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Bloodsick Péntalog

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Lemma (lem·mə): the mental abstraction of a word about to be uttered.












It was cold.





So cold…




But… why?



Why was it cold? How could this be?…


He could not feel.


Not usually, that is.


So then why was there a splinter of icy frost creeping deep within the crux of his bones?




The sensation was unsettling and strange, although the temperature was still rather muted. He was a monster. A skeleton. Temperature was simply a kernel of annoyance that he barely paid any mind to. He had no flesh, after all. No flesh, no organs, and no nerves that could succumb to extreme heat or cold.

He had no compassion. No clemency. And barely a soul. Just barely a soul.

So then, why? Why did he feel so cold in that moment?

He should not feel.






it’s finally happening.



my goal. my mission.



it is finally over.



after so long…




so long…






Sans ignored the sensation that pricked at his bones. He took in a steady breath through the spaces between his razor-edged grate of teeth. He blinked both sockets once and rolled back his shoulders, curling his hands into fists before stuffing them in either jacket pocket.

It was raining. The rain soaked into the thick, tattered fabric of his winter coat and weighed him to the tiles below. His fur-trimmed jacket cowl was pulled up over his marred skull, but it proved to be a very unhelpful shelter from the storm. The bitter downpour fell in hefty sheets. Droplets streaked his ashen cheekbones and dripped from his chin. And his single, maroon orb of energy pulsed in its lone socket… his eye… as he stared at the back of her head in silence.

He watched her.

The girl… standing directly before him.





His obsession. His compulsion. His blighted dove.




my frisk.



She looked so small. So much smaller than usual. She stood with her back towards him. The rain drenched her from top to bottom. The tattered hoodie she wore turned dark with water and its long, worn out sleeves stuck to her outstretched arms like papier-mâché. Her shoulder-length auburn hair clung to the back of her neck. Clear raindrops ran down her bare legs, which were covered in bruises and scrapes… bloodied scratches that he himself had only just inflicted.

Sans’ gaze locked upon the tender lesions, still fresh.




His soul constricted.



haven't you had your fill yet?







And he ripped his eye away from her wounds.

Based desires relinquished their hold upon his soul for the time being. After all, he had only just acted upon them, moments ago. Instead he forced his gaze to settled upon her shoulders. Frisk was shivering terribly. From the cold or from fear? Most likely both. Yes, both. But why should she be afraid? She was about to open the gate. The final door. The last threshold. She was about to grasp freedom. it’s time to comply, sweetheart.

The two of them stood outside in the courtyard behind Asgore’s castle. What was once a luxurious outdoor space for important gatherings and meetings was now nothing but an overgrown piazza, forgotten in time. Mold and dirt stained the tiles underfoot. Empty flowerbeds lined the side railing and overflowed with muddy rainwater. Either side of the risen platform overlooked a vast wasteland of rocky terrain that stretched on for miles in almost every direction, but it was impossible to see due to the fog. A massive wall of mountains towered before of them and Asgore’s ominous mansion loomed right behind. And the door… the 10th and final gate… was nestled in a small alcove embedded within the mountainside directly in front.

The last gate - covered in desperate claw marks. The ultimate barrier - meager and shabby, yet so powerful. So strong. Sans could phase through it with enough exerted magic, but not even he had the ability to open it. That power was reserved for one being and one alone. It was a skill that only the True Manumitter possessed.



it’s time to open the gate, kiddo.




Sans’ voice was a drawl. He controlled his tone in a standard monotony to mask his excitement as he urged Frisk to open the door. He was so excited. But of course how could he not be when freedom was so close. Freedom for everyone. Freedom for his dear brother Papyrus. Freedom and redemption. He was on the brink of atonement. Soon they would all see just how strong he truly was. Every monster in this forsaken hell… They would no longer view him as a traitor. No, he would be a savior. His weaknesses would melt away in their eyes and instead they would see a new monster. A warrior. A hero among forgotten souls.


All he had to do was open that gate.


The young girl shook as her pallid fingertips brushed over the engraving in the wood. Her head bowed forward and Sans could hear her soft sniffles travel through the rain’s deafening symphony. She was taking her dear time, and Sans clenched his teeth in a scowl. She would not defy him. Not now. She would not dare. Not after everything he had done to maintain her abilities. He had to keep her docile… and compliant. She was just a key. She was only a tool. He had to keep her in line.


just a key. just the means to an end. nothing else. nothing more than that.


nothing more than that… nothing more…


don’t think about the things you have done. she is only a human, after all. who cares. so what if she is the True Manumitter? so what if she is… just a kid? she is still a killer… a threat. she cannot be allowed to exist after this.


but the candles… and the resets… what if… what if she could still reboot it all even outside of the Underground?


what if death is never final… for the True Manumitter?











Sans’ conflicting thoughts raked along the inside of his skull. He grit his teeth together firmly and shoved those worries aside. He would deal with them later, once the gate was open, but now was not the time. And his thoughts took a sharp turn back towards the lingering freedom that lay just beyond the barrier.

“let’s go, kid.” Sans had been lost in his head for long enough. Now his mind was stuck in the present. He began to grow impatient and took a step forward. The skeleton wrenched his hands from his pockets and was moments away from clasping at the girl's trembling shoulders, when a bright burst of liquid lavender wisps erupted from the child’s chest. The color was familiar and blinding - a beautiful translucent purple - the combination of both of their spirits. Her magic.

“N-nh!-” Frisk cried out.

Sans flinched.

The color triggered a glimpse of a memory. A recent memory. Her trembling form pressed against his chest… pale, bare skin smeared with sweat. The sound of her muffled cries as she buried her face in his shoulder… and the soft scent of her damp locks. A scent he took in with each slow thrust inside… the smell of rain and musky soil. She felt so good. His soul was squeezing around hers. So much heat. He could feel her warmth. She made him feel.




The memory vanished in an instant.




Sans’ fingers stopped quivering. He quickly curled his hands into fists and leered back at Frisk’s purple magic, which had begun to dance high in the air like a heliotrope beacon of fire.


that is… a dangerous color.


But Frisk obeyed him. She could have tried something. She could have attempted an attack or outright refused, but she obeyed. Such a sweet child… his manipulation had worked wonders on her soul. Sans’ expression morphed into a sinuous smirk. The lavender ribbons of energy coiled down the girl’s slender arms and wrapped around her hands like two perfect, form-fitting mittens. Translucent liquid glass spilled into the door’s engraving and filled up the chiseled fissure with amethyst. Soon the entire door burned brilliant.


this is it.


Sans’ sockets grew wide and his grin wider. His anxiety faded. His spectral breath caught within the emptiness of his rib cage. He stared at the Manumitter’s encompassing power in amazement. Each and every raindrop seemed to slow in midair. Time stilled all around them. Frisk was whimpering loudly. It sounded like a pained cry. She was in pain.

“sweetheart… just a little more…” He whispered and took another step forward behind her. His chest pressed against the back of her wet head and he shielded her from the rain. Frisk cringed at his touch, but she did not shy away. She kept her hands where they were upon the door, which trembled under the impact of her palms.


yes… yes!


“S-Sans…” Frisk gasped and she reclined back into his chest. Her hands shifted along the wood. She began to pry them from the gate’s symbol.




Sans growled and lurched his arms forward. He slammed his hands upon hers, pinning them to the door with such sudden force that it made her cry again. She would open the gate. she would open the fucking gate, right now. he would not fail. not this time.


“no.” Sans hissed against the back of her head. His wall of sharpened canines pressed flush against her scalp. He took in slow, languid breaths as he felt the waves of power running down her arms, through her hands, spilling into the barrier. The gate began to tremble with even more vigor. Something was happening.


Bright lavender light turned violent, thrashing against the wood uncontrollable.


He could barely see anything.


Sans squinted and stared over Frisk at her radiant beams of soul power.


The light was blinding and he could not see the gate anymore.


He could not see it.


But he could feel it.



The door…


The door was opening.


The seal was cracking.


And she felt… so warm



…so warm.




There was a deafening clatter of wood scraping against stone. Sans shut his sockets to block out the brazen glare. He pressed all his weight into Frisk’s hands, and together they pushed the 10th gate open and outward.







The rain stopped.





It was quiet…




Sans could still feel her warmth - a warmth that had replaced the strange, bitter chill in his bones. He laced his phalanges through her shivering fingers and held her hands tight within his. She was crying and gasping for a breath and pressing her shoulder blades back into his torso. Sans opened his sockets.




The door was open. It exposed a long, dark tunnel of obsidian shadows.



it is done.


it is open.


you did it.


Heh heh…




A gust of warm air spilled from the passage. There was a strange smell… a new smell. There was a hint of pine and fresh soil. A pleasant aroma that could never exist within the Underground. That smell… it was the scent of the Above.

Frisk could smell it too. She stood against Sans in complete shock as she joined him in staring down the passageway, but her body tensed as another breeze bellowed forth and brushed back her dripping locks. Sans could feel her heart start to race. He tightened his grip around her small hands.

“frisk…” Sans whispered.

She tilted her head back and stared up at him, and the monster drank in her dismay. Messy bangs fell over her thick brows and eyes… well… eye. Only her left eye was visible. The right was covered with a thick patch of folded gauze held on with strips of tape. Subtle cuts nicked her jawline and her throat sported three heavy cuts held together with stitches. Her light-brown lone eye was wide. Her expression was overcome with terror. She clenched her teeth hard and held back a sob before she shut her single eye. She tried to pull her hands from his grasp, terrified… utterly terrified of him. Her nose had begun to bleed… Glossy, ruby viscous streamed down her lips.

Her soul was wounded. Sans knew it, but he was grateful for it - she would not dare step out of line in such a state - and that relief kept his bloodlust in check.



i’ll set you free now, little dove.


is that not what you have wished for? is that not what you have dreamt of for so long?



No… What about the candles?… And the resets?…


What about her power?






Sans released his hold from her hands abruptly. He cupped her jawline and wiped the nosebleed away with a thumb. He took a step to Frisk’s side, wrapping one arm around her shoulders, and pulled her in tight underneath his jacket. She shivered and mewled but she did not struggle. Hell, she could barely stand up straight, and her feather-light weight pressed into him for support.

Sans took a step forward through the cavern’s open maw, but he hesitated. He glanced back over his shoulder for just a moment and took in the sight of Asgore’s castle behind them. It had stopped raining yet the fog had not let up. If anything it had grown even thicker and the castle’s peaked rooftops were no longer visible through the opaque atmosphere.


He turned back to face the cavern and took another step forward, then another, and made his way through the tunnel.






He moved slowly… slow enough to accommodate the injured human at his side. The passage was narrow, warm and pitch-black. The only light came from the dwindling pale glow of the Underground behind them and his steady pulsing eye.




Frisk was utterly silent. Her pained whimpers had turned to sniffles and then they turned to nothing at all. The two of them made their way down the tunnel. She did drag her feet though, most likely from exhaustion, but Sans would not let her slow them down. He held her tight and noted each one of her trembling inhales. He idly caressed the top of her opposite shoulder, adding just a bit of comfort.her power was his. her soul was his. his.

The warm gusts grew more robust with each passing minute. The light behind them faded into nothing.

It was so dark, but up ahead there was a gentle glimmer.




The light at the end of the tunnel grew brighter. Speckles of brilliance scattered about the velvet canvas. There was a new sound… the sound of rustling pine needles… and crickets. He could feel the child’s heart start to gallop at the sound as her small form nestled against him. They tread forward in silence, in darkness, out to the Above - to Frisk’s forest.



this is victory.




They reached the end of the tunnel…


… and stepped out into the woods.


The human world.



you’ve done it.


The soft patter of both their sneakers softened as they exited the stone shaft and stepped upon a leafy forest floor. Sans came to a stop and tilted his head back. He stared up at the inky night sky, just barely visible through the canopy. Pleasant little lights - the size of pinpricks - sprinkled the slate sheet overhead. He knew them… He knew those were called stars. They were only visible in the Above. Only visible at night. He had stared at them only a handful of times prior, back when he would come to this place in search of fresh meat.

Ages ago he had stood in this very spot. He had not been alone then. His fellow soldiers stood among him. They stood here together and stared up at the sky… and contemplated the final gate for days… for weeks. They were the Underground’s only hope before the infection took hold. If only they could see him now.

And although he was familiar with those little lights, they always proved as a distraction every time he saw them, without fail. Fragile and small, yet so vivid… and unwavering. He had not even noticed that Frisk had begun to sob.

Her cries shook him from his stupor. Frisk’s knees gave out and she sunk to the floor before Sans could adjust his grasp at her shoulder. She kneeled at his feet and leaned forward, pressing her forehead to her bare knees. Frisk dug her hands deep into the soil. She plunged her fingers into the moist loam, grasping at the Earth, crying for the end of it all. The conclusion of her journey.


i know…



He heard his name between her gasping lament.

“Sans… P-please… I don’t… Want this to b-be-…”


it must end here, kiddo. it must…


“P-please, Sans!”


don’t do this to me…




… stop it…


… fuck!


The sound of her sobs tainted the vindication he felt. Only she had the power to make him feel this way. Only she could make him feel… regret. She was just a human. Just a small, pathetic, worthless human. She was only a key and now she had completed his task. Her usefulness had run out. He could not… he could not let her live.

She must die.


She had to.


“Sans… Please… L-let me go home… please…”


That’s right… home was somewhere close.

She began to plead with him. Her cries grew louder. Frisk yanked her soil-stained hands from the ground and clutched at the bottom of his baggy sweatpants. She was begging for her life… god dammit… Sans grit his teeth and leered down at her. His lone eye began to flash rapidly and it shone through the darkness like an orb of scorching sparks. Beads of cobalt sweat formed along his brow. His soul started to shiver and glow through his white shirt, though he stayed silent.


kiddo. i know how far you have come…






She must die.


That voice. That feeling, laced with rage, cut deep within his spirit.


Sans’ soul steadied itself and it turned cold. She had to shut up. She had to die. He could not let her threaten EVERYTHING he had worked for. If she were to reset now… then she would go back to Asgore’s castle. The final gate would shut once more. Freedom and redemption would slip from his fingers. Her determination would begin to regenerate. And what if… what if she attempted to fight back? What if she did not give in a second time? He could not allow that. She was too much of a risk. Her uncertain actions were too hazardous. Everything she did was a threat to his goals.

He knew of the rumor… the rumor that resets did not work outside the Underground. He had to kill her now. He had to put an end to the possibility of her ruining everything for him. But what if… that rumor was false?

No. It HAD to work.

The age of humans is over. It is time for monsters to surface. It is time for us to reign.

“Sans?…” Frisk blinked and stared up at him. He could just barely see her tear-stained face through the forest’s gloom. She still looked horrified and desperate, with just a tinge of hope. But Sans demolished that sliver of optimism in one fell swoop. He growled through his teeth and his sockets narrowed. He reached down for her and roughly yanked at the back of her hoodie.

