that lined the walls. You studied them as you slowly crept up the stairs. They showed smiling faces, Frisk squished between their goat-mother, and adoptive goat-father. Frisk, in a little business suit, a nervous smile on their face as they waited outside some large, official-looking building. You presumed it was of their first equality-talk meeting. Sometimes you forgot that Frisk was an ambassador, and as such, had official responsibilities and jobs.

You looked at one other photo, it showed a brightly smiling Frisk, holding a brown, clay pot with a very disgruntled flower sitting inside. You reached a hand up to trace the edge of the frame as you took in what—or who—you presumed to be “Flower”, or as he seemed to prefer now, Asriel. He was larger than any flower you’d seen before, the petals large and velvety looking, coloured a snow-white, his stem was dark green, with large leaves unfolding from it. He had on a small cone-hat, it looked like Frisk had a matching one. It seemed like some kind of birthday celebration.

In the background of the photo you saw something that gave you pause: the outline of someone that looked almost exactly like you, but before you could look closer, you heard Frisk call out again.

“Coming,” you shouted back, before heading the rest of the way up the stairs.

You walked up to a closed bedroom door; one with many stickers plastered across its front. You smiled, feeling a wave of nostalgia at the childishness of the door and the stickers. You knocked once, then twice, then slipped inside.

You looked over the room, noting how clean it was—too clean. It seemed void of personality, and empty, completely contrasting the door. Frisk, who was laying under the covers of their bed, gave a small wave.

They looked… exhausted. Their hair lay limp, and dull, their cheeks were flushed, but beneath that flush their skin looked almost sickly in its pallor. The shadows under their eyes reminded you of the way you looked on those sleepless nights where nightmares haunted your reality.

“Frisk?”

They gave a relieved smile, and shuffled to sit up. They said nothing for a moment, but pointed behind you. You followed their gesture, to rest your eyes on a very wilted flower.

It was unnaturally large, looking almost like a sunflower, but the petals were much large than any sunflower you’d ever seen. You could see a couple of the large, white petals had fallen off, and they lay around the brown, clay pot in various stages of decay. The stem of the flower was discoloured, almost yellow rather than a healthy green like shown in the photos on the staircase.

He, quite frankly, looked as though he were dying.

Frisk spoke, “I can’t fix it anymore. I need your help.”

Chapter Text

Frisk took a breath, then slowly signed, “Big things happened. Things I can’t fix this time.”

You tilted your head, “this time? What happened?”

It was then that you noticed the purple bruise on Frisk’s face, as well as the now-scabbed-over cut on their upper lip. They didn’t just look sick and exhausted, but they looked as though they’d been in a fight.

“Did someone hurt you?”

They shrugged at this, “Yeah, but that’s not as important right now.”

“What?” You asked, shocked, “Of course that is important! Someone attacked you, Frisk! You’re just a kid!”

They rolled their eyes, in that moment looking old and bitter and like they’d seen lifetimes of horrors. Just as quick as that glimpse of them came, it left, replaced by a very tired, and very beaten down kid.

“I’m tired, is all,” Frisk started, “I mean, it’s more than that… I’m still doing ambassador work, but that’s not what is tiring me… but… it is why I was attacked. That part isn’t a big deal though.”

Asriel coughed, the sound pathetic, then spoke, “Frisk, you would have died. I saved you.”

“I would not have died!” they protested, “you know it would have been fine! We could have avoided this whole deal and just started fresh or something…”

You were confused, feeling for all the world like you were missing a very crucial detail. Neither seemed keen to enlighten you, clearly focused on one another, and ignoring your lost expression.

“You can’t keep doing that. Life isn’t a video game.”

“Shut up, Asriel! You’re only mad because now you know what you did and what she did and what I did!”

You watched as he sighed, shifting the face of his flower away from the two of you. You heard a quietly muttered “Resetti was right,” and almost laughed at the absurdity of the statement. Were they talking about a game or real life?

“Frisk…” you began carefully, “you don’t have to explain it to me… I have a feeling I won’t understand, but, please, just be honest with me; are you in danger?”

Frisk nodded.

“Is it…” you trailed off, unsure of what to ask, then rephrase “Can you tell me who is threatening you?”

They shook their head in response, “It’s difficult; I can tell you, but I have to explain a lot of things… and it becomes complex. It’s… something to save for another day, but I do need you to be careful.”

“Me?” You asked, surprise colouring your tone, “Why me?”

Frisk looked as though they were warring with themselves—as though unsure of how much to say or how much to keep secret; “I’m glad you visited me. Your presence is calming… you’ve got… you’re… you ever wonder why animals take to you so well?”

You shrugged, “I don’t know, I just like them. They’re easy to understand if you take the time to listen.”

Frisk nodded, “Yeah, well, your aura is good, I guess that’s all I can say.”

“What does that have to do with danger, though?”

Before Frisk was able to explain, a door opens from downstairs, and a tinkling, affectionate voice called out “Hello, Frisk! Flowey, dear! I’m home, and I have the makings for a lovely little pie…”

They were looking conflicted, and spoke quickly, in hushed tones, “You need to go. Mama doesn’t want visitors; she’s been trying to get me to explain what happened to Asriel and I… which, is still something I need to explain to you—”

Footsteps began to climb the stairs, and you feel slightly panicked.

