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Happy Family

Chapter Text

A small bus drove through the dark city streets. The driver looked back at his passengers excitedly from time to time. The passengers were monsters, all shapes and sizes. Most of them were asleep, but some were softly talking to each other.

Toriel sat in the back of the bus with Frisk leaning against her, fast asleep. She was watching the dusky landscape go past the windows. It had been a long day, but Toriel was pleased. All the monsters were being relocated to houses in the area near Mount Ebott. The human officials had judged it best that the monsters should not live too far from each other, at least at first, and the monsters had agreed. The humans they had spoken to had all been very nervous, but much kinder than they had feared. All in all, things were going much better than expected.

Looking away from the window, Toriel glanced down at Frisk. One small hand rested on Toriel's knee. With the other, Frisk grasped Sans' sleeve.

Sans was sitting on the other side of Frisk, snoring softly.

“Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh…” Papyrus mumbled in his sleep.

Toriel glanced at a row of seats a little to the front, where Asgore sat with Undyne and Alphys. Undyne was half asleep. Alphys was watching something on a tablet, a gift from one the humans. Asgore felt Toriel's gaze and looked back at her. He met her gaze and smiled uncertainly. Toriel smiled back and gave him a small nod.

“Hm?” Frisk mumbled, partially woken by the movement. “We there yet?”

“Not yet,” Toriel whispered. “Go back to sleep, dear.”

“I hope the new house is like the ruins,” Frisk yawned.

“It will be better,” Toriel whispered, stroking Frisk's hair out of their face. “You’ll see… It will be a real home.”

*Home,* Frisk signed, close to their chest.

They yawned and shifted their weight. While their eyes fell shut, they felt around for Sans' hand and grabbed it, just to make sure he was there.

Sans lazily opened one eye, smiled, and fell back asleep.

Toriel sighed and thought about the new home they'd have together. She'd have a family again. They'd all be a happy family. 

The thought filled her with hope. And hope, well, that was very close to determination.

Chapter Text

It was a beautiful afternoon in the surface world. Papyrus was holding up Frisk so they could reach the doorbell of their new home. The electric doorbell played a tune: “Bing bong bong…” It was hard to tell who was more excited by this: Frisk or Papyrus.

Sans was standing besides Toriel, hands in his pockets, watching his brother and Frisk goof around.

“Thanks again for letting us stay with you, Toriel,” he said. “I've never seen Pap so happy.”

“Oh, Sans, say nothing of it,” Toriel said warmly. “I have been alone for so long that it is a joy to have a full house.”

“Ms. Toriel!” Papyrus cried, bounding towards them.

“Toriel will do, Papyrus,” she said kindly.

“Yes! Toriel, miss!” he said. “Frisk asks if ice cream for dinner is acceptable.”

“I think not,” Toriel said. “But we could have some for desert.”

“Ah, a compromise!” Papyrus said. “I shall carry your proposal to my associate.”

He turned around and added: “My associate is Frisk.”

Toriel smiled.

Papyrus came back immediately and said: “Your proposal was accepted.”

“Good,” Toriel said.

“Can I make a further proposition?” he asked.

“Of course,” Toriel smiled.

“Might the ice cream be spaghetti flavoured?”

“I do not think that is possible,” Toriel said doubtfully. “But I can chill some spaghetti in the freezer for you.”

“Wowie!” Papyrus exclaimed. “That is some fancy cooking!”

He ran back to Frisk.

“Sorry for landing you with twice as many kids to take care of,” Sans grinned.

“Well, I have you to help me,” Toriel said contentedly.

Sans glanced at her.

“Heh,” he said. “Yeah.”

They stood in silence for quite some time, until Sans said:

“Knock, knock.”

“Who is there?” Toriel said, smiling.

“The sunset,” Sans answered.

Toriel looked up and saw the crimson sky.

“Oh yes,” she breathed. “It is beautiful.”

They watched the sunset together. Papyrus and Frisk also came to watch.

“I do not think I will ever get used to that,” Toriel said with tears in her eyes.

“Yeah,” Sans said, ruffling Frisk's hair. “It's pretty nice.”

Chapter Text

“Need any help?” Sans said, appearing in the kitchen doorway.

“No!” Papyrus said confidently. “Master chef Papyrus has everything under control!”

“You can help me with my pie,” Toriel said. “I have already made a vegetable quiche, but I am making a snail pie as well.”

She handed Sans a large mixing bowl.

“Did you know they call snails ‘escargots’ here?” she giggled. “They make them sound so exotic.”

Sans grinned.

“So snails are back on the menu?” he said.

“I was so afraid I would be unable to get them here!” Toriel said happily, stirring her saucepan with spicy snail filling.

“Nya!” Papyrus cried.

“What's the matter, bro?” Sans asked.

“Nothing!” Papyrus protested, trying to hide his hands, which were dripping with pasta sauce.

Toriel laughed.

“You are too excited, Papyrus, calm down.”

“Impossible,” Papyrus shook his head. “This dinner must be the best dinner of all time! It is to celebrate Frisk's first day at school!”

“I think they have been to school before,” Toriel said gently.

“Well…” hesitated Papyrus. “First day of school after falling down a mountain and nearly getting murdered by their new best friends then.”

“I don't think they sell cards for that,” Sans chuckled.

He offered Toriel the bowl with mixed dough. She took it and started rolling the base for her snail pie.

“You don't mind Frisk is going to school?” he asked.

“Oh no,” Toriel said with a brave smile. “I would have liked to teach them myself, of course, but it is important for children to socialize with others their age.”

Sans nodded. Toriel let out a sigh and gave him an anxious look.

“I do hope they will fit in with the other children,” she said.

“Not a chance,” Sans said. “They're twice as cool as any of 'em.”

“Exactly!” Papyrus put in. “Frisk will be the most popular kid in school.”

Toriel laughed.

“In any case, they will have a feast to come home to!” she said, pouring the snail filling into the pie.

“Undyne is making jelly for dessert!” Papyrus said excitedly. “I did not know she could!”

“Yeah,” Sans said. “She only ever taught you to make pasta…I guess that makes you pretty jelly.”

Toriel snorted, raising her paw to her mouth.

“Eh…” Papyrus sighed with exasperation. “I will not dignify that with a response.”

There was a sound of a bus stopping outside.

“That must be Frisk!” Toriel said, hastily sliding the snail pie into the oven.

“Keep them away!” Papyrus cried. “I am not finished! It will spoil the surprise!”

“I'll go,” Sans said and Toriel followed him.

Frisk had just opened the door.

“Hiya, kid,” Sans grinned. “Had a good first day?”

“It was fine,” Frisk said, taking off their backpack.

“Was the teacher as nice as she was at the interview?” Toriel asked, giving Frisk a hug.

“Sure,” Frisk nodded.

“And what about the other children?” Toriel asked.

“Most of them were nice,” Frisk said. “But a lot of them are afraid of monsters.”

“Oh dear,” Toriel sighed.

“We should introduce them to Pap,” Sans winked. “Then they couldn't be afraid anymore.”

Frisk grinned.

“They think monsters eat people,” they said and rolled their eyes.

“That is ridiculous,” Toriel said indignantly.

*Stupid,* Frisk signed.

“Well, they do not know any better, I suppose,” Toriel said.

“Look on the bright side,” Sans grinned. “If any of them get on your nerves, you could always say you'll tell us to eat them.”

Frisk laughed. They really weren't bothered by it too much.

“Frisk!” Papyrus exclaimed, emerging from the kitchen. “Have you returned victorious?”

*Yeah,* Frisk signed.

“Excellent!” he said. “We have all been waiting for you to return without being busy planning something at all.”

Frisk raised an eyebrow. At that moment the doorbell rang.

“Right on time!” Toriel said cheerfully and she opened the door.

“H-hello, everyone,” Alphys said excitedly.

“Hi there, Frisk,” Undyne said, crouching to say hi. “Had a good day? Anyone give you any trouble?”

Frisk shook their head, grinning.

“We’ve brought dessert,” Alphys said, holding out a plate packaged in foil.

“Great,” said Sans. “Put it the fridge.” He grinned. “Isn't it funny they have reverse fridges here.”

“Sans!” Papyrus exclaimed. “You have not even set the table!”

Sans glanced over his shoulder and snapped his fingers. A blue light sparked in the kitchen and plates and cutlery came flying out of their drawers and cupboards, placing themselves on the table.

“All done,” he said.

Papyrus grumbled softly, but Toriel said:

“Very good! Everyone go wash their hands and we can have dinner as soon as Papyrus is ready.”

“I am always ready!” Papyrus protested and he disappeared to the kitchen.

“M-Mettaton said to give you this,” Alphys said, handing Frisk a card.

It was a signed photograph of Mettaton. On the back it said:

“Hope you had a sensational first day at school, darling! Xoxo, MTT.”

“He's sorry he can't be here,” Alphys added.

“Thanks,” Frisk said happily.

The doorbell rang again.

“I'll get it,” Sans said hastily.

“No, it is alright,” Toriel smiled.

She opened the door and let in Asgore.

“Hi, Toriel,” he mumbled.

“Hello, Asgore,” she said with a determined smile. “I am glad you could come.”

“Wouldn't miss it for the world,” he said.

They joined the others in the living room. Frisk waved at Asgore and he raised his large paw with an awkward smile.

“Everyone's here!” Undyne said. “Let's eat!”

“Eating can commence!” Papyrus said, entering the living room with a giant platter full of spaghetti and meatballs.

“And just in case,” Sans added, following him with Toriel's quiche and spicy snail pie.

Everyone sat down.

“We really must get better chairs,” Toriel said, shaking her head.

Asgore hardly fit on his and Frisk, Alphys, and Sans really needed higher seats.

“Don't worry about it,” Sans grinned.

“Well, we are all here, and that is what counts,” Toriel agreed.

She smiled at Frisk who had put Mettaton's picture next to their plate.

“Happy sort of first day at school, Frisk,” she said warmly.

“Yes, here's to you, kiddo,” Sans said, raising a glass of ketchup.

Frisk glanced round the table and grinned silently. Everybody was laughing, the quiche smelled good, the snail pie smelled exciting, and Papyrus' spaghetti smelled quite edible.

The sight of such a happy family filled them with determination. 

Chapter Text

It was a real lazy Saturday. Frisk was watching cartoons, Papyrus was designing new puzzles, Sans was snoozing on the couch, and Toriel was studying some leaflets. They had titles like “So You're Living Among Humans Now” and “A Quick Guide To Surface World Customs”. The newly appointed Council of Monster-Human Cohabitation had published them in a hurry. Of course, it had taken them more time to publish similar flyers for the humans, but they had invited a lot of monsters to give their input.

“I think that is enough TV for today,” Toriel said kindly, looking at Frisk over the top of her glasses.

“Hm-hm,” Frisk nodded and turned off the TV.

They got up, wandered over to the bookcase, selected a storybook, and climbed up on Toriel's lap.

“Oh, is that how it is?” Toriel laughed.

*Yes,* Frisk signed with a grin.

“Alright,” Toriel said, laying aside her flyers.

She opened the book and cleared her throat:

“A long time ago…”

Sans opened one eye and smiled.

Papyrus left his puzzle designs on the dinner table.

“Oh, story time!” he said, stretching himself out on the rug in front of the sofa.

Toriel looked at them all, sighed happily, and began again:

“As I was saying, a long time ago, there once lived a young troll high up in the snowy mountains…”

As soon as the story was over, Frisk said:

“Will you read another one?”

“Oh yes!” Papyrus agreed.

“I do not know,” Toriel smiled. “I must be thinking about dinner.”

“We can eat a little later,” Sans said with a lazy grin.

“One more then,” Toriel said.

Frisk grinned at Sans and he winked.

Because dinner was so late and Frisk had to have a bath, there was no time for games or stories afterwards.

“You can wash the dishes, then I shall wash Frisk,” Papyrus declared.

“You prefer washing or drying?” Sans asked Toriel.

“Drying,” Toriel said. “I dislike to get the dish soap on my paws.”

“You know we could do this by magic,” Sans said, handing Toriel the scrubbed plates one by one.

“I think we should try to use magic sparingly,” Toriel said. “Humans react so strangely to it.”

“Yeah,” Sans agreed reluctantly.

“Has Frisk ever told you about their parents?” Toriel asked after a while, putting away the plates.

“I never asked,” Sans said.

“Oh, I did not either,” Toriel said hastily. “But they mentioned that their parents taught them to sign. They were both deaf, you see.”

“Explains why Frisk's the quiet type,” Sans nodded.

“Hm,” Toriel hummed.

“Know what happened to them?” Sans asked, glancing sideways at Toriel.

“They died in some sort of accident,” Toriel whispered. “Poor Frisk.”

“SANS!” there came a distressed cry from the bathroom. “I have soap in my eyes!”

“You don't have eyes, Papyrus!” Sans called back.

“Oh yes,” Papyrus answered. “Well, that's a relief.”

There was a loud splashing sound and Frisk screamed with laughter.

“I don't think you need to worry about them,” Sans chuckled.

“You are right,” Toriel laughed. “I should not worry so much.”

When Frisk and Papyrus had been dried off and the bathroom floor had been mopped, Toriel tucked Frisk into their bed.

“Good night, my child,” she said softly.

Frisk yawned and reached for her hand.

“Do you know a lullaby?” they asked, rubbing their eye with their free hand.

“Oh my,” Toriel said. “It has been so long…I think I remember one of them.”

She stroked Frisk head with her soft paw and sang gently:

“Close your little darling eyes
Close your little darling snout
Now is not the time to cry
Or jump about
Loo-la, loo-la, loo-la lay…
I'll wake you up when it is day
Darling little kid of mine
May you grow up strong and kind…”

Frisk's eyes had fallen shut already. Toriel hummed the melody of the song one more time and then walked quietly out of the room. In the hallway she met Sans, who had just come from Papyrus' room.

“All quiet?” Toriel asked.

“Out like a light,” Sans grinned.

“Same here,” Toriel smiled.

“Good night, Toriel,” he said.

“Good night, Sans,” she answered warmly.

Toriel went into her own room, but Sans lingered in the hallway a little longer. He glanced into Frisk’s room, the door to which was opened a crack. They were fast asleep.

Passing by Toriel's room, he stood still for a moment and listened. He heard Toriel hum to herself and then the rustling of her duvet. There was a short silence and then he heard her say softly:

“Goodnight Asriel. Goodnight… Chara…”

Sans listened a little longer, but everything seemed calm, so he went to bed. As soon as his skull touched the pillow, he was fast asleep.

 

Chapter Text

It was the middle of the night. Everything was dark and still. Sans opened his eyes. A faint blue glow filled the room, but it was already fading away. With a sigh, Sans sat up in bed. His nightmares were getting less frequent, but they still bothered him at times.

He got out of bed. A sip of ketchup would calm him down. On the way to the kitchen, he saw Toriel's bedroom door was open and suddenly he saw her dark shape standing on the doorstep of Frisk's room. Silently, he walked up to her and glanced in as well. Frisk was sleeping peacefully.

“Something wrong?” he whispered.

“Nothing at all,” Toriel said quietly. “It is just…” She sighed. “Sometimes I want to check if they are still here.”

Sans nodded. “I get that,” he said.

Toriel looked at him with wet eyes.

“I can hardly believe they stayed…”

Sans carefully closed the door.

“Come on,” he whispered. “Before we wake 'em.”

They went downstairs and sat down on the couch. Toriel dried her eyes.

“Silly,” she said. “But at night they always seem stronger, the memories.”

Sans looked at her.

“Must be hard,” he said.

Toriel smiled sadly at the thought of her lost children.

“It keeps me up at night,” she said. “It has done ever since…”

She shook her head and fell silent.

Sans did not know exactly what had happened, but Asgore had told him some of it and Frisk a little more. He couldn't think of anything that might possibly comfort Toriel though, so he said:

“Heh, that's one problem I don't have: sleepless nights.”

Toriel smiled, but then she said gently:

“No, but here you are nonetheless.”

“I just wanted a ketchup,” Sans said.

Toriel looked at him earnestly.

“I know you have nightmares, Sans,” she said.

Sans grinned awkwardly and looked away.

“I hear you sometimes,” she said softly. “And I see the light…”

Sans tried to make a joke, but nothing came to mind.

“Is there something I could do to help?” Toriel asked.

“It's nothing,” Sans said. “They're getting less already.”

“Should I wake you if they do happen?” she asked.

“That really isn't necessary, Toriel,” he said, forcing a smile.

“Please, Sans,” Toriel said. “I have stood at your door more than once, but I dared not go in without your permission.”

Sans sighed and looked at her.

“Okay,” he said. “That'd be nice.”

Toriel smiled.

“Will you come tell me then when you can't sleep?” he said. “I might be able to put you to sleep with some of my jokes.”

Toriel almost laughed.

“You are a good monster, Sans,” she said warmly.

He grinned.

“We should go back to bed,” Toriel said, rousing herself.

“Yeah,” Sans said. “I'll go grab that ketchup.”

He turned to the kitchen, but Toriel called him back:

“Sans?”

“Yeah,” he said, turning around.

“Thank you,” she said and she hugged him.

Sans was taken by surprise. Toriel was tall, his head did not even reach her shoulder. But she was very soft and warm. He wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged back.

“Sleep well,” he said when she let go.

“Sweet dreams,” she whispered and tiptoed back up the stairs.

Sans watched her go and stood in the dark by himself for a while.

“Heh,” he chucked softly to himself and went back to bed as well.

He had forgotten all about the ketchup.

Chapter Text

When Frisk came home from school one day, they gestured for Sans to come up to their room.

“What's up, kid?” Sans asked, when Frisk had shut the door.

“Tomorrow is Mother's Day,” Frisk announced, taking a flat package from their schoolbag. “I made Toriel a present at school.”

“She'll love that,” Sans grinned. “Good job.”

Frisk nodded happily and then looked a bit thoughtful.

“She gets sad sometimes, doesn't she?” they said.

“Not so much lately,” Sans said. “Anyway, what else do you do on Mother's Day?”

“Bring breakfast in bed,” Frisk answered.

“We can do that,” Sans said. “We'll get up early tomorrow and make her a cup of acorn tea and some snail porridge. Sound good?”

“Yeah,” Frisk agreed.

“Guess we won't tell Papyrus yet,” Sans mumbled. “He might give it away.”

Frisk shook their head decidedly.

“We'll tell him tomorrow morning then,” Sans chuckled.

The next morning Sans woke up early and quietly got up. First he woke Frisk and then Papyrus. Frisk silently explained to Papyrus about Mother's Day.

“How delightful!” he exclaimed.

“Shhhh,” Frisk shushed him.

“Yes, of course,” Papyrus whispered. “Secrecy is of the essence.”

“Come on,” Sans beckoned. “Before she wakes up.”

They snuck down to the kitchen and made breakfast. Papyrus went outside to pick a flower from the garden.

“Well, that looks good,” Sans said, putting the little vase on the tray.

“I want to carry the tray!” Papyrus said.

“Sure, Pap,” Sans said. “Got your present?” he asked Frisk.

“Hm-hm,” Frisk nodded, clutching the package.

“Come on then.”

They went upstairs. Sand grinning widely and Frisk and Papyrus muffling excited giggles. As soon as they opened the door to Toriel's bedroom she woke up.

“What iss the matter?” she said drowsily, sitting up.

“Happy Mother's Day!” Frisk called out.

“We bring traditional breakfast in bed!” cried Papyrus, holding up the tray. “That is to say it is traditional to have it in bed, the breakfast itself is not traditional and instead includes snails.”

“Oh my,” Toriel said joyfully. “What a sweet surprise!”

Papyrus put the breakfast tray on her bedside table and Frisked climbed up on her bed. “For you,” they said, handing her the present.

“Thank you, my love,” Toriel said, kissing them tenderly.

She unwrapped the present. It was a picture drawn in crayon.

“How beautiful!” Toriel exclaimed. “What's all this?”

She fell silent as she looked at the figures on the picture. On some green scribbles that were probably grass stood four figures that were clearly Frisk and Papyrus in the middle, Toriel on the left, and Sans on the right.

But Toriel was looking at the top of the picture. There were clouds there, also with four figures among them. Two children in the middle and a man and a woman on either side. In Frisk's neatest handwriting the figures were named: Mum, Asriel, Chara, Dad.

“Oh Frisk,” Toriel said, tears filling her eyes.

Sans and Papyrus leaned closer to see as well.

“Dunkle Sans?” Sans read the inscription under his likeness. “What's that?”

“Not dad, not uncle,” Frisk grinned.

“That is by far the best name anyone has ever given me, kid,” Sans said, with a grin so wide it almost split his skull.

“The GREAT Papyrus,” Papyrus read. “That's me!”

“Are those your mom and dad?” Toriel asked, having quickly wiped her eyes.

Frisk nodded. Sans looked at the smiling picture of Asriel and patted Toriel's arm.

“That's you,” Frisk pointed.

“Mama Toriel,” Toriel read aloud. “Oh Frisk, I could not have imagined a lovelier present.”

“Love you, Mom,” Frisk said, wrapping their arms around her neck.

“I love you too, Frisk,” Toriel said, hugging Frisk tight.

“Who are those floating people?” Papyrus asked.

“Never mind, Pap,” Sans said. “Let's go downstairs.”

“Toriel has not eaten her nontraditional breakfast,” Papyrus protested.

“She'll eat it later, come on,” Sans urged. “We'll do one of your puzzles if you want.”

“Okay!” Papyrus said happily and followed him out of the room.

“You really do not think your parents would mind looking after my children while I look after you?” Toriel said, smiling her tears away.

Frisk nodded confidently.

*I asked them,* they signed.

“Of course you did,” Toriel said hoarsely. “You are the sweetest child imaginable, Frisk.”

“Hm,” Frisk hummed, snuggling deeper into Toriel's arms.

They were a ball of hugs and their smiles were just as wide as the crayon smiles on the picture.

Chapter Text

“There is leftover meatloaf heating up in the oven for dinner,” Toriel said, hastily putting on her coat. “Don't forget to take it out when the bell rings!”

“I won't,” Sans said.

He and Frisk were standing side by side, watching Toriel check her pockets several times and tug nervously on her sleeves.

“Does it have snails in?” Frisk asked.

“Only a couple,” Toriel said apologetically. “You can pick them out if you don't like them.”

“Yum,” Frisk grinned.

“Go on, Tori,” Sans grinned. “You'll be late.”

“I really don't want to leave you two alone all night,” she said hesitantly.

“We'll be fine,” Sans said. “Hurry and meet your friends.”

“They are just some mothers of Frisk's classmates,” Toriel said shyly. “I don't know if they would call me their friend…”

“They will after tonight,” Sans winked.

Toriel sighed.

“Alright then, you be good now, Frisk,” she said, ruffling their hair.

“Yeah,” Frisk nodded.

“And you too, Sans,” Toriel said, giving him a meaningful look.

“I'm offended,” Sans said indignantly. “I'm a responsible skeleton.”

“Call me if you need me to come back early!” Toriel urged, halfway out the door.

“Go!” Sans told her.

“Bye, Mom!” Frisk called after her.

“Bedtime is at nine!” Toriel called back and then the door fell shut.

Frisk and Sans stood in the hallway.

“Well,” Sans said, smiling down on Frisk. “Papyrus won't be back from Undyne's till eleven and, with a bit of luck, Toriel will be even later.”

Frisk grinned.

“So, what'll it be, kid?” he asked.

“Blanket fort!” Frisk yelled and they ran to the living room.

Sans laughed and helped Frisk to turn the couch on its side. With the help of some chairs they constructed a large tent-like fort out of couch cushions and blankets.

“Cosy,” Sans said, crawling in behind Frisk. “But what do you want to do in here?”

Frisk pulled aside a corner of a blanket and revealed the TV.

“Tadaa!”

“Genius!” Sans exclaimed.

At that moment the egg timer rang in the kitchen.

“I'll go get that meatloaf,” Sans said. “You pick a movie.”

Frisk nodded and they both crawled back out of the blanket fort.

In the kitchen, Sans took the meatloaf out of the oven and cut it into slices. Then he filled a bowl with ketchup. He put the meatloaf on a plate and brought them both back to the living room.

“Careful now,” he told Frisk as he crawled into the fort with the food. Frisk made room for him and he put the bowl and the plate down in front of the TV.

“You choose a movie?” he asked.

Frisk showed him the DVD case. It said: “The Corpse Bride”.

“Talk about unrealistic beauty standards,” Sans said pointing at the bride.

Frisk snickered and pressed play on the remote.

They watched the movie, dipping slices of meatloaf in the ketchup before they ate them. When the food was gone, they stretched out on their stomachs on the carpet, humming along with the songs.

“This is real good, kid,” Sans said, impressed. “I didn't know humans made monster movies like this.”

“'s nice,” Frisk mumbled, snuggling closer to Sans.

“What's the matter?” Sans asked. “You cold?”

“Hm,” Frisk hummed.

“There's more blankets in the cupboard in the corner,” Sans said.

“Not moving,” Frisk said, spreading themselves out on the carpet. “Too comfy.”

“You're the cutest little lazy-bones I've ever seen,” Sans chuckled.

With some effort, he sat up and took off his hoodie. He spread it out on top of Frisk. The hood flopped over their head and Frisk pushed it up a little to laugh at Sans.

“There ya go,” Sans said, booping their nose with a bony finger.

He laid down next to Frisk again and they watched the end of the movie, heads propped up on their elbows.

When the credits started rolling across the screen, it occurred to Sans that Frisk was being unusually quiet. Especially since they had cheered loudly when the undead had taken the villain away.

He glanced at their face and saw two big tears shimmer in their eyes.

“Hey,” he said. “What's wrong?”

Frisk wiped their face.

“Nothing,” they muttered, sitting up.

Sans sat up as well.

“It was a happy ending, right?” he said, smiling encouragingly. “Emily got to go home, wherever that is.”

“I know,” Frisk said. “It just…it's still sad.”

“Yeah, sometimes things are like that,” Sans said, ruffling their hair under the blue hood.

There was a short silence.

“Hey, Frisk,” Sans said suddenly. “Do you think that French speaking severed head from the movie is married?”

Frisk frowned at him.

“No?” they said uncertainly.

“Me neither, I think he has nobody!”

Frisk snorted.

“Hey Frisk,” Sans grinned.

“Yeah?”

“You know why I could never lie to you?” Sans asked.

“Why?”

“You always see straight through me.”

Frisk chuckled softly.

“Hey Frisk,” Sans said eagerly. “Why didn't the old skeleton want to be friends with any other monsters?”

“Because he was too marrow minded!” Frisk laughed.

“There you are!” Sans cheered, catching Frisk up in a hug.

Frisk wrapped their arms tightly around Sans' neck. The best thing about hugging a skeleton is that they don't need to breathe so you can hug as tight as you want.

“You're the best dunkle ever, Sans,” Frisk muttered, muffled by the hood that had slid over their face again.

“Aw…kid, you know I love ya,” he said.

Frisk smiled.

“Ask me how much,” Sans grinned.

“No,” Frisk refused.

“Come on!” Sans insisted.

“No!” Frisk laughed.

“I'll make you ask me!” Sans yelled, tickling Frisk's sides. “I will!”

Frisk screamed with laughter and thrashed around so that one of the cushions fell over and a part of the blanket fort came down on their heads. Squirming and laughing, Sans and Frisk fought their way out of the mess of blankets.

“How much?” Frisk asked, smiling.

“A skele-ton,” Sans winked.

“Pfffff,” Frisk snorted.

When Papyrus came home around eleven, Sans and Frisk were sleeping amidst the remains of the ruined blanket fort. Frisk was still wearing Sans' hoodie and was resting their head against his shoulder.

“What is this?” he asked loudly. “Why are you sleeping on the floor?”

Sans opened his eyes.

“Don't wake Frisk, Pap,” he said. “It's really late, you know.”

“I know,” Papyrus whispered loudly. “That is why I want to know what you are doing in the living room.”

“It's a human tradition,” Sans yawned. “For when mums aren't home.”

“Oh,” Papyrus said. “Can I join?”

“Sure,” Sans said sleepily, patting the rug with the hand that wasn't holding Frisk. “Room enough.”

Papyrus crawled under the crumpled blankets and laid down next to Sans.

“Had fun at Undyne's?” Sans mumbled.

“Of course!” Papyrus whispered triumphantly. “We played games and ate food other than spaghetti! It was very exotic.”

“That's nice, Pap,” Sans said with a sleepy smile.

Papyrus yawned and stretched his legs so they stuck out between the two chairs that were still steadfastly holding up a blanket. Sans was snoring already and Frisk smiled in their sleep.

That was how Toriel found them when she came home at ten past twelve.

“Would you look at that,” she muttered to herself.

Shaking her head, she quietly went to the cupboard, took out the biggest blanket she could find, and covered up the sleeping trio. Then she went upstairs smiling, leaving Frisk and the skeleton brothers fast asleep in their cosy nest on the floor

Chapter Text

Toriel looked doubtfully at the collection of DVDs.

“I am really not sure,” she said.

“This one has skeletons on the cover!” Papyrus said excitedly. “So it has to be good!”

“It'll be alright, Toriel,” Sans said. “I'll watch it with them.”

“Well, alright,” Toriel said. “But bedtime is at nine sharp!”

“Yaaay!” Frisk and Papyrus cheered.

Sans flopped down on the couch and Frisk put the DVD in the DVD player.

When Toriel came to check on them ten minutes to nine, Sans was sleeping on the couch and Papyrus was almost crying. On the television screen, the credits were rolling by.

“It's okay,” Frisk said, patting Papyrus' back. “I'm sure they'll be fine.”

“They killed the skeletons, Toriel!” Papyrus wailed. “They buried them alive!”

“Oh dear,” Toriel said worriedly.

Frisk shrugged their shoulders at her and signed: *So sensitive,* behind Papyrus' back.

“Well,” Toriel said decidedly and she clapped her paws. “It is time for bed!”

Sans opened one eye.

“Bed?” he said.

“Yes,” Toriel scowled. “Thank you for your input.”

She gave Frisk and Papyrus a gentle push.

“Off you go.”

As they went upstairs, she gave Sans an accusing look.

“Your brother was all upset,” she said. “You promised to keep an eye on them!”

“Sorry,” Sans said. “When you've been lazy as long as I have, it's hard to kick the habit.”

“You are not lazy, Sans,” Toriel said firmly. “You are…energetically challenged.”

He chuckled.

“But there are reasons to stay awake now, Sans,” she went on. “It is all for real now.”

Sans looked uncomfortable.

“What do you mean?” he asked. “Did Frisk say something?”

“I mean that we are here now, on the surface,” Toriel said. “We have been waiting for so long, but now it is time to live again.”

“Oh,” Sans said, relieved. “Yeah.”

“What would Frisk have said then?” Toriel asked.

“Nothing,” Sans said dismissively. “You think they're ready yet?”

“Let us go check on them and see,” Toriel said.

When they went upstairs, they found Frisk's bedroom empty.

“Here they are,” Sans called to Toriel.

Toriel came and saw Frisk and Papyrus lying side by side in Papyrus' race car bed.

“What is this?” she said.

*I sleep here,* Frisk signed.

“We are having sleepover,” Papyrus informed Toriel. “Frisk says it is a human tradition after watching scary movies.”

Frisk blinked innocently at Toriel.

“Well, alright,” Toriel said with a smile. “But no staying up late. Frisk has school tomorrow.”

They nodded sweetly.

“Very well then,” Toriel said. “Who do you want to read your bedtime story?”

“Sans!” Frisk said, snuggling deeper into the covers.

“Sure,” Sans grinned.

“Give me a kiss then,” Toriel smiled.

Frisk kissed her cheek and Toriel tucked them in and kissed Frisk's forehead.

“Good night, my child,” she said.

“Me too, please,” Papyrus said eagerly.

“Good night, Papyrus,” she said, kissing his bony forehead.

*Sans too,* Frisk signed, pointing at Sans who'd just sat down with a book.

“Good night, Sans,” Toriel said with a smile and she kissed the top of his skull.

Sans froze for a second, but then he grinned.

“Night, Toriel,” he mumbled.

“Good night!” Papyrus called from behind the covers he had pulled up to his nose gap.

“Night night, Mom,” Frisk said.

“Sleep tight,” Toriel smiled and she gently closed the door behind her.

Chapter Text

It was Wednesday afternoon and Frisk had just come home from school when Toriel received a phone call.

“Hello, this is Toriel speaking,” she answered.

“Hello, I'm sorry to bother you, but I did not know who else to ask…”

It was the mother of the monster kid that Frisk had befriended in the underground.

“He's not doing well at school,” she said sadly. “The human children do not like him. I was wondering if you think Frisk's school might be any better.”

“I speak regularly with Frisk's teacher,” Toriel said, very concerned. “She is a kind and sensible woman. Is she not, Frisk?”

“She's nice,” Frisk nodded.

Toriel gave the monster mother the contact information for the school and, after having assured her everything would turn out alright, she hung up.

“How awful,” she said. “But at least something will be done about it.”

She looked at Frisk.

“You would tell me, Frisk, would you not, if something was bothering you at school?” she asked.

Frisk nodded decisively.

“Good,” Toriel smiled. “And I am sure the principal of your school will be able to make some arrangements for any monster children that need to transfer.”

The following Monday, when Frisk went to school, the entire class was staring at the two monster children on the playground.

They knew about monsters; they had seen some of them and, of course, they knew Frisk was living with some. But that was not the same as having them go to your school.

Nobody dared to go talk to them. Everybody thought they looked very weird. They were yellow and scaly and they didn't even have any arms!

Frisk went up to them immediately however and said:

“Hi! Is this your sister?”

“Yeah,” the monster kid answered, shuffling his feet.

“Hi,” his sister mumbled. She was a lot taller than either Frisk or her little brother and she had long spikes on her head.

“I'm Frisk,” Frisk said.

“Maddy,” the girl monster answered, relieved.

The bell rang.

“Come on,” Frisk said.

They all went inside. Maddy had to go to a higher grade, but the little monster kid followed Frisk.

“Hello,” the teacher said kindly. “I have spoken with your mother already, Manny, is it not?”

“Yes,” Manny whispered.

“Welcome to our class, Manny,” she said. “My name is Ms. Hannigan.”

“Can he sit with me?” Frisk asked.

“Of course he can, Frisk,” Ms. Hannigan said with a smile.

All the children took their places

“Since we have a new student,” Ms. Hannigan said to the class. “We shall start the day with everybody saying their name and something they like. Will you start us off, Carmen?”

“My name is Carmen,” Carmen said. “And I like swimming.”

“Very good. Now you can give the turn to someone else,” Ms. Hannigan said.

Carmen pointed at her friend Bobby.

“I'm Bobby and I like airplanes,” he said and he pointed at Frisk.

“I'm Frisk and I like butterscotch cinnamon pie,” they said and pointed at Eliza.

Eventually a curious child pointed at Manny the monster kid and he said nervously:

“My name is Manny and I like snowball fights.”

One child raised their hand.

“Would you mind if Danny asks a question?” Ms. Hannigan asked.

“No…” Manny said.

“How can you throw a snowball without arms?” Danny asked.

“I can't,” Manny said. “But I can flick snow really far with my tail!”

He gave a swish with his tail, that was sticking out through the gap in the back of his chair.

“Cool…” Bobby whispered.

“There you go,” Ms. Hannigan smiled. “Thank you for your question, Danny, and thank you for answering, Manny. Let's finish the round, shall we?”

Frisk grinned at Manny and he smiled back. Perhaps school wasn't so bad.

During recess all the children ran outside to enjoy the sunshine.

“Let's play tag!” Eliza yelled.

Danny glanced at Monster Kid and said: “Let's play ball instead.”

“Yes, let's,” Frisk said and everyone else agreed.

They played ball and Manny could play as well as any of them. They were all running and laughing when suddenly Manny tripped and fell face fist into the grass.

Everybody stopped and stared, but Manny got up immediately and grinned widely.

“I'm okay!” he yelled.

“You fell real hard,” a girl called Ida said. “I would have cried if I were you.”

“I fall on my face a lot,” Manny grinned. “Happens when you don't have arms you know.”

He waggled his torso and Ida giggled. The other kids saw nothing was the matter and they carried on with their game.

Frisk searched the playground for Manny's sister and saw Maddy was sitting with some other big girls on the steps of the school. They were talking and Maddy seemed quite happy.

The ball sailed past and Frisk kicked it hard towards Manny. He gave a great swipe with his tail and he and Frisk ran after the ball with the other children, screaming loudly.

Ms. Hannigan was watching them from the window with a very pleased smile on her face.

Chapter Text

“It’s Parent Day at school next week,” Frisk announced when they came home from school.

“What is that, dear?” Toriel asked, pouring a glass of juice.

“It’s when all the parents come to school in the afternoon and bring food and the whole class and their parents have a picnic on the sports field,” Frisk explained, taking the glass Toriel handed to them.

“That sounds lovely,” Toriel smiled.

“You are coming, right?” Frisk said. “And Sans too!”

“Of course!” Toriel said cheerfully.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, kid,” Sans grinned.

Frisk happily ran upstairs. Toriel looked at Sans, smiling nervously.

“Do me a favour, Tori,” Sans said. “Don’t worry about this. It’s gonna be great.”

“It is going to be difficult though,” she sighed.

“Most of the other parents have met you,” Sans said encouragingly. “That Patricia that invited you to dinner was nice, wasn’t she?”

“But the children have never seen us,” Toriel said worriedly.

“They do alright with Manny and Maddy,” Sans said. “Their parents will be there too.”

“Yeah,” Toriel said with a big sigh. “Oh, I just hope we will not embarrass Frisk.”

“Parents are meant to embarrass their kids,” Sans grinned. “Love and embarrassment, that’s kind of their thing.”

“I guess it is,” Toriel smiled. “Well, I am glad that you… I am glad we will be there together.”

“For sure,” Sans said, in an unusually gentle voice.

“Well,” Toriel laughed. “We are their goat mom and dunkle.”

“I think you’re just Mom, Tori,” Sans said. “Or Mama Toriel.”

Toriel blushed a little and looked at him with her big, bright eyes.

“You know, Sans,” she said. “You really are incredibly sweet.”

“Yeah, just don’t tell anyone,” he winked, turning away. “I’m gonna go take the pet rock for a walk.”

It was the day of the picnic and Toriel was packing up a big cake.

“Looks beautiful,” Sans said.

“It’s a recipe Patricia Lewis gave me,” Toriel said. “It’s called a Victoria sponge and my, is it fluffy.”

“You’re a great cook, Tori. Anything you make will be good,” Sans said.

“I thought it best to leave out the snails though,” she laughed nervously.

“Perhaps,” he shrugged.

“Will the school have a best friend picnic too?” Papyrus asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

He was standing in the door to the kitchen, looking a little jealous.

“Perhaps they will,”  Toriel said. “But if they do not, I am sure you could come when siblings are invited, because you are kind of Frisk’s big brother, are you not?”

This seemed to cheer Papyrus up for a moment, but then he frowned.

“That is very strange,”  he hesitated. “How can I – Papyrus – be Frisk’s big brother, when Sans is being their dad?”

“I’m not their dad, I’m their dunkle,” Sans reminded him. “So you’d be their brother-uncle.”

“Their brunkle?” Papyrus said, wide eyed.

“Sure,” Sans nodded.

“Wowie,” Papyrus said proudly. “I’m sure nobody had ever been a brunkle before.”

“And when you have your driver’s licence, you can drive ‘em to school sometime,” Sans said. “That sounds like something a brunkle would do.”

“Of course!” Papyrus exclaimed. “And I shall be the best brunkle, best friend, and best chauffeur any human ever had!”

“Very good,” Toriel said, taking up the picnic basket. “But I think we have to leave now, or we will be late.”

“Then hurry up!” Papyrus cried out. “Do not Frisk make wait for you! What if all the other parents are there already? They will be so lonely!” And he tried to push Sans and Toriel towards the door.

“Calm down, Pap, we won’t be late,” Sans said.

“We’re going! We’re going!” Toriel laughed, dodging Papyrus’ gloved hands.

Papyrus waved at them while they got into the car.

“You really learned how to drive very quickly,” Toriel said, fastening her seatbelt.

“I could drive already,” Sans replied, waving back at Papyrus.

“Really?”

“Yeah, well, not a car, but all vehicles are basically the same: go forward, don’t crash.”

“That is true, I suppose,” Toriel laughed.

When they arrived, other parents were arriving too, or waiting on the playground.

Ms. Hannigan was just coming outside with the children. The kids ran up to their parents amidst various cries of “Mom!” and “Daddy!”

A lot of them were looking curiously at Sans and Toriel. Some of the parents were too; not all of them had met Toriel and nobody had ever seen Sans. Manny’s parents had arrived as well and they were being stared at even more. They both looked rather reptilian. His mother had arms and some feathers. His father had no arms, but a long, thick tail. They looked very uncomfortable, but when some of Manny’s friends came to say ‘hi,’ they smiled and were very friendly.

Frisk jumped into Toriel’s arms.

“Hello, my love,” Toriel said, hugging them tight.

“Hey, kid,” Sans grinned, ruffling their hair.

“That’s Frisk’s mom and dad!” a small girl pointed, dragging her mother towards them. “Frisk can talk with their hands!”

“Really? That is very cool,” the mother replied. “But you must not point at people, dear.”

“Hello,” Toriel smiled. “Toriel.”

They shook hands.

“Emma,” the mother introduced herself. “Laura’s mother.”

“Sans,” Sans grinned, shaking her hand.

Perhaps Emma was a bit nervous, but she didn’t show it much. She blushed awkwardly however, when Laura asked:

“Are you a real skeleton?”

“Yup, one hundred percent,” Sans said pleasantly, before Laura’s mother could apologise.

“Are you sure?” Laura said, a tad suspiciously.

“Almost sure,” Sans replied, pretending to think about it.

Laura laughed.

“If everyone would follow me to the sports field,” Ms. Hannigan called out. “We can all get to know each other during the picnic!”

They all followed the teacher and spread their picnic blankets on the grass. Parents shook hands or hugged and children ran around excitedly. One of the children came up to Toriel and said:

“Hi, I’m Darren.”

“Hello, Darren. I am Toriel,” she answered.

“Hi,” he said again, a bit sheepishly. “Are you a demon?”

“No,” Toriel said gently. “I am a monster, but not a scary one.”

“But…” he said hesitantly. “You’re like a goat that can talk…”

“Well, yes, that is true,” Toriel said. “But do I behave like a demon?”

“No,” he said shaking his head. “Demons don’t take care of children.”

“Darren!” a second boy came running up to them. “Hi, Frisk’s mom,” he said and then he grabbed Darren by the arm and said:

“Look! That’s Jenny’s dad!”

He pointed at a tall, dark skinned man who laughingly swung the pale, fair haired Jenny on his right arm.

“Wow,” Darren said, in awe. The two boys ran away together to question Jenny. Frisk raised their thumb at Sans and Toriel and ran after them.

“See,” Sans whispered to Toriel. “The kids are fine.”

Toriel smiled happily at him and greeted Patricia Lewis, who had come to spread her blanket next to theirs.

The picnic was a great success. Manny’s father let kids sit on his tail while he gently tried to shake them off. Jenny’s parents explained how the lottery of genes works on skin, hair and eye colour. Sans showed the children he could twist his hands and feet the wrong way and Bobby’s mother juggled with apples. There was more than enough food and several people complimented Toriel’s pie.

Toriel was overjoyed. Sans was pleasantly surprised, but didn’t show it, and Frisk was simply having fun. Because some kids had only one parent, other had two mothers, and some others were adopted from far away or from really close by. Frisk knew they were different, but they also knew almost everyone was different and as long as you had a family, who cared what it looked like or where you found it.

“Did you have a good time, Frisk?” Toriel asked, looked back at Frisk, sitting on the back seat of the car.

“Yes!” Frisk said happily.

“You have nice friends, kid,” Sans said, driving lazily with one hand.

“Yeah,” they sighed.

“And I have phone numbers of their parents now,” Toriel said happily. “So we can arrange play dates.”

“You’re in for it now, kid,” Sans chuckled.

“What?” Toriel asked, but Frisk only giggled.

Chapter Text

When Sans got home that afternoon, the house was empty. There was a note on the counter:

“Went shopping. Hope you had a SANSational day. Love, Frisk & Toriel.”

Sans grinned and stuck the note in his pocket.

He slowly walked up the stairs. In front of his bedroom door, he stopped. There were two notes stuck to the door with tape. The first one said:

“I am very sorry, but I cleaned your room. I could feel the messiness radiating through the entire house. Love, Toriel.”

The other note had a drawing of a dog on it and, in Frisk’s handwriting, “Annoying Dog” written underneath it. In a corner of the paper, Toriel had written:

“Frisk wanted to leave a note too.”

Sans laughed softly, took the notes, and opened the door. The room looked neat and cheerful.

“Oh, Tori,” he mumbled, shaking his head.

The window had been left open a crack and the bright, afternoon sunshine was streaming in. His desk had been tidied too. Sans pulled open a drawer and was relieved to find that the insides were still just as messy as he had left them.

He flopped down on the bed and smelled the smell of clean sheets.

When they had moved into this house, Toriel had gotten them all duvets. She loved duvets. This was the first time his bed had actually been made up with it. Sans patted his old pillow. It had never been so fluffy.

He put up Frisk’s picture on the wall above his bed and put Toriel’s notes in the drawer of his bedside table. Lazily, he stretched out on the neatly made bed, creasing the sheets, and he smiled. It did smell nice.

 

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, we're going to be late! Sans, hurry up! We CANNOT be late! Sans!”

Frisk was watching Papyrus run back and forth through the living room.

*Calm down,* they signed.

“No! I will not calm down!” Papyrus yelled. “Sans promised me to help pick Mettaton up from the airport and he knows how important it is to be on time!”

Frisk grinned.

“Do not look at me like that,” Papyrus said. “I will have you know that the Great Papyrus is always punctual and should not be suspected of any ulterior motives whatsoever!”

“Who has ulterior motives?” Toriel asked, emerging from the kitchen with two packed lunches.

“No one!” Papyrus cried.

Frisk snickered.

“Do not tease Papyrus, Frisk,” Toriel winked and she handed Papyrus one of the lunches. “There you go, a meatball sub with marinara sauce.”

“Thank you, To– oh sure, now you show up,” Papyrus glared at Sans who had come out of nowhere.

“And for you,” Toriel smiled. “Ketchup sandwiches, white bread, no crust.”

“Aw, you spoil me, Tori,” Sans grinned, taking the bag.

“Can we go now?” Papyrus grunted.

“Sure, bro,” Sans replied and he winked at Frisk and Toriel.

“All this winking is entirely unnecessary!” Papyrus exclaimed, irritably pacing out the front door.

“I'll text when we're heading back,” Sans called over his shoulder and he closed the door behind him.

“Are you looking forward to seeing Mettaton, my love?” Toriel asked.

*A lot!* Frisk signed.

“I would love to get to know him better,” Toriel smiled. “And this visit is just the thing.”

“When are Alphys and Undyne coming?” Frisk asked eagerly.

“Not until tonight, dear,” Toriel said. “But we have got lots of things to do and when we are done, we can do some crafts!”

 …

“There we go,” Toriel said. “Now we have Frisk, Alphys, Asgore, Undyne, and me.”

Frisk and Toriel were filling in a birthday calendar to hang in the living room. The dining room table was littered with coloured pens and glitter. The crafting creations of the afternoon were displayed proudly at the end of the table. There was a small amount of glitter in Toriel's fur and a considerable amount of glitter on Frisk's face.

Toriel tapped the calendar thoughtfully.

“Frisk, my dear, have you ever heard Sans or Papyrus mention their birthdays?” she asked.

Frisk shook their head.

“Hm…” she pondered. “Do you think they have birthdays?”

Frisk rubbed their nose and thought about it.

“Not everyone has a birthday of course,” Toriel mused. “Ghosts for instance…”

“Or Mettaton,” Frisk said.

“Right!” Toriel said.

Frisk looked at the calendar.

“What if they don't have a birthday and we ask them and it makes them sad?” they said, looking anxiously up at Toriel.

“It is a little silly to celebrate a birthday anyway,” Toriel said. “You only get born once, but when you celebrate a birthday, you are really celebrating someone's entire life.”

“Like Mother's Day,” Frisk said.

“Exactly,” Toriel nodded and then she suddenly smiled. “What if we stop calling it a birthday and instead call your birthday Frisk-day!”

“And Sans-day! And Papyrus-day!” Frisk cheered.

“Yes!” Toriel said excitedly.

She took the calendar and added the word 'day' after every name they had written down. Frisk grabbed it and looked at it proudly. Frisk-day sounded a lot cooler than birthday.

At that moment they heard the car pull into the driveway.

“That must be the boys,” Toriel said.

“We have returned!” Papyrus called out. “And were victorious in our quest!”

“Hello, darlings!” Mettaton exclaimed, striking a pose in the doorway.

“Hello, Mettaton,” Toriel smiled. “Welcome to our surface home!”

“Tori, darling, you look divine,” Mettaton said, kissing her cheeks. “The sun's doing you good, isn't it?”

He crouched down to hug Frisk.

“Look at you, little cutie,” he said. “What have you got there?”

“A calendar!” Frisk grinned and showed him. “What do you want to be Mettaton-day? Frisk-day is on my birthday.”

“Sweetheart, every day is Mettaton-day!”

He took the calendar and smiled.

“But I think if I had to pick one…..the thirtieth of June.”

“Go ahead,” Toriel said, handing him a pen.

Mettaton wrote down “METTATON-DAY” in great, curly letters.

“Cute idea,” Sans said, hanging the car keys back on their hook.

“A day dedicated to me, Papyrus?” Papyrus said, staring at the calendar that Frisk held up for him. “And it can be any day I like?”

Frist nodded happily, putting the calendar in his hand.

“Well! This calls for serious deliberation!” Papyrus said. “What day is most me?”

“Is April first taken yet?” Sans grinned. “I'll take that one.”

“Of course,” Toriel laughed.

Sans wrote down his name while Papyrus was still thinking.

“Am I more of a January or a March?” he mused aloud.

Mettaton put down his phone.

“Alphys will be here soon,” he said. “Did you guys know Undyne has been hired as a swimming instructor?”

“Really?” Toriel said, turning back on her way to the kitchen. “That is wonderful!”

“Mettaton was just telling us about his new show,” Sans said.

“It's going to be great!” Mettaton grinned. “The television humans say that me being a robot is some sort of loophole or whatever. I don't really understand what they meant, but it made them really excited and they have put together the most gorgeous wardrobe for me.”

“Frisk, what day do you think would be most me?” Papyrus asked.

“First of September,” Frisk said confidently.

“Interesting choice!” Papyrus answered. “But why?”

“Cause it's the first day of autumn,” Frisk said. “And spaghetti is an autumn food.”

“Brilliant!” Papyrus exclaimed. “First of September it is!”

“We will have a lot of celebrating to do,” Toriel smiled, taking the calendar.

“Welp, I'll be in the basement,” Sans said. “Call me when Alphys and Undyne get here.”

“Sans…” Toriel said quietly, going after him. “Please, no experiments just before dinner. Last time you blew out the fuse box.”

“Don't worry, Tori,” Sans grinned. “I'm just going to have a nap. I just spent several hours in a car with Papyrus and Mettaton.”

“Okay,” Toriel giggled. “I will send Frisk down to fetch you when it is time for dinner.”

“You’re the best, Tori.”

Sans disappeared to the basement and Papyrus and Mettaton admired Frisk's creations from that afternoon.

“Glitter looks good on you,” Mettaton said, chucking Frisk under the chin. “But then again, who does glitter not look good on?”

“It certainly looks good on you, Mettaton,” Papyrus said.

“Thank you, darling,” Mettaton smiled widely.

“Mom! Can we play on the Wii before dinner?” Frisk called out.

“Of course, my dear,” Toriel called back from the kitchen.

“I know! We'll play just dance!” Frisk laughed and they ran to the TV.

“You don't want to play a dancing game against me, sweetheart,” Mettaton chuckled. “You may as well give up now.”

“Papyrus will beat you!” Frisk grinned. “He's the coolest dancer.”

“Well,” Papyrus said modestly. “I do have some moves.”

“Oh really?” Mettaton smiled dazzlingly. “Well bring it on!”

It was a good thing Alphys and Undyne arrived before things could get too heated. When Toriel came from the kitchen to answer the doorbell, Frisk was hiding under the living room table, shaking with laughter, and Mettaton was trying to pry the Wii remote loose from between Papyrus' ribs. Nobody knew how it got there and Toriel banned Just Dance until further notice.

Chapter Text

The living room was not the living room. It was a tropical rainforest and under the table was a hidden temple that Laura and Frisk were exploring.

Toriel was visiting Alphys and Undyne and since Mettaton was staying with them, Papyrus had gone with her. Laura's mother had offered to move the play date to her house instead, but Sans had assured her it would be alright. And it was. The kids were having a great time.

“Sans, will you be guardian of the temple?” Frisk asked.

Sans was laying stretched out on the couch.

“Would I have to do anything?” he asked.

“Lie in front of the entrance of the temple, blocking the way,” Laura said eagerly.

“Where is the entrance of the temple?” Sans asked.

“There,” Frisk pointed at two chairs they had turned the wrong way round and pushed against the table.

“Sure,” Sans said lazily.

With a groan he rose from the couch, trudged over to the table and stretched himself out on the floor.

“Guardian in place,” he mumbled, closing his eyes.

“Look, we've found the lost temple of Raragu,” Laura said in a loud whisper.

“We must sneak past the ancient guardian without waking it,” Frisk said. “If he wakes up we are lost forever!”

“Perhaps we should send a search party ahead,” Laura suggested, picking up a doll. “This is Athena the grave robber. She can sneak past anything.”

Frisk turned around and picked up another doll. “Then I will send my burglar, Gus the sneaky,” they said, putting the doll next to Athena.

But suddenly, Laura dropped her doll and yelled: “No!”

Frisk started back, surprised.

“Gus is a stupid name!” Laura yelled, turning around. “I don't want to play anymore!”

Sans sat up and looked at Laura. Her little face was pale. Frisk gave him a scared look.

“Hey, Laura,” he said soothingly. “What's the matter?”

“Nothing,” Laura said, tears glistening in the corners of her eyes.

“He can have a different name,” Frisk said apologetically.

Laura sniffed. Sans got to his feet and walked over to Laura.

“You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, kid,” he said. “Frisk doesn't mind, do you, Frisk?”

“No,” Frisk shook their head.

Laura looked at her feet.

“My mom knew someone called Gus,” she mumbled. “He was mean.”

Sans looked sideways at Frisk, but Frisk was looking only at Laura with big, concerned eyes.

“I'm sorry to hear that,” Sans said calmly. “Some people are nasty.”

“He made Mom cry a lot,” Laura said, her hands clenching into fists. “And he yelled…”

“I see,” Sans said.

Frisk looked up at him. There was a strange edge to his voice, but his face was calm. “I hope he never comes around anymore,” he said.

“No…” Laura said. “My mom doesn't want to see him anymore.”

“Good,” Sans said. “Your mom is a clever person.”

Laura looked at Sans. “We see him sometimes,” she said, almost whispering. “Mom crosses the street when we do.”

“Why?” Frisk asked, round-eyed.

Laura looked scared.

“Cause one time after we saw him and Mom wouldn't talk to him, he came to our house,” she whispered. “He yelled and kicked our door and Mom and I hid in the bathroom.”

Frisk looked at Laura, then looked at the doll they had named Gus and threw him to the other end of the room.

“Oops,” Frisk said blankly.

Laura smiled shakily.

“Did that ever happen again, Laura?” Sans asked. The edge in his voice was still there and now there was the slightest flicker of light glowing in the depths of his eye socket.

Laura shook her head.

Good,” Sans said with emphasis.

Laura nodded. There was a short silence.

“Hey Laura,” Sans said. “You want to see a cool trick?”

Laura looked at him curiously and nodded again.

Sans stretched out his hand and gestured at the doll that Frisk had thrown away. A blue spark danced in his eye and the doll was lifted into the air in a glow of light.

“Wow…” Laura gaped. Frisk was standing real close to her, smiling like this was an everyday trick.

“Pretty cool, hm?” Sans grinned. “Now watch.”

He gave a flick of his wrist and slammed the doll hard against the wall. The doll slid down the wall and fell on the floor with a flop.

“Now, Laura,” Sans said, smiling, but still with the strange glow in his eye. “If that guy ever scares you or your mom again…I'll do the same to him. All you need to do is ask.”

Laura looked from Sans’ face to Frisk's wide grin and back again. A small smile started in the corners of her mouth.

“Alright?” Sans asked.

“Alright,” Laura nodded.

“Good, I'll go get us all some juice,” Sans said and he walked into the kitchen.

Laura watched him go and then she turned to Frisk.

“Your dad is awesome,” she said.

“He's my dunkle,” Frisk grinned. “And yeah, he's awesome.”

When Sans came back with three juice boxes he looked like his normal self again. “There,” he said, tossing the packets to Laura and Frisk. “Drink up. Temple explorers need their strength.”

When Laura's mother came to pick her up, Frisk and Laura were busy burying an old box in the backyard.

“Can we finish burying the treasure?” Laura asked.

“Of course, honey,” her mother answered.

“Hi, Emma,” Sans said.

“Hello, Sans,” she replied. “Everything go alright?”

“Sure. Laura's a great kid,” Sans said.

Emma smiled.

“All done!” Laura exclaimed, and she ran to her mother.

“Did you have a good time?” Emma asked, giving her a hug.

“The best!”

Frisk grinned at her and nodded.

“Oh, good,” Emma laughed. “Please tell Toriel I'm sorry I missed her.”

“Will do,” Sans nodded.

“Bye, Frisk, bye, Mr. Sans!” Laura called out.

“Bye, Laura!” Frisk waved.

“Bye, kid,” Sans winked.

When Laura and her mother had gotten into the car, Sans ruffled Frisk's hair and said:

“Come on, let's put the living room back the way it's supposed to be before your mom gets home.”

Frisk jumped up at him and wrapped their arms around his neck.

“You're the coolest, Sans!” Frisk said. “Laura said now she'll never be afraid anymore.”

“Heh, thanks, kid,” Sans said. “I'm glad. Just… don't tell Tori, okay.”

“Promise,” Frisk grinned.

“Good,” he winked.

Chapter Text

Sans rubbed his forehead and looked at the clock. Half past twelve. He sighed.

“Go to bed,” he ordered himself.

With a groan, he got to his feet and put the sheets of paper he had filled with scribbly formulas in a messy pile. He mumbled to himself as he locked the door of the basement lab behind him and trudged up the stairs.

Everything was quiet and dark in the house, but just as he was about to go into his bedroom, he heard the unmistakable sound of Frisk's giggle. He turned around and saw that the door to Toriel's bedroom was partially open and a faint light was coming from it.

Quietly he crossed the hallway and looked inside.

“Sans!” Frisk greeted him in a loud whisper.

Toriel and Frisk were sitting side by side in Toriel's bed. They held a large plate of cheese and crackers between them and Toriel had wrapped a shawl around her bedside lamp to dim the light. Next to the light on her bedside table, stood a big mug of steaming tea.

“I accidentally woke up Frisk when I went downstairs to make myself some tea,” Toriel explained in a whisper. “And Frisk was a little hungry so we decided to have a midnight feast.”

“Heh,” Sans grinned. “Cute.”

“You can have some too!” Frisk said generously.

“Eh, no thanks, kid,” Sans mumbled. “That's alright.”

“Oh, come on,” Frisk whined and they scooted closer to Toriel. “There's more than enough room.”

Sans gave Toriel a nervous look. “I don't think-”

“Come in, Sans,” Toriel laughed. “It is so cosy.”

“You sure?” he asked, still hesitant.

“Yeah,” she smiled. “Go on.”

Sans sat down on the bed next to Frisk.

“Toriel's duvet is sooo big,” Frisk grinned, giving him a corner.

“It was just so fluffy,” Toriel said apologetically. “I just had to buy it.”

Sans took a cracker and smiled.

“You're right,” he said. “This is pretty nice.”

“It's like a nest,” Frisk said happily, sinking back into the pillows.

Toriel drank her tea and Frisk wolfed down some more crackers. Sans watched Frisk get drowsier and drowsier until they fell asleep, snuggled in between Toriel and himself.

“Would you look at that,” Toriel smiled.

“Well it's pretty late,” Sans grinned.

“Yes,” Toriel said, quietly putting her empty mug aside. “What were you working on down there?”

“Eh,” Sans shook his head. “A theory that probably won't work out.”

“Do not say that, Sans,” Toriel said. “I do not know what you are trying to do, but you are incredibly clever so I am sure you will figure it out.”

“Thanks,” he smiled.

Toriel laid back a bit, careful not to disturb Frisk.

“Want me to carry them to their own bed?” Sans offered.

“No…” Toriel said softly. “They look so comfy…”

“Okay,” Sans grinned.

“Frisk is right, it is just like a nest,” Toriel said. “A big, warm, happy nest.”

“You make one hell of a mama bird, Tori,” Sans grinned.

“I know, I am terrible,” Toriel sighed. “Do I boss you and your brother around?”

“What?” Sans said, not having meant to criticize her. “No!”

He smiled at Toriel across the bed.

“You only boss me when I deserve it,” he said.

Toriel laughed softly. Sans was about to say something else, but he thought the better of it and didn't.

“That theory you are working on,” Toriel said. “Is it for the university?”

The local university had sought contact with Alphys and she was working there now in the robotics department. But she had recommended Sans to the experimental physics team and he had reluctantly agreed to work with them.

“Nah,” Sans shook his head. “I gave them one of my formula's about space-time and they're still angry about that.”

“Oh dear, really?” Toriel said.

“No I don't mean angry, I mean they don't understand it,” Sans grinned.

“Oh,” Toriel said doubtfully. “But you like the work right?”

“Sure, it's great,” he grinned. “I explain something to them and then I take a nap while they yell at each other.”

Toriel laughed softly.

“Poor humans,” she said, smiling.

“Nah, I'm nice to them,” Sans assured her. “They're good people, the thought of teleportation just really freaks them out somehow.”

Toriel smiled and raised her paw to her face to hide a yawn. Beside her Frisk made a content sleepy sound and stretched out like a starfish, putting one foot and one arm on each of their parents. Toriel put her head down on the pillow next to them and sighed.

“You look happy, Tori,” Sans said quietly.

“I am,” Toriel said.

Sans laughed softly and carefully tried to move away from Frisk's starfish grip. Frisk frowned in their sleep and made a discontented noise. Toriel reached out above their head and tugged on Sans' sleeve.

“Could you just…stay?” she asked, a little shyly. “It is nice to be like this.”

Sans hesitated, looked at Frisk and Toriel and sank back into the pillows.

“Sure,” he said with a half-smile.

Toriel smiled at him and closed her eyes. In between them Frisk seemed to grin triumphantly in their sleep. Sans yawned and closed his eyes as well. It was strange to hear two other sets of breathing in the room, but it wasn't unpleasant. Within minutes all three of them were fast asleep.

Chapter Text

“Thanks for having me over, Toriel,” Undyne said from her comfortable position on the couch. “I just had to get away from Mettaton for a while.”

“I understand,” Toriel smiled.

“I don't,” Papyrus frowned. “Mettaton is a star and so cool. Why would you want to get away from someone like that?”

“Well, he's just a little… high maintenance, if you get what I mean,” Undyne said.

“High maintenance?” Papyrus repeated.

“Yeah, you know,” Sans said, flopping onto the couch next to Undyne. “He's dramatic…and loud.”

“Really?” Papyrus said. “I – the Great Papyrus – have never found him to be so.”

“Yeah, figures,” Undyne grinned.

Sans merely chuckled.

Before Papyrus could react, Toriel came back from the kitchen with drinks and passed the tray around. She sat down and smiled uneasily at Undyne.

“How is Asgore doing?” she asked.

“He's doing fine,” Undyne said, taking a big swig of her drink.

Sans glanced at Toriel. She looked rather dejected.

“What makes you ask that, Ms. Toriel?” Papyrus said.

It showed how absentminded Toriel was that she didn't even corrected him. “It is just…” she sighed. “I have been hard on him. Too hard. I blamed him, I think…and I ran away. I left him to deal with everything on his own.”

She smiled sadly.

“Well he's doing good,” Undyne reassured her. “Really. And he just wants you to be happy too.”

Toriel tried to smile, but she didn't quite manage.

“I hate to see you looking sad, Tori,” Sans mumbled.

She looked at him and this time she managed a real smile.

“It is alright,” she said. “It is better this way. I do not think I was ever a very good queen to begin with.”

“I guess there's not much call for puns or knock knock jokes in queening,” Sans said.

Toriel laughed softly.

“No…” she said. “Not really.”

Undyne and Papyrus exchanged an uncomfortable look, but suddenly the sound of the school bus roused them.

“Frisk is home!” Papyrus said excitedly and he sprinted to the door to open it for them.

“Hello, Frisk!” he said. “Did you have a fun day of schooling?”

“Yeah!” Frisk grinned, happy to see a room full of smiling faces waiting for them. “It was great. Hi, Undyne!”

“Hey, kid,” Undyne grinned toothily.

“I am glad you had a good day, my love,” Toriel said, taking Frisk's backpack. She already looked like her cheerful self again.

“Ehm, Mum,” Frisk said, shuffling their feet. “Could I have grapes in my lunch tomorrow?”

“Of course you can,” Toriel smiled. “Oh, is that the phone?”

She hurried to answer it.

“What do you want grapes for, Frisk?” Sans asked. “You don't like grapes.”

Frisk's cheeks flushed red.

“Oh,” Sans grinned. “Is that how it is.”

“What?” Papyrus said, looking from Sans to Frisk and back again. “What?”

“Who likes grapes, kid?” Sans winked.

“Jamie,” Frisk mumbled, fidgeting on their spot.

“Jamie? Is that the nice kid with the black curls you played tag with at the picnic?” Sans asked.

“Maybe,” Frisk said defiantly. “I'm going to my room!”

Sans laughed as Frisk ran up the stairs, but Undyne frowned.

“Isn't Frisk a little young for this stuff?” she said.

“Oh, come on,” Sans grinned. “It's just sharing snacks at lunch time.”

“Yeah, but they're still a guppy,” Undyne protested.

“Guys…” Papyrus interrupted them. “I believe I have deduced something.”

He had been standing very still in the middle of the room and Sans and Undyne looked at him expectantly.

“I think Frisk has a crush on this Jamie person!”

Undyne and Sans exchanged a silent glance.

“Yeah, I think you're right, Pap,” Sans said.

“Aha!” Papyrus exclaimed triumphantly and he sat down in the chair Toriel had left vacant.

“Don't you think Frisk is a little young for this stuff?” Undyne asked.

“Perhaps a little,” Papyrus said, unwilling to disagree with Undyne. “But I'm sure it will be alright and if they need help with the dog radar or the egg, we could always explain.”

“Yeah, I don't think humans usually bother with a dating HUD,” Sans grinned.

“They don't?” Papyrus said, surprised. “Well, in that case I am certain Frisk will do fine without it.”

“Hmpf,” Undyne grumbled.

That evening at dinner Frisk talked a lot more than usual.

“Ms. Hannigan assigned us all new seats,” they said happily. “And I sit in a square with Darren, Laura, and Jamie.”

“Ah… Ms. Hannigan is quite the matchmaker,” Sans grinned.

“No!” Frisk protested.

Sans laughed at them and Papyrus informed Toriel in a loud whisper: “Frisk has a crush on the child called Jamie.”

“I do not!” Frisk said heatedly.

“Oh, I like Jamie,” Toriel said cheerfully.

“I do not!” Frisk repeated.

“What?” Sans grinned. “You don't like 'em at all, that isn't very nice.”

“What? Yes I do!” Frisk answered, temporarily confused.

“Glad we cleared that up then,” Sans chuckled.

“Now, boys,” Toriel said, smiling. “Stop teasing.”

“Yeah, Frisk doesn't have to have a crush on anyone,” Undyne said.

“Right,” Frisk said in a huff. “Cause I don't!”

“That is enough,” Toriel said, with more firmness in her voice. “Frisk, I will not have raised voices at the table.”

“Sorry,” Frisk mumbled.

“Sorry, Tori,” Sans grinned.

After dinner, Undyne helped Toriel with the washing up and Frisk watched some cartoons with Sans and Papyrus. Nobody mentioned Jamie or crushes again, until the next day when Frisk came home from school.

“Hey, kid,” Sans said, ruffling their hair. “Tori told me to tell you she'll be home soon. She's out talking to the people that write those pamphlets about us monsters.”

“Okay,” Frisk said, throwing their backpack in a corner.

“Did Jamie like the grapes?” Sans asked, feigning an innocent voice.

Frisk held their head up high and said:

“Yes they did.”

“Good,” Sans winked.

“Is it once again allowed to talk about Jamie the Crush?” Papyrus asked.

Frisk let out a great sigh and Sans laughed out loud.

“Because I have found out next week there is a day called Valentine's Day which is meant for confessing love!” Papyrus continued enthusiastically.

“Hey, that's not a bad idea,” Sans smiled. “You could make a card or something.”

Frisk sat down on the fluffy rug in front of the TV.

“I guess…” they mumbled. “Maybe…”

“We'll help!” Papyrus cried out and he ran to the cupboard that held the crafting supplies.

Frisk was smiling in spite of themselves when Papyrus sat down beside them with the box of brightly coloured paper, glue and scissors. Sans sat down as well.

“Know anything Jamie likes besides grapes?” he asked, giving them another wink.

“Bears,” Frisk smiled.

“Alright, we can make a bear,” Sans nodded.

After a while of cutting and pasting, Frisk said: “Why don't you make something for Mettaton, Papyrus?”

“What?” Papyrus said, colouring a little. “I don't see why.”

“Cause you like Mettaton!” Frisk grinned.

Sans looked a little uncomfortable, but when he saw Papyrus was intent on denying it, he joined in the fun.

“Yeah, Pap,” he grinned. “You could write something real classy on the card so Mettaton knows it's from you immediately. How about: I think you’re fant-ass-tic.”

Frisk giggled.

“Sans, there's no reason to be vulgar,” Papyrus scolded him.

“Alright, alright,” Sans grinned. “What about: It may be cheesy, but we're really gouda together.”

Frisk laughed and Papyrus glared at him.

“Sans, you are doing this on purpose!” he yelled. “Puns are not classy! Besides…Mettaton does not like cheese.”

Papyrus was moping now and Sans and Frisk decided to leave him alone. Frisk pasted brown circles of cardboard together to make the shape of a bear.

“Why don't you make one for, mom?” they said innocently, glancing at Sans. “She'd like your puns.”

“Eh…” Sans stammered.

“Yes, Sans!” Papyrus agreed. “That is a wonderful idea.”

“I don't think so,” Sans mumbled.

“Why not?” Papyrus demanded. “You're always wanting to make her laugh.”

Sans looked from Papyrus' puzzled face to Frisk's big grin.

“You could say she really gets your goat,” Frisk said, grinning even wider.

“That's pretty good, kid, but let's just finish yours, alright?” Sans said.

“Okay,” Frisk said, a little disappointed. They looked around and frowned.

“Where is that red heart that was just here?” they said, picking up pieces of cardboard.

“I don't know,” Sans said, looking around as well. “Pap, have you seen it?”

“No…” Papyrus said slowly. “I certainly have not.”

“Well, we can make another one,” Sans said, taking a new piece of red paper.

Not long after, Frisk had a bear on top of a red heart to give to Jamie.

“That looks real nice, kid,” Sans grinned. “Now let's get this mess off the floor before Tori comes home.”

Frisk gathered the crafting supplies in their box while Sans put away the paper. Frisk looked at the mismatched collection of stuff and asked “Do you have the pink glitter Papyrus?”

“No! Why would I have the pink glitter?” Papyrus said hastily. “What use would I have for pink glitter? No use at all, that is what use!”

Frisk stared at him for a moment and then shrugged. When Toriel came home, they showed her the card.

“That is lovely, Frisk,” Toriel smiled. “I am sure Jamie will love it.”

Then her eye fell on the living room rug and her eyes narrowed.

“Is that glitter on the rug?” she asked.

Frisk glanced at Papyrus and Sans who looked just as guilty and nobody had any dinner until Toriel had given them all a stern talk about how arts and crafts belonged on the table and not on the floor.

On the morning of Valentine's Day, Papyrus was waiting impatiently for Sans to wake up. Sans didn't come downstairs until it was almost lunchtime.

“Today is Valentine's Day!” Papyrus announced excitedly.

“That's great, Pap,” Sans yawned.

“Frisk was so happy this morning,” Papyrus said. “And Toriel gave them some extra grapes!”

“That's just like her,” Sans grinned, rubbing his eyes.

“Perhaps you have got something for her after all?” Papyrus asked eagerly.

“No, Pap, I haven't,” Sans said wearily.

“I'm surprised at you, Sans!” Papyrus said. “Valentine's Day is about telling people you care and I thought you really liked Toriel.”

“I like her fine, Pap,” Sans said. “But I don't want to complicate things. I mean…we're living with her and we're taking care of Frisk together. We're all trying to start a new life… Let's just enjoy life the way it is, alright?”

“Oh, alright,” Papyrus said reluctantly and he dropped the subject.

That afternoon Frisk was all smiles again.

“Jamie liked my card,” they said. “And they gave me a cookie!”

“How sweet,” Toriel smiled. “It has been quite the day for romance. Undyne texted me. She is planning to pick up Alphys after work and take her to the movies.”

“How romantic!” Papyrus said.

“Yes,” Toriel said. “And apparently someone sent a very nice card to Mettaton. Undyne said there was glitter everywhere.”

“Really?” Sans said suspiciously. “Glitter, you say?”

“Who was it from?” Papyrus asked nonchalantly.

“They are not certain,” Toriel said. “The card was not signed.”

“Ah, a secret admirer,” Papyrus said with a sigh. “How…dramatic.”

Frisk opened their mouth and looked at Sans, but Sans shook his head.

*No fair,* Frisk signed behind Papyrus' back, but they didn't say anything.

Papyrus made it very hard for everyone to keep playing dumb, because during dinner he repeatedly wondered out loud who this classy person could have been that had sent an anonymous valentine. It had been a big day for him however, so he went to bed almost at the same time as Frisk. Sans disappeared to his basement lab and Toriel read Frisk a bedtime story.

When the story was over, Toriel made her rounds through the house and tidied away the mess of another happy day. Then she sat down at her desk to write down some more ideas for the Council of Monster-Human Cohabitation, who were rather eager to have her as a consultant.

After writing down all the ideas she had had during the day, she put away her papers and was about to get ready for bed when she saw an envelope sticking out of a book she'd been reading. She pulled the envelope out from between the pages and opened it. There was a blank card inside. Surprised she turned it over and read what was written on the other side:

“Let me goat serious with you for a moment. It's great tibia around you and things would be very bonely without you. Sans.”

Toriel felt a smile take over her face and she couldn't get rid of it. Carefully, she put the card back in its envelope and slipped the envelope back in the book. She hesitated for a moment, but then she silently went downstairs and walked to the basement. The lights were on, so Sans was still working. She knocked on the door twice and said:

“Knock, knock.”

“Who's there?” Sans answered from behind the door.

“Ivana,” Toriel answered.

“Ivana who?” Sans asked.

Toriel opened the door and smiled at him.

“Ivana tell you how much you mean to me!”

Sans grinned at her and she walked over to his work table, still smiling.

“Thank you for the lovely card, Sans,” she said. “I feel just the same.”

Sans looked away and rubbed the back of his skull.

“Tori…” he mumbled. “I…”

“I know,” Toriel said gently. “But there is no need to figure everything out right now. Neither of us is going anywhere, right?”

Sans smiled at her.

“Right,” he said.

Toriel bent down and pressed a kiss on his bony cheek.

“Happy Valentine's Day, Sans,” she said softly. “Do not stay up too late.”

“I won't,” Sans mumbled and Toriel quietly walked out of the room, leaving him to grin sheepishly at his unfinished equations.

Chapter Text

It was Saturday afternoon and Papyrus was home alone with Frisk. He had been working on his puzzles, but it suddenly occurred to him he had not seen Frisk for a while.

“Frisk?” he called out.

There was no answer. Papyrus abruptly got to his feet, scattering puzzle designs everywhere. “Frisk!” he yelled, slightly panicky.

“I'm here!” Frisk called back.

Papyrus sprinted up the stairs and opened the door to Frisk's bedroom, looking relieved. “Oh, I thought I had lost you,” he said. “Which would be bad. Because Toriel would be very mad at me.”

Frisk smiled. Papyrus gave them a weird look. Frisk was lying flat-out on their bedroom floor.

“Eh…what are you doing?” Papyrus asked.

“Something Napstablook taught me,” Frisk said, closing their eyes.

“I see,” Papyrus said. “Well the great Papyrus is always open to new experiences.”

He laid down next to Frisk. They smiled with their eyes still closed and were silent.

For a while, they both just lay there like that. Not talking. Just lying.

“Hey, Papyrus,” Frisk mumbled after a while.

“Yes?”

“You guys are my family now, right?”

“Of course!” Papyrus said earnestly. He sat up, looking at Frisk and saw they had opened their eyes. “Do you need proof of love, Frisk? Do you require reassurance? Tell me what to do and I – Papyrus – shall do it to prove that you that you are loved and wanted!”

“You don't need to prove it,” Frisk grinned. “I believe you.”

“Good,” Papyrus said, laying down again.

There was a short silence.

“Frisk?”

“Yeah?”

“I have decided you need reassuring, in spite of you saying you don't.” Papyrus said, sitting up again. “Because it seems to me that you would not ask if you were not unsure. Therefor I shall now hug you!”

Papyrus grabbed Frisk and hugged them tight. Frisk laughed and struggled, but it was no use. Finally they wrapped their arms around Papyrus’ neck and hugged back.

“We all love you!” Papyrus said decidedly. “And we are your family.”

“I know,” Frisk mumbled, their face buried in Papyrus' scarf.

“Sans told me something bad happened to your parents,” Papyrus said. “And that the people you had to stay with weren't very nice.”

Frisk did not answer, but hugged Papyrus tighter.

“I'm sorry, Frisk,” Papyrus said. “But you found us and we found you and now, thanks to you, we're all happy.”

Frisk loosened their grip a little to look at Papyrus. He was smiling encouragingly.

“You know,” he continued. “Sans and I have always been together, so I've never been alone. But before we came to Snowdin, well, I don't remember exactly, but some bad things happened to us too. And Toriel, she was all alone in the ruins…”

Frisk bit their lip and nodded.

“And now we're a family!” Papyrus concluded. “And so are Undyne and Alphys.” He laughed. “I think more people should be told that you can choose your own family, just like you can choose your friends,” he said. “Because I don't think they know.”

Frisk was smiling too now.

“Do you feel better, Frisk?” Papyrus asked.

Frisk nodded. “You're an awesome big brother, Papyrus,” they said, hugging him again.

“Well, naturally,” Papyrus grinned. “I am very great.”

*So great,* Frisk signed.

“Let's go do something fun, okay?” Papyrus said.

“Is it okay if we lie down a little longer?” Frisk said.

“Of course,” Papyrus said. “If that is what you want.”

They lay down again, stretched out side by side, looking at the ceiling. Frisk let out a contented sigh and Papyrus smiled quietly to himself. It was a very good Saturday afternoon.

Chapter Text

“Hello, Alphys!” Toriel said happily, opening the door. “I am so happy you could come on such short notice, Sans has been in a bad mood all day.”

“N-no problem, Toriel,” Alphys said, smiling nervously.

Toriel walked with her to the top of the basement stairs and said with a worried frown:

“I hope you can help him with whatever he is working on. He never even wants to talk to me about it.”

“He…he probably just doesn't want to bother you with it,” Alphys said. “I've seen some of his old projects. I'll help…if I can.”

“Thank you,” Toriel smiled. “If you need anything, just give a shout, okay?”

“O-okay,” Alphys nodded and she trotted down the stairs.

“Was that Alphys?” Frisk asked, coming from their room.

“Yes, she's just gone down to the basement,” Toriel said. “I asked Sans if he wanted me to give her a call and he said I could.”

“To help with his work?” Frisk asked, coming up to Toriel for a hug.

“Yes,” Toriel sighed, stroking Frisk's hair. “Last night he mentioned he was working on something that Alphys was always better at, so I thought she might be able to help.”

“He's so grumpy lately,” Frisk mumbled.

“I know, my dear,” Toriel said. “His project not working really seems to bother him.”

“Alphys is smart,” Frisk said. “She'll fix it.”

“I do hope so,” Toriel said with another sigh, but then she smiled. “Perhaps we can do something else to cheer him up,” she suggested.

“Like what?” Frisk asked.

“Well,” Toriel pondered. “I do have a recipe for homemade ketchup I have been saving for a special occasion.”

Frisk looked up, grinning widely.

*Perfect!* they signed excitedly.

“Alright!” Toriel said with a lowered voice, getting excited too. “I will go see if I have enough tomatoes and spices to make it. How about you go down to the lab and keep an eye on Sans and Alphys. Take your phone and warn me if Sans is thinking of coming upstairs.”

“I'll take my homework,” Frisk said, running back to their room to fetch it.

“Very good!” Toriel said, taking the cook book from its shelf.

Frisk gave one last wide grin to Toriel and then ran down to the basement with their exercise book under their arm. The door to Sans' lab – or workshop – was usually locked, sometimes even when he was in it. Frisk heard Alphys talking inside and knocked on the door.

“Frisk?” Sans raised his voice.

“Yes,” Frisk said. “Can I come in?”

“Sure. “

Frisk pushed open the door and tried to look very innocent and sweet, holding up their homework.

“Can I do my homework here?” they asked sweetly.

“Of course, kid,” Sans said, sounding a little tired.

Frisk quietly closed the door behind them and sat down on the floor. They glanced at Sans and Alphys, who were looking at something that looked like a television screen without the television.

“What if you tried reversing these?” Alphys suggested.

“You think they’re causing interference?” Sans asked.

“M-maybe,” Alphys mumbled.

“Okay, give me a minute,” Sans replied and he reached for his tools.

Alphys turned round and smiled at Frisk.

“Hi, Frisk!” she said.

Frisk jumped up to give them a hug.

“Hey, Alphys!” they said. “How are Undyne and Mettaton?”

“They're good,” Alphys said. “They say hi.”

Frisk smiled and sat down again. Alphys looked at Sans, who was engrossed in his work, and sat down beside Frisk.

“What have you got there?” she asked.

Frisk showed her a paper full of colourful pictures of plants.

“Ms. Hannigan gave us all some seeds,” Frisk explained. “And we had to put them on cotton and water them and draw them every day. Look.”

They showed Alphys their drawings.

“They grow really slowly,” Frisk said disappointedly. “Tomorrow is the day to show them and they are still so tiny.”

“I'm p-pretty good at plants,” Alphys said shyly. “Maybe I can take a look at them?”

“Yeah!” Frisk cried. “I'll go get them!”

They ran upstairs and went to the windowsill to fetch the plastic container with little plants. On the way back they opened the kitchen door. A spicy, tomato-y scent washed over them.

“Hello, Frisk,” Toriel said, stirring a bubbly red mass in a big pot. “How is it going down there?”

“Good,” Frisk said. “Sans is working and Alphys is going to look at my plants.”

“Very good,” Toriel smiled. “I think the ketchup is getting along nicely too.”

“Smells good!” Frisk said and they carefully closed the door and went back to the basement, carrying their school project.

Alphys was helping Sans with something so Frisk waited patiently.

“Let me see,” Alphys said when she was done. “Oh yes, this is watercress. They don't grow very big.”

“Aw...” Frisk sighed disappointedly.

“We could h-help them along a bit!” Alphys offered eagerly. “I'm sure Sans has some chemicals I could use.”

Sans turned around and looked from Frisk's excited face to Alphys and then at the weepy watercress. He grinned.

“Sure,” he said. “Knock yourselves out. Just be careful, okay?”

“O-of course!” Alphys said hastily.

She scurried to one of the cupboards that Sans always kept locked and took out some small bottles.

“Okay, let's take a look,” Alphys said.

“I want them to be real big!” Frisk grinned, waving their arms.

“I'll see what I can do,” Alphys smiled.

She mixed chemicals and Frisk watched her work excitedly. Sans looked over his shoulder at them every now and again. Alphys carefully dripped some of the mixture on the cotton the watercress was growing on.

“Now you should bring them outside,” Alphys said. “They need some sunlight.”

“Okay!” Frisk said, jumping to their feet. “Are you coming?”

“S-Sans, do you need me at the moment?” Alphys asked.

“Go with Frisk, Alphys,” Sans said. “I've got this.”

Frisk and Alphys went upstairs and put the watercress back on the windowsill. They looked at it expectantly, but nothing happened.

“What is Toriel doing?” Alphys asked, looking at the closed kitchen door.

“Can you keep a secret?” Frisk whispered.

“Y-yes, of course!” Alphys said.

“Toriel is making the best ketchup ever to cheer up Sans,” Frisk grinned.

“Oh, that is a good idea,” Alphys nodded.

Suddenly there was a strange crunching sound and they both looked at the container with watercress. The watercress was growing at an alarming rate. The thin stalks were spiraling up and spreading their little leaves to the sunlight.

“Look! It's working! It's working!” Frisk cheered.

Alphys smiled happily.

Frisk's loud calling made Toriel come out of the kitchen to see what was the matter.

“Alphys fixed my watercress!” Frisk pointed happily.

“That is wonderful, Frisk,” Toriel said, but she looked at the rapidly growing plants with some concern. “Eh, they will stop growing, won't they, Alphys?”

“Don't worry,” Alphys said. “They shouldn't outgrow a foot.”

“Whose foot, exactly?” Toriel said worriedly, but the watercress had already slowed down.

“S-see,” Alphys said, relieved. “Nothing to worry about.”

The pale green plants stopped moving, which was a good thing because their roots had nearly burst out of the plastic container.

“I'll go show Sans!” Frisk said excitedly.

“Take your pencils,” Toriel laughed. “Because you have lot of drawing to do.”

Alphys followed Frisk back to the basement. She was not as quick going down the stairs as Frisk.

“Look at my plants!” Frisk announced triumphantly. “Look what Alphys did!”

“It's a good day for science, kid,” Sans grinned. “Because this thing finally seems to work.”

He grinned at Alphys, who had just appeared in the doorway.

“Want to help me mount the screen?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” Alphys said happily.

So Alphys and Sans attached the screen to one of the big machines that Sans sometimes hid partially under grey sheets, while Frisk drew a picture of their new and improved watercress.

“Do you want to do a test run?” Alphys asked Sans when they were done.

Sans glanced at Frisk and shook his head.

“It's late,” he said. “Toriel doesn't like it when we make her wait with dinner.”

“I'll go ask her!” Frisk said and they ran out of the room.

“You forgot your watercress!” Alphys called after them.

“You go up too, Alphys,” Sans said. “I'll finish up here.”

“Okay,” Alphys nodded.

She picked up the container with watercress and went after Frisk.

Sans put the sheet back over the bulky machine and patted it absentmindedly. There was a metallic clunking sound. He stared silently at the covered shape for a moment and then shook his head. With a sigh, he crossed the lab, turned off the lights, and locked the door behind him.

When he entered the living room, he found Frisk and Alphys sitting at the table, waiting.

“Toriel is in the kitchen with your brother,” Alphys explained. “And we aren’t allowed in.”

“Are they cooking?” Sans asked, inhaling deeply. “Smells amazing.”

“Time for dinner!” Toriel announced, emerging from the kitchen with a loaded tray in her paws.

“Yes!” Papyrus exclaimed, following her with another tray. “And what a dinner!”

“I have decided that today is favourite-food day,” Toriel said cheerfully. “So here is a lovely bowl of spicy noodles for Alphys…”

She put down a large bowl with chopsticks sticking out of it.

“And tater tots for Frisk…”

She put down a plate, while Papyrus was passing around glasses and cutlery.

“Spaghetti with meatballs for Papyrus, of course,” she smiled. “Snail ragout for me…

And some freshly made ketchup for Sans.”

She put the bowl in front of him and smiled.

“Oh, and there is salad and bread for anyone who wants some.”

“Oh my, that does look good,” Alphys said happily.

“Tori, when did you do all this?” Sans asked.

“Oh, I didn't do it alone,” she said with twinkling eyes. “I was in cahoots with Papyrus.”

“Haha!” Papyrus grinned. “None of you ever expected me – Papyrus – to go by the store on the way back from my driving lesson!”

“It smells amazing, Tori,” Sans said gratefully.

“Yeah!” Frisk agreed.

Bone appètit,” Toriel winked.

“Is that how it is pronounced?” Papyrus asked. “Or is that a pun? It better not be. We were having such a lovely time.”

There were muffled chuckles and giggles all around the table while everybody started stuffing their faces with food. Toriel looked around happily.

“Family dinners are my favourite time of the day,” she said with a contented sigh.

“This is the best ketchup I've ever tasted,” Sans assured her. “Heh, I've never eaten ketchup with a spoon before.”

“I am glad you are enjoying it, Sans,” she smiled.

“Can I have some?” Frisk asked, pushing their plate towards Sans.

“Sure, kid,” he grinned.

“C-could I have the recipe for this?” Alphys asked, in between slurps.

“To tell the truth, most of it came from a packet,” Toriel said, blushing a little.

“Even better!” Alphys laughed. “Then I can do it too.”

“Did you make progress with your scientific endeavours, brother?” Papyrus asked.

“Yeah, I think I did, Pap,” Sans grinned.

“How wonderful!” Papyrus said. “What a good day this is! My driving instructor said he was a full fifty percent less afraid during this ride!”

“That's great, Papyrus!” Alphys said. “I wish I could drive.”

Papyrus smiled proudly and expertly twisted spaghetti round his fork.

“Chew your food, Frisk,” Toriel reprimanded. “You will choke at this rate.”

“Hey, I don't blame Frisk,” Sans said. “Your deep fried potatoes are always very ap-peel-ing.”

Toriel snorted and Frisk grinned with a mouth full of potato and ketchup.

“Urgh,” Papyrus groaned, but he was only groaning to hide a smile.

They managed to get through the rest of dinner without anyone choking or dying of puns.

“So you'll call me tomorrow, right?” Alphys said to Frisk when they were leaving. “To tell me about school?”

*Promise,* Frisk signed and they laughed.

“Ms. Hannigan will be so surprised!” they added.

That was certainly true. Ms. Hannigan was very surprised. She was also a little concerned, but when Frisk assured her that they had been assisted by an adult, she was reassured and gave them a perfect score. After all, an interest in the sciences should be nurtured in children and all Frisk's classmates agreed that their watercress was a lot more exciting than their own.

Chapter Text

Frisk opened their eyes and looked around their dark room. It was the middle of the night and everything seemed quiet, but something had woken them. They rubbed their eyes and listened. It had sounded like crying. Frisk slipped out of bed and tiptoed to the door, which was always left open a crack at night. Cautiously they stepped into the hallway.

Sans and Toriel were standing in the hallway, listening. Frisk bumped into the door and Sans turned around and started.

“Jeez, kid,” he said. “You scared me. You look like a small ghost.”

“What's going on?” Frisk asked.

“I thought I heard something,” Toriel whispered. “At first I thought it was you, dear.”

Frisk shook their head.

“I heard it too,” Sans said. “Like crying or wailing.”

Suddenly there was a loud, high-pitched cry that made them all jump.

“What was that!” Papyrus cried from inside his room. The tall skeleton came running out in his nightshirt, looking scared.

“It's coming from outside,” Toriel said. “Should we go look?”

“I think we should go back to bed,” Sans yawned. “Didn't sound human or monster to me, so it’s probably just some animal.”

“What if it's a scary demon-thingy?” Papyrus whispered.

Frisk looked scared too now.

“There are no demons,” Toriel said reassuringly.

“How can you be sure?” Papyrus said in a small voice.

“Oh, alright, we'll go look,” Sans groaned. “Come on.”

They all went downstairs. There was another wail, a little softer this time.

“It is in the back garden!” Papyrus whimpered, holding Frisk's hand.

Toriel opened the back door and looked around.

“I don't see anything,” she said.

Sans sighed, snapped his fingers and turned on the lights. A pair of eyes glowed bright in the bushes and Papyrus screamed. The eyes disappeared immediately.

“Keep it down, Pap,” Sans groaned. “You're going to wake the whole neighbourhood.”

Toriel had walked into the bushes and, after some rustling, she came out smiling.

“Look,” she said. “Here's your demon.”

In her paws, she carefully held a little black kitten with large eyes and big ears.

“See, it's just a cat,” Sans said wearily.

“Meow,” said the kitten.

“Oh….It's so small!” Papyrus squealed.

