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The Most Glamorous Puzzle of All

Chapter Text

Some say that, as long as people remember who you are and how much of an impact you had on their lives, you will never truly die.

And more than anything else, Mettaton wanted to be remembered. He wanted the world to know his name, he wanted to bring that special vicarious excitement into their lives, he wanted to follow his dreams and have people staying up late into the night just to watch his shows... yes, he had family and friends on the snail farm, but who would be interested in that sort of thing? How many snail farmers had a red carpet rolled out for them on a regular basis? Even though his incorporeal form meant he was in no danger of dying anytime soon, he would have gladly chosen being corporeal over being forgotten. For even if he did die for whatever reason, at least he'd be able to go out in a blaze of glory.

Eventually, he did become corporeal, and it was shortly afterwards that he found out that, in spite of his new vulnerability, he truly had become immortal in the eyes of monsterkind. His ratings had reached heights he'd only dreamed of in the past, and the viewer call-ins afterwards made it clear to him: the monsters didn't just love him, they needed him. When you have so many people saying that things wouldn't be the same without you, you most likely won't be forgotten for a very long time. Even his cousin, who would have had every reason to want nothing more to do with him by that point, still cared about him and wanted him around.

That fact alone would have been enough to convince him that people truly loved him, but it really began to shine through when he met Papyrus.

Meeting fans in person always brought joy to Mettaton's heart. Listening to just how tongue-tied they would become in his presence, seeing their faces light up like a Christmas tree at the slightest smile or compliment he would give them... Papyrus had been no exception. Mettaton became very acquainted with the word "wowie" on that day.

However, thanks to their mutual friendships, the two were able to see each other more frequently than most celebrities and fans could see each other. Eventually, the day came when they stopped just being friends of friends and started truly being friends. And then, somewhere along the line, they both decided that being friends wasn't enough.

Whenever they would go out on a date, Papyrus would always do his best to make Mettaton feel important. He would never, ever use this as an excuse to act like no one else was important, though; every employee he interacted with, from the waiters at a nice restaurant to the box-office clerks at the theater, was always treated with the utmost level of courtesy. If their friends and/or family members tagged along, Papyrus would make sure they didn't feel like mere third wheels. When he and Mettaton decided to move in together after being together for so long, Papyrus had even helped the movers carry and assemble the furniture. And then, once the movers had left and everything had been set up and put away, the first thing he did was lie down on the couch with Mettaton as the two watched reruns of the latter's shows, both old and new.

Mettaton's bodies were all built to last, so despite being corporeal now, he most likely didn't have to worry about death for a long, long time.

But he didn't need to contemplate that very often, because when he thought about how much his fans loved him - and especially when he thought about the times he and Papyrus were alone together - he already felt immortal.

Chapter Text

When you dream of being the coolest person around, it's easy to fall into the trap of caring too much about what others think.

Papyrus was one such person; as much as he and his brother cared about each other, it just wasn't enough. He dreamed of being a hero to many, and then everyone would give him all the friendship and kisses and social-media attention he could ever want.

As such, it wasn't hard to sway his opinions on certain things, depending on what people thought were cool. For example, his best friend Undyne couldn't stand Hotland, so at times, he'd put up a front of agreeing with her. Granted, he still preferred Snowdin, but he couldn't stay completely mad at Hotland; that was where Mettaton, his hero, lived. In addition, there was the matter of his relationship with grease; normally, he claimed to hate it, but whenever Undyne talked about how much she loved it, he would suddenly share the same opinion.

In truth, Papyrus had the idea that, since people loved Undyne and people also loved Mettaton, the best way to win people's hearts was to treat both of them as his main role models. It certainly didn't hurt that he genuinely loved both of them, although one was in a strictly platonic way and the other had yet to meet him at the time.

He felt himself change his opinions yet again when Frisk had arrived underground; Frisk had wanted to be friends with him because of the kind of person he already was, not the kind he was trying to be. The barrier had broken that same day; when everyone moved aboveground, Papyrus resolved to be himself more often, even if he did still admire his role models.

And it ended up being the thing that caused him to catch the attention of the role model he hadn't met yet.

Through the sheer power of being his typical silly, yet kindhearted self, he ended up leaving such a good impression on Mettaton that the star wanted to see him more often after their first meeting. It didn't take much time for the two to develop a strong bond. (Granted, their meetings were initially rather infrequent for several reasons, including their other commitments, but once it solidified, the two were nigh-inseparable.)

That being said, although he had grown as a person since those days underground, Papyrus still had a number of lessons to learn in regards to interpersonal relationships.

He learned one such lesson one day when he and Mettaton were hanging out at the latter's house; they were still in the relatively early stages of their friendship at this point. Someone had come over to upgrade Mettaton's cable TV services, and he and Papyrus were sitting on the couch and watching them. Mettaton had brought over some sticky notes and a pen just in case there was anything he needed to remember.

As the cable person worked, occasionally striking up quick conversations with the two, Mettaton had taken to idly tapping his pen on the table.

Tap tap tap tap tap...

Papyrus felt himself wince. That repetitive sound... why was it so jarring? It was just a pen on a table; Mettaton wasn't causing any harm with it. And yet it bothered him; it felt much louder than it actually was.

Tap tap tap tap tap...

His expression tried its hardest not to give away that something was wrong. He couldn't just tell Mettaton to stop... it wasn't a big deal! Again, it was just a pen on a table. As soon as the installation was over, the person would leave, Mettaton wouldn't need to use his pen anymore for the time being, and then Papyrus could just pretend like nothing happened. It was as simple as that!

Soon enough, the person was finishing up, and as they gave Mettaton a card with the password on it, he mercifully stopped tapping and used his pen to write a copy of the password on a sticky note. Papyrus could have almost sighed in relief; if he'd done so, he would have just passed it off as being happy that the upgrade was a success.

Finally, once the person left, Papyrus leaned back in his seat, grateful that this was over.

"Isn't this exciting, darling?" Mettaton's eyes sparkled. "I have so many new channels now!"

"Nyeh heh heh! It certainly is exciting!" Just like that, Papyrus seemed to be comfortable again. "Ooh! Maybe you could get everyone together and have a TV-watching party to celebrate! We could make popcorn!"

Mettaton chuckled. "I will have to keep that in mind. But for now..." He handed Papyrus the remote. "Why don't we give this a little test run? Since you're my guest, you get to choose what to watch."

Papyrus grinned; both Mettaton and Undyne cared very much about being good hosts (and Mettaton already was a good host, in another sense of the word). He hoped that, if Mettaton ever came over to his place, he could be a good host for him too. Back underground, he'd already been a good host for Frisk, so he could probably host Mettaton too if he just tried.

At first, it wasn't a big problem. Papyrus gladly took the remote, turned on the TV, and began searching through the on-screen guide. "Wowie! Look at everything!"

"I know; isn't it thrilling, sweetheart?" As he watched Papyrus scrolling through the guide, he once more began tapping his pen on the table.

Tap tap tap tap tap...

Just then, he noticed the scrolling suddenly pause; since Papyrus wasn't selecting this channel, something had to be up. He looked over. "Is everything all right, Papyrus?"

"Of... of course! Everything is fine!" Spoken while sweating and trembling a bit; Mettaton didn't need his body to have a BS detector built into it, for he already had a quite good one.

"It doesn't look like everything is fine, darling. Please, talk to me."

"I..." Papyrus lowered his arm and took a deep breath, looking at Mettaton as if to pre-emptively apologize for what he was about to say. "I don't like the tapping."

"Oh, this?" Mettaton looked at the pen in his hand, before setting it on the table and leaving it there. "I'm sorry, darling. I won't do it anymore if it bothers you."

Papyrus blinked. It was that easy?

"To be quite honest, you should have told me earlier. I would have gladly stopped then."

"But I didn't want to embarrass you in front of the cable person!" And besides, who was he to tell Mettaton, of all people, what to do - as a guest in the man's house, no less? He may have been the Great Papyrus, but if there was one person he would ever consider to be greater than himself, it was Mettaton.

"That's what whispering is for. Or some other discreet way of telling me."

Although Mettaton wasn't hostile in either tone or body language, Papyrus still wasn't ready to let his guard down. He looked down with a sad sigh. "I didn't want to tell you what to do, either... a good guest doesn't just tell the host what to do!"

"And a good host makes sure his guests are comfortable." He scooted a tiny bit closer, and Papyrus looked up at him as he continued. "If my houseguests don't like something, they have the right to speak up. It's true for Alphys and Blooky and Frisk, and it's also true for you, Papyrus. I wouldn't want to make any of my fans feel unwelcome." His eyes sparkled again. "Especially not when the fan in question has been such a delight to be around."

Papyrus felt a little lightheaded, not just because of the compliment from his hero, but because of the situation in general. He wasn't sure why he'd been expecting a more hostile response from Mettaton; was it his people-pleasing instinct kicking into overdrive? Nevertheless, he smiled. "Thank you, Mettaton. I will remember that from now on!"

As the scrolling resumed, Mettaton smiled as well. When he saw Papyrus' eventual choice for a new channel to watch - the high-definition music video channel - he looked over at him again. "Good choice, darling!"

Papyrus' smile grew wider, his earlier discomfort all but forgotten by now. Truthfully, he'd wanted to see if there was a high-definition version of Delta Rune Network, but he couldn't find it so far. Besides, he was already seeing Mettaton himself in the highest definition possible.

The two watched music videos for a little while, and Papyrus occasionally found himself reflecting on Mettaton's words. From this point on, he would make more of an effort to be honest, even about things that were upsetting him.

Sometimes, even the smallest events can sway people and encourage them to change.

Chapter Text

A scoff. "Oh, great..."

"Nyeh?" Papyrus looked up from his book of sudoku puzzles. "What's wrong?"

Mettaton sighed, resting one arm on the arm of the couch the two were sitting on, and using his other arm to gesture towards his laptop screen. "Oh, it's just this review of my latest album, darling. The things they're saying about it...!"

Truth be told, Mettaton really didn't like it when his work was criticized. When you're really passionate about something and put all your heart and soul into it, it can really sting to have someone tell you that it has problems. However, he was able to accept that certain types of criticism had their place; as much as he cared about his own ego, he also cared about quality. If someone gently pointed out some sort of technical issue or other objective error, then he could easily find a way to address it for later performances (this was true whether he was making a TV show, an album, or even just performing live).

But when people criticized his work based on purely subjective criteria, such as simply not liking his style, that was a completely different story.

He gently pressed his hand against his forehead. "They're saying it's 'artificial' and 'self-indulgent' and 'pretentious'. Yes, my songs use synthesizers and drum machines and heavy amounts of polish. And your point would be what, darling? Not every song can be just strumming the same three chords on an acoustic guitar!" Realizing what he'd said just as it left his mouth, he took a deep breath and moved his hand to rest on Papyrus' hand. "...No offense, sweetheart."

"It's okay."

With another sigh, Mettaton leaned back. "I'm sorry, beautiful. It's just... if they're going to criticize my work, why don't they focus on the actual problems, if they exist?" Mettaton very often made a point of editing out imperfections, but in the past, there were a few even he couldn't catch until after the fact. "This review is just criticizing me for being me. I've performed in this style for years, and I still headline sold-out shows. So why is it a problem again?"

"I don't consider it a problem." Papyrus gave him a bright smile, his eyelights sparkling with excitement. "You have a really cool style. Whenever I hear your songs, I imagine myself being the coolest skeleton in the world!"

