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Put me back together

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"Sans," a young woman raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms, looking at the skeleton sitting beside her.

"oh come on, Y/n, just one more. Come on, pal, I know you find my puns-"

"Don't-"

"-humerus."

"Aaargh Saaans goddamn it, " the one called Y/n covered her eyes with her hand and shook her head, her smile however betraying that her frustration with the skeleton was dramatically exaggerated.

"you know you like it," he chuckles and takes a sip of his ketchup while Y/n removes her hand from her eyes and grabs hold of her cocktail - Grillby hired someone to make drinks and since then the business had been booming, as you could actually order something to drink now. Sans, however, still preferred ketchup. Or was just too lazy to change his habits.

"I do, " she smiles and her lips touch the cold glass as she finishes her drink. "Listen, Sans, it's getting late already, I should get going."

"right," he agrees."don't you have that trip tomorrow?"

"Yep, " she nods and takes out her wallet. "Let me take you home, I know you know 'shortcuts', but that way we can talk some more."

"sounds great, pal. Besides, it's good that you volunteered to give me a ride, 'cause I'm bone tired."

Y/n lets out a short but genuine laugh and smiles widely at Grillby as she puts the money for her dinner plus a tip on the bar counter.

"You do know that you ruined a bunch of places for me,  right, Grillby? Nowhere  else compares, your burgers are simply the best."

It's a small detail, but the fire elemental's shoulders seem to proudly broaden and on his flaming face Y/n can discern an outline of a smile.

".....................Thank you. Come back anytime."

"aw, you're so nice, Y/n. You can bring a bright, warm smile to anyone's face."

"Sans," the young woman stands up and straightens her clothes. "One more pun and I'll reconsider being carpals with you."

Sans' white lights-for-eyes shimmer with delight as he hops off the barstool and follows Y/n out of the bar.

 

 

***

 

 

Y/n walked into her apartment and threw her keys in a nearby bowl with a tired sigh. Leaving her darkbrown leather jacket and shoes by the entrance, she walked down the hallway, ignoring the door to her office and heading straight to the living room, where a laptop was sitting atop a small coffee table. Taking a seat on the sofa, Y/n opened the laptop and checked her e-mails. Being who she was, messages could come at any time on any day.

Tonight, however, there were just a few reports from her friends in the Research division about their findings and the contribution of Dr. Alphys in helping them understand some complex magic workings. Y/n smiled as her eyes ran through the letter. Alphys was more of an engineer, using magic where technology couldn't quite reach and improving existing inventions combining them with magic. Sans was the more magic-savvy individual, but for the purposes of this research Alphys was more than knowledgeable. She was also a kind, gentle soul and Y/n decided that she should drop by Alphys' work to thank her in person and maybe even give her a gift as a thank you. Maybe an anime-figurine. Or a cosplay item. Y/n would think on that.

When her phone rang and the screen showed the name of her Second in Command, she instinctively glanced at the clock on the wall.

23:24

Huh.
Sans has long since put Papyrus to sleep, Frisk probably had succumbed to sleep while trying to read a book under the covers using a flashlight, even Aplhys was no doubt pulled from her work by Undyne to get some rest.

But no, Y/n had no privilege of leaving work conversations at work. With that thought and a sigh, she swiped right, answering the call.

"Guten Abend, Herr Graustein. Was kann ich fur Sie tun?"* she kept her tone professional, but warm at the same time as the man on the other end was no stranger to her.

"Guten Abend, Archmagister, " the man's voice was tired, but she noticed how it warmed up from her use of his native language. She tried to do that more often when they were speaking one-on-one.

"Herr Graustein..."

"Y/n, " he coughed, correcting himself. A stickler for rules, he would often forget himself and call her by her title in private conversations, even though he knew her since she was first admitted to the Mages Academy. He spoke again, continuing to use German: "I apologize for calling this late."

"It's no problem, really, " she gestured with her hand as if he could see it. "Did something happen?"

"No, everything is calm," he chuckled, "Isn't that a surprise?"

"Oh yes it is," she let out a quiet laugh. God, she was happy that the past year went by without any major incidents, things were finally calming down since monsters came from the underground.

"So, Y/n," the man cleared his throat, "You will be departing tomorrow evening, correct? Nothing changed?"
The young Archmage smiled - the man was sometimes such a doting mother hen.

"Nothing changed, tomorrow at 18:00 my plane takes off and a few hours later I will be home, trying to get my overjoyed dog off me."

"I see, " he answered. "Y/n, you do remember to be careful? This whole monster hysteria has calmed down, but there are still people who are opposed to your way of dealing with things."
"I know, " she sighed, feeling as if a pile of bricks was dropped on her shoulders, additional bricks being added by the second while the topic circled around politics, opposition groups and the like. "Herr Graustein, you know my family is careful and my father has installed every form of security measure you can think of, I even put some spells on the house just in case."

"I'm not talking about the safety of your family, I'm talking about yours."
"Oh. Yes, that too. I'm not out for trouble, I just want to visit my hometown, my house, my family and friends," she sighed again and looked at the night city through the bulletproof windows. Fortunately, they've never come in handy, but the thought that they even had to be installed was unnerving enough.

"Y/n?" the voice of her teacher distracted her from her thoughts. She cleared her throat.
"And besides, I'm the Archmage, it would take a bit of ingenuity to harm me, don't worry, " Y/n said, trying to calm the older mage down.
"Several cleverly placed snipers. Or an explosive in your father's car. Or an even bigger explosion, maybe taking out a whole restaurant. I doubt radicals would mind a few dozen people as significant collateral damage-"

"Herr Graustein-"
"I know...I know. I apologize. Things weren't heated for a while now, the number of radical opposition members has dwindled considerably and more and more of them are more agreeable now."
"Of course, only morons wouldn't see that monsters mean us no harm."
"Morons still account for a high number of the population."

Y/n smirked grimly.

"No argument there. But let's not delve into our usual philosophical musings on the prideful and prejudicial, lest you want me to fall into a misanthropic mood and go on and on about the types of people I hate until you accuse me of being anti-human and unfit to bear the title of Archmage."
"My dear Y/n, you know full well that I'm far more fit to be accused of misanthropy than you, I have far more years of experience hating certain people," the older mage was now in a lighter mood and Y/n could hear papers being shoved aside.
"Herr Graustein, if there's nothing else, then I thank you for your concern and order you as Archmage to go and get some rest. Get some flowers from the castle garden and give them to your husband as an apology for being home so late," the young woman giggled as she heard a thoughtful hum from the man.

"I'll inform the guard that I have your direct order to run around the garden picking flowers in the middle of the night."
"You do that," she smiled, assured that her teacher could hear it in her voice."But no one would question you anyway, you know that."
The man gave a satisfied smirk and the two of them exchanged goodbyes.

Yawning, Y/n stretched and the sound of her joints cracking reminded her of her skeleton friends. Stars, being around those two was a pleasure and a balm on her soul, which was worn out by the past three years of stress. Funnily enough the monsters - the reason she had so much work now - were the ones who would be able to make her relax.

It fell into the jurisdiction of the Guild of Mages when things involved magic or monsters. When, centuries later, the whole world thought that monsters didn't exist there was no reason for the government to look into or change that ancient rule. Heck, Y/n herself heard a couple of jokes from her aquaitances in City Hall that maybe it's her job to deal with monsters under the beds of their children. She even agreed to that once, when she was invited to dinner at the house of one of the official's. In the later hours of the evening their 5-year-old son came to the dining room after he had a nightmare and Y/n volunteered to walk them to their bedroom and, as The Archmage, scare the monster away. How ironic was it, that a while after the monsters came from the Underground that same kid asked her if she could maybe make a monster appear under his bed, as monsters were, apparently, the new GreatestThingEVER in children's minds. If only all the grown ups were just as excited.

As soon as monsters emerged from the Underground, she was there. King Asgore later theorized that her being the Archmage somehow attuned her soul to the Barrier and that's how she instantly felt when it shattered. When she reached the place where the Barrier had once been the sun was already setting, coloring the sky in shades of gold and casting a warm light on the inhuman figures standing near the top of the mountain where a huge hole was visible. Y/n remembered never being so scared in her life. Two weeks later the monsters were greeted by the Guild of Mages and later - the army, the police, and the news. It was a truly chaotic time and Y/n was more than impressed with how much understanding monsters handled all of it. Then again, monster hearts were made mostly from love, hope and compassion. What a bunch of cinnamon rolls.

While the government was in a state of panic and the military was debating which type of warfare would deal the monsters more damage, she and her advisors quickly stepped in, reserving the right to deal with the situation and reminding everyone that this was why the Guild was stationed near Mount Ebott in the first place. Even if the government wasn't convinced, they've already went public with the announcement and it would be a mess to give the general populace the impression that they didn't know what they were doing. Legally, they couldn't stop the Guild too, since no one bothered to change "that one line about monsters".

Since then, she and the Guild were dealing with every monster-involved incident, being blamed for everything that went wrong and being hated by certain people for everything that went right. Racism, prejudice, even homophobia came into the mix and sometimes late at night when she was dead tired but plagued by insomnia due to the sheer stress Y/n wondered if she should just off some people in the middle of the night. Luckily, the city and the areas around it became accustomed to the "new neighbors" and recognized their lack of ill intent relatively quickly. The rest of the world still debated the issue with varying intensity, but at least hometurf was a safe zone.

Then there was the social issue of interspecies relationships. Oh, that one was "fun". She distinctly remembers the hearing of the Supreme Court when a man cried out in exasperation something along the lines of "If we don't stop and don't punish this, then who knows what they'll do then!" and the lawyer replied "Yes, those two creatures loving each other, how DARE they do that! What will we tell our children, how do we explain the phenomenon that two beings love each other regardless of gender? Of race?". Oh she loved that lawyer so much at that moment. The irony didn't seem lost on the judge of African heritage who's son was dating a white guy. She didn't know how she resisted the urge to run up to the judge and kiss him when he announced that, at least in this country, love wins.

And the monster-human school! How much energy her and Toriel invested in that!

And the international  trips with Asgore! Y/n refused to let the king, who had become her close friend, to be in any danger and used her Archmage status to accompany him to the countries he wanted to visit to establish monster-human relations.

And the issue of employment for monsters! And suitable living arrangements! And the media coverage! And the interviews! And the police and military protocol involving monsters! And infomercials, children's books and documentaries explaining to people what monsters really are! And all the scientific data researchers wanted to have! And those stupid parents who screamed that Mettaton was inappropriate for their children when said children ADORE him! UGH!!

She was getting exhausted even thinking about all of it...

Y/n raised her hand and rubbed between her eyes, she felt that thanks to these few years she would get furrows there as well as on her forehead before she'll reach thirty. A "pleasing" thought, considering she was 25 now. Well, she was 25 for a while - mages aged a bit slower than regular humans, usually depending on their magic abilities which, in turn, depended on the wizard's attunement to their soul. Being an Archmage, her chances of living long were quite high - if no one kills her that is.

"That's it," the thought, standing up and, grabbing her phone and laptop, walking to the bedroom. "Netflix & sleep."

Half a season of Mettaton's fabulous film noir parody series later, she finally fell asleep.

Chapter Text

She was in the middle of riding her horse when she heard it.
A loud breaking sound as if someone just broke a large mirror right in front of a powerful microphone.
Stopping the stallion which has been galloping through the planes, Y/n looked around and listened intently. Nothing. Just the quiet swaying of grass and the gentle rustle of leaves.

No, that couldn't be right. She definitely heard something.


The young Archmage looked around again. Somewhere deep in her SOUL, however, she already knew the answer.


"No...no, nononono- No. I'm just going insane. Even that's more plausible than-" It couldn't be. It just couldn't.
Y/n looked at Mount Ebott, which was standing just beyond the forest. Somehow, however, it felt like the strange sound came from somewhere else. That's good, right? Y/n's eyes drifted to a smaller mountain standing right across the forest.
If it wasn't Mt. Ebott, then maybe it was nothing major...She should still investigate.


As the raven-black stallion navigated through the forest, a million thoughts ran through her mind.
She read the legend. It was so long ago, nothing that could be considered evidence remained in the Guild's castle or anywhere else. Even if it was true, her teachers once told her, most likely Mt. Ebott was a mass grave, a crypt, the final resting place for the mythical beasts. Was there even a barrier? The place where it should have been was lost to time and was probably covered by a landslide or something anyway, right? Should she call for help? Her phone was in the pocket of her jacket, she could- No. She should make sure first. If she made a fool of herself it would do no good to her reputation.But what if, what if there were actually...


"Monsters..." was her one and only thought as her horse stopped at the foot of the mountain and she saw the inhuman figures standing high above, on the edge of one of the mountain's protrusions, a huge gaping hole behind them.
She felt like her heart dropped into her stomach. She felt lightheaded yet painfully aware. This was...Oh stars, this was a disaster in the making! Soon the army will come and she'll be the one leading her mages into battle and there'll be a war. Will there be a war?
As she came out of her panicked thoughts, she realized that she'd lead her horse up the mountain and in mere moments she'll reach the place where she saw the monsters.
"At least, if the legends are true, I can take them on, they say monster souls are weaker than-"

That was her last thought before her stallion took a turn and she was met with 7 pairs of eyes staring at her in shock.
There was a nervewreaking silence.

She took the seconds to eye each creature warily, her mind working in overdrive due to adrenalin. There was The King - undoubtedly, he wore a crown and royal armor and was the largest monster in the group. Y/n couldn't help but think that he looked like the Monster king described in the legend - could this one be his descendant? Then there was a fish...monster...woman? She was also quite tall, not as huge as the monstrous goat-type king, but easily a good 2 meters and she had an eyepatch covering her left eye. Behind her, a smaller yellow dinosaur-lizard monster in a labcoat raised her hands to her mouth in shock. There were also two skeletons - though with somewhat inhuman skull proportions - one was about her height and had a terrifying stare, one eye socket being pitch black and the other bearing a magical eye that burned cyan, the other was almost as tall as the fish-monster and bore very unusual clothing as well as a shocked expression on his face...skull. Lastly, there was a goat-like monster, similar to the royal one, but it's features were softer, Y/n was sure it was female. When the young Archmage's eyes landed on the small figure the monster was holding by the hand, time seemed to unfreeze for her as she called out:

"A human?...Where did-"
"OH MY GOD IS THAT A HORSE-"
"papyrus wait-!"
"SANS THAT IS A HORSE!!!"

The skeleton ran forward, arms outstretched and Y/n could only hold on as her stallion reared up, standing on his hind legs, raising a cloud of dust with a loud stomping sound.
"WOWIE IT IS MAGNIFICENT!"
The taller skeleton didn't seem scared by the horse's thrashing but still stopped running and stood still, maybe acknowledging that he spooked the equine.  As Y/n expertly calmed the stallion down and he stood on all four hooves again, she spoke absentmindedly, the stress of seing monsters and calming the huge stallion down scrambling her thoughts a bit:
"If you like the horse, you may pet him.  Just make it slow-"
"OH WOWIE-"
"...and speak softer."
"OH. Oh. Right."

As the skeleton approached, the situation dawned on her again and she looked over the group of monsters again. They seemed as on edge as she was, but somehow her absentminded agreement to let the skeleton pet the horse seemed to put them at ease a little.
They all, Y/n included, watched in silence as the monster cautiously neared the stallion.


"T-That's it, good horsie...Wowie, Sans, look, a real horse, just like in my book..."
Out of the corner of her eye Y/n could see that the smaller skeleton's eye no longer glowed cyan, a white speck of light appearing in each eyesocket. And...was he sweating a bit?
"sure bro, just be careful," she heard him speak, a voice much deeper than the first one's.
As the skeleton was close enough, he reached out with his mitten-wearing hand and Y/n could hear herself muttering softly:
"Slowly...you can start at the mane or neck."
This was unreal, she thought as the skeleton began petting her stallion, battling with himself not to scream from excitement. "A skeleton. A skeleton in petting my horse. Monsters are real. They're here. One is petting my horse."
"Wowie...this is amazing. What's the horsies name?" the skeleton looked up at her and she stared into those eyeless eyesockets for a moment before forcing herself to remain calm and unfazed. The creature did not seem to harbor any ill intent as far as she could feel from his magic. The stallion seemingly thought so as well as he let the monster pet him.
"Obsidian," she replied, petting the stallion's mane, "Sid for short."

As the skeleton was petting and murmuring praises to the stallion, completely ignoring the delicate situation of the first surface monster-human contact in centuries, Y/n looked at the other monsters again. By now, it seemed that everyone has calmed down quite a bit. This seemed the best time to try talking again. Y/n cleared her throat.
"I'm sorry for startling you all. My name is F/n L/n."
"H-howdy, Miss L/n," the huge goat-creature spoke, his golden mane catching the setting sun's light and his deep, soft voice making it hard for Y/n to believe that he meant her harm...at least for now."My name is Asgore. This is Alphys, Undyne, Sans, Toriel, Frisk and Papyrus. We, ugh, don't mean any harm. The barrier just broke so we are here enjoying the lovely sunset."

Right. RIGHT. Oh shit, they haven't seen the sun in ages, in generations! She was so dim, she told herself. She looked at the sun, it was almost half-gone, hiding behind the horizon.
The monsters did not seem hostile, not now anyway. She should offer a gesture of good will, shouldn't she?
"You should at least be considerate," she thought to herself, half-scolding."It'll also give you time to observe them and think," a more pragmatic thought followed.

"It's your first sunset on the surface, right?" she asked softly, letting her gaze drift over the monsters and the perfectly content human child - she WILL find out about what's the deal with that the first chance she has - and looking back to the king. He nodded.
"Then please, don't let me stop you from enjoying it. Sunsets are a fleeting thing, we can talk after," she spoke again, earning a look of surprise from the monsters.
"Oh, well...thank you, Miss L/n," king Asgore nodded. The fish-monster gave her an "I've got my eye on you" look before resuming to look at the setting sun, taking the dinosaur-like monster's hand in hers. The goat-lady nodded and with a soft "Thank you, child" resumed to marvel at the setting star together with the...boy? Or was it a girl? Asgore called them Frisk. The shorter skeleton, however, did not stay at his spot and walked over to where she and Papyrus were. As far as she could tell the tall skeleton was telling her horse about all the adventures they could have together.
"so, ugh, mind getting off your high horse and greet a new friend, bud?"

Oh shit was her sitting on her horse offensive? She should have thought of that, she just felt more secure when she could look at the huge goat- and fish-monsters straight in the eye and not from her average human height. Were they offended or was Sans the only one who noticed yet?


"SA-Saaans, do you Have to use puns now?"
Oh. Was he joking? Y/n blinked in confusion as she looked at the two skeletons discussing the timeliness of puns. Her teacher would freak out if he knew how she botched the "greeting the monsters" part. Not that they ever had any classes on that.
She decided that she should get off the horse anyway and in a swift move her feet hit the ground, causing the two monsters to stop talking and look at her.
"Wowie...you're not that tall at all," Papyrus said, looking at Y/n, who was now reaching his clavicle at most.
"I guess, " she laughed a bit nervously and petted the stallion's side more in an effort to calm herself than the animal. It was not that she was too short, the skeleton was just tall enough to go pro at basketball.
"so, about that greeting," the smaller skeleton extended a hand and she looked at the bones, the phalanges moving without any muscle needed. Magic. Pure magic.
It was...amazing.
Before getting too excited, she reached out and took the bony hand in hers, shaking it heartily but without too much force.
"sans. sans the skeleton," he declared.
"Y/n," she answered although she already introduced herself earlier.
His fingers, however, did not unclench immediately and he quietly said:
"listen, buddy, we really don't mean any harm, y'know?"
"I...find that more and more likely by the minute," she honestly answered. The skeleton seemed to like the reply and let go of her hand.
"good. good. 'specially Papyrus here, he's a real cool guy, y'now? a real kind soul," he continued and Y/n felt that his words carried more weight that could be thought at first. The young Archmage looked at the taller skeleton, who was entranced in watching the sun set.
"I believe that, Sans. You care about him a great deal," she pointed out. Sans shrugged.
"well sure, he's my brother. the best bro one could have. so I just wanna make sure no harm comes to him," his last words were laced with seriousness that Y/n could understand all too well, having used smiles and laughs to mask her emotions her whole life. There was a spark of understanding between them and she nodded, looking the monster straight in the eyesockets.
"I come in peace, Sans. I would never harm someone as cool as your brother," she smiled, her nonchalant words being betrayed by her serious tone.
"good," the shorter skeleton nodded too and turned to admire the last few moments of the sunset. "because, y'now, nobody wants to have a bad time."
"Nobody wants to have a bad time," she agreed supressing the urge to gulp at how thinly veiled the threat was. Y/n turned to face the disappearing sun, thinking that this skeleton may have the strongest magical aura she had ever felt - and he made sure she felt it.

