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The Last Heart

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Chapter 1: Piece of Innocence

Their feet shuffled on the ground, small bits of laughter not too far off. It blew with the wind, the laughter of determination.

 

“Keep running! Don’t look back!” A voice yelled not too far off, in between their laughs and gasps to take in air.

“I’m trying!” Another responded breathlessly.

 

The two of them panted heavily under their breath, the ruffians making their way with armfuls of not just bread this time, but they managed to grab a bit of dried meats as well. All of which were conveniently located from the drying rack outside of the local butcher shop. Jerky of many varieties, from turkey to chicken to beef, all waiting to be snatched. If it wasn’t them, it probably would have been someone else.

They were finally successful on grabbing a decent meal for once, and it had all been just a matter of proper organization on the oldests part. They had made certain the butcher in the shop paid as much focus to the younger before making a break for it to escape, and the moment the butcher looked back to the oldest as they ran off, the younger grabbed what they could and made it out as well.

 

Or at least, they were trying to at the moment.

 

The younger was tailing behind the older one, who was actually more pleased with themselves than the other had been. While their face was lit up so brightly as if they won a million dollar jackpot, the younger that tagged after them was holding a face of panic and fatigue, not entirely used to working this hard for their meal… and especially not a fan of using these sorts of tactics to get them.

It wasn’t that they didn’t struggle as much as the older did, it was just that the older tended to baby them… and now the younger was beginning to realize why.

“Isn’t this great?!” The older ruffian breathed out heavily. Wearing faded and worn brown shorts that fit them quite well, however their loose and baggy(and rather nappy) white shirt fluttered as fast as their patchy-brown ivy cap atop their head(which protected the light brown tangled hair beneath). The light brown’s of their eyes shimmered with hints of red, their boots scraped the pavement as they went. And looking over their shoulder, they soon enough spotted that the butcher was still after them, and not too far behind. With a gasp, they slowed down for a bit just so that the younger of the two could hurry forward, their protective instincts holding them back from running too fast “Keep moving, he’s still on our ass!”

The younger scurried with their shorter legs-- while the teen wasn’t that short for their age, they were still thinner and weren’t used to moving as much(or as fast) as this. They had on the exact same attire as the older teen; worn brown boots, a large and faded white shirt, a used/abused cap on their head to protect the dark brown hair underneath… the only difference was in the pants and face. The shorts that the younger wore were too big, hence why they also had suspenders on to at least make sure that they didn’t fall off.

 

“Damned thieves!” The angry older man hollered after them, thankfully they weren’t chasing after them with a knife anymore. But soon enough the butcher dug into his pocket, pulling something out and tightly gripping it in their hand. For a split second the older thief could notice its shape, and their eyes widened as the butcher hissed and called out “I saved something just for you two-- orphan TRASH !”

 

“FRISK!” The older yelled, this time it was mostly in concern as they nudged the younger forward more, causing them to stumble. They yelled again “FRISK RUN FASTE--!”

 

           Thunk!

 

The sharp stone was smacked against the back of their head, and they stumbled forward to bump into their companion a little. The younger turned quickly at their name being called, and they whimpered as they saw their friend almost lose their footing “Ch-Chara...?!”

“Keep... going!” Chara took a moment to rub their head, glancing at the blood that stained their fingertips, but doing their best to wipe it off on their pantlegs and shove some of the food into their pockets. They then quickly shoved Frisk forward, signalling Frisk to keep running. The two returned to their sprint, Frisk mostly jogging and this time, with Chara’s free arms, they made certain to press against Frisk’s back to force them to keep running ahead.

The butcher, who had stood there quite pleased for a minute, was once again angry that he had failed to stop them with just one stone. Sharp stone or not, it apparently wasn’t enough to stop them. He screamed as they turned the corner and vanished out of sight, angrily stomping on the pavement before soon enough they had ran far enough to not hear him anymore.

And the two eventually made their way to a neighboring street, not terribly far from the butcher shop, but far enough that the man wouldn’t bother to look if he was still pursuing them. Chara guided Frisk into an alleyway, and the two lightly jogged down the dreary and damp path.

The debris and trash that cluttered the stone paved earth made a stench emit that was similar to perhaps decay itself. Decomposition, grime, and the few gutters that lined the outside of the nearby buildings drained their water down to form puddles. It hadn’t rained much today except for earlier on, but it was already late afternoon, the water was slowly draining out and it would thankfully be much dryer for them by tomorrow.

As the two companions slowed to a brisk walk, Frisk and Chara eventually stopped at the end of the alley, once noting that a large fence was separating this one from the next, disallowing them to move further down unless they actually climbed over it. Chara gave a signal with a wave of their hand, which almost immediately caused Frisk to let out a heavy sigh and groan, collapsing on the dirty ground.

The stone beneath them was dampened from the running water that escaped the gutters and streamed around, but it wasn’t anything permanent… water would dry out eventually. Whether the water was dirty or not didn’t matter either, the two just needed water.

 

Both of them were silent beside their heavy gasps for breath, and soon enough Chara collapsed with Frisk.

 

The darkness of the alley that most avoided was somewhat of a sanctuary to them, both their attire matched their surroundings as well; dirty, worn, and forgotten. And it wasn’t until the two were in the dark of the alley, with the wall shadowing them, that their complexions stood out. Frisk’s eyes were deep brown, their skin lightly tanned due to the warm sun, and though they had been on the streets as long as Chara had, Chara was far more pale; pale, freckled, and rosy cheeked.

Frisk wiped at their face, leaving a wet smudge across their cheek as they snapped and adjusted their suspenders. Dirt, trash, it was the life that they lived. So even after having gathered perfectly good food, they had nowhere to carefully place it down. No tables, and not even many boxes were available in this alley in particular. But they weren’t picky, at this point in their lives anything was edible. With a soft sigh Frisk slowly placed all the food they had managed to keep a hold of onto the ground, and Chara pulled their own out of their pockets.

 

“Wow…!” Chara breathlessly cheered, coughing and wiping their nose with their baggy sleeve. They rolled them up however as they loomed over their food pile, a dirty smile across their lips. Their eyes glistened with delight, a tired and hungry delight that Frisk didn’t seem to return as Chara continued “We did it, Frisk! Damn, you ran like a trooper! But see at least now you know what I gotta go through, and you can just find a good fort for us next time so we don’t live literally next to some dump.” Chara started to laugh as they started to split up the meal, separating the breads from the meats first before being careful as to not dip the bread in any of the water puddles that surrounded them.

 

And though they were laughing under their tired breath, Frisk muttered in a small voice “It’s not funny…” They were still drained from the long run they had to do, their endurance completely shot, and their voice hoarse from the two of them having yelled back and forth. Frisk was very much a pacifist, not a big fan of fighting or having to steal for their meal. But then again this was also the first time in a long while that Frisk chose to join Chara on one of their food hunts. And even though the two of them were close like siblings, their views on the world were completely different. While Frisk was a pacifist and had hope that the grass was greener on the other side, Chara was pessimistic; knowing fully well that life was nothing more than a deep hole that could only get deeper. While Frisk knew how negative Chara was, Chara did hold themselves back for the younger’s sake, as innocent and gentle as Frisk was, and as much as Chara wanted more than anything for their friend to just wake up , there was something about Frisk being an optimist that made Chara calm and relaxed. Chara would lose that relaxation the moment Frisk believed them.

Chara was somewhat of a trouble-maker, however. A war monger. Knowing fully well that in order for them to survive they had to fight, and there was no other choice at this rate. That was why Chara was the leader of their little duo(or having at least claimed themselves as leader). Chara knew that life was difficult, and would only be worse if they had to sit around hoping for someone to notice their starved state. No one cared. And Chara knew just how low and dirty humanity was.

 

No one cared for orphan scum.

 

“Chin up, buttercup.” Chara said between soft chuckles, their laughter calming down. They quickly reached out towards Frisk only to wipe the dirt from their face before refocusing on the food. Though they were splitting up the stolen meal evenly, they were still making sure Frisk had more than themselves. Frisk was the youngest of the two teens, and Chara always made sure that they were well fed and had their strength “We made out like bandits~ we have enough for tomorrow morning too!”

“I don’t want us to be bandits, Chara…” Frisk said with a pout, though they slowly dug into their shorts pockets and pulled out a tiny medical kit. It was the size of their palm, which for a young teen like themselves wasn’t that big, but it had disinfectant and bandages inside that Frisk carried around incase of emergencies. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.

Frisk decided while Chara was happily humming to themselves and counting the food earned, they would begin to patch them up.

The back of Chara’s head was covered in dried up blood due to the sharp stone that had been tossed at them, but Chara, as they always behaved with any injuries they gained, chose to ignore it and act as if it wasn’t even there. Frisk hated the sight of blood, but there were times when they had to deal just to get by. Chara was usually the one who would return with a new bruise, or scratch, or something that required Frisk to inspect and help with. If Frisk didn’t inspect Chara, then Chara would never tell Frisk that they had gotten hurt. A part of Frisk even wondered if Chara could actually feel these things.

They began to carefully remove Chara’s cap, then parted the light brown locks so that they could use their own shirt sleeve to pat the blood away. Not like the white shirt was white anymore, so a few extra stains wouldn’t bother Frisk. Though of course the shirt was also covered in not just dirt but other disgusting things from how long it had been worn as well as where it had been… but there was nothing better available that could be used. Not like they had a whole medical bay offering cleaning gauze or napkins or anything.

Frisk then proceeded to apply a tiny bit of disinfectant.

 

“Do that later.” Chara tried to demand, going as far as to try and nudge the younger away. But Frisk persisted and kept fixing them up. They weren’t siblings, but they looked and behaved as such quite often. And the two of them easily had their moments of relapse that resulted into fights, whether it be full out brawls or tiny bickering words. This moment was definitely of the bickering variety “You might be okay with bleeding everywhere but I’m not.”

 

Chara fidgeted “Stopppp~ let’s eat~ I’m starving! I’d rather die of blood loss than starvation!”

 

“I’m hungry too, but I won’t let you sleep later with a busted head.” Frisk muttered, still keeping up with their motions of applying the disinfectant. Frisk was always surprised at how well Chara took pain. They never seemed to budge or react to it in any way. After taking a sharp stone to the back of their head, there was probably going to be a scar left. Chara needed stitches, but no hospital would take them in… and even the ones that would, they wouldn’t do any good unless the two teens presented money.

When Frisk had finished, they carefully moved back to sit down beside Chara, who nudged the younger with a grin “Thanks, nurse.

“Can we not do this again?” Frisk asked with a frown, looking at Chara as they returned Frisk’s gaze. Frisk shifted a little bit as they sat more comfortably, their deep brown eyes never falling away from Chara’s light brown-reddish ones. “You keep getting hurt. And this isn’t… how we’re supposed to get things. Stealing is wrong.” They knew what was coming, every time Frisk lectured Chara about their tactics of acquiring money or cash... it resulted in the same thing. But they persevered “Those people work so hard to make all this stuff and we have no right to--”

“And yet they were willing to try and kill another human being for it?” Chara butted in, rolling their eyes and figuring they would rather stare down the alleyway and towards the entrance they had came in from instead of on Frisk, who was now lowering their head with a hint of shame. From how far they were, it looked like a simple red-orange window with shadows of people walking past. The late afternoon sky seeping in and over the two, but they remained in a dark corner where no light touched them, other than a part of Frisk’s body.

Frisk frowned more deeply, lowing their head to the food that Chara finally pushed forth towards Frisk as the oldest continued their own lecture “They treat people like us… inhuman. Like we’re some… demons… like we chose this life when the reality is that even shittier humans ditched us in some shitty orphanage. We weren’t even given a chance.”

 

Even as Chara said this, they were smiling. As always, Chara dealt with pain fairly well... At least on the outside.

 

“Frisk. No offense, but if we tried to live the way you wanted, we’d be dead. They look at us like we’re animals, and treat us like ‘em too. I see no harm in living to survive.” As they looked up to the sky, the younger started to place some of the dried meat on a piece of bread. Chara finished then “It’s kill or be killed, Frisk.”

 

Frisk paused, tilting their head to Chara who finally returned the stare. Their red eyes seemed to glisten “We either live or die in this life, and I promise you… you won’t be dying. And neither will I.”

 

The two finally began to eat in silence, Frisk not having much reason to try and object with Chara any further. The truth of the matter was that Chara was right. People treated them like trash, and all their life they’ve had to fight to survive each and every day. Frisk couldn’t blame Chara for believing all of humanity was nothing more than a huge dumpster of jerks and douchebags.

But, to Frisk... maybe there were still people out there that truly cared.

 

Truly. Madly. Deeply.

 

Half way through their meal, Chara instructed Frisk to stop eating, for the sake of them having breakfast tomorrow.

 

Now the sky was growing darker, the alley basking them in shadow in the process, and with neither of them having any light source available, they were both forced to simply huddle together near the farthest corner for warmth and as a means of not losing each other in the darkness. They always lost track of actual time when it came to numbers, never getting many chances to lay their eyes on clocks. But they could at least tell when it was morning, noon, or night time. Even in the dark of the alley, the sky was clear and bright with billions of twinkling stars, and Frisk always hoped that perhaps they were watching over them, making sure the two were safe and sound and always had each other.

 

If no one cared, at least they cared for each other.

 

“Will there ever be some way out of this?” Frisk asked softly, and tiredly. Their eyes were growing heavy and they found themselves leaning just as heavily against Chara. Their shoulder as Frisk’s pillow, Chara wrapped a comforting arm around them to keep them close.

The older of the two lightly rested their head atop of the younger’s, the two simply snuggling together as they both leaned their backs against the old brick wall “Out of what, Frisk?”

Frisk shrugged their shoulders weakly “Out of all this.”

 

The older snorted gently “Well, we could kill ourselves, if you really wanted to.”

 

Frisk whined a little, shaking their head quickly and all Chara could do in response was laugh. They commented quickly “I’m kidding . But... don’t think about it too much okay? We’ll make it through. We always do, don’t we? Would your best friend lie?”

The younger snorted lightly, shaking their head a bit and sighing out as the two went silent again.

Chara hummed gently “I promise, Frisk… eventually we’re gonna live the good life. The life where nothing else matters, money just… raining all around us. We’ll have all the food we can eat, desserts galore. Pie, chocolate pie… and cake- so much chocolate cake--”

 

Frisk huffed “You know I like vanilla.”

 

Chara rolled their red eyes in the dark “Vanilla and chocolate cake then-- Marble cake! Have you ever heard of marble cake? It’s basically where the baker mixes both chocolate and vanilla together. I only ever had it once, but it’s pretty good!” Chara had gotten so excited that Frisk let out a little laugh, causing the older friend to slowly calm down as they proceeded “And all the drinks we could stomach. Fancy booze like the rich jerks, warm drinks for the cold Winter nights. Cold ones in the Summer mornings…”

The teen could go on and on about their hopes and dreams “And we’d never have to worry about struggling like this ever again… we wouldn’t even need to worry about some old cows taking us in. We don’t need people to take care of us when we got everything we could ever want. Just you and me against the world. Ya think that’d be something, Frisk?”

 

They waited for a response, glancing to the side of them to peak at the silhouette that rested against their body. Hearing only soft snores in response, Chara gave a warm smile towards their friend, realizing that they had fallen asleep.

 

They turned their head to gently press a soft kiss to Frisk's forehead.

“I promise, it’ll get better. For the both of us. I’ll make sure of it.”

 

Chara’s voice went hoarse as they closed their eyes “No matter what it takes, I’ll make sure of it.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Ripping Souls Apart

The light poured into the alleyway and draped over the two teens like a warm blanket, however it even graced itself across Frisk’s face, causing them to grimace as they tried to curl away.

The youngest was ‘usually’ the morning person, in charge of waking Chara up to start their day, and it was usually while Chara was off making rounds, doing deals, or whatever it was that they did to scrape them some food that Frisk took the liberty of scouting for a new location to camp themselves at. It was never safe for the two to stay in one place too long, at least those were Chara’s words awhile back. Frisk knew that this rule only existed because Chara probably got themselves into deep trouble and didn’t want to get caught, but Frisk never had much of a choice and obliged nonetheless without questions. After yesterday afternoon Frisk experienced first hand what Chara had to do in order to make sure the two didn’t starve, which resulted in a butcher trying to toss Chara into a coma, and Frisk understanding all too well how important it was to keep moving.

But due to how much running had been done yesterday afternoon, Frisk found themselves unable to handle the light or have much of a will to wake up. Even as they opened their eyes, they squinted upwards towards the clear blue sky in distaste and discomfort. Almost as if they were scolding the daylight, but eventually they forced the grogginess to fade away, before finally forcing themselves to sit up.

Both Chara and Frisk moved around a lot in their sleep, so even though they slept leaning against one another and against the wall, Frisk found themselves sprawled out on the stone paved ground, and Chara was no exception. And as Frisk wiped a bit of dirt from their brow, a red shimmer emitted from their chest.

Lowering their gaze, they spotted their ruby pendant hanging outside of their worn shirt, and they gently took hold of it in their palm.

 

A beautiful ruby heart-shaped pendant that had been around their neck and hidden from sight originally, it was important to try and keep it out of sight always. It had a chain of gold, and gold that wrapped around the ruby heart as a form of keeping it from escaping, almost like vines. This was an expensive piece that even Frisk and Chara knew could give them plenty of money that they deserved, but neither of them were willing to let it go. It was too beautiful, possibly the only beautiful thing that they had.

Frisk had worn the ruby heart pendant for as long as they could remember, but then again, they could barely even remember how or when they managed to get ahold of it. It was almost the same day that they had met Chara, they didn’t recall ever having it before knowing Chara at the orphanage. They just remember the moment Chara approached and claimed they both had matching pendants, and then Frisk looked down and saw it around their neck… and that was all it took to believe that perhaps Frisk did have it for a long time. And they often times felt it was their only link and connection to any kindness in the world.

Someone out there, somewhere, had given Frisk this necklace before placing them at the orphanage. Someone wanted Frisk to know that they loved them…

And it was the same with Chara. Because Chara had one that looked the exact same.

 

Almost as if Chara could sense Frisk’s wonder, they slowly rose with a heavy yawn and sigh. They rose so slowly that it was almost zombie-like, and even a tiny groan escaped the back of their throat. Rubbing their eyes, they looked over to Frisk who sat there, still staring down at their necklace and holding it between their fingers delicately. Chara’s face seemed to shift slightly, almost uncomfortably.

“Keep it outta sight, Frisk.” Chara warned, clicking their tongue “Last thing we need is someone seeing rats like us with expensive shit. They’d think we stole it’r somethin’.”

Frisk did as they were told, smiling and tucking it back under their shirt. “You don’t hear me scolding you when your is out.” They glanced around Chara’s neck, seeing the yellow chain similar to their own, and simply imagining the ruby heart that was hidden away under the freckled teen’s shirt.

Chara’s reddish-brown eyes shined with delight “Because I don’t care if someone tries to nab at me, I’ll knock them unconscious.”

Frisk snorted.

In a sense, perhaps that was the real reason the two found themselves connected and inseparable. Different views, but someone out there made certain that the both of them would meet and identify each other. As if they predicted that the two would meet at the orphanage, as if they knew the two were opposites that completed each other.

They grew up together in the orphanage, when they first knew of each other's existence it was a given that they would ignore one another. After all, Frisk had no room for negative nancy’s, and Chara probably no room for positive polly’s. In the orphanage it was every child for themselves anyway, the keepers didn’t take much care of anyone, it was even a fight for food or a fight to be adopted into a family.

Schedules were made with specific children, but at that point some children were even willing to pretend to be another just so that they could get into a proper home.

Frisk still remembered Chara’s expression. Their hard smile, intimidating stance and stare as they towered over children. They were like everyone else, they blended in perfectly. Fighting to live, fighting to survive… while Frisk felt like the only one who wasn’t willing to hurt anyone for the sake of getting themselves more noticed. Frisk knew that perhaps things would have been different if they didn’t have the ruby pendant. If neither of them did, or if one of them did, nothing would have changed. It would have been peculiar, but other than that neither of them would have taken notice to the other (other than Frisk spotting Chara beating the hell out of someone).

Frisk stood out because of their pendant, and Chara just so happened to have one too, revealed their own, and the two were best friends ever since.

Chara helped Frisk escape the orphanage, and for the first month it almost felt like paradise.

 

Almost.

 

“Eat up.” Chara playfully smacked Frisk upside the head, causing the younger to fall out of their dream-like state and whine. “Chara! Why are you always so rough?”

“Gotta be rough on the streets!” Chara remarked quickly, shoving food closer to Frisk. Frisk looked the meal of bread and meat over, easily noticing that once again Chara gave Frisk more food than they had themselves, though right before lifting some to their lips, Chara coughed.

It was light, suppressed, as if the older was trying not to have it recognized… but Frisk knew.

Chara was sick.

“You need more than me.” Frisk said quickly, though they stuffed their face with what was in their hands, they split half of what was given to them and slid it towards Chara, who immediately began shaking their head in protest. But when they looked into Frisk’s concerned eyes, Chara snorted “Don’t be such a baby. You’re not gonna survive out here like that.”

“I survived this long, I can survive even longer.” Frisk huffed, swallowing what was in their mouth. Chara shoved some bread between their lips as they added “Yeah, because I’m here. What would ya do without me?”

 

“Survive even longer because you wouldn’t be running around getting us into trouble.”

 

Chara wrinkled their nose at this, before sticking out their tongue to the younger. “Well aren’t you cute.”

 

Frisk winked playfully, causing the naturally flushed teen to flush even more as they snorted “Just eat your food, Frisk.”

 

“Either you eat it, or it’s going to waste.” Frisk now squinted their eyes at the other, which caused Chara to blink for a moment as they pondered over their actions. And with a heavy sigh, and noticing Frisk was unmoving, Chara took the food given and ate it down “Thanks.”

Frisk relaxed, smiling a little bit. They felt much better knowing that Chara would be alright. And if not fully alright, at least for a little while longer.

“We gotta get moving, we should’ve been up earlier.” Chara said in between bites of the meat, of course chewing with their mouth open resulted in bits of food flying as they spoke up “There’s some alcohol being smuggled in near the docks.”

“Where’d you hear that?” Frisk arched a brow, somewhat confused as they carefully removed their hat and did their best to brush their hair with their dirty fingers. Chara always gathered news from ‘sources’ somehow, and it always made Frisk uneasy at how they were gaining such info. Especially if it were for alcohol of all things “Where do you keep getting all this from?”

“We need to hurry so we can snag a box.” Chara ignored Frisk completely, finishing off the rest of their food. Eagerness and excitement planted all over their face, Chara seemed all too chipper over the thoughts of drinking alcohol “It’s our first step to livin’ large, Frisk! We could get a whole crate to ourselves! We just gotta find the right boat. C’mon!”

Chara lifted to their feet and brushed off their clothing the best as they could, Frisk quickly did the same to keep up, hurrying after the taller as they started to make their way to the entrance of the alley “Chara we’ve seen plenty of old human and monster folk throwing up outside of the bars. I don’t think we really need this stuff.”

Chara snorted “Hell yeah we do.”

 

“Chara are we even old enough to be drinking this sorta stuff? Isn’t it like… some adult beverage?”

 

“Tch. As far as everyone else knows we’re super grown.” Chara held their arm out so that Frisk would stay behind them, peeking out the alley and looking around to check and see if it were safe to exit “We’ve probably been through a bigger hell than anyone else has, and it’s not like we’re fourteen anymore, Frisk. Sixteen is the new… uh… whatever the hell that legal age is.”

Frisk snickered at Chara’s words “Wow, round of applause for Chara, ladies and gentlemen.”

“Just move your ass, Frisk.” Chara huffed, finally giving the signal for the two of them to move.

 

They walked casually down the sidewalk, and though they didn’t blend in due to their dirty attire, they walked swift and fluidly enough to go unnoticed as they weaved their way through people. It wasn’t until they had walked a few blocks down the street, and the sun was high overhead, that Chara started to run. This of course lead to Frisk running after them, the two orphans hurried to their destination. During their run and Frisk trying to keep up, they tried to think of other uses for the alcohol. Frisk had only tried it once, finding it not that good of a beverage for drinking, however it would be a perfect disinfectant; especially for how often Chara wound up with injuries.

It was while they were running that both Chara and Frisk’s necklaces flew out, bouncing against their chests with them. Frisk made sure to tuck it back in as quickly as they had realized, however as Chara ran they didn’t seem to stop to do this.

 

“Chara-- your necklace!” Frisk said with a huff, losing their breath due to talking and jogging at the same time. Chara either didn’t hear Frisk’s warning or chose to ignore them but finally the two had made it as far as the docks, which was fairly far from the alley they had rested in last night. Leaning their sides against a building that had the perfect view of the boats that came and went, as well as the beautiful and vast ocean, Chara finally responded with a shrug of their shoulders, nonchalantly without concern “Tch. I’m the one who beats the hell outta people. I’d like to see them try taking my necklace.” They looked to Frisk with a wink of their eye, and though they obliged and wrapped their hand around their pendant, they hummed in content “And anyway, your necklace means more to you than mine does to me. They can take my trash, but they better not touch you.” Chara finally tucked it safely inside of their baggy shirt, patting it as if to confirm to Frisk that they actually did it.

Frisk showed a hesitant smile, and Chara gently turned to face them more fully “They bring the guns, we bring the can of whoop-ass, right?”

The younger chuckled then, giving a little nod, and Chara looked back towards the docks.

But Frisk still felt terribly uneasy suddenly.

 

Out of the corner of their eye, they felt like they were being watched. Closely as a matter of fact. Frisk checked over their shoulder and spotted a black cadillac town sedan, too slick and brand new to go unnoticed, however apparently during their sprint to the docks they hadn’t paid much attention to see if anyone had been following them. They were just a pair of orphans, after all.

 

Who would want to follow them?

 

Frisk had a feeling that the moment they moved too far out of its sight, whoever was within it would spring into action. Maybe Frisk was just being paranoid? But Chara had supposedly noticed it as well, and they certainly felt that whoever was in the car didn’t have good intentions. But it couldn’t be helped.

Chara nudged Frisk, and the two walked along, making it around the corner so their backs pressed to the building and they simply leaned against it, staring off towards the docks again. The light of the sun reflected off of Chara’s eyes, resulting in its usual red shimmer, and Frisk glanced to the side of them.

 

The car had slowly pulled up, fully in view once more.

 

“Chara…” Frisk whispered, trying not to act as if they were noticing the suspicious car. It was slick and looked fairly new, too fancy and too polished for Frisk to ignore. As if Frisk’s mind reeled like a record player on repeat, they kept thinking it’s too brand new to be ignored, too new, too new.  “Who are they?”

“They who?” Chara did however try to pretend like it was nothing, even if their red eyes had shifted to look the car over as well. They didn’t turn their body in its direction, but Frisk persisted “That car… hasn’t it been following us?”

 

Well, has it?

 

“Don’t freak out just yet.” Chara gently took ahold of Frisk’s hand, and they turned and started to walk down towards the docks “Act cool, stay calm, deep breaths, okay?”

“We should leave…” Frisk squeezed Chara’s hand, the teen was even trying to tug at Chara to signal how badly they wanted to go “Let’s just find another place to stay and… relax for today, okay?”

Once the two of them had walked all the way down to the docks, Chara stopped in their tracks. With Frisk’s back facing the street they had just left behind, Chara turned around to face them, spotting the car slowly pulling up once more to keep the two ruffians in their line of sight. The windows were dark, and Chara couldn’t peek through to see who was behind the glass, but they still tried to ignore them as they placed both their hands on the younger’s shoulders “Frisk, do you trust me? Do whatever I tell you, okay?”

This made Frisk’s body tense, but they nodded quickly “Okay…”

 

Slowly the doors to the black 1928 cadillac opened up, a black pant leg stretching out and emerging from the driver’s side. Thin yet muscular legs climbed out the vehicle, and with black wingtip shoes that matched the rest of their black and white attire. Fingers gloved, it wasn’t until they had fully gotten out of the fancy car that their actual skin tone and who they were could be determined.

The woman’s face was a deep blue, a black patch over one eye, and long bright red hair that was pushed back and into a long ponytail.

Frisk’s back continued to face the woman, even as dog-like beings began to also emerge out the back of the car she had pulled up in. Chara gripped Frisk’s shoulders tightly, their eyes widened in sudden shock, and it was probably the first time Frisk had seen them like this as Chara muttered “S-Shit…!”

 

“Chara?” Frisk tilted their head, before turning it around to spot the people stepping out the car. A woman with deep blue skin had exited the driver’s side, wearing a fairly formal suit and tie getup, and so did the other dog-like monsters that came out of the cadillac. Her ponytail whipped with her slamming of the door behind her, and fins having replaced where a human’s ears would be. The fish-woman looked… like a gangster.

 

Frisk was speechless, not sensing what was going on, but for some reason Chara knew.

Chara knew they were in trouble.

 

“Frisk…!” Chara let go of their shoulders, and the moment the blue toned woman looked towards the two orphans, suddenly a giant and menacing grin spread across her face. Large sharp yellow teeth revealed, and she pointed towards them with just a flick of the wrist, alerting her dog followers of their presence.

“Frisk run!” Chara finally yelled fast, shoving Frisk forward and the two quickly darted down the docks to their left. Almost as soon as they had started running, the large dogs howled and barked after the orphans as they maneuvered as best as they could, trying to avoid hitting into any crates or people who were unloading equipment off their boats. It was probably the first time Frisk had seen Chara like this. Chara’s face expressed pure horror, and this time whenever Frisk slowed or fell behind, Chara was quick to shove them as a means to keep them moving along. There was no patience, there was no masochistic laughter at their struggle, this time Chara was serious enough to make Frisk want to run and never stop. And after so much running, the two of them gasping and panting heavily for air to fill their lungs, they managed to make it to the end of the docks.

The howls of the beast-like monsters were not too far behind, but before they could cross the street and escape into the city the same car as before skidded to a stop right in front of them, sending the two stumbling back to try and not get ran over.

As quick as it had parked, the same dark blue skinned woman emerged, and now up close and personal they could tell her muscles were defined and scales coated any visible parts of her skin. The fish-like woman’s same sharp grin as earlier had never vanished, and she simply scoffed “Hold it right there, runts!”

“It’s the Underground, Frisk.” Chara muttered breathlessly, nudging Frisk to move if they even could. However it was too late, the woman quickly reached out and snatched with one muscular arm, pulling the Chara close and in a headlock and making them cough from the sudden stop of air.

 

The rest of the dog crew appeared right behind Frisk, two of which grabbed at both their arms to hold them back, and the rest of the canines approached the fish woman to help hold Chara in place. Chara didn’t stop fighting, they screamed out and yelled, yanked and pulled, and they were even trying to bite at anyone who dared to come near their mouth. They managed to sink their teeth into the woman’s arm, but apparently it meant little to nothing to her, since she didn’t seem to react in any way.

 

“LET CHARA GO!” Frisk screamed.

 

Ignoring Frisk, she glanced down at the squirming teenager in her grasp. Though when her mobster comrades finally gripped and held Chara in place, she had let them go so that she could fully inspect them. “You were flashing something quite familiar back there, kid.” The woman spoke, her voice somewhat rough and hoarse as if she had a sore throat. Even as Chara continued to squirm and lash out, too easily she dug into their shirt and pulled out the necklace. The ruby glistened in the light of mid-noon. “Here it is.”

Frisk struggled to break free, only their arms were being held back by two of the gangsters, unlike Chara who was being held back by three which included the fish-woman. But Frisk was far weaker, unable to break free, and not even able to put up as much of a fight as Chara was even with four people holding them.

“That’s not yours, Undyne!” Chara hissed quickly, and the name having been said made the woman jump in somewhat surprise. Her amused expression never faltered, a grin still across her lips to reveal just how terrifying of a bite she could enforce the moment either of them said the wrong thing “So you’ve heard of me, aye punk? Well… I’m pretty flattered. But that just means it ain’t terribly safe for you to be wandering around here.”

The necklace was yanked from around Chara’s neck, roughly, causing the ruffian to yelp as their head was forced forward and the gold chain snapped too easily. It left a mark on the back of their neck, a red strip remained as a memoir of what had been taken. After struggling non-stop, suddenly with the necklace being taken Chara gave in, sighing heavily and lowering their head in defeat. The woman glanced over the pendant in their hands, holding it up somewhat before their eye to inspect it and make sure it was what they had wanted. Which, according to her sudden nod, confirmed it. “Yup. This is what King’s been looking for.”

 

King?

 

“What do we do with this one, Undyne?” The two dogs that held onto Frisk kept a rough hold of them, Frisk whimpered as they looked to Chara with tear filled eyes. They hoped more than ever that Chara had a way out of this. They always did.

But Chara didn’t return the gaze, they didn’t return anything. Their head hung low as if they had gone blank.

 

Undyne scoffed “Tch. They’re just some runt. Ditch ‘em. We’ve got what we want and we don’t need extra baggage.”

Undyne gestured with her head to the car, and then let go of Chara to allow the three dogs full reign. Before Chara could dart to Frisk in their tiny moment of freedom, the three dogs that had held a tighter grip on Chara, lifting them up and practically carrying them towards the back of the car.

“FRISK!” Chara yelled, and even as Frisk struggled to escape their bindings, tears sliding down their dirtied and horror stricken face, Chara kept calling out as they were shoved into the back seat “FRISK RUN!” Their warnings and cries were slowly muffled, only audible and noisy yelps escaped the car.

“Yeah, kid.” Undyne snickered, glancing to the two dogs who now let Frisk go just to immediately shoved them afterward. Frisk stumbled back from the rough push, landing on their butt against the pavement as they stared wide eyed up to Undyne. Their face was red from so much crying, and even with clenched fists they were in complete shock, unable to move or react. The woman snorted “Do as you’re told, runt. Better run. You saw nothing today, hear me? Or else you’re never gonna see anything ever again. ” She tapped her eyepatch with the tip of her surprisingly sharp looking fingernail.

“FRISK!” Chara finally voiced themselves again, before they were joined with the rest of the dogs in the back seat. Even as they tried to force Chara in between them to keep them from the window, Chara struggled their way to it, slamming their fist down angrily as they screamed like a child throwing a tantrum.

 

         Crack! The window cracked.

 

But just once before Chara was pulled back in between the bodyguards.

 

Undyne seemed disinterested and unamused as she made her way back to the drivers side, climbing in and slamming the door behind her.

 

Frisk muttered weakly “I’ll find you…”

Chara pressed their bloody hand against the window, staring at Frisk in between the ruffles of white fur and fancy suits. The younger finally lifted to their feet, the frozen shock vanishing and action needing to be taken. They hurried to try and catch the car, but with screeching wheels, it drove off and left Frisk in its dust. The smog of the engine filled their lungs, starting a coughing fit even as they hurried to try and chase the car down. They kept running even though they couldn’t see or breathe “I’LL FIND YOU! CHARA I’LL….! I’ll find you..!”

It was no use, running after it wasn’t working. And eventually the car turned the corner quickly and was out of sight.

 

Frisk had to call for help.

 

“I’ll get help!” They breathed out, practically gasping for air as they turned on the heel of their boots and rushed back down the street. Back to where there were more people. Frisk sprinted so fast that they naturally would’ve been worn out by now, which they were, their whole body screamed at them to stop, to give up, to give in and just hide until it was safe-- but the fear rushed like adrenaline for the safety of Chara.

They needed each other to live.

What was gonna happen to Chara if…

 

“Someone!” Frisk yelled, managing to spot an elder woman passing by. Smooth and wavy hair slicked back with who knows what sort of chemicals, and fancy attire to match her poised look even if she were going gray, Frisk approached and quickly tugged at her arm “Please! My friend’s in danger--!”

“Don’t touch me!” The woman shrieked, yanking her arm away and glaring at Frisk in disgust “Do you know how expensive this coat is?!” She suddenly gave them a judgemental look over, narrowed eyes and a flare of her nostrils “More than you can afford, apparently.”

“Please help!” Frisk tried to plead, but she simply turned her head and huffed before scurrying away.

 

They had to try again.

 

“SOMEONE HELP!” Frisk now screamed out, cupping their hands around their mouth to let their words carry through the city. But as cars drove to and from their respective destinations, their voice was mostly drowned out by the sputtering engines and the chatters of the regular daily lives of people. Frisk rushed through the sidewalk and maneuvered between people, weaving and making a scene as they pushed and bumped into persons in hopes of getting someone’s attention, calling out as they went “Help me please! My friend was kidnapped! They’re in trouble and I need--!”

Suddenly they were shoved from behind, causing Frisk to stumble and faceplant into the cement of the sidewalk.

Nothing but little snickers were heard, but it was enough for Frisk to get the hint as their eyes filled with tears.

 

How could people be so cruel?

 

Frisk shifted themselves on their hands and knees, curling their fingers into fists as they stared down at the sidewalk. Tears blurred their vision, dropped like rain, being absorbed into the concrete below. “Help…. Someone help me please…” Frisk cried, more silently now. They lifted a bit, their hat fell behind them as they let their scratched fingers rake and grip at their dark brown hair. Gripping, pulling, trying their hardest not to go insane. Trying to stay focused, trying to think positive. Everything had a course, Chara would be fine, right? They could handle themselves!

It was Frisk who couldn’t handle it all.

“Someone please… please help me…!” Frisk now sounded like they were wailing as tears streaked their cheeks, but even as they knelt, crying out and beginning to scream, all they received were a rare few glances as pedestrians walked around them, leaving the orphan completely ignored.

 

“Help Chara…” Frisk whimpered.

 

“Anyone!”

 

“SOMEONE HELP ME!”

 


           But nobody came.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Sun and Rain

The sky was grey, and the rain poured down.

 

It wasn’t that Frisk couldn’t find better shelter, it was just that they were unwilling to leave the alley for the reminder that Chara was gone. It hadn’t been that long, the two of them had just moved to the area, and though they were meant to search for someplace else for the sake of finding fresher faces (and less people to recognize the duo), they never did. They never did because Frisk instead wanted to try and earn their keep by Chara’s side and help gathering food.

 

They never did because, the next day, Chara got kidnapped.

And today was no exception because, the next day, Frisk realized just how alone they truly were now.

 

It was currently early morning, but the world was grey and dark. The rain poured down, as it had been since last night. It developed from a light drizzle over the city into heavy showers of rain. It poured all over Frisk, leaving them sitting in the dark and gloomy alleyway not only drenched from head to toe, but sitting in puddles of water as well. Frisk was practically trembling violently from the cold, trying to hold back sneezes. They could feel a cold catching on, but it wasn’t as if they could do anything about it. Apparently in their run to find help they dropped their emergency first aid kit… even if it didn’t have anything that would help their cold, they would have used the bandages to keep their arms and legs warm.

Chara was right, alcohol would’ve been great at a time like this. Strong, tasted terrible, but that warm numbing feeling would have been nice… maybe then Frisk wouldn’t be caught up crying so much. But in the end the rain was also helpful with concealing their tears. Because that was all they could at a time like this… shiver from the rain and cry.

They cried, they cried so hard. Frisk curled up all the way in the back of the alley, near the chain-link fence that sectioned it off. They curled up in a puddle of rainwater and tears, hugging themselves, sobbing and snorting back as much as they could. And for a moment that was all there was; loneliness, tears, and struggling. Frisk’s one and only friend, their best friend, was gone… and who knew when they would come back? This was the end of the road… this was it.

 

And Frisk was alone.

 

Slowly they sat up so they could lean their cold back against one of the brick walls nearest to them, looking up to the cloudy skies and, for a moment, hoping someone would look down and see how crappy their life was and, at the very least, give Chara back.

If anything could happen in this moment, give Chara back.

Frisk lowered their head, their thoughts full of anguish and dread. Sorrow filled their chest, and they slowly untucked the red and gold glistening pendant. Even in the dark of the morning it shined so brightly, almost as if it were the only color in such a monochromatic world. The beads of water bounced and glided off of its surface, Frisk’s face reflected in the ruby gemstone at its center.

The longer Frisk stared at the object in their hand, the more sour they became. Mulling over such negative thoughts and the realization that, perhaps Chara wouldn’t come back all thanks to something like this, made them want to get rid of it. In the heat of the moment Frisk found themselves angry at the pendant. It was as if it mocked them. Frisk was sour because they spent the rest of the afternoon and evening yesterday running around and hunting for some sort of sign as to where Chara could be. All to no avail, all that Frisk got in return was the keepsake of their own necklace, and the mockery and ridicule of strangers who found little to no purpose in Frisk (or Chara) existing.

That was yesterday, and today was supposed to be a new day. Frisk was supposed to wake up with a refreshed mind, wake up thinking “today is different and I’ll make a difference!”

But then it rained, and Frisk’s heart was broken.

 

“There’s nothing important about this crap.” Frisk squeezed their tan fingers around the necklace as if trying to break it, but eventually after realizing that wasn’t going to work, they took the necklace off from around their neck. The grip was still tight, unwilling to let it go for that one moment of relapse, but soon enough Frisk glanced over the top of the fence that loomed overhead, beckoning for something. With a quick grunt and a toss, they flung the pendant as hard and as far as they could, in the process yelling “Take it if you want it! Undyne!”

 

And with that, the last memory of what connected Frisk to Chara was gone.

 

All Frisk did after that was bring their knees to their chest, hug them close and tight, and hide their face in their arms. The rain continued to pour over them, they continued to tremble as they were soaked, and suddenly they let out a sneeze before muttering “Someone just… protect Chara… please…”

If anyone could hear them of course.

And then suddenly, they were blessed.

 

Frisk’s head shot up quickly, the sense of someone's eyes locked onto them at the end of the alley made their body tense. They sniffled, lifting their wet sleeve to their nose to wipe whatever snot might have dripped from the cold water, and suddenly the blessing was repeated by the stranger’s voice-

 

“I said, bless you.”

 

From where Frisk could see them, there was nothing more than a silhouette at the end of the alley, the figures hands were in their pockets. The shadow’s voice seemed rather snarky as if they didn’t necessarily care whether Frisk was truly blessed or not. And the closer the figure started to approach, the more their form had been verified through the pouring rain. Even though the teens clothing was sticking to their figure, they wore suspenders similar to Frisk’s that wrapped over their slender shoulders. They had a nice button up shirt, and slacks, as well as fancy shoes to match the appearance of a sophisticated young adult. Or whatever they were.

But even in the dark grey world that surrounded them, what stood out the most was the teens bright blonde hair. It wasn’t necessarily a bleach blonde color either, it was a vibrant golden yellow that, for a moment, Frisk almost mistook for the sun. When the male teen stood before Frisk finally, a cocky smirk on their face, Frisk had to even squint their eyes to fully gaze over their features.

And just as that cocky smirk came into view, almost too easily it wiped away as they knelt down beside Frisk in a hurry. There wasn’t much amusement in his face any longer as he seemed to concern himself over Frisk’s well-being “ Geeze, what the hell happened? You look like total shit.”

 

Frisk wanted to agree.

 

It only made sense that after spending so long on the city streets without a decent shower, place to sleep or actual food to eat, probably to anyone about Frisk’s age would look to them as if they had died then came back to life as a zombie. Frisk had lost their shame, however, a long time ago, not truly caring how others saw them, let alone other teenagers. The blonde stared Frisk down as if they had a second head, but Frisk didn’t mind it as they simply added “Probably.” Before looking away.

What did he want anyway? What was someone like him doing in an alley like this?

“Why are you here?” The teenager asked then, persisting in trying to get Frisk to talk up more.

Frisk was fairly uneasy, shifting slightly away and using the rain to hide how uncomfortable they were slowly becoming. There was a golden haired boy who managed to hear Frisk’s sneeze through all the rain? And decided to waltz down the alley and pretend to care? It all seemed like a trick, an easy way to attack Frisk. But there was no way out, Frisk had cornered themselves against the fence that separated the alleys. Maybe, just maybe… with a little hope and thought, Frisk could use this to their advantage.

 

The realization hit; there was actually someone here who could actually help! The male had nudged Frisk again, probably preparing to ask once more, but then Frisk finally returned their gaze to look them right in the face “I need help! Can you help me?”

 

The sudden burst of energy had affected the stranger apparently, the blonde had sat back slightly and stared wide eyed at the orphan, his blue eyes were almost as bright as his hair, that Frisk noticed was pulled back into a now sopping wet ponytail. He had freckles covering his face, and he wrinkled his nose at Frisk almost distastefully “First of all, calm the hell down.”

For someone who seemed all too eager to force an answer out of Frisk seconds ago, he sure seemed like an asshole for demanding Frisk be the one to calm down.

Frisk didn’t have time for this. He was either going to help them or not, it was really that simple. There was no time for the teenager to lecture Frisk about calming down, especially if it had already been almost a whole day since Chara was last seen “I need help,” Frisk started, their panicked expression and tone had softened and relaxed, only for the sake of letting the stranger know that there was no time for games. “You’re the one that wandered down here for some reason… it’s raining, your fancy casual wear is probably ruined and let me guess, another twenty dollars will be tossed out the window for you to purchase new shoes. You just so happened to hear a kid like me in an alley while it’s pouring out and you’re telling me to calm down? Are you gonna murder me or something?”

Frisk didn’t expect the blonde to respond so quickly, let alone with a stern “If I wanted to then yeah, I would’ve done that by now.”

 

It made Frisk definitely quiet down.

 

The blonde’s blue eyes seemed somewhat distant, and Frisk found themselves carefully leaning away, taking notice that the other was too close for comfort “Why are you here? Fancy people like you don’t just wander around in the rain.”

“I wanted to feel the rain, is that so bad?” The teen asked his own question, and Frisk looked upward to the grey cloudy skies. The blonde joined, looking up as well and sighing “I’d like to say I love storms but, it’s pretty difficult to determine what I actually love.”

Frisk didn’t have the time to sit around discussing the strangers personal problems, they wanted answers. And of course enough answers to determine whether he’d actually help them or not. “So, why are you here?” Frisk returned to their question, looking back down to the blonde quickly “I need help with something, you just so happened to wander this way. So will you help me or not?”

“I wandered down here ‘cause I heard somebody sneeze.” He simply stated, which was probably a lie, Frisk figured somehow he might have noticed someone down here and decided to inspect the situation. But the blondie continued “Look, you seem kinda desperate… so what is it ya want, and maybe I can help.”

Frisk opened their mouth, but they closed it then to ponder over what they needed exactly.

This was probably their one chance to get closer to finding Chara, but they would need to ask the right questions. Asking ‘Have you seen someone our age named Chara?’ wouldn’t make sense, no one had seen or heard of Chara… let alone would care to actually learn their name. Frisk doubted that the blonde would know who Chara is or what they look like.

“Undyne.” Frisk spoke up finally, causing the blonde’s blue eyes to look away. Frisk persisted, even as it appeared the blondie was losing interest “There’s some woman named Undyne who… kidnapped my friend. Yesterday afternoon, my friend Chara and I were at the docks and Undyne showed up, grabbed them, and drove off. Chara even mentioned something about the Underground.” Frisk could see the other teenagers sudden disinterest in listening, so they dared to reach out and grasp his slender shoulders. A light shake was all it took for the blue eyes to refocus on Frisk’s deep brown ones. Frisk pouted slightly, trying their best to appear as needy and weak as they possibly could “Please… anything you’ve heard, anything at all… I don’t know what to do--”

 

“Your friends toast.” The blonde suddenly smiled.

 

In any other situation, the smile would have been rather charming and beautiful, pearly whites gleaming thanks to the teen taking proper care of their teeth. However in this context, Frisk cringed. The smile was somewhat disgusting and disturbing, cynical. The stranger was back to their cocky and rather unsettling self, and Frisk didn’t enjoy it.

Frisk removed their hands from his shoulders, pulling back and putting a bit of space between the two of them “Wh...what?”

 

“Your friend.” The teen continued as if Frisk seriously wanted him to repeat himself, the orphan figured the look of horror on their face was enough of a hint that they didn’t want to hear it… but the blonde continued nonetheless. “Your friend’s either dead or, well, will be real soon. There’s no point in looking for them.” He glanced over his shoulder as if suddenly he were paranoid about being watched, before looking back at Frisk “Even I’m having trouble getting myself out of the Underground.”

This blonde kid was part of the Underground?

Frisk’s nerves were shot, their body going numb from the sudden fear that made all the color drain from their face. A part of Frisk was ready to turn around and jump the fence, run for dear life. The fact that all this time Frisk had been talking to a member of someone who was apart of the group that took Chara made them want to curl up and scream.

But the other side of this was that, well, Frisk now knew someone on the inside.

 

“Don’t get me wrong,” The other teenager tilted his head curiously, eying Frisk as they mentally panicked “I’m not a member of the mafia or nothin’. I’m just… well, one of the many goons that wound up getting grabbed. Like your friend.” He lifted a hand to smooth his blonde hair back, the rain probably wasn’t helping him, as stray strands kept slipping over his face, but he didn’t seem to care much for it. Maybe he did that to take a moment to think over his next words carefully, for Frisk’s sake. “For some reason I was kept under lock and key. So as a heads up, if ya hear someone lookin’ for me, just tell ‘em you ain’t seen nothin’. Got it?”

Frisk nodded quickly, and the blonde returned to the original conversation “Look, just stay on the streets. It’s a lot safer than tryin’ to get tp the Underground.”

“I can’t just sit here and let them take the only family I got.” Frisk retorted, almost too coldly. The other took notice, but Frisk added “Is there a way in? I mean, you got out so there’s gotta be a way back in, right?”

His cocky and stuck up attitude dropped, Mr. Know-It-All was suddenly nervous as he looked over his shoulder to, once more, make sure no one was watching them. But for good reason, Frisk could easily assume why now considering he had just admitted to having escaped the Underground.

“Yeah, yeah I do. I guess you wanna get in or somethin’, huh? For your friend?” The blonde teen looked back to Frisk, their smirk still across their lips, though now that Frisk was slowly getting more comfortable it wasn’t as bad as it had been “Which is a bad idea in itself but it ain’t my life on the line so frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Frisk was ready to lunge, but held themselves back “Please just… is there any way in? Or can you…” Deep breaths, Frisk sighed lightly and lowered their gaze away from the blonde’s face “What’s your name?”

“None of your beeswax.” The blonde was too blunt about this, but Frisk tried to play nice nonetheless. Suddenly Frisk showed a soft smile towards the teen, gesturing towards themselves and touching their chest that, unfortunately, they could no longer feel their pendant pressed against “Well, I’m Frisk… It’s nice to meet you.”

The male figure licked his lips, staring Frisk down, again as if they had grown another head. But suddenly they returned the smile, even if it was in a coy-like manner “Nice ta meet ya, Frisk.”

“Have you at least heard of anyone named Chara there?” Frisk asked cautiously, hoping that the small sign of kindness given would have its reward. The blonde looked about the alleyway, mulling over how to respond, and hopefully trying to think back as to when they were last there. Frisk tried to add “Anything at all is appreciated, I’ll do anything… anything if you’ve seen or… or heard of Chara being there. And… and if you can, just make sure they’re safe, okay? I know it’s so much trouble to ask… and it’s dangerous to go back for you, but if you can… please, they’re all I have left.”

“Watch over ‘em, aye?” The blonde now rubbed his chin with that cruel smirk across their lips, Frisk knew they were going to eat their words then. He shrugged and nodded his head, a bit of water flicking with it before he commented “Sure, but I’m gonna need a favor in return. Do we gotta deal?”

 

Frisk hesitated “What’s the favor?”

 

Suddenly there’s a splash from the other side of the fence, causing both their heads to quickly turn towards the noise, whomever had made it. As Frisk stared through the darkness of the rain, down through the holes of the fence and throughout the alley, they quickly glanced back towards the blonde-- only to find out they had vanished.

Frisk saw the golden hair turn the corner, and that was the end of that. Whether they would truly look out for Chara and come back with news, Frisk wouldn’t know. They slightly doubted it, but at least there was a chance now.

 

Turning their attention back towards the splash noise, more seemed to follow it. Trickling steps of boots in puddles that began to approach, and soon enough there was yet another figure, hidden underneath the shadows of their umbrella as they approached the fence. However Frisk cared little to what they looked like, because in their hand stood out a bright and shiny gold and red pendant that attracted all their attention.

 

Just like the one Frisk had thrown.

 

Frisk eyed it like it were just as precious as it actually was, regretting having thrown it now. They could only watch as the figure approached the chain-linked fence, and as Frisk finally tore their eyes away from the pendant to look the figure over, they noticed the fur covered face, their deep red eyes that didn’t seem as intense or scary as most would assume red colored eyes could be… and to top it all off, the figures brows were furrowed in concern. They gripped the hilt of the umbrella as if it were as precious as the pendant, even though they held the jewelry far more loosely in the palm of their claw-like hand.

“Is this yours?” The figure asked softly, so softly that Frisk strained to hear his voice. It was deep but gentle, and even after having asked the question they were slowly reaching out their hand with the pendant in it, trying to press it against the fence. Frisk simply reached out, but then hesitated. The worry that this was a trap made them hold back.

“If it is, just take it.” The other had insisted, now as Frisk skimmed him over more they noticed the goat-like horns atop their head, not large, but still large enough to determine his age. The goat-like monster seemed to insist more with a slight bounce of their hand, the pendant jingling with the gesture, and Frisk carefully reached between the fence to pull the pendant through, bringing it back to their chest as if hugging a stuffed animal. Frisk smiled lightly “Thanks.”

“No problem…” The monster smiled, before looking around, almost like the blonde had earlier whenever checking to see if they were being watched. “Were you just talking to yourself awhile ago? I thought I heard voices…”

 

If the blonde were to be helping Frisk out, it would be best to stay quiet about them. After all, he had said he left the Underground, and continued to look about and over his shoulder even while sitting there with Frisk. He had even asked for Frisk to not say a word if someone was looking for him, and even though the monster wasn’t actually saying that he was looking for someone, Frisk sort of had a feeling in their gut that it would be safer not to say anything.

 

“̵S̸o̵ ̸a̶s̸ ̴a̸ ̸h̴e̵a̷d̵s̵ ̶u̷p̶,̷ ̵i̵f̷ ̵y̷a̸ ̸h̶e̸a̴r̵ ̴s̵o̴m̷e̵o̷n̷e̵ ̴l̶o̸o̴k̴i̵n̷’̷ ̶f̴o̴r̶ ̴m̷e̴,̶ ̴j̸u̸s̴t̶ ̶t̷e̵l̸l̴ ̵‘̶e̴m̵ ̶y̵o̶u̴ ̶a̶i̶n̶’̵t̷ ̴s̵e̴e̴n̸ ̷n̶o̶t̵h̴i̴n̶’̴.̵ ̶G̴o̸t̴ ̵i̶t̴?̸”̷

 

So Frisk nodded “Yeah, I was rambling…it’s just me. I’m sorry if I bothered you.”