“Can I touch it?” Frisk asked, stretching out a hand.

“Careful now,” Toriel warned. “Don't scare it.”

Frisk gently stroked the kitten's back.

“He's thin,” they said. “Do you think he's hungry?”

“It must be a stray,” Toriel said, full of pity.

“Can't we take him inside?” Frisk said. “He must be so lonely.”

“Oh yes! Can we keep him?” Papyrus begged.

“What do you think, Sans?” Toriel asked, keeping her voice down.

“If it means we can all go back to bed,” Sans said groggily.

“Alright then,” Toriel said. “We'll put him in the bathroom with some food and water for the night and we'll see in the morning.”

In the morning Frisk went to check on the kitten as soon as they were awake. The kitten was sleeping, not in the box with soft fabric that Toriel had made ready, but on top of a pile of towels. When Frisk opened the door however, the kitten woke up and blinked at them.

*Good morning,* Frisk signed, smiling. *Can I pet you?*

The kitten blinked slowly. Frisk put out a hand and stroked him. He purred.

“Oh, he's awake!”

Papyrus was standing in the doorway and grinning excitedly.

“I hope he had a good night's sleep!” he said.

“You wanna stroke him?” Frisk asked.

“Well, my hands are so big,” Papyrus said nervously. “And yours are so tiny. You stroke him for me.”

“Okay,” Frisk grinned.

“I had a feeling I might find you two here,” Toriel said, poking her head round the corner.

“I went to the neighbours across the street and borrowed some cat food. If you bring the kitten downstairs, we can give him some breakfast.”

“Okay!” Papyrus agreed.

“Imma pick you up, okay?” Frisk said and they carefully picked up the kitten and carried him downstairs.

“Will you fetch me one of the little bowls?” Toriel asked Frisk.

“Yeah!” Frisk said. “Here, you hold him.”

Papyrus had just sat down on the couch and Frisk put the kitten on his lap. The kitten curled up comfortably and stayed there. Papyrus sat very still and whispered “He is very warm…And fuzzy…”

Frisk brought Toriel a little bowl and Toriel filled it with cat food. She mixed it with a little warm water just in case.

“Oh!” Papyrus exclaimed from the living room. “It is vibrating! Why is it vibrating?”

“It's purring,” Frisk laughed, coming from the kitchen with the bowl of food.

The kitten sat up and meowed.

“Breakfast,” Frisk said, putting the bowl down on the floor.

The kitten jumped off Papyrus' lap and ran to the bowl of food. Toriel put a saucer of water next to it and watched the kitten eat.

“Well,” she said. “He seems fine. That is a relief. But we will still have to take him to a vet, just to be sure.”

“Does that mean we can keep him?” Frisk asked eagerly.

Toriel hesitated.

“I do not know, my dear,” she said. “Perhaps he ran away. If so, someone might be missing him.”

“Oh,” Frisk said, disappointedly.

“But if they do not, we can keep him!” Papyrus put in.

“A pet is a big responsibility,” Toriel warned. “And we can not decide without Sans.”

“But we have a pet,” Papyrus protested. “We have the pet rock and we always take excellent care of him.”

“Yes,” Toriel smiled. “But a cat can be a little more work, I think. Mr. Denny from across the street gave me the number of his vet, I will give them a call.”

When Sans came downstairs in his pyjamas, Frisk and Papyrus had tied several scraps of paper to strings and were dragging them around the living room to amuse the kitten. The kitten was chasing it, claws outstretched.

“Good morning, brother!” Papyrus said cheerfully.

“Morning, Pap, morning, kiddo,” Sans mumbled and he flopped down on the couch.

“Look at the kitten, Sans!” Frisk yelled. “It can go real fast.”

They ran across the room, the paper on the string fluttering behind them and the kitten turned into a black streak of fur trying to catch it.

“He's staying then, is he?” Sans said.

I want to keep him!” Frisk proclaimed, jumping onto the couch next to him. “Toriel said we should ask you, can we keep him?”

“He will be such a nice companion for pet rock,” Papyrus suggested, beaming.

Sans looked at the two excited faces and gave them a tired grin.

“If Tori says you can, sure,” he said.

Frisk cheered and Papyrus clasped his gloved hands together with joy.

“Sans says we can keep him!” Frisk yelled at Toriel as soon as she came back and put down her phone.

“There is no need to yell, Frisk,” Toriel said kindly. “I have spoken to the vet and the local animal shelter and no kitten has been reported missing, but we cannot be sure for a while.”

“Can we keep him in the meantime?” Frisk pleaded.

Toriel looked at Sans. He shrugged and gave a nod.

“Well, alright,” Toriel smiled.

“Yay!” Frisk laughed and they first jumped at Toriel, and then at Papyrus to hug them.

The kitten, now without any paper scraps to chase, was hunting the flecks of dust under the couch. He jumped over Sans' feet a couple of times before suddenly pouncing and sticking his little paw between the fibula and tibia of his right leg, trying to catch an escaping dust bunny.

“Okay, okay, that's enough!” Sans growled.

He grabbed the kitten by the scruff of the neck and lifted it up to his face.

“Don't do that. It's bad manners,” he scolded.

Frisk giggled.

“He's so small,” they said, taking the kitten from him. “He could fit his head in between your ribs!”

“If he ever does that, I'm putting him out of the house,” Sans warned, but he didn't sound very serious.

“What shall we call him?” Papyrus asked.

“I do not think we should name him yet,” Toriel said. “After all, we might not be able to keep him.”

“I know!” Frisk said. “We can call him, Sir Pouncival!”

Ms. Hannigan had been reading to the class about King Arthur and Frisk loved the knights of the round table.

“That is a purr-fect name, Frisk,” Sans grinned widely. “But are you sure you want to name him that?”

“I'm paw-sitive!” Frisk grinned back.

“Really?” Papyrus said flatly. “Is this a thing now?”

“Now, Frisk, Sans,” Toriel said seriously. “I really do not think we should be naming him yet. What if someone does want him back? It would be so… un-fur-tunate.”

Sans and Frisk laughed and Papyrus let out a great sigh.

“Oh great, now you've started and we'll be here all day,” he complained.

“Nah, Pap,” Sans said, winking at Toriel. “Just a couple more and then we'll end your mew-sery.”

Toriel snorted.

“Purr-haps you would like contribute something too?” she said, trying to look innocent.

“Yeah,” Frisk beamed.

“Come on, bro,” Sans grinned. “You just have to find the right cat-titude.”

“I will do no such thing,” Papyrus said, lifting his head proudly. “For me – the great Papyrus – to stoop to your level would truly be a CAT-ASTROPHE! Nyeh! Nyeh! Nyeh!”

Papyrus laughed loud enough to drown out the snorts and giggles of the others and the newly named Sir Pouncival contently curled up next to pet rock to take a nap in his new home.

Chapter Text

Undyne and Alphys were having an afternoon get together to celebrate their new pool. It wasn't really a new pool; it had come with the house and it was one of the reasons they chose it. But it had been out of order. Now it was fixed, all clean and once again filled with water. They had invited all their old friends as well as some new people they had met since moving to the surface.

Frisk could not go, because they had to go to school, and now they were moping.

“It's not fair,” they sulked. “You're all going and I can't and it's not fair…”

“Hey, if it were up to me we'd pull ya out of school for the afternoon,” Sans said with a shrug. “But you know what Tori thinks of that.”

“Sans!” Papyrus gasped. “I have read it is very bad for a child's upbringing if the parents do not form a unified front.”

“Well, I'm teaching them the diversity of opinions in the world,” Sans grinned. “That's important too, right?”

“I suppose…” Papyrus said hesitantly.

Toriel came in with Frisk's lunch and said “Put your coat on, Frisk. The bus will be here any minute.”

“Mom, it's not fair!” Frisk whined, struggling into the sleeves of the coat Papyrus held out for then.

“Now, Frisk, we have talked about this,” Toriel said kindly, but firmly. “This is a grown up party.”

“Yes…” Frisk mumbled.

“And I know you would be sad not to see your friends at school all day,” Toriel smiled.

“Yeah…” Frisk groaned.

“So, are you going to be good and go to school without any further moping?” Toriel asked.

“Yes, Mom,” Frisk said with a sigh, straightening up.

“That’s my Frisk,” Toriel smiled. “And Alphys wanted me to tell you that to make it up to you, she and Undyne will invite you over for a sleepover as soon as they have a free weekend.”

Frisk's face lit up and Toriel laughed.

“There you go, now run along and catch that bus!”

“Bye, Papyrus! Bye, Sans! Bye, Mom! Love you!” Frisk said, collecting a pat on the head or a kiss from each of them.

They all waved and with that Frisk was off to school.

“Now that is all sorted,” Toriel hummed. “I will get started on the lemonade. Alphys asked me to bring three bottles.”

“Is there any of that lovely ketchup of yours left?” Sans asked.

“I have taken a bottle out of the pantry already,” Toriel smiled.

“What can I do?” Papyrus asked eagerly.

“Would you like to help me slice the lemons?” Toriel asked.

“Of course! No task is too big or too small for the Great Papyrus!”

“Good,” Sans grinned. “You go help Tori and I'll keep an eye on Sir Pouncival.”

Toriel and Papyrus looked at the couch, where the black kitten was sleeping like a dark ball of fur.

“He does not look like he needs supervision,” Papyrus said.

“You can never be too careful,” Sans said and he sank down on the couch next to the cat and closed his eyes.

“Hello Alphys, hello Undyne!” Papyrus grinned. “You dressed up too!”

“Heya, Pap,” Undyne grinned, punching him in the shoulder. “Nice sunglasses.”

Papyrus was wearing a flowery shirt for the occasion and big sunglasses. Alphys was wearing a bathing suit and a wrap dress and Undyne was wearing a sporty two piece. The backyard was full of guests and monsters and humans were mingling nicely.

“Was F-Frisk very disappointed?” Alphys asked Toriel.

“Not after I told them about your sleepover proposal,” Toriel smiled.

“Good,” Alphys smiled.

“Hey, Undyne,” Sans said. “Hey, Alphys.” He gave her a hug. “How's the party coming along?”

“Really well,” Alphys nodded happily.

“It's great,” Undyne said proudly. “Everybody's having a good time and the sun's shining… The sun's great.”

“It sure is,” Sans said.

“Are these your friends, the skeletons?” a young man asked, coming up to them.

“Yeah,” Undyne said with a wide grin. “Tim, this is Papyrus, Sans and Toriel. And guys, this is Tim, he works at the fitness centre where I work.”

They all shook hands and joined the rest of the party. Alphys and Undyne were having a great time hosting. Undyne was proud and Alphys was so excited that everything was going well.

“You look really nice, Tori- I mean, Toriel.”

Toriel smiled at Asgore, who was laughing apologetically.

“Thank you,” she said, touching her big straw hat. “That is a very nice shirt. I like the trees on it.”

“Heh, thanks,” he nodded.

There was a loud scream behind them and they turned around just in time to see Tim and Bratty fall into the pool. Catty was howling with laughter and so was Undyne.

“Wait up, losers!” Undyne yelled and she dove in with a splash.

“Are you going to swim?” Asgore asked.

“Oh no,” Toriel shook her head. “It will take me far too long to get dry again and I want to be home before Frisk comes home from school.”

“Of course,” Asgore said. “How is Frisk?”

“Quite well I think,” Toriel nodded. “They have nice friends, doing well at school…”

“I'm glad,” Asgore said.

“Hey, Tori,” Sans said, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. “I brought you a drink.”

“Thank you, Sans,” Toriel smiled, taking the glass.

“Hey, Asgore,” Sans said with a nod.

“Hello,” Asgore replied, nodding back.

“Mr. Dreemurr?”

A woman in a black bathing suit was smiling at them hopefully.

“Would you join us for pool rugby? With you on our side, we might have a chance against Undyne.”

“Well, yes, of course,” he said, taken by surprise. “And just Asgore is fine.”

“Great!” the woman said and she yelled at the others by the pool: “He's in!”

There was a loud cheer and Asgore made his way to the pool, trying not to knock over any chairs.

“Don't you boys want to swim?” Toriel asked Sans and Papyrus, who had just come towards them, intently studying a slice of watermelon.

“We're not exactly the right…structure for swimming,” Sans winked.

“Oh dear,” Toriel blushed. “No, I suppose not.”

“I wonder how this fruit knows where to stop being green and start being red…” Papyrus thought out loud.

Before someone could answer him Sans' phone rang. He dug it out of his pocket and answered. “Hello?”

“Yes,” he said after a short silence. “Who is this?”

Papyrus and Toriel looked at him curiously.

“Oh, hello, Ms. Hannigan, what's the matter?” Sans said.

“Ms. Hannigan?” Toriel said, startled. “Why is she calling?”

She grabbed her own phone. There was one missed call, she had left it on silent by accident.

“I understand,” Sans said. “No of course, we'll come right away. Thank you for calling us. Yes, we're coming by car. Alexa Wells, got it. Goodbye, Ms. Hannigan.”

He hung up and turned to Toriel and Papyrus, who were both looking at him with worried faces.

“Why did the teacher call? Is Frisk in trouble?” Papyrus asked, full of concern.

“No, nothing like that,” Sans said cautiously. “Ms. Hannigan called to tell us that Frisk had an accident during PE class and that they've taken them to the hospital. Just to be on the safe side, I'm sure it's nothing serious.”

It is very hard to actually turn pale when you are covered in white hair from head to toe, but Toriel's eyes had grown very large and she suddenly seemed a lot less taller than she actually was.

“Oh no…” she stammered. “No…”

“Tori, calm down,” Sans said quietly. “I'm sure it's nothing, kid's hurt themselves all the time.”

Toriel made a strange sound in the back of her throat and Papyrus gave Sans a distressed look.

“Pap,” Sans said, keeping his voice low and taking Toriel's hand. “Tori and I are going to the hospital. Will you please go tell Undyne and Alphys that Frisk came out of school early and that we had to go home quickly.”

“I don't want to lie to my friends!” Papyrus protested.

“I know, bro,” Sans said. “But Tori and I gotta go now and I don't want to mess up their party. You stay here, okay? I'll call you as soon as I can.”

“But-” Papyrus began.

Papyrus,” Sans said.

Papyrus shut his mouth. Toriel wringing her hands in a very strange way and the way Sans spoke to him scared him a little. Sans had only ever spoken to him like that twice before.

“Alright,” he said. “I'll stay. You hurry.”

“Thanks, bro,” Sans said. “Come on, Tori.”

Toriel got into the car without saying a word, but when Sans started the engine she let out a trembling sigh and stammered “Oh Sans, what if…what if they…oh my sweet child…”

“Tori, Frisk is going to be fine,” Sans assured her, stepping on the gas a little harder than he intended.

“But what if they are not!” Toriel exclaimed. “I can not… Oh Sans, I did not even pick up my phone!”

“That's why they called me,” Sans said. “We're in this together, remember?”

“Oh, what if they broke something, what if they-”

“Ms. Hannigan said the PE teacher took Frisk to the hospital,” Sans interrupted her. “If it had been something serious they would have called an ambulance.”

“But Ms. Hannigan did not tell you what happened?” Toriel asked, breathless.

“Something about them falling,” Sans mumbled.

Falling,” Toriel repeated in horror. “Off what?”

“I don't know, Tori,” Sans said hastily. “But it'll be fine, okay? I promise.”

Toriel was shaking. She was still shaking when they were running from the parking lot to the entrance of the hospital. They hurried trough the corridors, until they saw a woman in a jacket standing with a reassuringly smiling nurse.

“That must be them!” the woman pointed.

“Are you Alexa Wells?” Sans asked.

“Where is my child?” Toriel demanded.

“You must be Frisk's mother,” the nurse said. “Your child is absolutely fine, apart from a medium concussion.”

“Concussion?” Toriel repeated.

“Frisk fell out of the rings doing gymnastics,” Ms. Wells explained, looking rather guilty. “I should have watched them closer, I'm so sorry.”

“So they're alright then?” Sans said, breathing a sigh of relief. “Just a little knock on the head?”

“Exactly,” the nurse smiled and he gestured towards the door behind him. “You can go see them immediately. They're just a little dizzy.”

Toriel rushed into the half darkened room and let out a deep sigh when she saw Frisk lying on a bed with their knees drawn up and an apologetic smile on their face.

*Hi, mom,* Frisk signed.

“Hello, my love,” Toriel said quietly and she sat down on the edge of the bed. “Are you alright?”

*Yeah,* Frisk signed. *My head hurts.*

Toriel carefully stroked Frisk's head and smiled shakily at Sans who carefully closed the door behind him and walked up to the bed as well.

“Hey, kid,” he said. “What happened?”

*I was hanging upside down,* Frisk signed. *And then I was on the floor.*

Sans grinned. “Boy,” he said. “You do have a knack for falling.”

Frisk grinned, but Toriel shook her head.

“Don't joke about that, Sans,” she said. “You gave me such a fright, Frisk.”

*Sorry,* they signed, their eyes downcast.

“Oh no, honey, do not apologise,” Toriel said gently. “It was a worried ride over here, that's all.”

“The nurse said we can take Frisk home,” Sans said. “He says they need to rest, but that's all. Oh, and no TV.”

Frisk sighed.

“Alright then,” Toriel smiled, she looked like her old self again. “Let's get you home.”

After they had once again been apologised to by the PE teacher and had talked to some hospital personnel, Sans and Toriel walked Frisk to the car and put them safely in the backseat.

“You okay to drive, Tori?” Sans asked. “I should really call Papyrus.”

“Of course, Sans,” Tori nodded and she got in on the driver's side. “How are you doing back there, Frisk?”

*I'm okay,* Frisk signed, closing their eyes. Their head hurt and they were really very dizzy.

“We'll be home in no time, kid,” Sans reassured them, selecting Papyrus' number.

The phone hardly rang once.

“SANS?” Papyrus yelled on the other end of the line.

“Hey, Pap,” Sans said. “We're taking Frisk home now. They're alright. They hit their head playing doing gymnastics.”

“Oh my, is their head okay?” Papyrus asked.

“Frisk, Pap wants to know if your head is okay,” Sans said.

Frisk opened one eye and held up their thumb.

“They're holding up a thumb, Pap,” Sans grinned.

“Ah, good, thumbs are good,” Papyrus said, relieved. “Well, can I tell Undyne and Alphys now?”

“Sure, but don't make a big deal out of it, alright?” Sans said.

“The Great Papyrus never makes a big deal out of things, unless they are things that are inherently big and should therefore be treated as such!” Papyrus said indignantly.

“Eh, of course,” Sans said. “Sorry, bro.”

“It's alright, Sans,” Papyrus said. “You must still be suffering from the emotional stress.”

“Right,” Sans nodded. “I'll swing by to pick you up when Tori and Frisk are home, okay?”

“Alright,” Papyrus said. “Tell Frisk I will be there soon to comfort them in their time of need.”

“Sure thing, Pap,” Sans grinned and he hung up. “Did you hear that, kid?”

“Hm….” Frisk groaned.

“We are almost there,” Toriel said gently. “And when we get home, it is straight to bed with you with the curtains drawn for some peace and quiet.”

“I'll go pick up Papyrus right now,” Sans said when they arrived.

“Naw….” Frisk protested reaching out for him.

“I'll be back before you know it, kid,” he said. “Promise.”

Toriel took Frisk in her arms and picked them up, something she hardly ever did.

“Alright, little one,” she hummed. “Off to bed with you.”

She carried Frisk into the house while Sans drove off.

“Can I have some apple juice?” Frisk mumbled.

“Of course, darling,” Toriel said, carrying them upstairs. “I will get you some in a minute.”

She tucked Frisk into bed, drew the curtains and fetched them a juice box so they could drink without sitting up.

“How are you feeling now?” she asked, stroking Frisk's hair.

*Better,* Frisk signed.

“Good,” Toriel smiled. “I am sure some rest will do you a world of good and tomorrow your head will not be so weak.”

She looked up, listening to the sound of the car pulling into the driveway.

“Ah, here comes your dunkle and brunkle.”

Frisk smiled.

“Frisk!” they heard Papyrus' loud voice downstairs.

“Be quiet, Pap,” Sans scolded. “They're upstairs.”

There were loud footsteps and then the door opened very carefully.

“Frisk?” Papyrus whispered. “Are you sleeping?”

“Come in, Papyrus,” Toriel said. “Frisk is just resting. They have a concussion.”

“I see,” Papyrus said, coming in. “And what does that mean?”

“That means they need a lot of rest and no TV, loud noises, or bright lights,” Toriel said.

“That sounds very boring,” Papyrus said. “But fear not Frisk, I will tell you as many stories as you like.”

Sans had appeared in the doorway and winked at Frisk.

“All snug, I see,” he said.

“Would you like Papyrus to tell you a story?” Toriel asked.

*Yes, please,* Frisk signed.

“Very good,” Papyrus said, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“I will go make us all some tea,” Toriel said, giving Frisk a kiss on the top of their head. “You tell Papyrus if you need anything, okay?”

She quietly left the room and Sans was about to follow her when Frisk made a protesting noise.

“Oops,” he chuckled. “Almost forgot.”

He walked up to Frisk's bed and rested his bony forehead against theirs for a moment.

Frisk smiled.

“You take it easy, kiddo,” he said softly.

Frisk smiled and Papyrus said: “I will see to it that they do.”

Sans left the room, trying to hide his grin as he heard Papyrus begin his story:

“I will tell you the story of the invention of one of the very greatest things in the world…pasta.”

He quietly closed the door behind him and went to the kitchen. Toriel had taken out the kettle and some mugs, but she was staring at them silently and did not even hear Sans when he came in.

“Tori?”

She started and turned around.

“Oh, I am sorry,” she said. “I must have…”

“It's alright, Tori,” Sans said. “Everything is fine.”

Toriel gave Sans a strange look. She put down the mug she was holding.

“It was silly to get so scared,” she said, trying to smile. “But sometimes I think that all I am good for is losing everybody I love.”

There was a short silence, in which Sans thought of what to say.

“Well,” he said. “I know one thing Tori, you never gave up, you never stopped loving and for that alone…you deserve to never be afraid again.”

Toriel sat down on a kitchen chair and took a deep breath, but didn't reply.

“Frisk told me, you know,” Sans said, sitting down beside her. “How you took care of them after they'd fallen down the mountain. Fed and comforted them. Taught them to be kind and merciful.”

“I did not teach them that…” Toriel said.

“Well, you reminded them then,” Sans said. “And look at them now. So happy and confident.” He gave Toriel a wide grin. “You know what, Tori, I think you're doing a grape job raisin' them.”

The corners of Toriel's mouth curled up in spite of herself.

“Did you hear what I said, Tori?” Sans asked. “I said you're doing a grape job raisin' them.”

Toriel snorted.

“I don't think you quite understood me,” Sans insisted. “I'm trying to tell you what a grape job I think you're doing raisin' Frisk.”

“I heard you, Sans!” Toriel laughed, giving him a push.

“There you go,” he grinned.

Toriel sighed and smiled at him.

“You always know how to cheer me up,” she said.

“Let's make that tea,” Sans said. “And then we'll go sit in Frisk's room and listen to the origin story of pasta, how about it?”

“That sounds lovely,” Toriel sighed.

So when Toriel had made herself a mug of tea and Sans had prepared a mug of hot ketchup, they took an extra mug of tea upstairs for Papyrus and gathered around Frisk's bed. Papyrus continued his story about the origin of pasta and their great and noble discoverer, a famous master chef and adventurer called P. Yrus. They all listened, sipping their drinks and Frisk was feeling better already.

Chapter Text

Brian was an experienced driving instructor. He had taught nervous kids, grumpy people who had gotten their licences revoked, enthusiastic old timers who wanted to brush up on their skills, and determined adults who had finally decided that they truly hated public transport after all. In fact, Brian had been convinced he had seen it all as far as student drivers were concerned. He had been wrong.

Now a couple of months ago one of his colleagues had called him and begged him to take a student off his hands. The student was called Papyrus and he was a skeleton monster. At first Brian had guessed that had been the problem. The monster thing. He had actually been a bit disappointed in his colleague for being so narrow minded. He should not have judged so quickly.

Papyrus, Brian soon found out, was an excellent student. He was polite, eager to learn, determined to succeed, and unbelievably enthusiastic. He was also without a doubt the worst driver Brian had ever encountered. Getting in a car with him was downright terrifying. But Brian was not about to give up. He had never given up on a student and he wasn't going to start now. Papyrus never seemed to get discouraged, so Brian refused to get discouraged himself. Still, he had grown almost hopeless, until a couple of weeks ago he had made an amazing discovery…

“Now, Papyrus,” Brian said with a sigh. “How did you think we ended up on the wrong side of the road this time?”

“Because I drove the car in that direction,” Papyrus said cheerfully.

“Yes, you did,” Brian nodded. “And I know you didn't mean to do that, but-”

“On the contrary!” Papyrus interrupted him. “I did mean to do that.”

“What?” Brian said, perplexed. “Why?”

“Because there was more room there,” Papyrus explained. “The side you chose had too many other cars on it blocking my way.”

Brian stared at Papyrus.

“Papyrus…” he said slowly. “I didn't choose that side of the road. You have to drive on that side of the road.”

“But the goal is to get where we're going as efficiently as possible,” Papyrus said. “And the other side of the road was more efficient.”

Brian rubbed his forehead.

“It is also important we get there safely,” he said.

“Nobody got hurt!” Papyrus assured him.

That was true, Brian had to admit. He didn't know how it was possible, but no one had ever gotten hurt no matter what crazy or dangerous things Papyrus did with his car.

“I would never let anyone get hurt, Brian,” Papyrus said seriously. “I pride myself on solving all my puzzles without collateral damage.”

Brian raised his head.

“Puzzles?” he said.

“Yes,” Papyrus grinned.

Brian stared at him for a moment and then he said:

“You think driving is a puzzle?”

“Sure it is,” Papyrus nodded. “A puzzle in which I operate this vehicle and navigate obstacles to reach my destination.”

“Right,” Brian said slowly. “You like puzzles then?”

“Puzzles are my passion!” Papyrus exclaimed. “Puzzles and pasta.”

“Okay, okay,” Brian said, thinking hard. “Then I think I need to explain something more about this driving puzzle. You see… the goal is to get to the destination, but…”

He looked at Papyrus expectantly smiling face and suddenly he had an inspiration.

“But I never explained to you about the bonus points,” he said.

“Bonus points?” Papyrus repeated.

“Yes,” Brian said with conviction. “If you reach your destination you've solved the puzzle, but you can only get a perfect score if you reach your destination while following all the rules.”

“Indeed?” Papyrus said, intrigued.

“Yes,” Brian said. “Like the right side of the road and stop signs and road markings and all that stuff I told you about… Only if you can reach your destination without breaking a single rule…then you have truly solved the puzzle.”

“Well, why didn't you say so!” Papyrus said happily. “I can do that! The Great Papyrus always gets a perfect score!”

From that day on, Papyrus drove almost perfectly. Brian really thought he was almost ready to take his driving test. He still felt a little apprehensive about sending the overzealous skeleton into the world with a driving licence but then again, Papyrus was a dedicated driver and never lost his temper and that was more than could be said for most of the people on the road.

Chapter Text

“You think we have enough f-food?” Alphys asked doubtfully.

Undyne looked at all the snacks piled up on the kitchen counter. “Depends, did you invite the entire neighbourhood?” she asked.

“N-no?” Alphys said.

“Then we have enough,” Undyne answered.

“I just want to d-do this right,” Alphys said defensively. “F-frisk has never stayed over before!”

“It'll be fine,” Undyne said. “Toriel said Frisk was super excited.”

“I just want us to be good h-hosts,” Alphys muttered.

“Hey,” Undyne said sternly, bending down to look Alphys in the eye. “We are the best hosts. Didn't we give a totally cool party the other week?”

“Yeah,” Alphys smiled.

“That's right,” Undyne nodded. “Besides, we're awesome, who wouldn't like to hang out with us?”

“Heh,” Alphys laughed nervously.

There was a sound at the door.

“I-Is that them?” she started.

“Only one way to find out,” Undyne said, walking to the door. She opened it.

“Undyne!” Frisk cried jumping at her.

“Woah there, goofball!” Undyne laughed.

“Alphys! Alphys!” Frisk yelled, bouncing from Undyne to Alphys and nearly tripping over her tail.

“Be careful, Frisk!” Toriel admonished them while Alphys gave them a hug.

“You can blame Papyrus for this,” Toriel explained to Undyne. “He accidentally mistook the instant coffee for cocoa mix and the result is that Frisk has had almost an entire cup of coffee and five marshmallows for lunch.”

“Yay!” Frisk cheered.

“That's okay, Toriel,” Undyne laughed. “We can handle them.”

“Alright then,” Toriel smiled. “You be good now, okay?”

“I will!” Frisk said, jumping into Toriel's arms and giving her a kiss on her cheek. “Love you!”

“I love you too, jump-about,” Toriel smiled. “Have fun, you three.”

“B-Bye, Toriel,” Alphys said and Toriel shut the door behind her.

“Right!” Undyne grinned. “Let's get rid of some of that excess energy, I'll race you round the house, kid. Last one back here is a giant weenie!”

“Not me!” Frisk yelled and they ran off as fast as they could.

Undyne winked at Alphys and ran after Frisk at a gentle jogging pace.

It took Undyne less than thirty minutes to reduce a bouncing, yelling Frisk, to a Frisk that had deposited themselves on the couch in the living room and refused to move.

“Give up already, do you?” Undyne grinned.

*Yes,* Frisk signed.

“Fuhuhu! You should have known better than to go up against me!” Undyne gloated.

*Dead,* Frisk signed. *Never moving again.*

“Hey Alphys,” Undyne called to the kitchen. “Frisk is doing an impression of you on Monday evenings.”

“T-that's good,” Alphys said. “Cause that means we can watch anime and eat ice cream like we do on Mondays.”

“Sound good?” Undyne asked, winking at Frisk.

Frisk nodded.

“D-don't move,” Alphys said. “I'll get us something to watch.”

She came scurrying back with some pretty boxed sets of animes on Blu-Ray. “These are all r-really good,” she said eagerly.

“Eh, Alphys,” Undyne said, glancing at the titles. “I don't think any of this stuff is what you'd call kid-friendly.”

“Kid friendly?” Alphys repeated incredulously. “Last month you offered to take Frisk and Manny jousting!”

“Yeah, but that's educational,” Undyne protested. “It's history and stuff…and sports.”

“I want to see Miraculous Ladybug!” Frisk declared.

“I've never heard of that…” Alphys said.

“It's great,” Frisk grinned, sitting up, already forgetting they were dead. “It's about a girl called Marinette in France and she's a superhero who fights people who have been evilized!”

“Evilized?” Alphys repeated with a scoff in her voice. “That doesn't sound like a word.”

“It is too!” Frisk protested. “Because there's a villain called Hawkmoth and he sends black butterflies to evilize people and then they turn bad. But Ladybug can fix everything.”

“It sounds alright,” Undyne said, pulling Alphys onto the couch next to her. “Can you find it online?”

“I can find anything online,” Alphys huffed and picked up her laptop.

They watched Miraculous Ladybug and Alphys had to admit it was pretty good. “For a western creation,” she added quickly.

“I don't get why they don't just find that Hawkmoth guy and kick his a- butt,” Undyne said.

“Can we watch something else?” Frisk asked when Alphys went to turn off the TV.

“I dunno, kid, it's pretty late,” Undyne said. “You gotta get enough sleep if you're gonna grow up big and strong like me.”

“Aw….” Frisk begged. “Can we watch Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea?”

They knew Undyne really liked Ponyo.

“This is a s-sleepover,” Alphys grinned at her girlfriend. “We could watch it in bed.”

“Yes!” Frisk cheered.

Undyne laughed and followed a happy Frisk and a shyly smiling Alphys to their bedroom. Frisk took a leap onto the bed and shrieked with surprise.

Undyne roared with laughter.

“It's a w-waterbed,” Alphys explained quickly.

“Wow,” Frisk said, letting themselves bob up and down. “Cool!”

They inspected Undyne and Alphys' room while Alphys set up the laptop with the movie.

*Cute,* Frisk signed looking at a framed picture of Undyne and Alphys.

“We took that on Valentine's Day,” Undyne grinned.

“That was a good day,” Alphys smiled.

Undyne grinned at her and gave her a quick kiss. Frisk giggled.

“D-don't tell Toriel,” Alphys laughed nervously.

“Nothing wrong with a little smooch,” Undyne said defiantly. “She should be doing some smooching herself.”

Undyne,” Alphys mumbled.

“What? It's true,” Undyne said.

“Do you mean Mom and Dunkle Sans?” Frisk asked.

“S-she doesn't mean anything,” Alphys said hastily.

“Yes I do,” Undyne said. “But those skeletons are both giant scaredy cats.”

Alphys looked a little upset, but Frisk laughed.

“You s-shouldn't talk about people behind their backs,” Alphys pouted.

“Hey,” Undyne said, bumping against Alphys on purpose. “Papyrus talked me into sending you that letter and that was the best thing I ever did.”

Alphys blushed and Frisk beamed. It was cool to think that they had helped them get together.

They all settled down in the big bed. Frisk in the middle, Alphys on the left, and Undyne on the right, and they all sang along with the opening theme of the movie. Undyne sang the loudest, but only Alphys knew the correct pronunciation of the words. Frisk just sang gibberish to the happy tune, bouncing up and down a big to make the waterbed bob. It was a great sleepover.

Chapter Text

Sans was working in his basement workshop when there was a knock on the door. It was Frisk's knock.

“Door's open,” he said.

Frisk came in, holding their colouring book and pencils. “Can I sit here?” they asked. “Someone came to visit and I had no time to hide in my room.”

Sans chuckled.

“Sure, kid,” he grinned.

Frisk climbed up on one of the high chairs so they could reach the counter space and started colouring. Sans continued fiddling with the complicated looking control panel he'd been working on. Every once in a while he glanced sideways at Frisk. Finally he put down his screwdriver and said “Hey, Frisk.”

“Yeah?”

“You know that thing you can do that we don't talk about,” Sans said.

Frisk gave him a startled look. “I won't do that anymore,” they squeaked. “Ever!”

“I know, I know, kid,” Sans said soothingly. “I was just wondering…”

He gave Frisk an awkward grin.

“Do you still…save?”

Frisk had made themselves small in their chair and didn't answer.

“I just thought…the life we have now…that would be worth saving, so… I thought you might, sometimes…”

“Every day,” Frisk whispered. “I save every day.”

Sans smiled.

“I thought as much,” he said.

“You can feel me saving?” Frisk asked, a little startled.

“Nah,” Sans shook his head. “Not really, I just sort of…know.”

Frisk nodded slowly.

“You know what I've been thinking,” Sans said suddenly, sliding off his chair and pacing through the room. “I've been thinking it for a while actually, ages really…”

He cleared his throat and looked at Frisk to see if he hadn't upset them too much. They didn't seem to be, so he continued “I've been thinking: saving is like putting a bookmark between the pages of a book, so you know where you left off or where you began…”

Frisk listened in silence, wondering where Sans was going with this.

“And if you save again, you move the bookmark…so…you've lost the place you were before, but that doesn't matter because you're somewhere else now.”

He looked at Frisk and they nodded.

“But sometimes…” Sans said, with a strange sort of stress in his voice. “The bookmark being in between the pages makes it so that the book naturally opens at that spot whenever you let it fall open. Or it might…if you knew how to let it fall.”

Frisk stared at Sans with big eyes. He didn't sound like Sans at all. He looked nervous, jittery, and jittery was a lot like active, not like him at all.

Sans took a deep breath.

“I'm sorry, kid,” he said. “Heh, I got a little too intense there.”

He sat down again.

“What I'm trying to say,” he said, in his normal voice. “Is that it might be possible to find and old save place. They must leave a trace somewhere and if I could find them…”

His voice trailed off, but now Frisk was getting excited. “You could find them from here?” they said. “Without going back?”

“Maybe,” Sans said.

“Is that was your machine does?” Frisk asked, their face lighting up.

“It's kind of what it's made for, locating things over time and space,” Sans said, glancing at the bulky shape under the sheet. “But it hasn't worked so far.”

“And if you could find a save…” Frisk said, colour rising into their cheeks. “Could you…find the people inside it?”

Sans gave them a sideways look, but didn't answer.

“You could!” Frisk yelled. “You could bring them here without us going there!”

“Keep it down, kid,” Sans shushed them. “And I don't know, it might not work like that…”

“But if it does…” Frisk sighed. “You think you could bring someone back?”

Sans looked away. He was regretting having started this conversation. Frisk had misunderstood him. Finding the moment of a save was just a starting point. He hadn't meant to imply he could find the actual saves… He could guess who Frisk was talking about though. Just after the barrier had been broken, Frisk had told them about seeing Asriel. He had understood enough to not ask any further questions and they had hardly talked about it since.

Sans sighed. He was pretty sure Frisk didn't quite understand his invention, but he decided not to explain further. They understood enough, for now. “Well, the machine doesn't work yet…” he said. “Maybe one day.”

There was a long silence. Sans stared into nothing and Frisk fumbled with their pencils. “Sans…” they said, breaking the silence after a while.

“Yeah?” Sans mumbled.

“Alphys says you've been working on that machine for a really long time,” they said cautiously.

“That's right,” Sans answered.

“Then…who did you build it for?”

Sans sat very still. For a moment Frisk thought he'd tell them to leave, but he didn't. “For someone I'd really like to see again,” he said.

“A friend?” Frisk asked.

“Something like that,” Sans said, with a small smile. “You know Papyrus and I are not originally from…Snowdin, right?”

Frisk nodded.

“Well, he helped us get there,” he said.

“Oh,” Frisk said, sensing it was not the right time to ask any more questions.

Sans gave them a quick grin. “Sorry to bother you with this, kid,” he said. “I shouldn't have said anything, I didn't tell the others ‘cause…you know…they don't really understand this stuff.”

Frisk knew he wanted them to smile and forget about it, but they didn't want to. Sans was right; it would make sense if saves kept existing somehow, left behind traces in space and time. Perhaps you could follow those traces all the way back, back to a place and time where…

Sometimes Frisk dreamt about Asriel. He was always smiling sadly and always having to leave. Frisk couldn't tell Toriel about that. It would make her sad and Frisk wanted Toriel to be happy. Frisk gathered all their courage and said “Perhaps you could find the save if you already knew where it was.”

Sans turned around.

“What did you say?” he asked.

“I could save,” Frisk said nervously. “And you'd know exactly when and where I did it, so you'd be able to find it… and then maybe, it would be easier to recognise the older saves…”

Sans gave Frisk a strange look.

“That might work,” he mumbled.

“Really?” Frisk said hopefully.

“I'll… I'll think about it okay?” Sans said.

He grinned and ruffled Frisk's hair.

“You're awful clever for your age, you know,” he said.

Frisk smiled.

“You want to play musical tornadoes until Toriel's scary visitors leave?” Sans asked.

“Yeah,” Frisk nodded happily.

So they played musical tornadoes until Papyrus came downstairs to ask them what they were doing.

“Sans!” he protested when he saw Frisk spinning round four feet in the air. “You're so irresponsible!”

“Relax, bro,” Sans said, coming down from his considerably bigger tornado. “We've been working hard, so we deserved to wind down and go for a spin.”

“You missed the lovely neighbours that came to visit!” Papyrus said, ignoring him. “Mr. Denny came to visit with his daughter, Shelly, who is staying for a while and she's promised to teach me how to knit!”

“Really? That sounds awesome,” Sans grinned.

“It certainly is,” Papyrus nodded. “It is a fascinating art and as soon as I have mastered it, I shall start my very own line of fashion wear.”

“What will you make?” Frisk asked.

“I thought I would start with scarves,” Papyrus said seriously.

“That's a great idea, Pap,” Sans chuckled.

“Can I have one?” Frisk asked.

“Of course you can,” Papyrus beamed. “If you'll come upstairs you can help me decide on a logo for my brand.”

Neither Frisk nor Sans could refuse such an offer so they went upstairs and watched as Papyrus excitedly scribbled possible logos on pieces of paper. Toriel teased them for hiding in the basement just because some neighbours came to visit, but she didn't really mind and she didn't ask them about the noise either.

Chapter Text

Sans turned the dials on the control panel of his machine and stared at the flickering screen. Colours were flashing violently. Sometimes he could almost make out an actual image, but it never stayed for more than a second. He groaned.

It was so hard to navigate. Every single save was like a fork in the road of reality. One way ended right there, the other carried on into the distance. And the resets…the resets weren't forks in the road, they made two roads out of one. It was too easy to get lost and he had to go back so far… Too far.

Sans let go of the controls and rested his skull against the machine. He had so hoped he'd be able to do this on his own.

He went upstairs, grabbed a bottle of ketchup, and went out to the backyard. Toriel was sitting in the sun, reading a book. Papyrus was knitting something that might possibly become a scarf and Frisk was digging in the corner of one of the flower beds.

“Hey, Pap, how's your scarf coming along?” Sans asked.

“It is going to be really special!” Papyrus grinned.

“I can see that,” he nodded.

He looked at Frisk. They were wiping the dirt off their hands and smiling at him.

“Wanna come and help me down in the workshop, kid?” he asked.

“Can I really?” Frisk asked, eagerly. “Yes!”

Toriel looked up from her book.

“You will be careful, correct?” she said.

“Of course,” Sans said.

“Yes, Mom,” Frisk nodded.

Toriel smiled and went back to her reading. Frisk followed Sans into the house and down to the basement.

“I've been thinking about your idea,” he said. “And I'd like to try it, if you don't mind.”

“Okay!” Frisk said happily.

Sans showed Frisk the machine. It was very big and shiny and it had holes in it in strange places and buttons on it that looked very difficult to press. There was also a big screen. It was black at the moment.

“I can use that to see into the space of times that are not now,” Sans said, tapping the screen. “That's the theory anyway.”

“Your machine can see into the past?” Frisk asked.

“No,” Sans said. “Well, sort of, don't worry about it, okay?”

“Okay,” Frisk said.

“Now, where did you last save?” Sans asked, pressing a button on the machine.

“This morning,” Frisk said.

“In your room?” Sans asked.

“Yes.”

Sans turned some dials and pictures began to whirl past on the screen.

“Hm,” Sans mumbled. “This must be it.”

Frisk looked at the flickering screen. There was a pattern to the movement now. Like the same thing was glitching over and over.

“That doesn't look like my room,” they said.

“It isn't,” Sans said. “It's what your room is made of…underneath.”

Frisk frowned and tried to understand.

“Underneath what?” they asked.

“Underneath everything,” Sans said absentmindedly.

He was turning the dials again.

“Do you save every morning?” he asked.

“Yes,” Frisk said, a little embarrassed.

Sans turned the dials faster. Colours whirred past and sometimes the machine made a sound. Whenever the strange glitching thing happened, Sans stopped, turned the dial backwards, and then the glitch happened again.

“Good,” he muttered. “This is good… At least now I know what it looks like.”

“Sans…” Frisk said.

“Hm?” Sans hummed without looking up.

“I was thinking… Are you and I in the saves too? Is everyone in there, just… not knowing?”

Sans took his hands off the control panel and glanced at Frisk, giving them an uncomfortable look.

“I don't know,” he said. “Maybe, but I don't think so, because the saves…they don't…”

He stopped mid-sentence and hesitated.

“They don't what?” Frisk asked.

“They get overwritten,” Sans said. “Like the bookmark, remember, there's only one at the time.”

This was not quite true and Sans knew it, but he was not going to bother Frisk with the multiverse theory.

“Oh,” Frisk said, dejected. “But then, why are you looking for them? If they're gone…how can you even see them?”

“Because the act of saving leaves traces,” Sans explained, trying to smile reassuringly. “And just maybe I could follow those traces to the place where saves are kept before they get overridden and if I can find that place… Well, perhaps reality is sloppy enough to leave a few bits and pieces lying around.”

“Like what?” Frisk asked, wide-eyed. “Like people?”

Sans had expected that question and he wished he could answer yes to it. He shook his head.

“Maybe not people,” he said. “But…perhaps things that were destroyed in one timeline but were saved in another. Some things that don't exist here, may still exist somewhere, somewhere we could find it.”

Frisk had gotten a strange look in their eyes and staring intently at the machine. “Like a soul…” they mumbled.

“What did you say?” Sans asked.

“Like a soul?” Frisk repeated shyly. “If someone lost their soul…could you find it in the space of the time before it was lost?”

“Heh, I don't know about that, kid,” Sans said, a little alarmed.

Frisk hung their head.

“Wait…” Sans said. “That isn't what happened to Asriel, is it?”

Frisk didn't answer.

“Frisk,” Sans said, his voice was suddenly very serious. “If you think Asriel lost his soul, there must be a part of him that isn't lost. Tell me, Frisk.”

Frisk was staring at their feet. They felt tears pricking in the corners of their eyes and they clenched their teeth, trying to fight back the memories.

“Frisk, look at me,” Sans demanded.

Frisk didn't respond, so he lifted their chin. Tears rolled across their cheeks. “It…it…” Frisk whimpered. “It's Flowey.”

Sans stared at them. The tears were coming faster now.

“Flowey did all those terrible things, but Asriel broke the barrier and, and…”

Frisk couldn't talk anymore. They sobbed. Sans caught them up in a hug and held them until they started talking again. Sans listened silently and Frisk talked about flowers and determination and soullessness. Then they talked about their dreams and about how guilty they felt that they had left Asriel behind, trapped as Flowey forever.

“But he couldn't stay,” Frisk bawled. “He had to be Flowey again and I didn't know how…I didn't want to…I was…I was…”

“It's okay, Frisk,” Sans soothed, wiping the tears off their face. “You're such a brave kid. You've done more for everyone already than anyone had the right to expect.”

Frisk sniffed and buried their face in Sans jacket. They didn't see Sans' frown. The pinpricks of light in his eyes were very dim. He was thinking about Toriel.

“Frisk,” Sans said softly. “You really believe that if we find Asriel's soul and give it to…Flowey…he'd become Asriel again?”

“Y-yes,” Frisk said shakily. “He has to. He just has to.”

“If you really believe that, we'll try it,” Sans decided.

Frisk gasped and looked up at him.

“Really?” they said, breathlessly.

“Really,” Sans said with a sober expression. “But if we're going to do this, we need to tell someone.”

“You can't tell Mom!” Frisk begged. “Please don't tell Mom!”

“No, not Toriel,” Sans said. “Alphys. She made Flowey, she helped me with this machine, she can help us now.”

“What if she tells Asgore?” Frisk whispered.

“She won't,” Sans said. “But we're going to have to tell Toriel and Asgore eventually.”

He flinched at the idea. Frisk looked pale.

“We'd be giving them back their son…hopefully,” Sans said after a while. “I think Tori might forgive us under the circumstances.”

Frisk laughed a shaky little laugh.

“And hey, it would give you a little brother,” Sans said, chucking Frisk under the chin. Frisk smiled.

“I wish I could tell you how nice Asriel is…” they said. “He's really great. I promise.”

“I believe you,” Sans said. “He's Tori's kid after all.”

There was another long silence.

“Hey,” Sans said, taking Frisk's hand. “I'll show you something cool. Gotta cheer you up and get those tear stains off your face before we go back upstairs.”

Frisk smiled, wiped their cheeks with their sleeves and followed Sans to the machine.

“It might not be very good at locating specific spacetime yet,” Sans said. “But it's pretty good at picking up static.”

He flipped a switch and pressed a button. The machine hummed and purred and suddenly noises came out of one of the strange holes. First it sounded like music, then like gibberish and then:

Ah, do not be afraid, my child. I am Toriel, caretaker of the ruins.”

Human. Don't you know how to greet a new pal? Turn around and shake my hand.”

Huh? Did you just call me… 'Mom'? Well… I suppose… Would that make you happy? To call me… 'Mother?' Well then, call me whatever you like!”

I'm Sans, Sans the skeleton.”

Frisk stared at the machine with their mouth wide open. Sans chuckled. “Pretty cool, hm?” he said. “They're just echos…but…”

“That is awesome,” Frisk said, deeply impressed.

“Wanna hear some more?” Sans asked.

“Yes!” Frisk said, sitting down on the floor.

Sans turned the dials a little and sat down beside them.

Wowie, you resisted the flavour of my home cooked pasta… Just so you could share it with me?”

Hey, kid. Wanna go to Grillby's? I know a shortcut.”

Yo! You're a kid too, right? I can tell 'cause you're wearing a striped shirt.”

Frisk listened with a brilliant smile on their face.

“How does the machine know what to echo?” they asked.

“Mmmm,” Sans mumbled. “I've tuned it to your frequency. It picks up frequencies of people pretty easily. Especially when they're close.”

“Cool,” Frisk said. “Hey, if you knew Asriel's frequency, would that help?”

“Yes…” Sans said thoughtfully. “It probably would…”

“And you can pick up someone's frequency when they're close, right?” Frisk said.

Sans gave Frisk an inquiring look and saw a brave little smile playing around the corners of their mouth.

“Okay,” he said. “What are you thinking, kid?”

Chapter Text

Frisk and Sans had been waiting for a day that Toriel and Papyrus would both be out of the house. Now that it was finally there, they were both on edge. They had thought of a plan to get Asriel back and they were both desperate for it to work. And it might work…but first they needed Alphys.

Sans called Alphys and asked her to come over. She promised to come right away, but it seemed an age to Frisk.

“Alphys!” they cried when they finally heard a sound outside.

Sans opened the door so suddenly Alphys almost tumbled forward into the hallway. “H-hi, guys,” she said, startled. “What's up?”

“We need your help with a project,” Sans said. “It's important.”

“Of c-course,” Alphys said. “Anything I can do to help.”

“We need you to tell us about Flowey,” Frisk said.

“Flowey?” Alphys repeated.

“The flower you injected determination into, it talks,” Sans clarified.

An expression of complete mortification came over Alphys’ face. “I don't know w-why you n-need to b-bring that up n-now…” she stammered.

Sans hesitated for a second, but decided there was no gentle way to break this to her anyway. “That flower had Asriel Dreemurr's essence in it,” he said. “Asriel's alive in that flower, but without a soul.”

Alphys' eyes widened in horror.

“What?” she gasped. “No! That can't be! I would've noticed… I would never…”

“Don't freak out on me now, Alphys,” Sans said, grabbing her shaking claw. “Frisk thinks we can fix it.”

“F-frisk?” Alphys mumbled, giving Frisk a shocked look.

“I saw Asriel,” Frisk said, grabbing Alphys' other claw. “The real him and he was so sorry, so sweet… But he can't come back without his soul. Without his soul, he's just Flowey and Flowey can't feel anything. We've got to bring him back, Alphys, he deserves to be happy again!”

Alphys looked into Frisk's eyes, so full of hope and love and determination, and she calmed down.

“Okay,” she said, taking a deep breath. “I'll help.”

They went down to the workshop and Sans explained everything about his machine that Alphys didn't already know. It was a pity they were all so stressed out, because it really was a marvelous invention and from a scientific perspective, it was all really exciting.

“But I still don't understand,” Alphys said. “Why do you think this machine could find Asriel's soul?”

“It can't right now,” Sans said. “But Flowey is at least part of Asriel. If he was here, he might be able to find his soul.”

“And then he could be Asriel again,” Frisk said hopefully.

“Okay,” Alphys said, straightening up. “I'm responsible for a lot of terrible accidents. If I can help to set one of them right, I'll do anything to make it happen.”

“Great,” Sans grinned, but then his face became serious again. “But you can't tell Undyne.”

“But I t-tell Undyne everything,” Alphys protested.

“You can't,” Sans said. “She'll tell Asgore.”

“Toriel and Asgore can't know,” Frisk said in a small voice “What if it doesn't work…”

“But he's their child!” Alphys protested. “They should know!”

Not yet,” Sans said firmly. “Okay, Alphys?”

“Okay…”Alphys mumbled.

There was a tense silence.

“Where are we gonna find this flower anyway?” Alphys mumbled.

“That,” Sans said, “is Frisk's department.”

And Frisk nodded determinedly.

“But first you've got to tell me exactly what you did to make him,” Sans said seriously. “I've got to know what I'm working with here.”

After a lot of explaining on Alphys' side and a lot of fiddling with the machine on Sans', they decided there were no more preparations they could make. Nothing else could be done without Flowey.

It took a lot of convincing to get Alphys to agree to going back to the underground and it took even more to persuade her to let Sans teleport them. Finally she gave up. Frisk knew where Flowey was likely to be and Sans had set his mind to seeing this thing through now.

“Ready?” Sans asked, taking Alphys' claw in one hand and Frisk's hand in the other.

“Ready,” Frisk nodded.

“I-I guess,” Alphys mumbled.

Sans moved, there was a flash of blue, and for a moment everything was blurry.

“Here we are,” Sans said.

Frisk breathed in the familiar smell of the Ruins.

“Oh my,” Alphys gasped, clutching at her stomach. “H-How do you cope with that on a d-daily basis.”

“It beats walking,” Sans grinned.

“Urg,” Alphys complained.

“Where to now, Frisk?” Sans asked.

“This way,” Frisk said confidently and lead the way.

They walked for a while. They were all very quiet. Frisk because they were excited, Sans because he was on his guard and Alphys because she was nervous.

“There,” Frisk pointed, holding still.

In a bed of golden flowers, one was slightly bigger than the others. It had a long stalk, but the stalk was bent, as if the flower was hanging its head.

Sans stared at it and felt an uneasy feeling creeping up on him. Alphys fidgeted with her coat sleeves and shuffled her feet.

“Shall I go talk to him?” Frisk asked.

“Yeah…” Sans said slowly. “You go do that. But if there's even a hint of trouble, I'm pulling you out of here stat.”

Frisk nodded and ran to the flowerbed. Alphys watched nervously.

“Don't worry, Frisk knows what they're doing,” Sans said.

“Y-you don't like it either,” Alphys whispered.

Sans didn't reply. They watched from a distance how Frisk went up to the flower. The flower moved. Frisk held out a hand. The flower pulled back.

“I wish we could hear what they were saying,” Alphys mumbled.

“I don't,” Sans said darkly.

Frisk sat down on their knees and fixed their eyes on Flowey, absolutely determined to get their way.

“I told you to leave me alone,” Flowey snapped.

“No,” Frisk said decidedly. “You're coming with me and my family. We'll get you your soul back, make you all better again.”

For a moment Flowey's eyes went jet black.

Better,” he hissed. “I've been better, but you stopped me.”

“I didn't stop you,” Frisk said. “Asriel did. So you stopped yourself.”

“I'm not Asriel,” Flowey growled.

“But you will be,” Frisk said. “You want to get out of here, don't you?”

Flowey hesitated.

“I'll take you to the surface,” Frisk said. “You want that, don't you?”

Flowey glanced at Sans and Alphys, waiting at a distance. “Yeah right,” he chuckled. “As if the smiley trash bag and the failed scientist wouldn't get rid of me as soon as they could.”

“They're here to help,” Frisk said defiantly. “They won't hurt you.”

Flowey scowled at Frisk and when they refused to look away, he growled and shook his petals.

“What do you want, Frisk!” he spat.

“I want Asriel!” Frisk yelled. “I hugged you once and I want to hug you again and bring you home to Mom and be happy!”

Flowey squirmed uncomfortably.

“Get a grip, kid,” he hissed.

“No!” Frisk yelled, determination burning in their eyes. “I want Asriel! You are Asriel! I love Asriel and you're coming with me!”

Frisk grabbed Flowey's stalk and tore him straight out of the ground. Flowey screamed, but Frisk didn't listen. They carefully wrapped the stalk around their wrist and held Flowey close to their chest.

“Let me go!” Flowey cursed.

“No,” Frisk said firmly and they carefully cupped Flowey's petals with their hand.

“What the hell are you doing?” Flowey spat. “Are you trying to hug me? I'm a plant! Get off me!”

No,” Frisk repeated.

“Fine!” Flowey growled. “Take me with you, see if I care!”

Frisk's face glowed with happiness.

“I know you care,” they whispered, carefully making their way out of the flowerbed.

“No I don't,” Flowey hissed. “And whatever you and your stupid friends have planned, it's not going to work.”

“You watch your tone,” Sans said darkly.

“Bite me,” Flowey retorted.

Alphys stared at him in dismay.

“What are you looking at?” he said, angrily.

“No time for small talk,” Sans said. “Clock's ticking. Let's go.”

Chapter Text

Alphys was tending to the control panel, while Sans was fiddling with the levers and slots on the side of the machine. They both knew what they were doing and the machine was working, but it was behaving erratically.

Frisk was sitting on a chair with Flowey in their lap. The first couple of minutes he had been absolutely dazed by the sensations of the surface world. Now he was scowling at Sans and Alphys and muttering to himself.

“What is it, Flowey?” Frisk asked quietly.

“They don't know what they're doing,” he grinned. “They're going to blow us all to smithereens at this rate. Won't that be fun.”

“Y-you know,” Alphys said, furrowing her brow. “We are trying to h-help you! So s-shut up.”

“Oh really?” Flowey said sweetly. “You really want me to have my soul back and be a good boy again? Then let me operate your stupid machine, I could sense my soul three dimensions away.”

“You're not touching my invention. How stupid do you think I am?” Sans growled.

“Well, you agreed to bring me here,” Flowey grinned sinisterly. “So…”

“You're near enough for me to find your frequency,” Sans said grimly. “If we manage to find your soul, we can talk about how stupid I am or not.”

He started turning the dials on his machine. Alphys was anxiously watching the monitor and Frisk was holding Flowey. Everything was silent, apart from the whirring of the machine.

Suddenly they heard footsteps.

Alphys looked up.

“W-who…?”

“Toriel!” Sans hissed. “Quick, Frisk, hide Flowey!”

“What? Where?” Frisk gasped.

The footsteps were coming closer.

“She cannot see him,” Sans snapped. “Alphys, stop her!”

Alphys scrambled to get to the door, but it was already opening. Sans snatched Flowey from Frisk's arms, threw him on the counter, turned a large can upside down and slammed it down over him.

“I thought you would be down here,” Toriel said, coming in. “I-”

She stopped in her tracks and stared at Frisk, Alphys and Sans. They all looked wide-eyed and guilty. The machine was whirring away in the background, its screen flickering wildly.

“What are you doing?” she asked, with equal astonishment and suspicion.

Frisk stared at her, speechless and terrified. Alphys had turned bright red and was doing her best to swallow, but failing even at that. Sans looked at her, opened his mouth and blurted out “We're trying to save your son.”

Toriel's violet eyes widened. “What did you say?” she whispered.

“Frisk has seen Asriel,” Sans said. It was too late to stop now anyway. “Just before the barrier shattered and we wanted to try to bring him back. I'm sorry we didn't tell you, it's just that it's dangerous and stupid and-”

“I don’t care.”

Sans shut his mouth. “What?” he asked.

“I don't care,” Toriel repeated, breathless.

Large tears were shimmering in her eyes and it was as if a strange ripple flowed through the air. “Please bring him back,” she said. “Please… I will do anything.”

There was another ripple. It made the air heavier and lighter at the same time.

“Oh, Frisk, did you really see my baby?” Toriel breathed.

Frisk nodded.

A tear dripped into Toriel's fur.

“Tori, go get Asgore,” Sans said, trying to sound normal. “He should be here.”

Toriel looked at him as if she had hardly heard him.

“Yes,” she said, dazed. “Asgore. I will…I will get him.”

She turned around and ran out of the room.

“Alphys, go with her,” Sans ordered.

“I'll try!” Alphys said and she ran after Toriel as fast as her short legs could carry her.

Sans took a deep breath.

“Now it has to work,” he said. “We can't fail.”

He grabbed the upside down can and lifted it.

“So you better co-operate!” he snapped at Flowey.

But Flowey didn't respond. He was cowering down on the counter, curled almost into a ball. He was making a strange sound and it took Sans and Frisk a moment to realise he was crying.

“Flowey?” Frisk said softly.

Flowey raised his head. Tears were leaking from his black eyes, smudging his petals. “I'll do it,” he whimpered. “I'll do whatever you want me to. I want to be Asriel again.”

“Oh, Flowey,” Frisk beamed. They didn't notice, but around them the air was still strangely heavy and strangely light.

“Right,” Sans said decisively. “Go on then.”

He picked Flowey up and put him in front of the monitor.

“I'll navigate, you look,” he said, hovering his hand above the control panel.

Silently he turned the dials and images and seemingly random patterns flickered by on the screen while Flowey stared at it with a blank face, still wet with tears.

“Wait,” Flowey suddenly said.

Sans looked up. The screen was swirling with purple.

“Is that it?” he asked.

“I don't know,” Flowey said.

“Frisk,” Sans said. “Flip that switch, will you?”

Frisk reached up and flicked the echo switch.

Strange garbled noises filled the room. First it sounded like they were underwater, then it sounded like they were bouncing off the edges of a cavern. But there were voices, barely audible:

Look, Dad, I got you your favourite: golden flower tea….”

Of course I didn't touch the cookie jar, Mom, that would be baaaaad…”

One more story, Dad?”

Will you sing it to me one more time, Mom?”

Frisk was listening intently and Flowey was trembling all over.

“Seems about right,” Sans muttered.

“C-can you get me there?” Flowey gasped and his voice was choked with something very much like hunger.

Sans glanced at Frisk. “Frisk,” he said. “Turn around.”

“What?” Frisk protested. “Why?”

Frisk,” Sans repeated.

Frisk huffed and turned their back to the machine.

Sans picked Flowey up and put him carefully into one of the strange holes in the machine.

“If that's your soul,” he said, pointing at the screen. “I'm sending you straight to it… good luck.”

“Th-thank you?” Flowey said uncertainly.

Sans eye sparked blue and he pulled a lever. There was a strange popping sound, like all the air being sucked out of your ears and Flowey was gone.

“Where'd he go?” Frisk gasped.

“I told you to turn around!” Sans chided.

They were interrupted by the sound of the front door slamming. Sans made a nervous sound.

Footsteps came galloping down the basement stairs and Toriel rushed into the room, followed immediately by Asgore and, a little later, Alphys.

“Did you do it?” Asgore said hoarsely.

Toriel looked at Sans desperately.

Before Sans could answer the machine creaked and murmured:

What a lovely drawing, thank you, I will hang it in my study…”

“Is that me?” Asgore said incredulously.

Close your little darling eyes… Close your little darling snout…”

“Oh…” Toriel gasped.

Mommy, Daddy! Look! I think my horns have started growing!”

“Asriel,” Toriel cried and she ran towards the machine.

“Mom…” Frisk said wretchedly. “It's just a…”

But they couldn't finish their sentence. Sans stepped aside to let Asgore through and put his hand on Frisk's shoulder. Asgore sank on his knees and buried his face in his paws.

Howdy, what's your name?”

Toriel pressed her paw to her face and cried soundlessly.

The machine rattled.

“What is happening, Sans?” Toriel said pleadingly. “Is it working? What did you do?”

Sans looked at her helplessly.

“Don't cry, Mom!” Frisk said suddenly. “Asgore, don't be sad. Asriel doesn't want you to be sad!”

Asgore looked up, his big face all contorted with grief and helplessness.

“Asriel?” Frisk said, looking at the flickering screen. “Can you hear me? Please come back!”

Haha, why do we all wear striped shirts anyway?”

“Asriel?” Toriel said, her voice shaking. “It is your mom, I have talked to you so many times… Little kid of mine… Please answer me?”

The air was light and heavy at the same time. Something was moving.

“Oh Asriel, if I could only see your face,” Toriel said, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Silence.

Toriel sobbed. Frisk grasped her hand, but they couldn't make her stop crying.

“A-Asriel,” Asgore muttered.

Something that started as a ripple turned into a wave and washed over the room.

“Asriel, my son…” he gulped.

“You said you didn't want to let go!” Frisk cried out, holding on to Toriel. “So hold on now! Come back!”

The machine was vibrating. It was barely noticeable at first, but now it was almost starting to rock back and forth. Toriel and Asgore were mumbling Asriel's name over and over again and Sans could feel the air in the room changing from hot to cold and back again. His eye was glowing and he couldn't stop it. Instinctively he raised one hand, ready to grab hold of the fabric of reality.

The ground shook.                                         

Frisk heard Alphys scream. There was a burst of light so bright they had to squeeze their eyes shut.

“Asgore, catch him!” they heard Toriel cry out and suddenly they were aware of her arms around them.

“Turn it off, Sans!” Alphys screamed. “Turn the machine off now!”

Sans slammed his fist down on a button and the machine stopped rocking. He turned and looked at Asgore and Toriel. They were crouched down on the floor, huddled close together. Toriel was holding Frisk tight with her right arm, but her left paw was resting on the shoulder of her son.

Asgore cradled Asriel in his arms, silent tears dripping down his snout.

“Let me see him!” Frisk said, struggling to get free from Toriel's grip.

Toriel let go and wrapped both her arms around her lost child. Frisk squirmed through the tangle of goats until she saw him.

Asriel was asleep. He was no taller than Frisk, maybe even a little shorter. His hair was white as snow and in the short hair behind his ears you could see the stumpy first growth of two horns.

“Oh…” Toriel sighed. “Oh please, tell me this is real. Oh, my child.”

“Asriel?” Asgore said with a choked voice.

Asriel opened his eyes for a moment and looked at the wet, but smiling faces around him. “Mom… Dad…” he mumbled, his eyes focused on Frisk for a moment and he smiled. “Howdy…” he muttered, then his eyes fell shut again.

“I can't…” Asgore stammered. “I…”

“Thank you!” Toriel cried. “Oh, thank you!”

She kissed Asriel's sleeping snout and she hugged Asgore and she hugged Frisk and then she wrapped her arms around Sans and hugged him so tight she almost lifted him off his feet.

Alphys wiped the sweat off her forehead and heaved a sigh of relief.

“A-Alphys,” Asgore said, smiling through his tears. “Come see my son.”

“My child… My children…” Toriel was almost too happy to speak.

Frisk was grinning from ear to ear. They ran up to Sans for a hug and they got one. “Well, that worked out remarkably well,” Sans grinned, almost too relieved to think straight.

“Won't Papyrus be surprised when he gets back!” Frisk laughed.

“Sans?” Asgore said behind them.

They turned around. Toriel was holding Asriel now and Asgore was trying to hide the fact that both his sleeves were soaked from him drying his face.

“Sans…thank you,” he said.

“It was mostly Frisk here,” Sans grinned.

“Well…I'm already in Frisk's debt forever,” Asgore smiled shyly. “No use thanking you anymore, right, Frisk?”

Frisk grinned at him. They were so happy they felt like they could have walked on air.

“I don't know how you did this,” Asgore said soberly. “And I don't need to know… Just, thank you.”

Sans nodded, still weak with relief. He watched Frisk hug a still trembling Alphys and took a few deep breaths. This could have all gone horribly wrong. Silently, he considered what might have happened if Asgore and Toriel had not been here. He shuddered.

“We can put him in my bed,” Frisk offered, when Asgore and Toriel were discussing what would be the best course of action.

“Thank you, Frisk,” Toriel smiled. “That is sweet of you.”

They carried Asriel upstairs and Toriel tucked him into Frisk's bed. Toriel and Asgore sat down beside the bed to watch him sleep and no one even thought of asking them to move. Frisk watched him for a long time too, but eventually they went downstairs with Sans to make everyone sandwiches.

Alphys called Undyne and she came racing over in her battered old muscle car. First she screamed at Alphys, then she screamed at Sans, then she cried, and when she'd calmed down, they took her upstairs to see Asriel.

When Papyrus came home, this scene repeated itself, only with more squealing than screaming.

There was no hot supper that evening, everyone had sandwiches and juice instead. It got later and later, but Asgore was not leaving and Undyne wouldn't leave Asgore and Alphys wouldn't leave Undyne and Frisk proclaimed they didn't want anybody to leave. So Asgore and Toriel slept on the floor of Frisk's room. Undyne and Alphys slept in Toriel's bed. Frisk went to sleep in Sans' room, and finally Papyrus went to sleep there too because he thought it was very unfair that he was the only one sleeping alone in his own room.

It was a properly confused ending to an unbelievable day. And when everybody was finally asleep and everything was quiet, the ripples of love and happiness could be felt radiating from the house for miles around.

 

Chapter Text

It was half past ten and Frisk should have been asleep at least an hour ago. So should Asriel. But they were not sleeping because they had stretched a rope between their two beds – going all the way from one end of the room where Frisk slept to the other were Asriel slept – and now they were sending each other messages in a little basket they pulled back and forth. Sharing a room was fun.

Technically there probably would have been room to get Asriel his own room in the attic, but both he and Frisk had loudly protested against this. This was way better.

Frisk took the note out of the basket and held it close to their face to read it. They had opened the curtains so there was just enough light. It said:

NAC UOY DAER SIHT?

Frisk took their pencil and scribbled on the back of the note:

SEY I NAC

They put the note in the basket and pulled the string. It didn't move. They pulled harder. The basket moved with a jolt, but then suddenly ground to a halt, a blue glow sparking around it.

Frisk and Asriel gasped and quickly laid down flat in their beds, pulling the covers up to their chins, trying not to laugh.

They heard the sound of a skeletal hand scraping against the wood of the door.

“I hope that's the sound of sleeping children I hear…” Sans’ voice said on the other side of the door.

Frisk and Asriel kept as quiet as they could, shaking with inward laughter.

“Good…” Sans said. “Because your mom has finally gone to bed and you do not want to wake her.”

The blue glow spread to the curtains and they closed as if pulled by invisible hands. When the glow faded the room was dark.

“Sleep tight, chatterbones,” Sans chuckled and he quietly walked away.

Frisk and Asriel held their breath for a moment to make sure he was gone and then they giggled, muffling the sound in their duvets. Then they lay silently in the dark for a while, waiting for their eyes to adjust.

“Hey, Frisk?” Asriel said softly.

“Yeah?” Frisk whispered back.

“Is signing in the dark like talking with your ears plugged?” he asked curiously.

“No,” Frisk said. “Cause you can still hear yourself talk if your ears are plugged.”

“Oh…” Asriel said. “But can't you feel what you're signing?”

“Yes…” Frisk answered. “But it's not the same.”

“Oh, okay,” Asriel nodded.

There was another short silence and the two children lay contently snuggled up in their beds. The dark around them was nice, because they knew they were not alone. It was soft and comforting.

Frisk thought about how fun the last couple weeks had been. Ever since Asriel had come back everybody had been so happy. Toriel was always smiling and singing. Sans was in a super good mood and Papyrus was so proud he now had two younger siblings. At first he had called Asriel 'mini-Asgore', but now he sometimes called him 'little goat brother' and he was knitting Frisk and Asriel matching striped scarves.

“Asriel?” Frisk whispered. “Do you wish your dad lived here?”

“Yeah…” Asriel whispered back. “But also not, because he and Mum are so weird together now.”

The first couple of weeks after Asriel had come back Asgore had stayed with them. He and Toriel wanted to be there for Asriel together, but Asriel was doing much better than they had expected. He didn't really remember being Flowey. He remembered Flowey, but he didn't remember being Flowey. He still knew he had been him though and that was bad enough.

In any case Asgore had soon decided that it would be best if he went back home and now Asriel went back and forth between his mom and his dad every week. Frisk liked the weeks he stayed with them best, but at least they always saw him every day at school.

“They're not weird,” Frisk mumbled, yawning a little. “They just get nervous sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Asriel whispered. “That's silly though.”

“Yeah…” Frisk agreed.

Asriel absentmindedly chewed on the ear of a rag doll rabbit. It made a funny sound.

“I think Sans likes Mom,” Frisk said softly.

“I do too,” Asriel agreed. “But I've never seen them smooching.”

Frisk giggled.

“Maybe they think you won't like it, because of your dad…” they suggested.

“That's silly too,” Asriel frowned. “Mom and Dad are still Mom and Dad…but they don't smooch anymore. So why can't Mom smooch Sans?”

“I dunno,” Frisk said, staring at the dark ceiling. “Grownups are silly.”

The whole house was quiet and sleepy, but Frisk felt too fuzzy and comfortable to go asleep. It was such a waste to sleep when you were happy.

“Asriel,” they whispered. “Can you do the dancing lights again?”

“Sure,” Asriel grinned on the other side of the room.

He stuck one paw out from under his duvet and gentle wiggled his fingers. Tiny sparks of greenish yellow fire appeared out of nowhere. They danced towards the dark ceiling, growing into swirling little flames. Their flickering light made the room look bigger than it was and as Asriel gently waved his paw left and right, the magic flames danced around like they were alive.

“So pretty…” Frisk breathed, gazing up at the lights with big, dreamy eyes.

Asriel lowered his paw and the little flames happily danced on their own. They made the softest crackling sounds, hardly audible, and their light reflected in Frisk and Asriel's eyes.

Deeper and deeper, the two children breathed in the shadowy room full of dancing light and slower and slower they blinked their eyes.

Finally Asriel's eyes fell shut and the little flames quietly extinguished in mid-air. Frisk did not see this. They were already asleep, with a smile on their face. And so was Asriel, with a smile on his snout.

Chapter Text

The phone rang.

“I'll get it!” Papyrus called out, but Toriel had already picked up.

“Hello, Toriel speaking,” she said.

“H-hey, Toriel,” Alphys said on the other end of the line. “Did you get today's mail delivered already?”

“Goodness, I don't know,” Toriel said, surprised. “Papyrus?” she said in a raised voice. “Has the mail come?”

“I believe Frisk put it on the kitchen table,” Papyrus called back. “I shall fetch it for you.”

“A-actually it's just about one th-thing,” Alphys said. “A big p-purple envelope?”

“Papyrus?” Toriel called towards the kitchen. “Is there a big purple envelope?”

“Yes there is!” he called back excitedly. “It's addressed to all of us!”

“A-about that envelope,” Alphys began, but Undyne interrupted her and yelled: “Don't open it! It's full of-”

There was a loud cry of surprise from the kitchen and Toriel nearly dropped the phone. “Goodness gracious!” she cried.

“What happened?” Alphys and Undyne asked through the telephone.

“Wowie!” Papyrus said, emerging from the kitchen covered almost head to toe in glitter. “What an exciting piece of mail!”

“Do not move, Papyrus!” Toriel said hastily. “You will track it through the whole house.”

“Papyrus opened it, didn't he?” Undyne said with a sigh.

“I am afraid so,” Toriel replied.

“Oh, dear,” Alphys said.

“We got one too. It's from Mettaton,” Undyne explained.

“Who else,” Toriel smiled. “Well, thank you for calling. I will go fetch the vacuum.”

“Good luck,” they said.

“Thank you,” Toriel nodded.

She hung up and got the vacuum cleaner. Carefully she vacuumed up most of the glitter on and around Papyrus, who was patiently standing still.

“Look at this fancy card,” he said, holding up a cream coloured piece of paper with golden letters. It was covered in glitter, just like the inside of the envelope.

“I will throw the envelope away,” Toriel said, carefully taking it. “But do please read the card to me.”

“It says: Dearest friends, you are all cordially invited to the housewarming of your favourite robot and superstar: Mettaton!” Papyrus read.

He looked up excitedly. “Oh, Mettaton is giving a party!” he said.

“Alphys mentioned Mettaton was considering taking an apartment nearby,” Toriel said. “I guess he decided to go through with it.”

“How exciting,” Papyrus said happily.

“What's exciting?” Sans asked, coming in from the back garden with Frisk and Asriel.

“Mettaton is moving here and he's giving a party for his new house!” Papyrus announced.

“Cool,” Frisk said. “I can come too, right?”

“And me!” Asriel put in.

“Of course, your names were on the envelope too,” Papyrus said. “Only Toriel threw it away because it was very glittery.”

“You are very glittery,” Frisk giggled, pointing at his cheekbones.

“Can I see?” Sans asked.

Papyrus handed him the card.

“Next week,” Sans said, checking the date. “And it's in the posh part of town, figures.” He winked at Toriel.

“Do you think there will be a lot of people there?” she said, absentmindedly stroking Asriel's head.

“Who knows,” Sans shrugged. “It's Mettaton, so he probably invited all his fans.”

“No, Sans,” Papyrus shook his head. “The card says friends. Of course everybody is a fan of Mettaton, but we're his friends.”

“If you say so, bro,” Sans said.

“We should think of a present,” Frisk said, wiping glitter off Papyrus' face.

“Oh yes, something for the new house,” Toriel agreed. “Tell you what, I will call Alphys to ask what he might like and also to tell her we survived the glitter explosion.”

“It was only a small explosion really,” Papyrus made excuses. “It was very elegant.”

They all laughed.

The day of the housewarming they all dressed up nice. Frisk and Asriel were wearing the stripy scarves that Papyrus had made for them. Toriel was wearing a long lavender dress for the occasion, and Papyrus was truly dressed up to the nines.

“Where are your party clothes?” he asked Sans who looked just like he always did.

“I'm wearing a clean shirt,” Sans answered. “And sneakers.”

“Well, I don't think this is really showing you care,” Papyrus huffed.

“It will be fine,” Toriel smiled. “Now, come along, everyone.”

They only just all fit into the car. It was a good thing Frisk and Asriel were so small. Sans drove to the address on the invitation. It was a very fancy apartment complex. They happened to arrive at the same time as Asgore.

“Howdy, Dad!” Asriel yelled and he jumped into his arms.

“Hello!” Asgore laughed, hugging him and giving Frisk a pat on the head.

They all went up to the gate and pressed the intercom button.

“Hello?” Mettaton's voice sang.

“It is us,” Toriel said.

“Come on up, my darlings!” Mettaton invited. “It's the first elevator and then the apartment on the left, you can't miss it.”

That was true. The door to the apartment was heavily decorated with flowers and garlands. Papyrus rang the bell and the door opened immediately.

“Hello, everyone!” Mettaton greeted them. “Thank you so much for coming!”

He was not in his Mettaton Ex form, but he was wearing a gold lamé bow tie.

“Come in, come in,” he said and they all poured into the apartment.

“I suppose you're all surprised I am not my extravagant, dazzling self today,” Mettaton said with an affected sigh and waving his mechanical arms. “But this is an intimate gathering and I wanted to keep it low key, you know?”

Toriel and Sans glanced around the exquisite apartment and the table full of high-end food and champagne and exchanged a meaningful look, but Papyrus said sincerely “Well Mettaton, I think you are dazzling in whatever form you take. After all, this is the face that won over the underground!”

“Thank you, Papyrus, you're a real sweetheart,” Mettaton said.

Frisk and Asriel giggled and he looked down.

“What have we here?” he said. “My, my, you must be Asriel. I can tell you're going to be just as handsome as your daddy.”

Frisk grinned and Asriel looked kind of proud.

“Don't you two look stylish,” Mettaton complimented them. “What lovely scarves.”

“Papyrus made them,” Frisk said.

“Really?” Mettaton said, looking at Papyrus.

“Yes,” Papyrus said proudly. “They are the first pieces of my fashion line.”

“Well…” Mettaton said. “Tall, cute, and creative.”

Papyrus blushed, a reddish glow appearing on his cheekbones, but he was saved from having to reply because the intercom buzzed again.

“I'll get it,” Shyren said putting down her glass.

Meanwhile, Napstablook floated over to Frisk. “Um, hey…” he said. “Nice to see you again… At least for me…to see you…”

“Hi!” Frisk said, happy to see the ghost again. “I have something to show you!”

“Really?” Napstablook said shyly. “Specially for me?”

“Yeah,” Frisk grinned. “I've got a sign for your name!”

They held out their hands. Signed the letter “N” and then the sign for headphones.

*Napstablook,* they nodded. *That's you.*

“Gee….” Napstablook said. “Nobody's ever made a sign just for me before…”

Frisk beamed at him.

“Hi guys!” Undyne's loud voice announced her presence. “Let's get this party started!”

“I couldn't agree more,” Mettaton said. “Papyrus, dear, can I pour you a drink?”

Sans was watching Mettaton and Papyrus with a look that was slightly darker than usual. Toriel noticed and came towards him, smiling. She had been whispering to Asgore about keeping an eye on Asriel and how much cake he ate. It wasn't easy to coordinate an upbringing, but they were making it work.

“What are you frowning about?” Toriel asked, sitting down beside Sans.

“Nothing,” Sans said.

Toriel glanced at Mettaton, who was handing Papyrus a glass of pink champagne.

“Mom! Sans!” Asriel yelled. “Can Frisk and I go play with Napstablook's music stuff in his sound room?”

“If Napstablook is okay with that, sure you can,” Toriel nodded.

Asriel ran back to Frisk and Napstablook.

“Blooky!” Mettaton called out. “If you're going to make some music, don't hide away in your room! I'm sure everyone would like to hear it if you and the kids are going to give a concert!”

Napstablook protested weakly, but everybody agreed with Mettaton, so Napstablook, Asriel, and Frisk made music. That meant Napstablook did some mixing and Frisk and Asriel pressed their favourite sound effect buttons.

Some more friends arrived and the apartment with its shining surfaces and glittering accessories was starting to look a little more messy and cosy and a little less like it belonged in a magazine. It turned out to be a pretty fun and relaxed party.

“Excuse me!” Mettaton said, suddenly in possession of a microphone. “I would like to say something.”

Slowly everything went quiet.

“I want to thank you all for coming,” Mettaton said loudly. “It means so much to a star like me to be able to retreat to a little hideaway like this and spend time with one's real friends.”

He heaved a dramatic sigh and spread his arms.

“In a couple of months my new television show will air on the surface channels and I will have to be off on promotional tours again, but right now it is nice to have you lovely monsters – and humans – all so close.”

With a sudden flourish he drove over to Alphys and Undyne, who were standing a little to the side.

“But for once, that is enough about me,” he said. “I'd like to hand over the microphone to the most endearing science nerd I know, my good friend, Alphys.”

He tried to give Alphys the microphone, but she turned bright red and tried to push it away.

“Alphys darling, we talked about this,” he said and then, raising his voice again: “Alphys here has an exciting announcement to make!”

Trembling in her pretty polka dot dress Alphys took the microphone and tried not to look at any of the people that were staring expectantly at her.

“Ehm…eh….” she muttered. “I…. that is Undyne and…. Eh….. Oh dear….”

Undyne bent down, wrapped an arm around Alphys, and pulled the microphone towards herself.

“We're getting married guys!” she yelled, grinning so wide all her teeth showed.

A gasp went through the onlookers and there was also a high pitched squeal which might have been Papyrus'.

“That's right, people!” Mettaton exclaimed. “Another wonderful chapter in the dramatic love story of these two previously star-crossed lovebirds!”

“Congratulations!” Papyrus gushed, trying to hug them both.

“Thanks, Pap,” Undyne laughed, hugging him to shield Alphys from his over-enthusiasm. “Hey, would you like to be my best-man or witness or whatever they call it?”

“I would be honoured!” Papyrus gasped. “I will be the best, best man!”

“Way to go Alphys,” Sans said, giving her a grin and a nod.

“Th-thanks,” she said.

She was blushing like a tomato, but she looked really happy. In fact she looked happier than anyone had ever seen her.

“Has she asked you yet, Sans?” Mettaton said loudly, coming towards them.

“Mettaton,” Alphys whined, but then she gave Sans a hopeful smile. “Would you like to be my witness?” she asked. “Together with Mettaton.”

“You want a lazybones like me to play a key part in your wedding?” Sans winked.

“I-it would mean a lot to me,” Alphys said. “B-Bratty and Catty are going to be b-bridesmaids, and Undyne is asking Papyrus and Asgore…”

“I'd love to be your witness, Alphys,” Sans said.

“Hey Alphy!” Undyne said triumphantly. “Frisk said yes!”

“Oh good!” Alphys said and she laughed at Frisk, who was dangling from Undyne's arm and glowing with pride at being the official youngest member of the wedding party.

“A toast is in order I think!” Mettaton exclaimed, popping another bottle of Champagne and everyone scrambled to find a clean glass.

With that the rest of the housewarming turned into an impromptu engagement party. Everybody swarmed around Alphys and Undyne, Mettaton sang a song in their honour and by the time people started to go home, a lot of people were quite drunk.

“Isn't it exciting!” Papyrus said when they were all back in the car and on their way home. “I've never been to a wedding before!”

“I am so happy for Undyne and Alphys,” Toriel nodded, who was driving this time. “I wish them all the happiness in the world.”

Frisk and Asriel were too tired to reply, they were almost asleep and hung against Papyrus, who was sitting between them. By the time they arrived home, they had really fallen asleep.

“I'll take Asriel,” Toriel whispered. “And you take Frisk, Sans.”

They carried the sleeping children into the house and up to their room. When both Asriel and Frisk had been tucked into bed, Sans and Toriel stood in the middle of the room for a while and watched them, both smiling.

“That was a good party, was it not?” Toriel observed quietly.

“Yeah,” Sans agreed.

“I hope you will come to like Mettaton better,” Toriel said. “We will be seeing more of him now he lives so near.”

“I don't dislike him,” Sans said. “It's just…he's not a very considerate person. He's selfish and selfishness can be hurtful, you know.”

“It can…” Toriel said. “But Alphys tells me he's been working hard to patch things up with Napstablook and he's taken young Shyren under his wing. And he certainly did not hog the spotlight at this particular occasion.”

“I guess that's true,” Sans had to agree.

There was a short silence. Frisk and Asriel sensed the change in their sleep and rolled over. Asriel was chewing on his rag doll rabbit and Frisk was almost sucking their thumb.

“Tori, will you be my date to Alphys and Undyne's wedding?” Sans said suddenly.

“Of course I will,” Toriel said, surprised, but delighted.

Sans grinned silently and said nothing.

After a few more moments, they went downstairs. Papyrus was making a cup of hot milk before bed. He had already changed into his pyjamas.

“Mettaton said he's eager to get to know the neighbourhood,” he said cheerfully. “And I promised to show him my favourite shops and places.”

“That's cool, bro,” Sans nodded, with a smile that was meant for Toriel as well. “As long as you're having a good time.”

Chapter Text

“Now carefully stir until everything is mixed,” Toriel instructed.

“How carefully?” Papyrus asked.

Very carefully,” Toriel said with emphasis.

Toriel and Papyrus were cooking together. Asriel and Frisk were helping and Sans was slumped in one of the kitchen chairs, listening to the cooking lesson and dozing off at times.

“These are done,” Frisk said, slicing the last tomato.

“Thank you, Frisk,” Toriel said. “Asriel, would you like to try and light the fire?”

“Yes!” Asriel exclaimed.

Toriel lifted him up so he could see onto the top of the stove with ease. He stretched out his paw and made a fist. When he unclenched it, a small burst of flames shot forth and lit the fire under the cooking pot.

“Very good!” Toriel praised and she put her son down again, scratching him between his ears.

Asriel beamed and Frisk gave him a thumbs up.

Sans' phone, which was lying on the kitchen table, made a beeping noise. Lazily, Sans stretched out his hand but he couldn't reach it.

“Can someone get that for me?” he asked.

“If you sit up, you can reach it,” Toriel laughed.

“Nah,” Sans mumbled.

“Then use your magic,” Papyrus said irritably.

“Nah,” Sans repeated.

Frisk rolled their eyes and fetched the phone.

“It's from Grillby,” they said, handing it to Sans.

Sans read the text and sat up. “Grillby says Muffet has opened a bakery,” he said.

“Really?” Toriel said. “What a good idea.”

“How exciting!” Papyrus said. “Can we go visit?”

“I think that's what Grillbs had in mind,” Sans grinned.

“We can go tomorrow,” Toriel suggested. “I do not think we have anything planned that afternoon.”

“Can I have a spider donut?” Frisk pleaded.

“What's a spider donut?” Asriel asked.

“They are delicious,” Frisk said. “And bouncy!”

“We will have to buy lots of things,” Papyrus said excitedly. “To show our support!”

“Of course, we will buy something,” Toriel smiled. “And if there are spider donuts you can have one, Frisk. Mind you I said one.”

“I wonder if she changed her recipes,” Sans chuckled. “Considering the human customers perhaps she has to.”

“No!” Frisk protested. “I like them the way they were in the underground.”

“Well, we shall find out tomorrow,” Toriel said. “Do you think we should call ahead or let it be a surprise?”

“Surprises are always better,” Papyrus declared.

“Yeah and besides,” Sans said. “It's a shop, I don't think making an appointment is necessary. After all, we'll be helping her raise some dough.”

There was a round of muffled laughs and a groan from Papyrus, who quickly returned to his cooking to hide his involuntary grin.

The next day, they all piled into the car and went to visit Muffet's new bakery. It was a sweet little shop sandwiched between a grocery store and a health food centre.

“It looks lovely,” Toriel praised.

The shop windows were gleaming in the sunlight and over the entrance hung a beautifully painted sign with purple letters that said:

The Parlour
Authentic arachnid patisserie

“Oh, look,” Asriel said, pressing his snout against the glass.

Behind the shop window, a big pie and some other baked goods were displayed on a satin cloth decorated with cobwebs.

“It all looks so fancy,” Papyrus said admiringly and he pushed open the door to go inside.

The little bell above the bakery door tinkled and as they came in one after the other, Muffet appeared behind the counter. She looked like a proper little baker. Her blouse was covered by a frilly apron and she had big poofy chef's hat on top of her head. Her pigtails with their red bows just peeked out from underneath.

“Welcome!” she said with a happy smile that showed her fangs. “What a nice surprise!”

Papyrus gave Toriel a triumphant look and they all greeted Muffet warmly.

“What do you think of my shop?” Muffet said proudly. “Isn't it darling?”

They looked around. Every surface seemed to shine like it had been polished by millions of tiny paws with millions of tiny cloths. In fact they probably had been. The counter, the tile floor, the glass panes behind which the food was displayed, everything gleamed. The walls were painted a creamy white and all the woodwork was painted a soft lavender.

The wall behind the counter, straight across from the door, had a slogan painted on it in curly letters:

'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly…

On the shiny counter stood two little handwritten signs that said All proceeds go to spider housing and welfare and Made by spiders, for spiders, of spiders.

“It looks great, Muffet,” Sans grinned.

“Absolutely!” Papyrus agreed.

“I have never seen a cuter bakery in my life,” Toriel assured her.

Muffet looked very pleased.

“I can see you two are thinking of more important matters,” she said, looking at Frisk and Asriel who were gaping at the pastries on display. “What would you like? I have spider donuts, arachnid croissants, cobweb cannoli, tarantula tarts and meshweaver macaroons.”

“Donuts!” Frisk cheered.

“I think we will have one of everything so we can all have a taste,” Toriel smiled. “And two extra donuts for the children.”

“Then the donuts are on the house,” Muffet declared.

She took two pastry tongs and quickly selected the chosen pastries with two of her hands, while the others wrapped them in paper and handed them to Toriel.

While Toriel was paying and the others were still admiring the shop, some humans came in, looking both nervous and excited.

“Welcome to my parlour,” Muffet said brightly. “Do feel free to look around.”

“Good afternoon,” the woman who had entered first said with a polite nod. She turned to her friends and said in a low voice “See all the monster clientele? It's really traditional monster food, so exciting!”

The door to the shop opened again and Grillby came in.

“Hey, Grillbs,” Sans grinned, greeting him.

“Hello everyone,” Grillby said, looking around. “Good to see you all.”

The words were rather hard to understand. His voice sounded like the crackling of a fire and the actual syllables of the words were almost lost in the sound of flames, but the others were used to his voice and were able to understand him just fine.

“Grillby has been such a dear,” Muffet said, smiling. “He's helped me with a lot of things.”

Grillby made a dismissive gesture with his hand, trailing some smoke behind him. The human customers were trying not to stare at him.

The little shop was pretty crowded now and Muffet said “Why don't you give our friends a little tour of the bakery, Grillby? Then I can attend to these lovely customers here.”

“Of course,” Grillby nodded.

Behind the counter was a wooden door with old fashioned carvings that led to the office and the bakery behind the shop. Grillby lead the others through it and showed them the tiny office space.

“The bakery is through here,” he said, going into a narrow corridor.

He opened the door to the baking room, but instead of going in he stepped aside so the others could see through the doorway. He could not very easily have gone inside without incinerating some spiders.

They were absolutely everywhere. Crawling up and down the walls and across the floor. Carrying cooking utensils and ingredients between them. Walking carelessly through the mixing bowls and over the batches of pastries that were waiting to be baked.

In the back of the room loomed the shape of a giant oven.

“Cool!” Frisk and Asriel yelled and they darted across the bakery floor to inspect it.

“Careful!” Toriel warned, but the kids were skipping left and right without stepping on even a single spider.

“What a professional looking place,” Papyrus nodded, impressed.

“It is so wonderful to see monsters starting businesses and being accepted into the community,” Toriel said with a happy sigh.

“Yeah, it's pretty awesome,” Sans agreed. “Your new diner was a big hit as soon as it opened, wasn't it?” he said to Grillby.

