Papyrus had done it again.
Sans stared, aghast, at the broken floorboards in the center of the livingroom, feeling something very close to anger begin to bubble to the surface. His little brother stood guiltily next to the mess, wringing his gloved hands together and fumbling for something to say, something that would justify the mess.
“I-I WAS JUST –“
“Don’t,” Sans interrupted, his tone tight, and he struggled not to clench his fists. “Whatever you were about to say, please don’t finish it. Just tell me why –“ he paused to breathe, slow and steadying, before he ended up accidentally shouting at his sibling. “Tell me why you used magic in the house, when I told you, not once, but thrice, not to use magic…in the house.”
Papyrus looked at his shoes, scuffing them gently on the ground. “I D-DEVELOPED A NEW ABILITY,” he explained. “NOW I CAN USE BLUE MAGIC LIKE YOU, SANS! SO I THOUGHT…I THOUGHT I COULD USE IT TO PICK UP YOUR PET ROCK, AND…AND THEN…” he looked to the splintered floorboards.
“…okay but…” the skeleton said, feeling a headache coming on, “why couldn’t you have tried to pick up rocks…outside? Where you weren’t doing magic inside the house and breaking things!?”
“SANS, YOU’RE RAISING YOUR VOICE,” Papyrus said unhelpfully.
“Papyrus, y o u n e v e r s t o p r a i s i n g y o u r v o i c e!” He exclaimed, before rubbing his temples and turning his back to the other male. “Sorry, I’m sorry, I just…don’t understand why we have rules in place if you keep breaking them.”
“I DIDN’T MEAN TO,” the younger skeleton said.
“I know, I know you didn’t,” Sans replied, “but you did anyway, which is why I told you, “Papyrus, don’t use your magic inside,” and you told me “okay, Sans!” Apparently, you weren’t paying attention, or something, I dunno.” He faced him again, tapping his foot impatiently on the floor. “Now I have to call the landlord, again, and pray that he doesn’t just up and evict us for this.”
“…I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT –“
“You don’t think about a lot of things,” Sans blurted before he could think, and cowed a little. “I’m sorry, that was rude. I…” he tsked. “I’m sorry, Pap. It’s just…this is the third time the house has been damaged, and I don’t think I can talk our way out of it again.”
Silence hung in the air between the 20-year-old and his 14-year-old sibling, thick enough to choke on. Sans was shaking from the stress, clearly trying to stay calm around the other skeleton, and Papyrus looked like he was going to cry. He fiddled with the hem of his striped t-shirt and sniffled.
Jesus, Papyrus wasn’t even out of stripes yet. If his magic was fluctuating this much, then it was obvious he was going through another stage of puberty. They were already the same height; soon the younger male was going to outgrow his brother, and, judging by the way his body was changing, he was going to outgrow him by quite a lot. Sans wasn’t looking forward to these changes, as it would both reaffirm his short stature and put their house under greater risk.
“I’m sorry, Sans,” Papyrus murmured, in a rare display of quiet, and Sans felt guilt strike him hard in the hallow of his chest.
This was one of those times in which he was painfully aware of his status as his brother’s legal guardian, and of the fact that he was the farthest possible thing from a real parental figure there could be. For a long, bitter moment, he was angry at the fact that his childhood had been ripped from his fingers with nothing to be done about it, at the fact that Papyrus’ wasn’t; then he quickly shoved those feelings aside, because he was an adult, now, and he needed to be there for his baby brother whether he liked it or not.
Sometimes, in moments like these, he didn’t like it. He wanted to fuss and stomp his feet and be selfish, too. He wanted to throw temper tantrums when it was time for bed and bicker with his brother like normal siblings would.
He ached because he couldn’t.
“Don’t be,” he finally forced himself to say, a resigned calm washing over his form. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you, bro. I know your body’s changing and you can’t help it…hell, I went through the same thing when I was 14. You were there.”
Papyrus visibly saw the tension leave his brother’s body, but the lights of his eyes didn’t change. He was still upset. Of course Sans was still upset, he had so many things to do and not enough hours in the day and he jus t w a n t e d t o g o t o s l e e p a n d-
The younger male threw his arms around his brother, embracing him tightly. Sans blinked, startled out of his thoughts, and felt the suffocating cloud of responsibility clear up a little.
He hugged him back, burying his face in his shoulder, and shook with noiseless sobs.
“I’m sorry, Papyrus,” he said, muffled by the fabric of his brother’s shirt, “I’m so sorry I yelled at you, I’m not mad –“
“THAT’S OKAY, BROTHER!” Papyrus chirped, his endless optimism never ceasing to amaze him. “YOU ARE STRESSED! I PROMISE, WITH EVERY BONE OF MY BODY, NEVER TO USE MAGIC INSIDE THE HOUSE AGAIN! THE LANDLORD WILL FORGIVE US, I’M SURE OF IT!! WE CAN’T GIVE UP BEFORE WE TRY, THAT ISN’T THE SKELETON WAY!”
Sans laughed mirthlessly and clutched him tighter. There was no way they wouldn’t be evicted, but he wouldn’t tell Papyrus that. He would let him have this. “You might be right, bro…”
“I KNOW! YOU SHOULD HAVE MORE FAITH IN ME!”
The older male sighed, a small smile tugging at his face. “I know. I’ll try harder to next time.” He pulled away from the embrace and palmed the tears from his eyes. “You hungry? We’ve got enough stuff in the fridge for a quiche.”
Papyrus nodded. “DON’T WORRY! WHEN I’M OLD ENOUGH TO USE THE STOVE, I’LL MAKE YOU MEALS EVERY DAY LIKE YOU DO FOR ME!”
“Heh,” his smile widened and he patted his brother on the head. “I’ll hold you to that…in the meantime, stay out of the livingroom? I don’t want you to trip over the hole in the floor.”
“OF COURSE, BROTHER!”