The sun had set. The last golden rays have died down, the sky was now colored in blues and violets, getting darker by the minute.
Soon, Sans and Papyrus left, Sans saying it was Papyrus' bedtime and the latter protesting that he wanted to go meet humans right now, but already yawning. The one called Undyne was reluctant to leave the king's side, but Asgore insisted she and Alphys get some rest and, shooting Y/n a glare, the captain of the royal guard left, accompanied by the royal scientist. Only Y/n, Asgore, Toriel and Frisk were left, the child seemingly very tired.
"I don't suppose we can postpone your questioning regarding Frisk?"  Toriel's voice was somewhat concerned, but content. Y/n saw them talking about something earlier, but did not overhear what about, only that it left the goat-lady very happy. The young woman looked over to Frisk. She was watching them all this time, they didn't seem scared or depressed, they looked perfectly happy. Y/n crouched infront of the child, looking them in the eyes and asked:
"Frisk, are you okay? Did the monsters treat you well?"
"Yep!" the kid enthusiastically nodded and gave her a thumbs up.
"I see," she smiled. "Then, you want to go with Lady Toriel and get some sleep?"
"Yep, I wanna go with mom, have some butterscotch-cinnamon pie and go to sleep," they answered.
Y/n's eyebrows rose as the child called the goat-monster "mom", but if that wasn't a telltale sign that they would be okay for a day at least, then she didn't know what was.
"Okay then, Frisk, we'll talk later," she patted the kid on the shoulder and got a huge grin from them. She rose to her feet and nodded to Toriel. As the two were walking off, Frisk turned around and asked:
"You'll come back, right? I need to bring my other shirt so you can sign it."
"Frisk, my child, why in the world would you want the young miss Y/n to sigh your shirt?" Toriel giggled.
"Because she's the Archmage of course! It'll be kinda cool to have her autograph on my stuff!"

It became dead silent. The two Boss Monsters looked at her wide-eyed and the only thing Y/n could do is keep calm and be glad Undyne wasn't there anymore.
"I figure we need to talk, Your Majesty."

***


Asgore lead her to his throne room and, to be honest, it wasn't like anything you could imagine the King of Monsters would have. It was a garden, a beautiful garden with golden flowers blooming everywhere and with a throne standing in the middle of the room. Asgore seemed hesitant, but asked it she was willing to take this to the study, but judging by the king's willingness to stay near his garden Y/n thought it best to opt for that. Asgore appreciated the gesture.
He put a chair and a small coffee table in front of his throne and offered her some tea. She thought about politely refusing out of caution, but a feeling in her soul told her to accept. So she did. As the king poured the tea from the same pot in both their cups and took a sip himself, she was comfortable enough with tasting the pleasantly smelling drink. It was delicious.
But she wasn't there for the tea.
"So, Your Majesty, " she started, but was cut off by Asgore raising his fur-covered clawed hand and softly speaking:
"Please, Lady Archmage, you may call me Asgore," he smiled and if she was more naive, she wouldn't have noticed that the smile was, although warm, but nervous. Somehow, it pained her to see the majestic king being so uneasy even if she understood that in this situation it was completely normal.
"Then please call me Y/n," she answered with a smile of her own, hoping it would have a calming effect. Somehow she managed to stay relatively calm in this situation, she gathered it was because she couldn't feel any violent intent from the king or the other monsters.
"Very well, Y/n, " the huge monster seemed to calm down a little, his broad shoulders relaxing.
Then they talked. They talked about what monsters were, how Frisk had fallen to the Underground, what the monsters were expecting from living on the surface. It was...overwhelming. It was the middle of the night when Y/n distressed eyes found Asgore's and he worriedly asked her if she was too tired. Huh, souls of love and compassion indeed.

"Asgore...Asgore, listen," she said, her voice thick with worry."You can't go to the surface....Not now." She corrected herself when she saw the shock and pain clearly written across the king's face.
"Not just yet. Asgore, listen to me, please," she let out a sigh, not breaking eye contact, somehow hoping that that way the monster could see she was honest."You know about the War of Humans and Monsters, you know that if humans are scared they band together against the thing that scares them and do absolutely everything to wipe it from existance. Humans have much potential for good things, but we are horrifying when it come to ways we can do harm. Please, Your Majesty- Asgore, you need to give me some time to speak to someone who can help us with this. You need to ready your people, to remind them to be careful, to let them know what to expect."


She stared into the monster's eyes, clearly seeing the moment when her words reached him. It should have been hard to stomach, with freedom in hand's reach.
Asgore gave an exhausted sigh, but at least he was not furious with her. No matter how polite and soft-spoken, he was still a giant compared to her and she would hate to anger him.
"You are very kind, Y/n," she heard him say and snapped out of her thoughts, looking  at his face again."I doubt many in your position would be so considerate."
"I..." her voice fell silent. This was, indeed, not what was expected of her. But what was expected of her, exactly? The protocol on such an event was lost and the only rule she had was that in was the Guild's jurisdiction when things came to magic and monsters. So, basically, she had to deal with it. And as to how - it came to her decisions as Archmage.
"I refuse to let this end in a massacre," she stated finally. Asgore nodded.
They've reached a conclusion that Asgore would tell his people to wait two weeks. Going out to where the barrier once was was acceptable, but not further. Y/n would supply the monsters with enough historical and other information to how best to act when they come to the surface. She wouldn't leave out facts as to how cruel people can be to remind them to be always careful. She would give them books with anatomy facts, especially helpful for monster children so they know how not to harm humans. No one besides the group she already met would need to know about Y/n's involvement. The less possibilities for it later being discovered that the Archmage did something like this - the less problems she would have.


When she was about to leave, she noticed that Asgore seemed uneasy. Taking a moment, she thought she knew why.


"You think I'm lying to you,"  she spoke, her voice soft. The king didn't answer, just looked at the sky that was beginning to brighten as dawn came closer.
"You think I'll run, gather the mages and we'll seal you away again," she continued and could clearly see how the king's hand twitched and his eyes narrowed.
"Asgore," she called and, when the monster turned to her, she could feel her heart breaking for the king who's people were so badly mistreated by her own. She couldn't have the nerve to just tell him to make his people wait that long and hope she honors her word. She almost never gave promises, but if she did she always kept them. But he did not know her, so she couldn't expect him to trust her.

She took a deep breath and brought her hand to her chest.

"You're right, humans aren't trustworthy creatures," she said quietly as she slowly, carefully pulled her soul from her chest. Asgore's eyes widened as he saw the bright glow of the heart-shaped soul and he looked at Y/n unsure what she was going to do as she did not seem willing to fight him.

"That's why," she continued, slowly circling her soul with her finger multiple times, almost touching it, "mages invented a spell. It is known that the only magic there is - well, at least, for us - is soul magic. We can't cast fireballs, but we can use soulprojections and a few spells that affect things that have a soul. Ourselves included."

There was a thin white magic string appearing in places where her finger hovered over her soul until, finally, it wrapped around it completely.

"So, you see, this is a Vow Spell, " her voice wavered, she only used this spell once in her life and that was in context of studying it. "If I break my word, you get to pull the string."

She stepped toward the shocked monster, extending her hand with the string lying in her palm, shimmering as if it was a spiderweb.
"You get to shatter my soul, Asgore," she spoke, her voice quiet but determined. The monster king, however, looked terrified.

"N-no, no! I will not," he sighed, almost howled painfully and it was almost as if the color has been drained from his golden mane and amber eyes. "I shall not. It is a horrific spell, Y/n, I shall not use it."

Y/n smiled sadly.

"I want you to trust me, Asgore. This is the only guarantee I can give you."

It was painful to watch the huge goat-monster, he seemed to be falling apart, looking at the white string in her hand.

"I-I don't need this to trust you, Y/n," he said, finally. "Your readiness to go this far and, most of all, the vibrant color of your soul are enough."

She stared at the king, surprised, but letting go of her concentration, making the thread disappear and letting her soul back into her body.

"Yes, that's better, my child..." the king spoke softly and Y/n could see tears in his eyes. Before she could think she was already hugging the monster, his arms embracing her as well. She could feel his muzzle in her hair, but she didn't mind at all, letting the king go only when his breathing evened out. She assured the king that she would be back tomorrow first thing in the morning, bringing the promised books and videos and ready to discuss their plan in more detail.

Next morning she was there with the first morning rays, bringing two mages along with her. Asgore was waiting.

***

It was four days after her fist encounter with monsters and Y/n was visiting the Underground again.

She wasn't there for the last two days as she had loads to do on her end, especially since she didn't bring anyone into this except her Second in Command - an older mage by the name of Wolfgang Graustein - and his husband, Arkady. Both mages were shocked as expected, but fortunately trusted her enough to give monsters a chance. After the first meeting with Asgore, Toriel and the others who were already involved, the two men agreed that steps had to be taken to make the reunion of the two races as peaceful as possible. The mages even found a minute for making friends, Arkady participating in a friendly battle with Undyne while Wolfgang somehow mostly coaxed Alphys out of her anxious state and spent a while discussing the mix of science and magic. 

After that Y/n was slammed with things to do and she could only hope that the preparations were going well on Asgore's side as well. Now sitting in his study, drinking golden flower tea, she listened to Asgore and was glad they were. The monsters, while at first disappointed by the delay, quickly saw reason and were now eagerly studying the do's and dont's, the cultural norms and even some basic legal laws. In fact, Y/n spent the night compiling some PowerPoint presentations on human history which she gave to Alphus as soon as she arrived in hopes that it would help. Thank the maker monsters had computers. Old ones, mostly, but still. Alphys was a remarkable engineer to salvage and bring to life so much technology even if she did use magic to help herself out. Asgore, it seems, did not get much sleep too. It was understandable, he was a king who was about to lead his people into a whole new way of life, he was under a lot of stress. But still he was always kind and Y/n admired that.


"So, Asgore," she said as she put her empty cup on the matching cup plate."You really want to hear the history of the Mages Guild? I didn't think you would have much interest as you don't have any reason to like us."


She stated that plainly, refusing to hide under pretty words or avoid the subject. The mages took part in the War and created the Barrier, monsters had every reason to hate them.


"I have you," Asgore said with a tired smile."And Wolfgang, and Arkady. So far, I have a reason to give the Guild a chance."
"You're too kind," she said with a half-smile, but in her tone he could hear she was thankful.
"Well," she started, but then fell silent. Asgore, as she learned on their first meeting, was Old - he was a Boss Monster, he was born on the surface, was the same king who fought in the war and, in the end, made the choice to retreat to Mt. Ebott to save the rest of his people. Since then, all these years he lived in the Underground, as they called it.

Y/n got a lump in her throat everytime she thought of that.


"Huh, I think someday you'll maybe tell me a few things I don't know about the early years of the Guild, hah, as we humans tend to forget our own history fairly easily..." her voice faltered and she looked at the concerned monster's face before looking at her hands.
"I'm so sorry, Asgore."


It was the only thing she could think of recently - what Asgore has been through, how the monsters have lived, what humans did to them all those centuries ago. The more she thought about it, the more horrifying it became.


"Y/n, you already apologized," she heard the soothing voice of the king, but only shook her head.

"No amount of apologies would ever be enough, Asgore," she sighed heavily. "History showed that with monsters or without - it's humans who are the bloodthirsty beasts. We always find who to turn against. It's our nature."

Asgore seemed like he wanted to protest, but she shook her head again.

"I know there are people, good people, people like Frisk. Like my parents, like Herr Graustein, like his husband and many more. I want to believe that in the years that you were here we as a species became at least a bit better. I think we did. I only hope that will be enough to make this all go over well."

"Not a big believer in people, I see," Asgore's smooth voice was filled with understanding.

"I believe in those I know. I want to believe in those i don't. But, as my father always said 'Hope for the best, be ready for the worst'."

"You're the Archmage, Y/n, won't the people listen to you?" Asgore tilted his head to the side, a thoughtful expression on his face. The young Archmage chuckled grimly, a hollow, joyless sound.

"Maybe now. Good thing it's not what, a couple hundred years ago?"

The king stared at her in confusion as she took a deep breath, concluding it was finally time for the brief overview of history she promised him.

"Long, long ago, if legends are to be believed then it would be right after the Human/Monster War ended, right near Mt. Ebott a castle was build with stone and magic to serve as a home for those mages who were supposed to be the first line of defence if the Barrier ever broke," Asgore poured them both some more tea and Y/n nodded in thanks before continuing. "Decades went by, some started to wonder if it was necessary to guard the Barrier at all and if their gifted brethren were the new danger. It was unnerving, humans who used magic as if they were monsters, who understood the subtle workings of a thing so intangible, so abstract as a soul."

That caught Asgore's attention, he furrowed his brow a little, no doubt sensing where the story was heading. Y/n just looked at him with a small frown and continued:

"Years passed, and in a couple generations the war was but a distant echo in the minds of people, the monsters - no more than legends, the last free one destroyed not long after the Barrier was put in place. In time, the ruling class and the simple folk alike turned on those whose powers were "otherworldly", "blasphemous", "satanic" and a new bloody page was written in the history of mankind - shamans gunned down, wizards thrown into rivers with boulders attached to them, witches burned at the stake."

Y/n paused, giving the king time to process that. Sad e/c eyes met shocked amber ones as the king stared at her in disbelief.

"No..It could not be. Mages were revered. They were beings who could be more in-tune with their souls than most others, people came to them for help-" the monster stopped himself and cast his eyes downward, the cruelty of mankind dawning on him. Y/n sighed.

"The mages should have seen it coming. In a way, maybe it was karma catching up to them for having a hand in the war against creatures who, from the very beginning, meant humanity no harm," she chuckled, again, the sound bore no joy in it, only sadness and some irony. When Asgore looked up at her again, she continued:

"Those who were lucky to escape, to hide, to blend in would teach their children that there was no magic and, if the signs were too obvious to ignore, would teach how to suppress the "strange" and "dangerous" abilities."


She saw by his expression that what she was saying was blasphemy to the king. Monsters were made of magic, teaching a child to repress and hide their magic was telling them to repress themselves.

"It was either that, or to die and bring your entire family down with you," she pointed out and the king nodded, it was clear that he understood, however it still made him sorrowful.

"For a long time, there were "no wizards" in the land. And then war came. A hellish thing, a messy, bloody festival of death, of poisonous dust falling from the sky. That was when, even while knowing what could happen to them, some people came forth with their gifts - healing soldiers, shielding fellow men, displaying feats no simple human could do. It was somewhat clumsy, people gingerly trying to recreate how their grandmothers or grandfathers used to do it "that one time" sometime in their life. Humans, as you know, are not as attuned to their souls as monsters, we are only capable of magic that is tied to the soul directly. So it was more than often when as a mage's green shoul-shield was broken, the next bullet or two were the ones that shattered their soul or caused a fatal wound to the body.

That was when the higher ups noticed, when old records were pulled, when the descendants of the proud wizards of old were deemed a very useful strategical advantage. There weren't many, the Dark ages was the time when the majority were hunted down and killed, after all. By the end of what was later called World War I, there was even less."


She took her cup into her hands and took a sip while at the same time looking at the monster king with worry. He was, with all of his strength, moral and physical, a very kind soul. The loss of innocent life seemed to be a trigger for him and Y/n tried to gauge when to pause her narrative to give him a moment to breathe. Asgore seemed terrified by what he had heard - sure he caught snippets of information from what books and movies fell through the waterfall, but never would he ever think of something like this. Y/n took a deep breath and continued.

"Then came World War II."

Asgore visibly shuddered. The young Archmage reached out and put her small hand on his massive paw-like one. They just sat there for awhile before the king looked at her and nodded.

"By the time it was over, the number of the world's magic-wielding humans was somewhere around fifty. By then, however, the knowledge of mages and their abilities was widespread and for their efforts in the war the government recognized them as a special, useful people. The status of mages was restored after World War I, the remaining historical landmarks tied to mages given to them to use as they saw fit. Not that there was much left, the dark ages, the war and time itself having done it's damage. After WWII, mages were given priviledges if they chose to be useful to the government. Not long after, however, the Guild of Mages was reformed and their duties returned to being somewhat what they have been in the times of old - aiding humanity through use of magic. Though, it's mostly research on our part.


As the castle near Mt. Ebott - while in an awful state of disrepair -  was still standing, the government recommended that the Guilds Headquarters should be there. The Guild's Archmage was not against the idea, as the castle had a very important enchanted maze under it and the area around it was known to be a very bountiful place for magic-users. 70 years have passed since then. The castle was restored to it's former glory and became a place more for research and study than for anything else. A part of the castle is used as an academy for gifted children, where they are taught how to control their magic. As mages are incredibly rare, people come from different parts of the world and -   excluding some classes - are usually  taught individually, the number of students in the castle never in all these years being higher than...well..nine. So, that's where we are now."

Y/n looked at Asgore, waiting for his reply, for his judgment on the human race. Would he say the mages deserved it? Would he say that humans were awful, disgusting creatures?

The king closed his eyes in sorrow and took her hand in his more firmly.

"I see now why you were so worried about us leaving the Undergroung too soon," he finally spoke. She only nodded. "Those files you brought to Alphys, they were on human history, correct?"

"Yes," she sighed.

"Good," he nodded. "We were here long enough to become somewhat naive to the workings of the world. We are fortunate to have you, Frisk and your advisor to help us."

Y/n let out a heavy sigh she has been holding for a while.

"Y/n?"
"I was worried you'd be disgusted by humans altogether, me included," she honestly replied, the look of confusion on Asgore's face making her smile, a shy little smile the king had never seen before.

"I would never...I couldn't have asked for a better Archmage to discuss the future of monsters and humans with. Or to call my friend."

Looking at the huge goat-like monster and his gentle smile, Y/n swore it was impossible not to want to hug him.Oh what the heck. She hugged him as tightly as she would her own father. He gladly hugged her back.

These monsters were just too good for this world, really.




Chapter Text

"hey, hey, wake up, Y/n,"


"Whaa-" the young woman pryed her eyes open with great deal of effort. Did Sans teleport himself into her apartment?


"good morning, pal," she heard the voice again. It was coming from her phone. Ah, so he recorded himself to be her alarm tune again, that's-


"Hope you're not too sad, after all-"
"Oh no..."
" it's mourning time!"

"Oh my god..." she hid her head under the pillow in an attempt to escape the skeleton's voice. To no avail.
"so you wanna turn on the radio, right? you do have AM radio right?"
Her shoulders twitched. It was so bad.


"hey Y/n, wanna know how long it takes for me to put on my underwear in the morning? just briefly."
She wailed under her pillow, the wail however turning into laughter as the puns kept coming.
"huh, so..the puns start coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't-"


"OH. MY. GOD. NO." finally she threw her pillow off her head, reached out, grabbed her phone and turned off the alarm.
Sans seemingly learned every meme in existance and now Y/n had to deal with memes new and old alike everytime she met him. It was horrible.

It was fantastic.


