Winter snow fell softly as you took cover near the dumpster behind the small restaurant known as Grillby's.
You'd been living in these back alleys for months now, maybe even a year already. You had trouble keeping up with time since you've struggled just to make it through day after day.
You pulled your tattered coat even tighter around you. This night was going to be a lot colder, and you hoped that you could find some matches or a lighter to start a fire in a trash can before everything froze over.
The side door to the restaurant opened and you hid and kept quiet, like you did every night around this time, waiting for the leftover scraps of food to be thrown into the dumpster so you could fish them out and at least have some food in your stomach tonight.
After some banging around, the worker went back inside and you scrambled to your feet, yanking open the dumpster lid in desperation. You saw two burgers on top of the trash heap. Your heart fluttered with excitement, this sort of thing seemed to be happening more often in the past week, two whole burgers to yourself. You didn't care at all that one of them was drenched in ketchup.
You yanked them out of there and retreated to your hiding spot, nearly forgetting to chew as you greedily ate the burgers. Grabbing a bottle of water you found earlier, you took a few gulps and rubbed your belly, letting the feeling of it wash over you.
In that moment, you were happy. It felt almost as though you weren't homeless, alone, and striving to survive. Food was something you took for granted in your childhood, but it was something that you treasured greatly now, especially knowing the feeling of true hunger.
You closed your eyes and relaxed a little, trying to ignore the chill of the icy wind as it blew down the alleyway.
After a few moments, you heard footsteps. You didn't think anything of it, people walked down the alleys all the time. The steps got closer though, and you tensed up.
Louder and louder they grew, until you could feel a presence next to you. Swallowing air, you opened an eye and looked up. They blocked the light and their face was shadowed, but you could practically hear their smirk as they let out a low chuckle.
“what's a cutie like you doing in a place like this?”
You didn't respond, not like you talked much anyway. You averted your eyes and closed them tight, wishing you could disappear.
The man's voice became more demanding.
“Hey, look at me when I'm talking to you.”
They gave you a kick. Not too hard, but enough to knock you onto your side. The man leaned over, grabbed your arm, and lifted you off the ground. He got in your face and you could smell the putrid scent of alcohol on his breath. Suddenly it was like you were back in your childhood home, and this man was your father.
“What's wrong, sweet pea, cat got your tongue?”
You winced at the voice, and at the spit that landed on your face. Turning your face from him, you let out a small whimper.
Suddenly and very forcefully, you were thrown to the ground. You heard a crack in your arm as you landed and a cry escaped your throat. Your body was throbbing in pain as the man, now mumbling incoherently to himself, walked toward you again.
Huddled into the fetal position, you sobbed silently, wondering how you got back into this sort of situation. You hadn't had many problems while living on the streets. If anything, people seemed to ignore you.
“Stupid bum bitch.” The man spit at you, reaching down like he was going to grab you up again.
Closing your eyes as tight as possible, you braced yourself.
“HEY! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON BACK HERE?!”
A new voice. Loud and brash, a woman?
The man turned around and glared at the new opponent. He laughed.
“The fuck are you? Some disgusting ass fish m-”
His words disappeared as the man was hit by something and throw back into the alley. You saw it flash by, a spear maybe?
You heard footsteps again as a figure ran up to you and knelt down.
“UNDYNE! I BELIEVE THIS IS A HUMAN!”
This new person was unbelievably too loud. Your head was swimming, and you felt nauseous.
“ARE YOU OK, HUMAN?!”
You tried to look at the figure in front of you. Face hidden by shadows, but they were very tall.
You tried to form words, opening and closing your mouth. Nothing.
Arms wrapped around you. They were very uncomfortable and...boney? You went limp as they picked you up and began to carry you.
The woman spoke again “Come on, Paps. If they're hurt, we need to get them to Toriel.”
Your vision began to blur and your consciousness fading. The last thing you remember was the roar of a car engine.
And then darkness.
You woke to a bright room, and the smell of pastries. Your ears were ringing at first, but soon you were able to make out the murmurs around you.
“Is sh-she going to be alright?”
“It's nothing too major. A fractured arm and a bruised rib. She is very dehydrated though.”
You coughed lightly and the room went quiet.
“Oh, you are awake now.”
You turned your head and your vision focused on a new face.
This monster was very tall, and seemed to resemble a goat. Her face was very soft and held a warm, comforting smile.
“I am sure you are very confused, my child, and I will do my best to explain what has happened. My name is Toriel, and it seems that someone attacked you earlier. My friends brought you to me, and I have healed you to the best of my abilities.”
You blinked a few times and went to sit up. Toriel told you to take it easy and placed a hand on your back, gently helping you into a seated position.
You're on a bed, several monsters were standing in the room alongside Toriel. A tall lady resembling a fish, an equally tall skeleton, and a small monster that looked similar to a lizard or dinosaur.
The room was silent for a moment, all eyes on you, until Toriel chimed in,
“Oh goodness, I'm sure you are parched. Let me go get you a glass of water.”
“I CAN GET IT FOR HER!” The skeleton practically yelled. You winced a little, ears still ringing after he left the room.
Toriel chuckled softly. “That is Papyrus. He's not known for being soft-spoken.”
She gestured toward the other monsters in the room. “This is Undyne, she is the one who heard the scuffling in the alley.”
The fish lady smiled. “That guy shouldn't be bothering you again. I took care of him.”
Undyne placed a hand on the smaller monster's shoulder. “This is Alphys. She's a scientist, and also my girlfriend!”
Alphys blushed and smiled “Y-yeah. I am glad to see that you ok.”
You sat in more awkward silence for a moment, you still weren't sure if you wanted to speak, you didn't know these people...even if they did just save your life.
Papyrus came barreling back into the room, glass of water in hand. He held it out to you and you hesitated.
“It is alright, child. Go ahead and drink.” Toriel spoke, laying a hand on your arm.
You took the glass and held it up to your mouth. You sipped slowly at first, but as the water satiated your thirst, you began to gulp it down, feeling a tinge of sadness once it was gone.
“Don't worry.” Toriel said, “We have plenty of water, and you can have all that you like. But it would be wise to drink a little more slowly. You won't want to make yourself sick.”
You looked into her eyes, they were very gentle, very inviting....like how you thought a mother's eyes should look.
Toriel turned to the others “Maybe we should give our new friend some rest. She has been through a lot in the past few hours.”
“HUMAN, I HOPE THAT YOU DO NOT MIND STAYING THE NIGHT HERE! I'M SURE YOU HAVE A HOME TO GET BACK TO, BUT THE QUEEN'S HOME IS VERY COMFORTING!” Papyrus piped up.
You had mixed feelings for a moment. One, you didn't have a home. Two....Queen?
Toriel sighed and smiled at Papyrus “I already told you, Papyrus, call me Tori.” She then turned to you “But yes, you are welcome to stay here, if you want to.”
You thought for a moment and then nodded slowly.
“Then it's settled. If you need anything, I have a bell laying here on the nightstand. I wouldn't want you straining your voice. I will be right back with another glass of water.”
You looked into Toriel's eyes again. You wondered why she was being so nice, she didn't know anything about you.
For a moment you thought you saw a flash of something in her expression. Sadness? Pity?
As everyone told you goodnight and filed out of the room, you wondered if any of them actually knew that you didn't actually have a home to return to.