 

“You didn’t.” The figure slowly knelt down so that they weren’t simply staring at Frisk from above. They wore a long black trench coat that matched their black umbrella, and though the white fur and red eyes clashed with the figures looks, they could have been on their way to a funeral. Which the thought alone made Frisk frown. The monster gave a warm smile to Frisk, as if trying to change Frisk’s demeanor… not that it would work, Frisk was in a permanent gloomy state until they found Chara’s whereabouts. The new stranger spoke up “I just saw this all the way at the end of the alley, and I was worried someone had dropped it… but if it’s really yours, then you should take better care of it.”

The monster was around the same age as Frisk, at least appearance wise Frisk could only assume he was perhaps around sixteen or seventeen-ish. Frisk was fiddling with the pendant in between their wet fingers for a bit, before carefully slipping the chain around their neck to let it hang more comfortably “I will, thank you for finding it…”

 

Frisk wouldn’t admit that they had tossed it themselves.

 

Frisk regretted having thrown it in such a fit of rage, they worried that something would have happened to it the moment Frisk got over their anger. But they were pretty lucky it seemed this morning, meeting not only a blonde who had escaped the Underground(and might thankfully try and find out what happened to Chara), but meeting a nice citizen who, instead of picking it up and walking off with it, he returned it. He probably figured it belonged to Frisk because, technically, it was found in the alley and Frisk was the only one there at the moment.

The stranger was completely dry other than their pants, that were slowly getting soaked due to having knelt into the puddle of rainwater accumulated underneath the fence. They carefully let their free hand grip on the fence that separated him from Frisk, and they introduced themselves “My name’s Asriel, what’s yours?”

Frisk fidgeted, getting that uncomfortable feeling again “I’m… Frisk. My name’s Frisk.”

“Nice to meet you, Frisk.” Asriel smiled, and Frisk found themselves looking away quickly.

“I was on my way home,” Asriel figured that talking was the best way of breaking the ice, considering Frisk was suddenly silent again “I was looking for someone but--”

 

Called it.

 

“--I can’t find them so I was gonna head back when I noticed the necklace.” He started to play with the metal fencing, letting his claws flick over the metal to make it ring like a bell “I’m not sure why you’re out here, but I wouldn’t mind helping you get home. You’re completely soaked and I can only imagine you’re gonna catch a cold sitting around while it’s raining.”

Not only did the blonde not seem to get why Frisk was out in an alley, but neither did Asriel apparently. Frisk simply looked homeless, but not enough for anyone to assume they were, they supposed. Frisk shook their head lightly “I have no home, this is my home.”

Asriel’s soft and warm smile dropped almost immediately after hearing this, and they stuttered “I-I’m sorry… I didn’t realize… I’m--”

“It’s no big deal.” Frisk commented lightly, Asriel’s concern for some reason made Frisk feel a little better about their situation. “It’s been like this for a long while, you get used to it eventually.”

 

“Please…” Asriel was pressed so close to the metal fencing that it rattled with every breath he took, the teen monster was even trying so hard to press the umbrella against it as well, perhaps in hopes of sheltering Frisk from the rain, too. But it was no use, the fence split them apart. Asriel looked around as if trying to look for a gate to walk through, but after finding nothing in particular he breathed out lightly “At least come with me to stay the night? I can’t just… leave you out here like this.”

“Everyone else did.” Frisk muttered. They knew they were behaving coldly, but perhaps it was the cold rain that was affecting them. For some reason they felt an essence of Chara in their tone, distancing themselves from even the kindest of people. It was Frisk who believed there was good out there still in the world, and finally seeing it for themselves they were suddenly refusing to believe it. Frisk was starting to not even believe themselves. “And it’s not safe… not with this.” Frisk slowly lifted the necklace from around their neck again, showing Asriel “Something could happen… and the last thing I want is to drag people down with me.”

Asriel didn’t know the story behind it. Only the blonde kid knew at this point, he was the only other person Frisk was able to fully tell what had happened to. Asriel probably didn’t realize why the necklace was dangerous, but instead of objecting or fighting on the subject, Asriel simply nodded and returned to giving a smile… even if it was a tiny and uncomfortable one “Ah… I see… you’re probably right…” He looked away, his red eyes lowering to the wet floor of the alley “Maybe my home isn’t the safest place… but here.”

Frisk didn’t have much time to react before Asriel shot up to his feet. His pants were completely soaked now from absorbing all the water he had knelt in, and without a second thought the goat monster tossed the open umbrella up and over the fencing that separated him from Frisk. Frisk didn’t stand at first, however seeing the umbrella falling down to them they finally lifted up and complied, grabbing it before it could fall to the ground “Huh? What are you doing?” The sudden shelter from the rain made Frisk look around as if seeing the world in a new perspective.

“You can keep the umbrella.” Asriel commented quickly, all the while now tugging off his trench coat.

Frisk furrowed their brows and shook their head, though as if Asriel were fully getting naked in front of them they also averted their eyes “Wait wait wait… I can’t… I can’t accept this.”

But eventually Asriel, now having revealed their somewhat lean stature underneath the coat, tossed their last gift over the fence. However this time it draped over the top, not fully falling to Frisk’s side.

Frisk could reach it to pull it over, but they weren’t exactly trying.

 

“Frisk.” Asriel breathed out, apparently tired from their rush to give the human the two ‘gifts’. He wore something similar to the blonde Frisk had met earlier, except without the use of overalls. In the dim and gloomy light of the rainy morning, Frisk could’ve sworn they were wearing the exact same thing. Was it a uniform ?

“I’m going to go home, I’ll have a new one ready for me… a new umbrella and coat. Because that’s just the way it is.” Asriel huffed, their fur was white like snow but slowly getting shaggy almost like a wet dog, he had bits of blonde locks atop his head, but only enough to make it look like natural highlights against his fur rather than an actual wig. “The… jerks get what they want, and the nice people are stuck on the streets.”

 

Did Asriel just call himself a jerk?

 

Frisk frowned at him, holding the umbrella tightly. It was rather nice, Frisk had to admit, not to be pummelled by rainwater. A complete and total stranger, once again, casually waltzed into the alley and decided to help Frisk even without knowing Frisk’s story. They did their best to hold in the sneeze trying to form, as Asriel persisted “Frisk please, take the coat and put it on… and maybe… if we meet again, I can be of more help.”

Frisk was still silent.

“Whatever happened to you…” Asriel spoke more softly, both his claws gripping onto the fence. Frisk had an undying need to join him, but kept their distance as the taller teen went on “Whatever happened to you to make you like this, to put you in this situation… I’m so sorry. I know that the next time we see each other it may not be for good reason--”

Huh?

“--but just know I won’t let anything happen to you.”

And Asriel smiled, and Frisk felt their heart stop as the goat-monster pulled himself away at the unfortunate time that Frisk approached the fence.

 

Frisk watched as Asriel turned and ran off, their shoes splashing in the rainwater as they eventually vanished in the grey far from them. It wasn’t until Asriel was fully out of sight that Frisk actually grabbed for the coat, yanking it down, and quickly put it on. It was wet and cold, but better than the raggy shirt they were wearing.

Why was Asriel being so nice to them?

Frisk shuddered, their body slowly gaining a bit of warmth, even if it was fairly little it was better than before. They glanced down at the pendant around their neck, with their free hand picking it up to inspect it. A part of Frisk wondered if the kindness was due to the wealth they had, but maybe… just maybe… Asriel truly was good at heart.

Frisk found themselves smiling, and as much as they wanted to turn to Chara and go “See? I was right. There are good people still around.”

Frisk couldn’t.

Because Frisk was alone.

The reminder that they still needed to search for their friend pierced their brain, a pounding headache formed and Frisk let out a weak sigh as they tried to lean their weight against the wall behind them. “It never hurts to be kind…” Frisk spoke softly to no one in particular “It just hurts to be mean.”

Asriel said he’d be back to help them, maybe sometime later today Frisk would see them. Maybe tomorrow, who knew whether Asriel really would be back or not? Frisk realized that as much as they did want to wait for Asriel, in hopes that perhaps he’d be able to help Frisk find Chara… in hopes that Asriel would be able to give Frisk a small glimpse out of their misery and into some sort of lighter side of the world… Frisk had no time for waiting. The same with the blonde that they never even got a name out of… Frisk couldn’t wait.

 

At this point, Frisk had waited long enough.

 

“It’s…” Frisk breathed out shakily “It’s kill or be killed, Asriel.”

 

They slowly slid themselves back down, sitting in the puddle they had before. The rain was thankfully getting lighter, but it still continued to fall and patter against the umbrella. The gentle noises were like a melody, Frisk felt calmer and more relaxed as they pondered over their choices, and hoped for Chara to be safe and sound. Would the blonde really be willing to go back to the place he had already escaped from? All for the sake of helping a total stranger?

But then again, before Asriel showed up, the blonde had commented saying that Frisk would owe him a favor. Probably whatever that was would be the doom of the contract Frisk signed without actually signing.

And then there was Asriel, who just so happened to be wearing the exact same clothes, was looking for someone, and returned Frisk’s necklace without caring for the story behind it.

“Who knows if I can count on that blondie for help.” Frisk found it more comforting to talk to themselves aloud than to simply think through everything. It was easier, and made them feel far less lonely than they actually were “Blondie could have just ran off and may never show up again, same with Asriel… even if he gave me all this… stuff…”

Frisk couldn’t hold up the facade that things would get better. They were optimistic, but not enough to simply fall into the arms of anyone willing to help. They had to make sure that they stayed calm and focused, and they had to find a way to get to Chara themselves.

 

Even if it meant having to get into the Underground by the same means.

 

What if the blonde didn’t actually escape the Underground? Who knew if Frisk could actually trust Asriel? They would need to figure things out on their own. And the first thing to do was to actually get a clearer picture on who this Underground was, and who was behind all of it. All Frisk technically knew was what the blonde had mentioned; they were a mafia group.

A part of Frisk wanted to give up. Without Chara, this was the end.

There was no moving forward from here.

They slowly curled up against the wall, doing their very best to get as comfortable as they could in a cold and wet alley. They needed to get back to sleep, the last thing they wanted to do was waste the day away. There were no other options, Frisk had to hope someone out there truly was watching over them and making sure that Chara was alright. All Frisk wanted was their friend back.

“I’ll survive this…” Frisk breathed out tiredly, the rain drowning their words as they closed their eyes and sat the umbrella over them to protect them from the relentless elements.


“We’ll survive this, like we always have.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: The Willing

Frisk couldn’t wait anymore.

The longer they waited, the more likely Chara wouldn’t survive.

Who knew what those kidnappers were doing to them at this very moment?

 

While Frisk sat and waited in hopes of the blonde returning with news on Chara, or waited for Asriel to maybe come back for… no reason in particular… the more likely Chara was being hurt. Chara needed Frisk, now more than ever. Frisk had been the passive teen in their duo for far too long, and now it was time to switch roles and make up for it all.

 

No one would help, so they had to help themselves.

 

When the rain had finally stopped, Frisk had lowered the umbrella and adjusted the coat draped over their shoulders. With the sun coming out, it also brought in a bit of humidity due to the rainwater that had made puddles in the alley, and of course had covered their own body. They may have received temporary shelter with a jacket and umbrella, but it hadn’t been given in time to protect their clothing that was still quite damp. Frisk almost felt a bit sticky, but they had bigger things to worry about than their personal hygiene. Not only did they have to find themselves something to eat, but they had to figure out who on earth was the Underground , and what they wanted from Chara.

 

Figuring the coat looked nice enough, they decided to fully put it on. Their thin arms slipped easily through the rather large coat sleeves, and they buttoned it down to hide their muggy attire. It was a long trench coat, and Frisk supposed since Asriel was rather tall, it made sense that the coat would almost grace the ground; almost. When Frisk stood fully upright, they could see just how long the coat was. However, there was no need to complain, it was long enough to protect from the elements and, thankfully, hide Frisk’s actual clothing. They figured it was their appearance that made people ignore them before… but with the coat on, they looked a lot more fashionable.

Frisk hurried and crouched near a puddle of water, splashing their face. As much as they wanted to use the water to bathe(while it was clean at least, before the alley floor contaminated it), there was no time for lounging around. At least, not enough time to strip, wash, then dress again. Scrubbing and washing away any smudges or marks from their features, they tried to clean themselves up the best that they could. Before long, Frisk looked surprisingly… decent. They actually felt rather confident in their appearance, other than their hair, but they figured that was a small thing compared to everything else.

“Okay…” Frisk sighed out, almost as if preparing a pep-talk for themselves. But nothing seemed to come out other than a grumbling noise from their stomach. With a small pout and heavy heart, they knew they had work to do. There was no time for food now until after they figured out a thing or two.

Using food as a reward, they carefully exited the alley and stepped out to the partially busy sidewalks. Motor vehicles drove back and forth on the streets, people were walking every which way, the bustling of the city surrounded Frisk and they had no idea where to even begin. Frisk looked back and forth, up and down the sidewalks to figure out which way to go first but… their mind was racing and thoughts were jumbling together. Chara was better at this, much better at figuring things out. They always found ways to overhear where the next fishing boat was docking, or memorizing the schedules of stores to make certain they were out back when they dumped their unsold goods… what was Frisk going to do without--

 

Suddenly someone had bumped right into Frisk, causing them to stumble a bit off the sidewalk. With a turn of their head, they noticed it was a tall sophisticated woman, holding a child’s hand who, like Frisk, looked back at them in confusion. The woman was well dressed, a trench coat similar to theirs and yet it looked actually fitted on them rather than oversized. Her hair was even kempt rather well, the short curls looked neatly controlled, probably by plenty of hair product. As much as Frisk wanted to immediately apologize, as their natural instincts told them to, for some reason only a small glare emerged on their features, and they glanced at the woman directly “Why’d you bump into me?”

The woman looked down at Frisk, sneering somewhat for a moment. As if casting some type of judgement on Frisk, who was already used to that sort of treatment by now. They figured as much, not even attempting to look nice for a day could get people to be nice, maybe Frisk truly did have some sort of ‘orphan aura’ about them. An aura where people could simply sense the abandonment radiating off of the teen. Frisk tried to stand their ground, their glare faced the woman’s furrowed brows head on. Even if Frisk wasn’t confident at the moment, they wouldn’t back down, knowing fully well they could have asked politely not to hit them, they could have apologized as they always did whenever things got messy, and yet this time it was different. Only because Frisk had a job to do, it was different.

 

Suddenly, the woman’s expression softened, before she glanced at the child beside her. She shook his hand a little bit “Gerald, apologize to the poor dear.”

 

“I didn’t bump into ‘im.” The child, Gerald, just continued staring at Frisk in confusion. Either way, the woman had let go of his hand, before lowering herself a bit to look Frisk over “I’m terribly sorry for his manners, often times when we are out in the town we wind up like everyone else. So busy and focused on getting somewhere that we’re rushing through people like city traffic.” The fact that she had gone from a scolding look to a warm smile so quickly made Frisk nervous still, but the woman continued with a small tilt of her head “Though you need a bit of a fix-up as well.”

 

Frisk leaned a bit back, not appreciating her closing in the space between them “H-Huh?”

 

“Your hair is atrocious.” She lifted once more, digging into her tiny purse and slowly pulling out a thin toothed-comb. With a delicate and heavily powdered smile, she reapproached Frisk, roughly combing their hair “That shove must have disheveled your hair, I am terribly sorry-- don’t want your parents to see you running about in such a state. Especially with that coat of yours.”

Of course it was the coat. Frisk had a nervous smile, though held it mostly for themselves as the woman had finished brushing their hair. In no time at all, their hair had went from a tangled mess to a nice slick back look. However, it had gotten a bit long, and even the woman commented “Your hair is rather long… and filthy, have you been bathing?”

 

“Um…!” Frisk turned away fast, clearing their throat as they tried to figure out where they needed to head in that moment. They didn’t exactly have a plan just yet on where to begin, but they knew they didn’t want the woman staring too long for her to realize they lived in an alley not far from here “Thank you, ma’am! I need to go!”

 

And they rushed down the sidewalk and weaved between the busy people, turning the corner and getting out of the woman’s sight.


Every person that Frisk would stop on the street would, honestly, try to help.

 

It was a strange change of pace, having people actually be helpful and kind to them instead of shooing them away. But they knew fully well that it was only because of their looks. Even though there was a rather uneasy feeling that nagged at them, telling them that some of these people didn’t truly care for them, there was still a glimmer of hope that them showing even a tiny bit of concern meant they were kind people.

 

The world wasn’t as terrible of a place as it seemed to be.

 

After a while, Frisk found themselves leaned against a bakery shop, needing the support after having a long day of no luck on who the Underground was. Their legs were sore from so much walking. And in the end it was all for naught, not a single person they had asked knew who the Underground was or why Frisk was trying to find them. Everyone that they had asked seemed to either get confused from the question itself or, simply, had no idea what Frisk was talking about. The Underground was just a mysterious group, rarely ever seen, and they supposed that if they were seen they could bribe people into pretending to have not seen them…

 

A couple of teenagers had slowly appeared near the bakery window, peering in and inspecting the displayed goods. With hungry eyes, almost as hungry as Frisk, they were practically drooling over the items. One of the teens had green-scaly skin, while the other had a single purple eye at the center of their face. They gave eachother a look, some sort of look that spoke more than their mouths could, and soon enough they walked inside of the bakery.

Frisk rubbed their chin thoughtfully, before rolling their eyes and deciding to follow them, entering the bakery. They figured that an attempt could be made, and if not that, they felt ironically more comfortable with others in their age group entering the shop.

Immediately, their nostrils were greeted with warm smells. Fresh baked bread, sweets and cinnamon, Frisk’s stomach gurgled again in protest, and they held an arm over it with a frown. They had wanted to try and ask the teens if they might have heard something, but apparently entering the bakery on an empty stomach was a bad idea. A part of them wondered if their looks could get them some free food, just like it had been well received by the people outside who offered assistance. But spotting the monster teens paying for their own snacks, it was apparent that not even looking rich could get them out of payment. With a weakened will, they turned themselves around and backtracked. There was some sort of embarrassment in that action as well, the feeling of eyes watching Frisk as they entered the shop, stood there, then left soon after. After a long day of not receiving any answers, and worst of all, not finding any good food while they were out, it was time to return to the alley. They pretty much dragged themselves all the way back to their alley of solitude, deciding it was time to call it an evening and give up for now.

Their stomach announced how badly they needed food, but all Frisk could do was hope that people threw food out in the dumpsters nearby. Their day of feeling like they belonged somewhere was finished. Not even a fancy coat could help Frisk feel better about themselves. People respected Frisk and helped them only because of a coat that made them look unlike their usual self, they had to remind themselves that maybe… people weren’t what they had cracked them out to be. Maybe most people did only behave because of Frisk’s appearance. And that cruel truth, the truth that Chara had tried to get Frisk to understand before, hurt as they carefully removed their trenchcoat and placed it near the umbrella in the back of the alley. With a gentle sigh, once they rolled up their sleeves, they went dumpster diving.

 

There was a confusing mixture of smells that sent Frisk’s nostrils on a wild goose chase. Something putrid, something foul, and something that could have possibly been fresh and tossed away from dropping on the floor. With a weak huff, the teen was completely hunched over the dumpster, their whole forearm rummaging and searching, while the other held the lid to the trashcan open to keep it from falling on their head. It wasn’t long before Frisk managed to grip at, what they suspected to be, something worth their time. They pulled out a crumpled up piece of paper, and after opening it, it looked to be a rather old slice of bread. It was not only hard as a rock, but bits of the bread had started to mold, the green and white patches of fuzz proving so. With a weak stomach, Frisk carefully began to bring the bread closer towards their lips. The lump in their throat wavering, their mouth yearning for something, anything at this point would do… but before Frisk could bite down on the rock of bread, their stomach once again gargled-- only this time it seemed to be in anguish. Their gut was definitely telling them that this was a bad idea.

 

Frisk sighed out heavily, tossing the moldy bread back into the dumpster and letting the lid slam down. They were back to square one.

 

It was as if the Underground was a ghost. No one had ever heard of them or seen them around, but they supposed that made sense. If they were a group of people willing to kidnap kids in broad daylight then it only made sense that people stay silent about their whereabouts. Who knew what else they’d be willing to do if they didn’t even care about getting caught?

 

“What would Chara do?” Frisk asked themselves, holding their stomach as if they were trying to keep their guts from spilling. With the honk of a horn somewhere on the street, they were back to wondering where they could actually be. Did they actually reside underground? As their name suggested? Did they have a warehouse close by? Were they even from the city?

“What would Chara do…?” Frisk asked themselves once more, before slowly leaving the alley and standing on the sidewalk. The streets were far less busy than they had been earlier, but there had to have been someone out there who knew who the Underground was. If not who they were, at least someone had to know where they were.

 

The only chance Frisk had at this rate was going to the Underground themselves. And the only way of going about it that they could think of was… causing enough commotion to get their attention.

 

Taking in a deep breath in, they breathed out through flared nostrils, trying to relax themselves. They had to persevere, they had to stay determined. No matter what could happen to them, they had to remind themselves of what Chara was going through at this very moment. Whatever it was, it was far worse than what Frisk was dealing with.

 

“Hey!”

 

A few heads turned towards Frisk, who was now storming to the middle of the street. Cars slowed to a stop, making sure to break in time before hitting the orphan teen. They waved their arms wildly, trying to signal for everyone’s attention. It was surprisingly well received once Frisk started to yell out “Who knows about the Underground?! Huh?! I’m looking for them!”

There was a bit of commotion, a few people passing by would glance at one another for a few moments, mutter and mumble a few things, before looking back to Frisk. People were stopping in their tracks to look at Frisk and see what the fuss was all about-- so far so good.

 

Frisk persisted “I’m looking for the Underground! They kidnap kids!”

 

This definitely caused surprised noises to erupt. Now a few of the people hurried along, while some cars started to drive around Frisk to keep going about their routine. A few remained still, not wanting to hit Frisk, but slamming fists against their horns to blare in their direction as a means of getting Frisk to move out the way. They continued however, never faltering. Their fists were balled up as they shouted “My friend... Chara... was kidnapped by Undyne! Who's heard of Undyne before?!”

No responses, other than Frisk spotting a couple of police officers slowly making their way down the sidewalk and in Frisk’s direction. Frisk didn’t think anything of it, they figured that, hell, if anyone knew who they were, it would be the police, right? Frisk glanced down at themselves and their poor attire, but the one thing they knew that meant anything to them was the ruby necklace around their neck. Carefully, Frisk pulled it out from underneath their shirt, before turning themselves fully towards the cop duo, glaring “Hey! Do you guys know who--”

 

Frisk was yanked to the side. With a surprised yelp, they stumbled a bit back onto the sidewalk. Their arm was squeezed, almost painfully, but when the grip had been loosened Frisk glanced upward to see a rather tall monster. Frisk didn’t get the chance to inspect her before they were yanked once again, this time, their back pressed against her stomach as she grasped both of Frisk’s shoulders. They felt surprisingly frail compared to the size of the woman’s paws. She quickly muttered “Tuck that necklace away, right now.”

 

Even though Frisk wanted to pull away, for some reason they felt obligated to listen. They carefully placed their necklace back under their shirt.

 

“I apologize on behalf of my child, sirs.” The woman’s voice was stern, motherly, and yet gentle. Frisk opened their mouth to protest, but she continued anyway “It is my own fault for giving them too much sugar. They’re an absolute jumping bean after my pastries!”

“This your kid, ma’am?” The two officers crossed the street successfully now, both standing before Frisk and the mysterious stranger... the stranger who still held onto Frisk tightly as if they would bolt any second… which was true, of course. Frisk’s body had gone stiff as they stared up at the police, hoping they recognized a frightened kid when they saw one.

“Yes,” Her hold loosened, and as Frisk glanced downward towards the police officers’ guns, they figured it was much safer to play along than to dart off screaming more. They wanted more than anything to ask for help, but for some reason the guns intimidated them, making their nerves falter. Frisk’s moment of fear that they were being kidnapped had totally switched, now they were more thankful that the woman had showed up when she did… who knew what the police would do… approaching an orphan who caused a scene and wouldn’t go away.

She proceeded to gesture with her large arms, large in a sense that underneath her clothing and fur was pure muscle “I feel terrible for disturbing the both of you, it will not happen again, I promise… isn’t that right, dear?” She lightly patted Frisk’s shoulder, causing them to flinch.

 

“Well…” The officers looked to one another, then they both looked down at Frisk. The short teen fidgeted somewhat, managing to look up to the woman who, strangely, smiled down at them as if everything were normal. Frisk complied “Ah… I’m sorry about that, officers. It won’t happen again.”

 

The cops finally tore their eyes away from Frisk, who let out a heavy breath as if they had been holding it in the entire time. They tipped their hats towards the woman “Carry on then, miss. Try not to cause anymore trouble.”

 

“Oh, I’ll try~” She seemed to reply wholeheartedly as the two officers turned to the side and proceeded to walk down the sidewalk. Even as they moved farther and farther away, the woman’s grip on Frisk’s shoulders didn’t release. Frisk waited for a long while as well, assuming they both shared the same idea of waiting for the cops to depart fully before actually confronting one another. And the moment they were out of sight, Frisk pulled themselves away, before turning to face her.

She was dressed like any other normal person walking outside; a yellow bowler hat atop her head that shaded her eyes, a matching blouse that she wore paired with a white sweater that almost blended in with her fur, and to pair off with her dark brown flowing skirt she wore a pair of dark brown flats for easy walking. She looked as if she were dressed for a walk in the park, it was a warm day out, so her clothing wasn’t suspicious. But Frisk recalled Undyne’s uniform, as well as the other monsters who had come out to hunt and drag Chara to their car, to be of the fancier and more formal variety. The woman that stood before them didn’t look like the type to be apart of a mob or gang of any kind.

 

Frisk furrowed their brows up at the woman, ignoring how much taller she was, and stronger, and keeping their glare locked “Why did you do that? They could have helped me!”

 

“Please.” The woman sounded close to scolding them, Frisk was a little offended as she continued “Making a spectacle out of yourself is no way to attract the Underground . At least, not in the best way.”

 

She knew about the Underground.

 

“You… you know?” Frisk had pulled themselves away, only to now approach again in hopes of receiving answers “You know about the Underground?”

 

“Yes,” She said simply, only this time, she now reached down and grasped at their hand to pull them away from the center of the sidewalk. She began to lead them further and further away, and even though Frisk complied with ease at the start, even returning the hold of her hand with their own grasp, suddenly they realized what could have been happening. The woman could easily be disguised, secretly working for the ones who stole Chara away. That thought in mind, Frisk yanked their hand away from her. They demanded answers “You stopped me because you know something! Now spill!”

When no answers came, and the woman slowly turned her back on Frisk, the orphan hurried to move around her, making certain that she faced them head on. Frisk clasped their hands together, practically begging now. Their angered and intense gaze faltered only for that moment of pleading “Please… I need help, my friend’s been kidnapped by them and I don’t know what else to do… you have to help me, you’re the only one that can.”

Frisk stood there before her, hoping, praying that she would be the one to help them out somehow. It had been a whole day, and then some, since Frisk had seen Chara. Frisk didn’t know what was happening to them now… but they knew they had to do something. “Please?”

The woman lifted her head slightly, the late afternoon sky revealed her features now. Her eyes matched the ruby locket around Frisk’s neck, and even though it was apparent she was taking Frisk’s actions seriously, a smile seemed to creep up the corners of her muzzle. With a soft sigh, she gestured to herself “I am Toriel… I need you to trust me, child.” She looked over Frisk thoughtfully, now her smile more revealed as the situation seemed to relax. Even Frisk was feeling a bit better, knowing that someone could help them made them calm down “I’m Frisk… my name’s Frisk.”

 

Toriel hummed “I need you to trust me… I will not hurt you, and I can give you as much information as you would like… however we are not safe here.”

 

Frisk’s stomach grumbled, a reminder that they hadn’t eaten all day. A bit embarrassed, they held their stomach and blushed. “Ah… I’m sorry--”

 

“Don’t be.” Toriel laughed, covering her mouth as she did so. The laugh was light but genuine “You must be starving. I will offer you this, young one.” Folding her hands before her now, she looked right into Frisk’s eyes, as they finally returned the gaze. She spoke “I will tell you all that you need to know at my home, it is a little bit far, just outside of town… however it is much safer than here. And I would be more than happy to feed you and explain everything along the way. Does that sound reasonable?”

This was all too good to be true. Frisk had struck gold, and they couldn’t help but smile in agreement “Y-Yes… that would be great. Let’s go.” It didn’t matter whether it was all a lie or not. Someone knew something, and that was enough for Frisk.

Toriel did offer her hand again, but Frisk mentioned not being a little kid as they followed her to her vehicle. Frisk climbed themselves into the passenger's seat, as the woman adjusted her mirrors and started the car. It didn’t take long for her to pull out from the side of the road and start onto the street, melding in with the other vehicles of the evening. The sun was beginning to set, and with Frisk’s hunger there was a tiredness that washed over them. The seat of the car was rather comfortable-- at least, more comfortable than what they were used to.

 

Frisk fought themselves over sleep, reminding them of the reason they were on the road with Toriel to begin with. Chara… this was all for Chara. There was no time for sleep… and Toriel said she’d explain everything once they were outside of the city. Frisk had to stay awake…

 

But Frisk soon enough fell asleep anyway.

 

They only figured as much because in the blink of an eye the sun was completely gone and the buildings of the city were nowhere to be found.

 

Their stomach protested once more.

 

“We are not terribly far,” Toriel spoke gently, her eyes never pulling from the road “I promise to give you a decent meal when we arrive. And a bath… you are in definite need of a bath, young one.”

“Thank you…” Frisk muttered, shifting a bit in their seat as they glanced out the window. It wasn’t until they were in the cleanness of the vehicle that Frisk realized how bad they sort of smelled. They did their best to ignore it, as they figured Toriel had done during the ride, but soon enough the real conversation began. “Tell me, child… do you know of that necklace you wear on your neck?”

 

“I just want to know about Undyne.” Frisk looked back at Toriel with a slight huff, touching their chest to make certain the necklace was tucked away. It was apparent that Toriel had a focus in mind, but Frisk had their own matters to deal with. “Why did Undyne take Chara away?”

 

The woman seemed baffled at the mention of Undyne, her eyes still paying close attention to the road. Every now and then they would pass under a weakly lit street lamp, the light shining over the two of them before immersing them once more in the dark of the night. Even though Undyne’s name had somehow triggered a reaction from Toriel, she didn’t seem to care for her as much as she did for Frisk’s friend “Tell me more of your friend, Chara, then?”

What was there to tell a total stranger? Frisk scolded themselves for even thinking of opening up to Toriel… hadn’t everything that happened up to this point been warning enough? Chara was mostly right about it all, it was hard to trust people after everything the two of them had been through. And yet Toriel’s first words before getting in the car had been for Frisk to trust her. And, as much as Frisk hated to admit it, they did trust her. She seemed like a caring person, even if once they arrived at her home she might chop Frisk into pieces.

 

Frisk sighed lightly “Me and Chara met at the orphanage, back in the city. I can barely remember my life back there… I just knew it was bad. The orphanage wasn’t the greatest, but it was better than the streets… I guess, to Chara, it was hell either way and we had to keep moving for some reason. I think what got Chara’s attention was that the two of us had the same matching necklaces… they just saw me wearing it one day… and we were friends ever since.” They found themselves smiling at the thought, though for some reason they barely remembered how they managed to come upon a precious necklace like the one they had. Frisk slowly pulled the necklace out from under their shirt, grasping the gem in their palm “I can’t remember how I got this, I just remember… waking up one day with it around my neck, and I never questioned it…”

“They approached you for your necklace?” Toriel asked then, though Frisk glared a bit in response “It’s not like that at all. Chara is… well, they’re reckless and kind of forward, but they always worried about me, and cared about my safety even over their own. They…” Slowly opening their fingers, they glanced down at the pendant “They hated humanity and everything about it, the orphanage wasn’t the greatest place, and I guess before we were friends they didn’t have the best life… but they’re a survivor for sure. We were so close by the time Chara wanted to escape that, I couldn’t just let them run off on their own. I had to join, not for my own sake of finding a better life but… for their sake as well.”

 

Frisk smiled, tucking the necklace away again with a mumble “We’ve been inseparable since.”

 

“That sounds like a beautiful bond, child.” Toriel took a moment to give Frisk a warm smile, before looking back to the road. Frisk nodded “Yeah…”

 

There was a long period of silence then, and during this time Frisk was feeling rather drowsy once more. They didn’t realize that such a long car ride would make them feel so tired. Maybe it wasn’t sudden at all, though. Perhaps tiredness was simply catching up to Frisk since they had barely gotten enough rest the moment Chara had been taken. But either way, the silence felt deafening all of a sudden, and Frisk didn’t like it.

 

“Chara always had sources and knew people here and there.” Frisk spilled, trying to piece together reasons behind Undyne capturing them “Sometimes… Chara would be gone all day just to come back hurting all over. But… I never bothered to ask why. But now that I think about it, I wonder if it had something to do with the Underground. When Undyne did show up, with a few others, Chara had called her by name and told me to run. Chara knew who they were…”

 

The car suddenly stopped, causing Frisk to look up from their lap and out the window. They had pulled up to a countryside cottage, as much as Frisk could tell in the dark. There weren’t that many houses nearby, and if the home itself hadn’t been surrounded by a large garden of flowers, it would have felt completely empty and in the middle of nowhere. Frisk even wondered if the flowers continued into the back yard, before they carefully began to get out of the vehicle.

“Here we are.” Toriel said calmly as she approached the front door. Frisk followed her down the nicely paved and well lit path through the flowers, standing behind her as she unlocked the door. Once the lights had been switched on, Toriel had entered fully inside, and Frisk stepped in soon after, shutting the door behind them. For some reason, Frisk wanted to leave the door unlocked, but then again they figured it was for safety purposes in case Toriel wasn’t all she claimed to be. But as if reading their thoughts, Toriel returned to the front door and locked it. With a little laugh, she began to remove her sweater and hat “You can never be too sure about these things, even if we are far from the town.”

 

“Right.” Frisk swallowed, staring at the door even as the goat woman left and headed to another room.

 

The home looked surprisingly much larger on the inside than it did on the outside. The setting was warm and inviting, the light of the main room Frisk was in radiated with a nice glow that displayed its surroundings. There was a square table with four seats around it, a nice white cloth that draped over it, and there were four doorways that seemed to lead to different places of the cottage. The ceiling, of course, was far taller than Frisk could ever reach. It made sense though, considering how tall Toriel was.

“Do you like tea?” Toriel had called from the other room, which Frisk now presumed to be the kitchen as they approached the doorway the monster had left towards. They peeked inside to look over the rather overly decorated kitchen; covered in floral patterns and framed photos of people they didn’t recognize. Toriel was standing by the stove, waving her hand over a kettle that was probably filled with hot water. There weren’t any knobs on the stove that Frisk could spot, so they figured that the woman was using some sort of magic to boil the water. Whether it was water magic, or fire magic, Frisk couldn’t tell from where she stood. She glanced over her shoulder in Frisk’s direction with a smile “I have rose tea, or mint, perhaps? If you do not like tea then I can get you something else?”

“Any tea is fine…” Frisk mumbled, still staring at her paw as she boiled the water. Toriel seemed to note this, and let out a light laugh “Oh, yes… I know these stoves are not common but, I feel fire magic is the best way to cook.”

 

So it was fire magic.

 

“Do you know many magic users, child?” Toriel asked calmly, and Frisk immediately shook their head. The only people they knew that could use any form of magic were the monster-kind, and even if monsters weren’t rare to spot here and there, they weren’t as common to live in bustling cities like where Frisk stayed. Like Toriel, who apparently lived far outside of town, Frisk heard that most of them were along the countryside. Frisk used to want to learn how to use magic, but they figured there was no way for a human to harness it. So with a small smile, Frisk shrugged their shoulders.

The woman smiled back “Magic is not a common thing either then… but oh well, it is a unique and special skill.” Turning back to focus on the boiling kettle, she hummed in content “The tea will be ready soon, and I have dinner already warmed up in the oven. I will bring them to you in but a moment, child… feel free to take a seat in the dining room.”

Frisk inhaled the aromas of the kitchen before leaving as instructed. However, instead of waiting at the table, they figured they had the right to explore the home. A stranger brought them outside of town into a house close to the middle of nowhere, so they knew they wanted to inspect the place they were brought to.

 

Frisk checked one doorway that was open which, as soon as they turned the light on, was a simple bathroom. Like the kitchen, it was decorated in a lot of flower patterns and white lace-like designs.

 

Frisk didn’t need to go, so they turned off the lights and looked elsewhere.

 

One of the doorways was closed, Frisk easily assumed it was Toriel’s bedroom... However the next doorway was open, and they figured it must have been a guest bedroom. Walking inside the room, it was surprisingly plain compared to the rest of the flowery house. There was diamond patterned wallpaper that matched the large blue rug at the center of the room, which covered over the dark wood flooring. The bedsheets were cream and white, worn looking, but they still looked clean and rarely used. There was a dark wood vanity sitting across from the bed, and a dresser that they expected to be full of clothes. Frisk tried not to inspect the dresser, and instead approached the vanity to look at, what they noticed to be, a photograph of Toriel.

 

Frisk picked it up and smiled, seeing Toriel holding what looked to be an infant. They were so tiny compared to her, and it was a beautiful portrait and surprisingly cute.

 

“The meal is ready!” Toriel’s sudden call startled Frisk, almost causing them to drop the frame. Thanks to fast reflexes it didn’t happen, but they figured they were in trouble for snooping about. With a little sigh, Frisk set the photo back down on the vanity and returned to the main room; the dining room where Toriel was already placing down a cup of tea and a plate full of food. The meal looked, and smelled, amazing. Frisk’s stomach immediately yelled in approval and their nostrils were in agreement.

 

“Do you like the room?” Toriel asked with a laugh “I did not expect you to be the kind to wander around so much, you seemed tired.”

 

“I am.” Frisk agreed, hurrying to their seat and scooting themselves closer to the table. The smell of freshly cut roast beef, a light gravy had been drizzled over it, and resting beside the large hunk of meat were a variety of spring vegetables. Toriel mentioned “The vegetables I grew myself in my garden out back. I grow flowers and vegetables when the seasons permit. I hope you are not a picky eater.”

 

However it was obvious Frisk wasn’t, considering they were halfway done scarfing it down.

 

Frisk ate like they hadn’t eaten well in days, or years, which was obvious from their living situation. The vegetables were as amazing as the beef, especially if they were shovelled into their mouth all together.

 

Toriel laughed “Please try not to choke, dear! The food is not going anywhere!”

 

“Thank you--” Frisk coughed a bit, wanting to drink the tea to help, but knowing it was still hot and they had to just deal with it. If this was how Frisk would die, then so be it… Frisk was on cloud 9.

 

“I am so happy you like it.” Toriel smiled brightly at Frisk as they continued to eat “I always make so much, only because I have guests now and again. I suppose I am the type of woman who needs to make some sort of food or snacks in case anyone arrives… even if there’s so much left over. It all goes to waste since it has just been myself here. And not many enjoy some of my cuisine.”

Frisk had finished their plate then, the plate had been completely cleaned off with not even a drop of gravy or speck of veggie left. As if signalling their finishing, they carefully pushed the plate away from themselves to bring the cup of tea closer. Toriel stood from the table and took the plate to bring into the kitchen as Frisk sipped lightly at the warm beverage.

 

It definitely had a floral element to it, but they couldn’t pinpoint whether it was rose or not.

 

“I hope you like the tea, it is Golden Flower, I made it myself.” Toriel returned from the kitchen and sat down back in her spot adjacent to Frisk, who sipped at it again with a smile as she continued “Some of the flowers I grow are a rare kind known as Golden Flowers , really unique. They can be used in teas, in meals, perhaps one day I can even make perfumes from them.”

“Thank you so much.” Frisk looked down at the yellow drink, carefully setting it down on the table top, but not letting it go. Their fingers grasped at the curved handle delicately, even attempting to hold out their pinky to try and feel, even look, fancier than they truly were “Thank you for all this, this is… amazing.”

“Aw,” Toriel actually blushed, a hand brushing over her cheek to hide the bit of fur that turned pink “It is not that great, but I appreciate the flattery.”

Perhaps a decent meal and kind heart weren’t all that was needed to prove someone was good or not, but deep in Frisk’s soul they felt a genuine connection to Toriel. Toriel was, to Frisk, a kind soul and gentle being. Even on the ride to her home, after finding out Frisk was an orphan, she didn’t turn back around and drop them off… she didn’t care, she really wanted to help Frisk be safe. Frisk felt, overwhelmed with emotion. “I like to believe that there’s still good people in the world… even if Chara tried to convince me otherwise…”

Toriel’s attention perked a bit at this, and Frisk looked up to her thoughtfully “Sometimes, I can’t help but agree… it just slips out. Sometimes I question myself, and the people around me… I ask why , why me? Why us? I think that I hate these people, I hate humanity too for everything that’s happened but… I know I don’t really mean it. Not everyone is the same… not every person is alike.” With a faint grin, Frisk chuckled “Like you, Ms. Toriel.”

 

“Oh.” Toriel seemed baffled, her blush never faltering as she giggled almost shyly “You know how to flatter an old woman, don’t you?”

 

“I mean it.” Frisk smirked “You’re a kind person… thank you for being there today. And thank you for helping me, I appreciate it.”

 

“It was the right thing to do.” Toriel nodded simply “I understand that the Underground is not well known, but it is a dangerous group of people, I could not stand aside and just let someone so young demand their attention… especially with a pendant such as yours.” With a glance of her eyes, she looked down to Frisk’s chest, right where the necklace was tucked away. Frisk gently covered a hand over it, as if to hide it from her sight, before she sighed out “I just want a simple life, if I had known things would turn this way I would have never dared be with a man such as… Asgore.”

 

Frisk carefully began to bring the tea back to their lips, as Toriel started “My last name is Dreemurr, at least… it was. I was once married to Asgore, and he is… he is the one you are seeking.”

 

The beverage barely reached their mouth before Toriel mentioned “Asgore Dreemurr is the ‘King’ of the Underground.”

 

Frisk almost spat.

 

“Please understand that if I had known he would turn into… this, I would have done something far sooner to try and stop him. I did not agree with his actions the moment he proposed them, it is why we are no longer married and why I was… removed from the Underground.” Toriel was fiddling with her fingers, her nails tapping against each other now and again. Frisk felt a bit uncomfortable from the confession, but their thoughts on Toriel still stood strong. After all, she left (or was forcefully removed) because she didn’t agree with what they were doing. Toriel’s frown was apparent on her features as she looked away, trying to avoid eye contact with Frisk “I am ashamed… he was, he is killing innocent people, so many innocent lives had been lost for the sake of leaving no witnesses to his crimes. All I wanted, all I ever wanted was for…”

Frisk could hear her voice begin to crack, her feelings overwhelming her as she practically whimpered “I admit it was wrong of me to think this way, but all I wanted after discovering his intent was for me and my son to be safe. I did not even care for anyone else, I just… I just wanted to save my son. I know it is terrible, but it is how I felt at the time…” She lifted a finger to wipe at her eye “I still feel that way now, but I know I will always do my best to protect anyone that may fall victim to Asgore’s Underground. Not everyone apart of his group are bad, but no one deserves to be killed, for any sake or reason.”

“Is your son alright?” Frisk dared to ask, chewing their bottom lip now as they let their fingers play with the rim of their cup. There was no more tea left for Frisk to occupy their mouth with, they had surprisingly went through the drink quickly, so now they had to talk. In the end this was what they wanted, after all… more information on who the Underground was, and why they were doing what they did. Frisk needed to know more, and yet for some reason the story was so much deeper than a gang causing havoc that… Frisk felt terrible about hearing the story. Toriel had lost her husband to the Underground in a sense, and to top it all off her own son.

“He goes through great lengths to try and see me now and again.” Toriel mentioned, helping Frisk feel relieved at the mention of him still being alive “It is dangerous for him, since he is supposed to avoid contact with me. But I know some kind people who help us see each other now and again. I just… worry for him.”

“He has body guards?” Frisk questioned with a tilt of their head, and the woman scoffed “Yes, I suppose so. Well, he is heir to the Underground. Asgore is keeping him so that he learns the trade for whenever he decides to hand it over. That is what worries me, my son has a beautiful and caring soul… and like all caring souls, they can easily be manipulated and--” She froze, covering her mouth “Oh dear, I just… I apologize, I should not ramble about useless things to you.”

 

Frisk wasn’t sure what to say, they frowned and shook their head, but that was it. With the shake of their head, the chain around their neck seemed to catch Toriel’s attention, and she changed the subject “It is the necklace that the Underground is after. Anyone and everyone that has ever had a necklace such as yours has been captured and… disposed of.”

 

“My necklace?” Frisk lifted their hands to slowly remove it from around their neck. Looking it over before them against the table, Toriel leaned back in her seat with a nod “There were only seven rumored to have been made. They are merely rumors, however it was believed, and still is, to be true considering no one has ever found any two alike.” She simply stared at the necklace as Frisk let it rest on the table, before she held her hand out to them “May I?”

 

Frisk hesitated to respond, but easily gave into their gut feeling of trust, picking up the necklace and placing it in her palm. She grasped it delicately, bringing it closer to herself to inspect it. Almost as if she were a natural, and jewelry was her craft, she looked it over as if searching for symbols, or some sort of sign of its worth. Frisk arched a brow at her actions, however didn’t question it and let her continue her motions “This is… genuine.”

 

“Me and Chara have the same one though.” Frisk finally brought up, noting a flaw in her story “I told you we did. It was how we found each other in the first place, because we had the same ruby necklace. How can they be unique if me and theirs are the same?”

 

“I can only propose this…” She said, slowly lifting her gaze away from the pendant and up to Frisk “Your friend, Chara… either the rumors are false, or they have been wearing a fake pendant all this time.”

 

Frisk had no reason to disbelieve Toriel, considering not only was she once married to the King of the Underground, but she had obviously done research on the necklaces and their rarity. And yet it felt as if she were bashing their friendship… Frisk and Chara’s. Chara with a fake necklace? It would mean they never shared the one thing that brought them together. It hurt slightly, but it was simply the same feeling they were used to by now. The feeling of confusion as to whether to trust someone or not. There was no reason for them to distrust Toriel, especially over something as simple as a necklace...

But then again, the necklace wasn’t as simple anymore as Frisk had once considered it. It used to mean nothing, nothing more than a memory of when Frisk and Chara first met at the orphanage… but now, now Frisk was realizing it was much more than that.

 

There was a large mob of people willing to kill in order to obtain them. That is why they kidnapped Chara, because Chara had one.

 

But… then again…

 

“Keep it outta sight, Frisk.”

 

“They would always tell me to put it away.” Frisk mentioned, just in time for Toriel to reach out and return their pendant. Frisk grasped it and immediately squeezed it in their palm “Chara never cared about their own showing. I would try to warn them as much as they would warn me, but Chara never cared. Chara always told me to keep mine hidden and yet… why… why did Chara not care about their own?”

“Perhaps they knew?” Toriel tried to answer, but this only caused Frisk to feel more pain. Frisk breathed out “All this time was… did Chara only have their pendant to protect mine? If theirs was fake… did they only have it because they knew what could happen to me? They wanted to make sure I wasn’t…”

“We do not know for certain, child.” Toriel said, trying to calm Frisk down. Frisk was already doing their best to hold back their tears. Chara all this time, all their life, had been sacrificing themselves to keep Frisk safe. But now Chara was gone, and it was all Frisk’s fault. The woman scooted her seat closer to Frisk to gently place a comforting paw on their shoulder, and Frisk willingly leaned into the gesture as she spoke “Chara will be alright, I am sure of it. They seem like a very strong friend.”

 

But even Frisk could tell that Toriel was lying. Her eyes were full of worry and fear, just like Frisk’s. With a little sigh, the teen nodded their head, trying to refocus on the information being given. There was no time to worry now, Frisk had to get as much info as they could, they were in too deep “Do you know anything else about these necklaces and why the Underground want’s them?”

 

“Well…” Toriel had noticed Frisk’s cup was empty, and decided to pick it up and stand from her seat “The pendants are rare, with only seven… or perhaps eight… in existence, they are very valuable and expensive. Anyone who obtained the whole collection would surely live the life of luxury if sold to the highest bidder.”

 

“Who would be willing to buy them all?” Frisk asked, staring down at the table as Toriel left into the kitchen “If they’re that expensive, who could even afford it?”

 

“It does not even matter, young one.” Toriel said, returning from the kitchen with another cup of tea for Frisk. She approached and gently placed it in front of them, before retaking her seat “The fact that they are willing to kill whoever has one is what needs to be stopped. No item should ever be worth an innocent person’s life.” She looked up towards the ceiling “That is what Asgore of the Underground wants… that is what he had promised to them all, and why they follow him. Each of those people are willing to look away from their dark deeds for the sake of money in their pockets. They come from all walks of life, they each have struggles of their own, all of them hoping to solve these issues with money.”

So the true purpose was revealed. All of the Underground revolved around money; their intentions, their abductions, all of it was for the sake of collecting the necklaces that Frisk and Chara just so happened to have. In the end it didn’t matter, they had to be stopped… and it had to be before they laid a finger on Chara.

 

“Why are you helping me?” Frisk tried to ask, still a bit hurt over the loss of their friend to something as trivial as a necklace. They had placed it back around their neck where it belonged, however their palm still squeezed the ruby gem as if it could be taken any second “You didn’t have to be apart of this. You left Asgore to keep away from it all… so why involve yourself again?”

 

“I have always been involved, it is no matter, child.” Toriel commented, solemnly “I have seen others like you… I am no different from Asgore in a sense that, I try to keep people away from the dangers of the Underground by taking them here, to the safety of the country.” She looked around the main room that the two sat in, sighing faintly “I know fully well that you and your friend are the last that remain, because every moment that I have followed the Underground on their travels, I have been the one to intercept them and try to protect them. Each pendant… each unique and priceless gem, stolen right from their necks.” Closing her eyes, she lowered her head then and practically wheezed in pain. Almost as if choking, one of her paws reached for her own neck, brushing over the thick fur around it “When the sapphire pendant was found, I was there… when the emerald was found… I was there. Citrine, amethyst, aquamarine… fire opal… and now…” Her eyes opened to reveal they were glossy from holding back tears. Toriel stared into Frisk’s eyes with pure heartache “And now you, with ruby. I have tried, and tried again and again to protect everyone that was or could ever be at risk of being hurt by Asgore. If I had known sooner, I could have saved your friend. I am so sorry about this, child. All that you have gone through, and all that you are going through now. This is why you are here, with me.” She made a weak smile, reaching her hand out to cup Frisk’s cheek. Frisk couldn’t help but smile in return at the comforting gesture, their hand never leaving their pendant as the woman continued, “I could not save them, I could not save your friend… but this time, I will make certain to protect you.”

 

Frisk sniffed, their soft smile widening “Y-You’ll help me get Chara back?”

 

It was in that moment that the gentle brush of Toriel’s thumb had stopped moving, and the woman leaned back. Blinking her teary eyes, it was as if the environment itself shifted. The warm hope that Frisk felt had left with her paw, as she muttered “No, Frisk. You misunderstood… I will not take you to the Underground. I brought you out here to live with me… where you will stay.”

 

Frisk’s eyes widened, almost in horror “H...huh?”


“It is for your own protection.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Child’s Play

A kick landed hard against their backside, sending the teen down on their hands and knees against the cold stone-tiled floor as the bag over their head was snatched off to grant them vision. It took them a moment for their eyes to adjust, since there wasn’t much change from the darkness of the bag to the dark surrounding them.

 

“Kneel.” The woman snapped, her voice a toxic mixture of bark and bite. They were fully aware that Undyne wasn’t just all talk... since during the drive earlier while transporting them, the teen had refused to calm down until the fish-monster gave them the option to do so willingly or by force.

 

Of course, trying to call her bluff resulted in them being knocked unconscious.

 

After Undyne had kicked them down to force them in a grovelling position, she slowly started to back away as if granting them space to do as she demanded; as if they truly needed that much space.

The pale human curled their fingers against the floor, letting their hands form into fists, wanting nothing more than to snap back. This was all just a terrible, terrible heap of crap. Everything had all gone to hell.

 

‘This is not what I had planned.’

 

They couldn’t risk fighting back, not after being dragged so deep into the Underground. They were completely surrounded, and they had to fight against their urge to break free.

Logic prevailed over emotions... temporarily. Even if Chara could dodge them and escape, they didn’t know where they were or how to get home.

For the sake of their well being, and for the sake of protecting Frisk, they had to comply.

 

Frisk was still out there somewhere, safe and sound, and Chara didn’t mind this predicament so long as Frisk was safe.

 

Chara didn’t mind.

 

And they slowly shifted themselves onto their knees, sitting upright slightly, but keeping their head bowed. The chamber would have almost been completely dark if it weren’t for the barred windows that streamed a small bit of light. If Chara were knelt in the light, they wouldn’t mentally complain about how cold the room was, but they weren’t… so they complained.

 

“Here it is, Asgore.” Undyne finally spoke up to break the silence that, to Chara, felt to have lasted for an eternity.

 

The whole room was nothing but dark brick; the walls, the floors, the steps that lead up to an actual throned seat. To Chara it looked exactly like a dungeon would.

 

Undyne’s voice had bounced off the walls to almost sound booming, as well as her steps as she practically stomped her way up to the throne where, presumably, Asgore sat. Chara didn’t dare lift their head to peek, they remained kneeling as they were told, bowing their head as instructed, shivering from the adrenaline and cold. Their body couldn’t stop shaking, they knew it wasn’t from fear, but they had a need to do something… anything--

I am done for.

 

Acceptance.

 

“Good work, Undyne.” A deep and monotone voice erupted, almost dully in bemusement, and yet it naturally sounded so demanding that Chara could hear all the other people in the room stir. They only assumed it were the other monsters that had helped Undyne drag Chara to the Underground. They must have all been in the same room, standing before Asgore to turn in the locket.