“Business has been good,” Grillby said with an extra warm crackle in his voice.

“The oven is big enough for us both to sit in!” Asriel yelled from the other end of the bakery.

“You keep your hands to yourself, children,” Toriel warned.

“Papyrus, can you give me a boost?” Frisk begged.

“Of course I can,” Papyrus said and he walked over to them, spiders scurrying away in front of his boots.

He lifted up Frisk and then Asriel, so they could look at the top of the large oven.

“Have you seen enough?” Toriel said with a smile. “Bring them back over here, Papyrus.”

Before they could protest, Papyrus picked up Frisk with one arm and Asriel with the other.

“You shall be carried and delivered to your rightful owner,” he said. “That is to say, your mother. Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh.”

They went back to the shop, where Muffet had just waved goodbye to her customers. They had all bought a rather big batch of cannolis and macaroons.

“And what did you think of my bake house?” she asked, blinking her five eyes.

“Very impressive,” Papyrus said, putting Asriel and Frisk back on their feet.

“Your oven is awesome!” Frisk said.

“Thank you, dearie,” Muffet laughed.

They all admired the pretty shop again, told Muffet they'd certainly be back soon and then they left, leaving Grillby behind.

On the way back, Frisk and Asriel ate their spider donuts in the car.

“We should tell Alphys and Undyne,” Asriel said in between bites.

“Yeah, maybe Muffet can bake their wedding cake!” Frisk agreed, with their mouth full of donut.

“Do not speak with your mouths full, children,” Toriel admonished gently.

“What a good idea,” Papyrus said. “As best man I shall inform Undyne directly.”

“Can I have a macaroon?” Frisk asked, still with their mouth full.

“Me too!” Asriel joined in, spraying crumbs all over the back seat.

Children,” Toriel scolded and they shut their mouths.

“You really must get rid of that habit,” she said, starting to smile. “After all, if you talk like that I donut understand you.”

“Oh, Tori,” Sans grinned. “Your puns really take the cake.”

“Well they are certainly better than yours,” Papyrus muttered, typing on his phone. “That one was hardly a pun at all.”

Toriel defended Sans warmly and Sans laughed out loud at his brother's annoyance, but Asriel and Frisk didn't say a word. Their mouths were still full of donut and they had decided to be extra sweet, because they were both really hoping they could get their hands on another pastry before their mother would start talking about spoiling your appetite by eating before dinner.

Chapter Text

“Sans!” Papyrus said, overjoyed. “You dressed up!”

Sans tugged on the sleeves of his jacket and grinned awkwardly. “Tori went through the trouble of tailoring it,” he said. “Least I can do is wear it.”

“You look great!” Papyrus complimented him. “Look at us, we are two impressive skeletons.”

“You certainly are!” Toriel agreed, coming down the stairs in a black skirt and a red blouse.

Frisk and Asriel were skipping down the stairs behind her, both with neatly brushed hair and freshly washed faces.

“We all look great!” Papyrus said excitedly and Sans gave Toriel an admiring look.

Toriel gave a happy sigh, glancing at her family, all dressed up to the nines, and asked:

“So, are we all ready to go?”

They were going to have dinner at Grillby's. The new Grillby's to be precise.

.

Grillby had known immediately that he wanted to start another pub or something like it when they moved to the surface. He had started a small diner, counting only on his regulars form Snowdin and other monster clientele. It had turned out a little differently though.

Humans were fascinated by monster food. They called it exotic and Grillby himself, well… He found out quite early on that humans had rather haphazard criteria upon which they decided what was scary and what was cool. The little diner had been frequently overrun with customers it didn't have the capacity to serve and eventually Grillby had decided to move to a bigger location.

Tonight was the grand opening and, of course, Sans and his whole family was invited. This special dinner would be mostly for monsters and nearly everybody Frisk knew was going.

.

Frisk sat in the back of the car in between Asriel and Sans, squirming with excitement.

“Are we there yet?” they asked.

“You just asked that. Not yet,” Toriel replied.

“That wasn't me, that was Asriel,” Frisk protested.

“Yeah,” Asriel agreed.

“Well, the answer is still not yet,” Toriel smiled.

Papyrus was driving. It was the first time he had driven with the whole family in the car and he took it so seriously that he wasn't talking.

“Do you think Dad's already there?” Asriel asked.

“I do not know, dear,” Toriel replied patiently.

The children were so excited they had been chattering non-stop.

“I know a way to pass the time,” Sans said. “What did the waiter say when he spilled a drink on his shirt?”

“What?” Asriel asked.

“This one's on me,” Sans replied.

They all laughed.

“Do another one,” Frisk encouraged.

“Okay…you asked for it,” Sans grinned.

So he kept them amused with increasingly bad jokes until Papyrus announced they were there and that he needed everybody to get out of the car so he could park in peace. Grillby's new place was a nice little restaurant and it was all lit up with lanterns for the occasion.

“Wow,” Frisk and Asriel breathed in unison.

Monsters were arriving left and right and Grillby was standing at the opened door to welcome everybody.

“Come in, come in,” he said with his crackling voice.

“Hey, Asgore,” Sans nodded.

“Hello, everyone,” Asgore said, having just arrived himself, and Asriel spun round to hug him.

“Hello,” Toriel smiled. “You look very nice.”

“Thank you,” Asgore replied, glancing at his suit. “So do all of you.”

“Hey all!” Undyne announced her presence.

She and Alphys were dressed up too, and Mettaton was in his Ex form, with a pair of new boots for the occasion.

“What a stylish venue,” he said, admiring the restaurant.

“C-can't we go inside?” Alphys mumbled. “People are l-looking at us.”

“That is the point of a grand opening, darling,” Mettaton winked.

“Come on then,” Sans said and he walked up to Grillby to shake his hand.

Grillby greeted them all warmly.

“Congratulations, Grillbs,” Sans said with a grin and the others all joined in.

“Thank you all so much for coming,” Grillby said, raising his voice above the noise of the crowd like a roaring fire. “This night is for all my friends as much as it is for me.”

Sans and Toriel led the way and everybody followed them inside. It was really a nice place. Exposed bricks everywhere you looked, but cosy. It was like being inside a very large fireplace.

“Welcome to Grillby's,” a smiling, rabbit like monster greeted them as soon as they had taken off their coats. “Party of nine? I'll show you to a table.”

“You sold me a nice cream once!” Frisk said happily and he nodded.

“Hey Nathan,” Sans grinned. “I heard Grillby hired you. How 's it going?”

“Great,” Nathan said happily. “I get to do all the deserts, it's wonderful. Grillby is teaching me a lot about running a real restaurant and he hired Burgy to wait tables!”

“That is good to hear, Nathan,” Asgore said sincerely.

Nathan smiled cheerfully and brought them to the biggest table in the restaurant. They all sat down, looking around them curiously. There were familiar faces all around. Frisk waved to everybody they knew.

“Hey, pup!” Dogamy and Dogaressa called out from a nearby table.

“This is just lovely,” Toriel said happily. “Look at this place. I don't think I've ever seen this many happy faces all together.”

“Pretty awesome,” Sans agreed.

“Grillby certainly kicked it up a notch from that little pub he used to have,” Mettaton said. “But remember we haven't tasted the food yet…”

“I'm sure it will be d-delicious,” Alphys said, playing with her napkin.

“I wonder if he serves spaghetti,” Papyrus mused out loud.

“Has to!” Undyne said. “Couldn't have a restaurant without it.”

The noise was starting to die down as everybody had taken their seats. Grillby appeared in the middle of the restaurant looking all around him and waiting a moment before he began his speech.

“Friends,” he said, articulating as clearly as he could so he'd be understood. “What you see here today could not have been achieved without you…”

His speech was simple, but moving. Everybody smiled and listened. Finally Grillby concluded: “I could never thank you all enough, so I have decided to let my food do my thanking for me. I hope you all enjoy it and that you will all want to come back for more!”

There was a loud applause and many cheers, which grew louder as Nathan and Burgy started to bring out the food. The courses had been pre-arranged, but there were so many different dishes that everybody could find something to their liking.

Asriel and Frisk felt very grown up, eating in a restaurant like this. They ate neatly with their knives and forks and had their napkins tucked down the front of their shirts. They were sitting between Toriel and Asgore, so they were well supervised. Only one intervention was needed though and it was really not Asriel's fault that the butter plate was so slippery.

“This is nice,” Toriel said quietly to Sans. “Good friends and good food.”

“Yeah,” Sans agreed. “You look really great by the way.”

“Thank you,” Toriel blushed and then she smiled. “Your brother is having fun…”

Sans glanced at Papyrus, who was demonstrating to Mettaton how to roll spaghetti on your fork without the use of any other piece of cutlery. He grinned and took another sip from his glass of ketchup.

“Throw me a bread roll?” Frisk asked.

“Frisk, we do not-” Toriel began, but Undyne shouted “Catch!”

The piece of bread plopped right onto Frisk’s plate.

*Thank you,* they signed, grinning.

“Me too!” Asriel called out.

“No more throwing of food,” Toriel warned laughingly.

“It's only bad manners if your aim is bad,” Undyne protested.

“Well, your table manners are unconventional at best,” Mettaton remarked.

“The first time I had tea at Undyne's she broke the table with a spear,” Frisk said.

“What?” Toriel frowned.

'Yeah,” Frisk continued. “And then we tried to cook and burned the-”

“I don't think we need to go into details right now, we are having a very nice dinner,” Papyrus said quickly, glancing at Toriel's narrowed eyes.

“Are you all enjoying your meal?” Grillby asked, suddenly appearing beside the table.

“Absolutely,” Asgore said emphatically.

“Everything is delicious!” Papyrus agreed.

They all complimented the food and Grillby looked pleased. “It is almost time for the deserts,” he announced. “Nathan is most eager to show everyone his latest creations…”

The deserts were great. Everybody had a nice cream scoop, but there were so many different colours and flavours that they all shared their desserts around so they could all have a taste of everything. By the time the last spoonfuls had been swallowed, they were all absolutely stuffed.

Even then nobody was allowed to leave. Coffee and other drinks were served and everybody mingled a bit and took the time to congratulate Grillby again and compliment Nathan and Burgy on their hard work.

Finally Toriel decided it really was time to go home. Frisk and Asriel were nearly asleep in their chairs. Mettaton didn't want to go home yet and so Undyne and Alphys decided to stay behind too.

“Do you need help with the kids?” Asgore offered.

“Thank you,” Toriel smiled. “But we will manage.”

Toriel and Sans shepherded Frisk and Asriel to the car and when they drove off Sans said “I think I'll always miss the old Grillby's, but this new place is pretty great.”

They all heartily agreed with that. At least, Toriel and Papyrus did. Frisk and Asriel said nothing as they were already fast asleep in the backseat.

Chapter Text

Frisk jumped out of the school bus and ran to the front door. Papyrus opened it before they had even reached it and came outside to greet them.

“Papyrus!” Frisk yelled and they waved a piece of coloured paper at him.

“Hello, Frisk,” Papyrus said cheerfully. “What have you got there?”

“My report card,” they said triumphantly. “And I did really well!”

“I thought that was tomorrow!” Papyrus exclaimed, horrified. “I don’t have anything planned.”

Frisk didn’t care.

“Ms. Hannigan gave them to us a day early,” they said. “Look.”

They  put the card in Papyrus’ hand and he looked at it. “Wow, Frisk,” Papyrus said warmly. “Good job!”

He ruffled Frisk’s hair and Frisk glowed with pride.

“Asriel did real good too,” they said happily.

Asriel was staying with Asgore at the moment.

“How wonderful,” Papyrus said. “I wish Toriel and Sans were here. We should do something to celebrate.”

“Can we go out for ice cream?” Frisk asked eagerly.

“Oh, that is a good idea!” Papyrus said, but then he added, doubtfully: “Only Toriel took the car…”

They were still standing in front of the open door and, at that moment, a sports car pulled up. Frisk and Papyrus looked at it in surprise. They didn’t know anybody that drove a pink car.

“Hello there!” Mettaton exclaimed, getting out of the car.

They should have known, really.

“Hello, Mettaton,” Papyrus said. “What brings you here?”

“Oh, I was in the neighbourhood,” Mettaton said, coming to pat Frisk on the head. “And I thought I’d show off my new car.”

“It’s really pretty,” Frisk grinned.

“We were just trying to decide how to celebrate Frisk’s amazing report card,” Papyrus said.

“Oooh, let me see!” Mettaton exclaimed, holding out a gloved hand.

He looked at the grades and the little comments from Ms. Hannigan.

Well,” he said smugly. “Of course we all knew you were as sharp as a diamond razor, but it’s nice to have written proof, isn’t it?”

Frisk grinned.

“This calls for celebration!” Mettaton declared.

“That is what I said,” Papyrus agreed.

“Of course you did,” Mettaton smiled. “So what do you say to us all going out shopping for some fabulous new outfits to celebrate in?”

“Wonderful idea!” Papyrus said happily.

“Can we have ice cream too?” Frisk inquired.

“Of course, darling,” Mettaton said.

“Then let’s go,” Frisk said resolutely.

Mettaton drove them to the nearest shopping street that he deemed worthy of their presence. Perhaps some of the shopkeepers were a little intimidated when a very tall skeleton and a very tall robot came barging in followed by a child that was far too calm under these circumstances, but they were all very friendly. Mettaton looked, smelled, and sounded like someone who adored spending money and people like that are treated well in shops, no matter who they are.

“You know I really think hats might be your thing,” Mettaton said, looking at Papyrus trying one some old-fashioned styles.

Papyrus posed in front of the mirror.

“Try one with a broader rim,” Mettaton encouraged.

Obediently, Papyrus put on a 1930’s fedora. “Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh,” he chuckled at his reflection.

“Look at that!” Mettaton gushed. “Very film noir. Don’t you think so, Frisk?”

There was no answer.

“Frisk?” Mettaton repeated and Papyrus turned around.

Frisk had been right beside them just a second ago.

“Frisk?” Papyrus called out, putting the hat down. “Frisk?!”

They looked around frantically and searched between the racks of clothes.

“Frisk,” Mettaton said worriedly. “I am all for a little drama, but I’d advise you to do your sudden theatrical reveal now.”

“Frisk, where are you?” Papyrus called out, his voice squeaking for a moment.

No answer. Not a sign of Frisk.

Mettaton and Papyrus gave each other a terrified look. They lost Frisk. What were they going to do. Where were they going to go? Who should they ask for help? What if they-

“Excuse me?”

They turned round with a nervous jump.

A middle aged woman was smiling at them compassionately.

“Did you lose sight of your child?” she asked. “You have that panicking parent look.”

“Yes!” Papyrus cried. “Well not our…I mean Frisk is-”

“Goodness me, there’s no need to explain yourself,” the woman said warmly. “I’m sure they can’t have wondered far.” She smiled at the distressed robot and skeleton. “We can go to the information desk and ask them to call out your child’s name over the intercom.”

Papyrus nodded gratefully, but Mettaton gasped and said “How utterly stupid of me! I can do that myself!”

He pressed a button and, under the astonished eye of the helpful woman, his shoulder pads moved aside to reveal to speakers.

“Frisk!” Mettaton shouted.

“FRISK!” it blasted through the whole store.

There were some cries of fright in distant corners of the shop and behind them there was a sudden, loud “smack!”

Papyrus, Mettaton and the woman turned around to see Frisk lie stretched out, face down on the floor. They were wearing a yellow dinosaur onesie, but with the sleeves turned inside out and their arms stuck in the onesie’s torso.

“Frisk!” Papyrus exclaimed full of relief and he stooped to help them up.

“Look,” Frisk grinned. They weren’t really hurt. “I look just like Manny!”

“Nyeh, nyeh, so you do,” Papyrus said.

“I fell like him too,” Frisk chuckled awkwardly, having been put back onto their feet.

“Frisk, don’t disappear like that!” Mettaton said. “We thought this shopping trip was turning into a tragedy!”

“Don’t scold them,” Papyrus said hastily. “I’m so glad they’re back!”

“Sorry,” Frisk said apologetically.

“You gave your parents quite a fright,” the friendly woman said with a smile.

“Actually…” Mettaton began, but Frisk quickly popped their arms out of the onesie, grabbed Papyrus’ hand in one hand and Mettaton’s in the other, and said:

“I won’t do it again, thanks for helping them!”

They grinned widely at the woman, who smiled back.

“Yes, thank you,” Papyrus said sincerely. “That was so nice of you! Would you like to come for ice cream with us?”

The woman laughed.

“Thank you,” she said. “But I should be getting back to my own shopping. Nice to meet all of you.”

“And you!” Papyrus nodded.

“Thank you, darling,” Mettaton smiled.

“Bye!” Frisk said cheerfully, still holding both their hands.

“Have fun on your family shopping trip,” the woman waved.

Papyrus and Mettaton looked at each other and quickly looked away.

“Can I have the onesie?” Frisk asked, making the most of their confused state.

.

Frisk was still wearing the onesie when they were having ice cream at the nearby ice cream salon.

“Isn’t it funny,” Papyrus said. “That that lady thought we were Frisk’s parents?”

“Well,” Mettaton said, having shaken off the confusion from earlier. “We do make a very stylish couple.”

Papyrus coloured a little, but he said “Of course we do! How could we not?”

Frisk looked at them expectantly, but they both just smiled and finished their ice cream. Frisk rolled their eyes with a repressed sigh and took another bite of their own.

“This has been loads of fun,” Mettaton observed. “But we haven’t actually bought a lot.”

“I bought this hat,” Papyrus said, taking it from its paper wrapping. “And a new scarf. And Frisk has their onesie.”

*Fabulous,* Frisk signed, mouth full of chocolate ice cream.

“I wonder if any of these stores carry capes,” Mettaton mused out loud. “I could totally pull off a cape…”

Papyrus eyes widened.

“Capes?” he said. “Sans and Toriel said that people don’t wear capes on the surface.”

Mettaton gave him a lofty expression.

“Well, of course they don’t,” he said. “That is exactly the reason why people like us should wear them.”

“Then let’s go buy some!” Papyrus exclaimed, jumping to his feet.

“Now you’re talking,” Mettaton grinned.

The costume shop they found nearby was remarkably well stocked in the cape department. Papyrus bought a beautiful dark red one, much fancier than his old one. When they first entered the shop Mettaton fell in love with a glittery golden cape, but in the end he decided on a silver one. Silver looked better with hot pink.

“And what’ll it be for you, kid?” the store owner asked.

He was a very relaxed individual, his face hadn’t changed once during Papyrus and Mettaton’s extravagant modelling session.

“I want these,” Frisk grinned, putting a matching set of gloves and socks on the counter.

They were black, with skeleton hands and feet woven into the fabric.

“Good choice,” the shopkeeper smiled, glancing at Papyrus.

Perhaps it was a good thing Mettaton’s car didn’t have an open top, it spared the neighbourhood the sight of a skeleton, a robot and a kid dressed as a dinosaur singing along to blaring pop music. Papyrus thought it was a great shame though. “Our capes would have billowed so beautifully,” he mourned.

“Mom’s home!” Frisk called out, seeing the car in the driveway.

“Will you come in, Mettaton?” Papyrus asked.

“Sorry darlings,” Mettaton said. “I’ve got to get home, I think my publicist has been waiting for me for an hour at least. Say hi to Toriel and Sans for me.”

“Alright,” Papyrus said, getting out of the car. “This was fun! We must do it again.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Mettaton winked.

“Bye, Mettaton, thank you!” Frisk said.

Mettaton waved and drove off, while Papyrus and Frisk went cheerfully into the house to show off their new accessories to a very surprised but very enthusiastic Toriel.

Chapter Text

“I have an announcement,” Papyrus declared one morning at breakfast.

Everyone looked up except for Sans, who had fallen back asleep, despite the coffee Toriel had shoved in his face as soon as he had sat down.

“I, the Great Papyrus, have decided to get a job,” Papyrus announced.

“That is wonderful, Papyrus,” Toriel smiled. “Have you found something you would like to do?”

“Yes, I have!” Papyrus said proudly. “I have been looking in the newspaper, you see.”

“For job applications?” Toriel asked.

“No,” Papyrus said. “For puzzles.”

“Puzzles?” Asriel frowned.

“Yes, puzzles!” Papyrus said excitedly. “There is a page of puzzles in every newspaper and I have decided I shall go to the people that make the newspaper to tell them I could make better ones.”

“Good idea, bro,” Sans muttered.

“Oh, you are awake,” Toriel smiled.

“No I’m not,” Sans mumbled. “I can listen and talk in my sleep. Very useful skill.”

Frisk poked him in his side and he snored demonstratively.

“Well, I think it is a very good idea, Papyrus,” Toriel said. “But perhaps you should not phrase it quite like that.”

“I’m sure the newspaper would like my help,” Papyrus said, buttering his toast. “Better puzzles would greatly improve their content.”

Ms. Grace Speaker, dedicated editor to a successful newspaper, was rather surprised by her eleven o’clock appointment. She was looking at Papyrus over the top of her glasses and listening with growing astonishment to his very confident proposals.

“So you see,” Papyrus concluded. “I think I could really improve your puzzle page by changing absolutely everything.”

The editor looked him up and down and considered this. Puzzles were a thing close to her heart. In her first ever job at a newspaper she had been in charge of the crosswords and she had to admit that the latest selections of puzzles really had been rather weak.

Papyrus waited patiently for her to consider the amazing opportunities of his proposal.

“Tell you what,” the editor decided. “I’ll find you a spare office where you’re not in anyone’s way and you make me a puzzle to show your work. If you’re good, I might hire you.”

“Excellent idea,” Papyrus grinned cheerfully.

“Good,” the editor nodded. “Make me a crossword then and we’ll see if you’re as good as you say.”

Papyrus frowned.

“I don’t do crosswords,” he said. “Crosswords are boring.”

The editor raised her eyebrows.

“Crosswords are traditional,” she said sternly. “There has always been a crossword in this newspaper.”

“Perhaps that’s one of its problems,” Papyrus said.

The colour rose into the editor’s cheeks and she glared.

“I am not about to hire a puzzle composer that can’t do crosswords,” she snapped.

“Of course I can do crosswords,” Papyrus retorted. “But word jumbles are much better.”

The editor glared at him.

“Well, if you want to work here, I suggest you make a crossword for me,” she demanded.

“Fine,” Papyrus said and he left her office in a huff.

The editor’s secretary showed him to an office and he sat down with a pen and paper.

“Crosswords,” he muttered in distain. “Crosswords…”

He tapped the paper with his pen and suddenly a triumphant grin spread across his face.

“I will show her what a crossword is!” he exclaimed and he got to work with enthusiasm.

After a remarkably short time, he went to find the secretary.

“Here is my crossword for Ms. Speaker,” he said.

“That was quick,” the secretary smiled.

He was a friendly young man that really hoped Papyrus would get the job. It might liven the office up a bit.

“Oh, yes, I’m good at puzzles,” Papyrus grinned.

“I’ll bring it to her,” the secretary said. “You go get a coffee or something.”

Papyrus went off to find a coffee machine, enthusiastically greeting everybody he met, until the sound of the editor’s door opening abruptly startled the whole office.

“Papyrus!” the editor snapped.

“Yes, Ms. Speaker?” Papyrus replied, stepping confidently into her office.

“Is this the crossword you just made?” she demanded, waving the piece of paper.

“Yes, ma’am,” Papyrus nodded.

The editor glared at him over the top of her glasses and read some of the clues from the paper:

“Four across,” she read. “First half of the name of a southern American rock band from Houston, Texas, formed in 1969. Fifteen across: slash slash dot dot, in Morse code.” She scowled at Papyrus who smiled politely.

“One down,” she continued. “The first letter of the sound a ray gun makes. Twelve across: The second half of the sound bees make.”

She was almost gritting her teeth by this point.

“Nine down: The sound someone makes when they’re sleeping. Eight down: The 26th letter of the alphabet!”

Papyrus grinned innocently at her.

“Papyrus!” the editor snapped. “The answer to each and every one of these clues is the letter Z!”

“Yes,” Papyrus said. “Z is the answer to all the crosswords I have ever done because every time I look at a crossword... ALL I CAN DO IS SNORE!”

The editor slammed the crossword onto her desk and gave Papyrus a furious stare.

“You mean to tell me you spent actual time and effort on a twenty-clue crossword in which every word is Z?” she said, slowly and menacingly.

“Of course,” Papyrus said stoutly.

The editor took a deep breath and said:

“Put the same kind of effort in your word jumbles and I’ll run them all.”

“You will not be disappointed,” Papyrus beamed and he marched out of her office.

Papyrus made three word jumbles in one hour and tested them out on the secretary. He loved them and so did the editor.

“Well,” she said, looking at them a second time. “I guess you have a job here, Papyrus.”

“Great,” Papyrus grinned.

“That doesn’t surprise you, does it?” she smiled.

“Of course not,” Papyrus said. “I could tell you were a fellow puzzle enthusiast as soon as I met you.”

The editor smiled.

“Terry,” she said, handing the puzzles to her secretary. “Make sure these end up in the next issue.”

She looked at Papyrus. “Would you like us to print your full name, or do you want to work under a pseudonym?”

“The Great Papyrus will be fine,” Papyrus grinned.

“The Great Papyrus it is,” the editor agreed and Terry gave a happy nod and hurried out of the room.

Sans appeared in the hallway with a bright blue flash and called out “Tori?”

“In the living room,” she replied.

Sans walked to the living room where Toriel was just putting her book away.

“Has Papyrus come back yet?” Sans asked.

“Not yet,” Toriel replied. “How was your meeting at the university?”

“Fine,” Sans grinned.

“I am thawing some pastry to make lasagne,” Toriel said. “I figured it will be either a celebratory dinner or a cheer-up treat.”

“You take way too good care of all of us,” Sans said.

Toriel smiled, but before she could reply, she pricked her ears and said “Is that the car?”

They had two seconds before Papyrus burst through the front door and straight into the living room in a blaze of triumphant glory.

“I have returned!” he proclaimed.

“Did you get the job?” Toriel asked eagerly.

“Of course he did,” Sans grinned, looking at his brother’s shining face.

“Starting tomorrow, the Great Papyrus’ puzzles can be found in the newspaper every day!” Papyrus said proudly.

“Congratulations Papyrus!” Toriel said happily and she gave him a hug.

“Way to go, bro,” Sans nodded.

“The editor must have really liked your work to hire you on the spot,” Toriel said.

“Of course she did,” Papyrus said. “She said my word jumbles were the best she had ever seen. At first she wanted me to make a crossword though…”

“Uh-oh,” Sans chuckled.

“What’s wrong with crosswords?” Toriel asked.

“They are boring,” Papyrus declared.

“I do not know about that,” Toriel smiled. “A good crossword can be really fun.”

“You sound like Ms. Speaker,” Papyrus said. “She says she’ll convert me to crosswords one day, but little does she know that the Great Papyrus has already begun to convert her to word jumbles.”

“You do not want to get into the crossword debate,” Sans winked at Toriel. “Frisk will tell you.”

“Frisk is on my side,” Papyrus reminded Sans. “When are they coming home? I can’t wait to tell them! And Asriel too…”

Toriel glanced at the clock.

“School isn’t out yet,” she said. “And Asgore is picking them up today, he’s taking them to buy new gym clothes. They both grow so fast.”

“Oh good,” Papyrus said. “Then I can tell Asgore too.”

He got to his feet, looking even taller than he already was.

“I’m going to skype Undyne!” he said, running upstairs. “And Mettaton!”

“How big is that lasagne you’re making?” Sans asked with a grin.

“Well, I have not started making it yet,” Toriel said.

“Better make it a big one then,” Sans said. “Cause I think we’re going to have a few guest for dinner tonight.”

“NO WAY!” Undyne’s voice roared from the speakers in Papyrus room. “Alphys get over here! The puzzle geek got his geek dream job! Man, Papyrus, that is awesome! We are so coming over to celebrate.”

“See what I mean?” Sans grinned.

“I will take another batch of pastry out the freezer,” Toriel chuckled.

By the time Asgore arrived with Frisk and Asriel in tow, Papyrus was the happy centre of attention of a small party. Sans, Toriel, Undyne, Alphys, Mettaton, and Napstablook were all gathered around the table to listen to Papyrus list the many different clues that could lead to the letter Z. Undyne and Alphys had come over as soon as the skype call ended and Papyrus had texted Mettaton, who had convinced Napstablook to come with him.

“What’s all this?” Asgore smiled, surprised.

“We’re celebrating Papyrus’ new job,” Sans told him. “Pull up a chair.”

“They liked your puzzles?” Frisk asked happily.

“Everybody likes my puzzles!” Papyrus grinned.

Frisk cheered and they and Asriel jumped at Papyrus to hug and congratulate him.

“Can someone please help me to convince Papyrus that now he works at a newspaper he absolutely has to wear that fedora we bought together,” Mettaton complained loudly.

“Can someone please help me to set the table for dinner,” Toriel said. “The lasagne should be ready any minute.”

Frisk and Asriel ran to the kitchen to set the table and Undyne and Mettaton squabbled about whether reporters were supposed to wear suits and hats or trench coats.

Papyrus sat back with a content sigh and looked at Sans, who was sitting next to him. “You’ll do my puzzles, right?” he asked. “To see if they’re good…”

“Of course, bro,” Sans grinned. “But they’re always good. I’ve been telling you that since you were a baby bones.”

Papyrus smiled happily and sat up straight and triumphantly.

“I’m going to be the best newspaper puzzle author ever,” he vowed.

Chapter Text

Toriel could be very quiet when she wanted to. If she walked on tiptoes, her footsteps hardly made a sound. She listened at the door to Sans’ workshop, or lab. He hadn't decided yet. It said so on the door, in sticky notes:

Sans' workshop

Or lab

Haven't decided yet

Always knock!

Toriel knocked, twice.

“Who's there?” Sans asked.

“Berny,” Toriel answered.

“Berny who?” Sans asked.

“Bern-ing the midnight oil, are we?” she said, opening the door.

Sans had turned around and was grinning at her, but it was clear he was pretty tired.

“What are you doing up so late?” Toriel asked, glancing at the machine.

The screen was flashing and flickering erratically.

“I was just about to go to bed,” Sans said hastily, pulling the sheet down to cover the machine. “Just, tidying up a bit here, you know.”

“I can tell that you are lying…” Toriel smiled.

Sans shuffled his slippered feet.

“You know I have been meaning to ask you,” Toriel said suddenly. “Was it the machine that brought back my Asriel, or…something else?”

Sans hesitated for a moment, but he really didn't like lying to Toriel.

“My machine made it possible for him to come back,” he said. “But it didn't make him come back.”

Toriel nodded. Not because she fully understood this, but because she was rather relieved that the machine on its own was not quite as powerful as she thought it might have been.

“Shall we go up?” Sans suggested, eager to get her out of the basement.

Toriel smilingly narrowed her eyes at him.

“Not before you tell me what is going on,” she said. “I will not be giving in this time Sans.”

Sans swallowed. He looked at her. Her violet eyes were round with concern and he could feel the love in her gaze. Toriel was not in the habit of making demands, but when she did…she meant it.

He gave in.

“Do you remember someone named Gaster?” Sans asked nervously.

“Yes, yes I do,” Toriel said thoughtfully. “He was one of the Scientists in the Royal Lab, was he not?”

“Yeah,” Sans nodded. “Asgore made him Royal Scientist eventually. He was Alphys' predecessor. I worked with them both.”

“You did?” Toriel said, surprised, she wondered why Sans had never talked about that before.

“Papyrus and I were in a pretty bad way when we arrived in… the capital,” Sans continued. “And Gaster kind of took us under his wing.”

“What happened to him?” Toriel asked. “I do not believe I have heard anyone mention him since I left the ruins.”

“No…” Sans said, looking away. “People prefer not to talk about him.”

“Why?” Toriel asked.

“Well…” Sans mumbled.

He looked really uncomfortable. Toriel was a little worried, but she wanted to know what was going on. Frisk had let slip enough for her to know that it was important.

“He was working on something important,” Sans said. “Important to him…and to me. He wanted to hook it up to the Core to get it enough power… And then something went wrong and…he disappeared.”

“Do you mean he was killed in an accident?” Toriel asked, concerned.

“There was an accident alright,” Sans said darkly. “But I'm sure it didn't kill him.”

“Sans, what do you mean?” Toriel asked, properly disconcerted now.

Sans rubbed his skull and sighed wearily.

“The thing he was working on,” he said. “It was built to manipulate time and space, but it backfired on him and…” He made an angry sound in the back of his throat and turned around. “He was just gone, okay,” he said gruffly. “And I mean gone, not a trace.”

“I am sorry,” Toriel said gently, not sure she quite understood him.

Sans grumbled something unintelligible.

“And you built this machine to try and find him?” she asked, glancing at the bulky shape under the sheet.

“I had some of his research data,” Sans answered with a strange, blank expression. “And Alphys helped me to get some of his blueprints…”

“To bring him back,” Toriel said. “Like you brought back my child.”

Sans sighed and shook his head, walking to the door. He didn't want to lie to Toriel again so he said nothing.

“But your machine works,” Toriel said, not giving up now. “So what are you doing every night? Searching?”

“Something like that,” Sans muttered.

“So the machine is looking for him,” Toriel said, brightening up a bit.

“…yes,” Sans replied.

“Then you will find him,” Toriel smiled. “I know you will.”

She bent down to give him a hug, Sans let out a great sigh and hugged her back.

“But Sans…” she said when he let go. “Should you not tell Papyrus what you are doing? If Gaster took care of you both, he must mean as much to Papyrus as he means to you.”

Sans looked into her honest, violet eyes and felt terrible.

“I can't, Tori,” he said. “We don't talk about him, it only makes Pap sad. I've been working on this for so long…it might never work.”

“But this time it will,” Toriel said confidently. “Because now you know your machine works. All you need is time.”

“Don't tell Pap, Tori,” Sans pleaded. “He couldn't deal with it.”

“I will not tell your brother,” Toriel said. “But only because it is you who should be telling him. Papyrus is stronger than you think.”

Sans didn't answer.

“Oh Sans,” Toriel said, shaking her head. “Why do you insist on doing all this alone.” She bent down again and this time she nuzzled him with her snout.

“Come on, sillybones,” she said. “Tomorrow is another day.”

She left the lab and Sans locked the door behind them.

“Thanks,” Sans said, giving her a tired grin. “I needed to be brought back tori-ality.”

Toriel laughed and gave him a playful push. They quietly went upstairs, careful not to disturb the sleeping house, and both went straight to bed. What Toriel hadn't told Sans was that she knew he had been dreaming badly again lately. She had woken him three times this month, but he never remembered the next morning. Toriel did however and she expecially remembered what he kept muttering over and over:

All the pieces… I only have to find all the pieces…”

The next evening Sans didn't have an opportunity to disappear to the lab, because Frisk and Asriel asked him and Papyrus for a story. Toriel had bought them a book of classic plays adapted for children and they wanted Sans and Papyrus to read it to them and do the different voices.

“We'll do one act,” Sans agreed.

“But we can't stop in the middle of a story, Sans!” Papyrus protested.

“No!” Asriel and Frisk complained in unison.

“Fine,” Sans chuckled. “But pick a short one then.”

Papyrus did as many different voices as he could, and Sans picked the characters who's lines would be best if delivered with minimum effort. Frisk and Asriel loved it. Papyrus' overenthusiasm and Sans' deadpan delivery turned every piece into a comedy.

“The end,” Papyrus concluded with emphasis and he bowed.

Frisk and Asriel applauded softly and laughed.

“Good night,” Sans said, patting Asriel on his head and resting his forehead against Frisk's for a moment.

“Sweet dreams,” Papyrus added, tucking them both in tight.

“Night,” Asriel sighed.

“Night,” Frisk smiled.

Papyrus quietly walked out of the room. Sans closed the door behind them and looked round. Papyrus was walking to his own room. Sans followed him. “Hey, bro,” he said. “Is it okay if I come in for a second?”

“Of course,” Papyrus said. “What a strange question, brother, why wouldn't it be?”

Sans leaned against Papyrus' desk, which was incredibly tidy. The only thing that was on it were some colour coded designs for puzzles.

“I'd say we’re doing a pretty good job,” Sans said. “Taking care of the kids and all.”

“Of course we are,” Papyrus said proudly.

There was a short silence and Papyrus gave Sans a curious look.

“I…um….” Sans mumbled. “I was talking to Toriel the other day…”

Papyrus looked at him expectantly.

“Um…” Sans fell silent.

“What is it?” Papyrus asked, starting to get worried.

“I know we don't usually talk about this,” Sans began again. “But I was wondering… do you ever think about Da- Gaster?”

“Of course I do,” Papyrus said, taken aback. “He's our dad. At least to me, he is.”

“To me he is too,” Sans said.

Papyrus sat down on his bed. He looked sad and Sans hated seeing his brother like that. “Why would you think I don't think about him?” Papyrus said. “I miss him too you know.”

“I know,” Sans said, sitting down beside him. “I just don't like to bring it up because…well I don't want to remind you to miss him.”

Papyrus looked at him. “I thought you didn't want to talk about him?” he said.

“Well, I don't…” Sans mumbled. “Cause it's no use you know…”

There was a long silence.

“My machine was meant to help him, Pap,” Sans said suddenly. “It just took me so long to even get it close to working…”

Papyrus was looking at Sans with a very strange expression.

“I know,” he said.

Sans looked up.

“What do you mean you know?” he asked.

“I know what you built it for,” Papyrus said, his voice uncharacteristically quiet. “After Dad disappeared, you came home with arms full of stuff from his lab and you locked yourself in our basement every night. I thought you were trying to complete his last invention or something.”

“So how did you find out I wasn't?” Sans asked.

“You talk in your sleep,” Papyrus said with a shy grin. “And I saw some of the parts you designed… I may not be as clever as you and Dad with your science stuff, but I'm not stupid.”

“You have always been way smarter than me, Pap,” Sans said quickly.

“Of course I am,” Papyrus said, sounding a little more like himself. “You never put in an effort.”

“Heh,” Sans tried to laugh.

There was another silence. The skeleton brothers sat side by side, looking at anything but each other.

“Why didn't you ask me about the machine if you knew?” Sans asked finally.

“Because you would tell me if it worked,” Papyrus said.

Sans let his head sink into his hands.

“I can't bring Gaster back,” he muttered. “I thought I could…but I can't.”

“You brought back Asriel,” Papyrus said, trying to sound optimistic.

“No,” Sans groaned. “My machine located Asriel's soul… That is all it did. It didn't have to do anything else. But Dad isn't like Flowey, Dad is gone…”

“Then what have you been doing every night since Asriel came back?” Papyrus suddenly demanded, sitting upright again. “Because Toriel is worried and so am I.”

“I haven't given up,” Sans said without lifting his head. “I can't bring Dad back, my machine can't bring Dad back, but it might be able to help him.”

“How?” Papyrus asked pressingly.

Sans lifted his head and looked up at his brother.

“By locating all the pieces,” Sans said. “The energy of the Core… His invention... I'm convinced it didn't kill him. It must have…dispersed his matter. Shattered it across time and space.”

“He's not like us, Sans,” Papyrus said. “You can't just put him back together again like when I accidentally lost my foot.”

We can't,” Sans said. “But Gaster might.”

Papyrus stared at him.

“What?” he said.

“He always used to say that he shouldn't let his mind wander because it was what kept body and soul together,” Sans said in a hoarse voice. “I just thought…if my machine could just locate the pieces of his body…maybe his mind…wherever it is…would know where to go look for them.”

“You think Dad could see what your machine is doing?” Papyrus asked.

“I don't think he's dead,” Sans said. “And if his mind and soul are somewhere…wouldn't they be where we are? Don't you think he'd be watching us?”

“Yes,” Papyrus mumbled, and suddenly he smiled. “He used to watch us when we were practicing new attacks, even though he promised not to, just to be sure neither of us would get hurt.”

Sans grinned in spite of himself.

“Yeah,” he said. “And then he'd pretend to be surprised when we used them on him for the first time.”

Papyrus' eyes lit up.

“The first time I designed a puzzle and it wouldn't work he stayed up all night to fix it so when I tried in the morning it would work,” he said, glowing with the memory.

“I thought you didn't know about that,” Sans said, chuckling softly.

“He left one of his tools,” Papyrus grinned. “You know, one of the black handled ones we weren't allowed to use.”

They both laughed.

“I used to steal those every chance I got until he bought me my own set,” Sans said.

They sat on Papyrus bed, talking and laughing until they realised it had gotten really late.

“We should go to bed,” Sans grinned, getting to his feet.

Papyrus' smile faded a little and he asked shyly “Hey, Sans, is your machine searching now?”

“Yeah,” Sans said. “It is.”

Papyrus nodded and suddenly he sat up straight and brought the smile back on his face. “I hope it works,” he said.

“So do I,” Sans said, and in an impulse he added: “And it will, bro, I'm sure it will.”

Chapter Text

Papyrus carefully opened the door to Sans workshop and looked in. Sans was lying facedown on his desk, fast asleep. With a sigh, Papyrus walked towards him. He had carried Sans to bed so many times, but since they had come to live on the surface, it had happened less frequently.

He got distracted by the machine. It was humming quietly in its corner and Papyrus thought it looked almost alive. The sheet that usually covered it was lying in a crumpled heap on the floor and the screen was flickering. Papyrus had never seen the machine on before, or he would have noticed that the flickering swirls on the screen were unusually colourless.

Sans snored softly and Papyrus turned his back on the machine. He saw Sans was clutching a paper with something scribbled onto it that looked like a couple of sets of four coordinates. Most of them were crossed out again.

Gently Papyrus tried to pry the paper out from under Sans’ arms, but at that moment the machine made a loud clicking sound and he jumped.

“Hm?” Sans mumbled, lifting his skull. “Oh, dozed off, didn’t I?” He sat up drowsily and grinned at Papyrus.

“Is it really necessary for you to stay up working so late?” Papyrus said worriedly. “I thought your machine was searching on its own.”

“It should be,” Sans muttered. “But I can’t tell if it’s working. I mean, what if something goes wrong and I’m not here to fix it?”

Papyrus sighed and leaned against the workbench. “I talked to Toriel,” he said. “She’s really worried about all this.”

“I know,” Sans nodded.

“How are things with you two anyway?” Papyrus asked curiously.

“Good,” Sans replied. “We’re just, taking it slow you know. Well, we’re already living together and raising a kid so… No need to rush, we can goat at our own pace.”

“I don’t think I really understand that,” Papyrus confessed.

Sans squirmed uncomfortably. “We’re all happy now,” he said. “I don’t want to mess that up.”

“Why would you and Toriel being together make us less happy?” Papyrus said. “Frisk would be over the moon.”

“And what if it doesn’t work out in the long run?” Sans said.

“What if it does?” Papyrus said cheerfully. “It’s working so far!”

Sans grinned half-heartedly.

“Really, Sans,” Papyrus said firmly. “You need to be more optimis- what’s that noise?”

They looked at the machine. It was humming.

“What is it doing?” Papyrus asked anxiously.

Sans got up to look at the machine. The humming noise was getting louder and there was some strange clicking and whirring too. Then suddenly there was a sound like muffled voices talking in the distance. Sans relaxed.

“It’s just picking up echoes,” he said. “I told you about that, right?”

Papyrus nodded, but he looked a little scared.

“I’ll turn the sound off if it freaks you out,” Sans said and he flipped a switch on the machine.

The sound didn’t stop. It got louder. The low hum was starting to have a rhythm to it and the muffled voices sounded like they were trying to be heard.

“What the-” Sans muttered and he pressed another button.

Papyrus did a step back.

“………….IUKgTDyrdRDJgkKJkjGjfJHbkN……….” the machine garbled.

“I don’t know what this is,” Sans said before his brother could ask.

“………….FyufYGHKkjH……GIKkjgjgKLo…………wXvNKiYe………”

“Maybe you should turn it off,” Papyrus suggested anxiously.

“No,” Sans said. “I want to know what’s causing this.”

There was a strange echo to the sounds the machine was making now and the garbled sounds were becoming shorter, more like words:

“……sNSa…….PpYUsaR……”

Sans stood back, staring at his machine.

“…….SAsN…….PaPRysU…….”

“It’s talking,” Papyrus said breathlessly.

“…….sasN…….PapYrsU…….”

“Papyrus…” Sans said cautiously. “Did that sound like…?”

“……SaNs………PapYRus………”

“Dad!” Papyrus cried.

“…………mY…….SOns………”

They both gaped at the machine, hardly believing what they were hearing. It was Gaster’s voice. Shaky and garbled, but unmistakably his.

“Oh my god,” Sans said hoarsely. “Dad, can you hear us?”

“Are you alright?” Papyrus asked the machine, clutching Sans’ arm.

“……….My ………sONs…….i aM So PrOUd oF yOu bOTh…….”

“I don’t think he can hear us, Pap,” Sans said.

“………….I……..cAN hEAr yoU………….” Gaster’s voice said, slowly.

Papyrus made a choked sound in the back of his throat.

“Does my machine work, Dad?” Sans asked eagerly. “Can you use it?”

“……….YeS……bUt…it…tAKes A lot of EfFort……”

“Can you come back?” Papyrus said, staring at the screen on the machine like he expected to see his father’s face there.

“………I aM tryING………iF I caNNOt…….DO nOt wORry………TAke caRE of each OthEr…….and YoUr wOnderful family……”

“But you gotta come back, Dad,” Sans pleaded. “If this doesn’t work, I’ll try something else.”

“……..ArE yoU both happY on the SuRface…..?”

Sans grimaced, Gaster was avoiding his comment.

“Yes we are,” Papyrus said sincerely. “It’s all been so great, we really are happy.”

“…………gOOd…….thEN I can be HappY too……..eVEN iF I wiLL not bE abLe to join yOu…….”

The skeleton brothers looked at each other. They didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but they were both smiling.

“………….I hAVe tO gO noW………….” Gaster’s voice sounded fainter now. “……….GoodBYe Sans……..gOOdbye Papyrus……..”

“Goodbye, Dad,” they both said, trying to keep their voices steady.

“………….XrGHJkutDFbn………..FdRY………….DswRTU………”

The machine made a couple more garbled noises and then it slowly quieted down, until not even the humming was audible anymore.

“I…I didn’t know this would happen,” Sans said, awestruck. “I…”

“Brother, your machine is wonderful!” Papyrus cried, hugging Sans so hard his vertebrae creaked. “We got to talk to Dad again! And he’s alright! Isn’t that amazing?”

Sans smiled and hugged Papyrus back.

“Yeah,” he said. “All things considered, it’s pretty amazing.”

 

When they finally went upstairs to go to bed, it was awfully late. They said goodnight at the top of the stairs.

“I hope you sleep well,” Papryus said cheerfully. “I know I will.”

“Goodnight, bro,” Sans grinned and he turned around.

Looking down the hallway, he saw that Toriel’s bedroom door was ajar. Her lights were still on. Quietly he walked to the door and knocked as softly as he could while still being heard.

“Who is there?” Toriel said in a low voice.

“Candice,” Sans replied.

“Candice who?” Toriel asked.

“Can-dis skeleton come in for a sec?”

“Of course,” Toriel said with a smile.

She was sitting up in bed. Sans quietly closed the door behind her and sat on the edge of her bed.

“Did you wait up for me?” he asked.

“Maybe,” Toriel said, smiling apologetically. “I just wanted to know if you ever got to bed.”

Sans grinned.

“What happened?” Toriel asked, suddenly looking hopeful. “Something good?”

“We talked to Gaster,” Sans said. “I mean, he talked to us through the machine.”

“Sans!” Toriel gasped. “That is wonderful!”

“Yeah,” he grinned. “It’s pretty great to know that he’s okay…well, considering.”

“So does this mean he will be able to come back?” Toriel asked eagerly.

“Maybe,” Sans said. “He’s trying. But even if he can’t…at least we got to talk to him again.”

Toriel smiled at him, not knowing what to say, but really happy all the same.

“Oh, come here and let me hug you,” she said.

Sans laughed, climbed up onto the bed and leaned into her open arms. Toriel hugged him tight, resting her snout on his skull. “Sorry for making you worry, Tori,” Sans grinned.

“Oh shush,” Toriel smiled. “You and Papyrus got to speak to your father again.”

She let go, but Sans didn’t. Toriel smiled.

“Would you like to sleep here?” she said, with the slightest hint of shyness.

“That’d be nice,” Sans mumbled.

Toriel pulled the duvet over the both of them and they laid down comfortably in each other’s arms.

“Can I have a goodnight kiss?” Toriel asked.

“If I get one too,” he grinned.

“We will see,” Toriel laughed.

Sans nuzzled her neck, she gave him a kiss on his forehead, and they both fell asleep within minutes.

Chapter Text

It was the middle of the night, but Frisk couldn’t sleep. Something felt weird. Before bed, like always, they had saved. But it hadn’t been like normal. Saving took time and concentration. Frisk could feel it happening. This time it was over before they had hardly begun. It was strange.

And now everything felt strange. Frisk felt restless and didn’t know why. They tossed and turned in their bed until Asriel woke up.

“Frisk?” he mumbled. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” Frisk said, sitting up in bed. “My head hurts.”

Asriel sat up too.

“Like when a thunderstorm is coming?” he asked.

“Yes,” Frisk said, shrugging their shoulders to shake the uncomfortable feeling. “But worse.”

Asriel sat quietly for a moment.

“I don’t feel anything,” he said. “But I can hear something humming.”

“Really?” Frisk said, straining to listen.

They heard nothing.

“Yeah, a really low sound,” Asriel said, tilting his head. “I can barely hear it, but it’s there.”

For a while they both sat up in their beds, listening intently. Then Frisk abruptly stepped out to bed.

“I’m gonna go look,” they decided.

“Wait for me!” Asriel whispered and he ran after Frisk, who was hurrying into the dark hallway.

Together they went down the stairs, barefoot and shivering slightly in their pyjamas. The house was completely dark and it should have been quiet, but it wasn’t.

“I can hear it too now,” Frisk whispered. “It’s coming from the basement.”

Asriel frowned. He didn’t like the basement. Not very strange considering the first time he had seen it.

“What if it’s Sans’ machine?” Frisk said, their eyes widening. “What if something’s wrong with it?”

Now Asriel looked worried too.

“Should we wake Sans?” he asked, but Frisk was already hurrying towards the basement door.

Frisk,” Asriel whined, trailing after them.

“I don’t want Sans’ machine to break,” Frisk said urgently. “It’s important.”

“I know…” Asriel mumbled, running after them down the stairs. “But…”

The humming was getting louder. Frisk turned the handle of the door to Sans’ workshop. It wasn’t locked. They opened the door and grimaced. A strange kind of pressure was pushing on their head from both sides. Asriel came up beside them, tugging on one of his ears nervously.

“Look,” Frisk gasped.

The flickering light of the machine’s screen could be seen through the fabric of the sheet that covered it. Frisk was scared, but that had never stopped them before. They walked straight to the machine and pulled the sheet off it.

“Frisk!” Asriel hissed.

He was scared too and, scrambling in the dark, he found the light switch. The lights turned on and Frisk blinked, temporarily blinded. When they could see again, they were sure they could see the big machine vibrating in its spot.

“I don’t like this,” Asriel mumbled. “Let’s go get Sans and Mom.”

Frisk didn’t hear him, they were staring at the many strange holes in the machine. Something was moving. Frisk let out a small cry of surprise and took a hurried step back.

Something was oozing out of the machine. It looked like liquid shadows. It moved, spreading across the floor. Sometimes it spiraled up like smoke, then it slopped down with a wet, gloopy sound.

Frisk and Asriel stood frozen on their spots, staring wide-eyed.

Now these were two children who had seen a lot and done even more. They were not easily fazed. Upon seeing this, however they did what every child would do: they screamed.

Toriel and Sans sat up in bed so fast that they knocked into each other. For a moment they were completely bewildered and then the children screamed again.

To say that Toriel moved fast would be an understatement. She was out of bed and down the stairs within seconds, but she still didn’t beat Sans, who teleported to the basement immediately.

“What the-? Get back!” he yelled, dragging Frisk and Asriel back by their collars.

But he didn’t sound scared, he sounded thrilled.

“Children!” Toriel cried, bursting into the basement.

Asriel ran to her but Frisk stayed by Sans’ side.

“Papyrus!” Sans yelled.

Loud footsteps were already coming down the basement stairs and Papyrus appeared in his pyjamas, looking at them wildly.

“What is going on?” he asked.

“It’s Dad,” Sans said confidently.

What?” Toriel gasped, hugging Asriel, who had hid his face in the skirt of the nightgown.

Papyrus was speechless, standing next to Sans and gaping at the black ooze that was gushing in swirls across the basement floor.

“Frisk,” Toriel said sharply. “Come here.”

Frisk hesitated, looking up at Sans.

Now,” Toriel demanded.

Frisk hurried to Toriel’s side and Toriel grabbed their hand. She looked like she was ready to start running, but she didn’t move. She was watching, just like the others. “What is happening, Sans?” she asked tensely.

“Gaster is using my machine,” Sans said hurriedly, without turning around. “His body was shattered into tiny little pieces and scattered across space and time. If everything worked, my machine helped him find those pieces and now his mind is trying to put them back together again.”

Strange, hollow sounds were echoing against the basement walls. Perhaps they were coming from the machine, but it was impossible to tell.

“Dad!” Papyrus cried out. “Dad, can we help?”

Sans was standing next to him, his left eye glowing furiously.

“Everything’s stable, Gaster,” Sans said loudly. “But you’ve got to hurry up.”

The machine was rocking back and forth and it was making strange zapping noises. Toriel wrinkled her snout when she smelled something burning. “Sans…” she said cautiously. “Your machine is short circuiting.”

“No it’s not,” Sans snapped, gritting his teeth. “It’s fine.”

Toriel looked from the buzzing, trembling machine to the strange blackness swirling wildly on the basement floor and she backed away. Asriel followed willingly, still hiding his face against her side, but Frisk needed to be pulled by their arm.

“I want to stay!” Frisk protested.

Sans looked round and saw Toriel’s face. He swallowed. “You’re right, Tori,” he said. “Take the kids upstairs and-”

There was a loud electric zap and the lights flickered. Papyrus yelled and Sans ran towards his machine. Frisk tore themselves free and Toriel grabbed at them just in time to stop them.

Sans and Papyrus had dropped to their knees and were trying to grab hold of the black ooze that had leaked out of the now smoking machine.

When Toriel looked up from struggling with Frisk, she was just in time to see Sans and Papyrus slowly rise to their feet, supporting a monster-like shape between them. They were both holding on to one arm of their adoptive father, who was doing his very best to stabilize his material form.

“Goodness,” Toriel gasped.

Gaster was having trouble staying upright. He was not quite as tall as Papyrus, but certainly taller than Sans and the latter had a hard time supporting him properly.

“My word,” Gaster muttered in a strange, hollow voice. “I seem to be all over the place…”

Slowly the remaining black ooze crept towards him. It seemed to disappear when it reached him. In Toriel’s confusion Frisk had finally freed themselves from her grasp and was staring at Gaster with a puzzled frown. They were sure they had seen that face before. It was white like porcelain and the eyes were large and black.

“Steady, dad,” Sans said when Gaster swayed on his feet.

Gaster’s feet were as white as his face. So were his hands and they had holes in the palms through which you could see the black of his coat. At least Frisk thought the black thing he was wearing looked like a coat. There were no visible sleeves or seams though. Frisk couldn’t even really see where the coat ended and his hands, feet and neck began, it just sort of did.

“That’s better,” Gaster said, standing up straight.

His voice sounded more normal now. More real. The blackness that hung around his body like a cloak had stopped moving and oozing. It really did look like a coat now.

He stretched his long, white fingers and touched his face. There was a soft sound like stone scraping on stone.

“Remarkable,” he observed and then he looked at Sans and Papyrus, who were still halfway supporting him on either side.

“My boys,” he said. “How well you both look!”

“Dad!” Papyrus cried and he fell into Gaster’s arms.

“Tori, Frisk, Asriel,” Sans said, grinning like mad. “Meet the man who took Pap and me in when we had nowhere to go: Gaster.”

“I know you,” Frisk said, stepping forward. “I’ve seen you somewhere once, I’m sure of it.”

“Really?” Gaster smiled. “You could see me? I saw you, of course but I didn’t know you also saw me.”

He held out a thin hand and Frisk shook it enthusiastically. His hand felt smooth and cool, but somehow a heat radiated from the hole in the palm. Gaster looked solid now, like a proper monster, but Frisk had the strange feeling that if he were to open his coat, there wouldn’t be anything there…

“Well,” Toriel said with a sigh heavy with relief. “What a happy day –  well, night – this is!”

Gaster turned towards her and bowed.

“Queen Toriel,” he said respectfully.

“I have not been Queen Toriel for a long time,” she said hastily. “It is just Toriel now, Mister Gaster, and may I welcome you most warmly to our family home.”

“Thank you, Toriel,” he smiled. “And please call me Gaster.”

Toriel smiled and glanced down at Asriel, who was holding on to the skirt of her nightgown, but had stopped hiding his face and was looking at Gaster with large, awestruck eyes.

“Sans?” Gaster said, turning around. “Perhaps it would be best if you turned your remarkable machine off now.”

“Way ahead of you,” Sans answered from behind the machine.

There was a loud click and suddenly the basement filled with the thick silence of a constant background sound being abruptly removed. There was a moment of unexpected calmness and quiet.

Everybody stood around, looking at each other with slightly confused, but happy faces. Gaster looked from Sans to Papyrus and back again, clearly not knowing what to say.

“I suppose sleeping is out of the question now,” Toriel finally said. “So I suggest we all go upstairs and have some early breakfast.”

“Sounds good to me,” Sans grinned.

“I agree,” Papyrus said. “Dad, you must be so hungry.”

“Like I haven’t eaten in ages,” Gaster smiled.

They all went upstairs and Toriel cooked breakfast for all of them. Gathered around the table, Sans and Papyrus took turns explaining to Gaster what had happened during his absence and how their life looked at the moment. Gaster listened in silence, smiling quietly, until they ran out of things to tell him. He looked around at the wide grins of his sons, Toriel’s smiling face and the curious looks of the children and he laughed softly.

“Well,” he said. “This is quite the visit. It’s certainly worth coming back for.”

“Visit?” Papyrus said. “You are staying, aren’t you?”

“I wouldn’t want to intrude,” Gaster said carefully. “I presume this is a rather busy household as it is.”

Sans glanced at Toriel, who rose to her feet and said resolutely “Gaster, you are more than welcome to stay as long as you like.”

“You have to stay,” Papyrus said eagerly. “There’s more than enough room! We will clear out the attic.”

“Actually,” Sans said with a shy grin. “Maybe we should just clear out my bedroom… I haven’t really been using it lately anyway…”

Papyrus gave him a puzzled look. Frisk and Asriel looked at each other and then at Toriel, who was smiling and blushing at the same time.

“I feel like I am missing something,” Gaster observed.

A grin spread across Frisk’s face and they beamed at Sans and Toriel.

“Um, I think Sans is offering to give up his room to you,” Toriel said, doing her best to sound nonchalant. “Since he has been sharing mine lately.”

“I see,” Gaster smiled. “In that case I would gladly accept that offer, until I find my own place, of course.”

Sans grinned at Papyrus, who had finally caught on and whose face was beaming even brighter than Frisk’s. Asriel and Frisk were giggling softly together and Toriel tried very hard to be perfectly calm and composed.

“Excellent,” she said, smiling embarrassedly. “Now I think it is time we all got dressed. Frisk, Asriel, you must be freezing. Come along.”

Frisk and Asriel ran upstairs ahead of her, laughing and jumping with the excitement of the combined surprises of the night.

“Sans!” Papyrus said as soon as they heard the door to the children’s room close upstairs. “Is it finally official then, you and Toriel?”

“I guess so,” Sans grinned. “Maybe you’ll finally ask Mettaton out and hell will freeze over, hm?”

Papyrus turned bright red and Gaster laughed softly.

“Well, well,” he said. “Who could have thought you two would grow up to become bone-afide romantics?”

“Yeah, well, you shouldn’t have gone away for so long,” Sans grinned. “Frisk is kind of my kid, you know, so you’re a grand-dadster now. Lot of responsibility. You’re really going to have to keep it together.”

“Sans, that is so inappropriate,” Papyrus muttered, but Gaster was grinning.

“I’ll make sure I don’t lose myself in all the excitement,” he replied.

“Oh my god, I forgot you guys do this,” Papyrus groaned and he got to his feet. “I’m going to get dressed.”

Sans and Gaster laughed. Sans got up too and said “Hey, I’ll show you to your new room. It comes with its own trash tornado.”

“Sans,” Gaster said.

“Yeah?” Sans said, turning around.

“Thank you,” Gaster said solemnly.

“Don’t mention it,” Sans said with a lopsided grin.

Gaster cleared his throat nervously.

“You will…keep that machine turned off, won’t you?” he said.

Sans gave him a sideways glance.

“No reason left to be turning it on now,” he replied.

Gaster nodded, looking relieved. Before he could say anything else the door to the kid’s room burst open and Frisk and Asriel appeared. They ran away from Toriel screaming with laughter and fled to the bathroom.

“I am going to change out of my nightgown,” Toriel warned loudly. “And when I have you two better be brushed, combed and dressed!”

Muffled laughter came from the bathroom and Toriel went into her bedroom, shaking her head smilingly.

“Where are my boots?” Papyrus called out loudly from inside his room.

“Have you looked in the hallway?” Toriel called back, her bedroom door open on a crack.

“I don’t leave them there anymore since Sir Pouncival started hiding things in them,” Papyrus replied.

“Here they are!” Frisk yelled, opening the bathroom door.

“They are so big I could fit both my legs in them,” Asriel’s voice sounded from somewhere in the bathroom. “Do you think I could hop in them if I can?”

“What are you doing to my boots?” Papyrus said, emerging from his room, half dressed.

There was a loud thump, followed by a disgruntled “ow!” from Asriel and a roar of laughter from Frisk.

“Welcome to the family,” Sans chuckled, leading the way up the stars.

“And what a welcome,” Gaster said and he smiled.

Chapter Text

The days were getting shorter. It had steadily been growing colder and Toriel tried to keep Frisk and Asriel inside as much as possible. She really was doing her best not to fret, but she couldn’t help being anxious at times. If the children as much as sneezed, she worried about them. Especially about Asriel.

Today Manny had come over and he, Frisk, and Asriel were playing pirates. The living room couch was their boat and they had a rug to scoot along the floor on as a row boat to get ashore. The stairs were a dangerous cliff path all the way up to a hidden cave (Frisk and Asriel’s bedroom). And the kitchen was an unsuspecting harbour town that they plundered for food and valuables (but mostly food, since there weren’t really any valuables to steal).

“Ahoy!” Frisk called out. “What see you from the crow’s nest, Captain Manny?”

Manny, who was perched on top of one of the couch’s arm rests made a show of scouting all around.

“Nothing but the wide open sea, Captain Frisk,” he called back.

They hadn’t been able to decide who should be captain, so they were all captains now.

“I have returned!” Asriel announced, stepping from the rug back onto the couch. “With new supplies of rum!”

He put three boxes of chocolate milk on the pile of stolen goods they hoarded in between the couch cushions.

“Good work, Captain Asriel,” Frisk nodded.

Manny pushed his tail against the seat of the couch to stand on his tiptoes and suddenly he gave an excited gasp.

“It’s snowing!” he cried.

“What?” Asriel cried dramatically. “Is a snowstorm coming this way?”

“Arr, we must take care,” Frisk said. “The sea could freeze around us!”

“No!” Manny said, jumping off the couch and running to the window. “It’s actually snowing, guys!”

Frisk and Asriel forgot about their pirate ship and they all gathered at the window to stare up at the sky. White flakes came slowly drifting down, melting as soon as they touched the ground.

“I can’t remember the last time I saw snow…” Asriel said, his eyes large.

“I hope it snows so much everything looks just like Snowdin!” Manny said.

He really missed Snowdin sometimes. It had been a good place to be a kid.

“Let’s go outside!” Frisk yelled.

They stormed to the hallway to get their coats.

Alerted by the sudden noise, Toriel emerged from her bedroom, where she had been taking some calls from the Council of Monster-Human Cohabitation. She had become their regular consultant and often spoke at their meetings. Toriel did not like to be remembered as a queen, but she was a diplomat at heart and she was very good at it. “What is going on here?” she asked, coming down the stairs.

“It’s snowing, Mom!” Asriel rejoiced.

“We’re going to catch snowflakes!” Frisk said, helping Manny to zip up his jacket. He could zip it down with his feet, but up was still a struggle.

“Not without hats and shawls, you are not,” Toriel said.

“Aww, Mom,” Asriel complained.

“What if the snow stops before we get outside?” Frisk pleaded, but Toriel took down the basket of winter wear from the shelf in the hallway and would not let them go before they were all wrapped up well.

“I want to wear the scarf Papyrus made for me,” Frisk said obstinately.

“That one is not warm enough,” Toriel said, wrapping a fleece scarf around them. “But if you ask Papyrus, I am certain he will make you all some lovely winter scarves and probably matching mittens.”

When Toriel finally let them go, Frisk, Asriel, and Manny stormed out the back door, hooting and hollering. Toriel watched them through the window, smiling at their exuberant joy. They ran and jumped and shouted at the sky like they could convince it to snow even harder. There was a sound at the front door and Gaster and Asgore came in.

“The weather took a sudden turn,” Asgore shivered. “The sun was still shining this morning.”

“I was just going to make some tea,” Toriel said. “That will warm you right up.”

Gaster and Asgore gratefully sat down and continued the conversation they had started in the car. Asgore had been showing Gaster around the surface and they had just come back from a museum. Gaster had been more than the royal scientist to Asgore; he had been his friend and he was very glad to have him back.

“Are the boys back yet?” Gaster asked Toriel. Then he laughed. “I really shouldn’t be calling them boys anymore,” he corrected himself.

“It is the prerogative of a parent to think of their children as children forever,” Toriel smiled, pouring the tea. “But in any case, they are both still at work.”

“Speaking of children,” Asgore said. “Where are ours – I mean yours?”

Toriel smiled at him, pretending not to see his embarrassment.

“The children are outside,” she said.

A loud roar of laughter from the backyard confirmed this statement.

“I see they had a fun afternoon,” Asgore smiled, looking around the disheveled living room.

“Ah, yes,” Toriel said meaningfully. “This living room is the seven seas, to be tamed only by the three brave pirate captains of the famous ship, the Black Couch.”

Asgore laughed lovingly. Gaster chuckled and sipped his tea.

“How was the museum?” Toriel asked.

“Very interesting,” Gaster replied. “I have much to catch up with.”

“Isn’t it strange,” Asgore muttered, “how human culture has developed science and art independently from magic?”

Before anyone could answer, the back door burst open and Frisk came running in.

“I need an umbrella!” they declared and were halfway through he living room before they saw Asgore and Gaster.

“Hi!” they said happily and ran off to the hallway.

“Hi, Frisk,” Asgore smiled.

“Hello,” Gaster nodded.

“Come outside!” Frisk urged them, running back with an umbrella.

“What do you need an umbrella for?” Toriel asked laughingly.

“To catch the snow!” Frisk yelled back, slamming the door in their enthusiasm.

The adults finished their tea first, but the cries of joy from outside were really rather irresistible.

“Dad!” Asriel cheered when Asgore walked into the backyard and he came running to swing on his father’s arms.

“Hi, Mister Gaster,” Manny greeted Gaster cheerfully. “Oh, look at the snow on your coat!”

The wet snowflakes did not melt on Gaster’s black coat, but stayed there, glistening white and crisp.

“Hm, interesting effect, is it not?” Gaster nodded and he shook the snow off his sleeve.

“Mom, hold my umbrella for a sec?” Frisk asked, holding out the now very wet umbrella to Toriel.

Toriel was watching Gaster talk to Manny, wondering not for the first time why all kids seemed to trust him immediately. Even for a monster, Gaster certainly had some more eerie, sinister qualities, but Asriel, Frisk, and all their friends seemed to take to him without any reservations.

“Of course, darling,” Toriel said, taking the umbrella off Frisk.

“Higher, Dad!” Asriel cheered, still swinging.

Frisk and Manny ran around with their tongues sticking out, trying to catch the snowflakes. Sometimes Frisk tripped over Manny’s tail and sometimes Manny tripped over his own feet, but they didn’t care.

“Are you sure you are not getting too cold, children?” Toriel asked, drawing her own shawl closer around her.

“No, Mom!” Frisk and Asriel answered in unison.

“Not at all!” Manny agreed.

They all felt the cold pricking in their noses and cheeks, but underneath their coats they were toasty warm.

“So this is where everyone’s hanging out,” Sans’ voice said from the doorway.

He and Papyrus came out of the house, both having just returned from work.

“Sans! Papyrus!” Frisk yelled. “It’s snowing!”

“I can see that, kid,” Sans grinned.

“I must say I am not very impressed,” Papyrus said, holding out his hand to catch a soft, half melted snowflake. “This is nothing like the snow in Snowdin.”

“Maybe it’ll get colder,” Manny said hopefully. “Then there’ll be better snow.”

“Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas!” Asriel said excitedly, sitting on Asgore’s shoulders.

“That would be nice,” Toriel said. “But do not get your hopes up.”

“I saw your new pamphlets on the table,” Papyrus said to her. “Did the council like them?”

“Yes, they do,” Toriel laughed. “But they want a lot more on a variety of different topics and it is not going to be easy to write them in such a short span of time.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll be all write,” Sans grinned.

Toriel grinned.

“Did you both have a good day at work?” Gaster asked, coming towards them.

“Absolutely,” Papyrus nodded. “These last few puzzles are my best creations yet, if I do say so myself.”

“University meeting was fine,” Sans said, he chuckled. “You should come along some time, Dad, human physicists have very strange assumptions regarding space and time.”

“I would like that,” Gaster said, smiling. “I am very interested in speaking with some human scientists. Asgore has just taken me to an exhibition on steam engines in the museum, simply fascinating.”

“Yeah, that’s the thing about exhibitions,” Sans grinned. “You simply mus-see-em.”

There was a scattering of chuckles and groans.

“The snow is really getting heavier,” Toriel said.

She didn’t sound too pleased, but the children were delighted. Asgore tried to lift Asriel down from his shoulders, but his son protested loudly.

“No!” he complained. “I want to gallop some more... Can’t we have a race?”

“Yes!” Manny cheered. “A race! I bet Papyrus can run faster than anyone!”

“Challenge accepted,” Papyrus declared and with a swoop, he picked Manny up and lifted him on his shoulders.

Frisk turned to Sans, who narrowed his eye sockets at them.

“Nuh-uh,” he shook his head. “Not gonna happen, kid.”

Frisk gave him a big-eyed look and pouted.

*Please?* they signed endearingly.

Toriel and Gaster hid their grins as Sans heaved a sigh and lifted Frisk onto his back. “Fine,” he said. “But I ain’t running.”

Papyrus and Asgore galloped around the garden while Sans lazily trudged towards them.

“First one to reach the other side of the garden wins!” Asriel said.

“And first one back here again double wins!” Manny said.

They both towered above everything and everyone, sitting on the shoulders of the two tall monsters.

“Sans will win!” Frisk yelled, their arms hugging him tightly around his neck.

“No, he won’t,” Asriel yelled. “Go!”

Papyrus and Asgore ran, their passengers screaming with laughter, but Sans didn’t. He chuckled and teleported to the other end of the garden.

“Too slow,” he winked at his brother and Asgore and he immediately teleported back.

The sound of Frisk’s triumphant laughter disappeared abruptly and then suddenly appeared again when they reappeared back on the other side of the garden.

“No fair!” Manny yelled.

“Yeah, no teleporting!” Asriel cried.

“You are a cheat, Sans, and you know it!” Papyrus chided him.

“Hey, hey,” Sans grinned. “I don’t remember there being any rules about having to run. Do you Toriel?”

“No,” Toriel smiled. “I don’t think so.”

Mom,” Asriel complained.

“I demand a rematch!” Papyrus cried. “No teleporting this time!”

“Whatever the outcome, afterwards we are going inside,” Toriel said. “It is getting late and you will all become far too cold.”

“It does seem to get colder by the minute,” Gaster agreed, studying the snow that was melting on his hands, but staying untouched on his coat.

“White Christmas!” Manny cheered.

They all ran another race, or rather, Asgore and Papyrus did, because Sans refused to run. Papyrus complained that they had to go again, because Sans didn’t even try, but Toriel herded everybody inside. Outside the snow got heavier and heavier, but inside it was time for hot chocolate and lighting the fireplace. They all hung their wet coats and shawls to dry and settled in for a cosy evening that was only briefly interrupted by Manny’s parents coming to pick up their son.

Chapter Text

It was early in the afternoon and Asriel was at Asgore’s house. Not long after Asriel had come back, Asgore had taken a house closer to Toriel’s house and Asriel’s school so the co-parenting would be easier. Toriel had felt rather guilty that he was the one moving, but Asgore had insisted on it.

“I have only myself to inconvenience,” he had said. “There is no reason for you to uproot your entire household. Besides, this gives me an excuse to move to a house with a garden.”

Today was the end of Asriel’s week with his father. Toriel would come to collect him at the end of the afternoon.

“Have you got all of your stuff?” Asgore asked. “Didn’t leave anything under your bed?”

“I checked twice,” Asriel said confidently.

His little backpack was all packed. He had put it on the couch with his beloved ragdoll rabbit sitting on top. He didn’t have to take a lot with him when traveling between houses; usually he only brought his rabbit, his flashlight, and maybe a book for bedtime stories.

“Alright then,” Asgore said, scratching his son between his stumpy horns. “What do you want to do this afternoon?”

“Um…” Asriel pondered. “I want to cook something.”

“But we just had lunch,” Asgore said with a smile.

“I want to cook something by myself,” Asriel declared. “Something big.”

“Something big, hm?” his father laughed. “Alright then, what do you want to make?”

“Cinnamon-butterscotch pie!” Asriel decided.

“That was always your mother’s speciality,” Asgore said, looking a little nervous. “I never quite managed to master it.”

“That’s okay!” Asriel said confidently. “I can do it!”

“Okay,” Asgore said, trying not to sound too doubtful. “If you’re sure.”

“Course I’m sure,” Asriel said. “We can make the pie and then when Mom comes, we can all have some. As a surprise!”

“That would be a good surprise,” Asgore admitted.

They went to the kitchen. Asriel was not tall enough to properly reach the counter, but Asgore had a sturdy wooden kitchen chair for him to stand on.

“First, butter and eggs,” Asriel said confidently and he ran to the fridge.

Asgore put out mixing bowls and spoons and measuring cups and whatnot, trying with all his might to remember Toriel’s recipe. He really didn’t want Asriel to be disappointed and he was so excited right now.

“We’re gonna make the biggest pie,” he said.

“Maybe sticking to the original measurements is easier,” Asgore said. “At least I remember some of those.”

“Well, okay,” Asriel agreed, putting down one of the three packets of butter he had taken out of the fridge. “Is this enough butter?”

“I think that’s a bit much,” Asgore said with a smile. “One cup of butter will do, I think.”

“How do we get the butter in the cup?” Asriel frowned.

“That’s a good question,” Asgore muttered.

Asriel enthusiastically crammed butter into the measuring cup while Asgore cracked and split two eggs for him. Asriel mixed the butter until it was a little softer.

“Now sugar,” he said, reaching for the tin with sugar. “And how much cinnamon?”

“I don’t know…” Asgore confessed.

“A lot,” Asriel decided.

“Let’s measure the flour fist,” Asgore smiled.

“But the cinnamon is more important!” Asriel insisted and he eagerly filled a teaspoon with the brown powder.

Sadly, not all the cinnamon ended up in the mixing bowl and it was exactly the same when it came to the flour…

An hour later, the kitchen was in a state of utter chaos. The oven had been preheated for ages and the pie crust was in the tin, but the filling was still not done. Asgore looked at the kitchen and his son with mild despair. Everything seemed to be covered in flower and cinnamon. The pie filling was way too runny and while mixing it, Asriel had managed to get the sticky mixture onto his hands, his face, and a whole lot of other places pie filling should be.

“It’s not working,” Asriel cried out in frustration and he dropped his spoon.

“We must have forgotten an ingredient,” Asgore said. “Here, let me look.”

Asriel picked up the heavy bowl to give it to his father, but his paws were slippery and just when he was about to hand it over, he dropped it. The mixing bowl smacked onto the counter. It didn’t break, but the pie filling splattered absolutely everywhere. Asriel stared wide eyed at the counter, his father, and his own clothes, all covered in caramel coloured stickiness. His snout began to tremble. Tears welled up in his eyes.

“Don’t cry, Asriel,” Asgore said gently. “It’s okay.”

A second ago he had felt almost as bad as Asriel looked at that moment, he had wanted to do this right so badly. But he couldn’t comfort Asriel if he felt like that himself and comforting his son was all he cared about right now.

“We can clean all this up,” he said, giving Asriel a rather sticky hug.

Asriel sniffed.

“Hey,” Asgore said. “You did say you were going to bake the biggest pie ever.  And we nearly turned the whole kitchen into a pie. That’s pretty impressive.”

Asriel gave him a shaky smile. “I guess,” he mumbled.

“And look at us,” Asgore winked. “With a dash of extra sugar we could be pies.”

Asriel grinned. Asgore tried to pat him on his head, but he couldn’t because his paw stuck to Asriel’s ears.

“Ew!” Asriel laughed out loud.

Asgore joined him with his loud, rumbling laugh.

At that moment Toriel appeared at the kitchen door, which lead into the backyard. “Hello!” she said cheerfully, coming in.

She stopped and stared at the kitchen and then she stared at Asriel and Asgore. There was egg on their paws, batter in their white fur, and flour and cinnamon absolutely everywhere. “My goodness!” she exclaimed. “What happened?”

“We tried to bake a butterscotch pie,” Asriel said shyly.

“Oh dear,” Toriel said, a small smile appearing on her face. “Are you okay?”

“We’re fine, Tori,” Asgore said, glad she wasn’t upset, but still a little embarrassed. “Apart from a failed pie everything is fine.”

“Are you sure?” she said, the smile creeping further across her face. “Are you certain nothing is the batter with you?”

Asgore gave her an blank stare.

“Mom,” Asriel whined. “It’s not funny! We baked all day and now we don’t even have pie!”

“I am sorry, darling,” Toriel smiled. “I could not seem to help myself.”

Asgore glanced at Asriel and wondered how quickly he could get him ready to leave.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Asriel is all packed, but I hadn’t exactly counted on this happening. We’ll just be a minute. Would you like a cup of tea while you wait?”

“Wait?” Toriel said. “Don’t be silly, Asgore. I will help and we shall have this place cleaned up in no time.”

She put away her bag and helped Asgore to clean the kitchen while Asriel did his best to help. Quite frankly, everything that Asgore and Asriel touched only got more sticky. It was not easy to get the stickiness off their paws because of their fur.

“Well, that looks a lot better already,” Toriel smiled.

She looked at Asgore and Asriel, who still looked very floury and sticky.

“How about you two go clean up and I will see if I can rescue your pie?” she said.

“I’m afraid there isn’t a lot to rescue,” Asgore said.

“The oven is hot and the crust looks good,” Toriel said warmly. “That is more than half the work done.”

“Really?” Asriel asked.

“Just you wait,” Toriel smiled warmly. “By the time you are done, I will be too.”

“Come along then,” Asgore said to Asriel. “We both have some scrubbing to do.”

Toriel watched them go with a smile and then turned her attention to the pie. She tasted a lick of the leftover filling, thought for a moment, and got to work.

Upstairs, Asgore filled the bath.

“Can I have bubbles?” Asriel asked.

“Alright,” Asgore said. “But keep them inside the bath this time.”

He poured some bubble bath into the tub and let Asriel splash in the water and play with the bubbles while he scrubbed his own paws, arms, and snout. He was not nearly as messy and sticky as Asriel and when he was done, he took some shampoo and began to clean a protesting Asriel. Asriel loved taking baths but he really didn’t like washing his fur.

“It’ll go quicker if you sit still,” Asgore said calmly.

“The soap is going to get in my eyes!” Asriel protested.

“No, it won’t,” Asgore said patiently.

It took a long time, but finally Asriel was scrubbed clean and his fur was white again. “Okay,” Asgore said, drying his paws and arms. “Let’s get you out.”

“No!” Asriel cried. “The bubbles aren’t gone yet.”

“Just a little while longer then,” Asgore smiled. “But don’t be too long, I’m sure your mother would like to get home.”

Asriel nodded and started gathering the remaining foamy bubbles to make as big a heap as he could.

Asgore put on a clean shirt and went downstairs. He found Toriel still in the kitchen. She had just put the kettle on for tea. The pie was resting in the warm oven.

“Let me guess,” Toriel said, turning around with a smile. “Bubbles?”

“Bubbles,” Asgore laughed and she laughed with him.

“I’m sorry, Tori,” Asgore said, rubbing the back of his head. “You’re going to be late.”

“Do not worry about it,” Toriel said. “I have let Sans know, so it is fine.”

“Are you sure?” Asgore said.

“Of course,” Toriel smiled. “Papyrus is always happy to cook, so they will have dinner ready by the time we come home. I say ‘they,’ but Sans probably will not lift a finger.”

“So, how are you doing?” Asgore asked, sitting down at the kitchen table.

“I am doing well, Asgore,” Toriel said warmly. “But I am sure you know that.”

“I meant you and Sans, actually,” Asgore said, not looking her in the eye.

“Ah,” Toriel said quietly. “We are fine. Happy. It is…it is still a bit strange.” She laughed nervously.

“Well, I’m glad you’re happy, Tori,” Asgore said. “I really am.”

“Thank you,” Toriel said feelingly.

Asgore glanced at the pie in the oven and sighed.

“I knew it wasn’t going to go well from the start,” he confessed. “I’m not too bad in the kitchen, I think, but I’ve never been able to replicate any of your recipes. You were always the better cook. I’m afraid I’m quite the stereotypical dad.”

“Then you are a stereotypically good one,” Toriel said lovingly.

Asgore smiled.

“I mean it, Asgore,” Toriel said, getting up to fetch the kettle now the water was boiling. “Nobody is perfect. We certainly are not. But…I think we are doing a good job.”

Her former husband gave her a smile.

“We have our son back,” he said. “And he’s doing well.”

“Yes he is,” Toriel agreed. She put the kettle on the kitchen table beside the teapot. “Would you steep the tea?” she asked.

“My pleasure,” Asgore nodded.

They drank their tea and talked until they heard Asriel come down the stairs. He came into the kitchen, accompanied by the pleasant smell of freshly washed child. He was wrapped in his green bathrobe. It had a hood that was a bit too big for him, so it dropped down over his eyes occasionally. He had his ragdoll rabbit tucked under his arm.

“There’s my boy,” Toriel smiled. “How about a piece of pie?”

Asriel climbed up on a kitchen chair and leaned on the table, happily watching how his mother cut off three big slices of pie. Asgore fetched some plates and forks and they all took a slice.

“That is lovely, Tori,” Asgore said.

“What did we do wrong?” Asriel asked, taking another big bite.

“Sometimes recipes go wrong,” Toriel said kindly. “That is the adventure of cooking.”

“Next time bake a pie with your mom,” Asgore said. “She’ll be able to teach you how it’s done.”

“How about we bake one all together?” Toriel said. “Just the three of us.”

Yes,” Asriel said contentedly and Asgore smiled.

Asriel pushed the hood of the bathrobe back and took another bite. “And then I can teach Frisk how to do it,” he said happily, making his rabbit sit upright against the teapot.

“Indeed you can,” Toriel smiled.

Together they ate their pie and drank their tea. Asriel was slowly drying off and getting a little fluffy in the process. His parents were talking about long ago and he silently cut off some small bits of pie for his rabbit (the rabbit didn’t want pie, so Asriel ate it for him). It was already dark outside and pretty cold, but inside Asgore’s kitchen, it was warm and cosy and it smelled deliciously of cinnamon and butterscotch.

Chapter Text

“Well, that’s settled,” Toriel said happily, putting her phone down. “Alphys and Undyne will be joining us for Christmas.”

“Hurray!” Frisk and Asriel cheered.

“I told you they’d come,” Frisk said triumphantly.

It was still a couple weeks to Christmas but the house was already looking very festive. There was a big tree in the living room that Papyrus and Asgore had brought inside and that they had then all decorated together. The table was covered with a red and green tablecloth and the windowsills were decorated with pine cones and candles in red glasses.

There was a loud knock on the door.

“That’ll be Mettaton,” Papyrus said, emerging from the kitchen and hastily taking off his apron.

It was indeed.

“Hello, Papy,” he said, stepping inside when Papyrus opened the door. “Thank you for letting me come over on such short notice.”

“Of course, Mettaton,” Papyrus said happily. “Now, what was this script you wanted me to look at?”

They sat down on the couch so Papyrus could read a new script for Mettaton’s latest show. His TV show was getting good ratings, but he was determined to kick it up a notch for the holiday season.

Toriel was already planning the Christmas dinner in her head. In the Underground they had not celebrated Christmas, but they had celebrated the midwinter festival. Not that there were actual seasons in the Underground, but some things stick in the mind, even after centuries. Light in the dark and singing around a fire were things that stuck. Most monsters had happily adopted the name Christmas though after moving to the surface. It was all essentially the same: love and kindness, candles and presents and of course lots of food.

“Papyrus?” Toriel interrupted the reading of the script. “Have you asked Mettaton yet?”

Mettaton looked up.

“Asked me what, darling?” he said.

“Oh, yes,” Papyrus said, flushing red for a moment. “Would you like to come over for Christmas dinner, Mettaton, on the first day of Christmas?”

Because he was in his Ex form at the moment it was clearly visible how disappointed Mettaton was when he answered “Oh, Papy dear, I can’t… I’m sorry.” He smiled apologetically. “I’m spending the holidays with Blooky and the family,” he explained. “We’re having a big to-do on Christmas eve, all night actually. It’s kind of a tradition for ghosts.”

“How lovely you are spending it together then,” Toriel smiled.

“Yes!” Papyrus said. “Of course family is more important than my invitation!”

Mettaton looked really sorry, but he smiled. “You and Sans will be celebrating with your father for the first time in a long time, right?” he said.

Papyrus nodded, beaming with joy. At that moment Gaster emerged from what used to be Sans’ room. He came downstairs, holding something invisible. For a moment, it looked like there were merely two eyes floating in front of Gaster’s black coat, but a soft mewing soon revealed he was in fact holding Sir Pouncival. The young cat was exactly as jet black as Gaster’s coat, so that he seemed to disappear completely when Gaster held him.

“Would someone take this small troublemaker off me?” Gaster requested. “He keeps finding his way into my room.”

“Give him to me,” Mettaton said, stretching out his arms.

Gaster handed him Sir Pouncival, smiled at Papyrus, winked at the children, and went back upstairs. Mettaton put the cat on his lap and Sir Pouncival laid down, folding his paws neatly and holding his head up to inspect the room. His black fur was sleek and shiny. He was a very pretty cat.

“Look at him,” Mettaton gushed. “I’ve never seen anything so cute and stylish in my life. Well, except myself, of course.”

Frisk and Asriel giggled. They were cutting snowflakes out of paper to decorate the windows with. Mettaton shot them a dazzling smile and stroked Sir Pouncival while Papyrus read his script.

“Mettaton, Papyrus, would you like some coffee?” Toriel asked. “I’m making hot chocolate for the children.”

“Coffe would be lovely, thank you,” Mettaton replied.

“I would prefer a mug of hot milk,” Papyrus said, looking up from his reading.

“Of course,” Toriel said.

By the time she came back with everyone’s hot drinks, Asriel and Frisk had nearly finished their snowflakes and Papyrus was giving Mettaton notes on his script.

“I just want it to be perfect, you know?” Mettaton sighed.

“It is!” Papyrus assured him. “Very perfect! But it would be even more perfect if you added a dance break here.”

“Thank you, Mom!” Frisk and Asriel chimed when she put their hot chocolates on the table. They had small marshmallows floating on top, already beginning to melt.

“You’re a marvel,” Mettaton said as she handed him his coffee and Papyrus gave her a happy smile when she put his mug of hot milk down on the side table.

Toriel busied herself with filling in some dates in the family calendar while Mettaton listened to Papyrus’ last notes. When Papyrus was done, he finished his coffee and reluctantly confessed that he had to go. Carefully, he lifted Sir Pouncival off his lap and deposited him on the couch. This earned him an angry meow and a punishing swipe of a soft, black paw, that Mettaton didn’t even feel on his metal arm.

“Here you go,” Papyrus said, giving him back his script.

Thank you for giving notes, Papy,” Mettaton cooed.”You’re an absolute treasure.”

“I am always happy to help!” Papyrus said cheerfully. “I shall make sure I forget all of it so I can enjoy it again when I see it on your show!”

Mettaton laughed appreciatively and Papyrus walked Mettaton to the door with a happy grin plastered to his face. Frisk and Asriel glaced meaningfully at each other. Frisk rolled their eyes and Asriel grinned, trying not to snort out loud.

“Well,” Toriel said when Papyrus came back into the living room. “It’s a pity Mettaton can’t come. Next year we will start planning earlier and make sure he can attend.”

“An excellent idea,” Papyrus said. “After all, every party would benefit from Mettaton’s presence!”

Toriel smiled, but did not say anything else and Papyrus luckily did not see the exasperated face that Frisk pulled, even if he did hear Asriel nearly choking on his hot chocolate.

.

It didn’t look like it would be a white Christmas. It was very cold and it did snow sometimes, but it never stayed on the ground for long. The kids had not given up hope yet though and every day they checked if the temperature on the thermometer had gone down.

“Is in any lower today?” Asriel asked one morning, not long after Toriel had confirmed everybody would attend the dinner on Christmas day.

Frisk shook their head. *Same,* they signed dejectedly.

“The thermometer is hung up against the wall of the house,” Sans said. “It’ll always be warmer there than out in the open.”

“So, it’s actually colder?” Asriel asked.

“Probably,” Sans grinned.

Frisk and Asriel nearly tripped over their own feet in their haste to put on their coats. They went outside, took the thermometer off the wall and ran through the garden with it, hoping that it would show a lower temperature.

“Was that a scheme, Sans?” Gaster asked with a chuckle, on his way to the basement. He sometimes used Sans’ workshop when he needed to do things Toriel considered too dangerous to do in the rest of the house. It was not a perfect arrangement, but they managed.

“Well, they were being a bit loud,” Sans grinned, stretching himself out on the couch.

Papyrus and Toriel were both looking over what was rapidly becoming a very complicated menu for the big Christmas dinner.

“That’s three courses,” Papyrus said excitedly. “With ten dishes, no, eleven.”

“Isn’t that a bit much?” Sans asked from the couch, without opening his eyes. “Not that I’m complaining, of course…”

“Well, everybody has to have something to eat that they really like!” Papyrus said. “And there’s a lot of us.”

“Yes, we are a big group all together,” Toriel agreed. “That reminds me: we will have to coordinate the gift giving somewhat.”

Papyrus glanced around and when he saw Frisk and Asriel were still outside he whispered loudly “Yes, Undyne was asking about that. She wants to buy Frisk a present, but she wanted to check with you first.”

Toriel nodded. “I guess I’ll appoint myself gift-coordinator then,” she said with a smile. “I’ll give her a call, and Asgore too.”

When she finally hung up the phone, she scribbled some things on a paper and said, keeping her voice down “Alright, we settled on two gifts each and three for the children.”

“Sounds good,” Sans nodded.

“And I’ve made divisions so we know who buys something for whom,” Toriel said.

“Does that mean we get to go shopping?” Papyrus cried out eagerly.

“It certainly does,” Toriel laughed.

“Oh, goodie!” Papyrus cheered.

“What’s good?” Frisk asked, coming in from outside.

“What are you doing?” Asriel demanded to know, following them.

“It is time for some holiday shopping,” Toriel smiled.

There was no need to hide the gift buying from the children, as long as they didn’t know what they were getting and from whom.

“Can we come?” Frisk and Asriel begged.

“Of course,” Toriel said. “We can all go.”

The children cheered and Papyrus looked just as excited.

“You’re coming too, right?” Frisk asked Sans.

“Course, kiddo,” Sans grinned.

“Good,” Toriel said. “Everybody wrap up warm then.”

They all put on their coats, shawls and hats. Papyrus had been very busy and they all had at least one article of the Papyrus Winter Collection. Frisk and Asriel had woollen hats. Asriel’s hat had holes in it for when his horns would grow longer. This really wasn’t necessary yet, but it made Asriel feel very grown up. Toriel had a nice thick shawl and Sans hat a pair of blue mittens.

Well protected from the cold, they all piled into the car and drove to the mall.