"Or should I say...sanstastic? Pfff" she burts out laughing and threw her hear back on the pillow.
Sans was definitely having an influence.
She thought for a while and then shot Sans a text message:


/Because of you I'm hitting my alarm so frequently, I'm afraid one day it'll hit me back. That'll be alarming./


She knew he would answer her when he'd wake up, which, by her estimations, would be in a couple of hours. Y/n stretched and spend half an hour just lazily checking things on her laptop before forcing herself to get up. Today she was going on vacation, lot's to do before then.
She showered, ate a bit of breakfast, lost herself on the internet again before finally getting dressed. Grabbing her phone, she swiped and selected the ITEM menu - it displayed that two out of ten slots were currently taken. Gods and stars and everything else praise the great Dr.Alphys for giving her the Beta version of this device to test. It save her so much place and energy travelling.


Y/n thought a little and then proceeded to store items in the device. It had restictions, naturally you could'nt just throw two full bags of luggage in there, but it was spacious enough. Soon her ITEM menu was full with:


Sundress                                                        Sandals
Black pants                                                    Tactical turtleneck    
Pumps                                                            Umbrella
Sir C. Doyle's S.Holmes                                Grillby's Burger
Anti-stress pills                                             Water bottle

She looked at her screen, satisfied with her choice. The clothes were enough to last her a week at home, the book would keep her company during her trip, the burger will be a tasty snack before her flight and the pills never left her side for the last three years. Sometimes she wouldn't need them at all for a week or more, but other days they were a necessity so she always kept them nearby. Nothing strong, herbal medicine pressed into small capsules, but very important when you feel yourself shaking from stress or wanting to kill some racist dumbass.


Y/n also packed some small stuff into her shoulder bag - documents and some make up mostly. She then looked at the time - 11:03. Perfect, time to run some errands and then head to the airport.


Just then, she heard a notification on her phone. It was a message from Sans.


/heh, not bad, bud. don't forget to ring me up as soon as you're back so we can ketchup/
With a goofy smile plastered on her face, Y/n rolled her eyes and answered:
/I'll miss you and Papyrus so much, the first thing I'm doing when I come back is going to see you two. Though, I donut think Papyrus will appreciate our puns./
A few minutes later she received a voice message of Papyrus screaming "OH MY GOD SANS", slamming the door shut and then adding "AND I'LL MISS YOU TOO Y/N" from behind the door. The following message stated:
/showed him our convo. have a safe trip, Y/n. /
She smiled warmly and texted her thanks followed by a bunch of heart emojis - blue ones for Sans and orange ones for Papyrus - before heading out the door.


***


It was almost 12:00 when Y/n parked her car at one of the city's major hospitals.
The Guild had a couple of medically-trained mages stationed there at all times in case conventional means could not help/wouldn't help fast enough. Healing with magic did take a toll on the mages energy levels, so they took shifts and the doctors were sure to send only cases that were actually matters of life and death their way. Even then, the amount of people coming from all around was huge.


Y/n had her mages working in hospitals on all continents. Others were sent all around the world in search of lost knowledge on magic and maybe even monsters that at some point in history lived in faraway lands. The remaining mages were either scientists, teachers or here busy in the civil division - being lawyers, media rep's or police advisors. There were also those who did not stay in the guild and were living their lives outside of it - Y/n would never force anyone to anyway, nor did her predecessor. Such mages, however, were required to report to HQ for physical and mental examination every two years. And then there were the young ones, who were just learning about their gifts at the Academy and Apprentices, who were just learning the ropes of their chosen careers. Including all these types of mages, however, it still made a number of under 200. Though higher than after the wars, her sociologists stated that that number probably wouldn't increase in a couple of generations at least.


Usually, only the need to choose a new Archmage brings all of the mages together. But three years ago, everyone was called to the castle and it felt like it was never as crowded as then.  With everybody on high alert, it took all of the mages being present for the government to be convinced that the Guild could handle it if the monsters did turn out to be hostile.


"Good thing that's over," Y/n sighed as she took her purse as well as a big plastic bag and walked into the hospital. The High Alert status was lifted half a year after the monsters appeared and gradually more and more mages were cleared to return to their lives. By the second anniversary of the monster's freedom almost all of the mages returned to their prior duties except those who decided to stay and help out the monsters, be it by informing and training police officers how to handle things when monsters were involved or by helping monsters get jobs or even figure out paperwork. Some of her mages really impressed Y/n, it seemed that the monsters really brought out the best in some people.


Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows as some mages were dissatisfied with her policies enough to leave the Guild. But, then again, some rejoined out of the same reasons, so she wanted to think that it was for the best. She knew it was. Didn't help, however, that one of the mages who left with a scandal was once her close friend since the first Academy years. Even if they were not as close by then, differences in opinions and principles drawing a casm between them long before, at that moment it still was painful to be as disrespected and as hated by them as she was. Two years later, however, the pain dulled and turned into a kind of sad feeling for the person who was so hateful of others.


"Y/n!" a voice of one of her oldest friends, Stacy, made her delve out of her thoughts and smile widely. Stacy was her friend since the Academy. She had a brilliant mind, even if it could get somewhat clouded my her emotional, impulsive nature. Stacy had become one of the resident MedMages in the hospital not too long ago and was actively advocating letting monsters heal at hospitals and using monster food to heal patients. Progress was made, even if slowly.


"Stacy," Y/n hugged her friend tightly and relished in the heartful squeeze she got back. Trusted friends were a treasure, she learned that when she became the Archmage, and that point was proven more than ever in the last three years.
"I thought you were going on vacation, what are you doing here?" the young woman beamed, her green eyes looking tired but full of joy.
"Came by to see you, of course," Y/n smiled  and put her hand on Stacy's shoulder, urging her to walk alongside her and feeling her friends long volumptious bronze hair under her fingers.
"Just couldn't stay away, huh?" the medmage moved her eyebrows suggestively and gave Y/n a sly smile.
"You got me, you're just too damn cute, " her e/c eyes narrowed as Y/n smirked at her friend and lead her into the Med.Mages' office.
"Sorry to disappoint, I'ma one of those straight gals," the mage flashed her a smile and Y/n faked a scoff.
"Oh, you're one of those."
"You wouldn't-"
"Breeders."
"Oh. My. Stars." the medmage striked a pose worthy of Mettaton, dramatically putting her hand on her chest in a gesture of utter shock and insultment. "You don't get to use that word, only we can use that word!"


The two burst out laughing and Y/n, still smiling widely, put the bag she brought on the table.


"Here, special delivery from Grillby's," she giggled as she saw Stacy's eyes widen in excitement.
"I THOUGHT I SMELLED DELICIOUS FOOD! Fuck yeah, I love Grillby's, " the young medmage rushed to the bag and pulled out a container with a burger and fries inside.
"Y/n. Remember how all our lives we wished for burgers to be healthy? I swear, monster food is the answer to all my prayers," Stacy took a huge bite out of the burger.
"Stars, bless Grillby," she said as she closed her eyes, enjoying the taste. "I love that man- monster, fire elemental, whatever."
"What's not to like," Y/n shrugged, happy to see her friend enyoing what was probably her first meal of the day."He's friendly, he cooks like a boss...plus he's hot."

The medmage stopped mid-chew and looked at the Archmage, her brows furrowing.
"Hwid hyow fsust...?"
"Nonono, no talking with your mouth full," Y/n snickered. "You could still ask Ms.Renard for that etiquette course. Butter late than nev-Ah!"


Y/n's reflexes saved her as she dodged a pen that was thrown at her by Stacy.


"I swear, Y/n, you and Sans should just get married already!"
That made the Archmage laugh even harder, she even wiped a tear from her eye as her friend proceeded to maul the burger.
"Maybe I would, but I'm afraid no body would show up at the altar!"
"Oh that's it!"


Y/n could make a barrier of green magic to defend herself, but she figured she deserved it when she was showered in pens, pencils and other office essentials.


"You were supposed to be the kind one! You were the chosen one, Anakin!" Y/n squeeked, holding one hand up to shield her head and putting the other one on her belly that now ached from laughing.


"MEMES NOW?" roared the medmage, sending Y/n into another fit of laughter.
"This is how the Archmage dies, laughing 'till her lungs collapse," Y/n huffed, trying to even out her breathing. There was nothing quite like hanging out with closest friends. Y/n did not have many of those, though she would admit that in the last three years she got quite a few more.


"Just...how do Mr. Graustein and Mr. Carter deal with you?" Stacy sighed, watching as the Great Archmage of the Guild of Mages was gathering writing utensils off the floor.
"Well," Y/n smiled as she picked up a pencil. "Firstly, you know how horribly proper I can be if needed. And, more importantly, I think Herr Graustein just pretends to listen to me and Mr. Carter goes to all these international trips in my stead just to be away from me."
"Huh, good point," Stacy smirked and, as Y/n put all the things she gathered on the table, asked curiously:
"So...you don't have anything with Sans?"
"Pfff, " Y/n scrunched her face."No, it's not like that. He's like a brother I've never had. Same goes for Papyrus. I absolutely love them, that's true. But not like That. It's like having two cool brothers without the agony of having them torture you as you were growing up....so thay can torture you now."


Y/n smirked and so did Stacy.


"I can see that," she nodded and ate another fry, " but I gotta say, that first year and a half you were acting like more of a mom."
"My babies! My skelebabies!" Y/n mockingly wailed and as the medmage burst out laughing she did the same."Can you blame me? You know monsters. You know Papyrus."
"Too true," the green-eyed mage nodded again. "So no crosspecies romance? It's all the rage now, you know."
"I do know. Now that we've got the Supreme Court's ruling it's just a matter of time until I or Asgore get asked to officiate at such wedding, " Y/n sighed. The first few of those were bound to be a nightmare media coverage- and security measure-wise, but she was through worse.


"Anyway, I didn't come here just to bring you and Satoshi some magic food," the young Archmage changed the subject before she got lost in her thoughts. "I'm here because I'm going on vacation and I wanted to help you guys out here."
"I thought you were going to say something like that," Stacy admitted and then her green eyes met Y/n's e/c ones."You were here last week. You know if you do this too often people will start expecting it from you."
"People are jerks, you do something good for them too many times and they start taking it for granted," the Archmage shrugged."I know. But I'll be leaving for a week, so I'll have time to get my strenght back. And besides, after my vacation I'll be slammed with work anyways so I won't be able to come."
"I get your point," the medmage surrendered without much of a battle."And, then again, I won't argue if Her Grace the Archm-"
"Shhhhhh-shut it," Y/n dramatically scoffed and Stacy let out a laugh, smiling at her friend warmly.
"Thanks for helping out and giving us a break, Y/n, really appreciate it."
"You know I'm happy to help," Y/n smiled back at her friend just as warmly.
"You would have made a great medmage, you know," Stacy said as the Archmade made her way to the door, grabbing a spare white labcoat with dark-blue lapels.
"Thanks. But I'll settle for bringing you exquisitely decorated desserts," she answered as she opened the door.
"There's dessert?!" the medmage almost dived into the bag and as she took out a medium-sized cake box, her green eyes were almost glowing.
"Yep. Ordered it yesterday at a local bakery."
"That's so nice of you, you shouldn't have! I-" as soon as Stacy opened the box, Y/n took a second to admire her expression before slamming the door from the other side, giggling at all the swearing that was coming from the office.

In the box there was a small cake with a photo of Marvel's cinematic Captain America's butt on it and the words "SWEET ASS" under it written with pink icing.


***


It was 15:14 as Y/n said her goodbyes to Stacy and her japanese colleague and walked to her car. She was planning on visiting for an hour or so, making a quick and unnoticable appearance, but of course word got out and everybody and their mom wanted to be treated by the Archmage, some even came from nearby hospitals ignoring the fact that there were other medmages around. So, determined to clean up the mess she herself made, she stayed for two more hours.


Magical healing was almost an art. Monsters, who were made from magic and who's souls consisted of love, hope and compassion, could use healing magic with ease, humans were a different thing altogether. Even mages. Similar to monsters, it also drained energy, but unlike monsters, it took concsious effort and practiced concetration to summon up the kindness, the willingness to take your own energy to heal others.

Y/n was good at it, however. Her HP was high, her magic strong and pure and before suddenly becoming the Archmage she was getting ready to become a medmage.


The heels of her boots made a steady rhythm as she walked, back straight and head high, looking over the nearby park where children were playing after school. As soon as the car door slammed shut, however, she let out an exhausted sigh and slumped in the seat of her car. HP levels and energy levels were two different things and while she was healthy and her mind was as hopeful as ever, her energy level was depleted by all the non-stop healing she had done in the last three hours.


Another sigh escaped her lips and she thought to herself if driving was even a good idea. Maybe she had overdone it a bit. But there were people, sick people. People who chose to put their faith in magic, in mages and, many of them, in monsters. And there was her friend, whom she wanted to help out. And was curing a few more people not worth her momentary weakness? She closed her eyes and sat in her car for a few more minutes, just listening to the world around. A child's gleeful squeal, a passing car,  the chirping of a sparrow, the rustling of leaves.

The vibration of her phone.


Grumbling, Y/n reached to the passenger's seat and took her phone from her shoulder bag. Looking at phone, she saw that she got a message.
It was from Asgore.
/Dearest Y/n, I need to see you immediately, at the top of Mt.Ebott. It is of utmost importance. I will be waiting./


Y/n stared at the message for a moment, her mind was racing over possible reasons Asgore woud want to meet there of all places. An what was so important? He knew she had a flight in less than three hours. Was this really that dire of a situation he could not let Mr. Graustein handle?  She called Asgore in hopes of getting some answers, but he wouldn't pick up.


That got her worried even more.


She could always catch another flight, if Asgore needed her help then it took priority over her wish to visit home. She only hoped it didn't require her magic as she was still recovering her energy.
With that in mind, she started her car and, taking a deep breath, drove out of the parking lot and towards the Guild's castle. About half an hour later, she guided Obsidian out of the stable and rode the stallion for another half an hour or so until she reached Mt.Ebott's more treacherous path, from where she decided to walk the rest of the way.
On her way there, she called Asgore five or six times, trying to figure out what was happening or if the monster king was alright. All she got was a message that read "I am waiting, dear friend".

As she walked into the cave and carefully made her way through it, stepping over vines and looking out for Asgore, she felt uneasiness in her soul - something wasn't right. She wanted to call out to the king, but instead pursed her lips together tightly and kept to the shadows - was it paranoia kicking in or was there really something wrong here?


As she reached the huge hole in the center of the cave, she looked around once more. Asgore was nowhere to be found. She took out her phone and called him again, her worry about the monster and the nervousness about this situation making her stomach turn.
Then she heard it, the ring of Asgore's phone. As she turned to the sound, she picked up movement out of the corner of her eye. In an instant, a green soulshield appeared, blocking several daggers made from dark grey magic. Y/n steadied herself and looked to the direction where the attack came from.


As she saw her attacker her heart dropped.
It was ExF/n, the same ExF/n who was once dear to her, the same ExF/n who left the Guild spewing insults and accusations in Y/n's direction and hasn't contacted Y/n since. Y/n's eyes narrowed.

"ExF/n," she said, her voice dangerously calm."Where's Asgore?"


The other mage chuckled sarcastically.


"What, Y/n, too good to even greet an old friend? Gotten that prideful have you?"
"ExF/n. Where is Asgore?" the Archmage repeated, dreading what the answer might be.
"Oh, shut up, your precious monster king is fine, I just stole his phone," the once-dear friend scoffed at Y/n, the expression made their face unpleasant to look at. Y/n still remembered how it once used to look - long ago when they were children - innocent and cheerful. Not this hateful grimace.


"Look at you," the mage continued, "so worried for the goat-monster. And not a question to how I'VE been. You're pathetic, Y/n."


Y/n lowered her shield, standing straight and looking at ExF/n with cold eyes.
"You made it clear that your affairs were none of my business, ExF/n, when you made a scene and left the Guild."
"I WAS NOT MAKING A SCENE!" they screamed and the cave's walls ecoed their voice."I left because YOU decided to betray the human race! The council and the government may have swallowed your idealistic, lets-all-hold-hands speaches, but I still can't believe you DARED to let those things live among people."
"Monsters are not a threat, ExF/n. How in the hell can't you see that? You're not stupid, that I know full well," Y/n looked over ExF/n carefully. They haven't changed much physically, maybe the lines of their face got somewhat sharper. The biggest difference was the feeling they gave off. What was once a troubling ting of negativity has now progressed into a full-blown hate-filled aura.


"Oh how generous, you thinking of me as not stupid," the former friend grimaced again. Then, they continued, mockingly imitating Y/n's voice. "Oh look, I'M the Great Archmage and I accept all races, even FUCKING MONSTERS."


The mage spit to the side.


"Disgusting. You're disgusting. You're not worthy of being the Archmage."
That caused Y/n's eyes to narrow, beginning to glow dangerously, making her natural e/c more saturated.
"You think you would have done a better job, ExF/n. I doubt that."
"Of course you do!" the mage exclaimed."Everybody does! They like You, the peacemaker, the talented mage, the sickeningly polite bitch that you are! I may not have your fucking hypocricy and silver tounge to fool people into liking me, but at least I would have done what's right to cleanse the world of this monster filth."


Y/n expression remained unreadable, but she could feel her teeth clench harder. THIS was exactly the reason why ExF/n didn't get along with the rest of the Guild and why they left in the end. There was just so much senseless hatred in them.


"Did you even try to get to know any of them before judging? Or you just wasted the last two years sitting at home, watching me get things done and hating everyone?" Y/n inquired.
Her thoughts, however, were focused on how to get out of this situation. Her energy was low, her HP was alright, however, so she could take a few attacks if needed and concentrate on attack precision instead of power. If there was one reason why she always beat ExF/n in training, it was her ability to keep calm and collected during their battles while the other mage often lost themselves to emotion.


Her questions seemed to hit a nerve as ExF/n grimaced.
"I've told you, Y/n, I've told you since you first became Archmage - I could do it better. I would have dealt with this the right way. But NOOO, you had to be your prideful self, just couldn't let go of the title, huh? And now there's monsters all over the city!"
"The Labyrinth chose me as Archmage, ExF/n. Not you, not even the council can object to that," Y/n stated plainly. They've had this conversation many times, Y/n had heard plenty of times over the years how jealous her former friend was of her title. That jealousy turned to resentmen, then to hatred and now, Y/n thought as she studied ExF/n's face, it may have morfed into something even uglier.


"Shut up, Y/n! Always so condescending! Makes me sick, you and your fucking principles make me sick," the mage spit out the words, every syllable dripping with hatred.
Sensing that there was no way to avoid a fight, Y/n braced herself, feeling adrenaline rushing through her veins and her magic pulsing from her soul and through her body.
"You know you could never beat me," the Archmage warned, still hoping that her former friend would reconsider.
ExF/n threw her an enraged look.
"I know," they replied grimly.


Y/n thought then that maybe her bluff worked and the rouge mage would stand down.


Just then, several more magic knives were thrown at her and were once again stopped by her shield, shattering on impact. A second later, the sound of an explosion scrambled her hearing and the ground under her feet shook violently and crumbled,  falling into the abyss and taking her with her.


Falling down, Y/n tried to drag herself out via blue magic, but she was falling too fast and her energy was too low.
Realising that, Y/n gave into fear, her mind singling out one single, instinctive thought before she was about to die from either the fall or the rocks that would bury her:


Her family and friends. The ones who loved her.


She had failed them miserably.

Chapter Text

"Ah, the mix of rustic and high tech."

Y/n lifted her eyes from her smartphone and rested her gaze on her Second in Command, Wolfgang Graustein, who walked into her study. She gave the grey haired man a tired yet sincere smile, getting the reference to the contrast between her and her surroundings. Her study in the Guild's castle was full of antique furniture and restored, centuries-old wall decorations, and there she was sitting near an ancient fireplace being surrounded by a laptop and a tablet, holding a smartphone in her hands.

"Herr Graustein, guten Abend*," she nodded to the chair across from her."Please, join me."

"Would like to, it's quite chilly outside," he came closer and sat in the chair."Ah, wunderbar*."

The Archmage put her phone and tablet on the coffee table next to the laptop.
"You've been running errands all day, dear Herr Graustein," she gave him a thankful, sympathetic look, "What would I do without you?"