Sans pulled Frisk up to her feet and wrapped his arm firmly around her waist. He knew she would refuse to walk, so he would carry her instead - not like it was difficult. She weighed nothing to him. The girl’s entire body went rigid and she screamed out for help. Her voice echoed in the darkness and bounced off the pine trees. It startled the buzzing crickets and gentle hooting owls. shit… she was being way too loud.

Sans summoned his magic to silence her. A blue, translucent coil of energy spilled forth from his hand and it slithered across Frisk’s torso and traveled up her throat to her jaw. She cried even louder and struggled in his tight grasp as she made an attempt to repel the wandering magic, but she was muted instantly as the cobalt phantasm constricted around her mouth like a makeshift gag. It muffled her cries. She was silent now, yet continued to fight him. Sans was ready to rip out her soul should she try something in that moment.


will you try it, kid?…




Surprisingly she did not conjure her shield.


“enough.” He spat and took a step forward and she reluctantly turned pliant under his arm.


Somehow they had exited the Underground through a winding tunnel embedded within a mountainside. Although on the surface of the human world those mountains did not exist. The barrier separated both planes of existence with an ancient illusion. Behind them was only a mundane cave. It seemed to sprout directly from the earth and it was concealed under layers thick foliage and climbing roots. One could easily walk right past it if they were not paying attention to their surroundings. The entrance and the exit to the Underground co-existed in the same forest. They had come full circle.

There was still one more door to open.

The entrance.



The shed.


And Sans knew it was not far off. In fact, he knew this forest quite well.

His soul coursed with his own revolting determination. That small fragment of sympathy and warmth she made him feel had shriveled up and turned to soot. Sans tightened his cruel hold upon the child and stepped through the forest in a straight line. Frisk began to struggle again. She sobbed into the blue tether, but her opposition was starting to test his patience. Bitter rage soaked his soul and he let out a jarring growl. It shut her up instantly.

“no more, manumitter.”


just shut up and obey…


“i’ll teach ya another lesson, right here, right now… ”


s-shut up and OBEY ME.


“… if you do not shut ‘yer mouth.”


Sans threatened her. His savage words dripped a grudging rancor so heinous that it turned his cobalt soul to ice. He had become stuck in a headspace of revenge… and anger… and determination.


she is a killer. she is a murder. she is… Chara.








Sans… He had never truly recovered from that contamination so, so long ago. Chara’s disease. Once that demon-child got her hooks in you her essence would always remain. But that monster was dead now. That monster was gone. He had just killed Chara himself only a few hours ago, out in the wastelands before they reached Asgore’s castle. He knew that she was no more. But, Chara’s poison prevailed. It persisted and had begun to manifest in a way so nefarious. It made the skeleton deranged and unhinged and sick for… for blood. For revenge. It turned an already unstable monster so much more dangerous and capricious, into something that should never exist.

His little dove had been infected too, but the signs of the virus inside Frisk’s soul had been erased with Chara’s death. Perhaps that poison affected humans differently. No… NO. It was still there. Just hidden. It had to be. Frisk was still a killer. Frisk was still a murderer.


she is just like you.


Sans’ unstable mentality caused his eye to flash like rapid wildfire - so bright that it was painful. He shut his eye for a moment to allow it to settle down and continued on through the woods, weaving in and out between thick clusters of pine trees. The bitter-sweet smell of a hot summer night hung heavy around them.

They came upon an opening in the forest where the trees thinned out. Frisk went stiff. She lifted her head, meekly tugging at the magic bound around her mouth, and stared wide-eyed at the limited clearing. There were some scattered boulders and a small pond on the southern edge.

Sans knew this place. He knew that shallow pool. It was a familiar landmark that meant the shed was near. He often caught wild deer drinking from the stagnant water. This place was a valuable hunting spot and one he used often.

Frisk started to shake, like she knew this spot as well. Like she had been overcome with a memory.

“heh.” He couldn’t help but chuckle at her reaction. sick, twisted, corrupt.


Frisk had multiple injuries. A deep gash at the center of her back, a stitched up throat wound, legs that were both bleeding and torn.


You can smell her blood, can’t you? Her ripened soul? She’ll open the shed and you can feast on her tender tissue and fluttering viscera one last time… So enjoy it.


And Sans’ smirk shivered. His single pupil constricted into a speck of black within flashing maroon. Azure blue saliva dribbled down the corners of his maw. He ached for a meal, he craved sinew and raw flesh. But more importantly, he craved her flesh. Hers alone. He was so hungry for her.




The skeleton tread through the clearing to the other side. He re-entered the forest and made his way past dense pines and thick vegetation. It was dark, but he knew exactly where to go. The stars no longer interested him, and soon he saw something up ahead. A small structure. A shed.


there it is…


They approached the old, rotten wooden building and Sans came to a stop a few yards away. Frisk had been pulling at his arm this entire time. Her dangling feet were kicking at his side, but she had not attempted to summon her magic, even with her soul still inside her chest. The sight of the shed pacified her hostile actions.

“one more…” Sans muttered his thoughts out loud. “… just one more door.”

He stepped up to the shed door. It was just as rundown as the final gate bad been. It was made of thick planks of wood, nailed together horizontally to form a slatted barrier. The faint symbol was etched in the wood at the very center - Three peaks above and a spiral coiling downward. A large, metal padlock dangled from a latch at one side.

The door had been locked shut. It had been locked from the outside.



that is… peculiar.



He knew that Frisk opened this door initially, so who could have locked it behind her? But Sans did not deliberate. He lowered Frisk to her feet and roughly slammed his stable body weight into her, pinning her to the door. She cried out and contested him and began to thrash her head back and forth. Sans wrapped a claw around her neck and squeezed tightly.


Shut up shut up SHUT UP!


H-he had to shut her up. He had to control her. One more gate. Just one more. It wasn’t exactly a necessity to open the shed, but it would certainly make things easier for the monsters when the evacuation began. And it only added to his glorious redemption.


Open it. OPEN IT.


He ripped his claw from Frisk’s throat and she let out muffled coughs and stifled gasps, choking for a breath against the magic mouthguard. She leaned back into him as if she might faint from lack of oxygen. Sans wrapped his clutches around her wrists and forced her hands down upon the padlock.


wounded little dove… open the door, sweetheart… open the door… once more… c’mon… open it… open it…


“open it. now” He hissed against the back of her head.

She was too tired. She was too weak. But she obeyed him, one last time. sweet triumph.

Her soul shuddered deep in her breast. Her single eye closed slowly. Violet tendrils spilled from the center of her chest, but they were no longer brilliantly glowing or thrashing about. They were… meek. Their translucence was muddied with opaque red. Her soul was still bleeding from the atrocious exertion of strength it took to unlock the final gate. Luckily this one did not require even half the magic needed. This was only the first gate after all, and she had opened it ages ago without even trying.

Frisk’s hands trembled in his. Her fingertips caressed the padlock. The unsteady purple coils slithered down her arms like a pair of listless serpents until they reached her wrists and wrapped around the metal latch in turn.



Sans pressed his forehead to the back of her skull like he often did while she opened each gate prior, all ten of them.

He watched the padlock dither in her hands.

He stared at the door as it started to weaken under her power. Her body began to heat up. Her hoodie remained damp with rainwater. Small droplets of sweat ran down her cheeks and the nape of her neck from the summer heat. So warm… her soul… so alluring.



damn it… do not feel. you are not allowed to feel.



There was a soft clink and the lock fell open.

It unlatched from the door and fell in Frisk's hands. She was so weak that she could not grasp it and it slipped from her fingers and landed in the dirt. The door inched open, just barely, into the Underground’s beginnings.

Frigid gusts. The fermented stench of mold. The sable-black darkness. The world of monsters… It all spilled from the condemned desolation to meet them.

The first and last door had been opened. It was done.



it’s over.


now you can end this.


end this.






Frisk’s magic vanished and she staggered back into his chest. She wasn't fighting anymore… or sobbing. It seemed that she had given in entirely. She had finally accepted her fate. She knew what was to come. But did she regret it?… There was such regret in her eye.

Sans lifted a hand and swiped away the blue magic tether that bound her mouth. She did not cry out as he freed her from the gag. She did not beg him for her life again. She said nothing.

Sans’ soul began to feel cold… Cold with shame.


“sweetheart…” … you knew it had to be this way… you knew it from the beginning…


He led her away from the open door. They turned the corner of the structure to the side of the shed. Sans pushed the girl up against the rotting wooden wall. She did not look at him. She stared forward at his chest with a blank, placid gaze. Even when he lifted a skeletal claw and gently caressed the side of her face, she refused to meet his lidded sockets. She did not flinch. She showed him no more fear. No more regard. She hated him.

His forced smirk twitched at either corner. Sans ran his thumb across the thick, weathered bandage that concealed her right eye… or where it would have been. An old wound. A mark he left upon her so long ago. He lightly pressed upon the bandage. Tears began to swell in her opposite eye, but still she did not glance up at him. She was done with this. She was tired of it all.


“i will free you now, sweetheart…” but why did those words taste so sour?


He kept one hand at her throat as the other trailed down her navel, down to the lower hem of her hoodie. He slipped his claw up underneath the front of her jacket and felt along her bare skin. Slender hipbones… her tummy was quivering and beating with a fervid pulse… her protruding rib cage felt like a stacked tier of delicate sprigs… until his palm finally settled at the very center of her chest.

Her soul…

It was his now.

It had always been his.

And he began to pry it free.


Frisk’s soul burned bright hot within her. So hot… he could feel its pumping heatwave against his bony palm. Her beautiful, tender soul. It was a red glassy orb of liquid determination, as bright as a star. Frisk let out a gasp as the fetters that held her physical pneuma in place began to snap. But she did not scream. She did not cry. She was in terrible pain, but she would not give him the satisfaction. And for some reason Sans did not crave the sight of her agony like he had before.

Soon the orb began to surface in his palm. It sprouted through her flesh like a rising sun. But it was no longer red in color. He could see the gentle glow emanate through her hoodie and it was purple now, just like her magic.

Still purple…



Sans clasped his hand around the orb the moment it was free. He slipped his hand out from underneath Frisk’s hoodie and glanced down at the sphere. His sockets narrowed and his vermilion eye constringed within the hollow alcove.

Something was indeed wrong with it.

The girl’s soul was covered in splinters, like it had begun to shatter under some unknown pressure. It looked like a brittle glass marble and it was the size of a golf ball. It emitted a gentle lavender hue and inside the orb Sans could see liquid stardust settle at the bottom like a snowglobe. But there was also blood… flakes of blood floating around inside. Her soul was bleeding internally. It was damaged badly. It would be so easy to crush it.

“S-Sans…” Frisk finally spoke. Her voice was a quivering whimper of dismay but also heartbreak and melancholy acquiescence.

Was she mourning the loss of her life? Or something else?…




The towering skeleton pulled his gaze from her essence and stared down at her with hesitation. He clutched her soul with one hand as the opposite kept a constrained hold on her throat.



What are you waiting for?



Sans’ bone brow furrowed. He narrowed his immense sockets into slivers and glared down at the brittle soul in his palm.


Do it.


He withdrew the opposite hand from Frisk’s neck. She whimpered. She was so close to him. He could feel her quivering, fevered breath beating against his chest in shallow waves.


Do it now.


He lifted the free hand to his side and a burst of sapphire fog appeared at his fingertips. It cut through the darkness in a split second. But he was not summoning more magic. No, he called forth something else. His weapon appeared. His cursed ax. The hatchet emerged from nothing and he wrapped his phalanges around the blood-stained handle.


Kill her…



T-that voice… It urged him on. It created a compulsion within him. A desire to eat.


Sans’ own spirit started to fluctuate. His breath turned rough. He was so hungry. The smell of her blood… and the scent of her cracked soul… it was driving him wild. He had to do this. He had to end this. But it was not simply for a meal, despite what the nefarious voice in his head said, it was to protect the Underground. It was to secure his success!


Heh heh… Yeah, right…


His hands began to tremble. Sans’ sockets widened and his usual lazy smirk morphed into a pensive scowl of unease. He hoisted the ax skyward and let it hover directly above her scalp.

… He readied himself…


It had to be done…


It had to…


Finally Frisk lifted her head. She stared up at him. The girl watched his every action. She could see right through him… She knew him better than anyone.

And she did something unexpected.



… she smiled.



She smiled.





The smile faded.


And she closed her lone eye.


And lowered her head.


And waited for him to take her.









Do it.



why, sweetheart?…



Go on. Do it now.



why won’t you try and fight back?



Kill her!



why won’t you try to run away?






i don’t understand…






frisk… f-frisk… i’m sorry…






i am sorry…








Sans took in a slow inhale. Frisk did not move. She remained still and waited for his judgement.







He could not act.




He could not do it.




Something steadied his hand.



His true determination, masked under layers of merciless debauchery.



what if this is a mistake?… what if it all resets? what if s-she is not meant to die?






there is… another way…






another option…







no… no, there is another alternative…
















The primal raging voice in his head - his own voice - had gone silent.

His hunger subsided. His rancor and resentment crept back within the depths of his soul. He had resisted its beseeched call.

And for once in his life, he felt merciful.



you will watch over her. you will keep her far from death. you will lock away her soul. you will lock away her strength… and you will destroy the candles.


destroy the candles.


no candles. no resets.


find a way to destroy them.


… by any means necessary.








Sans stared blankly. His thoughts clashed into one another like a treacherous riptide. War was raging in his head, but he knew now what to do. He had conceived a new plan.

Yes. Destroy the candles. Destroy her save points.

He could do it. He would find a way. Eradicate the ability to reset and she would no longer be a threat. She would no longer be the Manumitter. She would simply be… his sweetheart.


… heh.




It seemed like hours had passed, but it had only been a minute. Frisk remained still at his chest. She was hushed and motionless, teeth clenched with her eye shut tight… Resolute, even in the face of death. She braced for his final act of cruelty upon her. Yet he could still feel her little heart racing like dragonfly wings.

She tensed up and prepared for the blow.

Sans shifted the ax in his hand and in a swift and brutal motion he knocked the butt of the machete against the side of her head. She had not even known what hit her. Frisk immediately went limp and fell into him face-first, knocked out cold.

Sans whisked away his ax with a flick of his wrist. The weapon dissolved back into magic and vanished. He wrapped his arm around Frisk’s waist and held her tight before she could sink to the floor. He quickly checked her pulse, just to be sure - it was still fluttering. She was unconscious in his arms, still so warm. She was alive. Her body heat made his vivacity spasm.


you are not leaving me… you will stay here… stay here with me…


stay with me, kiddo…


Sans chuckled softly.


i won’t let you go.


He slipped her flushed soul into his jacket pocket for safekeeping and glanced up at the stars overhead. Lovely little lights… lost out there in the darkness… yet they remain tenacious, even in hopelessness.


you are mine.




Eventually Sans shifted his stance. He ripped his gaze from the sky overhead and glanced down at the little dove. He lifted Frisk up and let her limp form rest against his shoulder with one arm under her bent knees for support. Sans took a step back and turned the shed’s corner again, returning to the front of the structure. The door remained open. The cold atmosphere of the ruins spilled forth from the dark emptiness that lay past the archway.

There was much work to be done.