“Alright,” Toriel said when they got out of the car. “Kids, look at me.”

Asriel and Frisk stood quietly side by side and looked at her.

“This is a big place and it is going to be very busy,” Toriel said seriously. “I want you to promise right now that you will not wander off. Make sure you are always with one of us and if you find that you have lost us, go immediately to the nearest person in a store uniform and ask them to call for us over the intercom. Got it?”

They nodded.

“Good,” Toriel said. “Let’s go.”

They went inside and decided to look around a bit first before starting the Christmas shopping. Toriel didn’t come here often, she preferred small shops, and the children had never been there. Asriel and Frisk didn’t know what side to look first from excitement. There was a giant tree hung with red and silver baubles, Christmas music was blaring from the speakers, and there were garlands and wreaths everywhere.

“Wowie,” Papyrus said, impressed. “These people are even better at decorating than I am!”

“Look!” Frisk exclaimed and they pointed.

Squashed between a big toy store and a shop that sold things for cooking was a small shop with a brightly coloured sign hung above the door that read:

TEM SHOP

“What’s that?” Asriel asked.

“Could that possibly be…?” Toriel said doubtingly.

“Let’s go see!” Frisk yelled and they ran towards it.

Toriel hurried after them, holding Asriel’s hand and Sans and Papyrus followed. Everything in the shop was brightly coloured and, apart from a couple of amused looking humans and one young birdlike monster, it was filled with temmies.

“Hoi!” a chorus of voices greeted them when they entered the shop.

“Hi!” Frisk said cheerfully to the first shop assistant. “Remember me?”

“Hoi!” the temmie replied. “I’m Temmie!”

“I didn’t know the Temmies had opened a shop here,” Toriel said to Sans. “I’ll tell the office for monster culture so they can put it on their map.”

“Hello,” a friendly voice said behind them. “I’m Bob, customer service, can I help you?”

Frisk turned around and waved at him.

“Oh, hello, Frisk,” Bob said cheerfully. “Good to see you!”

“What a cool shop,” Asriel said, looking at the screaming colours left and right.

“Thank you,” Bob nodded.

“Tem shop very best!” the Temmie assured them proudly. “Tem outta tem!”

“It is very cheerful,” Papyrus nodded.

“How are you guys enjoying life on the surface?” Sans asked.

“Like it lots, much humans, so cute!” the Temmie said, nodding furiously.

“It’s not at all bad,” Bob smiled. “And humans seem to like our products.”

They all looked around. The store was mostly filled with things that had pictures of the temmies on it. There were T-shirts (Tem Shirts), lunchboxes (Tem Boks), socks (Tem Foots), notepads (Tem Write Thing) and a lot more. In the middle of the store stood a big basket filled with headbands that had soft Temmie ears on them. On the basket hung a sign that read: “Tem ears! Look like Tem!”

A human father with two small children was picking out two headbands for his children. The kids looked like they couldn’t think of anything the wanted more in the whole world than those temmie ears.

“Can we have some?” Asriel asked.

Toriel smiled.

*Please! Please!* Frisk signed.

“We should support monster businesses, right?” Papyrus said, eyeing the headbands with interest.

“Very true,” Toriel laughed. “You all go pick one out then.”

“Tem escort customer,” the temmie said seriously and ran after them.

Sans and Toriel watched how Frisk, Asriel and Payrus dug through the assortment of headbands.

“Sans! Come look!” Papyrus urged.

“Nah, thanks, bro,” Sans said.

“Don’t you want one?” Toriel asked Sans teasingly.

“If you try putting one of those things on me, I am leaving,” Sans warned her.

She laughed and walked to the checkout counter. When Frisk put their headband on the counter, they greeted the cashier. It was the grey-haired temmie that had been the shopkeeper in the Underground.

“Hoi!” she said excitedly. “I know you!”

“Hi, Temmie,” Frisk grinned. “This shop is a lot bigger than your old one!”

“Much big,” Temmie nodded. “Importantest job for me: money. Only me is Tem with finances.”

“Congratulations on your promotion!” Papyrus said cheerfully.

“Thank!” Temmie beamed, vibrating with pride.

Toriel paid and Frisk, Asriel and Papyrus put on their temmie ears straight away.

“So Cute!” all the temmies complemented them.

Sans looked at all the vibrating, over-excited faces.

“Can we go now?” he mumbled to Toriel.

“Yes, come on, children,” she said. “We have shopping to do!”

“Boi!” all the Temmies said, waving, as they left the store.

“Wonderful to see you,” Bob nodded. “Do come again.”

“That was quite the experience,” Toriel laughed.

“Heh,” Sans hummed.

“Can we do the Christmas shopping now?” Papyrus asked.

“Absolutely,” Toriel said.

She gathered everybody close to tell them the game plan.

“Okay,” she said. “Of course, we can not let everybody know what their presents will be, so we will have to split up.”

Asriel and Frisk could hardly stand still from all the excitement.

“Let’s see,” Toriel smiled. “Asriel, do you want to go with Sans?”

Asriel nodded.

“Then you will go with Papyrus, Frisk, and I will go do some scheming of my own…”

Frisk grinned.

“And we shall meet up at the food court in an hour or an hour and a half?” she suggested.

They all nodded.

“Then I have a paper for you with who you’re supposed to buy a gift for,” she said, giving Papyrus and Sans a piece of paper.

“Right!” Papyrus exclaimed. “We have a mission! Frisk and I will go complete it right now.”

Frisk laughed and saluted. Papyrus beamed and said “You are now my second in command, I will hold your hand so you don’t get lost. If you get hungry, we shall stop for a snack. If you get tired, you shall be carried. Let’s go!”

Papyrus grabbed Frisk’s hand and hurried away, a laughing Frisk running to keep up with him.

“Phew,” Sans whistled. “Makes me tired just to look at him go.”

He winked at Asriel.

“Let’s go before I fall asleep on the spot,” he said.

Asriel chuckled and followed Sans. He waved at Toriel and Sans grinned at her. Toriel watched them go and saw with a warm heart how Asriel reached out and Sans took hold of his hand. With a happy smile she looked at her own paper, which read as follows:

SANS: Frisk, Papyrus, Alphys
PAPYRUS: Gaster, Undyne, Toriel
ALPHYS: Asriel, Undyne, Sans
UNDYNE: Frisk, Papyrus, Toriel
ASGORE: Asriel, Gaster, Alphys
GASTER: Sans, Asgore
TORIEL: Asriel, Frisk, Asgore

“Luckily I have a pretty good idea where to start,” she smiled and set off in search of a bookstore.

.

Sans and Asriel were the first to arrive at the food court. When Toriel arrived, Asriel was drinking a soda and Sans had persuaded a rather confused vendor to sell him a bottle of ketchup instead of a hotdog.

“Did you guys find fun things?” Toriel asked.

“We’re not telling!” Asriel said, swinging his feet happily. “We have the best gifts!”

“That’s right,” Sans grinned.

“Good,” Toriel smiled. “I didn’t do too bad myself, I think.”

Asriel eyed her big shopping bag curiously, but he couldn’t even make out a shape.

“I wonder where Frisk and Papyrus are,” Toriel said, sitting down.

“Right there,” Sans said, pointing with his ketchup bottle.

Papyrus, taller than most humans, always stood out in a crowd. But on this occasion he stood out not because he was tall, but because he was carrying a very long, very thin present that stuck out far above his own head. Frisk followed him with a small shopping bag.

“My goodness,” Toriel said.

“What is it?” Asriel yelled, standing up on his chair. “What’s in there?”

“Don’t you fall and hurt yourself, kid,” Sans said.

Asriel sat down again.

“It is a present,” Papyrus said smugly. “And you will know what it is when it is opened by its recipient on Christmas and no sooner.”

“Aw, really Pap?” Sans grinned. “You won’t give us any Santa clues about what it is?”

Frisk grinned.

“No!” Papyrus said, putting the package on the floor. “My lips are sealed! Well, Frisk’s lips are sealed, my lips do not need sealing, because they aren’t there.”

“I wish it was Christmas tomorrow!” Asriel sighed.

“Me too,” Frisk said.

“It’ll be Christmas soon enough,” Toriel smiled. “Now, who wants a drink or a snack? Asriel and Sans have beaten us to it, but we can all have something before we go.”

When Frisk had also had a soda and Papyrus had tried some tomato juice, they all went back to the car. Papyrus’ package was very hard to get in, it didn’t fit in the boot. And they had quite a couple of packages and bags between them.

“This car is a little too full,” Sans said, sliding the driver’s seat forward. “I’m beginning to feel Claustrophobic.”

Toriel chuckled and Papyrus groaned.

“You know what Santa’s elves learn in school?” Frisk asked.

“What, kid?” Sans grinned.

“The elfabet,” Frisk said.

They all laughed except for Papyrus, who was staring stubbornly out of the window.

“That is a good one,” Toriel said. “But what did the salt and pepper say to each other when they met on Christmas eve?”

“What?” Asriel grinned.

“Seasoning’s greetings,” Toriel laughed.

Another round of chuckles and snorts.

“Look!” Asriel said, pointing as they drove past a decorative reindeer. “It’s a merry Christmoose!”

“If you do not stop right now!” Papyrus interrupted their laughter. “I swear I will sleigh you all.”

There was a short silence before they all burst into laughter. Papyrus looked very smug and they drove home punning all the way.

Chapter Text

It was Christmas Day and Toriel and Papyrus had been in the kitchen since morning.

“I still don’t see why we couldn’t make my spaghetti stuffing for the turkey…” Papyrus mumbled.

“Papyrus, please,” Toriel sighed. “We have two pasta dishes on the menu, surely that is enough.”

She was stirring a big pot with homemade ketchup, Sans’ favourite recipe. On the kitchen counter ingredients were laid out for soup, various sauces, and some vegetable dishes.

“Everything okay in here?” Sans asked, sticking his head round the corner of the kitchen door.

“Oh, yes,” Toriel smiled, but she really looked rather hot and flustered. “Where are the children?”

“Dad’s taken them to the basement,” Sans said. “He’s keeping them amused.”

“The basement?” Toriel asked sharply.

“Don’t worry,” Sans said. “Asriel is fine. He’s having fun.”

Toriel relaxed a little and took the plate of chopped onions Papyrus gave to her.

“Our father is an excellent amuser of children,” Papyrus assured her.

She smiled. “Just make sure they get dressed on time,” she said. “Alphys and Undyne will arrive at five thirty, Asgore maybe earlier.”

Sans gave her a thumbs up and disappeared for a nap before all the excitement would begin.

Papyrus and Toriel carried on cooking.

“That’s the soup,” Toriel mumbled, putting the fire on low. “How’s the fusilli getting along?”

“It’s perfect,” Papyrus said, very pleased with himself.

“Good,” Toriel nodded.

She peeked at the turkey, that was roasting in the oven. On the kitchen counter stood three pies (one apple, one cinnamon-butterscotch, one snail) that she kept hot with her fire magic.

“I’ll never know how people without magic do this,” Toriel said, shaking her head.

“I know!” Papyrus said, tossing a salad. “This is a lot of work!”

“I’ll say,” Toriel puffed.

They both glanced at the clock.

“Papyrus,” Toriel said anxiously “Could you go check on Sans and the kids to see if they’re getting dressed?”

“Of course,” Papyrus said, putting away the salad bowl.

The living room was empty and exactly as neat and cosy as Toriel had left it. The lights on the Christmas tree twinkled, the paper snowflakes hung white and crisp on the windows. Unlit candles stood waiting on the windowsills and cupboards, and the rest of the room was decorated with assorted pinecones, golden bells and sprigs of holly and mistletoe. The dinner table was covered with a dark red tablecloth and Toriel’s good china stood piled up in the middle of the table, ready to be used for setting.

“Frisk! Asriel!” Papyrus called out.

No answer.

He ran down the basement stairs. The door to the workshop was open and Gaster, Frisk, and Asriel were inside.

“It’s time to get dressed!” Papyrus exclaimed. “Sans was supposed to call you!”

“Don’t worry,” Gaster said pleasantly. “I think the children will be ready in a jiffy. I know I will.”

He winked at Asriel and Frisk and spread his arms. His black coat, that reached to the floor, billowed and shuddered and changed shape before their eyes. They stared with big eyes as the coat drew itself closer around Gaster’s limbs until he was wearing a black suit.

“Oooooh!” Asriel gasped.

*Cool!* Frisk signed.

“This is no time to show off, dad,” Papyrus said impatiently. “Come on, Asriel, Frisk! Hurry!”

They followed Papyrus, running up the basement stairs and then up to their rooms.

“You go dress, Papyrus,” Gaster said. “I’ll help them, Toriel laid out their clothes for them, didn’t she?”

“Yup, they’re on their beds,” Sans said, emerging from the room he now shared with Toriel.

He was wearing a dark blue sweater over a dress shirt and he was wearing long pants and real shoes.

“My, my,” Gaster chuckled. “Don’t you clean up nice.”

Sans glanced at him with a smirk, but he didn’t reply.

“Hurry up!” Papyrus ordered, hopping around to put his dress pants on.

The children ran into their room and Gaster helped Asriel, while Sans helped Frisk. They heard the kitchen door open and close a couple of times and then they heard Toriel hurrying up the stairs and into her room.

Papyrus stormed into the kids’ room, wearing a dark red blazer. He forced Frisk to comb their hair and Asriel to brush his fur. Everybody seemed to be running and yelling, but everyone heard Toriel when she raised her voice to ask “Is the table set?”

Sans and Papyrus both gave a wave with their hand. There was a loud clattering downstairs and then silence.

“Yes, Tori,” Sans called back.

“There,” Gaster said, having helped Frisk with a difficult to tie shoelace. “Two Christmas children ready to go.”

They stepped into the hallway just as Toriel came out of her room. She was wearing a dress of the deepest purple.

“Wow, Mom,” Asriel said. “You look nice.”

Frisk nodded.

“So do all of you,” Toriel said with a happy smile.

It was just like she had never been the least bit stressed or flustered. Not a hair on her snout was out of place. She looked lovely.

The bell rang.

“That will be Asgore,” Toriel said.

“I’ll get it!” Asriel yelled and he bolted downstairs, followed by Frisk.

The rumble of Asgore’s voice, followed by a loud “Merry Christmas dorks!” announced that Asgore, Undyne, and Alphys had arrived together.

“Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!” Frisk and Asriel yelled, running around.

“Everything looks w-wonderful, Toriel!” Alphys said.

She and Undyne were both dressed in their best as well and Asgore was wearing a suit. “Um, where do we put these, Tori?” Asgore asked, holding up a bag with presents.

“Under the tree of course,” Toriel said with a smile. “I think we should all put the gifts under the tree!”

Everybody disappeared to their respective hiding places and came back with the gifts. They put them under the tree, doing their best not to let anyone see what gift they put down and for who they were. Frisk helped Papyrus with the ridiculously long present and Sans put down a rather big box. There were a lot of people, so there were a lot of presents. It looked properly crowded under the tree.

Frisk looked at Asriel and knew he was thinking the same thing: they couldn’t wait to know what was in all these presents. But they would have to wait, because Toriel was ushering everybody towards the table.

“Sit down, everyone!” Papyrus said proudly, joining her. “Because Toriel and I have prepared a feast never before seen on the surface or anywhere else!”

Laughing and chatting, they all sat down, while Toriel and Papyrus went into the kitchen. Asriel sat down next to Asgore and Frisk went to sit between Sans and Asriel. Undyne and Alphys sat next to each other and Gaster sat down on Asgore’s other side.

“Applause would be appropriate,” Papyrus announced, emerging from the kitchen with a large bowl full of spaghetti bolognaise. Toriel followed him with the enormous roast turkey.

Everyone applauded.

There were more dishes to follow. Salad and soup, bread and butter, the homemade ketchup and several other sauces, mash, vegetables, preserved fruit, fish in butter sauce and fusilli with bacon and mushrooms.

“Oh…wow…” Alphys laughed nervously.

“I see we’re going to be here a while,” Gaster smiled.

Toriel and Papyrus sat down. The table was absolutely packed with food and there were smiling faces all around. In the background the candles and Christmas lights twinkled and underneath the Christmas tree the presents lay waiting to be unpacked.

“Merry Christmas, everyone!” Papyrus said happily.

“Merry Christmas,” Toriel said warmly. “And enjoy, everybody.”

“Merry Christmas!” Asriel and Frisk chimed in.

“Merry Christmas,” Gaster smiled. “My last midwinter feast was a long time ago…”

“Merry Christmas,” Sans grinned.

“Fair midwinter,” Undyne said. “And merry Christmas too.” She gave Alphys a kiss on her cheek and Alphys blushed.

“M-merry Christmas everyone,” she said happily.

“Merry Christmas indeed,” Asgore nodded.

They all helped themselves to as much food as they could possibly eat. There was more than enough and there was something for everyone. They ate and ate and, when they thought they couldn’t possibly eat another bite, Toriel brought out the pies.

When the last bites of pie had been spooned up and swallowed, there was a satisfied silence around the table. They were all so full they didn’t feel like even getting up from the table. But Frisk and Asriel were not so full that they had forgotten about the presents and they glanced around at the adults to see if it was time to gather round the tree yet.

“What is it?” Sans grinned. “Is there something you want to ask?”

“I suppose they want to ask if it is time to clear the table,” Asgore said. “I’d say it is.”

“No….” Asriel groaned and Frisk rolled their eyes.

“Fuhuhuhuhuhu,” Undyne laughed. “You should see your faces!”

“No teasing,” Papyrus said. “It’s Christmas.”

“Alright then,” Toriel laughed. “Time for presents!”

“Yay!”

Asriel and Frisk slid off their chairs and ran to the tree, sitting down on the floor right beside it, eyes sparkling with excitement. The others chose places on the couch, chairs or rug around the tree. Sir Pouncival left his basket in the corner of the room, wandered over to the couch and laid down on Sans’ lap, who was the least likely to move. Everybody looked curiously at the brightly coloured packages.

“You start, Asriel,” Alphys said. “You’re the y-youngest.”

“No he’s not!” Frisk protested.

“I am now,” Asriel insisted.

“You can both open your first present at the same time then,” Toriel said before they could argue any further.

They both pounced at the mountain of prettily wrapped gifts and each found one with their name on it. Squealing with excitement, they tore the paper off.

“It’s a game!” Frisk cheered.

The disc said “Dance Dance Revolution.”

“I’ll beat you all!” Frisk proclaimed confidently.

Asriel made a strange sound and Frisk gasped when they saw his gift. It was a goat plushie. Asriel loved stuffed animals, but even though he loved his ragdoll rabbit, he never had a doll that looked like him. Now he did. He hugged the little goat as tight as he could.

Toriel glanced at Asgore and saw his eyes shone with gladness.

“Can I go next?” Papyrus asked.

“Go on then,” Undyne said impatiently.

Papyrus chose a gift and opened it. “A box,” he said “How intriguing, it’s…”

Papyrus nearly dropped the box in his excitement. On it was a picture and a lot of recommendations from cooks and other important people, but he didn’t care about any of that because on the lid of the box it said in big green letters: MAKE YOUR OWN PASTA.

“Oh!” Papyrus cried. “Oh this is magnificent! The Great Papyrus will be able to make his own pasta!”

Asriel grinned widely at Sans and Sans winked at him. When Papyrus had finally quieted down, Undyne nudged Alphys.

“Your turn,” she said.

Alphys flushed happily and chose a gift. She unwrapped it and glowed with pleasure. “A drawing pad!” she said. “I’ve wanted one of these for ages.”

“Cool,” Undyne nodded.

“Now you’ll finally be able to draw those comics you’re always dreaming up,” Sans grinned.

Alphys looked nervous, but she was too happy to mind his teasing. Undyne was next. She looked at all the presents. “This one’s for me,” she said, pointing at the strange, long package. “What is this?”

Frisk squirmed with excitement while Undyne dragged the package out from underneath the tree and Papyrus did his best to keep a straight face.

“Unwrap it!” Asriel cried.

“Yeah, yeah, calm down,” Undyne grinned and she tore the paper off.

It was a spear. A real one. Long and heavy, but unsharpened, so it was legal for use in private spheres.

“Man,” Undyne grinned. “This is awesome.”

The materializing of magical spears was frowned upon at the surface and Undyne really missed her workout training routines. She got to her feet to hold the spear and test its weight and balance. “Perfect!” she said. “Absolutely awesome.”

“I think that’s you next then, Sans,” Toriel said.

Sans looked at the presents without getting up.

“Which one’s for me, Frisk?” he asked.

Frisk pointed. Sans raised his hand, lifted the present into the air, and had it float over to him.

“Lazy bones,” Papyrus chided, but he was smiling.

Sans unwrapped the present and took out a book. “1001 physics jokes,” he read the cover. “Annoy your colleagues and confuse your friends.”

He grinned. “Thanks!”

The next present was for Toriel. It was a DVD called “Cooking With Snails”. The description promised six episodes and one special with detailed instructions on how to prepare dishes with snails in it from all around the world.

“I can’t wait to try them!” Toriel said happily.

Then it was on to Gaster and his first present contained a big book about the history of modern science.

“Fascinating,” Gaster said, turning a couple of pages. “I have a lot to learn…”

Asgore chose the next present. It was a new pair of gardening shears, big enough for his big paws. Asgore was very pleased with it, as he was planning on growing roses in his garden and he took gardening very seriously.

“You can be next,” Asriel said generously, so Frisk went next.

They unpacked a polaroid camera.

“Oh!” they cried. “Does it work?”

They pressed a button and there was a bright flash. Frisk waited impatiently for the photo to come out of the camera and for the picture to appear.

“It works!” they cheered.

Now the unwrapping of gifts was put on hold, because everybody had to have their picture taken. When that was done however, Asriel unpacked his next present. In it was a doctor’s bag with bandages, band-aids, tape and all kinds of other things. Asriel dug through the contents of the bag, humming with glee, while Papyrus went to look for his next present.

It was only a small package, but what was in it made him just as happy as the pasta press had done. It was a pair of leather driving gloves. He put them on immediately.

“Wowie!” he cried. “Look at that!”

“Maybe now you’ll finally buy that car you’ve always wanted!” Undyne grinned.

Papyrus was still making soft driving noises when Alphys opened her present.

“No way!” she said.

It was a big, glossy book with all the concept art for Mew Mew Kissy Cutie. “It’s the s-special edition too!” she gushed, leafing through the shiny pages eagerly. She didn’t put the book down until Undyne opened her present, which was in a rather large box.

“No…” Undyne said, starting to grin when she saw the letters on the box. “It isn’t…”

In the box were a pair of heavy boots.

“Did you go back to that store to get these?” she asked Alphys, grinning so wide all her teeth were visible.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Alphys said innocently.

“Come here!” Undyne yelled and she smothered Alphys in a hug, pressing a big kiss on her forehead.

Alphys squirmed and Frisk and Asriel giggled.

“This one’s for you,” Frisk said, trying to lift a gift that had Sans’ name on it. “Woah, it’s heavy.”

Sans sat up, to the great dismay of Sir Pouncival, and took the heavy box from Frisk. He opened it carefully and for a moment he just looked at it. It was a toolbox. Not a normal one though, most of the tools in there you’d never see in any hardware store.

Gaster smiled quietly and Sans grinned. Neither of them said anything.

“It’s your turn, I think, Tori,” Sans said.

Toriel took a big, flat package and took off the wrapping paper. She took out two records. “Songs from…” she began and then her voice faltered. “Songs From Underneath and Tunes From Down Below,” she said, swallowing. “I haven’t heard that music in ages…”

Toriel had an old record player that Frisk and Asriel were not allowed to touch, but she didn’t actually have many records.

“What kind of songs are they?” Frisk asked.

“It’s music from the underground,” Toriel explained happily. “Music I used to listen to a lot a long time ago. What a nice surprise!”

“Why don’t you play one of them?” Sans suggested.

“It’s probably not very Christmassy, but alright,” Toriel smiled.

While she was fumbling with the record player, Gaster unwrapped his present. In the little box was a thing that looked a little like a lightbulb. Inside the glass was a little propeller on a rod. The blades of the propeller were black on one side and reflective on the other. When Gaster held it, the little propeller started turning slowly.

“Let me see!” Asriel said, but when he held the strange light bulb, the propeller stayed motionless.

“How amusing,” Gaster chuckled.

“Why doesn’t it work for me?” Asriel asked, disappointed.

“It will,” Gaster said. “If you put it under a bright lamp or in the sunlight. We shall try it tomorrow.”

Toriel watched how Asgore took a present from the rapidly declining pile. He opened the paper and took out a leather-bound book.

“What’s this?” he smiled.

He opened it and stared. It was a cookbook. It was filled with recipes, neatly written in Toriel’s hand. There were recipes for all kinds of things. All the things she used to cook long ago, with very precise instructions. And the first recipe was for cinnamon-butterscotch pie.

“Well,” Asgore said, clearing his throat. “That will certainly come in handy.”

He smiled and Toriel did too, looking at her paws, which were folded in her lap.

“I think the last presents must be for you, children,” Gaster said, smiling too.

Frisk and Asriel scrambled to find theirs and they tore the paper off without waiting. “Look, Frisk!” Asriel said and he showed them two game pads for the Dance Dance Revolution game. “Now we can dance together!”

“Cool!” Frisk laughed.

They opened the box that had been in their present. In it was a book that said “The Big Book of Forgotten Magic”.

“There’s a wand too!” Frisk gasped, taking out a wooden wand. “It’s a real magic book!”

Frisk curiously turned the pages of the book that explained how to do spells and make potions, but Asriel looked underneath the tree.

“There’s one present left!” he said.

“Really?” Toriel said, confused.

Undyne and Alphys did their best to look innocent.

“Who is it for?” Asgore asked.

“Papyrus,” Asriel said, picking up the small gift, that was wrapped in bright pink paper.

“But I already had two presents,” Papyrus said.

“M-maybe someone thought you deserved another one,” Alphys smiled.

Papyrus took the present form Asriel and carefully unwrapped it.

“Oh, shiny,” Papyrus said and he took out a big, round, golden plaque.

“What is it?” Frisk asked.

“I think it’s a medal,” Sans grinned lazily.

Papyrus turned it over. On the medal it said in big letters, curved around the edge: “YOU’RE SIMPLY THE BEST”.

“Wow,” he said. “I’ve never had a medal before!”

“Come here, you dork,” Undyne grinned.

She took the medal and pinned it on his chest. Papyrus glowed with pride and they all took turns admiring the medal before Toriel started to offer everyone coffee and hot cocoa.

They drank their hot drinks and looked at their presents, gathered cosily around the Christmas tree. Sans and Toriel sat next to each other and Undyne had her arm snugly around Alphys. The grownups talked about midwinter feasts from long ago while Frisk read their magic book and Asriel introduced his new goat plushie to his ragdoll rabbit.

Despite the coffee, Alphys sank deeper and deeper into Undyne’s arms and eventually Undyne said “We should go home before Alphy really falls asleep.”

“I’m not asleep,” Alphys protested, but she agreed it was about time to go home.

“Yes,” Asgore nodded. “It’s getting pretty late.”

There was a round of hugs and goodbyes and they all complimented Toriel and Papyrus’ cooking again. Asgore and Gaster talked to each other while Undyne and Alphys put on their coats.

“T-this was so much fun,” Alphys said. “We should make this a t-tradition.”

“Not bad for a first surface midwinter,” Undyne nodded.

Asgore hugged Asriel and Frisk and gave Toriel a warm smile.

“Have a safe trip home, all of you,” Toriel said.

Asgore, Undyne and Alphys left, leaving the house a lot quieter and emptier.

“I will clear the table,” Papyrus said. “I will be done in a moment and I shall put my beautiful new pasta machine in the kitchen too!”

“I will help,” Gaster said. “But first I need to lock the basement, I think I forgot that in my haste this afternoon.”

He disappeared downstairs and Toriel turned to the children.

“You go upstairs and get ready for bed,” she said. “I’ll be up to check on you in a moment.”

Frisk and Asriel ran upstairs with their gifts in their arms, apart from the DDR game and pad. Those they left beside the TV.

Sans looked at Toriel and she gave him a tired smile. She glanced through the room, full of presents and crumpled up wrapping paper and dirty coffee mugs. It was the happy, messy aftermath of a great night.

“I’ll just clean up real quick,” she said, bending over to gather the wrapping paper.

“There is one more gift for you actually,” Sans said and he held out a little package.

Toriel looked both touched and taken aback.

“But I haven’t got anything for you,” she protested. “I planned so carefully that couples wouldn’t be exchanging gifts. Well except for Alphys, she’d already bought Undyne’s gift.”

“Yeah,” Sans grinned. “I guessed you had planned it that way, but if Mettaton can break the rules so can I.”

Toriel smiled and took the package.

“Besides,” Sans said. “Can’t kiss you under the mistletoe, so I’ve gotta do something.”

Sans,” she reproached lovingly. “You know you don’t need to make up for anything.”

Sans grinned and said nothing. Toriel unwrapped the present and opened the little box. In it was a large, silver locket. With shining eyes, Toriel opened it and a smile lit up her whole face.

In the left side of the locket was a picture of Asgore, Asriel, and Papyrus. They looked like a moment ago they had been posing dramatically, but now they were all just laughing. In the right side of the locket was a picture of herself, Frisk, and Sans. Frisk was wearing Sans’ hoodie and had pulled a face as if either Sans or Toriel had just made a particularly bad pun.

“I tried to use a group shot of everyone together,” Sans said a little nervously when Toriel didn’t say anything. “But I would have had to cut it in two and-”

The locket hung on a long chain without a clasp. Toriel held the chain out to Sans and stooped with her head bent.

“Would you?” she smiled.

Sans put the chain over her head. She looked at him and he grinned.

“Thank you, Sans,” Toriel said softly.

They rested their foreheads together for a moment.

“Mom?” Frisk’s voice reached them.

“Dunkle Sans?” Asriel called down the stairs

Toriel straightened up.

“Here we are,” she said, walking up the stairs. “Goodness! You’re already in your pyjamas and everything!”

The children nodded proudly.

“Then I think it’s time for a Christmas bedtime story!” Toriel said.

“I’ll go see if Pap’s done in the kitchen,” Sans said. “He hates to miss a story.”

Asriel and Frisk ran upstairs and Toriel tucked the children into bed, each of them snug under their winter quilts. The coloured light of the Christmas lights outside shone in through the window, making the whole room look different and special. Toriel took out a book and sat down in the big arm chair in the corner.

“I’ll tell you the story of the chocolate soldiers that live on the North Pole,” she said.

“Why do they live on the North Pole?” Asriel asked.

“Cause it’s cold there, right Mom?” Frisk said. “So they won’t melt.”

“I’m sure we’ll find out in the story,” Toriel said.

The door opened and Papyrus and Sans came in.

“You haven’t started yet, have you?” Papyrus said eagerly.

“Of course not,” Toriel smiled.

Papyrus sat down on the rug that lay on the floor between the two beds and Sans sat down at the foot of Frisk’s bed. The door, which had partially closed, opened again and Gaster appeared. He leaned against the doorframe and watched the cosy gathering with a smile on his white face.

“Well,” Toriel said quietly. “Now we’re all here, let’s begin.”

She read the story with her warm, motherly voice and they all listened. Frisk lay snug in their bed, their camera and magic book on their bedside table. Asriel held his ragdoll rabbit in one arm and his new goat plushie with the other. Papyrus sat hugging his knees, still wearing his new driving gloves. Sans had laid back across the foot of Frisk’s bead, his eye sockets half closed and Gaster still stood leaning in the doorway.

When the story was over, Papyrus let out a deep sigh and both Asriel and Frisk made sleepy noises of approval.

“It’s very late,” Toriel said with a smile. “I think it is time for all of us to go to sleep.”

“Can we sing one more song?” Frisk asked softly.

“Yeah,” Asriel agreed sleepily.

“What would you like to sing?” Toriel asked gently.

Frisk yawned instead of answering, but Asriel said: “Hush, hush.”

So Toriel got to her feet very quietly to put the book away and while she did so she sung softly:

“Hush, hush… Hush, hush…
Do not make a sound…”

Papyrus and Sans joined her. Papyrus’ voice was quite high when he sang, but Sans’ voice was low and deep. Frisk and Asriel moved their lips, but their eyes were already half closes and they didn’t really make a sound.

“Huss, hush… Hush, hush…
Peace is all around,”

Gaster sang too and he had a surprisingly warm voice. Toriel gestured to Sans to get off of the bed and he did, careful not to disturb Frisk. Papyrus got to his feet two and all four of them sang while the children’s eyes fell shut.

“Love and kindness evermore,
Spreads its joy from door to door.
Hush, hush… Hush, hush…
Do not make a sound…”

Asriel and Frisk smiled in their sleep and Gaster turned away silently. Papyrus followed him, tiptoeing out of the room as quietly as he could. Toriel and Sans glanced around the shadowy, sleepy room once more and then they both quietly left, gently closing the door on the sleeping children and on a lovely Christmas.

Chapter Text

“It’s so unfair!” Frisk said.

“So mean!” Asriel whined.

They were sitting cross legged behind the couch, one of their favourite hiding corners in the house.

“I hope you’re not still moping back there?” Toriel said, passing through the living room.

Frisk and Asriel looked at each other and stubbornly did not answer. Tonight was New Year’s Eve and Frisk and Asriel had really been looking forward to it. That was until Mettaton had come by after Christmas to invite everyone to a party…

.

“It’s going to be exuberant!” he had said. “Champagne, fireworks, kissing at midnight, a disco ball dropping from the sky. The works!”

“Wowie,” Papyrus replied excitedly. “That sounds like a wonderful party!”

Frisk and Asriel had been ecstatic, but to their horror, Toriel had said it didn’t sound like a party suitable for children.

“Besides,” she said. “I am sure you can do without a nosy mother like me cramping your style. Thank you for the invitation, Mettaton. I really appreciate it, but I think I will stay home with the children.”

“That goes for me too,” Sans nodded. “Don’t really have the spine for the partying lifestyle.”

Mettaton looked disappointed.

You are coming, aren’t you, Papy?” he pleaded.

“Of course!” Papyrus exclaimed.

“Oh, good!” Mettaton beamed.

Frisk looked at them in horrified disbelief and Asriel looked like he was about to cry.

“I’m sorry, darlings,” Mettaton said, kneeling down to look at them. “If it’s any consolation I’ve already started planning both your eighteenth birthday parties.”

As far as Asriel was concerned, that was no consolation at all and it only made Frisk feel a teensy bit better. They both thought the grownups were being awful and cruel.

.

Now it was the day of the party and Toriel still insisted that they couldn’t go. They had pleaded and cried and begged, but it was no good. So now they were sulking behind the couch.

Papyrus came downstairs in his party outfit. He was wearing his new red cape and broad rimmed fedora. Frisk looked over the top of the couch reproachfully.

“Oh, heh, hi, Frisk,” Papyrus said. “Asriel…”

He sat down next to the couch.

“I am really sorry you cannot go,” he said. “But Toriel said it would be irresponsible to let you go and that would be very bad.”

“But it’s not fair!” Frisk complained.

“You’re going, why can’t we go with you?” Asriel muttered.

“Because I – though very great – am not a mother,” Papyrus said. “But Toriel is and she knows about these kind of things.”

Asriel sniffed and Frisk stared angrily at their feet.

“I am certain you will feel better when Asgore has arrived,” Papyrus said, getting up. “He is very hard to be sad around.”

He received no answer, so he got up and went upstairs to say goodbye to Gaster and Toriel. Asriel heaved a deep, dramatic sigh and Frisk did the same.

Wah wah...” an even bigger, more dramatic sigh imitated them from the other side of the room.

They looked up. It was Sans, with his trombone.

*Not funny,* Frisk signed with a glare.

“I thought it was pretty good comedic timing,” Sans grinned. He put the trombone away.

“Now,” he said. “Are you going to keep sulking, or are you coming to the basement with me to make some fireworks?”

Asriel’s face changed a little.

“You can make fireworks?” he asked.

“I’m no chemist,” Sans said. “But I know a thing or two.”

Frisk bit their lip.

“Tori bought sparklers for tonight,” he continued. “but I bet we can make something a little more exciting.”

Asriel glanced at Frisk. They shook their head and crossed their arms. Asriel followed suit.

“Suit yourselves,” Sans said with a shrug. “I’ll be in the basement making things that explode if you need me.”

He went downstairs and Asriel made an indignant noise. “Like making fireworks makes up for being stuck here,” he mumbled.

“Right,” Frisk agreed.

There was a short silence. Everything was very quiet. Toriel was busy upstairs, Gaster was reading in his room... This was boring. Being angry was boring. Silently, Frisk got up and Asriel followed. They went to the basement, trying to look as dignified as possible and went into the workshop. Sans was busy laying out some stuff to make probably illegal fireworks with.

“Just so you know, we’re still mad,” Frisk said when he grinned at their entrance.

“Yeah,” Asriel put in.

“Sure,” Sans chuckled. “So what’ll it be: lots of sparks or lots of noise?”

“Can somebody get that?” Toriel asked loudly from inside the kitchen when the bell rang.

She was busy making apple beignets and deep fried doughnuts, all dusted thickly with powdered sugar.

“I will,” Gaster answered, tucking away his reading glasses in a pocket of his coat that seemed to disappear immediately afterwards.

He opened the door for a smiling Asgore, who was carrying two bottles of cider, and one bottle of sparkling apple juice.

“Hello!” Asgore said happily.

“Hello!” Toriel called from the kitchen. “I’ll be out in a sec.”

“Dad?” Asriel’s voice came through the open basement door. Asriel came galloping through the room to great his father.

“We made fireworks, dad!” he said proudly.

He had completely forgotten to be mopey.

“Really?” Asgore said, putting the bottles aside to hug him. “In a safe way, I hope?”

“Hi, Asgore,” Sans grinned, coming up from the basement with Frisk.

They were both carrying a tray with assorted fireworks. All of them looked extremely suspicious.

“Just in time for a snack before the fireworks begin!” Toriel said cheerfully.

She emerged from the kitchen with a big platter heaped with beignets and doughnuts. All the parents in the neighbourhood had agreed to have “children’s fireworks” at eight o’clock. By that time it would be properly dark and the children could safely play with their sparklers, while the louder and more dangerous fireworks were saved for midnight.

“Can we help setting off-” Frisk began with their mouth full of beignet and then switching to sign language to prevent them from choking: *…the fireworks?*

“Sure you can,” Sans said.

“Can we!” Asriel cheered and Toriel gave Sans an alarmed look, but he continued: “Of course, I need a slow burning wick to light the fireworks, that’s safer than a lighter. You guys can guard the wick and keep it burning when we’re not using it.”

Toriel and Asgore looked relieved, but Asriel and Frisk didn’t notice; they were too excited. Having wolfed down a beignet and a doughnut each they ran to the hallway to put on their coats. Sans put all the homemade fireworks in a bag and followed them, not bothering to put on a coat. Gaster did not feel the need for a winter coat either, but Toriel and Asgore did.

Outside some of the neighbours had started lighting sparklers. Some older kids were carrying roman candles and on the corner of the street, someone had set off a fountain of sparks.

Mr. Denny and his daughter Shelly came over to say hi and some other people waved or wished them a happy New Year.

“Fireworks! Fireworks!” Frisk cheered.

“Want to give me a hand, Dad?” Sans asked.

Gaster took the bag of fireworks from him.

“Which one first?” he asked the children.

Sans took out a wick and Asgore lit it with his fire magic. Toriel was still shaking hands.

“Got one set up?” Sans asked.

“Yes!” Asriel said excitedly.

“Can I?” Frisk asked eagerly, reaching out for the wick.

“No, I’ll light it,” Sans said. “And stand back okay.”

They all stood back and Toriel turned around just in time to see a shower of red sparks shoot into the sky.

Asriel cheered.

“It works!” Frisk yelled, jumping for joy.

Everywhere in the street fireworks were going off and Sans set off a couple more, letting either Frisk or Asriel hold the wick in between.

“Would you like a sparkler?” Toriel asked with a smile, after the fourth firework.

“Yes!” Asriel cried, running to her.

He took two sparklers and gave one to Frisk. Toriel glanced around quickly before lighting the tips with her fire magic. She was still cautious about using magic around humans, as some people got very nervous if they saw it. But nobody was paying attention now, fire and sparks were lighting up the dark in every direction. Frisk held their sparkler high above their head, like a star. Asriel waved his through the air, making drawings in the dark.

Some of the neighbour kids that also had sparklers came running across the street and Asriel and Frisk went to greet them. Toriel watched them with a smile.

“This is such a nice neighbourhood,” she said with a sigh.

“Remarkably so,” Gaster nodded.

They set off fireworks until the cold of the evening started to get to them. That is, it got to Toriel and Asgore. The children were too excited to be cold, even though Frisk’s nose was turning red, and Sans and Gaster didn’t seem to be able to even feel the cold. Nevertheless everyone willingly followed Toriel back into the house. She had kept the beignets and doughnuts warm in the oven and while everyone started on a second round of food, Asgore opened the cider and sparkling apple juice.

“That was so cool!” Frisk said, taking their glass.

Asgore poured some for Asriel too, while Gaster filled the other glasses with cider.

“Now hold it like this,” Asgore showed Asriel. “And clink your glass against mine and say ‘Happy New Year.’”

They all clinked glasses.

“It’s not New Year yet, though,” Frisk observed.

“Very true,” Toriel smiled. “We can do it again at midnight.”

“Yeah, then you can clink with all your mid-might,” Sans grinned.

Toriel snorted.

“That was a very bad one,” she said. “Even for you.”

“Eh, I’ve been awake all day,” Sans made excuses, lazily scratching Sir Pouncival behind his ears.

They ate and drank and talked about what the new year might bring. Frisk and Asriel looked at the clock all the time, waiting for midnight, but it was only a quarter to ten. Asriel was the first to yawn, but he hid it very well. When Frisk yawned a couple minutes later, they didn’t do such a good job of concealing it.

“It’s getting pretty late,” Asgore remarked. “Wouldn’t you two rather take a nap?”

“No,” Frisk shook their head decisively.

“I’m not tired!” Asriel insisted.

“You can just take a small nap,” Toriel said. “And we’ll wake you before midnight.”

No,” Frisk repeated, with a determined look on their face.

“Can I have some more apple juice?” Asriel asked, to demonstrate how awake he was.

Gaster smiled at Sans and said “I seem to remember a similar night when you and Papyrus were little.”

“With me wanting to stay awake?” Sans smirked. “I don’t believe you.”

Asriel and Frisk really did their best to stay awake, but as the hands of the clock crept towards eleven o’clock, Asriel decided it could do no harm to climb up onto his father’s lap for a while. Frisk sat down next to Sans on the couch. He put an arm around them and they snuggled into the fluff of his hoodie.

A quarter past eleven, both Asriel and Frisk were fast asleep. Toriel shook her head, smiling, and Gaster laughed softly. They all talked until it was nearly midnight.

“I don’t think he will wake up,” Asgore said.

He gently lifted Asriel’s sleeping snout and said gently “Wake up, Asriel, it’s almost midnight.”

Asriel didn’t respond in the slightest. He was fast asleep.

“Hey, kid,” Sans said, nudging Frisk. “Time for the big fireworks.”

Frisk’s eyelashes fluttered for a second, but then they made a soft mumbling sound and sank even deeper into Sans’ hoodie. Toriel tried one more time, but the children were asleep and asleep they would stay.

“They’re going to be so mad when they wake up in the morning,” Sans chuckled while he carried Frisk upstairs, followed by Asgore who was carrying Asriel.

“I did warn them to take a nap at ten,” Asgore said.

They tucked the children into their beds and went downstairs. Glasses in hand, they waited, looking at the clock.

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six…”

Outside people were already setting off rockets and fire crackers.

“Five, four, three, two….Happy New Year!”

There was clinking of glasses, hugs, and smiles all round.

“I believe there are more fireworks to be set off,” Gaster said, rubbing his hands.

“Go on then,” Toriel laughed. “I’ll stay here, I’m not leaving the children.”

“You go ahead, Dad,” Sans said, handing him the bag with fireworks.

“Shall we see which makes the brightest flame?” Gaster asked Asgore. “My son’s creations or your magic.”

Asgore laughed scornfully and followed Gaster outside, assuring him that he would win.

“Don’t you want to go?” Toriel asked.

“Nah, let’s go upstairs and watch the fireworks from the window,” Sans said.

They went upstairs, peeking into the children’s room as they passed it. Frisk was sprawled out on their bed like a starfish and Asriel was curled up with his goat and rabbit in his arms. The windows in Toriel and Sans’ bedroom were large and gave a very good view of the sky. Fireworks exploded high up in the sky and rained down a cascade of sparks in all kinds of colours.

Toriel sat down on the bed and Sans sat down next to her. They watched the fireworks together.

“You think my dad and Asgore have set each other on fire yet?” Sans chuckled.

“Goodness, they won’t, will they?” Toriel said, alarmed.

“I don’t know,” Sans said. “Dad always said he knew Asgore when they were young. Apparently they did a lot of stupid stuff together.”

“Hm…” Toriel said. “I wonder why he never told me about that. I knew they were friends of course, but I didn’t know they’d known each other for that long.”

“Probably because of the stupid stuff,” Sans said.

Toriel laughed.

“Who knows…” she sighed.

A shower of golden sparks lit up the sky and Toriel gasped softly. Sans smiled.

“Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?” Toriel asked.

“Nope,” Sans said.

Toriel looked at him.

“Not one?” she asked.

“No,” Sans grinned. “Life is pretty sweet at the moment. Can’t think of a thing I would change.”

Toriel smiled. “When you put it like that,” she said quietly. “I guess I have nothing to make a resolution about either.”

They sat in silence, watching the lit up sky in the dark.

“Hey, Tori,” Sans said. “Can you come down here for a sec.”

Toriel bent towards him and Sans rested his forehead against hers for a moment.

“Love you,” he muttered.

“I love you too,” she smiled.

A sudden noise startled them. There was a bang outside so loud that it shook the house, followed by a muffled cheer from some teenagers. Toriel raised her head. There was the unmistakable sound of confused, sleepy voices in the room down the hall.

“Welp,” Sans said, sliding off the bed. “That’s our quiet moment over.”

Toriel laughed and quickly followed him out of the bedroom, ready to meet the combined confusion and indignation of a recently woken up Frisk and Asriel.

“Happy New Year, Sans,” she chuckled.

“The happiest,” he winked.

Chapter Text

Mettaton’s party was not at his apartment. The multitude of guests would not even have fit in his apartment. The party was at a downtown club and there were too many people to count. Of course there were a couple of familiar faces that were considered VIP’s: Papyrus, Alphys, Undyne, Napstablook, Shyren and a few others. But most of the guests crowded together in a jumping and dancing sea of faceless monsters and humans.

Waitresses and waiters walked around clad in high heels and sequin suits, offering a never-ending supply of pink champagne. Mettaton hired anybody that had a bright smile and an affinity for dressing up, so his staff was made up of humans and monsters alike.

“I do like these pink bubbles,” Papyrus said happily, taking another sip. “We had them at your last party too, I remember.”

“If you remember, you didn’t drink enough of it, darling,” Mettaton winked. “But you do hold your alcohol remarkably well.”

“Yeah, you wouldn’t think it of him, would ya?” Undyne grinned, downing her second glass. “But Pap could probably drink most of us under the table!”

Alphys wasn’t drinking, she knew she’d be drunk after half a glass and she was too afraid of embarrassing herself. She was looking around rather nervously as it was.

“Honey, would you relax?” Undyne said, putting an arm around her.

“P-people are, looking at us,” Alphys muttered.

“They are looking at us for two reasons,” Undyne said loudly, snatching another glass of champagne off a nearby tray. “First of all because we’re with these two cape wearing dorks.” She pointed at Papyrus, who was sporting his red cape, and Mettaton, whose silver cape would have reached to the floor had it not been for his stiletto boots. “And second of all,” Undyne continued. “Because we are easily the cutest and coolest couple in here.”

Alphys flushed and Undyne gave her a big smooch on her face.

“Alphys! Undyne!”

They turned around to see where the excited yelling came from. It was Bratty and Catty.

“H-hi, girls,” Alphys laughed and she hugged them.

“Omigod, this is like, the best party,” Bratty gushed.

“The best party ever,” Catty agreed.

“Well, if you girls are enjoying it, it was all worth it,” Mettaton said turning around with a flourish.

Bratty and Catty giggled loudly and shot each other an excited look.

“You two are enjoying yourselves, right?” he smiled.

“Totes!” Bratty cried.

“Yes!” Catty said. “Except…”

“Except what, darling?” Mettaton asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Except I saw Burgerpants earlier,” Catty said. “And he gave me a glamburger, which is like, awesome, but I asked if he would dance with me and he said no because he has to work.”

“Well, I am paying him to work the burger station,” Mettaton said.

“But it is New Year’s Eve,” Papyrus said cheerfully. “And this is a party!”

“Hard to argue with that,” Mettaton laughed. He looked out over the top of the crowd until he spotted Burgerpants.

He was trudging around with a big tray of freshly grilled burgers.

“Burgy!” Mettaton cried out. “Come over here!”

Burgerpants flinched when he heard Mettaton’s voice call his name.

“Yes…” he said, pushing towards him through the crowd.

“Put that tray down,” Mettaton ordered. “You’re on break now.”

“I’m what?” Burgerpants repeated in astonishment.

“You’re on break,” Mettaton repeated. “So put a smile on that grumpy, furry face and go dance with this cutie of a kitten.”

Catty beamed at Burgerpants and he turned so bright red it was visible through his fur.

“I’ll take that,” Undyne said, taking the tray of burgers out of his paws. “I’m starving!”

“Run along,” Mettaton said, pushing Burgerpants in Catty and Bratty’s direction.

Burgerpants followed Catty onto the dance floor, looking equal parts mortified and excited. Bratty rolled her eyes at Alphys. Undyne laughed her loud, brash laugh and Mettaton looked very pleased with himself.

“Is it nearly time for your performance?” Papyrus asked eagerly, shouting to be heard over the loud music.

“Oh gosh, yes!” Mettaton exclaimed. “Gotta ring in the new year, don’t we!”

The club space had a stage for live performances, but at the moment the curtain was still closed. Now Papyrus had reminded Mettaton this would last long however. After a couple more songs, the dance music was abruptly turned off and the curtains slowly opened, accompanied by a strong guitar riff. Everybody turned to the stage and when the percussion started and Mettaton screamed into the microphone the audience screamed in turn.

“Gotta leave town
Got another appointment
Spent all my rent
Girl you know I enjoyed it!”

Mettaton strutted around the stage and threw off his cape dramatically. His musicians cranked up the volume as he roared into the chorus:

“Cold hard bitch
Just a kiss on the lips
And I was on my knees
I'm waiting, give me
Cold hard bitch
She was shakin' her hips
That's all that I need…!”

Everybody jumped up and down in time with the music. Undyne danced with Alphys until she was completely out of breath. While she rested a bit, Undyne and Papyrus danced with each other. They danced so violently and athletically that the rest of the dancers made sure to stay out of their way. When the next song started, Alphys joined in again. She waved at Catty, who was dancing with Bratty and Burgerpants.

“There’s time for one more song before the big countdown, darlings!” Mettaton’s voice boomed through the club. “So sing along and just in case I forget to tell you later: HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Chapter Text

The holiday season was over and there was just one weekend to go before everyone had to go back to work or school.

“Can’t we have holidays a little longer? Frisk sighed. “I don’t want to go back yet.”

“I do,” Asriel said.

He liked school. He’d never had so many other kids around. Being a prince had been a bit lonely at times.

“We win again!” Papyrus exclaimed at the table.

“Only because your brother cheats,” Mettaton scowled.

“Dunno what you’re talking about,” Sans grinned. ‘I’m way too lazy to cheat.”

Mettaton and Alphys had come over and were playing cards against Sans and Papyrus in teams. Undyne was at work; the gym where she worked as swimming instructor and personal trainer was preparing for the influx of New Year’s resolution-newcomers.

“I would know if Sans cheated!” Papyrus said indignantly. “and I wouldn’t allow it! The Great Papyrus is extremely fair!”

“Yeah,” Sans smirked at Mettaton.

Alphys shuffled the cards

“We’ll s-see,” she said. “You won’t be so lucky this time!”

“Can we play?” Asriel asked.

“Of course,” Papyrus said. “Do you want to be a team together or do you want to join us?”

Asriel decided to join Team Papyrus and Frisk joined Team Mettaton.

“Who’s winning?” Toriel asked, coming downstairs.

“That depends,” Mettaton said with a suspicious glare at Sans.

“We are!” Frisk said confidently. “Just you wait.”

“Oh-ho, is that a challenge? Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh,” Papyrus chuckled.

Suddenly there was an electric sounding crackle and then a loud click. The music Tori had put on, on the old fashioned record player she had given a prominent spot in the living room, abruptly shut off.

“Gaster!” she cried out, sticking her head through the basement door. “You’re as bad as Sans!”

“Apologies!” Gaster’s voice answered her from the bottom of the stairs.

Sans grinned and even Papyrus looked rather happy at this display of utter disregard for electrical safety. Toriel shook her head with a sigh and turned to the table of card players.

“Frisk, Asriel,” she said. “After this game you have to gather your things for school. You know you won’t want to do it tonight.”

Frisk groaned and even Asriel looked annoyed this time. The problem wasn’t really going to school. It was not being able to do other things.

“Would it make going back to school more exciting if I brought you to school?” Mettaton said with a dazzling grin.

Frisk and Asriel looked at each other. Mettaton’s show was well on its way to becoming the most popular thing on TV. The other kids wouldn’t believe their eyes if they actually brought him to school with them.

“Yes!” they cried. “Yes, it would!”

“Well, that’s settled then!” Mettaton said. “I will bring you to school on Monday.”

“There won’t be much time for looking around and saying hello in the morning,” Toriel said hastily.

She already had visions of Mettaton being late, the children being in all states, and the teacher calling her to complain.

“Wouldn’t it be more fun if you picked them up after school?”

Now that she mentioned it, they all thought that would be better. That way Mettaton could come while all the children were outside on the playground waiting to be picked up.

“Will you come in your pink car?” Frisk grinned.

“Of course, I will, darling,” Mettaton said. “I’ll be there with bells on.”

“Actual bells?” Asriel frowned.

“If you like,” Mettaton winked.

“Hey, Mettaton,” Sans said with a grin. “I don’t mean to give you a card time, but I think we’re winning again.”

Toriel laughed at the squabbling that broke out at the table immediately after that statement and went to the basement to see if Gaster needed any help bringing the power back on. At least the children were looking forward to their first day of school now and she was sure Mettaton could handle picking them up and getting them home before dinner time at least.

Chapter Text

Mornings were hectic now that everybody was getting up at roughly the same time. Sans usually made sure he didn’t have any meetings at the university before noon, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. Papyrus liked to start his days at the newspaper bright and early, and that particular night, Gaster had actually gone to bed, which meant he was present at breakfast as well.

“Coffee, orange juice, and chocolate milk,” Toriel announced, putting cups and glasses on the breakfast table. “Toast will be done in a minute.”

She was making toast with her fire magic, because the toaster only held two pieces at the time and she was in a hurry.

“Thank you, Toriel,” Gaster said, taking his cup of coffee.

“You are sure you don’t want my help?” Papyrus offered again. The orange juice was his.

“No, no,” Toriel said, putting the toast on the plates. “Better hurry up and eat, or else we are all going to be late!’

“Don’t worry ‘bout it, Tori,” Sans muttered groggily. He pulled the cup of coffee towards him and grunted something appreciative when he inhaled the scent.

Toriel touched his shoulder affectionately for a moment and then turned around hastily to pack the lunches for Asriel and Frisk.

“You’re forgetting to eat, Mom,” Frisk pointed out.

“Oh, I am, aren’t I?” Toriel said distractedly.

She put the lunches on the counter and sat down.

“Asriel, would you hand me the butter?” she asked with a sigh.

Asriel gave her the butter dish, swallowing a bite of toast to say “Has Mettaton texted yet?”

“I don’t think he gets up this early, darling,” Toriel smiled, buttering her toast. “Which is why I preferred him picking you up this afternoon, instead of bringing you this morning.”

“Mettaton promised to be there, so of course he will be!” Papyrus said reassuringly. “I am certain of it.”

Asriel looked satisfied. Toriel glanced at the clock and was relieved to see it wasn’t as late as she had feared. “What are your plans today, Gaster?” she asked.

Gaster looked pleased. “I have managed to arrange a meeting with someone who works in the research department of a power company,” he said. “I have been studying the surface methods of generating power and they truly leave a lot to be desired.”

“You gonna propose to fix it all for them?” Sans chuckled, a little more awake after a few gulps of coffee.

“I’ll make sure not to phrase it like that,” Gaster smiled.

“What a good idea, Dad,” Papyrus said. “That is the perfect job for you.”

“Thank you,” Gaster nodded. “It will be good to work again and I will need an income to get my own place.”

Sans and Papyrus glanced at each other. Their father was insistent that he should move out as soon as he could. He said it made much more sense for him to live close to them than to actually share a house with them. Toriel actually agreed with that and the children were fine with it, as long as they were promised he would come by very often. Sans and Papyrus didn’t like it however. They enjoyed having their dad around, but more than that they worried about Gaster being on his own. He’d always taken very good care of them, but they knew he tended to neglect himself. They all agreed however that working on the development of new power sources would be perfect for him so they all hoped his meeting would go well.

“My colleagues at the university would be pleased if you got the job,” Sans said. “They’re greatly in favour of making use of monster technology.”

“Does that mean they have stopped being angry at you for teleporting?” Papyrus asked.

“No,” Sans grinned. “They’re still pretty upset about that, but the funny thing about scientists is that not understanding something doesn’t stop them from wanting to work with it.”

“Of course not,” Frisk said. “Scientists are supposed to figure out how things work right? How can they do that if they don’t work with things they don’t understand?”

“You know, sometimes you’re pretty clever,” Sans winked.

Frisk glared and Asriel snorted.

“Sans,” Papyrus chided. “That was mean, you’re supposed to be a supportive dunkle.”

“Sorry bro, I didn’t mean anything by it,” Sans grinned.

Papyrus rolled his eyes, but Gaster smiled and the kids laughed.

“Finish your chocolate milk, children,” Toriel said, getting up. “It’s almost time to go.”

Asriel slid off his chair and Frisk quickly emptied their glass. Toriel was driving the children to school this morning. She still didn’t quite like them taking the school bus. Usually they did and Toriel knew it was fine, but in her heart she’d rather drive them everywhere herself.

“Have a good day at school, kiddo,” Sans said, ruffling Frisk’s hair as they ran past.

Frisk made a happy sound at him.

“You too, kid,” he winked at Asriel.

“Baaaaah!” Asriel bleated and he ran off to get his jacket.

“I’m sorry you have to take the bus, Papyrus,” Toriel apologised, taking the car keys. “This household really needs two cars…”

“And it will have them!” Papyrus said, eyes shining. “As soon as I have saved enough! Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh.”

Ah, that’s alright then,” Toriel laughed. “Got everything, children?”

Frisk and Asriel nodded.

“Good,” she said. “Let’s go then. Have a wonderful day at work, Papyrus. You too, Sans. Oh, and good luck, Gaster!”

She herded the children out of the door and waved at the men of the house, blowing a kiss to Sans, before hurrying to the car.

.

The school was in the usual confusion after a holiday. Kids were getting off the bus and parents were saying goodbye to their children. They all smiled knowingly at each other when their kids, who a moment ago had still been complaining about having to go, bolted away from them without properly saying goodbye to greet their friends.

“Hey Frisk! Asriel!” Manny greeted.

“Manny!” Frisk cheered.

They ran towards him and Toriel went to say hi to Manny’s parents.

“Did you have a good holiday season?” Toriel asked cheerfully.

They both nodded and Manny’s mother asked Toriel how things were at her house. Manny’s father didn’t say much, he was still slightly intimidated that the former Queen was not just another parent.

“Good morning,” Ms. Hannigan, the teacher, said as she joined them. “And a happy new year! I think I am still in time to say that.”

They all agreed and wished her a happy new year in return. Toriel appreciated Ms. Hannigan, she always went out of her way to make monster parents feel welcome.

“There was something I would like to talk to you about,” Ms. Hannigan said to Toriel. “Perhaps we can talk about it after school?”

“Ah, a family friend is picking up the children this afternoon,” Toriel said. “I meant to speak to you about that.” She took out a picture of Mettaton to show the teacher. “This is him. His name is Mettaton.”

Ms. Hannigan took the picture and laughed uncertainly. “Is this the robot TV star?” she asked.

“Yes,” Toriel laughed. “You have seen his show?”

“My nephews hardly talk about anything else,” Ms. Hannigan confessed. “He’ll be picking up Frisk and Asriel this afternoon?”

“Yes,” Toriel said. “I suppose the children thought it would be a cool start to the new year. I hope it doesn’t cause too much of a stir.”

“Oh, it will,” Ms. Hannigan smiled. “But I’m sure it will be fine.”

Manny’s parents excused themselves and went to say goodbye to Manny and Maddy. Ms. Hannigan looked at Toriel and said “Well, since I won’t see you this afternoon… I just wanted to inform you that the school has hired a new art teacher, his name is Solomon Sorry, a very talented young monster.”

Toriel was very surprised, but she was also quite delighted. “That is good news,” she said. “I’m glad.”

“So am I,” Ms. Hannigan nodded happily. “It took some…convincing in some quarters, but I am proud to say common sense prevailed in the end.”

Toriel smiled warmly at the friendly teacher. Ms. Hannigan smiled back and boldly went on. “And in light of these recent developments I wondered, have you ever considered acquiring teacher’s credentials?”

Toriel felt her face flush. “Oh…” she stammered. “I, well, I did, once. But when we moved to the surface it all seemed a bit daunting and then I got involved with the Council for Cohabitation and…well….”

Her voice trailed off and she looked at Ms. Hannigan uncertainly.

“Well,” Ms. Hannigan said brightly. “I think it’s worth considering, Toriel. You are a good influence around the school and very good with children. I am sure you would be a great teacher.”

She reached in her pocket and took out a flyer for a Teacher Education Programme and held it out to Toriel, who took it silently.

“Just something to think about,” Ms. Hannigan said.

“Thank you,” Toriel said, sounding more like her usual, steady self again. “I will.”

At that moment the school bell rang and Ms. Hannigan excused herself and walked to the door to gather her students. Frisk and Asriel left their friends and ran to Toriel for a quick kiss before following Ms. Hannigan and their classmates into the school. Toriel watched them go with a proud smile. She tucked the flyer into her purse and walked back to her car with something in her step that felt oddly like a frolic she hadn’t felt since she was a little goat.

.

Of course the school day began with assigning seats. Asriel couldn’t be happier. He and Darren could sit together. Darren, the boy that had once asked Toriel if she was a demon, had become one of Asriel’s best friends. Frisk couldn’t complain either. They sat next to Laura and in front of Jamie.

As soon as Ms. Hannigan started the lesson, Frisk felt a familiar kick against the leg of their chair. Frisk let their arm drop beside their chair and held out their hand. Jamie slipped a note into it under the table.

“I saw that,” Ms. Hannigan said with twinkling eyes.

Frisk hastily put the folded note into their pencil case. Ms. Hannigan always said that you could send notes all you wanted, but that if you read one during her lesson you’d have to read it out in front of the whole class. She never actually made anyone do it though. But still, Frisk thought it better not to open the note just now.

“I saw that too, Jenny, Manny,” Ms. Hannigan said.

Jenny sat up straight with a guilty expression. Manny gave Ms. Hannigan an apologetic grin. Since he had to write with his feet, he didn’t have a normal desk like the other children. His table was like a drawing table, positioned at an angle. Because it stuck up so high, he could hide behind it and whisper to his neighbour Jenny without being seen, but just because the teacher couldn’t see him talking didn’t mean she couldn’t see them fidgeting.

In the small break between history and spelling there was a soft, hesitant knock on the door. Ms. Hannigan got to her feet and said cheerfully “Settle down, class, there is a new teacher who’d like to introduce themselves.”

She opened the door and said “Everybody, I’d like you to meet our new art teacher, Mr. Sorry.”

Twenty five pairs of curious eyes watched as a vaguely kangaroo like monster with orange fur and big ears made his way to the front of the class. He was wearing a blue vest and a black beret and he looked incredibly nervous.

“Hi, everyone,” he said, his voice squeaking a little for a moment. “I’m Solomon Sorry. Except nobody calls me Solomon, just So, or Sorry. Or Mr. Sorry, because I’m a teacher now…I guess.”

“Hi!” some of the more forward kids chanted.

“Mr. Sorry,” Bobby asked, raising his hand. “May I ask something?”

“Sure,” he said, doing his best to sound confident.

“Aren’t you cold?” Bobby asked. “You’re only wearing a vest!”

Some of the children giggled. Ms. Hannigan was ready to intervene, but it wasn’t necessary.

“Oh, no,” So Sorry said. “I have fur, you see. It’s really handy actually, when I’m not getting paint in it.”

The children considered this. A couple more of them raised their hands.

“Yes?” So Sorry said, looking at Anna.

“Can you jump really high?” Anna asked curiously, eyeing his big feet.

“No, not really,” he laughed. “I can balance on my tail though. See?”

He leant back and lifted his feet off the ground for a moment, letting his thick tail support all his weight. The class was suitably impressed.

“Can you draw something for us?” Jamie asked after raising their hand politely.

“I don’t have any pencil or paper with me,” So Sorry said apologetically.

“You could draw on the board?” Jamie suggested eagerly; they were a very confident child.

“Please?” Frisk joined them and now the other children began to ask as well.

“Alright,” So Sorry said. “Um, what shall I draw?”

“Draw the underground!” Manny exclaimed. “…please,” he added in a lowered voice when Ms. Hannigan looked at him.

“The underground?” So Sorry said, glancing round the class. “You guys think that’s a good idea?”

There was a chorus of eager agreement. So sorry took up some of the coloured bits of chalk and quickly sketched out the skyline of the capital in red and brown.

“This is what the biggest city in the underground looked like,” he said, finishing the drawing with some purple touches.

“Wow…” Darren said. “Did it really look like that, Asriel?”

“Yeah!” Asriel nodded. “Right, Frisk, Manny?”

“Exactly like that,” Frisk said happily, remembering.

Manny agreed excitedly.

“Well, glad you like it,” So Sorry said, turning around with a grin. “Oh, look at me, I’ve coloured myself.”

He clapped in his furry hands and there was a small dust cloud of coloured chalk. The children laughed. Ms. Hannigan smiled. She knew he’d go down well with the children.

“Thank you, Mr. Sorry,” she said. “I’m sure the children will all look forward to your first lesson.”

“Yes, see you all soon,” he nodded happily. “Bye.”

“Bye, Mr. Sorry,” the class chanted.

“Right,” Ms. Hannigan said after he left. “Get out your spelling notebooks, everyone.”

“It’s so cool you’ve been to the underground,” Jamie whispered to Frisk.

“You should ask your mom and dad to go there in the summer holidays!” Frisk whispered back.

“You can do that?” Jamie gaped. “That is so cool…”

The class wasn’t quite ready to settle down to their spelling lesson. They were so excited to have a monster teacher. Manny and Asriel were the only monster children in this grade, but there was at least one in every other grade. It was only fitting there should also be monster teachers.

The school day flew by and Frisk and Asriel hardly had time to remember the amazing surprise their classmates would have at the end of the day. During their last lesson however they did remember and they looked at each other a lot, grinning silently. Neither of them had said a word, not even to Manny, but now they were nearly bursting with the secret. Ms. Hannigan looked at them a couple of times, but she didn’t say anything, she was hiding a smile herself.

The bell rang merrily, signaling the end of the day and Ms. Hannigan told everyone that they had made a great school start to the new year. Bags were packed, coats were put on, and all the children spilled out into the crisp January air, whooping and hollering.

“Are you taking the bus?” Jamie asked Frisk. “We can sit together…”

“No,” Frisk said nonchalantly. “Someone’s picking me and Asriel up.”

“Is it your uncle Papyrus?” Jamie asked eagerly. They thought Papyrus was just about the coolest person they had ever met.

“No,” Frisk grinned. “But…” Suddenly they looked a little shy. “You could come over on a Thursday…Pap’s home on Thursday afternoons.”

Jamie flashed Frisk a big grin and nodded.

“Look!” Laura pointed. “When I grow up, I want a car just like that one!”

A gleaming pink sports car had just turned into the street and was rolling up to the pavement beside the school. Several parents turned to look at it and a lot of kids pointed and yelled. A couple of sixth graders pulled out their phones to take a picture.

The car stopped and the claxon played an obnoxiously loud tune. The door opened and for a moment, roaring music echoed all over the playground before it was switched off.

Asriel and Frisk grinned and their classmates gasped as two legs in high heeled pink boots emerged from the car followed by the one and only Mettaton. Naturally he was in his full Ex form and every inch of him gleamed and sparkled.

“Where are my favourite little troublemakers?” Mettaton called out, closing the car door with a flourish.

Frisk ran up to him first, dragging Jamie behind them, and Asriel followed, flashing a grin at Darren and Laura. Mettaton ruffled Frisk’s hair and gave Asriel a scratch behind his ears, smiling so wide that the sparkles filled the whole playground. At that moment, one of the children remembered they could talk and screamed:

“It’s METTATON!”

Not all the children watched Mettaton’s show (he did his best to keep it all family entertainment, but his somewhat violent sense of humour had convinced some parents it wasn’t quite the best show to watch before bed). But even the ones that didn’t watch it knew who he was: he was Mettaton, the dancing, singing, high heeled star of the underground that could keep a dramatic pose for at least four hours straight!

“Hello, darlings,” Mettaton said to the crowd of children gathering around him. “Did you all have a good first day back at school?”

“Told you I knew him,” Frisk grinned at Jamie, whose eyes were as big as saucers.

“Yeah, but you didn’t say he was picking you up from school!” they cried. “This is so cool! Do you think it will be on the news?”

“Oh no, sweetheart,” Mettaton sad, making Jamie start when he spoke to them. “I came here with the utmost discretion. A school is no place for paparazzi.”

Jamie glanced at the pink car with the vanity plates that spelled: MTT4EVR. It didn’t look very discreet.

“When Mettaton wants publicity, he tips them off himself,” Asriel chuckled.

“Are you really here just to pick up Frisk and As?” Darren asked, awestruck.

“Why, of course!” Mettaton said. “But meeting all you wonderful darlings is an absolute bonus!”

More children dared to come closer now. Some of their parents looked equally excited, but they stood back, trying not to let it show. Ms. Hannigan watched it all with a decided smile on her face, as some of her colleagues came to stand beside her, asking what was going on.

“So you all know my show?” Mettaton exclaimed, feigning pleased surprise.

The children cheered.

“So you’ll all know what to do when I say…Pose Dramatically!”

All the children screamed with excitement to hear him do a line from his show and they all struck their best pose. Frisk’s was undeniably the best, they had had a lot of practice after all.

“Gorgeous!” Mettaton exclaimed.

“Can we get a picture, Mettaton?” Maddy asked, pointing at her group of friends, who were all too shy to ask themselves.

“Of course, darling, “Mettaton dazzled. “We have time for a few pictures, don’t we, Frisk, Asriel?”

They both nodded, grinning widely. They were in no hurry to get home whatsoever.

“I’ve got to go…” Jamie mumbled to Frisk with a disappointed face. “Or the bus will leave without me.”

But the driver of the school bus had stepped out of the vehicle and was frantically texting and taking pictures. Frisk pointed and Jamie laughed.

A few pictures wasn’t enough of course; everybody wanted a picture and Mettaton was more than happy to comply.

“I want boots just like yours,” a boy that was a little older than Frisk told Mettaton. “But my mom says I can’t.”

“Why?” Mettaton demanded to know, narrowing his eyes. “Because they’re pink?”

“No,” the boy said, shaking his head. “I have pink shoes, but Mom says high heels are bad for your feet.”

“Oh,” Mettaton said, the angry glint in his eyes subsiding. “Well…I suppose that is true. Perhaps you are a little young for stilettos, darling. But you know what isn’t bad for your feet? Capes. I highly recommend them.”

Finally, after a lot of dramatic poses and even more pictures, Mettaton announced it was time to go. “Toriel will make sure I regret it if I don’t get you two home in time,” he said.

“But you’re a star,” a little girl said. “Nobody can tell you what to do, right?”

“Sweetheart,” Mettaton smiled. “Moms can tell everybody what to do.”

“Everybody?” the girl gaped.

“Absolutely,” Mettaton said gravely.

“Oh, good,” the girl said, grin spreading across her little face. “Cause I’m gonna be a mom when I grow up.”

By that time, some of the teachers had reminded the bus driver that parents would start getting worried if he did not get their children home.

“Bye, Frisk,” Jamie grinned. “Bye, Asriel. Bye, Mettaton!”

“Goodbye, Jamie,” Mettaton waved.

Jamie shot Frisk a look that didn’t need signs or words to say: “Mettaton knows my name!” and ran off beaming.

Mettaton handed Asriel and Frisk into the back seat of his sports car. They both begged to sit up front, but Toriel had left strict instructions that they were to ride in the back.

“Press the horn!” Asriel cheered when they had buckled their seatbelts. “Please?”

Mettaton stepped on the gas and let the claxon ring out loudly while they drove away. Frisk and Asriel squealed with delight.

“Oh good,” Mettaton said, glancing at the dashboard. “It’s not that late yet. Just enough time to spoil your appetites before dinner. Who’s up for ice cream?”

“Me!” Asriel yelled, and Frisk gasped: “Really?”

“If you promise not to tell Toriel,” Mettaton grinned. “We can make it to my favourite ice cream salon and have you at home in time.”

“And then you can stay for dinner!” Frisk said happily.

“Mom always invites everybody that visits at dinner time,” Asriel nodded contently.

“That had crossed my mind,” Mettaton winked. “Anyway, I think that went rather well, didn’t it?”

“It was perfect!” Frisk exclaimed. “You’re the coolest, Mettaton.”

“Of course I am,” Mettaton smiled. “But thank you, even a star likes to hear that every once in a while.”

“The coolest!” Asriel and Frisk chanted in unison and, with a contented laugh, Mettaton raced to the most expensive ice cream salon in town.

Chapter Text

“If you can’t decide on a theme, at least pick your colours,” Mettaton pleaded. “People have to start planning their outfits!”

Alphys and Undyne were snuggled up on the couch, procrastinating from planning their wedding, and Mettaton had come over to complain at them. They had sent the save the dates a while ago, but that was about as far as the wedding planning had gone.

“I don’t see why a wedding has to have specific colours.” Undyne said, and she added with a smirk: “And by ‘people,’ you mean you, right?”

Mettaton made a face at her.

“This whole wedding thing is just so s-stressful,” Alphys mumbled. “P-planning is hard.”

Mettaton’s eyes lit up.

“Just say the word, darling, and I’ll take it all off your hands,” he cried, nearly overheating with excitement. “I’ll give you guys the most beautiful wedding imaginable!”

“No,” Undyne said firmly.

“But-” Mettaton began.

No,” Undyne repeated. “You’re not planning our wedding! I’m not getting married surrounded by six foot ice sculptures of you!”

“Alphys!” Mettaton exclaimed, swiveling round on his wheels. “Tell your fiancée to stop saying such hurtful things!”

“S-sorry, Mettaton,” Alphys said, hiding a smile. “I g-guess we’d rather do it ourselves.”

“Fine,” Mettaton said with a dramatic sigh. “But you really must get a move on, so don’t come to me for last minute miracles! But, just so you know, last minute miracles are my specialty.”

Alphys grinned and Undyne rolled her eyes. After Mettaton had left, Alphys gave Undyne a nervous look and said: “He’s r-right though, we’ve gotta plan s-something.”

Undyne sighed and stretched her arms for a moment before wrapping them firmly around Alphys.

“I don’t know, Alphy,” she mumbled. “Why does everything need to be planned and stuff? I don’t care what we do as long as you’re there and all our friends show up so we can rub in their faces that we’re gonna stay together forever.”

She grinned and the scales in Alphys’ face changed colour a little. She nuzzled Undyne slightly, not knowing what to say.

“Having a kickass party would be good too though,” Undyne mumbled, absentmindedly scratching Alphys between the spikes on her head.

“There’s j-just so much to think about,” Alphys sighed. “I d-don’t know where to start...”

Suddenly Undyne sat up.

“I know!” she said. “We’ll ask Ralph and Roy! Why didn’t I think of that before? They got married almost straight out of the underground, so they’ll know all about locations and flowers and stuff.”

“That is a good idea,” Alphys nodded happily.

“I’ll call them now,” Undyne said, pulling out her phone.

Ralph and Roy had been in the royal guard together and Undyne had trained them both. They had always been an exceptionally good team, fighting in perfect unison. It had been a surprise to most people when the two had announced their engagement almost as soon as they moved to the surface, but in hindsight, it made perfect sense. They had been married for a while now and everybody agreed they were perfect for each other. As good friends of Undyne, they were invited to the wedding of course, but it hadn’t occurred to Undyne or Alphys before that they might be able to help.

“They’re coming over right now!” Undyne said with a grin, putting the phone down.

“R-right now?” Alphys said. “You didn’t t-tell them to come immediately right?”

“No,” Undyne laughed. “They wanted to come. Stop being a little worrysaurus.”

Alphys bristled.

“D-don’t call me worrysaurus,” she said, giving Undyne a push.

“Worrysaurus,” Undyne grinned, pushing Alphys into the couch pillows. “Dorkasaurus, cutiesaurus!”

Alphys squealed in protest and pushed Undyne away with her feet. She had remarkably strong legs, especially since she had hardly any upper body strength. Undyne rolled off the couch and blew a kiss at Alphys.

“I’ll put some drinks in the fridge,” she grinned. “The guys will be here in half an hour tops.”

“T-try not to scare the n-neighbours this time,” Alphys chuckled.

“Not promising anything!” Undyne called back over her shoulder, walking into the kitchen.

When the bell rang, Undyne raced to the door, tore it open, and tried to tackle both Ralph and Roy at once. They rolled across the garden path together. Mr. Olsen next door glanced out of the window, but he was used to the sight of small fights now.

“Hi, Ralph, hi, Roy,” Alphys said with a shy grin, appearing in the doorway.

“Hey, Alphys!” Roy grinned, getting to his feet.

He was a tall dragon with blue scales. Ralph was still fighting with Undyne. He was a yellow furred rabbit and just as tall as Roy.

“You guys want a drink?” Undyne grinned, getting to her feet and dragging Ralph up with her.

“Need you ask?” Roy grinned.

“Man, I feel like we haven’t see you in ages,” Ralph complained. “How are you guys?”

“G-good,” Alphys grinned. “S-stressing about the wedding.”

“That’s why we need to know about yours,” Undyne announced.

“We had a small wedding,” Ralph said when they had all sat down in the living room. “But you guys aren’t going for that, right?”

“Nope,” Undyne grinned. “It’s all or nothing.”

“So, like, what are you guys thinking about doing?” Roy asked.

“W-we don’t know,” Alphys sighed.

“It’s gotta be good, you know,” Undyne said.

“What’s your budget and stuff?” Ralph asked.

Alphys and Undyne glanced uncertainly at each other. Undyne shrugged.

“Dude, you have to set a budget,” Ralph said.

“Urg,” Undyne groaned. “This is why we don’t plan, too many boring details. We should just elope, Alphy.”

“B-but we already sent the save the dates,” Alphys mumbled. “And B-bratty and Catty are so looking forward to being b-bridesmaids.”

Undyne looked at Alphys. “I know,” she said, and then, grinning, “Like I could back out of having Papyrus as my best man.”

Ralph and Roy chuckled.

“I just don’t like all this stuff,” Undyne sighed. “Details slow you down, ya know.”

“Maybe you guys need a wedding planner?” Ralph suggested.

“Mettaton o-offered to be our wedding planner,” Alphys replied. “But he’d just t-take over. He can’t h-help it.”

Roy’s face lit up and he grinned a wide, toothy grin.

“Dude, my sister could do it!” he exclaimed. “She’s in between jobs at the moment, but she does all that personal assistant stuff usually. She’s great with organising. She’d keep you within your budget too.”

“Oh yeah, Katla is great with money,” Ralph nodded.

Alphys looked at Undyne, who was staring thoughtfully at the ceiling. She remembered Roy’s older sister. She was a bit quiet for her taste, but she was also big and bossy, and Undyne respected that.

“Sure,” she said. “We’ll give it a shot. If you’re okay with it, Alphy?”

“O-okay,” Alphys nodded. “It’d be nice to have some h-help.”

“So,” Undyne said with a grin. “Why don’t you dorks wear rings?”

“Not my style,” Ralph shook his head, ears flopping back and forth.

“Uncomfortable, too,” Roy remarked, stretching his scaly claws.

“We went for dog tags instead,” Ralph grinned, pulling a chain out from under his collar.

Engraved in it were both their names and the date of their wedding. Roy wore an identical tag.

“T-that’s a cute idea,” Alphys said, smiling.

“Right?” Roy grinned. “I never take it off.”

Ralph glanced at him and Undyne roared with laughter.

“I will never get over how you two were crushing on each other for ages without doing anything about it!” she snorted.

“You’re one to talk,” Ralph chuckled.

“Hey,” Undyne grinned. “Alphys and I didn’t work together every day.”

This sparked a back and forth of jokes and playful punches until Roy interrupted with “So what do you want for your wedding.”

“I’d like it to be o-outside,” Alphys said. “We’re getting married in late April so the w-weather should be nice.”

“There’s gotta be music,” Undyne said. “And I’ve got to keep Mettaton from singing, so we’ve already asked Napstablook to be the DJ.”

“He’s really good and M-Mettaton won’t try to upstage him,” Alphys smiled.

“Might be nice if Shyren sang a song,” Undyne shrugged. “But I don’t know if she’s up for that.”

“Food?” Ralph asked.

“When we announced our engagement way back, Grillby said he’d be happy to do the catering,” Undyne said. “We did think of having the wedding at his restaurant, but it’s probably not big enough. We need to have room to dance.”

She grinned at Alphys who squirmed nervously. She had been begging Undyne not to include a dramatic first dance, she was way too scared of tripping over her own feet.

“W-we could ask Muffet to do the wedding cake,” she said, trying to change the subject. “Everybody likes her s-spider sponge cake.”

“Is it going to be a monsters only wedding?” Roy asked.

“Course not!” Undyne said. “Frisk is in the wedding party for a start.”

“They’re the brideFrisk,” Alphys grinned.

“Oh, man,” Ralph grinned. “Do we owe that kid! How are they?”

“Great,” Undyne grinned.

“I’m i-inviting my colleagues from the university,” Alphys said. “But they all l-like monster food.”

“Yeah, I have some buds at the gym that are coming too,” Undyne nodded. “By the way, how did you do the ceremony, did you do a human and a monster one?”

“Nah,” Ralph said. “We went to the register office for the legal human stuff and did the proper ceremony with a monster officiant.”

“Right,” Undyne nodded. As far as she knew, monster ceremonies still weren’t legally binding on the surface.

“I-if I could have a bouquet,” Alphys said suddenly. “I’d have lavender in it.”

Undyne smiled at her.

“What’s stopping you?” she asked. “You can have whatever you want, Alphy.”

“Are we d-doing bouquets then?” Alphys asked.

“We are now!” Undyne grinned.

“I’d kind of expected you guys to do a theme wedding,” Roy chuckled. “Like, your anime and stuff.”

“Too expensive,” Undyne shook her head. “Everyone would need costumes. And if you think I’m all or nothing, you haven’t seen Alphy doing cosplay.”

Alphys coloured, but stuck her chin up proudly. “I-if you’re going to channel a ch-character you need to do it well,” she said.

“Hey,” Ralph said. “There’s a great place that sells second hand fancy dress clothes. They have a lot of wedding stuff too. If you want clothes for your wedding party, you could check them out. They do good alterations and stuff.”

“D-do they have a website?” Alphys asked, grabbing her laptop.

“Must have, right?” Ralph said, taking it from her and starting to type.

He found the website and Alphys and Undyne looked at their stuff for a while.

“This is cool,” Undyne said. “They have all sort of stuff.”

“A-all different sizes too,” Alphys nodded.

“You know what,” Undyne said. “We should get everyone together this weekend and then we’ll all go to the store and see if we can get some sort of coordinated outfit thing going on. Perhaps Mettaton will shut up about colours then.”

“G-good idea!” Alphys said.

“That reminds me,” Roy grinned. “Here’s Katla’s number.” He texted the number to Undyne. “Cause if you’re going shopping, better figure out that budget first.”

“Whatever,” Undyne grinned. “I’m psyched, we’re getting somewhere now! We’re getting married, Alphy!”

She grabbed Alphys, almost lifting her off her feet, and gave her a smooch on her nose. Alphys laughed and gave her a kiss back.

“Get a room, you two!” Roy jeered.

“Get one yourself,” Undyne retorted, pushing Ralph onto Roy’s lap.

“You think we can get everyone together on such short n-notice?” Alphys asked excitedly.

“They better come,” Undyne scoffed, grabbing her phone. “We’re brides right, they gotta do what we say.”

She sent a group text.

“Guys. We’re going shopping for wedding outfits. This weekend. Whole bridal party. Be there or get your butts kicked.”

Chapter Text

“You have the address, right?” Toriel asked.

“Yes!” Papyrus said. “Undyne texted it to us.”

“Good,” Toriel smiled. “Be sure to send pictures! If that’s allowed, of course…”

“Yeah, wouldn’t want to upset the brides-to-be,” Sans winked.

Sans, Papyrus and Frisk were meeting Undyne and Alphys at the second hand clothing store where they were hoping to find outfits for the wedding party. Toriel and Asriel weren’t going, because they weren’t technically in the wedding party (Alphys had assured them they’d be guests of honour though). Asriel had been a little jealous at first, but he wasn’t anymore. Toriel had promised to let him explore the attic, something he’d been wanting to do for ages.

“Ready, Frisk?” Papyrus asked excitedly.

“Yes!” Frisk yelled, coming down the stairs two or three steps at the time.

“Have fun,” Toriel smiled.

“It’ll be like a dressing up party,” Frisk grinned.

“I know!” Papyrus exclaimed. “Maybe we’ll finally get Sans to wear a suit.”

“Don’t count on it,” Sans said. “I cloathe dressing up.”

Papyrus groaned, Frisk giggled, and Sans winked at a snorting Toriel and Asriel as he closed the door behind them.

.

When they arrived at the parking lot to which Undyne had given them directions, they saw Asgore just turning the corner.

“Asgore!” Frisk yelled.

He turned round and smiled. They got out of the car quickly. Asgore waited for them to catch up with him and gave Frisk a hug.

“Alphys texted me,” Sans said. “They’re at the store already.”

“It should be just around the corner,” Papyrus said cheerfully.

It was indeed. The story was bigger than they had expected. A bell rang when they entered and a friendly looking woman with blooming rose briars tattooed on her arms came up to welcome them.

“Welcome to Felicity’s Fancy Dress. Are you part of Alphys and Undyne’s party?”

“We certainly are!” Papyrus exclaimed.

“Great,” Felicity smiled. “They’re just through there. If you need anything, give me a shout.”

“Thank you,” Asgore said sincerely.

Frisk ran to the back of the store in the direction Felicity had indicated.

“Hey there, squirt!” Undyne greeted them, putting them in an affectionate headlock for a moment.

“Oh, you’re finally here!” Mettaton exclaimed. “Help me talk some sense into this woman.”

Next to Mettaton, stood a tall dragon wearing a black pantsuit and holding a notepad. She looked rather serious, but one of the corners of her mouth curled upwards when Mettaton spoke.

“Guys,” Undyne said with a grin. “This is Katla, our…”

“W-wedding assistant, I think we’d d-decided on, right?” Alphys said, appearing from behind a rack of jackets.

“Exactly,” Undyne said. “She’s gonna help us sort out the money and the other boring stuff.”

“I know you!” Papyrus said. “You are Royal Guardsman Roy’s elder sister.”

Papyrus knew pretty much everything about anyone who had ever been in the Royal Guard.

“Yes, I am,” Katla smiled, extending a purple claw to shake hands. “You’re Papyrus, Undyne’s best man if I understand correctly?”

Papyrus glowed with pride. Katla shook hands with Frisk, Sans, and Asgore too, behaving with a considerable increase in formality towards the latter. Most monsters would probably never stop seeing Asgore as their king. A lot of them were actually rather disappointed he did not take a leadership position after coming to the surface.

“How strange we have never met,” Asgore said, smiling at Katla.

“I believe we may have,” Katla said respectfully. “When my brother was appointed a Royal Guard, but I was merely one of the many guests, of course.”

Asgore nodded silently, not quite knowing what to reply.

“Yes, yes, how lovely to meet everyone, hands shaken, cheeks kissed, are you all done?” Mettaton said impatiently. “Katla here just told me that we will all have one outfit, for the whole wedding. Even the brides!”

“Is it better to have more than one outfit?” Papyrus asked. “Should we wear them on top of each other?”

“One outfit will do fine,” Katla said firmly before Mettaton could reply. “Alphys and Undyne want to stay on budget and I gave them my word that they will.”

“They don’t have to worry about money,” Mettaton scoffed. “They have me.”

“Everyone’s allowed to chip in for their own outfit,” Katla said, glancing at Undyne and Alphys. “But no more.”

“But-,” Mettaton began.

“No more,” Katla scowled.

“You heard the dragon!” Undyne yelled. “Get going, guys, start selecting outfits before Alphy and me select them for you!”

Mettaton grumbled, but Frisk grabbed his hand and pulled him towards a pile of glittery scarves. “If you can only have one outfit, you just have to pick the best one!” they said happily.

“Oh, alright,” Mettaton sighed and he let Frisk lead him away.

“I wonder where Bratty and C-catty are…” Alphys said.

“They’ll get here, Alphy,” Undyne said reassuringly. “See anything you want to try on?”

“I d-don’t know about the sizes,” Alphys said nervously. “I’m afraid I’ll rip them.”

“Shall I get the store owner?” Katla offered.

“I don’t want to be a b-bother,” Alphys squirmed.

“Nonsense,” Katla said firmly. “She offered to help twice, and besides, that’s what shop personnel are for.”

And with that, she walked off to find Felicity.

“See,” Undyne said to Asgore. “Katla’s great. She gets shit done, you know, and I could watch her and Mettaton argue for hours. Next time they get together, I’m bringing popcorn.”

Asgore smiled. “She certainly seems to know what she’s about,” he said.

Undyne wasn’t listening anymore. Instead, she was dragging Alphys to a rack of party dresses with lots of petticoats.

Suddenly there were some loud squeals coming from the front of the store and a moment later, Katla reappeared, followed by Felicity, Bratty, and Catty.

“The missing bridesmaids are here,” she announced.

“Omigod, Alphys!” Catty cried out. “We’re soooo sorry!”

“We got, like, totally lost,” Bratty sighed. “Public transport is a complete nightmare.”

“Y-you’re here now,” Alphys smiled, hugging them both. “That’s all that m-matters.”

“Great!” Undyne said. “Then we can get started for real.”

She looked at Felicity, who was amusedly waiting for instructions.

“Could you help my incredibly cute fiancée and me with some dresses?” Undyne asked. “I haven’t decided yet, but Alphy wants a dress, right?”

Alphys nodded with a blush and Felicity replied “Of course, my pleasure.”

“Cool,” Undyne nodded. “Bratty, Catty, do your thing, you know about this stuff.”

“Do we ever!” they grinned and they disappeared in the beach dress section.

“Frisk seems to be doing okay with Papyrus and M-mettaton,” Alphys said, glancing at the corner where they were trying on ties and scarves. “But where’s Sans?”

“Eh, he’ll turn up,” Undyne said. “Katla, you can help King Fl- Asgore.. Come on, Alphys.”

Felicity followed Alphys and Undyne to the part of the store where the wedding dresses were kept and Asgore gave Katla a sheepish look.

“I’m afraid I haven’t picked out something formal to wear since I got my coronation robe,” Asgore muttered.

“I’m sure we shall find you something, sire,” Katla replied.

“Just Asgore, please,” he entreated. “I’m not a king anymore and, in this wedding, I certainly am not.”

“Don’t forget to pick something for yourself, Kat!” Undyne yelled over her shoulder before Katla could answer Asgore.

“For me?” Katla said uncertainly.

“Y-yeah, you’re part of the wedding too,” Alphys agreed.

“I’m sure we will find you something as well,” Asgore smiled.

Katla fumbled with her notebook for a moment.

“Very well,” she muttered, and then quickly clearing her throat: “Shall we begin then?”