 

“All of you, well done.”

 

The shifting of weapons, guns and the like, sounded throughout the room, as all the guardsmen in unison thanked him “Thank you, King Asgore.”

“We will have Alphys look at it whenever she is available. If not, we can take it to Mettaton.” Asgore sighed almost in relief then, his voice suddenly calm and light-hearted, as if he weren’t a scary boss-monster whatsoever. Chara wondered if this had all been a mistake, maybe they would let them go now that they had what they supposedly wanted?

 

“Stand them up.”

 

And their hope had been forced away when they were roughly brought to their feet.

 

Two of the beast-men held Chara’s arms behind their back before yanking them upright in a standing position, powerless before the mob King. Finally, Chara had a good look of Asgore, a goat-like monster who was terrifyingly large, and almost too large as his shadow already loomed in the dark, stretching over the room and hiding his whole throne in shadow-- a throne that was larger than Chara had thought they had seen. The human could easily be compared to the height of Asgore’s waist, even Undyne, who stood beside him at the throne steps, looked tiny compared to the goat-beast-- and she was already tall and buff as is compared to Chara.

“They had it around their neck, just like the others.” Undyne had commented, her hands were now behind her back as she stood still and straight; postured formally.

“It is no matter how they obtained it,” Asgore said, holding the chain between two large nails on his claws and letting the ruby gem dangle before his eyes “The less backstory we have... the easier this will be. This is the last we need for the collection, yes?”

“Yes sir.” Undyne nodded, looking to the other mobsters as if seeking assurance. They all seemed to nod quickly as well, Chara noted all the dogs in the room were wagging their tails in excitement. Chara would hate to burst their bubble.

“Excellent.” Asgore smiled, now carefully placing the pendant in the palm of his paw “Perhaps Mettaton would have better luck determining the price of this artifact.”

“Alphys can handle it!” Undyne was too eager to boast about… whoever Alphys was “After all, she created Mettaton, I’m sure she knows everything Mettaton does!”

“Mettaton has a personality of his own…” Asgore rolled his eyes.

 

Chara rolled theirs as well.

 

Why were they still here if they got what they wanted? Why were they forced to stand around listening to them bicker back and forth?

 

Chara finally stirred a bit, however this only tightened the grip on their arms within the fuzzy paws of the dog mobsters. As if this were a reminder of Chara being present, Asgore and Undyne looked away from each other and back to the human. The human that returned to standing still and stiff.

Feeling everyone’s eyes laid on them almost left a burning sensation across their skin, Chara fidgeted again in discomfort. The silence had returned as Asgore seemingly inspected them from across the room, his large fingers now stroking his beard as if pondering what to do next.

 

Chara dared to speak up “You... got what you wanted, right?” They pulled at the bodyguards grasp to hopefully loosen the tight grip of the dog claws, however they still remained firm as Chara finished quietly “Now let me go… please, I have a friend that needs me.”

 

Frisk.

 

Chara didn’t seem phased at the puzzled expression on Undyne and Asgore’s face… however, it wasn’t until Undyne looked back at them with an awfully wide and sharp grin that the teen suddenly felt, once again, too shocked to speak. They had gone silent once more, unable to form anymore words after their quick demands of being released.

 

“I’m afraid that’s not the case, child.” Asgore’s voice spoke solemnly, almost regretfully… almost.

 

Chara’s lips opened up slightly, but nothing came out. Instead, Asgore waved his arm as Undyne proceeded to make her way back to where the human stood.

 

“Dispose of them with the others.”

 

“What?!” Chara finally blurted, grunting as the two guardsmen yanked at Chara’s arms. Now the struggle began, the teen fought for freedom as they started to pull Chara backward from whence they came “I GAVE YOU WHAT YOU WANTED--!” They cried out, their voice breaking but the volume never faltering.

The pair pulled Chara closer and closer towards the doorway that lead to even more darkness, the unknown and what sort of ‘disposal’ would befall them caused their heart heart to pound. The adrenaline was returning, pumping through their body and making their senses heighten and their nerves snap as they fought for dear life “No--! I can’t die! You got what you wanted!”

Undyne clicked her tongue, shoving her hand against their chest roughly, assisting in getting Chara to lose their footing as she hissed “Zip it and walk, kid.”

Chara’s eyes widened, horror-stricken and panicked as they let their legs fling upward, kicking and letting their feet flail about to try and knock one of the three down. It only lead to Undyne grabbing both their legs under her arm to try and keep them steady.

 

Chara whimpered, the dark of the hall loomed overhead as they gasped faintly “I don’t want to die…”

 

This is humanity.

 

“I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!”

 

“Dad!”

 

Everything halted.

 

Chara was dropped on the floor suddenly, frantically scrambling to try and catch their breath and gain their composure. The guards had dropped the human right at the doorway leaving, now blocking the exit as Chara was trapped between them and Undyne, who turned to look back in the direction of the voice.

 

Chara tried to catch their breath, but nothing worked. Their breaths came out as wheezes, as if they had been punched in the gut. They were so panicked, so stressed, so--

 

They swallowed down their need to laugh.

 

“Dad wait!” The voice rang again, including running footsteps that sounded close to an applause. An audience.

 

Humanity.

 

“They’re just a kid! Dad, please!”

 

“Sir?” Undyne stepped to the side, clearing Chara’s view and allowing them to once more gaze at the throne. Clenching their hand over the cloth covering their chest, they carefully looked back up and spotted a tall-- but still small compared to Asgore-- figure who looked almost as panicked as Chara did. Chara still continued gasping for breath, calming their nerves as the stranger defended them.

“You can’t keep doing this… you can’t…” The male was holding Asgore’s arm, as if holding it would stop him from giving orders.

 

Chara couldn’t help but think how dumb this all was, even after almost having a heart attack, they couldn’t hold back from realizing that a complete stranger was fighting to defend them-- let alone, against their own father.

 

Chara let out a noise, but after recieving a look from Undyne, they went quiet again.

 

“It’s the only way.” Asgore says almost too simply, pulling their arm out of their son’s grasp to raise it once more. However, the son didn’t seem to give up so easily, and even bothered to jump up to yank his arm back down again “Let them stay with me! Please?! They’ll be useful I promise! I… I’m lonely down here, Dad! Can’t I have a friend or something?! Someone to hang out with? I just… want to be normal…”

Those words seemed to trigger something within the boss-monster, as he lowered his arm more until it laid back on the throne’s armrest, and the son continued “If you’re going to keep me here, at least let me hang out with people my age.”

Chara could tell that, as much as the goat-son tried to sound annoyed, he was definitely afraid of saying the wrong thing. Which made sense-- considering one false word could be Chara’s demise.

The silence had returned, but Asgore’s son didn’t seem to let it linger “Please? Let them stay with me.”

 

“Are you serious ?” Undyne seemed to snap, huffing as she folded her arms across her chest “He let the experiment get away because he was convinced ‘it needed a walk’!

 

“It was an accident!” The young-goat retorted, though wounded by her words, he seemed to falter slightly “What do you expect? You can’t keep people down here and not let them breathe fresh air now and again…! He was getting sick!”

“Either way, we can’t risk it.” Undyne turned around, her sights set on Chara. She quickly grabbed them and pulled them up to their feet, but not without holding them up in the air for a moment first. The fact that she could hold them up one-handed was shocking, but thankfully she let Chara stand on their own two feet “It’s not safe to let a witness sit around here! What about the others? Why let this one live?!”

“Because I wasn’t there for those decisions!” The young goat-monster finally snapped back “And if I was, they would have been alive too because no one deserves to die over stupid jewelry!”

He returned his attention to Asgore, ignoring Undyne as she growled to try and get the King to focus on her “Dad, I’ll watch over them! I promise! I won’t let them free and I’ll--”

 

“Fine.” Asgore breathes out. Not sounding as if he were in agreement, moreso he just wanted the arguing to stop “If you promise to keep a close eye on them, and to be with them at all times, then very well. I trust you, Asriel0.”

 

The goat-son, Asriel, breathed out a heavy sigh of relief. Not even waiting for the coast to be clear, he looked to Chara and shot two thumbs up.

 

Chara was dumbfounded.

 

“Take them to your room.” Asgore interrupted, even reaching to, casually, slap Asriel’s hands down “If they do anything that will hurt you, anything at all… or if they try to escape… they will die. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes sir…” Asriel said gently, backing away from Asgore and slowly making their way over towards Chara. He looked up to Undyne, furrowing his brows(even though he was definitely shaking in fear) as he reached over to pull Chara out of her grip. The human stumbled a bit, leaning against Asriel, but the goat-monster simply wrapped an arm around them almost protectively.

“Asgore, with all do respect…” Undyne started, watching as Chara and Asriel made their way past the throne “This is a mistake, you can’t just let them--”

“I trust Asriel.” Asgore simply confirmed, speaking up as if to make certain Asriel could hear. His son stopped by the same doorway he had emerged from, looking over his shoulder towards his father “Thanks, dad.”

“Before you go, however…” Asgore once more tried, and now Asriel had to turn himself around a bit more to face him. The mob King licked his maw, bearing his surprisingly sharp teeth… for a goat “What about him … did you find the experiment?”

 

Asriel shifted on his feet, Chara glancing downward to watch the son dance a little nervously “N-No… but I’ll find him. I promise--”

 

“Don’t bother.” Undyne butted in, as she had done before, and approached the throne. She bowed slightly before Asgore “Let me find him. I’ll bring him back, you know I can do it.”

 

“You’ve never failed me, Undyne.”

 

The compliment was taken well, as Undyne was once again grinning from ear to ear. Her sharp teeth made both Chara and Asriel cringe, and the woman turned around and marched back towards the doorway where the two guard-dogs stood. After talking with the two of them for a bit, she gestured with her arm behind them, and the three of them left out the room. The few guardsmen that remained stood their ground, posted about the room and never failing to move an inch. Asgore breathed out, as if Undyne’s departure had lifted a huge weight from his shoulders, and the large monster rubbed his temples and seemed to calm down a bit easier. He glanced back towards Asriel and Chara, who still stood there wondering what to do next. “If you grant a ruffian some nice clothes, they suddenly believe they are equals.”

 

Asriel shifted on his feet “How many times do I have to say sorry? I didn’t think he would… run off with my... coat and umbrella. And I got a new one anyway… it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right?”

 

Chara arched a brow at this.

 

“Asriel Dreemurr.” Asgore sighed once more “You can’t act this way, you’re expected to rule after me and in my place if I’m ever to leave. You do realize this, yes?”

 

“Yes, Dad.” Asriel’s ears almost drooped even more than they already were. Chara was just now noticing the small set of horns on his head, but the realization at how close Chara was to him made them grunt in disgust. Chara shifted slightly in Asriel’s arm, which was still wrapped around their shoulders.

“You can’t keep acting like a child.” The boss-monster finally tore his eyes away from the teens “I can’t defend you from Undyne forever if this is how you will keep behaving. You can’t trust everyone so easily, you can’t let people walk all over you, don’t you understand? What we’re doing is for the good of us all, it will help provide so much more than what you may think it does… we all came together with one purpose-- to live a better life. Do you understand? Do you want us to live as we once had?”

Asriel groaned out “No…”

 

“Then do you actually understand why we must do this?”

 

Asriel swallowed “Y-Yes…”

 

“Now go.”

 

“Yes, Dad.”

 

Asriel nudged Chara, their arm squeezed the human’s shoulders as the two turned around and began the walk of shame down the hall. Or at least, what Chara could assume was shame for Asriel. As much as the teen wanted to attack the other and make a break for it, a part of them felt somewhat bad. Asriel definitely didn’t seem interested in anything that was happening-- in fact, he seemed full-heartedly against it. Similar to Chara’s situation, maybe Asriel was just as trapped as they were.

 

The hall was rather small, with two doors against both walls that lead to ‘who knows where’-- however, there was a single door all the way at the end of the hall, farthest from the others… and it had a lock and barred windows.

Chara looked at it for a long while, stopping in place next to a door in concern for being forced inside of the cell-looking chamber. However, Asriel nudged Chara back to reality, opening the door closest to them “Here’s my room… I guess we’re roommates now.”

 

The human looked at Asriel, trying their best to plead through glossy eyes. Chara was so tired, tired and hungry... nervous, wondering how long they would be able to last living like this. Wondering if there was any way that the monster could help.

“There’s nothing I can do…” Asriel frowned deeply, averting their gaze. It was apparent that he felt bad about everything, but not enough to actually do something about it “Please… just come on. I won’t let you die… I promise.”

 

Chara sighed, nodding as they stepped into the room.

 

‘For Frisk’s sake.’


The door was closed behind them.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Make A Getaway

Frisk was having mixed feelings about all this.

Maybe it was the fact that they had been practically abducted and were held against their will… maybe it was the fact that their abductor was actually really nice and took great care of them. Either way, the mixed feelings that bubbled in their chest were unwelcomed and uncomfortable. No matter what, Frisk knew that a major factor was due to the loss of their friend. Chara was still out there somewhere, waiting for Frisk to save them… but Frisk was trapped in a cottage located far outside of the city.

They splashed water on their face to wake up.

The bathroom was tinier than they had actually expected it to be, for a goat woman who was towering almost everything in her own home. But they figured the most important rooms were the ones that she needed the most space in; which the ceiling just so happened to be highest in the main room, the kitchen, and Toriel’s bedroom.

Frisk had a towel draped around their body, drying themselves off after having had a morning bath. Toriel didn’t wake them up from slumber, but Frisk had trouble sleeping anyway. It was hard to sleep soundly after being told you were never going to see your friend again. That the whole reason behind being taken all the way outside of the city, well fed and pampered, was a ruse to keep Frisk ‘safe’. It was getting harder and harder to trust people every day, and Chara’s words seemed to constantly knock at the back of Frisk’s brain.

Human’s suck.

And apparently so do Monsters.


Frisk knew that Toriel had good intentions. She had lost her son to the Underground, her ex-husband being the leader of a group known to kill anyone and anything in their way of obtaining an entire collection of the rare and priceless pendants(two of which Chara and Frisk just so happened to have.) She already went over how she had tried to protect each of the owners of the other necklaces, just for them to be pulled out of her grasp and into the clutches of death… Frisk only assumed that Toriel doing this was an act of desperation. If what she says is true, then Frisk and Chara’s pendants are the very last, and all the Underground needs for complete ownership is for the best friends to die.

Frisk sighed, rubbing the towel over their hair in thought as they closed their eyes. They could barely recognize themselves in the mirror from how clean they were now. It had been a long time since Frisk’s last bath, a longer time since they were able to have a proper meal and a nice bed to rest in… but the guilt was planted on their face. Here they were finally obtaining the comforts of a new home, and yet Chara was out there somewhere else struggling for survival. It wasn’t right.

Frisk hurried themselves from the bathroom, in nothing but a towel as they darted for their given bedroom—slamming their door shut.

A giggle sounded from the other side of the door, and Frisk felt their face heat up. Of course Toriel had to be there right as they finished their bath.

Displayed out on Frisk’s floral-designed bed spread were their old worn shorts—or at least what had once looked worn and used. Toriel must have cleaned them, considering there were no stains whatsoever and it almost looked newly purchased. It included the matching overalls that helped keep them up on Frisk’s thin frame, and the only change to the outfit seemed to be the shirt. Their old baggy-button down was missing, and had been replaced with a white short sleeve(almost frilly) blouse. The sleeves were somewhat puffed at the shoulders, the collar adorned with lace; the design matched the bedroom Frisk resided in. They couldn’t exactly complain, other than that the pure white blouse didn’t exactly match the muggy brown slacks they would be wearing, let alone the blouse being so new and the slacks being so…old.


They had to at least play along like things were fine though, right?


Frisk slowly changed into their given clothes, smoothing out the shirt and fixing their collar as they approached the vanity. Thankfully, Toriel hadn’t also offered to put bows in their hair, or Frisk would truly go insane. Looking themselves over, they couldn’t believe how fancy they looked. Their lightly tanned skin, deep brown eyes and hair, and a surprisingly nice outfit made them almost… happy.

Almost.

“I wonder what she would have made you wear, Chara.” Frisk asked the mirror with a small smile, fixing their hair still as they glanced over their features. Soon enough they returned to sitting on the bed, slipping on their worn brown boots, and carefully placing their charm around their neck. The red pendant was officially something worth more than just a keepsake… it was valuable to a whole mob of people, and it was worth Chara’s life.

Frisk carefully reopened the bedroom door, stepping outside into the main living space before closing it behind them.

“There you are, Frisk.” Toriel’s voice spoke up the moment Frisk shut their door. Frisk looked over towards the goat monster, seeing her sitting at the table crocheting something “I am so happy how that blouse turned out, it is rather difficult to make clothes… at least for me. But for much smaller figures it is fairly easy.” Her smile seemed genuine “I am so glad you liked it.”

Frisk thought they had no other choice but to wear it.

“Is the bed comfortable enough, dear?” Toriel asked calmly. Frisk’s body stiffened, remained standing right at their closed doorway “I had trouble sleeping.” They admitted, their eyes never leaving hers “I kept thinking about Chara.”


Her hand movements had stopped, needle and thread lowered down to the table with the other materials she had been keeping in her hands and lap. She carefully arranged the items on the table top, before gesturing for Frisk to come over. They hesitated to comply, but eventually made their way to sit across the table from her.


“I know you are upset about all of this.” Toriel started, a speech that Frisk wanted to reject without even hearing it. They tried not to hold such sour feelings against her, since she had been through a lot and her actions were with reason, but it didn’t stop them from worrying about their friend. The only reason Frisk was in such a predicament was because they were trying to save their Chara. Toriel continued “But this is for your safety, do you understand? There were others like you, all of which went missing and… more than likely fell at the hands of the Underground. I do not want that to happen to you, too.”


Toriel was no better than Asgore for kidnapping Frisk and keeping them trapped. No better than her ex-husband that held their child in the Underground.


“And I would like to think this is better than an orphanage… or a life on the streets…” Toriel decided to add that tidbit as if it would help the matter at hand. It didn’t, of course. Frisk was still feeling sour about it all. The goat monster gave a soft sigh, seeing that Frisk wasn’t exactly reacting in any positive way “I am having company over. I know that you are upset, dear. But just know that I do not want you to get hurt… you will be safe here—“

“I know.” Frisk said quickly, just to make it all end. They shared a warm smile towards Toriel, as much as their aching heart would let them “Thanks. I appreciate all your help, I really do.”


‘I gotta get out of here.’


“Oh.” Toriel returned the smile, just as warmly as she began to grab for her crocheting materials “I am glad. You will start to like it here, I am very certain of it. We can tend to the garden together, why… even learn to sew and knit if you would like? There are so many activities around here, the possibilities are endless—I can even teach you how to cook if that interests you—”

Frisk’s smile widened, but now it was just painful “That all sounds great.” Of course they didn’t mean it. Sure, in another world maybe it would have been nice. There was nothing more that Frisk could want than to finally have a normal life. A nice family, no longer on the streets, a warm bed with amazing food to eat—but not without Chara.

Toriel could tell the smile was strained, she simply reminded them “I have guests stopping by. They are good friends of mine and help get me groceries from the city now and then. I would love for you to meet them, but I understand if you would be too uncomfortable… they should be here at any moment.”


“I wouldn’t mind.” Frisk shrugged their shoulders a bit. In the end it didn’t matter. Frisk was already trying to plot their escape.


The guests didn’t arrive until early afternoon. Toriel was in the kitchen trying to make fried sandwiches, while Frisk was suffering from the reality of the situation at hand.


There was no window in the guest bedroom. But there was a window in Toriel’s.


“I hope you like chicken as much as you enjoyed the beef yesterday evening, Frisk.” Toriel managed, the plate of fried chicken sandwiches were carefully carried over to the main room to be set on the table. Frisk’s stomach growled in approval from the smells, but they were already peeking out the door to check up on who the ‘guests’ were. A car almost too similar to the one driven by Undyne had pulled up and sat there for who knows how long. Toriel didn’t even seem to notice as she set up the table, ignoring Frisk as they stared at the car that probably stared right back.


Were… were Toriel’s guests just a physical car?


“Please feel free to dig in, Frisk.” Toriel distracted them. She had suddenly approached and opened the door, causing Frisk to almost stumble outside. They carefully backtracked, however, and made their way to the table to take a seat. There were four plates placed around the four sides of the furniture, forks and knives properly set as well. The platter of sandwiches had been set up as if it were a centerpiece to be admired, though sitting right beside it was a… surprisingly large bottle of ketchup.


Ketchup on a fried chicken sandwich?


“Sans, Papyrus!” Toriel greeted happily, a beautiful laugh came after that caused Frisk’s head to turn.


A short skeleton was the first to enter into the small cottage, taking off his fedora and winking one empty eye socket up at the woman that towered over him. Sure, Toriel towered over everyone it seemed, however with the shorter skeleton being so short(maybe even shorter than Frisk) he looked like a toy. Of course, he was a skeleton— which yet again was another first-time experience for Frisk. They had never been that close to monsters, let alone humans, but they had never seen any skeleton monsters around the city in their whole life. They wore the same grey fancy-suit as the taller of the two.

The taller skeleton came in after, tipping his hat but not removing it until he had fully entered the residence—which could only be done by bending down to make sure not to knock his head against the doorframe. He was lanky and thin, both of the guests wore a grin any ‘normal’ skeleton would, but the taller’s smile seemed more natural than the shorter’s—which almost looked forced.

Toriel had no problem leaning down to kiss the short skeletons cheek, and then stood more upright to do the same for the taller.

Only the shorter one blushed.

“Frisk,” Toriel finally stepped to the side, allowing a better view as the skeletons looked towards the only human in the household “I would like for you to meet my two friends, Sans and Papyrus.”

“Sup, kid.” The shorter gave a surprisingly lazy wave. And now that there was a better view of the two, Frisk noticed that the shorter skeletons suit seemed more unkempt than the taller’s “I’m Sans. Tori’s told us all about ya, you’re even cuter in person.”

“Sans, do NOT be rude!” The taller rose his voice—unless his voice was naturally loud, because neither Toriel OR Sans reacted whatsoever. After having stared down and scolded the shorter skeleton, the taller one gave a rather gentlemanly bow “Please excuse my brother! I am Papyrus, and it is GREAT to meet you, Frisk!”

“I hope it is no trouble that I bragged to them about you.” Toriel’s cheeks were flushed, almost as if she had been caught doing something embarrassing. Which, in a sense, she had. Frisk never expected someone to talk about them to other people—Frisk never considered themselves to be the type of teen that had enough good qualities that were worth boasting about(let alone worth being called ‘cute’ by a skeletal monster). But they figured that Toriel, having cared for many people before Frisk, was simply excited that one of them chose to stay (whether willingly or not). If Sans and Papyrus were her friends, then it would be even more trouble trying to escape with them around.

In Papyrus’ hands were two bagful’s of… whatever groceries Toriel might have requested be purchased. At the same time Sans had turned to his taller brother and taken the bags from him, Toriel was hurrying off mumbling something similar to “Let me get my purse to pay you boys…”

“You know we do not accept your money, ma’am!” Papyrus almost cackled, his laugh rattled his jaw in a way that mesmerized Frisk “You will always be a fellow Under--!”


Sans had nudged him roughly, causing Papyrus to let out an ‘oof!’ noise before scowling.


“Ah.” Toriel looked nervous suddenly, glancing to Frisk for a moment. Who watched as calmly as they could in a room full of teen kidnappers.


“My child,” Toriel started, putting her coin purse away into the small pocket of her sweater. This afternoon, the woman was wearing a cream colored sweater that almost looked like she had knitted it herself. The sleeves were rolled up mid-length, probably due to her cooking in the kitchen moments ago, and underneath the warming overlay she wore a floral designed summer dress. It was purple, but the flower patterns that repeated along the fabric were pink and white. All that was really missing was a nice sun hat and she’d look ready for the great outdoors. “My child, you do remember the discussion we had yesterday evening, yes? About how I used to be married to Asgore?”

Frisk gave a silent nod.

Toriel’s deep red eyes glanced elsewhere, looking to the skeletons who remained standing at the doorway. They both stood as awkward as they could, before giving each other a look and hurrying about. Sans mumbled “Lemme help ya with these, Paps.” And Papyrus responded quietly “Thank you.” As they shuffled their way to the kitchen.


“These two work for him.” She managed finally “They are a part of the Underground.”

“Why are they here then?” Frisk tried, their eyes quickly darted back in the direction of the skeletons that were moving about the kitchen. Frisk definitely didn’t feel safe now.

“They are dear friends of mine.” Toriel tried to explain, even though it was apparent Frisk was no longer looking at her “Even after I left, all three of us insisted on keeping in touch. Well, especially Sans he… we’re very close and I could not possibly leave so many of my loved ones behind.” Toriel had reached down and touched Frisk’s shoulder “Both of them are lookouts who gather information for Asgore, and with it they tell me what they know as well. Perhaps they can even help you with your friend?”

Frisk finally looked back at Toriel. They weren’t sure what felt worse… knowing Toriel was still keeping in touch with the members of the group both of them equally despised, or that she was trying to lure Frisk into playing cool with them as well.

But she had a point with that, too. Frisk needed to know about Chara and where they were… whether they were safe, whether they weren’t… whether they were dead. And this would probably be their only chance on getting the information they needed. If Toriel truly did plan on keeping Frisk here forever, then repeated visits from the skeletons would do them good to keep up with what’s happening.


Then again, Frisk was certain they wouldn’t be there for long.


Frisk gave a small nod just in time for the brothers to return from the kitchen. Sans, as if knowing the tension in the room had gotten thick, eyed the food on the table “Are those for us?” He reached out to grab a sandwich—wait no, he was just grabbing for the ketchup.

Toriel giggled “Why certainly! You know I will always feed you two with every visit! I know it is not a pasta dish, Papyrus, but I do hope you enjoy fried chicken sandwiches.”

“I will ALWAYS give every dish of yours a chance, Ms. Toriel!” Papyrus was fairly cheerful about this as he took a seat at the table. Sans followed suit and Frisk adjusted themselves in their seat. Toriel soon enough joined, and then she added “Thank you so much for dropping off the groceries.”

Papyrus was humming while staring down at his chicken sandwich… so child-like, that one. Frisk was paying more attention to Papyrus than to the shorter skeleton that was starting to sweat bullets. Toriel cleared her throat to get Frisk’s attention, and then when Frisk looked back to Sans she mentioned “They know, Sans. It is alright.”


“Well, I’m glad the elephant’s outta the room then.” Sans scoffed, looking to Frisk with a wink of his eye “Ya got us, kid. We deliver the goods to Tori ‘ere.”


“The GROCERY goods!” Papyrus added happily. Frisk couldn’t help but crack a smirk, and Toriel giggled as she clarified “No not that, I meant about the Underground.”


“Oh.” Both brothers looked down at their plates.


Frisk was hesitant to get to the point. They wanted to know what was going to happen to Chara, they wanted to ask, but a part of them had trouble trusting the skeletons. It was easy to suspect that Toriel kept in touch with them not just because of being friends, but with her own child still trapped with Asgore, she probably asked them constantly about him.

“Frisk lost their friend to the Underground.” Toriel spilled out. Frisk shot her a look, that almost immediately caused Toriel to wince, and she had paused to keep herself from saying anything else momentarily. She was very careful with her next words as she looked at Frisk “A child named Chara had been abducted recently. And if either of you had heard about them, Frisk would like to know if they are doing alright.”

“Chara…” Sans finally pulled a sandwich onto his plate, but quickly started to squirt the ketchup bottle all over it. Frisk was mortified.

“That name…” Papyrus tapped a finger on his jaw, though his eyes suddenly looked towards Sans’ plate, and his thoughts were distracted “SANS! THAT IS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING!!”

“Name doesn’t ring a bell.” Sans shrugged, ignoring Papyrus as his smile never faltered “Sorry, kid.”


Frisk slumped in their seat, and Papyrus tried to make things better “If it means anything, we will find out as much as we can for our next visit.”


Of course it meant nothing. Frisk didn’t know how often the skeleton brothers visited. Who knew? The next time they visited, Chara could be dead by then…


“We try our best ta keep Tori up to speed on everything that’s goin’ on Underground.” Sans said, finally using up all of the ketchup. He squeezed, and squeezed at the bottle until even the air had been completely gone. The bottle was a pitiful deflated container when Sans was finished with it, and he placed the empty bottle back on the table as if someone else would be using it. He muttered quickly “New bottle’s already in the fridge, Tori.” Before he continued “ ’Specially with her son. Whose is doin’ mighty fine.”

“Oh thank goodness.” Toriel touched her chest and sighed out, completely relieved that nothing had happened to him… even though Frisk wondered what could possibly happen to the prince of the Underground. “So Asgore has not done anything… suspicious has he? With Asriel, I mean. Asgore is not training him or anything of the sort just yet?”

“Well, makin’ the kid observe things. But that’s it.” Sans bit into his sandwich. Almost like blood, it practically gushed from his teeth and dripped down his boney jaw. It was horrific watching a monster with blood-stained teeth ketchup-stained teeth chomping away at a piece of meat between bread. Papyrus looked almost as disgusted as Frisk had been, though when both the human and skeleton looked away from the shorter monster, they wound up staring at eachother.


It wasn’t until the conversation had stopped that Frisk realized Papyrus had been staring at their pendant around their neck. As if knowing he had been caught, the lights in his eye sockets had darted elsewhere. And as quick as he looked away, Frisk tucked the pendant under their blouse.


“Honestly,” Toriel finally spoke up again, though suddenly she sounded almost baffled “I cannot understand why you two still work for him. Everything he does is absolutely disgusting.”

“It’s a job.” Sans non-existent brows furrowed, and even Papyrus could feel that trouble was brewing as the shorter of the two persisted “And besides, if we did call it quits, you wouldn’t get the info you need, now would ya?”

“But at what cost?” Toriel scolded “Your morality?

“Look, Tori. We’ve been over this.” Sans had to stop eating—even though he only took one bite before appearing disgusted. Papyrus had lifted a boney hand to try and object from the two getting into any deeper discussions, but apparently it didn’t work as Sans carried on almost snapping “We got our own reasons for stayin’, just as you had your reasons for leavin’. We ain’t bribin’ you to come back so drop it, okay?”


Things were getting tense, and as much as Frisk wanted to hear more on what was happening, they also didn’t feel comfortable anymore. Without having touched their sandwich even a little, they slowly stood from the table. At the screech of their chair being pulled back, Frisk caught the attention of everyone in the room. The brothers, and Toriel, both went silent as they looked to the teenager. Frisk mumbled “I’m going back to my room.” And with that, turned and went to the guest bedroom. With a quick shut of their door, they locked it and flopped onto the bed.


The conversation had died down on the other side of the door, Frisk heard apologies here and there exchanged, and then faintly it was said “Watch out for them, will you?”

Before Frisk had drifted.


But in the blink of an eye, they woke up.


Grabbing for the pendant around their neck from reflex, they felt a sense of calm knowing it was still there. Frisk was hopeful that Chara was alive. Chara was safe and sound, and maybe that blonde they had met in the alley was actually trying to figure something out on Chara’s whereabouts. With the skeleton brothers never having heard of Chara’s name, Frisk had a bit of doubt that they would be of any help.


But then again…


Frisk jumped out of the bed and walked up to the bedroom door, unlocking it and carefully opening it just enough to peek through. There was the sound of rushing water coming from the kitchen, and the bathroom door was closed. No one was in the main dining area anymore, other than Frisk’s sandwich that had been left at the table, of course.

Frisk took this chance to make their escape.

They fully stepped outside of their room, quietly closing the door behind them and making their way towards Toriel’s bedroom. With the door being closed, and not having enough time to check on who exactly was in the kitchen(and not wanting to check on who's in the bathroom) they took a chance and opened the goat-monsters bedroom door. With a turn of the knob and a quick push, it creaked noisily, but apparently it wasn’t loud enough to hear over the rushing water.

Frisk hurried inside and shut the door behind them. Holding in their breath the entire time, then they slowly turned around to check and see if they had been caught.


Thankfully, she wasn’t there.


Frisk breathed out.


“No offense, Ms. Toriel,” Frisk mentioned to themselves as they spotted the window, shining a gentle light throughout the well-decorated bedroom “But Chara needs me.”

Frisk walked over to the window and peeked outside. Through the glass there was nothing but fields of wheat, and lost within the grain were scattered wild flowers. They all swayed in time with the breeze. Frisk hadn’t been outside since yesterday afternoon, then they made the mistake of getting into the goat-woman’s car… and didn’t step out of the vehicle until later in the night just to make their way into the cottage. As Frisk pulled the window open, the breeze immediately graced their face, and the air smelled fresh and clean. They breathed it all in as deeply as they could, taking a moment to gather their nerves before they actually proceeded to climb out of the window. Blouse, shorts, necklace and boots, they stepped onto the grass and shut the window behind themselves.

Frisk was finally outside.

But now what?

Frisk quietly made their way around from the side of the home, kneeling at the corner of the cottage near the front lawn. Other than the nice arrangement of flora in the many gardens Toriel had planted, parked on the street sat the vehicle the skeleton brothers had drove in on. Parked right in front of the goat-woman’s automobile. Compared to hers, theirs was sleek and almost new… but then again, Frisk definitely thought the brand to be familiar. The same vehicle type that they recalled Undyne and her dog-monster gang to drive up on Chara and take him away in.

Then Frisk remembered. Duh. Sans and Papyrus were probably headed directly back to the Underground after their visit with Toriel.

Frisk had a plan, but for it to work they would have to act fast.

The teen tucked their locket back under their shirt as they made a run for it. They dashed across the front lawn and through the gardens of flowers, being careful not to simply trample over them in their wake, but also trying their best not to trip and stumble in any way that would cause their speed to slow down. They would keep running until they were right behind the car, and once they were they ducked back down and peeked around the back end. From where they knelt, they could spot the front windows that probably could have given a good view of the main living space… if it weren’t for the curtains having covered Frisk’s line of sight. Now Frisk was worried that taking too long fiddling with the lock on the trunk would cause all three of them to run out and grab Frisk. There was no other way out of this place; they were literally in the middle of nowhere, hours from the city and who knew how far from the Underground. The only way Frisk could escape if the trunk wouldn’t budge was sneaking into the back seat, and there was a bigger chance at getting caught back there than with the trunk method.

That, or Frisk could steal Toriel’s car—but never having driven a day in their life, they were sure to crash long before reaching even the city limits.


They carefully reached around and lightly pressed against the corner of the trunk, pushing their hand upward to try and test the waters on how tightly sealed it—

It was unlocked.

Frisk snorted a bit at this, quickly standing and opening up the trunk that they suspected would be empty. If all they brought over were groceries, surely the skeleton brothers would have a completely empty trunk with just enough space for, say, a human body? Opening it up revealed something beyond what they had imagined… but was still within the realm of possibility—why didn’t Frisk figure that something like this would be in the trunk of a mobster’s car?


Guns, of course. Of COURSE there were guns!


Frisk’s body froze just at the sight of them. The reality of the situation became, once again, apparent that Frisk was dealing with a group of gangster’s. A group of thugs who had been killing people for YEARS just for the necklace that was, coincidentally, right around Frisk’s neck. The same thing that Papyrus had been staring at since the moment they sat down at the table. The necklace Papyrus had quickly looked away when Frisk had caught them gawking at. These happy-friendly monsters who were ‘friends of Toriel’s were killers, and like the argument Toriel and Sans had at the table, to Sans it was ‘just a job.’

It was ‘just a job to kill people.’ They’re ‘just following orders.’

Frisk’s fear had told them to not even try touching those deadly machines. Frisk’s body was completely shut down, their deep brown eyes fixated on the black mechanisms of destruction. For monsters that had magic, they sure used them in the worst ways… and now they were even resorting to man-made weaponry.

As much as Frisk held themselves back, as much as Frisk hesitated to actually grab hold of them… Frisk was reminded that Chara was waiting. Chara was in the arms of the exact same people Frisk was now fearing to trail. If Frisk didn’t find their bravery, if Frisk didn’t seek justice, then Frisk would literally be leaving Chara to their death.

Frisk took in a deep breath, held it, and then let it go. They were determined to save Chara.

It was simple reflex that the tanned teen repeated ‘ew’ as they picked up the two, surprisingly large and heavy, guns and carefully placed them down on the ground. One by one, of course… Frisk didn’t have enough arm strength to carry them both at the same time. They then proceeded to shove them right underneath the car, in an attempt at hiding them for when the two drove off. Sans and Papyrus would definitely notice their own guns lying around, so they figured pushing them underneath the car was a safe bet. That way, they would be long gone before realizing instead of transporting weaponry, they were transporting a body straight to their headquarters. Besides, there was never a good enough excuse to hurt people, let alone kill them. They wouldn’t need the guns anyway.


“Thanks for the grub, Tori.” Sans’ voice was heard suddenly, the door to the front of Toriel’s cottage had opened. Frisk shut the trunk and ducked around the corner again.


“I apologize on behalf of Sans…” Papyrus sounded irritated “For drowning his meal in ketchup, AGAIN.”

“Oh, there is no need, Papyrus!” Toriel giggled in response, reaching out to hug the tall skeleton as a sign of farewell “Why do you think I ask for a new bottle of ketchup with every delivery? I must repay the both of you somehow.”

“Ya know we’re more than happy ta help out now an’ again. So long as you repay us with food n’ ketchup, we got your back.” Sans’ tone had changed somewhat, and Frisk could hear one of the two skeleton’s footsteps beginning to approach the car. Papyrus, being the one who approached as according to the loud yelling, got into the vehicle “SANS! HURRY UP! WE HAVE WORK TO DO!”

“Be there in a sec, Pap!”


It was now or never.


Frisk peeked around again and watched as Toriel faced towards the street, Sans with his back turned. They hoped, begged, prayed in the back of their mind that Sans would give Toriel some sort of reason to turn around and re-enter the house. But to no avail, whatever they had been discussing was suddenly quiet enough where Frisk couldn’t tune in to their conversation, and eventually Toriel had shut the door.

Sans had turned around and was ready to head back to the car. Frisk’s mind was reeling—if they had no other choice they were more than willing to resort to begging, groveling, or maybe even attempting to hand onto the back of the car and let the vehicle drag them along. Frisk hoped for something, anything that would distract Sans—


Then suddenly Sans turned around and refaced the door, suddenly lifting his arm in preparation to knock one more time.


Jackpot.


Frisk quickly swung the trunk door open again, practically flinging themselves inside and slamming it afterwards.

Within the darkness of the back, Papyrus let out a startled yelp “WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT?!”

Sans had given up whatever he was about to re-knock on Toriel’s door for, Frisk heard him enter the car; driver’s seat. Frisk imagined it being almost hilarious that the shorter of the two would be driving and the taller in the passenger’s side. Sans made a vocal shrugging noise, before starting the car.

It didn’t take that long of a ride for Frisk to realize it was getting harder and harder to breathe.

The trunk was sealed tight; it was air locked.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Snitch

Deep and slow breaths. Frisk would manage fine so long as they didn’t panic and try to consume more air than they needed.

 

Deep… slow… breaths.

 

Frisk had plenty of time to try out different breathing techniques. The one that worked the best was the tactic of taking in a deep breath and holding it for as long as they could, and then over time, they would slowly breathe out in spurts before having to take another deep breath and repeat the process. It worked, however each time they took in a new breath, the air they managed to hold in would be less and less. It didn’t help that each time the car went over a bump of sorts the air would get knocked out of Frisk.

 

And soon enough, Frisk was sure they would breathe their last.

 

‘But I have to keep holding on.’ Frisk thought in the dark of the trunk. ‘If I pass out now, Chara won’t…”

Frisk kicked the top of the trunk, hard. Not on purpose of course, but the sudden bump in the road had rattled the car and sent Frisk’s body upward. The only way to keep Frisk from smacking right into the top of the lid was kicking it instead, to keep them against the trunk’s flooring. Frisk figured it wasn’t a loud enough kick to cause a commotion, however it was a strong enough blow that Frisk found themselves completely breathless. They struggled for air for a long period of time, and finally their vision began to blur. Frisk figured it would happen eventually, no matter how badly they tried to stay conscious. Soon enough Frisk had given in and let their body collapse fully on the trunk floor.

 

Though Frisk’s eyes were closed, and their focus drifting, it wasn’t that long of a ‘nap’ until the car had screeched to a halt.

 

Had they made it to the Underground?

 

‘Snap out of it.’ Frisk scolded themselves in the back of their mind. They just needed to figure out how to bust out of the trunk, then they could make a run for it to hunt down Chara. Hours, it felt like Frisk had survived hours struggling to breathe, but they were beginning to lose the fight and they had just made it to—

 

There was angry banter from the skeleton brothers. Loud enough for Frisk to know they were fighting, but their brain was forcing Frisk to get some much needed rest. The arguing continued as Frisk closed their eyes and drifted once more…

 

 

The muffled arguing continued for a few minutes before the trunk door had been flung open.

 

Frisk woke up with a startled yelp and heavy gasp of air. Fresh air poured into their lungs, but at the same moment as they could breathe again, they were yanked by the collar and flung out of the vehicle.

 

Their mind still in a daze, trying to recuperate from lack of oxygen, their brain was rattled with figuring out what exactly was happening.

 

Their mind finally focusing, they realized Sans was now hovering over them. As if wearing gloves, he was wiggling his fingers and cracking his knuckles, almost preparing to beat the crap out of Frisk who, easily, was preparing to defend themselves as well. Papyrus was still near the trunk, peeking inside as if searching for something.

 

“We don’t take kindly ta stowaways.” Sans bothered to dish out a joke, but Frisk received mixed signals since one of his eyes had flashed a bright shade of blue, and a ghostly smoke emitted from it like an emergency flare signal even though he was smiling down at the teen. Papyrus groaned out in protest against the terribly timed joke “SANS! Now is NOT the time to act like a PIRATE! We are missing our weapons!”

“Hold that thought, kid. ” Sans pointed right at Frisk, who was still cowering on the ground where they had been tossed. What was Frisk going to do? Run away?

It would have made sense, in any other given situation, but it took Frisk a while to realize that they had stopped in the middle of nowhere. Sure, closer to the city from what Frisk could see in the distance, but still an hour or two away from actually reaching town. And who knew how far from the Underground’s location. In a sense, this was good. Frisk had been discovered and they probably wanted to take them to Asgore anyway, right? Either way, Frisk knew they would be headed right to the Underground where they would rescue Chara and the two would get out.

 

If Frisk made it there alive, at least.

 

Sans had returned to the trunk to join his taller brother in searching for something, it didn’t take long for Frisk to realize, and for Sans to blurt out, what they were looking for “Where’s the guns?”

Frisk lifted up to their feet, carefully brushing themselves off as Sans repeated, more sternly as he returned his attention to the teenager “Where the hell’d you put the guns?”

“You don’t need guns.” Frisk retorted, crossing their lightly tanned arms over their blouse. Chara had molded themselves with the rough streets, and with it came the need to fight back and do whatever it took to survive. Frisk, however, always believed there was another way. No one had to get hurt, no one had to die, and surely no one needed guns.

It was bizarre seeing Sans get angered and practically snappy—especially since Papyrus seemed like the kind-hearted yet more serious and stern one than him. Sans was the jokester that Papyrus had told to shut up during their visit with Toriel, but Frisk did remember that Toriel and Sans got into an argument that made Frisk decide to leave. And now here they were, Sans having tossed them out the trunk then prepare to beat them to a pulp.

 

Probably.

 

“They are correct.” Papyrus, surprisingly, agreed with Frisk “We do not need guns, brother! There is no use to resort to such violence—“

“Yeah, we don’t need guns.” Sans, surprisingly, agreed as well with Frisk. However Frisk realized why when Sans’ blue eye flared, and a dozen or more blue bones had spawned right above him. Glowing in a ghostly blue light, their ends morphed into sharp shanks that definitely looked deadly.

 

Frisk had fallen back down onto the ground from the shock.

 

“Spill it, kid.” Sans demanded, walking towards Frisk as Frisk did their best to crawl back and away. Papyrus remained planted beside the trunk, giving Sans a look of disapproval, but at the same time not stopping him from murdering a teenager if he had to.

“Spill WHAT?!” Frisk blurted out, tripping over their arm and landing their back down. It was the trip up that Sans needed to now stand right over the teen, both short legs placed on either side of Frisk’s waist. The sharp bones started rotating as Sans let his boney fingers dance, they twirled in a hypnotizing manner, a way that distracted Frisk’s eyes from staring at Sans and looking everywhere else.

“I ain’t afraid to kill ya, kid. Even if you belong to Tori.” Sans muttered, his skeleton smile never faltered, but it still looked strained as it had been before “Don’t play dumb. Why the hell were you in the trunk of our car—“

“I’m not Toriel’s kid!” Frisk now held their arms up defensively, over their face as if that would protect them from the knife-like bones that began to get too close for comfort “I-I mean I was there when you guys came to visit but-- I was never hers! I ran away because she was forcing me to stay! What else was I supposed to do?!”

 

“You what ?”

 

Frisk got his attention.

 

“I-I said…!” Frisk stammered, trying to swallow down the fear of being murdered in the middle of nowhere. Frisk had a feeling Sans wouldn’t do it, though. Sans seemed to care about Toriel very much. Both the skeleton brothers did, so Frisk felt deep down that neither would do any harm to them that would hurt Toriel in any way…

 

Not that Frisk would push it, but they still had a feeling.

 

“I-I said that Toriel had driven me out to her house as a means of… keeping me safe…!” Frisk lowered their arms and peeked back up at Sans, who was slowly retreating and backing themselves away from standing over the teen. Frisk took this moment to sit up on their elbows, breathing a lot easier with the magical bones vanishing. They continued as they watched Papyrus approach as well “I went with her because she knew about the Underground… no one else would help me but her… but when I went with her it was a—she thought she was protecting me by making me live with her but I just—I just can’t.”

The skeletons looked to one another, almost as if indifferent to Frisk’s story. However, Frisk tried to persist “Remember when I asked about my friend? My friend Chara? I really need to find them. I can’t just leave them… whether you two heard of them or not, I know what I saw and when I heard you two were apart of their group I knew it was my only chance—“

“I believe ya, kid.” Sans said, far more gently than he had been earlier “Tori told us that this might happen. We weren’t payin’ enough attention or keepin’ track of you wanderin’ about the house but… she warned us.”

“The least that you can do, at this point, is sit up front with us instead of in the TRUNK of a CAR!” Papyrus said, his invisible brows were furrowed as he folded his arms across his chest “That was a ridiculous stunt you pulled— I thought humans needed air to breathe!”

 

“We do.” Frisk frowned deeply.

 

Sans snorted “They do.”

 

“Trunks are NOT for living people!”

 

Sans snorted again “They definitely are not.”

 

This made Frisk get timid. Not sure exactly what would happen from this point, they wondered and worried about all the possibilities. Was this a trap? What if Frisk wouldn’t really be taken to the Underground? What if the brothers would drive them somewhere else and dump Frisk in the river? Or… something?

 

In the blink of an eye, Sans got behind Frisk and Papyrus gestured for both of them to return to the car. With a rough nudge, Frisk was walking back to the vehicle—this time, Papyrus suggested “Let the human sit up front with me, I think I will be driving.”

“What’s wrong wit my drivin’?” Sans asked, but as if not truly caring about the decision made, he already got himself comfortable in the back seat.

“You drive so recklessly that I cannot see straight!” Papyrus scowled, slamming the drivers door behind him. The roof of the vehicle was obviously too short for him, since he had to hunch a bit in order to fully get into his seat “We drove over almost every bump on the road! My brain was practically rattling all over the place!”

 

“Rattled your bones , eh?” Sans winked.

 

Frisk snickered.

 

Papyrus hissed as he quickly helped Frisk buckle in, as if they couldn’t take care of themselves. Soon enough the three of them were back on the road, this time by normal means. Frisk felt almost relieved that they didn’t have to be shoved in the trunk again, and it was a beautiful day, which Papyrus insisted Frisk roll down the window to let in some air.

 

“You look like you could use some extra!” Papyrus said with a smile, as if humans could store extra air in a pouch located somewhere inside their organs.

 

Unlike the silence with Toriel when Frisk had first hopped into her vehicle and headed for her cottage,  there was none whatsoever with the skeleton brothers. The two chattered away at each other with ease in front of Frisk, and the background noise was relaxing. Even in such a weird situation as travelling with a bunch of mobsters on their way to rescuing a friend from their boss, Frisk seemed almost relaxed and happy.

 

Almost.

 

They brushed off so easily that they worked for a murderer . Someone who had taken plenty of people, of different ages and sizes, just to grab at their necklace to sell where, the black market? Who would buy stolen goods and make the Underground rich enough to never work a day in their lives again?

 

Frisk supposed other mobsters would.

 

Most of the conversation during the ride consisted of Sans cracking jokes and Papyrus either brushing them off, shouting at how terrible they were, or (on rare occasions) commending them for being surprisingly good. Sometimes Papyrus was pondering over what sort of protocol they were breaking in bringing a human along for the ride to the Underground, but Sans would explain that Frisk was technically just a hitchhiker in need of a ride.

Whenever Frisk was caught laughing at one of Sans’ jokes, Sans used it as back up that his joke was a real hoot, and Papyrus would explain how they thought humans were good people with good tastes. “I thought better of you, Frisk.” Papyrus would say mockingly.

One of said remarks lead to Papyrus admitting “Spaghetti! For instance! Is a remarkable dish I have seen a lot of the Italian locations make! Humans have good taste in spaghetti! Specifically, ITALIAN HUMANS!”

“Paps likes going out to eat.” Sans clarified, and Papyrus seemed to beam at this “AH YES! It is a fine life, having the privilege of going out to dinner with friends and loved ones! I am practically the most popular of all the Underground! At least I WILL be! Soon!”

Frisk wasn’t sure if that was any form of gloating, considering the Underground was officially the crappiest place on earth. But it made Papyrus happy, and he seemed rather innocent compared to Sans, who was willing to shank a teenager with magic a little over thirty minutes ago. Sans winked an eye from the backseat “He’s a real charmer.”

“It must be nice.” Frisk finally tried to join in on the conversation. All Frisk had been doing since they first were buckled into the vehicle was react and keep to themselves. However, with the brothers being real chatterboxes, it was hard not to get involved without seeming rude “The last decent meal I ever had was at Toriel’s. Before her, me and Chara lived on the streets and just grabbed whatever we could find.”

 

That was apparently a mistake to admit, considering the happy appearances of the brothers turned grim and they gave eachother a look of dismay. Even for skeletons who were forced to smile, their smiles looked strained.

 

Frisk cleared their throat, tugging the collar of their blouse top “I’m sorry.”

 

“Nah, kid.” Sans reached out and roughly patted Frisk’s shoulder. Considering his hand was pure bone, it hurt… a lot. “We gotcha.”

 

“We were like you.” Papyrus’ voice had gotten low, his focus had returned to the road as they drove on “We were like you once.”

 

A string tugged at Frisk’s chest, as if their very being was regretting having brought it up.

 

“It ain’t the greatest story to tell.” Sans commented suddenly, adjusting in the back seat as Frisk turned their head to look at him. Sans, however, was looking down at his own hands, unaware that Frisk was even staring at him “We were on the streets for who knows how long. Years maybe? It felt like it.” He finally lifted his head, his eye sockets had gone hollow. The lights that replaced pupils had gone out, and when Frisk looked to Papyrus even his own had faded away. The story must have been very heartbreaking, Frisk felt their stomach churn.

“We do not need much.” Ppayrus mentioned, relaxing as much as he could in his seat, considering he was too tall to fully get comfortable “We do not need to eat or sleep like most people would… like most monsters would. The life we lived was strange…”

“Nobody was kind ta us.” Sans suddenly blurted, and it received an instant reaction from Papyrus who glared over his shoulder at the brother. Sans didn’t seem to back down “The world was full a’crooks. Papyrus could be as kind as he wanted, but folks’d still treat us like complete garbage.”

“But not everyone was bad…” Papyrus tried, looking back at the road “It took years for anyone to finally recognize our potential, but not everyone was bad. That was when we met Undyne.”

“An’ Tori n’ Asgore.” Sans chuckled lowly “They had a ‘get rich’ scheme, Undyne was walkin’ around recruitin’ monsters. Folks who came from nothin’, who were nothin’. She came up to us in one a da back alley ways of this Italian restaurant, found us slumped at the sidelines and asked if we’d like to help.”

“Fortune~ Fame~” Papyrus’ vacant eyes had suddenly glowed bright. The lights within the dark of his eye sockets had sparked once again, as if the story took a turn for the better “We would never have to worry about where to sleep, where to live or who to trust! We had a family of our own!” He lifted his long fingers to grace the nice attire over his chest “And I convinced Sans to join, even though he was hesitant at first…”

“I was never hesitant, Paps.” Sans corrected him, the lights in his own eyes had returned just so he could roll them “You know I got yer back, we’re bros… I ain’t gonna let you get into anythin’ without me taggin’ along.”

Papyrus had gotten happier once again, now patting at the wheel to the rhythm of a song. Of course, the song was in his head… a radio in an automobile sounded ridiculous. “I would really like to be apart of the front-liners with Undyne and her crew! But I know that the actions they perform are… dangerous? And rather VIOLENT! But they are considered the ‘Royal Guards’ of the Underground, they are the ones who go out and get things done! Everyone looks up to them and has faith that they will help us out of the rut we are all in! That is why I want to be apart of that crew! I want people to look up to me like they do to Undyne! I have even asked her to train me with my magic and with her firearms but—ah, I am not that good at it. I do not know if I can pull it off as well as she can.”

 

Imagining Papyrus stepping out the car on the day Chara was abducted seemed, funny. Maybe things would have been different if he was there, Frisk couldn’t imagine Papyrus being the type to try and do any sort of fighting. Especially after the statement he had just made, and of course after Frisk having witnessed first hand that Sans was the one willing to do the hitting, and Papyrus kept himself away from it completely.

 

“A skeleton can dream, though.”

 

As if answering Frisk’s suspicions, Papyrus gave a happy smile towards the teen before looking back to the road.

 

“So…” Frisk cleared their throat, and tilted their head slightly in wonder “What is it you guys exactly do? I know when Toriel introduced you two, she said something about—“

 

“We’re informants.” Sans stated, sniffing and rubbing his nose as if he actually had one “We’re lookouts, kid. All we really do’s scope places for whatever valuables we can find. When we got somethin’ that seems worth the Underground’s time, we report in.”