"Oh please," he waved his hand in an attempt to be modest, but the glimmer in his eye and his smile showed how her praise pleased him.

"Don't you even argue," she chuckled and rose up from her chair."I'm gonna make us some tea."
Her Second in Command reached out to her, but sighed in defeat and leaned back in the chair, enjoying the warmth from the fireplace. Y/n opened a cupboard and took out a kettle, a teapot and two cups.

"So how was your day, Your Grace?" the older man asked with a smile, making a point to define with his voice that the way he was addressing her was in a lighthearted manner. The young woman smirked and sighed.
"Stressful," she shrugged, placing some dried tea leaves and a couple of little dried rosebuds into the teapot."Albert's visit was the highlight of the day," she smiled and poured the steaming hot water into the teapot.
"I suppose he talked about that incident with that priest?"
"Oh yes he did," she chuckled."He sure handled that prick well."
"Don't phrase it quite like that if a journalist asks you about it on your next annual interview," he SiC smirked.
"No promises," she gave him a sly look and he gave her his best mock-stern stare.

It was winter, the monsters have been freed from the Underground a few months ago and Y/n and her mages were swamped with work. Most of it fell onto her shoulders and the shoulders of her SiC Wolfgang Graustein, his husband Arkady, her Third in Command Daniel Carter, her Communications Specialist Iris Redberry, her Legal Advisor Anthony Carone, and the head of their European Division - Albert Winters.

Carter often laughed how he was one of the only two straight men in this group, Y/n always jokingly answered that she was probably discriminating and he and Tony should get a clue and start dating already. Carter would then start a monologue how hard it is to be a straight white man in these trying times and she would continue that with some radically-"feministic"-tumblr-worthy accusations, trying her best not to laugh. Then, more often than not, Graustein would interrupt them and tell them to stop joking around and return to serious discussions of current problems. They would call him "Dad" and make annoyed faces.

Y/n smirked, then smiled warmly. She would be lost without Carter and Graustein, her left and right hands.

Anyway, recently Mr.Winters had to deal with a particularly delusional religious leader who just wouldn't stop spouting on television how the mages were joining with the monsters, who obviously were spawns of hell. That would make the mages satanists and an obvious threat to the souls of good honest godfearing people. Luckily, the 31-year old mage was extremely intelligent, had a sharp tongue and her blessing to do anything he saw fit. And he did, putting the priest in his place, doing so under appropriate media coverage. Luckily, not all religious people by far were as radical as that one and judging by the info Albert brought to her, the Pope was all for peace and tolerance between the races.

Y/n put the cups and the pot on the little coffee table that stood between the chairs and took a seat.
"You do know the time's 01:00, right?" Graustein raised an eyebrow with a smirk.
"Ah," she waved her hand dismissively, "The concept of time has become very relative in the past months. Outside is cold, tea is hot."
"Don't you start drinking alcohol at noon with that outlook," he chided playfully while she poured him and herself some tea."Danke schön*."
"Bitte sehr*," she smiled warmly and leaned back in her chair, holding her cup in her hands. She looked to the fireplace, resting her gaze on the fire.

The flames danced on the wood that was slowly and steadily becoming black and charred. The sounds the fireplace made, the scent of burning wood, a faint note of smoke and the smell of the tea calmed her overstressed nerves. Her lids half-closed, a little smile was playing on her lips.

"You look like someone with a clear conscience," she heard Graustein's voice like he was far, far away.
"At least that's going for me," she chuckled softly."Well, for us."

"You know our work isn't done, not by a long shot."
"Yeah, I know," she sighed, trying to keep her heavy eyelids from closing."I'm just really tired."

"Y/n. This is no time to be sleeping, you need to wake up," her SiC insisted and this wasn't how she remembered their conversation going. That evening, they continued talking until she fell asleep in her chair and then woke up covered with a blanket.
"Wake up, Y/n," Graustein repeated and she let out a quiet exhausted moan.
"But I'm so tired, my whole body aches, I just want to sleep," she whined, now feeling that her body was, indeed, feeling heavy and aching.

"What do you think ExF/n is planning to do now that the monster-friendly Archmage is gone?"

 




Her eyes snapped open.

 

 

 

A puff of dust blew into her face, making her cough and then immediately gasp in pain, then cough from dust inhalation again. When the coughing subsided she opened her teary eyes.



Light from above. Dust particles. Rocks.



Rocks. Heavy rocks.

Fucking heavy rocks on her body.

Y/n moaned, pain overwhelming her senses. She looked down, but couldn't see past her stomach that was covered in rocks of different sizes.



She dropped her head back to the ground with an exasperated sigh.
So she was alive, judging by the fact that everything hurt.



Sans' ability to move things with his blue magic would have come in handy right about now. Unfortunately, being a human, and thus considerably less proficient with magic, Y/n's could only use hers on something with a soul - herself, other humans or monsters. And using her magic on herself and pulling herself out from under a pile of rocks with all her strength was a sure way to injure herself even further. She wondered how long she was out, judging by the amount of magic energy she regained, several hours at least.

She was deep in thought when something caught her eye, prompting her to look around some more even if just to distract herself from the pain. She was laying on a bed of golden flowers, the same flowers that bloomed in Asgore's throne room and the same ones the king made tea from.
"Huh, so they bloom here too then," she thought, sighed and winced. Oh crud, was her rib actually broken?



"Not looking too sharp there."



Y/n flinched. Did she have a concussion, was she hallucinating? The Underground was supposed to be empty!


The Archmage turned her head, trying not to show how the sudden motion caused her pain. She looked where the voice was coming from and saw...a golden flower? This one had a face, however.


"What the fuck?" and crude yet true thought ringed in her mind.
"W-who are you?" Y/n asked, trying to keep her voice even, to not to show her distress.


"I eeh..." the flower looked somewhat unsure, a bit sad even, looking away for a moment before looking back at her with a smirk "I'm Flowey, Flowey the Flower. Howdy."


"Hey there," she greeted, giving a chuckle to the absurdity of her situation. "I'm-"
"Y/n. Heard." Flowey waved her off with a leaf.


Well that was rude.


"So what's a high and mighty Archmage like yourself doing here?" the flower sighed, almost irritated and Y/n couldn't help but roll her eyes. Maybe they left this prick here on purpose?
"Oh, you know, chillin' under a pile of rocks, trying not to die."
"You are one pathetic Archmage," the flower raised an eyebrow and Y/n let out a painful exasperated sigh before dropping her head back onto the flowers.
"May well be, I did make a real stupid mistake," she said sincerely and closed her eyes.


The asshole flower remained quiet, possibly surprised by her answer.


"So why are you here? I thought all monsters left the Underground, Asgore assured me of that when we made the new barrier."
"Tsk," she heard right above her head and opened her eyes, meeting the gaze of the strange monster.
"I'll have you know f-Asgore doesn't know everything. And I decided to stay. And it's none of your business!"
"Okay okay," she frowned slightly, "No need to scream when you're in my face like that anyway."


"Sorry," he blurted out and the voice seemed more vulnerable somehow, childish.
Immediately, the monster added, a unimpressed tone lacing his words:
"So are you planning to lay here and die or do you want to at least try to get out from under the rocks?"


Y/n rolled her eyes and explained the abridged version of her situation. By the end of it, the flower-monster slapped his(his? she guessed so) face with one of his leaves.
"Stars, you are an imbecile! I thought some mystical maze chose the most worthy one to be the Archmage, not the most stupid one. Come on, look at yourself, you're useless!"


Y/n smirked joylessly.
"Might have been a malfunction or something."


Flowey looked at her, curious, and seemed to recognize her expression. He gave a dramatic sigh.
"Ugh, FINE. Anything's better than looking at your mug all day 'till you die. Wouldn't want your rotting remains stinking up the place."
"Gee, thanks," Y/n rolled her eyes again and chuckled grimly, but then her eyes widened in surprise as vines sprouted from the ground and started lifting rocks off her."Oh...thanks, Flowey."


The flower-monster mumbled something under his breath and continued, stopping only when Y/n winced and trying to be more careful.
"Huh, he might not be such a dick after all," Y/n thought as she used what energy she regained to heal herself, the places where she was wounded the most - her second left rib, her right leg, her right shoulder and her left forearm - glowing green.
"That's a neat trick," Flowey commented, maybe only slightly curious "I thought humans could only do that with their hands."
"Most mages can only channel their healing magic through their hands, that's true," Y/n smiled lightly, her mood improving from not being crushed by rocks anymore and from feeling her broken bones heal.


"What a bunch of idiots."
"Hey," Y/n scolded, then added thoughtfully "Only some of them are idiots."


That got a laugh out of the golden flower and when he was done he looked at the Archmage, as if waiting for something.


"Thank you, Flowey," Y/n nodded and the flower-monster seemed pleased with her words, save from the one at the end.
"Try not using my name so much. It's irritating."
"Oh. Sorry then. But thank you, again."
"Pheh, don't sweat it."


As Y/n cautiously got up, she listened closely to her body if there was any injury she missed. She seemed to be okay. She then looked at Flowey, who continued to clear the rocks even though she was already free.
"Um...Can I help you?"
"You said you couldn't move things with your magic, so you're useless," he huffed, clearly getting somewhat tired.


"True," Y/n nodded and directed most of the energy she had left into projecting a sword made of magic.
"I didn't know you could do that," Flowey frowned.
"All mages are taught to be able to do this, it's just that it takes less energy for me," Y/n sighed and, gripping the sword that seemed to be made of flames that were the color of her soul, sliced a rock in two."The least I can do is help out, this way you won't have to deal with big heavy ones."


"Ugh, thanks," Flowey said, somewhat slowly."We're still not even. I saved your life."
"Noted," she replied and continued on.

 

 

***

 

 

The rubble was cleared, pushed to the sides of the cavern, leaving a damaged, yet now finally rock-free bed of golden flowers in the middle.


Y/n huffed and put her hands on her hips. She looked over the flowers, the torn and ruined petals making her feel sad and guilty. She sighed tiredly, walked over to them and kneeled. Putting her hands out, she touched the ground, digging her fingers into the soil just a bit.

Flowers were living organisms. They didn't have souls - well, besides maybe now Flowey - but they were living, so Y/n had something to work with. She was always gifted with two things - healing and conjuring magic projections, so maybe she could do this. At least in was worth a try, it didn't seem like this would require much energy - not that she had much left in her. Concentrating, she made her green healing magic reach the flowers. In the midst of it, she realized, no, felt something - this flowerbed was actually a grave. She pushed the thought to the back of her mind for now, not to disturb her concentration.


When she felt that her energy was drained yet again, she opened her eyes, internally cursing. She wasn't used to being this weak, this vulnerable. Using the last drops of her energy on flowers was sentimental, yet now that she knew it was someone's grave it felt like the right thing to do.


She sighed. So this was someone's grave.


She was a mage, not some movie oracle, so she couldn't know who's it was or what the person was like. What she felt was more like a concentration of emotions that were connected to it - Toriel's, Flowey's and, suprisingly, Frisk's. There was sorrow, regret and some other emotions she couldn't quite name - Y/n caught only glimpses, like the last light notes of an almost gone aroma.


She heard a quiet hmph.


"You didn't have to do that. I didn't ask you."


The Archmage turned her head to look at Flowey, who sprouted near her and crossed his leaves like someone would cross their arms. The flower-monster looked away, a frown on his face.
"You didn't need to ask me. Or even tell me who's grave it is." Y/n tucked a loose lock of h/c hair behind her ear and smiled tiredly at the shocked flower."Again, thank you for helping me. I guess I'll try to make my way out now."


She turned on her heel and began to walk towards an arch she spotted earlier. It looked very old, ancient even, but that could be understood - if Y/n remembered Toriel's and Frisk's stories correctly, she was now in the oldest part of the Underground - the Ruins.
Walking up to the stone arch, the Archmage reached out and touched it, the sensation of cold grey granite under her fingers somehow calming her, grounding her mind, keeping her from starting to panic. Y/n took a deep breath.


Ok, this was quite the situation, but panicking never helped her before, so no use doing that now. She needed to calm down and think. Y/n took another deep breath and exhaled slowly. She was in the Ruins. There was quite the path ahead of her.


Y/n visited the Underground once, three years ago, after everyone(or so she had thought) left and before she and Asgore created a new barrier that would keep out vandals and just too curious people. She was as far as Toriel's home, but never this far into the ruins.
Memories of how the monsters who would later become her closest friends showed her around made the corners of her lips quirk upward a bit and her heart beat more steadily.

She had to believe everything would be ok, that she would see them again soon. They showed her the Underground once, it was time to use that knowledge now.


Y/n opened her eyes, stepped through and began walking through the dark hallway. Somewhat ahead there was light shining from a crack above and, as Y/n came closer, she saw that there was even some grass growing there. Suddenly, Flowey sprouted from the ground, making the mage flinch.


"So you really think you can get out of here?" he looked at her with a sarcastic smirk.
Y/n shrugged.
"The only plan I have is to get to the barrier, try to go through and if I fail then plan from there," she sighed. "Still better then just sitting here moping."
"Hmph," the flower rolled his eyes and sighed tiredly."You already know you're going to fail, right?"
"Most likely. Still, need to get there."


"Well aren't you determined," Flowey said in mock-praise. Y/n raised a brow.
"You here to mock me, Flowey?"
The flower-monster scowled at the mention of his name, but didn't say anything on the topic. Instead, he sighed and looked at her with a hint of annoyance.
"As much as you deserve it, no. I thought I would help you navigate the Underground, no need for thanks."


Y/n's expression became thoughtful. She was fairly sure how to get from Toriel's home to Asgore's Throne room, the path was long, but simple. Yet, here was Flowey, offering help and, with it, company. And as much as she was an introvert she could use someone to talk to while going through the empty Underground.


"That's very kind of you, thank you," she said finally, offering the creature a smile."I was here only once, and while the Core was still active, so I'll need some help if I'll be forced to find paths differing from the ones that were shown to me then."
"Hmph, I told you to stop thanking me," Flowey shot a glare her way, yet it wasn't so much evil as frustrated.  Y/n chuckled.
"Shall we go then?"
" 'Shall we go then?' " the flower mocked her, rolling his eyes. Y/n let out and exasperated sigh.


"You're probably the only outright mean monster I've ever met," she sighed and walked past Flowey, towards the huge purpurite arch and, she wanted to hope, Toriel's home.

 



***

 

 

She passed the hall with two sets of huge stone stairs and a room with 6 stepping stones that, knowing the Underground, were once part of some puzzle. The doors to the next room were open, however, so Y/n went on. Next was a room with two canals and little wooden bridges over them(were those deactivated booby traps with huge metal spikes?), after that - a small room with seemingly nothing in there, and after that - a corridor. Then there was a room filled with water and a bridge made of the same peculiar contraptions she saw earlier. The mage stepped over the deactivated traps as carefully as she could, cursing herself that she used up her energy and couldn't just carry herself over the dangerous bridge with a little blue magic.


After that, however, was a long, yet seemingly safe corridor. Flowey appeared then, smirking.


"Well those were amusing face expressions you had on that bridge."
"Well excuse me for imagining how those huge spikes shoot out and make a shish kebab out of me," Y/n chuckled darkly.
She continued walking to the end of the corridor with Flowey sprouting somewhere near her occasionally. Y/n wondered if she should initiate some small talk, but she was just so emotionally and physically exhausted that she decided not to. She did decide to ask a question, however, when she reached the end of the corridor and saw two paths in front of her.


"Hey, mind telling me which one will take me to Toriel's house faster? Please?"
"Hmmmm...Let's see. Left. Oh wait, did you want to be impaled on a huge spike or reach...Toriel's?"
"Floweeey," she looked at him scoldingly, but smirked. The flower-monster smirked back.
"Right. But take the left first, there's something you could use."
"Oh?" Y/n raised a brow, but obliged and went left. To her surprise, it lead to a small room with a bowl of monster candy standing in the center. She took a couple and ate them, immediately feeling better. She took one more.


"Jeez, on a diet much?"
"Hardy har," she rolled her eyes, "I was gonna offer it to you."
Flowey looked at her like she just fell from Jupiter, then made a nervous flustered sound and waved her off with one of his leaves.


"If I wanted one, I would have taken it myself!"
"Suit yourself," Y/n shrugged and went back to the previous room, taking the piece of candy with her and putting it into her leather jacket's pocket.
"Someone's sure gluttonous..."
"Oh give me a break, flower-friend!"
"I'm not just some flower and I'm not your friend!"
"You wound me," Y/n chuckled and continued on her way, this time taking the right turn.

 



***

 

 


She passed some corridors, a strange room where Flowey instructed her not to step on the flowers and leaves, a room with another canal and another small bridge with the deactivated spike trap. She walked past a room with only a small table in it.("There was cheese here. It's gone now." Flowey said and Y/n nodded despite not understanding the importance of the sudden info.) She saw the room filled with spider webs, then went to the left, through another corridor, then another, then through a whole series of very similar rooms Flowey said were once part of a puzzle.


Finally, she arrived at a place that looked familiar. She could see a huge old tree in the distance, just like the one that grew in Toriel's front yard. She walked towards the tree and saw Toriel's house.


"Yes," she breathed out tiredly, but full of joy. The walk made her so very tired and the discovery that she was finally in a familiar place boosted her morale.
Once Y/n stepped into Toriel's home, she sighed with relief. Finally, a familiar place, a safe place. Tension leaving her, the mage suddenly felt how exhausted she really was.


"Hey..Hey!"


She heard Flowey from behind her. Oh right, there were actual floors here, nowhere to spout from. Y/n peaked out.
"Yes?"
"You gonna sleep here or what?"
"I guess. Would be the smartest thing to do."
"So...you're not doing it?"


Y/n rolled her eyes, but smirked.


"I'll break the pattern of stupid decisions tonight, let's make it an exception."
Flowey's mouth stretched into something resembling a non-malicious grin and he chuckled.
"Well snooze then. I'll find you tomorrow."
"Deal. And, ah," she wanted to call out to Flowey by name, but remembered he didn't like it when she did that, so she just smiled, "Thank you again. For the advice and the company."
"Hmph." the flower shrugged and looked away, yet offered no sarcasm or insult." Y'r welc'm.. "


And with that, he was gone. Y/n would have giggled if she wasn't already half-asleep, reality fading to black occasionally and her feet being very uncooperative. She found her way to Toriel's room, as there stood the only adult-sized(you could say Queen-sized) bed. Toriel wouldn't have minded, Y/n thought as she threw off her shoes, her head hit the pillow and she covered herself with the covers.


Toriel wouldn't mind, she thought again, slipping out of conscience. Toriel was a kind monster.


Flowey was kind, in a way, too. Rude, sarcastic and unmistakably bitter about something, but he didn't seem malicious. Not from what she saw, anyway.


...Why would he stay here in the Underground all alone?


...Asgore wouldn't have left him...Asgore was a kind monster.


...Toriel was a kind monster too...


...zzzZZZZzzz....

 



***

 


Y/n awoke to an unfamiliar ceiling. And unfamiliar walls and unfamiliar furniture.
She just laid there for a couple of moments, holding her breath and staring ahead, gathering her thoughts. Then her memory returned, hitting her like a truck filled with bricks.



***

 

 

Flowey was waiting in Snowdin and getting more impatient by the second, the cold weather playing no small part in him getting more and more irritated.
Soon the massive doors from the Ruins opened and the unfortunate Archmage emerged, clothed in black pants,a black turtleneck and her dark-brown leather jacket. Her breaths came out in little white puffs and snow started making crunching sounds as soon as she stepped out of the ruins.


She looked better than yesterday, Flowey thought, at least she wasn't as anemic looking and her eyes lost that stupid look people get when they try to cope with something. She also looked somewhat happy to be in Snowdin, looking over the dark forest and the snow with a hint of endearment.


"If you like it this much, why not stay and look at trees for the rest of you life?" the flower proposed sarcastically.
Sometimes he felt bad about being this mean, sometimes not. When the mage indulged his particular brand of humor, he even felt something akin to fr-
He felt something. That was already good enough.