Despite himself, Mettaton chuckled. "Imagine? Darling, you already are!" He leaned over and kissed Papyrus' skull. Papyrus slumped back in his seat with a happy sigh.

With that, Mettaton went back to the review he was reading. There had to be some legitimate criticism in there... right? But all he could find was something that made him scoff again and roll his eyes.

"And now they're calling my work 'soulless'." He rested his chin in his hand. "Oh yes, because I certainly don't perform in this style because I want to. Someone must be forcing me to do it." Suddenly, he thought of something, and looked at Papyrus. "Oh, and I just realized. Apparently it wouldn't be soulless of me to completely change my style just because some critic doesn't like me for who I am. You see the problem, right?"

Papyrus nodded before taking Mettaton's hand. "Unfortunately, some people just act freaking weird sometimes. That's like if someone said, 'Wouldn't the Great Papyrus be even greater if he didn't like puzzles so much?'"

For a brief moment, Mettaton faltered, his voice taking on a more protective tone and his eyes narrowing. "Did someone actually say that to you?"

"No! Don't worry. It was just an example."

Mettaton sighed in relief. "That's good." Trying to imagine Papyrus without puzzles would be like trying to imagine himself with absolutely no desire to perform; was such a thing even possible?

He felt Papyrus gently squeeze his hand, and heard him speak once more. "But anyway, you have so many fans who love you for who you are. They all buy tickets to your shows because they like you and they want to see you performing live. Nobody buys a ticket to see Mettaton because they want to see Not-Mettaton. That doesn't even make any sense!"

"That would be quite bizarre." Mettaton chuckled again. "But I think you're right, darling. What's one negative review compared to the thousands and thousands of humans and monsters who love me?" He set down his laptop on the table and put his arm around Papyrus. "Or the monster who loves me on a personal level?"

Of course, Papyrus couldn't resist returning the hug.

As a performer, Mettaton had to get used to the idea that there would be people who would criticize his work. If they were criticizing actual problems, he would fix them to the best of his ability. But sometimes the critiques were of things that Mettaton honestly couldn't help (at least not without drastically changing his style, which he had no particular desire to do anytime soon). As much as he liked to snark about those types of comments, deep down it sometimes felt like an attack on him as a person; he did put a lot of himself into his work.

And yet, despite the occasional criticisms, he still managed to sell out arenas on a regular basis, Delta Rune Network still received a good amount of ratings, and every post of his on social media brought in a lot of supportive comments from both long-time and newer fans of his.

While part of him would probably never be fully able to take criticism in stride, having support from all his fans - Papyrus included - certainly helped.

Chapter Text

As much as Mettaton loved himself, there was no denying that he had people he cared about. And when he cared about someone, he made sure they knew it. It wasn't always this way, but memories of the old days underground, with all the regrets that came alongside them, made him vow to change his ways after everyone moved to the surface. Therefore, whenever there was a special occasion of some sort, he would always do his best to be there and help make it as lovely as possible, giving thoughtful presents as well if the occasion called for it. Even if he couldn't physically be there because of touring or some other prior commitment, he would still find ways to make up for his absence.

This particular day happened to be Papyrus' birthday, and while Mettaton had celebrated it with him before, this was his first birthday since the two had started living together. As much as Mettaton would have loved to just take him out for the entire day and spoil him in every way he could think of, he knew that the others were going to have a party for him that afternoon, so he would have to improvise a little. Fortunately, he was an actor, and actors are often good at improvising.

When Papyrus first woke up early that morning, Mettaton was still in a deep sleep. There was nothing too unusual about this; as long as his battery still needed to charge, Mettaton could sleep through just about anything (unlike Papyrus, who was a rather light sleeper). As he often did each morning, Papyrus went downstairs to clean things up if they needed it, especially in the kitchen. However, once he made it to the kitchen, he found that everything was spotless. The dishes were all clean and put away, the stovetop was so clean he could eat off of it (even though he would greatly prefer a plate or a bowl), and there wasn't even the slightest hint of a mess anywhere.

Papyrus blinked; he was pretty sure it hadn't been this clean when he went to bed last night, especially since, before he'd gone to bed, Mettaton had insisted that he not do any chores on the grounds that tomorrow was his birthday. And yet, it was all somehow clean, so he wasn't complaining; clean houses were happy houses, after all. Besides, this meant more time lying in bed with Mettaton.

(If someone had told him back in Snowdin that there would be a day where he would actually appreciate having nothing to do but lie in bed, he would have at the very least been deeply confused. And yet, somehow, Mettaton had taught him to appreciate those moments without even consciously trying. The man truly was talented.)

And so, he went back upstairs and returned to his previous place, his skull resting in the crook of Mettaton's arm. Although he wasn't very sleepy at this point, he still found himself appreciating the peace and quiet, to the point of even slipping into a light doze at times.

Quiet moments had a way of making time feel like it had no meaning; by the time the sun fully rose and Mettaton woke up, it both felt like a really long time and no time at all. When Papyrus heard his systems whirring, he was promptly fully awake again.

As soon as Mettaton opened his eyes, he turned his head towards Papyrus and grinned. "Good morning, my lovely birthday boy."

"Good morning, Metta!" In that instant, Papyrus felt more energetic than before, ready to seize the day.

He didn't actually get to do that until several minutes later, but what he got to do instead was certainly a nice alternative. Mettaton held him close and bathed him in a shower of kisses, all while whispering several different compliments and other nice things in his non-existent ear. Papyrus could have been walking on air; the day had barely started, and Mettaton was already making him feel like the most precious person in the world.

Eventually, Mettaton sat up. "Have I got a surprise for you this morning, beautiful."

"Nyeh?" Everything about Papyrus was silently saying to Mettaton, tell me more.

But Mettaton, as previously established, was an actor, and aside from being good at improvisation, actors also know the importance of keeping their audiences in suspense. "You'll get to find out after breakfast. Trust me, darling, you'll love it."

Papyrus frowned. "But if you're saying I'll love it, I don't know if I can wait that long!"

"I know you can, sweetheart." With a grin, Mettaton leaned down. "Especially since I'm going to be making your favorite oatmeal for you."

Just like that, Papyrus' face lit back up. "Wowie! You had me at oatmeal."

With that, the two proceeded to prepare for the day. Mettaton got ready as quickly and efficiently as possible so he could head straight to the kitchen and make breakfast. When Papyrus joined him downstairs, he was overjoyed to find that a big bowl of dinosaur-egg oatmeal was indeed waiting for him, and he wasted no time in chowing down. Little things like this certainly made it easier to wait.

Once breakfast was finished, Mettaton had him watch TV in the front room while he went elsewhere in the house to set things up. Not wanting to turn on Delta Rune Network when he might have to turn off the TV at any time, Papyrus instead settled for watching the weather forecast channel. There was something oddly compelling about watching the predicted weather patterns for the next several days, all while sedate pop and rock songs played in the background.

Finally, after a while, Mettaton re-entered the room, his voice a joyful sing-song. "Papyrus, darling, the limo's here!"

"Limo?" Papyrus switched off the TV, looking confused.

"Of course!" As Mettaton led him to the door, he continued explaining. "We're going to be going for a little drive. I can't tell you where we're going because that's the surprise, but as I said before, I know you'll love it."

Although still puzzled somewhat, Papyrus wasn't worried. Mettaton had never let him down before, and he had no reason to start now - especially not on Papyrus' birthday.

The two entered the back of the limo, and before long, they were on the road. Papyrus couldn't help but notice that the route they were taking happened to pass by some of his favorite places, including the historical district, the local lake, and Mt. Ebbot National Park. Mettaton, meanwhile, couldn't decide whether to watch the sights or to watch Papyrus' reactions to the sights; all he knew was that he needed to keep at least one eye on the surroundings, so he'd know when they were almost there.

Eventually, he squeezed Papyrus' hand. "We're almost there, sweetheart. Look down, and wait until I say to look back up."

"All right!" Papyrus looked down at the floor of the limo; it was rather pristine, with the uniform color only broken by the presence of its passengers' boot-clad feet. "Nyeh heh heh! I'm very good at studying the floor! If there's a test on the floor, I know I'll get the top score! ...Hey, that rhymed!"

Mettaton grinned at his boyfriend's enthusiasm. Eventually, when the car made it to a stop and he verified that this was his destination, he opened the door. "We're here! Keep looking down for a little bit longer, all right?"

As they left the car and walked up to the place, Papyrus kept looking down. As much as the anticipation was threatening to wreck him at this point, he kept reminding himself that he could just watch Mettaton's pink stiletto boots. When your partner has legs as amazing as those, it's hard not to get distracted sometimes.

And then, finally, those boots stopped in their tracks. "You can look up now, beautiful."

Papyrus looked up, saw the signage, and gasped. For he and Mettaton were standing in front of...

"A car museum?!"

Mettaton kissed Papyrus' forehead. "I knew you'd love it."

With an excited laugh, Papyrus pulled Mettaton close in a hug. "Wowie! Thank you, Mettaton! This is amazing!"

The pair walked into the museum, and after Mettaton paid for their admission, Papyrus gladly led the way; the expression on his face could best be compared to that of a kid in a candy store. There were lots of rare and unique cars, both old and new, on display. Rustic ones, luxurious ones, streamlined ones, aerodynamic ones, iconic ones, ones that never stood a chance in the market... Papyrus gleefully read the information plaques next to each one, and whenever he happened upon a fact that he found especially interesting, he would tell Mettaton about it, making sure to put the more technical details in terminology that Mettaton (who, like most of their friends, didn't know quite as much about cars as Papyrus did) would easily comprehend.

Mettaton himself listened with rapt attention. He loved hearing Papyrus talk about topics he was passionate about (it didn't hurt that he himself was often one of those topics), since Papyrus' enthusiasm just couldn't be extinguished. (And if anyone ever tried, Mettaton would not be pleased.) At this moment, Papyrus was sharing his love of something with the man he loved - and he was doing so on his birthday! If joy could be bottled and sold, Papyrus would have been a great source of it right now.

Papyrus checked the museum map and grinned. "It says there are more luxury cars in the next room!"

"Ooh! Then what are we waiting for, darling?" Once more, Mettaton let Papyrus show him around.

Ever since becoming close to Papyrus, Mettaton found himself gaining a new appreciation for the automotive industry every now and then. Today was no exception.

Chapter Text

When Mettaton had first learned that Papyrus' dream job involved working hands-on with cars, he had admittedly been quite confused. In human culture, jobs that involved manual labor (blue-collar jobs, as he'd heard them being called) were often considered less than ideal. Many humans, as well as some monsters, would have preferred working like Mettaton, whose line of work was centered around creatively expressing himself.

However, Papyrus honestly loved his job. From his point of view, what could be better than a job where he got to help people, work with cars, solve puzzles, and get a paycheck for all of it afterwards? Besides, as long as the world had cars, it would always need people to help fix those cars when needed, so what better choice for a mechanic than someone who actually wanted to fix cars?

Mettaton didn't quite realize just how much Papyrus had loved his job until one evening sometime after the two had become friends.

He was sitting in Alphys' car as she drove herself and Mettaton home. The two had been asked to appear at a prestigious university so Alphys could do a presentation for the engineering students. Neither of them could complain much at all; the presentation helped Alphys feel more confident in herself, and Mettaton was not one to pass up an opportunity to be in the spotlight.

However, this university was all the way over in the next town, and as such, it was quite a drive to and from there.