Frisk was having a wonderful time. This was just like a dressing up party. Felicity hoisted Alphys in and out of dresses and Undyne would have tried on some suits, if she hadn’t been too busy complimenting Alphys on absolutely everything she put on. Mettaton had gotten over his bad mood and was happily trying on jackets with big shoulder pads and matching ties and pocket squares with Papyrus. Bratty and Catty had squeezed into one dressing room and their giggling could be heard in almost every corner of the store. Asgore had trouble fitting in the dressing room, but he had managed and he was trying on the biggest suit they had in the store.

“Have you found anything yet?” Frisk asked Undyne.

“Not yet,” Undyne grinned. “Alphy is trying on a new one now.”

“I think this is very close to the style you described,” Felicity said, stepping out of the dressing room. “The skirt is a little long, but it looks very good on you.”

Alphys got out of the dressing room, shuffling her feet nervously. She was wearing a ruffly, crisp white dress.

“Ooooh,” Frisk cried. “You look like a cloud.”

“You look amazing, that’s what!” Undyne bellowed.

“You like it?” Alphys asked, turning red.

She shuffled in front of the mirror and a smile spread across her face. “Oh…” she said. “Oh, I like this.” Alphys twirled a little and her eyes shone. “I don’t think I want to t-take it off,” she confessed.

“Then don’t!” Undyne grinned.

“That’s certainly a good sign,” Felicity nodded.

“Does that mean it’s y-your turn?” Alphys said happily, looking at Undyne.

“Heck yeah,” Undyne said, turning to Felicity. “Got anything that’ll match this?”

“I’ll have a look,” Felicity said with a smile.

“Alphys?” Bratty called out, peeking out of her dressing room. “Have you found your dress? Omigods, can we see?”

“No!” Undyne said.

“Why don’t we all p-pick something,” Alphys said shyly. “And s-show it to each other?”

“Oh yes!” Mettaton yelled from across the room. “Fashion show!”

“That’d be awesome,” Catty said.

Totally,” Bratty agreed.

“I think these are in your size,” Felicity said, coming back with two three piece suits.

One was a black, the other a was white.

“I can go look for dresses too of course,” she offered.

“These look good,” Undyne grinned. “Which do you like best, Alphy?”

“The w-white one kind of m-matches this dress,” Alphys said, stroking her skirt.

“I’ll try that one first then,” Undyne said, grabbing it and darting into the dressing room.

Frisk ran back to Mettaton and Papyrus. They were both wearing vests and Mettaton was just helping Papyrus into a long, red velvet jacket.

“This is gorgeous,” he said. “Red really is your colour.”

“Really?” Papyrus said happily, turning to Frisk. “What do you think, Frisk?”

“I like it,” Frisk nodded and they patted his arm. “It’s so soft!”

Mettaton was wearing a golden jacket with enormous shoulder pads. “Isn’t this nice,” he exclaimed.

“It certainly would save on the lighting bill,” Katla remarked.

Mettaton scowled at her. Frisk snorted, but said “It’s awesome, Mettaton.”

“Thank you, darling,” Mettaton said, marching to the other side of the store to pick out a pair of gloves.

“He’s a bit sensitive, isn’t he?” Katla remarked.

“Not really,” Frisk grinned. “He just likes to huff.”

“Quite,” Katla said, and then she smiled at Frisk: “Can I help you with an outfit?”

“I want a waistcoat,” Frisk said. “But I can’t find one in my size.”

“A vest?” Katla asked.

“Yes,” Frisk nodded.

“I saw some children’s vests over there,” Katla said. “But no full three piece suits. Was that what you wanted?”

“No, I want a waistcoat on a skirt,” Frisk said decidedly.

“Well, I’m sure we can find something,” Katla said.

They walked to a big rack of children’s clothes and Frisk chose a vest while Katla pulled out skirts that might match with it.

“What do you want to wear?” Frisk asked Katla.

“Something simple,” Katla said.

“It’s a wedding,” Frisk said, rolling their eyes and, suddenly changing the subject, they asked: “Do you have wings?”

“Yes, I do,” Katla answered a little stiffly.

“Are they under your blazer?” Frisk pointed.

“Yes,” Katla said.

“Why?” Frisk said, and, without waiting for an answer: “You should get a blazer with slits in it so your wings fit through it. That’d be awesome.”

“Eh, I’ll consider it,” Katla said uncomfortably. “What about this?”

She held up a black and green skirt that matched quite well with the dark green vest Frisk had picked.

“Yes!” they said. That was just what they wanted.

“You can use my dressing room if you want,” Asgore said, appearing from the mirror area.

He was wearing a dark blue suit. The colour was great, but it was certainly a bit too small, and the tie he wore with it didn’t match.

“Thanks!” Frisk said, running to the dressing room with the skirt, the green vest, and a white shirt.

“Perhaps the jacket can be let out,” Katla said, looking at Asgore’s suit. “Shall I see if Felicity is free?”

“It can wait,” Asgore said with a smile. “I thought this might perhaps be something for yourself.”

He held up a high, necked cream coloured blouse with lace at the throat.

“It closes in the back,” he explained. “I thought that might be helpful.”

Katla looked a little alarmed at that, but she took the blouse with a nod.

Bratty and Catty pushed each other out of the way to get a better look at themselves in front of the mirror and Frisk could be heard making happy noises in the dressing room.

“Hey, nerds!” Undyne bellowed. “Do you all have something to show?”

There was a chorus of confirmations.

“Good, because we sure do!” she laughed. “Man, I am rocking this suit.”

Everybody came from their respective dressing rooms and corners of the store and they all gathered round to look at each other. Of course, all the eyes were on Alphys and Undyne first.

They were both dressed in white. Alphys was wearing the lovely ruffly dress, Undyne was wearing a white, three piece suit. Their outfits matched through sheer coincidence and they both looked incredibly pleased. There was a short silence, one that was broken by Mettaton.

“You are stunning, darlings,” he said sincerely. “Simply stunning.”

Undyne grinned and Alphys smiled. Bratty and Catty took that as their cue to burst into a chorus of compliments and squeals.

“You look great!” Frisk said excitedly.

“S-so do you,” Alphys said, looking admiringly at Frisk’s mix and match outfit.

“You like it?” Frisk grinned.

“Heck yeah,” Undyne nodded. “Let me look at all you dorks.”

One by one, they struck poses and showed off their outfits. They all looked good, but together they were a mismatched bunch. They wore different colours, different styles, different everything.

“We don’t look like a wedding party, do we?” Undyne frowned.

“Not a traditional one, no,” Felicity offered her opinion.

“W-where’s Sans?” Alphys asked, looking around.

“Back of the store,” Frisk pointed.

“No he’s not,” Papyrus said, vexed. “I checked just before Undyne called us.”

“Sneaky little-” Undyne gritted her teeth. “Where is he?”

“Sup,” Sans said, strolling in from wherever he’d been hiding.

He looked like he had just woken up from a nap.

“Sans!” Papyrus exclaimed. “Where have you- What’s that?”

Sans was wearing a high top hat, a proper one, made of black silk. “It’s a hat, bro,” Sans grinned lazily.

“Wow,” Undyne said. “That looks classy. Where’d you find it?”

“Back of the store,” Sans pointed with his thumb. “There’s a whole bunch of them.”

“It’s cool,” Undyne said. “Old-school.”

“It’s like, Victorian or something,” Catty said. “That is so romantic.”

“And totes wedding like,” Bratty said.

“Hey,” Undyne said, nudging Alphys. “We were talking about themes right, can Victorian be a theme?”

Alphys eyes widened.

“A loose Victorian theme isn’t too hard to do,” Felicity said. “Coordinate the outfits a little. Set the tone with some accessories and you’re done. It’d be…Victorian inspired.”

“Like the Mew Mew Kissy Cutie time travel special!” Alphys exclaimed. “Could I…Could I have a p-parasol?”

“Felicity,” Undyne said, grinning so wide all her fangs were showing. “Get my fiancée a parasol.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Felicity laughed and she quickly walked away.

“Were you asleep the whole time?” Frisk grinned.

“I told you,” Sans yawned. “Dressing up’s not my thing, besides, Undyne’s gonna end up telling us what we have to wear anyway. No point in dressing up twice.”

“You’re no fun at all, Sans,” Mettaton chided.

“Nice outfit you got there,” Sans grinned. “Does it come with sunglasses for the rest of us?”

“No pair of sunglasses could save you from Mettaton’s dazzle!” Papyrus said stoutly.

Sans pulled a face, but Mettaton turned to Papyrus and said “Thank you, Papy, at least you know how to appreciate style.”

Felicity came back with a big smile on her face. She wasn’t just carrying a white parasol, but also a bunch of fans, hats, gloves, and cravats. “These accessories should tie your outfits together. Most of you have already gone for the old-fashioned vibe.”

“Here, Alphy,” Undyne grinned, taking the parasol from Felicity and handing it to Alphys.

“A small top hat for you, I thought,” Felicity smiled at Frisk. “And the men can change their ties for cravats.”

“These don’t match at all,” Bratty said, looking at the taffeta dresses she and Catty were wearing.

“That just mean we get to do a second round!” Catty exclaimed and they darted off.

“And amazing as this outfit is, I don’t think I fit into the theme so well either at the moment,” Mettaton said. “But don’t worry, I can go from dazzling to dandy in five minutes flat.”

He walked away quickly, while Felicity offered Katla a pair of lace gloves. They matched the lace at her throat from the blouse. Undyne was helping Asgore to fix his cravat, which looked a lot better on him than the tie had.

“I look like a circus person,” Frisk said, overjoyed with their top hat.

“Here, brother,” Papyrus said, offering Sans a velvet coat much like his own, but in dark blue. “This way we match.”

“T-that’s perfect,” Alphys said happily. “If we can g-get you a hat too, Papyrus.”

About twenty minutes later, they were all dressed and accessorized. Alphys and Undyne were beyond pleased. Alphys wouldn’t stop twirling her parasol and Undyne was wearing a cream coloured cravat.

Felicity took a picture of them as a group and the brides-to-be inspected it carefully.

“This is r-really great,” Alphys sighed happily.

“It’s kickass,” Undyne said. “We all look classy as heck, but it’s still fun.”

“Make a picture of me for Mom and Asriel!” Frisk begged.

“Sure, sweetheart,” Mettaton said and he took out his phone.

“That’s it,” Undyne grinned, grabbing Alphys around the waist. “We’re having a theme wedding after all.”

Alphys laughed. “How will we get the rest of the guests to fit in with the theme, though?” she asked.

“We’ll cross that bride when we get to it,” Sans grinned.

Undyne laughed and gave him a friendly punch in the shoulder. “That’s right,” she said. “For now let’s just be psyched that we just found the coolest outfits ever.”

Felicity stood back a bit, proud of a good afternoon’s work. Katla had already changed back and approached her with a smile, the blouse, skirt, and gloves of her outfit draped across her arm.

“With all the outfits sorted, I think it’s budget time,” she said. “I’m sure we can work out some kind of discount, considering the amount of clothes and accessories we’ll be taking off your hands.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Felicity smiled.

They walked to the register, while the others changed back into their normal clothes.

“Hey, S-sans,” Alphys said.

“Hm?” Sans asked, turning around just as he was about to go into a dressing room.

Alphys quickly snapped a picture. “Gotcha,” she grinned. “Th-this one’s for Toriel.”

“Give me that,” Sans growled, trying to snatch her phone, but Alphys was quicker.

“Too late!” she laughed.

Sans groaned and ducked into the dressing room. Undyne roared with laughter and Alphys grinned at her.

“You can be so sneaky,” Undyne said approvingly.

“W-what can I say?” Alphys said, grinning and blushing at the same time. “I love to ship.”

“Hm…” Undyne hummed.

She glanced over to Katla and Felicity, who were collecting outfits from Bratty, Catty, Frisk, Papyrus, and Mettaton. Asgore was hurrying over to her, carrying his suit.

“Allow me,” he said, taking the stack of clothing from Katla so she had her hands free for her notepad.

“Ah, thank you,” Katla replied gratefully, but looking away when Asgore smiled at her.

“What do you think about that?” Undyne whispered.

Alphys stared for a moment. “You think…?” she whispered.

“Don’t know about her, but King Fluffybuns sure seems interested,” Undyne grinned.

“Why haven’t you changed?” Papyrus asked, coming towards them. “You cannot get married yet, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh.”

Alphys looked nervous, but he hadn’t heard a word of what they were saying.

“I know, Pap,” Undyne said loudly, slinging an arm across his shoulder. “But look how cute she is!”

“S-so are you,” Alphys mumbled.

“I know, right,” Undyne grinned. “And once we take this stuff off, we have to wait till April to wear it again!”

“That is not true,” Papyrus said seriously. “You will have to wear it again for alterations.”

“Oh yeah,” Undyne grinned. “That’s alright then.” She winked at Alphys. “I guess we can go change then,” she said.

“Y-yeah,” Alphys laughed.

They both disappeared into a dressing room. Sans sauntered over to Papyrus, glad to be in his normal clothes again.

“Alphys and Undyne almost done?” he asked.

“They have just gone to change,” Papyrus said. “They didn’t want to at first, but I spoke to them.”

“What would we do without you, Paps,” Sans grinned.

“I truly do not know,” Papyrus said solemnly.

When all the outfits had been gathered and paid for and Felicity had given an estimate for the alteration costs and some fitting appointments that needed to be made, Katla made short work of it and finally everybody was ready to go.

“Th-thank you all so much,” Alphys beamed when they walked outside.

“Yeah, good job all,” Undyne grinned. “See you guys soon, yeah?”

There were some hugs and waves and then they all piled into their different cars. Mettaton gallantly offered to give Bratty and Catty a ride and Katla was going back home with Undyne and Alphys to go over some planning details.

“Bye!” Frisk called once over over their shoulder, holding onto both Sans’ and Papyrus’ hands.

“Bye, kid!” Undyne yelled back and Alphys waved. Undyne caught Alphys’ claw in her scaly hand. Katla walked behind them at some distance, deep in thought.

“Shall we watch the Mew Mew time travel special tonight?” Undye asked, squeezing Alphys’ claw.

“Like you have to a-ask,” Alphys grinned.

Undyne chuckled. She looked at Alphys’ happy face and got a soft expression around her eyes for a moment. “Love you,” she mumbled happily.

“I love you too,” Alphys beamed back and she didn’t stutter once, not even a little bit.

Chapter Text

As soon as Sans, Papyrus, and Frisk left, Asriel jumped up and cried:

“Can we go look at the attic now?”

“Of course,” Toriel smiled. “I promised, didn’t I?”

Asriel ran upstairs, Toriel following him at a much calmer pace. He had to wait at the door that led to the attic stairs because it was always locked. Not because there was anything dangerous there, just because they hardly ever went up there and Toriel didn’t see why it should be unlocked.

Now she opened the door and said with a dramatic bow:

“After you, young gentleman explorer.”

Grinning, Asriel climbed the attic stairs, exclaiming at how dark it was until Toriel turned on the light. The attic was full of stuff. Boxes, baskets, sacks of old clothing. Asriel looked at it all like he was a treasure hunter stepping into a forgotten temple.

“Oh!” he cried out, seeing a piece of fabric stick out of a box. “I remember this!”

He took out a small, green blanket, edged with a yellow band. It was pretty worn.

“Yes,” Toriel smiled. “That was your blanket when you were just a little baby…”

Asriel nuzzled the soft fabric and looked up at the other boxes.

“Is this all our old stuff?” he asked, his eyes widening.

“No, your father has a lot of it too,” Toriel said gently.

“Cool,” Asriel said, digging deeper into the box.

“Oh look,” Toriel said delightedly.

She took out a folder.

“Your old drawings!”

Asriel ran to her side and she sat down on the attic floor, showing him the collection of scribbles on paper. Most of them had a title written in the corner in Toriel’s or Asgore’s handwriting like ‘The Throne Room’ or ‘The Garden’ or ‘Mom At Work’.

Asriel wrinkled his snout. None of the pictures looked anything like those things.

“I can draw better than that!” he protested.

“You can now,” Toriel laughed. “These are from ages ago…”

She leafed through the papers.

“Look…” she said cheerfully. “Those look like us.”

Asriel looked at the picture. The figures did look vaguely goat-like, but everything was drawn in yellow.

“You had a thing for yellow,” Toriel remembered fondly. “Refused to draw with any other colour for a while.”

She smiled at the picture. It was so sweet, and from so long ago. Asriel looked at her face.

“Mom,” he said.

“Yes, my darling,” Toriel said with a soft look.

“Are you still mad at Dad?”

Toriel’s face fell. She struggled against her own smile. It was so hard to be honest sometimes.

“No, Asriel,” she said earnestly. “I’m not angry with your father. If I was angry, I couldn’t invite him over like I do and we wouldn’t have all the fun we’ve been having together. I’d be miserable if I was still angry with him.”

Asriel listened quietly. Toriel’s eyes were gentle, but not happy.

“If I am still angry,” she said slowly, forcing the words past her lips. “And I know this sounds stupid and unfair, darling, but… I’m not angry with your father. I’m angry with a version of your father from very long ago.”

She smiled sadly at her son, not expecting him to understand at all. But Asriel didn’t think it was stupid and Toriel forgot he was not as young as he ought to be.

“That’s okay, Mama,” he said in a small voice. “I’m angry with versions of me from long ago too…”

Toriel’s snout trembled and she quickly wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a warm hug.

“Oh, sweetheart,” she muttered.

Asriel buried his face in her dress.

“I’m…I’m sorry, Mama,” he mumbled. He wasn’t crying; he was just saying what he felt.

“I know,” Toriel muttered, nuzzling the top of his head. “And that’s okay too, as long as you know, my love, that you never have to apologise for anything to me…or your father.”

Asriel hugged her tighter.

“I love you so much, Asriel,” Toriel said.

“And Dad too, right?” Asriel mumbled, raising his head.

“Your dad loves you just as much,” Toriel said emphatically.

“And you?” Asriel repeated his question, phrasing it differently.

“Of course I love your father too,” Toriel said firmly, understanding him this time.

“But you love Sans more now,” Asriel said.

Toriel paused for a moment, but he didn’t look sad or angry.

“I love Sans differently,” she said.

“With the smoochie-love,” Asriel said and a grin passed over his snout.

“Smooches aren’t required to love someone like that,” Toriel said, her eyes crinkling in amusement at Asriel’s mischievous expression. “But I suppose so, yes.”

Asriel seemed satisfied. The sorrowful look had disappeared from his face and he scrambled to his feet.

“Can I climb on top of the boxes?” he asked.

Toriel laughed and rejoiced in the quickly moving thoughts of children.

“As long as you are careful,” she smiled. “There shouldn’t be anything fragile in that pile, but the cardboard could give way.”

“That’s what makes it exciting!” Asriel cried and he bravely began to ascend the cardboard mountain.

After a lot of mountaineering, Asriel climbed into a box at the top that turned out to be full of old clothes.

“I remember this one!” Asriel cheered, pulling out a small purple cape.

It matched his father and mother’s regal robes. He remembered the day he’d first worn it, when he’d been at a royal procession like a real prince. That was just before he found…

Asriel picked up a green sweater with a yellow stripe. There were holes in the cuffs of the sleeves that you could stick your thumbs through. For a moment the only noise in the attic was the distant whirring of the boiler.

“This was Chara’s,” Asriel said, wide eyed. “Did you keep all her things as well…?”

Toriel tried to make her smile happy instead of sad.

“There was a lot less to keep,” she said. “But of course we did, Asriel. We loved her very much.”

Asriel looked up at her with a strange defiant look in his eyes.

“So do I,” he said.

“I know, darling,” Toriel nodded, holding out a hand for him so he could climb down.

“She was not…like Frisk, was she?” Asriel mumbled.

“No,” Toriel said sorrowfully. “She wasn’t.”

Asriel didn’t remember everything that had happened and he didn’t try very hard to remember either. But he did remember Chara. She had been so brave and funny and she loved to laugh. Except…she also laughed at things that weren’t so funny.

“Mom…” Asriel said suddenly. “Did you find my locket?”

Toriel bit her lip, looked at Asriel, and shook her head.

“No, my love,” she said. “I didn’t. I asked your father not too long ago. He never found it either.”

Asriel looked at his feet. Toriel didn’t know what to say.

“Meow?”

Picking up his paws daintily on the dusty floor, Sir Pouncival came into the attic and curled around Asriel’s legs. Asriel laughed and scratched him under his chin.

“You found us all the way up in the attic,” he said.

“Meow,” Sir Pouncival replied lazily, arching his back.

“Do you think cats can track people like dogs?” Asriel asked.

“I don’t know,” Toriel said. “Perhaps they can.”

“I bet Sir Pouncival could!” Asriel said confidently.

He looked up.

“I bet me and Sir Pouncival could find you even if you were trapped in the attic somewhere with no escape.”

A smile began in the corners of Toriel’s mouth.

“Oh well,” she said nonchalantly, beginning to walk between the piles of boxes. “That would never happen to me. I would never be so silly as to wander off and get myself lost…”

Luckily, it didn’t take Asriel the brave mountaineer and his faithful tracking cat, Sir Pouncival, long to track down and rescue the lady that had gotten lost in the maze of caves underneath the mighty cardboard mountain. There was a dangerous box slide and nearly a deadly avalanche of old books, but they got her out safe and sound.

“What an adventure,” Toriel sighed, brushing the dust off her dress. “I’m positively famished after all that excitement. Anyone else up for snacks?”

“Me!” Asriel yelled, galloping out of the attic, followed by Sir Pouncival, who was chasing the threads on the bottom of his frayed pant legs.

“Careful on the stairs!” Toriel called after him and she followed him down, throwing one last glance on the now considerably messier attic.

She’d ask Papyrus to give her a hand cleaning it up some other day; he was good at organizing. Her phone buzzed in her pocket and, after she’d locked the attic door behind her, she took it out. Mettaton had sent a picture.

“Look at your dapper darling!” the message read.

Toriel smiled and went downstairs, where she could hear Asriel chasing Sir Pouncival or vice versa.

“Asriel,” she said. “Look at this.”

She showed him the picture. It was Frisk, grinning widely and wearing a dark green vest over a white shirt, which was tucked into a black and green skirt. On their head was a small top hat. They were wearing it slightly crooked and their hair peeked out from under it messily.

“That’s so cool,” Asriel gaped. “I want a hat like that!”

“Well,” Toriel smiled. “Maybe it’ll be a hat-filled wedding. We’ll have to wait and see.”

They went to the kitchen and Toriel made tea for herself and lemonade for Asriel.

“What would you like on your crackers, darling?” she asked.

“Butter and chocolate sprinkles,” Asriel said immediately.

“Only because it’s a special afternoon,” Toriel laughed.

She put the crackers, the butter dish, and the packet of chocolate sprinkles on the table and Asriel enthusiastically started to butter his crackers, covering them liberally with chocolate.

“Have one, Mom,” he offered generously.

Toriel gave in and took one too.

Her phone buzzed around the kitchen table and she picked it up to look. This time it was Alphys that had sent her a picture. There was no message, just some happy emoticons. The picture showed an obviously taken by surprise Sans in a dark blue velvet jacket, a light grey vest, and a high top hat. Toriel felt a little jolt in her heart. He was by far the cutest skeleton she’d ever seen. How on earth did they persuade him to dress up like that?

Asriel looked up at his mother when she didn’t say what it was immediately and he squinted at her face. Through her fur it was very hard to tell when Toriel was blushing, but she was his mother, he knew what she looked like when she blushed.

“What is it?” he demanded. “Let me see!”

“It’s just a picture of Sans’ outfit,” Toriel said, smiling.

She slid the phone towards him across the table. Asriel laughed when he saw Sans and then he cried:

“He’s got a hat too!”

“He does indeed,” Toriel smiled. “I wonder if they all do. What about your father?”

Asriel laughed.

“That’d be a big hat,” he grinned.

“If they all have outfits they must soon be coming home,” Toriel said. “I hope they make a group picture.”

She got up and reached for the butter dish.

“Can I have one more?” Asriel pleaded, taking another cracker.

“Go on then,” Toriel laughed and Asriel eagerly grabbed the chocolate sprinkles.

Naturally, one more cracker wasn’t quite enough and in the end they had only just cleared the table when a jubilant Papyrus, a bouncing Frisk, and a very tired Sans pulled into the driveway and came inside to tell them all about their day at the store.

Chapter Text

“So your father developed the power plant that provided electricity to the whole underground?”

Sans nodded. He was having lunch with his colleagues at the university. Not the entire physics department was present of course, but definitely more of them than usual. Sans had told them enough about Gaster for them to be very eager to be there when Sans announced he’d be coming for a visit.

“What was it called again?” Janice said. “The Core?”

“Yup,” Sans nodded, munching on the sandwich Toriel made for him. He also had a thermos with hot ketchup. His colleagues thought it was tomato soup.

“So it’s a small scale nuclear power plant?” Tom asked.

“No,” Sans said. “I told you. It converts magic into electricity.”

Tom sighed and rubbed his forehead.

“You alright there, Tom?” Sans grinned, leaning on the table. “Need a cup of coffee? Looks like you could use some energy.”

Tom groaned and began a discussion he and Sans had had uncountable times before.

“You can’t just say magic,” he began. “How does it work. What are the components.”

“Magic gets amplified in coils,” Sans said. “The Core is big, so the magic energy has a long way to travel. Halfway through, it has become unstable electrical energy. By the time it’s run through all the coils, it’s converted completely and ready for the net.”

Tom made a frustrated sound and some of the other physicists looked mildly upset too.

“So, you say magic is energy?” Tom said, glaring at Sans.

“No,” Sans grinned. “I said the Core converts magical energy into electrical energy.”

“Energy doesn’t work like that!” Tom exclaimed in exasperation.

“’Course it does,” Sans said calmly. “You guys convert light into electricity with your solar panels.”

“That’s different,” Tom said.

“Don’t see how,” Sans shook his head. “One kind of energy into another kind of energy.”

“Yes, but we know what light is,” Tom protested.

“Do you?” Sans smirked. “Figured out whether it’s a wave or a particle yet, have you?”

“Fine,” Tom glared. “Is your magic a wave or a particle.”

“Neither,” Sans chuckled. “It’s magic.”

“Don’t do this again, Tom,” Janice said sympathetically.

“You’re loving this, aren’t you?” Tom sighed, looking at Sans’ smug face.

“Just a little,” Sans winked.

His phone beeped and he dug it out of his pocket.

“Welp,” he said. “Gotta go, Gaster’s outside. See you guys later.”

His colleagues nodded and he strolled away at a leisurely pace, listening for the inevitable heated discussion that would start as soon as they thought he was out of earshot. He heard Tom make a strangled groaning sound and grinned. They were great people, all of them, some a little more easily ticked off than others. Sans actually liked Tom a lot because he only got angry because he was passionate about understanding the world. Sans respected that.

Gaster was waiting outside the university building, looking up at it with a thoughtful expression on his not very expressive face. Most people didn’t give him a second glance; he was sufficiently human-shaped not to attract too much attention and people were used to seeing monsters by now. Gaster should be more careful however.

“Do you want a napkin, mister?”

Gaster looked up and saw an embarrassed looking man and a little girl. The girl was holding an ice cream in one hand and she was holding out a paper napkin for him in the other.

“I’m sorry,” her father said with an apologetic smile, and then to his daughter: “Honey, it’s sweet of you to offer, but remember what I told you about some things sounding rude even if they aren’t?”

Gaster was utterly confused until the child said “But he’s leaking, Daddy.”

Gaster looked at the pavement and smiled. Wisps of shadow were trickling down from his coat and swirling gently around his feet.

“Ah,” he said. “So I am. How careless of me.”

In front of the big eyes of the little girl and the curious gaze of her father, the drooping shadows were sucked back into the black, semi-solidness of his coat.

“There,” he said. “But thank you for offering the napkin.”

“Just as well,” the father said. “You really need that napkin yourself, don’t you, honey?”

The little girl glanced at her ice cream and quickly licked the side before it could drip over her hand again.

“Have a nice day,” the father said to Gaster. “I hope she didn’t-”

“Not at all,” Gaster smiled. “Helpfulness is never wrong.”

The father smiled back and said: “Say goodbye, Tara.”

“Goodbye!” Tara chimed and she walked off with her father.

“You do have a strange talent for attracting kids,” Sans said, stepping out of the doorway.

“Oh, Sans,” Gaster said cheerfully, turning around. He laughed. “Well, if I do, I must owe it to that talent that I used to raise you and your brother, so I will never quarrel with it.”

Sans pulled a face.

“Not getting sentimental on me, are you, Dad?” he muttered. “Come on, I’ll show you around.”

They took a quick stroll through the main hallway, past the cafeteria and other vital parts of the university building.

“Want to stop by the biochemistry department and say hi to Alphys?” Sans asked.

“Of course,” Gaster nodded. “If she is not busy.”

“She’s always busy,” Sans said while they made their way through the hallways. “Always working on all kind of projects and helping her human colleagues with theirs. They even want her to start publishing papers.” He chuckled. “Poor Alph.”

“I would think that is a good thing,” Gaster said, surprised. “Isn’t it?”

“Not if you’re as nervous as Alph about your work,” Sans said. “She’ll get over it though.”

“What about you?” Gaster smiled. “Will you be writing any papers?”

“No thanks,” Sans chuckled. “I’m only here in an advisory position and I’m keeping it that way.”

“I’m sure the university would be interested in your engineering projects if you showed them,” Gaster said, carefully not looking at Sans.

“Heh,” Sans hummed. “I don’t need anyone looking over my shoulder while I work.”

Gaster glanced at him and Sans shrugged.

“Anyone but you and Pap,” he muttered.

“And Frisk, Toriel, and Asriel?” Gaster added, repressing a smile.

“Look,” Sans sighed. “Are you gonna be smug or are we going to bother a hardworking Alphys?”

They stopped by Alphys’ office to say hi and found that Alphy was indeed very busy. She was doing experiments in an attempt to define determination as a biochemical compound. Its current labelling was the probably accurate, but scientifically frustrating ‘quality of life force condensed into a temporary liquid state through use of extraction magic’. Alphys wasn’t at all sure if she could ever define it in terms that would fit the human scientific model, but she was more than willing to try.

“Fascinating!” Gaster said. “But surely they do not expect you to work on this alone?”

“N-no,” Alphys smiled. “I have some g-great colleagues helping me.”

She was a tad nervous to be discussing her work like this. She had talked to Sans about it a million times, but Gaster was in her mind still the famous Royal Scientist that preceded her, that she had hardly gotten to know outside of the lab before he disappeared.

“There’s a PhD student, um, Ben, that has a l-lot of interesting ideas,” she said. “He proposes what I’m doing is part of a new field called m-metaphysical biology.”

“Catchy name, right?” Sans grinned. “Also contradictio in terminis according to most of the people here so I’m all for it.”

Gaster laughed softly and Alphys grinned.

“Well,” she said. “I’ve got to get back. T-try not to wind up your colleagues too much.”

“You know me,” Sans winked. “I don’t do promises.”

They made their way back to the physics department and Sans showed Gaster his office.

“I shouldn’t have this,” Sans chuckled. “Since I don’t work fulltime, but I think the university didn’t want to force anyone to share with me. I’m losing the scary monster reputation real fast though, so it probably won’t be long until I’ll have to share.”

Gaster gave Sans an inquiring look. It wasn’t always clear with Sans if he was just joking or if he was joking because he was Sans. Sans’ face gave nothing away, but Gaster felt like his son was really just joking. With a smile, he saw there was a picture on Sans’ desk that had been made last Christmas. Everyone was laughing happily at the camera. It was a great advantage of having telekinesis that you never had to use the timer to make a group shot.

“Want to go bother my colleagues?” Sans asked.

“I’d like to meet your colleagues,” Gaster laughed.

They crossed the hallway and Sans knocked on the doorframe of Tom’s office. Tom never closed the door so this was the generally accepted way of announcing yourself to him.

“Tom,” Sans said. “This is Dr. Gaster. Gaster, this is Dr. Tom Harris.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Gaster said and he shook Tom’s hand.

“Likewise,” Tom said, doing a good job of not looking too curious. “Sans told me you work in energy development?”

“Indeed I do,” Gaster nodded.

“If you wouldn’t mind…” Tom began. “I’d really like to hear some more about the Core Sans mentioned.”

“Certainly,” Gaster said obligingly and he began to explain about the different kind of conductive metals used in the core, the necessary use of glass, the water cooling of the overall structure, how the machine itself was powered through geothermal energy, and the initial problems he had with ozone generation.

Tom listened patiently and attentively until Gaster arrived at his explanation of the Core’s harvester that gathered raw magic and fed it through a transistor, which converted it into magical energy.

“You mean you gather the magic from the air?” he gaped.

“Well, in as far as the air can be considered the plane of existence for magic,” Gaster pondered.

Sans grinned as he heard Tom mutter: “Plane of existence, I swear to…” under his breath.

“Monsters consist mostly of magic,” Gaster said kindly. “It permeates our being and the world around us. Monsters channel magic into different kinds of magical energy all the time. Compared to a monster, the harvester and transistor really have only a very limited range.”

“So…” Tom groaned. “It’s…It’s like an electromagnetic harvester gathering environmental radiation?”

“Yes,” Gaster smiled. “Except with magic.”

Tom’s outburst brought Janice to the office, followed by several others.

“Ah,” she said cheerfully. “Welcome, Dr. Gaster. I see you and Tom have already started.”

Sans stood back and let his father do the baffling this time. Gaster was a lot more helpful and a lot less intentionally provoking, but that possibly only made it worse. It gave the scientists the horrifying realisation that it wasn’t just Sans they didn’t understand. The discussion was very amicable though, despite the raised voices and when Gaster and Sans left, they were both in an exceptionally good mood.

“Your colleagues are very pleasant,” Gaster said contentedly. “I am glad of it.”

“They’re a good bunch,” Sans nodded. “And certainly good for electric conversation.”

“Hm,” Gaster hummed, keeping his face straight. “I think they got a real charge out of it.”

Sans beamed at him and Gaster chuckled softly to himself.

Of course, Papyrus could not be left behind and when arranging to come visit Sans at work, he had had to promise Papyrus that they would pick him up from work afterwards. That way he could show off his workplace as well.

“Ready to go?” Sans asked, after having made a quick stop in his own office.

“I am if you are,” Gaster nodded. “You have the address, don’t you?”

“I’ll teleport us,” Sans said. “I’ve picked Pap up from work a couple of times, so I know a good spot.”

Gaster nodded and Sans put his hand on his father’s arm, teleporting them to the parking lot of the building Papyrus worked in. They appeared in a spot that was hard to see from either the windows or the street in front. For a moment after they materialised, Gaster’s shadowy form was fluid and vague. It took him some effort to pull himself together again.

“You alright, Dad?” Sans asked, a tad worried.

“I am out of practice,” Gaster gasped, a little short of breath. “I am not used to retaining a firm physical form while slipping through the void.”

Sans waited for Gaster to go back to his normal state. Being a shadow monster, Gaster was very capable of taking what Sans called ‘short-cuts,’ but he didn’t teleport as much as fade in and out of the darkness of the void. Slowly the swirling shadows settled down and Gaster looked like himself again.

“That was mildly unpleasant,” he observed with a  shrug of his shoulders.

“Pap will cheer you up then,” Sans grinned. “Let’s go inside.”

Judging from the fact that nobody in the office was surprised by Sans and Gaster’s entrance, they could guess that Papyrus had informed everybody they would be stopping by.

“Hi, Terry,” Sans greeted the editor’s secretary.

“Hi, Sans,” Terry smiled. “Papyrus is expecting you.” He smiled at Gaster. “Nice to meet you, sir, Papyrus has told us so much about you.”

Gaster smiled back and followed Sans to a big office where several people were working on desks distributed strategically in the big open space. Papyrus was sitting at his desk, pretending to be so hard at work that he had not seen Sans and Gaster come in. Everyone else in the office was looking at them, but they all tried to do it as discreetly as possible.

“Hello, Papyrus,” Gaster said warmly.

Papyrus looked up, feigning complete surprise.

“Hello!” he exclaimed. “Dad, Sans, there you are. Welcome to our office!”

“It’s very nice, Papyrus,” Gaster smiled.

“I know!” Papyrus boasted, getting to his feet. “It is a very important office after all, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh!”

Papyrus’ co-workers were hiding their smiles, but Gaster was pleased to see they were genuine smiles, and not in the least bit mocking.

“Can I see what you’re working on at the moment?” he asked.

“Certainly!” Papyrus said enthusiastically and he showed Gaster his latest word jumble. “It is my latest invention,” he explained. “It is a word jumble, but instead of giving away the words, I only write down clues to what the words you are searching for are.”

“Like a crossword,” Sans grinned.

“Well, the clues are like a crossword, yes,” Papyrus admitted. “But it is much better than a crossword!”

“Undoubtedly,” Gaster nodded. “May I try?”

“Of course!” Papyrus said. “Here, take my chair.”

Gaster bent over the word jumble with Papyrus looking anxiously over his shoulder. The office had settled down and most people had gone back to work. Sans saw the editor glance through the window in her office door and he raised his hand. She nodded at him.

“Wow!” Papyrus said, very impressed. “You solved it already! I should have known, you taught me after all. I’ll have to try a lot harder to stump you, dad.”

Gaster laughed softly.

“I am not sure giving you a word jumble whenever you insisted on playing in my study while I worked would count as ‘teaching,’” he smiled. “But I’m glad my distraction techniques proved to be useful to your career.”

“They were indeed!” Papyrus grinned triumphantly. “I shall give you a tour of the office now!”

After a quick tour and a chat with some of Papyrus’ extremely friendly- if somewhat amused- co-workers, Papyrus locked his puzzles in his desk drawer and they set off for home. Papyrus had come to work with the family car that morning so he drove them back.

“Sans,” Papyrus chided. “Take your feet off the back of my seat.”

“I haven’t got my feet on the back of your seat, bro,” Sans yawned, lounging in the back of the car while Papyrus and Gaster sat up front.

“You did just now!” Papyrus protested. “You just moved them to Dad’s seat.”

“Boys,” Gaster interrupted gently. “Well, I suppose you aren’t boys anymore, but still…it is so good to see you both so happy.”

Sans merely made an appreciative humming sound, but Papyrus said:

“I am happy. And you are happy too, right?”

“Yes,” Gaster said with emphasis. “Very.”

There was a short silence and then he added:

“I know I have said this before, but…I’m sorry. I’m sorry I left you and that you had to leave our home. I’ve never even seen the home you made for yourselves in Snowdin…”

“It was a great home!” Papyrus assured him. “We were very happy there, weren’t we, Sans! Well, not as happy as we are here, but that had nothing to do with the home.”

“It was fine, Dad,” Sans said in a low voice. “Really.”

Gaster shook his head slowly, but then he said “I have something to discuss with you. I know you do not think I should be looking for a place of my own and recently Toriel has informed me this is mostly because you are worried about me living alone.”

“That is not true!” Papyrus sputtered. “There is simply no need! Our house is big enough for everyone, so why should anyone leave?”

“Well, Dad,” Sans muttered. “You and I are pretty rubbish at keeping house. If Pap hadn’t been with me, I’m sure I never would have made it in Snowdin.”

“Exactly!” Papyrus said hastily. “Living alone is lonely and totally unnecessary!”

“I appreciate your concerns,” Gaster smiled. “They are not unfounded…and I wondered what you would think about me moving in with someone else then.”

“Like who?” Papyrus asked.

“Well,” Gaster said. “I was talking to Asgore the other day and he mentioned he would welcome someone to help out with the rent. He wanted to provide Asriel with a proper family home, but it is rather big for them alone. What do you think of that?”

Papyrus glanced at Sans in the rear-view mirror. They weren’t really prepared for this, but they knew Asgore and their father had been very good friends back in the day.

“Did Asgore ask Asriel what he thought about it?” Sans asked.

“I asked him that too,” Gaster smiled. “He said that he wanted to know my opinion first.”

“And what did you say?” Papyrus asked anxiously.

“That I wanted to talk to you first,” he replied.

There was another short silence that was broken by a low chuckle from Sans.

“You’re gonna be two single dads sharing a house,” he quipped. “Better make sure Mettaton doesn’t send a camera crew over to make a sitcom out of you.”

“Sans!” Papyrus chided. “Mettaton would never do that. He wouldn’t make a show without himself in it!”

“But you do not dislike the idea then?” Gaster smiled.

“I’m alright with it,” Sans shrugged. “If Asriel is, at least.”

“I think it is a very generous offer of friendship,” Papyrus said emphatically. “And at least that way you won’t be lonely.”

“Yes,” Gaster nodded. “And perhaps it would prevent you two from worrying about me. I think you have done quite enough of that over the years.”

“They could call it Monster Dads,” Sans chuckled, interrupting Papyrus before he could answer. “Or A Shadow and One Point Five Goats.”

Gaster smiled and Papyrus made an unamused sound.

“The tagline could be One’s A Dark Dad And The Other’s A Fluffy Father,” Sans grinned.

“Stop that, Sans,” Papyrus said. “Dad, make him stop or he’ll do this the entire ride home!”

“Aw, come on, Paps,” Sans laughed. “You’d be in the show too of course. You could be the successful son the audience wishes they had.”

“And what would you be then?” Papyrus asked, temporarily appeased.

“I’d be the comic relief of course,” Sans winked. “And I’d have a cool catchphrase…something like You’re gonna have a dad time.”

“Sans, that doesn’t even make sense!” Papyrus burst out.

Gaster sat back and smiled while Sans got Papyrus more and more worked up. Sans punned and Papyrus protested, meanwhile still manoeuvring through the rush hour traffic flawlessly. Gaster wouldn’t have stopped either of them for the world. They had been this way for as long as he could remember and he would never ever tire of listening to them.

Chapter Text

 

“Isn’t it pretty!” Alphys gushed.

“It’s lovely, Alphys,” Toriel said. “You look absolutely wonderful.”

Alphys had been to her last fitting and was showing the pictures of her in her wedding dress to Toriel.

She and Sans had stopped by Undyne and Alphys’ house and had found them in the middle, planning the final details for the wedding. Grillby was there, as well as Shyren. Sans and Grillby hadn’t seen each other in a while, so he had wanted to stay, and now they were both hanging on the couch, catching up.

“So you’ll do it, right?” Undyne said.

Shyren squirmed nervously but nodded. Undyne grinned at her.

“Thanks, Shy, wouldn’t want anyone else to do it,” she said. “I mean that!”

A blush passed over Shyren’s blue face and she nodded, still not saying a word.

The bell rang.

“Th-that’ll be Bratty and C-Catty,” Alphys said happily.

“I’ll get it,” Undyne said, springing to her feet.

As soon as she opened the door Bratty and Catty burst in, both holding two boxes. “You guys!” they squealed, and it wasn’t clear who was saying what. “Like. Would you look at these. They turned out totally adorable.”

They deposited the boxes on the coffee table and Alphys and Undyne enthusiastically dug through the contents. Both boxes were full of cheap, but nice looking fans. One box held white ones and the other held black ones. Alphys had figured fans were the easiest accessory to hand out to all the guests to make them fit into the Victorian theme and they could double as wedding favours.

“Awesome!” Undyne grinned.

When they had all admired the fans, Toriel pried Sans away from Grillby, so Undyne and Alphys could discuss the food arrangements with him one last time. They didn’t want to go for a formal sit down dinner and Katla had given Grillby quite a strict budget to keep to.

“I think a buffet style would be best,” Grillby said, his voice crackling pleasantly. “It’s convenient and affordable since you’d only need a server or two to clear out the dirty glasses and dishes.”

There was a round of agreeing nods and hums, but Catty suddenly seemed to look rather anxious. She fidgeted in her seat and plucked at the end of her tail with her claw.

“About that…” she began. “I was wondering if…like…well…”

Bratty rolled her eyes. “Jeez, Catty,” she said. “Come out and say it already.”

Catty flashed her an angry look, but Bratty ignored her, turned to Grillby and said “She wants to ask you not to hire Burgerpants as the server.”

“I told you to stop calling him that,” Catty mumbled.

Grillby’s glasses glinted.

“And why shouldn’t I hire Bennett for the wedding?” he asked.

“Well, duh,” Bratty said. “Because she doesn’t want him to be working. Not that it’s gonna matter cause she’s too chicken to ask him out anyway.”

“I am not!” Catty snapped. “And you’re being, like, totally awful about this!”

It was nearly impossible to read Grillby’s expression on account of him being rather lacking in the facial features department, but he made a crackling sound that was very like a chuckle.

“So I should give him the evening off?” he said amusedly.

Catty was blushing through her lavender fur and refused to look at Bratty, who was grinning so wide all her teeth glinted. Undyne grinned at Alphys.

“W-we could just i-invite Bennett…” Alphys offered with a smile. “No need to a-ask him out. Would you l-like that, Catty?”

A purr escaped Catty’s throat and she pounced at Alphys. “Alphys, you’re the best!” she cried, hugging her around her neck.

“She’s alph-ul great, that’s for sure,” Sans commented, winking.

Toriel snorted and Undyne asked Grillby with a wide smirk “Think you can find someone else for us?”

“I’ll ask my sister,” Grillby said with another fiery chuckle. “She’s always happy to earn some extra pocket money.”

“How is your sis, by the way?” Sans asked.

“Very good,” Grillby replied. “She’s already looking at colleges.”

“How exciting,” Toriel said. “If she has any trouble, do tell her she can ask the Council for Monster-Human Cohabitation for assistance.”

“Thank you.” Grillby nodded. “I’ll tell her, she’ll appreciate that.”

“Can we get back to our wedding?” Undyne said impatiently.

“Alright,” Grillby chuckled. “So we’ll do a buffet and then of course there’s the cake.”

“Y-yes,” Alphys said excitedly. “Did Muffet talk to Nathan?”

“She did,” Grillby nodded. “He’ll be helping her out. He’s actually quite keen on finding out some of her techniques.”

“Great,”  Undyne grinned. “That’s all the food covered then, isn’t it?”

“Oh, it’s going to be so fun!” Catty gushed.

“Totes,” Bratty grinned toothily. “Especially for me since you’re gonna be Miss ‘I-Have-No-Standards’ and be hung up on Burgy all night.”

Catty hissed at her friend and Bratty laughed at her.

“Girls,” Toriel said disapprovingly, but Undyne didn’t bother with subtleties and said loudly:

“Fight on your own time! Help me get this stuff out of here.”

Bratty and Catty carried the boxes of fans to the spare room where the other wedding stuff was kept and Toriel helped Alphys put away the other wedding accessories she had taken out to show them.

“You’re coming to the wedding too, right?” Sans grinned at Grillby. “Is the catering allowed to bring a plus one?”

Grillby didn’t reply, but crackled amusedly. Bratty and Catty came back from the back room, still squabbling, and Undyne grinned happily at Alphys when she returned with Toriel.

“Alright, everyone,” Undyne announced. “Alphys and I have a date night to get ready for, so…”

They all took the hint and started to get ready to go. Toriel smiled at Undyne and said curiously “Date night?”

“Yeah,” Undyne nodded. “Every week we take at least one evening off to do something together. Doesn’t have to be fancy, you know, can just be hanging out at home. As long as we’re together and not doing something else. But tonight, we’re going to the movies!”

“What a sweet idea,” Toriel said.

“Alphy came up with it,” Undyne said with a grin. “I mean, we both work late sometimes and living in the same house isn’t the same as spending time together, you know what I mean.”

Alphys glanced at Toriel and then at Sans, who was waiting to go, hands stuffed in his pockets.

“S-sans,” Alphys said. “Could you h-help me with something in the kitchen for a sec?”

“Sure,” he said and he followed her there.

As soon as the kitchen door closed behind them, Alphys turned to Sans so abruptly he nearly walked into her. “Sans,” she hissed. “You’ve got t-to take Toriel on a date!”

“What?” Sans said, confused. “What are you talking about?”

“A date,” Alphys insisted. “You and Toriel! A real one.”

“Why should I take her on a date?” Sans said. “I had better take her on a fig, more room to stand.”

“Sans, I’m serious!” Alphys said reproachfully, still keeping her voice down for the sake of secrecy. “Have you and Toriel ever even been on a proper date?”

Sans shrugged.

“Then you have to go,” Alphys insisted. “She’d love it. Y-you could take her to a restaurant, or the movies. Oh! You could take her for a boat ride. Something r-romantic.”

Her eyes were big and shining and Sans gave her a look that made it very clear he had no intention of doing any of those things. “Nah,” he said. “Sounds fussy. I don’t do fussy.”

“Sans,” Alphys narrowed her eyes at him. “I am your friend and, as your f-friend, I am ordering you to take Toriel on a date.”

“Well, you know me,” Sans grinned unconcernedly. “Always did have a problem with authority.”

Alphys crossed her arms menacingly. She wasn’t backing down on this. “I’ll tell Papyrus,” she threatened.

Sans froze. “What?”

“Yeah,” Alphys said, grinning. “I’ll tell him that Toriel wants to go on a romantic date but that you’re too l-lazy to do it.”

“You wouldn’t,” Sans said, but he glanced nervously at Alphys’ face.

“I will!” Alphys insisted. “A-and I’ll tell him Toriel wants s-something big and d-dramatic!”

Sans scowled at her. Papyrus would tear the house down. He’d be lucky if he only booked four white horses and half a million roses.

“Fine,” he grumbled.  “I’ll take Tori on a date.”

Alphys’ eyes were so large he could have sworn he saw stars in them.

“Oh, this is g-going to be the best,” she almost squealed. “What are you going to do? B-Because I have some ideas if…”

“I’ll think of something myself, thanks,” Sans muttered. “And not a word to Tori! Or Papyrus.”

“Alright,” Alphys said, a little disappointed, but still grinning.

With a last grumbling look at the triumphant Alphys, Sans trudged out of the kitchen and back into the living room where Toriel was waiting for him. Alphys followed him, doing a very good job of looking innocent and nonchalant.

“Tell Pap and the kids hi,” Undyne told them when they left.

“I will pass it on,” Toriel smiled. “Have a great date night.”

“You too,” Alphys said. “A good night, I mean.”

Sans glared at her and he heard her start to talk excitedly to Undyne as soon as the front door closed behind them.

“Nice to see ya again, Grillbz,” Sans said, raising his hand. “I’ll swing by your place soon, yeah?”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Grillby said with a nod and he made a bowing gesture towards Toriel and walked away.

“Bye!” Bratty and Catty waved, jumping on their bikes. “See you later, Tori! Bye, Sansy!”

Toriel waved at them with an amused smile, but Sans didn’t respond. He wasn’t in the mood.

“Come on,” Toriel laughed. “Let’s go home. I will make some hot ketchup for dinner. That should cheer you up.”

“Your ketchup always does, Tori,” Sans agreed, giving her a crooked smile.

“Undyne and Alphys are such a sweet couple,” Toriel sighed while they got into the car. “I am certain it will be a lovely wedding. It is a shame they can’t afford to go on honeymoon.”

“Perhaps they can have a really big date night,” Sans said, putting the car in gear.

“Yes,” Toriel said, with twinkling eyes. “Or they could really take it seriously and make it a fig night instead.”

Sans looked at her expectant face and let out a snorting laugh.

“Good one, Tori,” he said, grinning like an idiot.

“Well, I try my best,” Toriel said happily.

She really did deserve a night out, Sans thought while he drove them home, and a good one too. He wasn’t going to let Alphys know of course, but now she’d mentioned it, it seemed rather strange he’d never taken Tori out. What was it Undyne had said? Just living in the same house isn’t the same as spending time together? Well, in any case, maybe doing something special with just the two of them would be fun.

“Bro,” Sans said. “You’re home this Friday right?”

“Of course,” Papyrus said. “And I plan on knitting at least four more fabric efficient shirts before Saturday.”

Papyrus had rather interesting views on what was efficient use of fabric in clothing and, because of this, his still rather haphazard clothing line consisted of many items that could perhaps not be called completely finished. On the plus side, however, was the fact that one of the friendly teenage girls from the neighbourhood had thought Papyrus’ fabric efficient shirts made the cutest crop tops and now all her friends wanted one too.

“Good,” Sans said. “So you can watch Frisk and Asriel that night?”

“Watch Frisk?” Papyrus said. “Why would they need to be watched?”

“Because I thought of taking Tori out that night, ya know, do something fun together.”

“You mean a DATE?” Papyrus gasped, dropping the knitting patterns he was sorting.

“Keep it down,” Sans grunted. “And yes, like a date.”

“Brother!” Papyrus exclaimed. “Your first date! How exciting!”

“I’m already in a relationship with her,” Sans protested, keeping his voice low in hopes that Papyrus would take the hint. “I don’t think you can call it a first date then.”

“But it still is,” Papyrus said happily. “Do you want to borrow my dating rule book?”

“Thanks,” Sans said. “But no thanks.”

“Ah,” Papyrus nodded understandingly. “You are going for the spontaneous approach.”

“Something like that,” Sans mumbled, looking away. “Look, just don’t tell Tori just yet, and keep your Friday night free to take care of the kids, okay?”

“Alright!” Papyrus said generously. “Anything to help with my brother’s first date! I am so proud of you, Sans. Showing initiative is very romantic!”

Sans muttered something unintelligible and disappeared to the basement for a nap. This whole dating thing would be a lot easier if people didn’t make such a big deal out of it. After about half an hour of sleeping face down on his workbench, Sans was awoken by Frisk opening the basement door.

“Hey, kid,” he yawned.

*Hi,* Frisk signed with a smile, climbing up on a high chair next to him. “Why is Papyrus listening to MTT’s Top 50 songs For Hopeless Romantics?” they asked with a suspicious undertone to their voice.

Sans groaned. He should have waited until the last moment to tell his brother.

“No idea,” he said. “But that reminds me. Do you think Tori would like it if I took her out this Friday?”

An enormous grin spread across Frisk’s face. “You’re taking Mom on a date?” they asked eagerly.

“If Pap doesn’t get so excited he takes her instead, yeah,” Sans said.

“That’s awesome,” Frisk beamed, squirming in their seat for joy. “Where are you going?”

“Okay, I’ll tell you,” Sans said. “But not a word to Pap or Tori, alright?”

*Promise,* Frisk signed solemnly.

“Say, Tori,” Sans said when they were getting into bed on Thursday evening. “You know that date night thing Alphys and Undyne do. Would you like to try that Friday night?”

Toriel gave him a surprised smile.

“Really?” she said. “Oh, yes, that sounds fun! Except…” she chuckled. “Undyne and Alphys don’t have any children at home. I feel like if we’d stay in for date night, it would be a date for four, not two.”

“Yeah,” Sans grinned. “We could go out, I guess.”

Toriel gave him a happy smile, but shook her head.

“It would be rather late to arrange something…” she said doubtfully. “And I’ve just taken the stock out of the freezer for dinner tomorrow.”

“We could do something that starts after dinner,” Sans suggested.

Toriel gave him a quizzical look and noticed the repressed laughter in his face.

“Did you plan something already?” she asked. “You didn’t plan an entire date in secret did you?”

“Maybe I did,” he shrugged with a smirk.

“Oh, Sans,” she exclaimed, bending forward to nuzzle him. “You are full of surprises.”

“From time to time,” he chuckled.

“Well, what have you planned?” she asked.

“It’s a surprise,” he grinned.

“Please tell me,” she begged.

He shook his head, trying not to laugh. This was the most fun this whole date planning thing had been.

“If you don’t tell me, I won’t sleep a wink,” Toriel said dramatically.

“I’m sure you’ll sleep just fine,” Sans said pulling the covers a little higher. “Come on, you have a date with the sandman.”

“Sans!” Toriel laughed and she gave him a push.

.

That night, after dinner, Sans still wouldn’t say what the date would be. This time it was not just Toriel, but also Papyrus, Asriel, and Frisk that wanted to know. He kept his mouth shut though, hands thrust into his pockets and grinning lazily at their frustration. They questioned him all during the washing and drying of the dishes, but to no avail.

“If you keep asking questions, we’re going to be late,” he said.

“Go on then,” Papyrus said urgently. “Go quickly and come back so you can tell us about it.”

Toriel went to get her coat and bag.

“All the suspense is really making me nervous,” she said laughingly, shrugging into her coat.

“You’ll like it,” Sans grinned. “I promise.”

“It isn’t somewhere fancy, is it?” she laughed nervously. “Should I change?”

“Nah, you look lovely. Don’t wanna overshoe it,” Sans winked.

Toriel flushed and took her handbag.

“Ready?” Sans asked and she nodded. “I scoped out the place beforehand so we can take a short-cut,” he said, offering her his hand.

She smiled and put her soft paw in his hand.

“Have fun!” Asriel said eagerly and Frisk signed something encouraging at Sans.

“Yes, have a great time,” Papyrus said. “And don’t forget to keep your dating score!”

“Thank you,” Toriel said. “Now you two be good, won’t you?”

Sans winked at them and held onto Toriel’s hand a little tighter.

“Here we go,” he said. “One, two-”

With a flash the living room dissolved into nothing. For a moment, everything was black and then they appeared behind a big brick building.

“Here we are,” Sans grinned.

Toriel was still holding on tight to his hand, as she always did on the rare occasions he teleported her, and he gently pulled her along. On the front of the building, a big sign read:

Tonight!

20:00-21:15 Open Mic

21:30-23:00 Adam Hills

“A comedy club?” Toriel exclaimed. “Is this where we’re going?”

“Sure are,” Sans chuckled.

It was a quarter to eight. Sans had made sure they were in time to catch the end of the open mic segment of the night.

“Are you going to perform?” Toriel coaxed, while Sans handed the tickets to the girl at the door.

“Nah,” he said. “We can do that some other time if you like. Didn’t seem right to leave you sitting alone at a table.”

Toriel squeezed his hand happily. Inside the club there was a stage, currently occupied by two young women who were getting a reasonable amount of laughs. There was a bar on the far side of the room and they went to get a drink. Little round tables with chairs were strategically placed in the space in such a way that everyone would be able to watch the performers.

“Who is this Adam Hills?” Toriel asked, sitting down. “Did you pick him specifically? Is he good?”

“Yeah,” Sans nodded. “Pretty good for a human. Frisk found some clips of his online. Fella works with a sign interpreter, makes it a sort of double act. Good stuff.”

“Oh, that does sound fun,” Toriel agreed.

They sipped their drinks and listened to the stand-up routine. Most of it was quite good. It was obviously not bad manners not to have your whole attention at the stage though. People kept their voices down and newcomers tried not to walk in front of the stage, but it was clear a lot of people were just waiting for the main act.

“These kids are pretty good,” Sans said after he and Toriel both cracked up at a particularly good impression.

“They are!” Toriel laughed.

They both applauded loudly when the women waved goodbye and went offstage. Toriel looked around, spotted two other monsters in the audience, and let out a happy sigh. She put her paw on top of Sans’ hand.

“This is lovely, Sans,” she said happily. “Really.”

“Hey,” Sans winked. “We haven’t even gotten to the main event yet.”

Toriel smiled and looked at the empty stage.

“Do you think they will bring out one more person before the main act?” she mused.

“There’s your answer,” Sans nodded when a young monster appeared on stage. “Hey, I know that kid. Saw him round Snowdin a couple of times.”

Toriel made a curious noise and they both watched as the birdlike monster nervously took the microphone.

“Hey there,” he said, with a slight break in his voice. “I’ve – eh – come all the way from the underground to be here and I thought – um – maybe these folks would like to know something about monster culture.”

There wasn’t a lot of response, but the general atmosphere was very friendly, so he carried on bravely.

“I thought I’d start with names,” he said, picking up the pace a little. “You know? Naming traditions. You guys are big into last names, some of you even have two! Us monsters, not so much. Most of us just take our clan species as a last name. See I’m a snowdrake, so my last name is Snowdrake. Easy. Only real old family lines bother with names. Most families aren’t that big anyway, so it’s not so hard to keep track of who’s who. Well, with the exception of the rabbit monsters, of course.”

There were some snickers here and there and the young snowdrake quickly continued:

“But first names, that’s different, yeah? First names are important. You’re stuck with them your whole life. Know what my name is? Sunny.”

He stared at the audience and they stared back, uncertain of his meaning.

“I’m a snowdrake,” he explained with acted indignation, having counted on their confusion. “Called Sunny. It’s ridiculous!”

Several people started to laugh.

“Yeah,” he nodded. “Think about that. Sunny the Snowdrake. Thanks, Mom and Dad.”

There was more laughter.

“But you know,” he said. “Thinking of names is hard, so Sunny’s not too bad. Except the other day I asked my mother what my name would have been if I’d been a girl. You know what she said?”

He paused for a moment and gave the audience an exasperated look.

“Daughtery!”

His timing was good and the audience was used to his facial expressions now, so this time he got a lot bigger laugh. Sans tapped Toriel on her arm and pointed with a grin towards the two monsters sitting near the stage. One of them was definitely a snowdrake, the other might be, and they were both applauding with all they had.

“Oh, how sweet,” Toriel whispered.

Sunny’s routine was short, but when it ended, he received very genuine applause. Instead of going backstage, he jumped off the stage, fluttering his wings, and ran straight to his parent’s table. Sans watched them for a moment.

“I didn’t know old Drake had a son,” he said. “He did stand-up at the MTT resort, never mentioned he had a family though.”

“They look happy,” Toriel said warmly. She smiled at Sans. “I am sorry I never got to see you perform. Alphys said you were always very good.”

“I don’t like to brag,” Sans winked.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” an announcer called over the speakers. “This concludes our open mic night. We’d like to thank all the brave new talent and our beloved regulars and encourage everyone to order another drink and sit tight in anticipation for mister Adam Hills!”

The house lights came up and Sans went to get Toriel and him some snacks. When he came back, Toriel had her phone out and was smilingly shaking her head.

“What?” Sans asked, sitting down again.

“It seems Papyrus has informed Alphys and Undyne of our date,” she explained. “I got at least two texts from all of three of them.”

Sans grimaced and she laughed.

“They can wait,” she said, putting her phone away. “I am having far too much fun to respond.”

“Heh,” Sans hummed.

They nibbled on their food until the lights went down. A voice reminded them to turn off their phones and then asked them all to put their hands together for the incomparable Adam Hills. Accompanied by the thundering applause, a man in a blue suit walked on stage, followed closely by a woman in a purple dress. Everyone clapped and hooted and the man held still in the middle of the stage, while the woman chose a spot a bit to the side.

“Helloooo!” the comedian cried and the audience faithfully chanted back:

“Helloooo!”

He stood back grinning and said: “Good evening, everyone, my name’s Adam Hills and I’m an Australian who tells stories.”

The woman that had come on with him started signing and he nodded cheerfully in her direction.

“You may have noticed we have a sign interpreter for the show,” he said. “This is Catherine, she’s gonna sign the entire show for you tonight. Round of applause for Catherine!”

There was a round of applause and some cheers.

“You’ll basically find yourself tonight – with any luck – laughing twice at each joke,” Adam Hills grinned. “Once when I do it and once when you look at Catherine and go: Oh, is that the sign for-”

Toriel’s eyes widened at the rude word and Sans heard her nervous snort above the laughter from the audience. He glanced at her with a grin plastered on his face. He could tell she was scanning the audience to see if there were any kids present. There weren’t. He winked at her and Toriel couldn’t stop her eyes from twinkling in spite of herself.

The comedian charged into a routine about accents and sign language around the world and Sans was very pleased to see Toriel was soon laughing too hard to be worried about the appropriateness of the jokes. He had done his research and he knew this guy wouldn’t joke about anything really offensive, but he was glad that he had made the right call.

In the intermission, Toriel turned to Sans and said “Oh, my sides are aching.”

“Yeah this guy isn’t half bad,” Sans chuckled. “I’d definitely give him an ache out of ten.”

Toriel, laughed, then winced painfully and rubbed her flanks.

“Do you want another drink?” Sans asked.

“Please,” Toriel smiled.

When he came back he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He put the drinks down and looked. It was a text from Frisk: “Send us a selfie!”

“Frisk wants a picture,” he chuckled, sitting down.

“I would like a picture to remember this,” Toriel said happily. She giggled. “Technically, it could be our first date.”

“Yeah,” Sans grinned. “Technically.”

He hovered his phone in the air with telekinesis and Toriel bent down so her face was more or less level with his. Sans gestured with his finger and the phone took a picture.

“That’s a nice one,” Toriel said approvingly as the phone floated towards her.

Sans grabbed it out of the air and sent it to Frisk. He was pretty sure they would immediately send it to everyone else. Toriel and Sans kept their scooted close positions when the show recommenced. The atmosphere in the club was wonderful. Everybody was there to laugh and have a good time. Toriel was enjoying herself immensely and Sans admitted to himself that this was a pretty good way to spend an evening.

After the show, they decided to take a little walk in the dark instead of teleporting straight home. They walked hand in hand and Sans listened with a grin as Toriel recollected her favourite parts of the show.

“Yeah,” he said, while she was catching her breath after a small laughing fit. “This was a pretty great date.”

“Do you have any other comedians to introduce me to?” Toriel winked.

“A few,” Sans grinned. “There’s a guy called Trevor Noah that really knows his stuff. He has a show on tv.”

“Oh good,” Toriel laughed. “Because going out like this every week seems a bit extravagant, does it not?”

“Maybe,” Sans chuckled. “But if Eddie Izzard is performing anywhere near here, we’re going.”

“What do you mean, near here?” Toriel said amusedly. “You can teleport.”

“It’s the principle of the thing,” Sans said matter-of-factly. “So…would you like to do this every week?”

“Go out?” Toriel asked. “No… Not every week.” She laughed and her face changed in the way that Sans knew indicated she was blushing. “But we certainly could ask Papyrus to watch the kids a little more often,” she smiled.

“Sounds good,” Sans grinned. “Speaking of Pap, shall we go see if he actually put Frisk and Asriel to bed or if they’re running around modelling his crop tops for him?”

“You mean his fabric efficient shirts?” Toriel quipped cheerfully. “And yes, let’s.”

She squeezed Sans’ hand as they teleported and they went home, both still full of laughter and of the happy buzz of a lovely evening.

 

Chapter Text

 

“You haven’t even been here that long, how did you get so much stuff?” Sans complained.

They were all busy helping Gaster to pack his belongings. He was moving to Asgore’s house as soon as they got everything sorted out. They had been lugging boxes and bags around for most of the morning and Sir Pouncival had hidden under the living room couch, personally affronted by the amount of noise and business in the house.

“In my defence,” Gaster said, carrying a box full of books. “You and Papyrus gave me most of this.”

Frisk,” Toriel said accusingly, without even turning around.

Frisk quickly retracted the hand they had stretched out to one of the boxes that said: Don’t Touch. Dangerous, and then a couple of strange symbols.

“This is the last of the basement stuff!” Papyrus announced.

He was carrying one box and two more were floating beside him. Asriel was riding one of them. Papyrus hardly ever used his telekinesis outside of combat, so when he did, Asriel and Frisk made sure to take advantage.

“Good!” Toriel said, straightening her back with a sigh. “That means we are almost done. Let’s hope it is the same on Asgore’s end.”

.

“Asgore and his interior design,” Undyne chuckled. “Just because his old buddy is moving in doesn’t mean he has to rearrange the whole house.”

“Any e-excuse will do, I guess,” Alphys laughed.

They were getting ready to go over to Asgore’s to help out.

“You know,” Undyne said suddenly. “We should ask Katla to come.”

“Why?” Alphys asked. “This isn’t w-wedding business.”

“No…” Undyne grinned. “But it would give Asgore an opportunity to get to know her better.”

Oh…” Alphys said, catching on. “W-wouldn’t that be rather last-minute though?”

“If she’s busy, she’ll say so,” Undyne shrugged, taking out her phone. “I’ll just say we need her amazing coordinating skills, fuhuhuhu.”

Alphys squirmed. She didn’t like things being sprung on her unexpectedly and she was afraid Asgore wouldn’t like it either. So when Undyne announced with a smug face that Katla would meet them there, she quickly ducked into the bedroom and dialled Asgore’s number.

“Hello, Alphys!” Asgore answered the phone cheerfully. “I hope you’re not calling to cancel on me?”

“Oh n-no!” Alphys said hastily. “Of course not. I just wanted to let you know.. Undyne thought it might be h-helpful to bring Katla. Is that okay?”

“Um, well, yes of course!” Asgore replied, not quite his usual composed self, but recovering almost instantly. “If she wants to lend a claw, I’d be very grateful.”

“Oh good,” Alphys breathed a sigh of relief. “We’ll see you s-soon then.”

“Alright,” Asgore said good-humouredly. “Drive carefully!”

“Of course, bye!” Alphys said and she hung up.

She looked up to see Undyne leaning in the doorway, looking at her reproachfully.

“What’d you do that for!” she complained. “Now we won’t get to see him freak out.”

“I don’t like freaking people out,” Alphys muttered.

“Ugh, why do you have to be so cute when you’re being a stick in the mud,” Undyne groaned and she gave her a quick kiss. “Let’s go! Don’t want Katla to get there before us!”

.

“This is a lot of stuff,” Frisk said, suitably impressed by the pile of boxes.

“It certainly is,” Toriel agreed, giving Asriel a warning look to prevent him from clambering on top of the pile.

“I do appreciate you all helping out,” Gaster smiled. “I really do.”

“But of course we’re helping!” Papyrus exclaimed. “We’re family!”

Sans looked around. “Is that all then?” he asked.

“I believe so,” Gaster said.

“Right,” Sans sighed. “Do you wanna go there first or should I teleport the stuff first?”

“Perhaps it would be best to warn Asgore in advance,” Gaster laughed.

“Fair enough,” Sans grinned. “Come on then.”

Frisk ran to grab a hold of his hand, Papyrus took his other hand and Toriel and Asriel joined them too.

“I’ll go by myself if you don’t mind,” Gaster said.

Sans nodded. “Ready?” he asked. “Hold on.”

There was a bright flash and suddenly they all appeared in Asgore’s front garden.

“We beat Gaster,” Frisk grinned.

“I always do,” Sans winked. “Even when I was still a babybones, I was faster.”

They waited for a moment and gradually the shadow of a nearby tree grew darker and darker, until Gaster’s form materialised before him and he stepped out of the shade.

“I am still out of practice,” Gaster hummed.

“Practice all you want, old man,” Sans chuckled. “The speed of light will always exceed the speed of dark,” and he made his eye glow bright for a second.

“Ah…” Gaster smiled. “But I think you’ll find wherever light goes, darkness got there first.”

He went up to the front door and rang the bell.

“I’ve got it!” Undyne’s loud voice sounded from inside and the door swung open.

“About time!” she barked good-naturedly. “We’ve been ready for you guys for ages.” She looked at Asriel and Frisk. “Hey there squirts!” she challenged. “Come at me!”

Frisk and Asriel charged at her, hollering as loud as they could. Undyne grabbed them both around the waist and carried them inside, one under each arm. The others followed and were greeted by a very cheerful Asgore. His whole house was in disarray. There was furniture in weird places everywhere. Alphys was rolling up the living room rug, and Katla was standing on a chair, taking down the curtains.

“I thought,” Asgore said happily. “Since we’ll have to move things around for your bedroom and lab, Gaster, I might as well do some proper rearranging.”

“Of course,” Gaster smiled and Toriel looked round at the confusion with an expression that was definitely a mix of nostalgia and relief that she wasn’t responsible for this mess anymore.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff at home,” Sans said. “Where do you want me to put it?”

“Ah,” Asgore said with a slight frown. “Well…the only clear space at the moment is the living room, I am afraid. So I think it must be there.”

Alphys rolled the rug into a corner.

“Just h-here should be fine,” she said.

Sans glanced around, taking in the dimensions of the space.

“Right,” he said. “Be right back then.”

“Can I come!” Frisk begged, wrestling free from Undyne’s grip. They loved being teleported.

“Sorry, kid. It’s a lot of stuff to teleport as it is,” Sans said. “Probably have to make a couple of trips to get it all here.”

*Please,* Frisk signed.

“I’ll give you an extra ride on the way back,” Sans winked.

“Ok,” Frisk sighed and they went to say hi to Katla who was stepping down with the curtains in her claws.

“Everybody out of the way,” Sans warned and with a blue flash, he vanished.

Almost instantly it seemed, he appeared again. The light that filled the room was a lot brighter this time and a collection of boxes appeared with him. Sans disappeared again and they all watched how he flickered in and out of sight, all the while leaving behind more and more boxes and bags. Finally Sans appeared and stayed still.

“Phew,” he panted and he wiped his forehead with his sleeve. “That’s everything.”

“Thank you, Sans,” Gaster said.

“You look very tired,” Toriel said worriedly. “Perhaps you should sit down for a moment?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” Sans said, letting himself fall onto a big armchair. He closed his eyes.

“Well,” Papyrus said with a slight disapproving sigh. “So much for Sans’ contribution.”

Sans grinned, but pretended he didn’t hear and didn’t open his eyes. Toriel laughed.

“So,” Katla said, resting her claws on her hips. “What needs to be done? I presume some things need to go down to the new lab and other things upstairs to the new bedroom? If Gaster tells us which is which, we can all start carrying.”

“Thank you, Katla,” Asgore said with a genuine smile. “That sounds like a good idea.”

Undyne grinned at Alphys, but she kept a straight face.

“Gaster?” Toriel prompted.

“Right,” Gaster nodded. “Well…most of the boxes are labelled…”

.

Toriel didn’t want the children handling the science equipment so Katla, Papyrus, Gaster, and Asgore brought those boxes to the basement, while Alphys, Undyne, Toriel, and the kids carried Gaster’s personal belongings upstairs. Sans napped in the armchair and didn’t wake up even when they started rearranging the living room, putting away the few things Gaster had that made more sense to keep in the living room or kitchen.

Between all the hauling and carrying and going up and down stairs, it was a miracle nothing got broken. As it was, there was only one incident where a box ripped and buried a squawking Alphys under a pile of notes and blueprints and one very near accident that involved Undyne, a crate of glass instruments, and a lucky intervention of Papyrus’ telekinesis.

Frisk and Asriel got bored with carting boxes to and fro pretty quickly. Most of the boxes and crates were too heavy for them anyway, so when there weren’t any light boxes or bags left for them to carry, they started playing around the house. Since the furniture had been rearranged, it was imperative that they found new hiding places and sheltered corners to play in. In between crawling behind the couch and underneath the table, they ran around picking up the bits and bobs that the others left behind, or that had fallen out of the boxes. So on the whole, they certainly did as much running around as the others.

“This is all going very well!” Papyrus said proudly, when he had put the last crate in the basement. “We are an excellent team.”

“Yes,” Katla panted. “I wouldn’t mind a break around now though.”

Yes,” Frisk said, sitting down on the floor and Asriel demonstratively sprawled out on the living room rug that had just been replaced.

“Of course,” Asgore said. “How rude of me! Anyone for tea?”

“Tea would be lovely,” Katla nodded.

“We’ll make some!” Alphys said. “Y-you guys sit down and take a b-breather.”

She caught Undyne by the hand and pulled her towards the kitchen while Gaster, Papyrus, Asgore, Katla, and Toriel sat down. In the kitchen, Alphys put the kettle on and Undyne chose a teapot. Asgore had a great many of them.

“Going pretty well, I think,” Undyne grinned, keeping her voice down.

“Y-yeah,” Alphys hummed excitedly. “I think they look n-nice together. She’s so tall…”

“Do you think we’ll be done before dinner?” Undyne muttered, steeping the tea.

“I-I don’t know, why?” Alphys asked.

“Hm, maybe we can find some excuse to make Katla stay behind,” Undyne mused.

“We could just t-tell Asgore helping with moving should end with eating pizza,” Alphys said with shining eyes. “That’s what they do on human TV. Do you think Katla would like pizza?”

“Hey there,” a voice behind them interrupted before Undyne could answer.

They both turned around with a start. Sans was standing in the doorway, hands shoved into his pockets. He didn’t at all look like he’d just woken up.

“Interfering in someone else’s love life now, are you?” he smirked, looking from Undyne to Alphys.

“Oh, come on,” Undyne hissed. “They’d be great together. Admit it.”

Sans pulled a face.

“I’m dating the guy’s ex,” he said. “Not touching that one. Ask Frisk if you need help, it’s kind of their thing by now.”

He winked at them and strolled away again. Undyne glanced at Alphys.

“He’s not gonna tell on us, is he?” she muttered.

“No,” Alphys shook her head confidently. “H-he won’t. But he might tell T-Toriel and I’m not sure if she’d like it.”

“Tough,” Undyne sniffed, giving an unconcerned shrug. She liked Toriel, but she was definitely Asgore’s friend first.

They put the teapot on a tray with some cups and Undyne marched back to the living room.

“Tea!” she announced.

“It’s golden f-flower,” Alphys added helpfully, sitting down on a footstool.

“Here, let me,” Asgore said and he poured everyone a cup.

He handed the cup to Katla with a particularly warm smile. She smiled back, but also looked a tad confused. Alphys glanced at Undyne, who was dutifully studying her own cup, but she also saw Toriel’s eyes linger on Asgore’s face.

“My living room is hardly big enough for so many people,” Asgore observed. “How wonderful to have such a full house!”

“Heh, at least we’re not playing for high stakes,” Sans winked.

Toriel and Frisk laughed, but Papyrus and Asgore looked slightly confused.

“Oh,” Asgore rumbled merrily. “I get it.”

“Don’t tell me,” Papyrus scowled. “I don’t want to know.”

The others laughed too now, more at Papyrus’ annoyance than at the pun.

“How strange,” Gaster observed smilingly to Asgore when the laughter had quieted down. “Had you ever expected we would be living together again?”

“Again?” Asriel asked surprised. “When did you live together?”

“We never lived together officially,” Asgore explained. “But in our college days, I certainly spent a lot of time at his place.”

“That,” Gaster grinned. “Is an understatement. I hardly remember my old couch without you on it.”

“Well,” Asgore laughed. “I suppose I enjoyed not having to be a prince for a while.”

Toriel was quiet, like she had questions she was unwilling to answer, but Asriel and Frisk listened curiously to Asgore’s stories about avoiding to go back to the palace to crash on Gaster’s couch instead. They were lying on the rug on their stomachs, heads close together.

“Aren’t you glad you don’t have to be a prince anymore?” Frisk whispered. “It doesn’t sound like much fun.”

“Yeah,” Asriel whispered back. “Only thing cool about it is the clothes and we can dress up whenever we want.”

“I’m sure it’ll be like old times,” Asgore chuckled. “Except…not too much, I hope.”

“Quite,” Gaster smiled.

Most of them had finished their tea now and they began to discuss what to do next. Boxes needed to be unpacked and some heavy equipment needed to be moved and installed in the basement.

Katla had taken off her jacket so her wings weren’t covered anymore. When she rose from her seat, her wings moved a little.

“Cool,” Frisk muttered to Asriel and Asriel said loudly:

“Can you fly?”

“Don’t ask invasive questions, children,” Asgore said nervously.

“It’s alright,” Katla said. “Yes, I can fly. I just don’t do it too often.”

She looked at their expectant faces and gave them a relenting smile.

“Would you like to see?”

“Yes!” they both cheered.

“Fine,” Katla laughed. “But we’ll have to go outside.”

“Perhaps the back garden would be better…” Toriel suggested gently when Katla moved towards the front door.

“Why?” Katla said, looking at Toriel.

Toriel did not respond, but she looked a little uneasy. Katla frowned and turned around.

“Very well,” she said, a little stiffly.

She walked to the backyard with long strides and Asriel and Frisk ran after her excitedly.

“If we’re not too heavy, will you carry us?” Asriel asked eagerly.

“Oh yes! Please?” Frisk begged.

Toriel watched them go.

“Oh dear,” she muttered. “Was that rude? I did not mean to be rude.”

“Don’t worry ‘bout it, Tori,” Sans muttered.

“Sans,” Toriel whispered. “Would you mind…going with them? Just in case something goes wrong? I am really not sure about this whole flying thing.”

“Sure thing,” Sans grinned and he followed them outside, leaning nonchalantly in the doorway.

Asgore’s backyard was a lot bigger than the garden in the front and he had clearly gone on a gardening spree with it. There was a small fountain, several beautiful flowerbeds, and more than one complicatedly sculpted hedge.

Accompanied by exclamations of encouragement, Katla unfolded her wings. She couldn’t repress a smile of amusement when even Sans looked a little intimidated by her full wingspan.

“Who’s first then?” she asked good-humouredly.

“Me!” Frisk cheered.

Katla carefully gripped them under their arms and gave one strong flap with her wings. Frisk yelled cheerfully and Asriel clapped his paws when Katla shot up into the air. Sans kept his hand slightly extended, ready to catch Frisk with his telekinesis should it be needed. Katla gave only one more strong flap of her wings before gliding down again, gently landing on the grass.

“That was awesome!” Frisk gasped.

“My turn!” Asriel yelled. “My turn!”

Katla flew equally high with Asriel. He was just as excited as Frisk. Sans was more relaxed this time, Katla obviously knew what she was doing.

“Can we go again!” Frisk pleaded.

“Higher this time?” Asriel said hopefully.

“I’m not a carnival ride,” Katla said sternly, but her eyes were friendly. “And we should go back inside and help out.”

“Next time maybe?” Frisk suggested, as they were nothing if not persistent.

“Maybe,” Katla laughed.

The kids ran back inside past Sans, who flashed Katla a grin.

“Thanks for indulging them,” he said.

She smiled.

.

“Marvellous!” Asgore said, looking round his newly arranged living room.

“Looks good, man,” Undyne grinned approvingly, giving him a slap against the shoulder.

“I like it,” Asriel agreed. “It looks bigger this way.”

“We can waltz in it!” Frisk said and they whirled through the room, trying to pull Alphys along.

“Anyone got any ideas about dinner?” Sans remarked.

“Ah, it is later than I thought it was,” Gaster frowned, looking at the clock.

“Not to worry!” Papyrus exclaimed. “I shall have dinner ready in no time!”

“Great, I’ll help,” Undyne offered generously.

Toriel let out a nervous laugh, while Papyrus grinned widely at Katla and said:

“You do like spaghetti, don’t you, Miss Katla?”

“Of course,” Katla said, sensing giving an unfavourable answer was not really an option.

“I’ll help too,” Alphys said quickly. If there wasn’t going to be pizza, she’d at least make sure there was actually something edible to eat. “Undyne and I like c-cooking together,” she said, sending a reassuring smile Asgore’s way.

Toriel relaxed a little and sat down next to Sans.

“Excellent,” Asgore said. “Would you help me set the table, children?”

“How many plates?” Asriel asked, running to the china cupboard.

“Nine,” Gaster said.

“Will that fit round the table?”

“It will if Asriel and me sit on the short side together!” Frisk said, coming from the kitchen with their hands full of cutlery.

There was a loud crash from the kitchen and a scream of triumph from Undyne. Toriel glanced at Katla but she didn’t seem that bothered.

“Undyne invited me over for dinner a couple weeks ago,” she explained, seeing Toriel’s expression. “I hear she taught Papyrus to cook, hm?”

“Yeah,” Sans grinned. “It’ll be fine though, Alph knows how to keep the house from burning down.”

“My kitchen has seen enough questionable cooking to survive whatever they can throw at it,” Asgore said. “Most of it from me.”

Katla laughed softly. Frisk came to lean against Toriel’s knee and looked at Sans.

“It’s weird that Gaster isn’t coming home with us ‘cause he lives here now,” they mumbled.

Toriel silently stroked their hair and Sans said:

“We’ll still see him a lot, kiddo. He promised Papyrus, remember.”

“Yeah…” Frisk said, leaning more heavily against Toriel. They were tired.

“Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh!” Papyrus cackled in the kitchen. “This will be a veritable masterpiece!”

“Turn up the heat some more,” Undyne urged. “It’ll be done faster.”

Gaster went to the kitchen to try to prevent Papyrus following her orders and Asgore and Asriel busied themselves by folding the napkins into pretty shapes.

“You like Gaster coming to live here right?” Asriel hummed, folding a flower.

“Of course,” Asgore said. “He is my friend. And I invited him after all.”

“Good,” Asriel nodded. “I like it too. I don’t want you to be lonely when I’m not here.”

Asgore smiled. “That is sweet of you, Asriel…” he said. “It did get a little lonely sometimes,” and he pulled his son into a hug.

Chapter Text

It was Wednesday night. Toriel was out with some friends and Asriel was at Asgore’s for the rest of the week. Sans, Frisk, and Papyrus were home alone and ever since dinner, Frisk had been incredibly bored. Papyrus had made dinner (pasta with salmon and creamed spinach) and now he was knitting while Sans snoozed on the couch. Frisk was sprawled out on the rug in front of the TV, but they weren’t watching the screen.

“Uuuurgh,” Frisk groaned. “I’m so booored. I wish Asriel was here.”

“Bored?” Papyrus said, astonished. “How could you be bored spending time with the Great Papyrus and his almost equally great brother?”

“Yeah, kid,” Sans grinned, without opening his eyes. “We’re bone-chilling company.”

“You would be,” Frisk grumbled. “If you didn’t hang on the couch all evening like fossils.”

Sans opened one eye and chuckled. “A little grumpy, are we?” he hummed.

Frisk didn’t answer, but put their head down on the floor again. Papyrus narrowed his eyes and put his knitting aside.

“That’s it!” he exclaimed, getting to his feet so abruptly that the couch sprang back and jostled Sans up and down. “No one shall be subjected to boredom in the presence of the Great Papyrus! Frisk! I challenge you to your rhythm based music puzzle!”

“You want to play DDR with me?” Friks gasped, bolting upright, eyes shining.

Friks and Asriel played DDR a lot, but of the grownups only Undyne really liked it and she always won, so she was not so fun to play against.

“Indeed I do!” Papyrus proclaimed. “And I shall win too!”

Frisk scrambled to their feet and ran to get the DDR pads while Papyrus turned on the WII. Sans grinned at the sudden outburst of activity and sank back a little deeper into the couch.

“You sure know how to cheer ‘em up, Pap,” he chuckled.

Papyrus didn’t respond, but lifted his head proudly. Frisk put the dance pads down in front of the TV and put the disc in.

“This is awesome,” Frisk grinned, clicking through the menu. “You guys never want to play DDR with me!”

“I am well aware,” Papyrus said. “That this is the game Undyne always wins. However, in her absence, I shall certainly prevail!”

“I dunno, bro,” Sans chuckled from his comfortable spot on the couch. “Frisk’s pretty good at this.”

“Let’s start with an easy one,” Frisk said innocently.

“Nonsense!” Papyrus cried. “The great Papyrus doesn’t know what easy means!”

Sans snickered, but Frisk obediently selected the highest difficulty.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you…” they sang.

The music started and Frisk’s eyes were glued to the screen, shining with determination.

Get set!” the announcer cheered. “Here we go!

Frisk was fast. In this match that didn’t mean that much though, because so was Papyrus. Remarkably fast. He didn’t quite have Frisk’s sense of direction, but frankly he couldn’t have won even if his had been better. Frisk knew this song by heart; they knew pretty much all the hardest songs by heart.

“Yeah!” Frisk cried triumphantly when they were awarded a near perfect score at the end. “I win!”

“Unbelievable!” Papyrus cried. “I demand a rematch!”

He sounded indignant, but Sans knew how Papyrus got when he really did resent losing and this was nothing like it. Frisk beat Papyrus at three more songs before Papyrus demanded a break. He marched to the kitchen to get drinks and snacks and Frisk took the opportunity to pester Sans into playing too. He wasn’t being very compliant.

“Come on!” Frisk was still whining when Papyrus got back.

He had brought a can of soda, a glass of milk, and a squeeze bottle of ketchup, plus a bowl of his new favourite crisps. He had discovered them in the supermarket two weeks ago and they were skull-shaped.

“Nah,” Sans grinned. “I’m pretty comfy here. Why don’t you beat Pap a couple more times?”

“Come on Sans,” Frisk jeered. “You just don’t wanna play cause you know I’ll beat you!”

Sans wasn’t impressed. “Heh, you got me,” he shrugged.

“Chicken!” Frisk teased.

“Yup, that’s me,” Sans said. “Ready to cluck out in the face of any sort of challenge.”

Frisk scowled at him.

“Ah, you’re no fun!” they complained.

Sans narrowed his eye sockets.

“No fun?” he said. “Woah now, I won’t have you slander me like that. I’m a skele-ton of fun!”

Frisk grinned, pleased they finally got a rise out of him.

“Prove it!” they egged him on.

“Yes!” Papyrus grinned. Ï would like to see you beat the Great Papyrus’ high score!”

“Welp,” Sans shrugged, sliding off the couch. “Guess you asked for it.”

He stood passively behind the dance pad while Frisk excitedly selected a favourite song. Papyrus sat down on the couch with his glass of milk, watching with interest.

“Better get ready!” Frisk said, bouncing on the balls of their feet.

“I am,” Sans chuckled, hands shoved deep into his pockets.

“Get set! Here we go!”

Frisk jumped on the pad and danced. So did Sans. Perfect scores lit up on both sides of the screen.

“How are you doing that?!” Frisk yelled. “You aren’t even moving!”

Sans didn’t respond, he just laughed. His hands were still shoved in his pockets, arms stiff at his sides. Only his feet and legs were moving, but they moved so fast Frisk could hardly keep up.

“Shoot!” they yelled when they missed a step and lost the rhythm.

“Frisk!” Papyrus chided.

“Watch yourself there,” Sans chuckled.

The song ended and Sans smugly stepped away from the pad. He had won.

“But you never play!” Frisk cried in frustration.

“Nyeh! Nyeh! Nyeh!” Papyrus laughed. “Never underestimate a skeleton! Good work, brother!”

“Heh, thanks, bro,” Sans grinned.

“I wanna go again!” Frisk demanded. “I’ll beat you this time!”

“Sorry,” Sans winked, falling back onto the couch. “I don’t do repeat performances.”

“You have to!” Frisk insisted. “I demand a rematch! Just like Papyrus.”

“Nope,” Sans chuckled, thoroughly enjoying Frisk’s frustration.

“Fine!” Frisk said, pushing the dance pads out of the way. “Mario Kart! I’ll beat both of your butts!”

“I accept!” Papyrus grinned. “But the butt-kicking shall be done by me!”

“You’re on,” Sans chuckled and he held out a bony hand. “As long as you hand me the controller.”

.

A series of highly stressful races, accompanied by lots of shouting and jumping up and down (at least on Frisk and Papyrus’ sides), managed in time to quench Frisk’s thirst for revenge a little. They nailed Sans and Papyrus several times with some well-timed red shells and was very smug when they both admitted Frisk was clearly the better racer.

When Papyrus suggested it, Frisk willingly switched to some trivia games, even though Papyrus always won those. All the word search clues he compiled had really expanded his array of random knowledge. After the third quiz, Frisk had crawled onto the couch in between Sans and Papyrus and was currently staring at the screen sleepily.

“Alright,” Sans groaned, tossing the controller to the side. “Time for bed.”

“No…” Frisk protested. “I don’t want to go to bed yet.”

“Kid,” Sans grinned. “You can hardly lift your legs.”

“Right,” Frisk said snuggling closer against Papyrus. “So I can’t go to bed.”

“If Tori sees we’ve kept you up, we’ll all be in trouble,” Sans chuckled.

“Can we just do one more thing?” Frisk begged. “Please?”

“You know what I say,” Papyrus said, looking at Sans. “There is always time for a bedtime story!”

“Fine,” Sans gave in. “You want a story, kid?”

“Hmmm…” Frisk mumbled. “Can we look at the photo albums again?”

A couple of weeks ago Toriel had spent a lot of time on the family computer sorting all the various pictures people had made at different occasions. The nicest ones she had had printed and after that she had carefully pasted them into albums. She had carefully written on every page what the pictures were from and where and when they were taken. She had even added things like tickets to the museums they had visited and the invitation from Grillby’s opening night. They had turned into beautiful scrapbooks and Frisk absolutely adored them.

“Oh yes!” Papyrus said. “Can we?”

“Sure,” Sans chuckled. “But we’ll look at them in bed. And first do all that teeth brushing and hair combing you have to do.”

“Naaaah,” Frisk whined, going limp on the couch.

“Fear not!” Papyrus said. “If you cannot walk, I shall carry you.”

“No!” Frisk yelled.

“Yes!” Papyrus cried and, before Frisk could get away, he was carrying them upside down across his shoulder. “Off to brushing and combing and being tucked into bed!” he announced.

Frisk laughed and struggled fruitlessly as Papyrus carried them up the stairs to the bathroom. Sans smiled and went to the bookshelf where Toriel kept the photo albums. He chose one at random and checked the clock. He wasn’t expecting Toriel for at least another half hour. There were enthusiastic gargling sounds coming from the bathroom. Papyrus always liked to lead by example. Sans shook his head fondly and went upstairs.

When Frisk was snugly tucked into bed with Papyrus and Sans on either side of them, Sans rested the photo album against their knees so they could all see it. Frisk smiled happily as they turned the pages.