“I have a lot still to tell you that I can’t tell mama, but Asriel and I need your help. We also need you to stay inconspicuous. And, uh, I need you to climb out the window. Asriel helped grow vines on the outside… that, well, I use to sneak out sometimes. You can climb down with that.”

You nodded, heart rate speeding up, then proceeded to open the window, and start out of it. Just as your head disappeared from sight, Frisk’s bedroom door opens. You felt overwhelmed by the strangeness of the conversation—it felt like there was too much being left unsaid. It was… to say the least… frustrating.

You would have to think about things a bit more, and the next time you spoke to Frisk, you’d get the answers you needed.

Chapter Text

Since that disjointed conversation with Frisk your head had been reeling with all sorts of questions based on the half-conversation you’d had. Their warning about your safety was also on your mind. You couldn’t help but wonder what could possibly have you in danger?

Sure, there were rumours of humans being verbally abusive toward monsters—you had seen it yourself, but as of yet, there were no incidents of human on monster violence… at least, as far as you were aware.

Perhaps you needed to keep up with the news better?

Then again, if there wasn’t any human on monster violence—well, what happened to Frisk? A bigger question might be, what happened to Asriel? He looked wilted and as though ghastly ill. Was he hurt? Or was it something more?

Actually… you didn’t know what happened to monsters when they got hurt. You didn’t know what happened when, or if, they got sick. You weren’t entirely sure if monsters could necessarily die the way people died. It was a morbid train of thought, but you were suddenly feeling as thought it was an important thing to know.

As you lay in bed, eyes tracing the sculpted patterns of the white textured ceiling in your cheap apartment, you realised that you might need to do some reading—or ask your friends more. Maybe Sans—you stopped that thought, you would have better luck asking Papyrus to help you in this endeavour. Sans was a good friend, but also lazy.

Feeling satisfied with that line of thought, your brain flickered over to dissect Frisk’s mention of your ‘aura’.

They were right; you were unnaturally good with pets. You’d been a peacemaker of sorts in school, growing up. You had always been the one to come upon and rescue animals, even the mangiest of them. You were never troubled by your little furry customer despite putting them through the torture of baths, grooming, and other care.

Luna was just one example of a pet who calmed down considerably after being around you. As a youngster she was rough, boisterous, and she was not too big for her bite or her bark, for that matter. She was a tough girl, but she after you adopted her, she evened out. She was a gentle beast.

With thoughts of Luna, you drifted off.

 


 

The blankets and sheets pooled around your waist as you sat up in bed. You yawned as you blinked the sleep from your eyes. Your hair was almost as ruffled as your sleep clothes, and you felt all too comfortable to consider getting up.

You were about to flop back down, the thought of more sleep on your mind, when your phone began to ring.

You answered quickly, voice thick with sleep and your mouth just a bit dry, “y-ello?”

“When are you going to visit, dear?”

All of a sudden, you were hit with a flurry of emotions; the briefest flash of disbelief, curbed by the heat of anger, and followed by an overwhelming sense of dread. You never thought you hated many things, but you also never thought you’d be called by your step-mother. The last time you saw her was as you were packing to leave the house.

“I’m… not sure.”

There was a pause on the other end of the line, marked with put-out sigh. The silence stretched, and you absently rubbed your feet against the fabric of your sheets, waiting for her to speak.

“Well, you can’t avoid your home forever… your brother misses you! I miss you!” Sickly sweet, and completely false.

You felt nauseated.

She continued at your silence, “How about you come up this next weekend to see your dear mama and brother?”

The way she called herself your mother irked you despite the way her voice made you feel ever so small.

“I’m not su—”

“You’re never sure, but sometimes you have to make a sacrifice for your family. Don’t be so selfish. Come visit me and your brother,” she chattered, “there is a whole family gathering happening next week and I would really like for the family to be present for pictures and all.”

Even after having lived on your own for some time, just her voice was able to bring up memories of a less tolerable life. You did not want to go back to that dollhouse. Living a picture-perfect life, posing for the outsides, yet seeing the ugly truth at home. The neglect and the torment endured within that broken household with overcompensating parents and miscreant children and dead spouses was no place you would want to return to.

Uneasily you replied simply, “I can’t,” before hanging up the cell phone.

The hand that touched the phone felt dirty, and your cheeks wet with tears. Frustration, that gut-wrenching dissatisfaction at the outcomes of life gnawed your insides as you lay motionless. Your body felt weak, exhausted more than you’d been before answer the phone. Some people just sap the life out of others. This was one of those times.

Guilt, a useless emotion, welled beneath the surface of your ire. The anger never lasted long. You wondered if you overreacted. You tried, pointlessly, to remind yourself of the negative impact she has had on your life. You tried to reason out that truly you owed her nor your stepbrother anything. You argued that the only reason she wanted you there was to portray that false ideal; she had not changed.

Your phone dinged, breaking you from your ruminations.

Asriel [6:38 am]

We still need to speak to you.

Another message followed the first:

It is impertinent that no one knows that we talked, or what we talked about. Frisk has more to say. Meet us at the SHOP @ 7:00.

You frowned, looking first at the time, just to confirm that it was indeed as early as the text-timestamp stated, and second at the date, to make sure what you already knew: no work today. Frisk didn’t mean your shop, did they?

You only had a little bit of time to get ready and get going if you wanted to try to get there anywhere near seven o’clock.

You weren’t exactly sure what was going to happen, but you were going to get some answers. Or, well, at least try to.