And he had no time to waste.

Sans brushed Frisk’s hair back for a moment before he turned his attention towards the door. He reached his free arm out and pushed open the gate wider to accommodate his girth. It was a tight fit, the door was small, and unfortunately he could not teleport with the kid. He had to make the journey on foot through the ruins… hopefully she’d remain asleep.

He quickly noted the padlock on the floor and crouched down to scoop it up. There was no way in hell he would leave it out here only for someone or something to refasten it shut. Sans stuffed the padlock in his pants pocket and took a step through the gateway.

But there was a sudden sound.




A sound…





The massive skeleton flinched and swerved around instantaneously. He clutched Frisk into his chest in a protective stance and lifted his opposite hand, ready to summon his ax in a second.

He was not alone.



There was something…


something else…


There were eyes.



Eyes… staring back at him… some yards away. Peering through the hovering gloom past pillars of trees.

Large, delirious, sickly-green eyes.

They were the size of dinner plates and twitched in the corners, unblinking.

Eyes framed by a pair of drooping white ears at either side. A wide-set row of canines below, grinning wide.


Those eyes… those teeth… this creature…





The monster vanished.



The wolf-like monstrosity disappeared within the darkness as quickly as she had come.






“toriel!” Sans shouted into the umbrage shadow. God, his soul was hammering. W-what the fuck… that was Toriel! She was still alive… she was still alive…

How long had she been watching him?!

No… there was no way… no fucking way… It was not possible…

Sans was the one who had injured her and brought her to the brink of death, so long ago. Decades ago. It had been so many years. Too many to count. There was no way she could have survived those wounds all this time.


This was a delusion. His frenzied mind was simply playing tricks on him.



Sans clenched his teeth in dismay. If he had not had the kid in his arms then he would have run into the forest in search of that long lost warrior… but he could not leave Frisk here alone. He could not risk it. And something about the encounter made him feel nauseous and unusually apprehensive. He could not stay here. He had to get back to Snowdin and secure the kid… destroy the save points… inform Undyne of the gates… and begin the migration of monsters to the Above.

He took another step back, still cautiously watching the boundless forest. There was no more movement. No more sounds - not even the buzzing of midnight insects. Nothing at all.

“heh…” He forced a shrewd smirk.

“…” But he said nothing else.

Sans reluctantly turned back to face the door and quickly made his way down the cold, constricting passageway. He made his way into the ruins. The only footsteps he heard were his own. He listened to the gentle wind rustle past his skull and the sound of Frisk’s soft breaths as she lay immobilized in his arms.







Sans stepped briskly through the ruins without stopping.

He made his way down a long, winding corridor. Time inched by at a snail’s pace until he finally reached the first open chamber. A vast room at least 10 stories tall as drab as the gloomy night sky. Although a small ray of light was there to greet him. The gentle beam of dusty illumination cascaded from a single narrow window embedded within the stone wall. The window reached high overhead. He could not see out it, but he knew it led to nothing and was unimportant. So he continued his way through the room and entered the second tunnel.

He walked on. It was cold. Creeping frost decorated the stone floor. Sans stared ahead with a steadfast gaze until he saw an emerging light - a flickering glow at the end of the tunnel. Another room. He reached the midway point of the ruins and come to a sudden stop.

A new room. A cramped capacity. And unlike the previous chamber, this room was not empty. This room contained the first flambeaux… the first savepoint… and memories. The small translucent candle sat upon the floor in the corner of the chamber. Its little flame danced gently in the air, hovering over the clear candlestick like some magical essence. The savepoint…

Suddenly a string of heinous reminiscence cut at his soul like threading barbed wire.

The memories this room possessed would stick with him for the rest of his life. Memories of rage. Uncontrollable rage and hatred and a desire for power. A desire for revenge.

And a need to destroy his little dove…

Flashes of that night clawed against his recollection.

God… it had felt… good.


so good… so wrong…


That first time.




Sans squeezed at Frisk’s listless form. His soul overflowed with regret and a self-hatred clung to its walls like sticky tar. There were moments of that night that he could not remember, like someone had cut out frames from a film reel, moments of that incident that did not connect to one another. He had been overcome with foul mania and a desire to destroy her. And for some reason that terrible state of ire had blocked out some details.


fuckin’ hell…


Sans felt ill for a moment. He could not think about this right now. Besides, he was sure to spend plenty of time in this place as he worked on demolishing the candle. He could fawn over his sins then… but not now.

He rolled back his shoulders and let out a heavy sigh and was about to continue on into the next hallway, when he noticed something else on the opposite side of the room. A backpack.

Sans stared down at the small sack. It lay on one side. The top flap was open, like it had been left behind in haste. frisk’s backpack… Sans stepped over towards the pack. He scooped his arm through its small strap and slung it over one shoulder. If Frisk behaved, he would gift this to her later.



Sans walked on. He adjusted his arms under Frisk’s weight, holding her close. She was still unconscious. Every now and then she would let out a disoriented whimper in her inanimate state, but she remained asleep and still. Her skin was started to grow cold and Sans wrapped the folds of his jacket around her to retain what little warmth she had left.

He squeezed through the next succession of tunnels. They seemed to go on for miles. Sans was not a fan of the ruins. This place was a bleak vault of nothingness. At one point in time it had been bustling with monsters. But now the only creatures that resided in this tomb were ghosts… and even the ghosts had started to die out. The only specter Sans knew of that still hung around this dreadful place was Napstablook. That is, unless Napstablook wandered out into the Snowdin forest. Frisk had opened the second gate here a long time ago, under Sans’ supervision, so it was possible that Napstablook had decided to go his own way.

But that skulking ghost had always possessed a timid soul, even when Sans knew him before the Underground went to shit. Napstablook would not leave the comfort of familiarity, even if his life depended on it.



Time inched by.

The darkness was stifling and the corridor was grossly claustrophobic. Narrow walls seemed to cave in on him and scraped against either side of his broad shoulders. Sans’ eye pulsed softly and created a burgundy encompassing hue that lit the way. He stepped through a few puddles and took brisk side-steps through the more confined corridors. It was impossible to get lost within this place. There were only two ways to go… forwards or backwards… and soon the third and final open chamber came into view.

Sans ducked his head under the exit archway and stepped out into the last immense dungeon. It was similar to the first room, but it was without the elevated window and it was much more dilapidated. Stone walls crumbled onto the floor in mangled piles. There was no light… none at all, except his lone crimson eye. And as Sans took a step forward his sneaker hit something on the floor. For a moment he thought it was just some rocky debris, but the sound it made was hollow and unusual. He glanced down at the little object… a cellphone.


frisk’s phone… she had dropped it here, way back when.


“heh…” He chuckled and scooped up the cell and slipped it into his pocket. another gift.

Sans snickered silently and pressed his forehead to the top of her head before he continued on. The hefty skeleton stepped slowly through the space. He glanced up above as if expecting to see a faint glow from a ghost hovering in the upper corners of the room, but there was nothing.


don’t linger. paps is waiting for us, back home.


Sans let out a subtle chuckle under his breath. He had almost forgotten. It had been some time since he had seen his brother. But he knew that Papyrus was safe at home. Sans had that ability, after all - an ability to see - if he was in close range, that is. And while Sans walked on, he closed his left socket to block out the single glowing eye, yet he kept the right empty concave open wide. He focused his tracking magic upon his brother…

He could see… a snowy forest… and their house… just barely…

A tall, lanky monstrosity shifted among snow in the front yard of the decaying dwelling.

But the vision shuttered and turned to static ink.

Papyrus was too far away. Sans was not within proximity to use his surveillance accurately. He had to be in the same region.



Sans opened his left socket and the vermilion flashed in the darkness once more.

Oh well, he would be back in Snowdin Forest soon enough. He had already reached the end of this damn chamber. Only one more tunnel to go.


The third and final passageway seemed to fly by. Darkness soon melted away. Robust bitter frost and a pale somber light became visible at the very end of the corridor. He could see an open doorway and the forest. The second gate - which was just a fallen stone wall - lay on its side out in the cold woods. Layers of snowfall caked the collapsed gateway until it was barely visible. Sans stepped up to the open exit and stared out into the arctic woodland.


Snowdin Forest.


This was his home. His refuge.

A frozen wasteland of ostracism.



Sans shifted his sneakers in the snow and closed his left eye again to tap into his surveillance. He saw Paps clearly now. His brother was in their house, making a feeble attempt to scrub dried bloodstains off the kitchen counters. Typical Papyrus. Sans snickered to himself and stepped outside, leaving the ruins behind as he continued through the forest.

He wrapped his jacket tightly around Frisk. Thankfully she was still comatose, yet shivering. Her skin raised with goosebumps as a violent gust of bitter cold hit them at full force. Usually the daily snow storms only occurred at night - these gales were nothing compared to those - but Sans knew humans could not last long in this temperature. Frisk was strong and her body was quite durable for such a small thing, but even she had her limits. He knew from first-hand experience… heh.

He held her in a tight bundle to shield her from the snow and progressed through the covert of dense trees. A mild flurry fell all around them. The sky overhead was a solid slate of grey. No sun. No moon. No stars. Just… nothingness. Masses of trees reached for the heavens like demon’s claws. Each one was dead, rotting and covered in fuzzy patches of mold. Decay fell from the treetops and melded together with drifting snow, turning the icy powder into clumps of iron wool. Sans knew it was unwise for most living things to touch that stuff… the poison. Of course it could not affect his body, but his little pup was a different story, and he made sure Frisk’s bare legs, hands and face were tucked under his jacket for protection.

For a split second he almost burst out laughing. Last time he was in this forest with the girl, he could have cared less if the rot touched her skin and poisoned her flesh. At that point in time he wanted her to suffer. He wanted her to feel the same terrible pain that had struck down his soul. He wanted her to pay for what she had done.



it was not her fault, you know that now…






The snowfall grew thicker and the trees much more dense.

Eventually the woodland’s surrogate path ran out and there was nothing left to follow.

The forest creaked around them and white haze swelled low to the frozen floor, but Sans was not lost. Never. He knew this place like the back of his carpal bones. He had memorized every inch of this forest. It was massive and utterly desolate, but it was still home.

And after another hour of walking, he came upon a clearing in the trees… and a house.

Their house.




A dark, two-story ranch-style structure erected from the snow. The wooden paneling around the door frame was weather-worn and peeling. The brick walls were covered in vine-like fissures that ran up from the foundation. The roof was caving into the attic in several spots and mounds of snow had piled on so thick that the tiles had begun to collapse. Each window on the lower floor was caked in soot and grime - the glass had lost any shred of translucency. On the other hand, the second story windows were boarded up with adjacent wooden planks - that glass had been shattered long ago.

The sight was a grim one. Like an abandoned nightmare in the middle of an arctic hell, but it was home to two skeletons.

And soon it would be home to a human.


Sans grinned to himself. It was not his usual sly smirk but a smile of content. He saw a dark figure move past one of the drab first-floor windows. His brother was shuffling about inside. Papyrus knew nothing of the human. Although at one point, there had been a timeline where Papyrus and Frisk had crossed paths. In fact, Papyrus had actually saved the girl from Sans’ cruel hunger. But that timeline had been wiped clean. Papyrus would retain no memory of the child from a previous reality. He would have no memory of the horrible things Frisk had done. And Sans was intent on keeping it that way.



any longer out here and this ‘horrible’ child will freeze to death.



Sans clenched his canines in a passive grin and trudged through the ankle-high snow to the front door. He wrapped one claw around the iron doorknob, pushed it open, and stepped inside.






Papyrus’ echoic, bellowing clamor spilled from kitchen. The massive monstrosity of a skeleton peeked around the open archway.


“heh… yeah… sorry ‘bout that, bro… i jus-”

“SANS… WHAT IS THAT?!” Papyrus quickly cut him off as his gaze settled upon the top of Frisk’s head peaking out from underneath Sans’ winter coat enclosure. He stepped out from the kitchen immediately and took a step closer.

The taller skeleton was towering and slender. He was quite different than Sans, appearance-wise. His skull was long and narrow and his eyes were minuscule hollow craters, like two restricted cavities that lacked any kind of glow or hue. They were simply empty. His teeth were composed of multiple, massive pillars that interlocked in uneven rows. Each incisor was filed down flat at the end, almost human-like, and stained rusty red around the edges. He wore his usual attire - an off-white ripped poncho that draped over his shoulders and dangled halfway down his navel to expose a skeletal spine, a dilapidated kilt that exhibited femur bones and fibulas, two inky black boots caked with snow-stains, and an enormous crimson scarf that dragged behind him upon the floor.

Sans averted his gaze from his brother and forced a chuckle, but Papyrus was not laughing.

“papyrus… we should probably have a chat.”




It took hours to explain the tale. Sans tried to flesh it out as simple and clear as possible for his brother, who often needed a direct explanation when regarding complicated news. Papyrus already knew of the Manumitter legend, and he had been on guard for a human under Undyne’s distant orders for years… always on the lookout. But even Papyrus had grown tired of the constant hunt. The Manumitter anecdote had become a fable to most monsters as time went by, Papyrus included. But now… he stood dumbstruck in the middle of their living room, staring at the back of Frisk’s head with his arms crossed, listening to his older brother’s story.

Sans told him about how he led the human through the Underground to open every gate… and he told him that the final threshold had been broken. He said that they could now be free… and he told him about the save points and his plan to destroy them. But Sans was painstakingly meticulous when it came to the details of the tale. He left most of them out. He left out the horrors and the deaths and the torture. He left out Chara’s role in it all. But more importantly, he left out his perverse desires and what they had ultimately led to…

Sans rewrote history with his words. He sat upon their over-sized, ancient couch in the center of the living room with Frisk in his lap. She was still out of it, but she was starting to stir more than before. It would only be a matter of time until she woke.


“so… that’s it, paps. the gates are open. and for now we need to keep the manumitter alive… until i can figure out a way to destroy those fuckin’ save points. ya’ know, perhaps gaste-”


Sans winced… fuck, he was loud. he was gonna wake the kid at this rate…

“sorry, bro… but… there really wasn’t any time. besides it’s done. the hard part is over… and we are free now, papyrus.” Sans smiled. “can you believe that?… everyone is free… they just don’t know it yet.”

The taller monster’s anger seemed to melt away. Papyrus’ shoulders softened and he lowered his hands with a gruff sigh.

“I AM PROUD OF YOU BROTHER…” His unsettling smile grew wide. The fact that the doors had truly been opened seemed to be sinking in at last/ “… AND ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED! WE SHOULD START PACKING UP RIGHT AWAY.”

Papyrus turned on his heels to head towards the stairway in the corner of the room, but Sans reached out and grabbed him by the arm.

“we can’t leave yet, bro. there is still a lot we gotta do. tomorrow i’ll visit undyne.” Sans said, but he began to grit his teeth at the thought of that reunion. “she hasn’t seen me in a while… errr… that should be an interesting meeting… heh… but we’ll start making evacuation arrangements. in the meantime, i need to… do some research.”

“RESEARCH?” Paps tilted his gruesome skull.