Mettaton had decided to make the best of it, though; while Alphys kept her eyes on the road, he paid attention to all the sights and sounds. The dark clouds against the orange sky, the anime-themed playlist that Alphys had put on, the tall trees occasionally separated by billboards showing how many miles it was until the next rest stop, the strange grinding sound coming from the car...

Wait a minute.

"Alphys, darling, where is that noise coming from?"

Alphys gulped. "I... I don't know! The car isn't supposed to make that noise... let me pull over."

After pulling over on the side of the road, Alphys got out of the car and looked around. Mettaton waited inside until he noticed Alphys opening the passenger-side door next to him.

"One of the tires is flat," she said.

When Mettaton got out of the car and saw that one of the tires was indeed quite deflated, he sighed. "How lovely... well, should I call a tow truck?"

"M-maybe we could see if one of the others could help first?" Alphys was sweating a bit, wishing she knew how to change a tire (her only point of reference, the wheel on Mettaton's box form, was quite different from a car tire). "Undyne's at wrestling school right now, but... maybe someone else can help us?"

"I certainly hope so." Mettaton didn't want to have to charge all the way out here; even if the tire was replaced in the interim, would the car battery still hold up in the morning?

He took out his phone, and while unlocking it, noticed that Papyrus had sent him a text message.

I HOPE THE PRESENTATION WENT WELL!!!

Mettaton bit back the urge to chuckle a little; he wasn't sure why Papyrus sent his text messages in all-caps and with all that punctuation, but since he still used proper spelling and grammar, it perhaps wasn't too much of an issue. He began typing out a reply.

The presentation did indeed go well. However, Alphys and I have a flat tire... He spent the rest of the text message describing where they were.

It didn't take long at all for Papyrus to reply: OH NO!!! WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO COME OVER AND HELP YOU???

We would both appreciate that, as much as I would hate to interrupt your day off.

THE GREAT PAPYRUS NEVER TAKES DAYS OFF FROM HELPING HIS FRIENDS!!! I'LL BE RIGHT OVER!!!

As soon as he saw that message, Mettaton found himself saying, "Well, that takes care of that."

"Huh?" Alphys looked up from her own phone.

"Papyrus is going to come over and help us change the tire."

Alphys smiled. "That's good... then we'll just have to go to a repair shop. If they're still open at this hour, I mean." If not, she could always store the car in her garage until the next day.

While they waited, the two kept themselves busy in different ways. Alphys played a game on her phone, and Mettaton quietly sang different songs to himself, occasionally checking his own phone to see if Papyrus had left him any more messages.

By the time Papyrus himself finally pulled over nearby in his bright red convertible, Alphys was nearly fully absorbed in her game, and Mettaton was bobbing his head to the beat of the song he was singing at the moment.

"She's a killer queen, gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind..."

Just then, Mettaton heard that high tenor join in: "Anytime...!"

Both he and Alphys looked up (the latter yelping a little) and saw the familiar grin of their tall, skeletal friend.

"Wowie! I didn't know we were also having a sing-along! I should have brought my guitar."

Mettaton chuckled. "Thank you so much for coming over, darling. What would we do without you?"

"Well, technically, you could do lots of things, but if something's worth doing, it's worth doing with the Great Papyrus! Now, let's see..." He walked around, looking at the tires, before coming across the problem tire. "Oh my god! That tire certainly is flat! But fear not, for I, Papyrus, have come prepared, as I always do! Do you have a spare tire? I brought one in case you don't!"

"W-we do, but thanks," Alphys said.

"Nyeh heh heh! Let's not waste any time, then!" Papyrus went to retrieve some tools from his car while Alphys opened the trunk to get the spare tire. Mettaton, having no experience with fixing cars, decided to just stand nearby and watch.

Papyrus came over with his tools and, as he began raising the car with a jack, decided to strike up a conversation. "I've heard from an incredibly reliable - and beautiful - source that the presentation went well!"

While Mettaton grinned, Alphys nodded. "They were all very interested in seeing what the future of cybernetics could be. Some of them said that, if I could make an entire body for Mettaton, I could possibly look into developing prosthetic limbs and maybe even other things." She briefly thought to herself; maybe, if the prosthetics worked with monster bodies, she could replace Undyne's missing eye?

"I'm sure you can do it if you just try!" Papyrus gave her a friendly smile. "You're a wonderful scientist!"

"R-right..." Alphys looked down, frowning.

Mettaton, having a very good idea of what was on her mind, crouched down to her level. "You'll be able to find a cure someday, sweetheart. We're all on your side. Shyren is, too."

"I'm trying..." She shuddered a little. "I just... don't want to make it worse."

She felt a pair of metal arms surround her. "Think about it this way, darling: you were able to bring monsters back from the dead. If you can develop a cure, you might be able to refine it until you're able to develop a reliable cure for falling down."

"That's if I can make it work, though..." Alphys tapped her claws together.

"And if you can, you will be a hero to monsters everywhere." He smiled. "In a way, you already are."

"What do you mean?"

"Since becoming a star, I've become an inspiration to so many. People have told me how much they love seeing me perform, and how much joy it brings to them." He looked her in the eye. "But I never would have become the kind of star I wanted to be if I didn't have a body. And who, exactly, created a body for me?"

"I did..." The wheels in Alphys' mind began turning a little.

"Exactly! It was because of you that I was able to become a star in the first place, instead of just wistfully dreaming of fame on a snail farm. Also..." He briefly stared at his own arm. "Because of you, I have a body that makes me feel like myself. I honestly can't thank you enough for that, darling."

Alphys gently smiled. "I... I still need to make a few adjustments to it, though. Improving the battery life a little, giving you some better waterproofing..."

"Take your time, sweetheart. My body as it is, is already miles beyond what I could have dreamed of."

While they were having this conversation, Papyrus was working quickly and efficiently. He had unscrewed each of the four wheel bolts, switched the flat tire with the spare, and was in the middle of screwing the bolts back in when he decided to put his own two cents in.

"We all believe in you, Dr. Alphys! You have a lot of cool friends, and a really cool fiancee who loves you! And you helped Mettaton make a lot of people really happy - including me!"

"Heh..." Alphys gave a weak smile. As horrible as she still felt about certain events in the past, she tried to remind herself that it was just that - the past - and that all she could do about it was try to improve the future.

Finally, Papyrus replaced the last bolt, and lowered the car until it was ready to return to the road. "There we go! You should be able to get home safely. If not, let me know. I'll pull over every ten miles and check my text messages just in case!"

Alphys adjusted her glasses with a nervous laugh. "You don't have to, because we should be okay... thanks, though."

"But I do have to! It's not safe to check your text messages while driving!" He grinned. "And besides, I just want to make sure my best friend's fiancee and my cool superstar friend get home safely! Because the Great Papyrus always looks out for his friends!"

He punctuated this with a dramatic pose, the wind picking up his scarf for added effect.

"Well, I should be going. I have to make sure Sans picks up his socks. Have a good night!" Papyrus put his things back in his car and drove off after the others thanked him and said goodbye.

As he watched him drive away, Mettaton smiled at Alphys. "Isn't he just delightful?"

"Yeah..." Admittedly, Alphys didn't know Papyrus as well as Undyne did, though she had spent one-on-one time with him before (a lot of it being spent jogging). As she looked back up at Mettaton, she couldn't help but notice the wistful look on her friend's face. "So, uh, should we go now?"

"Huh? Oh, right." Mettaton wasn't quite sure what had come over him. Regardless, he re-entered the car with Alphys, and the two headed off into the night.

Although Mettaton himself would most likely never want to take on another job that wouldn't let him creatively express himself (the snail farm had given him more than enough of that for a long while), it was thanks to people like Alphys and Papyrus that he was gaining an appreciation for people who did hands-on, technical jobs. After all, somebody had to do those jobs, and what better choice than people who were passionate about them?

 

 

Chapter Text

"Papyrus?" Mettaton looked over at the very morose skeleton sitting next to him in the limo. "What's wrong?"

"Nyeh!" Papyrus looked up, about to say that nothing was wrong, before deciding to change his phrasing. "It's... it's no big deal!"

He could feel Mettaton gently take his hand. "If it's not a big deal, then why do you look like the cable went out just as one of my shows was getting to the especially thrilling part? Did you not like something we did today?"

Mettaton and Papyrus had spent pretty much the entire day out, doing all sorts of fun things together. They had gone to the local roller rink to start, and despite neither being an expert at rollerskating quite yet (Mettaton didn't even have an edge, because having wheels on two feet is different from having one wheel coming from the center of your lower body), they still had quite a lot of fun. Next was a little shopping spree where they each picked up some new clothes, along with a few other trinkets; at some stores, they just ended up window-shopping, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. By the time they were done, the sun was beginning to set, so they found a scenic place and watched the sunset together. Finally, once evening fell, they had a nice dinner at a monster-friendly steakhouse (according to Mettaton, their filet mignon was to die for). And now, they were heading to their respective homes in the same limo that had driven them everywhere that day.

"No, Mettaton, I loved everything we did today! It was an amazing date, and we didn't even need to consult the handbook for it!" He looked down again. "And... that's why I'm sad."

With a slight tilt of the head, Mettaton gave Papyrus a quizzical look. "Because of the handbook, or...?"

Papyrus shook his head. With a pained expression in his eye sockets, he looked into Mettaton's eyes. "You see... I'm not ready for it to be over yet!"

"Oh..." Mettaton honestly couldn't blame Papyrus; who wouldn't want to spend more time with him? As he had another thought, he leaned down. "Would you like a hug, sweetheart?"

With a slightly tearful nod, Papyrus wrapped his arms around Mettaton, who responded in kind while gently whispering to him.

"If it makes you feel any better, Papyrus... I'm not ready for tonight to be over, either. The only reason we're going home now is because my battery is getting low, and since I'm filming an episode tomorrow, I need all the battery life I can get." He grinned. "Specifically, I'm filming the latest installment of Escape from Castle MTT."

Papyrus' expression brightened a little at that. "Wowie... I love that show!" He loved everything Mettaton made, but this particular show, which involved lots of action and puzzles, was an instant classic as far as Papyrus was concerned.

Mettaton nodded. "And when we finish the new season, you'll be able to see the new puzzles we came up with. Isn't that exciting?"

"Yes..." The expression on Papyrus' face was still rather bittersweet.

Noticing this gave Mettaton another idea. "Hmm... you know, darling, if you're still sad, you could always think of the time between this date and the next one as time to come up with new things for us to do. Many of the best ideas are created during downtime, after all."

"Oh?" Papyrus could feel a good chunk of his sadness begin to evaporate.

With another nod, Mettaton leaned back and took Papyrus' hand again. "Why don't you spend some time thinking up some ideas for our next date? Once you have a list, let me know." He couldn't resist a grin. "Think you're up to the challenge, beautiful?"

Papyrus felt a new resolve in his heart. "Of course! The Great Papyrus never backs down from challenges!"

Even when the limo pulled up in front of his house and he gave a slight frown as he grabbed his things, all it took for him to cheer up was Mettaton giving him a kiss and saying, "I can't wait to hear what you come up with." And thus, after bidding him farewell for the night, Papyrus headed home with a spring in his step, joyfully humming.

Although this date may have ended too soon, he and Mettaton still made a lot of good memories. And Papyrus' mind was already beginning to form ideas for next time so that, by the time it eventually did roll around, he would make Mettaton proud.

