Sans steps into the room before you can get the answer out, revealing an oversized gift basket in his other hand. It’s exploding with colorful wrapper and ribbons, looking like something you’d see in a magazine, too perfect to be real, but there it is.
Tear your eyes from the bounty of presents to scowl at the grinning skeleton as he sets the basket and bouquet on a table at the far wall. “Of course, welcome, please come in,” you say as sarcastically as you can.
The crack that was in his skull is gone, leaving behind only a tiny seam of shiny new bone. “ya look real cute like that, kitten,” he praises randomly as he looks you over.
You are still furious, the ridiculous gifts only adding fuel to the fire. It makes you think that they see you as a vain, simple-minded creature, who’s easily swayed with material possessions. Or that this constitutes as a suitable apology for almost killing you. Neither of those are true. “Sans, I’m angry and you’re going to stay here and listen to me.”
“yeah yeah,” Sans replies dismissively as he digs in the pocket of his jacket, “check out what i got’cha.” He pulls out… what looks like a small, black, velvet box, just like one that would hold new jewelry. Oh fuck. If he gets down on one knee, you swear— he opens it and presents it to you. It’s…
It’s a fucking gold tooth.
It’s a molar and it looks like it would fit in the space where your loose tooth once was. “Are you. kidding me?” you ask tonelessly.
He looks absolutely ecstatic, “nah, i had it made fer ya! got it at tha same place i got mine.” Tap tap of a distal phalange against his false tooth. “i could even put it in fer ya.” You throw your hands up warily and take a step back, finding the idea of this skeleton inserting a fucking crown into your gums repellent.
“Fucking stop!” you protest, “you aren’t shoving that thing into my mouth!”
It looks like you hurt his feelings. “hey, this wuz expensive. i wuzza doctor too, i know what i’m doin’.”
How dare he look so offended and injured, after what he’s put you through? You’re so pissed off YOU ARE SO FUCKING—stop. Deep breath. In. And out. “Sans,” you attempt to keep your voice level, “listen to me.” Close the gap between you, slap the tiny black box shut, and take ahold of his shoulders. Stare right into the flecks of red light that are his eyes and he fucking blushes. God damnit... he's cute. “Listen. To. Me,” you repeat, gently swaying him with each word.
“ok,” he says, returning the present to his jacket pocket.
Think back to your relationships on the surface, the communication strategies you learned. Avoid finger-pointing, keep it from your perspective. If he feels the need to get defensive, it’s over. “It makes me feel angry… when you bring someone, who I obviously don’t want to see and expect me to interact with him.”
"ok," he blinks, “but ee’s—”
You cut him off, “NO, no. I know, but that doesn’t matter.” You do know, how he still blames himself for everything. How Sans clings to whatever he can in this timeline, desperate to find shreds of his happier past. “That thing isn’t your brother.”
At first, he looks cross, but it quickly melts into contemplation.
“I get angry and scared when I’m abandoned on a stage with a killer robot.”
“i knew ee’ wouldn’t kill ya.”
“That doesn’t matter… and besides, I didn’t know that.” God, this is weird. Talking to him like he’s your boyfriend who hurt your feelings accidentally. You wish the circumstances were that simple. “Maybe you could try to look at things from my perspective every once in a while? That I’m a pregnant human, in an unfamiliar place, constantly afraid, and you’re the only one I can go to. I need you.”
That last part makes him tear up a bit, the crimson glow in his sockets sparkling, like they’re somehow moist. “oh, sweetheart,” he purrs and steps closer, giving you a warm hug. “i’m sorry, but thaz never gunna happen. i can lie ta ya, but—“
Lean away from him as you speak, forcing him to look at your flustered face, “so that’s it? You aren’t even going to try to make my life just a little bit easier?”
“i ain’t that kinda guy, an’ i think ya know that. never have been, never will be.”
Before you give a retort, your stomach complains loudly, the muscles contracting. You haven’t eaten since you woke up. Sans smiles, lets you go, then ambles to the table where the gift basket is. “What is that?” you ask as he plucks two large presents from the neat pile and sets them on your bed.
“paps is a great chef in this universe. ee’ made a lot of fancy things fer ya. his way of apologizin’.”
Now you’re curious. Move to the bed, which is still devoid of clean sheets, and sit on the edge. “How do I know it’s not poisoned?” you accuse, beginning to carefully undo the pink ribbon from a light blue box.
“POISON???” Papyrus’s voice thunders from the still open door and you let out a shriek of surprise. He’s peeking in from the entryway, wearing a stylish, perfectly tailored business suit, complete with a red bow-tie. “THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS WOULD NEVER KILL YOU IN SUCH A COWARDLY WAY!” You freeze and just stare at him with wide eyes. Images of him flash back: he’s above you, hand around your throat, innards spilling down your legs, all three of your holes filled as red fingers dive into your mouth.
Sans notices your alarm and turns to wave a hand at his brother exaggeratedly, shooshing him before he can continue. Papyrus has an annoyed scowl, which he quickly replaces with a solemn expression before saying, “I’M SORRY, HUMAN. PLEASE ACCEPT THESE GIFTS, THOUGH I…” he pauses, face contorting, like what he’s saying is challenging for him, “I EXPECT NO FORGIVENESS. BYE BYE!” Steps out of the doorway, closing the door, leaving you alone with Sans.
Whine and fall onto the mattress, curling into a ball and wishing you never met this Papyrus. You remember the ‘real’ Papyrus, so upbeat and hopeful, he never would have done that to you. Your skeleton lover leans over and combs through your hair consolingly, his other hand fiddling with the blue box until it’s opened.