“the candles, remember? there’s gotta be a way to demolish them… somehow. i am sure the old man has got some books on the matter.”

Papyrus’ furrowed his brow and crossed his arms again. He started to pop his jaw by shifting his teeth to the side - a common, nervous tick he had developed over the years. “SANS…”

But Sans quickly noticed that weary expression and smiled wide. “don’t worry, bro. you know i can take care of myself. besides, i tamed the manumitter, after all.” His smile unintentionally morphed into one which oozed with malice.

Paps took notice of his brother's sudden, cruel smirk. Sans let out a hesitant chuckle.


shit. watch yourself. papyrus can never find out. he can never know.


Sans’ brother was not too unlike himself. Overtime the poisoned decay of the Underground had infested Papyrus’ mind, just like all the other monsters in this hell. Although Papyrus held on for a long time, eventually he gave in to his hunger. And Papyrus was hungry often. It forced Sans to constantly be on the search for a meal. Sans had already cleaned out the Snowdin Forest of the wild Temmies that used to roam. He also was partly responsible for the pillage and murder of many of the Town of Snowdin’s residents - that is, after that place had already gone to shit. But he tried to keep all of that from his brother. Paps never asked where that meat had come from. They had to survive… that’s what it was all about, right?

And although Papyrus had lost most of his integrity to the revolting fall of their world, he had always retained a certain childish innocence about him. Even when he was tearing open a raw and dripping Temmie carcass with his teeth, he still maintained a naive outlook on it all… like a hungry dog that didn’t know any better… a starving animal that simply wanted to survive. Perhaps that was just the kind of monster he was. Or perhaps it was because Sans had decided to shoulder enough savagery for the both of them, a long time ago. Papyrus was hungry for meat, but that was all he was hungry for. He would never condone what Sans had done… he would never excuse the rapes. He could never find out. He could never learn of Sans’ obsession.


this disgusting obsession… i can’t stand my own mind.


Sans caught himself idly playing with Frisk’s locks, lost in thought, and he quickly stilled his fingers - luckily Papyrus had not noticed as he too was distracted by his own thoughts of freedom and Sans’ story.

“you have an important task, bro,” Sans finally spoke up and he leaned back into the couch. “you have to watch over the human when i’m not around. we gotta keep her alive. it is imperative that she remains alive, yeah?”

Papyrus blinked his thin, empty sockets and glanced back at Sans.

“ALRIGHT, BROTHER. WE CAN KEEP THE HUMAN IN THE EXTRA ROOM. IT IS THE PERFECT PLACE!” His forthright smile returned. His gazed drifted to Frisk and Sans nonchalantly pulled his hand back from the girl’s head.

Papyrus took a step closer towards the couch and crouched down to get a better look at her. Frisk remained asleep. He stared at her curiously and furrowed his brow and scratched at the side of his skull with one claw. “SHE IS QUITE SMALL… I DID NOT ENVISION THE MANUMITTER TO BE SO SCANT.”

Sans couldn’t help but laugh at his younger brother’s curiosity. He really did not remember a thing, huh?

“heh heh… well, be careful there, bro. that’s where the humans trick ya.”


Sans’ smirk strained. He shifted and winced at those words, and chuckled weakly. “heh… y-yeah… ‘yer right.”

Papyrus leaned in a bit closer and continued his examination of the human. “SHE APPEARS TO BE WOUNDED TOO.” He had spotted the eye patch and pointed it out with his slender index finger.

“yeah… don’t worry about that.” shit.


“-maybe later, paps.” Sans cut off that thought process instantly. He wanted his brother to stay away from those wounds - those memories - as much as possible. He did not want to give Frisk any opening or excuse to tell her story to his brother.

Papyrus frowned and stayed silent for a moment, but he continued to study her over. Soon his gaze settled upon Frisk’s bare legs. They were still bloodied and bruised. The cold outside had muted the smell of her blood, but once inside their warm home the scent had grown more robust. human blood… had a very distinct smell… and Frisk’s was all the sweeter.

Papyrus could not seem to pull his stare away from her legs.

“S-SANS………… SANS, SHE SMELLS SO GOOD…” Papyrus’ voice dropped to a rumble. His hunger began to surface. He lifted his claw again and reached out to touch Frisk’s bare thighs which were only partly covered by tattered shorts.

But Sans quickly blocked his brother’s hand.

“c’mon, papyrus… if i can resist it, then you can too.” What a mouthful of lies. If there was a God then surely he’d be choking on those words, but instead Sans shifted his shoulders with a weak chuckle. It wasn't entirely false. After all, he had fought back his carnivorous rapture in the woods prior… for the first time, he had been able to resist the voice.

Papyrus looked put out for a moment. But his wide moonstruck smile returned, followed by his naivety.


Suddenly Frisk began to stir in her sleep. Small whimpers spilled from her lips. Her resting head teetered against Sans’ lap. Her fingers began to twitch and her single eyelid fluttered as if it were to open at any moment.

Papyrus let out a gasp. One of nervousness and excitement.

But Sans grew concerned.

“… let’s take her upstairs…”



Sans left Frisk’s backpack on the couch and carried her up the stairs to the second-story hallway. Papyrus followed closely behind. The inside of their house was just as dilapidated as the outside, albeit warm. It was gloomy and packed full of piles of rubbish. Giant mounds of various things, from blankets to knickknacks to Temmie skeletons to chunks of wood and coils of rope, littered their living room. The only furniture was the single couch in the center of the room and a scratched up dining room table and chair set near the front door. And despite the fact that all the windows were darkened, there was some light. They owned a television that seemed to be stuck on constant static, and a dangling bare light bulb flickered above the dinner table. Their kitchen, although permanently stained with suspicious red splatters, was kept relatively clean by Papyrus, but Sans didn’t go in there much.

The second floor was not nearly as filthy as the first. The hallway was bare except for four wooden doors that lined the shadowy walls. The first door at the very top of the stairs led to Papyrus’ room. The second door led to an empty spare room - which was once for food storage, now barely used. The third led to Sans’ room, and the final door belonged to the bathroom at the very end of the hall.

Papyrus unlocked the second door and pushed it open. The room was pitch-black, warm and entirely vacant. This was the only room in the house that contained no windows. It had proved to be the perfect enclosure for prey throughout the years. The only light came from the pale glow the spilled in from the hallway and Sans’ gently pulsing red gaze. However the room was not completely empty - the was a single object against the wall on the opposite side. A thick metal rectangular plate had been secured to the lower half of the wall. Hanging from the plate was a chunky iron-linked chain, and attached to the end of the chain was a board collar.

Sans stood in the doorway for a moment with Frisk in his arms. A flashback came upon him in full force. This was not the first time Frisk had been kept in this room. No, this room… this was where Sans had first confronted her… And ripped out her soul.


what is a soul when it turns to rot?



can you even call it a soul at that point?



Frisk’s soul was still stuffed in his pocket, and for a moment it seemed to heat up against his femur through the fabric. Papyrus stepped past Sans to the center of the room and glanced back at him.


His brother’s voice shook him from the memories.

“sorry, bro.” He blinked a few times and flashed Paps a reassuring grin. Sans stepped to the other side of the room and crouched down before the chain and collar. “hey paps, go get that spare mattress, you know the one. i think it’s still in your closet… and get the key for this thing too.” Sans said as he tapped at the collar on the floor.

“OH, YES! THAT WOULD BE PERFECT FOR THE HUMAN!” Papyrus grinned wider and vanished out the door, leaving Sans and the unconscious Frisk alone.




Sans hesitated. Then he carefully sat Frisk upon the floor against the wall.

She slumped forward slightly, weary, teetering back and forth with her eye still shut, but she did not collapse on the ground. She was able to hold herself and sit upright, somewhat… She was slowly starting to regain consciousness.

She had no soul. And without it, she was not a threat. But still… Sans felt a sense of urgency to lock her up. He lifted the collar in both his claws. It was still unlocked from the last time it had been used, most likely on some soon-to-be dinner Temmie years ago. For now this collar was only a precaution. In time Frisk would learn that this was her home… with him.

Sans lifted the collar and clasped it around her throat. It was much too big on her. The collar rested against her shoulders loosely, but thankfully it was not big enough to slip her head through. He shut it tight at the latch and waited for Papyrus to return with the key.



Monsters are cruel. But humans… humans are worse…


are you trying to convince yourself of that?…




She looked so calm. Her face was soft. Auburn bangs fell before her eye. The vibrating hue of Sans’ eye illuminated her face a gentle crimson. She did not look tense and terrified, which was how Sans usually saw her. He had never once seen her genuinely smile. But what did he expect, when he had only caused her so much pain.

And as Sans waited for Papyrus to return, he began to wonder how Frisk would react to all this once she woke up. A part of him felt nothing but elation for the monster’s newfound freedom and what was to come once in the Above. Another part of him felt concern… concern for his brother and what could happen now that the Manumitter was here living among them - although without a soul, what harm could she possibly do?

Then there was a third part of him… the fucked up part. The part that was savage and hungry and gnashing in the depths of his soul and mind. And that part was excited. So excited to have her here with him. Sans’ red eye started to flash as his gaze wandered from her face down to her bare thighs. He felt himself start to salivate… followed by a lingering memory… of the first time he had tasted her flesh in Snowdin Forest.

So tender… and fevered… and delicious. She had screamed and writhed in his grasp as blood spilled from her thighs into his clenched maw. The way she fought, the way she cried, it had only made her taste all the more sweeter. He had been hooked from that point on.

Translucent blue saliva oozed at the corners of his clenched chops and dripped down upon Frisk’s thighs. She groaned softly in her sleep. God, he wanted to taste her in that moment, as she sat motionless and unconscious before him. But he was able to control his perverse desires. Thankfully the raging voice that so often took over his integrity did not surface. In fact, he had not heard it since he refused to kill the girl back by the shed… odd. Maybe it was gone for good this time? Maybe, just maybe… he could redeem himself in Frisk’s eyes.

Maybe his existence was not for the worse of this world…


… maybe.




Heavy clunking footsteps echoed in the hall and pulled Sans out of his stupor. He quickly smeared the cobalt salivation from Frisk’s skin and scooted back some, creating a bit of distance right as Papyrus appeared in the doorway. The taller skeleton ducked under the doorway and dragged the ratty mattress behind him in the room.

“THIS SHOULD WORK.” He exclaimed with a haughty chuckle. “NYEHE- I ALSO BROUGHT SOME QUILTS FOR THE HUMAN.”

Papyrus dropped the bare mattress on the right side of the room beside the wall. He plopped a stack of thick blankets in the center. The mattress was worn and stained. There were various springs popping out along the edges - it had been Paps’ old mattress from when he was younger. He then stepped up beside Sans and held out a large iron key. The key to the collar.

Sans took it and locked the collar shut before stuffing it in his pocket.



Papyrus leered over Sans’ head, staring down at the human.



She remained silent and sleeping…



Papyrus shifted his feet, as if expecting Frisk to wake up right then and there.






Finally Sans cleared his throat and glanced up at his brother with a usual delusive grin.

“hey paps… why don’t ya go start some dinner for us? there’s a bit of leftover boar in the fridge, i think.”

Papyrus popped at his jawbone and fidgeted where he stood. He seemed reluctant to leave - he wanted to be there when Frisk finally woke. But Sans wanted him gone. He wanted his brother nowhere near the human when she came to. He had to have a talk with her first.

His brother hesitated and frowned and rubbed the heels of his boots against the wood, but he finally agreed after a bit of convincing.

“CALL ME IF SHE AWAKENS, ALRIGHT?” He huffed and headed out into the hall and downstairs.

Sans chuckled to himself as he watched his brother leave. Then he waited… ‘till he heard Papyrus’ footsteps fade. He swiftly stood up to his feet and moved to close the door as quietly as possible. With the door shut, the entire room turned as dark as ink except for the choleric flicker of his red gaze.

Sans returned to his spot in front of the child. Still asleep… He sat directly before her with one knee pulled up to his chest and his elbow upon it. He rested his chin in his claw and lazily stared down at her. So small… She shifted in her sleep, but still she did not wake. He started to grow impatient and concerned that maybe he had caused some real damage.

Sans lifted a hand and began to pat at the side of her cheek with some force.

She flinched.

He patted her again, this time on the opposite cheek with a tad more effort.

Frisk shied back into the wall away from the rough touch.



Her lone eyelid began to flutter.



She whimpered and slowly lifted a hand to grasp at the side of her head.




And finally she opened her eye.



She was in a daze. Everything seemed distant. Frisk stared back at Sans, but she did not seem to register where she was or what she was even looking at. Her pale brown eye glazed over and reflected Sans’ rouge illumination, turning it a glassy cherry chestnut.

Sans stared down at her, unmoving. His smirk vanished and he watched her with a troubled grimace. But Frisk’s vision slowly came into focus… and she finally understood that it was indeed Sans sitting in front of her and not just a terrible nightmare. Her expression changed from narcosis to pure turmoil. Her eye widened and she went rigid with trepidation. Thick tears began to swell in the corner of her lone eye. They became stuck in her dark lashes and streamed down the side of her cheek.




Then Frisk averted her gaze from Sans. She looked past his shoulder, out into the dark enclosure… to the mattress… to the shadow-painted walls… to the shut door… and finally down to the collar around her neck. She lifted an opposite hand and caressed the cold steel, still grasping at her wounded skull with the other.

She shut her eye tight to obstruct the overflowing tears and the terrible visions all around her.






Frisk’s voice had been rubbed raw. It was a wisp on a breeze, barely audible even in perfect silence.



“Why… w-why didn’t… you kill me…”



Her voice cracked. She could hardly hold back the sobs.


god fucking dammit…


Sans leaned in close, only inches away from her face. He whispered back to her with a timbre as soft as venom velvet and as biting as dry ice.

“… you’re not gonna give me any problems, are ya kid?”



Frisk said nothing in response but she began to hyperventilate. She must have noticed Sans’ glowing red burn brighter through her closed eyelid because she quickly lifted both her hands and shoved them against the front of his chest. Sans did not move, her efforts were to no avail. She sobbed heavily and Sans knew she was trying to summon her shield…

But she had no shield to summon…

It would not come…


Without a soul, she had no magic left inside her.


“W-Why didn’t you kill me?!?” Frisk choked on her words. The hushed whisper in her voice began to fade and she was sobbing heavily now. “You were s-suppose to KILL ME!!”

She began to yell. She was being loud. Papyrus was directly downstairs.


shut her up.


Sans’ growls reverberate off his rib cage. He roughly grasped at both her wrists in one claw and squeezed them tight, yanking her hands to the side. His other claw clasped around her mouth to silence the loud cries. shut up shut up shut UP. He leaned in even closer until his forehead pressed flush against hers. Frisk had broken out into a cold sweat. Her pulse was ramming against the inside of her chest so rapidly that he could feel it vibrate throughout her entire body. She was trembling and gasping against his hand. She refused to open her eye… She refused to look into his.

“you will be quiet. you will behave. and you will listen to my orders, understood?”


how cruel…


“… you don’t want to have a bad time, do ya kiddo?”