“But recently they have been very strict on what we can report in.” The taller skeleton had decided that his main focus had to be on the road now, and Sans had unbuckled himself from his seat in the back just so he could lean in between Frisk and Papyrus to join in on the conversation. Papyrus continued “We are only looking for the necklaces! Nothing else! Apparently there has been word we need one more left before we are free! Can you imagine? No longer having to deal with the troubles of money!”

“Sounds like the life, aye kid?” Sans nudged Frisk, who carefully rubbed their arm from the blow. Frisk was now completely nervous, considering the final necklace was either already in their hands thanks to the kidnapping of Chara, or was close to it considering Frisk had their own pendant and they were already on their way to the Underground. At least, Frisk hoped that they were.

And who knew? Toriel already implied that there was technically supposed to be only one remaining pendant needed to complete the collection. She said that either there was another pendant made without their knowing, or that one of their necklaces were fake. It was a fifty-fifty shot of either being the case, but there was a ten out of ten chance that no matter what the case, Chara would be disposed of if Frisk didn’t make it in time.

“Frisk, since you are in the same situation as me and Sans have been, perhaps Undyne will be lenient and allow you to join us?” Papyrus made the offer as if it was a good one. To Frisk, however, it definitely wasn’t. As much as the ‘good life’ sounded nice, not having to worry about money or starvation, Frisk only imagined it being hard to sleep at night with a good conscious knowing that they worked in a mafia that hurt innocent people for the sake of stealing priceless objects. Frisk easily shook their head, not even giving it a second thought. The shake of their head was hard enough to let their pendant slip out from inside their shirt, and the ruby red gem gleamed “I understand you guys have your own reasons, and I know you don’t want to hear it, Sans.” Frisk gave Sans a look that caused the male to simply wink back, but Frisk persisted “I can’t join a crew that’s willing to hurt innocent lives. Let alone, the lives of people I know and love. Chara is somewhere in the Underground, Undyne snatched them right up just because of what they wore around their neck… and I don’t think I can be apart of that sort of stuff.”

 

“No harm n’ that.” Sans replied “I know Tori’s the same way. But if that’s the case, kid… then why’d you not stay with her?”

 

“Chara’s like family to me.” Frisk said, ignoring that Papyrus was suddenly darting his head back and forth from the road to Frisk “I can’t just leave them abandoned. It wouldn’t feel right living safe and sound with Toriel, but leaving Chara behind.”

 

Frisk dared to add “You understand, right Sans?”

 

Of course he did, he just talked about how he didn’t care that much about the Underground, just that he would stay at his brother’s side.

 

“The bond of a siblin’ is hard to break.” Sans agreed, and with a heavy sigh, he smoothed his hand over his head, the other having lifted the fedora away “You got guts, you’ve come a long ways just ta try an’ get your fam back. I respect that.”

“Yes…” Papyrus said, sounding rather distracted suddenly. Sans noticed quickly, and asked anyway “What’s on yer mind, Paps?”

“Oh, nothing.” Papyrus commented, taking another glance towards Frisk. Frisk was feeling that uneasiness again, and they fidgeted in their seat.

“So how much money are you guys trying to get?” Frisk tried to change the subject, looking away as Sans leaned back in their seat. Sans sighed thoughtfully at the question, before clicking his tongue “I dunno, kid. But it’s a lot. When we got everythin’ we need, we’re all splittin’ it equally and partin’ ways. All I really wanna do is get a nice house. I don’t care about any of the stuff Paps is into.”

 

“That is true.” Papyrus interrupted with a grunt “Sans is never motivated to do anything.”

 

“I jus’ want ‘im to be happy.” Sans shrugged with a smile. For the first time since meeting him, Frisk could tell that the smile was very genuine and true. Sans must have really loved his brother. Frisk smiled at this, and Sans looked at them “We wanna live in peace, I jus’ want my bro to be happy and worry free… and so far we haven’t had to lay any fingers on anybody to do it.”

 

The car was finally driving through the city once again. Frisk felt a wave of relief wash over them knowing they were back on track. It was rather bothersome that it had taken Frisk days just to leave the city and then come back, but at least they were back to square one rather than square… negative five.

“I need to make a stop real quick, Sans.” Papyrus mentioned, the speed of the vehicle had to slow down now that they were in the busy city. Frisk imagined their car stood out from the rest, considering it was much more fancy and stylish than the other motorized vehicles on the streets. However, that might have just been according to Frisk’s standards… which were very small where ‘anyone who even owns a car is rich in my book’.

“Sure thing.” Sans said gently, and then reassured Frisk “Don’t worry, we got your back. We won’t let anybody harm you in any way, s’long as you’re cool with Tori you’re cool wit’ us.”

 

Frisk wanted to believe it, but it was easier said than done. Frisk had something that they needed in order to live the good life that the skeleton brothers dreamed off. They didn’t realize there were so many other monsters like them working for the Underground. Who knew how many others were in the same situation as they were? Having once lived a cold life with nowhere to go, given the opportunity of a lifetime. If Chara had been all alone, without Frisk, would they have taken the offer?

 

Papyrus drove the car close to the docks. Not the docks that Frisk knew of, since they were still close to the outskirts of the city compared to where Frisk and Chara lived most of their lives, but it was still close to the ocean where a lot of small fishing boats were docking to transport cargo. Frisk remembered days ago where looking at any food at all would cause their stomach to growl with need, but after having had two meals in a row, Frisk felt as if they would survive for another week without food.

Once the car was parked to the side of the street, Papyrus mumbled something close to ‘I will be right back’ before exiting the car. Sans watched as his brother walked around the vehicle and over towards a payphone that was connected to the side of one of the buildings.

“What’s he doing?” Frisk asked curiously. Sans didn’t respond, simply gesturing with his head for Frisk to follow as the two stepped out of the car for fresh air. And of course for Frisk to stretch their legs, having been cooped up in the trunk and then the car for who knows how long. What once had been ‘a little over thirty minutes’ was probably well over some hours now. Frisk and Sans made their way around the car, and Sans decided to take that moment to, apparently, apologize “Sorry about the whole… ‘threatenin’ ta kill you with sharp bones’ schtick.”

“No problem.” Frisk swallowed, watching Papyrus all the while as he put a few coins into the payphone and began turning the dial. Sans continued “S’our job ta protect ya, kid. Toriel… she sorta knew this would happen. She told us to look out for ya in case ya did run off. She figured, I guess she suspected you’d hitch a ride wit’ us all along the moment we came over.”

Sans mentioned before that Toriel knew Frisk would make a run for it… and Frisk wasn’t sure if they felt good about this. Papyrus’ suspicious movements made them uncomfortable, but the fact that Sans and Papyrus were apparently appointed by Toriel to escort Frisk safely made them feel better.

 

It all balanced out to feeling rather… neutral.

 

Toriel had known Frisk would escape one way or another, and made sure that if they did they would be safe. Maybe Sans having jumped on Frisk and trying to attack them was a sort of act?

 

“Now all that’s next is getting into the Underground and finding Chara.” Frisk said gently, looking to Sans with a smile. Sans smiled right back, whether it was by force or not the teen couldn’t tell “I haven’t heard anythin’, but I’ll keep an’ eye out for ya.” He winked, and Frisk snickered gently.

“SANS!” Papyrus suddenly yelled as he hung up the phone, looking over towards the two of them “Could I talk with you for a moment!”

“You could.” Sans shrugged as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his nice slacks “But do you wanna?”

 

“YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT GET OVER HERE NOW!!”

 

Sans trotted himself over towards Papyrus, and Frisk was forced to post themselves right by the car. They remained on the side closest to the skeleton brothers, for the sake of keeping an eye on them. But also because Frisk was officially curious as to what Papyrus needed to talk to Sans about away from them. It was probably about official business dealing with the Underground, but it was also probably about something relating to Frisk as well. Frisk lowered their head to act as if they were paying more attention to their boots than to the brothers, however their ears strained to reach out and listen to their conversation.

 

“You gotta be kiddin’ me.”

“NO! I am most certainly NOT!”

“Why’d ya have ta do that, Paps?!”

“They have what we need! Undyne is supposed to know of all our findings! How ELSE am I going to get into the Royal Guard if I do not inform her of every valuable we come across?!”

 

Frisk had to run.

 

But as if knowing fully well of Frisk’s sudden panic, in the blink of an eye Sans had appeared right in front of Frisk and pressed them roughly against the car. Frisk yelped out.

“Undyne’s on ‘er way, kid.” Sans said, almost coldly. Once again Sans had gone from violent to goofy to cold. Frisk didn’t know who he even was at this rate. But then Sans clarified “I’m gonna protect ya, got it? But I need ya to work wit’ me.”

 

Frisk couldn’t believe it. Sans was trying to help them?

But they nodded quickly. The teen nodded and gripped Sans’ arm tightly “Okay. Okay I will.”

 

“Sans what are you doing?” Papyrus finally approached, and Frisk was surprised that they flinched. Of all the people to startle Frisk, in an alternate reality Frisk figured it’d be Sans that they worried about, but it turned out to be Papyrus. Papyrus had pulled Frisk away and called Undyne of all people.

Papyrus took notice of Frisk’s flinch, and it was apparent in his eyes that he was hurt from the reaction “Frisk, you do not need to fear. Undyne is on her way and she will transport you to the Underground.”

“Are you kiddin’?” Sans smiled at his brother, but it was a smile of… almost disgust, it looked like. Sans was disappointed “Frisk was around when their friend got nabbed, remember? Ya think Undyne’s gonna keep ‘em alive and bring ‘em to the hideout?!”

Papyrus was fiddling with his fingers, it was obvious he had his doubts about what he had just done. “I told her we would wait right here, and I know she will not hurt Frisk if we just explain the situation! I am certain there has just been a big misunderstanding! All she will surely need is the locket and Frisk can go about their—“

“That’s never how it’s worked, Paps.” Sans was suddenly hissing through his teeth. The lights in his eyes had diminished as he let go of Frisk, allowing the teenager to carefully pull themselves away from the brothers. Frisk wouldn’t run, they were slowly developing a little more trust in Sans than they once had, but they knew if the three of them didn’t head out soon, Undyne would be here in no time.

Sans continued, rather harshly “Reality check, the reason ya ain’t ever gonna get in the Royal Guard’s ‘cause this is what they do. Bro, I’m wit’ ya ‘til the end but ya gotta realize that they do the dirty work! They are the guys who go around grabbin’ the folks after we report ‘em in for havin’ a necklace!” Sans breathed out, turning back around and realizing Frisk had stepped away. He stared at Frisk, but it almost looked as if he were staring right through them “Undyne’s the one that got Frisk’s friend, and Undyne’s the one that probably killed ‘em.”

 

Frisk’s eyes widened. Their deep brown eyes stared at Sans in horror at the realization… the realization that Sans might be right.

 

Frisk might be going through all this for naught at this point.

 

How many days had it been? How long had it been since Chara had been abducted and Frisk still had yet to find them? Their eyes filled with tears as they now shot their eyes in Papyrus’ direction. The lights of his own eyes had gone out, and his invisible brows furrowed. Maybe he was in as much disbelief as Frisk was. But both of them realized something today.

 

There was a killer on the loose, and she was heading in their direction.

 

“They can’t be dead…” Frisk mumbled, the pools that filled their eyes finally spilled, and Frisk dropped to their knees.

 

“We promised Tori we’d protect Frisk.” Sans said, returning his stare to Papyrus who was now hanging his head in shame “And now Frisk’s gonna get killed off like the rest of ‘em.”

 

“You… are right.” Papyrus breathed out finally, covering their face at the same time as Frisk had. Frisk started sobbing, loudly into their hands and arms as they tried to calm down. The screech of a car turn sounded in the distance, and the loud roar of a finely-tuned engine boomed closer.


“What have I done?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: A Bond

“It’s a fake, darling.”

The mechanical humanoid stood before the mob boss with the most disinterested and nonchalant expression his dramatic self could muster; inspecting his nails as if he actually had any. The robot gestured with his head(and his hair) towards the shorter lizard monster that stood beside him; the one nervously fiddling with her thumbs and sweating as if the room had reached a boiling point “As I told Alphy here, the pendant that you got from that kid’s a cheap knock off. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found them being sold in toy stores.”

Asgore seemed irritated—though whether it was due to the robot’s attitude or the realization that they went through everything for nothing was a fact neither of the two could figure—and he glanced to Alphys “Is this true?”

 

The robot was offended that the man didn’t trust his judgement, but he didn’t say anything as Alphys stammered “I-I uh…! Y-Yes! Yes, Asgore—um! King Asgore, Mettaton’s right… the necklace from… the teenager isn’t exactly real quality… ” She suddenly began digging into her coat pocket. She wore fashion rather similar to that of what most scientists in the movies might wear—a long lab coat, a set of spiral-ish glasses that fogged up whenever she would become stressed, and a blouse and skirt to match the white science jacket.

 

She fumbled with the sheet of paper as she listed off ingredients that were found when inspecting the fake pendant, all of which resulted in her mumbling “Fake glass, sir. It’s just fake glass.”

 

“Dammit.” Asgore grunted, and with his fists so large that it was easy to hear him crack his knuckles—probably from across the room if anyone even stood that far “So we took the child for nothing.”

 

Mettaton’s sway would make his skirt dance with him. Wearing the casual yet flamboyant attire of a young flapper girl, his hair had been shaped(perhaps hammered in, considering it was metal) into that of a short and cute bob cut, with a pink hat to match his pink skirt and top set. The coat that draped barely over his shoulders was rather fluffy and maroon, a color that matched his lipstick and high heels. It was clear that he had amazing looks that could swoon almost anyone… but it was also clear that, even while everyone else showed their respect and tried to please the mob boss, Mettaton was the only one who kept it real in his presence. Which is exactly why he was swaying-- because he had grown bored of ‘fake jewelry’ talk and was in his own world for a moment.

Alphys was naturally prepared to yelp out “A-As you wish—“ until she had been lightly bumped off to the side with a swing of the bots hips, and Mettaton shook his gloved finger “Didn’t you hand off the kid to your son? Wouldn’t it be rude to simply take a gift back?”

 

“This isn’t of your concern, Mettaton.” Asgore said, already rubbing his temples as if the robot were giving him a headache. Mettaton noticed this with a huff, and Alphys bowed apologetically “I-I’m so sorry—I’m still working on bugs with him and he stepped out of line I didn’t mean for that to happen and I promiseitwon’thappenagainyouhavemywordthat—“

 

“I’m perfectly fine~!” Mettaton twirled in place while Alphys face-palmed “But I digress, that is all I came here for… to let you know the pendant is worthless!”

 

“Go to the local pawn and get me an exact price tag.” Asgore said, settling down a bit and staring at the robot. His red eyes seemed to gleam, even as Mettaton gawked and questioned “Um, for that ? Even I can tell you it’s nothing more than a few coins!”

“We will make this abduction worthwhile, even if it means for a few pennies.” Asgore stated, waving his hand in dismissal “Now go.”

Mettaton didn’t hesitate, and neither did Alphys, as the two of them turned away and the robot hummed “Let’s go then, Alphy—“

 

“No, not Alphys.”

 

They both looked over their shoulder towards Asgore, who remained seated on his throne as he stared down at them “Alphys stays… just you, Mettaton. You may leave.”

 

Alphys swallowed hard, turning back around to face him as Mettaton gave her a gentle pat on the shoulder before he heel-toed away. The echoes of his shoes clicked and bounced off the walls, and it wasn’t until the door was shut that Asgore began to speak “There are weapons missing.”

The yellow lizard-monster cleared her throat nervously “A-Ah… I’m aware, Asgore… I’ve been—“

 

“Where are they?” He questioned.

 

“I-I don’t… know…” She was sweating waterfalls at this point as she tried to play with whatever it was in her pocket. The list of ingredients that made up the fake pendant that Chara brought with them probably “I just… I just noticed after I recounted the guns that we were missing one—just one! I-I mean it’s not one of the better weapons but it’s still—“

It was Asgore’s intent and almost darkened stare that caused the woman to back down and calm herself. She quieted slightly as she lowered her eyes to the floor “I-I’ll recount them… and look for the gun I—I’m so sorry, sir.”

 

“Don’t be sorry, just get it done.” Asgore returned to rubbing his temples, apparently Mettaton wasn’t the only one giving him a migraine “For now I need to think… about what to do with that child.”

“The human?” Alphys questioned, only receiving a slow nod from the goat monster in response. She was quiet as she tried to think as well, though Asgore’s idea escaped first “I do not think we have much choice on the matter, if they are useless then I must dispose of them.”

 

There was a small gasp not too far off, but with a turn of their heads, whoever had made the noise was gone.

 

But little would they know that the child, well, teenager in question had hurried back to Asriel’s room with the door cracked.

 

Chara had listened to it all. And now that the Underground knew their pendant was a fraud, they would surely chase after Frisk. And if they no longer needed Chara—how would they be able to protect Frisk wherever they are?

The teen glanced towards Asriel, who was simply sitting there with a worried expression on his face as he returned the gaze all the same. Chara blinked, before sparking an idea;

 

“I need you to laugh.”

 

Asriel blinked also “H-Huh?” though moreso in confusion than anything else “Why? I don’t—“

 

“Are you ticklish?”

 

Asriel fidgeted “M-Maybe—“

 

That was a yes.

 

Chara didn’t waste time before they hurried closer to the young goat monster and proceeded to tickle him.

 

His stomach, his arms, anywhere that they may find some sign as to how ticklish Asriel could be—as well as where they were most of all. And before Chara knew it, Asriel was laughing rather easily. His laughter was genuine, and though the teenager’s normal voice sounded rather light and weary, his laughter was booming; loud and boisterous. Asriel was even snorting as he squirmed and struggled for air, and at any other moment, Chara could have considered it to be cute—but unfortunately now wasn’t the time to actually focus on his laughter, Chara only wanted one thing… to be needed, and useful.

And after that, Chara gave Asriel a breather. They quickly pulled away and hurried over to the open door to peek out and head down the hall. They wanted to see if that did anything, anything at all.

 

“He sounds happier with them around, sir…” Alphys said, helping Chara tug a smile across their lips as they waited for Asgore’s reaction. Asgore didn’t seem to say much, and for a moment Chara questioned whether he would say anything at all, but then the boss monster breathed out a sigh “I know…” And that was all Chara needed.

 

Chara tip toed their way back to the room. Unlike before, when they had tickled Asriel to death, they returned to their cautious state and backed themselves into a corner to keep away from the monster.

It wasn’t as if they had a problem with monsters, it wasn’t monsters that made Chara so nervous—what made Chara nervous were, well, rich people .

 

Asriel had long since calmed down after the attack, and was eyeing Chara in slight confusion.

“What was that about?” He tried to ask, keeping his eyes fixated on the teen, even though Chara looked elsewhere to distract themselves from returning the same look. When Asriel’s question remained unanswered, he looked to the doorway and saw a large shadow shuffle down the hall and across, shutting their partially opened door.

“Oh.” Asriel realized with a soft chuckle under his breath, lowering his red eyes to his lap “I get it… you just wanted… to give them a reason for you to stay.”

 

Chara finally looked towards Asriel, giving a light shrug of his shoulders before looking away again.

 

Asriel shook his head “N-No I… I get it. It makes sense and I don’t blame you for that. If you’re put into this situation where… you outlive your usefulness, it’s safer to use what you can to keep yourself ahead.” He lifted his eyes back to the human, who finally returned the look “I get that. I know this is scary for you and all you want to do is survive but—“

“Not just that.” Chara interrupted, causing Asriel’s ears to lightly perk—or try to, since they were rather floppy on both sides of his head.

Chara clarified with a nervous laugh “It’s not just me trying to survive as long as I can. It’s about me trying to survive long enough to get the hell out of here. I can’t stay, I have to take care of someone…”

 

Frisk NEEDS me.

 

“Can I ask who?” Asriel tried, though Chara returned to being quiet again instead.

 

Asriel repeated, thinking Chara didn’t hear him “Who is it you’re trying to take care of?”

 

None of your business. ” Chara practically spat out the words, Asriel suddenly pulling back and turning away from the tongue lashing. Chara didn’t notice that Asriel had already retreated, because the human dared to reason “Why would someone like you want to help, anyway? People like you are the reason we’re in this crap to begin with!”

 

Asriel finally turned back to return the gaze, scrunching his snout a bit “People like me?”

 

Chara’s eyes widened, the hazel red orbs slanted slightly as they looked down. The realization of what they blurted out made them weary of saying anything else, but Asriel’s attention had returned, and was now a bit more stern than his innocent and timid self moments before. They breathed out gently “I’m sorry… okay? It’s not… the way it sounds. I’ve had a rough life and it’s all thanks to rich people. By… when I said you people I meant rich people .”

Asriel didn’t move or say anything in response, it was safe to assume that Chara was expected to continue with their explanation. They rubbed the back of their neck as their eyes locked with the floor of the bedroom.

It wasn’t the coziest looking place, and it mostly resembled that of a children’s jail cell. The floor was made of the same concrete as the rest of the Underground’s base, only there were a few nice throw rugs and carpets tossed over the floor to try and cover the ugly gray it portrayed. The walls were just as dull, but along it hung rather childish drawings—drawings of the stars and the sky, of rainbows and families. It was easy to tell who drew them too, considering one of said drawings was a goat family wearing matching purple uniforms with crowns over their heads… they looked far too happy to have been drawn by Asgore.

And in the far back corner of the room was a single child sized bed, which definitely didn’t fit Asriel’s height anymore, but apparently his own father never bothered to update it.

 

Yeah, a jail cell.

 

Other than the sudden commotion in the hallway, there was silence within the room as Asriel waited patiently and Chara tried to gather a bit of courage. They didn’t gather enough to tell their own story, but they had enough to mention “It’s just been a rough life dealing with rich people… and people in general, really. It’s what I’m used to by now… the poor don’t help the poor and the rich look down on everyone, and I know that for a fact due to experience… so I couldn’t be told otherwise.” Chara scoffed gently, but all they did after was look at their hands. They were filthy of course, considering Chara hadn’t taken a real bath in more than just a few months, and their nails were filled with dirt and crap from who knew where. “People could play nice, it’s so easy to pretend… but everyone shows their true colors eventually. Everyone does…”

Chara finally looked up to face Asriel, who now wore a rather sorrowful look on his face. It was as if his already droopy ears drooped even further just from listening to Chara’s story. The human wrinkled their nose at the monster “So that’s why I need to know something, Asriel…”

Asriel’s ears jumped slightly from the sudden mention, but he was quiet as Chara asked “Why would you care? Why did you bother to keep me around instead of let me die? Is there a point to you being nice?” Their eyes glanced downward again “What are you getting out of all this…?”

 

“The only thing I want out of this is kindness in return.” Asriel mentioned thoughtfully, moving himself closer to Chara. He was careful with his movements, not wanting to be swift to startle the human, but also wanting Chara to know that he wasn’t as scary as his father or the other members of the Underground “It’s important to be kind to one another, because with the world already as harsh as it is, there’s no point in being a jerk.” The goat teen lifted his paws to scratch at his horns, letting out a low noise before dropping his arm “My dad’s not a horrible person but… he’s done horrible things…and I know that, if I could turn back time to when he was happy without any of this, I would…but…” He sighed gently, lightly shaking his head and forcing Chara’s attention to rest on his ears “I can’t do that. So all I can do is sneak out at night for some fresh air, and hope that my mom’s safe out there someplace… far away from here. Far away and happy.”

 

Asriel clasped his paws together, letting out a quick breath. Before Chara could try and say anything to attempt at making the goat feel better, Asriel added “I’ll help you get out of here.”

“What?” Chara questioned, leaning back and arching a brow “You’ll help me? But how? We’re literally sitting ducks unless they all just so happen to leave at the same time.”

“This place is like a maze, even for the Underground.” The goat male snickered as he got up, even helping the human to their feet as he guided them both towards the bedroom door “But I was raised down here, so I know all the twists and turns—it’ll be easy to get to my secret exit and to get you out of here! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to help you no matter what!”

Chara gave a nervous smile, before their nerves faded and the smile felt more genuine. Asriel was so naïve, so dumb and innocent… but it just might work in Chara’s favor.

 

It might.

 

“I trust you.” Chara nodded firmly, just as Asriel took hold of their hand. Asriel grinned “I trust you too, Chara. Now let’s get you out of—“

 

            “BAHAHAHAHAHAAA~!!!”

 

The sudden scream of laughter caused both the teenagers to jump, backing away from the door for a moment. Asriel had quickly let go of Chara’s hand, but the human teen pushed onward as they approached the doorway and opened it slightly, just so that they could peek through.

They listened to the screech of someone trying to scrape against the chalky walls. And when Asriel finally gathered enough strength to join Chara at the door, neither of them could see what was going on well enough to determine what was happening. Chara and Asriel both crowded the door to try and get a better look.

Passing by were two of the dog monsters who had been a part of the group that contained Chara when they were first nabbed off the streets, but now they were dragging someone else along the floor; and it was obviously by force. Someone whose face was unrecognizable to Chara, but Asriel seemed to swallow a bit at the sight of the familiar blonde.

 

“They found him.” Asriel whispered as he watched, though Chara looked to Asriel in confusion as the body being dragged returned to giggling and squirming for release.

 

In the distance down the hall, the teens could hear him yell “YOUR PILLS DON’T WORK, DUMMIES!! I was just-- trying to find a pharmacy~!”

 

“Who’s he?” Chara dared to ask, watching with Asriel as the blonde was dragged down to the farthest room. Neither of them stood by the door for long, both of the teenagers pulling away from the door and looking to one another. Asriel fiddled with his fingers as he kept his eyes fixated on the tiny barred window on the door, as if he were looking outside towards the sky “Um… I was walking with someone a few nights ago, because he wanted a bit of freedom like I do… but he got away so he was reported missing…”

“He sounds like a lunatic—“ Chara tried to add in their own two cents, but Asriel almost ignored them as he continued “I guess they found him… they’ll probably give him his medication to calm down…”

“Medication?” Chara’s eyes widened, and they turned around to begin pacing deeper inside of the room “You mean we’re trapped in the same building as some nutjob?”

“It’s not… so bad…?” Asriel tried to reason, but even questioned himself as he arched a brow “Uh… he’s actually kinda nice to chat with sometimes… he was made as a backup incase they have issues with someone I guess. I don’t know the whole story behind Flowey—“

 

“What?” Chara stopped in their tracks and looked to Asriel “What’s his name?”

 

Asriel swallowed, before grinning almost shyly and showing his pearly whites “Uh… I gave the name when I was little, okay? His name’s… Flowey… Flowey the flower…”

 

What the hell was going on in the Underground?

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: The Answer

The car skidded to a stop, not far from where the skeleton brothers had parked theirs. It looked exactly like the one Frisk remembered having been used to take Chara—in fact, they could easily see the same crack on the window of the back seat that Chara had made as they were driven away. How long ago had everything started? How long had it been since Chara was gone? Has it already been a week?

 

Sans maneuvered himself to stand in front of the human teen just as the car had finally parked. The motor was left running even as the drivers door swung open, and slowly Undyne emerged. Suit and all, she licked her razor sharp teeth just at the sight of Frisk, but chose to ignore them as she slammed her door shut and grinned towards Papyrus, who suddenly didn’t seem all too thrilled to see her.

 

“Paps!” Undyne’s voice sounded a lot more cheerful than what Frisk had remembered, and she approached Papyrus and pulled the tall skeleton into a rough hug. He was obviously caught off-guard, considering he stumbled into her hold and his bones practically rattled as she noogied him “Thanks for the help! Didn’t realize we missed a kid!” She had her arm hung around his neck, yanking him closer to her and practically pulling him down to her level. She might have been physically stronger than Papyrus, but he would always be taller than her.

As the two of them buddied up, Frisk did their best to hide behind Sans, who stood his ground with his hands in his pockets to play casual. Frisk’s heart was racing, and they naturally squeezed their pendant in their hands for comfort.

 

“Don’t think I don’t see ya, punk.” Undyne finally grunted, her cheerful smile towards Papyrus had shifted into that of a tight smug as she changed her gaze to the human, who jumped but didn’t dare move from behind Sans “Get in the car, now.

Frisk’s mind raced, wondering if they should really listen to her, or if they should just make a run for it. At this point, was there even a reason going to the Underground? Chara was dead… their reason for heading to the base was just so that they could save them. But if they were no longer in need of saving, what was Frisk trying to prove?

 

“They ain’t goin’ nowhere, Undyne.” Sans spoke for Frisk, his smile stuck on his face as he winked one eye. He didn’t move an inch, his hands remained stuffed in the pockets of his grey coat all the while Undyne’s attention rested to Sans. The sea monster scoffed, a light grunt escaping her as she loosened her hold on Papyrus just to ask “Should I bother asking why?”

 

Sans chuckled gently, taking a couple steps forward as he finally lifted a hand from his coat. This was only to remove his fedora, however, as he carefully placed it on the ground. Papyrus almost seemed irritated at this, but he was moreso nervous about Undyne’s next move than Sans’, considering Undyne still had a light hold on the lanky skeleton. The shorter brother mimicked the same scoffing noise as Undyne had, both his eyes open again and giving his direct attention to her “Unfortunately for you, it’s my job to protect ‘em.” He finally turned his head to glance at Frisk, who was trying to contain their sudden wave of panic “This kid ain’t got a bit of bad bone in their body…” He looked back at Undyne “And if you break ‘em, I’mma break yer face.”

 

Undyne laughed, loudly.

 

A loud and almost booming laugh that made Papyrus flinch out of her hold, which she didn’t mind considering she was already starting to remove a bit of her own uniform in preparation for what was to come. All that remained after she felt calm enough to talk were her trousers, a white button down, some overalls and a tie. She had removed her own jacket and hat and tossed them on the floor just as Sans had. The two of them stared eachother down even as Papyrus backed away, and long enough for Frisk to try and hurry to the taller one.

Papyrus swiftly yanked Frisk back away from them, mumbling “ Stay close, human.

“Papyrus!” Frisk whispered loudly, through gritted teeth out of fear of the atmosphere changing “Please, do something! Don’t let this happen!” The teen gripped Papyrus’ arm and gently tugged on his sleeve, looking up to him with worry “I don’t want anything to happen because of me… please, do something!

Papyrus swallowed, looking away from Frisk as Undyne suddenly flicked her wrist. In a spark of light, a blue spear made out of pure energy had appeared between her fingers. And it easily towered over Sans; who still didn’t seem to flinch from Undyne’s intimidation techniques “Sans, I care about you, and your bro’s practically my best friend. Don’t do this to the Underground—you know this is what we’ve aiming for… this kid’s the very last one we need before we’re set for life!”

“I never joined for what you guys wanted.” Sans shrugged “I joined for my bro. Money’s nice n’ all, but it means nothin’ if we gotta snag up some innocent bystanders along the way.” He cocked his head to the side, his eyes never leaving Undyne’s “Keep your dirt money.”

Undyne’s spear seemed to flicker, and the same flicker burst in Sans’ eye as a fire erupted from his socket. The same fire Frisk recognized all too easily, the same fire that’s sole purpose was to destroy whatever it aimed towards. Undyne and Sans began to approach each other, but finally Papyrus pushed forward and stood between them both “ NO! There will be no fighting among friends!”

Undyne was growling under her breath, her spear never vanishing even as she relaxed her angered stance “Tell ‘im, Paps! Tell ‘im that the human kid’s comin’ with the Underground!”

 

“I-….” Papyrus swallowed, standing in place to keep Sans and Undyne at bay as they both stared fiercely towards one another, practically looking through Papyrus “I do not want any of us to fight… but…” For a moment, his head lowered as he tried to figure out what else to say. He seemed to stare at his feet for a while, before glancing over his shoulder towards Frisk, who was now standing by themselves, gazing at Papyrus with sincere concern and fear of the unknown. The look in those brown eyes was enough for Papyrus to suddenly turn his back to Sans, just so he could look more directly towards the fish monster “Undyne… what will happen to Frisk if we give them to you…?”

 

Undyne’s face finally reacted to the sudden question, as if never having prepared an actual explanation. She craned her neck back and her eyes widened slightly at the tall skeleton. Papyrus gave her the most innocent and curious look that he could muster so naturally, she couldn’t exactly lie to him. Undyne knew this would turn the tide, but she admitted meekly “Paps… it’s the reason why you’ve… uh… never been qualified to join this part of the crew.” Her spear still remained in her hands, its energy blaring faintly and releasing a buzzing noise as she switched it from one hand to the other. Papyrus scratched his chin, mildly confused even as Sans continued glaring daggers at her.

Undyne persisted “We do the dirty work, we’re the ones who do the killin’ while all you guys do is report stuff in. I know you can’t handle hurtin’ people, Paps… I was just trying to protect you from seeing this or being apart of it.”

Papyrus’ eyes widened, bringing his hand to his chest hesitantly to try and calm down the uncontrollable shaking it was doing. His soul pounded against his ribs as if trying to escape “Oh… I…” He gulped “I see…”

 

I warned ya. ” Sans muttered, but Undyne defended “Look, we don’t get money for free! Everything’s got a cost! I knew Paps wanted in on the Royal Guard but I kept him out of it ‘cause I knew this would happen and he’d have to face the—“

 

A light blaze flickered in one of Papyrus’ eyes as he rose his head to look towards Undyne. A blue flame similar to his older brothers seemed to shine brightly, even as sorrowful as Papyrus appeared to be. The magic had interrupted Undyne’s thought process, and she immediately sighed out “Paps, don’t do this—“

“I have to defend the ones who cannot defend themselves.” Papyrus said, even with his skeletal structure forcing him to smile, it was apparent he was sad “I must do what is right, not by the Underground’s standards but of my own.” He stepped back to stand beside Sans, who gave Papyrus a pleased look before returning his attention to Undyne. The tall skeleton breathed out, his blue flame glowing brighter in his eye “I do not want my friends to fight, please reconsider your actions, Undyne.”

 

“This… isn’t what I meant…” Frisk wasn’t sure what to do now, all three of them were preparing for an all out brawl as Frisk hurried themselves to try and find some cover. Frisk didn’t want to stray too far, but they also knew that without magic of their own they were a sitting duck. The teen found themselves hurrying against one of the buildings and hiding behind the trash bin as they breathed out almost breathlessly “This isn’t what I meant, Papyrus… I don’t want anyone to fight. What the heck—“

 

Why did they even own guns if all they would do is kill each other with magic? Not that it mattered—but Papyrus’ words didn’t have any effect on Undyne as she took a rather ‘skilled’ fighting stance. Probably a bit more trained than either of the brothers, however with Papyrus only slightly intimidated and Sans standing his ground, Frisk assumed that none of the three would back down. Undyne shook her head, her red ponytail whipped with her “You’re makin’ a big mistake, Pap… you too, Sans. I don’t wanna have to hurt you guys but I will…”

 

“Then try it.” Sans simply recoiled.

 

And Papyrus didn’t get a chance to put a word in before Undyne lunged forward with her spear aimed right at him. Sans was quick to kick the taller one out of the way, suddenly jumping up to practically block the attack with one of his own. Blue energy clashed against blue flame; Sans’ arm was covered in the same fire as his eye, and when the hit was deflected he bounced back in place just as Undyne had.

All that she managed was to tear the sleeve of his suit jacket.

Papyrus and Sans both summoned giant bones in their hands practically the same size as baseball bats, and Undyne summoned another spear in her other hand.

“It’s not you I’m worried about, Sans.” Undyne grunted, smiling probably from the thrill of a showdown “It’s Papyrus.”

“And I wouldn’t be worried ‘bout him either, if I was you.” Sans smiled as well “Considerin’ you’re about to be sushi.

 

Undyne growled, her spears sparked like electricity as she twirled them and jumped back into the mix. As much as Papyrus tried to hold himself back, he definitely did his best to mainly deflect her attacks while Sans did all the offensive work. The brothers each had their own techniques when it came to battling, and while Sans appeared way more professional with his jumps and dodging maneuvers, Papyrus seemed to fumble about just to try and land a hit against Undyne’s weapon. Papyrus made it obvious that his main goal wasn’t to hurt anyone—even if Undyne was aiming right for Sans’ skull—but his goal was to keep Undyne from hurting anyone. The warrior woman was just as active with her dodge movements as Sans was, however with his height came faster reflexes, apparently showing skills that Undyne had never seen before.

It wasn’t until the fish monster had tossed her spear and witnessed Sans jump up, kick the magical weapon down, and send a kick flying to her face(all whilst hands were neatly tucked in his pockets) that Undyne realized he was a lot more active than his slur and stance made him appear. The kick was enough for Sans to jump back and put some distance between the two of them, giving the woman a moment to touch her cheek and react to the first blow of the match.

“You’re more jumpy than I figured you’d be, Sans.” Undyne mentioned, spitting a bit of blood onto the ground as Sans shrugged his shoulders. She added “Not as lazy as you make folks think…”

 

“If I care enough, you’ll see it.” Sans said simply, raising his invisible brows at the ‘supposed’ compliment “Only reason people don’t see much of me is ‘cause I don’t give a damn.”

 

“I didn’t bring you guys in so that I’d fight you later.” Undyne stepped forward, picking up her fallen spear that Sans had kicked out of the air “I chose you guys to join the Underground ‘cause Asgore needed folks who wanted an out as bad as we did. We aren’t supposed to be fighting each other, we’re supposed to be helpin’ one another.”

“But we are not supposed to hurt people. Monster OR human.” Papyrus interrupted, his sadness more strongly visible since the blow that had been landed to Undyne “If we must hurt or… kill anyone just for us to feel safe and secure, then it is not a life we should live.” He shook his head “We are in the wrong, Undyne. The Underground is wrong and so are you.”

 

“Papyrus…” Undyne took her stance again “Fight me, fight me like your own life depends on it. Because right now, it’s me or you…” She sneered then “ And I have to keep fighting.”

 

Sans and Undyne once more leaped forward to attack head on, but Papyrus flicked his bone club upward, which spontaneously created a wall of bones erupting from the concrete. The wall erupted so suddenly that it surprised both Sans and Undyne, both of them jumping back and away from each other to make room for the attack. The skelebro’s car just so happened to be right underneath the edge of the wall, immediately flipping over and smashing its roof in when it had landed top first back on the ground. The wall of bone wasn’t enough to stop either of them however. Sans suddenly summoned a giant animal skull that he easily landed on and allowed it to carry him upward, taking advantage of the wall between them. Undyne, however, aimed her spear right at him, and with a flick of her wrist and her clutch on the spear tightening, Sans was surrounded in a green aura that pulled him down and smashed him back to the earth. The skull he tried to ride on moments ago had shattered into tiny fractures against the already crumbled pavement, each piece suddenly bursting into a tiny blue flame before vanishing, all while Sans remained frozen in time; encased in a green-prism.

 

Undyne snorted “I don’t think so, bud! You’re not going ANYWHERE!

 

“Undyne, STOP!” Papyrus yelled, his wall of bones had retracted back into the earth, though he quickly lunged forward and clocked the fish monster in the arm. The spear she had aimed at Sans had easily been hit out her hand, and the green aura surrounding the shorter brother vanished to allow him movement once more. Undyne only smiled at this, growling “THAT’S IT, PAPYRUS! Fight like you mean it!!”

As Sans tried to recuperate, now Undyne and Papyrus were face to face. Papyrus’ voice had wavered from the sudden attention, as he held his giant bone weapon out as if it were a sword “Undyne, do not do this! You are my friend and I don’t want to hurt you!”

“The question’s if you actually can or not!” Undyne snickered, Papyrus cautiously leading the other monster away from Sans. This was just enough space for Frisk to peek out further, and when they realized the coast was clear, they hurried to Sans’ aid.

 

The human teen knelt down and helped Sans back to his feet, who was officially missing a tooth. Now there was a gap between his front teeth that somewhat made his smile goofy; and in any other situation Frisk probably would have laughed. They didn’t know how far any of their magic would take them, but Frisk was concerned with anything permanent “Sans, are you okay?”

“Does it look like’m okay?” Sans shot an empty stare at Frisk, who winced from the cold response. He realized this and tried to soften up a bit, the lights in his eyes returning as his flame went out “I’ll be fine, kid. Stay outta tha way.”

“I don’t like this…” Frisk kept their hold on Sans even as the skeleton attempted to rejoin his brother “Sans, why do you guys have to fight? Papyrus wouldn’t even fight me when you were ready to kill me, remember? Why now?”

“I wasn’t gonna kill ya, Frisk.” Sans fully tugged himself out of the human’s grasp, leaving them still reaching out for nothing but air as Sans maneuvered himself a bit away to give the two space “Papyrus’ very passive, but sometimes when a goal is big enough, ya gotta take the leap.” Frisk shook their head, almost in disbelief at Sans’ words even as the short skeleton turned his head away to look over the fight “I joined a gang of thugs for my bro. I looked the other way as the Underground did their thing for my bro . And now… Papyrus’ doin’ what he can for his bro.” He suddenly looked back to Frisk, the blue flame returned in an instant “And for you, kid.”

 

“Not for me.” Frisk furrowed their brows “I didn’t ask for any of this, he’s not doing anything for me.”

 

“Whether ya asked for it’r not don’t mean a thing.” Sans snapped his fingers and pointed up to the sky, and almost instantly another gigantic animal skull was spawned. It looked menacing, and was intimidating enough to cause Frisk to lose their footing, dropping to the ground to stare up at the magical creature. Sans persisted “None of us ask for much in our life, we deal with whatever we’re given… ya got a lotta people who care about ya, Frisk… people who were total strangers to ya days ago…” The short skeleton lowered his hand slowly, the skull lowering in time with his motion and carefully resting itself on the ground beside Frisk and himself. Sans winked at Frisk, though his blue flame went alight “Do whatever you feel ya gotta, kid. That’s all we can ever do.”

 

Frisk frowned deeply “Sans…”

 

“And do me a favor.” Sans said, just as he was hopping up on the skull that now barely touched the ground “Get the hell outta the way.” He tapped his shoe on the skull “Now move it, ya ol’ bag a bones—“

 

His words were cut short as the skull shot upward in the blink of an eye, Frisk lifting their arm to protect themselves from the wind force Sans left behind as the older brother shot off towards the battle that had wandered beside Undyne’s car. Frisk was speechless as they sat there, still baffled at how everything had happened so fast. Humans and monsters were always treated as equals, no matter who was stronger than the other… but this was their first time experiencing so much magic all in one place—let alone of the violent variety. Sans could defend Papyrus all he liked on how passive he was an hour ago, but Papyrus turned the other cheek and was lashing out against Undyne just as much as she was against him—not to mention Sans joining in on the mix to make things more difficult.


“We all do things for the sake of something.” Frisk reminded themselves, Sans words ran through their head as they took in a deep breath and got to their feet. The moment Papyrus struck Undyne hard enough to knock her down, Frisk knew they had to run. “We all do things for the sake of someone…”

As Frisk ran closer to the fight, they watched Sans move quickly in front of Papyrus, nudging him back and now lowering the animal skull to directly face Undyne. It’s jaw suddenly dislocated, an orb of light beginning to form within as sparks of electricity flickered about. Undyne’s spears had long since vanished, her eyepatch was surprisingly intact even though it was obvious the brothers landed plenty of blows to her face and her chest. All three of them had gotten each other’s clothing raggedy, torn and shredded, and now Sans was intent on ending it.

 

But I would never kill for anyone. ” Frisk’s breathing hitched as they stretched their arm out, the orb of light now flickering brightly as Papyrus turned his head away and Undyne closed her eyes.

 

“STOP!” The human yelled, determined as they flung themselves in front of Undyne.

 

The light grew brighter, but in that instant it had stopped just in time, and Papyrus yelped “Sans, wait!”

 

“Dammit, kid.” Sans gestured for the skull to move, watching as it obeyed and carefully floated away slightly, before he glared at Frisk “What the hell’re ya doin’? Get out the way—“

 

“You’re wrong, Sans!” Frisk said, having leapt just in time to try and stop the attack. It temporarily worked, of course…however Sans didn’t stop it completely, considering the beam within the gigantic skull still flickered with power; simply waiting for Sans’ orders to shoot “Sans, I love Chara but I’d never kill for them! It doesn’t matter what someone’s done, no one deserves to die!”

 

“Frisk…” Papyrus gently touched his brother’s shoulder to step himself forward, looking to the teenager with concern “I understand where you are coming from but this is—“

 

“It’s NOT different!” Frisk stood their ground, breathing heavily and trying to bring some air back into their lungs after having ran just to catch Sans in time “Violence is NEVER the answer! The worst of the WORST of people STILL don’t deserve anything like this!”

 

“An eye fer an eye.” Sans’ eyes were blank, his smile strained and the gap still there “A tooth fer a tooth—“

 

“And the whole world will go blind, Sans.” Frisk snapped back “And the whole world will be toothless! You don’t fight fire with fire, you fight fire with water! Everyone knows that—so how is it hard to see that this is completely wrong? ” Frisk finally turned their back to the skeleton brothers, who both looked to one another in confusion as the human bowed down slightly to extend their arm “Want to know what ends death in this world?”

 

Undyne stared with her one eye at the offered hand, tiredly looking back up to Frisk as she dared to sigh out sorely “What?”

 

“Mercy.” Frisk nodded firmly “Mercy and determination. Don’t kill, and don’t get killed.”

 

                  It’s kill or be killed—

                                    No, Chara… no one has to die.

 

Frisk’s eyes filled with tears, the reminder that Chara was long gone even as Undyne finally accepted Frisk’s mercy and took hold of the teens hand came in an overwhelming wave. Frisk helped the woman up to her feet, and though she wobbled slightly, Frisk even helped her stand up straight and steady all for the sake of mercy. Whether she was the one who killed Chara, or whether it was Asgore, Frisk couldn’t let themselves fall deep into a hole that the skeleton brothers were already struggling to climb out of. Even Undyne seemed completely confused and speechless at the sudden turn of events. She was almost killed, but now she was being taken cared of.

Sans finally let his floating undead weapon disintegrate into thin air, the giant beam vanishing with it. And as both the skeleton brother’s magical flames flickered out in their eyes, their bone weapons vanished as well. Papyrus was the first to help Frisk lead Undyne to her vehicle, just to carefully set her down beside it so Frisk could get out their tiny first aid kit.

There was a heavy silence, and a wave of distress mixed with shame that washed over everyone. While Frisk didn’t exactly feel shameful towards themselves, they did feel disappointed in all three of them. And the only way to break the silence, as Frisk carefully started applying band-aids wherever they could on Undyne’s blue and battered skin, was comment “I’m supposed to be the youngest here, but you all are acting like kids.”

 

“She started it.” Sans thought he could defend himself, but even Papyrus roughly nudged his brother as a signs of ‘shut up.’

“I don’t care who started it, I’m only here to get to the Underground, not to lay a trail of bodies behind.” Frisk grimaced, before pulling back to observe if there was anything else they could do. Though eventually Undyne waved her arm between them to keep Frisk from trying to patch her up anymore “I’ll be fine, that’s enough.”

With a light breath, she held her stomach as she stood back to her feet, Frisk giving her some space to move as the four of them pretty much stood in a circle beside her [still running] motor vehicle. They all exchanged looks, everyone tired from fighting and also realizing the damage they had caused to the area. It wasn’t long, however, until Undyne suddenly burst into laughter. It was a strong and surprisingly energetic one for someone who wheezed due to the air being knocked out of her. And as intense of a laugh as it was, suddenly Papyrus was trying to join it also. His laughter was less weirdly sinister, and more playful… as if a marshmallow rabbit were trying to be evil.

And Sans seemed to just chuckle. It sounded forced at first, but when the tiny lights in his eyes had returned to normal, Frisk could tell he had relaxed finally.

“You guys were kickin’ my butt!” Undyne boasted, reaching out and roughly jabbing at Papyrus’ arm. He almost lost his footing from the playful punch, however he barely knocked into Sans before managing to stick on his feet. The lanky skeleton cackled cheerfully “SANS AND I HAVE BEEN PRACTICING OUR FIGHTING! I am getting better!”

 

“He sure is.” Sans agreed with a nod.

 

“Good work, Paps!” Undyne said, before finally all three of them calmed down and all looked towards Frisk.

 

The teenager fidgeted in place, shifting slightly as they looked to Undyne almost timidly. But even at the strong woman’s approach, they didn’t flinch as Undyne finally addressed them “Thanks, uh… kid. I didn’t think it at first, but these guys are more than capable of kicking my butt… and they would’ve if you hadn’t showed up to… defend me.”

Frisk smiled slightly at this, nodding to her, before looking away “There’s good in everybody, Undyne… even you.” They then looked back to her “My name’s Frisk, though… it’s nice to meet you under… well, less crappy circumstances I guess.”

Undyne arched a brow “Eh?” Before suddenly gasping “Oh yeah! YOU WERE WITH THAT ONE PUNK AWHILE BACK!!”

 

“That punk’s their friend, lady.” Sans said, looking away as Frisk frowned at the comment. Undyne’s rather annoyed expression softened then, and Frisk pressed “The only reason why Papyrus and Sans were driving me around was ‘cause I asked them to take me to the Underground. So…” They swallowed “Now that we’re friends… could you take me, Undyne?”

 

“We aren’t friends.” Undyne gave a rather wide smile, it was just as scary as Frisk remembered it being “You might’ve played friendship is magic with everybody, but that doesn’t make us friends.”

 

“I’d like to be, though.” Frisk said, still standing their ground even as the fish lady grunted and looked away “Just like you, Papyrus and Sans weren’t exactly fond of me hitching a ride with them.”

 

Papyrus scoffed “They climbed into a trunk and hoped they wouldn’t suffocate to death.”

 

“But,” Frisk tried to ignore the tall skeletons comment “To be honest I feel a lot closer to them now than I had been before.” With this being said, they then looked towards the skeletal monsters as they glanced at each other firstly, before returning the look. How Papyrus managed to blush, Frisk had no idea, but the gesture of affection was still present. Even Sans seemed to bow their head in a slight approval. Frisk felt more certain of their feelings towards them after the confirming gestures, before looking back at Undyne “We haven’t been together for long, but they’re my friends. So I’d like to be yours too.”

“Even if you don’t wanna be…” Sans decided to butt in “We’d still ‘preciate ya help, Undyne. The kid’s aimin’ for the Underground and jus’ needs us to get ‘em there. It’s as simple as that.”

“Simple as that, huh.” Undyne repeated, licking her sharp teeth as she skimmed over the human. Frisk returned to fidgeting in place, unsure about what else can be said to convince her. But apparently nothing else was needed, for soon enough she nodded “I guess I owe ya one, so fine. Everyone get in my car, Papyrus already wrecked the other one—“

“I AM STILL PRACTICING ON MY AIM!!” Papyrus defended with a shrill, and Sans snickered “Yeah that wall could’a been nudged a bit to tha front there, bro.”

 

The taller brother ‘hmphed’ as he made his way to Undyne’s car, naturally going to the front passenger's side to climb himself in. Sans, Frisk, and Undyne all stood still waiting for someone to move first, but when Undyne was faced with a rough staredown by Sans, she wrinkled her nose at him before turning to get into the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

Before Frisk could move forward to get into the car, Sans gently gripped at the human’s shoulder to stop them in their tracks.

 

“Listen, kid.” He started, the lights in the back of his skull still flickered a warm white “You might’ve gotten buddy-buddy with Undyne an’ stopped us from beatin’ her skull in… but that ain’t gonna be the case with everyone ya meet.”

 

“Eh?” Frisk’s face contorted in confusion, and Sans sighed lightly “Frisk. You can’t jus’ run in front of a gun, so ta speak. That was dumb of ya, and I don’t recommend doin’ that sorta crap when we get to tha Underground, got it?”

 

“I know what I’m doing.” Frisk pulled their shoulder out of the boney grasp, but before they could step forward Sans once again blocked their path “No, you don’t, kid. I’m warnin’ you, as a friend , right? You said we’re friends, yeah?”

 

Frisk bit their bottom lip, nodding lightly.

 

Sans winked “Good, then listen ta me, I’m bein’ as honest as I can be ‘ere.” Sans looked around Frisk towards the destroyed vehicle that had been flipped over, and the thin chasm that Papyrus’ bone wall had created in the concrete “Undyne’s pretty tough, I’m surprised that she changed face jus’ like that. So color me impressed—but ya see all that happened just from the three of us, Frisk?”

Frisk dared to turn around and look in the same direction as him, swallowing their nerves down at the sight “Yeah?”

“Yeah, imagine a big room o’monsters, all wit’ magic of their own, in an all out fight fest…” Sans snickered “Not ta mention a boss monster . There won’t always be folks you can convince ta see the light, so to speak… do you got that?”

“Everyone’s got a bit of good in them, Sans…” Frisk turned themselves back around to face the skeleton, who was already making their way towards the car. The human was quick to follow, just as Sans opened the door and held it for Frisk to climb in. Silently, Frisk got into the back seat and looked up to Sans, who now leaned in to buckle Frisk in. However, it was easily a ruse to add to their conversation “Not everybody, Frisk. Some people can get stuck on their cause and get lost in the dark.”

 

Frisk furrowed their brows. It was then that they realized Sans’ tooth had returned as if it had never been knocked out.

“Some folks play games , Frisk.” Sans grinned as he finally pulled away “Remember this. Like ya said, kid… don’t get and don’t get got.

 

“What?”

 

“Ya heard me.” Sans slammed the door.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Under Tale

Chara had gotten more comfortable in the room now. Their head was practically bubbling with thoughts and ideas, of curiousities and confusion. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Which was funny in a way, considering that they thought moments ago they knew everything there was about the Underground.

 

But here they were, not only finding out the Underground had a prince , but finding out that the Underground had been experimenting on people.

 

If they were on the outside looking in, the info would have been useful. Chara could have used it to their advantage, maybe even blackmail the Underground to give them supplies and things they would need to keep Frisk and themselves safe. Chara often traveled and walked far and wide just to get the scoop on the latest deals; whether it dealt with the Underground or other gang bangers and mobsters. If not that, the info they’d find out would revolve around the latest shipments to the city, where they came from and where they were going, and sometimes this info involved black market handlings. Objects and items of great value that certain people were purchasing from other certain people.

 

Chara was a person of many trades. A fighter, a protector, a thief, a survivor … and an informational kiosk. But obviously as interesting as the info they received was, it was useless while stuck.