“Oh, look!” they said with a spark of recognition. “Halloween.”

“Oh yes!” Papyrus beamed. “That was wonderful.”

Next to a collage of pictures showing everyone making their costumes, there was a page filling group-shot of everyone all dressed up and ready to go. Frisk and Asriel were in front. Frisk was dressed as Miraculous Ladybug, Asriel was dressed as the Mad Hatter. Behind them, Papyrus was showing off his Skeletor costume, which made him look almost twice as wide as he really was. Next to him, Mettaton was posing dramatically, clad in a sweeping gown that was supposed to make him look like Scarlet O’Hara. Sans and Toriel stood side by side. Toriel in a witch outfit with a very impressive pointy hat and Sans wearing a plain shirt that said “Error 404 Costume Not Found.” Asgore was crouching down behind Undyne and Alphys so they could all fit into the shot. His costume wasn’t really visible but his horns were painted red and he was wearing a red cape. Alphys was dressed as Mew Mew and her costume was absolutely perfect to the very last detail. Undyne was sporting a big grin, a bright yellow jumpsuit and a katana.

“I wish Manny was in this one!” Frisk laughed. “Where is Manny?”

They turned the page. There he was, grinning at the camera beside Frisk, Asriel, and Jamie. He looked normal, except he was wearing a shirt with sleeves stained with fake blood. Sans and Papyrus both chuckled and Frisk let out a happy sigh. Jamie was dressed as a Slytherin.

“That was a pretty good trick,” Sans grinned. “Kid freaked a lot of people out.”

Frisk giggled and turned the pages slowly, looking at all the happy faces and frozen memories. They sank deeper into their pillows, smiling sleepily. There was a picture of Asriel and Frisk chasing Sans around the house with their Temmie ears on. In the next picture they were hanging upside down, suspended in a blue glow, laughingly screaming for forgiveness. On the next page, there were several pictures of Alphys and Undyne showing everyone the things they had brought back from the anime convention they had gone to. There was one picture of Alphys sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by plushies, action figures, props, and other brightly coloured merchandise like she was a dragon guarding her hoard. There were also several pictures of Papyrus, Undyne, and Toriel in the kitchen, with the kitchen in various degrees of disarray.

“Look, bro,” Sans grinned, pointing at a picture of Toriel blowing up balloons. “That was just before you came home on Papyrus Day.”

“Oh yes!” Papyrus remembered. “Is there a picture of me with my new sunglasses?”

There was. The sunglasses were very big and both the glasses said COOL. Frisk wasn’t holding the album anymore, so Papyrus turned the pages, talking happily about how surprised he had been when he came home. Frisk’s eyes started blinking more and more slowly as they watched the pictures go by. Toriel at her desk, Sans on the couch, Mettaton dancing in the living room, Frisk dressed in their dinosaur onesie, Asriel on top of Asgore’s shoulders, Undyne bench-pressing Frisk, Manny and Asriel all in one go. They yawned; the pictures were starting to get blurry. Sans and Grillby standing in the garden, Alphys hiding her face from the camera, everybody gathered round the dinner table playing Monopoly, Undyne and Mettaton throwing things at each other after a dispute over Monopoly.

Frisk’s eyes fell shut and Papyrus glanced at Sans. He grinned back at his brother. Papyrus carefully picked up the album and closed it without making a sound. Sans gently tugged Frisk’s pillow down a bit so they didn’t lie with a bent neck.

“Goodnight, Frisk,” Papyrus whispered affectionately, tiptoeing to the door.

“Sweet dreams, kid,” Sans mumbled with a soft look on his face.

“Mmm…” Frisk mumbled and by the time the door to their bedroom closed, they were fast asleep.

Chapter Text

Toriel was getting ready for bed. She planned on having an early night. Asriel was with Asgore and Frisk was asleep already. She had read them a bedtime story and tucked them in more than an hour ago. Sans had been working in the basement all evening. He had only come out to read Papyrus his bedtime story half an hour ago. She was quite startled when her phone rang, as evening calls were rather unusual.

“Hello, Toriel?” Asgore said when she answered the phone. “It’s me.”

“Greetings, Asgore,” Toriel said, surprised. “Everything alright?”

“Oh yes,” he said. “Don’t worry, Asriel and I are fine. I just have a quick question.”

“Yes?” she hummed.

“Asriel has asked if Frisk and Manny can come over for a sleepover this Friday after school,” Asgore said. He sounded doubtful.

“This Friday?” Toriel said. “It is alright with me if that is what you are asking.”

“Really?” he said nervously. “You don’t mind…I mean…both the children and all.”

“Mind?” Toriel frowned. “Of course not! To be honest, it is actually rather strange Frisk has never slept over at your house.”

“Oh,” Asgore smiled, relieved. “In that case, I’ll tell Asriel it’s alright, shall I?”

“It’s your household,” Toriel laughed. “But I don’t have any objections.”

“Great,” Asgore sighed. “Okay. Thanks, Tori. Sorry for bothering you this late. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Asgore,” Toriel said gently. “Eh…Asriel is in bed already, is he not?”

“Oh yes!” Asgore said hastily. “I’ll tell him he can have the sleepover tomorrow.”

“Very good,” Toriel smiled. “Bye then.”

“Goodbye,” Asgore said and he hung up the phone with a relieved sigh.

“See,” Gaster remarked from behind his book. “Nothing to worry about.”

“Easy for you to say,” Asgore sighed.

Gaster chuckled and shook his head.

.

Asriel was bouncing with joy when Asgore told him he could have his sleepover.  “So you’re picking us up after school, right?” he chattered that morning.

“Yes,” Asgore nodded, handing Asriel his T-shirt.

“And can we have pizza for dinner?” Asriel asked excitingly.

“I already told you I am making lasagne,” Asgore said.

“Aw,” Asriel whined, sticking his head through the T-shirt. “Then can we have ice cream for desert?”

“Yes, you can,” Asgore gave in. “Now hurry up and get dressed, son!”

Asriel hastily put on his socks and shoes and followed his father downstairs. Asgore was making muesli for breakfast.

“Where’s Gaster?” Asriel asked, pouring himself a glass of milk.

“I suspect he fell asleep in his lab again,” Asgore said. “I have put the kettle on for coffee. He’ll need it when he wakes up.”

“Thank you,” Asriel said, taking his bowl of muesli.

He liked Gaster living with his father. The other house was always full of people, but having Gaster here made everything a lot more interesting. Besides, now he had someone to go bother whenever his father was busy. Technically the rule was that if the door to Gaster’s lab or the door to his father’s study was closed, he wasn’t allowed to bother them. Asriel conveniently chose to interpret ‘closed’ as ‘locked’ however and Gaster only locked the door to the lab when he was working on something dangerous. Asgore never locked his door, but when he was busy designing a garden, he was always so engrossed in his drawing it was no use talking to him.

“Are you sure you want to take the bus?” Asgore said, putting Asriel’s lunch in his bag.

“Yes!” Asriel said. “I can sit next to Darren.”

“Alright then,” Asgore said.

Gaster appeared just when Asriel swallowed the last of his muesli.

“There’s coffee in the pot,” Asore said sympathetically.

Gaster looked very tired.

“Thank you,” he muttered. “Have a good day at school, Asriel.”

“I will!” Asriel sang. “Bye!”

He ran to the door and his father walked outside with him and saw to it that he got safely on the bus. Asriel sat down next to Darren and leaned past him to wave at Asgore through the window.

“Dude, your dad is huge,” Darren grinned.

“You say that every time you see him,” Asriel laughed.

“That’s cause every time I do he’s still huge!” Darren said.

A few stops over Manny and his sister got on the bus. Manny ran to the seat in front of Asriel and Darren.

“Look!” he said, holding up a bigger backpack than usual. “I got all my stuff!”

“We’re having a sleepover,” Asriel explained proudly to Darren.

“Jealous!” he said. “But I’m going to have a really big sleepover for my birthday!”

They talked and laughed and tried to push each other off their seats until they reached the school, where Frisk was just being dropped off by Papyrus. Some of the second graders were excitedly glancing from Frisk to Papyrus and back.

“Hello, little humans,” Papyrus said kindly. “Frisk, why are they looking like that?”

“They just think you’re cool,” Frisk grinned.

“Yeah,” Asriel said, coming over. “And they wanna hear you laugh.”

“Oh!” Papyrus said. “If that is all: Nyeh! Nyeh! Nyeh!”

The little ones screamed with glee and Papyrus ruffled Frisk’s hair and waved at Asriel and Manny before getting back in the car and driving off to work. They all waved and watched him go until the school bell rang to call them inside.

The entire school day, Asriel, Frisk, and Manny were looking at the clock. In the lunch break, Manny and Frisk showed Asriel the sleepover things they had with them in their bulky schoolbags and when the bell rang at the end of the day, all three of them bolted for the door.

Asgore was already waiting for them by the gate.

“Hello!” he greeted them happily. “Hi, Frisk, Manny. Have you two got everything you need with you?”

“Yes!” Frisk nodded.

“Yup!” Manny grinned proudly, holding up his bag.

“Good,” Asgore smiled. “Let’s go then.”

“I call shotgun!” Manny cried when Asgore turned to the car.

“No way!” Asriel protested, but Asgore said:

“No, no. You’ll all sit in the back, it’s much safer.”

“Sitting all together is more fun anyway,” Frisk said quickly. “Come on!”

They put their bags in the boot and all climbed in the backseat.

“Is everyone buckled up?” Asgore asked, checking his rear-view mirror.

They all promised they were and they talked excitedly about what the perfect sleepover would be all the way home. Still, they couldn’t start the sleepover immediately, it was the middle of the afternoon.

“We can play the Sims?” Asriel suggested.

“Yes!” Manny agreed, but Asgore looked doubtful.

“It’s such lovely weather,” he said. “Are you sure you want to shut yourself up inside?”

“If we can play on Gaster’s laptop, we can play Sims outside,” Frisk said hopefully.

Asgore didn’t seem terribly enthusiastic about that idea either.

“I don’t know if Gaster is home, he says and I don’t think you should be taking his things without asking.”

“I’ll go see if he’s home then and ask him!” Frisk said and they ran to the basement door.

Asgore’s basement was a lot smaller than the one at Frisk’s house and the stairs went down straight into the only room it had. Frisk tried the door; it wasn’t locked, so they went down the stairs.

“Gaster?” they called out when they saw the light was on.

“Hm?” Gaster hummed from behind his desk. “Oh, hello, Frisk.” He looked up with a smile and Frisk ran to his desk to receive a pat on the head.

“Did you have a good day at school?” he asked.

“Yes,” they nodded. “Manny and Asriel and I wanted to play the Sims, so can we play on your laptop, please?”

“Of course,” Gaster said, gesturing to the laptop lying on one of the workbenches. “Help yourself.”

“Thank you!” Frisk chanted happily.

They picked up the laptop and the wireless mouse and carefully carried them upstairs.

“You got it!” Asriel cried. “We’ll go sit outside then, Dad.”

“Alright,” Asgore said. “But no dragging that thing through the garden.”

“Of course not,” Asriel said and he, Frisk, and Manny went to sit down at the small table in the backyard.

They spent a lot of time designing their family. They made one Sim for Frisk, one for Asriel and one for Manny. It was rather hard to make them look like Asriel and Manny. First of all because they were forced to make them look like humans, but in Manny’s case particularly because there was no option to remove the arms. So all in all it took a long time before they were satisfied, but they did manage it in the end.

“Now they need a cool house,” Manny said.

“Let’s pick a mansion,” Frisk said.

“No! I want to build one myself,” Asriel protested.

“But that’s going to take ages,” Frisk complained. “You always have to try out all the wallpapers.”

“Well, it needs to be a good house, right?” Asriel said defensively.

“Go on then,” Manny said, tapping his tail impatiently against his chair leg. “Build your house, then we can start decorating.”

Asriel and Manny took turns building the house and then they all decided what furniture to put in. They gave each Sim their own room with stuff they would like to have themselves if they could. Then they put a pool in the garden and bushes instead of flowers because they needed less watering. But by the time they were ready to actually start playing, they had spent so much time behind the computer already that they were getting rather tired of it. Manny was the first one that decided to go lie in the grass for a bit and the other two soon joined him. When Asgore came out to check on them, they were all lying on their backs in the grass, gazing up at the clouds drifting by in the blue sky.

“Would you kids like something to drink?” he asked with a smile. “I’m going to start cooking in a minute.”

They all nodded and waved happily and Asgore came back with three glasses of lemonade and some straws. Asriel sat up, but Manny and Frisk tried to drink through their straws while lying on their backs. This worked just fine until it stopped working and Manny nearly knocked over his glass and Frisk sucked lemonade into their nose.

Asriel still hadn’t quite caught his breath from laughing when Asgore called them all to dinner. The kids wolfed down their lasagne while Gaster talked about his latest research project and Asgore told everyone about a new client that wanted water features in their garden.

Asriel thought his father took a very long time to finish his dinner. Frisk and Manny were fidgety too. When dinner was over, it would officially be evening and that meant the sleepover could begin.

“Can we make the dessert?” Asriel said as soon as Asgore swallowed his last bite of lasagne.

“Yes!” Frisk cried. “We will make the dessert!”

“I thought you wanted ice cream,” Asgore said.

“We can make ice cream sundaes!” Asriel said with shining eyes.

“And we’ll bring them to you,” Manny added. “So you don’t have to do anything.”

“Yes, we can be the desert chefs,”  Frisk said. “Like Nathan is at Grillby’s.”

Asgore still looked a little doubtful, but Gaster smiled and said:

“Come to think of it, there is something very important I need to show you, Asgore, down in the lab. I suspect it will take just the amount of time it would take three talented chefs to make some sundaes.”

“Great!” Asriel grinned. “Then we will serve them to you in the basement.”

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

“Perhaps not,” Gaster said. “I would rather not have chocolate sprinkles in my instruments.”

“Then we’ll serve them here,” Frisk said and they grabbed some of the dirty dishes off the table. “We’ll do it like it’s a restaurant.”

They expertly piled the dishes on top of Manny’s head while Asriel almost pushed his father and Gaster towards the basement door. Laughingly they disappeared downstairs and left the children to clear the table and set it again for the deserts.

In the kitchen Frisk and Asriel hesitated for a moment, wondering what Manny could do in the kitchen. He was really very good with his feet, but this wasn’t his kitchen and they didn’t have things he could hold easily. Manny wasn’t bothered however.

“I’ll supervise,” he said. “I’ll be the chef and you’ll be the sous-chefs. That means I get to shout at you and do nothing.”

“Yes chef!” Frisk and Asriel chanted and they dove into the fridge and cupboards to get ice cream, chocolate sauce, syrup, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles.

“We can make different flavours,” Manny said. “Some with syrup and some with sauce.”

“Can we make one with both?” Frisk pondered.

“Sure you can, but I’m not eating it,” Asriel said, climbing on top of a kitchen chair.

He was getting the pretty little glass desert dishes out of one of the top cupboards. Frisk started digging out big scoops of vanilla ice cream and piling them into the dishes. Asriel topped them with generous helpings of whipped cream and then they stopped to decide which ones should have syrup and which one should have chocolate sauce.

“I think I should taste both before I can decide,” Manny said. “I am the chef after all.”

“Shouldn’t you taste the whipped cream too then?” Frisk teased. “Here.”

And they quickly scooped some up on their fingers and smeared it in Manny’s face. Manny snapped at their fingers and retaliated by making Frisk trip over his tail, so they grabbed at the counter into a puddle of spilled chocolate sauce.

“Ew…” Frisk laughed, stretching their hands out towards Asriel.

“No!” Asriel cried. “Dad will make me take a bath if I get chocolate in my fur!”

“Come on Frisk!” Manny cheered them on. “Get him!”

But Frisk only threatened him a little and then went to wash their hands.

In the end they made six sundaes. One for every person and one with absolutely all the toppings that they called the Frankenstein Sundae. They stuck a spoon in each dish and brought them all to the dinner table, while Manny ran down the basement stairs to fetch Gaster and Asgore.

“Dessert is served!” he said proudly.

“How wonderful,” Gaster smiled. “And we were just done here, weren’t we Asgore.”

“Oh yes,” Asgore said. “Perfect timing I’d say.”

They all chose a sundae and Frisk, Asriel and Manny waited with taking their first bites until Asgore and Gaster had started eating theirs.

“Very nice!” Asgore complimented them.

“Excellent,” Gaster nodded, very pleased with the extra helping of chocolate sauce on his sundae.

When they had finished all the ice cream and cleared the table a second time, Gaster did the dishes, the children dried, and Asgore tidied everything away. With all that done, Asgore leaned back against the wall and asked:

“Well, what do you want to do now? Play a game perhaps?”

“We have to make our beds,” Frisk said. “On the floor.”

“Yeah, otherwise it’s not a sleepover,” Manny agreed.

“Alright,” Asgore said. “I’ll get the bedding down for you.”

There was a lot of dragging around of mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows, and extra blankets. Asgore dropped everything in a big pile in the middle of the living room and let the children sort out the beds the way they wanted them to be. When they were done, they stood back admiring the cosy nest they had built.

“That looks very nice,” Asgore said.

“I never saw a better sleepover spot,” Gaster assured them on his way to the basement.

Asgore moved to the couch to sit down, but Asriel caught his paw and pulled on it.

“You have to go to bed now,” he said seriously. “Otherwise it’s no fun. We can’t have a sleepover when you’re in the room with us!”

“Since when is it your job to send me to bed?” Asgore chuckled.

Asriel shut his mouth and pulled a face. Who ever heard of a sleepover with adults still present? Asgore laughed.

“Very well,” he said. “I’ll be upstairs if you need me. But you children better not be watching television all night. I will hear, you know.”

“We won’t,” Asriel promised.

“Alright, have fun then,” Asgore smiled and he went upstairs.

They waited until they heard a door close upstairs and then they all fell down onto the pile of pillows gathered in the middle of their sleeping area.

“What should we do first?” Asriel grinned.

“Games,” Frisk said confidently. “But first we have to put on our pyjamas!”

They all got into their pyjamas. Asriel’s were green with flowers, Frisk’s were purple with squiggles and shapes and Manny’s were brown with red cuffs and a hole for his tail in the bottoms.

“Cool right?” he said. “They’re new.”

“Doesn’t your tail get cold?” Asriel asked curiously.

“Nah,” Manny said. “When I was little, I used to have onesie that covered my tail.”

“Oh that must be so cute!” Frisk squealed. “Why don’t you have that anymore?”

“Cause it’s for babies!” Manny said. “And besides, I need my tail free.”

“For what?” Asriel asked, turning around.

“This,” Manny laughed and he swept his tail across the floor, making Asriel trip over it and fall backwards onto the nearest mattress.

Frisk laughed and dodged Manny’s tail, while Asriel grabbed a pillow and threw it at Manny’s head with remarkable precision by way of retaliation. This sparked a massive pillow fight that carried on until all three of them were too out of breath to move. They snuggled under the blankets to rest for a bit and Asriel asked if they wanted to watch some TV.

“We could turn the lights off and watch something scary,” Manny suggested. “That’s good for a sleepover, right?”

“Scary stories are for campfires,” Frisk laughed.

“I’ve got a DVD from Are You Afraid of the Dark,” Asriel said.

“Yes!” Frisk and Manny cried in unison.

Asriel popped the DVD in and they all lay on their stomachs and watched and sometimes hid their faces behind their pillows. They weren’t really scared, but some of the stories really were creepy and it was more fun to play along anyway.

They only stopped watching when they heard Gaster’s footsteps on the basement stairs and they realised how late it was. Asriel quickly switched off the TV and they all crawled into their sleeping bags.

“Good night, children,” Gaster said. “Shall I leave the hallway light on or can I turn it off?”

“You can turn it off, thank you,” Asriel said sweetly.

Frisk and Manny were lying very still, trying not to giggle.

“Alright,” Gaster said, hiding a smile and pretending he never heard the TV. “Sweet dreams.”

He went upstairs, turning off all the remaining lights as he went, leaving the house truly dark when he closed the door to his bedroom.

“Houses are always different in the dark,” Frisk observed, almost whispering.

“Everything is different in the dark,” Manny said.

They were lying side by side, Frisk in the middle. They could just see each other’s bulky shapes in the sleeping bags by the light that came in from the street through the thin living room curtains.

“Wanna play truth or dare?” Asriel asked.

“Sure,” Manny said and Frisk hummed approvingly.

Asriel went first and he chose dare, so Manny dared him to sneak upstairs and listen at his father’s and Gaster’s doors to hear what they were doing. He did, but he had nothing interesting to report. Manny chose truth, so Frisk asked him what he really thought of his sister Maddy.

“She’s pretty cool, really,” he grinned. “We just like to bug each other, I guess. Your turn, Frisk, truth or dare?”

“Dare,” Frisk grinned.

Asriel dared Frisk to go the kitchen and raid the snack cupboard for something nice to eat. Frisk crawled out of their sleeping bag, went to the kitchen and came back triumphantly with to bags of popato chisps. They all lay munching for a while before continuing the game. They all did some truths and they all did some dares, but the longer they went on the less willing they were to get out of their sleeping bags. So in the end they just asked each other questions.

“I’m sleepy,” Frisk yawned.

“One more,” Asriel said. “It’s your turn and otherwise it’s not fair.”

“Hm….” Frisk mumbled.

“Truth or dare, Frisk,” Manny said, also sounding rather sleepy.

‘Truth,” Frisk said with another yawn.

“Who is the coolest,” Manny asked. “Me or Asriel?”

Asriel glared at him in the dark and then looked expectantly at Frisk. They were lying on their back blinking groggily at the ceiling.

“Who is the coolest?” they repeated.

“Yes,” Manny said.

“Papyrus,” Frisk replied decisively. “Papyrus is the coolest.”

Neither Manny nor Asriel could really argue with that answer, and in any case they were all getting really sleepy. Asriel rummaged around in his sleeping bag until he had found his ragdoll rabbit. Frisk didn’t have a doll or plushie. Manny didn’t either, but he had an old worn handkerchief hidden underneath his pillow. He wound it once around his left claw and snuggled deeper into his covers.

“This is a good sleepover, Asriel,” Frisk said with a happy sigh.

“Yeah…” Manny hummed in agreement.

“Cool,” Asriel muttered. “G’night.”

“Night,” Manny mumbled.

“G’night,” Frisk yawned.

And everything went quiet in the cosy darkness.

Chapter Text

For a beautiful Saturday morning it was remarkably quiet in the house. Sans was still asleep and Papyrus was going on his early morning positivity jog, so nothing out of the ordinary there, but Toriel was very surprised that she had not seen Asriel and Frisk yet. They were usually not very fond of sleeping in. She decided to give them another half hour before waking them up. Just when she was about to go upstairs to wake them, the door of their room opened and Asriel appeared. His fur was all tussled and fluffy; being covered completely in fur really made for the most spectacular bed head.

“Good morning,” Toriel said cheerfully when he came down the stairs. “Is Frisk up too?”

Asriel nodded, rubbing his eyes groggily. There were some shuffling noises behind him and Frisk appeared at the top of the stairs, looking even more groggy than Asriel.

“Did you not sleep well, my darlings?” Toriel asked, a tad concerned.

Frisk made an effort to look a little more awake and smiled.

“We just couldn’t get to sleep that’s all,” they said.

“Yeah,” Asriel yawned and then he added hastily: “But we slept fine afterwards.”

Toriel gave them a brief inquiring look and then she gave them both a sympathetic pat on the head.

“That happens sometimes,” she said. “I am sure you will feel better after you have gotten some breakfast inside you.”

“Yes, Mom,” they answered meekly.

Toriel made waffles, an absolute favourite of both of them. The food did wake them up, but it didn’t do much in the way of cheering them. Asriel was unusually quiet and Frisk kept staring at random objects on the table like they weren’t really seeing them at all. Toriel knew these symptoms. She called them ‘the moods’. Both Asriel and Frisk had ‘a mood’ sometimes, but rarely at the same time, so they usually pulled each other out of it. And if that didn’t happen soon enough, something nice to eat or suggesting to play a game usually did the trick. Toriel decided that this time, however, called for more drastic measures.

“It is so lovely out,” she said cheerfully. “And Papyrus should be back any minute. What do you say to waking up Sans and all of us going to the big park across town today?”

“The one with the little lake?” Frisk gasped, looking up from their plate.

“That is the one,” Toriel smiled.

“Yes!” Asriel cried. “Oh, can we go for a boat ride?”

“I am sure you can persuade Papyrus to row you around a bit,” Toriel laughed. “We can bring a picnic, does that sound fun?”

*Perfect,* Frisk signed happily and Asriel’s ears perked up cheerfully.

“I’ll have a look what I can rustle up for a picnic,” Toriel said, pleased that her plan was working so well. “You two go wake your sleepy dunkle Sans!”

Frisk slid off their chair and ran up the stairs with Asriel on their heels. Frisk threw open the door to Toriel and Sans’ bedroom. Sans wasn’t even visible. He was just a lump under the duvet.

“Sans, wake up!” Asriel called out, but Frisk took a running leap and jumped straight onto the bed.

“Wake up! Wake up!” they sang, bouncing up and down so violently that Sans’ bones rattled.

“Hrng, kid, what,” he grunted and he tried to push Frisk away.

“We’re going to the park,” Frisk said happily, bouncing even harder. “And Mom made waffles!”

Asriel was standing at the side of the bed, laughing, but not wanting to jump up himself. Sans rolled over and groaned, but Frisk was shaking the covers now and still bouncing happily. Suddenly Sans sat up and Frisk froze mid-bounce, suspended in the air just above the mattress.

“Now, what kind of wake up service is that?” Sans tutted. “Pretty rude if you ask me.”

He flexed his bony fingers and the blue glow around Frisk faded, making them drop down onto the bed. They scrambled to the side while Sans got out of bed, yawning terribly. He followed the excited Frisk and Asriel downstairs. In the kitchen, Toriel was mixing lemonade. Two empty glass bottles stood on the counter, waiting to be filled.

“Good morning, my lovely lie-abones,” she said with a smile. “Frisk’s methods are always the most effective for getting you to wake up.”

“Hm,” Sans hummed, sitting down at the table. “Someone mentioned waffles?”

“Here you go,” Toriel said, placing a plate in front of him with three waffles she had kept hot for him.

“You’re a marvel, Tori,” Sans said as she also placed the bottle of ketchup on the table.

Sans ate his waffles with ketchup while Asriel and Frisk helped Toriel to make sandwiches for the picnic. They heard the door open and shut and Papyrus came into the kitchen in his running clothes.

“Hello!” he said. “Oh, Sans, you’re awake!”

*We’re all going to the park! Mom says we can go on a boat ride if you’ll take us!* Frisk signed excitedly. Their mouth was full of cucumber at the moment so they couldn’t talk.

“Slow down, Frisk,” Papyrus said. “What’s that about a boat?”

“We’re going to the park!” Asriel said while Frisk struggled to quickly swallow their mouthful. “The big park with the lake! You’ll take us on a boat ride, won’t you, Papyrus?”

“Of course I will!” Papyrus said. “What an excellent idea for an adventure!”

“We are preparing a picnic right now,” Toriel said happily. “Is there anything you would like in it?”

Papyrus opened his mouth, but Toriel held up her paw.

“Do not tell me: spaghetti,” she said. “Asriel, be a dear and look in the fridge, I think there is some leftover spaghetti bolognaise in a blue container.”

Three quarters of an hour later, the picnic was packed and they were all dressed for a day in the park.

“Papyrus, could you take the big quilt?” Toriel asked. “It is on the top shelf of the linen closet.”

“Of course,” Papyrus said helpfully and he ran upstairs.

“I’ll drive then, shall I?” Sans said, grabbing the car keys from their hook. “Hey Tori, that hat looks strawful, nice on you.”

Toriel smiled and adjusted her big straw hat so it did not fold her ears. She picked up the heavy picnic basket. Papyrus came downstairs with the quilt and Frisk and Asriel opened the front door, too eager to go to wait any longer.

“Got everything, Tori?” Sans asked.

“I believe so,” she nodded.

“Let’s go then!” Papyrus said cheerfully.

When they arrived at the park, Frisk and Asriel had only one thing on their mind: boat rides. It took a very stern look from Toriel to keep them from running off immediately.

“We will pick a nice spot to sit first,” she said. “That way we all know where to meet up with one another.”

“Alright, let’s go!” Asriel said, pulling on her paw.

“Calm down there, kid,” Sans grinned.

“I see a nice spot!” Frisk said, pointing. “Over there!”

“That does look like a good spot,” Toriel agreed. “We can see the lake from there too.”

“As you both obviously have a great excess of energy, I shall race you there!” Papyrus said. “Last one there is just as great as everyone else except objectively slower than the rest of us!”

Papyrus, Frisk, and Asriel sprinted away across the grass, shouting merrily. Toriel and Sans set off in pursuit at a leisurely pace. There were a lot of people in the park enjoying the sunny weather, but luckily it wasn’t quite crowded yet. Children were playing with Frisbees and footballs and several other people had picnic baskets with them.

“Is this not lovely?” Toriel said happily.

“It’s pretty nice, good idea Tori,” Sans agreed.

“What a shame this park is so far a-” Toriel didn’t finish her sentence because at that moment her sandal caught on a branch on the ground and she stumbled. Because she was carrying the heavy basket in one hand and had the bulky quilt tucked under her other arm, she didn’t manage to regain her balance in time and nearly fell.

“Whoa there!” Sans chuckled and he caught her, using a little magic to aid his own strength.

“Thank you,” Toriel gasped, standing up straight again.

Sans was grinning at her.

“You’re not going to say something about me falling for you are you?” she giggled.

“Nah,” Sans smirked. “I was gonna say this is a really nice trip you’ve taken us on.”

Shaking her head laughingly, Toriel picked up the quilt that she dropped and they joined Papyrus and the children, who were waiting for them at the spot they picked out. Papyrus and Toriel spread the quilt on the grass and Toriel put down the basket.

“Can we go now?” Frisk asked. They and Asriel were hopping from one foot onto another impatiently.

“Yes,” Toriel said. “Run along to the lake now. Please don’t take them too far onto the water Papyrus.”

“Of course not,” Papyrus said. “We will be very safe.”

He went after Frisk and Asriel at a gentle jogging pace and Toriel sat down on the quilt.

“Welp,” Sans said. “Time to get back to what I was doing before some small human bounced all over my bed,” and he stretched out on the quilt beside Toriel and closed his eyes.

Toriel smiled and opened the picnic basket, on top of the food lay a book titled “The Principles of Pedagogy”. She took it out, closed the basket again and moved it a little so it stood in the shade. Sans was already making little snoring sounds beside her. She towards the lake and saw Papyrus was talking to the man that rented the boats. With a happy sigh, she opened her book and started reading.

Every now and again she looked up to see Papyrus and the kids playing on the lake. Papyrus was strong and his boat went a lot faster than most of the others. Toriel could just see Frisk and Asriel waving at her and she waved back. Her book was interesting, but it was very warm and Sans’ snoring next to her was rather inviting. When she had finished her chapter, she saw that, judging by the speed with which Papyrus was zooming over the lake, they wouldn’t be coming back any time soon. So she put her book aside, lay down next to Sans, and closed her eyes for a moment.

Frisk and Asriel were having the time of their life. They dipped their fingers in the water to feel the current Papyrus’ frantic rowing created and cheered Papyrus on.

“Look, a fish!” Asriel cried and he jumped to his feet.

The boat rocked dangerously. Frisk instinctively grabbed hold of their seat, but when Asriel toppled forward, they let go to grab him instead. Just before they both went overboard, an orange glow wrapped around them and pulled them back. They both sat down hard on the wooden bench in the boat and looked sheepishly at Papyrus.

“That was very irresponsible!” he said, trying look stern. “And dangerous!”

“Sorry, Papyrus,” Frisk said.

“Sorry, Papyrus,” Asriel mumbled.

“Oh well,” Papyrus said, his stern expression fading already. “Lucky I was there to save you from a terrible watery fate.” He took up his oars again and asked: “Where to now?”

“Can we go to the other side of the lake?” Asriel asked. “Like, as fast as you can?”

“Oh yes!” Frisk said, face lighting up. “Please?”

“You wish to see the full speed of the Great Papyrus, do you?” Payrus grinned. “Then hold on to your non-existent hats! Nyeh! Nyeh! Nyeh!”

He started rowing so violently the boat pushed its nose up high above the water. Frisk and Asriel held on to their seats and screamed with joy as they seemed to fly across the lake. They could have done this forever and never tired of it, but after crossing the lake in several directions, Papyrus informed them that Toriel and Sans must be very bored without them.

Having decided to go back to shore, he rowed towards the first landing place in site. This happened to be a spot rather far away from where they had hired the boat. Once on land, Frisk and Asriel felt a little unsteady now they were off the boat and back onto solid land, so they sat down in the grass.

“You wait here,” Papyrus said. “I’ll go bring back the boat to that nice man.”

He hoisted the rope that was attached to the boat across his shoulder and towed the boat along like it hardly weighed anything. Two younger kids were watching with awe and interest and when Papyrus was a little ways away, one of them walked up to Frisk and Asriel and asked with big eyes:

“Is that your father?”

“More like our big brother,” Frisk said cheerfully.

“Are you a monster too?” the boy asked.

“I’m human like you,” Frisk said.

“But we’re siblings anyway,” Asriel said happily, putting an arm around Frisk.

“That’s so cool,” the boy said.

Seeing that Frisk and Asriel were being friendly, a little girl came up to them too.

“This is my sister Ellie,” the boy introduced her. “Oh, and I’m Rory.”

“Hi,” Frisk said. “I’m Frisk.”

“I’m Asriel,” Asriel grinned. “You weren’t afraid of Papyrus were you? He’s really nice!”

Rory grinned back and shook his head. His little sister looked up at Asriel quietly, apparently still too impressed to speak.

“Are you here with your family too?” Frisk asked.

“Our mom and dunkle are somewhere over there.”

“Yeah,” Rory said cheerfully. “We’re here with our dads. Ellie just wanted to go see if there were any pretty stones on the shore, right Ellie?”

Ellie nodded.

“Did you find any?” Frisk asked.

She nodded again.

“Can I see?” Asriel asked, giving the little girl a friendly smile.

She stuck her hand in her pocket and then held it out to him. There were six small pebbles in it. All of them nice and smooth.

“This is a fire stone,” she said, pointing at a reddish stone. “And this one is a healing stone,” she said pointing at a flat, black pebble. “Cause it’s so soft.”

Asriel and Frisk both stroked the flat stone and agreed it did feel smooth as silk. If any stone was going to have healing powers it had to be that one.

“Ellie is real good at finding magic stones,” Rory said, in a proud, brotherly tone of voice.

“So is Rory!” Ellie said, growing in confidence. “He found a stone that looks just like a key!”

“Really?” Frisk said.

“Show us!” Asriel prompted.

Just when Rory was about to show them, a ball came whizzing out of nowhere and hit him hard on the shoulder.

“Ow!” he yelped.

The others looked up and saw a boy and girl of about twelve or thirteen years old. Rory and Ellie drew back immediately, looking scared.

“I thought I told you wimps to stay out of the way of our ball,” the girl sneered. She held out her hand. “Come on, give it back.”

Rory stooped, picked up the ball, and rolled it back to the big girl. She caught it with her foot and bounced it up into her hands.

“What’s the matter?” the boy scoffed. “Don’t know how to throw a ball, do you? Sissy.”

Asriel looked uncertainly at Rory and Ellie. They looked scared and didn’t say a word. Frisk’s eyebrows were wrinkling into a frown however and Asriel knew exactly what was coming.

“Hi!” they said, suddenly smiling. “I’m Frisk! Who are you?”

“None of your business!” the girl snapped. “And who cares who you are? I don’t, do you, Matt?”

“Sure don’t,” the boy called Matt said, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

“So you’re Matt?” Frisk said with friendly determination. “Nice to meet you. This is my brother Asriel and these are our new friends Rory and Ellie.”

The girl looked very angry now. She puffed up her chest and glared down at Frisk. She was a lot taller than any of them, even taller than Matt.

“I just said I don’t care who you are!” she said. “And besides, I don’t talk to filthy liars. That sheep isn’t your brother. It’s impossible. I suppose you’ve never heard of genetics.”

“I’m not a sheep,” Asriel said. “I’m a goat monster.”

“And that’s better how?” Matt sneered.

“They are family,” Rory spoke up, coming to stand close to Frisk. “And they have a really big skeleton for a brother!”

This made the girl laugh scornfully, but Matt looked a little uneasy.

“Come on, Sam,” he said. “Why are we still talking to these dweebs anyway?”

“Because this one’s a filthy liar and that one suddenly thinks it’s a good idea to talk back to me,” she barked, pointing at Frisk and Rory. “Rude.”

“Would be pretty lonely if you don’t want people talking back to you,” Frisk said cheerfully. “’Cause that would just mean you’d talk and no one else would say anything!”

Rory snorted and a giggle escaped from Ellie’s mouth before she could clasp her hand to it. Sam, frustrated by Frisk’s incessant friendliness more than anything, snapped angrily:

“Oh yeah? Well, shut up!”

And, feeling that this didn’t get her message across, she threw her ball at Frisk so hard that when it smacked them in the chest, they stumbled backwards and nearly fell. Asriel grabbed their arm just in time to help them and an unusual anger flared up in his round face.

“That wasn’t very nice,” a curt voice spoke behind them.

“Sans!” Frisk cried and Asriel shut his mouth and clenched his teeth.

Sam and Matt turned round. If they had known Sans, the uncharacteristically grim expression on his face would probably have scared them, but as it was, he didn’t look very intimidating to them.

This is your brother?” Sam scoffed. “And in what universe is he ‘big’?”

“No universe,” Sans said airily, but still with his eye sockets fixed darkly on the two bullies. “That’s my brother you’re talking about. It’s a pity for you he wasn’t around, cause he’s a lot nicer than me.”

He held out his hand and the ball that was lying on the grass lifted up into the air.

“I suggest you take your ball,” he said. “And shove off.” He shoved the ball into Sam’s hands with his magic, using enough force to make her take a step back.

Matt looked genuinely scared for a second, but then he slapped the ball out of Sam’s hand and said:

“Ew, don’t touch it! It’s full of magic now!”

Sam stood up straight beside him and they stood close together for support.

“Yeah,” she said, steadying her voice into a mean snarl. “You owe me a new ball now, one that isn’t tainted.”

Asriel gasped and Frisk glanced at Sans’ face. The light in his eye sockets flickered for a moment.

That,” he said slowly. “Is a rotten thing to say. I’ve been a pretty patient guy and my kids here have been very nice to you, but I’m not going to stand here and take insults.”

“Pfff,” Sam scoffed. “Monsters don’t hurt humans. Everybody knows that. I’m not afraid of you!”

“Oh, you’re right,” Sans grinned. “I don’t hurt humans, I don’t like to get my hands dirty.”

He snapped his bony fingers and, with a strange sound like air being sucked out of a small space and then filling up again, a large monstrous skull appeared out of nowhere. It had fangs and eyes that were staring directly at Sam and Matt.

They ran. They didn’t even scream and didn’t look back once. They just dropped the ball and ran as fast as they could.

“Well,” Sans chuckled. “Look at them blasting off.”

Sans,” Frisk protested, grabbing his hand. “Why’d you do that? It was fine, really.”

“No it wasn’t!” Asriel snapped. “They were awful!”

Sans turned around and saw that the other two children were staring at the Gaster Blaster with about as much fear on their faces as Sam and Matt.

“Wh-what is that?” Ellie gulped.

“This old thing?” Sans said light-heartedly. “Just a little thing my dad and I designed. Look.”

He snapped his fingers and the blaster disappeared. Then he snapped his fingers again and this time there were two of them. Ellie took a step back to stand behind her brother.

“Are they dangerous?” Rory gaped.

“Nah,” Sans said. “They’d never hurt nice kids like you. See for yourself.”

He lowered his hand a little and the Gaster Blasters sank until they floated only a couple of inches above the grass. They actually looked a lot less threatening all of a sudden.

“Come on, Frisk, show ‘em,” Sans grinned.

“Really?” Frisk said eagerly. “Can I?”

“Just this once,” Sans winked.

Frisk did not need to be told that twice. They ran over to the nearest Gaster Blaster and climbed on top of it. They gave an excited giggle when Sans made the blaster gently bob up and down.

“Hey!” Asriel protested. “Wait a second!”

Sans held the blaster still so Asriel could climb up behind Frisk. As soon as he had wrapped his arms around Frisk’s waist, he waved his hand and the Gaster Blaster shook itself from left to right. Frisk and Asriel held onto it with their knees and laughed out loud.

“Cool…you can ride them?” Rory squeaked.

“Sure you can,” Sans grinned. “Go on.”

Rory climbed on the other blaster and when she saw it didn’t shake or float too high, Ellie bravely climbed on behind him.

“Ready?” Sans asked.

“Yeah,” Rory nodded.

Ellie held on tight to him from behind, but she looked more excited than scared now.

Sans made the blasters float calmly in a lazy circle, almost like a carrousel. For Frisk and Asriel this was an absolute treat. Toriel didn’t approve much of Gaster Blasters and Sans hardly ever let them ride them. Rory and Ellie soon saw that there really was nothing to be afraid of and all four of them were laughing out loud when they heard whining voices coming nearer. Sans turned around. Sam and Matt were being dragged back towards them, grabbed firmly by their collars by a tall eighteen year old.

“Hi there,” he said, looking at Sans. “Did these two idiots bother you and your kids?”

“I guess you could say that,” Sans said coolly.

The teenager let go of his charges and gave them a shove in Sans’ direction. The Gaster Blasters stopped moving and they all stared at the bullies expectantly, Frisk a little kinder than Asriel.

“We’re sorry,” Sam gulped, looking at her feet.

“You’re sorry for what,” the boy demanded.

“We’re sorry, sir, for being rude and disrespectful,” she muttered.

“Matt?” the boy prompted grimly.

“Yes,” Matt said meekly. “We’re sorry…really.”

The teenager put a hand each on one of their shoulders and they slowly lifted their heads to look Sans in the eye. He looked back at them for a moment and then he gave a nod.

“Alright,” he said. “But I’m not the only one that deserves an apology.”

The teenager gave them another push. Sam and Matt eyed the Gaster Blasters nervously but they went up to them obediently and apologised to Frisk, Asriel, Rory and Ellie. Rory and Ellie still looked rather apprehensive, and Asriel downright unconvinced, but Frisk said:

“That’s okay. Do you want to pet our Gaster Blaster?”

Matt took a step back and shook his head, but Sam turned to look at Sans and asked:

“May I?”

“Sure, kid,” Sans said. “They don’t bite.”

Carefully Sam reached out and put a hand on the nose of the Gaster Blaster that Frisk and Asriel were riding. It was vibrating lightly.

“Wow,” she muttered. “Cool.”

The teenager held his hand out to Sans and said:

“I’m Harry by the way and I’m real sorry about my sis and cousin.”

Sans shook Harry’s hand and grinned.

“The name’s Sans,” he said. “And you seem to know how to handle them.”

“Not well enough apparently,” Harry said darkly, but had a soft look in his eyes as he watched Sam and Matt study the Gaster Blasters. “Man,” he said. “Those things would look wicked as the backdrop to a stage show.”

“Sorry,” Sans chuckled. “They’re not for sale.”

“Oh, I wasn’t implying,” Harry said hastily. “But look at them, all they need is lasers coming from their eyes!”

Asriel and Frisk giggled in the background, but said nothing. At that moment, Papyrus came back and looked around with obvious pleasure at seeing so many people gathered with his family.

“Hello!” he said enthusiastically. “What’s this, new friends? Oh, Sans, should they be riding those?”

“It’s fine, bro,” Sans grinned. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Wow,” Matt breathed. “He is tall.”

“Why, yes I am,” Papyrus grinned. “Hello, human, nice to meet you. I am the Great Papyrus.”

“Matt,” Matt mumbled, shaking Papyrus’ hand.

Sam shook Papyrus’ hand as well and, after he had waved at Ellie and Rory, he said hello to Harry.

“I have brought the boat back,” Papyrus said. “Where is Toriel?”

“She’s still at the picnic spot,” Sans said. “We should probably get back there.”

He turned his attention to the Gaster Blasters and they all sank down onto the grass, lying still so the children could get off.

“That was awesome,” Rory said as he slid off the blaster. He reached up to help his sister down.

So awesome,” Ellie agreed.

“Yeah,” Frisk chuckled. “It was a blast.”

Sans grinned at them and snapped his fingers. The blasters disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Damn,” Harry said, deeply impressed. He shook his head for a moment and beckoned his sister and cousin. “Come on, you two. Nice to meet you, Sans, Papyrus. Thanks for being so cool about all this. And you too.” He smiled at Frisk and Asriel and then at Rory and Ellie.

“Yeah,” Sam said and she looked at them. “I’m…I’m sorry. I was being a jerk.” She sounded a lot more sincere this time.

“Yeah, sorry,” Matt mumbled.

“Here,” Rory said, picking up the ball and throwing it back to Sam.

She caught it and smiled awkwardly. “Thanks.”

Harry gave them all a nod and walked away, Sam and Matt trailing behind him.

“You’re not going to tell Mom, are you?” they heard Matt ask anxiously as they walked away.

“I won’t,” Harry replied. “But if I ever see or hear either of you pull shit like that again, I’ll tell Grandma.” He gave Matt a gentle push, put and arm around Sam and muttered: “Seriously, Sam, I know you miss Mom, but those guys were super nice and what the hell were you thinking picking on little kids? Don’t abuse your powers of badassery like that.”

“I know,” Sam muttered, leaning against her brother and they walked back to the place where they had parked their bikes.

“What a nice family,” Papyrus said, watching them go.

“Hm,” Sans hummed.

“Your brothers are so cool,” Rory said.

“And now we know the big boy is nice,” Ellie said. “So if they are ever mean again, we can go to him.”

“I’m sure they won’t be mean again,” Frisk said confidently, not bothering to correct Rory that time.

“They better not,” Asriel said, but without any real menace to his voice.

“Come on,” Sans said. “Let’s go see if your mom thinks it’s lunchtime yet.”

“Yes,” Asriel said. ”I’m hungry!”

He and Frisk said goodbye to their new friends and Rory and Ellie ran off to find their parents. Frisk took Sans’ hand and walked next to him, while Asriel pleaded until Papyrus lifted him up on his shoulders. Asriel was getting rather big to be carried, but he liked nothing more than being taller than anyone else.

When they reached the picnic spot, Toriel was still dozing in the sun. Their arrival woke her up.

“Oh,” she said. “I must have slept longer than I thought I would!” She smiled at them. “Did you have a good time?”

“We did,” Asriel nodded as Papyrus lifted him down from his shoulders.

“We made new friends,” Frisk informed her, sitting down on the quilt.

“That is wonderful,” Toriel said. “How about you tell me all about it over lunch?”

She began to unpack the picnic basket and spread the food out so everyone could reach it. There were cucumber sandwiches, ham sandwiches, cinnamon buns, cookies, crackers, snail pâté, some peaches, two bottles of lemonade, one bottle of ketchup, and a small bottle of milk. There was also the container with leftover spaghetti and a small bag of grated cheese to go with it.

“You’re sure you weren’t planning this a week ahead?” Sans chuckled.

“What?” Toriel said. “I was not, honestly!”

“Unlike some people, Sans,” Papyrus said deliberately, “people like Toriel and I are always prepared!”

“Of course,” Sans grinned, grabbing the ketchup. “Sorry, bro.”

“Can I try some of the pâté?” Frisk asked.

“Of course you can,” Toriel said happily. “But do tell me about the friends you made.”

Asriel and Frisk related in lively detail how Papyrus had been the best captain of a rowboat ever, how they had met Rory and his friends, and what had happened with the older kids called Sam and Matt.

“And then Sans just snapped his fingers and whoooomp! Gaster Blaster,” Asriel said proudly.

Sans,” Toriel gasped.

“Come on, they deserved a little scare,” Sans said.

“Your tactics are a little unusual,” Papyrus observed, he had been very surprised to hear that Sam and Matt had been mean to Frisk and Asriel. “But it must have worked, because when I arrived, they were all great friends!”

“Yeah,” Frisk said. “Because they ran away and then they came back with a big boy called Harry.”

They finished the story while Toriel finished her cucumber sandwich and in the end she agreed that there was no harm done. And she was proud of Frisk and Asriel for sticking up for the other kids.

“I know you don’t agree with using magic in public, Tori,” Sans said, handing her a cup of lemonade. “But really, you shouldn’t worry about it so much, all the kids thought it was a cool trick.”

“Yeah,” Asriel said. “And it’s just something we can do right? Like whistling or dancing. Just because humans can’t do it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t see us do it.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Toriel sighed.

“It’d be so cool if everyone could do magic,” Frisk said. “They could teach it in schools!”

Toriel looked like she was about to say something, but apparently she changed her mind, because she took a sip of her lemonade instead. Papyrus had finished his spaghetti and was carefully dunking a cookie in his glass of milk.

“Frisk? Asriel?”

They looked up and saw Rory and Ellie, closely followed by two men.

“Hi!” Asriel said and Frisk waved.

“Hello,” one of the men said. “Sorry to disturb you while you are eating. We just wanted to say thank you. Rory told us all about what happened.”

“Not at all,” Toriel said. “Have a seat! Well, have a corner of the quilt.”

They laughed and sat down, introducing themselves as Ian and Terrence.

“We should have kept a closer eye on our kids,” Terrence said with a frown. “It felt like they were only out of our sight for a minute. We had no idea something was amiss. Thanks so much for intervening, Sans.”

“Don’t mention it,” Sans said.

“Would you like something to eat?” Toriel offered. “There’s more than enough. I seem to have overestimated our appetites a little.”

“Thank you, but we already had lunch,” Ian said with a smile.

“I’d love one of those peaches though,” Terrence said.

“Glutton,” Ian teased as Papyrus handed him one.

“Asriel,” Ellie whispered. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure!” Asriel said. “What is it?”

“Can I…um…can I touch your ears?” she asked, looking very shy.

Ellie,” Rory muttered, obviously embarrassed, but Asriel laughed and said:

“Go ahead, I don’t mind.”

He bowed his head and Ellie very carefully stroked his ears.

“They’re so soft!” she squealed.

“Thanks,” Asriel grinned. “Can I touch your curls?”

“Sure,” she grinned.

Asriel rested his paw on her thick curls.

“Bouncy!” he laughed.

Ellie laughed back. Sans was giving a more detailed description of what had happened to Rory and Ellie’s parents and Toriel was slowly but surely convincing them to at least have something to drink. When Rory and Ellie finished their lemonade, Frisk and Asriel invited them to go play tag with them. So the kids ran around in the sunshine while the grownups sat on the quilt in the shade and chatted. It really was a very nice park and their happy voices made it even nicer.

Chapter Text

It was lucky for Undyne that her co-workers were still too uncertain about monster appearance to remark on the fact that her scales seemed to be  slightly different colour today.  She was nervous. Today was Thursday and tomorrow the wedding weekend would begin. The actual wedding was on Saturday, but she and Alphys had taken the Friday off because they both thought they wouldn’t be able to deal with working the actual day before their wedding.

“Hey! See you Saturday, lucky girl!” one of her colleagues called out at her in passing.

“Thanks,” she grinned. “You better be on time, punk!”

“You betcha I will!” he waved.

Repressing a sigh, she grabbed her bag from her locker and headed for the showers. She was excited, she was pumped, she was happy, she was getting married this weekend! And she was queasy. There was no way in hell she was going to admit that to herself though, so she took a cold shower, got into her normal clothes, and headed out, grinning confidently at all the early congratulations being yelled at her on the way out.

“Hello!”

Undyne blinked. Papyrus was waiting for her outside the gym. Behind him, parked in an incredibly tight spot, was Mettaton’s pink sports car.

“What are you doing here, dork?” Undyne grinned, wrapping an arm around him and trying to drag him down for a noogie. “And what’s with that horror show of a car?”

“Cease your attack!” Papyrus squawked, trying to keep Undyne at arms length while wanting to hug her at the same time. “The car is necessary to my plan.”

“Plan?” Undyne asked, letting him go.

“Yes!” Papyrus said with dramatic emphasis. “It occurred to me that I am your best man.”

“Yeah,” Undyne scoffed. “You have been for moths.”

And,” Papyrus interrupted her. “That you have not had a bachelor party!”

A slight frown appeared on Undyne’s face, but she was still grinning.

“Where are you going with this?” she chuckled.

“I am not going anywhere!” Papyrus exclaimed. “We are going somewhere and where we are going is a place where people consume too much alcohol in the spirit of friendship and we are going there in this car.”

“I’m not drinking, Papyrus,” Undyne laughed, giving him a friendly shove. “Alphys will kick my ass if I’m hungover tomorrow and if we’re going by car, you can’t drink and I sure as hell ain’t drinking alone.”

“Very well,” Papyrus said, dragging her to the car. “Then we will go somewhere else! Papyrus the Best Man will not take no for an answer.”

“Why’d you borrow Mett’s car anyway?” Undyne snorted, sitting down in the passenger seat.

“Because an occasion like this requires superior transportation!” Papyrus proclaimed. “And since I do not yet have my own amazing car, Mettaton graciously lent me his.”

Undyne smirked and shook her head.

“So where are we going then,” she sighed.

“I know!” Papyrus said. “There’s this super cool bar across from the newspaper. We’ll go there! They have drinks that taste like spaghetti.”

“They have what now?” Undyne rasped.

.

Sans knocked on the door of Alphys’ office before opening it. She turned round in her chair and gave a little start.

“Sans!” she said. “W-What are you doing here?”

“Care for a snack?” Sans offered, holding up a bag of sushi delivery.

“You’re kidding!” Alphys drooled. “I’m s-starving.”

“Thought you might be,” Sans chuckled, pulling a chair up to her desk to join her.

“W-wait,” Alphys said, suddenly suspicious. “You ordered that for m-me? And you w-walked here?”

“Teleporting freaks out the humans,” Sans said with a shrug. “The physics department is used to it by now but I’d rather not startle your biology pals, especially with all those dangerous substances you guys mess around with.”

“What’s g-going on?” Alphys narrowed her eyes at him. “Are y-you planning something?”

“Like what,” Sans protested. “Can’t I come and hang out with you after work?”

“Y-yeah,” Alphys said, prodding a scaly finger towards his chest. “But wh-when you want to hang out, you text me until I come to you. l-lazybones.”

Sans grinned innocently at her, but her dark eyes were glinting suspiciously and he knew he had no choice but to come clean. If he didn’t, she’d either think he was planning a surprise for her and have an anxiety attack in anticipation or she’d think he was trying to pull a prank and would have a slightly more annoyed anxiety attack in anticipation.

“Alright,” he surrendered, holding up his hands. “Tori sent me here to keep you busy while she, Asgore, and Katla go all bridal on your house. Just act surprised when you get there, okay?”

“Oh,” Alphys breathed, relaxing in her chair. “Th-that’s so nice of them!”

“Yup,” Sans hummed. “Tempura rolls?”

Alphys happily took the container he offered her and dug a pair of chopsticks out of the bag he put on her desk. They ate in silence for a while, until Sans said “Guess I don’t have to ask you if you’re getting cold feet, you know, cause you’re coldblooded.”

“You just couldn’t think of a w-way to make that into a proper pun, could you?” Alphys smiled.

“Eh, even a champion strikes out sometimes,” Sans shrugged. “So, how are your feet?”

“Fine,” Alphys chuckled.

She put down her chopsticks and sighed. Sans waited, seemingly completely absorbed in dipping his tuna.

“I-I just wish I knew h-how everything was gonna g-go Saturday,” Alphys said finally.

“That’s just about the party right, though?” Sans guessed. “Not about Undyne.”

“Of course not,” Alphys said emphatically. “I n-never stress about Undyne.”

“Well, not since Frisk got you two together anyway,” Sans grinned.

Alphys groaned and covered her face with her claws for a moment. Sans laughed.

“You’re never going to let that go, are you?” Alphys muttered.

“What?” Sans smirked. “That you thought a little kid wrote you a freaking love declaration and wanted to go on a date with you instead of the woman you’d been eyeing for literal ages.”

“Your b-brother did the same thing!” Alphys huffed. “Almost at least.”

“Well yeah, but that’s Pap, he doesn’t exactly grasp the concept of romance,” Sans chuckled.

“I w-wouldn’t be so s-sure about that,” Alphys grinned, her face suddenly mischievous.

Sans gave her a blank look, but declined to comment. He leaned back in his chair and said “It’ll be alright, the wedding, I mean, ‘s gonna be great.”

“I kn-know,” Alphys sighed, picking up her chopsticks again. She smiled. “I c-can’t wait to be married… I know it’s not n-necessarily going to change anything, but… Just feels right, you know? Undyne makes everything better.”

She was blushing and Sans smiled at her.

“Sound like you’re ready then,” he nodded.

“So ready,” Alphys sighed. “I n-never thought I’d get married. Ever.”

The blush was making her face light up and she looked so happy that Sans had to choke back a chuckle. He didn’t want her to think he was laughing at her. Even though she knew he never would, not really.

“I know it’s silly,” Alphys said. “But even when we’re not together… just knowing Undyne is expecting to see me later makes me feel better, w-whatever I’m doing. And…even if I go to bed first, just knowing she’d going to get in beside me later makes me sleep easy…”

She looked up at Sans and saw the softest look she’d ever seen on his  face.

“That’s how you feel about Toriel, isn’t it?” she smiled.

He didn’t answer, but offered her a new container of sushi instead. She took it, still smiling and the scales in her face still dusted red.

“So,” Sans said, glancing at the clock. “I’m supposed to keep you busy for as long as I can until Tori texts me. Since I’m too lazy to think of something, you can pick whatever I get to distract you with.”

“We could go to the u-university’s botanical garden,” Alphys proposed.

“Something that doesn’t involve moving,” Sans corrected himself. “I already walked all the way over here.”

“Urg,” Alphys huffed. “You’re impossible.” She pointed her chopsticks at Sans. “No, y-you know what. You think of something! Or I might be going home after all.”

“Well, if you insist,” Sans grinned lazily and he pulled a USB stick out of his pocket and threw it on the desk.

“Wh-what’s that?” Alhys asked.

Sans waved at her computer and grinned, refusing to say. She shot him a grumbling glance, got up and put the stick in her work computer, turning the screen so they could both see it. There was only one file on the stick. It was a video file and it was titled: “Dangerous virus; don’t open.”

“Really?” Alphys said in exasperation.

She clicked on the file. There was a short confused silence while some Japanese characters appeared on the screen, with a rather bad English translation underneath. Then Alphys screamed.

“Jeez, Alph,” Sans chuckled. “You’re gonna make security come in here.”

Alphys wasn’t listening, she had wrapped her arms around him and was doing her very best to strangle him in a hug.

“Oh my god I can’t believe this, you got it you actually got it, where did you get it, I don’t think I’ve been this excited in my entire life, oh, that’s an awful thing to say I’m getting married tomorrow, but this is amazing you actually…”

Sans grinned at Alphys’ waterfall of fangirlish blabbering and said:

“Consider it an early wedding present, alright?”

Sans,” Alphys gushed, letting go of him. “Is this r-really…?”

“Yep,” Sans said smugly. “The unaired episode from Mew Mew’s first season, scrapped just before release.”

Alphys quickly pressed pause before the intro ended and the actual episode would start. She took a deep breath.

“H-how long did it take you to find this?” she asked, staring at Sans in disbelief and adoration.

“Let me put it this way,” Sans grinned. “This place pays me a lot of money to sit in an office and argue with their people. Now most of ‘em suffer a mild breakdown after the first five minutes and even people like Tom get tired after a while so I spend a lot of time waiting for them to stop yelling at each other and come back to me. Most of the time I take a nap, but sometimes I take time out of my busy sleeping schedule to leave a gazillion messages on fan forums, alright? Now are we gonna watch it or not?”

“Yes, yes,” Alphys said. “Yes we are, I just…n-need to mentally prepare for this.”

There was a knock on the door.

“Alphys?” a friendly young man asked, poking his head round the corner. “You alright? Oh-” He looked relieved when he saw Sans.

“She’s fine, pal,” Sans grinned, holding up a thumb. “Wedding nerves, ya know.”

“Right,” Alphys’ colleague smiled. “Sorry to disturb you.”

“Thanks, Ben,” Alphys gulped, too embarrassed to tell him what was really going on.

Ben raised his hand and closed the door again. Sans smirked at Alphys and she smoothed her skirt and sat down.

“Okay,” she said with a deep breath. Her glasses had fogged up, so she took them off, polished them on her blouse, and then put them on again with a face of unbridled fandom passion:  “Let’s do this.”

.

“Papyrus, you’ve got to be kidding,” Undyne said. “This isn’t a bar.”

“Sure it is!” Papyrus said. “Come on, aren’t you excited to taste their spaghetti cocktail?”

Undyne followed Papyrus into the health food shop. On one end, there were shelves with organic produce and all kinds of super foods and healthy snacks; on the other, there was a counter and some little tables with chairs. It was clearly a hybrid establishment.

“Hey, Papyrus,” the girl behind the counter said cheerfully. “Who’s your friend?”

“Hello, April,” Papyrus said happily. “This is my friend Undyne. I am taking her out for drinks because she is getting married this weekend and I am her best man!”

“Congratulations!” April said, smiling both because she meant it and because Undyne looked severely uncomfortable.

“We shall have two spaghetti cocktails, please,” Papyrus said, sitting down.

“Coming right up,” April said, but she did glance at Undyne for confirmation first.

“Sure, whatever,” Undyne said. “Thanks.”

She sat down opposite Papyrus. He looked so pleased with himself, Undyne didn’t have the heart to argue. When April served them their drinks however, she couldn’t keep her mouth shut anymore.

“Pap, this is tomato juice,” she gulped after the first sip.

To be fair, there was a leaf of basil floating in each glass, but it was still tomato juice.

“I know!” Papyrus said rapturously. “It has that lovely fresh tomato taste, just like my finest spaghetti sauce.”

Undyne shook her head and said with a grin, “You realise this is closer to drinking ketchup like Sans does than to drinking spaghetti, right?”

Papyrus narrowed his eyes. “I will pretend I did not hear that,” he said firmly. “Now, I believe now is the time that you tell me about being nervous for your wedding so I can reassure you that it is the best decision you have ever made and that you will be very happy because you and Alphys were made for each other.”

“Thanks, Pap,” Undyne grinned. “I think you just did.”

“Excellent!” Papyrus said. “As usual I am better at this than I thought.”

Undyne chuckled and leaned forward onto the table, playing with the basil leaf in her glass.

“Honestly?” she said. “I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. Alphys and I, we’re meant to be, and if anybody dares to say different, I’ll…I’ll fight them!”

“That’s the spirit!” Papyrus said approvingly.

“Heh,” Undyne smiled and she took a sip of her juice.

“You are looking forward to the wedding then?” Papyrus asked.

“Are you kidding? I can’t wait,” Undyne grinned. “It’s gonna be so cool. The food is awesome and Napsta has some great music. Everybody’s going to dance and if they don’t, I’ll make them.” She smiled fondly. “I never gave weddings much though really,” she said. “Before, I mean. Wasn’t exactly something I cared much about, but this one is going to be the absolute best.”

Papyrus listened, sipping his tomato juice, and Undyne ran her hand through her hair.

“I’m really enjoying all this wedding crap way more than I thought I would,” she chuckled. “Guess you never know what’s going to happen, hm?”

“No,” Papyrus agreed. “Look at my brother!”

“Yeah,” Undyne grinned. “Guess Sans never guessed he’d have a whole family all the sudden.” Her eyes glazed over for a second. “Maybe Alphy and I will have a family too. Not now, I mean, but later.”

Papyrus made a garbled noise and Undyne looked up. His eyes were as big as saucers.

“You and Alphys are going to have babies!” he squealed.

“Keep your voice down, dude,” Undyne hissed, when she heard a choked back laugh from behind the counter. “I said later.”

“Could I be their uncle?” Papyrus begged, a little quieter, but still squealing.

“If you shut up, you can, “ she grunted.

Papyrus shut his mouth, beaming at her from across the table. She sighed.

“Don’t tell anyone I said that, okay?” she said. “Alphys and I haven’t quite figured that part of our lives out yet.”

“Of course,” Papyrus promised. “The Great Papyrus’ lips are sealed! Well, they would be if I had any. And I am sure April won’t tell anyone, because she is clearly not listening, as busy as she is cleaning the counter.”

April glanced at Undyne and mouthed a silent apology at her. Undyne grinned and shook her head.

“You come here often, hm?” Undyne chuckled.

“Yes,” Papyrus nodded. “Sometimes after work and sometimes for my lunchbreak. The office can be very crowded and puzzle making requires space and quiet.”

“Well, it’s a pretty nice place,” Undyne said. “Not much of a scene for a bachelorette party, but real nice.” She gave Papyrus a friendly punch in the shoulder. “Good job, Pap.”

 “We can do something else afterwards,” Papyrus said. “To make it more of a party.”

“Nah,” Undyne said, finishing her drink. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather go home. I’m pretty tired and Alphys must be home already.”

“No!” Papyrus said, a little too urgently. “Eh, you can’t go home yet. I would not be a very good Best Man if I gave you a bachelor party with only one drink!”

Undyne stared at Papyrus. She knew what a nervous skeleton looked like and she was looking right at one.

“Papyrus…” she said. “You better not be-” She growled. “Did Mettaton send you?” she demanded to know. “Is that why he gave you the car?”

“No,” Papyrus said unhappily. “I was sent by Friendship, no one else. Certainly not Mettaton. Or Toriel.”

“Toriel?” Undyne repeated. “What about Toriel?”

.

Toriel let out an exasperated sigh and picked up her phone.

“Mettaton,” she said firmly. “I know you are very frustrated you cannot be here, but you must stop calling every five minutes!”

“You promised to send me pictures!” Mettaton complained.

“She promised to sent you pictures when we were done,” Katla said loudly, leaning over Toriel’s shoulder. “And with you interrupting all the time, that won’t be any time soon!”

“Oh, alright,” Mettaton moped. “But send pictures!”

“Bye, Mettaton,” Toriel sighed and she ended the call.

“Was that Mettaton again?” Asgore asked, entering the room with his hands full of decorations.

He, Toriel, and Katla had been busy tidying and cleaning the house and now they were going to decorate it. They weren’t going to do anything too extravagant. With Mettaton stuck on a film set until tomorrow, they had all agreed to keep it simple. Toriel’s main concern had been to get the house in order. She didn’t want Alphys and Undyne to wake up and come home to a messy house on their wedding day.

“Which of these would be best for the front door?” Asgore asked, holding up two large white hearts with silver edges. One of them said “Here Comes the Bride” the other one said “Brides To Be”.

“Wasn’t there one with ‘Make way for the brides’?” Katla asked, walking over to him.

“Oh yes,” Asgore said. “The banner around my neck, I believe.”

“Right,” Katla said. “Let me, um…” She was more than tall enough to reach, but still managed to get the banner tangled into Asgore’s horns slightly. “I’m sorry,” she muttered, annoyed with herself.

“Don’t worry about it,” Asgore laughed good-naturedly. “Happens all the time.”

Toriel watched them for a moment with a mix of thoughtfulness and surprise on her face.

“Right,” Katla said, taking the banner. “So, this one for the front door or one of the hearts?”

“That one I think,” Toriel said thoughtfully. “Perhaps you and Asgore would go hang it? Then I will put the ‘Brides To Be’ one above their bed, shall I?”

“Sound good to me,” Katla nodded, but she thought Toriel was looking at her rather intensely all of the sudden.

“I do hope I have some time to fix their garden up a little before they come home,”  Asgore said, putting the other decorations down on the living room table. “It would really cheer the place up.”

“Well, I haven’t had any warning texts from either Sans or Papyrus,” Toriel said. “But we had better hurry!”

.

“That… was… amazing!” Alphys exclaimed when the screen went black and the music faded out. “Oh my gosh, it’s such a sh-shame they never aired this! Sure, it’s dark, but it works. If they had had this episode to w-work from, they might have made season two watchable!”

“Hm,” Sans hummed.

“You disagree?” Alphys asked, looking at him.

“Alph,” Sans grinned. “I have known you too long to argue about anime with you. Glad you liked it though.”

“I loved it,” Alphys sighed. “Thank you.”

Sans took out his phone and looked at it.

“Well,” he said. “No text from Tori, guess they aren’t done yet.”

At that moment Alphys’ phone rang.

“Oh,” she said. “I-It’s Undyne.” She picked up the phone. “Hey, anata!”

“Alphys, is Sans with you?” Undyne asked.

“Eh, yes,” Alphys said. “I thought so, tell him to tell his brother to tell me what the hell is going on!”

Nothing is going on!” Alphys heard Papyrus wail in the background. “Nothing at all.”

“Undyne,” Alphys laughed. “S-Sans and Papyrus are supposed to keep us b-busy while the others decorate our house.”

“What others?” Undyne asked sharply. “Mettaton?”

“N-no, he’s still filming,” Alphys said. “He’s coming home tomorrow. It’s j-just Asgore, Toriel, and Katla, I think.”

Sans nodded silently.

“Oh,” Undyne said. “Well, I guess that’s alright. You alright over there?”

“Yes!” Alphys said. “Y-you’ll never guess what Sans brought me!”

But before she could say, there were some scrambling sounds on the other end of the line and Papyrus’ voice came loudly from the speaker blaring, “Sans! You are a terrible keeper of secrets!”

“Oh, come on,” Sans chuckled, taking the phone off Alphys. “You know Alph doesn’t like surprises.”

“Give that back!” Undyne snapped and Sans handed the phone back to Alphys.

“What were you going to say, Alphy?” she asked.

“I-” Alphys began, but this time she was interrupted by Sans’ phone beeping.

“Oh, that’s the all clear from Tori,” he grinned.

On the other end of the line, they heard Papyrus’ muffled voice talking to Undyne.

“Apparently, I’m supposed to go home now,” Undyne said.

They could almost hear her roll her eyes.

“Oh, right,” Alphys laughed. “I g-guess we’ll go too then.”

Sans leaned towards her phone and asked:

“Where are you guys, Undyne? Anywhere familiar? I could teleport me and Alphys over to you.”

“We’re in a shop across from Pap’s work,” Undyne said.

“No problem,” Sans said. “We’ll be there in a sec.”

.

Toriel, Asgore, and Katla were waiting outside when Mettaton’s pink car pulled up in front with Papyrus at the wheel. Sans was sitting next to him and Undyne and Alphys were sitting together in the back.

“Surprise!” Papyrus cheered as he leapt out of the car.

“Happy not-quite-your-wedding-yet!” Asgore said, spreading his arms.

“Big dork,” Undyne grinned, going in for a hug.

“We’ll go now,” Toriel said with a smile. “I’m sure you guys would like to have a quiet evening before all the excitement coming up. I would have cooked something for your dinner, but Katla told me you’d probably rather order something.”

“Th-thanks, guys,” Alphys said, looking at the banner that hung above the door. “You’re the best.”

“It was gladly done,” Asgore assured them.

“Absolutely,” Toriel nodded. “And Frisk and Asriel would certainly have come to help, except they had a playdate with their friend Jenny and they had all been looking forward to that for so long.”

“That reminds me!” Katla said. “Stand in front of the banner for a sec and look happy, will you?”

“Oh yes!” Toriel said. “Well remembered Katla.”

She took out her phone and snapped a picture of Undyne and Alphys grinning at each other.

“What was that for?” Undyne said.

“Mettaton,” Asgore explained with a smile.

“It’s a compromise,” Katla said. “He wanted us to film you coming home and follow you around the house with a camera.”

“Good grief,” Undyne groaned and Alphys laughed.

“We’ll be going then,” Asgore chuckled. “Enjoy your evening.”

“Yes,” Papyrus said. “What an excellently executed surprise. Do you need a lift, Miss Katla?”

“Oh, thank you,” she said. “But Toriel and I drove here with Asgore and I think the ride back was included in the offer?”

“Of course!” Asgore said.

“Very well,” Papyrus said. “See you tomorrow, Undyne and Alphys!”

“Yeah,” Sans grinned. “See ya.”

Papyrus, Sans, and Toriel got into Mettaton’s car, while Asgore and Katla walked towards the end of the street where he had parked his car. Alphys and Undyne waved as Papyrus honked the horn cheerfully. Undyne opened the front door of their house and stepped inside.

There was a bright tinkling sound as the door moved against some bells that were tied to the ceiling with white satin bows.

“Our friends are dorks,” Undyne grinned, looking up at the bells.

“Yeah,” Alphys agreed happily. “T-total dorks.”

 

Chapter Text

 

5 hours to the wedding,
Alphys and Undyne’s house.

.

“Good morning…” Mettaton sang, his voice uncharacteristically subdued. “I’ve brought breakfast in bed for the blushing brides.”

The supposedly blushing brides were not very willing to wake up. They turned over in different directions, both groaning. Undyne’s ponytail had come undone while she slept and her hair was an impressive mess of knots and tangles. Alphys had buried herself deep in the covers, drawing them all the way over her head, until she was nothing more than a big bump under the duvet.

“I brought you your favourites,” Mettaton coaxed. “And I swear I didn’t make any of it myself.”

Even Mettaton, hard as it was for him to admit even the slightest failing, willingly admitted he wasn’t a very good cook. He had arrived at their house yesterday evening very late and he had brought everything for a special breakfast with him, ready-made and with only minimal assembly required. Of all their friends, he lived the furthest away and he had said from the start that he would be there to coach them through their wedding day from the moment they woke up.

Undyne forced her eyes open. She could just see a big white heart above her bed that read: “Brides to Be.”

“Urgh,” she grunted and she poked Alphys in the side.

“MmmMmmm,” Alphys protested, digging deeper into the duvet.

“Food,” Undyne yawned, dragging herself into a seating position.

“Here you go, darling,” Mettaton said, placing a large tray on her lap.

There were two large bowls with yoghurt and fresh fruit, rice crackers with several different toppings, and two cups of tea, one Sea and one Jasmine flavoured. The smell of the tea made Alphys crawl out of her cocoon and Mettaton left the room, confident that he had woken them up, but also pretty sure he should leave them alone until they were fully awake. He went into the living room to fuss with his clothes, keeping an ear out for any sounds from the bedroom. It took about fifteen minutes before he heard the sudden clang of crockery, followed by the unmistakable sound of Alphys screaming as Undyne lifted her bodily off the bed and screamed: “We’re getting MARRIED TODAY!”

.

At ten o’clock, Undyne and Alphys had showered and they received a call from Katla. Undyne took it. As promised, Katla was at the wedding venue, making sure the preparations would be done correctly.

“Thanks, Kat,” Undyne said. “Mettaton said the others would be arriving any minute n-”

The doorbell rang.

“That’ll be Bratty and Catty!” Alphys squawked, looking rather frantic. “Is that Katla?”

“Yeah,” Undyne nodded. “Kat, I’ve got to go.”

“Keep breathing, you two. It’s going to be great, really,” Katla assured them.

“Thanks,” Undyne said, a little hoarsely, and she hung up.

It was not just Bratty and Catty at the door, but Papyrus and Asgore as well.

“Alphys!” Bratty and Catty squealed, launching themselves in her general direction for a hug.

“Good morning!” Papyrus said excitedly. “Hello, Mettaton!”

“Hi,” Mettaton said, with an affectionate touch of Papyrus’ arm.

“We ran into the girls in the street,” Asgore said happily. “I picked Papyrus up so Toriel and the kids could come later with their car.”

“I tried to get Sans to come, Alphys,” Papyrus said. “But I couldn’t even get him to wake up. And then I remembered Mettaton is your best man and he is good enough for at least two people, so maybe it won’t matter if Sans is late.”

“He’s not her best man,” Catty contradicted. “She doesn’t need a best man. We’re her bridesmaids!”

“Yeah!” Bratty agreed. “You guys are just witnesses.”

Mettaton bristled at such insolence, but before he could protest, Undyne interrupted “Witnesses, best men, bridesmaids, who cares! You’re the Wedding Party, which means you’re basically our personal servants for the day. That’s what counts.”

“Yes, there is no need to get competitive,” Asgore said good-naturedly. “You can be the bridesmaids and we can be the bridesmates.”

“Please,” Papyrus groaned. “Do not counteract the one advantage to not having Sans with us.”

“I l-like it!” Alphys laughed. “B-Bridesmates.”

“Whatever,” Bratty rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, whatever!” Catty said. “Come on, Alphys, we’ve got to work on your make-up!”

Alphys willingly let her bridesmaids drag her to the bedroom and Mettaton followed them carrying the biggest beauty case this side of the galaxy. The mirror in its lid was lined with little lights.

“I wish you’d allowed me to bring my make-up artist,” he sighed, slamming the bedroom door behind him.

Papyrus turned to Asgore and Undyne with an eager smile. “What can we do, Undyne?” he asked.

“Simple,” Undyne replied casually. “I am going to do my make-up, hair, and nails before Mettaton has a chance to interfere and you are going to tell me it looks amazing.”

.

A considerable amount of time and effort later, Bratty and Catty finally stepped back to look at Alphys’ finished wedding make-up. The scales of her face had been polished until they shone gently. The spikes on her head had been dusted with red and gold to give just the slightest special accent. Her eyes, shining behind her glasses, looked much bigger than usual.

“You look so nice, Alphys,” Bratty said sincerely.

“Like, perfect,” Catty agreed.

“R-really?” Alphys said shyly. She looked up at Mettaton, looking for his approval.

He was leaning against her desk, idly playing with her veil. His face was strangely expressionless as he looked at her.

“Mettaton?” she asked.

“You look divine, darling,” he said hoarsely. “Really….don’t change a thing.”

Alphys flushed red and happily ran to the door when the bell rang. It was Katla, looking slightly dishevelled.

“Are you alright?” Alphys asked, surprised.

“What?” Katla asked. “I’m fine, I just flew here, that’s all. But never mind that. Alphys, you look amazing!”

“Th-thank you,” Alphys beamed.

“Are you and Undyne about ready to go?” Katla asked, coming inside.

“I don’t kn-know,” Alphys said nervously. “We were just going to do make-up here and get dressed together at the wedding centre, but then M-mettaton and Papyrus decided it would be fun to do a dramatic r-reveal, so I haven’t seen Undyne yet!”

“Hi, Katla!” Bratty cried, coming to see who had arrived. “Undyne is in the study with Papyrus and Asgore.”

“Right,” Katla said. “I’ll go see how far they are then, shall I?”

Bratty dragged Alphys back into the bedroom where Catty was talking to a very emotional Mettaton and Katla went to the study. She knocked on the door and called out “Undyne, it’s Katla, can I come in?”

“Kat!” Undyne cried from inside and the door flew open.

Undyne looked incredibly flustered. Her make-up was minimal and very nice, but her hair was still in curlers and Katla had never seen her so anxious.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“Nothing!” Undyne cried frantically. “I don’t know? Is Alphys okay?”

“She seemed absolutely fine, yeah,” Katla said, following Undyne inside and glancing at Papyrus and Asgore.

Papyrus shrugged his shoulders helplessly and looked a little worried as Undyne sat back down in front of the mirror they had balanced against the wall on the desk. She stared at her reflection like it had accused her of being a weakling. Asgore didn’t seem very concerned however.

“It’s just wedding nerves,” he whispered to Katla. “She’ll be fine as soon as she has something to do again.”

“Can’t you just dry my hair with your fire magic, Asgore?” Undyne groaned.

“I’m sure I could,” Asgore said. “But I don’t think the morning of your wedding day is a good time to try out new uses of magic.”

“Urgh!” Undyne grunted and she let herself flop face down onto the desk.

“I know what we need!” Papyrus said. “Some bridal exercise! After a short training, your hair will be dry and Miss Katla can help taking it out of those tiny round traps.”

“Alphys said no more training indoors,” Undyne grumbled.

“But this is an emergency!” Papyrus decided loudly. “I demand ten bridal bench-presses!”

Katla ran outside to tell the others not to be startled if there were any loud crashes and Asgore made sure all the furniture stayed in one piece while Undyne and Papyrus launched a frantic emergency training session.

Papyrus was right though; it distracted Undyne long enough for her hair to dry and Katla helped her twist the newly made curls into a relaxed up-do.

“Okay,” Undyne said, breathing deeply, as she stared at herself in the mirror. “Good. I look good, right?”

“Amazing!” Papyrus proclaimed.

“Much better than good,” Katla assured her.

“You’re a beautiful bride if I ever saw one,” Asgore said sincerely.

Undyne turned to him and gave him a half-hearted punch. She swallowed.

“Don’t go soft on me now, Asgore,” she said.

Katla quickly checked her watch, making sure Undyne didn’t see her do that, and glanced at Asgore. He understood her and said “Well, is there anything else you would like to do before we go?”

Undye looked around the room. Her suit was draped across one of the chairs, still in its dust cover. She and Alphys were going to change at the venue.

“Nope,” she said, puffing up her chest. “Let’s get this show on the road!”

She threw open the door of the study, but she was met with screams from Bratty and Catty and Mettaton yelled “Eyes closed!”

Undyne obediently closed her eyes and called out: “Alphy, you ready?”

“Y-yes,” Alphys stammered.

Mettaton had grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around before she could see what Undyne looked like.

“Goodness!” Katla huffed. “There is no need for all this yelling. Mettaton, you take Alphys and the girls, I’ll take Undyne in my car. Asgore, Papyrus, do you want to ride as well?”

They decided that that would be easiest, so they left with two cars, conveying one nervous bride in each.

.

2.5 hours to the wedding,
An event centre a little outside of town.

.

Sans called Papyrus on his mobile just as Asgore was helping Undyne into her white suit jacket, completing her outfit. When the wedding party had arrived, Undyne and Alphys had first individually inspected the places where the ceremony and the party would be held. The event centre had ample inside and outside space and the ceremony would be outside. The party would be inside, where a big space had been decorated and furnished with tables and a dance floor. After seeing everything and agreeing it was perfect, Alphys and Undyne had retired to separate dressing rooms to get ready. Undyne was done dressing now and she was definitely on edge.

“Oh, hello, Sans!” Papyrus greeted his brother, but he didn’t get to say anything else, because Undyne snatched the phone from him and yelled:

“Sans! Get your bony butt over here!”

“Woah, woah,” Sans chuckled. “No need to wed angry. I’m already there.”

“You’re-” Undyne began, but that moment there was a bright flash of blue light and Sans appeared in front of her, holding hands with a very excited Frisk.

“Undyne!” they gasped. “You look so cool!”

“Thanks, kid,” Undyne grinned, completely forgetting to yell some more at Sans. “So do you! Let me see!”

Frisk proudly spun around and took a bow. They looked picture perfect with their black and green skirt, white shirt, and shiny green vest. In addition, they wore a ruffly cravat that tucked into their vest.  Undyne grinned approvingly and Papyrus and Asgore applauded.

“Guess I’ll go see if your fiancée needs rescuing from her best friend,” Sans chuckled. He was wearing most of his suit, minus the velvet jacket, cravat, and hat, which he was carrying in his free arm.

“Yes!” Undyne said. “And ask her if she’s okay.”

Sans nodded and went to look for Alphys. As it turned out, she didn’t need rescuing. Mettaton was too emotional by far to make a lot of demands and when Sans found her, she was happily twirling in front of the mirror. She actually looked a lot calmer than Undyne.

“Sans!” she said happily. “Is Frisk with you?”

“Still admiring Undyne,” he explained. “But I’m sure they won’t be long.” He looked her up and down, hands shoved into his suit pockets. “You look awesome, Alph,” he said, and she could tell he meant it.

“Thanks, Sans,” she said happily.

“Isn’t she beautiful,” Mettaton squeaked.

“Yeah,” Sans admitted immediately. “Yeah, she is.”

“Is…is Undyne ready?” Alphys asked eagerly. “Can I s-see her?”

“She looked ready to me,” Sans said. “Ready and on edge.”

There was a soft knock on the door and Mettaton went to answer it.

“Frisk!” he gasped. “Look at you!”

“You look nice too, Mettaton!” Frisk said happily, glancing at his shiny dark red coat. But, before they could say anything more, they spotted Alphys and had eyes for nothing else but her.

“Alphys!” Frisk gasped. “You look like you walked out of a picture book!”

“You r-really think so?” Alphys said, looking pleased as could be.

Better than a picture book!” Frisk said earnestly.

There was another knock on the door and Katla poked her head round it. She had been running back and forth between the two makeshift dressing rooms for a while now.

“Alphys?” she said pleadingly. “It would help if we could do the reveal now. I don’t think Undyne will make it another ten minutes without breaking something otherwise.”

“Oh yes!” Alphys said. “Bratty, w-would you hand me my-”

“Parasol?” Bratty grinned, holding it out to her.

“Thank you,” Alphys said, taking it. The parasol was her favourite accessory. As far as she was concerned, it made the whole outfit. “I’m ready!” she nodded at Katla.

Katla breathed a sigh of relief and Alphys followed her outside into the hallway. Undyne was already there, arguing with Papyrus who had wanted to blindfold her.

“You’re gonna smudge my make-up, you dork!” she barked. “And I…I…” Her voice faltered when Alphys walked into view.

Alphys herself gasped when Papyrus quickly stepped aside and she saw Undyne in her beautiful suit. They stared at each other.

“I…” Undyne stammered, a dark blue flush coming over her face. “You…Alphy… How…?”

“Oh, I think I just forgot to breathe,” Alphys panted.

Metatton made a garbled noise between a squeal and a sob that expressed the feelings of most of the wedding party at that moment. Even Katla had to make an effort to compose herself.

“You two are the cutest ever,” Catty sighed.

“Yeah,” Bratty agreed. “That was, like, so beautiful.”

“And Sans filmed it all!” Frisk cried triumphantly.

“He what?” Undyne balked, turning around.

“Hey,” Sans snickered, leaning against the wall, filming everything with his phone. “I had to film it. We need undeniable proof of Undyne blushing and stammering like a guppy.”

“Shut up!” Undyne grinned. “Look at my almost-wife!”

Alphys and Undyne looked at each other with unwavering smiles, while Katla, Papyrus, Asgore, Mettaton, Bratty, and Catty swarmed around them giving compliments they hardly heard. Sans was still filming and Frisk leaned against him with a mischievous grin and whispered:

“YouTube?”

“YouTube,” Sans nodded decidedly.

.

1.5 hours to the wedding,
The catering area.

.

“Careful, Nathan!” Muffet warned. “Look at it wobble!”

Nathan straightened up and looked at the four-tier spider sponge cake he was trying to move from its current position onto a decorated trolley. It was a magnificent wedding cake. Muffet was proud of it and Nathan even more. Cakes were very different from nice cream and he had been excited to learn from Muffet. They made a remarkably good team.

“Alright,” he said. “Let’s try again. I’ll move more slowly this time.”

He and Muffet grabbed hold of the cake platter again and carefully lifted it off the table. Muffet anxiously watched the wedding cake sway back and forth. Perched on its top tier were two little figurines that looked as much like Alphys and Undyne as marzipan sculptures could do. Nathan had made them from scratch and Muffet had already told him such talents should be made use of more often.

“Phew,” she sighed when the cake stood safely on the transportation trolley “Dearie me, that was stressful.”

They both took a step back to admire the effect of the cake resting on the beautifully decorated little table with wheels on it. They would bring it outside after the ceremony. Grillby was already sorting out the champagne to serve with it and Muffet was quite certain her cake would definitely steal the show. She looked round. Come to think of it, Grillby wasn’t setting up the other tables with food.

“Where’s Grillby?” she asked.

Nathan was just taking the plastic gloves off his blue furred paws and looked up. He was sure his boss had been with them only a moment ago. Suddenly they heard the familiar crackle of flames and sparks that followed Grillby wherever he went. He came walking into the room, talking sternly into his phone.

“I know Sadie is the better driver,” he said, his voice hardly anything more than a fire’s roar. “But I also know that you are late and that she doesn’t pay attention to stop signs. So you’ll do the driving, Emberly.”

There was a short silence as Grillby listened to his sister’s answer.

“I don’t care,” he said firmly. “You only need to be here in time for the reception and if you miss the ceremony, so be it.”

Grillby listened impatiently and then opened his mouth to reply, but this time neither Muffet nor Nathan could understand what he meant with the sharp crackling sound that followed. There was a short silence and Grillby regained his normal speaking voice when he said “Alright. Yes, I love you too, Em. See you soon.” He hung up and pulled an exasperated face at Muffet and Nathan. “Teenagers,” he said with a tired smile.

“Ahuhuhu!” Muffet laughed. “As long as they show up. We could really use a hand or two.”

She clapped her own six hands encouragingly and said: “Come on, dearies, let’s get the tables ready. I don’t want to miss the ceremony!”

.

1 hour to the wedding,
Alphys and Undyne’s dressing room.

.

Since they were all ready and in great need of calming down, Alphys and Undyne had appointed the biggest dressing room as their headquarters and were taking it easy until it was time for the ceremony. The wedding party was taking turns at distracting them when Katla came rushing in to inform them all that guests were now seriously starting to arrive. She in full costume now, complete with the ruffly blouse that exposed her wings, a black skirt, and white lace gloves.

“Oh dear,” Alphys breathed. Undyne didn’t even answer.

“It’s perfectly fine,” Katla assured them. “You guys stay here. Take it easy.”

“Yeah,” Undyne agreed. “We’ll do that. But, guys, you go out there and greet people, okay?”

“Of course!” Papyrus said, springing to his feet.

“Are you sure?” Mettaton muttered, glancing at Alphys. He really wasn’t taking the whole wedding thing too well. Most of the time it looked like he was about to cry.

“Come on, Mettaton,” Papyrus said, holding out his hand. “We have to go out there and create the appropriate atmosphere! We are the only ones that are fully dressed besides Frisk and Katla!”

“Y-yes, of course,” Mettaton said, a little surprised and he took Papyrus’ hand and allowed himself to be led outside.

Undyne watched them go with an unreadable, but intense expression on her face.

“Papyrus does have a point,” Asgore said. “I should really finish my outfit. Only I do not know where I have left my hat.”

“I think I saw it lying out on the table in the hallway,” Katla told him.

“You g-go fix that then,” Alphys smiled. “We’ll be alright here with Frisk.”

“You hear that, kid?” Sans winked. “You’re on bride duty.”

Frisk grinned and saluted. “No problem,” they chuckled.

Sans gave them an affectionate poke and sauntered out of the room, following Asgore and Katla.

“Oh yes, here they are,” Asgore nodded, picking up his hat and cravat from the little table in the hallway. “I’m afraid I still have not gotten the hang of this thing…” he muttered, fumbling with his cravat.

“Here, let me,” Katla said. She took the silk tie in her claws and tied it carefully round Asgore’s neck, making sure the ruffles fell down to his blue vest.

Sans tactfully kept walking and pretended not to listen to Asgore’s grateful thanks.

“Don’t mention it,” Katla said with a smile.

“Will you allow me to mention that you look very lovely?” Asgore said sincerely.

“Oh, thank you…” Katla said, taking a step back.

“And, may I add, it is good to see a confident young woman with her wings out,” he said.

She couldn’t help but laugh at that. She could tell he really meant it, but she was pretty sure she couldn’t even remember the last time someone had called her a ‘young woman’.

“Thank you,” she said, when he looked a little embarrassed. “You look very nice yourself, Asgore. I’m sure we’ll do the brides proud.”

“That we will,” Asgore said with a happy smile. “Oh,” he said, turning his head towards a sudden clamour of voices. “If I am not mistaken, that sounds like the former Royal Guard.”

There was indeed a lot of barking to be heard and Katla quickly ran outside to greet them. Sans was already there, saying hello to everyone at once. The entire troop of ex guards and sentries had arrived together. They were a big and loud group. Endogeny, Greater Dog, and Lesser Dog made the most noise. Dogamy and Dogaressa only did a half-hearted job of keeping them quiet, excited as they were themselves. Doggo was doing a better job of intervening when it really was needed and his calm seeing-eye-dog set a very noble example for Lesser Dog.

“Good to see you again, Doge,” Sans nodded at a grey dog with long soft ears. “It’s been a while.”

“I know,” she said regretfully. “But,” she said, cheering up immediately. “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world!”

Katla greeted her brother and his husband first, of course.

“Woah, sis!” Roy grinned. “They got you to dress up!”

“Can we take pictures?” Ralph teased.

Roy and Ralph were wearing normal suits, but they had managed to rustle up a top hat each. The dogs mostly looked like their normal selves, albeit dressed in their best clothes. But Doggo and Dogamy were wearing cravats and Dogaressa was wearing a small hat, perched between her ears.