Frisk gasped against his claw, trying to fight back her lament. Her sultry, moist, panting breath smeared against his open palm and turned his frigid bones hot. It felt good… her warmth… her fervency… the way she moved against him. Frisk had begun to shudder so violently that the thick iron chain clattered against the collar.

And she slowly shook her head in response to his words.

… but her eye remained shut tight.

“… be a good girl…” Sans released her wrists. He ran his phalanges through her hair. Frisk flinched at his touch. She pulled backwards only to find that there was nowhere to retreat to… just more wall.


she hates you…


Her heart was racing so fast… so fast… as quickly as his own soul. Sans’ pounding orb of blue was bouncing off the walls of his rib cage. Its hue spilled through the white of his shirt and melted with his red gaze to form a delicate lilac. He allowed his fingers to linger upon her head, buried deep underneath layers of thick locks. He just wanted to touch her… He just wanted to feel that warmth again.


look how much she hates you.



look at what you have done.




how disgusting.




Sans finally lifted his hand from her head and pulled it back into his chest. He slowly released his grasp from her mouth and pushed himself up to his feet, towering over her in a dominant stance. Frisk sat curled up upon the floor. She immediately pulled her knees up to her chest. She opened her eye and glanced up at him, staring directly into his piercing gaze. But Sans did not linger. There was a flash of blue and he teleported away, leaving her alone in the room. And he reappeared directly outside in the hall in front of the shut door.



There was so much more he had wanted to say…

But in that split second, when she had opened her eye and stared back at him with such enkindled affliction, he had forgotten all of his relevance.

Sans pressed the side of his skull against the door and held in a cumbersome sigh. He shut his sockets and grit his wall of interlocking incisors into one another. A barrage of numbing doubt pierced against the inside of his head… followed by the sound of uncontrollable sobbing on the other side of the door. The sound of Frisk attempting to stifle pained screams in the darkness.



god, she hates you. and if she could, she would kill you.



she would kill you.



you are nothing… nothing… nothing at all.



Sans lifted his head from the door and slowly made his way downstairs to join Papyrus in the living room.








The next few days were rife with turbulence. Sans knew it would be a rocky start from the get go, but Frisk’s defiance was proving to be extremely troublesome. She refused to eat or drink anything. Papyrus prepared a large plate of meat for her on the first night of her arrival. He used the freshest cut of boar he could find and left it cautiously in Frisk’s room beside the mattress, along with a bowl of water. Frisk sat curled up in the corner of the room. She had not touched the blankets or the mattress. She coiled into herself with her back facing the door and face hidden against her knees. And she would not move or say a word when Papyrus made an effort to speak with her.

Sans refused to leave the two of them alone. He stood in the doorway with arms crossed, watching them cautiously. He could not trust her, not yet… even in such a powerless state.

But the next morning, when Papyrus rushed down the hall to check on the human, he was disappointed to see that she had not touched his meal. It lay there on the plate, cold and oozing with congealed blood - However the water was a tad lower than it had been. Sans convinced his brother to try cooking the meat next time, and he did so reluctantly. Papyrus hacked off a new chunk of meat from the slab and cooked it briskly in their oven. But Frisk did not touch that plate either. However, Papyrus was ecstatic to see that she had moved from being curled up in the corner of the room to curled up in the middle of the mattress.

So Papyrus spent most of his time trying to figure out a way to cook the meat correctly. He was convinced that it was the way he was cooking it that was wrong, and that humans had a very specific preference. The fact that the meat had already begun to rot never once crossed his mind.

Sans, on the other hand, spent much of his time watching Frisk from afar with his surveillance magic. He would laze about in his room, sitting in bed and leaning back against the wall with one eye closed and his empty socket wide open… watching her. He had locked her soul away in an old box and stuffed it towards the back of a high shelf in his closet. Often Sans would open his closet door and stare at the box, tempted to check on it. But the few times he did take a peek at her soul it had not changed. It was still covered in splintered fragments. Its hue flickered softly like a dying star. Yet he did notice that the purple coloration was starting to dwindle and the hue was returning to its original vivid crimson.

But Sans did not leave the house, despite the fact that he had so much to do. He had to speak with Undyne… He had to begin his research on the candles… He had to commence the monster evacuation. But he was too paranoid to leave Frisk and Papyrus alone together. It was too soon and she was still behaving much too audacious, in her own way.

Whenever Papyrus would leave a fresh plate of meat in Frisk’s room, he would try to speak with her. Sans hated it, but it would be too suspicious if he told his brother not to try and converse with the Manumitter. Papyrus always kept a respectful distance and would ask her simple questions, usually pertaining to the food, but Frisk never responded. She sat curled up in the center of the mattress with the blankets pulled up around her shoulders - she had finally decided to use them, much to Paps’ elation. Usually her face remained buried in her knees, but she was starting to act a bit more receptive to Papyrus’ advances. She lifted her head slowly and stared back at the taller skeleton with a weary, troubled gaze. Sans stood in the doorway overseeing each encounter. He leered back at Frisk and caught her eye. His glares were silent threats not to mention a word about the past.

Papyrus truly remembered nothing, but Frisk remembered it all. Horror and dread and unease painted across her features each time she interacted with Papyrus. But she never said a word. She refused to speak. To either of them.




Sans stayed up watching her later that night. It had only been two days since she had been here. The wind roared outside as the usual midnight blizzard commenced right on time. Sans locked himself away in his room, which was a dreadful mess - per usual. Thick stacks of wool blankets and treated furs embellished his bed and toppled onto the floor. The furs were simply memories of better days. Years ago, when Sans hunted Temmies, he would often skin their hides and craft them into shabby fur stoles to barter with. But that had become an impossible task once the Underground fell to ruin, and he still had so many left over. Each one was as plush and soft as lamb's fleece. Sans had no use for the furs’ warmth, but they were comfortable at least, so he kept them on his bed. The rest of his room was cluttered with stacked wooden cases filled with an array of confusion. There was a partly-boarded double window that overlooked the forest in back of their house, the narrow closet door opposite his bed, and a crude desk in the corner where he had placed Frisk’s backpack and cellphone.

Sans sat upon the fur-clad mattress leaning back into the wall. He kept no light in his room and it was painted in dismal shadows. A few pale rays of light spilled in through haphazard wooden planks across his window. He kept his left socket shut tight and the opposite crater wide open as he spied on Frisk, just one room over.

Sans had been keeping a close eye on her, watching her every chance he got. Frisk did very little. She often remained curled up underneath the piles of blankets, sleeping… but in that moment she was sitting upright at the edge of the mattress in the dark. She had lifted the plate of meat upon her knees and began to take small bites of it - her hunger must have finally surpassed rebellion. Frisk chewed the meat slowly and stared blankly, lost in thought. But it had only been ten minutes or so until she started to recoil and wretch with sickness. Frisk hopped up to her feet and the plate fell to the floor with a loud clatter.

“… shit.” Sans muttered under his breath. He shot open his left eye, jumped up off his bed and teleported into her room instantly.


She did not even cry out at his sudden presence. She was coughing and clutching at her mouth with one hand and her stomach with the other.


fuck… god dammit, papyrus… how old was that meat?!


The iron-link chain that kept her bound rattled loudly as she doubled over and dry heaved against the floor, but nothing came up. Sans pulled the collar’s key from his pocket and unlocked it. He grasped at one arm and led her to the door, out into the hall, and finally into the bathroom only a few doors down. Frisk did not even fight him. She stumbled behind him in an impaired stupor and looked relieved at the sight of the bathroom toilet.

She pulled free from the skeleton’s grasp and bound for it. Frisk sunk to her knees and heaved up into the basin as Sans stood beside her in the doorway and let out a sigh. She had only taken a few bites… it couldn’t possibly have done that much damage… but Sans quickly reminded himself to check every meal that Papyrus prepared for the kid from now on. If he wasn’t careful his brother was gonna kill her with kindness… wouldn’t that be hilarious irony. In fact maybe it would be best if he prepared Frisk’s meals himself.

He listened to Frisk’s sickness without a word. When she had finally gotten it all out he reached for her arm to led her back, but she resisted him. She did not want to move. And for a moment Sans assumed that she might want to shower off. She had once used their bathtub in a forgotten timeline, and she did just puke her guts out…

So Sans turned his back to her and stood guard in the doorway, giving her a gift of veiled privacy. But Frisk did not use the grimy old shower. She would never willingly strip near such a monster. Instead she used the toilet as fast as possible, rinsed her mouth out with water from the leaky sink, and sat upon the edge of the tub with her face buried in both hands.

“…” Sans glanced over his shoulder back at her.

“c’mon kid…” And he scooped her up in his arm and carried her back to the room. She did not fight him. She was weaker than ever. Once back in the empty room, Sans placed Frisk upon the mattress. He removed every scrap of rancid meat from the floor and refilled her water bowl.

He lingered at the center of the dreary space for moment. Frisk had returned to her usual position curled up under the blankets to hide away from the world - but more importantly, from him. Sans stepped towards the collar. He hesitated. For some reason he could not bring himself to reattach it to her throat. Instead he left Frisk unchained and simply locked the door behind him. It’s not as if she could open the door anyways… and even if she did somehow escape, she would not get very far. What worried Sans the most was the damage she could do to herself, if she got desperate enough. And the damage his brother could do to her, unintentionally.

Sans returned to his room and continued to monitor her with magic. He watched the blankets tremble and listened to her soft sobs as she cried late into the night until sleep eventually took her.




The next morning Sans told Papyrus what had happened, who proceeded to burst into Frisk’s room and apologize with distressed zeal. Surprisingly Frisk seemed to accept his apology. She lifted her head slowly from the blankets and nodded back at him, still half asleep and sickly with locks of messy hair falling before her face.

“I-it’s alright… Papyrus…” Frisk whispered back at him and pulled a blanket up over her head like a hooded cloak.

“HUMAN! YOU DO SPEAK!” Papyrus clasped his hands together. It was the first time he had heard her say a word and he was absolutely ecstatic about it. He vowed to make Frisk a proper meal and he hurried downstairs.

Sans glanced back at Frisk, who shuttered and quickly averted her gaze from him. The skeleton grit his teeth and shut the door, locking her inside. Was she thankful for what he had done for her last night? She refused to look at him. She looked at Papyrus… she talked to Papyrus… but she refused to look at him.


are you seriously jealous right now?…


Sans made a quick pit-stop in his room. He stepped over towards his desk and grabbed a bottle of tea and some bags of chips and cookies from Frisk’s backpack. Then he joined Papyrus downstairs, who was in the kitchen toiling away over a slightly fresher slab of mystery meat.

“bro…” Sans muttered as he stepped in through the kitchen’s open archway and glanced at the blood-caked counter tops.


“paps, stop. here, just give this to her later.” Sans held the snacks out in his hand. Papyrus swiveled around in shock.

“S-SANS… IS THAT HUMAN FOOD?? WHERE DID YOU GET THAT? THE ABOVE?” The towering skeleton lurched forward and snatched up the bottle and bags from Sans’ claws. He examined them over in depth, squinting his sockets at the words sprawled across the bag of cookies.

“just give these to her and i’ll get us some fresh meat later tonight… but today i gotta go out for a bit.”

“WHERE?” Papyrus ripped his curious gaze from the snacks and glanced down at Sans with a furrowed brow of concern.

“we gotta start the evacuation. it shouldn’t take too long.”


Sans snickered at his brother’s strained features. “heh… well that’s not gonna happen this time. i’ll be back soon.” His cunning smirk dwindled as a seriousness gripped his expression. “be careful, bro… watch over the kid… don’t let her out of the house. and make sure she doesn't do anything hurt herself. it is imperative that she stay alive.” Sans’ words turned somber, but Papyrus let out a haughty chuckle.


He knew Papyrus was capable. Frisk was without a soul. Frisk was weak. Frisk was beaten down and exhausted and hungry. There was absolutely nothing she could do to harm his brother… not this time. Sans was more worried about her suicidal tendencies.

He quickly surveyed her in his mind - she lay on the mattress, staring up at the ceiling idly picking at some scars on her arms - before he bid Papyrus farewell and exited through the front door. He stepped out into the snow, shut the door behind him, and teleported.




Rushing wind.

Flashing lights.

A crimson starshower colliding with a sheet of impassive cobalt smog.


And Sans reappeared in the Waterfall swamps.








He had teleported from his forest, past the Town of Snowdin and the aqueduct, to the center of a gloomy bog. Sans stood upon a raised wooden pathway that ran through the marshland. It was still early morning and the pale grey light cascaded all around. A dark cloudy haze collected upon the surface of the muddy water. The vast stretch of wetland reached on for miles in all directions, decorated with low-hanging mangrove trees and thick patches of sawgrass. Sans had been to this place a dozen times prior… and much like Snowdin forest, he knew his way around. Waterfall Village was just up ahead, atop the caverns.




He had been dreading this meeting for the last few days, but he could not put it off any longer. Undyne was the most powerful and influential monster in all of the Underground. Her tribe was the only one that had remained intact after the fall. Somehow, she had convinced her people not to resort to cannibalism. Sans had no clue how they survived or what they were eating, but he would probably find out eventually.


you are just a traitor in her eyes.


it has been a long time.


… you better prepare yourself.



Sans’ concerns congealed along the surface of his inner thoughts. Undyne could not defeat him in battle. If a problem arose, he could just teleport out of there. But once she learned of his triumph then she would have no interest in fighting, surely. She would regard him as the hero he once was.

Sans stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets and walked along the raised wooden path. He glanced down at the planks as they squeaked under his sneakers. And he couldn’t help but be bombarded by another memory… a memory of this place… a memory of the first time he had murdered her.


fuck, did she taste good.


His vision shivered. He took in a deep languid breath to calm the hunger. Every time he succumb to a flashback he was just waiting for that deep, inner ravaging voice to overcome him… but it did not surface, thankfully. Sans swallowed down the azure saliva building in the back of his throat and continued on. He tried to spy on Frisk as he walked - surveying her with his magic had become some kind of involuntary reflex - but she was too far. All he could see when he shut his eye was an obsidian, blurry haze.

After a few more minutes of dragging his feet, the caverns of Waterfall finally came into view. Sans glanced out into the swampland and leered back at the massive, towering grotto. The cave’s entrance was a gaping maw of darkness and the obscuring fog did not help its sinister aura. Yet Sans could barely see the gentle blue light within the caves, an ultraviolet light that emitted from the swamps only visible in darkness.

Enough walking. He could teleport, after all. He rolled his shoulders back and vanished in a burst of blue and reappeared within the spacious caverns.

He was within Waterfall. The caves.

Darkness clung to the edges of his vision. Shadows draped down the rocky ceiling and the cobalt hue wafted up from the clear water that collected around his knees. The cold water just barely chilled his bones and soaked his pants until the fabric stuck to his tibias.

Waterfall was made up of a massive channel of connecting caves. They stretched on for miles and miles in faint turquoise darkness. The upper sections and roof of the caves were home to Undyne and her people. It was rare that the the water-dwelling monsters actually used the bottom caverns for anything else besides storage. However Undyne had built an arena down here… an arena that housed one of the locked gates and above that coliseum was her throne room.