"And good morning to you too, F-..friend," Y/n caught herself and smiled at him sheepishly."And as much as I adore all things winter-related, and as much as you are an absolute delight, I'm still heading to the Barrier."
"Hmph," Flowey rolled his eyes, "Whatever. Let's go, I'm freezing my petals off here."
"Ah, I guess this really is snow place for a flower."


He left her right then and there, confident that he never wanted to see the stupid human ever again.

 



***

 



"Come back, I've thought of some more puns this morning! I need a listener!"


Y/n chuckled. Her smile then waned until it was just a slight upturn of one of the corners of her lips.


And so, it was quiet again, save for the crunching of the snow under her feet.
Y/n was happy she took her turtleneck with her. It was actually somewhat too luxurious for a stroll in the woods, being made from a blend of silk and cashmere, but the point was trying to stay calm and not worrying about appearances or ruined clothes.


She smirked. Somehow, worrying about trivial things was calming, in a sense.


She went on, coming to the huge gate and remembering how Papyrus told her how he build it and how Sans then added how it was too big to stop anyone. Her lips stretched into a genuine smile.
Oh she missed the two skeleton brothers so much. She could almost hear their voices, could effortlessly imagine their expressions and mannerisms.
Y/n sighed and, giving the gate a gentle pat, continued on, giving Sans' old sentry station a warm look on her way.


If she remembered correctly, Sans' and Papyrus' house was almost on the edge of town, near the border between Snowdin and Waterfall.  Maybe she could rest there, warm up and dry off before leaving Snowdin. The mage doubted there was any electricity, the Core had been shut down, but at least she would have four walls and a roof to guard her from the cold wind. If she was lucky enough, maybe Sans was lazy enough to leave some blankets or something behind.


Worth a try.


She passed two more sentry stations, then a few clearings, two more closely placed sentry stations and a sizable clearing that had a snowball in the middle of it.


Ah, she remembered it!
Sans and Papyrus showed her this three years ago! Papyrus was so excited to show her everything and Sans just kept saying that he wanted to sleep, but continued following them anyway.
She kicked the snowball cautiously. Then, again, this time more confidently.


Even then, Y/n could immediately say how protective Sans was of his brother and no matter how friendly Y/n was, Sans wasn't letting her out of his sight. She was a human, after all. And not a child, not even a normal adult. A mage. So she never took any offence to Sans not trusting her at first. If anything, the stout skeleton's reaction was the most logical one.
Now that they considered each other close friends, Y/n's heart swelled at the memory. Everything, every hardship, every sleepless night she had these past three years were worth it if her friends were able to live above ground, and as close to as comfortably and as safely as they had imagined all their lives.


Phop!


The snowball fell into the hole and a small flag rose from it.
"Try as you might, you continue to be yourself," she read and chuckled softly. So the game remembered she played it already.
Y/n shrugged and continued walking forward.


She passed another little clearing, then another one (this one had a table and a broken microwave), then another sizeable part of the forest, looking over all of the deactivated puzzles that were once so lovingly made by Papyrus. She then found herself at one of the dog-sentries station and marveled at how some of the dog's ice sculptures were damaged, but still recognizable.


"Well yeah, I guess, with the constant temperature being below 0 C and with no one around to break the sculptures...Wait a second-"


With that, she doubled her walking speed, heading to a place she was fairly sure she remembered well. Past the station, then to the right...
"Aha!" she exclaimed, this time a genuinely happy  wide smile gracing her lips.
There they were - ice sculptures of Papyrus and "Sans". Covered in snow and still very recognizable thanks to being covered in a thick layer of ice. Apparently, Papyrus and Sans had spent quite some time pouring water over the sculptures so the snowstorms wouldn't destroy them so easily. So adorable.
Y/n fished her phone out of her pocket, walked between the skullptures and took a quick selfie. It was stupid and childish, but she wanted to remind herself she was getting out, that she was going to be able to show these pictures to her friends and that they all would share laughs.


She sighed and walked back, looking at her phone.


It ran on magic, so battery life wasn't an issue, but the screen was cracked due to the fall and only stars know how it survived the ordeal anyway.  The screen was now unresponsive in a few places, but other than that it was seemingly ok, Y/n managed even to extract her clothes from it and put the ones she took off into the Dimensional box. She'll have to remember to tell Alphys that she's one hell of a scientist.


She walked past the dog house, then stopped in front of the bridge. On the other side she could see the town of Snowdin, with it's snow-covered roofs and snow-covered trees, and snow-covered everything.


Y/n took a deep breath and stepped onto the bridge. Not that long of a time has passed, she reasoned with herself, the bridge would hold and she wasn't that fat so there was no reason why it wouldn't hold, so - by extension - there was no reason to panic. Actually, the bridge offered quite the stunning view of Snowdin Forest, she thought as she walked on it.
Still, she breathed out with relief when she stepped onto snow-covered ground again.


Ahead and to the left of her was a sign that read "Welcome to Snowdin" in big bright letters.


The Archmage stood there for  a moment, admiring the little town. It was adorable, fairytale like even, but looked lonely, all of the windows were dark and not a soul was on the street. The Underground was empty, after all. Well, except for her and Flowey.
Y/n sighed and started walking again. She passed the shop and the inn and wondered if she should use the underground...under ground pass, but decided to take a walk through town. The mage passed Grillby's, noting with a smile how much similar the one on the surface was built to look like this original one, then walked by the librarby, smirking that the sign wasn't replaced after all and now will forever stay there.


And there it was, the house of the skeleton brothers.


She remembers how giddy Papyrus was to show her around the house and that the only room to go unvisited by her was Sans' room. Funny thing, since now Y/n visited Sans' room at least once a week to wake Sans up or to just hang out. The stout skeleton became Y/n's trusted friend and the two shared both happy and somber moments together.
"I wonder if he'd have minded me snooping around his room for clothes. I'm sure that lazybones left at least some stuff lying around," she thought, breathing into her hands and rubbing them against each other."I'm sure he'd understand, he's a chill dude. Huh...hahah."


Smiling to herself, she stepped on the porch and tried opening the door. It was locked.
"Figures," she sighed.

 

Looking around, she wondered if someone like Papyrus would keep a spare key around. And if someone as cautious as Sans left it there...just in case they ever needed it.
She checked everything near the steps, but found nothing. Will she really end up having to break the lock?
Y/n looked over the door and an idea appeared in her head. She reached to the wreath that hanged on the door and immediately felt a key on it's back side.


"Thanks, guys," the mage muttered quietly, then smiled and opened the door.
It was dark inside. Dark and quiet.


Last time she was here Papyrus had been running around talking about the house, his puzzles, Frisk's adventure and a bunch of other stuff and Sans, guarded as he was at the beginning, was also warming up to her and making puns or chuckling.
So the house, despite all the furniture being where it was last time, felt very different now that it was this quiet.


The house also felt different because there was a strange feeling, like someone was there. Y/n signed that off to her paranoia and headed to the kitchen, instinctively reaching out to the light switch.


Click.


Y/n stopped.


The lights were on.


She just stood there for a second, thinking. Toriel's house didn't have water nor electricity, maybe this worked only in Snowdin? Was it the leftover magical energy still left in the reserves or something?  Was there electricity all across the newer parts of the Underground? Or did Sans and Papyrus have some self-sustainable source of power?


Whatever it was, it was very helpful now. Did that mean there was water too?
She ran to the kitchen and, using some blue magic on herself, jumped up. Grabbing on, she plopped herself onto the "tall sink" as Papyrus called it, her feet now dangling off it. Monsters were so strange and adorable with their quirks, she thought and tried turning the water on.
Surprisingly clean, clear water spilled from the faucet with a fizzling sound. Y/n was prepared to see no water or murky water like it usually happened when no one lived in a house for a long time. It seemed humans could use a lesson or two from the monsters not only in tolerance, magic and clean energy, but also in plumbing. Who knew.


Y/n exhaled with a satisfied smile and began washing her hands. She could rest here, take a bath, sleep the night. If she remembered correctly there was quite the path ahead of her and if electricity was on, who knows what puzzles could have activated, so she needed her strength. She also wanted to finally wash all the dirt and blood off herself.
Deciding that, the Archmage jumped off the sink and, feeling curious, looked into the fridge. Nothing, save for an empty bag of chips.


"Saaans," she groaned with a smirk and closed the fridge. Good thing she still had that burger from Grillby's, she was starving. But, before that, she really needed that bath. Y/n walked to the staircase and soon enough found herself in front of Papyrus' room. The door was still plastered with labels reading "NO GIRLS ALLOWED!", "NO BOYS ALLOWED!" and "PAPYRUS ALLOWED.", but now there was an additional one.
"THE GREAT PAPYRUS CAN BE NOW FOUND ABOVE GROUND! PLEASE CALL ..."


Y/n covered her mouth, half-sobbing, half-sighing. Damn, Papyus was just too adorable. She pulled out her phone and tapped on the screen, sending the skeleton a message:


/I miss you two so much. Like, a ton. A skeleton. Sorry. Hugs and kisses <3 <3/


The phone tried to send out the message, but, just like with all previous calls and messages, it failed. Y/n chuckled sadly, put the phone away and was about to enter Papyrus' room and seach for at least a towel when she noticed something.


There was a door that wasn't there last time she was here. Past Sans' room, at the end of the hallway. Did she forget it? No, no she would have remembered the same way she remembered never visiting Sans' room.


Did Sans somehow mask it with magic? Should she investigate? Or should she not intrude? But she clearly remembered that a chimney and a balcony could be seen from outside the house. Maybe that's the room that led to the balcony and had a fireplace? Maybe she could light a fire and get warm, calm her nerves watching the flames dance just like she did in her study above ground?


Deciding that Sans would forgive her even if she was in the wrong, Y/n walked to the suspicious door.


She reached out and suddenly her fingers flinched, her soul trembled.
There was something in there, something generating magic strong enough for even a human to feel. What the hell was behind this door?
Y/n's hand touched the cool metal of the door handle and because of how hyper aware she suddenly became even this slight touch made her flinch again.
"Pull yourself together. It's probably just Sans' magical self-sustaining tornado Papyrus talked about that one time," she reasoned with herself and forced herself to calm down.

Her grip on the handle became more firm, her breathing calmed.
Whatever it was, she was curious to find out. Maybe it could help her escape the Underground.
With that thought, she turned the handle and opened the door just a little.

 

Y/n's body felt like it froze solid, her heart skipped a beat, but then started beating furiously, her eyes were wide in shock. She held her breath and clenched her teeth not to let out a horrified scream.



Someone-


Something was in the room.



Three working computer screens were standing on a huge desk, shining white and blue light onto the rest of the otherwise dark room and someone was right there, standing in front of the screens.
A freakishly tall figure seemingly made from pure darkness stood with it's back to her, contrasting sharply against the bluish white light and hunching over, probably reading something off the screen.



Who was this? What were they doing in Sans' and Papyrus' house? What was she supposed to do now?



She checked herself - her HP was restored, about half of her energy had also been restored overnight. But would that be enough if this monster - whatever it was - turned out to be hostile?



She couldn't tear her eyes away from the figure - it looked like something out of a nightmare, shrouded in darkness, made from darkness, hunching over, silent and unmoving.
She felt like her heart was going to give out and her vision started going somewhat blurry. She instantly forced herself to calm down again, her survival instinct and Graustein's training kicking in.


Should she announce her presence?


The monster or whatever it was didn't move or show any signs they noticed her, the light from the room she was standing in not catching it's attention due to the door being just so slightly open. So Y/n forced herself to look at the screens, wanting to know at least something about the creature. On the first screen there was some data compiled together in Microsoft Excel. The second screen showed some diagrams and schematics of something she couldn't even begin to understand. The third one displayed some sort of monitoring system, a line darting slightly up and down and numbers showing data on whatever was monitored.


What caught her attention, however, was a picture frame standing next to the third monitor.
It was a photo of Sans and Papyrus, both considerably younger. She couldn't see too well, but she would recognize those two boneheads anywhere.


This was someone who knew them? But why were they here and not with the brothers then?


Suddenly, the monster let out a sigh - a pained, mournful sound. It sounded like it was far away despite originating in the same room she was (almost) in. She could only compare it to not plugging your earphones into the audio socket of your computer all the way in, making the sound appear like it was not...fully there.


So they had a voice. Comforting.
Y/n decided to stop being so cowardly. Concentrating, getting ready to use a magic shield at any moment if need be, she spoke, going for a soft, non-threatening tone and opened the door fully.


"Excuse me..."


The monster flinched, then slowly straightened their back and started to turn towards her just as slowly.


In the dim light of the screens she could see their face become visible and held her breath not to scream in horror, her feet frozen to the floor.


Their- it's face was some odd mixture between a skull and something straight out of a creepypasta. No nasal cavities at all, no visible teeth with what seemed to be a long slit in the form of a crooked smile where teeth should have been, deep cracks above the right seemingly damaged eye socket and under the open yet completely dark left one.


It stood there, staring at her, and then gasped, the sound disrupted, partially missing, like when the radio signal is too weak. It made another terrifying sigh, filling her up with horror to the point where she forgot to be ashamed of being scared. Trying to get a hold of her increasing panic, Y/n pursed her lips and used all of her will power not to step back - because then she would lose it and just run right out of this house, far away from whatever creature this was.


The creature, however, seemed to be just as shocked. It became deathly quiet and looked at her, remaining still for a moment before starting to move in her direction fast enough to make her panic all over again.


"Wait...Stop!" she screamed, creating a shield made of green magic between herself and the frightening thing, making it almost slam into it. Stopping, the creature raised it's hands and put them on the shield. Y/n looked at it's hands - they were skeletal, yet different from those of Sans or Papyrus. Where metacarpals should have been, there were actual palms made of, presumably, bone, and they had holes right in the center. Fingers, however, resembled those of the skeleton brothers'.


What was going on here?


What kind of monster was this? Or was this a stray amalgamate of some kind?


The fact that there was a shield between her and the creature calmed her down somewhat and she was able to think more clearly again, most of her shock and terror under control. She looked at the monster, it's- no, their disturbing face now maybe a meter away as they came up to the shield as close as possible, looking down at Y/n with those empty eye sockets.

 

Then she heard it.


A voice.


It was the same as before, as if it was not quite there, and the language was strange too. Y/n couldn't understand a word and couldn't even begin to comprehend why the monster was gesturing with their hands so much. Was it part of the strange language? Or were they just doing this out of nervousness? The tone with which they spoke was certainly urgent, even desperate.


"I-...I," she swallowed and tried again, finding her voice and trying her hardest to keep it calm, "I'm sorry, I can't understand you."


The monster stopped talking and looked at her in confusion, their hands touching the barrier between the two of them again nervously, anxiously even. They took a deep breath, seemingly also trying to calm themselves, and wanted to say something, when-


The monster shook and seemed - just for a moment - to blink out of existence partially, as if they were a glitching computer program. Startled, Y/n looked at the strange and frightening monster as they looked themselves over in what seemed to be panic. Then they looked at her again and, as they partially "glitched" out of existence again, dragged their fingers on the shield between then, letting out a glitch-ridden cry.


It sounded so desperate, so scared, that Y/n's heart swelled with pity, her fear still there but much more subsided. Before she asked what she could do for the monster, it glitched again and shook violently, their lower half now seemingly melting into the ground even more prominently than before. Suddenly, the whole room seemed to glitch, for half a second being replaced only by endless darkness.


Gasping in fear, the mage instinctively lowered her shield and grabbed the monster's hands, pulling them quickly out of the room with a dose of blue magic she pinged her soul with. She seemed to have overdone it in her panic, however, because they ended up practically flying out of there, crashing on the floor somewhere between Sans' and Papyrus' rooms, the freakishly tall monster landing on top of Y/n.


Being so high on adrenaline it didn't even register to her that she hit her head on the floor, but the sensation of something cold enveloping her body down from her middle made her shudder and look down to where the monster's lower half seemed to just engulf her in darkness, then look up into the disfigured monster's face in distress. They seemed shocked too, the lights in their eyes shining brightly.


Wait, they didn't have light's in their eyes before...


The monster was huge and very close, right on top of her, and Y/n was in a very, very vulnerable position right now. Her mind screamed at her to fight, to act, to run, to at least put up a shield, to do something...yet she didn't. One of her hands, still holding the bony, cold one of the monster's, felt a familiar sensation - the sensation of magically healing someone.


How did...But she...


Y/n continued looking at the disfigured monster's face, his features now somehow a bit less frightening in the light of the room. Healing involved at least some minimal bond between souls, so Y/n could feel that the monster didn't want to cause her harm and that he was very weak, like his soul almost wasn't even there. But his magic seemed somehow familiar, calming. So she continued looking at the- him as her breathing seemed to calm down at least a little and as he looked at her with and expression of someone who was coming out of shock.


He did look like a skeleton, but not quite. His skull didn't have many features normal skulls had, but his eye sockets - at least the undamaged one -  were similar to Sans'. The huge ripped, crooked smile he had before now turned to a still inhumanly wide, but less frightening, currently slightly agape mouth. Why hasn't Sans ever mentioned this monster?


Immediately upon realizing their position, the monster scrambled to his feet- well, whatever he had instead of feet - and looked at her, his hands nervously fidgeting. Y/n felt a pang of fear again - he was huge and towering above her laying form, his eyes fixed on her, the corners of his mouth now turned downwards, making his face look like a creepy theatre mask.

 


"I am very sorry. Are you well?"

 

Y/n's eyes widened as she heard his voice - it was still a bit strange in the sense of not quite being there, but it was...pleasant, kind. The monster offered his hand to her and she could see his phalanges shaking a bit.


She took his hand and got up.


"I'm fine," she said as she found her voice again."I should be the one to apologize, I was the one who startled you back there."
The monster shook his head, still watching Y/n guiltily yet attentively. And not letting go of her hand.
"No, no, this is my fault I, ah..."


Her fingers flinched lightly, but that was enough for him to notice.


"Terribly sorry," he muttered, letting go of her hand with some noticeable difficulty.
"No worries," the mage said, her confidence returning bit by bit. Her curiosity too, as she wondered why the monster seemed so distressed by the loss of contact. And why did her healing magic activate on it's own? She looked into the monster's eye sockets with curiosity, but before she asked anything, she remembered something important.


Her manners.


"My name is F/n L/n," she introduced herself, bowing her head slightly and giving a small smile.
"Ah, of course," he said with a tone of embarrassment and straightened his back, making him even taller, "WingDings Gaster."


"Gaster...Doctor Gaster?" Y/n's smile faded, her mouth now slightly agape as her blood became cold in her veins, her heart skipped a beat and her eyes widened in shock."You..you're...the previous Royal Scientist."


Gaster seemed to be as shocked at her, looking at her in disbelief. He spoke, his voice soft, careful.
"You...how do you know about me?"


"Your son once told me about what happened to you," she answered, still breathless.
"Sans," Gaster breathed out, looking to the side, at the door to Sans' room before returning his attention to her."I missed the time everyone got freed...How are they?"
"They are fine," Y/n assured."We are close friends. Sans in now a scientist, working together with Alphys and Papyrus is currently the ambassador of monsters."


"Oh," the tall monster said, looking somehow both proud and sad at the same time."That is wonderful news..I'm happy to know they are doing so well."
Gaster kept quiet for a while, then spoke again, chuckling in melancholy.
"And no, despite certainly looking the part, I am not a ghost, Miss L/n."


"Then...this is amazing," a hopeful smile graced Y/n's lips as she looked into his eyes, "You're alive, Sans and Papyrus will be so happy once we get- Dr. Gaster!"


The monster glitched once again, the cracks on his skull seemingly getting bigger and his eyes losing their lights again.


"Ms.L/n, I- Please, may I hold your hand?" he plead desperately and the next second Y/n had his huge hands in her smaller ones. Remembering how the glitching stopped previously, she let her healing magic seep from her hands into Gaster's and heard a shaky breath above her. Looking up, she saw that the monster now had the lights in his eye sockets back. His breathing was shallow, his hands covered hers and had them in a strong, desperate grip as her energy continued flowing into him.