“I’m not hungry anymore,” you gripe, but as soon as the smell meets your nostrils, you change your mind. Garlic, tomato, onions, the steam billows from the box invitingly and you raise your head to see what it is. It’s pasta. Haha, maybe there are some similarities between the two Papyrus’s after all. Perfectly shaped cappelletti’s lying on a bed of fresh basil, topped with a chunky tomato sauce and melted white cheese. Sit up and carefully take the dish, holding it like it’s a bomb about to go off. Sans grabs a long-pronged fork from the basket, tearing away a green ribbon tied around the handle before giving it to you.
“Tell me about souls,” you mumble through a mouthful of food. It’s fucking delicious, each bite bursting with flavor and you can’t tell whether it’s human or monster food. Hopefully it’s monster food; you haven’t seen a single toilet in the Underground. Nudge at the books on the mattress with your toes as you elaborate, “these books make it sound so… supernatural. But there must be science behind it, right?”
A yellow bottle appears from his jacket and he slides the pointed tip between his teeth, squeezing and tilting his head back, the mustard smell overpowering Papyrus’s gift. But even that doesn’t spoil your appetite; half of the pasta dish has disappeared inside your mouth already. You feel the baby move, but you ignore it.
He gives you a sideways glance as he continues drinking. “i dun really wanna explain tha details of quantum physics to ya right now,” he says clearly, despite having a mouthful of condiment.
You perk up at that, “oh, I knew magic wasn’t a real thing.”
“course iz real. iz just not tha mystical hoodoo humans think it is.” Sets the bottle on the end table and with a flick of his finger, the gift basket appears on the bed next to you, the springs of the mattress complaining under it’s weight. “like that?” he points at the object he just teleported, “ya can do that too. humans first teleported photons in 1998. they teleported lasers in 2002.”
The movement of your chewing jaw slows as you intently listen.
“moving physical matter iz a lot trickier, though. i think… 1028 atoms make up tha human body?” He casually rests a hand on your knee and presses into the skin. “each one just a set of data. thaz a lotta pieces ta break apart an’ put back together. iz more like destruction an’ creation than it is a transfer. but we’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
So, every time he teleported you, he killed you, then immediately brought you back to life. That’s scary. Every time, something could have gone wrong. You wonder why that fear never crossed your mind before.
“magic iz just shit happenin’ on tha quantum level, tunnelin’, superposition, entanglement…” Sans clears his throat, eyes darting around as he speaks, “but we’re observin’ all this as beings in tha third dimension, who follow the laws of classical mechanics and relativity, so iz easy ta write it off as tha paranormal.” Phalanges start creeping up your thigh. “but iz as real as you n’ me, capiche?”
Ignore his use of 1940s Italian slang to sate your curiosity. “What about memories and consciousness? Does that just exist within someone’s atoms?”
“i dunno. i dun’ think anyone’s figured that out yet.” Skelebrow furrows and he’s looking at the floor. “i dunno… why i remember resents and no one else. or why i didn’t remember…” he hesitates, moving his gaze to you, “why i didn’t remember our timeline till now.”
Our timeline. The one that existed right before this one. There are countless universes. You were never supposed to be the seventh human that fell. It was always someone named Frisk. But you did. Twice in a row. What are the odds of that? “The universe is weird,” you offer, stabbing your fork into the last cappelletti, “and she is a cruel mistress.” That last part was meant to be a joke, but it only seemed to drag him further into his thoughts. Set the empty box on the table and start opening the next, a striped orange present with white bows. “Knock knock,” you chime.
He blinks and meets your face with a wide grin, “who’s there?”
“Urine.” Inside the box are an assortment of recently baked macarons.
Looks at you suspiciously, but still he plays along, “urine who?” He grabs a yellow macaron and tosses it into his open jaw. It closes with a quiet clank.
“Urine trouble if you bring Papyrus to see me again.”
At that he chuckles and scoots over so he can recline against the pillows and headboard. Takes a hold of your leg, yanking with the intention of asking you to move rather than moving you himself. “knock knock,” he breathes out, a happy sigh, like he’s relaxing for the first time all day.
You wiggle your legs and butt over to him, lean against the headboard, throw one leg over his, and hug it between your thighs. “Who’s there?” you respond before taking a bite of a purple macaron, ooh, it tastes like lavender and vanilla, it’s so sweet and the texture is perfect.
“fuck you said,” he answers, putting his left hand on your thigh to stroke the skin and soft hairs.
That sounded like a half sentence, but when he repeats himself, yes, that is indeed what he said. “Fuck you said who?”
“me. i said that,” he replies flatly. You titter airily and say that one was dumb. He agrees.
The living thing inside you moves again; feels like it’s tumbling around, and you reflexively put a hand on your stomach with a noiseless grunt. The monster beside you notices and his hand leaves your leg to join you on the swell beneath your breasts. Another movement, lighter, reminding you of butterflies fluttering in your stomach during moments of apprehension, meeting it’s fathers touch.
Sans makes a weird sound: high-pitched, something between a whistle and the squeal of a car slamming on it’s breaks. His face is alight with red magic, sockets wide, pupils so igneous, the light turns to smoke, rolling from the holes in his head.
“What?” you ask nervously, unsure whether you want to know the answer or not.
All his focus is on your stomach; he hunches over to press the side of his skull against you, arms flopping onto the mattress. “iz sayin' somethin',” he whispers.
Yooouuuu aren’t sure how you feel about that. Your mind tells you no nope no way but everything else, your hormones, soul, the love you have for this skeleton, tells you yes! Good, this is good! “What is…” you trail off, not wanting to finish that question.
“ee’ likes tha food. have anotha’ macaron!”
… He. It’s a… he. Fuck.