Chapter Text

Without a doubt, one of Papyrus' favorite sounds was the sound of Mettaton's voice. The star spoke in a rich baritone, with a slight mechanical edge due to the nature of his body (the mechanical edge wasn't quite as pronounced in his EX form as it was in his rectangular form, but it was still there). Something about this voice felt compelling to Papyrus; the phrase "smooth like butter" may have been a cliche way of describing it, but it fit so well. There were many nights where Papyrus would just put on one of Mettaton's audiobooks and let that honeyed voice carry him away to many glamorous worlds. Sometimes he would even close his eyes and imagine that Mettaton was right there with him, reciting the words in his room.

Mettaton's voice was very expressive, too; it came with him being an actor at heart. He had a way of incorporating subtle nuances into his voice to portray different characters and express different emotions. Whether he was reading a poem, a story in prose, a script, or anything else, he certainly knew how to make it come to life.

When the two met each other, and especially when the meetings became more frequent, Mettaton ended up familiarizing himself with Papyrus' voice, as well. As soon as Papyrus opened his mouth for the first time around Mettaton, the voice that came out reminded Mettaton somewhat of the supervillain in one of the Saturday morning cartoons (even though, as he quickly discovered, Papyrus was far too kindhearted to be anyone's villain). It was a high, excitable tenor that, most of the time, seemed to be several decibels higher than necessary. Papyrus' voice wasn't subtle about anything, either; if he felt a certain way, his tone would make sure the others knew it.

And yet, something about this voice was endearing instead of grating. Maybe it was because the words being spoken never came from a place of genuine malice; sure, Papyrus would sometimes get frustrated with others (particularly his brother and a small, white dog), but he never wished ill on them. Or maybe it had to do with just how encouraging Papyrus was towards everyone; he believed in them even when they didn't believe in themselves, saying that they just needed some support from "their cool friend, the Great Papyrus".

(Part of it might have also been because Papyrus liked to spend his time with Mettaton talking about his favorite Mettaton Moments; he had quite a large list of specific things, and Mettaton always loved hearing his fans describe what they liked about him.)

As Mettaton learned from Sans one day, Papyrus also liked having bedtime stories read to him. However, since moving to the surface, he would also come up with some stories of his own to help cheer up his friends and family when he noticed they were feeling down. His first story, told to cheer up Sans, was about two cool skeleton brothers going to the moon; from there, he seemed to come up with stories for each of his other companions. Mettaton would never forget the one that cast him as a king, Papyrus as his guardsman, and some of their friends and family as his court; it involved Frisk traveling from the Dreemurrlands and partaking in Mettaton's three trials in order to forge an alliance between the two nations. Although he didn't have as much acting experience as Mettaton, Papyrus still put an effort into telling his tales; he did voices for each of the characters, and even though he made himself appear cool in his stories, he made everyone else cool as well.

Of course, Papyrus' voice was also a welcome sound whenever Mettaton was upset about life. Whenever one of his shows went wrong, or he got a negative review, or even when it just seemed to be "one of those days", Papyrus would be there for him. Given just how boisterous he could be, it was sometimes such a surprise to hear Papyrus speaking in gentle tones. And even though Papyrus' advice bordered on the generic sometimes, and even though he would still put himself over now and then, he was so sincere in his desire to help Mettaton feel better that Mettaton really couldn't fault him very much.

In fact, Papyrus' unremitting kindness ended up playing a big role in Mettaton falling for him. And things only got better from there.

It was just a few nights after they'd moved in together; there was a loud thunderstorm outside, which Papyrus still wasn't quite used to (though not many of the other monsters were quite used to it, either; Undyne was the only one who didn't seem to be afraid). Although he didn't need to sleep quite as much as their friends did, he still needed to sleep, which the thunderstorm wasn't letting him do.

Fortunately, Mettaton knew exactly what would cheer him up: a bedtime story. Although Papyrus remained wide awake until the story was done (not wanting to miss any part of it), he could feel his fear and tension float away more and more with each word Mettaton spoke.

Besides, this time around, he didn't need to close his eyes and imagine anything. Mettaton was right there, in his room, reading the story just for him.

Chapter Text

Sometimes, you don't notice a sound is there until it stops. It's quiet background noise that can easily trick you into thinking things are silent, but when the noise isn't there anymore, then it feels silent. Papyrus was familiar with more than a few of these noises; they included chirping crickets, the gentle drones of a computer tower, and the whirring of Mettaton's systems.

Whenever Mettaton was awake, his soul casing would produce a very faint hum, inaudible unless he was in a very quiet room. At times of high emotion, this hum would grow louder, no doubt driven by his internal cooling systems. Every night, a few minutes after he'd plug himself in to charge, he would enter sleep mode and it would fall silent until the next morning. Although his body would be completely still until he woke up, his soul still glowed from within its casing. Papyrus had to get used to that pink light not being there whenever Mettaton was on a long tour; fortunately, a strong skeleton like him had some good coping mechanisms. A good number of them involved turning on one of Mettaton's many works and imagining that he was there.

And when Papyrus was feeling agitated for whatever reason, Mettaton would invite him to cuddle with him, as he often liked to do in other situations. If things had been particularly stressful, then if their positions allowed, Papyrus would rest his skull against Mettaton's soul casing and just close his eyes. That quiet, gentle whirring, together with the pink glow and the warmth from the metal and silicone... it was really all that Papyrus needed to wind down.

But as enjoyable as it was, he didn't like resting his skull near Mettaton's soul for that reason alone; he had another, more personal reason.

While it was commonly believed that skeleton souls were located in the ribcage, to match the biology of other creatures, this wasn't quite the case. Skeletons did have a vital magical organ in their ribcages, but it was more of a regulator for their magic reserves. Their actual souls were located in their skulls, the safest part of a skeleton's body.

Thus, whenever Papyrus let his skull rest that close to Mettaton, it was a way of silently telling him "I know my soul is safe with you". And, of course, Mettaton's soul would in turn be safe with him.

Papyrus was a very excitable skeleton, and he certainly had nothing against loud noises; the activities he and Undyne would partake in counted as proof of that. But sometimes, the only sound he needed was the gentle hum of Mettaton's systems; just enough white noise to break the silence without disrupting his thoughts.

Chapter Text

As part of living on the surface, monsters of course had to learn to deal with weather. The weather had its good points: warm days where the sun was shining, the soothing sounds of a rainy day, the fun activities to partake in whenever snowflakes drifted down and blanketed the ground. However, any type of weather could be a double-edged sword; the sunny days could lead to a heat wave, the rain could end up flooding some places, and there could be so much snow that people couldn't even leave their houses.

Mettaton and Papyrus, as well as all their friends and family members, found themselves caught in the latter situation one winter's day.

When Mettaton woke up that morning, he checked his phone to see what his friends, family, and fans were up to, as he often liked to do every day. On one of his social media apps, he noticed that Alphys had left a post saying that the snow was so thick that she and Undyne couldn't leave their house, so the two were probably just going to stay in and watch anime all day. Undyne herself had also posted about it, with the far more blunt message of "This weather SUUUUUUCKS!!!" Several other people he knew personally - including Sans, Napstablook, Mad Dummy, and Frisk - had left their own posts regarding how thick the snow was.

Out of curiosity as well as concern, Mettaton decided to look out of the bedroom window. There was, indeed, a very thick blanket of snow on the ground, covering the yards and the road, and more flakes just kept drifting down. He and Papyrus lived on a rather quiet street, so he didn't expect to see anyone driving around. Then again, who could drive around in a blizzard like this?

Suddenly, an unsettled feeling took root in his soul. Papyrus hadn't tried to go to work today... had he?

Fortunately, when he headed downstairs and heard the TV from the front room, those worries easily disappeared. Heading into the front room, he noticed Papyrus on the couch, a thick blanket keeping him warm as he watched the latest news about the weather.

Papyrus looked over at him. "Good morning, Mettaton. If you're wondering why I'm not at work, it's because there's a horrible snowstorm outside."

Mettaton nodded. "I noticed. It looks positively dreadful outside, and our friends are saying they can't even leave their homes." He glanced at the couch. "Is there room under that blanket?"

"Of course!" Papyrus shuffled a bit to allow Mettaton to lie down on the couch with him. Mettaton quietly groaned at just how warm everything was as he lay on the couch, Papyrus resting against him and pulling the blanket back up. "My boss left me a message telling me not to come in to work today because of the weather. There's so much snow that no one can leave!"

"Well, we'll just have to stay indoors, won't we, darling?" Mettaton's hand took hold of one of Papyrus' hands, the thumb gently stroking it up top, while Mettaton himself grinned.

"Nyeh! It'll be just like the holiday season!" Papyrus frowned. "Except we've already celebrated Christmas and New Year's, and it's not Valentine's Day yet..."

He felt a smooch to the top of his skull. "Darling, as far as I'm concerned, every day I spend with you is Valentine's Day."

Papyrus felt orange magic gather on his face. "W-wowie..."

For several long minutes, they lay there beneath the warm blanket, Mettaton continuing to stroke Papyrus' hand as the two listened to the weather updates. If the snow hadn't trapped them indoors, they would have loved to help their friends and neighbors if they needed it; being a robot and a skeleton, they were less susceptible to extreme temperatures. However, the roads would still be rather slippery, which provided its own set of dangers that they would have had to worry about. And they hoped that, if the power went out, it wouldn't be out for too long; when one partner literally needs to recharge every night by plugging himself into a wall, power outages quickly become something that is very much not appreciated.

With a longing sigh, Papyrus squeezed Mettaton's hand a little. "I wish the snow would stop being unreasonable, so we could go outside again. Snowy days are my favorite; they remind me of Snowdin."

"I can imagine." Although Mettaton never really had much of a personal attachment to Snowdin - only really starting to appreciate it when he'd learned that his boyfriend used to live there - he couldn't blame Papyrus for appreciating things that reminded him of his old home. As much of a prison as the Underground had been back when they were all forced to live there, many monsters still had fond memories of the places where they used to spend their days.

Papyrus grinned. "I still remember this one time when Sans and I made snowmen of ourselves. Well, I made a snowman of myself, at least. Sans just gathered some snow into a pile and wrote his name on it."

"Oh my..." Mettaton began snickering. "He would do something like that, wouldn't he?"

After laughing for a bit, Papyrus thought of another story to tell. "There was another day in which I spent hours playing Ball in the forest. You would have to kick a snowdecahedron into a hole, and the exact manner in which you did it was said to describe who you are as a person. It's like a personality quiz combined with exercise!" His eyelights sparkled. "I most frequently got orange flags, which means I'm very brave. But considering I'm the Great Papyrus, that isn't much of a surprise. Especially since orange is my favorite color."

Mettaton's curiosity was piqued. "Is there a pink flag?"

"If there is, I never saw one. There's a purple one and a red one, though!" Just like that, Papyrus had an idea. "Ooh! Maybe one day, we can go to Snowdin, and you can play Ball and see what you get! And then I can show you all the cool puzzles I made!"

"I'm sure they're amazing," Mettaton said. "It would be lovely to see them for myself."

"Nyeh heh heh! They are amazing! I even made one of them as a tribute to you!"

"Oooh!" Mettaton gave him another kiss. "Tell me more, beautiful."

And so they spent a good deal of time talking about puzzles and Snowdin, all while staying warm from the blizzard outside. Fortunately, after that day, the worst of it was over, and the snow became reasonable again. But even when the weather was horrible, the two certainly knew how to make the best of it.