 

“I can only tell you what I know.”

 

Chara’s thoughts had been cracked open like an egg, reality zoomed its way back in as the human looked to the goat monster, who had noticed them deep in thought. Asriel gave a nervous smile towards his new companion “I don’t know much, but… if you’re curious, I can tell you.”

“Well, yes.” Chara gave a firm nod, adjusting themselves in their seated position on the bed. It was Asriel’s bed, but the fact that it was so small made them question if a tall teen like him could even fit on it anymore “Explain everything to me. At this point, even a little bit helps…”

“Flowey was…” Asriel finally started, rubbing the back of his neck as if admitting to doing something wrong. In a sense, maybe he had? But who could possibly tell? “It started when I was little so that’s why I can’t say much about him… I barely remember half of the things of my childhood. But Flowey was brought in to be turned into the ‘perfect body guard’ to protect us… us being the Dreemurrs. Me, my dad… my mom…”

The last words that spilled from his maw seemed to cause Asriel to grimace, only leading to Chara inspecting him curiously. The teen looked the goat monster over with their hazel-brown eyes, curious as to what had happened to his mother, but knowing now wasn’t exactly the right time to ask. They didn’t exactly care too much since it didn’t involve them, it was just typical curiousity. It was hard for Chara to get attached to someone they had just met, let alone care for their feelings or personal problems.

“But eventually things didn’t turn out so great.” Asriel finally continued. It felt like an eternity-long dramatic pause, but maybe it was just Chara wanting everything to be rushed and quick. They didn’t like being down here, and the sooner they could get out, the better. The goat teen’s sudden smile surprised the other, though it was obvious Asriel’s smirk was somewhat sad and broken “And I guess whatever they were doing, experimenting on making him the perfect bodyguard, it all stopped for a bit because suddenly things changed… suddenly everybody was saying how instead of this ‘experiment training’, Flowey would become my best friend. I guess all the older guys around here figured I needed a friend my age… so they would turn Flowey into this ‘ultimate playmate’.”

 

That was bizarre. Chara arched a brow at the idea of monsters trying to transform someone into the ultimate playmate . Why on earth would anyone think they needed to build a friend? Did they just not want Asriel to interact with anyone of the outside world? Was Flowey actually built? Or were they simply an innocent bystander taken in to force chemicals down their throat?

 

“Alphys and… someone else worked with Flowey.” Asriel was now tapping his chin thoughtfully. Almost childlike, as if all that he was saying was completely ‘normal’. It was sad, really. Sad that this was how the rich behaved. They could do whatever they wanted and not feel a thing. No matter how much Asriel would defend that he was different from his dad, or from the Underground, or any of the other rich kids on the surface… he would always be the same. Chara was disgusted, but continued to listen.

 

“It was someone else who doesn’t work with us anymore. I don’t know where he went, but he’s been gone for years now.” The goat monster nodded firmly, dropping his hand as he shifted a bit to get more comfortable. He opted out of sharing the bed with Chara, considering Chara was still somewhat distant and had gotten overly territorial of where they kept themselves in the room, so he sat on the floor right in front of Chara instead.

Asriel could probably feel Chara’s judgement, but he did his best to stay calm as he continued with his story “But I don’t know what went wrong… I can’t remember what had happened back then. Mom left a bit after they announced Flowey would be my best friend, so I don’t think even she knew this would happen. Whatever it was, it made everyone tell me not to interact with Flowey anymore. I wasn’t allowed to talk to him, or be in the same room with him… and he was locked up like some animal.” Asriel furrowed his brows, lowering his head to no longer look at Chara but at the floor instead “It’s messed up. I mean, that didn’t stop me from talking with him now and again… and even recently, I figured he deserved to go outside. It was raining, but he said he really wanted to feel the rain. I believed it, and even when we were outside he seemed pretty content with just standing there getting soaked…”

Asriel swallowed “But he ran away. I guess that bit of freedom wasn’t enough for him. When I got back here I figured it wouldn’t be so bad, there was no reason for us to keep him locked up in some dumb cage. He’s a living, breathing person… why would anyone want to do that to somebody? But…” He finally looked back to Chara, who was already looking elsewhere “Golly… Dad seemed really ticked off, and sent everyone out to find him. And now… he’s back in his room, and things are as normal as they can be.”

 

It was even less safe for Chara to be in a place like this.

 

Chara felt nervous at the thought of an unknown figure, Flowey, remaining locked away down the hall, not even that many doors down from Asriel’s room where the human was trapped. Asriel didn’t elaborate on what sort of experiments were used on Flowey, however Chara knew enough about the Underground to know who Alphys was.

Alphys was their weapons specialist. The one who not only got the guns and equipment, but she was easily able to make brand new weapons all on her own. Not to mention, word on the streets had been she’s able to work with illegal chemicals as well. She could analyze materials and foreign findings with ease, and she was probably the most intelligent of the Underground according to what Chara had last heard, when she was the first to figure out Chara’s necklace was a fraud.

 

So the fact that it was her and someone who no longer worked with the Underground… it easily meant that the things they did to Flowey were the reason he was locked away, and the reason everyone told Asriel to not mess with him.

So why the hell would they keep the prince's bedroom in the same hallway as a deranged lunatic?

 

“I’ve got to get out of here…” Chara breathed out. They couldn’t look at Asriel anymore, they couldn’t look at this room for another second. Their nerves were on edge, what seemed cool, calm, and collected on the outside hid a storm brewing within that was ready to burst and unleash in the entire Underground. They were more than ready to just make a run for it, to bust out themselves and try to escape, but they also knew better than to do that, too. As agitated and on edge as they were, they weren’t strong enough to handle all the monster-kind that worked for the Underground boss king Asgore… even the thought of making Asriel their hostage had been swept away from the counter-argument of ‘messing with Asgore’s own son was a bad idea.’

 

It was, yet again, another group of rich people doing whatever they felt like just because they could.

 

Chara was absolutely sick of the rich and powerful messing with the lives of the poor and weak just because they had the money and audacity to. Chara may not have felt safe with ‘Flowey’ not being far from where they camped, but Flowey was probably the only one down here who could understand everything Chara was dealing with.

“Look, I know this all seems stressful and weird.” Asriel probably noted the panic and anger beginning to grow in Chara, considering he dared to approach and lay some words of comfort. Asriel had finally swallowed down their own nervousness just to return to the bed “But I promise, I’ll try to help you, okay? I don’t want to be a part of this. As much as my dad wants me to take over this thing… it isn’t right, and I know it isn’t.” Chara pulled back somewhat when Asriel tried to approach and lend a comforting paw, but from the human’s yank to keep away from his touch, the goat monster figured it would be best not to push too hard “I don’t want to be like any of them. No one should hurt other people, there’s never a good enough reason for it.”

 

Chara disagreed.

Some people did deserve to be hurt. Especially for revenge.

If someone were to dare hurt or kill their best friend, Frisk? It was an easy bet that whoever laid a grimy hand on them would be shot point blank without the bat of an eyelash. Chara’s eyes almost gleamed at the thought, but Asriel once more returning to a close proximity reminded Chara that they were in unfamiliar territory.

 

For as long as Chara’s known the Underground and their shenanigans, they’ve never gotten this deep into it… let alone, never having known this much info on them. They were a gang of thieves who racked up in riches, illegal commerce, and extravagant collectors… that’s as much as Chara knew up until that moment that Chara had been abducted. Then suddenly there was so much info on the group that Chara would have never believed to be true if they hadn’t figured it out themselves. Experiments on the perfect body guard and friend? An heir being locked away in their base? Disposing of the people they rob from? If Chara could survive this, all the info they got out of this would be gold to the police. Maybe Frisk and Chara would be set for life.

 

“Then let’s get out of here.” Chara finally said. Asriel jumped from the sudden words, but he whipped his head to look at Chara so fast that his own ears flew and practically smacked his own muzzle “Huh?”

“Help me get out of here.” Chara repeated “If not both of us together, then me . No offense, but I have a friend who needs me.”

 

“They patrol around here a lot more ever since Flowey escaped.” Asriel sulked slightly. The shift in attitude made Chara almost glare at the monster, but apparently the intimidation technique worked, considering Asriel’s pessimistic mood shifted “Ah-- but we’ll try anyway! There’s only one way out of this room, that’s through the door. B-But! If we time ourselves right, then we can sneak past the guards before they turn down the hall.”

“And you know how to get out from there?” Chara asked, wasting no time on the plan and making their way towards the bedroom door. They carefully pulled it open, peeking through the small crack into the hall. Asriel followed suite as he peeked as well “Yeah, I used to get lost when I was little… gave me plenty of time to get used to where the dead ends are.”

 

“Good, then lead the way.” Chara said bluntly, wanting to skip over the explanations and get to the point.

Asriel simply nodded, just as he nervously pushed the door more open for the two teens to creep out of. Asriel waited for Chara to enter the hall before closing the bedroom door behind them “It’s getting past the throne room that’s tricky, but stay close, okay?”

“Whatever.” Chara muttered, doing as they were told but only begrudgingly as they both continued down the hall. Once they reached the end that lead to the large room, where Asgore’s empty throne sat, they pressed their backs against the edge of the wall and looked to one another. Asriel gulped, his bravery dwindling “Ah… now we just peek around the corner to see if anyone’s in the room… then we hug this wall here and turn to the farthest hallway to the left…”

“Then do it.” Chara said.

Asriel gulped once again, this time it was a much more louder swallow, as if a knot had been stuck in his throat “I will—in a sec…”

“Just let me, then.” Chara pulled Asriel’s arm, tugging the goat prince towards them just so they could switch places. With a heavy sigh Chara opened their mouth as they peeked around the corner—however almost too quickly the human’s head had smacked right into someone’s chest. With a grunt, the chain reaction caused Chara to stumble back into Asriel, who in turn fell down onto the cold floor with a thud.

 

“What are you two doing out of your room?” A voice barked. Looking up, it was one of the dog guards that Chara was all too familiar with. Both the teens looked up nervously, though the human’s first instinct was to dash for it. Asriel reached out, but not in time before Chara was pushed back by the guard’s own hand. With a low growl, the dog monster towered over the two, though it was almost as if he were looking through them rather than at them. “Don’t think just ‘cause I’m blind you can get past me, nope. Prince Asriel, you should know better. You aren’t allowed outside for a long while after all the stunts you’ve been pulling…” The guard sniffed about for a moment, leaning in towards Chara who nervously pulled back “Let alone bringing the human with you. I may be blind, but my nose works just fine.”

 

"Your brain sure doesn't." Chara remarked with a roll of their eyes.

 

Ignoring the human's comment, the guard waited for Asriel to get to his feet before forcefully turning both teens around and shoving them back down the hall from whence they came “Now back to that room! Don’t make me lock it!”

“You won’t lock it.” Asriel quickly snapped back, also causing Chara to jump from the sudden action. They walked past Asriel as he turned himself back around to glare up at the guard “You’re not allowed to lock it! That’s my order to you! By all means try it and we’ll see who’s still got a job here!”

Even the dog guard was shocked at the response from Asriel, who continued walking with Chara back towards their bedroom door. He gave a low huff, before turning away with a grumble and continuing on with his patrol. Sighing softly, Asriel opened the door to his room, letting them both step inside before shutting it “Sorry… I guess sneaking around isn’t like the movies.”

 

“You standing up to the guy was something, though.” Chara said, suddenly rather impressed with Asriel’s ability to grow a backbone at sheer willpower “At least the door’s not locked, that’s a start.”

Asriel was somewhat flattered at that, giving a small smile as he rubbed the back of his head “Ah, well yeah… it’s a start. We might have to wait it out just a bit longer though.”

“That’s okay.” Chara shrugged as they made their way to Asriel’s bed, sitting themselves down on it “What’s done is done. Later it is then.”

 

The goat monster nodded as he wandered to the bed as well, not hesitating to join the human as the two now sat side by side. Chara’s mind was focused on figuring out a new way of escape, since roaming the halls wasn’t as easy as they suspected and hoped it would be. It wasn’t like they could climb out of any windows or anything either, so the task of getting out would be far more challenging than anticipated. It didn’t take long before Chara felt Asriel’s eyes fixated on them, and with a light turn of their head, the goat monster stuttered at the sudden attention “Ah… if you don’t mind me asking…”

“Let me guess.” Chara started for him, causing Asriel to return to a nervous state “You want to know about me, huh.”

 

“Don’t get me wrong, I know we’ll get you out. I’m sure of it.” Asriel’s nerves continued to turn on and off like a light switch, and yet he seemed almost excited at the thought of hearing more from Chara “But while we’re here, uh… stuck together, I figured we should get to know each other better.”

“There’s not much about me that’s as interesting as you’re thinking.” Chara said bluntly, rolling their eyes just so that they could look away from him “My life isn’t as great as yours. I mean, I know yours stinks… but my life wasn’t any better. In a way… me and you are sort of alike.”

 

“Huh…” Asriel tilted his head a bit “Really?”

“Yeah.” Chara took in a deep breath “The only difference is that you were named an heir to a throne, and I was tossed in the trash.” At first, after having said that the room fell almost deathly silent. The tone had changed from light hearted to intense, but with that sudden shift in mood came a quick giggle from Chara, who shook their head with a smile “Anyway, in the beginning life was normal like anyone else’s would be I guess. I had parents, I had a family… but one day everything went south. One day I felt pretty… alone and detached. I guess they decided they didn’t have time for me.”

 

“Oh.” The other’s paws gripped the edge of the bed then, lowering his head to not stare at Chara so much anymore “I’m sorry about that.”

 

“I wasn’t always broke.” Chara mentioned, turning their attention to Asriel who had now refused to look Chara in the eye “My dad was a well renowned jeweler, the reason he didn’t have time for me was probably because he was really stuck in his work. But who could blame him? Just another side effect of being rich… you don’t need to worry about anyone or anything other than your money.” Finally Chara tore their gaze away from Asriel. The two teens were simply staring down at their laps as the human continued “Eventually yeah, there wasn’t enough time or money for me. I was sent to the orphanage where I met… my friend.”

Chara knew that more than anything Asriel wanted to be trusted. But how were they supposed to trust the son of the godfather? Asriel might have been kind and sweet, and Chara definitely believed that… however at the same time, Chara figured that if Asriel really didn’t want to go through with anything his father was doing, he would have stopped it by now. One would think that a son would be capable of stopping a parent from doing stupid things. But maybe that was just wishful thinking, considering the human’s own circumstances.

Either way, Chara didn’t know Asriel all too well to simply spill the names of everyone Chara knew. And to them, Frisk was all that they had. Frisk was everything.

 

“We weren’t close at first.” Chara continued, nudging Asriel to try and get him to perk up from his sulking state “But eventually we wound up doing everything together. I don’t know their own story, I don’t know why they ended up at the orphanage… but all I know is that we were meant to be best friends.” With that, the human gave a soft sigh as they leaned back against the bed. Letting their eyes close just for a moment, they felt a moment of peace and relaxation. The comfort of the small bed, the thoughts about how Chara and Frisk met, there was something magical about how the two of them were bound together. It was strange how, at first, their intentions were grim… but the light that shined within Frisk gave them both a change that was well deserved. It was a struggle, but it was a change for the better. They both deserved so much more, and even if the odds were against the duo, Chara still believed they would get what they deserved.

“The only thing I could ever want now, more than anything in the entire world…” Chara started, opening their eyes again to stare up at the darkly lit ceiling of the room “…is to get us out of this poverty rut. To just live life like we’ve always dreamed about. Not having to struggle just for food, or a decent place to sleep… the Winter more than anything is the hardest, and in the Summer it’s all about staying hydrated without getting sick—“

 

“Well, have you tried talking to your parents again?” Asriel asked, receiving a quick stare from Chara that made the goat monster regret his suggestion “I mean, to ask for money? Or something?”

 

“Not every king is kind enough to make their kid an heir, Asriel.” Chara retorted, practically mocking him for even suggesting that “That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

 

Asriel couldn’t exactly defend himself, he simply fidgeted with his fingers, letting his nails tap against each other to make a repeated ‘ clacking’ noise. Chara looked away again, refocusing on the ceiling “Even if I could, I don’t know where they moved to, or what they’re doing now. Not that I’d beg for money from bastard’s like them. They could be dead for all I care.” The human sat up in the bed, reaching their hand to lightly swat at Asriel’s paws “Stop making that noise, it’s annoying.”

 

“Sorry…” Asriel said, quickly doing as he was told.

 

“Now it’s your turn.” The brunette slowly lifted a leg to hug to their chest as their deep brown eyes glanced away from the monster. The two of them were sitting in silence for a good minute before Asriel actually tried to ask “My turn? For what?”

 

“You wanted to get to know me.” Chara clarified “So now let me get to know you.”

 

“Oh, yeah.” Asriel smiled somewhat, looking back down at his hands as he folded them together “We were struggling at first too… I wasn’t born with money. I mean, my parents worked hard to get us here… all three of us struggled but at least we were together. That’s all I really wanted, just my parents and I to stay together forever.” With that, he laughed at this. It was easy to tell that it was a sad and fake laugh, but he cleared his throat then “Nothing’s permanent, though.”

With that being said, he suddenly paused just to shift in his seat and get more comfortable. Chara was comfortable leaning on their leg now, looking directly at Asriel with an unmoving gaze as the monster continued “They heard about these priceless pendants, and everything just… suddenly changed. The goal wasn’t to just survive off of every paycheck, it was to live comfortably forever. Which, when you’re a little kid it sounds great not having to watch your folks struggle with bills I guess. Money doesn’t matter to you when you’re a kid.”

 

“Right.” Chara gave a quick nod.

 

Asriel smiled at this, probably appreciating that Chara was actually listening and not just brushing his story off. He turned himself slightly to face the human a bit better as he proceeded “These necklaces changed everything… and suddenly everyone was torn apart. My dad became so focused on getting them that he would do whatever it took… by any means. It drove mom away, but I couldn’t go with her… dad wanted me to stay to learn the business. And… well, since when this started she was originally involved… she couldn’t fight him or they both wind up in jail.”

 

“You’re here against your will.” Even though it sounded like a question, Chara sounded more blunt as if it were a simple statement. Asriel squirmed in his seat uncomfortably then “Ah, don’t get me wrong, I love my dad as much as I love my mom… and if I wanted to leave, I probably could but… I just don’t want to cause anymore conflict than I have to.” He finally fully turned on the bed to face Chara, pulling his leg onto the bed as well to tuck it under his other leg, just as Chara turned to face him too, however pulling back so they weren’t so close to each other.

 

“Chara.” Asriel said gently, almost sternly, as if trying really hard to get them to understand something “I want things back to normal, just as much as you want to live a carefree life with your friend. If there was a way to get rid of the dumb pendant’s that’s causing the Underground to be so obsessed with money… then by all means I’d do it… but…” Asriel’s assertive look had faltered then, and he lowered his eyes downward.

Chara lifted a finger to rub their chin thoughtfully, scratching it casually as they looked elsewhere for a moment. Chara had been carried down and taken deep into the Underground’s hideout, practically right at the center, where Asriel and even Asgore resided. It’s where most of the guards patrolled, it’s where their experiment was kept at bay… so by all means, that might have meant that Chara wasn’t exactly far from where the pendants were actually being held.

The sudden realization made the human almost jump. They began to piece a few ideas together, their thoughts spread like wildfire as their eyes widened and they glanced to Asriel.

The monster wasn’t at all focused on Chara anymore, he had somewhat fallen in on himself as he nervously played with his fingers and returned to clicking his claw-nails together. It was a nervous tick of his, Chara could easily tell that he was a good kid just like Frisk; but that made him an easy pushover as well.

The thoughts ran free then. Chara realized that Asriel, more than anything, didn’t want his family to deal with the pendants any longer. While Chara, on the other hand, wanted to find a way to support Frisk and themselves for the rest of their lives… really badly.

 

It was almost cruel how fate worked against people, driving them to hate a certain thing, but then forcing them to turn into the one thing they despised the most.

 

Chara hated the rich, Chara hated the wealthy… but suddenly, the idea of owning those pendants… didn’t seem so bad.

After all, they were all right here.

 

A wide and almost creepy smile had spread across their lips as they turned their back to Asriel to keep the idea in their head just a bit longer. How would this work? How would Chara be able to make it out of here with all those pendants? Let alone, make it out and then try to find Frisk.

 

“Chara?”

 

Asriel’s voice snapped the teen out of their trance, and with a quick whip of their head, Chara faced Asriel with a normal and calm expression “Huh?”

 

“Are you okay?” Asriel asked, the clicking of his nails had stopped as he showed true concern. The innocent goat-teen tilted his head towards the human, and Chara smiled more “I’m fine. I figured out a way to solve both our problems.”

 

“Really?” Asriel seemed dumbfounded, but Chara pushed further and reached out to grasp his paws within their hands. The sudden touch made the goat monster blush profusely, but Chara continued “I want to help me and my friend get set for life, and you want those pendants to disappear. All we gotta do is help eachother out by getting the necklaces! Once they’re gone, everything in the Underground will turn to normal, you and your dad can find your mom and be happy! Me and my friend can take them to sell and we’ll buy our own place and everything!”

The blush had faded then, whether it was hidden under Asriel’s fur or actually gone Chara couldn’t tell… but the teen gave Chara’s hands a gentle squeeze as he furrowed his brows “But that’s… stealing.”

 

Chara’s mood dropped.

 

What? Asriel was suddenly against it?

 

“Asriel, you do realize your dad and his crew have been stealing them from people this whole time, right?”

 

“Well… yeah, but—“

 

“Not to mention killing them?”

 

Asriel cringed, quickly pulling his paws away from Chara. He was definitely uncomfortable with the reminder, but Chara needed him to be on their side. Without the king’s son on their side, they probably wouldn’t make it by themselves. The human quickly grabbed for their paws again, giving them another squeeze. The squeeze, however, was more tight and less ‘reassuring’ and comforting “Asriel. If anything, you owe those dead people a favor, a favor at getting back at your dad-- if not that, getting rid of the pendants to remove the sins of your father. All those killed people, Asriel. Do you know what guilty by association is? You’ll be tossed in jail just like your old daddy-o only because you’re his son and he’s a murderer.

“St-Stop creeping me out…” Asriel was lightly tugging at their hands, trying to break away from the hold, but Chara only leaned in and tightened their grip as they stared deep into the goat teens eyes “This is serious. I’m not trying to creep you out on purpose or anything, I’m just being honest because that’s what friends do, right?”

 

Of course Chara was trying to scare Asriel into being on their side. If they had no other choice, then so be it.

 

“This isn’t a joke.” The human continued, insisting that Asriel stay close and stop struggling to break free “Welcome to the real world, rich boy. Where you pay for your crimes even if you didn’t do them.”

 

They finally let go then, and Asriel almost fell back and out the bed. Managing to catch himself, when he sat backup Chara hadn’t moved an inch to grant him space to recover. Chara remained up close to Asriel, closing in the space between them as he sighed lightly “Asriel. You’re a cool guy… honestly, I’m so grateful you stopped your dad from doing what he almost did to me.” With that said, the human turned their head away quickly, taking in a light breath. As if playing a role, as if putting on a show, they made a sniffling noise as if preparing to cry “Asriel… what you did was really brave. But it doesn’t change the fact that you never did it for any of the others, did you?”

 

“What…?” Asriel quickly guided Chara’s face back to look at him. The human blinked away the false tears, and Asriel’s own widened at the sight “I… I couldn’t… I didn’t know—“

 

“What didn’t you know?” Chara asked, wavering their voice as they bit their bottom lip. Asriel’s breathing hitched “I couldn’t I was… I was just—I was scared—“

 

“But what made me different from everyone else?” Chara pushed, a nerve in the back of their head ticked. Hurry and break.

 

“I don’t know!” Asriel pulled away and wrapped his arms over his head. He fell forward to curl over his legs, protecting himself from his surroundings as he mumbled almost angrily, but sadly all at the same time “I don’t know, I don’t know! I didn’t want what happened to them to happen to me too!”

“You’re scared of your own dad? ” Chara gave a light and dramatic gasp, touching their chest in complete shock as they glanced at the bedroom door. “I don’t want to hurt you, Asriel… I don’t want to make you feel bad. We’re both in the same boat here… trapped by a guy who’s obsessed with money, with power . And you don’t want to be like him, right?”

 

Almost nervously, Chara scooted themselves away from Asriel in a cautious manner “You’re… you’re not like him… are you? You’re not going to--”

 

“No!” Asriel lifted up and finally refaced Chara again. Chara blinked, having recovered from their façade, but remaining with flushed cheeks “Then help me…! I want to save my friend from life on the streets! I want to help others like me! And you don’t want your dad to do what he almost did to me to anyone else, right?”

 

Asriel nodded quickly. And Chara smiled “It’s a kill or be killed kind of world, you realize that, right?”

 

“Yeah…” Asriel was on the verge of tears, but he quickly wiped at his eyes to try and hide it as he sniffed “Yeah you’re right. I’m sorry… I just—“

 

“It’s okay.” Chara reached out and let a hand rest against his disgusting face “Don’t be a cry baby…”

 

“But you were just—“

 

“Shh.” Chara snorted, patting his cheek but keeping a hold of him “If anything happens… I got your back, and you got mine… right? Ever since you saved me, I owe you. I owe you so much , Asriel. So I need you to help me, and I’ll help you too. We’re in this together, right?”

 

Asriel seemed to lean into Chara’s touch, smiling as he gave a quiet nod. He sniffled once more, before sighing out “Yeah. We’re in this together.”

 

“Perfect.” Chara gently let go, opening their arms wide “I didn’t mean to make you cry, okay? Let’s just take a break from all this mess… we’ll figure it out soon.”

 

Asriel nodded quickly, graciously accepting the embrace. Chara was tall, but not as tall as Asriel, who had to practically curl over Chara to fully embrace the human. He held Chara so tightly against him that, to anyone looking in, it would have appeared that Asriel was truly trying to devour them or snap the human in half. The hug was tight, but it was gentle all the same, and Chara returned the hug while also including gentle back rubs every now and then. Asriel broke down in Chara’s arms, sobbing softly about missing his mom, about how he wished his dad would change… about hoping this plan would fix everything for the better.

 

Would the plan help Asriel’s family out?

 

And Chara smiled.

 

How the hell would they know?

Chapter Text

Chapter 11: Blooming

Just like they were told, the drive was excruciatingly long.

 

Frisk was definitely thankful that they were back on track towards getting to the Underground, but they were still somewhat nervous and impatient. They didn’t want to express it, considering they were surrounded by mobsters, but at the same time they were rather happy that they were surrounded by people who had voted against violence and decided to help them on their journey rather than hurt them.

 

But they still felt sad at the thought that Chara might be, and was probably, dead.

 

Undyne and Papyrus were chatting away at the front seat of the car, Undyne driving rather fast and yet still in a skilled enough manner to not set fear into anyone’s mind other than Papyrus’. Papyrus was in the passenger’s seat, every so often cutting between their conversations to try and direct Undyne on where to go for a shorter route—not that it mattered, considering that from this point in time they had been in the car for about another hour since the confrontation. Undyne would oblige and give Papyrus the benefit of the doubt every so often, however sometimes arguments would erupt from the front seat because the two disagreed on which way was quicker. Undyne, in the end, felt that it didn’t matter… if you drove your car at 30 miles per hour in the 5 mile areas.

Sans and Frisk sat in the back seat, with Frisk mostly paying attention to the scenic views outside the window, and Sans butting into the conversation up front only now and again. Frisk personally wanted to be left out of the loop of chatter because, obviously they were having upsetting thoughts. Frisk hadn’t gotten to cry deeply enough over losing their friend, and a part of them hoped that there had been a reason for it. Maybe it was in the heat of the moment that Sans had claimed Undyne having murdered Chara? Maybe Sans didn’t exactly mean it? All things considered, Sans was behaving as if he hadn’t said anything… so maybe, just maybe, it was just a quick witted comeback to scare Papyrus into joining his side rather than Undyne’s.

 

Frisk did their best to simply tune out the talking in the vehicle and focus more so on themselves, but out of the blue they found themselves listening in when Sans had asked Undyne:

 

“Hey, Undyne. What got ya into the Underground biz, anyway?”

 

It was obvious Undyne knew about Sans and Papyrus’ story, because she was one of the original gang members who had joined directly under the leaders… Toriel and Asgore at the time. She had been the one told to go around recruiting more members for the Underground, in which she found Sans and Papyrus, as the skeleton brother’s story portrayed. But Frisk supposed that neither of them ever got around to finding out why Undyne decided to join. She was, after all, a real tough and rather intimidating fish monster… she probably could get whatever she wanted without having the Underground on her resume.

 

“Tch, you punks really wanna know?” Undyne scoffed, though as wide of a grin as she displayed, it faltered slightly as she mulled over her own thoughts for a moment. Frisk was slowly returning their focus back to the conversation more, because they had to admit they were curious too. There was something changing their views on the Underground; maybe it was because there were monsters like Sans and Papyrus who joined just because of poor treatment on the city streets. Frisk wondered if most of the monsters in the gang came from sad or lonely backgrounds.

“OH PLEASE!!” Papyrus suddenly clasped his hands together and gave Undyne the most hopeful look “I bet it’s the greatest tale ever!! How the great Undyne joined and became a WARRIOR!!”

“Oh my God, Paps. I wasn’t a ‘ warrior ’ back then.” Undyne snorted and laughed, roughly punching his shoulder before returning her attention to the road. Even her driving had slowed down and relaxed more as she thought over what to say next. Her wide grin and somewhat flattered blush slowly disappeared though as memories started to flood her mind. She finally spoke out then, rolling her eyes “I was always a fighter, though. I guess I had a few issues of my own… I wasn’t this lady like monster my parents wanted me to be. Was taken to etiquette classes and everything.”

 

“Etiquette classes?” Frisk repeated as a question, unsure about the term. Sans gave the teen a small smile, maybe in appreciation of finally joining in on the conversations they were having.

 

Undyne looked at her rearview mirror towards Frisk “Uh, yeah! They’re like… classes or schools you would go to on how to be fancy and proper, or crap like that. Which fork to eat with at what part of the meal, how to dress an’ act…” Undyne then rolled her eyes again at the memory. Sans pointed out “Basically, classes where ya learn ta be a lady or learn ta be a lad.”

 

“It’s… either or?” Frisk asked rather timidly at the thought. Frisk had always felt in between , never had they felt more feminine than masculine, or the other way around. The idea of Frisk having to undergo classes in which they would be shoved into a category made them cringe. Undyne noticed the cringe and joined in “Yeah, a real crap fest, right?” She winked to try and comfort Frisk “But screw that! It didn’t work, I just couldn’t figure out why people would bother having twelve different spoons for twelve different parts of dinner. Or silver ware in general! I mean, we all got hands!”

 

Imagining young Undyne cupping soup in her hands to drink made Frisk snort a tiny laugh, and apparently this was enough to bring a smile to Undyne’s face as well as she continued “So yeah, of course word spreads fast when there ain’t that many people, so back in school I had to fight to get respect.” She glanced to Papyrus “People look down at the females who wear pants and suits, but I never saw myself as some lady . I never saw my future as a generic housewife who sat at home with kids n’ cleanin’ around and crap. I saw myself as wanting to wear whatever was comfortable—and for me, slacks n’ suspenders all the way. I saw myself as someone who wanted to go out n’ do stuff!”

“Skirts and dresses feel freeing, though.” Frisk tried to comment, even though Sans and Papyrus were already agreeing with Undyne’s statement on choice of clothes. Undyne looked back to Frisk through her mirror with a wink “Nothing wrong with wearin’ whatever ya feel comfy in, and don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise.”

Frisk blushed a bit and nodded, and Undyne sighed as she looked forward “I got into plenty of fights with the other kids in the neighborhood and on the playground, ‘specially the boys who thought they were better than me. And my parents… well…” She sighed lightly “My parents had problems of their own to deal with, they didn’t even notice the fights I were having with myself and everyone around me. And here I was thinking… ‘hey, if they don’t got time for me, then I guess I should go’. So, I did.” Undyne swallowed then, her calm demeanor over her tale had vanished and changed to a sad one “I ran away from home and I never looked back.”

 

“I’m sorry.” Frisk said with their own frown, looking back out the window to focus on the passing cars and people on the city streets. Undyne chuckled, though it was obviously a sad one and not genuine “Nothing to be sorry about, kid! Everything happens for a reason, right? I was about your age back then when I ran away, too.”

 

She made a rather sudden and rough turn then, sending everyone close to toppling over to the right of the car. Papyrus wound up hugging the door, and Frisk wound up hugging against Sans before the vehicle was back to driving straight. Frisk cleared their throat and fixed their clothing as they re-situated themselves in their proper position to the other seat.

 

Undyne ignored everyone’s reactions and continued “I’ve grown up now, and I’ve avoided the cops to keep them from finding me… but I don’t really think they ever looked too hard—my parents have long since moved away to who knows where. After living out and about on my own for some time, I figured I needed a reason for being a tough chick.”

Undyne returned to her wide grin again “Tough, strong, fierce… I figured I could use my skills for somethin’, right? I bumped into Asgore by chance, and when he mentioned needing a right hand for his new idea on a ‘get rich quick’ thing, I went for it! ‘Cause why the hell not?!” She laughed then, rather proud of herself and her statement “Asgore’s like a father to me, he was the father figure I never got to have since my own had always been too busy to deal with someone like me—and Asriel? Well, Asriel I guess was just a little twerp that—“

 

“Asriel?” The name was familiar, and Frisk perked up slightly from the reminder. Sans noticed this, and with a smile stuck on his face he asked “Name ring a bell, kid?”

 

“Kind of, ah… sorry about that, Undyne.” Frisk apologized to Undyne for interrupting her story, but their mind immediately wandered to the rainy night a few days ago. It was pouring, and Frisk was cold, wet, and completely alone and sour. They were so determined to find Chara, but at the same time, they didn’t have any leads or any way of knowing how to go about finding them. Chara was always the leader type, they always figured out what to do and when… so Frisk had no real plans on how to protect themselves or rescue them. “A monster guy named Asriel bumped into me near an alleyway fence awhile back, while it was raining out. He gave me his jacket and umbrella… because it was pouring and I didn’t have anything to protect myself…” Frisk smiled a bit “He was looking for someone that he had lost, but I only bumped into some blonde earlier, so I didn’t know…”

 

Undyne glanced at the rearview mirror towards Frisk at the comment, just as both Papyrus and Sans gave each other a confused look while Frisk continued.

 

Though as Frisk continued their focus seemed to shift “Asriel had white fur, and these horns… he was like this goat monster with kind eyes and… I guess I felt so bad over losing Chara at the time, I didn’t think much of his kindness but…” The realization that they were imagining the night over again, Frisk found themselves blushing and covering their cheeks “No one’s ever… well, other than Chara… been that nice to me before…”

 

“Aw…” Sans snickered “Frisk’s got a crush on the prince.”

 

Frisk shut their eyes tightly “Don’t say that! I just appreciate how nice he is! No one’s exactly been that nice to people like—“

 

“Young love~” Papyrus sighed romantically, and Frisk’s entire face heated up when Undyne joined in “THAT’S THE CORNIEST ROMANCE STORY EVER!!”

 

“I will jump out this car right now—!” Frisk fully covered their face from the wave of embarrassment they felt, though obviously the threat to their own life(thankfully jokingly) went unnoticed. Frisk felt so embarrassed having admitted how appreciative they had been, maybe that was something they should have kept to themselves. Papyrus and Undyne laughed it all out, rather loudly, though it was obvious it had been due to Frisk’s reaction and not because of who they were crushing on. Sans patted Frisk’s shoulder roughly, even if the human teen didn’t budge from their hiding position “There ain’t nothin’ wrong with feelin’ that way. Asriel’s a good kid, and who knows—maybe after all o’this you two can have a li’l chat…“

 

“There’s nothing to talk about~!” Frisk commented with a huff, still hiding their face.

 

“That’s like…” Undyne suddenly spoke almost in wonder “That’s like… human furry babies…”

 

Frisk yelled “STOP TALKING LIKE THAT RIGHT NOW—!“

 

“Do not tease the human so much!” Papyrus poked Undyne’s side with a boney finger “It is rather cute! And I would totally support the human furry babies—“

 

Sans snorted at this, and Frisk covered their eyes once again. To help change the conversation and embarrass Frisk less, Sans commented “C’mon guys, kid need’s their rest. It’s still a long drive to hell.”

 

And he was right of course. The Underground base was supposedly deep within the city, and they were technically still in the outer edge driving inward. By the time they would make it, it would most certainly be night time. If not night, the next day. And from the sudden attention, Frisk had grown rather groggy and tired from being overwhelmed. But it was still a peculiar feeling, feeling embarrassed and shy wasn’t something they were used to being considering how they had grown up. They didn’t want to admit how tired they were becoming because of all the attention, but Sans admitted it for them considering the human started to rub their eyes as their rosy cheeks calmed down.

Papyrus gave a confirming nod of his own “Of course! It is still a long drive, me and Undyne will take turns to get us there safely!”

Frisk gave a faint nod of their head, relaxing more thanks to the change in subject. They were once again left to their own thoughts as the monsters of the car began having their own conversations about who would actually be driving and taking turns. Sand didn’t volunteer, but Papyrus was pushing for him to join in on helping out, so that the drive would be a lot quicker. If three people rotated and took turns, then they wouldn’t have to worry about the two drivers being worn out at the same time. Sans wasn’t exactly budging all too much, but he wasn’t complaining a lot either. Frisk of course didn’t volunteer themselves since they didn’t know how to drive, but no one asked or suggested Frisk to take a turn either.

 

Frisk’s mind wandered away from the conversations of the car and back towards, of course, Asriel.

 

So, Asriel was the son of Asgore… and apparently the son of Toriel as well, from the connections Frisk could easily make now. Asriel had the soul and spirit of Toriel; that caring and loving personality where he probably couldn’t sit by and watch someone get hurt… let alone grow cold from rain water. He was the type to put himself last, and to think lowly of himself. The only reason Frisk considered the last part was because of what he had said about ‘rich people’ back when offering up his coat and umbrella to Frisk back then. How unfair life was to some people, and how he might’ve wished to do better. He didn’t want to be labelled as the rest of them… he wanted to stand out and express how he was unique and quite kind compared to what most of Chara and Frisk’s experiences with the richer person’s of the city.

 

Frisk felt their face heat up again, but with the monsters no longer paying attention to Frisk, they felt a lot safer expressing their blush than before. They kept their face looking out of the window, watching as the town rolled by like a film reel. With a small sigh, Frisk wondered maybe if Asriel had been there… he would have saved Chara from their fate.

 

The reminder that Chara might’ve been dead… really hurt. The feeling was so sudden it was like a wave, and Frisk couldn’t help but touch their chest from the heavy pressure. They wouldn’t be able to rest without asking “Um, Undyne?”

 

Whatever the three of them had been talking about immediately ceased from Frisk’s voice. After all, Frisk’s voice was a lot lighter than theirs, it stood out in the crowd of laughter and boisterous speech. Sans looked to Frisk curiously as Undyne gave them a look through their mirror “What’s up, pipsqueak?”

“Can I ask you something?” Frisk asked, though Undyne also seemed confused by this. She didn’t give Frisk a response to that question, so Frisk pushed forward with their wondering “My friend… Chara… are they alright? Are they still—uh… alive?”

 

The question was heavy for them, because after Frisk had said this they quickly lowered their gaze down to their lap. The thought weighed on their thoughts, as the rather happy and care free visions of Asriel had been replaced with murdered photographs of Chara. Chara having been mauled, Chara having been shot down, Chara having been hung—

 

“Oh yeah, that punk.” Undyne interrupted Frisk’s thoughts by humming as she thought it over aloud. Frisk quickly perked up slightly from Undyne remembering who Chara was “They were the one you took a while back, remember?”

“Yeah, yeah…” Undyne nodded as she focused on the road “Don’t worry too much about your friend, runt. Sorry I split you guys up, but it was just business, you know?” She glanced back towards Frisk, but it was obvious they weren’t satisfied with that simple of an answer. It was too vague, and didn’t exactly explain to Frisk anything that pertained to Chara’s whereabouts and their well-being. Undyne continued then, noting Frisk’s upset face “I don’t know what they’re up to now, exactly—Asgore was gonna kill ‘em like the rest, but Asriel showed up and asked to keep Chara around. Like some sort of friend or whatever… as far as I know that’s all that’s happened, been locked up with Asriel in his room or somethin’.”

 

Frisk’s face immediately expressed a smile. If what Undyne said was true, then Chara wasn’t dead; they were still alive and well! Even better, which made Frisk’s smile even wider, was the fact that Asriel had saved Chara. It was ridiculous how the events had suddenly unfolded, the city was a lot smaller than they had expected. Maybe that night when Asriel said he was looking for someone, he had been looking for Chara to save them?

 

“A true hero, that one.” Sans looked at Frisk all the while, saying this comment only made Frisk blush at the thought of Asriel being labelled as some type of ‘hero’.

 

But honestly, that’s how Frisk was starting to see the goat teen. If Frisk had known how genuinely good Asriel was, maybe Frisk wouldn’t of been so rude to him. Frisk figured that Asriel didn’t have a good impression of Frisk now, since Frisk was a bit grumpy from the loss of Chara. But maybe, just maybe, Frisk would also be given the chance to thank Asriel for everything if they were to meet in the Underground.

 

Two good things happened… the faith that Chara was safe and sound, and the hope that Asriel would do his very best to keep protecting them.

 

With a small sigh, their thoughts were suddenly distracted by the warmth of a coat being draped over their blouse. Frisk looked to their right and saw Sans, smiling their way and winking at them. The stocky skeleton had offered up his coat for Frisk to use as a makeshift blanket. While it wasn’t exactly cold inside or outside of the car, Frisk still appreciated the gesture and grinned softly “Thank you, Sans.”

 

“Get some rest, dreamer.” Sans simply commented, turning his attention away and back out the window. He looked like he was deep in thought as well, leaning his arm against the rest attached to the door, and his jaw tucked into his palm. Sans stared out the window, but he didn’t even seem to be paying much attention to the surroundings or the destination. His mind seemed elsewhere, like he was dreaming as well.

 

Even the talking of the car had died down, everyone was left thinking to themselves in silence as Undyne continued her drive and Papyrus was looking out his own window. Sans ruffled Frisk’s hair just a bit, rather quickly to the point where when Frisk looked back to Sans, Sans had returned to his thoughtful position. But the human teen didn’t object much, Frisk simply nodded with a smile, mumbling a bit of gratitude for the formal jacket that would be used as a blanket, and closing their eyes as they relaxed a bit in the car.

 

Their heart was racing though, they couldn’t tell over what anymore. Over Chara being alive? Over getting to see Asriel again?

 

Frisk huffed under their breath before managing to finally drift off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Just Checking In

“How are they doing?”

 

“Mighty peachy, if ya ask me…”

 

“Haha, I did ask you, silly bones.”

 

Frisk was in a deep slumber still in the back of the car, Sans’ coat still laid across their shoulders and chest to keep them warm as they breathed gently. Their hair had gotten disheveled due to the rough driving that Undyne performed while it was her turn, but Frisk wound up being a heavy sleeper all things considered. They were the only one left in the car while Sans, Papyrus, and Undyne had parked it for a quick break and stretch. Papyrus would be taking over the driving for the remaining half of the journey to the hidden hideout, but he insisted that they all get a bit of exercise in before they had to curl back up into the vehicle.

Of course this was for Papyrus and Undyne mainly, since Sans was the same height as Frisk, if not shorter. The short ones didn’t feel cramped like the tall ones did.

 

The car had been parked in a rather dark alley, though for the sake of keeping Frisk safe, Papyrus and Undyne remained by the vehicle to do their exercises while Sans wandered away from the group to do his own thing. What his own thing was, none of them would ever know. But it was something he often times found himself doing periodically throughout his days ever since he had first met the older woman.

 

“What are they doing now?”

 

She sounded somewhat muffled on the other line, but at the same time she was clear as day. Her voice was strong, delicate but stern, and it was booming enough to always make it clear what she wanted and what she was saying. Sans was a selfish guy, everything he had been doing up to this point was either for his family’s sake or for his hearts sake.

 

Sans had found a payphone near the alley that he wandered towards; his stance was casual as he shoved a bit of loose change into the machine and picked up the phone to call for Toriel. Toriel had mentioned wanting an update on how Frisk was handling the ride to the Underground whenever Sans had gotten the chance, and since this was the first break he had gotten since leaving Toriel’s, now was a better time than any. It was obvious that she had grown worried over the teenager, but she was also smarter than she looked. She might’ve been kind hearted, but she wasn’t a pushover.

She was the one who anticipated that the moment Sans and Papyrus entered and announced who they were, Frisk would quickly try to escape with them. In the end she wound up right, as she often times did.

So she had asked Sans to check in with her whenever he could, and now here he was, at a payphone in the middle of the city late in the evening.

 

“They’re sleepin’.” Sans said with a light shrug. He had an existential crisis for a moment there, questioning how the hell he was even hearing her without having ears, but when he realized he didn’t care enough he continued “I gave ‘em my coat jus’ incase they got chilled to the bone.”

 

“How very kind of you, Sans.” Toriel said, her voice sounded like she smiled at him, and Sans picked it up and ran with it “Well ya know, that’s just li’l ol’ me… a giver.”

 

The goat woman gave a hearty chuckle from this, and even though Sans didn’t want to ruin the mood, he knew that she deserved to know “Eh, also, Tori… we did get into a confrontation with one of tha others.”

“Confrontation?” Just as the skeleton expected, Toriel’s voice went from calm and relaxed to stressed and upset “What do you mean? What happened? Was anyone hurt?”

 

“A bit of scratches here n’ there, but other than that everythin’ turned better than expected.” Sans confirmed with a nod. His free hand was now being shoved into his pants pocket, while the other adjusted the phone against his head. Bone against hard material caused clanking noises to sound, but only until he was done moving the receiver around “It was Undyne. Paps has a good soul… he had good intentions but didn’t realize what Undyne and her crew actually did… so he snitched and reported Frisk after noticin’ the locket on their neck.”

“Oh dear…” Toriel said solemnly, but that was all she seemed to say. She was pretty down over hearing the information given, but Sans tried to continue “In the end though, turns out Paps ain’t gonna be applyin’ as a Royal Guard anytime soon. And turns out your human kid’s got a heart of gold. They were the one to stop the brawl we started.”

 

“How did they stop the fight? Was it between you and Papyrus? And Undyne?”

 

“Yeah.” Sans smile was calm, he looked down at his nonexistent nails just as he balanced the phone against his shoulder and caught it with the side of his face “I had to give Paps a reality check about Undyne n’ her career choice, kinda destroyed Paps’ rose colored glasses but… it was enough to get him to help me protect Frisk. Me n’ Pappy were dukin’ it out with fish brawler when Frisk outta tha blue butts in an’ says fightin’ ain’t the answer. Or somethin’ like that.”

“Truly a good soul.” Toriel’s worried tone had shifted back to a relaxed one, apparently Sans was using all the right words to describe the events. Sans nodded approvingly, though spoke once realizing she probably couldn’t see his nod “Yeah, kid’s a real pacifist. Got Undyne to help us an’ everythin’ now. So we’re a trio of crooks escortin’ a rather pricey teenager.”

 

“Pricey?” Just then her good tone dropped. Sans swallowed “Er, priceless?”

 

Toriel huffed lightly, of course the usual argument was about to start, so Sans braced himself as she began “Sans, please do not make jokes that have anything to do with the deaths and murders of innocent people. Those pendants were theirs to keep and the Underground is nothing more than a bunch of blood thirsty bandits hurting anyone who has what they want or gets in their way.” With that being said, she huffed once more before finishing off with “And you know how I feel about you even being a part of all this.”

“Look, Tori.” Sans gave a low sigh of his own, adjusting the cufflinks of his white shirt as he looked over his shoulder towards the alley where Undyne and Papyrus were parked. Every so often one of them would poke their head out to look at Sans, point to their wrist as a gesture of ‘hurry the hell up’ , before diving back into the alley to probably keep chatting about goofy things “Of course I know how ya feel, you always forget how I feel about all this. You think I wanna be workin’ for yer ex? And if I weren’t part o’this li’l project jewel thief schindig you’d never hear nothin’ about your son. So there’s two negative’s creatin’ a positive—“

 

Toriel’s voice rose slightly “It is not just about ‘ working for an ex,’ Sans!”

 

“You’re damn right it is!” Sans’ suddenly furrowed his invisible brows as the lights in his eyes flickered out “I need the money, Tori! And it’s not so easy to jus’ give everything up and run off to tha country side like some people!”

 

Those specific words were a direct snap towards Toriel, who truly felt it. It was obvious she felt hurt from the words because she had no way of retaliating. She was silent on the other end of the phone; whether she was pondering thinking of other things to say, or wondering whether she should hang up, Sans couldn’t tell. He realized what he had said right when it was too late, and the blue flame flickered slightly in his eye as if something was about to happen “Ah—Tor, I’m sorry… I—“

 

“N-No, it is quite alright.”

Her voice sounded like she was lying, Sans could tell. He felt pretty cruddy after having said that, and his stance slouched somewhat as Toriel spoke almost quietly “But Sans… you understand why I had to leave, yes? You know that… it was not me abandoning you or anyone else. I would never dream of abandoning my own son.”

 

Sans swallowed, knowing fully well about her story. He felt so inconsiderate, wanting nothing more than to hang up and walk his social anxiety away with him. But he knew she would explain herself again; it’s what always happened whenever he was dumb enough to hold her ‘fleeing’ against her like she had a choice.

 

“It was by force.” Toriel started with a weak sigh. Her voice wavered like she would break down into tears at any second, but Sans knew better. It wasn’t that she didn’t cry, she just didn’t like to cry in front of people “Me and Asgore used to be so happy… it was not until our son, Asriel, that we realized the financial changes that came with a newborn child. It was hard to survive off of a single paycheck, and we had no one to care for our infant at the time so I was unable to help with the expenses. Asgore came up with the idea out of the blue of ‘collecting jewelry’ and it sounded like a grand idea at the time… we could find gemstones that appeared cheap to some, clean it up, and resell it for a truer price. That was… what I thought he had meant.”

 

She had to take a breather then, she mumbled for Sans to wait a moment as she fumbled with the phone on her end. Sans didn’t know what Toriel was doing, but he figured maybe now was a good time to stop her in her tracks. He didn’t enjoy putting her through the torture of reliving memories, it was the last thing Sans would want to do to someone he truly cared about. Toriel had never done that with Sans—she often times had trouble understanding his thought process about why he would relate himself with criminals, but other than that she never actually held his ‘greed’ against him. Sans had taken in a deep breath to begin his persuasion, but it was too late. Toriel had returned and started speaking again. “As his plans went into motion, as we recruited more and more persons to assist us in collecting jewelry, Asgore became absorbed in his work. He would neglect his son … neglect me … and he had one day even dared to decide that neither of us would be allowed out in the open anymore because now he was trying to hire people to do violent acts. He was hiring people to steal and murder all for the sake of money.”

Sans hated to admit to even himself how alike he and Asgore were. Both men had found themselves cornered and in a position where they needed to figure out which was more important—survival or being a ‘good person.’ Obviously, both of them had chosen to live, and both of their motivations had been for their family. Even though Toriel was out of Asgore’s picture, the king still had a son to take care of. And he had gotten better, Sans supposed… considering now and then Asriel was allowed on the surface.

 

It did not take long before he felt he gathered enough people, and announced that he was actually starting a mobster group called the Underground. And… ”  Toriel’s breathing hitched, she was trying so hard not to break down over the phone “The moment those innocent lives were lost… I could not be a part of it any longer. I just couldn’t.”

 

Toriel swallowed down whatever had been trying to come up, because she let out a small gasp and Sans quickly spoke out “Tori—I—“

 

“Asgore made me leave.” She finished anyway “He made me leave and said I had better leave Asriel behind unless I wish to go to jail with everyone and be labelled as a fellow criminal, knowing fully well I wanted, more than anything, to report the Underground—and… back then I just did not think. I agreed to his terms and was banished. But now… now I would have given up everything just to see Asriel again.” Toriel sighed out, a sad sigh that broke Sans’ heart as she said softly “I would not have minded being tossed behind those bars if it meant Asriel was safe and away from that place. But, at least… he still has that one friend.” She gave a sad chuckle under her raspy breath “The poor dear. I feel terrible for him but… at the same time it felt relieving, do you understand? To have two children in the Underground who could be together. I hope good came out of that mess.”

 

Sans cleared his throat then, as if trying to snap Toriel out of her trance “Who? Which poor dear we talkin’ ‘bout?”

 

Toriel needed a moment to recuperate apparently, because it took her a bit of time to respond. Sans once again checked back towards the alley way, where this time both Undyne and Papyrus stood there impatiently. They both mimicked each other, with arms crossed and feet tapping. Though it was meant to be a silent stare down, Undyne wound up breaking the boundaries and shouting out to him “ HURRY THE HELL UP, RUNT!!

“Ah, back then Asriel called him Flowey… that young human child, I know he was kidnapped… but at the same time, I did feel he was needed to help Asriel cope with hiding in the dark for so long. I do not understand why he was taken, but the two of them got along so well.” Sans was nervous about the question that came after that, but just as he suspected, Toriel asked “Say, whatever did happen to Flowey?”

 

He couldn’t lie to her. How could he? All these years he had been telling her the truth. All because, of course, there was something remarkable about her. Something that made him feel good. She saw the good in someone as bad as him, they were both bad people trying to turn towards the light, and while Toriel was on her way there, Sans had always felt stuck in the darkness with no actual way out. Sans hid in the dark for the sake of his brother, sure, but still he wished more than anything that somebody out there saw the good he was trying to do. And that person was Toriel, and it was… bonetastic.

Sans gave a nervous laugh of his own “Apparently, they never saw the human kid as capable of befriending Asriel on his own. They shoved ‘em through experiments and tests to make ‘im the perfect body guard instead.”

 

Toriel gasped, the shock value heard was phenomenal and Sans only pushed it “Yeah, and all those chemical cocktails turned the blondie into a lunatic. They merged ‘im with a bunch of ideas and now he’s what they consider both human AND monster . He ain’t even allowed to be near tha prince, but for some reason the kid’s got that same heart of gold you and Frisk got. Last time the two were together, Asriel took Flowey on a walk and it resulted in the looney makin’ a run for it.”