“Quiet, you,” Katla laughed and she turned to greet two female monsters, one catlike, the other vaguely reminiscent of a praying mantis, that had clearly put more effort into their costumes.

“Grace, Gail!” she said. “I’m so glad you were able to come.”

“Are you kidding?” Gail cried, clicking her jaws excitedly. “Of course we came.”

“Like we had a choice!” Grace laughed. “Undyne would have had our heads!”

Asgore appeared, a rather intimidating sight in his dark blue three piece suit, cravat, and hat, and here was a short moment of confusion. The last time most of them had seen him, he had still been the king after all, but Asgore completely forgot about this in his enthusiasm to greet them all. They all crowded around him and everyone was congratulating everyone so loudly that Sans was the only one who heard a very soft voice behind them saying:

“H-hello, everyone.”

He turned around and gave a friendly grin to Shyren. Lagging a bit behind but catching up to her now were her agent Ari, her sister Lemony, and her unconventionally acquired brother Aaron.

“Hey, Shyren,” he said. “Hey, all.”

“Shyren!” Papyrus’ voice suddenly burst out, making Shyren start a little.

Papyrus and Mettaton had appeared, both looking very impressive in their nearly matching long red coats. Mettaton took off his hat and made an elaborate bow and began to encourage everyone to follow him to the area where the ceremony would take place.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Papyrus said to Shyren, trying to keep his voice down. “Undyne asked me to…” He started whispering and everyone had the decency to actively not listen to them. Shyren began to follow Papyrus towards the ceremony space and her family stuck close by her.

“Hey, Sans,” Aaron said in passing. “I saw Toriel and her kid in the parking lot.”

“Thanks,” Sans grinned. “I’ll go meet them then.”

“Sans!” Papyrus called back at him over his shoulder. “Do put on your jacket before you go out to visit the guests! And where is your hat? You are spoiling the aesthetic!”

“Aesthetic?” Sans snickered. “Did you get an MTT brand dictionary or something?”

Papyrus didn’t answer that, but gave Sans an accusing look before walking off towards Undyne and Alphys’ dressing room with Shyren and her family in tow.

.

Less than 1 hour to the wedding,
The event centre’s parking lot.

.

The parking lot was full of monsters and humans arriving and greeting each other enthusiastically. Finally completely dressed, Sans could hardly take a step without being called out to. First he was stopped by Susan and Isabelle, the former shop and innkeeper from Snowdin. Both bunny ladies had chosen to go for elaborate headpieces and after complimenting Sans on his own hat, they wanted to know how he and his brother had been. Having only just escaped from them, he was greeted by Drake the Snowdrake, his wife Mariah, and son Sunny. They were eager to keep walking however and when they did, he finally found Toriel. When he saw her, he stopped in his tracks.

He had never seen Toriel in her complete outfit yet and his first look at her certainly demanded that he stand back to admire. She was wearing a mauve dress with a white lace collar that closed just under her throat. The skirt flared out so wide there had to be at least one petticoat underneath it. Beside her, Asriel jumped with excitement. He was wearing a black suit with a moss green vest. He had wanted a vest just like Frisk’s and this was the closest Toriel had been able to find. By way of accessories, Asriel had a nice little top hat, but he wasn’t wearing a cravat as he couldn’t stand tight things around his neck. Toriel bent towards Asriel to say something to him and Sans saw she was wearing a small headpiece made out of gauze and purple feathers. When she straightened up, she saw him and her whole face lit up.

“Sans!” Asriel cried happily. “Is Frisk with you?”

“Sorry, they’re with Alphys and Undyne,” he grinned. “Nice vest, buddy.”

Asriel grinned proudly and ran a little ahead while Sans walked up to Toriel.

“You look amazing,” he complimented her. “A real vic-Tori-an lady,”

She gave a snorting giggle and happily reached down to hold his hand. He would have offered her his arm, but she was far too tall for that. They caught up with Asriel, who excitedly pointed to the end of the path. There was an arch draped with gauze that provided entrance to the area for the wedding ceremony, but a little in front of it stood a table with a box and two baskets on top of it. Between the box and the baskets sat a Froggit. He was wearing a top hat and was obviously there to welcome the guests. Some of Undyne’s human colleagues had just reached the table and the Froggit croaked:

“Welcome! Please, take a fan from either of the baskets if you wish.”

“Oh, thank you,” a woman with a pixie cut said, hiding her surprise.

“Now,” the Froggit croaked pleasantly. “In this basket, you will find a camera. All guests are asked to make a selfie for the photo album!”

“Cool idea,” a tall young man grinned. “Here, let me.” He fished the polaroid camera out of the basket and he and his three colleagues pressed their heads together so they all fit into the shot.

The camera spit out a photograph.

“Thank you!” the Froggit said happily. “Please put your photo in the basket and go on in!”

“Thanks, dude, eh, frog,” the other man grinned.

They passed through the arch and Asriel ran up to the table excitedly.

“Hey!” he greeted the Froggit. “Nice hat.”

“Thank you,” the Froggit said proudly. “Would you like a fan?”

“No thank you,” Asriel said. “You want one, Mom?”

“I would,” Toriel smiled. “Would you pick a white one for me?”

Asriel picked a fan while Toriel took up the camera. She glanced in the basket. There was already an impressive collection of happy selfies in there.

“Thank you, darling,” she said, taking the fan that Asriel offered her. “Ready for the picture?”

She, Sans, and Asriel looked up at the camera and she pressed the button.

“Let me see!” Asriel demanded and he snatched the photo as soon as it came out of the camera. “It’s a good one,”  he said contently. “Can we make another one later with Frisk and Papyrus too?”

“I’m sure Pap will insist on it,” Sans chuckled.

They dropped the photo in the basket, put the camera back, and walked through the arch. It was going to be an outdoor ceremony. Rows of chairs were set up with a  broad path running straight through the middle of them. At the end of the path, two poles stood a little ways apart. They were decorated with flowers and crystals and a deep green ribbon was stretched between them. The ends of the ribbon hung past the poles, almost to the ground, and fluttered gently in the wind.

“Lovely,” Toriel sighed. “Katla did a good job.”

“She sure did,” Sans grinned, nodding towards the enormous grand piano that was standing a little to the side. Judging from the grass on its legs, it looked like it had sunken into the grass at least once before someone had decided to place it on loose planks. Katla must have been rather insistent.

“Manny!” Asriel cheered happily and he ran back to the arch where Manny had just come in with his sister and parents.

Toriel turned around to tell him not to yell, but at that moment she was greeted by Gerson and she forgot all about it. Sans looked around to see Mettaton and Papyrus excitedly showing people to their chairs. Asgore and Katla were talking to Roy and Ralph.

“Hello, Sans,” someone greeted him and he turned around to see Ben, the PhD-student that worked with Alphys. He looked both nervous and really cheerful.

“Hey,” Sans grinned. “Nice suit,” he said, nodding towards his costume.

“Thanks,” Ben grinned. “It’s not Victorian, but I figured close enough. My sister made it for me for her last costume party.”

“Cool,” Sans nodded. “Oh, better stand back a bit.”

He held out his arm, making Ben step back. They were standing in the shade of one of the taller decorative trees, but Sans noticed that the shadows were getting decidedly darker in one specific spot. Ben watched with widening eyes how the shadow began to move until it turned pitch black and a humanoid shape stepped forth.

“Ah, Sans,” Gaster said. “I am not late, am I?”

“Fashionably late,” Sans chuckled. “Gaster, this is Ben, Alphys’ colleague.”

“Always a pleasure to meet a fellow scientist,” Gaster said, offering Ben a white hand.

“See you didn’t bother to dress up,” Sans remarked, while Ben shook Gaster’s hand.

“Oh, how rude of me,” Gaster hummed, glancing down at his black coat. As soon as he did the blackness moved and rippled, swirling loosely for a moment, before becoming solid again. Now he was wearing a black suit that looked decidedly Victorian, apart from the lack of colour.

“Show off,” Sans chuckled.

“Gaster!” Toriel said cheerfully. “You made it.”

“Of course,” Gaster nodded. “What a lovely dress, Toriel. May I say you and Sans look like quite the couple.”

“Thank you,” Toriel smiled happily. She glanced at Ben, who was standing strangely still and asked: “Is everything alright with this young man?”

“What?” Ben started, he had been staring intently at Gaster, completely lost in thought. “Yes, ma’am, excuse me.”

Gaster laughed softly as the young student ran off, dug a pen and a piece of paper out of his pocket and started scribbling. “A wonderful thing,” he chuckled. “The scientific mind.”

“Like I said,” Sans snorted amicably. “You’re a show-off.”

More and more monsters and humans were starting to sit down now. Shyren was whispering with Napstablook, who had come out of the building accompanied by Nathan, Muffet, and Grillby. They were essentially the staff of the wedding, taking care of the music and the food.

“Dad!” Papyrus said happily, running towards his father and brother with Asriel close on his heels. “You are here! Come and sit down, the ceremony is about to begin!”

“Goodness yes!” Toriel said. “Come along, Asriel. You can ask Manny and Maddy to sit with us if you like. Providing their parents have not yet chosen a seat for them.”

.

0 hours to the wedding
Alphys and Undyne’s dressing room

.

Catty and Bratty had been peeking out at the ceremony space every couple of minutes to see if everyone was ready and seated yet. It looked like everyone had taken their seats now. There was a nice mix of monsters and humans and everyone looked excited. Papyrus, Sans, Mettaton, and Asgore hadn’t sat down; they were standing to the sides of the ceremonial space at the end of the aisle. Shyren was sitting at the grand piano, nervously waiting for her cue. Everything was ready.

“Alright, Frisk,” Catty whispered loudly. “Go!”

Frisk was going to go out first, signalling the beginning of the ceremony. Carefully, they checked if their hat was balanced correctly on their brown curls and smoothed their skirt one last time. With a bright smile on their face, Frisk turned round one last time to look at Alphys and Undyne. They were standing side by side, breathing deeply.

“H-how do we look?” Alphys whispered.

Frisk considered this. They looked excited and terrified at the same time. Undyne’s face was a dark blue and her nostrils were flaring slightly as she breathed in and out. The scales of Alphys’ face were a paler yellow than usual and she looked like she was about to cry, but in a good way. Instead of trying to say any of this, Frisk just raised their hands and signed:

*Perfect.*

“Then let’s do this!” Undyne said and she linked her arm in Alphys’.

Bratty and Catty stood back, ready to walk out behind them, while Frisk pushed open the doors. They started walking, not looking back, but knowing that Undyne and Alphys were following them at a few paces. It was time for the wedding.

The wedding officiant was the first to see Frisk appear at the end of the aisle. She had taken the care to dress in a dark green that was close enough to the ribbon stretched above her between the two poles to honour monster tradition. Green was the colour of life and, while monster culture presumed that love and happiness were always present in abundance at a wedding, it was customary to take extra care to wish the couple long lives to enjoy them.

“Everyone,” the officiant raised her voice. “If you would please rise…for the entrance of the brides.”

All the guests got to their feet and turned around. There was Frisk, walking slowly, with a dazzling smile on their face. Behind them, came Alphys and Undyne.

They walked side by side, slowly and not shy about smiling at each other and the guests by turns. All eyes were on them and there was no sound but the gentle rustle of fabric in the wind and the soft notes of Shyren’s piano playing.

Alphys looked blushing and lovely in her ruffly white dress. Her tail only just peeked out from underneath the back of it and Bratty and Catty walked behind her, making sure the hem wouldn’t catch on anything. She wore a short gauze veil, more of a headpiece than a traditional veil, that was swept back so as not to hide any of her lovely face. In her left claws, she carried both her parasol and a wedding bouquet of nothing but lavender, tied round with a pale pink ribbon.

The white suit that matched Alphys’ dress perfectly made Undyne look even taller than she really was. She wore neither hat nor headpiece, keeping her head completely uncovered. Her red hair twisted up and then tumbled down, still almost reaching her shoulders. She didn’t have a bouquet, but she had a sprig of lavender pinned onto her left lapel, to match Alphys’.

The officiant waited for the brides to reach her. When they held still, Shyren made the notes of the piano fade away and for a moment, everything was silent. Then the officiant spoke slowly, but cheerfully. “Alphys and Undyne stand before you, united by nothing other than their love, and ask you all to witness them as they take one another as their life partners. This ceremony, joyous formality that it is, is meant to bless the bond that these two monsters share.”

She paused for a moment to let the words sink in and then she continued:

“Please, face the woman you are about to marry.”

Alphys and Undyne faced each other  and Frisk quickly ran forward to take Alphys’ bouquet and parasol from her. They ran back to stand beside Asgore, who was standing beside Papyrus at the right of the officiant. Mettaton and Sans were standing to her left, and Bratty and Catty were standing beside them. Alphys smiled at Undyne and she grinned back; the nerves that had been clearly visible on her face before were gone now. They weren’t scared, they weren’t nervous, right now they were merely waiting.

“Alphys,” the officiant said with emphasis. “Undyne… Where your two lives once were separate, you have chosen to make them one. May you live your lives together in nothing but happiness.”

Silently, Papyrus and Mettaton stepped forward and each took one end of the green ribbon that was hanging down the poles. Papyrus handed one end to Undyne,  Mettaton handed the other to Alphys. Without saying a word, but with shining eyes and faces, they each tied their end of the ribbon to the wrist of the other. All the guests watched, the monsters intently, the humans curiously, as they finished the ceremonial knots.

“Alphys,” the officiant smiled. “Do you promise to love and support Undyne today, the day after, and every day ever after?”

“Yes! I do,” Alphys said, swallowing a gulp.

“Undyne,” the officiant said. “Do you promise to love and support Alphys today, the day after, and every day ever after?”

“Heck yeah,” Undyne said loudly.

Everyone that wasn’t smiling already certainly was smiling now. Dogaressa was leaning against her husband and Ralph’s eyes looked suspiciously wet.

“Then your lives are now one,” she said solemnly. “No matter how far or how long your separation.” With those words, she cut the ribbons close to their hands, leaving nothing but a bow around both their wrists.

A sigh went through the crowd and several people wiped their eyes, including Toriel.

“Would the witnesses come forward to sign the marriage licence,” the officiant said, stepping aside.

Behind her there was a little table on which the marriage book was laid out. Alphys and Undyne signed, followed by Papyrus, Mettaton, Sans, and Asgore. The officiant checked their signatures, nodded, and gestured that everyone could return to their former place.

“The brides have decided to exchange tokens of their union,” she said in a noticeably lighter tone of voice. “May I ask the bearers to bring them forward?”

Sans and Asgore stepped forward and pressed something into either bride’s hands. Sans was grinning, but Asgore looked like he was about to cry. They went back to their places beside Mettaton and Papyrus respectively and the officiant prompted:

“Alphys, will you go first?”

Alphys held out a smooth silver ring. Undyne offered her her hand with the widest grin imaginable gracing her face.

“Alphys, what do you offer with this token of your union?” the officiant asked.

“All my love.” Alphys shone. “Forever.” Her voice didn’t falter once.

She slipped the ring on Undyne’s finger and beamed up at her.

“Undyne…” the officiant said and Undyne held up a delicate silver bracelet. “What do you offer with this token of your union?”

Everything,” Undyne proclaimed. “For as long as she’ll have me,” and she fastened the bracelet around Alphys’ free wrist.

The officiant smiled, walked up to them and placed Alphys’ left hand in Undyne’s right hand. She raised her voice and said joyfully “Then I hereby pronounce you legally wed.”

She let go of their joined hands and stepped back. Alphys and Undyne turned to face the audience, hands firmly clasped together. Even though they looked exactly the same as they had done a moment before, everything was suddenly different. They were married now and they looked so happy. A strange sort of silent sigh seemed to go through the crowd. It was a weird moment and nobody dared to break the silence, but everyone felt something should be done or said.

A light blue spear shot out of nowhere and whizzed across the newlywed couple’s heads. The officiant was not the only one who cried out in fear. Startled voices and searching eyes went all round and finally settled accusingly on Doge.

“Someone had to do it,” she said defensively. “And your mother would never have forgiven me if I hadn’t!”

Everyone looked at Undyne. She couldn’t speak for a moment and she looked back at her former colleagues. Undyne’s mother had been nothing short of a legend to the guards and sentries of the Underground. Nobody wielded a spear like her; well, nobody except her daughter.

Undyne blinked furiously as she felt Alphys squeeze her hand.

“You,” she began hoarsely. “You call that a salute? I am your captain!”

As one well-trained entity, all the former guards and sentries rose to their feet and saluted. Spears, axes, and knives materialised in their hands and paws. Undyne nodded at Doge and, with a triumphant voice, she barked:

“Long live the brides!”

“Long live the brides!” everyone cried and a swarm of weapons was propelled towards the happy couple, whizzing over their heads at relatively safe distance. A keen observer would have seen at least one bone attack among them. All guests cheered loudly and applauded.

“That’s more like it!” Undyne roared, her eyes sparking with glee.

“Kiss!” someone cheered. “Kiss!”

“Yes!” Frisk laughed. “You haven’t kissed yet!”

Before Alphys could respond, Undyne grabbed her and nearly lifted her off her feet in her enthusiasm. This time the cheers were nothing short of deafening.

 

 

Chapter Text

After the wedding ceremony,
Still outside in the ceremony space.

.

The endless stream of hugs and congratulations for the newlyweds was most dramatically interrupted by Muffet and Nathan bringing forth the wedding cake. There was a chorus of gasps and admiring murmurs and Undyne called out:

“Oh good, I’m starving!”

“There’s more than enough for everyone!” Muffet giggled, offering Undyne and Alphys a knife.

Behind them, Grillby came pushing a cart with champagne and glasses. The trolley was shaking dangerously and Bennett jumped up from his seat and rushed forward to help.

“You’re not working, Bennett,” Grillby said kindly, in a low voice.

“I know,” he grunted. “But I’ve got no real reason to be here, so I might as well make myself useful.”

“Thank you,” Grillby nodded. Beneath the sulking exterior, Bennett was actually pretty helpful a lot of the time.

Undyne and Alphys waited patiently while Grillby, Bennett, and Nathan poured the champagne (and apple juice for the children). In the meantime, the guests admired the wedding cake. Muffet stood proudly beside it. The cake was enormous and made of the fluffiest spider sponge cake. The marzipan figurines on top of the cake (Nathan had even done his best to replicate Alphys and Undyne’s outfits with white fondant) were the only artificially coloured ingredients in the cake. It had been a labour of love for Muffet and she had used only the best ingredients. All the cream filling had been hand whipped by her personally and, instead of smothering the cake in a marzipan or fondant covering, she had simply dusted it lightly with sugar before carefully lining the tiers with the best fruit late April had to offer. If she had had the time, Muffet would have made the raspberry jam that went with the cream filling herself as well. Luckily, Nathan had the uncanny ability to become friends with every single food lover in the city and it didn’t take him long to find her some jam that met her standards. Thanks to Muffet’s spiders and their careful little paws, there wasn’t a drop of jam or cream out of place. In short, it was a magnificent wedding cake.

“Together, right?” Undyne said, looking at Alphys.

“Yeah,” Alphys grinned.

They gripped the knife together and carefully cut into the cake, making sure there was plenty of opportunity to take pictures. After dramatically cutting the first piece, the brides happily let Muffet take over and she and her six hands made short work of supplying everyone with a generous slice. Frisk and Asriel needed to receive two stares from Toriel before they stopped trying to eat before everyone had received their share. Manny and Maddy got the same treatment from their parents and so did Sunny and the human children that had come along with some of Alphys and Undyne’s colleagues.

“Now that everyone has a drink,” Mettaton said happily, raising his glass of champagne. “I think before we start to taste this masterpiece, a little toast is in order!”

Now that the party was about to begin, Mettaton looked a lot more in his element and he was flashing everyone a dazzling smile.

“Don’t worry,” he chuckled, glancing at the impatient glares of the children. “I’ll keep it short. A toast to Alphys and Undyne, may your marriage be the envy of us all!”

“Alphys and Undyne!” everyone laughed, raising their glasses.

Half a millisecond later, the first squeals of delight escaped from the children as they stuffed their faces with cake. Alphys and Undyne were sharing one big piece, but they had two forks and were doing their best to feed each other at the same time. Eventually they gave up in their eagerness to eat the cake. It was delicious.

“Good job, Nathan!” Catty whispered loudly, giving him a friendly bump with her hip.

“Oh no,” he replied cheerfully. “Muffet did all of the work really. I have a lot to learn.”

“Learn how to take a compliment, dude,” Bratty rolled her eyes. “You’re as bad as Bur- Bennett.”

Bennett pretended not to hear her; indeed, his mouth was so full of cake that he couldn’t have answered her anyway. All four of them were standing a little to the side to avoid being trampled by the children who were all begging for a second piece of cake already.

“Alright,” Nathan laughed. “Thank you, Catty. It really was great working with Muffet though.” He sighed. “What a wonderful ceremony that was.”

“Totally,” Catty and Bratty replied in unison.

Catty glanced at Bennett.

“What did you think?” she asked.

“Hm?” he hummed. “Oh, it was nice. I mean, it wasn’t a monster ceremony …”

“I think they did a good job of incorporating monster rituals,” Nathan remarked.

“Yeah,” Bennett shrugged. “I guess.”

“Maybe you’ll like the reception better,” Catty smiled. “It’s gonna be a totally cool party. With dancing and stuff.”

Bratty rolled her eyes and Bennett gave Catty an uncertain look.

“You are staying for the party, right?” she asked.

“Of course he is!” Nathan answered for him, grabbing Bennett round the shoulders. “He tries to leave early and I’m not cooking for a month!”

The girls hastily quieted their laughter at Bennett’s annoyed expression when Asgore’s gentle but booming voice announced:

“Excuse me, everyone, might we have your attention for a moment?”

The talking and laughing quieted down immediately and everyone who still had cake tried not to scrape their dessert fork on their plate. Asgore was standing beside the grand piano and, when the guest saw it was now Undyne and not Shyren sitting behind it, there was a murmur of excitement. Shyren was floating next to Asgore, looking very nervous. Alphys had been talking with the amalgamate that had once been Mariah the Snowdrake and that was now still Mariah the wife and mother, but slightly less of a Snowdrake. She looked genuinely surprised to see Undyne at the piano and glanced at Papyrus and Frisk to see if either of them betrayed any knowledge of this. They both kept their faces straight, or as straight as their wide grins allowed.

“Thank you,” Asgore said when everyone was finally quiet and he stepped aside.

Without any further explanation Undyne put her fingers to the keys and started playing. For someone who did everything with force, she could play very gently and cascades of notes whirled around for a while before forming a recognisable melody. When they did however, monsters and humans alike recognised it as soon as Shyren started to sing with her lovely, if somewhat uncertain, voice:

“Wise men say, only fools rush in…
But she can’t help falling in love with you…”

The piano was positioned in such a way that Undyne could look at Alphys, and look at her she did. Alphys was blushing like a rose and Undyne smiled at her. Shyren’s voice gained strength as she progressed. Her agent and family were beaming at her from their comfortable spot in the shade and she confidently let the last lines ring out earnestly:

“Take her hand, take her whole life too,
For she can't help falling in love with you,
No, she can't help falling in love with you…!”

Undyne made sure to let the last tones of the music fade away slowly. She grinned and said:

“That was for my beautiful amazing wife. I love you, Alphy.”

Alphys made a nondescript sound and ran to the piano. She kissed Undyne and there was a round of laughter and approving exclamations before Mettaton burst out:

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me this was coming!” He turned around and wailed: “Please tell me someone filmed this?”

There was more laughter and shaking of heads. “Well,” Mettaton grumbled. “We’re at least getting a picture out of it. You sit back down!”

Extremely pleased her surprise had worked out this well, Undyne sat back down behind the piano so Mettaton could take some pictures. Before he could convince Alphys to lie down on the piano for dramatic effect, Frisk came running to congratulate Shyren.

“Yeah, Shy,” Undyne joined them enthusiastically. “You were perfect. I knew you would be!”

This signalled the beginning of so many people coming up to Shyren to congratulate her that she got rather overwhelmed. Lemony and Ari came to the rescue, reminding everyone that while Shyren was of course the most talented singer in the world and they would surely hear a lot more from her in the future, it really should be Undyne getting all their attention at this moment.

Secretly wondering if there would be more surprises, the guests stood around talking and laughing in the fresh air and sunshine. In the background, people like Katla, Grillby, and Muffet were quietly disappearing inside and reappearing again, sometimes to whisper something to a member of the wedding party. Frisk, as official bridefrisk, had nobly accepted the responsibly of keeping all the other children occupied and was leading them in a game of leapfrog with the empty chairs. It wouldn’t be long before it was time for the party to begin.

“Alphys?” Alphys turned around, excusing herself to her human colleagues. It was Gerson who had spoken to her. “It was a lovely wedding, Alphys,” he said with a smile. “But this has been quite enough excitement for this old man.”

“Of course,” Alphys said understandingly. “Thank you s-so much for coming!”

“I was honoured to have been invited,” he said sincerely. He held her claw in his wrinkly hand for a moment and gave it a squeeze. “I know your grandmother would have been so proud of you,” he said.

“Thank you,” Alphys said happily, her smile trembling a little. “I th-think so too.”

“The bunny sisters have kindly offered to give me a lift,” Gerson chuckled. He nodded towards Isabelle and Sarah who were just then hugging Undyne goodbye. “I wonder if the little rabbits haven’t broken down the house in their absence.”

Apart from Gerson, Isabelle and Sarah, and one of Undyne’s colleagues, no one felt the need to leave early. Everyone was excitedly waiting for the party to start when Mettaton raised his voice and announced “In the style of only the best dramatic human movies, there will be a bouquet toss to signal the end of the reception! So would everyone eager to catch a little good luck in the love department gather together over here?”

Bratty and Catty were absolutely the first to stand to attention. They tried to pull Nathan along, but he laughingly declined. He in turn tried to push Bennett forward, but only got a dark glare for his efforts. Gail shrugged, handed her glass to Grace, and went to stand beside the bridesmaids. Maddy and Sunny, being the eldest of the children, decided they were more than qualified to participate too. Shyren didn’t want to go, but when Aaron and Lemony did, she joined them. Intimidated but not at all repulsed by the amount of swishing tails and eager claws, some humans joined the fray as well. None of the dogs felt the need to participate, but Doge and Doggo did begin a careful explanation to Greater and Lesser Dog that although someone was going to throw something that something did not need to be brought back to the thrower.

“Everybody r-ready?” Alphys asked laughingly. “I’m gonna throw it!”

She turned around and flung the bouquet backwards. There was a lot of shouting and laughing, but the shrill shriek of triumph that shot through the air made it very clear who managed to catch it.

“No fair!” Bratty whined. “Of course you can jump higher than me!”

“I caught it fair and square!” Catty bit back.

“Well you sure need more luck than me,” Bratty snapped.

Catty gasped and almost hissed at her best friend.

Undyne rolled her eyes, took the tuft of lavender off her lapel, aimed, and threw it at Bratty like a dart. She hit her on the chest with it and Bratty gave a surprised yelp and caught it before it fell to the ground.

“There,” Undyne said. “Done!”

Alphys looked relieved. She only wanted to do the bouquet toss because it always looked so cute on TV; she hadn’t wanted anybody fighting over it. Bratty looked pacified for the moment, pinning the sprig of lavender on the sash round her waist. Catty happily clutched her bouquet and everyone looked expectantly at the brides.

“Katla?” Alphys asked.

Katla stepped forward and spread her arms to the guests. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you would follow the wedding party inside, a not-so-very Victorian but absolutely splendid party awaits!”

Undyne grinned and dramatically offered Alphys her arm. They slowly walked towards the building, where a big double door had been opened to let everyone in.

“Since we’re being all formal,” Mettaton winked. “Papy?”

He held out his arm.

“Oh, thank you!” Papyrus said cheerfully and he accepted.

Frisk and Manny giggled, imitating their dramatic way of walking as they trailed behind them. In a slow steady stream, the guests went inside. Sans hung back a bit, waiting for Toriel. Asriel was already beside him, watching with a frown on his face how his father offered Katla his arm.

“Hey, kid,” Sans said. “Hats really a pretty cool outfit you’ve got there. I don’t think I told you before but it’s the absolute vest.”

Asriel grinned.

“Yeah,” he said, repressing a smirk. “It really suits me, right?”

Sans chuckled. “Ah, man,” he said. “That one was better than mine.”

“Gotta tie harder, Dunkle Sans,” Asriel grinned and Sans laughed out loud.

“There are my two handsome gentlemen,” Toriel said with a smile, coming towards them.

“Can I go catch up with Frisk?” Asriel asked.

“Of course,” Toriel said with a smile. “But once you are inside, stay inside, alright?”

“Alright!” Asriel cried and he ran off.

Sans and Toriel followed him at a gentle strolling pace. They were among the last people to go inside and Toriel glanced around the empty ceremony area. It looked rather messy, but the sun was on its way down and bathed everything in a warm light.

“Pretty sweet,” Sans remarked. “The way they fixed the ceremony.”

“Lovely,” Toriel agreed.

They went inside, passing another Froggit in a top hat (or perhaps it was the same Froggit; it was very hard to tell them apart) that informed them in what directions they were to go for the restrooms and the cloakroom. They didn’t have anything to put away however, so they went straight into what the Froggit had called the ballroom.

It was a very large space, simply decorated, but big enough to house a dance floor and turntable, a bar, two large buffet tables, and smaller chairs and tables to sit down at. Candles in glass jars stood shining on every table and pleasant background music filled the room. This was courtesy of Napstablook, who was now wearing his headphones as well as his top hat, and was floating behind the turntable which was clearly his domain for the night.

“Wow,” Toriel said, looking around admiringly. “This is very nice!”

“Hm,” Sans hummed, trying to steer her in the direction of the buffet tables.

“Alright, alright,” she laughed. “No need to push.”

They walked towards the buffet. Between the two tables stood two teenage girls in almost matching black dresses and properly matching white aprons. One of them was smiling cheerfully, her face and hands consisting solely of bright green fire.

“Good evening,” she said with equal politeness and cheerfulness. “My name is Emberly Fuku Fire and I’ll be your server tonight! The table on the left has savoury treats, the table on the right all the sweet confectionaries. If there is anything you need or want to know about the food, please don’t hesitate to ask!”

“Why thank you,” Toriel smiled, a little overwhelmed at such spirit.

Emberly nodded politely and glanced at the girl beside her. She was studying her tentacle-like hand passively, not even looking at Sans and Toriel. Emberly nudged her in the side reproachfully and the girl straightened up, looking first Toriel, then Sans in the eye.

“Sadie,” she said simply. “And ditto to what she said.”

Sadie,” Emberly huffed, sparks shooting from her face, but Toriel smiled and Sans chuckled approvingly:

“You, I like you. You have good taste, Em.”

Emberly’s flames flashed bright for a moment and she laughed shyly.

“It’s good to see you again,” he said to her. “How’s the college search going?”

“Good,” she nodded. “I have my shortlist ready, I think. And it’s good to see you too,” she added, with a crackle in her voice that Sans had come to associate with Grillby’s equivalent of a happy hum.

“Nice to meet you, Emberly,” Toriel said warmly. “And you too, Sadie. Grillby has told us all about you.”

“And he told me about you!” Emberly said eagerly. “Thank you for offering to help me with college applications! It’s been alright so far, but I’ll be sure to come to you if I need help.”

“I’d be happy to help,” Toriel assured her.

“Hey, Em,” Sans said. “You wouldn’t happen to know if there’s any ketchup here?”

“Of course,” Emberly smiled. “Oh, except the savoury table is supposed to be Sadie’s responsibility.”

“Ketchup and sauces, that way,” Sadie said, pointing lazily.

“Thanks,” Sans grinned. He winked at Emberly and with that, he pulled Toriel towards the savoury table.

“You did that on purpose to wind me up!” they heard Emberly snap accusingly at her girlfriend when they had walked past them.

“Yeah,” Sadie chuckled. “But only cause you’re so cute when you go all sparky.”

Sadie snickered and Toriel repressed a laugh.

“Look at this!” a human they knew was called Tim called out to his wife. He pointed at a couple of Vulkins that were sitting on the savoury table, keeping some of the dishes warm.

“Would you like a toasty grilled cheese?” one of the Vulkins asked politely, pushing the plate towards him.

“Oh!” he gasped, clearly not having expected the small monster to talk. His wife in the meantime was behind accosted by a very friendly but persistent Woshua. He had noticed she had a stain on her sleeve and was cleaning it for her on the spot.

“There really should be more gatherings like this,” Toriel said in a low voice. “More opportunities for humans and monsters to mix in a relaxed atmosphere.”

“Hey,” Sans smirked. “Do you ever stop working?”

“I am sorry,” Toriel laughed. “Look, there is your ketchup.”

The savoury table was indeed well stocked in regards to sauces and Sans filled a glass with spicy ketchup. The normal drinks were being served at the bar, which was, of course, being manned by Grillby.

Between the food, the drink, and the music, everything was set to make this a great party. Sans and Toriel sat down with some food and they were soon joined by Manny’s parents. They chatted and kept half an eye on their children, who were making Ralph, Roy, Grace, and Gail prove that they hadn’t lost their edge now they weren’t guards anymore. Proving this involved picking up as many children as possible at once and carrying them around.

At the table next to them, Nathan had sat down with Muffet, Bennett, Bratty, and Catty. Muffet was quite incapable of sitting still for long and was gone in a minute or two, but the others stayed seated, laughing and talking until Napstablook decided it was time for dancing. The music changed dramatically and people immediately started to find their way to the dance floor for a spin.

Bratty and Catty watched the dancing, but didn’t move. If Bennett saw Catty glance at him, he certainly didn’t let on. Bratty looked increasingly annoyed, but before she could say something Nathan suddenly got to his feet and said “Ladies! Would you do us the honour of dancing with us?”

He grabbed Bennett’s arm and dragged him to his feet with pure enthusiasm.

“We’d love to,” Catty said, doing the same with Bratty.

“Then lead the way,” Nathan smiled, gesturing towards the dance floor.

Catty skipped ahead, leading Bratty by the claw, and Nathan followed them.

“What are you doing?” Bennett hissed under his breath.

“Earning my title as your best friend,” Nathan hissed back. “Now come on!” and he dragged Bennett with him.

Alphys saw them go and let out a little squeal of contentment. She found Undyne in the crowd and went up to her to whisper:

“Look at that! I hope they finally get together.”

“Why not,” Undyne grinned. “No place like a wedding to hook up, right?”

“I said get together,” Alphys laughed accusingly. “N-n h-hook up.”

She gave Undyne a loving squeeze and went to chat to some guests she had hardly spoken to yet. Undyne watched her go with a grin on her face. Then she caught sight of Mettaton and her face changed. Her expression went from frowning to thoughtful to downright determined and suddenly she marched up to him.

“Hello,” Mettaton said cheerfully. “Anything I can do for the newlywed beauty?”

“Yes,” Undyne said firmly. “You can tell me why you’re standing around here instead of dancing with Papyrus.”

Mettaton’s face might have been metal, but it was expressive enough to show the different shades of shock and embarrassment he went through at that moment.

“Really, darling,” he said, trying to laugh it off. “This is your wedding. Go have fun with your wife.”

“Don’t avoid the question,” Undyne snarled. “I know you like him, you’re obvious as hell.”

Mettaton crossed his arms. “Of course I like him,” he said defensively. “And I am not obvious, darling, I am passionate.”

“So ask him to dance, you metal dork,” Undyne groaned.

“Thanks for the encouragement, darling, but I’d rather not,” he said, looking away.

“I wasn’t encouraging,” Undyne scowled. “It was an order. I’m a bride, you have to do what I say.”

Mettaton swept his hair out of her face and gave her a frustrated look.

“What do you think I am?” he hissed. “Shy? I’d love to ask Papy to dance, but…I don’t think he’s into me, alright? Not like that anyway.” He turned around with a nettled expression. “There, happy now?”

“What are you talking about?” Undyne said, astonished. “You guys are always flirting.”

“That’s exactly the point,” Mettaton sighed. “I’ve been putting out signals for ages and he does respond, but I just don’t think the whole relationship thing is even on his radar…”

He looked actually downcast and Undyne was starting to feel uncomfortable.

“Well, that’s what Alphy and I thought about Sans and look at him,” she said.

Mettaton shook his head. “I appreciate your need for romance, darling, but I’m not going to ask Papyrus for anything he doesn’t want to give.”

“But you don’t know that,” Undyne insisted. “Why don’t you-”

“No,” Mettaton said flatly. “The answer’s no, Undyne. Sorry.” He turned around and walked away quickly, before she could say anything else.

“This is ridiculous,” Undyne muttered. “I didn’t listen to Papyrus complain about sexy rectangles for what seems like a damn lifetime for it all to end up like this.”

Angrily, she marched to the table where Alphys, Sans, and Toriel were sitting down chatting.

“You,” she said pointing at Sans. “Where is your brother?”

“Dunno,” Sans said. “Why?”

“I need him for something,” Undyne said darkly and she walked away.

“Uh-oh,” Alphys muttered, she glanced at Sans, slid off her chair, and quickly went in pursuit of her newly made wife. “What’s the matter?” she whispered, almost running to keep up.

Undyne held still so abruptly Alphys bumped into her. She took a step back, smoothing her dress, and Undyne turned round to look at her.

“Alphys,” she said with sudden solemnity. “This is my wedding and that means I’m in charge and I am getting Mettaton and Papyrus together if it kills me.”

Alphy’s eyes widened. She certainly hadn’t expected that. Whenever she talked about Papyrus and Mettaton as a potential couple, Undyne usually just hummed indistinctly or muttered something about hell freezing over or Sans blowing a fuse.

“Oh!” she sputtered excitedly. “R-really? I mean, why now?”

Undyne made a soft frustrated noise and rubbed under her eye-patch.

“C’mere,” she muttered and she caught Alphys by the hand.

They walked to a quiet corner of the room. Alphys gave Undyne an expectant look. She sighed and pointed across the room to Mettaton. He was talking and laughing with Drake like nothing had happened.

“Mettaton just told me he thinks Papyrus isn’t interested in him,” she said in a low voice. “And he meant it.”

Alphys stared at Undyne for a moment and then she glanced at Mettaton, biting her lip.

“You’ve talked to him about it right?” Undyne asked.

“N-not a lot,” Alphys confessed. “I thought I’d only make things worse. I t-tend to do that…”

Undyne narrowed her eyes at that self-depreciating comment and Alphys smiled involuntarily.

“The one time I d-did ask him directly about it,” she added. “He said something about unequal r-relationships and how he could never m-make the first move.”

“Hmpf,” Undyne grunted.

Alphys played absentmindedly with her veil and, glancing up at her, asked:

“W-what made you ask Mettaton about it?”

Undyne looked at her.

“Do you remember what it was like?” she asked. “Being in love with each other, but both thinking the other wasn’t interested? It sucked.”

“Y-yeah,” Alphys sighed, squirming a little.

“But now we’re married,” Undyne said, resting her webbed hands on Alphys’ shoulders. “You’re my wife.”

Alphys’ face was shining with happiness as she looked at Undyne. She’d gotten side-tracked and had quite forgotten what she was going to say. Undyne was already leaning forward a little and Alphys pushed herself up on her toes and pressed a scaly kiss on her lips.

“Sometimes I think about how long we could have been together if either of us had just had the guts,” Undyne grimaced when Alphys pulled away. “But I guess we needed Frisk to help us, so… Urg! I just want the bonehead and the metalhead to be happy, alright!”

“Go on then,” Alphys grinned. “Go t-talk to Papyrus. I’ll keep an eye on M-mettaton.”

She gave Undyne a happy squeeze in her forearm and a glint of determination sparked in Undyne’s eye.

Right!” she said, straightening up and glancing menacingly across the sea of dancing and standing people. “Where is he?”

She found Papyrus in a corner, dancing with some of the kids. Alphys couldn’t see him, not having Undyne’s height advantage, but she could tell Undyne had zeroed in on her target. So she gave her an encouraging smile, lifted her skirts, and made her way over to Mettaton. Undyne glanced over her shoulder to where Sans was sitting. Toriel had joined him again and he seemed suitably distracted talking to her, so Undyne went for it.

“Hey, kids,” she grinned when she’d reached Papyrus. “Give me a minute with my best man, will you?”

“Awww…” Manny complained.

Asriel, Frisk, and the other kids weren’t very eager to comply either. Undyne put her hands on her hips.

“Bridefrisk!” she said authoritatively. “As one of the brides of this wedding, it is your duty to obey me. If you want something to do, there’s some dogs over there that could use a pet.”

Frisk’s face lit up. Toriel had told them them no petting, but since this was Undyne’s wedding she definitely had higher authority in this case.

“Come on, guys!” they yelled and they all ran off to the other end of the room in a little stampede of children.

“Is there something you need me to do, Undyne?” Papyrus asked cheerfully. “I hope you are having a good wedding.”

“The best,” Undyne answered. “But listen.” She swung her arm across his shoulders and pulled him into a half hug, half headlock, wrinkling both their suits. “I gotta ask you something.”

“Alright,” Papyrus agreed, squirming a little under her grip. “What is it?”

Undyne looked him straight in the eye and while her serious face surprised Papyrus, her question surprised him even more. “What’s the deal with you and Mettaton?”

Papyrus changed colour. Undyne let go of him and he fumbled with his cravat.

“Do you like him?” she prompted.

“Of course I do!” Papyrus said earnestly. “Who wouldn’t? Mettaton is magnificent!”

“So?” Undyne said impatiently.

“So I am very glad he is my friend!” Papyrus said. “Back in the Underground, I never would have thought that would actually happen!”

Undyne frowned in frustration. Normally she could read Papyrus like a book, but right now she was getting nothing.

“Urg,” she groaned. “Look, what I’m trying to ask-”

“You think Mettaton and I should be dating,” Papyrus interrupted her.

Undyne blinked, shutting her mouth in surprise.

“It is an understandable wish,” Papyrus nodded. “After all, it is not often one meets with two such amazing individuals.”

“Eh, right,” Undyne said. “So, would you want to date him?”

Undyne,” Papyrus said in a slightly shocked tone. “I would never be so selfish.” He straightened up to his full height and shook his head. “Mettaton is a star. He belongs to the world, to his fans, to his art! How could I justify trying to win him over for myself alone?”

Undyne gave him a stunned look. Of all the things she had expected, this was definitely very low on her list.

“It’s not like he’d have to choose between being a star and dating you,” she said. “Is it because you think he’s more interested in his work than romance? Because I think he’s really into you. I mean it, Pap.”

“That is very nice of you to say,” Papyrus said, looking away. “I mean, I am very great and often very charming…” He shook his head. “But I am sure Mettaton lives for the stage.”

Genuinely at a loss for words, Undyne nodded uncertainly, trying to hide her disappointment. She felt rather deflated.

“Okay…” she said. “Sorry I brought it up, I guess.”

“That’s okay,” Papyrus said, sounding like his cheerful self again. “But why aren’t you with your wife? Why aren’t you dancing?

“Alphy isn’t quite up for it yet,” Undyne shrugged. “Maybe when Napsta decides to play some slower songs.”

“But everyone is having such a good time!” Papyrus said. “Look, even Asgore is dancing!”

“Really?” Undyne grinned. “Is someone filming? Where is he?”

She scanned the crowd. It was busy enough on the dancefloor to make even Asgore not stand out immediately.

“There,” Papyrus pointing. “He is dancing with Miss Katla!”

“He’s what?” Undyne’s mouth almost dropped when she finally found Asgore. Sure enough, there he was, dancing like the dad he was and holding onto the claws of a slightly ill-at-ease but smiling Katla. “Well, I’ll be…” Undyne muttered under her breath.

“They look very good together, don’t they?” Papyrus observed.

“Heck yeah they do!” Undyne cried. “I gotta find Alphys, she has to see this.”

She ran off excitedly to find her and left Papyrus on his own, watching the dancing. After a while, he walked to where Sans and Toriel were sitting. Toriel was tapping her foot to the rhythm of the music and Sans was drinking ketchup from a wine glass.

“Hey, Pap,” Sans said when he sat down beside him. “Undyne was looking for you just now. Did she find you?”

“Yes, she did,” Papyrus said. “You know she told me something funny?”

“Yeah, bro?” Sans said, swirling the ketchup in his glass.

“Yes,” Papyrus said. “She told me she thinks Mettaton is in love with me.”

Sans stopped swirling and Toriel stopped tapping her foot. She glanced at Sans. Sans glanced at Papyrus.

“Really?” he muttered.

“Heh, yeah,” Papyrus said with a half-hearted laugh.

He looked across the room. From where they were sitting he could just see Mettaton leaning against the turning table, chatting with Napstablook. Toriel looked from him to Sans and back again, ready to say something distracting as soon as it was needed.

“Well…” Sans said slowly, putting down his glass. “Undyne is usually pretty good at that sort of stuff. Maybe she’s right.”

“Then it is very lucky for both of us that I am mindful of Mettaton’s position as a star,” Papyrus said hastily. “After all, a star as famous as Mettaton cannot afford to fall in love with just one person.”

Sans was very aware that Toriel had to try very hard to keep her mouth shut, but he purposely did not look at her. Instead he forced a grin at Papyrus and said “Imma get us something to drink, be right back.”

He got to his feet and turned to Toriel. “You want anything, Tori?”

“No thank you, Sans,” she said. “I haven’t quite finished my drink.”

Sans nodded and disappeared. A moment later he reappeared with a glass in each hand. One of them was filled with red liquid and decorated with a celery stick and lemon wedge. Sans smiled and held it out to Papyrus.

“Got you this, bro,” he said.

“Oh!” Papyrus said. “What an aesthetically pleasing drink.”

“Yeah,” Sans grinned, sitting down. “I thought you’d like it. It has your spaghetti juice in it.”

Toriel gave him a surprised look, but didn’t say anything. Papyrus sipped the drink.

“Very nice!” he complimented.

Sans took a swig of his whiskey and nodded. “Hey Pap,” he said. “About Mettaton…”

Papyrus fixed his eyes on his brother, taking another sip of his drink.

“Maybe you’re right,” Sans said. “Being the star that he is, Mettaton couldn’t date just anybody.”

Papyrus nodded solemnly, but Sans continued: “It’s have to be a pretty special person. You know, someone who could deal with being with a star. Someone equally amazing. Don’t you think so, Tori?”

“I…certainly,” Toriel stammered, taking quite by surprise. She recovered quickly however. “Any relationship has its challenges,” she said. “But dating someone famous is certainly not easy. I hope Mettaton will have the good luck to find someone that is strong enough to stand by him.”

“Yeah,” Sans nodded. “It would have to be someone pretty great…”

Papyrus was looking at them with glowing cheekbones and round eyes. His glass was half empty.

“You don’t think it would be…wrong for him?” he said. “I mean, think of his fans!”

“I would think Mettaton’s fans would all be very happy for him,” Toriel said warmly. “Don’t you, Sans?”

“Sure,” he said and, looking at his brother: “And if you think about it, all fans really do is love you from afar. Having to be amazing every day…all on your own…might get pretty lonely.”

Papyrus didn’t answer that. His whole face was glowing. With a sudden movement, he emptied his glass and got to his feet so abruptly his chair scooted back with a screech.

“Excuse me,” he said loudly. “I have to go do something important.”

“Go for it, bro,” Sans said, repressing a grin.

“Thank you,” Papyrus said and he ran across the dancefloor towards the DJ’s table.

Sans,” Toriel said, only just managing to keep her voice calm. “That was-”

“Yeah, I know,” he interrupted, putting his unfinished whiskey away on the table. “So, you wanna dance?”

“Dance?” Toriel gasped laughingly. “What’s gotten into you all of the sudden?”

“Dunno,” Sans chuckled. “If you don’t want to dance-”

He was cut off by Toriel grabbing his hand and pulling him to the dance floor, laughing like a young goat. She twirled around and Sans looked up at her, grinning widely. His dancing was definitely minimal effort, but he was keeping in the rhythm of the music and he was moving. Toriel leaned towards him while dancing so no one else heard when she said “That’s really lovely of you, Sans, what you just did for Papyrus and Mettaton.”

“Yeah, well, let’s hope it doesn’t blow up in my face,” Sans grimaced.

Toriel shook her head. “I know the others make jokes about you being so protective of Papyrus that you would never let anyone near him, but I have always known that you only want him to be happy and you would do everything to allow him to be so.”

“Of course you did,” Sans grinned. “You really goat me, Tori.”

“You make it easy for me,” she said, repressing her laugh and trying to sound serious. “After all, I can see right through you.”

They both burst out laughing, grabbing at each other’s hands, still swaying from side to side on the music. Neither of them was aware that they were being watched by Frisk and Asriel. Frisk had managed to get hold of the polaroid camera and was furiously making pictures. Asriel was holding them for them. With a slight frown, he looked at one on which his father had his arm lightly around Katla’s waist. Frisk looked at him, their own hands full of pictures of Sans and Toriel.

“What?” they asked, looking at his face. They looked at the picture. “Oh.”

Asriel shrugged and put the picture at the bottom of the stack.

“I like Katla. Don’t you?” Frisk asked cautiously.

“Yeah…” Asriel said slowly.

“Your dad’s gotta dance with someone,” Frisk said.

“Yeah…” Asriel repeated.

“Come on,” Frisk said, laying the camera aside. “Let’s go ask Doge if she’ll do that thing she does with her ears again.”

They took Asriel by the hand and they ran off in search of the former canine unit, nearly tripping over Alphys’ train as she hurried in the other direction.

“Sorry!” they called back, but Alphys didn’t even hear them. She ran to Undyne as fast as she could without having to lift up her skirt too high and grabbed her arm as soon as she reached her.

“Undyne!” she gasped. “Undyne, you have to see this!”

“Is it Sans dancing?” Undyne said. “Because I’m looking right at it!”

“What?” Alphys said, temporarily distracted. “Really? Where-NO! No, this is more important than that!”

“What is it then?” Undyne asked, looking at her. Alphys’ glasses were fogged up with excitement.

“Come on,” she said. “I’m not saying! You have to see!”

Undyne shrugged and followed her overexcited wife to the exit of the ballroom.

“Where are they going?” Toriel asked curiously.

Sans shrugged and pulled on her hand as the song ended. “Want to go get a drink?” he asked.

“Yes, I do,” Toriel laughed, fanning herself. “This dress was clearly not made for dancing!”

They walked over to the bar and took a seat.

“Hey Grillbz,” Sans said. “Surprise us.”

“Did your brother enjoy the Bloody Mary?” Grillby inquired, mixing them each a different cocktail.

“Yup,” Sans grinned. “Not sure exactly how much he enjoyed it yet, but we’ll see.”

Toriel giggled and Grillby made a questioning noise just as Gaster came up to the bar.

“Sans,” he said. “Are you aware that Papyrus and the robot Mettaton are out in the hallway pretending to kiss while Undyne and Alphys watch them from behind a potted plant?”

Grillby nearly dropped a bottle of rum and Toriel made a delighted sound.

“No,” Sans chuckled. “But that sounds like quite the sight.”

“It was,” Gaster hummed, taking a seat. “I’ll have what he’s having, if you please, Grillby.”

“I think you would rather have what Toriel’s having,” Grillby crackled, handing Sans a ketchup, Tabasco, and vodka cocktail.

“I agree,” Gaster said after a glance at his son’s drink.

“Gaster, what do you mean ‘pretending to kiss’?” Toriel laughed softly.

“I mean that I believe they have yet to figure out how to,” Gaster said philosophically.

Sans snorted into his glass and Toriel exchanged an amused glance with Grillby. Gaster chuckled.

“Well, I’m glad to see you’re alright with it,” he said.

“Couldn’t be better,” Sans chuckled. He glanced at the dance floor. “It’s quite the night for romance, hm?”

Everyone sure looked like they were having fun. Roy and Ralph were dancing so wildly other people had to take care to stay a couple of paces away from them. Nathan and Bratty were both manoeuvring further and further away from Catty and Bennett while dancing and the two of them hardly seemed to notice. Dogamy and Dogaressa were demonstrating their nose nuzzling skills and Muffet was mesmerizing the human children by doing a traditional spider dance with her many arms.

They sipped their drinks and watched the dancing. Grillby idly cleaned some glasses and glanced over to the buffet table every now and again. Most people hadn’t wanted anything to eat for a while now and Emberly and Sadie had abandoned their post. They were standing in a corner of the room, holding hands and talking with their faces so close together Emberly’s green flames illuminated Sadie’s face. Grillby looked away, a warm crackle escaping him. If people needed help with the food, they could always ask the Vulkins…

“Napsta!” a loud voice rang out above the music. Everyone looked up to see Undyne descending onto the dancefloor with big, triumphant strides. “Play me something I can jump to!”

Behind her Alphys was trying to walk and polish her glasses at the same time and a few paces behind her walked Papyrus and Mettaton. They both looked extremely happy, very red in the face, and rather dishevelled.

“Coooooming right up!” Napstablook agreed and the music changed immediately.

Undyne raised her fist in the air approvingly and jumped on the dancefloor.

“Come on, Alphy,” she coaxed. “You know you want to.”

“I c-can’t,” Alphys laughed. “Not in this dress.”

“Then go ask Grillby for a drink or something!” Undyne shouted. “Ask for whatever it was Papyrus had! Fuhuhuhuhu!”

She roared with laughter and watched Mettaton pull Papyrus onto the dance floor to the surprised but delighted looks of at least half the guests. There was an unmistakable clicking sound that indicated either Frisk or someone else was taking pictures again and Napstablook turned up the volume with something that looked like a happy smile, but was his equivalent of the widest of grins. Undyne was dancing with Manny now, who could jump remarkably high.

Alphys walked to the bar, where Grillby silently handed her a Bloody Mary.

“How did you-?” she asked, confused, but he only laughed.

“Would you look at that!” Toriel gushed, looking at Papyrus and Mettaton dancing with their arms around each other. Mettaton was no longer wearing his red coat, but only his almost-golden vest on a white shirt. Papyrus still wore his red velvet coat though and it coloured nicely against the gold. Mettaton spun around wildly and bumped back into Papyrus with a laugh.

“Such enthusiasm,” Gaster chuckled.

“It was about time,” Sans grinned.

Alphys gave him an astonished look. She didn’t believe what she was hearing. “You did this?” she asked.

“I didn’t do nothing,” Sans shook his skull. “You can’t prove anything. I deny everything.”

Toriel laughed and Alphys decided to stop asking and drink her cocktail. Before she had even half-finished it, Undyne waved at her and pointed at Napstablook. When she looked, Napstablook flashed her a ghostly smile. Shyren was floating beside him, giggling. Quickly Napstablook pressed a button. There was a loud sound effect of sparkles flying through the air and as soon as the first notes left the speakers, Alphys jumped to her feet.

“Do the thing, Alphy!” Undyne laughed, running towards her. “Do the thing!”

Laughingly Alphys sang along to Mew Mew Kissy Cutie’s theme song and did the Kissy transformation dance.

“Mew Mew Kissy Cutie!
Friendship, laughter, love!
Mew Mew Kissy Cutie!
Who’s the one you love?”

Frisk, Asriel and Manny joined in and, halfway through, Maddy couldn’t resist any longer either. Manny and Maddy’s father filmed them with a big grin on his face.

“Transformation complete!” Alphys cried, doing the final pose as the music finished.

“Now give me a magic kiss,” Undyne demanded, bending towards her.

Alphys laughed and pressed her lips against hers. At that moment, Napstablook turned down the lights and piano music filled the room.

“She says I smell like safety and home…”

“You planned this!” Alphys laughed, pulling away from the kiss.

“Yup,” Undyne grinned. “Only just now though.”

With a resigned laugh, Alphys put her arms around Undyne’s waist, while Undyne leaned down and let her arms rest on Alphys’ shoulders in a light embrace. They danced slowly. Everybody watched them, but at least some people had the decency to pretend to dance while they watched. The only people not watching them were probably Mettaton and Papyrus as they were too busy slow dancing themselves.

When the next song started, nobody stopped dancing. Toriel slid off her chair and held out her hand to Sans. He grinned.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Tonight’s already ruined my reputation quite a bit.”

“Please?” she said, smiling. “Alphys and Undyne dance pretty well, but I think we could give them quite a pun for their money.”

Sans laughed and nudged Gaster. “She does puns about puns,” he grinned. “How could I not fall in love with this woman?” And he grabbed Toriel’s hand and followed her to the dancefloor, right past Bennett, who had his arms wrapped carefully around Catty’s waist. They danced and they looked very lovely together, Toriel in her mauve dress and Sans in his blue coat.

Gaster chuckled and set his empty glass down on the bar.

“Well…” he said slowly. “My sons are certainly full of surprises.”

“I’ll say,” Muffet remarked, sitting down next to him. “Papyrus nearly ran me off my feet earlier!” She laughed heartily and took the glass of spider cider that Grillby offered her with a smile. “Thank you, dearie,” she said.

“Where are the kids, Muffet?” Grillby asked. “You didn’t really hypnotise them, did you?”

“Of course not!” she said. “Ahuhuhu, well, maybe a little. But don’t worry, they’re over there.”

She nodded towards a corner where Asriel and some of the other children were trying to dance moving their arms like Muffet had done. A few steps further on, Frisk was dancing with Manny and his sister was fumbling with the camera, hoping she’d be in time to take a picture. Gaster watched her take the picture. Frisk laughed and Manny stuck out his tongue at her when she teased them.

Gaster slid off his chair and walked up to Maddy. “May I?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” she said politely and she gave him the camera. He turned around, watching the dancers. Gaster waited until both his sons with their partners and the newlyweds were in shot and carefully took a picture. He watched it roll out of the camera and held it up as the black slowly faded to show colours. For a moment he smiled at the six happy faces on the paper. Then he slipped the picture in his pocket, gave the camera back to Maddy, sat back down at the bar and continued to watch the originals.

.

After the party,
Undyne and Alphys’ house.

.

It was very late at night. Alphys and Undyne were home and, for the first time since Mettaton had come over the evening before, they were alone.

With an exhausted but really happy sigh, Undyne closed and locked their front door. She was still in her wedding suit, but somewhere along the way, her hair had come undone and she had lost her jacket. Some of the guests had still been dancing when Alphys had announced that she was really going to fall over if she had to be on her feet any longer. So they had done their dramatic exit with Napstablook blasting some extra epic music and Katla had driven them home.

“Alphy?” Undyne called, repressing a yawn.

“In here,” Alphys called from the living room. She was standing at the dinner table, where Katla, with a bit of teleporting help from Sans, had put all the wedding gifts for them to inspect at their leisure.

“I didn’t realise we got h-half this stuff,” she said with a smile. “W-who gave us action figures?”

There were indeed some action figures among the more traditional gifts like wine decanters and decorative objects. There was a Mew Mew figurine with Mew Mew in a wedding dress, a Zygarde with crimson markings and a card tied round its neck that said: “Congratulations!” and one of the latest pieces of MTT merchandise. There was also a Sonic the Hedgehog doll in a tuxedo,  a cute shark plushie with big anime eyes and a small, grey golden-eyed cat with a  blue satin bow around her neck.

Undyne walked up to Alphys and draped an arm around her shoulder. Alphys had gotten rid of her veil and some of the buttons of her dress were loosened. She still looked like an adorable, if slightly crumpled, bride. In the middle of the table stood a big glass jar. It was full of envelopes and on the front it had a label that with “Japan Fund” written on it with glitter pen. On top of all the envelopes, lay a present, clandestinely put inside the jar as well. It was a small box that read: Pocket Translator, English-Japanese.

“Tokyo, here we come!” Undyne grinned, tapping the jar triumphantly.

“C-can Tokyo wait until I’ve slept for a year?” Alphys laughed.

Undyne chuckled and bent down to nuzzle Alphys’ neck. She picked up a drawing that showed her and Alphys holding hands. Underneath was written: “Congratulations on getting married from Manny.” Manny really drew very well for his age. Considering that he drew with his feet, he drew extraordinarily well, but then again, he had never drawn in any other way.

“Awesome,” Undyne chuckled.

“That’s so sweet,” Alphys said admiringly. “When did he give that to you? I didn’t see it before.”

“I don’t remember,” Undyne shook her head, laying the drawing safely aside.

“This is so cool,” she said, idly pushing a button on the brand new rice cooker that stood next to the basket with the polaroid selfies. Leaning against the machine was a cookbook that promised to teach even beginner cooks how to make sushi from scratch. “We’re gonna make so much sushi,” Undyne vowed solemnly.

Alphys nodded, but instead of answering, she yawned and leaned her head against Undyne’s side. Smilingly, they looked at the big stack of cards and envelopes full of congratulations. Most of them were still unopened. On top lay a brightly coloured envelope with a Momiji giftcard sticking out of it. Underneath it, a fat envelope with a Mew Mew Kissy Cutie sticker caught Alphys’ eye. She reached out, but decided to leave it for tomorrow. She was filled to the brim with happiness and fatigue. Undyne felt the same.

“Wanna go to bed with an episode of JoJo’s?” she asked.

Alphys looked at her, smiling. “Sure!” she said. “But…is that special enough? For our w-wedding night, I mean?”

Undyne looked back at her wife and gave her a tired grin. “Course it’s special,” she said. “It’s us doing it.”

So they got out of their wedding clothes and into their PJ’s, watched an episode of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and fell asleep in each other’s arms. On the wall above their bed still hung a big white heart that said “Brides to Be”, except someone had crossed out the words “to be” crossed with red crayon. Their house, cleaned and tidied so meticulously by their friends two days before, was a mess. Their sleeping faces still had smudged traces of badly removed make-up on them. But everything was perfect and so were they.

Chapter Text

After preparing for a big event like a wedding, it is always strange to get on with normal life like usual. Frisk thought it was absolutely ridiculous that so much could happen in one day and then two days later they were expected to just go to school like nothing happened. Asriel agreed wholeheartedly. At least the weather did its best to make the days special; there had never been such lovely weather. Frisk and Asriel spent every possible second they could outside, preferably barefoot and in as few articles of clothing as Toriel would allow.

When it was cloudy on one of their free Wednesday afternoons, after days of golden sunshine, they were highly insulted.

"Now we have to think of something to do inside," Asriel complained.

"I know," Frisk said. "Let's draw pictures."

"Alright," Asriel agreed, cheering up.

They gathered pencils and paper and installed themselves in the living room. Sir Pouncival came to lie on the table, overseeing their work. They had hardly begun their first drawings, however, when the sun came out from behind the clouds and streamed in through all the windows.

"It's doing it on purpose," Frisk scowled.

"Let's just go draw outside!" Asriel said.

"Yeah!" Frisk agreed, jumping up. "I'll get one of Mom's tea trays to draw on."

They ran to the kitchen while Asriel gathered their drawing stuff. Sir Pouncival meowed disapprovingly when Asriel pulled a piece of paper out from under him. He gave Asriel a very accusing feline look. Sir Pouncival did not approve of being abandoned like this.

Frisk came back from the kitchen with two tea trays and two juice boxes.

"Sir Pouncival wants to come outside with us," Asriel informed them.

"Then we'll take him with us!" Frisk said, tucking the trays under one arm and picking Sir Pouncival up with the other.

Toriel had decided it was best to keep Sir Pouncival inside, but occasionally  he was allowed out into the garden if someone kept a close eye on him. So Frisk and Asriel went to the backyard and sat down in the grass to draw, while Sir Pouncival nestled beside them, lazily swatting at a fly every now and again.

"I'm going to draw a picture of Papyrus and Mettaton," Frisk decided.

"I'm going to design a garden," Asriel said. "Just like Dad."

It was nice to sit in the grass and draw while the sun warmed their backs and the fluffy clouds drifted by overhead. Occasionally Sir Pouncival would let out a soft purr and Frisk or Asriel would give him a stroke.

“Frisk?” Asriel asked, colouring the trees. “What were your first parents like?”

Frisk didn’t answer right away. They carefully drew Mettaton's hair, swept over one eye.

“Soft,” they said eventually.

“So are mine,” Asriel grinned.

“No,” Frisk laughed. “Not that kind of soft. Just…I don’t know, soft. Warm and quiet?”

“They talked with their hands too, right?” Asriel asked. “Just like you can." He took a blue pencil for the echo flowers; he missed echo flowers.

Frisk nodded.

“I’m sorry they’re not here now,” Asriel mumbled. “But…but I’m real happy you came to the underground.”

Frisk looked up into his anxious face and smiled. “Me too,” they said. “The people I had to stay with after the accident were not very nice.”

“Did you run away?” Asriel asked. “I ran away once, just to see if I could.”

“I didn’t run away,” Frisk said. “We were all playing on the mountain. I wanted to explore a cave and then I fell.”

“Who were you playing with?” Asriel asked, surprised.

“The other children,” Frisk replied.

“What other children?” Asriel asked.

Frisk hardly ever talked about their past and Asriel was certain they had never mentioned other children.

“The other children that didn’t have parents anymore,” Frisk said.

“Were they nice?” Asriel asked.

“Nicer than the grownups,” Frisk said. “But they were all bigger than me.”

“Mmmm,” Asriel hummed. Older children were often difficult to deal with.

Frisk dug in the box of pencils looking for the one silver coloured pencil they had. They couldn’t draw Mettaton without silver.

“You’d like my parents,” they said suddenly and they grinned at Asriel. “They like you.”

“Really?” Asriel said happily. “Cool…”

“Done!” Frisk said contentedly, laying down their pencil.

“Me too,” Asriel said.

They swapped drawings to admire each other’s work. Asriel’s garden was lovely. There were big yellow buttercups and blue echo flowers everywhere. Frisk’s picture of Papyrus and Mettaton was full of sparkles drawn with silver and gold pencil; it was a happy drawing.

“Who should I draw next?” Frisk asked, taking a new piece of paper. “Mom and Sans or Asgore and Katla?”

Asriel didn’t answer. He stroked Sir Pouncival silently and pulled a face. Frisk put their pencil down and leaned back, looking at him.

“What?” they asked.

“Nothing,” Asriel said sulkily.

“Why can’t your dad like Katla?” Frisk asked. “You’re not mad at Sans for liking Mum, are you?”

“No…” Asriel mumbled. “But it’s different.”

“Why?” Frisk demanded to know.

“It just is,” Asriel frowned, looking away.

Frisk gave him a long, silent look. Finally they reached out to pet Sir Pouncival as well. Asriel was stubbornly staring at his own hand and didn’t look at Frisk.

“I thought you didn’t want your dad to be alone,” they said after a while.

“He’s not alone,” Asriel huffed. “He’s got me. And Gaster.”

“Yeah…” Frisk said. “But we’ve got each other and Mum and Sans and Papyrus… And really we’ve got Gaster and Asgore too…”

Asriel wrinkled his snout in frustration. “But so does he! And Undyne and Alphys,” he said.

“So why can’t he have Katla as well?” Frisk asked with a smile.

Asriel sighed and let himself fall onto his back in the grass. The truth was he didn’t know why any of it bothered him; it just did. Frisk decided to let it go and flopped down beside him, on their stomach with their feet in the air.

“We don’t have to draw any more pictures,” they said, changing the subject. “We can do something else.”

“Like what?” Asriel asked, turning his head to look at them.

“Mmm…” Frisk pondered. “I know!” they cried, their face lighting up. “We can play with my magic book!”

They ran into the house and came back with ‘The Big Book of Forgotten Magic’.

“I can’t find the wand,” they said, sitting down in the grass beside Asriel and opening the book.

“You don’t need a wand for magic anyway,” Asriel said.

You don’t,” Frisk said reproachfully and they gave Asriel a dark look as he conjured up a few green sparks from his fingertips.

Asriel laughed.

You can save,” he said.

“That’s not magic,” Frisk said.

“Why not?” Asriel said. “No one else can do it.”

“Hm,” Frisk hummed, they had never really thought about it like that.

“Let’s do this one,” Asriel said, pointing to a page of the book that read: “Transmorphication.”

It was a spell to turn things into other things. Asriel found it really funny. Everyone knew you couldn’t just make things into other things. Monster could make raw magic into things, like Undyne’s spears and Sans and Papyrus’ bones, but that was different. And you could always tell what was a real thing and what was a magic thing. You couldn’t turn a real thing into a magic thing.

“It says you can turn a stone into a toad!” he laughed. “But only if the stone already feels like a toad.”

Laughingly Frisk got up and hunted around the garden in search of a stone. They found a nice big, lumpy one and brought it back to Asriel.

“This one looks really toady,” they said.

“Very,” Asriel agreed, grinning.

“Alright,” Frisk giggled, putting the stone of the ground in front of them. “Tell me what to do.”

“You have to point at the stone and imagine that it’s a toad,” Asriel said, reading the book. “But first you have to turn around three times counter clockwise, hopping on one leg.”

“It does not say that!” Frisk laughed.

“It does too!” Asriel chuckled.

“Where?” Frisk demanded, reaching for the book. “Let me see.”

“No!” Asriel grinned. “I was giving your instructions! Come on, do the toad thing!”

“Fine,” Frisk said, sticking out their tongue. They stood up on one leg and hopped around three times counter clockwise, yelling: “Toad! Toad! Toad!”

Asriel dropped the book and snorted with laughter. Frisk pulled some extra funny faces, pointed both their hands dramatically down towards the stone, and said in the most solemn voice they could command: “TOAD.”

Frisk’s face and voice flooded with determination and Asriel could have sworn he felt his fur crinkle. A red glow flared up around the stone and Frisk let out a cry of surprise.

“Frisk!” Asriel yelled.

Instead of answering, Frisk kicked at the stone and jumped backwards. Nothing happened. The stone was just a stone. The red glow was gone. Everything was fine.

“What was that?” Asriel gaped.

“I don’t know!” Frisk said. They were as surprised as he was. The glow had looked a little like the magic glow that Sans and Papyrus created when they used their telekinesis, but much weaker than that. It hadn’t done anything however. The kicked stone lay on its other side now, but it was definitely not a toad. “What if I had actually done it?” Frisk gasped. “Could I have turned it into a toad?” They let out a nervous laugh. “Sir Pouncival might have eaten it!”

“No,” Asriel said. “Sir Pouncival wouldn’t do such a-” He looked around. There was no black cat in sight.

“Pouncival?” Frisk said, following Asriel’s gaze around the garden. “He was with us a minute ago, right?”

“I… I don’t know,” Asriel said uncertainly.

“Pouncival!” Frisk called out. “Here, Pouncival!”

Asriel clicked his tongue and made purring sounds. There wasn’t a meow or purr in response. Sir Pouncival didn’t come.

“What if something happened to him?” Asriel gasped.

Frisk looked at him with wide, panicked eyes.

“It’s our fault,” they squeaked. “We shouldn’t have let him outside…”

“Maybe he’s in the front yard!” Asriel said desperately.

They ran to the front yard, calling Sir Pouncival’s name.

“Pouncival?” Frisk cooed. “Pouncival?”

Asriel looked under all the shrubs, but he didn’t even see a single paw print. Frisk thought of the night they found Sir Pouncival alone and cold in the dark and they felt tears pricking in their eyes.

“Asriel…” they whimpered.

“He’s not gone,” Asriel said hastily. “He can’t be.”

Mr. Denny from across the street was watering his plants and looked up to see the children running around.

“Everything okay over there?” he asked.

He put down the hose and crossed the street. Asriel and Frisk looked at him with quivering lips.

“What’s the matter?” he asked, concerned.

“We’ve lost Sir Pouncival,” Frisk whimpered.

“Our cat…” Asriel explained.

Mr. Denny nodded; he had guessed as much. “When did you see him last?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Frisk wailed.

“Only a couple minutes ago!” Asriel said. “It can’t have been longer.” But he didn’t sound very sure.

“And you’ve looked all around the garden?” Mr. Denny asked.

The children nodded.

“I wish we hadn’t taken him outside,” Asriel said in a small voice.

“That can’t be helped now,” Mr. Denny said kindly. “We have all done things that make us wish we could turn back time, but sadly that isn’t how things work.”

Asriel looked over at Frisk, slowly. Frisk’s eyes were wide and shocked. They stared at each other, not even hearing Mr. Denny talk anymore. Frisk had gone very, very pale and Asriel stood so still he might have forgotten to breathe. Turn back time…

“Children,” Mr. Denny said suddenly, startling them from their panicked thoughts. “Where are your parents? Have you told them what happened?”

Asriel and Frisk looked up at him, dumbfounded.

“You aren’t home alone, are you?” he said.

To tell the truth, they had absolutely forgotten they weren’t.

“SANS!” Frisk yelled, bolting into the house.

“We…we forgot…” Asriel stammered.

Mr. Denny smiled. “That happens sometimes when you get really startled by something,” he said sympathetically. “Makes it hard to think straight.”

Meanwhile, Frisk was storming down the basement stairs, still yelling. There was a flash of light and an extremely startled and still sleepy looking Sans appeared out of nowhere right in front of them. Around his neck, draped like a furry shawl, lay Sir Pouncival.

“Pouncival!” Frisk shrieked and they nearly tackled Sans in their attempt to hug both him and the cat at the same time.

“Woah! Woah!” Sans sputtered. “What’s the matter?”

Asriel had heard Frisk scream and he came running too. “You found him!” he cried and he dove on top of them.

“It’s a good thing I technically don’t have to breathe,” Sans said, sounding muffled. He gently disentangled himself, leaving Frisk and Asriel on the floor, hugging the purring Sir Pouncival tight. “Mind telling me what all that was about?” he asked.

Frisk and Asriel looked at each other. They were so happy they could  have cried. Asriel almost did.

“We…we were playing outside,” Frisk gulped.

The garbled explanation that Frisk and Asriel managed to give Sans didn’t clear things up at all. Before they could try again however they heard a voice upstairs that called:

“Hello? Frisk? Asriel?”

Sans looked up. He didn’t recognise the voice immediately.

“Oh!” Frisk said, remembering. “That’s Mr. Denny!”

“We left him outside,” Asriel said ashamed.

“What do you mean left him?” Sans frowned.

They all went upstairs, where Mr. Denny was standing in the hallway. He had just wanted to make sure the children were alright. When he saw the cat in Frisk’s arms, he smiled.

“Ah,” he said. “I see the crisis has been averted.”

“Yes!” Frisk said, a little awkwardly but still very relieved. “He had just gone down to Sans’ workshop.”

“There you go,” Mr. Denny said kindly. “The cat had more sense than you gave him credit for.”

“Thank you for helping us,” Asriel said with an apologetic smile.

“Not at all,” Mr. Denny shook his head. “I’ll hurry back to my plants now.” He nodded at Sans and left, closing the front door behind him.

Sans gave Frisk and Asriel an inquiring look. He was fully awake now, but still didn’t fully understand what had happened.

“We thought Sir Pouncival ran away,” Asriel explained.

“Because we took him outside…” Frisk joined in.

They told the whole story again, a lot calmer this time, and when they were done, Sans chuckled and shook his skull.

“Alright,” he said. “Well, crisis averted, I guess. I could use a glass of ketchup. Do you want juice or chocolate milk?”

“Chocolate milk,” Frisk sighed and Asriel nodded in agreement.

They were sitting at the table, drinking and each nibbling on a biscuit when Toriel came home from her work at the Council.

“Hello,” she said cheerfully. “What a cosy gathering.”

“Yeah, well,” Sans chuckled. “Be glad you didn’t come home a little earlier.”

“Oh?” Toriel asked, sitting down.

Asriel and Frisk exchanged a guilty glance and told her what had happened.

“Luckily it was only a scare,” Toriel smiled, stroking a purring Sir Pouncival. “And I am sure you will be more careful next time.”

“Yes,” Frisk nodded.

“We probably scared him away with the magic,” Asriel sighed.

“Magic?” Toriel asked, surprised, and Sans looked up from the cracker he was dunking in his ketchup.

That particular detail had slipped the children’s minds when they were giving their explanations.

“Um,” Frisk said nervously. “We were playing with my magic book and…I did…something?”

“Humans can’t use magic, right, Mom?” Asriel asked urgently. “Except it really looked like Frisk did!”

They both tried to explain what they had seen and Toriel and Sans listened attentively. Sans relaxed after the first couple of sentences and Toriel didn’t look very concerned either.

“I suppose I should have talked about this to you sooner,” she said. “Especially since I gave you the magic book! That was likely a little irresponsible of me.” She shook her head, but smiled when she saw the confused stares of her children. “All monsters can use the magic flowing through them,” Toriel explained. “They do it in different ways, but essentially all magic is the same. Technically there is no reason why humans could not do it too, except the human body is not made for magic. A human needs an incredibly strong soul to be able to channel magic. Humans with souls strong enough to do it are very rare, but Frisk, I do think you are one such human.”

Frisk stared at her and Asriel looked very wide-eyed.

“In fact, I am quite certain you possess the ability to use magic,” Toriel said seriously. “And I am sure it helped you make your way through the Underground.”

Frisk glanced at Sans, but he looked almost as surprised as they were by this sudden admission of Toriel’s.

“Perhaps,” Toriel said calmly. “When you are a little older, it would be wise to try and find out in what direction your magic naturally flows and perhaps let you practice with it.”

Frisk opened and then shut their mouth again, not sure what to say. They glanced at Sans, who looked back blankly. Finally Frisk said:

“But…there might be other humans that can do magic too?”

Toriel sighed. “Well,” she said. “It is certainly a possibility… I did know of one other once.”

Asriel made a soft sound and Frisk glanced at him before looking back at Toriel.

She looked into Frisk’s eyes. “Tell me,” she said solemnly. “Are you truly surprised about all this, or are you mostly surprised that I know?”

Frisk cast down their eyes and Toriel nodded slowly. “A bit of both, I see,” she said.

For a moment, her expression was very serious and Frisk thought they were in trouble. Sans was waiting nervously, wondering if he should say something and Asriel almost spoke up in defence of his sibling when Toriel smiled. The grave look had passed and her face was soft and cheerful again.

“Well,” she said with a sigh. She smiled and her eyes began to twinkle. “Truly, Sans,” she said. “We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, both our children are absolutely magical.”

Frisk and Asriel cheered up immediately and Sans chuckled. “They sure are,” he agreed.

“Do you want to see what I picked up on the way home from work?” Toriel asked, taking a plastic bag and putting it on the table.

Yes,” Frisk said, sitting up.

“What?” Asriel asked eagerly.

“I seem to remember you two wanted to do some crafting…” Toriel smiled and she emptied the bag’s contents on the table.

There were wooden rods, brightly coloured wax paper, broad ribbons, and rolls of tape. It took Asriel and Frisk a moment to process exactly what was before them, but as soon as they caught on, they both let out a cry of joy. Ever since they had seen Mary Poppins for the first time a few days ago, they had wanted nothing more than to make their own kites.

“Good to see you have not yet lost your enthusiasm,” Toriel laughed. “We will see if we can manage to finish one before dinner, alright?”

So Sans moved to the couch with Sir Pouncival and took a nap to make up for the one from which he had been so rudely awoken earlier, while Toriel, Frisk, and Asriel made a kite. It was not a very good kite as the wax paper was giving the children quite a lot of trouble. When they had almost finished it, Papyrus came home and with his encouragement, they made a second one while Toriel prepared dinner. After dinner, they made a third one and that one looked like it actually could fly.

“Can we go try it?” Frisk asked. “Please, Mom?”

“There’s still time, isn’t there?” Asriel pleaded. “It’s still light outside!”

That was not a very good argument and Asriel knew it, but Toriel only laughed. “Go on then. Fly your kite. I am sure Papyrus would love to help you.”

“Absolutely!” Papyrus exclaimed. “How exciting! I have never flown a kite before.”

The three of them ran outside and with a little cheating in the form of Papyrus’ telekinesis they managed to get the kite high enough up in the air to catch the wind. It soared beautifully and its multi-coloured tail fluttered triumphantly in the wind.

“Mom! Sans!” Asriel cried. “Come look!”

Toriel and Sans came outside just as Frisk carefully handed over the string of the kite to Papyrus.

“Nyeh! Nyeh! Nyeh!” Papyrus laughed excitedly. “Look at it fly!”

“Isn’t it pretty!” Asriel said proudly.

“It’s awesome,” Frisk proclaimed.

“Well done,” Toriel smiled. “It is absolutely beautiful. And it flies so well!”

“Having fun, bro?” Sans grinned.

“I am!” Papyrus said. “Look, it is dancing!”

“Yeah,” Sans nodded. “It’s kite the sight.”

“Don’t distract me with your awful puns,” Papyrus said happily. “I am flying.”

“Oh, we can tell you are in full control,” Toriel giggled. “There are no strings on you.”

Sans gave her a loving grin and Frisk and Asriel laughed and snorted. They took turns flying the kite until Toriel said it was time to go inside, where Sir Pouncival lay in his basket and slept without a care in the world.

Chapter Text

Summer was approaching fast and Frisk and Asriel, as well as all of their classmates, were eagerly waiting for it to arrive. When summer came summer vacation wasn’t far behind. The weather was wonderful, so the entire school spent their breaks outside playing tag, cops and robbers, or anything that involved running in the sunshine. Of course, this meant a fair amount of falls and scraped knees as well as a lot of fun.

One of the first graders had fallen quite hard and started crying. His friends gathered around him, lips trembling because they had become so startled by the sudden cry of pain. Asriel and Frisk were the first of the older kids to reach them.

“Are you okay?” Asriel asked kindly. “Did you hurt your knees?”

The little boy looked up at him. Asriel was good with little kids; something about him made them like him instantly. Perhaps it was his almost fluffy fur.

“Ye-es,” the boy sniffled.

“Here,” Asriel said, helping him to his feet. “Let me see.”

The boy’s knees were only lightly scraped and he wasn’t bleeding.

“You’ll be alright.” Asriel smiled and Frisk nodded reassuringly.

The other children looked relieved.

“Shall I sing you a song?” Asriel offered.

“What kind of song?” the little boy asked curiously.

“A song from the Underground,” Asriel said mysteriously.

All eyes were upon him now. They all nodded. Frisk sat down on a nearby wooden bench while Asriel gathered the small kids around him and sang:

“Oh where, oh where
Has Annoying Dog gone?
Oh where, oh where can he be?
With his ears cut short
And his tail cut long
Oh where, oh where can he be?

I think he went down
To the artefact room
To see what he could see
And what he saw
Was a globe so bright
I wonder what could it be...?”

Solomon Sorry, who was on playground duty, had heard the commotion and was coming over to see if everything was alright. He saw Asriel had already done an excellent job of calming the first graders, but he was a little surprised to see Frisk sitting down. He thought they looked rather pale.

“Frisk?” he asked. “Everything alright?”

Frisk looked up at his kind face and nodded.

“Fine, Mister Solomon,” they said politely.

“Are you sure?” he said with a worried frown, sounding a little nervous. “Have you…drunk enough water? It’s very hot today.”

Frisk shrugged passively and Asriel came to sit beside them.

“I’m fine,” Frisk insisted. They didn’t feel so well, but they had been fine this morning and Frisk hated being sick. If they didn’t acknowledge it, perhaps it would go away.

“Alright,” Mr. Sorry said uncertainly. “If you’re sure…”

Even though he was doing very well as a teacher, he still had to work on being assertive with the kids. The children liked him so keeping order in the classroom wasn’t a problem and he was a great art teacher, but when it came to being authoritative, he still had a thing or two to learn. The kids knew that and, even though they were never mean or disrespectful, of course they took a little advantage of it.

He was really worried about Frisk though, so just before recess was over, he went to have a quick word with Ms. Hannigan and told her about it. Ms. Hannigan promised to keep an eye on Frisk and when the children all came back to the classroom after short recess she took Frisk aside.

“You look very pale, Frisk,” she said, sharing her colleague’s opinion.

“I’m fine,” Frisk protested, but they didn’t sound fine.

“Are you?” Ms. Hannigan asked with a kind but penetrating look.

Frisk’s shoulders slumped. They were so tired…

“No,” they muttered.

“May I?” Ms. Hannigan asked and she carefully lay a cool hand on Frisk’s forehead. “You’re very warm,” she observed. “I think you have the beginnings of a bad cold.”

“You’re not supposed to get a cold in summer,” Frisk said contemptuously.

“People get colds whenever the weather changes,” Ms. Hannigan smiled. “Don’t worry. With a bit of rest you’ll be right as rain in no time at all, but I do think you should go home.”

The fact that Frisk didn’t even argue was proof enough of their really being sick. Asriel had been watching them and now he ran up to them and asked:

“What’s going on?”

“I’m afraid Frisk is a little ill,” Ms. Hannigan said. “I think they should go home. Who shall I call, Frisk?”

“They’re both working today,” Frisk said. “What day is it?”

“It’s Tuesday,” Ms. Hannigan said gently.

“Sans,” Frisk said decidedly. “Mom is at the council today.”

“You could call my dad,” Asriel said. He was staying with Asgore this week and knew he’d be home.

But Frisk shook their head. “I want Sans,” they said in a small voice.

“I’ll call him now,” Ms. Hannigan promised. “Children!” she raised her voice. “I have to step outside for a minute. All of you prepare for the English lesson and I’ll be back soon.”

She left Frisk with Asriel, who had a comforting arm around them, and stepped into the hallway with the list of contacts for the children. She dialled Sans’ number.

“Knock knock,” someone said on the other side of the line as soon as the call was answered.

“Is this Sans? Frisk’s parent?” Ms. Hannigan asked.

“Oh, yes,” Sans said hastily. “It is. Heh, sorry about that. Who is this?”

“Hello, Sans,” Ms. Hannigan said. “This is Frisk’s teacher Ms. Hannigan.”

“Hello!” Sans said, recognising her voice at last. “Ms. Hannigan…is something wrong?”

“Oh it’s nothing to worry about, but I wondered if someone could come to pick up Frisk. They aren’t feeling very well, you see, and-”

The phone made a strange static noise and the next second there was a bright flash of light right beside her. Ms. Hannigan started and took and nearly stumbled backwards into the wall.

“Good grief!” she gasped when she realised it was Sans that had materialised beside her out of nowhere.

“Is Frisk alright?” he asked urgently.

“They just have a cold,” Ms. Hannigan said with a shaky smile. “But I do think they had better go home for the day.”

“Right,” Sans said, relaxing a little. “Well, I’ll take them home then.” He saw the teacher’s still slightly shocked expression and gave her an apologetic grin. “Eh…sorry about that,” he said. “Didn’t mean to startle ya.”

“That’s alright,” Ms. Hannigan said, recovering quickly. “It’s not like most parents wouldn’t have done the same if they could.”

Sans grinned.

“I’ll go fetch Frisk,” she said.

She walked back into the classroom, where she found Frisk surrounded by their friends. Asriel, Manny and Laura were the principle caretakers, but at least half the class was concerned with making Frisk feel better. They were a popular kid.

Sans waited, still a little anxious, until Ms. Hannigan came back with a very pale Frisk beside her.

“Sans,” Frisk mumbled and they fell straight into his arms.

“Hey, kiddo,” Sans comforted, hugging them tight. “Don’t feel so good, hm?”

“Ngh,” Frisk groaned, shaking their head against his hoodie. Even in the hot weather they had been having, Sans preferred his usual outfit.

“I’m sure with plenty of rest they’ll get the better of it soon,” Ms. Hannigan smiled.

“Thank you,” Sans said. “I’ll take them home and put them to bed.”

“Get well soon, Frisk,” Ms. Hannigan said warmly.

“Hm-hm,” Frisk muttered. Safely in Sans’ arms they felt twice as tired as before.

“I’ll be off then,” Sans said, drawing his arms a little closer around Frisk. He looked at Ms. Hannigan and she, understanding what he meant, took a step back with a nervous smile. “Thanks again,” he grinned, and teleported them home.

“Kid?” Sans said, standing in the living room. “We’re here.”

Frisk buried their face deeper into Sans’ hoodie and refused to move.

“Alright,” Sans sighed. “Let’s get you to bed.”

He took hold of Frisk and lifted them off their feet. Frisk was at least as tall as he was, but Sans was a lot stronger than he looked. He carried them upstairs, put them into their summer pyjamas, and tucked them into bed.

“There you go,” he said. “Now, I believe sick humans have to drink orange juice.”

Frisk shook their head in protest. “I have a hurty throat,” they mumbled.

“I’ll get you apple juice then,” Sans said and he teleported to the kitchen. When Toriel and Papyrus weren’t home, he always teleported more, but this time he had a good excuse to hurry.

He came back with two juice boxes and a packet of crackers. He placed them on Frisk’s bedside table and Frisk made a tired, but appreciative sound.

“You look beat, kid,” Sans said sympathetically. “Go take a nap.”

Frisk shook their head.

“Why not?” Sans asked.

*Read me as story?* they signed imploringly.

Sans grinned. “Alright,” he said. “Move over.”

Frisk scooted over to the far side of the bed so Sans could get in beside them. He tucked the covers tighter around them so he wouldn’t sit on top of them and sat down beside them, leaning against the headboard.

“How about we start that new book I got you?” Sans suggested.

Frisk nodded sleepily. They really didn’t care much, as long as Sans stayed with them. Sans gestured towards the bookcase and a blue book with big white letters floated towards him. It was called “The Time and Space of Uncle Albert”.

“One of my colleagues with kids recommended this,” Sans explained in a gentle tone of voice. “I think you’ll like it…”

Frisk listened with a tired smile on their face while Sans read from the book. He read about gravity and how it didn’t really exist and about curved space and warped time, that were actually the same thing because they were linked. Frisk didn’t understand any of it. Perhaps they would have if they had been fully awake, but now all they really registered was Sans’ comforting voice quietly talking about stars and spaceships. Their head ached and they were so tired they couldn’t keep their eyes open, but they felt cosy and coddled.

Sans stopped reading, listening to Frisk’s breathing. He was almost sure they had fallen asleep when they opened a sleepy eye to see why he had stopped talking.

“Heh,” he smiled. “How long are you going to sick to this not-sleeping routine?”

*Don’t want to,* Frisk signed. Their movements were so languid Sans could hardly understand, but he got the gist of it.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, brushing a damp strand of hair out of their face.

“Blech,” Frisk said.

Sans chuckled. “I can see that,” he grinned. “Don’t worry, kid, I’m sure Tori will have some tricks up her sleeve when she comes home.”

Monster healing magic and the healing properties of some of their food worked best on physical injuries. They were much less effective concerning diseases or infections. Some of Alphys’ colleagues were trying to figure out why and hadn’t made any progress yet. Toriel’s healing powers were a lot stronger than most however and there was probably at least something she could do. Still, it was only a cold.

“Mmm…” Frisk muttered and they buried deeper into their blanket.

“Heh,” Sans chuckled, looking at them. “You remind me of Pap when he was little…”

Frisk looked up at him, tried to free their hands from the blanket, decided it was too much work, and said in a hoarse voice “You guys get sick too?” They had never seen any of their monster family or friends being sick.

“Not like humans do,” Sans explained. “But we have our own kinds of sickness.”

“Like what?” Frisk asked.

“That’s a little hard to explain,” Sans said. “We’ll leave that for later…” He picked up the book again. “Want to know about the distortion of spacetime?”

Even through the layers of fatigue and cold-induced grogginess, Frisk managed to give Sans a sarcastic look. He chuckled.

“Okay, okay,” he grinned. “Something a little less heavy? What do you want?”

“Tell me about when you and Pap were small?” Frisk asked. Sans didn’t talk about their past a lot, but they hoped being sick earned them some special treatment.

The pinpricks of light in Sans’ eye sockets twinkled at them and he chuckled softly.

“Alright,” he said, sliding down to sit a little more comfortably. “Have I ever told you about the time Pap did his first bone attack?”

Frisk shook their head and listened with a smile on their face to the story of little Papyrus who had been so eager to learn how to do bone attacks that he ended up striking Sans in the skull with one by accident. During the story Frisk snuggled up to Sans, their head still on their pillow, but their face nearly buried in the sleeve of his hoodie. Sans was pretty sure him trying to leave would not be accepted, so instead he began another story. Frisk kept drifting between awake and almost asleep, but Sans stayed with them and kept talking. Seeing a smile relax Frisk’s pale face was enough to make him keep telling stories.

When Toriel came home later that afternoon however, she found them both fast asleep, Sans still propped up against the headboard, Frisk still nuzzling his arm. Seeing the juice boxes and the unopened packet of crackers on the nightstand, Toriel guessed that Frisk must have been unwell and she decided not to wake either of them. Frisk was sleeping soundly and did not look very ill. So she let them sleep, knowing that resting was probably the very best way to get Frisk well again and far too endeared by the sight of them squashed together in Frisk’s bed to want to put an end to it any time soon.

Chapter Text

It was a lovely, quiet Saturday morning. The sun was barely up. It was so early that even Frisk and Asriel were still sound asleep in their beds.

“GOOD MORNING! Time to wake up! It is the most special of days! I have prepared us all spaghetti for breakfast!”