"Thank you," he said with a relieved sigh that sounded more like a sob, "Stars, thank you. I am in your debt."
"You're welcome, Dr.Gaster," she smiled warmly, trying to calm the monster down, "You owe me nothing. Please tell me if there's anything else I can do for you."


The scientist looked at her, studying her features, thinking. For a while there was only silence between them. The monster looked like he was hesitating, but finally he dared to ask:

"Miss L/n, if it is not too much of a bother, could you please say my name again?"


She looked at him in surprise, but quickly remembered what had happened to the monster. Not knowing what he'd been through aside from literally disappearing out of existence, Y/n smiled softly and spoke in a gentle voice.


"Doctor Wingdings Gaster."


The monster closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Y/n could only wonder how long he hadn't talked to anyone, hadn't heard his own name. Her heart was hurting for him.


"Wingdings Gaster," she repeated, now speaking even softer, seeing how much this meant to him.


The former Royal Scientist gripped her hands tighter.


"You are Doctor Wingdings Gaster and your sons, Sans and Papyrus, will be overjoyed to see you again."


The monster let out a shaky sigh, his hands trembled. Y/n freed one of her hands from his grasp only to cover his hand with hers, making him inhale softly.


"Everything is alright now, Dr.Gaster," she smiled as he opened his eyes, his right one still mostly closed due to being damaged. He looked at her with gratitude, a small smile now on his face.
"Thank you, Miss L/n."
"Y/n is fine," she said and the monster seemed surprised for only a moment before smiling just a bit wider, the kind look in his eyes making the smile seem sincere and not scary at all. Y/n decided she liked it when he smiled like that.


"Long ago my friends called me Gaster, you may too if you wish."


"It would be a pleasure, Gaster, " Y/n nodded.
"Splendid then," the monster nodded too, then looked at their hands cautiously."Are you well, Y/n? You're giving quite a portion of your energy to me."
"I'm fine, D- I mean, Gaster," she smiled, "I can spare some more. How much do you need to, um.."


"Stay in existence?" he offered, his face becoming thoughtful and somewhat sad."About the same amount you've already given me would be sufficient for the time being, I presume."
The mage nodded, already making up her mind. This would hinder her progress further into the Underground, but she wouldn't even consider letting something this awful happen to Gaster just so she could get to the Barrier sooner.


"I can give you that, even a bit more. Just to be sure."


The scientist raised his brow ridges, looking at her both surprised and impressed.
"You are quite talented at magic for a human."
"So I've heard," she chuckled quietly.


"Are you a mage or did humans become more adept at magic over the years?" his tone was both curious and cautious now. Y/n could understand that, humans were a threat to monsters even without magic, it would be alarming if every single human wielded magic now.
"No, no...humans did not become better at magic. I'm a mage."
"Ah, a healer, then?" Gaster sighed with relief and continued his questioning, curiosity evident in his face now even more.
"I was intending to be one, yes," she nodded and Gaster immediately frowned in confusion, the lights of his eyes concentrated on her face.


"You were...but not anymore?"


"I became the Archmage." She felt his hands flinch and saw his eyes widen, even his damaged one opening a bit more. He looked her over again and after a second of seemingly thinking the situation over, spoke:


"Your Grace, it is an honor, I-"
"Gaster, please," she smiled sadly and lowered her gaze to look at their hands, the green glow of healing magic reflecting in her e/c eyes."It's just Y/n."


"V-very well, then," he took a deep breath and she felt his gaze on herself yet again."Then I am very fortunate that you are here, I doubt that a regular human could have helped me this much."
Y/n smiled, still looking over Gaster's hands - they were almost twice her size, with long phalanges and a smooth bony feel to them. They seemed to get a bit warmer, too, Y/n wasn't sure if that was from seeping warmth from her hands or from him now being more here than there.


"But why are you here?" he asked and Y/n let out a sad, tired sigh before looking up at him again.


"Let us take a seat, maybe? I'll tell you whatever you want to know."


Gaster looked confused, yet curious. He nodded and let Y/n lead him to the first floor and towards the couch. The mage held him by the hand all the way, not once breaking contact and offering back her second hand as soon as they sat down. He took it gratefully.


They had a long talk ahead of them.

Chapter Text


"Let us take a seat, maybe? I'll tell you whatever you want to know."



The young Achmage's voice became quiet, he could see there was sorrow hidden behind her e/c eyes.



Gaster was confused, yet curious. He was a scientist and he always was of the inquisitive nature, so he wanted to learn more about this human, the one who, at least for now, saved him from being dragged back into the cold darkness of the Void.


Why was she here? Why did she look so tired? Why did the topic of her being the Archmage cause her distress?


He nodded and let Y/n lead him to the first floor and towards the couch. The mage held him by the hand all the way, not once breaking contact and offering back her second hand as soon as they sat down.


He took it gratefully.


Her hands were warm and soft compared to his own. He looked at them, at her delicate wrists and her long slender fingers and felt her flinch. She carefully changed the way she held his hands, so that most of her fingers were hidden under his palms. Most, as the holes in his palms still offered some view. The mage seemed to notice that too and chuckled quietly, prompting him to raise his gaze to look at her.


"Please don't think of me as shallow," she sighed and offered him a small smile, "but I've been through some stuff and neither my hands nor my nails are presentable right now. If you are curious about human hands, I will gladly show you mine after I've taken a bath."


Gaster blinked. Yes, yes he was curious about human hands and anatomy in general, but right now he was thinking about looking at one particular human's hands. He did notice her uneasiness about her appearance and the irony of the situation brought a faint smile to his face. Noticing Y/n's confusion, he shook his head.


"I find it amusing that you would be worried about your appearance in the presence of someone as disfigured as myself," he said, his voice holding no malice, only sad acceptance. He was an intimidating monster even before he fell into the Core, but he knew that now he was something that looked nightmarish and even somewhat disgusting.
He felt Y/n's thumbs gently trace his and realized he got lost in thought. Focusing his eyes on the young Achmage, he found a gentle, friendly smile on her face and a warm, pleasant feeling bloomed in his chest. It has been so unimaginably long since someone has smiled at him like that.


"Of course I'm worried about my appearance. You're the Doctor Gaster. More importantly, you're Sans' and Papyrus' father. It's such an honor to meet you."


Gaster stared at the mage in surprise, awe even. This was...unexpected. She wasn't self-conscious because she was not looking well enough, she was self-conscious because she wasn't looking well enough for an audience with him.
This felt so strange and, at the same time, hugely flattering.


The scientist cleared his throat, regaining his calm, and answered, his tone friendly and leveled:


"I, ah...The pleasure is all mine, Y/n. And I assure you, you look fine."


The girl chuckled softly and nodded in thanks. Gaster smiled just a bit wider. These pleasantries they shared calmed him, made Gaster remember what he was like before. And Y/n's delicate hands that held his considerably bigger ones in a calm, steady way grounded him, served as proof that he was really still here and that someone was able to see him, to hear him, to talk to him and even touch him.


He realized that his gaze had drifted off again, landing on their hands once more. He quickly lifted his eyes to look at Y/n, worried that she might take offence to the way he seemingly ignored her request to postpone his attention to her hands.
She, however, was looking at him with a warm smile, her e/c eyes full of patience.


"Ah, I..I am sorry, I tend to get lost in thought," he gave her and apologetic look but she just shook her head.
"Don't apologize, I understand," she smiled warmly and Gaster's hands flinched, the half of a soul he had managed to reassemble swelling with gratitude and amazement. This human wasn't even aware how existing, how alive she made him feel, to the point that it was almost painful.


"So," she sighed, her smile faltering, "I guess I should bring you up to speed. What do you know about everyone being freed? Do you want me to start with that?"
Gaster hummed thoughtfully, then answered:
"I do know about how the Barrier - the original one - shattered. I've seen a glimpse of the child named...Frisk, was it? I saw them briefly when I was able to materialize for a short while. After the Barrier was broken, however, the residual magical energy it created gave me opportunities to gather parts of my soul, so I was...occupied for a while," he averted his eyes, looking at the doors to his sons' rooms. "When I returned, it seems that the Underground was already empty for a while and a new Barrier stood in place of the original one."


"Yes, that one was created by myself and Asgore," the young mage nodded, sadness evident in her features, her eyes cast downwards. Gaster gasped softly - so she was very proficient with magic. "I would have never done it if I knew that you were still here, I'm so sorry."
"No, don't be," he shook his head, "Please look at me, Y/n."


The mage complied and looked at his face, he offered her a comforting smile.


"Child, you couldn't have known. No one aside from Sans and Papyrus even remembers me, and, based on what Sans had told you, you had every reason to believe I was no more than dust."
"Sans told me only about a year ago, that was already two years after we created the barrier. I offered to take the new barrier down, but he was adamant that it was hopeless, and he seemed so pained by the topic, so I never pushed the subject after that..." the girl sighed remorsefully, guilt still filling her eyes. Somehow, the sight made what remained of Gaster's soul to ache.


"You have made the right choice, Y/n," he assured."I'm happy that my sons have such a caring, considerate friend."
That made the right corner of the mage's lips quirk upward and Gaster felt suddenly proud of himself. Her gaze now lighter, less burdened, the girl looked at his face with kindness.


"What would you like to know?"
"I..ah," he went quiet for a second, then sighed, "Truthfully, there is just so much I want to know. About so many things...I want to hear stories about my sons, I want to know how humans and monsters have been doing these past years, and I am also so very curious about human anatomy and the way your species use magic, and...I, ah-  I am rambling aren't I?"


He looked at her, now very self-aware, but felt a lopsided smile find it's way on his face as he realized that the young mage was looking at him with kind, understanding eyes.
He suddenly wondered whether the primary trait of her soul was Kindness or Patience.


"But, for the time being, I want to know about what caused you to be here," he said in a calm, collected manner he used when his thoughts were organized and prioritised, making his voice a bit lower-pitched.
"Oh, well..." Y/n sighed. "It was my own fault, really."
"I doubt that," he slightly raised his brow ridges.

Feeling much better and realizing that the kind human would not stop giving him her energy of her own accord, he, somewhat reluctantly yet gently, removed his hands from hers.

"I believe I will be alright for now, thanks to you, Y/n."
"Are you sure?" the young mage's face turned serious and he could hell that she was studying his face to determine if he was confident in what he said. Gaster wished his face was actually something worth to be looked upon right now. But sentimental notions aside, Y/n would not find any trace of doubt on Gaster's face. He'd had enough time to learn how to exist in the state he was in and, compared to how he was before the original Barrier broke, he was more in control than ever. He knew the feeling he had when he was safely outside of the Void just like he knew the sickeningly cold pull of it when he was fading out of existence.


"Yes, I am sure, " he nodded, continuing sincerely "I could never thank you enough for your help."
"Please tell me if you ever need my assistance," Y/n gave him a gentle smile and put her hands on her lap, one over the other. He nodded gratefully and took much the same pose, laying his hands onto the pitch black darkness that once was his lower half. Though over the years he became accustomed to this form, seeing the girl in front of him reminded him how he wished to someday get his body back to normal.


With a sigh, he mentally waved the heavy thought away and concentrated his attention on the human. She seemed to understand that this was her cue to speak. The young Archmage took a moment, becoming completely still and silent, then began her story, speaking in a steady, yet melancholy voice.

 



***

 

 


"..nd, well, then I found the spare key to the house and here I am, barging into your home uninvited," the mage gave a weak chuckle and fell silent.


In the course of telling about what happened to her, she sometimes looked at him, maybe checking if he was still interested or maybe gauging his reaction to a particular development. Gaster, however, stayed silent, only giving the young Archmage a nod ar a look so she would continue.
Right now, she lifted her eyes from her hands and looked at him again, her expression tired and somehow tense. Was it because he hadn't said a word? Where would he even begin?


The guilt she carried about her choices, the betrayal she experienced, the pain she endured...That Flower that seemed to be now following her. That disgusting, malicious Flower-creature Gaster knew all too well.


"I see you're not too impressed with my actions," he heard the young mage's soft, sad voice and his eyes snapped to hers.
"I -no, no, child- Y/n," his hands flew up ready to start gesturing, but he stopped himself, took a moment to calm down, then tried to explain again. "I was just...I did not expect that what you went through was this...dire. And I am certainly not angry with you, how could I be?"


A little hopeful smile found it's way onto her lips.


"Really? You looked angry a couple of times there."
"It was by no means directed at you," Gaster said with utmost seriousness, "My anger was directed toward that despicable ExF/n character and the flower-abomination that is following you."
"Flowey?" Y/n slightly cocked her head to the side in confusion, "You know him? He was relatively nice to me, did he do something to anger you? You did look rather...distressed when I talked about him."


The former Royal Scientist looked at the young mage's face closely. Oh, the kind, well-mannered Y/n. If he was lost in dark thoughts and his face changed accordingly, then she surely meant he looked outright scary. It was commendable that she didn't end her tale earlier out of fear, then.


Gaster sighed tiredly. Even thinking about what Flowey had put him, his family and friends through throughout all those resets made Gaster's head ache. And still, that disgusting abomination continued to mess with those unfortunate enough to be in the Underground. At least his sons were now far away from the malicious creature.
Gaster already decided he would do what he could to protect the kindhearted mage from it in the future.


 He then realized Y/n was probably still waiting for a reply.


"You, ah, are probably getting used to this, aren't you?" he asked sheepishly, making the human actually laugh a bit. He liked the sound of her laughter very much, he thought.
"I'm much the same, actually, so I understand," she shrugged and Gaster nodded - he could easily imagine her as someone who could often get lost in her thoughts.
"Concerning the flower and everything else," he said as if discussing some daily business, "I am of the opinion that we should postpone it until tomorrow. You must be very tired."
"I am," Y/n admitted, giving him a grateful smile. He returned it with one of his own. It was pleasant to be able to share smiles with someone again.


"Well then, I probably should let you take that bath you talked about," he nodded to the inconspicuous door near the stairs."The bathroom is right there, the house is self-sustaining in regards of electricity and water, so do not be shy and use as much hot water as you wish."
"Thank you," the young mage's face lit up in excitement and Gaster almost chuckled at how adorable the human looked. She got up, but promptly sat down, her eyes now somewhat unfocused, her arms at her sides, steadying herself.


"Y/n? Are you alright? Did I," he gasped quietly, guilt filling his eyes, "did I drain too much of your energy?"
"No, no..." she sighed and looked at him, shaking her head, "It's not that, don't worry, you're not even remotely at fault here. I just didn't eat anything besides a few monster candies in the last twenty-four hours...or was it even longer now?"


The mage chuckled, seemingly finding his surprised, then frowning expressions amusing. He, however, did not find her situation amusing at all. His own body a mess right now, he could sustain himself on just energy, but he distinctly remembered  that food was essential to survival, especially for humans, who's bodies were made mostly out of water.


"I find this not at all a laughing matter, Y/n," he scolded and rose from the couch, offering her his hand."Come, there is bound to be food in the kitchen, Papyrus always has at least spaghetti there."
"I do have Grillby's burger with me, I thought I'd save it for when I really needed food and there'd be none around," she said, her tone somewhat apologetic as she placed her hand in his bony one and stood up."I'm fine, just a little light-headed, I can walk.  Thank you, Gaster."


He nodded and let go of her hand, still watching her closely, however. He didn't have enough data on humans to know how dangerous it was for a human of her height, weight, age and health to go on without food for more than twenty-four hours. So he decided to trust her that it wasn't as bad as he feared.
He led her to the table in the livingroom and then stepped into the kitchen. Gaster was as confused by the idea of a tall sink at the n-th time he saw it as he was the first time. Y/n sat at the table and looked into the kitchen, curious what he was going to do. The scientist checked the storage space inside the counter and, seeing that it was empty, closed it and put his hand on it.


Feeee-op!


The sink was now regular-sized.


"This will make it easier to access, I believe," the monster turned to Y/n, who was looking at him like he pulled a phoenix out of his sleeve. Gaster couldn't help but feel a little smug as he explained, tone calm and teaching."It's magic furniture, with practice you can make it do some amusing things."


"That's really neat!" Y/n exclaimed and Gaster gave her a little smile.
"Well then, I am of the opinion that we should make you something to eat. Something more than a burger," he quickly added, his tone clearly showing his resolve."There will be no discussion on the matter."
"But at least let me cook for myself, I wouldn't want you to-"


"Y/n."


"....Fine, Doctor," she giggled and the parts of his soul that were in him swelled at the sound. He hmphed somewhat bashfully, glad that he won the little argument and turned to the counters, opening a couple and almost immediately finding several packs of spaghetti.


Just then, he noticed a smell. A delicious, rich smell. The smell of good food. A smell that reminded him of an old friend and his cooking. Somehow, despite his body being in a state that thinking about his form brought Gaster misery, it still wanted whatever smelled this good.
The burger, he guessed.


Turning his head to look over his shoulder, he noticed that the girl was now sitting on the chair closest to him and that two plates were in front of her, the burger carefully divided in two. The young mage caught his gaze and smiled.


"Would you join me? These are really good."


Gaster looked at her for a long moment. It has been years since he felt corporeal enough to  want a meal, and even longer since he actually ate food and not just tapped into some magical energy source.


"You need all of it," he said finally, turning to the stove and switching it on. He then made a pot float through the air right to the sink, made the water turn on, fill the pot and turn off before making the pot fly over and land on the stove. The scientist noticed that the small trick didn't take as much magic or effort as it would have some time ago. Maybe he was getting better, or maybe it was-


"Y/n?" he raised his brow ridges in surprise when the young Archmage appeared beside him, plopping onto the counter and putting the plates beside her.


"Please excuse my completely impolite sitting arrangements, but I would really like to share a meal with you," a sly grin found it's way onto her lips. She then reached down and took a hand grater, looking it over. What was she- "Please? There'll be enough spaghetti soon anyway and this is about the only gesture I can make to show how grateful I am."


Gaster sighed in defeat, his shoulders relaxing. How could he say no when the burger smelled so good and if this was Y/n's way of showing how grate-...grate.


"Y/n..." he looked at her accusingly and she flashed him a wide grin while putting the grater away. He couldn't stop a smile from forming on his face as well.
"I, ah, see how you and Sans became such good friends," he raised a brow ridge.


"Oh yes, we like to meat up and ketchup as often as we can," the girl, clearly happy with herself, smiled smugly and he couldn't help but realize that the way his shoulders twitched and his quiet laugh sounded was the cause of that.


"Please-"
"You mean, peas?"


He covered his face with his hands, suddenly embarrassed by how his laughter sounded. Stars, he hadn't laughed in so long, he forgot he even could.


"I,ah- ahah," he wailed faintly and shook his head, his shoulders trembling lightly. The thought that he may look creepy or mentally ill crossed his mind, making him want to calm himself, but the sensation of laughing was too pleasant to just stop at once. After a couple of moments, he took a deep breath and removed his hands from his face.


"I'm sorry, I just-" he looked at Y/n and his words got stuck in his nonexistent throat. She was smiling at him so warmly, like she was proud of him, like he did something that wasn't unsettling, but endearing.
"Don't apologize, I'm glad to remind you about the existence of bad puns," she chuckled and he did too, quietly, tired from his earlier outburst. It seemed that he didn't creep her out after all. Good.


"Well then," he straightened his back and looked at the now boiling water. A pack of spaghetti ripped itself open and a generous amount of pasta found itself in the pot, all of this being attentively watched by Y/n. Gaster was glad that, although not as nearly as good as when his soul was whole, he could perform small tasks with his magic with relative ease now. He then took the plate nearest to him.


"Thank you for the burger, Grillby was always good at making these."