Toriel was making a sound, but it was practically inaudible. Sans could barely make out what she was trying to say, but in the end it was expected. She was probably mortified over the thought that Asriel had been left in the Underground with someone who not only didn’t turn out to be as friendly as she had hoped, but left with someone who Sans had called a lunatic of all things. It was obvious that now, more than ever, she was worried about Asriel’s well-being.

 

“How could they do something so cruel to an innocent human child?!” Toriel managed to shout, then she added angrily “How could they then proceed to leave him in the same vicinity as my SON?!”

 

“I’m on my way with everybody,” Sans tried to clear up the conversation with a clean finish “We’re almost there, and then I’ll make sure that both Asriel and Frisk’s li’l friend are safe. We’ll save everybody, and then we’ll be back at your place in no time for some grub, yeah?”

 

Toriel was still speechless for a long while, however she finally managed a light sigh as she agreed “Alright, I trust in you Sans… is there any way you can give me a promise on that?”

 

They both knew that was wishful thinking, and even Sans chuckled “You know I can’t make promises.”

 

“Very well.” The light in her voice rang true again, her mood shifting “Thank you so much, for everything you do for me, Sans. I am very appreciative to have a friend like you.”

 

The lights in his eyes went out like they had before, his permanent smile seemed strained. Toriel said softly “Well, have a good evening and please do be safe—“

 

“Tori.”

 

Toriel coughed lightly then, as if something had tickled her throat “Yes, Sans?”

 

Sans lowered his head slightly, now holding the phone fully to his head and his blank stare focused on the ground “Will ya ever have feelin’s for me?”

 

The sudden question was somewhat out of the blue, Sans knew he was pushing his boundaries by asking, yet again, about how Toriel felt for him. It had been this way for a long while now, the short skeleton had made the mistake of being the crutch she needed to try and move forward with her life; thus friendzoning him into oblivion while he was left as a stepping stool for what he felt was getting her up and over her old obstacles. There were times when Sans felt as if he were being yanked on a chain and being used, but then he would re-evaluate his problems and know better than to assume Toriel was anything else but innocent in their one-sided battle of love . Sans knew he was head over heels for a woman who was not only older than him by a long shot, but a woman who had been through hell and was still fighting through it. Not to mention, she was the ex-wife of his current boss who would probably get rid of Sans the moment he found out the short stock even had a smidge of feelings for the goat monster.

Sans always told himself he felt completely selfish for constantly trying to win her over, especially when she was still trying her damned best to sort herself out as well as find out how to bring her son back to her after so many years of being apart. It probably didn’t help in Sans’ favor that she kept telling him to leave the criminal life behind and all he kept saying over and over was ‘ I need the money.’

 

“You know I care about you, Sans…” Was all she managed to say after that long and awkward silence. Sans’ free hand was deep in his pocket to hide from himself the balled up fist he was creating. He was more so embarrassing himself in front of himself because Papyrus and Undyne had long since looked elsewhere to do something else, and he was actually shaking from the question. He felt like he was some sort of teenager sending the teacher a valentine’s card in front of the whole class. Now he knew how Frisk felt when they had tried to get everyone off their back about Asriel.

“…but I still worry over you, and right now… now is not the best time to think about things as trivial as… relationships and such.”

 

Another rejection to add onto the list. The adrenaline rush was over, and Sans unballed his fist but kept it stuffed in his pants pocket. Just to add a bone to the graveyard, she continued “More than anything, I want you and your brother safe. I want you two out of the Underground, I want my son free and I want Frisk to find their friend… I want what is best for everyone, and at the moment… what is safest and best for you is not to try and—“

 

“Yeah.” Sans breathed out through clenched teeth “Yeah, I know Tori.”

 

“I do care about you, Sans.” She repeated softly, knowing what would come next. Sans nodded his head to himself “I know.” And he hung up the phone.

 

“FINALLY!” Papyrus had showed up just in time, having rushed over to Sans at the payphone and grabbed for his shoulder “Are you finished with whatever that call was? Undyne is already preparing to scare Frisk awake out of pure BOREDOM and the human needs their rest!”

Noticing the rather melancholic aura about his older brother, Papyrus looked to him thoughtfully, his grip on the siblings shoulder loosened “Sans? Is everything alright?”

Sans looked up to Papyrus with a wide grin, the lights in his eyes brighter than ever “Tch, what do ya mean? Of course.”

Seeing his brother happy was more important now than ever after the talk down Sans had pulled when fighting about Undyne. Sans couldn’t let Papyrus sulk because of his own sulking, so he did his best to return to his role with a wink of his eye “Jus’ doin’ what I always do, s’all.”

“You did NOT prank the king AGAIN!” Papyrus was now in disbelief, assuming that Sans had called their boss to ask about the running refrigerator as he had always done during their scouting missions. Little did the younger, yet taller, brother know that Sans would report to Toriel during these missions… not pull a prank. “I cannot believe you made us wait around so long over something like THAT!”

“You know me~” Sans shrugged as the two of them went back towards the alley. Frisk was already groggily awake, whining as Undyne, at the hood of the car, began rocking the vehicle. Papyrus left his brother to rush to Undyne “GET IN THE CAR AND STOP DOING THAT! Sans is done and it is time to get going!”

Sans climbed into the back just as Papyrus got into the driver’s seat and Undyne into the passenger’s side of the car.

 

Frisk rubbed their eyes quietly as they looked back to Sans, who quietly stared down at his lap and fiddled with his fingers. Frisk gave a tired smile and nudged him “Everything okay?” They asked thoughtfully.

 

Sans gave a slow nod, giving a strained smile back to Frisk “Sure, kid. Get some rest, we’re almost there.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: Not Like Us

Even as he talked and talked, nothing seemed to come out. For some reason, Chara was having trouble focusing on any actual words that came from him.

 

After having decided that the new plan would be to gather the pendants to strike it rich, Chara’s mind had wandered off to what they would consider a sort of dream land; Where they simply imagined what life would be like having everything they could ever want. To have a butler cater to their every whim, to live far away past the city limits of the town they deemed as ‘hell on earth,’ a family to call their own. After all, Frisk was like their sibling already, so it wouldn’t hurt to make it official like adults did when adopting children from the orphanage.

 

Chara even questioned how rich they could get from all of this, because maybe there was a chance they could literally buy the city and just... burn it.

That was similar to what most rich people did anyway, toss their money away every single day on things they don’t really need. They spoiled themselves quite often, it was basically just like burning money and letting it go to waste… they were never the type to care about others, to care about what other people needed, or how other people were treated. So long as they had their money with them, they used their bills for warmth as they heated their stoves and fireplaces with chunks of cash and spoiled brats--

 

So maybe Chara buying the city and blowing it up would be a good thing for everyone.

 

Chara smiled. Ah, what a beautiful thought.

 

“Chara?”

 

The human blinked slowly, their smile softening as they were brought back to reality. Unfortunately for now, they were still a poor homeless runaway having been kidnapped by the Underground. They would have to put their dreams on hold. “What.”

“You’re zoning out a lot suddenly.” Asriel said softly, giving a nervous laugh as he adjusted himself on the bed. The two teens were still sitting in relaxed positions on the bed that was obviously not big enough for the both of them. It was easily assumed that if Asgore really did want to keep Chara around officially, he might be plotting out new living arrangements for the human already. Chara didn’t want to be here long enough to see anything new being brought into Asriel’s room as a means of getting them ‘comfortable.’ The only exception to that would be Asriel receiving a new bed himself when it’s all said and done. As much as Chara wanted Asriel’s help with finding the pendants and escaping, it was obvious that once Chara was gone they would never look back. They wouldn’t bat an eye at Asriel as he and his father and all their… co-workers returned to their previous struggling lives; of course the only difference in their lives would be the act of being tossed in jail.

 

And besides, Chara didn’t know what life was like for any of them before they turned to a life of crime. Why should they care what happened to them afterwards?

 

“Are you getting tired?” Asriel asked, softly yet again as if they were trying to calm Chara down from something. It wasn’t like Chara was annoyed or anything(alright, maybe a little bit), but apparently they had a mean look of some sort planted on their features that expressed either tiredness or boredom from Asriel’s conversation. Which made sense, because Chara was bored enough to ignore Asriel’s speech about where his father went wrong, how life used to be, etcetera. Chara just wanted the money and then to find an easy way out, they weren’t there to make friends and hang out. They were there against their will and it was time to go.

With that thought in mind, Chara sighed lightly “A little bit.” They confessed as if it would help reassure Asriel “I haven’t slept for days, obviously… haven’t eaten much either.” They shook their head though, their brown hair moving with them a bit “But I’ve lasted this long, I think I can survive just a little bit longer. In the long run, it’ll all be worth it.” The human gave Asriel a wide and rather chipper smile from their own words, causing a chemical reaction of happiness to escape Asriel as well.

Asriel, assuming once the pendants were no longer in the possession of his father’s gang it would turn his life around, was rather happy about Chara’s last comment with things all being ‘worth it.’ After all, Asriel’s only goal was to no longer have his dad obsessed with the pendants. Both the teenagers assumed that with the pendants suddenly missing, Asgore would be so overwhelmed with having to find them again that he would simply give up, and Asriel hoped that it might fix the broken home of the Dreemurr’s. Little did he know that Chara couldn’t guarantee what happened after the pendants went missing, because Chara was going to run and… like stated earlier, never look back.

“Do you want to lie down for a bit?” Asriel offered, moving a bit more towards the edge of the bed to give Chara space to lie down if they chose to “It’s not right of them to keep you from eating, so today I’ll try to convince them to make you a plate, too.”

Chara immediately turned down the offer however, because they just wanted to get things over with “I’d rather us just figure out how to find the pendants, I don’t need a nap and I’ve survived longer without food, so this isn’t even a record.” Chara made it sound as if they were insulted. Asriel noted this and nervously chuckled “Ha, alright.”

“We might need to be observant and figure out the guards patrol patterns.” The human then stated as they lifted from the bed and made their way to the door. Opening it carefully and peeking through the tiny crack, once again they noticed that the hall was empty. But now Chara was more aware that a guard would eventually show up right around the corner, they just had to figure out the timing now. “There has to be a way to see everything more clearly…”

“How?” Asriel asked lightly, shrugging his shoulders in confusion “It’s not like we’re allowed to wander around. I mean, I’m probably given more permission than you, but still. If they catch us both walking around together they’ll just bring us back here.”

“If we knew where the pendants were then things would be easier.” Chara commented faintly, before shutting the door fully and turning themselves around to face Asriel from across the room “But we don’t, and obviously you don’t get out of this room much or else you would know and be more helpful.”

The goat monster sulked, his ears drooping more than they already were “Aw, hey. I’m trying to help as best as I can.” He shifted his eyes away and blinked, rubbing a finger against his chin in thought “If we had more time to wander around and search… this would be a lot easier. If we just had some sort of excuse to leave the room, then the guards wouldn’t care if they caught us roaming around the halls.”

 

How long had it been since Chara had arrived? How many days had gone by? Weeks? Had it been a month? Their eyes glanced towards a bucket in the corner of the room. The deep brown orbs somewhat shimmered as they widened. How long? How long would Chara be treated like an animal in a cage? Even if Asriel saved their life, there had to be a way out. There had to be a way to convince them to, if they chose to let Chara live, to let them live as normally as they allowed Asriel to live.

 

Asriel slowly leaned fully down on top of the bed, his back resting on the surface as he gazed up at the ceiling to let his eyes focus on something. With Chara silently standing at the door suddenly, not much conversation seemed to go on. Asriel was probably figuring that he was keeping the topic alive by talking, even if it was moreso to himself than to Chara. Who knew if they were listening or not anyway? “But what? What’s the best excuse we can use to be allowed to walk around?”

 

“Maybe the real bathroom?”

 

Asriel sat back up at the idea with a smile, though suddenly seeing Chara’s disgruntled expression implied that it wasn’t an actual ‘excuse.’ It must have been a real request, considering Chara was shuffling on their feet and remaining near the door, now holding their stomach as if they were hurting. Asriel stood up to his feet quickly “Are you okay?”

“Yeah—“ Chara commented, though their face flushed from the sudden attention. They frowned slightly and spoke softly “Ah… actually… I need to go to the bathroom and that dumb animal tactic isn’t going to work anymore. We’ll figure out the rest when I get back… but maybe I can use this chance to look around a bit.”

“Sure! Uh, that’s an idea.” Asriel quickly hurried to the door, opening it for Chara and stepping outside of the bedroom with them so that he could guide them to the main room, where a guard dog stood not terribly far from the two youngers. It was obvious the goat teen wanted to persist in asking Chara about their well-being, but Chara was already in tunnel-vision mode where they only saw what was before them, and at the moment they were only focused on the guard.

Asriel’s cheeks seemed suddenly red, almost flushed from the topic having shifted so quickly. It didn’t change that much, considering Chara confirmed that they would try to keep an eye out while on their way there, but for some reason Asriel looked just as embarrassed as Chara did. What was the problem? Everyone had to go to the bathroom now and then—the human gave a timid expression as Asriel approached the monster with a light tap on the shoulder. Once the guard gave their attention to him, he asked politely “Could you escort Chara to the bathroom? I’d do it myself but I don’t want anyone trying to tackle me down around here.”

“We would never harm you, Asriel.” The dog barked, sticking out their tongue almost playfully at the sheer thought. But glancing towards Chara had changed the monsters expression to something less playful and more serious “What is wrong with their bucket?”

 

Yuck.

 

“I’m a human.” Chara defended quickly “Not an animal.”

 

“You are alive because of Asriel’s mercy.” The dog growled a bit in Chara’s direction “You are his pet .”

 

“They aren’t my anything .” Asriel rubbed his temples then “Chara is their own person, and we can’t avoid feeding them or giving them a decent bathroom to use.”

 

“And the longer we stand around...” Chara mumbled, their brows furrowing as they grew more irritable “The more likely I’ll just blow up right here.” They glanced to the dog guard who now pulled their head back in disgust, Chara adding to it “Try licking shit out of that fur, dog .”

 

“Okay guys.” Asriel held up an arm, gesturing to both of them “Let’s try and remain civilized.”

 

Asriel talked as if all of this was his idea, but Chara gave the goat monster a light glare of their eyes… knowing fully well that Asriel just tagged along to put the plan in motion. The goat had let Chara be treated like this for too long, and overall the plan was Chara’s idea… even if it looked as if he were taking credit for Chara wanting a change of toilets .

The dog guard lowered their ears as if having been scolded, nodding lightly “If they must go then they must go. I’ll take them there but please go back to your room, I don’t want any trouble.”

“Of course.” Asriel said with a smile, looking to Chara who carefully moved closer to the dog guard. The guard gestured with their arm for Chara to follow along, and Chara looked back to the goat monster who waved them off and mentioned quietly “I’ll see you when you get back.”

“Yeah.” Chara said just as quietly as they followed the guard.

 

Though they had the sudden need to go to the restroom, it didn’t change their priorities. As Chara followed the guard closely, they would look around as to where they were going in order to memorize the path. It at least helped a little bit to give Chara some sense of direction in this maze. Even if it wasn’t directions towards the pendants themselves, it would do them some good to have a place to run off to if the bedroom was too far and the bathroom was closest. In case things went badly , of course.

By the time they had reached the chamber in question, Chara gave a small smile to themselves for having memorized how to get to and from the restroom. As soon as the dog monster turned around to face Chara, the human dropped their happy expression to continue with the façade of needing the bathroom in urgency. Chara’s disgruntled look rang true, apparently it was enough for the guard to look disheartened at their appearance “This is where the bathroom is. I’ll be outside if you need me.”

 

“Um…” Chara shifted uncomfortably on their feet, not budging to walk towards the door that would lead to the supposed bathroom. Now was their chance to try and get a bit of freedom, and they pushed forward with their thoughts “Actually… this is sort of, embarrassing. Could you not stand close to the bathroom door?”

The guard seemed confused from the request, but before they could object Chara had pushed a bit further “I’ve got personal… problems and I’d rather be alone for this. I promise I know my way back to Asriel’s room… I won’t be long.”

Chara gave a genuine smile, however they also made sure it was an uncomfortable one. It was that typical smile that Chara had seen a few people wear when being sent to the outhouses behind certain buildings of the city that couldn’t afford decent plumbing. That look of trying to stay classy but having to go badly and not being able to hold it in for another minute… that look of ‘oh god, i have to go in here? oh well’ —Chara could imagine it was a rather upsetting sight, and apparently this had been true. The guard dog expressed a faint concern about Chara getting lost, but after Chara forced out that they’d be perfectly fine, the dog finally agreed.

“You’re not trying to trick me are you?” They suddenly asked just before leaving. They had made their way down the hall right at the end, and just before Chara could enter the bathroom the monster turned back around to look the human in the eye. Chara was forced to put on another mask of confusion “Huh? What do you mean?”

“You won’t escape or run away if I let you go without an escort?” The guard reworded their sentence with a light bark, and a small whine of worry. Even though they held a serious expression on their face, their tail was tucked between their legs in uncertainty. Apparently they couldn’t tell from Chara’s demeanor whether they were lying or not. Which was perfect, of course. Chara shook their head “I only know how to get to the bathroom and back… you all put a bag over my head when dragging me to the Underground, remember? I wouldn’t know how to get out even if I tried.”

 

Maybe mentioning the word ‘try’ didn’t settle well with the guard, it supposedly implied exactly what Chara figured it did. The dog guard growled slightly at this, and Chara feigned fear as the monster continued “If I catch you roaming around too long, I’ll be sending you directly to King Asgore.”

 

After that, the dog yipped, causing Chara to jump from surprise before watching them turn back around and march away. They were probably returning to their original post, or their usual pattern of patrol before Asriel had intervened to request for Chara’s transfer. But either way, Chara was given a bit of freedom for once—and finally—after being in the Underground for way too long to count the hours or days.

Their first order of business was, yes, to finish their business.

 

The human opened the bathroom door and stepped inside. Since the rest of the Underground’s base looked like a stone dungeon from the medieval era, it made perfect sense that the bathroom was the same. There was weak lighting from a small lamp connected to the ceiling, but other than that the corners of the small restroom were dark and almost eerie. There was a sink, a mirror, and a single toilet that had long since been used—whether it was because monsters didn’t use the bathroom, or because monsters simply didn’t use this bathroom, Chara wouldn’t know. Nor did they want to find out. It was nice that it looked clean, but bad that it looked too clean.

 

Chara worked their own magic as quietly as possible out of a hidden fear that they were being watched or listened in on. Who knew? Maybe the walls had ears.

 

Eventually they left the bathroom, shutting the door quietly behind them as to not make a sound. The hall they had returned to was completely barren now, without a single guard in sight—let alone the guard that had escorted them there. It was a blessing how easy the bathroom tactic worked, it was common courtesy not to stand around so close while someone was ‘using it,’ let alone if it was someone who seemed embarrassed and uncomfortable.

 

“Now let’s see…” Chara said softly to themselves as they began their wandering about the halls. They firstly went farther down the hall where the restrooms resided, seeing if there was anything else that needed inspection. There were a few more doors that Chara had tried, but finding out that they had been locked gave Chara no real information as to whether they were the correct doors. Chara’s focus was to figure out which door in this basement-like maze was the door that lead to the pendants. If Chara could figure that out without having to return to Asriel, it would be a lot better. This way, Chara would be able to grab the pendants without Asriel’s help and run off(somehow) before any of the Underground suspected a thing.

Chara quietly left the hall then, turning the corner to wander down another. It was far more easier to sneak around without a second accomplice as well, because Chara did in fact spot a guard, but the human was able to duck into a doorway just in time to miss eye contact by the dog monster. Asriel seemed to be the clumsy type, if not clumsy he was simply dumb when it came to being stealthy. Chara had to wait for the guard to walk past before trying the door they had hidden beside. With a grunt, they found that it was yet another locked room.

“Are all the doors locked in this place?” Chara questioned harshly to themselves, somewhat agitated by this. At this point, it wouldn’t matter how many doors Chara tried. Chara could have passed up the pendant room long ago because the door was locked. Now the human also wondered if maybe the guards all had spare keys to each of the doors of the Underground, because taking the pendants started to sound more and more difficult if that were the case… Chara would have to figure out a way to stealthily grab for one when they got the chance. But it would be worth it in the end, right? They would be given access to all the rooms of the Underground.

It would be tricky though, Chara swallowed a lump in their throat at the thought of having to steal from a potential threat. It always seemed like an easy thing to do when it came to unsuspecting victims who leaned more towards the unarmed human side, but when it came to monsters who had guns, weapons, and magic on their side… let alone guards whose jobs were to be prepared for anything… Chara’s life was on the line.

 

Then again, their life had been on the line ever since they were kidnapped, so maybe it didn’t matter much anymore.

 

Their mind wandered over the possibilities of Frisk having been killed long ago. Maybe Undyne and some of the other guards had rushed back to clear out any witnesses to the abduction? Maybe Frisk had become one of the victims now; shot down and left for dead in the alley that they both had called home for the past few weeks. The thought made Chara grimace in disgust and anger… the possibility of Chara fighting for no one in the end made them want to fight harder. Frisk had better be alive and safe, for all of their sakes.

 

When the guard finally walked out of sight, or at least far enough for Chara to feel safer, they emerged from the shaded doorway and began to check the remaining doors of the current hall. One door had thankfully been left unlocked, but when Chara opened to peek inside there was nothing of interest. It looked recently renovated and moved around, because there was dust along the walls and floors, but the floors revealed multiple shapes as if furnishings had once been there. Chara pouted as they closed the door and remained standing in the hallway. At the rate they were going, it was safe to assume any unlocked doors were empty, and all of the locked ones were important.

 

Chara then pondered over Asriel, mainly over what he was possibly doing now while waiting for the human to return. The teen simply imagined the guard from earlier going to Asriel’s room to ask if Chara was doing alright, out of simple concern because Chara made themselves seem oh-so upset and bothered… Asriel would have to lie for the sake of keeping Chara safe, and it was obvious Asriel would be a terrible liar.

 

With no further purpose to roam around the halls without actual keys, and the worry of Asriel blowing Chara’s cover, Chara mentally smacked themselves before making their way back towards Asriel’s room. Figuring out a simpler way to steal keys from a guardsman was something best suited for another day, but even Chara had to admit they didn’t have much time left on their hands. It was all according to how entertaining they were to Asriel, how dedicated Asriel was to the plan, and how much patience the mafia boss Asgore had with the human.

 

How much time did Chara have to push forward with the plan? Time seemed to have escaped Chara ever since they had gotten dragged Underground, it was hard to tell how long they had been lurking in the dark.

 

                 “Psst.”

 

The sound of a whisper echoed along the halls, and Chara lifted their head quickly just as they had turned the corner. It didn’t sound like Asriel, but it didn’t sound like a guard either. It wouldn’t of made sense anyway for either of them to whisper for the human’s attention, considering if they were caught roaming the halls the guards would shout at them… Asriel would probably shout on accident from surprise and concern.

 

                  “Over here, idiot.”

 

Chara turned their head and now took note that they had made it back to the hallway where Asriel’s room resided, however the harsh whisper seemed to emit from far off down the hall, past the prince’s bedroom… maybe even farther than that. The whisper seemed almost eerie, if not eerie there had to have been a hint of magic to it only because there was no way for someone’s whisper to carry that far, even if it was from someone in the same hallway as they were. Chara questioned if it were even a good idea to follow the voice and obey its command, but with nothing better to do than to return to Asriel’s bedroom, they obliged with a light shrug of their shoulders.

There was a strange quietness resonating in the hall, as if even Asriel were making no sounds in his own room. Chara walked passed and peeked through the window against the door, and though the prince was moving around within the chamber cleaning and putting some of his belongings away, it was as if something put the human’s world on mute. Chara backed away from the door and walked passed it, further down to where yet another whisper beckoned them closer.

 

“The last door…”

 

Chara approached the door, the single door that was by far the most unique door they had stumbled upon throughout their wanderings in the Underground. Chara was confused as to how a voice was able to call to them through said door, considering it was a pure metal door with not even a barred window to peer through. The only possible way to see what was inside was through a sliding mechanism that was conveniently at Chara’s eye level. The human nervously stared the door down as if hoping it would open on its own, but after further inspection and taking note of the padlock, including the thick metal bar that barricaded it shut, they dared to slide the small mechanism attached to the door. It was obvious what it could have been used for; for talking with a jailed bird… or for feeding a cannibal. The door was set up for someone who was insane, someone that apparently no one wanted to go near or touch. Someone that Asriel was dumb enough to take out for a walk late at night all alone—

 

“Howdy!”

 

As soon as Chara had shifted the slider over, a pair of bright red eyes greeted them and caused the human to jolt from shock. They let out a startled noise, that was apparently amusing to whoever was on the other side of the door, considering they snickered and laughed at the reaction. Their red eyes almost dripped away as they faded into a seemingly more natural blue, and Chara was clenching their chest with their fingers to keep themselves from having a heart attack.

“I thought I saw a new kid wanderin’ ‘round here!” The voice was rather chipper after having spooked Chara, and Chara recuperated before reproaching the door to talk with them. From the few features they could see, the figure on the other side of the door looked human... but definitely couldn’t of been considering they used some sort of magic to not only speak with Chara throughout the hall, but to change their eye color within mili-seconds. They had blonde hair atop their head and freckles along their skin, but other than, that nothing else was viewable from the tiny slit built into the door.

“I’m not a kid.” Chara said bluntly, trying to sound as neutral as possible after the scare. Putting the information from Asriel they received together with what they were witnessing, it was safe to assume who the person behind the door was “And I know all about you, kid.

 

“Kid?” The other repeated in confusion, their eyes showing smiles that their lips couldn’t “I haven’t been called a ‘kid’ in decades.”

 

Chara blinked “Decades?”

 

“Centuries, even.” The blonde sighed out “Millenia’s? How long’ve I been here, again? Maybe universes.”

 

“Universes aren’t a measure of time .” Chara clarified, though the blonde begged to differ "If you've been in as many alternate universes as I have, they're all about time."

 

Chara rolled their eyes, before stating simply “You’re that Flowey psycho.” and returning to the focus at hand. Behind the door that was locked with a key and metal bar resided a teenager known as Asriel’s old ‘best friend’, Flowey the flower. Experiments drove him mad, and not just that… they obviously gave the once human child some sort of magical capabilities. He was deemed as unsafe according to everyone in the Underground, and though Asriel didn’t believe it all too much and trusted the teen, he wasn’t allowed near him anymore. Which no wonder he wasn’t, since the blonde was insane.

“I’m not a psycho, idiot.” Flowey furrowed his blonde brows at Chara “And if I was, you’d be dead considering you opened the door enough for me to pluck out your eyes.

 

The threat made Chara lean backward, already preparing to close the slit.

 

“Wait!” Flowey squeaked out, laughing a little “I was joking! It was a joke! Can’t you take a joke?”

 

“Not if it means a stranger’s gonna threaten to attack me.” Chara said, though they still obliged and left the viewer open. Flowey snorted “Well, you don’t seem busy at all. Wanna get to know me, then?”

 

“Not really.” Chara added nonchalantly “I know enough about you—“

 

“But I don’t know anything about you! ” Flowey persisted, his cheeks stretched upward to imply he was smiling widely now. It was unnerving not being able to see his whole face… but Chara wasn’t willing to open the door just for something as trivial as that. Not that they could, anyway. The metal bar was easy to remove but with a lock on the door Chara needed much more than arm strength.

 

The blonde bounced slightly “I don’t know your name or where you’re even from! Well, or why you even wound up here… this place isn’t exactly the safest to wind up at, let alone wander around.”

 

Chara was hesitant to talk much about themselves to someone like Flowey. Asriel had warned about him… well, not exactly warned , more like told a story rather carelessly as if Flowey weren’t creepy. Even Chara could feel the eerie vibes resonate from Flowey, as the blonde stared at the human wide-eyed with a little too much interest in Chara. What could Chara do at this point though? If Flowey was correct, then if Chara didn’t comply with his request… he could easily kill them.

 

That’s only if he really weren’t human anymore.

 

“My name is Chara.” Chara introduced themselves finally, causing the wide-eyed stare from Flowey to thankfully relax just a bit. Chara sighed lightly “The Underground thought I had one of the pendants they were after, Asriel saved me and kept Asgore from killing me… but now I’m trapped down here like some sort of animal.” Chara looked over their shoulder just to make sure they weren’t being watched at all, before continuing carefully “I want to get out to save my friend, but I don’t know how…”

 

“Do you have a pendant?” Flowey asked quickly.

 

Chara shook their head “No, it’s a fake…”

 

“Bummer~” Flowey practically cooed his concern, but it was almost in a teasing manner like he didn’t truly care “If you’re nabbed by the Underground, you’re either dead or you wind up like me. Which, come to think of it didn’t turn out as bad as I’d figure.” The blue eyes shifted elsewhere, away from Chara’s face as their lids drooped like he had grown sad then “I don’t know what I am.”

 

With that being said, there was an awkward silence between them. Flowey had stopped talking, but Chara wasn’t sure if they should keep going or not. Or if they could simply turn around and walk away now, that was an idea.

 

But as if knowing Chara wanted to leave, soon enough Flowey looked back to Chara through the small gap “When I was little, I was taken away from my folks. I can’t even remember how long it’s been… how many years… or whatever.” He laughed, but it was a rather cold and distant chuckle “I can’t remember my family. Their faces, I mean… I know who they were, I know what they did… jewelry stuff—“

 

   Click.

 

“But I can’t remember their faces.” Flowey finished solemnly.

With that said, he noted that Chara’s own eyes were wide with a sudden interest, and of course a fear. A fear because the two of them were connected now. As if it were destined for the two to meet, even Flowey’s eyes slowly faded back into the deep red orbs that he had introduced to Chara just minutes ago. The fact that both of their families had careers involving jewelry, it meant something. There was something that bothered Chara about this—it bothered them because they questioned in the back of their head what exactly was keeping them alive down here. Was it because the Underground knew they were involved with a family of jewelers? Would they keep them Underground to make… another Flowey?

 

As if reading their mind, Flowey chuckled softly “If you stay down here too long… you might be Asriel’s next play thing .”

“Play thing?” Chara questioned immediately. They pushed forward and leaned against the door now. They no longer had a fear of Flowey, but moreso a fear of the Underground itself. They needed to know. They needed to know what happened to Flowey that could potentially happen to Chara.

“Well, yeah.” Flowey said simply “When we were little… I remember I was taken only to be Asriel’s ‘best friend’. That’s what I remember, it’s what I was told… but it turns out they jus’ wanted to shove drugs an’ shit in me… turnin’ me into some experimental freak. ” The last part made Flowey cackle a bit, but there was nothing amusing about this to Chara. Chara was appalled at the idea of becoming an experiment. Is that why Asriel wanted to ‘rescue’ them? Because Flowey was used up and now he wanted someone new ?

 

“If Asriel’s interested in you, then be careful he doesn’t sick his daddy on your ass to force feed you crap.” Flowey said simply.

 

“But Asriel’s… dumb.” Chara said in disbelief. Asriel was so clumsy and goofy, he was this timid fluffy monster that looked as if he hated violence, acted like it too. He argued with his father just so that Chara wouldn’t be killed. He was willing to help Chara steal the pendants for the sake of his father no longer obsessing over them and hurting anymore innocent people. Asriel told Chara his one and only mission was for his family to return to ‘normal’ again. “That just doesn’t make sense.” Chara added gently, squinting their eyes at Flowey “Are you joking?”

“What’s there to joke about?” Flowey asked with an arch of his brow “You think Asriel’s buddy buddy with ya now? Just wait, kid. Wait until he’s bored and wants to watch you deepthroat a bag of pills from Dr. Alphys and— what’s his name. Some other guy who I--“

 

Flowey suddenly stopped, his own eyes widening. This caused Chara to also hold their breath as they turned around to look at whatever might’ve spooked Flowey.

 

The blonde breathed “Did you hear something? What was that?”

 

“I didn’t hear anything.” Chara said with a light shake of their head. They looked back to Flowey, but Flowey had been startled to a point where he was already backing away from the door “I can’t talk anymore. We’re being watched—I know it… I just know it… those damned--!

“But you have to tell me more…” Chara whispered carefully, not moving away from the door, even trying to peer in to peek around Flowey’s room. They managed a full body shot of Flowey, who was literally in a strait jacket and a crazy furl of blonde locks on his head. The male’s red eyes were wildly unfocused and looking around the room, as if searching for something not there. Maybe a few minutes ago Chara would have deemed Flowey as officially crazy and left at that… but what Flowey was saying all pieced together well. It all made sense, too much sense in fact. It worried Chara, and Chara knew that without Flowey’s knowledge… Chara might have walked into a trap. “Flowey… are you okay?”

 

Showing concern for someone? That was a first. But then again, this was only because Flowey was useful now. He wasn’t some crazed lunatic-- at least, not by choice.

But maybe… they were too similar. There was something about Flowey that concerned Chara, something within the other that made Chara question if Flowey was their future within the Underground. If Flowey died, would Chara take his place? Would Chara be forced to live through Flowey’s experiences? Could the blonde even be trusted?

 

Could Asriel be trusted?

 

“If you wanna know more just… come back later!” Flowey whispered harshly to Chara, wandering back to the door to remeet their eyes. The red orbs locked into Chara’s hazel ones, and Flowey finally calmed and smirked “If you live long enough, of course.”

 

“Tch.” Chara pulled back, glaring “Whatever, fine.”

 

With that, Chara retouched the latch and slid it closed. There was so much information to take in, it was rather overwhelming. Chara could feel a heavy ache in their chest from the sheer thought of never seeing Frisk again. The thought of being trapped and forced to turn into… something else

 

Through the door Flowey suddenly wailed. It was a soft wail, but it was enough for Chara to hear that Flowey was crying. He was sobbing softly, growling at himself, and a light mumble of…

                         

                                “I wish I were dead.”

 

It was too much.

 

Flowey wasn’t the psycho they had thought he was. Flowey wasn’t like this naturally… these monsters… these rich douchebags… they did this to him.

 

And they’ll do it to Chara, too.

 

Chara turned away from the door and went back down the hall to Asriel’s room. It was just in time too, because a guard turned the corner and peeked down at Chara in confusion.

 

Chara gave a saddened smile towards them “I just came back from the bathroom, sorry.” Before opening the door and stepping inside. They closed it behind themselves, and watched as Asriel’s face lit up at the sight of them. The monster hurried forward, speaking silent words as Chara stared at the goat teen as if they had gone deaf.

 

Chara felt mortified… petrified… terrified of what was to come. And the reminder that once more, rich people were playing pretend, really stung.

Chara thought they were clever for luring Asriel to helping their cause, but apparently they were a part of Asriel’s trap all along. Asriel wasn’t kind. It was all a fairytale world. How much longer did Chara have left?

 

Asriel was lying. As usual, everyone around Chara simply lied and lied to get what they want.

 

“Are you okay?” Asriel asked as Chara tuned the world back in. Chara felt their eyes fill with tears, but they blinked them back, breathing out through clenched teeth as their fists tightened at their sides. Love didn’t fuel Chara— hate did. No one deserved their tears, they only deserved their fists.

 

“Peachy.” Chara muttered hoarsely “Here’s the new plan.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: Grillby's

When the vehicle suddenly stopped and jolted, Frisk wound up opening their eyes rather quickly from the sudden motion. It was the quick jerk that made the teenager flinch and awaken, if not fully… they were partially awake. At least, awake enough to be well aware that the car had stopped moving and they arrived someplace else.

Frisk received a rough pat on the shoulder from their back-seat companion. Turning their head, they gazed at Sans who simply chuckled before mumbling to the human “We made it, time ta wake up, kid.”

Frisk rubbed their eyes tiredly, as if it would help them wake up from their still drowsy state. Sans’ voice was rather gentle too, so it didn’t entirely help Frisk in getting ready to exit. The two front doors opened as Frisk watched Undyne and Papyrus climb out of the vehicle, and soon enough Sans climbed out of his own side as well. Frisk was the only one left in the car for a short period of time, and in their groggy state of mind they were choosing to take advantage of this and lean back into their seat. They needed a moment to remind themselves what they were getting into—considering they were travelling with a group of mobsters who had once been dead set on killing anyone who had their hands on rare jewelry… and they were travelling to the Underground to find, and hope to find, Frisk’s best friend, Chara.

 

Frisk knew that Chara wasn’t sitting still waiting to be rescued. If anything, Frisk anticipated Chara yelling at them for getting themselves in such danger. Chara was always typical, like the overprotective sibling type; The type who took care of anything that dealt with vigorous or intense work. Frisk was the calm and motherly-like sibling who always sat back and waited for Chara to return, severely injured and in need of some bandages and ointments. Frisk had to reverse their own role in order to save Chara, but they doubted that Chara would do the same and sit back hoping for someone to save them. Chara wasn’t like that.

 

Chara was a fighter.

 

Frisk’s car door suddenly swung open, startling the human as the deep blue skin of Undyne came back into view. Her sharp-toothy grin spread along her whole face as she shouted “WAKE UP, HUMAN!!”

 

“I’m awake!” Frisk yelped back, scurrying to unbuckle their seatbelt and rush out of the car. Undyne held the door open for them as they stepped outside and hurried to Sans and Papyrus, before the woman slammed the door shut and cackled “See? Told ya they just needed a li’l shout!”

“There is nothing better than some hollering to start the day!” Papyrus wound up agreeing, roughly patting Sans’ shoulder. Sans snorted “Paps always wakes me up like that … or tries, at least.”

“And it’s night.” Undyne confirmed with yet another cackle as she joined the three “But we made it finally, all we gotta do now is get in and go down from here.”

 

The four of them looked up at the building they had parked alongside, taking note of the brightly lit neon sign that flashed and danced. It took center stage compared to every other building of the street they stood on, and the red and yellow lights reflected off of the other vehicles that parked along the sidewalks. There were plenty of humans and monsters alike coming and going in pairs or in groups to the main attraction, dressed in a variety of clothing from commoner to classy. It was rather busy actually, something that worried Frisk but at the same time… might have been safer in case anything bad might have happened that required witnesses.

It didn’t take long for Frisk to force their eyes away from the flashy lights and look to Sans in confusion “Grillby’s?” Frisk said the name of the building in the form of a question, in hopes of someone clarifying why it wasn’t called ‘Underground’. The neon sign flashed the name ‘Grillby’s’ in bright lights for all to see, probably for miles in the dark of the city. In tiny writing flashed a second set of words, words that Frisk at the moment didn’t care much for.

Sans smiled to Frisk and gave a light pat on the teenager’s hair “He’s a friend of ours, so to speak.”

 

“It’s just business, there’s nothing friendly about this place.” Undyne corrected, as if Frisk would understand what either of them were talking about. Seeing the confusion planted on the humans face, Papyrus gave a chipper smile “The owner of this place is named Grillby! He built a bar on top of our hideout as a means of helping us with our cause! But at the same time, he does not wish to partake in any of the activity dealing with the Underground… so—“

 

“He’d snitch on us if it meant protecting his precious bar .” Undyne finished for him, a light huff of her breath and flare of her nostrils “Some friend.

 

“Hey, we all got somethin’ we’re protectin’…” Sans tried to defend the bar owner with a wave of his boney fingers “The bars ‘is livelihood, jus’ like the Underground’s ours. Ain’t no use cryin’ about it, let’s jus’ get this over wit—“

 

“Problem.” Papyrus commented rather dully, gaining the attention of the three other persons of the group. The lanky skeleton rubbed his jawline “Frisk is underage. This establishment is made with adults in mind, not children.”

“I’m not a baby.” Frisk corrected, furrowing their brows at Papyrus. The tallest of the monster trio seemed to be rather bashful from Frisk’s correction, but it didn’t stop him from persisting “Nonetheless! You are too young for these types of places! You will be recognized as a youngster in less than a second and perhaps removed from the establishment.”

“Not if we can find a way ta sneak ‘em in.” Sans shrugged lazily. Undyne rolled her head a bit as she crossed her arms over her chest “Why can’t we just leave the human here? We can go in and grab their little friend and get out.”

 

“Chara doesn’t like you.” Frisk corrected her too. They were getting more and more agitated the more the ‘adults’ continued talking. Papyrus didn’t seem to understand all that Frisk had been through just to get here, their age didn’t stop them from fighting this far to rescue Chara. And Undyne seemed to have trouble understanding that she was the reason Chara was with the Underground in the first place, if Frisk were in Chara’s shoes they surely wouldn’t trust Undyne if she reappeared and claimed she was rescuing them. With those thoughts in mind, Frisk took in a deep breath “I have to be with you guys to save Chara, and I have to get in there. There’s no other way.”

 

“Well,” Sans started, probably noting the annoyance planted on Frisk’s features “Got any bright ideas, bud?”

 

Frisk had opened their mouth to offer a few, but at the realization that they had never exactly snuck into a ‘bar’ before, they pursed their lips rather quickly. Their stern expression softened, the reality that Chara was often the one plotting out how to sneak and exit establishments made Frisk wish they were here. Sans snickered at their silence.

 

“I got an idea.” Undyne suddenly announced. Papyrus was excited rather easily at her words, however Sans and Frisk both gave her questionable looks as she glanced around the street. She soon spotted what she needed, and she waved to them “Just wait here, I’ll be right back! I gotta make a call!”

“To who?” Sans asked, though the fish woman was already power walking across the street and towards the payphone not far from the bar. The phone was already in use by another monster, however that didn’t stop her from yanking it out of their hands and shouting something in their face. It caused the monster to scamper off in a suddenly upset mood as Undyne proceeded to dial and contact whoever she had in mind.

 

“Lets wait in the car.” Sans suggested to Papyrus, gesturing to Frisk “Don’t want tha kid standin’ ‘round outside of a bar.”

 

“I’m not a kid…” Frisk breathed through gritted teeth, though followed Sans’ lead as he walked back to his side of the vehicle. Both Frisk and Sans climbed into the back seats like before, and Papyrus decided to sit himself in the driver’s seat… only so that he could pretend to be driving. The teenager, though still annoyed at everyone suddenly considering them to be just some ‘child’, thought it was cute how innocent Papyrus really was to the world around him. He literally began making ‘vroom’ noises as Frisk and Sans sat in silence in the back seat. For a short while, it was a calm enough atmosphere for Frisk to want to doze off again… but as if on cue, Sans turned his attention to the human.

 

“Whatever Undyne’s got planned,” The short skeleton said, even as he tried to ignore the noises his brother was making in the front seat “just go along with it, alright? When we get down there, the Underground ain’t the best place for kids ta be wanderin’ on their own.”

 

“I have to find Chara.” Frisk replied rather sternly, furrowing their brows at Sans “Thank you for getting me this far, I really do appreciate it. But when I get inside I have to find Chara and we’re going back to our regular lives.”

 

“You’ve come this far n’ yet you think you can return to some ‘regular life’? ” Sans practically snorted, though his smile looked strained as he gave his own comment “No matter what happens down there, this ‘norm’ of yours is gonna change. You do—“

 

“Sans I don’t think you understand what we’re going through—“ Frisk interrupted, raising their voice just a little as if it would be taken more seriously. Sans did quiet down, but so did Papyrus, as Frisk continued “How would you feel if you two back then were living on the streets, and the Underground only wanted you, huh? How would you feel being forced to leave Papyrus on his own while you’re trapped someplace else?”

 

The lights in Sans’ eye sockets had gone out then, nothing but darkness lurked deep within. They had probably gone out the moment Frisk said Papyrus’ name, but Frisk pushed on with their chest slightly puffed out “Me and Chara have been side by side for a long time, and while I understand that you’re saying I need to be safe… I understand that you’re just trying to make sure I’m alright… I know that’s your priority just because Ms. Toriel told you to take care of me—but I have my own priorities too, just like you. I would die for Chara, wouldn’t you do the same for Papyrus?”

“That ain’t fair.” Sans mumbled gently, but Frisk sighed out instead “Since when was life fair?

 

“You’re the one that told showed me when push comes to shove you’re still given choices.” Sans remarked flatly “It was you who showed all three of us goons that even when you think there’s only one option, there’s always another way. When’d you get rid of that idea? While you were sleepin’?”

 

“What’s the other option, Sans?” Frisk frowned deeply “Is the other option to just give up on the only person whose ever taken care of me or ever cared about me?”

 

“I ain’t sayin’ that, kid.” Sans strained smile seemed tense at Frisk’s defiance “This discussion ain’t about me tryin’ to convince you to quit on your friend. This is me sayin’ you gotta think smart when you get down there—wanderin’ on your own isn’t smart. Thinkin’ you can get out without our help isn’t smart. We’re here to help, we’re not here to toss you down there and say ‘good luck’, sure life sucks and it ain’t fair for the most part, but that’s what… friends are for. To help one another.”

 

Frisk’s rather angry gaze at the shorter skeleton suddenly weakened, blinking their brown eyes at Sans in a sudden expression that shifted even the males. Frisk wasn’t sure how to respond, but as if reading his mind Sans nodded almost timidly “We got off on the wrong foot, I get why you wouldn’t trust any of us or anythin’ like that but… ya gotta believe that we all want what’s best for you ‘cause ya proved ta us that… there’s always a rash decision n’ a smart one. And as much as I know you wanna play hero… ya gotta believe me when I say we’re thinkin’ of what’s best for you.”

The human looked away with a sigh, but Sans touched their shoulder in hopes of getting their attention again. When Frisk kept their gaze away, Sans finished gently “Look kid, the odds of savin’ your friend are bigger with the more help you got. Even if your friend would get pissy with us bein’ around… it might be for the best. The place is a maze.”

 

The passenger side of the car was suddenly opened with a quick yank, Undyne having returned and decided to take a seat in the vehicle with everyone else. She smirked towards Papyrus, who’s smile seemed rather forlorn at this point “Now the waiting game.”

 

“Who’d you call?” Sans asked as he pulled back from Frisk to reposition himself in the back seat. His sockets were still dark, implying to Frisk that he wasn’t exactly happy with the outcome of their conversation. Frisk wasn’t really too happy either, but it couldn’t be helped. They still questioned and wondered why Sans couldn’t pull out an answer to their question earlier. Would you die for someone you loved and cared about? Sans knew that if he said yes, Frisk would be right about having to take risks for the sake of those you loved.

 

If he said no, well… Papyrus was in the car and that’d be rather awkward.

 

Maybe it was a lose/lose situation for Sans… and while Frisk felt somewhat bad for putting him in such a position, it was the only way to make him understand Frisk’s perspective. But in a sense, Sans was right as well. Maybe that wasn’t even what upset the short skeleton. Maybe he was upset because his one mission was to protect Frisk, and now Frisk was talking about dying over someone… maybe Sans was upset he couldn’t complete a mission. Did Sans really care about them like he said? Or was it just something else?

 

Were they all really friends?

 

“Alphys and Mettaton.” Undyne said simply, looking over the shoulder of her seat to the back of the car. She glanced to Sans and Frisk, most likely noting the atmosphere, but not commenting on it. She added “They said they’d be able to help get the human into the bar. That’s basically the first job anyway, yeah?”

“It’s the only mission.” Frisk tried to explain “I don’t need help with anything else.” They were persistent in needing to do this alone, but they also were officially on the fence. Maybe they would need help… maybe.

 

Undyne looked away from them both either way, and glanced back to Papyrus to add “Mettaton’s usually good with makeup and clothes, Alphys is just a smarty so I figured she’d be able to help too.”

 

With that being said, there was a long pause of silence in the car as they all simply waited for them to arrive. Frisk wasn’t sure who Mettaton and Alphys were personally, but it was obvious that they both now knew who Frisk was. Undyne had to have explained to them, right? How else does one explain trying to sneak in an underage teenager into a bar so that they can be taken Underground?

 

“You’re only saying that because you like her!” Papyrus said suddenly with a light laugh. The silence was broken, and so was the heavy atmosphere. The lights in Sans’ eyes lit up again from the remark just so he could chuckle, and Frisk couldn’t help but crack a smile as well. Immediately, Undyne’s face turned pink(or as pink as blue skin can get) and she gave a (probably) uncomfortable grin, before roughly jabbing at the tall skeleton’s arm “SHUT UP PAPYRUS! She’s just COOL!”

“Gotta love that sexy lizard brain.” Sans teased.

Undyne turned back around to face the back seat, this time getting up from her own seat to fully face them both as she sank her nails into the cushions of the chair “YOU WANNA FIGHT?!”

 

“I think it’s cute!” Frisk blurted out, as if trying to keep the peace. Undyne’s face was still pink, but her attention shifted to the human, who sank in their seat with a nervous smile. They only repeated though “It’s cute! It really is!”

 

It didn’t help that Sans made kissing noises.

 

“Stop being so embarrassed!” Papyrus scoffed and waved his arm, patting her to try and get her to sit back down. After a bit more intense staring from her end, she complied and turned back around to get comfortable in her chair. The tall skeleton continued “I am sure you will find, in time, that she will return those feelings of yours! OF COURSE! Because you are the strongest, bravest, and the fiercest person I know! Who WOULDN’T want some of that?!”

 

“Right.” Sans snorted “Everybody likes it a little rough sometimes.”

 

“Now you know how I felt when you guys bugged me about Asriel.” Frisk commented lowly with a light laugh. This received at least a look and glance from Undyne and Sans, in which Undyne howled in laughter “SO YOU DO LIKE THE PRINCE--!!!”

 

“That’s not what I meant—“ Frisk had started to defend once more, regretting having tried to make Undyne feel better—but in the end it didn’t matter, because soon enough two different figures began approaching the vehicle.

The chatter and laughter of the car quieted down, and Sans simply gestured with his arm for Frisk to wait in their seat just as the three monsters stepped outside. Frisk blinked with a hint of confusion, peering through the windows to peek out towards the front of the vehicle. Through the glass of the front stood five shadows now, conjoining with the two that had approached. It was safe to assume that it was the people Undyne contacted in hopes of their assistance in breaking Frisk into the bar, but at the same time Sans’ warning about staying in the vehicle made the human a bit paranoid. The shadows that stood before the vehicle were moving around ever so slightly, making it seem like they had conjoined and molded together thanks to the trickery of the evening—it was far too dark to tell who was who anymore, other than the tallest of the shadows most likely being Papyrus.

After what felt like minutes of simply staring off at a bizarre gathering, the shadows all split apart again, the familiar monsters approaching the car once more. Sans reappeared with his usual smile, opening Frisk’s side of the vehicle and gesturing lightly with his head “C’mon out, kid.”

Frisk didn’t want to keep reminding Sans that he wasn’t a kid, and at this point it was safe to assume that Sans didn’t exactly care. Frisk gave a weak nod, though begrudgingly, as they stepped out of the car and let the short skeleton shut the door behind them. Sans walked with Frisk towards Undyne and Papyrus, whose backs were turned towards Frisk even at their approach. It wasn’t until Sans made his way to the other side of Frisk, and Frisk stood beside Papyrus, that they realized why the lanky bones and fish woman didn’t bother turning around—because they were in the middle of a conversation with a… dinosaur and robot?

 

“Here they are now!” Papyrus finally took note of Frisk arriving, and Sans patted Frisk’s back roughly as he also mentioned “Yeah, just grabbed ‘em from the car ‘s all.”

 

“Frisk, this’ Alphys and Mettaton.” Undyne introduced the newcomers. Mettaton was the slender robot in what appeared to be rather feminine garb, wiggling his fingers at Frisk with a wide and surprisingly gorgeous smile. It was obvious he had makeup painted on over the metal skin that was visible—and though most of his outfit consisted of a red velvet-like dress and a fluffy boa, Frisk was mainly having a hard time looking away from his legs. They were long, and he wore rather sharp heels. Frisk would hate to be kicked in the face by him, honestly. When the human could finally tear their eyes away, they noted that Mettaton was holding a briefcase in their free hand, that rested between himself and the other monster Undyne introduced, Alphys.

Alphys was either the same height as Sans or shorter due to her hunching figure. She had a flustered face that paired with her suddenly fogged up glasses. Though she wore a nice jumper skirt with a blouse underneath, most of it was hidden due to the white coat she wore on top of everything. The coat alone indicated that she had a science-related job, at least from what Frisk could figure—they weren’t sure what their jobs were when working for the Underground. But while Mettaton seemed confident with his pose and openness, Alphys was jittery and nervous; obvious thanks to the way that she waved rather timidly before fiddling with her fingers and curling in on herself.

 

Undyne suddenly commented rather quickly “I missed you, Alphy.”

 

Alphy? Frisk looked to Undyne and grinned, but it wasn’t noticed since the fish monster’s eyes were dead set on Alphys, who returned the look in kind, however moreso flustered and completely beet red. The dinosaur’s large tail curled around her feet, practically hiding them as she repeated in the form of a question “Y-You missed… m-me?”

 

“Feels like it’s been awhile…” Undyne shrugged, she was also starting to show signs of a blush. Alphys smiled lightly and batted her eyes, before chuckling softly “Maybe we should… catch up sometime and--“

 

“Right well anyway~” Mettaton interfered, literally lifting a leg to cut off the conversation. His leg was practically airborne with such a high kick, everyone backed up as he finished “We don’t have time for you lovebirds to tweet at one another, we need to get down to business.”

 

“R-Right!” The yellow lizard nodded quickly, her face was rather flustered at not just Undyne’s comments but Mettaton’s as well. She nonchalantly patted the case that Mettaton was holding “S-So I heard you’re trying to… to get into the Underground?” Alphys confirmed nervously, giving an awkward smile towards Frisk. Frisk looked to Sans for guidance, only questioning with their eyes how much Alphys and Mettaton actually were told. Sans simply gave Frisk a light nod of his head, and Frisk returned their focus to the monster “Ah, yeah. I need to get inside.”

“Undyne told us you needed a hook up—“ Mettaton mentioned, resting his free hand on his hip as he jutted it out sassily “ We brought a suitcase worth of materials… but she failed to mention you had the face of a baby.

 

“Really?” Papyrus questioned, now looking Frisk over “A baby?

 

“Not literally, darling.” Mettaton giggled softly “But it just means this will be more difficult than expected. There are certain children who can play with their age well—and this one certainly cannot.”

 

“I’m not a child.” Frisk commented lowly.

 

Mettaton snorted “Honey please~ compared to a monsters age, let alone a robot , you are practically a fetus.

 

“Okay stay focused.” Sans cleared his throat “So how hard’s it gonna be ta make this work?”

