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UPGRADES

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The smooth sound of bolts whirring into place buzzed through Mettaton’s body. Alphys absently hummed a credits song from the anime she’d started watching recently, a new box set for Christmas courtesy of Sans, Papyrus, and Frisk from Aboveground. Her claws delicately placed another bolt and the tool in her other hand set to work again.

 

“Your b-batteries should last longer now, Mettaton,” she said as she worked. “Your sh-shoulder panels double as solar panels th-that will charge you as long as you are in the s-sun.”

 

“Thank you, darling,” he said. The slight vibrations of the tool made his voice box sound funny, so he waited until she was finished with the last of over two dozen bolts to speak again. “How are the others doing? I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve visited the Underground.”

 

Alphys flitted back and forth between the workbench Mettaton reclined on and the expansive and well organized cabinets she kept all her robot tools. Everything had a hook or a drawer designed especially for it, courtesy of Undyne’s rather flamboyant carpentry skills. Mettaton could appreciate her level of...dedication. He distinctly remembered Asgore had supervised the entire thing with more than a little input and assistance.

 

It seemed for a moment Alphys hadn’t heard him or was ignoring him but he knew better. She was one of the few he could be patient for, still grateful for the amazing body he was currently using to wow humans and monsters alike.

 

“Good! V-very good, really. Asgore still visits me every week to fill me in about progress on building that transport device between the Underground and the Surface. It takes too long to travel down that tunnel behind where the Seal used to be, and it’s too dangerous if everyone has to go through the Core every time. And he knows some monsters won’t even think about leaving the Underground to even visit the Surface if it’s not a lot easier. Lots of the monsters m-miss you but the recordings of your shows posted online that you email m-me help. Their TV sets are s-still full of MTT brand entertainment.”

 

“Excellent,” he purred. “Can I move yet, darling?”

 

“No, let the magic set.” The lack of a stutter told him she meant business.

 

He heaved a long, dramatic sigh and adjusted himself to be more comfortable. Instead of propping his head up with his arms he moved so he was flat on the examination table, head hanging over one end. At this angle he could still read the screen on his phone. A blurr of notifications constantly whizzed through the applications installed, keeping him up to date on his tour schedule, appointments with Alphys, interviews, show recordings, guest appearances, merchandise development meetings in the Underground and on the Surface-

 

“W-what about you, Mettaton?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

Alphys shuffled so her little monster body could lay beneath the examination table, looking up at Mettaton so he wouldn’t be enticed to move and disrupt the setting process of the new installations and their fastenings. She curled her tail up and held it between her paws in a self-comforting gesture he recognized well.

 

“How are things...h-how are you doing up there?”

 

Mettaton didn’t even stop to think before answering with typical enthusiasm. “Oh, it’s wonderful, Alphys, everything has been going so well. There are always new things to do and places to visit and I can’t wait to tour them all! Humans are so funny, nothing like the characters in your animes, those always reminded me more of some of the monsters here.”

 

Alphys listened intently, listening to one of her closest friends talk as animatedly as he could about his time on the Surface among humans. Long after it was safe for him to move again, she gently put a paw on the hand still loosely holding his phone, and grinned. Taking her cue, Mettaton sprang up and twisted his neck in a direction impossible for most vertebrates and emitted a series of oohs and ahhs , admiring her handiwork.

 

“Fabulous as always, Alphie!” he said. The smile in his voice was unmistakeable. “You always know exactly what this body needs to really shine.”

 

Alphys beamed at him as he trotted over to the mirror. Visits from her proudest achievement never failed to buoy her spirits for weeks to come. He posed and flipped and provided her with a deluge of compliments to her work: upgrades, basic maintenance, everything.

 

“I’m off to go knock ‘em dead, darling,” he said, turning to grab his cloak and shoulder bag from a bench. He chuckled at his own joke and the infectious laughter spilled over to Alphys as he added, “Not literally.”

 

“N-no, not literally.”

 

With one hand on the doorknob to leave the Hotland lab and make his way through the Core to the castle, Mettaton turned with a look of surprise on his face. “I completely forgot, the notion flew from my wires as soon as you showed me the upgrades, Alphie - how’s Blooky’s body coming along?” He sounded genuinely ashamed he’d been so wrapped up in his own appointment that he’d forgotten to ask until now.

 

Fiddling with the sleeves of her lab coat, Alphys avoided eye-contact, the high of Mettaton’s visit dampened a bit. “He misses most of his appointments so I can fit it properly to him, and he doesn’t post much on Undernet anymore so I’m not sure what he’s up to.”

 

Mettaton sighed and put a hand on Alphys’s shoulder, his metal lips turning into a wry smile. “I’ll talk to him the next time I’m down here. Blooky has always been a bit shy and I want to make sure this is what he wants. Don’t worry, it’s not because of you.”

 

Even though she’d built every circuit and wire within him, Alphys couldn’t comprehend how Mettaton could understand her so well. He was getting better at reading humans and monsters alike. It helped he had a soft spot for his creator, making it easier to set aside his normal selfish and narcissistic mannerisms, and it made those moments all the sweeter.

 

“Thanks, Mettaton. Have a safe trip back to the surface. Text me when you get home?”

 

Mettaton laughed and swung his coat over his shoulder dramatically. He wouldn’t need it in Hotland or the Core but the surface was as cold as Snowdin. Assuring her he would be in touch, he started walking away from the lab with a sashay in his step, blowing Alphys a kiss before he rounded the corner down the rocky corridor.