Frisk sat up in confusion, abruptly awoken by Papyrus’ piercing voice. “What?” they yawned groggily, but Papyrus was gone already. His loud footsteps sounded in the hallway, clearly on their way to Sans and Toriel’s room.

“Nggh…” Asriel groaned in his bed on the other side of the room. “Why…?”

“Good morning, brother! Good morning, Toriel!” Papyrus cried out, flinging open the door to their bedroom.

Toriel sat up in bed with a shock. “Goodness, what is the matter?” she cried.

“It is time to wake up!” Papyrus sang joyfully. “Today is the day we buy my car!”

“No…” Sans protested, crawling back under the covers that Toriel had thrown off them with her sudden movement.

“Papyrus, it is incredibly early,” Toriel said wearily. “And we cannot leave until Mettaton gets here anyway so there really is not any use in getting up already. I am sure he is not quite awake yet.”

“Yes he is,” Papyrus contradicted. “I know he is because I called him awake half an hour ago!”

Toriel groaned slightly and there was a muffled chuckle from Sans underneath the duvet.

“He is on his way now and I have made you all my special breakfast pasta!” Papyrus informed them happily.

Toriel saw there was no use in trying to contain his excitement and she figured she had better get up and try to add some items to the breakfast menu.

“Alright, Papyrus,” she said with a sigh, getting out of bed. “Hand me my dressing gown, will you?”

.

A very groggy twenty minutes later they were all gathered round the breakfast table. Sans and Toriel were drinking coffee and everyone had a plate of Papyrus’ breakfast pasta. It consisted of crispy bacon and scrambled eggs mixed through plain spaghetti noodles. It actually didn’t taste half bad.

When they were halfway through breakfast the bell rang and Papyrus ran to the door to answer it. It was Mettaton. He was in his box form, the penalty for not having been able to go through an entire recharge cycle, but he greeted Papyrus with all the excitement and affection in the world.

“Any idea what you’re looking for, Papy?” he asked, after he had said hello to the others and sat down at the table as well.

“I am sure I will know my car when I see it,” Papyrus said confidently.

“Of course,” Mettaton said. “It’s best to follow your heart in such cases. Metaphorically, of course.”

“Yes!” Papyrus grinned. “But I do know it will be red!”

“Well,” Toriel smiled. “I hope the car dealer opens early!”

In the end, they didn’t leave that early after all. The abrupt start to the day hadn’t exactly made Sans, Frisk, and Asriel the most awake people on the planet and they took a long time to get ready. Luckily Mettaton was more than capable of keeping Papyrus busy in the meantime and when they eventually set off, everybody was in a good mood. They were going to a used car dealership on the other side of town and because Papyrus hoped be driving his car when they got back, they all went there in the family car. Toriel and Sans had decided a while ago to trade in their station wagon for a minivan and they had acquired one that seated seven with ease.

“I know they have a lot of beautiful cars!” Papyrus chattered excitedly. “I looked on their website! And I called ahead to tell them we were coming!”

That was true, Papyrus had called ahead, but that did not mean that Mr. Jacobson was prepared. He was in no way prepared for the two jumping children, one of which was a small goat, the robot, the overexcited tall skeleton, the grinning small skeleton, and the big, motherly goat that descended onto his establishment. Mr. Jacobson was a salesman and businessman in heart and soul, so he greeted them with cheer and enthusiasm, but he was certainly thrown. Luckily his daughter was not.

“Oh my god!” she cried, nearly pushing her father out of the way. “Are you Mettaton? I mean, I’m real sorry if there’s other monster robots, but you look just like him!”

“I can assure you, sweetheart,” Mettaton said. “There is no one else quite like me.”

She obviously had to try pretty hard to contain her excitement when she thrust out a perfectly manicured hand to shake hands with them all. “It’s awesome to meet you! I’m Carrie!”

She smiled at Papyrus in particular adding: “You’re the one that called about the car, right? Sporty, soft-top, preferably red?”

“Yes!” Papyrus said. “I am looking for my dream car!”

“Well,” Mr. Jacobson said, relieved that his daughter seemed more than capable of handling these eccentric customers. “I will leave you in my daughter’s capable hands.”

“Yeah, we can get started right away,” Carrie said cheerfully. “Tell me, does it need to be fast or does it need to be fun?”

Papyrus and Mettaton took the lead in following Carrie around from car to car, discussing the pros and cons of every option she showed them. Toriel and Sans trailed after them, sometimes wandering off to look at other things and trying to keep the kids in check.

Suddenly Papyrus stopped in his tracks and pointed at a relatively small, red convertible that shone bright red in the sunshine.

“Look at it!” he cried. “It looks so happy!”

“Oh that’s a very nice one,” Carrie nodded. “The Fiat 124 Spider. It’s in your price range too, only it’s a two-seater.”

“Ah,” Papyrus said. “Oh yes, I see.” He had wanted to get a car that seated four, with possible family trips in mind.

Mettaton saw Papyrus disappointed face.

“Papy,” he said. “Is the number of seats really such a deal breaker? This is your fun car. If you like that one, just try it!”

“Yeah, bro,” Sans joined in. “You haven’t been as excited about any of them as you are about that one.”

Papyrus hesitated for a moment, but then his face lit up with a grin. “Alright!” he said. “I’ll have a closer look.”

He inspected the car closely while Mettaton asked Carrie some specific questions. Frisk and Asriel saw that something was finally happening, so they ran to Papyrus side to see what he was looking at.

“I like it!” Frisk said. “It’s so shiny!”

“It looks happy,” Asriel laughed.

“Yes! That’s what I thought too,” Papyrus said, pleased that they liked it too.

“Wanna take it for a spin?” Carrie encouraged with a bright smile.

“Yes!” Papyrus said. “Yes I do!”

“Can I ride?” Frisk cried immediately.

“No, me!” Asriel cried.

“Sorry, sweetie,” Carrie said. “I have to ride with him, but you can both sit in the seats until I come back with the keys. I’m sure your uncle can lift you over without any trouble.”

“Of course!” Papyrus said.

He lifted Asriel into the passenger seat while Mettaton extended his arms and deposited Frisk in the driver’s seat.

“Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh!” Papyrus laughed. “Now you are in my car before I am!”

“It’s nice!” Frisk said happily, putting their hands on the steering wheel.

“So cool,” Asriel grinned, feeling the material of the seat.

Your car already, hm?” Mettaton teased Papyrus. “Is it love at first sight then?”

“It’s a nice car,” Toriel complimented. “Not as big and bulky as the others.”

Papyrus could hardly wait for Carrie to come back with the keys. When she did, Frisk and Asriel got out and Papyrus got behind the wheel.

“Darling,” Metton said in a low voice to Carrie while the other’s listened to Papyrus excited review of the car’s driver’s seat. “Just a little heads-up, my boyfriend has a…spirited driving style. Just know that he’s always very careful and never breaks any traffic laws…if he knows about them.”

“Thanks,” Carrie laughed as she got in the passenger’s seat. “I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ve driven with my fair share of speed freaks.”

Once again a member of the Jacobson family was taken by surprise. Carrie was not prepared for a drive with the Great Papyrus.

.

“I LIKE it!” Papyrus proclaimed triumphantly when he drove back onto the car lot half an hour later.

“G-good,” Carrie laughed shakily. Papyrus was simultaneously the most skilful and most insane driver she had ever had the pleasure and misfortune to be driven by.

“They’re back!” Frisk cried out, jumping to their feet. They had all sat down in the sun to wait and Toriel had taken out the packages of sandwiches she had brought.

Mr. Jacobson had come to chat with them and had had a very interesting discussion on engines with Mettaton.

“What’s the verdict, bro?” Sans asked.

“I like it a lot,” Papyrus said, suddenly nervous. “It’s very nice… And fast…”

“The way you drive it, it is, yeah,” Carrie laughed, still trying to fix her hair.

“So what’s the matter, love?” Mettaton asked. “What’s holding you back.”

“I don’t know…” Papyrus said. “I have been saving for a very long time, haven’t I…”

“Yes, you have,” Toriel nodded. “And it’s a big decision.”

They all stood around, watching how Papyrus tried very hard to make up his mind. Mr. Jacobson smiled sympathetically and said:

“Take your time, young man, finding the right car is always quite a puzzle.”

Papyrus lifted his head abruptly and looked at him with shining eyes.

“A puzzle?” he said.

“Yeah,” Mr. Jacobson nodded. “Gotta find the right piece, you know.”

“Yes!” Papyrus cried. “And the Great Papyrus solves every puzzle! I’ll take it!”

“Alright!” Carrie said happily.

“Are you sure?” Mr. Jacobson smiled. “You’re welcome to sleep on it if you want.”

“No, I am sure,” Papyrus said decisively. “It is perfect. I shall take it! Can I take it home immediately?”

“Eh, sure you can,” Mr. Jacobson said. “That does mean a lot of paperwork though. Give me a moment, I’ll get it ready for you.”

While he walked away, Carrie turned around and said:

“Can I offer you any refreshments while you wait? Tea, coffee, lemonade, eh…electricity?”

“Electricty?” Mettaton asked, surprised.

“Yeah,” Carrie said, a little nervous, but obviously well-meaning. “If you like… We have a docking station for electric cars, if that would work for you.”

“Darling, that would do me just fine,” Mettaton said gratefully.

So Mettaton charged himself while the others had coffee or lemonade. Mr. Jacobson and Papyrus filled out a pile of paperwork and registered things online until everything was in order.

“Well,” Mr. Jacobson said with a friendly smile “Congratulations on your new ride, Papyrus,” and put the keys into Papyrus’ hand.

“Nyeh! Nyeh! Nyeh!” Papyrus laughed triumphantly as he sprinted to his car.

It was cherry red and had been waxed until it shone. Papyrus was so tall that it looked quite small next to him, but it was a happy car. It suited him and he looked so happy to finally have the dream car he had worked so hard to get that everybody else was happy too.

“Smile, Papy!” Mettaton said. “I’m sending a picture to Alphys and Undyne.”

Papyrus did his best dramatic pose next to the car and Mettaton took a picture. It took Undyne exactly thirty seconds to call Papyrus screaming with excitement.

“Is that your car?!” she screamed, her voice clearly audible to everyone even though Papyrus’ phone was not on speaker.

“Yes!” Papyrus yelled back at nearly the same volume.

While they screamed at each other, Sans took a picture of Papyrus and the car to send to Gaster.

“I guess we’re going to Alphys and Undyne’s now,” Toriel whispered to him, smiling.

Before Sans could reply, Papyrus put down his phone and cried:

“We are going to Alphys and Undyne’s house to show them my car!”

“Excellent!” Mettaton exclaimed. “The perfect celebratory ride I should say.” He turned his back to Frisk and said: “Frisk, darling, would you? Since you’ve always been so good at it.”

Frisk laughed and flipped the switch on his back. Mr. Jacobson watched with slight shock and Carrie with barely contained excitement as Mettaton transitioned to his Ex state.

“There,” Mettaton said, shaking his hair out with a flourish. “Now I’m ready for a ride!”

Carrie looked from Papyrus to Mettaton, seeing the obvious looks of affection and swallowed a squeal.

“Could I get a picture of you guys?” Mr. Jacobson asked cheerfully. “I like to get a picture of every happy customer and you being my first monster customers makes it extra special.”

“Of course!” Papyrus said happily. “Everyone?”

They all obligingly gathered around the car. Mettaton leaned against Papyrus and Papyrus put one arm around Mettaton’s waist and triumphantly held up the keys with the other. Mr. Jacobson took the picture while his daughter stood looking with the biggest grin on her face.

“Could I get a selfie?” she blurted out when her father stepped aside with the camera. “Normally I wouldn’t ask but… I love your show so much!”

“Of course, darling!” Mettaton laughed. He posed for a selfie with Carrie while Papyrus let Frisk and Asriel sit in the car again.

When they were finally ready to set off, he had a hard time getting them out again. Still, Frisk’s sense of romance did make them understand that Mettaton should really sit beside Papyrus the first time he drove his new car for real.

So Sans and Toriel took the kids in the family car, following Papyrus and Mettaton, who tore away in the Spider with great speed. Toriel refused to drive to keep up with them. Papyrus never broke the speed limit, but he certainly drove aggressively. They could hear Mettaton laughing out loud as they sped away.

“Faster, Mom!” Asriel cheered. “Faster!”

“Certainly not,” Toriel said firmly and she drove calmly and safely, ignoring Asriel and Frisk’s pleas.

By the time they arrived at Alphys and Undyne’s house, Papyrus car was already parked in front of it and Undyne and Alphys were standing on the street to admire it.

“Pap, it’s PERFECT!” Undyne cried.

“It’s j-just as cool as you,” Alphys laughed.

Papyrus was glowing with pride and triumph, basking in their compliments until he proclaimed “This is a momentous occasion! My vehicular dreams have been fulfilled! Let’s go out to celebrate.”

“Yes!” Frisk cheered, jumping on the sidewalk with Asriel.

“What are we doing?” Asriel asked eagerly.

“I don’t know,” Papyrus said cheerfully. “We shall go into town and find the perfect place for the perfect celebration!”

“If you want to celebrate getting your dream car shouldn’t you go out for a drive instead?” Undyne asked, raising an eyebrow.

“We will!” Payrus said. “A drive to a place for celebration!”

“Papyrus, you’ve just bought a ridiculously fast sports car and you want to drive it ten minutes into town and park it somewhere?” Undyne said.

“Well, my car is very amazing, but not amazing enough to fit all of you in! And I want to celebrate with all of you!” Papyrus explained.

Nobody could argue with that, so they added Alphys and Undyne’s car to their little party and drove into town. Papyrus and Mettaton drove at the head of their three car procession, looking round for a place to celebrate.

“That place looks fun!” Papyrus pointed. It was a small bar with happy music streaming out of the windows. Outside hung a brightly coloured sign that read: KARAOKE!

“It’s a karaoke bar,” Mettaton said happily. “They have a stage where everyone can sing songs accompanied by music from a computer.”

“That sounds great!” Papyrus grinned.

“Then park your dream car, darling, and let’s go in,” Mettaton laughed.

Toriel and Undyne followed Papyrus’ example when he turned onto a car park and Undyne and the children got very excited when they heard where they were going to go.

“I’m not singing,” Alphys warned everyone.

“Yeah you are,” Undyne teased, wrapping a strong arm around her.

The bar was empty apart from a couple of people sitting in a booth. It was still pretty early after all. A waitress came up to them to take their orders and encouraged them to take over the karaoke stage as soon as they felt like it.

“That’s what it’s for!” she said cheerfully. “So let me read that back to you: one virgin Bloody Mary, one white wine, two apple juices, a coke, a beer, a sparkling water, and a bottle of ketchup?”

“That’s right,” Toriel smiled.

“Great,” the waitress nodded. “Coming right up.”

Frisk and Asriel looked at the stage and the karaoke machine with big eyes. The stage was lit with coloured lamps and the computer on which you could select the songs was built into a brightly coloured casing. It all looked like a giant video game setup to them.

“How does it work?” Frisk asked curiously.

“Come on, Papy!” Mettaton beamed. “We’ll show them how it’s done.”

They went to the machine and whispered and laughed together until they had selected a song. Undyne rolled her eyes, Toriel giggled, and Sans sat down passively. Frisk and Asriel were a more obliging audience, bouncing up and down excitedly and demanding to know what they had picked. Mettaton strode out on stage, leading Papyrus by the hand, and the music started. Mettaton turned dramatically, grabbed Papyrus by the front of his shirt and sang:

“Don’t go breaking my heart!”

Undyne groaned and Alphys cheered. Toriel applauded laughingly and the kids watched with growing excitement as Mettaton and Papyrus sang the duet.

“I couldn't if I tried!” Papyrus sang exuberantly, looking at the lyrics on the screen.

“Oh, honey if I get restless…” Mettaton warbled.

“Baby, you're not that kind!” Papyrus laughed.

The waitress came back with their drinks. She put the wine and the Bloody Mary on the table and threw one amused glance in the direction of the stage before leaving again. Papyrus and Mettaton were going all out, belting at the top of their voices:

“So don't go breaking my heart!”

“I won't go breaking your heart!”

"Don't go breaking my,
Don't go breaking my,
Don't go breaking my heart!
Don't go breaking my,
Don't go breaking my-”

“I won't go breaking your heart!”

"Don't go breaking my,
Don't go breaking my,
Don't go breaking my heart!
Don't go breaking my,
Don't go breaking my-”

“I won't go breaking your heart!”

Everybody cheered when the song finished and the people in the booth were looking over amusedly, trying to seem like they hadn’t been listening. Before the applause had died down, Undyne marched up to the karaoke machine.

“Get out of the way with your mushy crap!” she grinned. “I’ll sing you some real music!”

Joan Jett started blasting from the speakers and Undyne worked her raspy voice up to its full volume as she belted with fierce conviction:

“I love rock n' roll!
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby!
I love rock n' roll!
So come and take your time and dance with me!”

Alphys watched her with a definite blush on her scales and Asriel and Frisk jumped up and down in time with the music.

“Our turn!” Frisk yelled when Undyne finished. “Come on, Asriel!”

What Asriel and Frisk lacked in volume they more than made up for in enthusiasm.

“Look at the little starlets!” Mettaton praised and Toriel scrambled to get her phone out.

She was just in time to film them dancing and singing to the refrain:

“I'm walking on sunshine, wooah!
I'm walking on sunshine, woooah!
I'm walking on sunshine, woooah!
And don't it feel good!!!”

When they were done, neither Frisk nor Asriel wanted to come off stage, so Mettaton selected a song they could all sing. Undyne was too busy convincing Alphys to do a song, but Papyrus and Mettaton both joined the children for a remarkably good rendition of  Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”

Work is never OVER!” they finished and Toriel and Sans clapped loudly.

“Come on, Alphy!” Undyne grinned. “One song, we’ll sing together if you want.”

Alphys let herself be dragged to the machine, but she still protested weakly against singing. Undyne scrolled through the songs, generously saying that she could pick anything she wanted.

“Oh, I don’t kn-know,” Alphys muttered. “I’d rather l-listen to you sing again.”

“Please sing, Alphys!” Frisk pleaded. “Please.”

“No…” Alphys shook her head. “I don’t think I- wait, was that Sakura Kiss?” she gasped.

Undyne scrolled back. It was Sakura Kiss. Undyne turned to Alphys with a wicked grin.

“You have to sing that one!” she cried. “If you don’t, I’ll sing it and I’ll get the lyrics wrong on purpose.”

“N-no…” Alphys protested weakly.

“Come on, Alphys!” Mettaton cheered from behind the cocktail the waitress had just delivered. “You know you want to.”

“I’m pressing the button!” Undyne grinned. “Better get up there or you’ll miss the first line.”

“C-come on, guys,” Alphys smiled nervously, but the drum intro  started and she couldn’t help herself. She quickly grabbed the microphone and sang:

“Kiss kiss fall in love!”

Everyone cheered her on, but it wasn’t particularly necessary, there was no stopping her now. When she finished, they gave her a thunderous applause and Undyne whistled on her fingers. Alphys turned as red as a beet, but she actually looked rather proud and did a comical curtsy before going offstage.

“Wowie!” Papyrus said admiringly. “I didn’t understand any of that but it sounded like you knew all the words!”

“Of course she did,” Mettaton winked. “You’ve set the bar rather high, darling. You’re a tough act to follow, but I think I’m up for the challenge.”

Alphys couldn’t really respond, as she was being smothered in kisses and compliments by Undyne. Luckily Mettaton didn’t need more encouragement. He strode out on the stage and bravely charged into a haunting rendition of “Bad Romance”.

“Mom!” Asriel cried; he had to speak up to be heard over Mettaton’s crooning. “Are you going to sing?”

“I might,” Toriel laughed.

Asriel ran back to Frisk who was looking through the songs with Undyne and Alphys. Sans chuckled and sipped his ketchup.

“Didn’t know singing was your forte,” he winked.

“It’s not, I assure you,” she smiled. “But everyone is having so much fun.” She laughed. “Are you going to sing?”

“Nah,” Sans shook his head. “My singing’s like my jokes, they always fall flat.”

Toriel snorted and gave him a gentle push. They clapped when Mettaton’s song finished and watched how he pulled Papyrus back on stage.

“Right,” Undyne grinned. “You dorks want to be dramatic. Go ahead!”

She pointed to a song and Alphys selected it.

“Gladly, darling,” Mettaton said with a dazzling smile when he heard the intro.

“Ah! Is this a duet or not?” Papyrus asked.

“We can make it one,” Mettaton said, grabbing his hand and he sang first:

“There were nights when the wind was so cold
That my body froze in bed
If I just listened to it
Right outside the window…”

For all his melodramatics, Mettaton did have a wonderful voice. Undyne sat down and pulled Alphys onto her lap, hugging her from behind. Frisk sat down beside them and Asriel went to sit next to Toriel, who stroked him gently across the ears a couple of times. Papyrus and Mettaton turned to each other, both trying to outdo the other in terms of dramatic intonation. Sans couldn’t help grinning.

“I finished crying in the instant that you left,
And I can't remember where or when or how,
And I banished every memory you and I had ever made….!”

Toriel leant towards Sans and whispered gently:

“They look happy, do they not?”

“Yeah,” Sans muttered, his gaze fixed on Papyrus’ gleeful face.

“It's so hard to believe,
But it's all coming back to me,
All coming back, all coming back to me now…”

“I know you had your doubts,” Toriel said quietly. “About Mettaton…and about romance in general. But…seeing Papyrus this happy, doesn’t it make you happy too?”

Sans turned so he could look at her.

“It does,” he said sincerely. “And hey, if I tried to keep Papyrus from dating someone, that would totally make me a very unprincipled aquatic mammal.”

Toriel frowned. “An aquatic mammal?” she said.

“Yeah,” Sans grinned. “A total hippo-crite.”

Toriel muffled her laugh, not wanting to disturb the dramatic harmonizing that Mettaton and Papyrus were throwing themselves into at the moment and Sans took the opportunity of her bowing forward to lean his forehead against hers. She held still for a moment and then gently nuzzled his bony cheek.

“Get a room, you two!” Undyne yelled.

Toriel and Sans looked up and Frisk made a disappointed sound. They were just too late to make a picture.

“What is the matter?” Papyrus asked, stepping offstage.

“They were kissing!” Asriel snorted.

“Well,” Mettaton sighed. “With that romantic ambience were created, we really cannot blame them, can we, Papy?”

Sans narrowed his eye sockets a little but didn’t say anything and Toriel didn’t seem to care at all. She got to her feet and announced:

“I guess that makes it my turn now?”

“Yes!” Asriel cheered.

*Go Mom!* Frisk signed with a wide grin.

Toriel went to the machine and started to look for a specific song. When she found it she turned around to look at Sans with twinkling eyes.

“You’ll like this one,” she said. “Just you wait!” And she stepped onto the stage.

Asriel ran up to the machine to read the title while the music started the bombastic intro.

“Charles Aznavour,” he read out loud and he looked up at his mother who started to sing with her clear, sweet voice:

“You are the one for me, for me, for me, formidable,
You are my love very, very, very, veritable!”

A grin slowly spread across Sans’ face and he sat back, listening to Toriel in silent admiration.

“I adore a lover that speaks French,” Mettaton said approvingly and Frisk held up their hands in an enthusiastic deaf round of applause.

Toriel’s face was all playfulness while she sang and she even danced a little.

“My daisy, daisy, daisy, desi-rable!
Je suis malheureux d' avoir si peu de mots,
A t'offrir en cadeaux,
Darling I love you, love you, darling I want you,
Et puis c' est a peu pres tout,
You are the one for me, for me, for me, formi-dable!”

When she was done, Asriel and Frisk couldn’t yell loud enough and they all applauded the whole time it took Toriel to get back to her chair.

“Fuhuhuhuhu! You’ll have to pick something pretty good to repay her for that, Sans,” Undyne grinned.

“Impossible. Can’t be done,” Sans shook his head dramatically. “I’m done. Tori’s stopped my singing career before I’ve even begun.”

“Come on, brother,” Papyrus encouraged him. “You should at least try!”

“Nah, bro,” Sans grinned. “I’ll just embarrass myself.”

“Nonsense!” Papyrus said. “You have a very nice voice and I will not have anyone say otherwise!”

“R-really?” Alphys said, surprised. “Sans can sing?”

“Of course he can,” Papyrus said. “Musical talent runs in the family after all.”

Undyne chuckled, but Alphys still looked inquiringly at Sans.

“You’re the singer, Pap,” Sans winked. “I’m happy to stick to my trombone.”

“Well,” Papyrus huffed. “Before you started playing that horrible thing, you did used to sing. I am certain I remember it.”

“Whatever,” Undyne said. “Let’s go show Sans how it’s done, kid.”

“Yeah!” Frisk cried, jumping to their feet. “I want to sing Shut Up And Dance!”

So Undyne and Frisk sang and jumped and made as much noise as possible until Asriel couldn’t take it anymore and joined them for the last chorus:

“Oh, don’t you dare look back!
Just keep your eyes on me!
I said you’re holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said ooohooooh
SHUT UP AND DANCE WITH ME!”

At this point the people sitting in the booth gave up and came towards them, asking if they could come and watch. They received the warmest welcome imaginable and it was clear this was going to turn into quite the night.

.

In the end, Mettaton demanded they all go out for dinner together. So they left the growing crowd of humans to the karaoke stage and went to a nearby restaurant. By the time they all got back to their cars, it was pretty late and the children were dead tired. Undyne and Alphys gave everyone a hug and got into their car. Alphys drove, because Undyne had had quite a lot to drink, and as they drove away, Undyne rolled down the window and they heard her blasting the song Roundabout by Yes. They had gotten the album Fragile as a wedding gift and Undyne had nearly knocked over the living room stereo when she heard Roundabout come along for the first time. Now she and Alphys were both singing along as they drove away, waving goodbye through the open windows.

Laughingly, Toriel put Asriel and Frisk in the back of the family car while Papyrus and Mettaton got into the Spider. Neither Sans nor Toriel had been drinking and Toriel was rather tired, so Sans drove home. Asriel and Frisk managed a few half-hearted complaints at the fact that they hadn’t gotten to drive in Papyrus’ car yet, but they nearly fell asleep in the backseat on the way home. Mettaton came home with them. His car was still at their place, but he had been drinking and he really didn’t feel like going home.

“My bed is big enough for both of us,” Papyrus said happily as they went inside.

“And even if it wasn’t, I’m sure we could make it fit,” Mettaton teased.

Toriel made a warning sound, but Frisk and Asriel were so tired they didn’t even giggle.

“Sans,” she said. “Can you-”

“Way ahead of you,” he winked and he gently nudged Frisk and Asriel up the stairs, humming “Let’s get you two rock stars to bed.”

He tucked Asriel and Frisk into bed and listened to them sleepily murmur about how cool the entire day had been. In the hallway, he heard Toriel gather extra pillows and bedding for Mettaton and he heard his brother’s happy voice.

“Sans?” Frisk asked with a yawn just as he was about to leave.

Sans turned around. Frisk could hardly keep their eyes open and Asriel was asleep already, clutching his ragdoll rabbit and severely squashed goat plushie in his arms.

“Yeah, kid?” he smiled.

“Nothing,” they smiled. “Goodnight.”

“Sleep tight, Frisk,” he chuckled. “See ya tomorrow.”

He quietly closed the door behind him and walked to Papyrus’ room. The door was closed already.

“Goodnight, bro,” he said, leaning against the door. “Night, Mettaton.”

“Sleep well, Sans!” Papyrus called back.

“Goodnight!” Mettaton answered melodically.

Sans looked over at his and Toriel’s room. The door was closed but light was coming underneath the door. He decided to go down to the kitchen real quick to get a late-night glass of ketchup. While he was there he might as well make a cup of tea for Tori, as she liked to drink something warm before bed.

He walked downstairs with a smile on his face. It had been a great day. He made a cup of tea and warmed up some ketchup. The house was quiet, dark, and peaceful, quite the contrast with this morning when Papyrus had come barging into their bedrooms. While he poured the ketchup into a glass, Sans began to hum and as he slowly walked to the stairs, he sang softly in his low voice:

“Maybe I didn’t treat you…
Quite as good as I should have…
Maybe I didn’t love you…
Quite as often as I could have…”

He went upstairs and into the dark hallway, carefully carrying the hot drinks.

“Little things I should have said and done,
I just never took the time…
You were always on my mind…”

He looked up and saw Toriel standing in the doorway of their bedroom, smiling and biting her lip at the same time to keep quiet. Sans shut his mouth and grinned self-consciously.

“Heh, caught me,” he said. “Didn’t tea you standing there,” and he handed her the cup.

“Thank you,” she said warmly. “You are simply full of surprises, do you know that?” she smiled.

He grinned and followed Toriel inside, closing the door behind him. They both sat down on their sides of the bed with sighs of relief. It had been a wonderful, but very long day. Toriel took a sip of tea and smiled. Sans grinned and took a drink of ketchup.

“This was a pretty good day,” he remarked.

Yes, it was,” Toriel said with emphasis. She glanced at Sans, her eyes twinkling. “Sing me the rest of the song…?”

Chapter Text

Unlike Sans, who preferred teleporting to pretty much any other form of movement, Gaster much preferred walking to what Frisk and Asriel had started to refer to as ‘shadowing’. Perhaps it was because fading in and out of physical existence made him feel rather scrambled. Or the all too long time he had spent in the void during his scattering. Whatever the reason, when Gaster came to visit he usually arrived on foot. Asgore lived close after all and Gaster was very fond of walking in the fresh air and sunshine.

That Friday he arrived at the family home around dinner time only to find the children in a terrible mood. They were so busy moping that they didn’t even greet him.

Really, children,” Toriel said sternly. “I understand you are disappointed, but that is no excuse for being rude.”

“Hi, Gaster,” Frisk said sullenly.

“Hi,” Asriel echoed and then they both sunk back into their slouched positions on the couch.

Toriel frowned, gave Gaster an exasperated look, and hurried to the kitchen to silence the beeping oven timer.

“Hello, Dad!” Papyrus said, coming down the stairs. He gave his father a hug and glanced at the children. “They have been like this all afternoon,” he whispered loudly.

“May I ask why?” Gaster asked, in a more effective whisper.

“Because of the carnival,” Papyrus sighed.

“Papyrus?” Toriel called out from the kitchen. “Dinner is almost ready!”

“Yes!” Papyrus called back hastily. “I am almost packed!” He gave his father a hurried grin and ran back upstairs.

Gaster smiled at himself, walked over to the couch, and sat down in the armchair beside it.

“Such glum faces,” he said. “And what’s this I hear about a carnival?”

“The carnival is in town this weekend!” Frisk burst forth.

“With games and rides and everything,” Asriel joined in indignantly. “And no one wants to take us!”

Gaster smiled sympathetically at their hurt faces. “Is that so?” he said.

“Mom has to finish some deadline,” Frisk huffed.

“And Dad has a garden to do on Saturday and he’s going out with Katla on Sunday,” Asriel scowled.

“Ah,” Gaster nodded. “I can see that is all her fault then.”

“No…” Asriel said reluctantly. “She said they could go out some other time but Mom and Dad said that would be ‘rewarding us for throwing a tantrum’.”

Frisk grumbled.

Did you throw a tantrum?” Gaster inquired.

“No!” Frisk insisted.

“Maybe a little,” Asriel admitted. “But it’s so unfair!”

So unfair!” Frisk complained. “The carnival is only here once and now Papyrus is going away all weekend with Mettaton and Sans has to be at a boring physics seminar for three days.”

Gaster smiled. “That does all sound like very bad luck,” he said. “For you and for them.”

Frisk and Asriel looked at him, wondering what he meant.

“Your mother and Sans have to work,” he said. “On the weekend! I’m sure they had much rather gone to the carnival with you.”

Frisk bit their lip and Asriel looked at his feet. They hadn’t thought of that.

“And isn’t this weekend the first time Papyrus and Mettaton are going out as a couple?” he asked.

Frisk nodded, slowly.

“I know how excited Papyrus is for this weekend,” Gaster said. “But I also know that he absolutely hates to disappoint anybody, especially you.”

Asriel gave Frisk an uncertain look. Frisk felt bad. They didn’t want to ruin Papyrus’ big romantic weekend.

“And Asriel,” Gaster said seriously. “You father is so eager for you to like Katla, but they are going to a play, right? He got the tickets several weeks ago.”

“Yes…” Asriel said in a small voice.

“When did you hear about the carnival?” Gaster asked.

“Yesterday…” Frisk muttered.

They both felt really bad now.

“I must say,” Gaster said sympathetically. “The carnival has appalling timing.”

Asriel and Frisk stared at the living room carpet and said nothing.

“Dinner is ready!” Toriel called out, emerging from the kitchen with a tray loaded with food. Papyrus came running downstairs and, just when they had all taken their seats, there was a bright blue flash and Sans appeared.

“Right on time!” Toriel sang happily as he flopped onto the chair beside her. She rested her hand on his for a moment.

“Human scientists do not know how to stop talking,” Sans groaned. “And to think I need to do two more days of this.”

“Is it not exciting to discuss your work with your colleagues?” Papyrus asked while Toriel filled their plates.

“It would be,” Sans complained. “But there aren’t any talks on quantum physics until Sunday and they expect me to stay awake through every talk.”

Gaster and Toriel smiled and Papyrus rolled his eyes at his brother’s laziness, but Frisk sat up straight and spoke up: “I’m sorry you have to work all weekend, Sans.”

Toriel looked up from her plate in surprise.

“Yes,” Asriel said. “Me too.”

“Heh, thanks, kids,” Sans grinned. “I’ll survive.”

“And…” Asriel continued, feeling it was his turn since Frisk spoke first. “We’re sorry for…being mean.”

“About the carnival,” Frisk explained.

Gaster hid a smile and Toriel said warmly “Apology accepted, my darlings.”

Sans winked at them and Papyrus looked very relieved.

“We didn’t mean to be nasty,” Frisk mumbled.

Asriel shook his head and asked quietly: “Can I call Dad, Mom? To say I’m sorry.”

“Of course you can,” Toriel said affectionately. “Do you think it can wait until after dinner?”

He nodded. Toriel smiled.

“I know you really wanted to go to that carnival,” she said. “And we really are sorry you can’t.”

“The next time they come we can surely go!” Papyrus said. “And I will show you how to do all the puzzles.”

“Yes,” Toriel said. “Next time we’ll all go. Right, Sans?”

“You betcha,” Sans nodded.

“That sounds like a marvellous idea,” Gaster said, smiling at Frisk and Asriel who both tried really hard to look cheerful. “But if it wouldn’t spoil the future fun too much, I could of course take you to the carnival tomorrow.”

Frisk’s eyes widened in shock and Asriel nearly choked on his food and started coughing.

“Would you!” Frisk cried out rapturously.

“Of course,” Gaster laughed. “I think as the official grand-dadster I am qualified to take you kids on a day out, am I not?”

“Yes!” Frisk cheered.

“Really?” Asriel spluttered, having successfully swallowed his food.

“If your parents agree,” Gaster said with a smile.

“Of course,” Toriel said happily. “If you are free, it seems like the perfect solution!”

“Way to go, Grand-Dadster,” Sans chuckled.

“Thank you!” Frisk and Asriel cheered, barely able to stay on their seats with excitement.

Gaster laughed softly and poured himself a glass of water.

“What a good idea,” Papyrus said happily. “Dad is very good at puzzles.”

“They’re not puzzles, Papyrus,” Frisk laughed. “They’re games.”

“If they have challenges and solutions they are puzzles,” Papyrus said authoritatively.

“That’s true, I suppose,” Toriel smiled.

She took up her fork again and the others continued eating too before their food could get cold. After half a plate and a glass of ketchup, Sans had recovered a little and began talking about his seminar. Gaster was the only one that understood what he was saying and, after a while, Papyrus began to talk about his weekend with Mettaton while Sans and Gaster argued about different types of quarks.

“Has Mettaton told you where you are going yet?” Toriel asked curiously.

“No!” Papyrus said excitedly. “But it cannot be too far away since we’re driving.”

“I bet you’ll be staying in a really nice hotel!” Frisk said. Now they knew they were going to have a fun weekend they were far more eager to be excited for Papyrus’ weekend.

“What kind of clothes did he tell you to pack?” Asriel asked slyly.

“Nice ones,” Papyrus said. “Which is rather silly. All my clothes are nice!”

Sans looked up from his conversation with Gaster and grinned at his brother. He still wasn’t quite used to the idea of Papyrus dating and the whole weekend-away situation was making him a bit nervous, but there was no denying Papyrus was really happy.

Mettaton was not the only thing Papyrus was happy about however.

“Ms. Speaker the editor says that if I come up with a good idea, I could have my own section in the Sunday newspaper!” he informed them proudly. “She says my word searches are more than popular enough!”

“That is wonderful, Papyrus!” Gaster exclaimed. “Well done!”

“Way to go, bro,” Sans grinned, looking genuinely overjoyed.

“That is so cool!” Asriel said and Toriel gave Papyrus the proudest of smiles.

“Do you know what you want to do yet?” Frisk asked eagerly.

“No…” Papyrus pondered. “Of course there will be word searches, but Ms. Speaker says there should be variety. Perhaps a fun fact of the week? And of course it needs a snappy name!”

“You should do puns and puzzles!” Asriel said excitedly. “Then it could be called ‘Papyrus’ Puzzles and Puns!’”

“Very good,” Toriel laughed, but Papyrus narrowed his eye sockets and said:

“No puns.”

“Aw, bro,” Sans chuckled. “I don’t punderstand why you gotta be like that.”

 “Hey, Papyrus,” Frisk said, a grin slowly spreading across their face. “You know what you should call it? ‘Papyrus’ Puzzles Sans Puns’. You know… sans puns, Sans’ Puns… Get it?”

There was a very short, stunned silence before Toriel and Asriel burst out laughing and Papyrus lowered his skull into his hands, shoulders shaking with frustration and repressed laughter. Gaster laughed heartily too, patting Papyrus on the back sympathetically. Frisk looked round the table with a triumphant grin on their face and locked eyes with Sans, who was staring at them with pure parental pride.

“Frisk…” he said slowly. “That was punfection.”

“It was!” Asriel cheered and Frisk laughed, still glowing with triumph.

“You know what,” Sans said, throwing up his hands. “I’m done. You hear that, Papyrus? I’ll never make another pun again. I’ve found my successor. Done.”

“Oh no,” Toriel laughed. “Frisk, what have you done? Isn’t Sans sans puns Sans sans Sans?”

“Please stop,” Papyrus groaned, but he was grinning and they all laughed even harder.

The rest of the meal they were all so cheerful it couldn’t have formed a bigger contrast with the beginning of the evening.

They were just getting up from the table and Frisk and Asriel were stacking the plates when they heard a sound at the open sliding doors that led to the backyard.

“Knock knock?” Mettaton called out.

“Mettaton!” Papyrus cried happily, but Sans interrupted with: “Who’s there?”

“No joke, Sans dear, just me,” Mettaton said, stepping inside.

Sans grinned at Frisk and they chimed: “No joke, Sans dear, just me, who?

Mettaton heaved a dramatic sigh and refused to answer them. He wrapped an arm around Papyrus’ shoulder and gave him a kiss on the side of his skull.

“You ready to go, darling?” he asked.

“Yes!” Papyrus said happily. “My bag is upstairs!”

“You mean you’ve only got one?” Mettaton marvelled and he followed Papyrus upstairs.

Everybody gathered outside to wave goodbye to Mettaton and Papyrus as they got into Mettaton’s car. Toriel rested her paw lovingly on Sans shoulder.

“He will be back soon,” she told him.

Sans looked up and grimaced. “He’s been gone on sleepovers with Undyne before, but this is different,” he said.

Toriel gave him an affectionate squeeze by way of support.

“Bye, everyone!” Mettaton grinned. “We’ll send you some jealously inducing selfies when we get there!”

“Have fun!” Toriel laughed.

“Be careful,” Gaster smiled.

“Goodbye!” Papyrus called through the open window, waving furiously. “Good luck with work, Sans! And you, Toriel! Have fun at the carnival with Dad, Frisk and Asriel!”

“We will!” they cried, wide grins on their faces.

“It’s going to be so awesome!” Asriel cheered.

“Thank you for taking us,” Frisk said, smiling up at Gaster.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Gaster said, smiling down at them.

But not matter how much he was looking forward to it, he was not looking forward to it as much as Asriel and Frisk were. They didn’t talk about anything else all evening and when Gaster left, he had to promise he would come immediately after lunch tomorrow so they would have plenty of time at the carnival. Toriel could hardly get them to bed and even after Sans read them a story, they stayed up whispering for an hour before finally drifting off, dreaming of cotton candy and carrousels.

.

Of course Gaster kept his promise and arrived just after lunch the next day. Sans had teleported back to his seminar early in the morning and that meant Toriel had been all on her own trying to finish her Council work and keep the children calm at the same time. Needless to say, she was more than relieved when Gaster arrived.

“I see you have not had a quiet morning,” Gaster chuckled when Toriel greeted him.

“Not exactly,” she smiled. “It’s been alright the last couple of hours though, because Mettaton and Papyrus have started posting selfies.”

When Gaster followed her inside, he indeed found the children behind the family computer, looking at the new posts on Mettaton’s social media.

“Told you the hotel would have a fountain,” Asriel said triumphantly.

Frisk turned to answer him and saw Gaster. “Gaster!” they cried.

In two seconds, both they and Asriel were jumping around him.

“Can we go? Can we go?” they chanted.

“That’s what I’m here for,” he laughed.

There was no need for jackets, as the weather was lovely, but Toriel did give Gaster a bag with a clean shirt and pair of shorts for both kids.

“Just in case,” she whispered.

Gaster took the bag, wrapped it in a fold of his coat, and Toriel watched with surprise as it faded away.

“That’s a handy trick!” she laughed and she gave him the keys to the family car.

“Can’t you just shadow us?” Frisk asked.

“Yeah, we’ll get there faster!” Asriel cried excitedly.

Gaster shook his head. “My magic is not like Sans’ teleportation,” he said seriously. “It is possible for me to take someone else along, but it’s often unpleasant and rather dangerous. Not something I would do outside an emergency situation.”

The children were almost too excited to even listen to his explanation. Gaster laughed and held the front door open for them. “Shall we then?” he said.

Toriel gave both her bouncing kids a quick hug and watched then storm out the door.

“Have fun!” she waved. “Good luck,” she added with a laugh.

Gaster shot her an amused glance over his shoulder and with that they got into the car and drove off.

.

The carnival was being held on a convenient field at the edge of town.

“I want to go on all the rides!” Frisk cried determinedly when they got out of the car in the carpark.

“You’ll ride with us, right, Gaster?” Asriel asked, trying not to sound too nervous.

“Of course,” Gaster smiled.

The carnival was full of sounds and smells and bright colours exactly calculated to get every single child there as excited as possible.

“Stay close, children!” Gaster warned. “I don’t want to lose you in the crowd.”

“Alright,” Frisk said, eyes darting left and right.

“Yes,” Asriel replied automatically, eyes round like saucers. They had had fairs and festivals in the Underground, but he had never seen most of these rides, especially the bigger ones.

The crowd consisted of humans and monsters alike, but the monsters were still in small enough numbers to stand out. Compared to the human population, there simply weren’t a lot of them; the underground had been big, but it was nothing compared to the surface. Besides, more and more monsters were moving further away from Mount Ebott and the original region they had been rehoused in.

Still, Gaster received the occasional friendly nod from a fellow monster parent or guardian, who was also trying to keep their children in check.

“What do you want to do first?” Frisk asked.

“The carrousel!” Asriel said. He remembered that one from when he was little.

“Okay!” Frisk agreed. “But after that we’re going in the Octopus!”

The carrousel had horses and dolphins to ride on, but also little carriages that two people could sit in together. Asriel wanted to ride in a carriage, but Frisk protested loudly that a dolphin or horse was more fun. So in the end, they both got on a dolphin and after checking with Asriel, Gaster decided to stay at the gate so he could make a picture of them. Accompanied by cheerful music, the carrousel started to turn and Frisk and Asriel laughed out loud as their dolphins went up and down. They waved at Gaster every time they rode past and he waved back and made pictures.

He sent the best one to Toriel and Sans, who both sent back mock disgruntled messages about being made jealous.

“Now the Octopus! Now the Octopus!” Frisk cried as soon as they got off the carrousel and they dragged Gaster and Asriel to the huge purple and blue contraption filled with screaming and laughing children.

Frisk held a rather nervous Asriel’s hand, hopping up and down with excitement, while Gaster bought three tickets at the booth.

“Are these your kids?” the ticked lady asked Gaster curiously, obviously wondering how that would work.

“No!” Frisk answered for him, looking up at the woman with innocent eyes. “He’s our grand-dadster!”

That confused the woman even more, but she had the good grace to just laugh and say: “Okay, cool! Enjoy the ride!”

They did enjoy the ride, Asriel most of all. His nervousness was gone and when Frisk suggested they go in the teacups next, he didn’t even insist Gaster should go with them. Gaster did however and he was enjoying himself. All this reminded him of a day very long ago, when Sans and Papyrus had been little skeletons and he had taken them to the flower festival in New Home.

A succession of rides, a couple of games, and a helping of cotton candy later, Asriel and Frisk agreed to sit down for a while. Gaster bought them all something to drink and they watched the other carnival goers go by. They had both won something at the games. Asriel had a water pistol that he had won catching plastic ducks. Frisk had a small plush penguin they had won by knocking over almost all the cans with a ball. Frisk was still trying to convince Gaster to let them try the archery challenge, something he flat out refused. Asriel had given up already and started to look around for the next attraction to take a look at. They had been so preoccupied with the rides they hadn’t really paid attention to a different section of the carnival where there were other sort of attractions.

“What’s that?” Asriel asked, pointing at a couple of attractions that almost looked like makeshift buildings.

“That’s a funhouse!” Frisk said. “And the one next to it is a haunted house.”

“Oh!” Asriel said.

They hadn’t had haunted houses in the Underground, but he did know what they were because Toriel and the Council Monster-Human Cohabitation had had a bit of trouble with them. Soon after monsters had come to the surface, someone had wanted to hire some of them to work in haunted houses and this had sparked a big discussion about whether that was appropriate or not. The eventual consensus had been that it was as long as it was made very clear that a monster actor was no different from a human actor, even if they didn’t have to wear as much make-up.

“Let’s go in!” Frisk said eagerly.

They gathered their things and went up to the ticket booth. The young man manning it squinted at Frisk and Asriel and then gave Gaster a questioning look.

“How old are your kids, sir?”

“Ten,” Gaster answered and, with a smiling glance at Asriel, he added: “For all intents and purposes.”

“Hm, I guess that’s alright, but it’s still a little young,” the young man said doubtfully. “You guys sure you want to go in?” he asked, addressing Frisk and Asriel.

They nodded excitedly and he grinned. “Alright then,” he said “Just keep them close to you, alright sir?”

“I will,” Gaster nodded, taking the tickets from him.

“Well then,” the young man said with a dramatic wave of his hand. “Have a ghoulishly good time.”

Neither Asriel nor Frisk were very fond of the dark inside the haunted house, something Gaster had no problem with whatsoever. The roles were reversed rather drastically however when they passed into the first room. It had not showed this clearly on the outside, but the haunt obviously had a mad scientist theme. Strange machines hummed and buzzed in every corners, red lights blinked ominously in the dark, and there was distant crackle of electricity. Gaster knew they were just sound effects, but it still got to him. This did not bring back pleasant memories. They walked into a dimly lit room that was strangely cold. Frisk squeezed Asriel’s hand when they saw the stainless steel slabs lined up to one side. Something about this reminded them of the True Lab and for a moment they felt a knot tighten in their stomach. Asriel squeezed their hand back and the feeling passed. There hadn’t been anything horrible about the Lab except for the Amalgamates and they were happy now. Frisk remembered Alphys chatting happily with Mariah Snowdrake and Lemony at her wedding and smiled. At that moment a shapeless form that had been lying on one of the slabs sat bolt upright with a terrible scream. Frisk and Asriel screamed at the top of their lungs with fright and then immediately bust out laughing, giddy with excitement. Gaster hadn’t made a sound, but as they passed from room to room he got more and more on edge. He felt frayed and he was grateful that the children were having too much fun being scared to notice. The noises, the sudden lights, the mad cackling of the actors, nothing about this agreed with him and he was very glad the haunted house was not very large.

When they came out, Asriel and Frisk’s eyes had to adjust to the light, but Gaster didn’t seem to have that problem. He was still rather shaken however, much more so than the children. He was still trying to compose himself while the kids were already hunting for the next attraction.

“I wonder what that is,” Frisk said curiously, looking at a big tent that had a veiled woman standing in front of it, welcoming people inside.

“Why don’t you go ask?” Gaster said.

Frisk gave him a concerned look. They thought Gaster suddenly looked a little less solid than usual. “Are you okay?” they asked.

“I’m fine,” he smiled. “But thank you.”

“I’ll go ask!” Asriel said and he ran up to a friendly looking man and woman that had just come out of the brightly coloured tent. “What’s in there?” he asked.

“It’s a Wonders of the East kind of thing,” the man replied, smiling kindly. “All kinds of people playing parts, funny magicians, and fortune tellers. It’s good fun!”

“I didn’t think it was very funny,” the woman beside him mumbled.

“You shouldn’t take things so seriously, love,” the man laughed, putting an arm around her.

“Thank you!” Asriel said.

“No problem,” the man nodded and the woman smiled.

They walked off and Asriel turned to Gaster and Frisk.

“Can we go in?” he asked.

“Of course,” Gaster nodded. “But stay together.” He looked and sounded like his normal self again, and Frisk gave him a happy nudge, glad to see he was okay.

Excitedly, the children ran through the opening into the tent and Gaster followed them. It was strange, he never seemed to walk very fast and yet he was able to keep up with them no matter how fast they darted left and right. There was a lot to see inside and everything reminded Frisk of the pictures in their book of A Thousand and One Nights.

There were dancers wrapped in see-through shawls and jugglers juggling crystal balls that shone in the fire of the lanterns dangling from then tent’s roof. Little stalls were set up here and there with games of chance or people that did tarot readings, read your palm, or had strange objects to show and tell fantastic or terrifying stories about. This attraction was more about the atmosphere than anything else and Frisk and Asriel were suitably impressed.

“Look!” Gaster heard Frisk cry, answered by a loud “Cool!” from Asriel. He was about to move forward to see what they had found when he heard something that made him freeze to his spot:

“Tralala, have your fortune told! Or don’t, it happens either way…”

Gaster turned around and stared at the booth draped with tassels and gauze that that voice had come from. A cloaked figure sat in the shadows. Gaster hadn’t heard that voice in a very long time. For a moment, he thought he was mistaken, but then…

“Tra la… He isn’t sure, so he stares and stares…”

A resigned smile of recognition passed across Gaster’s face and he slowly went up to the booth.

“Hello, River,” he said calmly. “I did not think you would leave the underground.”

“I did not think you would leave the void,” ze said in a blank voice.

They looked at each other for a moment, both silent. Then Gaster’s face changed, his black eyes drooping to a soft, sympathetic look and he said in a low voice:

“It is good to see you are well, River.”

“…and you,” River replied reluctantly.

For a moment, they both lost something of their solidity and black shadows swirled around them, hiding them from view. When their shadows solidified again, Gaster smiled a more genuine smile.

“Who are you today, River?” he asked.

“Yesterday I was River the woman, the afternoon before that I was River the man, today I am both and neither,” River answered smoothly.

Gaster was about to reply when Frisk and Asriel popped up on either side of him.

“What are you doing?” Asriel asked. “Can we have our fortunes told too?”

Frisk squinted at River and suddenly their face lit up.

“I remember you,” they said. “You let me ride on your boat!”

“Trala,” River hummed. “The eighth child and the only prince…aren’t I lucky today?”

“Are you a friend of Gaster?” Asriel asked curiously.

“That depends…” River replied slowly, extending two white hands from under zir cloak and letting them rest on the counter. “Who is Gaster?”

“He’s our grand-dadster,” Frisk grinned. “Because he’s Sans and Papyrus’ dad, but he lives with Asriel’s dad!”

“I seem to have found myself a place in a rather complicated family,” Gaster said airily, winking at Frisk.

“Then that’s what I am too,” River said, nodding zir head. “Complicated family.”

Gaster cleared his throat and said to the children “Have you seen enough?”

“Sure,” Frisk said, still eying River curiously, but Asriel said:

“Wait! I want to know my fortune!”

“Very good,” River hummed. “Knowing is good. I must pretend to read your palm then.”

Asriel held out his paw and Frisk and Gaster watched as River made a show of bending towards it to study the swirling patterns in the fur.

“Trala,” ze mumbled. “I have your fortune here: you mustn’t walk into the darkness without knowing the way into the light.”

Asriel wrinkled his snout into a frown and glanced at Frisk. They shrugged. River did not seem to think any further explanation was necessary and leaned back into zir chair.

“I…don’t suppose you are free to go on a break?” Gaster asked politely.

“Tra li le…time doesn’t really exist, what is a break anyway?” River sang and ze got up, moving through the booth like it wasn’t even there.

Zir cloak was lighter than Gaster’s coat, but somehow seemed almost the same. Frisk and Asriel both tried to see under River’s hood, but there was nothing but darkness there.

“It’s rude to play hide and seek in someone’s own face,” ze chided and then ze laughed softly.

“Shall we go outside for a moment?” Gaster suggested.

“Hm…” River hummed. Ze made no other answer, but followed Gaster when he guided Frisk and Asriel towards the exit.

Outside in the bright sunlight, River looked even more like Gaster. Ze moved in the same manner and Frisk and Asriel watched curiously how ze sat down on a bench.

“Do you think they’re really Gaster’s family?” Asriel asked. “I thought Sans and Papyrus were his only family.”

“Don’t know,” Frisk whispered back. “They were nice to me in the underground though. They had a boat that looked like a dog…or a cat.”

They whispered together a little longer, but River and Gaster were sitting side by side without either moving or talking and Asriel soon got more interested in the wading pool nearby that had been set up because of the intense heat. A young fish monster with a long tail was making waves in the water to splash the other children and the cries of fun were very inviting.

“You may go,” Gaster said before either Asriel or Frisk had asked anything. “But stay around the pool or come straight back.”

“Yes, Gaster!” they chimed in unison and happily they took off their shoes and ran to the shallow pool.

“Tralala…” River sang, shaking zir cloaked head. “Children do not take directions well. I told the eighth child to beware twice and they bewared neither.”

“To beware of something isn’t the same thing as staying away from it,” Gaster said stiffly. “And…Frisk befriends everyone.”

“Yes, yes,” River muttered. “That is the worst idea and the best idea.”

“It turned out for the best this time,” Gaster said.

There was a short silence.

“How are you the grand-dadster?” River asked finally.

“Queen Toriel has adopted Frisk,” Gaster answered. “But it seems Sans has made himself equally important to both of them.”

River laughed. Zir laugh was faraway and quiet.

“To beware is not to stay away but is to do the opposite to beware as well?” ze asked.

Gaster’s shadows swirled for a moment and he said in a somewhat strained voice:

“River, I would have understood if you warned the human to stay away from me, but my son has done nothing to earn your mistrust.”

“Trala, very true,”  River sang. “But he might have done.”

Gaster didn’t answer.

“It does not matter,” River went on. “Tri la, tri li… isn’t the sunlight beautiful.”

“It is,” Gaster said.

There was a scream of laughter and they both looked towards the pool to see Frisk dancing with the fish monster and Asriel chasing a little boy that was jumping as hard as he could to splash everyone around him.

“Ah…” River hummed. “The sounds of happiness…”

Gaster made a strange noise and folded his hands in his lap.

“I just…I hope it will last,” he said.

River turned towards him and for a second a pale face materialised underneath the darkness of the hood. Ze smiled at him.

“It will,” ze said.

Gaster swallowed.

“What about you?” he asked.

“Tra la,” River sang, slowly rising from zir seat. “The darkness here feels like home.”

Gaster got up with zem, glancing at the pool to see the children still playing.

“I’m glad, River,” he said. “It’s been…too long.”

“Yes,” River nodded.

Ze whirled around, cloak rustling quietly and looked at Gaster.

“Greetings to the found sons and the lost queen,” ze said. “And ha, trala, greetings to the lost king and the found prince…and…my thanks to the eighth child.”

Gaster nodded and River laughed softly.

“Gaster…” ze said. “Beware of those that speak in hands…” And ze extended a white hand from the swirling folds of zir cloak.

Gaster placed his outstretched hand against zir, the holes in their palms overlapping and their respective shadows swirling and mingling for just a moment.

River pulled away and turned around, chuckling softly:

“Trala, see you around…grand-dadster.”

Gaster watched zem slip back into the tent with mostly grateful feelings; he was really glad ze was doing well. He strolled over to the wading pool where Frisk and Asriel had gotten their clothes almost completely drenched.

“Where’s your friend?” Frisk asked, pushing their wet bangs out of their face.

“River had to go back to work,” Gaster smiled. “They say hi though, and they asked me to thank you, Frisk.”

“For what?” Frisk asked cheerfully, but they didn’t wait for an answer. Asriel had spotted a Giant’s Stride a little way away and had decided it would be the perfect way to dry their clothes.

They ran towards it at full speed and Gaster followed, smiling quietly to himself. As he heard the laughter of the children rise above the noise of the carnival, he thought of the past and the future to come and he had to admit, he was really looking forward to it.

Chapter Text

It was not at all unusual for Toriel to walk to another room if she got a call. Non-social calls were usually for the Council of Monster-Human Cohabitation and it was a lot easier to give serious advice when the person on the other end couldn’t hear your children screaming in the background. It was not common for her to go quickly upstairs to her bedroom and shut the door behind her however.

Nobody took note of it except Sans. Papyrus had come home with a selfie stick that afternoon and now he, Frisk, and Asriel were doing their absolute best to fill up Papyrus’ phone with as many increasingly extravagant selfies as possible. At the moment Frisk was finger spelling things for the camera and Asriel was yelling “I want to do one with me upside down!”

Sans slipped upstairs and waited outside the door. He heard Toriel talking in a low voice. Then there was a short silence and then he heard her say: “Yes, of course. Talk to you soon. Goodbye!”

Softly Sans knocked on the door. “Tori?” he asked. “Everything alright?”

Toriel opened the door and from her cheerful, excited expression Sans could tell he needn’t have worried.

“Sans, come in,” she whispered.

Surprised, Sans went in and closed the door behind him. Toriel’s face was shining with the glee of secrecy and surprises.

“That was Ms. Hannigan just now,” she said in a low voice. “She told me a while ago that she would like to take the children on a fieldtrip to the Underground and the school council has just approved it!”

Sans gave her one of his widest grins. “That’s awesome,” he said. “And they can all go?”

“As long as the parents agree, yes!” Toriel said excitedly. “I promised to help out. There will need to be at least some monster adults present, if only to tell the children about the Underground.”

“That is a great idea, Tori,” Sans nodded. “Heh, Frisk and Asriel will go crazy when they hear.”

“Yes, I imagine they will,” Toriel smiled. “But don’t tell them yet. Ms. Hannigan is still working out the details and it wouldn’t be fair to the other children if ours found out before them.”

“Hey,” Sans winked. “I haven’t even got lips to seal.”

Frisk and Asriel weren’t the only ones to go crazy when Ms. Hannigan revealed to the class where they would be going on their annual end-of-year fieldtrip.

“That is SO COOL!” Jamie cried.

“Then we get to see where you lived!” Darren said, giving Manny a friendly push.

“We actually get to go to the actual Underground!” Leslie yelled, barely able to keep their seat.

“I can go too, right?” Sean asked wearily. He was in a wheelchair and was determined not to miss out on this.

“Of course,” Ms. Hannigan said decidedly. “Everybody that wants to can come.”

A grin spread across Sean’s face and he nodded. “Cool,” he hummed.

“Of course you have to come!” Leslie cried. “Everyone has to come! We don’t even need a guide; Frisk and Asriel and Manny can show us round!”

“I don’t know the whole Underground,” Asriel laughed.

“Frisk does!” Manny cried proudly. “They walked through it, all the way. All on their own!”

“I wasn’t alone,” Frisk said hastily, not wanting to draw too much attention to themselves. “You were there too!”

All the kids burst into excited chattering. Frisk, Asriel, and Manny were not even the loudest among them.

“Alright, settle down now,” Ms. Hannigan said with a smile. “I know you are excited, but I wasn’t done explaining yet.”

The class calmed down, eager to hear more. Ms. Hannigan leaned against her desk and cheerfully explained:

“This fieldtrip is going to be a little different than usual. Normally every class goes to a different place, but since this trip to the Underground is a special opportunity, the school has decided to make it available for everyone.”

She stopped when she saw a half-raised hand and smiled. “Yes, Nadav?” she asked.

“We don’t have to go alone, right?” Nadav mumbled, a little uneasy.

“Of course not,” Ms. Hannigan said warmly. “I will be going, so will some of the other teachers and adult monsters will be guiding us around.”

“What monsters?” he asked, playing with a pen he had borrowed because he had lost his own.

“Well, Frisk and Asriel’s family for a start,” Ms. Hannigan said.

“Oh,” Nadav said, relaxing visibly. “That’s okay, I guess.”          

Several of the other more quiet children in the class looked a little relieved too. Ms. Hannigan waited to see if there were any other fears she needed to dispel, but everyone kept silent, until Darren begged: “Go on, teacher!”

“Right,” Ms. Hannigan nodded. “There will be three big field trips at the end of the year and every parent can sign his or her child up for one of them. One will be to the Underground, one will be to a beautiful national park, and the third will be to the new science museum.

“Who wants to go to a boring museum when you can go see the Underground!” Jamie cried.

Ms. Hannigan glanced at him. “I know you’re excited, Jamie, but that’s no reason to go hurting the feelings of museums everywhere.”

The class laughed.

“I mean it,” Ms. Hannigan said. “And I for one am very excited to see the new science museum. Douglas and I will be going there for sure.”

An excited smile flashed on the faces of most of the children. Douglas was Ms. Hannigan’s boyfriend. They had all noticed when in the beginning of the school year, Ms. Hannigan suddenly spent more time with her phone in the breaks and they had extorted his name out of her pretty quickly. They had never seen him however.

“Ms. Hannigan?” Amber asked sweetly. “Maybe Douglas should come to the field trip as well. Because then there would be more grownups to keep an eye on us.”

The other children grinned. Amber never really said much in class, as she would rather sit at the back and doodle in her exercise book, but if anyone was curious to see who Ms. Hannigan was dating, it was her. Amber tugged at the cuffs of her blue sweatshirt and waited for a reply.

“Really?” Ms. Hannigan said with twinkling eyes, addressing the whole class. “Do you think that would be a good idea?”

“Definitely,” Frisk grinned. “We could get into trouble without enough grownups!”

“I don’t know…” Ms. Hannigan said, trying to frown instead of smile.

“We’d be really nice to him,” Asriel promised.

“Yeah!” Manny said. “And if he’s nice he would love to meet us!”

The other children nodded furiously and Ms. Hannigan laughed.

“Is that so?” she chuckled. “Well, I’ll ask him. Who knows, perhaps he wants to come.”

“Good job, Amber!” Kennedy whispered beside Amber, flashing her a shy smile, and Amber smiled back.

“That’s everything that I can share with you for now,” Ms. Hannigan concluded. “The school board and I are still working out some of the details, but as soon as I have more to tell you I will.” She got to her feet and clapped in her hands. “Now, time for some math!”

It was early in the evening on a weekday and Toriel was trying to pin up the sleeves on a new shirt for Sans so she could alter it for him.

“Hold still, Sans,” she laughed. “And Frisk, you are not helping.”

“Sorry, Tori,” Sans grinned and he stopped trying to catch the ketchup flavoured crisps Frisk was throwing at him.

All the windows and doors were open to let the evening breeze in. Asriel and Papyrus sat on the couch together. Papyrus was trying to teach Asriel how to knit.

*Sorry,* Frisk signed with a grin and they cleaned up the fallen crisps before they could be crunched into the carpet.

“Thank you,” Toriel smiled, but before she could continue her tailoring, her phone rang loudly from its place on a side table.

Sans gave a wave of his hand and floated it over to her. She grabbed it out of the air, smiled at Sans, and answered it after looking at the caller id.

“Hello, Ms. Hannigan,” Toriel greeted her cheerfully. “How are you? How is the organisation of the fieldtrip coming along?”

“That’s what I wanted to ask you about,” Ms. Hannigan said. She sounded rather nervous. “It seems a lot more people have signed up than we thought.”

“That’s wonderful!” Toriel said happily.

“Yes,” Ms. Hannigan said. “Except…at this rate we’re not going to have enough monsters to guide us around. So I was wondering, on account of your rather extended family…”

“But of course!” Toriel said immediately. “I’m sure I can find plenty of monsters that would love to join in.”

After a brief further discussion, Toriel hung up the phone and announced to the room “Ms. Hannigan needs more monsters to join in the field trip. I’m sure Alphys and Undyne would like to if they can get off work. Do you think Gaster would?”

“Of course he will!” Papyrus said. “And I will ask Mettaton!”

“Don’t you think that would cause a bit too much excitement?” Toriel asked cautiously.

“I’m sure everyone will be very excited,” Papyrus said. “They’ll be seeing the Underground! And me and Mettaton and all of you and many other exciting things! But they will have to learn to contain themselves and deal with being in the presence of so much magnificence.”

Frisk giggled and Sans muttered to Toriel with a grin “It’ll be fine, Tori.”

“Okay,” Toriel said, smiling. “Now who else can we ask?”

“You could ask Katla,” Asriel mumbled, purposely not looking up from the television screen.

Toriel glanced at him.

“Yes?” she said. “Would you like it if she came too?”

Asriel shrugged. He was going to need some practice before he became a teenager, because the shrug wasn’t quite ‘whatever’ enough, but it was close.

Toriel repressed a smile.

“Excellent,” she said. “I will give Asgore a call then.”

.

Of course, Asgore and Gaster were very happy to help and so was Katla. In the following days, both Toriel and Asgore went on a recruiting mission to gather more monsters. Ms. Hannigan had decided after much deliberation that it was probably best to separate the children into groups of 11. Those groups could then be escorted around the Underground separately. Every group could be assigned at least two adult monsters, but Ms. Hannigan had not counted on the fact that not every monster knew the whole Underground all that well. Eventually Toriel came up with the idea to have a couple of guides that were familiar with the specific areas stick to those areas specifically. When that was all arranged, the plan for the fieldtrip was truly as perfect a plan as it could be.

The day of the field trip, Toriel, Sans, and Papyrus all went with Frisk to school. It was very early in the morning and they knew that by the time they got back it would be very late at night. Toriel was driving and they arrived just as Asgore pulled up with Asriel, Katla, and Gaster in his car.

“Frisk!” Asriel waved and he got out of the car as soon as it stopped moving.

He and Frisk ran excitedly onto the playground while the grownups said good morning to one another.

There were several buses waiting to convey all the children and their attendants to their respective field trips. There were two buses that would go to Mount Ebott, one for the national park, and one heading to the museum. Since the museum was a lot closer than either Mount Ebott or the park, that bus wasn’t there yet. The whole playground was full of kids with backpacks and parents trying to make sure their kids were ready. The kids that were going to the Underground were instructed to take lots of pictures. They had all been given sweaters and jackets, despite the warm summer weather. In the Underground it might be cold after all. In fact, many kids were lugging around quite a lot of stuff that their parents had given them as a precaution after reading up on the Underground and all of them were wearing good walking shoes or boots. The kids couldn’t wait to go and the air was abuzz with nervous excitement.

Frisk and Asriel nearly ran into Marshall and Pito, who were running races with each other in an attempt to express their excitement.

“Sorry!” Marshall joked. “Didn’t see you!” He tapped his cane warningly on the ground.

Most of the parents were waiting with their children and they were all between excited and nervous. Some of them were trying to get a little more information before it was time to leave, others were just telling their kids to have fun and take lots of pictures. The monster children and their parents were especially cheerful. They were coming with their kids after all and for most of them, this was the first time they would go back since leaving the Underground.

“Rain, come here, you’ve got paint on your cheek,” a mother laughed and she took out a handkerchief to clean her daughter’s face.

“Where’s Ms. Hannigan?” one of the parents said a tad nervously.

“Right here!”

Ms. Hannigan came out of the school with a sports bag slung over her shoulder. She was accompanied by a tall, leonine monster in a long, slinky dress. He was running one paw through his manes rather nervously, but the other was clasped firmly in Ms. Hannigan’s hand.

“This is Douglas,” she said and before she could get another word in, Carmen cheered:

“Teacher’s boyfriend!”

They all crowded around to greet him and Ms. Hannigan said with a warning smile.

“Settle down now, what did you all promise me when I told you I would bring Douglas along?”

“Not to eat him alive?” Duncan grinned.

“That’s right,” Ms. Hannigan said. “So mind your manners.”

She smiled at Douglas, who, despite his nerves, was laughing quite genuinely at the enthusiasm of the children.

It was only a small school and of course it spread like wildfire that Ms. Hannigan had brought her boyfriend to school. To the children the fact that he was lion monster was just a bonus. Desiree and Jenny from one grade up came to say “hi” with exceptionally wide smiles on their face.

“Nice to meet you,” Desiree said politely.

“And you,” Douglas nodded.

“Are you coming on the field trip too?” Jenny inquired eagerly.

“That was the plan,” Douglas laughed.

*Good luck trying to get away now,* Frisk signed at Asriel and he snorted.

*Caught you signing,* Clyde signed at Frisk after getting their attention with a wave of his hand and he stuck out his tongue.

Frisk laughed but before they could answer, a loud voice that was unmistakeably Undyne’s rang out across the playground. When they turned around, they saw that not just Undyne and Alphys had arrived, but that Mettaton and Napstablook were also there.

There was definitely some commotion over Mettaton’s arrival; in fact, it was all that could distract Jenny and Desiree from Douglas. But most of the kids and parents knew his connection to Frisk and Asriel by now and they all tried to be casual about having a TV star present.

Undyne, Alphys, Napstablook, and Mettaton went to Ms. Hannigan to announce their arrival and Ms. Hannigan thanked them all heartily for coming.

Douglas had stepped back a bit, but Mettaton saw him immediately and went to greet him too.

“Why, hello,” he said cheerfully. “I remember you!”

“Thank you,” Douglas said. “I’ve still got the dress you gave me! I mean…of course I do.”

“Excellent,” Mettaton hummed. “And may I say, you’re rocking that slinky number you’ve got on.”

“Thanks,” Douglas said and he flashed Mettaton a wide, toothy grin.

“Alright!” Ms. Hannigan raised her voice. “It’s probably easier to do this here instead of on top of Mt. Ebott so listen up!”

Everyone was sorted into manageable groups, making sure every group contained at least two adult monsters. Since monster parents and children were matched where possible, this did mean that Frisk, Manny, and Asriel all ended up in different groups. Frisk and Asriel didn’t mind however. Ms. Hannigan had talked to Asriel about it beforehand and he had told her with convincing nonchalance he’d go in Asgore and Katla’s group.

“The Underground,” Ms. Hannigan explained loudly, “has five main regions: The Ruins, Snowdin, Waterfall, Hotland, and the Capital called New Home. On this field trip we will limit ourselves to visiting the first four regions.”

There were several disappointed protestations.

“I know,” Ms. Hannigan said understandingly. “But we cannot possibly see it all in one go. Now, we are very lucky to have a couple of great guides for each region, monsters who have lived or spent a lot of time there and can tell you all about it! For the Ruins, these guides will be Toriel and Mister Napstablook. For Snowdin, it will be Papyrus and a Mister Grillby Fire who does not seem to be here yet… The same goes for Miss Muffet, one of our guides for Hotland and the other guide will be Mettaton.” There was some stifling of excited noises and Ms. Hannigan finished: “And the guides for Waterfall will be Mrs. Undyne and Mrs. Alphys.”

All the guides came forward so people could see who they were, and while the clamour of exited voices rose again, Sans heard a familiar sound and turned around to see Grillby and Muffet hurry towards them.

“Sorry we’re late!” Muffet cried. “There was a teensy emergency that prevented me from setting off on time.”

“Ah, this must be Mr. Fire and Miss Muffet,” Ms. Hannigan said, relieved.

“Just Grillby is fine,”  Grillby said with a friendly nod.

“Does that mean we are complete?” Ms. Wells the PE teacher asked.

“I believe so,” Ms. Hannigan nodded. “Could everybody go stand in their group?”

After a moment of confusion, all the groups were assembled and Ms. Hannigan and the other accompanying teachers did some counting. Frisk and Asriel waited impatiently, just like the other kids.

Manny had been split up from his sister Maddy. She was in the group with their parents and he was in the group headed by So Sorry and Douglas, which meant he had Ms. Hannigan with him too. This, to him, was much cooler than going with his parents and he was very pleased to have Amber in his group too.

“Hey, Manny,” Anna greeted him. She was in Maddy’s class and had come over a couple of times.

“Hi!” Manny grinned. Having Anna in his group would be fun, she was really funny once you got her talking.

Two more sixth graders, Vlad and Wubba, came to join the group. They were friends and a good thing too, because Vlad was the epitome of laid back and Wubba the definition of hyperactive.

“Headphones, Wubba,” Ms. Hannigan said sternly and he reluctantly removed them.

A small second grader came running to join the group, still waving and calling out a few last foreign greetings to her parents.

“Hello, Julia,” Ms. Hannigan greeted her.

“Good morning, Ms. Hannigan,” Julia replied politely, switching languages quickly.

“Is that everyone?” Douglas asked.

“Oh no,” So Sorry shook his head. “We’re missing three third graders for a start.”

“Here we are!” Pito announced himself loudly. He was as short as he was loud and he came running from across the playground, followed at a much slower pace by his classmates Rain and Robin.

“S-sorry we’re l-late,” Robin said, looking at their feet.

“You’re not late,” Ms. Hannigan said with a friendly smile. “Don’t worry.”

“I told you she wouldn’t be mad,” Rain whispered happily to Robin.

“Of course not,” Ms. Hannigan said. “By the way, Robin, if you need to break for prayer, try to tell me a little in advance so we can find a quiet spot for you. Okay?”

“Yes, M-Ms. Ha-Hannigan,” Robin said snapping their fingers behind their back to get rid of some of her nerves and excitement.

“Good,” Ms. Hannigan smiled and So Sorry said worriedly: “We’re still three kids short.”

Right on cue, this problem was solved by the arrival of eleven year old Jenny, seven year old Marshall, and ten year old Sam.

“Sam!” Manny cheered and his friend came running towards him, losing his balance at the last minute and almost falling flat on his face.

“Dang,” he laughed when he just managed to catch himself. “That would have been the fourth time this week. I would have broken your record.”

“Not even close!” Manny laughed. “I fell twice this morning!”

“Whatever,” Sam grinned. “Today is gonna be awesome.”

So awesome,” Manny agreed.

“Who made these groups?” Ms. Hannigan muttered with a slight groan, looking at Manny, Marshall, Pito, Sam, and Wubba, some of the most high energy kids she knew.

“You did, love,” Douglas chuckled.

“Oh, right,” she laughed. “Well, at least we’re complete.”

Asgore and Katla were counting kids too. Asriel was in their group and he was secretly quite smug that that Katla had kept her wings uncovered. His groupmates couldn’t shut up about the size of his father’s horns and Katla’s wings. They thought it was the coolest thing ever. Only Nadav seemed rather nervous around her, but he knew Asgore and it was very hard to be actually scared while Asgore was smiling at you.

“If you all stand still for a while,” Katla said, frowning at her list. “I will show you my wingspan if it turns out you are all here.”

Obediently, the kids lined up and shut their mouths. Asgore chuckled at his girlfriend’s way of dealing with children and glanced at his own list.

“Well, I know Nadav and Leslie,” he said, smiling at Asriel’s classmates. Nadav smiled and Leslie grinned.

“Julia?” Katla asked.

“Here!” a cheerful fifth grader answered. “Normally you could tell who I am from my cat ears, but my mom made me leave them at home,” she informed Katla and Asgore.

Katla smiled. “I’m sure I can remember who you are without them as well,” she said.

At that moment Mr. Barnaby, the first grade teacher, came to deliver Avery, one of the few first graders coming on the Underground fieldtrip. They looked very excited, but definitely nervous as well.

“Julia,” he said, after saying hello to Katla and Asgore. “Would you keep an eye on Avery here?”

“Of course,” Julia nodded with a big smile and she held out a hand to Avery. Avery’s small face broke out in a wide smile as well and they grabbed her hand.

“Great,” Mr. Barnaby smiled. “Have fun all of you!” He was going on the field trip to the national park with most of the first graders.

Asgore continued the list, identifying sixth grader Lynne, fifth grader Desiree, third grader Lizzi, and second grader Homer, who had obviously been hastily covered in sunscreen by a concerned parent.

“And you must be Kiki,” Asgore said cheerfully. “And who is this?”

“This is Bucky,” Kiki introduced her seeing-eye dog. “He’s a German Shepard.”

“Can I pet him?” Lizzie asked.

“Not right now,” Kiki explained. “He’s working.”

The other kids nodded. That made sense.

“Wait,” Katla said. “We’re still missing a first grader called Áine?”

“Here we are,” a deep voice spoke behind her. “My apologies.”

A tall man came towards them, leading a skipping girl by the hand. “We had a difficult start this morning,” he laughed apologetically.

“That’s alright,” Asgore smiled. “We’re still counting and all.”

“I’m glad,” Áine’s father nodded. He let go of her hand and crouched to give her a kiss goodbye. “Diverta-se, querida,” he smiled and Áine chimed happily:

“Sim, Papai!”

“Well, that makes eleven,” Katla said, when Áine’s father had shaken hands with them and left.

“Does that mean we get to see your wings?” Lynne asked politely, but with a very eager smile.

“You did promise,” Lizzi reminded her.

“So I did,” Katla said and, with a wink at the grinning Asriel, she spread her wings. The cries of awe and excitement could be heard all the way on the other side of the playground, where Frisk was waiting with their group.

Since Toriel was the guide for the Ruins, she couldn’t be in Frisk’s group and neither could Papyrus, so Sans and Gaster had taken that responsibility. Gaster was checking names on the list, while Sans leaned lazily against the nearest wall and Frisk signed excitedly with Clyde and Elliott. Clyde could read lips excellently but the teachers had decided that they might as well put all the kids proficient in sign language together. Elliott, who was in a wheelchair, could hear just fine with their hearing aid, but had been taught sign language as a precaution.  Then there was Sean, patiently listening to the young and excited Pippi and Ziz chatter away at him. Rick, a fifth grader, was silently studying Sans and Gaster, returning Sans’s  grin with a shy but friendly smile when he caught his eye.

“Nora and Cody?” Gaster asked, looking up from his list.

“That’d be these two,” Sans said, nodding at a boy and girl sitting side by side on the low wall he was leaning against. “Right?”

“Yes!” Nora said happily and her little brother grinned.

“And this is Cam,” Kennedy said, pointing at a little girl with blue hair. “She’s in first grade, aren’t you, Cam?”

“Yes…” Cam said, looking at Sans and Gaster with curious eyes.

“Excellent,” Gaster said. “That means we are complete. Sans, would you go inform Ms. Hannigan that all our children are accounted for?”

“Sure,” Gaster said and he sauntered away.

Cam watched him go and tugged on Frisk’s sleeve. They turned around with a friendly smile.

“You’re Frisk, right?” Cam asked.

“Yup, that’s me,” Frisk said cheerfully.

“If that’s your dad,” Cam said, pointing at Sans as he walked away from them. “And he’s dead, is your demon brother dead too?”

“Sans isn’t dead,” Frisk laughed. “He’s always been like that, he’s a skeleton monster. And Asriel isn’t a demon,” they added, serious for a moment. “He’s a goat monster, just like my mom Toriel.”

“So a goats and a skeletons can make humans and goats?” Cam asked curiously.

“Goat monsters,” Frisk said good-naturedly. “ And no, I’m adopted. And Toriel is Asriel’s mom, but Sans isn’t his dad, Asgore is.” They pointed to a little crowd of children that had Asgore and Katla towering over them.

The other kids were listening too now and Kennedy said: “Asriel looks just like his mom and dad.”

“That is because they are the same monster type,” Gaster said, putting the list away.

Eleven pairs of eyes fixed on him with obvious curiosity, even Frisk’s.

“What’s a monster type?” Ziz asked.

“Oh,” Gaster said. “There are many different ways of classifying monsters, but where it concerns children, we usually talk about how compatible their bodies and magic are.”

“What’s com-patible?” Pippi asked.

“It’s how well two things fit together,” Gaster explained with a smile. “If the magic of two monsters fits together very well and their bodies are alike as well, they will have children that are a perfect mix of the two of them. Like Asriel and his parents.”

“Cool!” Nora said. “Monsters are cool.”

“What about non-compatible monsters?” Sean asked.

“Completely incompatible monsters wouldn’t be able to have children,” Gaster said. “But they could adopt, like me.” And he smiled.

“What’s up?” Sans asked, returning to see all the kids gathered around Gaster.

“Gaster is explaining about monster babies,” Frisk said with a wicked grin.

“What? Oh,” Sans said, caught by surprise. “Isn’t that a bit.. technical for kids?”

“I don’t think so,” Gaster said with a smile. “They seem to be following me just fine so far.”

“Yeah!” the kids said proudly.

Frisk signed something at Clyde and they laughed. Sans’ lips, through being non-existent, were rather hard to read. They needed some more practice with him.

*Are skeleton monsters and goat monsters compatible?* they signed quickly, while Frisk snorted beside them.

“Welp,” Sans said. “That’s enough of that. Solomon said everybody is accounted for so we’ll be leaving soon.”

So Sorry was just telling Ms. Hannigan the same thing.

“Everybody is here!” he announced, having gone to inquire of  all the other group leaders.

“Excellent!” Ms. Hannigan said. “Then let’s go!”

Led by the adults, the children piled into the two tour buses. There were eight groups in total, so there were four groups per bus. Frisk, Asriel, and Manny’s groups were in the same bus, so they took the opportunity to sit together before being split up again.

As they drove away, Frisk pulled faces at Laura and Jamie who were in the other bus, and were pressing their noses flat against the glass, rolling their eyes.

“We’re actually going!” Manny cheered, kicking the seat in front of him in excitement.

“H-how long until we’re there?” Robin asked, as the bus was a little crowded for their taste.

“Yes! How long?” Marshall cried.

“I warn you!” Ms. Cadden the sixth grade teacher warned laughingly. “If I hear one ‘are we there yet,’ I will have them turn the bus around!”

The bus ride to Mount Ebott went very smoothly, but it still took way too long for the excited children. The ride reminded Frisk of the bus ride away from Mount Ebott two years ago.

“We’re almost there!” they announced as they drove into a village on the foot of the mountain.

“I’ve been here once before,” Desiree remembered. “There was a dance recital in the park!”

“I remember that!” her classmate Julia said. “You took pictures.”

“I’ve been hiking around here with M-Mom and Dad,” Sam said. “But they wouldn’t let me go on the mountain.” He still sounded insulted.

“You’ll get to go on there now,” Frisk said cheerfully.

“I wonder what it’ll be like,” Lynne said, turning her head to see as much of Mount Ebott as she could.

Second graders Pippi and Julia had sat up on their knees on their chair to see and some other kids were following their example, so Ms. Hannigan admonished “Stay in your seats, everyone. We’ll be there soon enough and then you can see everything up close.”

Through all the noise and excitement, Asriel noticed Frisk was rather quiet all of a sudden. They were looking out of the window at the houses going by with a  strange expression.

“Frisk?” he asked.

Frisk didn’t respond and suddenly Asriel understood.

“Is this where you lived when…just before you went up the mountain?” he asked in a low voice.

Frisk still didn’t respond, but they nodded. When they looked up, they saw Sans looking at them. Toriel, who was sitting beside him, was chatting with Ms. Hannigan. Sans winked at them and Frisk smiled.

“No running away now!” Ms. Hannigan warned when the buses stopped at a newly made carpark.

“Everybody stay near their bus, please,” So Sorry instructed, a touch anxiously.

Mount Ebott had seen some changes since the monsters had left the Underground. The hole that Frisk had fallen through was now closed off with gates and there were cable cars leading up to the mountain. Where the barrier had been broken, there were now stairs leading down and several large elevators. Humans had been working very hard to make the Underground more accessible and there were relatively direct ways to go down to the Ruins, Snowdin, Waterfall, Hotland, and New Home. There was even a man with a clipboard to confirm they were allowed to go in. It was very strange to most of the monsters. This had been their home and now they were visitors.

Alphys gently tried to quiet Undyne as she muttered darkly about showing the man with the clipboard she didn’t need permission to go anywhere, while Ms. Hannigan talked to him.

“That all seems in order,” he nodded. “Only, are you sure you wanna take those kids in wheelchairs down there?”

“Elliott and Sean are very capable of asking for help should they require it,” Ms. Hannigan said pointedly.

“Yeah,” the man began doubtfully. “But-”

“Buddy,” Sans interrupted. “It’s all taken care of. They’re with me.” He’d had a little chat with Sean and Elliott on the bus and now they both grinned widely as Sans lifted their wheelchairs ever so slightly off the ground with his telekinesis.

“Oh,” the man said. “Ehm… I guess that’s alright then?”

“Let’s go already!” Undyne complained and, under the combined stares of several monsters and a whole score of children, the man decided not to raise any of his other concerns.

He began explaining to Ms. Hannigan and Toriel, who always seemed to end up in charge, how the new elevators and tunnels could be used to navigate between the surface and the Underground. The children tried to wait patiently, but they were doing about as good a job as Undyne.

 Papyrus was no less excited than the children. “Dad!” he said suddenly. “You haven’t been back to the Underground since…well, since you came back!”

“Very true,” Gaster smiled. “I’m looking forward to it!”

“Won’t it be weird for you to be back, Frisk?” Kennedy asked.

“It’ll be cool to be back!” Frisk grinned. “I wish they’d hurry up!”

Asgore was talking quietly with Asriel, for him it would be rather weird to be back. Just like Gaster, he hadn’t been there since a time that he wasn’t really himself. He wasn’t nervous though, instead he was really looking forward to it.

Finally everything was in order and they could start the field trip. Divided neatly into their groups, the children and their accompanying teachers and monsters descended into the Underground. Two groups took the route straight down to the Ruins. Two groups would go to directly to Snowdin. Two groups went to Waterfall first and the remaining two would visit Hotlands to begin with.

Manny’s group, led by So Sorry, Douglas and Ms. Hannigan, would start their tour in the Ruins, so they rode the elevator down with Toriel and Napstablook, as well as with the other group that was being led by  the parents of Dana, a fifth grade student who looked like she was made entirely out of water.

“Well, these are the Ruins,” Toriel explained, when they exited the elevator. “This is the place where our monster ancestors made a home for themselves when they first entered the Underground. They called it Home and it was once a very beautiful place.”

The children looked around at the high columns, almost all of them now crumbling and cracked.

“I think it’s still beautiful!” Jenny exclaimed admiringly.

“It isn’t cold,” Anna said, looking up in wonder at a place very high up where sunlight seemed to come down. “I thought it would be cold.”

“The Ruins aren’t cold, no,” Toriel smiled. “Snowdin, up ahead, certainly is though.”

“I’ve never been here myself,” Douglas said, looking around. “I’ve only heard stories…”

“Me too,” So Sorry said. “We wouldn’t make very good guides…”

The same was true for Dana and her parents. They were looking around just as curiously as the children.

“Perhaps now would be an appropriate time for some monster history?” Ms. Hannigan suggested.

“Of course,” Toriel said. “Let me see…”

The children gathered round her, sitting down on rocks or soft spots on the ground, and Toriel began to explain how monsters came to be in the Underground. She kept her explanation light, there were very young children present after all, but all the kids understood the solemnity of the subject and listened with quiet attention.

“That was all a very long time ago,” Toriel ended her short history lesson with a smile. “And the Ruins here have been relatively empty for almost as long. I used to live here though, before I came to the surface and so did many friendly spiders.”

“Are they still here?” Julia asked, looking curiously at the floor.

“No,” Toriel laughed. “They all went to the surface.”

“That’s why there were so many spiders last autumn!” Pito cried.

“I doubt that,” Toriel said with a smile. “All the spiders that lived here and in Hotland went with Muffet.”

“Can we go e-explore?” Sam asked eagerly.

“I think so,” Toriel said, looking at Ms. Hannigan.

“Go ahead, kids,” Ms. Hannigan said. “But be careful and make sure you can always see one of us adults!”

Sam, Manny and Marshall raced each other to the nearest column so Marshall could touch it and study it up close. His vision was so bad he carried a cane, but if there was enough light, he could still see movement and some colours. So Sorry set off in pursuit, nervous that the rather exuberant trio would get hurt somehow. Meanwhile Ms. Hannigan and Douglas stayed with the other younger kids: Julia, Rain, Robin, and Pito. Amber strolled behind them, giggling when Douglas offered Ms. Hannigan his arm.

“The acoustics in this place must be sick,” Wubba remarked, digging some sweets out of his pocket and offering them to Vlad and Anna.

“Crack up the volume on your phone and see,” Vlad grinned. “The teachers aren’t looking.”

Wubba chuckled, but before he could answer they were distracted by Jenny, who appeared dramatically from behind a column and spread her arms.

“This place is just like an old Grecian temple,” she sighed. “I should be wearing a  white robe.”

“Here,” Anna smiled, taking her camera out of her backpack. “Do your best goddess Aphrodite pose, I’ll take your picture!”

“Can I be the muse of theatre instead?” Jenny asked and she struck a pose.

“Hey, dude,” Vlad said when Napstablook floated near. “You’re a DJ right? So’s Wubba.”

“Cool…” Napstablook said with a transparent smile. “I used to come here to rehearse my spook tunes… It’s nice and echo-y here.”

After a while, Toriel and Napstablook lead the two groups of children to another part of the Ruins. Here were many rustling leaves to play with, mouse holes to inspect, and cracks in purple stone walls to peer through.

“I f-found a frog!” Robin cried suddenly.

“That is a Froggit,” Toriel said, hurrying towards them. “Hello,” she greeted the Froggit. “No need to be alarmed.”

“Ribbit,” the Froggit said doubtfully.

All the other kids came running too.

“Cool!” Pito cried and Vlad reached out to touch it.

“No, Vlad,” Ms. Hannigan said hastily.

“Good morning, mister Froggit,” Anna said politely. The Froggit didn’t look like he understood, but he hopped a little closer.

“I like your face,” Rain said with a friendly smile.

The Froggit blushed and all the kids laughed excitedly while So Sorry described the Froggit to Marshall.

When they continued on their way through the Ruins, Toriel explained that not all the monsters had wanted to leave. Some of them, although not many, had chosen to stay in the Underground and, of course, no one had forced them to leave.

“What kinds of monsters live here?” Julia asked.

“There used to be quite a few,” Napstablook answered. “Now there aren’t so many… Maybe we’ll see a Moldsmal.”

This made all the children hunt for any sign of movement as they walked. They were determined to see more monsters . Manny had a definite advantage over the other kids in searching for Moldsmals because he actually knew what they looked like. He listened for the soft sounds of jiggling and when he finally heard them he gave a cry of triumph.

“I found one!” he cheered and all the other kids came running.

There were two Moldsmals, bobbing up and down gently and minding their own business.

“Don’t touch them,” Napstablook warned quickly.

“And be nice,” Toriel added.

“How are you nice to a Moldsmal?” Ms. Hannigan asked curiously.

“Like this!” Manny said and he wiggled his hips.

The Moldsmals jiggled approvingly and the other children all tried to dance like Manny did. From that point on, almost all of them skipped instead of walking and swayed their hips at everything that moved. Toriel was sorry to tell them to stop, but she had to warn them that up ahead there were some dangerous holes in the floor that they must stay away from.

“So watch your step,” she said seriously. “And do not touch anything that looks like a button or a lever. There are many deactivated puzzles around here and some of them can be dangerous.”

“Everybody got that?” Ms. Hannigan raised her voice, looking round at the children.

“Yes, Ms. Toriel. Yes, Ms. Hannigan,” the kids answered and they walked on, not in the least bit scared, but more excited than ever.

.

Frisk was overjoyed that their group was going to Snowdin. It meant they had Grillby and Papyrus with them as well as Sans and they were so happy to be back there. Before they went into Snowdin Forest, they all had to put on their warm coats. Well, all of them except Clyde who always wore two jackets no matter how hot it was.

“Aren’t you cold?” Ziz asked Sans, snuggling deeper into his blue sweater.

“Nah,” Sans winked. “The cold goes right through me.”

There was a small round of giggles and chuckles and Papyrus bit