Y/n seemed to be overjoyed when he finally took the plate and didn't hesitate to take hers, grabbing her half of the burger.
"You know Grillby?" she asked as she took a big bite of the burger, even that hungry act being done with some restraint. The thought of her losing it and stuffing her face with the long-awaited meal made Gaster smirk in amusement, but he decided to keep the thought to himself.
"Yes, of course," the scientist nodded, pleasantly surprised that the young mage was curious about him and his life.  "I often visited his bar when I wasn't working or tending to Sans and Papyrus. He's quite one for conversation, when he considers someone close enough."


"I kinda got that vibe from him too," Y/n said, half of her burger already gone, "Although we're not that close, but even so...as the years went by he even started to speak to me in full sentences...Oh? Is it gooood?"
A very satisfied smile appeared on the young mage's face as she saw the expression on Gaster's, who just now took a bite of his half of the burger.


"It's...mmmm...."


Gaster felt like tears could start flowing from his eye sockets any second now, that good of a feeling it was. Due to being magical, the burger was exactly as it was when it was put in storage - warm, juicy, smelling deliciously. The former Royal Scientist could just picture himself years ago, sitting at Grillby's, eating his burger and chatting with the flame elemental.
He closed his eyes as he swallowed, feeling the meal disintegrate within his body with a warm feeling and boost his HP a bit. He then looked at Y/n, who was smiling at him while chewing.


"You looked adorable, " she finally said, giggling a bit.
Gaster gasped, both in amusement and embarrassment.
"I did not!"
"Sure did."
The former Royal Scientist breathed out in mock-exasperation.
"If you insist."
"I very much do," Y/n chuckled and they both took a bite out of their meals. As he was holding the plate with one hand and a burger in the other, the monster decided to materialize an extra hand to stir the spaghetti so that it wouldn't stick to the bottom of the pot. And so he did. Y/n's eyes were immediately glued to it.

"Wfa-" she swallowed, then looked at his somewhat apologetically before speaking up again, nodding towards his extra hand "That's amazing."


"Oh?" he asked with a light smile. He should be more modest, he thought, but he just couldn't pass up any praise she offered him, it was so long since he spoke to someone, even longer since someone was this kind to him. So he sucked up any and all kindness offered to him gratefully. He took another bite partly so he wouldn't encourage her to elaborate. She did anyway.


"Yes," she nodded, "I've seen your sons use bones, Asgore use fireballs, Undyne manifest spears and Mettaton project tiny exploding copies of himself, yet creating functioning hands is something much more...complex? Intricate?"
She chuckled and shrugged.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't be fangirling over it this much, I'm sure it's weird for you. It's just that from my understanding it's something that really requires talent and concentration to master and I can't help but admire- Aah, here I go again."


She slapped her forehead with her palm and dragged her hand across her face, a smile on her lips betraying that she didn't feel particularly bad about it, though unmistakably embarrassed to a degree. Gaster, however, was both impressed and bashful now, deciding to finish his burger to give himself some time to react. She was a mage, she was friends with monsters, of course she understood magic. But such praise regarding a skill so unique to him felt...good. It felt honestly really good, if not unusual.


He cleared his throat, remembering that he was the old, wise monster here, and smiled sincerely, trying to keep his voice steady as he put his empty plate on the counter and spoke:


"It is certainly a nice compliment, thank you. Magic is, as you know, unique to every monster in some way, attuned to the soul and personality. So this is mine," he made another hand appear and it was the same as the one taking care of the pasta and the same as his normal hands. It floated through the air towards Y/n slowly and the young mage carefully touched it's fingers with her own, Gaster watching attentively.


"Can you feel sensation through them?" she asked curiously and the scientist was happy to enlighten her.
"I can adjust how much I feel through them, yes. Normally they retain tactile sensation, but not the sensation of, say, temperature. If needed be I can channel fighting or healing magic through them. Well, more like could, when I was, ah-" he looked over himself and hurried to change the subject. "Answering your question, yes, I can make it so that I feel more or less sensation through them, though the hands connected to my body are still more sensitive in that regard."


Y/n nodded in understanding, allowing him not to elaborate on his condition for the time being. He was grateful for that, he wanted to enjoy this light atmosphere for now.


"So if that's your unique manifestation of magic," the Archmage said thoughtfully, then smiled at him slyly,"Does that mean you were quite a handful as a child?"
"No. No," he said, adding seriousness to his tone, making Y/n seemingly doubt herself. Good. "It means I always gave a hand to those in need."
"Well wasn't it handy having you around?" the mage smiled widely and Gaster couldn't help but smile too.
"Yes, I was always there to help when the situation got out of hand."


Y/n started laughing and Gaster couldn't help but chuckle too.


"I see who Sans got it from," she said, taking breath to calm down.
"I like to think that he took it to a whole new level," Gaster said proudly as he switched off the stove."I don't think there's much for you to eat it with, though. There may be some tomato sauce somewhere. Or maybe ketchup."
"I'll take a look around if you don't mind," the mage hopped off the counter and started her search.


A short time later, they both sat at the table - Y/n convincing Gaster to eat yet again - and enjoyed their simple yet tasty meal. The girl told Gaster about his sons, about the particularly funny moments of Papyrus' and Undyne's cooking attempts, about how Sans would often just appear in her office and whisk her away to take a break, how Papyrus brought her strange, but surprisingly delicious soup when she was ill, how she would sometimes even be able to join their sleepovers and how the skeleton brothers would even sometimes train with her, though the absolute majority of the time Papyrus would be the one to do so.


The former Royal Scientist listened, sucking in every word, listening to every story attentively, his face showing both endearment and melancholy at the same time. He was so happy his sons, his two greatest creations we've alive and well, enjoying their freedom. He was sad, however, that he did nothing to ensure their freedom and that he couldn't share it with them now.


He felt a soft, gentle hand touch his own and he looked at Y/n, who lightly covered his long bony fingers with her hand.


"We'll get out of here," she said, smiling warmly,"We will. And you'll get to spend time with them."
"Thank you," he said softly, carefully covering her hand with his free one."That thought brings hope to me."


The Archmage nodded and he let her hand go, she let it fall back onto her lap.


"I do believe I've kept you away from your bath long enough," the scientist changed the subject, making dirty plates float into the sink with his magic - the darker, almost black color of it still making him somewhat sad everytime he saw it. It shouldn't be like that, it should-
He tossed the thought away, getting up as soon as he saw Y/n getting on her feet.


"Do you feel better now?" he asked, ready to help steady her if she wasn't. The human, however, nodded with a smile.
"Yes, thanks to you," she chuckled, "Maybe one day Papyrus will be able to make spaghetti as effortlessly and as tasty as you can."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, young Archmage," Gaster smiled, raising a brow ridge and following her as she walked to the-


Wait, why was he following her to the bathroom?


Suddenly feeling like a creep, the well-mannered monster stopped following the mage, now standing in the center of the living room.
"Take your time," he reminded, suddenly feeling self-conscious. Starting immediately to fiddle with his hands, he looked over the suddenly very interesting room.
"Thank you," the girl said as she turned to him when she was at the bathroom door.


A though stuck him.


"Ah, Y/n," he called out before she closed the door and as she gave him a questioning look, he continued. "Is it warm enough here for you? Should I light a fire in the fireplace? Humans are very sensitive to temperature change, yes?"


The mage looked at his room, concern evident in her features.


"Do not worry, my room is stable as long as I myself am," he said, guessing her thoughts.
"Oh, well, if it's no too much of a bother, then I guess it would be nice if it was a bit warmer, my hair will be wet so I wouldn't want to get sick," she said thoughtfully and there was no doubt in Gaster's mind after those words.


No, he absolutely couldn't have her getting sick in his house.


"Then it is settled," he nodded, "Enjoy your bath, I will take care of things."


With a nod and a thankful smile, the girl closed the door and soon enough the sound of water filling the tub could be heard. It was a big tub, Gaster thought, hopefully she could get comfortable in it.


His mind, just for a moment, drifted to the thought of the young mage trying to get comfortable in the tub filled to the brim with water. Her clothes were snug against her for the most part, he could see the contours of her body. So, logically thinking and thinking back to his anatomy books, if she removed her clothes...did it mean that the rest of the skin on her body was the same exact color as on her hands and face? Or was there a difference in tone and texture? If one were to compare, for instance, the skin of her palm and her bare shoulder-


What was he even thinking?


"Tsk," he scowled, unhappy with himself. Research and curiosity were one thing, but he had things to do right now and there he was, standing in the middle of the room, thinking things that would disgust the one who kept him out of the Void's reach.


He truly could be so tactless in his aim to learn things, he thought as he went up the stairs and towards his room. His social skills hadn't exactly improved from countless years of almost complete isolation. He needed to try and watch himself more carefully so he wouldn't make Y/n feel uncomfortable.

 




***

 


Y/n's POV

 



"Oh stars and gods and universe itself," Y/n thought as she sank into the water with a quiet moan.


For a moment, nothing else mattered - not where she was, not how she ended up there. Only the pleasure of hot water enveloping her body and her muscles relaxing.
She lowered her head and when she felt it touch the edge of the tub, she closed her eyes and let out a sigh.


This was so good. This was amazing.


A minute passed. Then another.


Y/n opened her eyes slightly, looking at the ceiling.


Something was written on it with a blue marker. Opening her eyes more, Y/n read:


'if you're naughty, you're gonna have a bath time'
Under the words, written with bright red paint were the words 'SANS! PAINT IT OVER'
Under that, again in blue marker: 'ok'



"Ph, pffff-blrblrlbr-" Y/n chuckled, sinking further into the giant tub, making bubbles escape her mouth underwater.



Those two.



She repositioned herself, now deep in thought.
It made sense now - the huge tub was not only for Papyrus, but, at some time, for Gaster too. The room that seemingly didn't exist - it was Gaster's. Gaster said it glitched when he himself was "unstable", did that mean it disappeared when he did or did it just become inaccessible?


She sighed, watching how the water reflected the light of the ceiling lamp.
She had so many questions, just...so many.
Thinking about everything that happened in the last 48 hours was enough to make her head spin. ExF/n, the fall, Flowey, the Ruins, Snowdin, Gaster.

Dr.Gaster definitely took first prize of the strangest thing to happen. Sans' and Papyrus' long lost father, believed to be erased from existence itself, erased from everyone's memory besides Sans' and Papyrus'...
There he was.

Y/n wasn't sure what his state of being was at the moment, but he didn't act like he was dead. He did say he wasn't a ghost.


The mage sighed again and began to slowly wash her legs.


Sure, he certainly scared the hell out of her the first time she saw him. Add his appearance to standing in an almost completely dark room and you got yourself a classic horror scene.


Why was he standing in the dark, anyway?

Maybe he was used to the dark from wherever he was...trapped. Y/n felt a sting of pity for the monster. He seemed kind, he definitely was very polite towards her and she knew that many in his place would be bitter and treat her like she doesn't know what real suffering is.


But Gaster was understanding, taking an interest in her story, in her wellbeing.


Was that because he knew she could be a source of energy for him? Maybe, she wouldn't even blame him if that turned out to be part of the reason. She remembered, however, that the only time Sans mentioned him, he described Gaster as a kind, studious monster, highly intellectual and somewhat socially reclusive. He also used words like "old fashioned", "overprotective" and "dork".


Smirking, Y/n switched to washing her arms, shoulders and neck, the sound of splashing water making her happily realize she was finally cleaning herself.


No, she couldn't see Gaster being malicious. Then again, what if falling into the Core had changed him? Something like that would change anyone. Gaster seemed to harbor some negativity towards Flowey, maybe Y/n hadn't seen something, some hidden danger that Gaster knew about? Or maybe Gaster was the dangerous one after all?


No, no. That was paranoia setting in.


She took a deep breath and continued to wash her hands, careful to get the dirt from under her fingernails.


She healed him long enough, maintained that faint connection long enough to be confident he wasn't harboring any ill will towards her. So it would be best to try and trust him, the monster went through so much already, no good would come out of her treating him like he was a threat, something to be afraid of. He was already very self-conscious about his appearance, she noticed.


He did look scary when the lights of his eyes disappeared and when he began to look more..um...gooey?

Y/n could appreciate the darker creatures, most of the times having no problem establishing friendships with even the creepier ones of the monsters.  But Gaster -oh, that towering, intimidating monster made her think he was capable of doing unspeakable horrors to someone if he wanted to. Something in him, in the air around him screamed of ancient magic, of knowledge beyond her understanding, of skill no other could replicate.


Yet her soul felt at ease when he was near her. She could smile and joke and laugh like she knew the tall monster for years, like she could trust him. She wondered if that was because his magic felt, if only slightly, like Sans' and Papyrus'. Maybe that was it. Maybe that's what made her think about whether or not she could trust him only now, after she already spent more than two hours with the monster scientist.


Finished with washing her body, she sank deeper into the tub and started washing her hair. There weren't any hair products(no wonder, though), but she made do with the liquid soap she found. She was fortunate they left even that behind. Probably due to Sans' laziness.


...Or maybe because MTT brand soap smelled like candy was crushed into a bottle of Paco Rabanne perfume. Y/n made sure to rinse her hair properly.


So the plan was to trust the former Royal Scientist. He sure as hell was smarter than her, so maybe he could figure out a way for them to break free, while she maybe would be able to help him too.


Stepping out of the bath, she grabbed a towel she spotted earlier, not bothering to be picky about whose it was. Probably Sans', that lazybones. The mirror above the sink was foggy, so she dragged her hand across it with a telltale 'squeeek'. Looking into her own tired e/c eyes, she wondered how things were beyond the barrier.
Graustein was surely furious when her pilot called him and told him that she didn't arrive on time. He would then probably get worried and try to call her, growing more and more concerned with each failed call. Her parents were also surely very distressed when her plane failed to arrive or maybe Graustein called them before that.


She sighed. Whatever ExF/n had planned, she was sure her Second and Third in command could handle it well even without her there. The two shared her opinion on monsters and didn't trust ExF/n even in the times Y/n herself did, so she shouldn't worry. Everything will be fine while she's away. It was best to convince herself of that right now.


The young mage looked over the bathroom, searched the closet and found a box labeled 'SANS DON'T FORGET THIS'. Huh, apparently Sans forgot, Y/n mused as she opened the box to find some more towels, slippers and a bathrobe.


She should really thank Sans for being so lazy and not giving a fuck most of the time, Y/n thought. The alternative explanation was that Sans really did leave this place already preparing for the time they'll have to return. A smart move, but that didn't make it less heartbreaking.


Y/n hoped that three years from when he left this box here Sans was now in a better place mentally, at least she wanted to believe that based on how she saw the skeleton behaving.


She took out the slippers and the bathrobe, quickly slipping into them and nuzzling her face into the soft fabric. It seemed to have been washed before being put into the box or maybe all foreign smells had time to disappear - whatever the case, Y/n could only smell clean fabric and not ketchup or anything else and that made her happy.


The bath didn't relax her much mentally, but it did wonders for her body and that was good enough. She reached out to the door and unlocked it.

 



***

 

 


Gaster's POV


 
Gaster was in the kitchen when he heard the bathroom door unlock. He walked into on the livingroom to tell Y/n that she could go into his room if she wished to sit near the crackling fire, but as soon as he saw her his speech failed him, his mouth falling slightly open.


She was wearing a dark blue bathrobe and pink slippers, her hair was damp and messy and her cheeks had a wonderful rosy color to them.


"Ah, I see you're done."


He barely stopped himself from slapping his face with his hand. Magnificent, genius deduction, it's like he's a scientist or something.


"If you wish, you may go into my room and take a seat near the fireplace."


Better.


The girl smiled at him gratefully and nodded.
"I'd love to, thank you, Gaster."
He gave her a small lopsided grin.
"Good. If you don't mind, I will be joining you shortly."


"If I don't mind? This is your home, remember?" she chuckled, already making her way up the stairs.
"That doesn't mean I'm allowed to pester my guest with ramblings of an old bag of bones," he said, continuing to watch her with a smile.
"Well who knows, maybe you're suffering because your guest is an annoying little nuisance of a mage?"
"You are not annoying in the least," he protested, a small frown forming on his face,"And definitely not a nuisance."
"And you're not a rambling bag of bones," Y/n smiled widely, walking past the place where the picture of a bone had once hanged.


Gaster gave a defeated sigh, accompanied by a soft look in his eyes. Y/n seemed to like the reaction as her own gaze softened.


"Anyway, even if you say I'm not a nuisance, I'm still..." she turned her back to him and a moment after reading what was written on the back of her bathrobe Gaster was chuckling, waving her off as he walked back to the kitchen.
He heard the young mage laugh softly and walk into his room.


So she must have found Sans' bathrobe, only his eldest son could write something like "bath to the bone" on his clothes.


Gaster shook his head and prepared some golden flower tea, the tea his close friend Asgore enjoyed so much. Despite Gaster's hate of Flowey, the tea made from normal golden flowers made him think of his friends and of the time he was able to spend time with them, making a little nostalgic sigh escape the scientist.
He put two mugs - his sons apparently didn't care much for cups or teapots - of tea on a tray and let it float in front of him while he himself crossed his hands behind his back and walked to his room.


He found Y/n sitting in his chair by the fireplace, eyes half-closed, thoughts seemingly far away. The light from the flames danced across her features and made her h/c hair have a golden shine to it. The small, delicate human looked so harmless right now, a shadow of a smile crept onto his face, his eyelights shining slightly softer. It seems being friends with a human wasn't as improbable as he once had thought.


He looked over the young mage again. Her skeletal structure must be delicate, much more delicate than his own, he thought. It was definitely a good thing it was protected by all that soft flesh she had. Her legs were crossed, one over another, giving a clear view of her delicate ankles and knees. If he had to describe her with a word - it would be delicate. Returning to his previous thoughts, Gaster remembered that there was cartilage between the bones of humans and it was so fascinating.  He hoped that because Y/n once intended to be a healer, maybe she could give him more and newer information than that offered by those very old and few books on human anatomy he had.


He continued watching the human, feeling like he's in the middle of a most interesting research. Her ribcage was much more narrow than his and her chest gave her form a softness, a very harmonious symmetry Gaster decided he liked even if that wasn't a very scientific conclusion. Her chest rose and fell as she breathed steadily, her neck was exposed and Gaster seemed to remember reading that the human neck was very vulnerable, main veins and arteries located there. He really should brush up on his human anatomy, he always did find it complex yet fascinating.


The smell of tea seemed to have reached Y/n, as she turned her head to face him.


He realized he had been standing there, staring at her in silence all this time. Instead of human anatomy, he thought as he held his breath, he really needed to brush up on his social skills.


"I was beginning to wonder where you were," the mage said with a smile and he exhaled with relief - so she didn't notice him staring.


"As usual, creeping about, waiting for a moment to scare you from a dark corner," he said nonchalantly, walking over.
"Gaster," the girl frowned, "Come on, you're not creepy. You should see my mentor, now he's creepy when he wants to be."
"So you think I cannot be intimidating? I can appear quite...gastly, if I wish to do so," he raised a brow ridge and Y/n gave a small laugh.
"I'm sure you can if you want to be, but right now you're just the very kind Dr.Gaster who brought me tea."


"Well thank you for saying that," the scientist said with a grateful smile as he made a mug float right into Y/n's waiting hands.
"I mean it," the young woman shot him a surprisingly serious look before lowering her eyes and carefully taking a sip of her tea. He remained quiet as he took a seat in the huge chair across from her. The chair was somewhat too big even for the former Royal Scientist, but he came to the conclusion that Y/n presumed that due to how tall he was the bigger chair was logically his. It wasn't a big deal anyway, he thought as he made himself comfortable and took his own mug into his hands.


"You comfortable?...Did I take your seat?" a spark of panic flashed in Y/n eyes and the disfigured skeleton monster couldn't keep himself from smiling at her fondly.
"It's fine, Y/n, don't move."
"You sure?" she shifted, unsure, and he nodded.
"Yes, I am very sure."
"I'll be sure to remember next time," the mage gave him a sheepish grin and he nodded, amused at how much she cared for the comfort of others. Someone really raised this child well.