Chapter Text

"Next Saturday, huh?" Undyne sipped her coffee.

Alphys nodded. "I think Mettaton's really gonna love the setup. There's gonna be a karaoke machine, and I'm looking into getting some glowsticks, and..."

Papyrus, on the other hand, wasn't paying much attention, instead looking around at the decor of the coffee shop they were all sitting in. It was a fairly modest place, with abstract art hanging on the walls, and yet the sleek, simple furniture gave it a modernist aesthetic. Certainly a good place to go to take one's mind off of things...

"Hey! Earth to Papyrus!"

Or not.

"Nyeh!" Papyrus snapped out of it in an instant; Undyne's voice could wake anyone up. She, Alphys, and Sans were giving him odd looks.

Undyne blinked, briefly staring at Papyrus' cup. "Is the coffee going to your head or something? Usually, whenever we talk about Mettaton, you're all over it. You think his birthday party's gonna be too much, or... what's going on here?"

"Well...!" Papyrus stalled for a second, before sighing and looking down, deciding to tell the truth. "To be perfectly honest, I'm still not sure what I'm going to get for him."

"I... I'm sure you'll think of something wonderful!" While Alphys was usually the one who needed comfort instead of providing it, she still cared very much for her friends.

Gently drumming the tips of his phalanges on the table, Papyrus frowned. "But what, though? He's very rich; if he wants something, he can probably afford it himself." He still remembered how surprised he was when he'd learned that Mettaton lived in a more modest dwelling instead of the giant, highly-decorated mansion he'd imagined.

"Then you just gotta give him something he can't afford, bro." Before Papyrus could ask how he could afford something Mettaton couldn't, Sans continued. "Something you make with your own two hands. It may not be the fanciest stuff in the world, but as long as you put thought into it, he'll love it a ton..."

Papyrus sighed. "Please don't say what I think you're going to say..."

Unfortunately, in these situations, Sans was not a good listener. He winked. "A skele-ton."

The palm of Papyrus' hand met his forehead. "Sans! What did I just tell you?"

Sans shrugged. "Beats me. Weren't you listening, either?"

The rest of the meeting at the coffee shop went by rather uneventfully. Papyrus kept thinking about Sans' advice, though, and by the time he and Sans went home, he'd already felt an idea come to him.

He went to his room, opened the case containing his prized acoustic guitar, and gave it a few experimental strums.


"Oh my..." Mettaton held the framed pencil drawing of himself that Alphys had given him, studying it from every angle. He'd expected her to be able to render his form very well on paper, given that she had drawn all of his blueprints, but this was something else. The drawing had been carefully constructed, from the line-art to the placement of values, to the point where it almost felt real. It helped that, in the drawing itself, Mettaton was posing dramatically, one leg in the air.

Alphys was sweating a bit. "Do you like it...?"

"It's amazing, darling. I'm definitely going to display this somewhere." His smile was so sincere that Alphys couldn't help but smile back as she listened to him. "This drawing brings out everything that makes me wonderful - and I expected no less from the woman who made my dreams come true."

"Thanks." Alphys couldn't hold back a grin.

"Thank you, Alphys." Mettaton looked out at the assembled party guests. "Well, who would like to give me their gift next?"

Undyne grabbed some more pretzel sticks and gently elbowed Papyrus. "Wanna go, dork? The sooner you do it, the sooner you can stop worrying about it."

"Well, I..." Papyrus thought for a moment. As worried as he was, Undyne had a point... and he had to do it sometime. The Great Papyrus did not just walk out of parties for no good reason! "You're right, Undyne." He looked at Mettaton and raised both his hand and his voice. "Attention, everyone! Would it be all right if I gave my present now?"

"Oh?" Mettaton looked over. "Go right ahead, darling!"

In truth, Mettaton was expecting some kind of object as a gift, which was why it came as such a surprise when Papyrus instead walked up to the stage with his guitar in tow.

Once there, Papyrus took the microphone and cleared his throat. "All right!" Everyone fell silent and turned to face him. "I, the Great Papyrus, have been practicing this for the past several days. I'm sure many of you know this song, and I would like to play it for you. I hope you all like it - especially you, Mettaton!"

He grabbed his guitar, and after making sure it was in the correct tuning, he began to play. Although he was just plucking individual notes for the most part, he had a very determined look on his face, occasionally sneaking glances at his hands. Within the first few notes, everyone recognized the song; it was none other than Mettaton's personal theme song, a motif that showed up in many of his shows.

Mettaton watched silently, admiring Papyrus' dedication. In order to do this, Papyrus had to learn how to play the guitar, and then he either had to figure out how to read sheet music or figure out how to play it by (metaphorical) ear. He wasn't sure how long Papyrus had been playing, but this was clearly something from his heart.

Eventually, Papyrus' strumming switched gears, and he began to play a song that often played in the background of Mettaton's quiz shows. The fingerwork was faster, but the look on Papyrus' face made it clear that he was in "the zone". He was not going to mess this up; this was Mettaton's birthday present (or "activation day", as the man himself called it), and it's not every day that you get to give a birthday present to your personal hero.

After strumming the last notes, he lowered the guitar, taking deep breaths and waiting for a response. Anything could have happened in that moment, and he mentally prepared himself for any possible reaction-

-but he was still surprised when Mettaton stood up and clapped his hands, yelling "Bravo!" It wasn't long for everyone else to start applauding as well.

Papyrus smiled, feeling relief settling over him. Wowie... Mettaton liked my performance! After thanking everyone, he headed back to where he had been sitting.

It didn't take long for Mettaton to approach him. "That was phenomenal! I always love fan interpretations of my work."

"Thank you..." Papyrus made a mental note to thank Sans for the advice; gifts from the heart truly were the best gifts to give someone who could afford all sorts of material possessions.

"Just out of curiosity..." Mettaton gently smiled. "How long have you been playing guitar?"

And now Mettaton wanted to learn more about him? This was almost too good to be true. Nevertheless, Papyrus spoke. "Well, it all started last Christmas..."

While Mettaton had had many activation days before, and would have many more, this was certainly one that neither he nor Papyrus would forget anytime soon.

Chapter Text

"Nyeh...!"

Mettaton walked into the den, wondering if Papyrus was okay, and was met with the sight of Papyrus clutching a controller and staring at the screen. By all accounts, he appeared to have just lost whatever it was he'd been playing; Mettaton didn't recognize the game.

"Is everything all right, sweetheart?"

Papyrus gasped and spun around, but his expression softened when he saw it was just Mettaton. "Oh! Hello, Mettaton! Undyne showed me this game the other day, and I decided to get a copy. She said it was very challenging; she was right." He frowned. "I've been trying to complete this level for the past half-hour!"

"Oh my... that definitely sounds challenging." Mettaton thought for a moment. "I've never played this game, so I unfortunately can't give any specific advice."

"It's okay! I still appreciate the thought!" Papyrus turned back towards the screen and decided to give the level another try. Mettaton decided to take a seat nearby and watch; the game certainly looked fast-paced and frantic. The buttons and joysticks clacked as Papyrus tried to complete the level; alas, "tried" ended up being the operative word, for even Mettaton's silent moral support wasn't enough.

As his character was defeated yet again, Papyrus let out a frustrated groan. "I thought I had it that time!"

"You'll get it eventually, darling." Mettaton's hand rested on Papyrus' shoulder. "Maybe if you stepped away from the game for a little while, it'll be easier."

"Step away? No!" Papyrus looked appalled. "The Great Papyrus is not a quitter!"

Mettaton blinked. "I... never said you were a quitter?" The very thought of calling him a name like that was abhorrent to him.

"The act of turning off a game is called quitting, is it not?" Papyrus struck a dramatic pose. "And as the Great Papyrus, the only thing I would like to quit is the act of quitting itself!" Suddenly, even as he continued posing, his expression looked confused. "Wait a minute... if I quit the act of quitting, then I'm still quitting something, so I actually haven't quit the act of quitting. Oh no! I think I caught myself in a paradox!"

"Darling... it's all right." He felt Mettaton gently pull him close with his arm. "Despite what the terminology may be, I personally don't consider it quitting. Instead, I consider it taking a break and coming back to it later." Mettaton looked at him with a smile. "I take breaks whenever I can't think of a good way to advance the plot in one of my shows, or whenever I'm having trouble coming up with song lyrics. It really is helpful; perhaps, if you took a break, you'll have an easier time thinking of a solution."

"Hmm..." Papyrus briefly glanced at the screen again. "I'll give it one more try, and if I lose again, then I'll put it down for a while."

With a nod, Mettaton watched as Papyrus tried the level one more time. He made quite a bit of progress, his phalanges flying across the controller buttons and joysticks, as his character moved along the screen and fought the enemies; he even ended up making it further than he'd done before. Unfortunately, he didn't make it far enough, and ended up losing again.

Sighing, Papyrus switched off the game. "All right... what should we do now?"

"Perhaps we could go for a walk?" Mettaton took Papyrus' hand. "The sun should be setting soon."

Papyrus grinned; he always did like seeing the sunset ever since everyone moved to the surface. And seeing it with Mettaton was even better.

As the two walked outside, hand-in-hand, in the cool evening air, he could already feel his mind begin to clear up. He wasn't sure if he would win when he eventually returned to the game, but he felt like he'd be ready after some downtime.

Mettaton's presence did make for great moral support, after all.

Chapter Text

Papyrus was bored.

Out of all his family and friends, it seemed like he was the only one who didn't have anything to do. Undyne was continuing her wrestling training, Alphys was doing some important research in her lab, Sans was helping her with said research, Toriel and Asgore were both working at the school, Frisk was going to school...

And Mettaton was out of town for two weeks, filming some scenes for his latest project.

This left Papyrus all alone in his and Mettaton's home. He wasn't even sure of what to do; he'd already done so many chores that the house was nearly pristine, but he didn't want to just sit around and watch TV. Papyrus wanted to do something. And yet, he wasn't in the mood to play any of the games he owned, and he had just practiced his guitar a little while ago. He couldn't even go to work because it was his weekend.

What was a skeleton like him to do, when even Sans had something to do but he didn't?

He lay on the couch for a little while, staring up at the ceiling and daydreaming of random things. Somehow, as he daydreamed, he got the idea to go for a drive around town. And why not? If he passed by something interesting, he could go inside and see what was there.

With that settled, it didn't take long for him to get his boots on and get into his car. In no time, he was out on the road, looking at all the shops and other sights in town. He always loved looking at everything there was to see; things that humans usually paid no mind were deeply intriguing to him. It came with the territory of not being too many years since the barrier broke.

As he was driving downtown, he caught sight of an interesting sign near the local art museum; they were having an exhibit featuring different paintings from young, up-and-coming artists. Almost immediately, he decided to find the nearest parking garage and check out the museum. It wasn't like he'd had anything better to do. (For some reason, his friend Flowery had always liked to ask that question of him; how could there be anything better to do than spending time with cool friends, though?)

Once he was in the museum itself, he looked around at all the paintings in all the different styles. Watercolors, acrylics, tempera, oil; warm colors, cool colors, monochromatic paintings, grayscale paintings; landscapes, still-life pictures, abstract art, and even some portraits.

It was while looking at the portraits that he felt another idea come to him. Had anyone ever painted Mettaton's portrait before? Not just with computer programs, but with real paints on a canvas? If not, maybe he could be the first one to do so. Maybe, just maybe, he could make one as a welcome-home present!

"You like that painting?"