 

“We’re… going to have to hide their face.” Alphys said, looking to Mettaton for her own confirmation. Mettaton nodded also, and Papyrus blinked “Hide their face? But won’t people be more suspicious if a human walks in with their face hidden?”

“It won’t be completely, just a shadow.” Mettaton replied with a smile towards Papyrus. Frisk took note of the tall skeleton fidgeting at this, but Mettaton continued on “If we shade their face they should be fine. Maybe with a hat… I think we have a few hats in here.” The robot dramatically touched his forehead with the back of his free hand, sighing as he leaned backward to face the sky “If only Alphys let me take my whole wardrobe~ we wouldn’t need to worry about what could work—because everything would have worked—“

“M-Mettaton you take up a whole room with your c-clothes…” Alphys furrowed her brows as she adjusted her glasses “L-Let’s not get started on your shoes…”

 

Frisk looked around for a bit, noting that the streets had gone rather quiet. There weren’t a lot of patrons entering or leaving the bar anymore, so maybe it was safe to assume it had gotten late enough for people not to notice the commotion outside. Frisk looked then towards the nearest alleyway, realizing it was clear as well. They pointed towards it, gathering everyone’s attention as they quickly suggested “Lets change down there.”

 

“You don’t wanna in the car?” Sans asked as he shoved his boney fingers into his pockets. Frisk pouted “It’s out in the open—and I’m used to alleys.”

 

“Wow.” Mettaton said “How sad.”

 

“Not everyone gets to live in the lap of luxury.” Frisk glanced towards the robot, who shrugged his shoulders coyly as he defended “Hey now~ I don’t either! I literally live underground!” He then folded his arms and glanced to Alphys “And I was literally made out of scraps from the trash.

“A-Anyway,” Alphys returned to the task at hand, gesturing for Mettaton and Frisk to head for the alley “Let’s get this show on the road!”

 

As Frisk was being lightly pushed away, they quickly turned their head and hurriedly grabbed for Sans’ arm “Wait, let him come too!”

“You want him to join?” Was questioned in unison by both Alphys and Mettaton, at the same moment Sans also asked “You want me ta join?”

“Oh.” Mettaton blinked “I didn’t realize you two had a fling—“

“We don’t!” Frisk clarified, their face flushing from the sudden confusion and attention they were receiving “I just… no offense, I don’t know you guys but I know him. I feel safer with him around—“

“Not ta break your heart, kid…” Sans winked at Frisk “But you ain’t exactly my type.”

 

Frisk was already prepared to protest, even if it resulted in a shouting contest—but apparently the robot was quicker to the draw as he clapped back towards Sans with a mischievous smile. Mettaton snickered quietly “We all know Sans’ type is thick and boisterous with perhaps a mommy kink~”

Sans stared at the robot, the cold death stare was enough to chill even Alphys “I will literally make you eat shit you clunky fuckin’—“

 

“Sans can you just come on?! ” Frisk asked again, tugging once more on the male skeletons arm. They figured it would also help Sans from saying whatever else he was bound to say. They weren’t sure if Sans was the type to regret things he had done, but he did show a sign of gratitude from Frisk’s light tug for his attention. The stocky bones sighed and nodded, relaxing as he smiled to Frisk and tried his best to probably ignore Mettaton’s silent smile of victory “Well, ‘kay then. I’ll make sure they don’t do anythin’ ta make ya look like robo-broad.”

 

With that, Frisk was content again, letting their hold on Sans loosen as Alphys once more gestured for Frisk and Sans to hurry down the alley so that the dress up game could begin. She also of course had to hush and calm down Mettaton—it was obvious Mettaton and Sans had some sort of history, since they jabbed and bashed at each other rather often during most of the time Frisk was being dressed up and down in different outfits…  and not even in what seemed to be a playful way. Frisk wasn’t sure what had happened between them to make things tense, but Frisk also didn’t want to pry.

 

Alphys had to tell them both one too many times not to kinkshame. Whatever that meant.

 

Undyne and Papyrus calmly waited outside of the alley, simply to make sure wanderers didn’t enter on their occupied space. Most of the dress up montage consisted of Sans throwing in a joke or two about Mettaton or Alphys’ tastes in clothes(as well as a few jabs at Mettaton), Mettaton treating Frisk like some sort of doll(as well as a bit of bashing at Sans), and Alphys attempting to make Frisk way too stealthy to not be suspected of being a thief(almost making them look like a ninja honestly). It was a good thing the two were working together, let alone with Sans there, or else the outfit would have wound up ridiculous. It was also good that Sans was there to comment on how Frisk was dressed now and again.

Eventually, and finally, Frisk was dressed up in an outfit similar to Sans, Papyrus, and Undyne’s. The uniformed look of fashionable slacks, overcoat, and a fitting hat seemed to work wonders. It didn’t exactly make them look as older as they had hoped, but the suit and hat would at least distract people enough to avoid staring at Frisk’s face for too long. Sans even gave Frisk a light whistle of approval.

 

“How charming~!” Mettaton cooed, which received a rather dull expression from Alphys. Apparently there was an underlying context that Frisk didn’t understand, but either way the teenager gave a somewhat proud smile as they struck a pose “Thanks!”

 

“I love your style~” Mettaton continued as he walked circles around Frisk, inspecting from head to toe with a silky gloved hand brushing over his chin “Much more clean and slick than either of those skeleton brothers.”

 

“It’s literally the same outfit.” Sans rolled the lights in his eyes, though his smile remained as he returned his glance towards Frisk “But yeah, ya look good, kid.”

 

“Thanks.” Frisk said again, though a lot more calmer than before as their pose wavered “Is this good enough to get inside?”

 

“It didn’t fix that baby face of yours, but it’ll have to do.” Mettaton said simply, now strutting back down the alley way where Undyne and Papyrus stood as still as guards. Alphys, Sans, and Frisk quickly followed on the flamboyant robots heels, soon the group stepped out of the darkness of the alleyway and into the street light. Even though it felt as if minutes had surely passed by, the streets were still empty. Papyrus and Undyne had apparently been in the middle of a conversation, since the tall skeletons last words to Undyne were “I am quite sure she does not think of you as anything like that! Just go ahead and ask, do not be afraid!” before he turned his attention to the three that moved passed him and the fish monster “Finished already?”

“Admire my art!” Mettaton dramatically gestured to Frisk, who blinked and stood there in confusion. Alphys chuckled lightly, snorting gently “ Our art. I think this will work, anyway.”

“If it’s a busy night it’ll work even better.” Undyne said, walking up to Alphys and touching her shoulder “Nice work, Alphy.”

The dino monster grinned, her cheeks reddening as she adjusted her glasses “Th-Thanks!”

 

“I was saying Frisk looks a lot better than the two of you…” Mettaton suddenly spoke up, bringing back up his thought process of before as he glanced to Undyne with his arms crossed “Well, the three of you, because you look like total trash. What happened? Did you two get into a rumble or tussle?”

 

Sans and Papyrus gave each other a look, Papyrus moreso of sudden shame. It was a similar look that Undyne gave to the tall skeleton as well, as she spoke up to confess “Well, actually yeah. All three of us wound up fighting each other some hours ago.”

“E-Each other?!” Alphys yelped out, rather startled from Undyne’s words. Undyne looked rather disappointed suddenly, even more than Papyrus as the yellow monster blurted “Wh-Why?! What happened that g-got you guys turned against each other?!”

“Sweetheart I thought you guys were friends.” Mettaton’s reaction was a lot more calmer than Alphys’ panicked one, but his eyes were gazed only at Papyrus as the robot gently approached the taller male and rested a hand on his arm “What on earth had happened to rile the three of you up into fighting one another?”

 

“Frisk.” Sans commented simply. His expression hadn’t changed even in the slightest. While Alphys and Mettaton showed concern and shock, Undyne and Papyrus sharing shame, Sans simply seemed content as he shrugged “Tch yeah, actually the kid ‘ere’s carryin’ that last locket Asgore’s been lookin’ for. That’s what we were fightin’ about.”

 

“Huh?” Alphys questioned, looking to Frisk. Frisk jumped lightly from the sudden attention shift, but to back up Sans’ word they proceeded to slowly pull out the ruby pendant from underneath their collared shirt “Yeah… they were fighting over me… but I stopped them because they were about to go too far.” With that said, the human looked to Sans, then to Papyrus, who still hung his head low in embarrassment. Undyne gave a firm nod “Yeah, this kid sorta… I guess they saved my ass from getting kicked.”

 

“Kicked hard. ” Sans confirmed with a smirk. Undyne wasn’t happy about the reminder, as she glared towards the short skeleton.

 

“But they have the pendant?” Alphys approached Frisk and gently reached for the necklace, inspecting it closely. As if suddenly it didn’t matter that the companions fought, Alphys’ eyes were wide as if mesmerized by the true pendant before her. This made Frisk rather nervous, and they carefully pulled the chain of their necklace in order to drag the ruby out of the monster’s palms. Alphys continued to stare at it though, before smiling rather brightly “This is great! W-Wow… so we’ve got all of the pendants and—and we can—“

“Alphy…” Undyne spoke quickly, yet calmly, in order to calm down Alphys’ sudden excitement. The short lizard monster stopped her rambling in order to look to Undyne, who gave a small smile, though it was a sad one as the royal guard finished “…we didn’t bring Frisk along to take their necklace.”

 

Alphys blinked, looking to Mettaton who also returned the confusing look. Papyrus cleared his throat, feeling it was time for him to speak up as well “Frisk is here with us to rescue their friend! Due to unfortunate circumstances—“

 

“And because of Undyne.” Sans tossed out there, receiving another glare from Undyne.

 

“—Their friend had been taken, but we are now on a mission to help Frisk and said friend reunite!” With that finish, Papyrus rested his hands on his hips and finally smiled again. “The fight we had earlier was not out of hatred for one another, it was over the safety of our new human companion!” The gloom of earlier had washed away, and Papyrus being happy seemed to lighten the mood of the group quite a bit. Frisk smiled to Alphys, who blinked once again as to imply she still wasn’t sure she understood, but then she smiled also towards Frisk as she replied “I-I see… okay.” But she looked away then towards Sans, before looking to Undyne “Are you sure this is… a good idea, though? Th-This is… this is… going against what Asgore wants…”

“I’m not sure of anything.” Undyne shrugged and smirked. Papyrus wrapped an arm around Sans, pulling the brother closer “We are quite certain that we are doing what is right! It may not be in the best interests of the Underground, but it is in the best interests of this human and their friend.”

Alphys’s nervous smile widened a bit “W-Well… okay… I guess, if we explain… maybe everything will be fine?”

 

“That little human with the fake toy around their neck...” Mettaton suddenly mumbled, as if having ignored everyone’s commentary moments ago. He glanced towards Alphys and jutted out his bottom lip “What was their name?”

 

“Ah—it was Ch-Chara.” Alphys said, looking back to the robot damsel. The sound of their name made Frisk perk up even more “Chara, yeah! That’s them! That’s who I’m looking for!”

 

“Well then it is my honor to inform you they are doing just fine.” Mettaton smiled warmly towards the happy human, who was lifting their hat slightly in order to see the robot more properly “After Asriel requested that they be spared, they were taken with him to stay in his room. Asriel is looking over them, and knowing that bean he won’t let anyone or anything harm the human.”

“I’m so relieved.” Frisk sighed and touched their chest, bowing their head slightly at the positive response “Thank you so much.”

“It’s really no trouble.” Mettaton giggled “But I digress, I hate to ruin the mood, but it’s time to get back to business.” He turned his attention towards the bar, moving himself away from the group in order to lead them towards the front door. There were only a few windows that showed the light from within, as well as the many patrons all sitting along counter spaces and bar tables. The inside of the bar looked warm and inviting, the yellow lighting of the lamps and bulbs… and cheeriness of each monster and human alike… brought a rather calm feeling to especially Frisk. Everyone looked rather happy—and while they could easily tell which patrons were rich and which had barely scraped enough to buy one drink, it seemed as if everyone was equal at Grillby’s. Through the window Frisk watched monsters laugh, humans scoff and playfully shove, and there were a few people from both parties most likely already drunk.

 

“It’s not entirely safe to talk about the Underground outside in the open.” Mettaton mentioned, now looking to the group who were all peeking through the windows similar to what Frisk had been doing “So let’s get inside and we can talk more while we wait for an opening, shall we?”

Frisk swallowed, a lump in their throat keeping them from actually giving any sort of verbal confirmation. But suddenly everyone was looking towards them as if waiting for their mark as to whether it was time to really enter the bar or not. Sans and Papyrus both smiled to the human, Undyne and Mettaton showing a similar impatience with Frisk keeping them all waiting. Alphys was, well, jittery like before, but taking note of Frisk’s glance made her give them a small smile of assurance.

 

Frisk took in a deep breath, adjusting their hat to lower it, making sure their eyes were shaded by the fedora “Let’s get drinking.”

 

“Frisk dear nobody will be drinking--”

 

“Maybe not you , tin can.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 15: Into the Hole

As soon as the group walked in, everyone but Frisk noticed the few police officers. In the flesh, and in uniform, the monster/human duo clinked their beer mugs together merrily before taking a long swig, then returning to their chattering. Frisk was forcefully shoved off to the side with the group as they crowded near the farthest corner away from them, as well as near an empty table.

 

“As expected,” Mettaton started rather sassily, as if the cheerful mood of the bar and of their outside conversation had instantly shifted “it would have been far too easy to just waltz ourselves into the Underground. We’ll have to pace ourselves.”

 

“We can’t jus’ stand around like a group’a suspicious folk, either.” Sans snorted. The tallest of the group all were hunching forward as they huddled together to talk in the loud and boisterous bar. The shortest; being Sans, Frisk, and Alphys, were mainly looking up at the rest. Mettaton rolled his eyes at the short skeleton “Obviously~” before glancing to Undyne “We’ll need to split ourselves up into little groups maybe? Perhaps we can each take our turns entering the hideout to make things a little easier…”

 

“Or a li’l more complicated.” Sans retorted.

 

Mettaton growled.

 

“Alright guys, settle down.” Undyne glared at the both of them, before nodding in agreement to the idea “The longer we stand around as a gigantic group, the more attention we’ll be getting. Everybody split up.”

 

“Who gets Frisk?” Papyrus asked then, furrowing his invisible brows as if suddenly worried about the human getting lost. Frisk blinked up at Papyrus in their own confusion, before looking towards Sans who—well, Sans was suddenly gone.

 

Everyone looked around rather quickly to check for Sans, only for Alphys to giggle and point at the bar.

 

Of course Sans had already made himself comfortable at the counter, chatting it up with Grillby and with a drink already in hand. Sans apparently had decided he liked the idea of splitting up as well, but unfortunately he had decided not to team up with anyone.

 

“What am I, a prize?” Frisk asked anyway, still looking confused from everything that had happened.

Papyrus grinned “The BEST prize!” Before playfully nudging Frisk’s arm with his fist. Frisk couldn’t help but giggle at this, and Mettaton almost immediately maneuvered himself to tuck an arm under the tall skeleton’s shoulder, and wrap another around Frisk to pull them closer “Let’s get a move on, you two~”

“Alright, I’ll tag with Alphy.” Undyne said simply, almost immediately grabbing for the lizard woman’s hand. Alphys muttered something incoherent, her entire face bright pink all the while she was practically dragged off to take a seat at the table they had all gathered at. Mettaton made it apparent that they couldn’t stay as a group, so he lead Frisk and Papyrus to another empty table, though it was unfortunately nearest to the officers who were now drunkenly singing to each other.

 

And just like that, everyone played a role and pretended to simply enjoy themselves at the bar. It was just another night at Grillby’s.

As a few minutes passed, or maybe an hour, Frisk watched Undyne and Alphys eventually place an order of drinks for themselves, most likely pretending to at least be a part of the drinking crowd of patrons. It seemed obvious that Grillby recognized the faces of all the members of the Underground, considering he resided atop their hideout. But if anything, Frisk assumed the fire elemental did not know that Frisk needed to get in… let alone, that Frisk was considered ‘underage’ for the man’s bar.

The three of them were all watching the newly formed trio of companions at the bar, Frisk mostly giggling while the robot and skeleton looked on almost in disgust. Mettaton was silently ‘booing’ at Undyne and Alphys for having joined in on Sans’ game of drinking; considering earlier the robot had objected to anyone actually partaking in alcohol… Sans being the only one claiming to do it anyway whether Mettaton wanted them to or not. Alphys made it obvious that she ordered the drink only for show, considering the trio of Frisk, Mettaton, and Papyrus all watched Undyne and Sans chug their booze while slamming fists on the counter, and Alphys nervously held her glass as if unsure about what to do with it.

 

“Well there you have it, I suppose.” Mettaton leaned an elbow on the table and his head in his hand, a relaxing posture that implied he had given up “Everyone will be drunk before we even make it into the Underground.”

 

“Is drinking that bad?” Frisk dared to ask, obviously naïve when it came towards alcohol and its main purpose. Even Papyrus chuckled at the human’s naivety, petting them on the hat as if they were a puppy “Little Frisk does not understand what it means to be drunk, which is very good!” The lanky skeleton suddenly shifted his own expression into a similar one of annoyance like Mettaton “It can cause people to act very loopy! Thankfully though, Sans can handle his liquor.”

 

“Alphys or Undyne, on the other hand, I don’t think are as iron-gutted. ” Mettaton muttered with a roll of his eyes “Either way, drinking is for parties… not when we’re on a mission.”

“I have a feeling that Sans might have challenged her.” Papyrus rubbed his jaw thoughtfully then, looking away from the bar and back towards Frisk and Mettaton “Undyne seems to lose her sense of duty whenever the two are around one another. Similar to how Sans seems to lose his head when around you , Mettaton!”

 

Mettaton scoffed “Like he’s got a bone to pick with me.”

Frisk laughed lightly at this, though there was a light grumbling in the pit of the human’s stomach that caused their happiness to run short. When was the last time that they had a decent meal? Forever and a half ago, when they were at Toriel’s cottage. Frisk made it rather obvious of their discomfort as well, because they were suddenly hugging their stomach as they lowered their head in embarrassment. They figured that the grumbling sounded loud enough for everyone to hear, but the bar was loud with chatter and music, no one would be able to hear the humans hunger pains without literally pressing their ears to their stomach.

 

Noticing Frisk’s sudden motions, Mettaton gave a small smile towards Frisk before placing a hand gently on their shoulder “Sweetheart when was the last time you ate something?”

 

As if having read Frisk’s mind, Frisk looked back up towards Mettaton with a nervous smile “Uh… it’s been awhile, I guess.”

 

“Are you ruffians not feeding this poor dear?” Mettaton’s attention now redirected towards Papyrus, whose hollow eye sockets widened as if surprised as he defended himself “They have been fed! They had food at Toriel’s before we left!”

Mettaton almost immediately shushed him down, as if the goat woman’s name was taboo in their area. Frisk did take notice that a few other patrons glanced towards them, but the human only assumed it was because Papyrus had raised his voice a bit. Mettaton soon enough continued with the questioning, but now in a calmer tone to probably set an example for how loud Papyrus could/should speak “When was the last time you two were at the Queen’s home?”

Papyrus let his two index fingers carefully poke one another, as he glanced downward almost shyly “Um… I suppose our trip has gotten rather… long. It takes about… a day to get there from the city, but with the few stops along the way, and bumping into Undyne…” The lanky skeleton’s words slowly lowered into a mumble, as if he were now doing the math on his own without speaking towards Mettaton. The robot breathed out heavily in disapproval “Human’s need to eat a lot more often than monsters do, sweetie. Let alone robots .”

 

“It’s okay, really.” Frisk said nervously, not wanting to cause any sort of problems between them “I was more focused on finding my friend… I wasn’t really paying attention to anything else.”

“That’s no excuse to starve yourself, dear.” Mettaton said gently, removing his hand from Frisk’s shoulder “I will go order you a burger and some fries, does that sound alright with you?”

Frisk wanted to object, but as soon as they opened their mouth drool accidentally slipped out. They were quick to cover their mouth, their face bright red in embarrassment at their obviously hungry manner. Mettaton snickered “I’m taking that as a yes.” He glanced to Papyrus as he stood from the table, whipping his feathered boa over his shoulder some “Pappy sweetheart, did you want anything while I’m up?”

Papyrus seemed to smile at this, eyeing Mettaton rather happily “No thank you!”

With that, Mettaton walked off to place the order. The robot butted himself in between Undyne and Sans, who were already on their third glass of whatever they had been drinking together. Alphys’ drink was half empty now, but it was apparently because Undyne would take sips of hers now and then before handing it back to the lizard monster. Sans seemed irked at Mettaton’s presence, but it was a short lived reaction since all the robot had to do was place the order real quick before moving off to the side where it would be picked up. Frisk was not entirely pleased at how the bartender, Grillby, made the meal. Frisk laid witness to the fire elemental tossing a patty and fries into his own body, letting it sit for a small amount of time, before literally spitting it out onto a plate and handing it to Mettaton. It honestly didn’t matter if he was pure fire and didn’t produce spit—that was disgusting and made Frisk’s already upset stomach somewhat queasy.

 

Frisk stared at the plate in horror once it was served to them, but they had to admit it smelled surprisingly amazing for something already eaten and spat out. Mettaton, ignoring Frisk’s obvious disgusted demeanor, cooed proudly “Dig in, dear~”

 

And against the humans better judgement, they indeed dug in.

 

It was while they were reaching to the center of the table for a bottle of ketchup that the bartender appeared at their table side. Frisk ignored him as best as they could, trying to slam their palm at the bottom of the ketchup bottle to get at least a small amount onto their fries, but soon they were forced to take notice to his presence as he set down, what appeared to be, a half glass of… some brownish gold liquid.

Frisk looked up from their food, as well as Mettaton and Papyrus doing the same, to give Grillby a look over. He had no actual ‘expression’ on his face… nor did he have a nose, and yet he stood there adjusting his glasses rather casually as he explained the beverage “A glass of scotch to go with the meal.” He didn’t seem to focus all too much on Frisk’s ‘baby face’ that Mettaton had talked about earlier—which was actually a good thing, or else in that moment he probably would have kicked Frisk out of the bar. It was hard to tell what Grillby was focused on anyway, considering he had no eyes… or face.

 

“Um…” Frisk slowly picked up the glass, trying not to look directly at the man as a means of keeping their cover hidden “I didn’t order this?”

 

“It’s from the neighboring table, they also send over compliments on your… strapping appearance.” Was all the elemental said, as his warm presence vanished while he walked back to his spot behind the bar. Sans, Undyne, and Alphys gave the other trio a few quizzical looks, before returning to their drinking games.

The other trio-- Papyrus, Mettaton, and Frisk-- glanced to the neighboring table, passed the two officers who were officially power napping against their own table, and towards a man obviously looking in the direction of them. The man was already in a drunken stupor, holding and sloshing his own beverage up as a form of cheers, grinning from ear to ear his brown, yellow, and… black teeth towards them. It didn’t help matters that the man proceeded to wink at them, none of them knowing who specifically it was directed towards, before drinking his own cup of scotch. His attire was a mess; wearing a business suit that was covered in multiple stains, and with his shirt untucked and partially open; his tie barely hanging on around his neck.

Frisk sniffed the drink and their stomach flipped—they weren’t sure whether they were appearing rude or not, but they couldn’t help it when they slowly pushed the drink away. The last thing that Frisk wanted was to waste the food they had just eaten.

 

“It was probably meant for me, anyway.” Papyrus grabbed for the drink and held it up for the drunk man in the corner to see. The man looked confused, but it didn’t seem to matter at this point as Papyrus shouted “THANK YOU!” towards the human. Even as he announced his gratitude for the beverage, he then looked back at Frisk and Mettaton as he set the glass back down “I don’t drink, but it was really nice of him to think about me!”

 

“Frisk is underage, they weren’t going to drink it under my watch anyway.” Mettaton pulled the glass away from Papyrus then with a grunt “And even if you were the type to drink, I would tell you not to drink this one. People are gross.” Mettaton then proceeded to push the drink at the edge of the table, in hopes of implying that none of them would be drinking the free beverage given “That man could have put anything in this… let alone, he might have lost a tooth somewhere in the glass. Heaven knows what could happen if any of us tasted that .”

 

The thought sent shivers down Frisk’s spine, but eventually they returned to scarfing down the grossly made food.

 

During Frisk’s food break, Mettaton wound up folding his hands atop the table while looking towards Papyrus thoughtfully. His fingers soon lifted to be tucked under his chin, and his eyes became half lidded as if suddenly tired—either that, or he was obviously entering ‘flirt mode’ “It’s been awhile since we last got to sit down and chat, Papyrus.” Mettaton started calmly with a tilt of his head. Papyrus tilted his own in more of a hint at being confused, but he soon nodded “Indeed it has!”

“Work has gotten busy for the both of us, I suppose.” The robot sighed lightly and now relaxed back in his chair. Frisk eyed the two back and forth while shoving fries in their mouth as Mettaton continued “How have you been doing lately?”

“Oh, great!” Papyrus said cheerily, almost leaning backward in his seat. Even if his chair slipped from underneath him, he was tall enough to not really worry about falling far to hit the floor “Everything has been going well, I think! Undyne has me training plenty! I will soon be joining—“

 

He suddenly stopped mid-sentence, more than likely catching Frisk in the corner of his empty eyes. Frisk blinked at the tall skeleton, before also mentally reminding themselves that Papyrus’ thoughts on the Royal Guard had changed ever since the fight between him, his brother, and Undyne. Sans had talked Papyrus out of joining, and Undyne mentioning what the Royal Guard actually did made Papyrus shift sides in the first place. As if he had returned to some horrible reality, he looked almost shocked as his expression changed drastically and he mentioned “Everything… was once the same, for a time. I was almost ready to say it has been the usual with work but… things have changed since meeting the human.”

Papyrus gave a small smile towards Frisk, who smiled back… even though they knew fully well that the skeleton was still hurting over it. Papyrus continued less excitedly “I am no longer chasing the dreams of being apart of the Royal Guard. Actually, after me and Sans assist the human in finding their friend… I was thinking about leaving the Underground.”

 

“That’s a bit obvious, sweetheart.” Mettaton scoffed lightly at his remark. Though once he noted Papyrus remaining unamused and still somewhat sad over the information he gave, the robot returned to being serious “Everything you’re doing in the moment is strictly against protocol. If not fired you would have been killed along with your brother and Undyne. It would be best for you to leave without being noticed.”

Frisk gasped at this in shock, receiving a look from Mettaton who simply mentioned to them “Sweetie that’s just the way it is when you’re playing as a ‘bad guy’, you can’t go against the boss’ wishes or else you’re cut from the family one way or the other.” The robot frowned “It’s… just business. This is why not everyone is cut out for a gig like this, it’s the life of crime… you’re always surrounded by death.”

 

“I never realized we were… bad guys…” Papyrus sighed softly, his eye sockets expressed true shame and sadness as he glanced downward at the table “This was not the dream I had… I know I thought it was, but I don’t think it is anymore.”

 

Mettaton returned his attention to Papyrus, a small smile across his beautifully painted lips “I like to dream too, Pappy-dear. Sometimes I think about… if there’s something more than this complicated life of crime… my own dream, for a short period, was to be a star. ” Mettaton practically sighed at this, almost romantically as if he were in such a deep and pure love with this dream of his. But his eyes wandered upward towards the ceiling, like he were gazing through it and up at the stars “But the riches are much too tempting, I live such an extravagant lifestyle now. It’s like I was designed to be bad, or something.”

“You can leave with me, Mettaton!” Papyrus suddenly suggested excitedly. Like it were instinct, he had reached his hands across the table to quickly grab ahold of the robots, squeezing them in his boney fingers. The action had been so sudden that it startled both Frisk and Mettaton, but Mettaton seemed to swoon at this as Papyrus tried “The both of us can leave this criminal life behind! We can just hide away together!”

“Well~” Mettaton started lowly, glancing elsewhere for a moment. Frisk wasn’t sure what was keeping the story from progressing, but did take note of the robot’s gaze landing at the bar. There sat Sans, eyes fully ablaze as he glared daggers at, most likely, Mettaton for touching his brother. In the beginning Frisk would have never suspected Sans to care so much about his brother, but ever since their serious conversation in the car earlier, it was safe to assume he was protecting the naïve skeleton with every bone in his body.

 

“It would be you, me, and your brother.” Mettaton corrected Papyrus, returning the hand hold by letting his other hand rest atop Papyrus’. He refocused his gaze onto the tall skeleton with a smile, ignoring that Sans was trying to mentally cause the robot to spontaneously combust “Not as romantic as I would hope for it to be. But, no matter where your dreams may take you, Papyrus…”

Mettaton quickly scooted his chair closer towards the skeleton, leaning in to place a sweet kiss on his jaw “I will always believe in you.”

 

“Wowza.” Both Frisk and Papyrus said in unison.

 

Hearing Frisk, Papyrus and Mettaton both looked to the human who had long since finished their plate of dinner. Frisk was grinning at them both, wiggling their eyebrows at a flustered Mettaton—and just as flustered Papyrus.

 

“I’m gonna grab a drink.” Mettaton sighed heavily then to change the subject, glancing at the police officers who had returned to their awakened state and were munching on Grillby’s specialty fries “Might as well at this rate. It looks like we aren’t getting in anytime soon, or at this rate we might need to make a distraction to get them to leave.”

With that, the robot pushed himself away from the table and lifted to his heels, strutting over to the bar to wave down Grillby—all the while elbowing and shoving Sans out the way as the short skeleton did the same.

 

Frisk looked to Papyrus for a moment, as he most obviously stared onward towards where Mettaton had once been seated. “Papyrus?”

 

Papyrus blinked away from that specific spot to return a look towards Frisk “Yes, Frisk?”

 

“Can you tell me more about Mettaton?”

 

The lanky skeleton’s eye sockets seemed to widen at the sudden request, but a faint blush became apparent even on his cheekbones as the monster averted his gaze to the table beneath his now fiddling fingers “Erm. Well I guess if you must know, we can start with the basics. It wouldn’t hurt, after all. He is escorting us so it’s important that you know as much as possible.”

Frisk nodded in agreement at this, even though they smiled knowingly. They weren’t asking because they distrusted Mettaton, they were asking because it was obvious Papyrus and Mettaton had an interest in one another, and they were simply curious. Papyrus now lifted his fingers to his jawline to strike a thinking pose as he started “Mettaton isn’t a human, but he isn’t a monster either. We’re aware he’s a robot… thing… but neither him nor Alphys really explain where the idea of him came up. And he doesn’t like talking about his past or who he really is…”

Frisk frowned at this, looking down at the table as they thought the information over. Papyrus continued though “But that shouldn’t matter, anyway! How someone looks or appears to be, their origins or what not, shouldn’t matter because it’s about who someone is as a person! And Mettaton is a truly great person! Inside and out!”

Frisk nodded quickly and looked back at Papyrus with a genuine smile “Right! You’re right, to judge by actions and not by someone’s past?”

“Yes!” Papyrus also agreed with a firm nod, smiling brightly towards the human “And Mettaton truly is a remarkable and sweet person! He is just as fabulous as I am-- if not more! And while he is rather cunning and secretive in his life and line of work… he always takes time to hang out with me and talk, even if it’s just for a little bit. We get along well and he offers me advice about things from time to time. We talk about our day sometimes, here and there… and sometimes what it would be like to work together more. But I guess if I’ll be leaving and he’s chosen to stay working with the Underground, that will disappear soon...”

 

Papyrus’ lively appearance had shifted suddenly, once again taking the form of a rather shy character. It was cute to Frisk how the forward and blunt Papyrus was suddenly showing signs of nervousness. And this was soon confirmed when Papyrus confessed “Actually… between you and me, Frisk… I do like Mettaton, a lot. I think I have a crush on him and I’d like to confess more than anything but…” His throat made a gulping noise even though it didn’t exist “...for some reason Mettaton’s the only one I’ve become so shy around. I want to get how I feel off my chest and yet… I can’t seem to get it right. Honesty is the best policy but for some… silly reason or another when I’m with him and ready to tell him how I feel I just-- hesitate and say something else?”

“That’s just how it works, from what I know.” Frisk commented simply with a small smile towards the now pouty skeleton “I can’t say from experience… I don’t think I’ve ever had a crush on someone-- at least, I don’t think so.” Frisk cleared their throat “But when people like someone so much, sometimes it’s hard to say how they feel or be who they want to be around them. Words get jumbled or the way you usually act suddenly changes… all I know is that eventually you’ll be able to tell him how you feel and I’m sure everything will turn out great.”

 

Papyrus looked to Frisk then “Do you mean that?”

 

The human snickered and nodded “Yeah, I mean it.”

 

Papyrus perked up, but before being able to say anything else, Mettaton was already reapproaching the table. The robot sat himself down with his glass, around the same time it took for him to cross his legs and lean an elbow against the table “I took long because you two seemed interested in chatting it up over here.”

“Ah, sorry.” Frisk cleared their throat, Papyrus deciding to mimic it the same way. This made Mettaton eye them both suspiciously, but he continued “No need to apologize, dear. It’s a good thing actually. Sitting around a table in complete silence at a bar looks more suspicious than blending in with some chatter now and again.” With that said, Mettaton took a small sip of his glass, a ruby red beverage in what looked to be a wine glass. “Well anyway, I stuck by the bar a little longer and had a chat with Sans. He thinks it’s time we start moving in one by one. Sitting around hoping for these officers to escort themselves out isn’t working all too well. I suggested giving them a reason to leave but, even Alphys preferred Sans’ idea over mine. Tch. The nerve.”

Mettaton then glanced towards Frisk directly with a little smile “And our angel is apparently perfect at behaving like an adult. If they haven’t been kicked out at this point, then Grillby most obviously doesn’t suspect a thing. So it’s safe to assume that Frisk can walk into the Underground like the rest of us.”

 

Frisk grinned with pride.

 

“Very well.” Papyrus nodded in agreement, looking with the others towards the bar to watch as Undyne and Alphys lifted from their stools. They both seemed to lean over the countertop in order to say something directly to Grillby, but all that the fire monster responded with was a nudge of his head before he returned his focus to cleaning the glass in his hands. Undyne and Alphys then proceeded to walk around the bar and go into the back where Frisk had simply assumed was the kitchen area… but apparently it wasn’t.

 

Sans had waited about five more minutes before doing the same, and then receiving the same gesture from Grillby.

 

“Papyrus,” Mettaton spoke up suddenly, causing the skeleton to jump a bit before the robot proceeded to stand up to his feet. He drank down the rest of his glass of wine rather quickly, setting down the glass gently without batting an eye “Will you be able to take Frisk in? I’ll go on ahead to make sure everything is alright down there with the three of them.” With that being said, Mettaton seemed suddenly aggravated “After all, they enjoyed way too many drinks and I’m already concerned that one of them is completely drunk.”

“Sure! I can bring Frisk in with me!” Papyrus spoke with pride, receiving a sweet smile then from Mettaton as the bot lifted from the table and walked over beside Papyrus. Mettaton cooed “Thank you, sweetheart~” Before planting a smooch on his cheekbone and walking his way over to the bar. And just like the three before him, he seemed to lean against the counter to speak with Grillby for a few seconds before the elemental gestured for Mettaton to go into the back like the rest.

 

“The kitchen is the best place for a hideout!” Papyrus decided to explain to a curious Frisk “Grillby doesn’t need a kitchen to use his magic! He fixes all the bar food up front! So in the kitchen there is a cellar door that leads downward to where he keeps his alcohol-- that is where we are headed!”

Frisk only nodded silently, slowly becoming nervous as the two waited for their turn to enter. Papyrus had to explain just a bit more about how, when in large groups, it was safer to enter very few at a time rather than everyone at once. It would appear less suspicious that way, after all. So the two sat by at the table in waiting, Frisk nervously playing with their shirt collar as they glanced towards the officers who had once again returned to drinking. The officers had literally been drinking all night at this point, also having eaten only a single plate of fries, and had taken a power nap. Frisk shook their head at this, deeming the two as the worst police officers in existence.

 

The human’s soul was starting to pound heavily from panic and anxiety as time pressed on however, and they were beginning to self doubt when soon enough it didn’t matter anymore--

 

“Let’s go, Frisk.” Papyrus gave the signal and stood from the table, gesturing for Frisk to follow. Frisk quickly did as they were instructed, almost stumbling after the tall monster but managing to keep their footing as they both approached Grillby at the bar. Papyrus leaned against it and rather easily, and almost in a chipper voice, had asked “Where do you keep your assortment of wines?”

Grillby paused, but only to push his glasses up to the bridge of his nonexistent nose. Frisk was confused at the random question, and they looked back at Papyrus almost dumbfoundedly in hopes if it all being a simple joke. But strange enough, eventually Grillby gestured with his head for Papyrus and Frisk to head to the back, and it was as easy as that. Papyrus thanked Grillby rather quickly before the two went through the swinging door into the kitchen. Like Papyrus had explained, it was definitely just a cover up to hide the cellar and the Underground’s hidden location. Most of the counter space as well as the cooking supplies and utensils were coated in a thin layer of dust, signifying that it was barely ever used, if at all. It looked rather clean and untouched, the whites of the materials rather spotless other than dust-- giving the appearance of an almost brand new kitchen.

 

Papyrus lead the way for Frisk as the two headed towards the back of the kitchen, their feet clicking against the white tile flooring. Eventually they both had stepped onto something rather hollow, their footsteps almost echoing through the floorspace as Papyrus signalled for Frisk to step to the side. The tall skeleton then proceeded to kneel and lift the false cover for the cellar.

 

“Is it really that easy to be allowed back here?” Frisk asked suddenly “Can’t anyone ask about where the wine is kept?”

 

“Well, sure!” Papyrus explained as he then lifted the simple brown door with a grunt, opening it revealed a small set of stairs that lead down into the mysterious dark “But he was told to recognize faces as well, so he isn’t that naive to let just anyone in who uses the signal phrase! The only reason why he didn’t kick you out anyway was because you are with me, the great Papyrus! So long as you are with a member of the Underground you can get in here just fine!”

 

Frisk nodded, following Papyrus as the tall skeleton then began making his way down into the depths of the cellar. With the sudden slam of the door behind them, the human jumped from shock and almost clung to the other-- but they had held themselves back as they continued along, merely hugging themselves for comfort. Once the two reached the cellar floor, there were voices echoing not too far off from where they stood. The room smelled rather faint of alcohol but also similar to that old brass scent, it was a strange and rather surreal smell as they proceeded to walk through the dimly lit area. Rows and rows of wine bottles and booze crates were stacked along the sides, taking the appearance of an actual cellar for drink storage.

 

It was while they walked on that Frisk realized a fault in the Underground’s suspicions of how Grillby treated children. If Grillby really did kick out anyone underage, then how were they able to bring in Chara? “Say, if Grillby doesn’t allow kids into the bar… how did all the other um… necklace people get into the Underground without Grillby saying anything?”

Papyrus and Frisk had reached a wall at the end of the cellar then, but Papyrus simply approached it and pressed his palm against a bland coloured brick, allowing the walls illusion to break away and reveal Undyne, Alphys, and Sans all standing around a door in waiting, most likely for Papyrus and Frisk to show up. Mettaton was also waiting, but at another corner of the hidden room. The four were too focused on their own conversation to take notice of the two newcomers right away.

 

Papyrus explained rather quickly then “They were usually bagged or hidden in luggage! Makes it easier to walk in without Grillby complaining.”

 

Frisk frowned almost instantly at this. The thought of Chara having to have their face hidden in a bag, let alone blocking their vision from seeing where they were going, sent a cold shiver down the human’s spine. Were they literally put into a human sized bag? Was it during a busy evening or a quiet morning? Did the bartender not bat an eye as Undyne dragged Chara to the back?

 

“You two finally made it.” Sans broke into Frisk’s thought process as he winked an eye socket “How’d it go?”

“I was beginning to worry, honestly.” Mettaton also commented, a sign of relief growing on his face “You two were taking a rather long while.”

 

“It worked perfectly!” Papyrus explained excitedly as he joined the others into the secret room. Frisk remained standing where they stood though, for a moment. Remaining on the outside looking in.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16: No Mercy

“Maybe one more time? This way we can grab the keys and get out.”

 

“Chara, at this rate... the guards will suspect something and seriously consider locking us in.”

 

Asriel was sitting rather boredly on the small corner bed, with a plate of food on his lap. He wasn’t eating much of it, and instead had been using his fork to push the food around on the plate to stir and mix most of the meal into one large pile. At least the food looked edible; consisting of some sort of steak meat, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. While Asriel showed signs of not exactly being hungry, Chara’s empty plate rested beside Asriel on the bed. When Chara had received the food from Asriel about an hour or two ago, they were rather quick to scarf down the whole meal before returning to their antics. Asriel was the only one to barely touch his food… other than the occasional push of course.

 

The goat monster nervously looked down at his plate then “I mean, I can only tell them so many times not to lock our door. I think we only have one more chance before they just report us to my dad.”

 

Chara hesitated at this, grimacing as they stopped in their tracks “Then we’re really screwed.”

 

“Well, yeah.” The monster looked up then with a sigh “How good are you at stealing, anyway?”

 

“I had to learn it fast in order to live.” Chara commented almost too simply. The human had been pacing around the room nearest the only door leading to freedom, but they slowly made their way through the room to return to Asriel’s side. The human picked up the empty plate and yanked Asriel’s plate out of his hands, simply to tuck their own plate underneath his before sitting themselves down in the now free spot “I already told you that me and my friend live on the streets… other than trash hunting for anything edible, we would have to steal for food and decent water.”

 

Asriel frowned immediately, taking the two plates back to free up Chara’s hands “That’s awful… if we had met sooner, or maybe in another-- I wish I could’ve helped you out.”

 

“Well,” Chara shifted their gaze away “You didn’t… and it doesn’t matter now anyway. This is what happened, and this is what we gotta deal with. Needless to say, I’m pretty good at the only job I have.”

 

“Are you really?” Asriel still questioned rather nervously, it was obvious that the goat wasn’t too fond of resorting to such measures, let alone at the risk of them both getting into trouble “You’ve never… gotten caught or anything before?”

There were the few times Chara had been beaten up by shop owners or restaurant workers, sure. But technically the human hadn’t been caught if those scenarios didn’t count. Did Asriel mean if they had been caught by cops? Because in that case no, Chara was perfect at the life of crime. Chara shook their head “Nope. I’d like to think I’m a professional.”

“These are armed guards we’re talking about.” Asriel fully turned towards Chara with furrowed brows, his eyes expressing worry and concern “Maybe not with regular police officer guns or things like that, but with magic. I mean, yeah they have guns that they use and prefer, but if worse comes to worse they’ve been heavily trained on using any means necessary to keep everyone in the Underground safe.” The monster set the plates down on the floor by his feet, before returning his focus on Chara “I’m sorry but… it’s hard for me to believe you when you say you’ll manage to get the keys. I mean-- I’m not calling you a liar--”

 

“But you still think I can’t do it.” Chara sighed lowly. Asriel made a tiny bleating noise as he waved his arms “N-No! I mean-- yes I know you’re capable! But I just… you know…” The monster rubbed his arm almost timidly “I don’t want you getting hurt…”

 

“If I do get hurt, you know what to do right?”

 

Hearing the human suddenly say this, Asriel lowered his head as he let his hands fiddle together on his lap. Chara watched with squinted eyes as the monster simply remained silent. Asriel most definitely knew what had to be done, but it was obvious he wasn’t as willing as he had been before. Chara reminded him lowly “I know you love your dad, I’m sure to you and everyone else here he’s an amazing and great person. But do you think it stops after me?”

 

“Of course it won’t.” Asriel mumbled.

 

Chara slowly stood back up to their feet from the bed, making their way towards the door to pull it open. Without another word to each other, Asriel lifted from the bed and followed Chara to the door, leaning out and calling into the hall for attention. It didn’t take long for a guard to make their way down the hall, though the dog monster immediately grimaced at the sight of the teenagers.

“Let me guess…” The guard started, and Asriel simply nodded with a nervous smile. The taller monster groaned out, and Asriel pouted innocently “H-Hey-- human bodies are different than ours… you can’t just expect them to be able to not use the restroom for so long--”

 

Chara suddenly ducked around them both, trying to make a dash down the hall. The guard was startled from the sudden maneuver, even Asriel made a surprised noise from the action as the larger monster began growling and barking almost immediately after the human who continued running in no general direction in particular. Chara ran as if they were truly trying to make a break for it, ignoring both Asriel and the guard as they left the two in their dust. And for a moment, they couldn’t help but smile--

But only for a moment, as they turned a corner and immediately bumped into two guards. With this, Chara was stopped in their tracks as the three of them collided, sending at least one of the guards to the floor.

Chara fumbled, gasping in pretend shock and surprise as they reached out to help the guard back to their feet. The guard easily complied, neither of the monsters catching Chara quickly picking up something from the floor that the clumsier of the two had dropped “I-I’m sorry I wasn’t looking-- I was on my way to the bathroom but--”

 

“Stop them!”

 

The guard from Asriel’s room had caught up now, just as the two guards situated themselves to block the hall, and to keep Chara at bay. The guard from before glared at the human “It was a trick, wasn’t it? You only said you needed to go to the bathroom this time so you could try and run away?”

 

“Um…” Chara glanced at all three of the dog monsters faces, noticing them all glaring at the human as they sheepishly shrugged “I was… just kidding?”

 

“Back to the room.” The monster demanded, waving off the two who now simply turned and headed in the opposite direction. Chara took this chance to shove the item in their pocket, just before the guard stepped behind them to push them along. The human was guided back to Asriel’s room, who waited at the doorway and simply stared in shock at Chara’s return.

Asriel nervously called “Ch-Chara are you okay?” But before the human could even answer, he looked to the guard nervously “I-I promise I didn’t know they would run off like that! They said they wanted to--”

“Save it, prince.” The guard interrupted, shoving Chara towards him roughly. The human stumbled into Asriel’s arms, and the goat monster wrapped his arms around them almost protectively while the guard monster continued “I don’t care who you are now. Until this human is trained and no longer a nuisance, I’m locking your door.”

“Hey!” Asriel’s grip on Chara tightened then, as his expression shifted from nervous and timid to almost as angry as the dog monster “You’re not allowed to do that! Do you think Asgore’s gonna let you just lock up his own son in his own room?!”

“Yes.” The monster said, almost immediately yanking the door shut. Just as swiftly then, a simple ‘click’ noise sounded. Chara quickly pulled away from Asriel just to check the door, turning the knob and trying to yank it open-- it didn’t take long to realize that it had really been locked this time. Through the tiny barred window atop the door, the guard peeked through “I’ll be explaining the situation to Asgore when he returns to the throne room. For now, you two just sit tight.” The dog barked “No more bathroom breaks, get used to that bucket, human .”

 

Just as the guard was walking away, they seemed to laugh “And think of the bucket as punishment for you, prince Asriel.”

 

And just like that, there was silence once again.

 

Asriel approached the door and stood beside Chara, peeking out of the tiny window and into the hall for a moment, before checking up on the human again “Are you alright? You didn’t get hurt, did you?”

 

Chara shook their head “I’m fine.”

 

“Good.” Asriel nodded rather calmly at this, before suddenly shouting with a glare “What were you THINKING?! You said you’d ask to go to the bathroom and that would be it! Why’d you run off like that--!”

“I needed to bump into a guard somehow! What else was I supposed to do?” Chara said in their defense, holding their arms up with a tiny smile on their face. Noticing Chara more humoured at Asriel’s anger, the prince huffed out and crossed his arms “Wait… so you got them?”

“Psh, did I get them the spoiled brat asks.” Chara snorted lightly. Asriel pouted at their words, but perked up just as Chara pulled out a small ring of keys from their pocket. Chara gestured to them like they had just performed their own magic trick “Ta da. Step one complete.”

“What’s next?” Asriel was excited suddenly, Chara could see it in his eyes and in his sudden smile at the sight of the keys. The human however looked down at the keyring and began shifting through the multiple keys thoughtfully “Well for now, you need to stay here, just in case the guard comes back to check up on us. Hopefully all these keys unlock and lock every room down here, and it’s easier if it’s just one of us than both of us in the halls.”

“You’ll be okay wandering here on your own?” Asriel questioned, his sudden happiness had faltered at the idea Chara gave. Even though Chara nodded to confirm they’d be fine, Asriel still seemed unsure about the next plan. The human scoffed “Asriel, it’ll be quick. And besides, if there’s any trouble I’d come back here, right? Whether it’s by force or by me literally coming back here.”

 

“Don’t make it by force.” Asriel huffed.

 

Chara snickered, smiling a little bit at Asriel’s concern as they flipped through the keys still “Seriously, I’ll be alright I promise. I’ll look for the room with the pendants, and then I’ll look for our way out. When I find them both, I won’t do anything without you... I’ll come back for you first before doing anything else.”

 

It was a lie. Chara smiled blankly at Asriel as Asriel returned the smile just a bit more genuinely.

 

Chara didn’t have time for this, they just wanted to leave to see Frisk again… and they simply hoped that Frisk was doing alright on their own. The world was a cruel place, full of cruel people… fake people. Chara couldn’t imagine what sort of trouble Frisk might have gotten into since they were kidnapped and torn away from their friend.

If there was a chance Frisk was out there still on their own, then Chara would take the chance to leave anyone else in the dust. The world was a cold and cruel place-- Asriel would learn that sooner or later. After all, he of all people, being the son of some mobster leader, would surely fall into his dad’s footsteps.

 

“Okay.” Asriel nodded “Just be careful. I’ll be here.”

 

With that said, Chara found the correct key to unlock Asriel’s bedroom door, funny enough to even Chara it was on their first try with their first key. They opened it slowly and peeking out into the hallway, and after seeing no signs of guards wandering about the hall, the human fully stepped out and turned back around to relock the door. Asriel didn’t approach the window at all, he gave no signs of farewell or for Chara to be careful. The monster remained in the room as Chara stood there, now trying to figure out where to actually look.

Most of the doors were locked, Chara would literally have to retrace their footsteps to try out all the doors they hadn’t been able to get into before. As simple as the plan had sounded when Chara went over it with Asriel, it was starting to sound a bit more time consuming and tedious now that they were by themselves. Maybe grabbing another set of keys so Asriel could join in was a better idea? But… that definitely would be easier said than done, considering what it took to get the current set. Most likely Chara wouldn’t get away with bumping into a guard the second time, they’d be questioned as to how they even escaped their locked cell to begin with-- and more or less killed.

 

There was a faint humming down the hall that interrupted the human’s buzzing thought process. The soft melody seemed to echo along the empty walls and bounce towards the human as Chara turned their attention in the songs general direction. The reminder that Flowey was in a sealed off room down the same hall that the prince resided in made itself known, and Chara questioned to themselves how trustworthy he really was.

Flowey told Chara that Asriel, and every other mob member, couldn’t be trusted. But could they even trust Flowey’s words? Even Flowey confessed to not being human-- and to having been trapped in the Underground for pretty much all his life. He was experimented on, to a point where he was mentally (maybe physically as well) unstable and required a straightjacket-- and to be locked in his own room of solitary confinement. How could Chara trust anyone of the Underground?

But then again… the coincidence that both of them came from families known to create jewelry was rather strange, considering there weren’t a lot of jewelers in the city…

 

Chara’s mind told them it was a bad idea to talk with Flowey again, and yet they found themselves walking in the direction of the tune that continued being hummed down the hall. It was almost hypnotic, but Chara knew they weren’t going to Flowey against their will. They weren’t being forced or pulled by need . But by want. Curiousity was getting the best of them, especially now that Chara knew the end was near and soon, the human would be leaving everyone behind; this included Asriel and Flowey.

 

Like Flowey warned anyway, Chara didn’t want to become the next victim of drug cocktails and weird transformations. If Asriel couldn’t be trusted… who knew if Flowey could either?

 

The humming stopped almost as soon as Chara stood in front of Flowey’s door. The human didn’t hesitate to pull open the tiny window that revealed a small visual of Flowey’s room. It appeared empty, but only because Flowey wasn’t in Chara’s line of sight. The only sound Chara could hear was a silent hum, background noise coming from nowhere in particular, and then a suddenly soft chuckle that almost sounded like it came from behind them.

Chara turned their head just to make sure they weren’t being watched, and when they returned their attention towards Flowey’s room-- their eyes were blinded simply by a flash of blonde hair. Chara took a step back once they were greeted by the familiar smiling face.

 

“I’m flattered.” Flowey cooed gently “Really, I didn’t think you’d come back to visit little old me~”

 

“I’m not here for idle chat.” Chara said, though they weren’t honestly sure why they were there to begin with. As suspicious and hesitant as they behaved around Flowey, Chara had also just as easily informed him about their plans the moment they left him. Maybe it was just because Flowey was the only other human around? Or, he used to be. “I’m here to let you know I got keys to every room of the Underground now. I guess I figured you deserved to know that I’ll be stealing all the pendants and leaving soon.” Chara’s eyes grew wide as Flowey’s smile faltered, it felt almost good getting to rub their plans in someone else’s face. Maybe it was just the fact that Chara was realizing their crappy life would be put behind them soon enough, and the thought of no longer having to struggle to make ends meet and to survive was a sweet and relaxing thought. Chara actually felt… happy. “I guess I do have you to thank, you definitely showed me what I wanted to avoid… I don’t want to be down here any longer if what you say is true. After this, I won’t have to struggle on the streets anymore… and all that’s left is checking all the rooms for where the pendants are, and to find the exit.”

 

“Aren’t you being a little cocky~?” Flowey scoffed, his smile still faded as he peeked out the tiny slit in the door towards Chara. The two teens were at eye level with one another, the piercing blue orbs seemed to stab through Chara’s brown ones “For someone who has to literally try each and every stupid key for each and every stupid door... did it occur to you that most of the keys are unmarked?”

“I got the key to Asriel’s room on the first try.” Chara snickered as they looked over their shoulder. Chara wasn’t going to admit that they had to still look at all the keys first before trying one to begin with. What was this suddenly, a battle of wits? “I’m pretty quick when it comes to doing these types of things.”

“Oh I believe you.” Flowey simply nodded, smiling that dumb and creepy smile of his once again. Chara’s happiness was officially over, and Flowey seemed to take pride in it. “I’m just stating the obvious. You won’t be lucky with every door, and the longer it takes for you to escape, the worse off you’ll be when you’re caught.” The blonde almost giggled then “Just so you know. Take it from me, the only friend you’ve got down here.”