 "So..I'm guessing the one you're sitting in was made in case Asgore came over?" Y/n asked curiously and Gaster nodded.
"Indeed," he took a sip of the tea and remained quiet for a moment. Yes, he definitely could see why Asgore enjoyed this tea so much."Asgore had a habit of going out of his castle and wander the streets, often after those strolls he would find his way to my office in Hotland or, years later, here to my room. Pulling me away from my very important work."


Y/n chuckled and Gaster didn't even try to hide the fact that the irritation in his voice was no more than pretend.


"You're humerus, Doctor."
"Am I? I'll know if you patella lie, Mage," he raised a brow ridge and was rewarded with a wide smile.
"My parents always told me tibia honest," the girl shrugged.


Both chuckled softly, then went quiet, listening to the quiet crackling of the fire next to them and enjoying the comfortable silence.


They continued the conversation some time later, then changed the topic only to change it again later. They told each other stories until Gaster noticed that his new friend's eyes became hazy, her voice weaker, sleepier. With a kind smile, he escorted her to Papyrus' room where the race car bed was already prepared. He chuckled in amusement when Y/n told him that his youngest son had a "newer model" of the bed now and wished his guest pleasant dreams as he closed the door.


When he returned to his room, he sat in his chair and watched the last of the flames burn for a while, replaying the events of the last few hours in his mind. Even before his fall, such lenghty interaction would usually be tiring for him. With Y/n, however, it was not, quite the opposite really. This was good, he thought. After a little while the scientist got up and, with a swift, small gesture of his hand, powered up the three computer screens.


There was still work to be done.

 

Chapter Text

3 Months 7 Days after Monsters appeared on the surface.

 

 



"Asgore, listen," Y/n pleaded, looking at the monster king sitting in the chair across from her desperately, "Please, you can't do this."


"Y/n, dear child," the goat monster said in a soft, sad voice - he addressed her as he did now only  in their time alone and, even then, rarely, worrying that she might see that as him not respecting her status. Even though she had already tried to assure him otherwise."Please, try to understand...this guilt, this shame has been on my soul long enough. My people are free now, no thanks to me, mind you, and they deserve a different leader, someone more suited, someone who's not tainted by having human blood on their hands..." he held his paw-like hands before his eyes, the clawed hands trembling."....Children's blood."


His sorrow-filled voice trembled and he hid his face in his hands, his wide, massive shoulders shaking.
They both fell silent, the sounds of the raging thunderstorm outside filling the room.
Y/n watched the monster king, her soul aching for him, her mind frantically trying to come up with something to calm him down, to make him reconsider what he was wanting to do.

It has been three months and seven days after the monsters came to the surface. Most of the panic and noise has calmed down a bit and the authorities were now working together with the Archmage and the King to find a way to integrate monsters into society safely. By now, however, the overwhelming majority of monsters still lived on the grounds belonging to the Guild's Castle, waiting to be safely relocated to good, appropriate neighborhoods and homes.


And now, of all times, Asgore had almost decided to go and confess to killing  human children.

 



***

 



He told her of his sins when they were still strategizing in the Underground. He told her and, as shocked as she was, she couldn't believe someone as kind and soft as Asgore could have done that. He assured her that he indeed was the one to blame for all of the bloodshed, his voice trembling more and more until his breath hitched and he was on the verge of tears.


Shocked as she was, Y/n continued to question the king until he gave in, tears now freely running down his fur-covered cheeks as he told her how he lost both his children in one day. How devastated he and Toriel were. How helpless and hollow he felt, now that the humans who once damned his people to never seeing the sky now took away what he cherished most.


The whole Underground, too, was in mourning, losing hope fast. His subjects, who Asgore had considered his children as well, were falling into despair, some beginning to fall down from lack of hope.


Mentally wounded, grieving and in fear of losing his people too, he felt anger swell up in him, replacing his feeble attempts to deny this situation was even happening. It was. And it made him feel rage he didn't feel even in the War, consuming him like a wildfire.
The new Royal decree was issued.


All humans who Fell into the Underground were to be killed and their Souls collected. After all, they needed seven to break the Barrier.


Break the Barrier and free them all.
See the sun, the real night sky. Feel the wind, the rain, the rays of sun.
That thought brought hope to the Underground.

To almost all of the Underground. His wife, Toriel, was furious with his decision and no amount of reasoning would change her mind. Disgusted with the king, she left him and hid herself away.



*



As fate would have it, the first child fell not long after that. His subjects ran into Asgore's throne room in a state of panic, telling him of a human who exited the Ruins. His dear, fragile, frightened people. Trident in hand, Asgore made his way to Snowdin.
He met the human already in Waterfall. He didn't remember much of that day. He remembered his shock - it had been centuries since he last saw a human, a child at that. It was a human girl, somewhat older than Frisk, scared and looking at him with eyes full of fear. The tutu that she wore, however...



It was covered in dust. Monster dust.


Asgore remembers his horror when he ran her through with his trident, her little blue soul hovering above her bloodied chest.
The limp body, the dark sticky blood, the cold, glassy eyes looking at him - Asgore felt that his soul wanted to crumble right then and there. Only Undyne, who secretly followed him and was now calling out to him from the bushes reminded him why he was doing this. Why he didn't have the luxury of dying or taking back his words.

For them. For the monsters. For their freedom.
If happiness was something he wasn't destined to have, he would make sure his people would.
The deed was done. There was no other way now that he had one soul in his possession.



Since then, he had forgotten what it was like to have a good night's sleep and a guilt-free conscience.



**


The Second human fell not long after that.


Apparently, monsters in the Ruins killed this one, as one of Froggits brings the cyan-colored soul and several Whimsuns deliver the human body to Asgore before he even learns that there was one. His own soul aches for the dead human, but he's secretly relieved he didn't have to do it himself. His wish to kill had all but disappeared by now, and he's horrified by the path he had set his people on.


But the monsters are hopeful, they're not falling down from despair, they're dreaming of the things they would like to do when they're finally free. So this has to be the right choice. Even if Asgore feels that his soul is cracking more and more every day.



***


The Third human falls by the time of Giftmas next year.


It was a rather cold night, so the human was rumored to have frozen to death right on the outskirts of Snowdin after being exhausted by their battles with the dog-sentries. The body and the orange soul are delivered to Asgore by the Royal guard.

Undyne is his regular guest now, the little fish-monster is full of life, of hope, of dreams of being a strong Royal Guard, able to protect monsterkind. And being the strongest, she says as she pounds her little fists on his shirt-covered abdomen, is being able to beat the King of all monsters. She comes time and time again to challenge him to a "fight",  Asgore waiting patiently for her to exhaust herself and fall on the golden flowers, defeated. Somehow, this little fish monster makes him feel like he can do more than just those awful things he must to do for his people, so Asgore submits and one day asks her if she wishes to know how to beat him.

He had never seen Undyne smile so happily.

 


****

 


The Fourth human falls.


By this time, Asgore had ordered that, if possible, the humans should be brought to him. He didn't want anyone else to suffer from guilt as he has. So the Royal Guard does just that as soon as they find the human hiding in Waterfall.


Asgore introduces himself, explains what he must do and begs for forgiveness before engaging the human in a fight. Afterwards, as he puts the purple Soul into the glass container, his paw-like hands shaking violently, he wonders if he should just let the next human kill him - he was more than deserving to die for his sins.


The memory of his people reminds him that he is not free to do with his life as he wishes.

 


*****



The Fifth human falls.


This one has a gun. And the king's too late to get to the CORE.


Asgore's roar can be heard even in Snowdin when Undyne gets shot through the eye. But the fish-monster clutches a bright-yellow soul in her hand, smiling her famous wide grin as her magic pours out of her left eye and as she's as close to turning to dust as it gets. Asgore gives her his magical energy, then turns to Gerson, the old veteran being skilled at healing battle wounds.

As soon as she's well, Undyne is promoted to Captain of the Royal Guard.



******



The Sixth human falls into the Underground.

This time, after what happened to Undyne, Asgore orders everyone, including the Royal guards, to stay at home and hurries to take care of the human himself.
Rumor has it that the human still managed to meet some monsters, but left them be, even offering them a kind smile. When Asgore meets the human, he can see that it's true. The human, barely a teenager by the looks of it, smiles at him and tells him that they know why he needs the human souls.


And that they were willing to give him theirs.


Shocked, Asgore listened to the human as they told him that they really wanted to befriend the king before dying, but if it was not possible, then they at least wanted something good to come of them being gone. They wouldn't fight for their life - they were already dying of a terminal disease and felt life slipping away even as they talked to the stunned goat monster. Not even Toriel could heal the illness as, in their very Soul, the child had already accepted their fate.

It was what made them climb Mt.Ebott after all.

Their last words to Asgore were ones of understanding, of forgiveness.
"Mama Tori told me about you...I think you do what you have to do for your people. I can see how much pain it has caused you. Please don't cry, Mr. Dreemurr..."

Asgore, tears in his eyes, could only tell the child how grateful he was, how he would never forget such kindness. And then they were dead, their frail body succumbing to the illness and Hotland's heat.

As he carried the body and the emerald soul back to the castle, he could still feel their voice, see their kind smile. The words and the smile he did not deserve, yet was offered anyway. His own soul shook violently, on the verge of breaking.

This human showed him and his people such kindness, it made the doubt and regret grow even more in his Soul . And yet, he would have to kill the next human - they, his people, still needed him to acquire the seventh Soul.

After that, his guilt, his self-hate only worsened. On some days, he would find strength to come all the way to Snowdin and have a talk with his subjects, both young and old. On others, he would stay away, locked in his troneroom, caring for his garden, for the golden flowers Chara loved so much and on which his beloved son had turned to dust on.



*******


And after Frisk, after their mercy, after the Barrier broke and after the monsters were promised homes on the surface, it was time for him to pay for his crimes.



***



"No," Y/n repeated, her gaze resolute...determined.

Asgore breathed a tired sigh and lowered his head, shaking it.

"Y/n, dear child, I know we became friends and I cherish this friendship more than you could ever imagine...I am forever grateful to you - for your friendship and for your help to my people, but-"
"Then don't," the Archmage said quietly.

Both fell silent, only the sound of the raging thunderstorm could be heard for several moments.

"Asgore," the young woman began, trying to keep her voice from shaking, "I wouldn't dare to say that I can even begin to understand how you must feel, about the Human policy, about-"
"No, you can't," the king raised his head, his piercing amber eyes looking  straight into her e/c ones."This guilt, this shame, this regret..."



He scoffed, baring his fangs and Y/n was immediately reminded how inhuman he was. Yet, at the same time, how very humane he was.



"I did horrible things, Y/n! I...I took the lives of two children with my own hands, and the death of the others is on my conscience too. I was the one to instate the policy...I-" Asgore lowered his head again, his shoulders slumping like he had the weight of the world on them, his breathing heavy."...I wanted death to be my penance, but now that we're on the surface, I feel that humans passing judgment on me would be more fitting."
Y/n pursed her lips, struggling to keep at least some composure.
"Then I suppose you want the monsters of the Ruins, the Dog squad of the Royal guard and Undyne herself to also be taken in by the police?"


"What? No!" Asgore's head snapped up so he could look at her, bewilderment in his eyes."Y/n, friend, they are not at fault here! Please, I am the one to blame, we can just say that it was all my doing! I may not killed them with my own hands, but it was my orde-"
"No, no. The monsters who killed the human in the ruins will be found and punished," the Archmage interrupted, looking at the king, her voice becoming cold."The dogs too. No matter how many of them were turned to dust defending their home, how many it took to wear the human out, it was their fault the human was exhausted and froze to death."
"Y/n-"
"And Undyne," the mage narrowed her eyes, her voice becoming even more venomous, "Undyne isn't a soldier, right? She's a murderer. She obviously  wanted to kill the human because that's why she became the Captain of the Royal guard, right? She did tell you that that was her motivation? That she liked to kill-"


"ENOUGH!"
Asgore's voice boomed across the room as he stood to his full height. Lightning flashed across the dimly-lit room, for a second bathing it in a pure white light as Y/n looked at the kind wide-eyed.


He had never raised his voice at her.
It was terrifying.
But it also meant that she was hitting a nerve, getting through to him.
Even if her whole body was coated in goosebumps and her heart was now beating erratically.



Asgore, upon seeing her fear, quickly became terrified himself.


"Oh- Y/n, I-..." he touched his face with his hand, running it nervously through his golden mane, "I'm so, so sorry, my child, I-"
"No, don't apologize," the mage stood up and took a step forward, stepping on the antique coffee table to be at least a bit closer to Asgore's eye-level,"Just like you were willing to defend your subjects, your friends, because you knew they did what they did because of fear, of self-defense, or to free an entire race - that's the same way I, and every single monster, thinks about you."


"Y/n, I am a murderer-"
"By that logic, so are they!"
"Those were my orders-"
"Asgore, please!"
"Y/n, I must pay for what I have done-"
"Asgore, we don't get to choose that!"


Her patience snapping,  she gripped her own soul with blue magic, making herself levitate a bit above the table and grabbing onto Asgore's shirt with all her strength, looking the shocked monster in the eyes.

"I know, you've been king for more than a thousand years! I know...But let this little stupid inexperienced Archmage remind you that your decision would put every single one of your people in harm's way! Anything we do reflects on our people, on yours even more than mine - at least mages are considered human again, for the last few centuries! You can't just waltz into the Police Department and give the world a reason to want to eliminate you all!...Do you even understand that this whole Soul business is basically the same thing humans started the War over, all those years ago?!"


Asgore became deathly still, looking at Y/n, stunned, realization hitting him. His guilt, however, was indescribable, his sins unredeemable, so he tried again:


"But..But I-"
"You killed humans! You killed humans, because that was the only way for your people to gain freedom! Goddamn it, Asgore!" she put all her strength into one shake that managed to move the huge king's body, if only his torso."I know you! You've been hating and continue hating yourself for what you had to do! You don't deserve to be treated like some cold-blooded killer with a thirst for human blood!"
"Y-Y/n..." still startled by the mage's behavior, the monster king gave her a sad, guilty look, "Still, I..."
"Asgore, please," she pleaded again, her hands still gripping his shirt in an iron grip, "If not for yourself, not for me, then for them. Can you imagine what this will cause? We decided to stick to the current story for a reason."


Humans fell into the Underground. There was a policy that the humans, if possible, had to be brought to the King's Palace. If the human died, either from their fall, a disease or due to other circumstances (Snowdin's cold temperature or falling from a bridge in Waterfall, for example), then their Soul would be collected in hopes of someday freeing the monsters. Their body would then be respectfully preserved on Palace grounds.

That was the official version the Archmage and the King presented when questioned on the fallen humans. That was the version the Guild's experts gave. It was what the world came to believe.


"Asgore, listen," her knuckles white from gripping the monster's clothes so hard, her eyes glowing a more vibrant e/c from using her magic, Y/n spoke again, "Humans are terrifying when they feel threatened, you know that better than anyone. Your people, they haven't been on the surface long - any reason you give humans to fear you, they will take it. And there will be chaos - blood and dust, innocents killed, hopes and dreams crushed. Wasn't that what we wanted to prevent, making all these preparations all that time before you came to the surface?"


She could feel tears welling up in her eyes and as the king was about to say something, she interrupted him yet again - something she wasn't known for.

"No, no. Don't you dare. You've been through hell and back. You fought in that stupid, disgusting war we, humans, put you through. You gave your all to make life good even in the captivity of the Underground...God, Asgore- You lost your son to humans!"


Asgore shuddered, a shaky breath escaping him, and tears finally fell from the mage's eyes.


"I'm, sorry, I'm so sorry for bringing Asriel into this, you didn't tell me so I could- but please!  If anyone else was in your position, any human, they wouldn't be as plagued by guilt over what they had to do. You lived through so much, yet you've still remained caring, gentle- Goddamn it, Asgore, you went to schools and donated flowers from your garden,  how much sweeter can you get? Even I'm more callous than you and I've lived more than a thousand damn years less than you!"


Y/n gave a nervous, choked laugh, then breathed a shaky sigh.


"You stupid, kind goat-monster..." her magic wavered as did her grip on the king."...If I didn't get to know you, to know everyone, I would have handed you over to the police myself, each of you escorted by my strongest mages. Undyne would have been escorted by a whole squad, probably. You know me, you know my opinion on principles, on justice. But look at you, at all of you...And you in particular...Stars, there's not a punishment more severe than what you've already subjected yourself to daily! I have no idea how to even begin to try and get you out of that prison of self-hate that you've so expertly crafted and put yourself into..."


She chuckled again, softly, her body lowering as her magic slowly faded. Her feet touched the wood of the coffee table with a soft *clack*, her hands were now holding onto Asgore's shirt almost gently. Her eyes, now lowered to stare at the center of his chest, blinked again and again, releasing more tears.
"You can't. You're their king. They need you," at that, she winced and quickly added,"Not to kill, or to suffer for them. They need you to represent them, to speak for them, to...They want to see you happy. Their beloved, trusted king. The big softie, Mr.Dreemurr. They care for you as you do for them. I would throw myself in jail before I would take you from your people and give humanity a reason to start a new war."


By this time, Y/n's voice became quiet, barely above a whisper, her nerves tired from the stress. She fell silent for a while, just looking at the stupidly adorable flower-patters on the monsters shirt and listening for any words from him. Any at all. Finally, she heard him speak, his voice soft, careful.


"For someone claiming to be callous you certainly make a big deal about some old silly goat monster."


"I only claimed being more callous than you, which isn't hard at all," she replied, a hopeful note in her tone. Raising her eyes, the mage met the warm, teary eyes of the monster king, the fur on his cheeks glistening from the tears he had shed.
"I sometimes wonder..." he said quietly, placing a huge paw-like hand on her head and carefully running it down her h/c hair in a fatherly manner,"...if he was still with us, would he - with time - perhaps grow up to be similar to you."
"He would have grown into a wonderful young monster, with a father such as yourself- No, no, hush, don't you dare argue," she hurried to gently hush the goat-lion like monster before he started to express any doubt. Finally letting go of his shirt, Y/n looked at the king and smiled almost like an embarrassed child."I...went on quite the tangent, didn't I?"


The sound of Asgore chuckling made her think that her efforts were worth it.

"You did indeed. You're also standing on a table."
"I am aware. After I clean it, would you like some tea?"


Both looked at each other, wiping away their tears and daring to smile wider.


"That...would be splendid."


They talked for the rest of the evening and late into the night, sitting by the now lit fireplace and drinking different types of tea.

And they would become even closer friends in the coming years, as time would reveal.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Hey there.

Guess who's still alive and kickin'?

First off - I'M SO, SO SORRY FOR DISAPPEARING LIKE THAT.

Like, damn. I'm sincerely sorry.

I feel like I should explain myself, so I'll do just that.

Basically, my laptop broke and, as a poor-ass student who just bought tickets to visit the family for NewYears, I just didn't have the money to fix it at a shop. At that point, knowing how much I've written for my stories already(prior to the laptop slipping into a coma) I just said: "Welp, not re-doing THAT again!".

Also, I can't begin to try and explain how excruciating it was to do all my computer work at my university library. I love libraries, I just hated going there almost every day prior or after I had to go to work. Blegh...Not to mention depending exclusively on my phone for entertainment. Me and my Charizard have beaten the Elite Four two times over, though, so that's something.

Anyway, the important part:
My dad fixed my laptop, I'm back from my holiday trip and I'm going to start editing the pile of unedited material I have on all my stories.

Again, I repeat:
Reapertale, Joke Books And Children's Stories, Put me Back Together and Under Your Armor - all of it is coming back. Estimated date of arrival - the 14th or the 15th of January. Reapertale has 3 chapters, Joke Books And Children's Stories has 2, Put me Back Together has 3 and Under Your Armor also has 3. I'll post everything in 1 day so everyone has something to read :D

I could post it all now, but I HATE posting mistake-filled, ill-written stuff, and I kinda need to read it all again, so I remember the mood of every story and the direction everything was heading in.

Sooo...yeah.

I'm sorry for just vanishing, but..erm, yeah, I'm back. Good to be back, I missed everyone.

Now let's get back to it, eh?