"Nyeh!" Papyrus jumped a little before turning around and meeting eyes with a boy who couldn't have been older than his late teens or early twenties. He had on a backwards baseball cap, and Papyrus grinned at the sight; those kinds of hats were universal "cool dude" attire, of course. "Yes! It is a very lovely painting! In fact, when I look at it, I'm inspired to make my own!"

"For real?" The boy's jaw dropped. "Cause I'm the one who made that painting!"

"Wowie!" Papyrus looked back at the painting. "I love the use of colors in this painting; they set the mood quite well!" He gave a small, nervous laugh. "I must confess, I am still rather new to this art form. Would it be all right to ask for some advice?"

"Sure."

He paid close attention to the boy's advice; as soon as he left the museum, he'd be a skeleton on a mission.


After a trip to the art supplies store on the way home, Papyrus set down his canvas on the table and began to sketch. He was going to make a portrait of Mettaton in his box form, since he'd already had a lot of experience doodling that form every now and then; besides, he wasn't sure if he could do justice to Mettaton's more intricate EX form unless the man himself was in the room with him as a model. Plus, as someone who'd been a fan of his since the days underground, he felt it was a fitting tribute.

The Mettaton on the canvas was striking a dramatic pose, one hand gripping his microphone, as if to say "It's showtime, darlings!" In fact, just looking at the sketch made his voice echo in Papyrus' thoughts. He hoped that he could paint it well; then again, he was the Great Papyrus, and if he could already do lots of things, there was no reason why he couldn't do one more.

Finally, once the sketch was as good as it was going to get, he prepared for the next phase. Slipping on a smock over the rest of his clothes, he took the canvas to the backyard and set it on an easel he'd set up a little while ago. He made sure he had all his supplies ready, and when he was sure, he squeezed some acrylic paints onto his palette and went to work.

The background came first; it would be red on the top half and beige on the lower half, to mimic a stage setting. Papyrus painted carefully, making sure not to let the paints cross past the lines of his subject; fortunately, the paints were relatively quick to dry. After adding a shadow on the stage, he waited a half-hour for the background to dry (just enough time to watch an episode of one of Mettaton's old shows as a reference) before starting on Mettaton himself. He filled in the main parts of his shiny grey body, making them darker or lighter in some places to account for the light source, and carefully painted in some of the squares on his screen.

By the time he'd finished painting all the squares of one color, the sun was setting and he was getting hungry, so he filled in the wheel's basic coloring before deciding to pack it in for the night.

He was right back at it the next day, though, and for a new painter, he was pretty good at filling in details. The "M" on Mettaton's screen, the little treads on his wheel, the dials on his lower body... all that time spent watching his shows had certainly paid off.

When he was happy with what he'd painted, he dipped a small brush in some black paint, wrote "The Great Papyrus" in one corner along with the date, and stepped back to admire what he'd made. It certainly looked like a lively painting that did justice to the Underground's most famous celebrity.

He hoped the man himself would agree.


Two weeks later...

As soon as Papyrus heard the rattling of the doorknob, he rocketed out of his seat and ran up to the door. Is that...?!

It was like the world heard his thoughts; once the door opened, a boot-clad leg stepped in, quickly followed by the rest of its owner, who struck a pose.

"Ohhh yesss! I have returned!"

"Metta!" Papyrus found himself swept off his feet in a huge hug. "I missed you!"

Mettaton gave his skull a few kisses. "I missed you too, my darling sunflower. We were able to complete the filming as intended, though. The finished product is going to be so lovely!"

Papyrus' eyelights sparkled; he loved seeing Mettaton's newest projects when they came out. "Wowie..."

As Mettaton walked in and Papyrus closed the door, he wondered how long it would take before Mettaton noticed a certain something resting against the far wall.

"Ooh! Did you get a new painting for the house, sweetheart?"

Not long at all, evidently.

Mettaton continued admiring the painting as Papyrus walked up behind him. "This is really lovely! Whoever made this certainly brought out how photogenic my other form is! I don't remember having this commissioned, though..." His gaze trailed towards the signature in the corner, and he froze, feeling his internal fans spin faster than usual. "Er... Papyrus?"

"Yes?"

"Did you make this?" Mettaton looked back to face him. "I ask only because I personally don't know anyone else named 'The Great Papyrus'. Especially not this recently."

With a slightly nervous laugh, Papyrus nodded. "I wanted to make you a welcome-home present worthy of the MTT Brand!"

He felt Mettaton pull him close and plant a long kiss on his forehead. "You've certainly delivered, darling. I would love to hang it up somewhere."

"Nyeh..." Papyrus felt butterflies in his ribcage. Back in the day, he never would have imagined that his Mettaton doodles would eventually come in handy to this degree.

Mettaton looked up. "Mechanics, guitar, poetry, and now painting... I've always wanted to meet a fellow Renaissance man." He grinned. "Especially one so loving and kind-hearted, on top of everything else."

As Mettaton gave him another kiss, Papyrus felt warm inside. What could have been nothing but an incredibly boring day ended up leading to something wonderful.

This was his first serious painting, and he got the idea that maybe it shouldn't be his last.

Chapter Text

Given how confident Mettaton was most of the time, it would very often come as a surprise whenever the cracks in that presentation would show. It didn't happen often, but when it did, people knew.

"Oh my god..." Mettaton kept muttering to himself as he obsessively combed his hair in the mirror. His hair was probably already perfect, his makeup was perfect, his suit was perfect - but what if there was one tiny flaw he didn't iron out? What if no one remembered anything about this wedding except for his looks - specifically, the flaws in his looks? Given that people often wrote entire news articles based specifically on what a given celebrity was wearing to a special event...

"You all right, MTT?"

Mettaton yelped and nearly jumped several feet in the air. He turned and saw Sans grinning at him - what was he grinning about? This wasn't funny in the slightest! "Don't sneak up on me like that!"

"Okay, okay!" Sans held up his hands. "I'll find a different way to sneak up on you next time."

He gave a silly grin, hoping to turn Mettaton's frown upside-down; Mettaton was having none of it, though.

"I have no time for jokes, Sans." Mettaton folded his arms. "Everything needs to be perfect!"

Sans blinked, wondering where this quick-tempered Mettaton came from. Usually, if Mettaton was angry, he was more reserved about it. This wasn't even his wedding, and yet he was acting like Groomzilla!

Then again, Mettaton had been in charge of planning it.

"Hey..." Sans walked over and leaned against the vanity. "I'm sure you did a great job at planning everything out. Bet ya Alphys and Undyne are gonna love it."

"What if something goes wrong, though? What if the fountain's pump doesn't work, or the music isn't to their taste, or the colors are all wrong, or...?" He took some deep breaths; while he technically didn't need to breathe, deep breaths still had the calming effect they had for others.

"You ever heard the old saying, 'it's the thought that counts'? I'm pretty sure it applies here." Sans hoped his grinning would lighten the mood. "I mean, even if a few things don't go exactly as planned, it's probably not a big deal. Neither of the girls has gone Bridezilla on us; Undyne's been loud, but just 'cause she's saying 'Hell yeah! We're getting married!' So it doesn't have to be totally perfect."

The deep breaths worked wonders for Mettaton's demeanor; instead of lashing out again, he calmly looked Sans in the eye. "I feel like it has to be perfect, though. Alphys has done so much for me; my dreams became a reality because of her, and so I need to thank her properly." He sadly sighed, looking down. "And back underground... I wasn't always a very good friend to her. So I feel like I need to make up for it all."

"I understand. Believe me, I do." Sans gave a sad sigh of his own, remembering his encounter with Frisk at Mettaton's resort. Now that he knew the kind of person that Frisk was, telling them they would've been killed if not for the promise felt like a crass move on his part. Frisk may have been a child, but they were better at forgiving people than even some adults.

Finally, Sans looked up. "I guess weddings are just one of those things where everyone's afraid something's gonna go wrong, but then it ends up going well in the end. I'll bet you anything that everyone's a little freaked out."

Mettaton gave him a curious look. "Even Papyrus?"

"Oh, I'm sure of it."


Sans was right.

In a different room, Papyrus stared at himself in the mirror, adjusting his tie slightly. He hoped he would be able to get through this without a hitch. Weddings were dignified events, after all, and Papyrus was going to be the kind of dignified person this event deserved!

(Apparently, the fact that one of the brides probably wouldn't be that heavily concerned about dignity didn't occur to him.)

Suddenly, he heard the sound of weeping from another corner of the room. He looked and saw Asgore slumped on the seat, tears streaming out of his eyes.

"Asgore?" Papyrus got up and walked over to him. "What's the matter? Why are you crying?"

Taking a ragged breath, Asgore grabbed a tissue and wiped his eyes. "There's nothing wrong. I'm just-" he sighed "-very emotional right now." He looked up. "I still remember like it was yesterday. When Undyne was still small, and she wanted me to teach her how to fight, and we would always drink golden flower tea together... and now she's getting married. She and I aren't formally considered related, but I still think of her as a daughter..."

Papyrus could tell that, even though nothing was wrong, Asgore still needed someone. He rested a hand on the arm of the couch Asgore was sitting on. "She'll never forget you. Just like how she'll never forget me. That's why we were chosen to be her escorts."

Asgore nodded. "I'm just so happy for her..."

Looking him in the eye, Papyrus gave him a gentle smile. "Today is going to be a very good day. I, Papyrus, can assure you of it."

Even in spite of his earlier insecurities, he didn't feel like he was lying.


Monster wedding traditions differed from those of humans in a number of ways, including walking down the aisle. When two monsters had a wedding, they would walk down the aisle at the same time, each escorted by two of the people closest to them (aside from each other).

And so it was that the seven of them - Undyne, Alphys, Papyrus, Asgore, Sans, Mettaton, and flower-kid Frisk - all met up just outside the hall where everyone else had gathered for the event.

Needless to say, the brides were struck speechless when they saw each other. Alphys was already the most beautiful woman in the world to Undyne, but her wearing that white dress put it on a whole new level. Meanwhile, it was weird to see Undyne looking so formal, with makeup on, her hair done up, and even wearing a skirt (even if it was over the long pants she had on). And yet, given the circumstances, it just worked.

"I sincerely hope you two like everything," Mettaton said. "I wanted to make it as wonderful as possible for you."

"Thank you, Mettaton." Alphys smiled at him.

Undyne nodded. "Even though you and I kinda rub each other the wrong way, I still trust you. I wouldn't have let you plan this wedding otherwise."

Papyrus walked over to him. "Indeed! It will be a very beautiful wedding, designed by a very beautiful celebrity!"

Mettaton couldn't hold back a smile. Why were compliments from Papyrus making him feel so fuzzy inside as of late?

"Hey, this is our wedding, so don't try any funny crap!" Undyne glared at Papyrus and Mettaton. "If you wanna ask each other on a date, then you have the rest of the year to do it!"

The two both spluttered, unsure of what to say to that. They didn't want to ask each other on a date... did they?

Such things were soon forgotten when the main event began. Frisk threw their flower petals onto the aisle floor as Undyne (escorted by Papyrus and Asgore) and Alphys (escorted by Sans and Mettaton) followed. None of the guests in attendance seemed to care that much about the itty-bitty details; they were more focused on the event as a whole, and the joy radiating throughout.

That being said, Mettaton still didn't fully calm down until quite a while later. It wasn't out of stress, though - as he found out during the event, he just got very emotional at weddings.

Chapter Text

The thing about dating Mettaton...