“What other choice do I have?” Chara said quickly, glaring at the freak through the window. They fully approached the door, unafraid as they had been before of getting too close to Flowey “If it helps me get out, then I have no other choice but to just keep trying until I get out. I’m as useless here as I am dead at this point, so might as well.”

“There are always better options, Chara.” Flowey muttered, narrowing his eyes as he backed away from the door. As if bothered by Chara having moved closer, the male stepped away and revealed his full body to Chara again. Chara noticed that since they had last left Flowey, the empty and cold room had suddenly sprouted rather large leafy vines about the walls, and on some of the flooring. The room looked like a plant exhibit, and Chara was suddenly too nervous to ask how that came to be. Flowey spoke up soon enough though, looking back to Chara as he shifted slightly in his straitjacket, causing his crazy blonde hair to move with his sudden motions “It’d be easier at this point to just take down the boss. I know you’ve been thinking about it...”

Chara squinted their eyes. Not only suddenly unnerved at Flowey having known one of Chara’s last resort methods, but a bit startled at the tables turning. Was this how Asriel felt when he was told that he’d have to face Asgore if worse came to worse? “What are you talking about?”

Flowey tilted his head, looking to Chara almost thoughtfully then as he chewed on his bottom lip “Don’t play dumb with me, Chara. What else would I be talking about?” The blonde hummed as he straightened his head again “In this maze? You wouldn’t last. And from that commotion out there in the halls a few minutes ago, if you’re caught again you’ll be killed on sight. Little Asriel can only do so much for such a dumb human-- that’s what we are to him, anyway. Stupid toys.”

 

“Get to the point.” Chara demanded coldly.

 

“Kill King Asgore.” Flowey finished finally. Almost as if he had been holding in his breath, he breathed out rather heavily and shared a toothy grin as he hurried back to the door. As quick as he had approached, it caused Chara to stumble back as the blonde continued “If you get me out of here, I’ll help you with much more than just stupid pendants. You think escaping with those is the only plan? The best plan? Think again, sweetheart.”

“I don’t need your help.” Chara was subconsciously gripping at the collar of their shirt, the vacancy of the pendant that had used to be there was officially bothering the teen. Even though it was fake jewelry, the cheaper variety, they had worn it for years and years… and it was something that Chara had gotten used to protecting. It kept their hands, and mind, occupied-- but now without it, Chara looked completely lost. They looked like a liar as they defied Flowey’s request, they looked almost nervous even as their face expressed cold annoyance at the blonde.

 

And Flowey knew it.

 

The experiment breathed out again “Even when you’re gone, even if you succeed, do you think the Underground will stop? They know who you are-- they know your face . It doesn’t help that you’re getting buddy buddy with the boss’ son, either. They won’t stop-- they’ll chase you like rabid dogs until they drag you back down below into hell, and then you and I will get really acquainted.”

Chara’s stomach churned at the thought, they suddenly hugged their stomach as if it would fall to the floor at any second. It didn’t stop Flowey from continuing with his rampage “Asgore deserves to die. It’s not like you’d be doing anything bad by killing him, after all. If you help me out of here, I’ll help you get much more than just those pendants. You won’t even have to carry them out of here-- you know why?”

 

“Why?” The human obliged.

 

“You kill the boss? You claim the throne.” Flowey’s grin only grew wider, his blue eyes seemed almost unfocused as he laughed. His laugh bounced around in his room, and it felt louder than it actually was thanks to the silence of the halls. Chara had to check around to make sure no guards would head their way thanks to this lunatic. Flowey didn’t seem to even bat an eye at the thought though, he proceeded with eagerness “All I want is Asgore dead, all you want is to no longer struggle with life on the surface. With Asgore dead, I rule the mob. I rule the Underground, and with you by my side you get anything and everything you could ever want.

Chara frowned, the hold on their stomach still apparent as they looked at Flowey with furrowed brows. Flowey was breathing heavily, as if his whole speech had taken all the air and life out of him. But soon, after realizing Chara was still in silence, the blonde teens frenzied eyes calmed, and his smile relaxed. He finished breathlessly “With myself as godfather, and with you as my right hand… we’ll get much more money than those dumb pendants .”

The human took a moment to consider Flowey’s words, truly and honestly tempted by it all. But at the same time, doing something bigger than just robbing a gangster group… literally killing a member, let alone the boss, was… much more than Chara wanted. Maybe too much more. It was different convincing Asriel to help do something in the case that things went wrong-- Asriel was Asgore’s son… most likely Asriel would be able to stop Asgore from doing anything to Chara if worse came to worse-- maybe.

 

But if Chara freed Flowey, Flowey would aim for Asgore, and Chara would have assisted in murder on purpose rather than for the sake of staying safe.

 

“The reason I’m in this mess to begin with…” Chara said gently, now looking back at Flowey with true concern and intent in their features “It’s not for the money, not for being the sole collector of these priceless… crappy necklaces. It’s for… someone I truly care about.”

 

The teenager swallowed the lump forming in their throat, suddenly feeling sore all over at the thought of something happening to Frisk. If Chara found out anything happened to Frisk while they were away… if anyone hurt them… maybe that was Chara’s limit. “Their name is Frisk.” Chara admitted, confessing to their name and taking in a deep breath to calm themselves down “Their name is Frisk and they mean everything to me. We got out together, we escaped together … and we’ve struggled together ever since. And when I was taken by Undyne and brought down here, she left Frisk behind. She left them behind to fend for themselves out there.”

“Frisk?” Flowey repeated their name almost in confusion. When Chara nodded, Flowey suddenly showed a deep sadness on his face “Oh… oh no… it’s a shame I know who you’re talking about.” The blonde scoffed, though it was a sad sound as he mumbled faintly “What a shame… it’s such a small world.”

 

Chara’s eyes widened “What? What do you mean?”

 

“I bumped into a Frisk. And judging by the name, they’re a unique individual… probably no other Frisk out there.” Flowey approached the door slowly, cautiously suddenly. Strange enough, he looked so gentle as he showed almost true concern “Brown hair? Brown eyes? Tan skin? Some time ago when I last escaped they were out in the rain by themselves… they were really sick.”

 

“Sick?” Chara felt their whole body stiffen, waves of nausea coursed through their very core as well as panic “Frisk is… Frisk is sick?!” Flowey couldn’t have been lying of course, there’s only one Frisk. And the teen even explained Frisk’s appearance perfectly… there was no other Frisk out there… and Frisk was sick.

 

“It was really sad.” Flowey said softly, lowering his head downward as if suddenly unable to look Chara in the eye “Frisk was so kind to me… they tried to help me escape, they really did… but…”

 

“But what?!” Chara was at the door, gripping the bars to the window as if ready to yank it open just to get to Flowey “What’s wrong with Frisk?!”

 

“I can’t say…” Flowey suddenly breathed, frowning deeply at Chara as he lifted his head again “I don’t know. Frisk couldn’t help me, the Underground found me and… they slammed Frisk into a wall. They hurt them… and all they did was try to save me.” The blonde shook his head and cleared his throat “Frisk was sneezing a lot… coughing so much… it sounded like they could barely breathe but the Underground didn’t care. They kicked Frisk down as they dragged me away and… it didn’t look like Frisk was moving much after that.”

 

They hurt Frisk?

 

“I don’t want to lie to you Chara.” Flowey admitted mournfully “I know we don’t know each other well, I know you can’t trust me… but trust me in saying that your friend, Frisk? They’re in big trouble. They’re in danger if we don’t do something soon. If we’re both talking about the same Frisk? Then the Underground knows both of your faces, and running off will only get you both killed.”

 

“I… I can’t believe this.” Chara was taking shaky breaths, swallowing lumps of air as they felt like almost choking. The walls were suddenly caving in-- what would Chara do without Frisk? Frisk was literally the only good person left in this whole entire world-- and without Frisk… Chara had no real reason for even being alive.

 

All Chara ever did was for the sake of keeping Frisk and themselves safe! Without Frisk-- Chara was all alone.

 

There were bad times in the beginning. There was a bad start-- but--

 

“Listen to me, there isn’t time for you to freak out!” Flowey suddenly snapped, snapping Chara out of their thoughts all the same “I’m telling you I’m the good guy here! And I know you and Frisk are both good people too! You got keys-- and at this rate, soon enough whichever guard you nabbed those from is gonna find out and immediately link it to the human that bumped into them earlier. You can’t just stand around mentally freaking out!!”

 

“You’re right.” Chara took in a deep breath, as if rising to the surface of water. They truly felt submerged, but Flowey was right. Frisk was sick. Frisk was dying and if Chara didn’t think quickly then Frisk really would be gone forever... and Chara would join them. “You’re right.”

“I know I’m right.” Flowey’s concerned attitude shifted back to normal as he scoffed “I just don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. Only if you’re lucky you wind up alive after all the drugs and experiments. But maybe that isn’t luck… maybe that’s just hell.” He shook his head quickly “And if not you? Then it’ll be Frisk--”

 

“I said you’re right!” Chara growled “What more do you want?! I already made a plan with Asriel if all else--”

 

“Asriel won’t help you as much as you think!” Flowey leaned in, and with Chara still holding onto the barred windows of the door, it was a rather close lean as the blonde persisted “He’s a wimp! He’s not gonna help you with anything if worse comes to worse! I told you not to trust him, Asriel’s the reason you’re even stuck down here! You’re a human toy for him until he’s bored with you too!”

“Fine!” Chara pulled away and threw their arms up in abandonment. The act of giving up-- apparently an action Flowey had been wanting to see because he immediately smiled all the while Chara glared angrily at the blonde “What’s your smart plan then? How the hell are you going to get away with killing Asgore?”

“We need a gun.” Flowey said sternly, his smile fading as he backed away from the door as well “While all the monsters here use magic from time to time, they still rely on guns just like any other mafia. But all the weapons are custom built by none other than that dino-freak named Alphys. She’s one of the scientists and weapon specialists who helped fit me snug into my little jacket.” As if Chara needed a visual, Flowey twirled rather daintily in a circle as to show off the straitjacket “You remember the throne room right down the hall, right? From Asriel’s room, turn right, and keep going straight to the other side. There’ll be a hallway and the very first door to your left is Alphys’ room. Inside there’s a bunch of… I think science-y crap from what I remember. But there’s also a weapons rack-- literally any gun will do. With the gun, we’ll blow Asgore’s brains out and start the real party.”

 

Flowey seemed to cackle at the last part, though at the notice of Chara appearing rather hesitant suddenly, the blonde’s mood dulled a tad “Problem?”

“How will doing all this help Frisk?” Chara asked curiously “I mean, sure we’ll stop the Underground... but how will we gain the crews loyalty after killing their boss? How will we get to Frisk in time after all this has happened?”

“We get Asgore, and as soon as he’s dead, we head out to find your little friend.” Flowey nodded firmly, giving a small smile when Chara gave in and smiled in return. The blonde sighed “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure Frisk is okay. There’s medicine and food here, money and clothes… you two won’t have to deal with any crap ever again after this. With Asgore gone, and with all these people being money hungry douchebags? All we promise them is twice the payment they were originally receiving, they’ll kiss our butts easily.”

Chara was smiling, but they were still hesitant about all of it. The whole plan sounded simple enough, but at the same time they knew things would get bad real fast. It was just… well… two humans with a gun versus not just Asgore, but the guards and the rest of his Underground gang. So many things could go wrong so quickly, and now Chara wondered if food, shelter, and money was even worth it. Money seemed to always cause so many problems-- wasn’t this making Chara just as greedy as all the jerks the teenager had always vowed against? They hated the Underground and all the people on the surface all because they were greedy bastards who only thought about themselves… wasn’t Chara being the same way?

 

“Hey.” Flowey said gently “Don’t let it all get to your head, alright? Don’t feel bad, don’t hesitate… just know what we’re doing is right. What the Underground is? It’s trash. And we’re going to fix things for everyone.” The blonde gave a warm smile, with his blue eyes and bright blonde hair it almost made him seem sunny “There’s nothing wrong with doing bad things to bad people if they deserve it.”

Chara finally nodded “Okay.” Before finally turning away “I’ll get the gun. I’ll come back for you, so just stay put.”

 

Flowey groaned as Chara began walking away, calling after them “Really? Where else am I gonna go, genius!”

 

Chara didn’t waste any time, not even to return a snarky remark to Flowey. Now that they knew Frisk was in great danger, there was no time to lose to set the plan in motion. Chara would have to convince Asriel to work with them on the new plan, but even the human knew that the son of the boss wouldn’t deliberately hurt his own flesh and blood. Chara barely got Asriel’s help before… how would they convince him now?

 

How would Chara be able to tell Asriel that they needed a gun to kill Asgore?

 

As soon as Chara was at the door, they fumbled through the keyring to pick out the key they remembered-- at least hoped they remembered-- that went to Asriel’s door. Their first try was wrong… wow Flowey was right it really was just luck before. On the second guess they nailed it and mentally marked the edges of the key to try and differentiate it from the rest. Not that they would need to go back to Asriel’s room after what was about to go down.

As soon as Chara stepped inside, Asriel was quick to approach with a wide smile. But before the monster could say a word, Chara spoke up sternly and shut the door behind them “Asriel, there’s been a change of plans. We have a side mission.”

 

“A… what?” Asriel’s smile had hesitated, as well as his open arms as if he had been ready to hug the other teenager “Side mission-- what are you talking about?”

Chara took in a deep breath. They didn’t really have much time to beat around the bush or to sugarcoat it. Chara had to tell Asriel that they needed a gun. And after that, they’d need to explain why. “Asriel, before we go anywhere or do anything we have to get some sort of self defense… something. Most likely, that involves getting a gun. Doesn’t that Alphys lady have them in her--”

 

“A gun?! Are you CRAZY?!” Asriel immediately revealed disgust on his face, his maw frowning as he shook his head “No! NO guns! Why the heck would we need a gun for crying out loud?! We’re not going to hurt anyone-- and if anything happens I promise no one’s going to hurt you--”

“Remember what I said a while back?” Chara asked quickly, their eyes widening as they moved closer to Asriel. The monster looked away with a huff, but Chara persisted “Asriel, the gun is just in case. We have to defend ourselves somehow! Remember what we talked about? Your dad is a bad person. All of the Underground are. I only came back here because while I was roaming the halls--”

 

No, just talking with Flowey---

 

“--I felt nervous and unsafe by myself without something to protect me. I’m sorry-- I know you don’t want to hurt anyone and neither do I but-- the more I think about it, the more I get the feeling that something bads going to happen!”

 

We’re going to kill your father.

 

“I don’t know what else to do!” Chara gave out a nervous laugh, maybe laughing about it would lighten the situation? Maybe. “All I know is… I’d feel a lot better with some sort of self defense… of some kind.”

 

“I know how to use magic!” Asriel tried. Though he said this almost eagerly, the frown on his face was still apparent as he grabbed for Chara’s hands. As if squeezing them would change the humans mind “Chara-- I’ll protect you! I promise I will-- I just… using a gun is a bad idea! S-Sure the Underground is full of bad people, but they’re also people! No one deserves to die! No one deserves to be hurt! They don’t-- my dad doesn’t… uh…” Asriel’s eyes were already beginning to fill with tears, but the stress of the situation was making Chara grow colder even as the monster practically bawled out “They don’t deserve to die!”

 

“But I do?!” Chara yanked their hands away “I deserve to die the moment we bump into them and they kill me as soon as they see me?! For stealing keys and trying to escape?! Do I deserve death more than them?!”

 

“NO!” Asriel shouted, trying to re approach… only to be denied as Chara pulled back further “No one deserves this-- no one deserves ANY of this! But I’ll make sure you’re safe! I promise! I PROMISE, Chara! No one will hurt you-- believe in me! TRUST in me! I will SAVE you, and I won’t let ANYONE touch you! Not if I can help it--!”

 

“And if you can’t?” Chara now hissed through gritted teeth, forcing the keys into the pockets of their pants as their hands formed tight fists at their sides. Their nails dug so deep into their palms they could’ve sworn they were spilling their own blood “What about the others before me, huh? What about ALL THE OTHERS?! What makes ME different?! Why didn’t YOU help THEM like you’re promising to help ME?!”

 

“I-I was… I was just a kid--” Asriel breathed out shakily, now the tall teen was practically sobbing as he continuously went into a loop of using each arm in turn to wipe at his ever-watering eyes “I was a kid! What could I do?! That’s not fair! This-- this isn’t right!!”

 

“None of this is right!” Chara felt their throat get sore again. Just as before. Like when Flowey told Chara that Frisk was sick… sick and all alone, in the cold relentless rain. In the cold and cruel world where they would die without anyone to help them if things didn’t go Chara’s way quick. Frisk was kicked and beaten and left out there to die.

 

“Admit it! ADMIT IT, ASRIEL! If Asgore threatens to kill me-- you won’t hurt him. You won’t kill him-- you won’t SAVE ANYBODY! I’ll just DIE like EVERYONE ELSE!”

 

Asriel fully let his paws cover his face as he wept uncontrollably. Chara pressed on “But if we do this NOW, if we do things MY WAY, then we won’t have to hurt ANYONE!”

 

Flowey was right.

 

Asriel wouldn’t be able to handle the real plan.

 

Asriel’s no good.

 

He was in the way.

 

Chara did their best to calm down, their shaking ceased as they watched the taller furry teen kneel in pathetic submission onto the floor. Asriel dropped to both his knees as he continued sobbing into his hands, and Chara swallowed the empty air as if it were refreshing. If this was what it took to make sure Frisk and Chara survived, then so be it.

“We’re getting to the exit together.” Chara started with a small sigh “We’re finding the exit after we find the pendants… but before any of that, we’re getting a gun. Just in case.” The human lowered their eyes somewhat, looking through Asriel as if he were a window “If you do everything I tell you, we’ll all be okay. But if anything I just said is still a bother to you, then just sit here. No matter what choice you make, I’m leaving. Just know that I wouldn’t let anything happen to anybody if I can help it. I promise.”

 

Lies.

 

“Do you mean it?” Asriel whimpered, quickly using his sleeves to wipe at his flushed fur as he lifted up from the floor finally “If we do this quick… will everything be okay?” His watery eyes seemed hopeful as he gazed at Chara with no nerves left. They had crumbled and vanished the moment Chara told him they needed a deadly weapon. Chara stared right through Asriel as the goat monster repeated “You promise… everything will be okay?”

 

No.

 

“I promise.” Chara nodded quickly “But only if we start now. I know already where Alphys’ room is. If we go there now, grab what we need, and then begin looking for the pendants, then we have time. We can’t sit here fighting each other, Asriel…”

“I know.” Asriel nodded, sniffling and giving a timid smile. Chara returned the affection, holding a hand out then to reach for the monsters wet paw “We’re friends after all now, right?”

Almost too eagerly, the monster nodded “Y-Yeah! Of course!”

“So trust me, okay?” Chara asked, smiling just a bit more. Asriel smiled a bit more as well, nodding quickly “Okay… okay I trust you. I really do, Chara.”

 

Your mistake.

 

“Let’s get going.”

 

Chara questioned what little heart they had left-- if any at all… but with that, the human gestured for Asriel to follow, and the monster wiped at his eyes a bit more as he sniffed back anymore tears that might’ve threatened to fall. The crybaby followed the brute as they both now exited the room and hurried down the hall, opposite of where Flowey waited for Chara to return. Chara barely hesitated or waited to make sure Asriel was on their tail, they had both wasted enough time shouting at each other. They’d be surprised if there wasn’t a guard already on their way over to check on the angsty teenagers.

 

And peeking around the corner, Chara was indeed surprised that the coast was clear.

 

Chara and Asriel quickly darted across the large and empty throne room, Chara mentally following the map that Flowey had drawn out through verbal direction. It seemed almost too easy when the teens had appeared right at the supposed door to Alphys’ room, the brains behind most of the Underground’s weapons and apparent experimentation.

 

“This is Alphys’ room?” Asriel questioned lowly, whispering and looking over his shoulder to check if they were being watched or followed. His eyes were still red from how hard he had cried moments ago, but he was doing his best not to break down any more than he already had, let alone go through all that again in the middle of the hall. Chara rolled their eyes as they pulled out the keyring and started sifting through them all “Duh. Now shut up and let me focus.”

 

With that demand, Asriel grumbled to himself before complying and keeping silent. Chara was trying every single key on the keyring in order to figure out which actually unlocked Alphys’ lab door. They weren’t as lucky as they had been with Asriel’s room however, because they had already gone through half the total keys before Chara finally managed to open up the door. Asriel was first to dart inside of the room, sighing in relief just in time for the human to shut and lock the door behind them from the inside. Finally, with that, all they needed now was the gun and to get the hell out of there.

“Do we need just one? Or one for each of us?” Asriel asked gently, timidly fiddling with his claws as he made his way through the room. The lab looked exactly as one would imagine a lab to be; metal tables holding multiple manuals and books, glass beakers, strange fluids and a few creepily drawn human/monster anatomy charts hanging along the walls. What stuck out to Chara especially was that one of said drawn over charts had a name written out, large and in quotation marks above the humans head, “Flowey.”

 

“Chara?”

 

The human gulped and looked towards Asriel, who was giving them a worried expression from noticing Chara having been distracted. Chara muttered just as they touched their forehead “Sorry, things just feel like they’re happening so fast… my mind's going in overdrive.”

 

“I-It’s okay… this is all a lot to deal with…” Asriel said with a nod, approaching Chara and touching their shoulder “Don’t worry, we’re in this together… I’ve got your back, and I promise you’ll be okay.”

 

Of course…

 

“Right.” Chara gave a fake smile, nodding their head with Asriel as the goat monster returned the gentle grin. Soon he had turned his head away, taking notice of the poster that Chara had spotted seconds ago before feeling overwhelmed. The monster approached the anatomy poster and recognized the name “Flowey? Is this a chart for him?”

“It looks like it.” Chara said simply, now both of the teens minds were distracted in figuring out the large chart of Flowey and what it represented. To both of them, most of the markings were simple gibberish and meaningless ramblings of a doctor, or scientist, considering the chart was cluttered with large words and phrases that the two had barely ever heard of. Chara had given up and went over to one of the desks covered in research books even as Asriel continued to inspect the chart closely, as if he could figure out what was actually being explained or determined.

The human let their fingers flip through some of the books that were already opened, though they eventually happened upon an older journal. Chara was rather eager then to find out if Flowey had been lying about everything going on, or if it were all the truth. Had Flowey really been experimented on and put through horrible tests against his will? Was he driven insane because of everything the Underground had done to him? Was he really related to a family of jewelers like Chara?

 

Chara took the most worn down journal and began reading.

 

Asriel wandered about the room as Chara did their reading, every so often the human could hear the monster mumble comments like “Ah… this room gives me the creeps…” or “Um, is this gun good enough?” Having to listen to the goat monster while trying to read was rather distracting to Chara.

“Wait…” The human held up a hand towards Asriel in a manner of stopping him from trying to either leave or talk “I’m reading this… real quick. Just keep looking for things.”

“What thing?” Asriel practically whined in protest, but did as he was told as he continued wandering about the room. The guns were found already apparently, so there wasn’t much left to do for Asriel. But Chara felt the need to keep reading, more and more, their eyes scanned as if having some amazing ability to read quick like a computer.

 

The journal in their hands, page by page, was exactly written by the scientist herself on all her experiments with Flowey. Her and another man as well though, Chara soon discovered that the blonde human was definitely no liar. Flowey the human, whose original name was long forgotten or just never even considered… was from a family of wealthy jewelers that they had abducted in hopes of figuring out if the child was indeed the original creator of the pendants all those years ago. The Underground eventually found out that the child was not from the same jewelers who had made the unique jewelry set, but it was too late to return him. Alphys apparently did feel remorse over the false abduction, though soon enough in her notes Asgore and Toriel both decided the least they could do was raise Flowey as their own, and help give Asriel a playmate while he resided down below. And then… the secret experiments started.

 

Eventually, Chara spoke up once more “Hey… Asriel, read this.”

 

Asriel turned back to Chara, grimacing at the thought of reading anything from Alphys’ notes, but complying to Chara as he approached them and peeked down over the desk and at the journal. Chara pushed the entry towards the goat monster. Everything they had read-- everything they went over-- Flowey was right. Flowey really had been screwed over by the Underground. Without letting Asriel know a single thing, Asgore instructed the two scientists to turn Flowey into the perfect child-sized body guard… though the more the journal went on, the more Alphys realized the mistakes that had been made. Asriel’s life wound up on the line, Flowey’s condition became unstable “You were right, Asriel…”

 

And the gun Flowey wanted? Wasn’t for Flowey. The blonde obviously didn’t need a gun.

 

“I was right?” Asriel repeated, taking the journal into his hands “About what?”

 

“When you and Flowey were no longer able to hang out, you didn’t know why… because apparently that was the plan, to keep you from knowing what was going on.” Chara swallowed “Asriel, they were doing a bunch of messed up tests. Alphys, and some accomplice… they were literally injecting this human with so many drugs that it messed up Flowey’s brain. They were experimenting with humans and some natural ‘determination’ built into their souls. Finding ways to inject and extract it from the human body safely… while also trying to make Flowey become this superhuman freakazoid.”

Asriel was silent to Chara’s words, not entirely responding vocally, but visually he looked shocked and almost disgusted as his eyes went from left to right, reading line after line of what he had been given. There he would read all about Alphys’ studies on the human child, making him into the perfect bodyguard for Asriel, only to mess up along the line with their cocktails and soon enough deeming him as not just unsafe to be around the prince, but Flowey was no longer human. But they didn’t dare call him a monster either.

Whatever he was, he was feared and locked away in a room to live for the rest of his life. Feeding off literal scraps of trash. Trapped with only himself as company. No wonder Flowey acted so psychotic.

 

“This is…” Asriel finally said, almost breathlessly as he finally tore his gaze off of the journal. Just as he had tossed it onto the table, Chara finished his sentence for him “...messed up, Asriel. It’s messed up and you know it.”

 

“I can’t believe it.” The goat monster was shaking his head, covering his muzzle with his paw as if suppressing the need to lurch. Chara pushed forward, figuring that perhaps now Asriel wouldn’t fight them so much about their idea from earlier “Listen, Asriel. Now that was proof that we’re surrounded by crazy people, you understand why we’re getting the gun, right? Asgore needs to be stopped, and I get that he’s your father… but to protect someone else, we have to sometimes do things we aren’t proud of. Neither of us want to turn into… well… that.

At the mention of ‘that’, both Chara and Asriel turned to focus on the large poster of Flowey’s anatomy. Asriel gulped loud enough for even the human to hear, knowing fully well that the goat was officially in agreement with Chara. Chara wouldn’t have to argue or fight with the monster anymore, which would save them time in the future.

 

To finish what Chara started, the human mention simply “Grab the gun and lets go… also, I think Flowey deserves freedom, too.”

“Is it a good idea?” Asriel questioned, though he was obedient in towards a crate of weapons nonetheless, picking up a pistol and heading back to Chara “I mean, I know he’s been through a lot but… if he’s that unstable is it the best idea to let him free?”

“It might not be the best idea, but it’s the right thing to do.” Chara said simply, taking the gun from Asriel and gripping the hilt rather tightly. There was so much power in their hand now, and the thought of having to use this was already adrenaline inducing. The human took in a deep breath to calm themselves down, to slow their heart rate and refocus. “I personally don’t see us as having much of a choice.”

 

Asriel frowned at this, but nodded anyway “Then, let's go back and get him out.”

 

Chara gave a nod of agreement, smiling to Asriel as thanks, before they gestured for the monster to follow as they now snuck back out the room and hurried right back to where they started. The closer they got to Flowey’s door, the slower Asriel walked as if trying to keep space between them. It wasn’t as if they would immediately be enemies though, right? From what Chara recalled, Asriel had been willing to take Flowey out on walks… even if it sounded like he treated the experiment like a dog.

 

Not that he was to blame for that, he couldn’t help how he had been told to treat Flowey. For all they knew, this Alphys lady had been telling Asriel to put Flowey on a leash.

 

Chara knew though that Flowey wouldn’t entirely be too thrilled to see Asriel either, also considering the fact that Flowey was this way because of the Underground, and he placed blame on Asriel just like everyone else. While Chara had a feeling they couldn’t trust anyone around them, they knew that at the moment Flowey and Asriel were the main two people that would help them get what they wanted… that being to take over the Underground for themselves.

 

Whether Asriel joined Flowey and Chara or not was… not Chara’s problem.

 

It didn’t take much time at all for the two teens to approach Flowey’s door, though it took Asriel a bit longer than Chara since he was purposefully dragging himself behind out of an obvious caution. The human had waited for the monster to join them before giving a quick knock, the door making the room behind it sound rather hollow and empty.

Asriel was looking around in his usual nervous manner, checking behind them both as to make sure they weren’t being watched or followed. Though he wound up jumping with a start at the sound of the voice that came from the other side of Flowey’s door-- most likely, always on his toes when it came to hearing that voice specifically. It was a simple giggle, though interrupted when Chara slid open the small window to peek into the room for the blonde. His blue eyes greeted and were curved to express that he was smiling-- though that smile had faltered at the sight of the goat monster behind Chara, Asriel also frowning deeply at the sight of the experiment.

 

Flowey grumbled “What’s he doing here? I thought we had a deal.”

 

“A… A deal?” Asriel stammered, looking at Chara then as he watched the human start to look through the keys to try on Flowey’s door “What does he mean? Have you two already talked?”

 

“More or less.” Chara admitted, trying out a few keys before finally the door had been unlocked. The padlock fell to the floor with a heavy clang, and then the human gestured for Asriel to help in lifting the bar that blocked the door. It was heavier than either of them expected, both letting out soft grunts as they used their upper arm strength to the best of their ability to toss the bar off and over to the side with yet another loud noise. This was the end game, after all-- after this there was no turning back.

The door was officially opened, and Asriel returned to stepping behind Chara as the human reached forward and freed Flowey.

Right as the door was pulled open, pollen spores seemed to flutter out as if having been trapped at the bottom of the door for such a long period of time. There were leaves, and vines, curling outward and unfurling now that the door released them, a few roots and tendrils even continued to grow into the hallway while Flowey stepped outside and took in a deep breath, as if the hall held fresher air than his jail cell. He smiled almost genuinely towards Chara, though the smile dropped as he narrowed his icy blue eyes at Asriel “Howdy, prince.”

 

“W-We read what happened to you…” Asriel tried, nervously letting his claws brush against each other as he shifted his red eyes away “I didn’t know… I swear I didn’t… I’m so sorry…”

 

“Sorry doesn’t change things.” Flowey said rather flatly, returning his gaze to the human then and also refocusing on the task at hand “Did you get the gun?”

 

“Yeah.” Chara nodded, lifting it to show the blonde. They then added quietly “You didn’t ask for it… for yourself, right?”

“I don’t need a gun.” Flowey smirked playfully.

 

“I-I swear, Flowey…!” Asriel tried again, this time actually approaching him as he tried to apologize again for something his father had done. Even Chara found the gesture pointless all things considered. Now wasn’t the right time or place, and it was obvious Flowey wasn’t buying it. Even if Chara themselves knew it wasn’t Asriel’s fault, Flowey seemed rather focused on his own beliefs of every single person in the Underground being to blame for what had happened to him. Chara could see both sides of the story easily after all. The goat monster continued frowning as he spoke shakily “If I had known I would’ve tried to stop it-- I would have…! Please believe me! I was little then… I was just a kid!”

“You two should go ahead, and I’ll just catch up in a bit.” Flowey then said, practically ignoring Asriel’s words. The monster noticed and simply quieted himself down, watching as the experiment waved his hand dismissively to them both and finished “I need to clean things up on my end.”

“Very well.” Chara said simply. Asriel didn’t wait, getting the hint that Flowey just flat out wouldn’t be forgiving him anytime soon, and he turned to head away. Chara had hesitated for a moment, before peering into the room that Flowey had just stepped out of. Golden flowers bloomed all along the greenery that had sprouted in almost no time at all, though a lot of the green vines were bulky, as if having grown over items and objects. Chara could have sworn they saw something unsettling, but in that split moment Flowey had touched Chara’s shoulders to gently push them back out and into the hall, before shutting his cell door after he had re-entered. He peeked at Chara through the window slit, chuckling “Go on.” And then vanishing in the cell.

 

Chara had froze for a moment, but simply nodded to themselves as they turned and walked away to follow Asriel. They looked to their gun, before breathing out heavily at what they could have thought they saw.

 

Were those hands in the vinery?

Chapter Text

Chapter 17: Not Like Them

The second secret door wasn’t as easy to open as the first was, because apparently everyone had forgotten how to actually open it. Most of the talking had been between the monsters as they discussed ways of getting inside, all the while Frisk stood away from the group and simply listened in. The human’s mind was wandering over other concerns at this point, and they weren’t sure what to do with the new information given.

 

The monsters were going through ways to solve the puzzle-- since that was what they used for their doors, puzzles-- while the human teen simply stood there almost vacantly, unsure about whether Chara was truly alright or not at this point.

 

The lanky skeleton had explained to Frisk that when abducting people with pendants they often carried them inside bags, or suitcases… luggage. Why would Papyrus tell them this knowing fully well that they’re here to save their best friend from being hurt? Well, in the end it was Frisk who had asked to begin with, they had no one to blame but themselves… but still… Did Papyrus not realize that most of these people were either suffocating or dead? Even Papyrus had realized Frisk hiding out in the trunk of their car was a dumb idea all those days ago-- because he knew humans needed to breathe… so why did that fact unphase him when he explained it to Frisk?

 

Frisk’s brain rattled as they wandered into their darkest thoughts, nothing but worry filled their soul and mind, and they fiddled with the necklace around their neck almost nervously.

 

“I could’a sworn it was left n’ left, then left again…” Sans had spoken up after Alphys had been playing around with the puzzle attached to the rather smooth stone wall before them. While everything else seemed to be bricked, the wall that had the small and simple looking ‘device’ attached to it was smoothed out, most likely for easier installment of the puzzle.

 

“But then it would leave out the last one--” Alphys huffed under her breath “What’s the last one?”

 

Sans paused, before shrugging “Anotha left?”

 

Papyrus groaned and rolled his non-existent eyes, along with his head “Dang it! At this rate, we might as well call Asgore himself and ask!”

 

The robot gave a little laugh, brushing a hand against Papyrus’ jaw “Oh sweetie~ if we were to do that, we might as well bring up that we’re smuggling a human through. Don’t you think he’d be suspicious as to why all of us are together in one big group when we usually have separate tasks?”

 

The touching obviously made Sans uncomfortable(on Papyrus’ behalf, of course) because he seemed to butt his short self between the taller two, just before glaring at Mettaton “Aye, he’s gotta good idea, metalhead-- so don’t bash it--”

 

“I wasn’t BASHING anything, short stock!”

 

“Everyone just… calm down.” Frisk finally spoke up, though it was gentle… and not nearly loud enough to stop the angry small skeleton and the robotic seductress who were still duking it out verbally towards one another. Frisk continued talking though, whether they listened or not “Maybe we should just figure something else out?”

 

“There’s no other way into the Underground hideout.” Undyne commented cooly, simply smirking while watching Sans and Mettaton trash talk each other “If not this way, we’re pretty much stuck outside until further notice.”

 

“I-I’m sorry, guys…” Alphys apologized nervously, sighing moreso to herself as she pulled back from the puzzle “Ah-- if I-I could memorize all the combinations… m-maybe we can just try every single option until we get it?”

 

“How long would that take though?” Papyrus asked, all the while having stepped in between Sans and Mettaton to keep them from actually trying to throw punches. The yellow lizard looked to the tall skeleton and shook her head “We’ve already been here f-for awhile now, probably wouldn’t hurt to try it anyway…”

 

Even Frisk nodded at this, shrugging their shoulders “At this point we might as well try it, right?”

 

Alphys smiled at the teen, before returning to focusing on literally starting from the beginning-- Left, left, left, left. Left, left, left, up. Left, left, left, right…-- and soon enough everyone had quieted down and waited for Alphys patiently.

 

The silence, however, seemed almost deafening to Undyne. She grumbled under her breath as she glanced at Sans and Mettaton “Could you two go back to killing each other? It was sorta entertaining!”

 

Sans grimaced, though smirked mischievously at the bot “With pleasure…”

 

“O-Or we could think of something else to do.” Frisk said quickly, shaking their head at Undyne who was just trying to spark more problems amongst the group. The teenager didn’t really have many ideas on how to pass the time while Alphys worked, but they figured it wouldn’t hurt to figure something out. They touched their chin thoughtfully once everyone had calmed down, all of them looking to the human almost expectantly in hopes for a good idea. But they didn’t have anything, other than one thing that came to mind… but it was moreso hearing someone's story, and that someone was currently trying to work on the entryway combination.

 

The human eyed the dino-monster thoughtfully, before giving a small smile “Actually, Alphys? Uh… if it’s not much trouble, I was wondering…”

She turned her head a bit towards Frisk, smiling nervously at them “Y-Yeah?”

“Well, I’ve heard how everyone else joined the Underground, but I haven’t heard your story.” The human started, rubbing the back of their neck as the rest of the group also started shifting their gazes towards Alphys “How’d you get into joining this group? You’re really smart, right? You even made Mettaton.”

 

“And what a fabulous creation I am~” Mettaton flipped their hair as dramatically as possible, forcing Sans to groan out in disinterest.

 

Alphys paused her messing with the puzzle, blinking as she glanced at everyone around the room, before looking back to Frisk “I-I… uh… but it’s not really interesting…? I don’t know what to say…”

 

“Frisk’s been a curious kid since we first met ‘em.” Sans shrugged his shoulders as he tucked his hands into his pant pockets “It’s cool Alphys, if yer uncomfortable. They’re jus’ a real observant kid.”

 

“I’m not a kid.” Frisk corrected with a light glare towards the short skeleton, but then looked to Alphys and nodded in her direction. She seemed tense and nervous, so they simply gave their own comforting smile “But he’s right, if you’d rather not then I understand…”

 

“I-It’s not that I’m ‘uncomfortable’, guys…” Alphys snorted a little laugh, shaking her head as she turned her attention back to the combination and began once more working out the different possibilities with her claw-like fingers “It’s just… a typical story I guess. I-I wouldn’t think it’s anything exciting or… o-or worth hearing.”

 

After those words, everyone returned to an awkward silence, simply watching the lizard-like monster work the puzzle in hopes of getting in eventually. After what felt like a few good minutes going by--agonizingly long minutes-- Alphys seemed to hold her breath as she peeked to her side with a little laugh “I mean… my story would be p-pretty predictable, right?”

“What’s that mean, Alphy?” Undyne asked rather softly, now moving to lean against the wall nearest Alphys as she fiddled with the lock. She chewed on her bottom lip timidly as she let out a shaky sigh, trying to laugh off her obvious nerves. Sans, Papyrus, and Mettaton had eventually sat themselves down at the opposite side of where Frisk decided to take a seat, but basically everyone’s eyes were now locked onto Alphys in hopes of her actually explaining herself.

Alphys chuckled dryly, a bit of sadness rang in her rattled voice as she began to speak up a bit more “W-Well… I guess… I only joined ‘cause I was appreciated. Nothing m-major or anything like that, that’s… pretty much it.” The yellow monster gave a soft sigh, pausing her puzzle solving fingers as she simply focused on the space above it. As if she were staring right through the wall, she mumbled gently “I-I loved my parents… and they loved me back… they did their best to take care of me a-and I’ll always appreciate them for it. They only ever wanted what was best for me… so I always did my best in school a-and at everything I did-- or could do, at least. I don’t h-have any real dark or secret past… I-I was plain. I was the nerd… the geek… I used to always get made fun of or picked on for how I looked… w-what I liked… how I acted… even for something as t-trivial as how smart I was.” She shook her head a bit, returning to working on the puzzle “But, that was the past I guess.”

 

“What made you decide to be apart of the Underground?” Frisk persisted, their brown eyes were wide with curiousity now. Such a simple story had to have some sort of twist to it, right? At least… everyone else’s story was different.

 

“I wanted a place to belong, I-I guess.” Alphys said in response, wrinkling her snout at how many failed attempts she had gone through at the puzzle already “Yes, this place is a job to me… but at the same time i-it’s more than that. I never joined for… f-for money or for anything. When Asgore found me I… I never felt so appreciated and wanted.”

Her scales along her cheekbones seemed to flush a hint of pink at the mention of Asgore, it was noticeable by Sans and Mettaton who snickered a little at this, though Undyne seemed displeased. Alphys cleared her throat “Ah… A-Asgore found me after I had finished all my studies. H-He said he was looking for someone as… as b-brilliant as me! And I just… I couldn’t say no to a man like him. M-My first day I felt like I truly did belong someplace… that I h-had a purpose! And I guess… y-yeah I’ll just say it.” She swallowed a lump in her throat as she confessed “F-For the longest time since then I-I had a huge crush on my boss. B-But I guess it was obvious s-since I’m just so awkward around him sometimes…! Even now… I still sorta am…”

Sans gave a teasing hoot as he fist pumped the air a few times, Papyrus rubbing his jaw almost in confusion as Frisk simply remained silent with a light blush of their own. Mettaton gave a boisterous laugh “Oh sweetheart~ you two never hang out and you barely even know him! You also know he’s still and will forever be dealing with that ‘breakup’ of his~”

“I-I know-- but that’s… not the point!” Alphys cleared her throat, her whole face was bright red from embarrassment now as she pushed on “I-I can’t just fall head over heels for someone j-just because they’re nice! It took me awhile but… I-I realize now that the only reason I thought I liked him so much was… b-because he was the first person to be so kind to me… compared to everyone else before I joined the Underground.” She had calmed down, her passion and drive to tell her story seemed to almost halt as she sighed under her breath. Alphys suddenly seemed so defeated, and she shook her head sadly “Before the Underground I was… I-I was nobody. I tried to make up for my… lame looks with s-smarts but even that wasn’t enough… I was bullied and just… h-hated for no reason I… I wanted to feel… well, wanted--”

 

“Hey, you ARE wanted, Alphy!” Undyne butted in almost immediately, lifting up from her spot against the wall to step up to Alphys. Her signature large toothy grin was stuck on her face, though her eyes seemed to shine with a need to comfort her ‘close friend’ “Alphy-- I wish I could’ve met you back then-- I sure as hell would’ve kicked all the asses of whoever made you feel that way!” The red headed guard’s smile slipped up a bit; even Undyne was showing a bit of embarrassment as her gaze shifted away from the lizard-monster that was now fixated up at the taller of the two “I care a lot about you, Alphy… I can’t change the past but… but now you have all of us here for you, and we’re all friends, right?”

The fish monster was officially blushing as hard as the lizard, but she pushed with her response “We’re here for you! I’m… here for you-- and I wish you could see how beautiful you are inside AND out because… well…” Undyne rubbed the back of her head and snorted “You know…”

 

“Undyne’s right--” Mettaton nodded, lifting up to his feet and flipping his boa over his shoulder so fabulously “--Even if her cute confession was rather flat, she’s got a point, Alphy dear.” The robot smiled rather proudly then, placing his hands on his hips “Without you, I’d just be a pretty bucket of bolts, but look at the majestic piece you’ve created! Me!”

He posed “And you’re constantly improving! You can never perfect perfection but your upgrades are always appreciated~”

 

“I think you’re pretty cool too, Alphys!” Papyrus also stood up to his feet “I am very glad you made Mettaton! And I am even more happy to have met you! I admire you and how smart you are-- and your puzzle skills!”

 

“Yeah,” Sans joined in, though he didn’t stand up like the other monsters, he kind of remained sitting and relaxed on the floor “Yer awesome, Alphys. Sucks that people made ya think ya weren’t… but even if you wasn’t part of tha Underground, I’m sure you’d make it pretty well out there.”

 

Alphys had turned around to face everyone in the group, her eyes were obviously glossy as she blinked furiously to try and hold back the tears that were attempting to escape. She lifted her hands to wipe her eyes “Y-You guys are so sweet… I-I dunno what to say! B-But…” She sighed, taking in a breath and sniffling as she laughed “I wouldn’t have it any other way-- I’m glad I’m here!”

She then looked to Frisk with just as charming of a smile as ever, it made even Frisk blush slightly from the attention “I’m glad to have met you as well, Frisk!”

Alphys turned back around, giving a sweet smile towards Undyne before refocusing on the puzzle “Now let’s get this ball r-rolling! I think I’ve got it…!”

 

As soon as she says this, a small click sounded within the wall just as it rumbled and collapsed, revealing the secret passage that officially let them all into the base; the Underground’s catacombs presented itself before the group, and everyone gave small cheers toward Alphys for cracking the code. Undyne especially, considering she pulled the shorter female closer with an arm around her shoulders, hugging her tightly “You did it! Way to go Alphy!”

 

“Th-Thanks…!” Alphys snorted, her entire body was as red as a tomato at that point, but Frisk was more excited about finally getting in. The human pointed “Great! Let’s hurry-- I need to find Chara!”

 

Mettaton had stepped forward to stand alongside Alphys and Undyne, though he gestured forward with one hand while the other touched the scientists shoulder “Me and Alphy should go ahead to warn the King, it’d be best to let him know before he catches sight of Frisk…” The bot glanced towards the rest of the group “Will you all keep them safe? Undyne, just remember to let the other guards know that Frisk is a friend and not an enemy, or else we’ll have a total mess on our hands.”

“What else were you expectin’ me to do?” Undyne scoffed, but gave a firm nod as she soon watched Alphys and Mettaton walk ahead of the group, vanishing down the hallways. The fish monster looked almost longingly after the two, before glancing back at the human and two skele-bros “Welp, this is it. Let’s get going.” And she began to guide them by walking ahead. 

 

The brothers walked right after the natural-born leader, and Frisk walked behind them while nervously observing the cold walls and floors. The place itself wasn’t terribly cold, but it all looked so… intimidating, and almost empty. There was no sound other than their own footsteps echoing off the walls as the small group walked onward, and the sounds of how ‘empty’ the Underground seemed to be made Frisk rather nervous. They hoped Chara would be alright, and the dark thoughts that creeped in made them clutch at the pendant around their neck while they continued.

 

“Let’s head to the main guard room, and from there we can explain the situation.” Undyne explained the idea as a means of breaking the silence, which Frisk was secretly thankful for as the red-head glanced towards the human “As good of an idea as it is to talk with Asgore first, he can’t get to the rest of the Underground in time for you to stay safe down here. But I’m sure if the leader of the Royal Guard says you’re on her cool list, things’ll go fine.” She gave a playful wink at Frisk, and they seemed even more relieved as they gave a small smile back to the monster.

 

For a long while, the walking seemed almost endless to Frisk. Even though the other three seemed pretty relaxed and unphased by how long the walking around was taking, Frisk was getting antsy as they fiddled with their pendant. They were preparing to speak up and question just how long it would take to find another Royal Guard-- when two very familiar guards walked within the groups sights. Though their tails seemed to wag at the sight of the monsters, and they even waved and bowed their heads respectfully towards Undyne, they seemed to stop in their tracks at the sight of the human teen standing beside them.

 

Their tails had stopped wagging, and low growls emitted from them. Though it didn’t seem to startle Undyne at all, both Papyrus and Sans took a protective stance in front of Frisk just as one of the guards grumbled “Undyne, you realize there’s a human with you, right?”

 

“I may have one good eye but I’m not completely blind.” Undyne scoffed a bit, most likely trying to cool them off first and get them to calm down with a bit of joking. Obviously it didn’t work though, considering the two guards were still alert and growling, and the two skeletons were also still alert and protecting Frisk.

 

All the while Frisk just stood there, shifting anxiously on their feet.

 

Undyne persisted and sighed “They’re with me, uh-- we’re takin' them to see Asgore... to talk about their friend that was brought here.” Obviously they were originally headed for the guardroom, but for some reason Undyne last minute decided to go with Mettaton's plan and state they were going directly to Asgore to explain the situation.

 

The two dog’s looked to one another with a few blinks, before they both finally calmed their growling and their stance shifted to that of being more relaxed. And at the sight of those two relaxed, Sans and Papyrus also lowered their protective stances and chuckled gently at one another. Undyne cleared her throat as she explained “Remember the human kid we brought in that the prince wound up keeping as his little pet?”

 

“Pet?” Frisk blinked.

Papyrus looked at Frisk and nodded “Oh, you know! Like a dog!”

Sans nudged his little brother quickly as Undyne clarified “Well we need to get them out, I had promised this human that they could get their friend back. Obviously we gotta see Asgore though so if you know where he is we’ll be on our way.”

 

The couple wag their tails a little bit now that things were being explained and clarified, though soon enough one of the two took notice of the pendant that Frisk was fiddling with between their fingers. They had been, after all, just clasping and holding it out in the open since first walking into the catacombs of the Underground base. They were nervous and couldn’t help it, but it seemed to have been the wrong action to do… because said dog squinted and nudged his significant other, who in turn looked to the pendant as well and also shared in the similar squint.

 

The one who had spotted it first pointed openly “Is that one of the pendants that the Underground are hunting?”

Undyne, Papyrus, and Sans all look towards Frisk and their pendant-- just as the human let out a soft noise and attempted to tuck it back under their shirt. Sans looked to the two guards and snickered, trying to play it off “Tch, what? No way… look’s fake ta me.”

 

“Yeah, it ain’t real-- just some replica made!” Undyne rubbed her nose and coughed as Papyrus looked back and forth between the fish monster and his own brother. He looked confused and puzzled “What? But I thought it was real this whole time!”

The two guards’ eyes widened at Papyrus’ (unfortunate) truthful confession, and Sans nudged the taller sibling just like before as he muttered “Bonehead.”

 

“You three… you betrayed us.” The female guard dog sounded shocked, both the guards tails had flopped downward in sadness from the supposed ‘betrayal’ of protecting Frisk, who was now back to being nervous as they touched their chest where the bump of the pendant rose up a bit underneath the fabric of their clothing. There was nothing that they could do or say that would shift the discussion or change what, they presumed, was about to happen… yet another fight over the locket would ensue and it was all because of them.

 

But before anything else could happen-- whether it be another showdown or another verbal argument-- there were sudden screams that erupted not too far down the halls of the Underground. Well, ‘not too far’ could have actually meant ‘far away’ since Frisk didn’t know the layout of the hallways. The screams startled all six of them; the guards, Frisk, Undyne and the skeleton brothers both jumped from the noises and started looking back and forth to try and figure out where it had come from. They didn’t need to listen for too long, because soon more shouts and screams sounded out and echoed in the silence of the halls.

 

By the sounds of it, two of the screams sounded rather feminine-- while the third yell that sounded right after the other two seemed rather deep, masculine, and almost frightening. It sounded like a shout, like someone being demanding, commanding someone else to do something as the feminine cries continued and started sending shivers down Frisk’s spine. Frisk couldn’t tell whether the deep voice as doing something to the others… or whether all three of the people in trouble were reacting to something else entirely.

Undyne and the guards looked to one another then, the fight that almost had begun seemed to cease immediately and the three shared a similar look of not just forming a temporary truce but a sense of familiarity from the cries that continued on.

 

Papyrus attempted to comfort Frisk by wrapping his lanky arms around the human, just as Sans spoke sternly “Uh… is that…--”

 

“Asgore.” Undyne finished for him, looking to Sans with the same serious look that the guards shared with her just a few seconds ago. The two guard dogs seemed to ignore everything that had just occurred before this moment, brushing off Frisk’s pendant and the discussion they were about to share with Undyne and the others, because they turned around and quickly started to sprint down the hallway and in the general direction of the screams and shouts that continued on as they both called out “Coming, my King!” 

 

Papyrus kept his comforting hold on Frisk as he also admitted “And… those other two voices, those were from Alphys and Mettaton, are they not?”

“Sounds like it ta me.” Sans agreed with a single nod. Undyne turned her back to the three of them rather quickly then “It’s coming from the throne room, we have to get going-- now.” And she wasted no time, running off ahead of them and following the same path of the other two guards. The skele-bros nodded firmly to each other in agreement, before Papyrus let go of Frisk as Sans darted right after Undyne.

 

The lanky skeleton gave a nervous smile “Are you alright?” He asked softly, and even though the noises of panic ensued and made Frisk’s heart race, Frisk appreciated the concern. They gave a nervous smile in return as well “I think so… let's find out if our friends are okay.”

 

Papyrus nodded, and together the two hurried after Sans and in the direction of the throne room. It wasn’t that long of a run thankfully, considering Frisk was already breathless from trying to chase after Papyrus. But with the tall skeletons long legs they had expected him to rush so far ahead that they’d get lost, but they could’ve sworn that perhaps Papyrus wasn’t giving it his all just so that Frisk would stay together with him and not get lost-- the human noted this in the back of their mind, attempting to remember to thank Papyrus later on.

 

As they got closer, the screams subsided and had been replaced with gasps, arguing, and even what sounded to be a few choked sobs. Eventually Papyrus and Frisk did reach the large throne room, only to halt in their tracks immediately at the sight of the crowd of guards, Undyne, and Sans. The taller skeleton was suddenly petrified in place from the sight up ahead, the sight that Frisk couldn’t exactly see from the frozen crowds that grew silent from fear and anguish. The sobs and nervous muttering came from, by the sounds of it, Alphys… but also from a faintly familiar voice that Frisk hadn’t heard in a long time.

Frisk had no choice, they took in a deep and shaky breath as they pushed their way through the large group of people, only to have their breath taken away at the sight of a gun pointed right in their direction.

 

“DON’T MOVE!”

 

The once kind, gentle, and welcoming voice pierced Frisk as their brown eyes shakily lifted up just a bit, all to rest within the gaze of Asriel. The goat monster was shaking, his aim still pointed at frisk even though he obviously looked panicked, fearful, and his eyes were filled with tears.

 

“D-Do as he says, Frisk….” Mettaton softly warned, but his voice startled Asriel as the gun shifted to point in his direction for a split second, before it returned to pointing back at Frisk. Asriel’s breath escaped in heavy heaves, and Frisk just stared on-- horrified, shocked, and doing their best not to join in on shedding tears. It was hard though… Asriel was so kind, so caring towards Frisk when they were outside… what happened?

 

What the hell happened?

 

Asriel’s own tearful eyes were widened in not just familiarity-- Frisk could tell Asriel recognized them-- but in their own fear. Something was about to happen, something was about to go down that Asriel, and Frisk, would never be able to get back.

“Asriel…” Frisk breathed out. They gave in, the tears welled up and they choked down on a cry “Asriel… no…”