It was pointless to walk, and its not like Sans was unsure where to go. He teleported to the arena which resided about a mile away in a separate section of the caverns. He reappeared in the center of the hippodrome. The large, water-lodged circular room was there to greet him… with its high walls and towering ceiling. Light beams poured down from above through fissures in the lofty stone. There was a rocky balcony surrounding the upper walls which belonged to the second-story throne room. And multiple wooden doors lined the first floor.

They were fake doors. Decoys. Only one was the real thing. And that door stood ajar on the opposite side of the chamber.

The gate… the 5th gate… the halfway point.

It felt like so long ago. Sans had stood in this exact spot when he forced Frisk to open it for a second time. She had unlocked the gate at his command. Her soul had been purple during that phase as well. Sans could clearly remember the heat that spilled from her chest and the brilliant lavender light fill up his vision as she unlocked the door with her magic.

Sans took leisure steps towards the door and peered through the darkness it contained. He could hear a rushing waterfall right below the threshold. Had no one entered this room since the gate had been opened? Had Undyne not even noticed?… Well, it’s not like the citizens had a reason to come to this place - it had been created solely to confound the Manumitter, should the time ever arise.

He leaned into the open door frame and shut his maroon eye and he focused his surveillance upon Undyne. It was difficult to see her - his connection to that monster was weak - but he could just barely see the armor-clad creature through the haze. Undyne was far above the caverns in the outside village, conversing with her tribesmen. Sans knew it would only be a matter of time until she decided to make her way back to the throne room… so he would just have to wait until then.

Undyne had not changed a bit from the last time Sans saw her. She was a towering, water-dwelling creature, covered head to toe in sapphire scales. A set of sharp pectoral fins framed her face and her rust-red hair was tied back in a sloppy knot. Her right eye was simply a narrow slit of red with a golden pupil and the opposite side of her head was wrapped up in bloody bandages. Her teeth were thick needles that interlocked with one another in a perfect row of grotesque skewers. Every tooth was stained blood-red and oozing down her gums. Her webbed claw hands were massive and she was wore thick crimson-colored iron armor: a breastplate, plated breeches and tassets that hung from her hips, the usual.



Time passed slowly.

Sans watched Undyne through his clairvoyant socketed eye with passive interest.

He tried to remain alert, but his thoughts kept drifting towards Frisk and Papyrus… and then anxiety would follow. He trusted his brother. Papyrus knew how to handle captives - they had contained a number of Temmies in the past. But the child was no ordinary Temmie and Paps had acquired a bad habit of letting his guard down around her.

No. No, Papyrus was not stupid. Everything would be fine. it’s fine.

Sans had been busy playing with some wisps of cobalt magic, coiling them around his skeletal digits, when he noticed Undyne finally depart the village and head towards the lower caverns. it’s about time… He pushed himself up off the door frame. He watched Undyne make her way down a flight of stony stairs into the cobalt caverns. She was treading slowly through the water, through the main passageway… she was heading towards the the throne room.




She was alone and away from the other monsters. She was right outside the arena in the main cavern.

And Sans made his move.

He vanished.


There was an abrupt rush of wind and a flash of indigo.

And he reappeared a few yards in front of her.


“W-What the FUCK!?” Undyne stumbled backwards in pure shock.

Sans’ teleportation burst brilliantly around them and blinded her temporarily. Undyne let out a roar and she lifted her massive hand. Flashes of white began to conjure within her claw. The light formed a long, slender spear of pure energy and in a matter of seconds she hurled her weapon in Sans’ direction.

But Sans had expected her to attack. He teleported behind her before the spear had even left her hand and it struck the water in a blunder.

“heh… undyne…”

Undyne swerved around. Her eye was wide with shock. She summoned another spear in her claw but she did not throw it a second time. She stared back at the skeleton with pure bewilderment oozing from her pores and she held out her weapon, ready for an onslaught.

“S-SANS!?” She was baffled by his presence. How long had it been? Years?… Decades?

Sans grit his incisors but he forced a smirk to surface. He held out a skeletal claw at the ready, prepared to summon his ax if Undyne insisted on a skirmish.

“i’m all for a fight if ya got one, undyne, but i think you’ll find what i have to say of more interest.” He sneered and watched the monster’s expression morph from surprise to dismay.

Undyne seized a moment before she could respond. She took in heavy breaths, her shoulders rising and falling underneath glistening wet armor. Her rusty hair fell before her face. And her lone eye began to narrow as she leered back at the skeleton… the criminal.

There was about five minutes of tense silence until Undyne finally realized what she was looking at was not just another mirage brought on by swamp gas.

“Tch… Honestly, I am surprised you are even alive.” She spat her words and glared back at Sans from over the edge of her spear. A glare of pure disgust.

Sans’ grin softened. He chuckled deep within his non-existent gut and stuffed his claws back in his jacket pocket. “heh heh… is that so?”

“Actually, I shouldn’t be surprised by this. You are on par with a foul insect that never dies.” Undyne hissed through her teeth and adjusted her stance to a more relaxed posture. She lowered her spear to her side. “What the fuck are you doing here, traitor?”

Sans’ canny smirk twitched in one corner and he shut his sockets.

“traitor, eh?… heh…”




He opened his eyes and the lone orb housed within his left socket flashed fire red.

“the gates are open, undyne.”




Undyne stared back at him with a blank expression, but her snarky glower tensed up and her eye glazed over as she attempted to mask her hysteria.

“… What?” Her voice turned to a husky whisper and bounced off the dark cavern walls.

“the gates are open.” Sans kept his voice stable. “… we are free.” But he couldn’t help the excitement that dripped from that constrained confession.

Undyne hesitated. And then she grinned wide and let out a sarcastic laugh. “You were never funny before, and you ain’t funny now.

“i can show you”

“If this is a joke, then I swear on Asgore’s rotting corpse that I will smash your bones to powder and feed it to the tadpoles.” Her voice prickled along the back of his spine. She was clearly agitated and irate to no end, however there was a glint of curiosity in her gaze.

“i am not joking, undyne. the gates are open. all of them.” Sans chuckled and stared her dead in the eye. “i opened them.

“You!?!” Undyne furrowed her brow and clenched her teeth so forcefully that her gums began to bleed down her lips.

She hesitated again and processed his words.

Then she spoke in a low growl. “… Show me.”

The water-dwelling demon was on the verge of an aneurysm, but Undyne knew that Sans would never show up here for no reason… not after the shame he had endured. He would only appear before her if even the slightest chance of atonement was attainable.



Sans guided Undyne down the caverns through a side passageway back towards the lower floor of the arena. They stepped out into the center of the circular room and Undyne’s gaze immediately settled upon the open door on the furthest side. An open door… that should not be open.

“W-what… What the fuck!? When did you-” Undyne’s words trailed off. She stepped past Sans and made a beeline for the unlocked 5th gate. She shoved the door outward with her claw and leered down into the dark depths. The waterfall roared below, but it was almost impossible to see. It was so dark and the only visible element was the inky-black rushing water directly below her feet past the threshold.

The gate… it had been locked for so long. It led to the rest of Waterfall’s recesses and ultimately to Hotland and beyond.

Sans stepped up behind her.

“it is not important when it was opened. what is important is that they are now unlocked. each one. all ten. including the final gate.”

Undyne ripped her transfixed gaze from the darkness and lurched around to face him.

“T-the final gate… The final gate… But… But the Manumitter!?” Her raspy whisper erupted and overflowed with questions. “Did you command the Manumitter to do this!? Is he dead??!? Where is he?! Why did you not inform me!? There was a PLAN, Sans! We were to follow a VERY SPECIFIC, DETAILED PLAN!”

Sans looked past Undyne at the door. “it’s done now. the gates are open and the Above has been unlocked.” He averted his gaze back towards her. “we can leave this hell…”



… i have freed you all.



“Sans…” Undyne let out a haughty sigh. She leaned against her spear and rolled back her shoulders. For once her muscles relaxed in his presence. “Perhaps you really were the most capable warrior… Besides… you are the only one left…”


A biting throe of guilt pierced through his soul.






She smiled.


And for a moment… it felt like old times again.





Finally Undyne broke the silence and her words were stern and pure business.

“I will assemble my people. We will start the evacuation of Waterfall, followed by Hotland and then finally Core City.” She tilted her head back and glanced up at the beams of light cascading from the ceiling. “It has been a long time since I could leave Waterfall… Is there even anyone else left out there?”

Her words shook Sans from his wistful nostalgia.

“… there are a few residents in hotland… many more in core city. the canine unit… they are currently runnin’ things.”

Undyne pulled her gaze from the ceiling, lost in deep thought. She contemplated his words. “And are they safe to approach?”

“heh. you’ll have to approach ‘em and find out for yourself.”

She set aside Sans’ arrogance - she was much too distracted by her own thoughts of evacuation and transportation and freedom. “… I’ll just be happy to get my people out of here. Our rations are at an all-time low.”

Sans leaned back into the side of the alcove. He listened to the waterfall roaring through the open doorway and cast Undyne an apathetic sideways glance.

“well, how about you rally up your troops and start makin’ your way through.” He muttered and lifted a hand from his pocket. Sans slipped two of his skeletal digits inside his empty socket and clasped at its edge, grating his fingertips against the inner cartilage - an idle habit of his. “… it’ll be a hike… alphys’ lab is in shambles, but it’s still standin’. the very 1st gate within the shed had also been opened… but with the aquifer blockin’ your way to snowdin there is really no chance of goin’ backwards. you can only go forward.”

“It is alright. Snowdin Town is a wasteland, last I heard.” Undyne crossed her arms in front of her breastplate and glanced back at Sans in response. “I’d rather travel through villages that aren’t graveyards. It’ll take us a few days to prepare and I am going to lead a small preliminary group with me to the final gate… Just to see how treacherous the journey will be before I take the little ones.”

Sans shifted his sneakers in the water. From the sound of it, Waterfall was thriving. Perhaps they really were the only village of sane monsters left. Sans knew all too well the state of the monsters in Core City… They had lost themselves to hunger a long time ago. But it was not his mission to get involved. He simply wanted redemption… to reclaim his title. And Undyne was speaking to him now not as a filthy murdering traitor, but as an equal.


Had she forgiven him?… Would they all forgive him?…



you’re fellow warriors are dead and gone… who are you trying to impress here?… the only monsters’ whose forgiveness you desired are dead… dead by your hands… and ghosts cannot forgive.




perhaps the girl… the child… perhaps you could still win the manumitter’s forgiveness.



she hates you.




Undyne was staring at Sans, who was staring down at the stagnant water. His thoughts were climbing up the walls of his skull like wildfire. And he suddenly felt his soul churn up into tight liquid knots. But Sans fashioned his building mania and tilted his head back towards Undyne with a brash, hollow smirk.

“howza ’bout I meet you at asgore’s castle in three weeks? think you can make it there by then?”

Undyne yanked her spear’s head free from the stone and rested it against her shoulder. “Yes. I will make it a priority.”

Sans nodded once and pushed himself from the wall. He stuffed his hands back in his pockets and turned, but Undyne’s stare was fixed upon him. Her brazen grin lessened into one of true gratitude… and recognition.

“Thank you, Warrior.”








The skeleton pulled his hood up over his head. The fur-trimmed cowl wrapped around his damaged skull and blocked out the beams of brilliance from above.

And he teleported.







Sans returned… to Snowdin. He feet sunk deep into the snow the moment he reappeared among the ice and the gloom. Bitter cold clashed against him in the form of violent gusts, a stark contrast to the rather humid temperature of Waterfall. He had returned to the Snowdin forest, some miles away from his house. He was at the 3rd gate - the black-brick barrier that separated Snowdin forest from the abandoned village. The gate stood open, thanks to Frisk who had unlocked it so long ago, and exposed a more forlorn woodland and the path that led to the Town of Snowdin, Gaster’s Library, and eventually back towards Waterfall.

Sans leaned against the wall. He was within range now… close enough to spectate. He immediately shut his flashing red eye and opened the opposite sunken crater wide, focusing all of his magic upon Papyrus first.

The vision slowly came into focus. Papyrus… his brother… he was outside. He was out in the snow behind the house, frantically running about as if he was searching for something behind the trees. And the front door… was wide open…


The front door was open.








Sans’ soul constricted. He immediately focused his attention upon Frisk. He saw her clearly in his mind. She was trudging through knee-high snow in the middle of the forest. She was lost… she was freezing. Her lips were blue and her skin was ashen white and varnished with frost. Ice clung to her lashes and the tips of her hair. The wind pushed her back as she struggled to continue on… searching for the ruins… searching for the exit and her escape. But little did she know she was going the wrong way.

“fuck…” Sans cursed under his breath. He gathered his magic and vanished once more, only to re-appear directly before her.

Sans teleported to Frisk. She was so out of it from the cold that she did not even notice the burst of blue. She walked directly into his ample chest and fell backwards into the snow.

“kid…” Sans ground his teeth together in overwhelming rage. how the FUCK did she escape!? she could have fucking DIED! how long had she been out here? god dammit, papyrus! did she trick you!? did she simply get lucky? fuck… he never should have left them. fuck fuck fuck!

Frisk stared up at Sans as pure horror stained her features. She tried to cry out, but she had lost her voice from the cold. She simply lifted her hands and buried her face against those two little freezing palms. She started to sob and her voice returned… and she cried out to him through the flurry.

“P-please… please kill me… P-p-please… just kill me…”


fuckin’ hell…


Sans would have killed her right then and there in a blind rage, had it not been for a spasm of self-control that surprisingly stuck within his thoughts. He pulled his thick winter jacket off his shoulders, exposing his immense arm extremities. Sans snatched Frisk up by her wrists and quickly wrapped her up in his coat before he threw her over his shoulder. She fought him weakly but she could barely move. Every one of her limbs had gone numb.

Sans kept her tucked under his coat to shield her from the snow and he took hurried steps back in the direction of their house. God, if only he could teleport with her. At least they were not terribly far… She must have been walking in circles to get this lost yet remain so close to the starting point.

And they were back at the house within ten minutes. Papyrus had moved to the the front yard and he saw them approach from afar.

“S-SANS!!!” He called out to his older brother and his sockets widened at the sight of the bundle in Sans’ arms. “THE HUMAN!? SANS! I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!” He began to ramble, but Sans was not interested in an explanation at the moment. He stepped past Paps, who followed after him, and they entered the house.

The temperature inside was significantly warmer and stuffy and a tad humid. If the damage had not already been done, then the Manumitter should be alright… She was still alive. Sans could feel her heart pulsating, pressed against his chest.


But Sans could not respond. He was burning with enmity. He carried Frisk up the stairs and back to her room. He dropped her upon the mattress, still wrapped up in his coat. Papyrus loomed in the doorway… he had finally stopped screaming and instead he looked overwhelmed with torment.

Sans leered down at the bundle. His massive incisors grit into one another like form-fitting kitchen knives. His red eye was flashing so rapidly, so frantic, pumping with rage. But he did not say a word to her. Instead he turned and joined Paps in the hallway, slamming and locking the door behind him, leaving the girl alone in pitch-black darkness. Alone with her sorrows.