Well, there were lots of things Papyrus had to take into account since he was dating Mettaton. One of the biggest, though, was the fact that Mettaton was a bonafide celebrity; this simple fact introduced a host of unique challenges to the whole equation. Sometimes when the two were out in public, someone would want to talk to Mettaton (whether a fan or a reporter) and so they would have to pause what they were doing. Fortunately, many of them would at least pretend to be polite about it (not always, though; Mettaton had to slightly increase the level of security at his performances after an incident where someone managed to sneak into his dressing room). Also, since Mettaton was so famous, Papyrus had started getting some attention of his own just for being so close to him. While a good deal of fans had warmed up to him after seeing just how nice he was to everyone, as well as just how happy he and Mettaton were around each other, there were still some fans who thought Mettaton should be dating them and not him. A few times, some fans had even confronted Papyrus over the whole thing; since Papyrus was still polite even when he figured out what was going on, though, it would end either with the fans giving up on arguing, or with Mettaton himself stepping in and defending Papyrus.

One of the most inevitable challenges, though, was the fact that Mettaton's career often required him to travel. Sometimes it would be for a few days, or a few weeks, or even a few months, but he did have to travel every now and then in order to film scenes in far-off locales, or to stage tours promoting his newest albums, or to participate in special celebrity events that expected him to attend.

And more often than not, Papyrus couldn't go with him. If it was a long trip, then he knew that his boss at the auto repair shop might have some issues with him being away from his job for that long; besides, Papyrus loved his job, and so he wanted to save his vacation time for real vacations. He knew that, even if the trip lasted for just a day or two, Mettaton would have to spend most of it doing work, which wouldn't give much time for them to partake in fun activities.

Because of this, it wasn't unusual for Papyrus to be home by himself every now and then.

It always felt a little weird for him to have the house to himself for an extended period of time. Before he and Mettaton decided to move in together, he had always lived with Sans, whether underground or on the surface. The first time Mettaton went on tour since he and Papyrus started living together was probably the first time Papyrus ever really lived by himself. It took a little getting used to; only making meals for himself, not hearing anyone's voice first thing in the morning, just the general sense of emptiness that came with it all...

He hoped Mettaton wasn't lonely, wherever he currently was. It couldn't have been too lonely for him; just like Papyrus still had the company of Sans and Undyne and everyone else, Mettaton often brought his cousin Napstablook and their friend Shyren with him when he went on tour. That being said, sometimes one specific person can give you things that literally no one else can; because of this, Papyrus often found himself dreaming of Mettaton's return. Judging by some of the things Mettaton would tell him over the phone or on social media, the feeling was mutual.

Papyrus couldn't be too sad about things, though; both he and Mettaton were living their dreams, and he knew Mettaton wouldn't want him to just sit around and feel sad until they reunited. Fortunately, he had a good number of ways to cope with this.

One of the easiest ways was to simply leave him a message on social media every day. If Mettaton made a post, he would leave a nice comment related to it; otherwise, he would talk to Mettaton through instant messaging. Sometimes they would actually call each other; whether they were in a video chat or simply having a more old-fashioned phone conversation, hearing each other's voices in real time certainly had a way of helping them feel better.

Another way for Papyrus to deal with the loneliness was to hang out with the other people in his life. If neither he nor Undyne had any work to do, for example, the two would often exercise together, often bringing Alphys into it. Sometimes he would visit Frisk and either help them study or show them some new puzzles he'd found. And, of course, he could always spend time with Sans; as much as he would get annoyed at his brother's apparent lack of effort at certain things, Papyrus really did care about his brother very much.

Partaking in Mettaton's existing works also cheered him up. Sometimes it would be in the form of him putting on one of Mettaton's albums while doing chores, making up his own counterpoints to add onto Mettaton's lead vocals. Other times, he would watch some old videos that he and Mettaton had posted online; it was like a photo album, except with videos (and shared with the world). Still other times, he would switch on Delta Rune Network or one of Mettaton's audiobooks and just lie down, daydreaming of his favorite star.

And, of course, he knew he could always partake in his hobbies. Designing new puzzles and/or partaking in other people's puzzles was just the tip of the iceberg. There were also new recipes to learn; he found that this was actually a very opportune time to learn some recipes, since he would be able to master them in time for Mettaton's return home. For similar reasons, he would take the time to learn new songs on the guitar. He would even write poetry every now and then, letting his feelings for Mettaton spill from his pen onto some paper; in fact, this specific hobby actually came in handy one night.


Mettaton stared at himself in the hotel room mirror and sighed; today had not gone as well as he'd hoped. It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong; he and the others were lucky that the performance was still salvagable.

While he continued getting ready to go to sleep, he checked his phone and noticed that Papyrus had sent him something. He smiled; just a little while ago, he'd been venting to Papyrus about how rotten his luck had been. Papyrus certainly knew how to help him feel better, even if they couldn't physically be together at the moment.

Upon closer inspection, he found that Papyrus had sent him an audio file. Wondering what it could be, he put in some earbuds before sitting on the bed and opening the link. The file started out as silence for a few seconds, before the sound of Papyrus' voice came through. Mettaton gasped at what he was hearing; Papyrus had written another love poem for him, and this file was his reading of it. Papyrus had put in some clear effort, too, enunciating every word and speaking slowly so as to give Mettaton time to digest everything. And the words he was speaking...! Mettaton felt tears coming to his eyes. For all of his bravado and quirkiness, Papyrus certainly knew how to write sincere, heartfelt poetry.

When the recording ended, Mettaton needed a few minutes to calm down, grabbing some tissues and wiping the tears away. Today wasn't a total bust after all, and it was all thanks to the man he loved.

In fact...


Papyrus looked out the window at the moon shining in the night sky. He knew that somewhere, Mettaton was probably looking at the same moon.

Suddenly, his phone vibrated on the nightstand; it was a notification from Mettaton. Did he like the thing that Papyrus sent him? Papyrus grabbed the phone; he had to know!

Much to his surprise, the only contents of Mettaton's reply were an audio file of his own. It was much smaller in size than the one Papyrus had sent, but that didn't matter. Papyrus opened it, wondering what it contained.

This new file consisted of Mettaton saying one simple sentence: "I love you so much, Papyrus." And that was really all he needed to say.

Papyrus smiled, feeling warmth radiating in his heart. Even if he and Mettaton were on opposite sides of the world, they would always be able to brighten each other's days.

In the meantime, Papyrus would spend his days living life to the fullest, so that when Mettaton did come home, he would have so many stories, experiences, skills, and all sorts of odds and ends to show for it.

Chapter Text

Papyrus hadn't meant for the day to take a turn in the direction that it did.

It had all started with him looking at his collection of sexy robot action figures, which caught the attention of the resident sexy robot himself, who had come over for a visit. Mettaton was very curious about Papyrus' collection, as well as amazed at his dedication. In turn, Papyrus told him all about where he got each action figure; there had even been a time when he went through Hotland and all the steam-vent puzzles within so he could pick up one of the rarer ones directly from the MTT Resort.

All was well... but then Papyrus asked the question that changed the tone entirely.

"Do you collect anything?"

At first, Mettaton took the question in stride. He laughed a little and related an old memory from before he had his body. Back in those old days in Waterfall, he'd decided to start a diary collection; he would get a new diary for every entry he made. What he'd never told anyone was one of the real reasons why he started a collection: he'd had trouble turning the pages. The paper in most notebooks was so thin that it would be tough to turn the pages for someone like him; just getting the cover open was far easier.

Papyrus had then asked him if he still had this collection, and from there, Mettaton's demeanor became a little more morose. He admitted that it was still in his old house on the snail farm, and that he wasn't even sure if he had the key anymore.

"It's probably around somewhere! And if not, I could help you get inside; it wouldn't be a ghost crime because it's your own house." Just then, Papyrus had another idea. "Or, maybe we could ask Napstablook--"

"No!"

Papyrus gasped and winced, not expecting an outburst like that.

Mettaton took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. What I meant to say was, I don't think that will be necessary. Nobody's maintained that house for years, so we might not even need the key. The lock may have become worn-down."

As Mettaton spoke, Papyrus couldn't help but notice that he seemed rather distant in a way. He was about to say that they didn't have to do this if Mettaton didn't want to.

However, when Mettaton made it clear that he did want to go, Papyrus couldn't say no to that. More than anything, he wanted to be there for the man he cared about.


And so it was that, after a short hike up Mt. Ebbot, the two returned to the Underground once more. They walked across the bare dirt that was once the king's throne room (when everyone moved to the surface, Asgore insisted on taking the flowers with him so he could continue taking care of them) before traveling through the rest of New Home. Since people still liked to visit the Underground every now and then, many things were still maintained, including the elevators.

When one of the elevators landed in the MTT Resort, Mettaton felt a lump in his throat. So many memories came back to him; memories of when he had his big break, memories of how the Underground loved him, memories of when he used his rectangle form on a regular basis since Alphys was still working on his EX body, and even some memories of the incompetent business practices he'd put forth. Thankfully, he had people to help him with all of that now.

The two made their way through Hotland; while the elevators helped a great deal in making the trip easier, they still encountered a steam vent puzzle or two on the way. Papyrus was reluctant to cross those puzzles, even though some extra safety features had since been installed. It was such a surprise to him when Mettaton suddenly switched into his rectangle form, scooped him up into his arms, and flew him over the area. As they passed by Alphys' lab, Mettaton let out a wistful sigh; he would never stop being grateful to her.

Never again, at least.

Once they landed, Mettaton switched back into his EX form, and the two went down to the dock. The riverperson was still there, offering rides to whomever wanted them ("Tra la la. As long as these waterways need traversing, who better to traverse them than someone who's always traversed them?"), and so they asked for a ride to Waterfall. The dock in Waterfall happened to be close to Blook Acres, and Mettaton tried to steel the quivering in his soul.

When the two houses came into view, Papyrus recognized the pink one as the one that he'd once thought belonged to "Happstablook, the happy ghost". He didn't know if that was actually the ghost's name, but he wasn't about to ask; the ghost in question went by Mettaton now, and that was what was important.

Mettaton walked up to the pink house and gave the doorknob an experimental rattle - and promptly gasped when the door opened on its own. He remembered locking it before he'd left for the last time; maybe the lock had become worn-down after all.

Fortunately, when he and Papyrus stepped inside, everything was just as he'd left it. The bed, the poster, the TV and its stand, the rug... and the six diaries on the floor. And, of course, the vast majority of what was in the room was varying shades of pink.

"Wowie..." Papyrus looked around. His hero's old home...

"Oh yes. Pink has always been my favorite color." Mettaton picked up the first of his diaries, hoping that no one tampered with it. Fortunately, the writing inside was still intact, and no one had messed with the pages. He smiled, thinking about how he, Shyren, and Blooky did indeed get to perform together eventually.

But how they came to perform together... he didn't want to face it, but deep down, he knew he had to.

Mettaton went through each of his diaries, making sure none of them were vandalized. None of them were, but Papyrus could have been fooled when he saw Mettaton's expression as he read the last diary. He looked pained, with his hands slightly trembling.

"Mettaton?" Papyrus walked up to him. "What's wrong?"

But Mettaton didn't respond. In the process of making sure this diary wasn't tampered with, he'd read this entry to the end. And at the end of it were eight little words.

Those eight horrible words... the ones he'd wished so badly that he could take back. The words that had always haunted him to some degree when he was a rising star underground.