It took the entirety of next day for Sans’ anger to finally recede. He knew Frisk was determined, even without her soul, but he never imagined that she had the gall to try and make her way back to the ruins. Sans knew that she knew that he was watching her. She had certainly taken a calculated risk with that daring escape attempt.

He swore to himself that he would not let it happen again.


That next day, Sans watched her from early morning into the evening. She remained wrapped up under the mound of blankets, buried deep within his jacket. She barely moved. Despite his anger, Sans was concerned that she had succumb to hypothermia… but Frisk started to fidget come noon and eventually she slipped out from underneath the blankets to take a sip from her water bowl.

That afternoon Sans forced himself to feed her. He threw some snacks in her room - a bag of potato chips, a bottle of water, and a chocolate candy bar - but he never entered the space. He refused to speak to her, let alone look at her, not in-person, at least. He would survey from afar with magic. He was still so irate.

Sans was also irritated with Papyrus and they sat down and had a long talk about how they should handle their new house guest. Papy agreed to be vigilant, at least until Frisk learned to behave, and who knows how long that would take. But Sans could never stay mad at his brother for very long and eventually forgave him for the incident.



It had only been a day after Frisk’s escape when she attempted another that night.

Sans and Papyrus lounged upon the dilapidated couch in the living room. Their old blocky television was turned on and it flickered with static before them. However, there was a picture. It was faint, but just barely visible through a flurry of black and white noise. There was a human on the screen. A human news channel. It was almost impossible to make out what the human was saying, but Papyrus didn’t care. He was just happy to watch an actual television show. The mysterious human channel had appeared sometime after Frisk had opened the first and last gate. Perhaps opening the gates had restored the signals, somehow.



Sans sat beside his brother but he was not interested in what was on the screen. He tilted his head to the side, away from Papyrus, and closed his left socket to spy on their captive. He was obsessed… obsessed with watching her. It had become some sick compulsion to repeatedly check on her welfare. He wanted to see her.

Frisk lay in the makeshift bed…

She had barely moved all day. He could see the top half of her face underneath the hem of blankets. She wore his jacket and had pulled the hood up over her head, which was much too big for her. She was not asleep but staring blankly. Her single eye glazed over inky black as she stared out into the darkness, lost in her own thoughts. Her fingers idly curled into the fur-trim of the coat. She was feeling the texture… clutching at the pelt. Sans could only assume what she was thinking about.

She remained that way for a while. And although Sans was consumed with watching her every move, it was rather uneventful, and soon he started to doze. The combination of their living room’s warmth and the gentle buzzing of television static lulled him to sleep.


He had only been sleeping for an hour or so when Sans awoke to a startling shatter. The clash came from above… from upstairs.

“W-WHAT WAS THAT??” Papyrus heard it too. He ripped his gaze from the television and jolted to his feet.




Sans pulled himself off the couch and immediately re-focused his magic on Frisk… and in his mind’s eye he saw her. She was no longer in bed. She was kneeling in the center of the room in darkness. One of the glass ceramic plates Papyrus had left in there the day before had been thrown against the wall and shattered. She held a fragment in her hand and pressed its razor-sharp broken edge against her wrist… and she began to cut down into her skin. Sans’ jacket had been tossed to the floor and she leaned over it. Blood spilled from the fresh wound as she pressed harder. Liquid ruby trickled down her arm and landed upon Sans’ coat, staining it with garnet droplets.


Sans’ soul lept and his hollow eye widened. shit! He teleported and reappeared behind her instantly. He grabbed at both of her upper forearms to wrench her hands back, which caused Frisk to screamed out and fight him. She cursed at him and thrashed about, so desperate to end it all. Sans pried the glass shard from her hand and yanked her wounded wrist towards him. The cut was not deep enough to kill - he had stopped her just in time. The suicide attempt was more disturbing than her escape and Sans growled and slammed her hard up against the wall.


f-fuck… you want to die that badly? you want to hurt that badly!?


The door burst open.



he had to put a stop to this… he had to control her somehow… he was able to do it before… surely he could do it again… he could do it again…



he was not going to be able to rest until he pacified her desire for freedom…



he had to do something…


Sans commanded Papyrus to grab some bandages. The sight and smell of her blood made his soul shiver, but he controlled his appetite. He washed off Frisk’s wounds and wrapped them. The whole time she was cursing and thrashing about in his grasp. She was no longer begging for death, she was angry. Frisk spat at him and tried to scratch his skull and kick at his knees and do everything in her power to break free from his grasp. But Paps helped Sans control her and once the wound was patched up Sans locked the collar back around her throat… where it would remain until she learned to behave. He removed anything that she could use to attempt another suicide, snatched his hoodie from the floor, and left her alone in the room.


That night came and went.

The next day Sans awoke to the sounds of air sirens and Undyne’s voice bellowing from above. The loudspeakers… he had forgotten about them. It had been some time since Undyne had used them. Ages ago, Undyne set up a system of sirens and loudspeakers in Waterfall. Because each section of the Underground was walled off from one another, those loudspeakers had been the only form of communication. She would shout orders to Snowdin from afar. Papyrus often followed her every word - those orders had turned him into a human-hunting fanatic in the first place.

But this time Undyne was no longer shouting orders to capture the Manumitter. She spoke of a schedule pertaining to the evacuation. Her harsh voice rattled through the walls of their house - instructions alerting every living sane creature within radius that the gates were now open and any survivors must make their way to Waterfall as quickly as possible to prepare for a journey to the Above.

Sans sighed and rolled over. He glared at the closest wall beside him - the wall that separated his bed from Frisk's mattress, right on the opposite side. He listened to Undyne speak for a good 10 minutes until her voice finally tapered off. He quickly surveyed Frisk in his mind’s eye. She was actually sleeping.



Another day passed, and it was pleasantly uneventful. Sans took Frisk off the collar only to use the restroom, but besides that she remained chained up. Frisk had barely eaten a thing. She was even refusing to eat the human snacks now. If she could not take her life with force, then she would do it through passive starvation. Sans’ anger finally settled down and instead he became troubled… troubled by her rebellion.

This was proving to be more of a challenge than he originally anticipated.



“kid…” Sans sat in the center of her room. He stared at the bundle upon the mattress. The door was open behind him and dim light from the hall spilled into the space. The dingy glow reflected off the bowl of food he held in one hand. She was going to starve to death and he had to do something…

Earlier that day, Sans teleported past the ruins into the Above - the human forest. He hunted down a wild hare and broke the animal's neck then flung it over his shoulder before he returned home. But he did not hesitate to do a couple rounds around the shed, in search of Toriel. She was nowhere to be seen. perhaps it truly had just been an illusion.

Sans had returned to Snowdin and cooked the hare properly. It was fresh meat… and would hopefully provide some nourishment for the girl. He chopped off the feet, skinned it of the hide and sinewy tendons, and proceeded to scrape the lean meat from its bones. Sans chopped up the meat into small pieces and cooked it thoroughly over a small bonfire in the back of the house - he was weary of the old, ratty cookware Papyrus kept in their kitchen. He added a bit of spices and collected the meat in a bowl, then brought it upstairs to Frisk.

But she remained curled up under the sheets, shivering at the sound of his voice.

“c’mon, kid…” Sans stood up off the floor and sat at the edge of the mattress. The mattress sunk under his heavy weight and caused Frisk to roll into his side, which in turn made her immediately flinch away from him.

“doesn't this smell good?” He attempted to coax her out from underneath the hiding spot with food. Sans had no interest in cooked meat, but it actually did smell rather tasty even by his standards. And if the scent tantalized his senses in that way then it must have been twofold for the girl. “just have a taste…”

Sans did everything in his power to keep his voice and actions calm. He tugged the blankets from her face and shoulders and lifted the bowl closer. Frisk recoiled away from his touch, but her nose twitched as she took in the scent… of fresh, home cooked food.

It had been so long. Much too long since she had eaten anything that was not processed or rotten.

Frisk lifted her head and blinked down at bowl of meat, and it was in that moment that Sans truly noticed how unhealthy she looked. Her skin was pale and sweaty. Dark circles decorated the bottom of her lone eye. Her hair was a mess, as she had not bathed in weeks. She was getting thinner and her face was growing sallow… and the lively sheen that used to coat her auburn eye had turned dull.

“… just give it a try, kiddo…” He felt guilt. A fragment of a sliver of remorse.


frisk… my frisk…


my sweetheart…



Sans lifted his opposite claw and pressed against her back to help her sit up straight. She did not recoil from his touch that time, but perhaps it was simply due to her weakened state. Frisk leaned over and much to his surprise she plucked a small chunk of rabbit from the bowl. She reluctantly popped it in her mouth and chewed once… then again… and again.


she likes it… she’s eating…


It felt like progress.





Sans began to spend more time with her after that. He cooked all her meals from that point on. Usually it was rabbit, sometimes squirrel, and sometimes it would be the more healthy sections of deer that he hunted for himself and Papyrus. Sans tried his hardest to show her kindness, but the deep-seated base thoughts always lingered in the back of his mind… and the memories. Sans had not touched her in that way since Asgore’s castle… since before she had opened the final gate. But those recollections were as fresh as the day it happened. It created a constant elephant in the room. They were both thinking the same thing, but never spoke of it. Actually, Frisk spoke very little. She always avoided eye contact with him and tried to pretend he was not there each time he entered her room.

But she was behaving, despite it all. As a reward for her decorum Sans removed the collar. He remained diligent about locking her bedroom door when he went to sleep or when he knew he would not be able to monitor her 24/7, yet he allowed her some new freedom. He left the door ajar one morning and watched her from afar. Frisk took advantage of the open door simply to use the bathroom and return. Although she did linger in the hallway for longer than she should have… her eyes scanning over Sans’ and Papyrus’ bedroom doors - unknown rooms. But she did not attempt another escape, and Sans was pleased.

Sans returned her cellphone as a reward for her proper conduct. Perhaps she was actually beginning to come to terms with the situation. She was eating regularly and her nighttime terrors and sweats were become more infrequent. She was starting to look a bit healthier too and the dark circle under her eye had dwindled and her gaunt, sunken cheeks began to fill out a tad. She even took a bath much to Sans’ surprise. It was difficult, but he was able to control his appetite and Sans reigned in his surveillance magic when Frisk was in the tub.


it’s wrong… it’s wrong…


The voice… The malignant voice that festered inside of him and drove him to act on those audacious, vile impulses had not surfaced since the shed. How long had it been? About a week? Usually that voice was a constant parasite, but it seemed to have vanished when he had refused it. It was… a relief… and without it he could control his bloodsick, perverted notions with enough will.

After Frisk was clean and back in her room, Papyrus re-dressed the bandages over her right eye with fresh ones. He dug up a white medical eyepatch from a pile of miscellaneous clothing they had in their living room and placed it over the bandages to add more protection to the wound. He also found warmer clothing for Frisk to wear. A large, baggy cable-knit sweater to don over her hoodie, black tights that were thick and tattered and must have once belonged to a monster as small as her, and a pair of brown fur-inlay boots that were much too big, albeit warm.

Frisk seemed thankful for the winter clothes. She bowed her head in gratitude as Papyrus happily left the clothing in her room. Although the two of them seemed to be getting along more and more, Sans could not help his paranoia. A creeping feeling of alarm clutched at his soul each time the human was near his brother…

There were still remnants… remnants of a murderer in her subtle actions…

Remnants of Chara.



she’s just like you… one in the same…


And Papyrus would often linger about in Frisk’s room and converse with her. He would mainly question her about the Above. About the human world, about the state of the rest of the Underground, about what type of meat was her favorite… And Frisk would respond, reluctant at first, but she was starting to open up. The fear that she might spill everything to Papyrus was a constant weight on Sans’ mind, but Frisk never broke their unspoken pact of secrets…




Sans was being lazy. He had to get to work on the candles. He had to start prepping for the move. He had to try and break this obsession he had… for the girl…


my frisk.


my sweetheart…








It had been exactly a week and four days since the Manumitter became their captive.

Sans sat in his room in his usual spot upon the bed.

It was late. He cast a sideways glance out the haphazardly boarded-up window. The midnight snowstorm was particularly violent tonight. He peered through the murky black at the savage flurries. The wind roared with such force that it could have been confused with an oncoming train. The entire house shuddered under the force of the winter tempest, but even the uproar could not pull Sans from his thoughts.

Had Undyne finally left Waterfall for the final gate like she said she would? He could go hunt her down… Teleport to every section of the Underground and spy on her journey, but he had to meet up with her at Asgore’s castle soon enough. He still had some time before then… Besides, there was an extremely important task he had planned for tonight. Something he had been putting off.

Tonight… tonight was the night that he would return to the ruins and attempt to destroy the first candle.

Those candles were small, meager little save points. They looked so delicate. Surely it would not be that difficult of a task… but some ingrained hypothesis told him otherwise. He had other options, should he fail… He would have to take to research in the library… perhaps Gaster would know how to demolish those savepoints… That is, if he wasn’t completely deranged by now. The last time Sans had seen that monster he paralyzed him with his magic so that both Frisk and himself could pass. He had not had an actual conversation with Gaster since the fall.

Sans pulled his gaze from the window. He slowly rolled up off his bed and stretched his arms up over his head, popping his joints with a lethargic shrug.

It was time to go and conduct the first experiment. He could not put it off any longer.


Sans tugged his hood up over his head and stepped out into the hall. He walked past Frisk’s room and peered inside. It was pitch black but he could still see her. She was wrapped up under the blankets, sleeping soundly. Her bundled form rose and fell in a steady rhythm and her gentle breathing matched the slow tempo.

Sans pulled himself from her door and closed it, but he kept it unlocked. She had been behaving well enough to earn the luxury of voluntary bathroom access.

He headed downstairs. Papyrus was still awake, watching television. The human news channel was no longer on the screen, only vibrating static.

“SANS?” Paps turned his head at the sound of his footsteps from behind. He blinked slowly.

“goin’ out for a bit, bro”


“won’t be long. two hours tops.”

“WELL, ALRIGHT.” Papyrus responded in a sleepy mutter and turned back towards the TV.

Sans knew he did not have to remind Papyrus to stay vigilant. Everything would be fine. Besides, he was not going far… The kid was sleeping… Rverything would be alright. But perhaps… perhaps he should go back upstairs and lock her door just in case?



no. it will be fine.



Sans tamed his anxiety and walked through the living room. He stepped outside and closed the door firmly behind him. The violent wind almost knocked him back into the house. He was no light monster, yet this storm was brutal even against his solid form. But there would be no walking through the snow for him. Sans teleported in an instant.


He reappeared in the ruins… within one of the corridors. It was so silent compared to the outside forest. A painful silence. The still dark absence wrapped around him like an old friend. His flashing maroon eye shuddered and created flickering shadows upon the stone walls at either side. But he was not in total darkness… there was a light, up ahead. His objective.

Sans stepped into the smaller room. He glanced down at the candle that sat in the corner of the space. Nothing had changed. Everything was exactly where it should be. It was… so terribly quiet. The silence cut at his mind and released those trapped memories which oozed out like sticky liquid mortar.

… those memories…

He glanced at the opposite side of the room, at the empty corner.




He stepped closer and stared down at the space where the two walls met.


… frisk…


… i was just… so resentful…



… you were resentful. you were so angry. you could not control it. she had killed him… she had murdered them all… in the most brutal of ways.



she deserved it…





s-stop it-…


Sans sunk down to his knees. He ran the tips of his skeletal phalanges against the cold brick floor. There was a faint trace of a stain upon the stone… rusty red smears… blood.

A wave of remission pulled him under.

God, she had been so terrified. He had been so angry. She had cried out for help, but nobody came… nobody came…

And she had felt… so deliriously amazing… that first time. Her blood had tasted so delicious, even more than those times he tasted her prior. He could taste her fear. A flavor that could never be emulated. In that moment, when he took her, that fear was as authentic as it could ever be.

Nothing could ever compare… to that first time…




maybe that was not true…



you can do it again…









No… N-no, he had to stop that longing in its tracks.

Sans growled and cut down those shivering desires instantly. Waves of excited magic were running up and down his bones and the sensation made his eye flutter like a freshly nourished bonfire. no… He took in a deep, slow inhale and stood up. The skeleton turned his back on the sullied corner and he stepped over towards the candle. there was work to be done. control yourself. you must secure their freedom.


He glared down at the little candle before his sneakers. It was only about 5 inches high and its meager ember floated above the tip of the candlestick without a wick. The stick itself was made up of a clear, glossy off-white wax. Liquid collected underneath the flame and oozed down slowly to form a little puddle at the base, but it never seemed to melt away. It never got any smaller.

Sans crouched and he wrapped his hand around the candlestick and squeezed. Nothing happened. The wax was barely lukewarm. He squeezed harder, hoping to crush it in his palm, but it was as solid as an iron pole. He could not squish the wax, despite its appearance. Sans furrowed his brow and lifted his fingers through ember. The flame was of a ghostly consistency and he could not extinguish it.


… well what did you expect, a cake walk?


enough of this.

He stood up and leaned back and summoned his hatchet instantly. Sans rolled the weapon over his shoulder, aiming directly for the candle, and brought it down with all his force in an attempt to cut the object in two. But… the ax head phased through the candle like it was not a physical object at all but a projected image. His ax hammered loudly into the stone underneath.




Nothing happened. The ember continued to flicker. The candlestick remained intact. Not even a scratch could be seen within the wax.


alright… let’s try… this…


He yanked the ax from the floor and willed his weapon away. Sans summoned a different weapon this time. He lifted his hand and called forth an array of spiraling bone daggers. There were about a dozen of them and they circled around his risen hand in a constant gyration. Each one was blood-red and as sharp as a steel spearhead. Sans commanded the bones downward and they drove forward through the candlestick.

But again they phased through, just like the ax, and pierced the floor instead.





He let out a sigh, frustrated by the whole ordeal, but not necessarily surprised. He had expected this as much. The candles had withstood the fall of this world… surely they could withstand a beat-down by an ax and some bones. But there had to be a way… There had to be a trick to it. something.

Asgore had known about the candles before his death… Therefore Gaster should have some tomes on the matter. Or perhaps even some old journals. There had to be some information out there somewhere about these relics. Frisk’s ability to reset was somehow tethered to their existence. Perhaps only Frisk could destroy them?… Or perhaps it was so much more complicated than he could even comprehend…

Sans tried one last thing before he left. He summoned some of his magic and directed the cobalt serpents of energy to wrap around the candle in an attempt to break it and extinguish the flame, but just like before it remained resilient. He stood back up to his feet and teleported through the ruins, directly in front of the second open gate at the end of the tunnels.




The storm was raging harder than before…

Sans leaned against the side of the open alcove and watched the sweeping flurry. It was dark, yet the sky retained a gentle glow of grey that illuminated each snowflake amongst the treetops.

The snow was dark. It melded with ash that continuously fell from the sky.

It did not look like snow… it looked like a swarm of insects.




His soul… felt cold…



A familiar sensation, one he had felt quite a few times prior, back at Asgore’s castle. The same bitter titillation he felt while he commanded the Manumitter to open that final gate…

And she did.

She had opened it.

She had obeyed.

And she had longed for death, something Sans could not give her.



i thought i would feel something, once the gates had been opened…



i thought things would change…



b-but… it’s gotten worse… sweetheart…



my thoughts are alive with many voices…



… telling me i am made of rancor…



perhaps it is just one voice… just one voice…




… Heh



His eye was burning in the darkness.

His head… hurt…

He lifted a claw and ran his fingers along the jagged open cavity at the side of his skull.

A phantom ache…

And he shut his radiating socket and clenched his teeth and his shoulders began to tremble. Sans was seconds away from using his magic to survey Papyrus and Frisk, when he heard a soft shuffle behind him. f-fuck… He swerved around and lifted his claws, ready to fight.

There was a glimmer in the tunnels. It was moving forward towards him… a pale white afterglow.


he was not alone.






A ghost emerged from the shadows.

A familiar sight.

The creatures multitude of ombre insect-like limbs protruded from his spectral body all directions. Each arm had a claw at the end, decorated in sharp barbed nails. His many legs seemed to be erupting from underneath a ragged white cloth draped over a round form, which was surprisingly the ghost's torso. It almost looked like he was clothed in a tattered tablecloth, but it definitely was not cloth. The fibrous substance emitted an unnatural gleam of light. And through his glowing, drooping flesh were two narrow holes cut out at the upper center of the material, exposing a pair of confined white hues for eyes.

“Ssssskk…” The gentle hissing came from the creature. And he recognized Sans instantly and seemed to pick up his pace, moving closer. “… Warrior?… sssk…”

Sans lowered his hands at the sight. His anxiety dwindled. His cunning smirk returned and he let out a chuckle and shoved his hands in his pockets.


“heh… i’m no warrior… not anymore…”


It had been some time since Sans had seen Napstablook. Well, that was not entirely true, he had paralyzed the ghost only recently… similar to how he paralyzed Gaster, back when he was leading Frisk through the underground. But it had been years since he actually had a conversation with the creature.

“Sssssk… What are you doing heeeeere?…”

Napstablook’s slithering tone was echoic and hushed and laced with stealth mischief. He stepped out from behind the shadows and stood a few yards away from Sans. His limber multiple set of arms clutched onto either side of the tunnel walls and he leered back at Sans with emotionless, eerie orbs of light. He was a hard one to read… without any real expressions to make out… and his voice remained a constant steady monotony.

“napstablook… it’s been a while.” Sans forced a grin. He leaned back into the wall, relaxing a bit - Napstablook was not the kind of monster to attack another, especially one as strong as himself. “i was takin’ a look at the open gates.”




“Yessss… the gates are open now… They have been open for a while… ssskk…” The specter crept closer. He peered over the skeleton’s shoulder out into the snowstorm. Napstablook lifted a limb and tapped at the side of the open alcove. “… Well… at least… thissss one has been open for a while…”

“why are you still here then? the gates are open… the shed door is open… why do you remain here?” Sans was genuinely curious. He knew Napstablook to be a demure monster, one that would never take a risk no matter how calculated. But when it came to freedom… Why remain in such a somber labyrinth?

Napstablook did not respond.

He ignored Sans’ question and simply gazed out into the blizzard.

And the awkward silence hung heavy against Sans’ soul.



does he know?…



does he know what a villain you are?



“Sssshe gave you credit… Undyne… I heard it… over the loudspeakers.” Napstablook whispered. “She sssssaid you opened the gatessss… Did you open the gates, Warrior?……”

And Napstablook pulled his gaze from the flurry and stared directly into Sans’ vermilion eye.

Sans felt his soul flinch at the creature’s words. There was a faint hint of derisive scorn in the ghost’s tone.

“undyne…” Perhaps she had made an announcement when he was asleep… had she truly given Sans credit?… heh…


Napstablook fluttered closer towards the open gateway, right besides Sans, and he lifted a claw out into the snow and watched as the sooty flakes landed upon his thin limb.

“It is dangerous… The monsters… All leaving sssssimultaneously……”


“undyne will control the chaos…” Sans muttered and leaned his skull back into the stone. He did not care either way… And Napstablook could tell. The ghost pulled his stare from the woods and glanced up at Sans like he knew exactly what was going on in that broken skull.

There was another awkward silence.

Sans leered down at the creature, half tempted to provoke him, but Napstablook spoke again before he had a chance.

“… I saw a Temmie out here… the other day… ssskkk……” Napstablook said.

“what?” That abrupt, matter-of-fact timbre caught Sans off guard.

“Yessss… perhaps they have come back… Perhaps they never vanished in the first place, ssssimply hiding.”


“…” Sans glanced back out into the decrepit woodland. Murky shadows, like that of demon claws, cast along the snow from the lifeless trees. The branches creaked and snapped against the rough winds. If Napstablook was being truthful and there really were Temmies out there in that forest, then he would have to set up some traps. It had been so long since he had a piece of Temmie meat… Flesh from the animals in the Above could never take its place.

Napstablook was silent, as was Sans. The skeleton cast a sly glance at the phantom, but Napstablook was staring into the woods, unblinking and speechless. After the fall… after Sans had been banished to Snowdin forest, never to return to the villages again, he had seen Napstablook. He saw the ghost a number times when Sans would teleport into the ruins in search of food. Those few, isolated times they had conversed a bit. They had spoken of the outside and the human world. Napstablook had mentioned peering through the shed’s slats… and watching animals in the Above’s woods.

But the ghost had always seemed weary of Sans… like he knew what he was. Like he knew… of his infection.




The silence lingered and Sans finally pulled himself from his slouch against the wall. He bid farewell to Napstablook, blaming the late time on his departure. But the ghost accepted the excuse and turned and vanished back within the ruins.

Sans teleported back to the house directly outside the front door. It remained shut. He wrenched open the door and stepped inside. It was dark. Papyrus had turned off the solo hanging light bulb over their dining room table, however the TV remained on. it was always on.

Papyrus was no longer on the couch and Sans quickly surveyed his brother with his magic. He saw Paps in his bed upstairs, sleeping soundly. he’s alright… everything is alright… Sans shifted his magic to spy on Frisk, but something in his soul cut the surveillance short before he could even catch a glimpse.


this obsession… you must break this habit…



it is eating away at your judgement… your stability…



don’t you get it? the one that you long for most is what will destroy you in the end…


He had to stop haunting the child. He had to stop this.

Sans forced himself not to see. He opened his maroon socket slowly and took in a rough inhale through clenched teeth, rubbing at his forehead with one hand. enough. she’s fine… she’s asleep…

He made his way up the stairs and stepped past Paps room, but he stopped in front of Frisk’s door. It was still shut. It had not been opened… She was safe inside… let it go.



He reluctantly trudged forward and entered his room, closing the door behind him. Sans pulled off his jacket and tossed it on his desk. He glanced at the back of his coat… at the small blood spot stains that Frisk had left on the cloth from her suicide attempt - cherry red splotches that turned shades of rosewood after a day or two.

Guilt clung to his soul. His remorse was painful. It made his essence shutter beneath his bones. It turned his soul cold. The memories of that room, back in the ruins, hung fresh within his mind.

Memories of what he had done.


Sans sat against the edge of his mattress. He was exhausted and disappointed from the failed experiment. He was disgusted with himself… and he just wanted to sleep. just sleep. But he felt something move.




Something moved.

Something buried underneath the thick pile of furs and blankets atop his mattress.

Sans swerved to the side and tugged at the blankets.


… what?…






The girl… she lay underneath the furs… she was sleeping.

She was sleeping in his bed.



what the fuck…


Sans was so shocked that he dropped the blankets back upon her small form. She shifted slightly and clutched tight onto one of the thick pillows, but she did not wake. She was locked within a deep sleep and Sans could see her single shut eyelid twitching in a REM-sleep state. she was dreaming.

Why was she here?

Why would she leave her room… and enter this one?…

Did she know that this was Sans’ room?

Surely she must be unaware of that fact. She hated him, after all.


W-why the hell was she here!?


Sans could not understand. He stared down at the little human in a state of shock.

She was sweaty… Minuscule beads of perspiration decorated her cheeks, forehead and neck. And Frisk twitched in her sleep and clutched at the pillow with a bit more effort. perhaps… a nightmare.



Sans lifted his claw and caressed her feverish jawline. She shuttered. Her flesh warmed his bones instantly… warm and soft… but she did not wake. He had done this before… He had soothed her during these night terrors in the past during her journey… Heinous dreams that he evoked within her subconscious.


my frisk…


my little dove…


how can you forgive me, after everything i’ve done?…



i thought i could escape within you… but that's impossible, isn't it?



it’s impossible…




Sans kicked off his sneakers. He pulled his feet up and rolled over on his side, facing her. Frisk was curled up in a small ball beside his chest… The clear perspiration turned to little orbs of red as Sans’ maroon gaze illuminated off each one. He watched her with lidded sockets and his smirk curved downward into a stoic glower. He just… he just could not understand… why… why.

He lifted one arm and wrapped it around the girl’s waist, pulling her in closer. He half expected her to wake… but no. She was still asleep and she was not pretending. He could tell due to her steady pulse that beat gently against his touch. Sans pressed the front of his skull to the top of her head. She was safe here… she was protected in this place, from all the horrors of the Underground and the Above…

sweet, little dove… my darling frisk… mine… mine.

She was so close to him, like this… So close… The subtle scent of her skin filled his senses. Sans’ hand inched underneath the blankets and grazed across her navel. He could feel her stomach through the multiple layers of clothing she wore.

Her belly… pulsing softly with each breath… hot, supple insides… murky red and sweltering and so, so luscious.






He groped across her stomach… and clutched at the front of her sweater…

His fingers dug into the thick cable-knit…

He could feel her heart beating…



you have shared your hurt… shared your pain… with this child.



you have sullied her spirit, and still you do not allow her one shred of sympathy…



Sans clutched tighter at the fabric. He could hear the sound of his teeth grinding into one another. His eye pulsed faster… and faster…



you thought allowing her to live was mercy?



that was not mercy.



you want her alive… to satisfy that sick perversion inside of you.




His eye burned so bright. It hammered rapidly in its socket and ached like a boring awl.


It… it hurt.


He felt sick. Yet… hungry


His soul felt cold… and dead.


He could barely see through a dark crimson film that swept across his sight.



don't you remember?……









the taste of her flesh.



His head was splitting in two.



the texture of her insides.



Cobalt saliva oozed through the spaces between his canines.



just how long do you think this little dreamworld of yours would continue on for?



sure, you freed the Underground. you saved the monsters.



you saved them all.



Haha! AH-HAHA!!!



Suuuuure you did. WHAT A JOKE!



Don't go and act all self-righteous like you're some complacent, well-adjusted monster, you worthless piece of trash.








I mean… you knew I’ve been here all along.








And his vision turned carbon black.







Coming up: Neurosis.