Sorry, Blooky. My dreams can't wait for anyone...

...

"Mettaton?"

In that instant, the book crashed against the ground, and Mettaton collapsed to his knees and just... wept.

"Blooky... I'm so, so sorry. I never should've..." Suddenly, frustration erupted like a volcano, and he nearly screamed as he continued. "I should have been there! I should have at least talked to them before I left! How could I have been so awful and... and selfish?"

Papyrus frowned; he'd seen Mettaton lose control of his emotions before, but it was so rare that it still felt like a shock when it did happen. He reached over and gently patted Mettaton on the shoulder, hoping to provide at least some comfort. It didn't seem to have much of an effect, though.

"Blooky and Shyren were always there for me... they always understood. They supported my dreams of being a star one day, they were supportive when I told them I felt more like a he instead of a they, they never mocked my passions or told me that I would probably fail or anything similar." His fist clenched. "And how did I thank them? I left without saying goodbye! I can't believe they still wanted anything to do with me after that. If anyone just walked out of my life without saying goodbye, I'd... I'd..."

He stood up, trudged over to his old bed, and flopped onto it, staring at the ceiling; his voice was now a distant monotone. "All those years we could have spent performing together... one of my shows could have showcased the snail farm and brought in some more business... I thought just leaving would prevent me from feeling guilty about it. I feel like such a coward."

Slowly, Papyrus approached him and gently took hold of his hand. "It's gotten better, though. Napstablook and Shyren have forgiven you, and you're all performing together."

"Who's to say it won't happen again, though?" Mettaton didn't even look him in the eye, instead keeping his eyes on the ceiling. "Even when Alphys and I became friends, she and I stopped being on the best of terms for a while. How can I be sure that I won't abandon them again... or that I won't abandon you?" He sighed. "Honestly... even after hearing all of this, you still want to be here with me? You don't want to just... leave me in disgust?"

"No. I don't want to leave you. Especially not in disgust." Papyrus gently squeezed Mettaton's hand. "Because I can tell that you feel horrible about it, and that you really want to make things right." He gave a gentle smile. "And I know you can do it, Mettaton. All you have to do is try. I believe in you, and I know they do, too."

"Papyrus, I..." Mettaton sat up and gently brought his arms around Papyrus. "Thank you..."

Papyrus returned the gesture, gently rubbing his back. "You're a good person, Metta. Even if you think you aren't. Good people make bad decisions sometimes, but as long as they try to be good, they're not bad people."

As Mettaton listened to Papyrus' words, he wondered how he was so lucky to have someone so wonderful in his life. And some of the guilt in his heart floated away that day.

By the time he gathered up his diaries and returned to the surface with Papyrus, he knew in his heart that, although he couldn't change the past, it wasn't too late to change the future.


That night, after he returned home, Mettaton cracked open his newest diary and began to write.

My newest, dearest diary:

I returned to my old home today for the first time in years so I could retrieve the rest of my collection. I felt horrible when I remembered how I treated Blooky and Shyren in the past, but with the help of Papyrus, I was able to forgive myself a little more.

Blooky, Shyren, Alphys... I will never leave you again. And Papyrus, I will never leave you, period.

This being my seventh diary is appropriate, since I feel so lucky to have everyone in my life.

Chapter Text

If Papyrus didn't know better, he'd swear that he had to be dreaming. He never would have guessed that there would be a day where Mettaton would bring him along to a party; they'd attended parties together before, but those parties were just for their circle of close friends. And yet, tonight, he was in a nice suit and sitting at a table with Mettaton and some of his associates; the other attendees, sitting at other tables, were some famous actors that Papyrus had heard of before (in most cases), along with a few of Mettaton's friends in the music industry.

This whole party was taking place at an outdoor pavilion, with lights strung up everywhere to contribute to the atmosphere. There was a buffet at one corner of the pavilion, another section full of tables, and yet another section was left empty so people could dance. Of course, there was also a stage up front, and it had a karaoke machine; Napstablook and Shyren were currently up there and singing a song together. Despite both being notoriously shy, they were still having fun on stage.

Papyrus glanced at the other two people currently sitting at the table with him. Mettaton was thoroughly focused on the performance on stage; the other person, an orange mammal monster who insisted his name, "despite what anyone else tries to tell you", was Bryan, was idly bobbing his head to the music and looking slightly more disinterested in everything.

When the song ended and everyone applauded, Napstablook and Shyren went back to sit with the other three.

"I hope you liked it..." Napstablook said, still feeling slightly awkward at being the center of attention.

"That was wonderful, darlings!" Mettaton grabbed his drink and took a long sip.

Shyren gently smiled. "You were right; having someone with you on stage really helps with stage fright." She looked at Napstablook, who gave her a nod.

Mettaton swallowed the last of his drink. "Indeed." After studying his empty glass for a second, he stood up. "Excuse me for a moment while I get a refill."

As he walked off, Bryan slouched in his seat a bit. "This party, man... I can't believe I'm actually having fun here." He still couldn't believe that he voluntarily went to a party with Mettaton, after having spent so much time being treated unfairly by him at the MTT Resort; still, he was bored, and he couldn't say no to an event that had free food. Earlier, he had even gone up to sing karaoke; even though he suspected no one else at his table was into the same kind of music he was into, he'd had enough of having to agree with Mettaton on everything for at least the next several years.

Papyrus smiled. "Anything can be fun if you try and make it fun!"

Bryan sighed. "Oh great, now I'm on the set of one of those kiddie shows..."

While Bryan went back to eating his food, Papyrus decided to look around. Tonight was certainly a lovely night; lots of people having fun, the pavilion being wonderfully decorated, the full moon shining up above in the cloudless sky...

It was while he was looking at the moon that Papyrus suddenly felt the urge to start humming something. He tapped out the rhythm on the table as he stared at the moon, the notes of the song coming naturally to him.

"Got a song stuck in your head?"

Snapping out of the brief trance he was in, Papyrus looked over at Bryan. "Yes, actually. I've heard this song several times before, and I couldn't help but think of it right now. It's a song about dancing in the moonlight. In fact, that's what it's called! Here, I can sing some of it for you."


After grabbing a new glass and pouring some of his preferred drink into it, Mettaton began walking back to the table. On the way, he noticed that the moon was out (and while it was a little tough to see the stars in the sky because of the lights, there were plenty of stars on the ground or at tables). Glancing over at the dance floor, he began wondering if he should go there after finishing this drink. It certainly was a beautiful night to go dancing.

At that moment, he was reminded of a song, and couldn't help but quietly sing it to himself.

"We get it almost every night, when that moon gets big and bright, it's a supernatural delight, everybody was dancing in the moonlight..."

But as he approached the table, he froze, and tried to resist the urge to burst into laughter.

Papyrus was also singing, but that wasn't what Mettaton found hilarious; it was the specific song that Papyrus had chosen.

"Everybody's feeling warm and bright, it's such a fine and natural sight, everybody's dancing in the moonlight!"

What were the odds? Mettaton covered his mouth with his free hand, trying to stifle his snickering. Although Papyrus stopped shortly afterwards, he didn't seem to notice that Mettaton was there, and instead continued a conversation with the others at the table.

Once the initial hilarity wore off, Mettaton returned to his seat at the table. "Hello again, darlings!"

"Hello, Mettaton!" Papyrus said. Shyren waved, both Napstablook and Bryan nodded, and Papyrus continued speaking. "We've just been sitting here and talking."

"And getting songs stuck in our heads." Bryan knocked back some of his own drink.

"I couldn't help but notice." With a slightly weird smile, Mettaton looked right at Papyrus. "As a matter of fact, I just so happened to be thinking of the exact same song tonight."

For a few seconds, Papyrus was at a loss for words, before he finally laughed a little. "Wowie! So it is true what they say about great minds!"

Mettaton nodded. "In fact..." He glanced at the stage. "The karaoke stage is empty right now, so how would you feel about singing it with me?"

"Oh my god! That would be amazing!" Although Papyrus felt a few twinges of nervousness, he remembered how Shyren and Napstablook sang together, and this helped remind him of how he, too, could have courage.

As the two headed up on stage, Bryan looked at Napstablook and Shyren and shook his head. "Those two, I swear... they could turn anything into a performance."

Chapter Text

The Great Papyrus would always be the first to tell anyone that he certainly was great. A champion at puzzle-making, a wizard at cooking spaghetti, the greatest Royal Guard member that the actual Royal Guard never hired... he could do it all!

Not everyone was fooled, though. And the person who was least fooled of all was Papyrus himself.

If he was so cool, why didn't everyone want to be his friend? Why didn't Sans want to trust him with some of his deepest secrets? Brothers are supposed to be there for each other, but Sans didn't seem to want Papyrus to know certain things. No matter what Papyrus said, Sans wouldn't budge.

And furthermore, Papyrus acted self-confident all the time. It had to be part of the equation; Mettaton always seemed self-confident, and he had fans crowding around him on a very regular basis, begging for autographs. So why didn't people beg Papyrus for autographs? What was he missing?

It wasn't until quite some time after leaving the Underground that he would not only learn the answer, but learn it from the man himself.

The two were hanging out one day and watching one of Mettaton's old game shows. As always, Papyrus found himself drawn to Mettaton's sheer charisma; even if he was doing nothing but listing the rules of the game, the man commanded attention from everyone just by being himself.

After the show went to commercial, Papyrus let the words slip out of his mouth: "I don't know how you do it."

"What? How I make all those special effects?" Mettaton smirked. "Unfortunately, darling, that's a trade secret. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to invent an MTT-Brand Memory Eraser."

Papyrus, unfortunately, wasn't in the mood for jokes like that; he looked down. "No, Mettaton. What I meant to say was, I don't know how you get everyone to love you so easily." He sadly sighed. "For as long as I can remember, I've been trying to get people to love me and be friends with me. But until we all met Frisk, I only had Sans and Undyne. But you... you were able to get the entire Underground, myself included, to love you! I wish I knew how you did it... unless it's another trade secret. I do not wish to violate protocol regarding trade secrets."

"Oh..." After turning the TV volume down a little bit, he gave Papyrus a friendlier smile. "It's actually quite simple, darling. My fans love me because I love them in return. And I always ensure that one of my biggest fans is myself."

"Nyeh?" Papyrus tilted his head a bit.

"Let me explain, sweetheart." Mettaton leaned back on the couch and looked up. "When I was first starting out, I had to convince the Underground why the name Mettaton was a name they needed to remember. In other words, I had to sell myself to them. But I wouldn't have been able to sell myself to them if I hadn't been able to sell myself to myself first. If I didn't like myself, they probably wouldn't have liked me as much as they did."

"So, in order to get people to like me..." Papyrus began. "I have to like myself?"

"Exactly, beautiful. Be the kind of person you wish you could know personally, and it will be easy for you to love yourself. And then the world will love you!"

"Wowie! Thanks, Mettaton!"

"You're quite welcome." Mettaton stood up and posed dramatically. "This has been Self-Help with a Killer Robot! Tune in next week as we explain seven ways to plan a budget!"

As Papyrus laughed, he also thought about things. Deep down, he'd always had subtle fears that no one would like him, so he often tried so hard to be cool. Part of his irritation at Sans' laziness had to do with both his and Sans' images, in addition to his general concern about Sans' well-being. He also would imitate those whom he considered to already be cool; he believed in them so much.

And yet, thanks to his encounter with Frisk underground, as well as this current encounter with Mettaton, and even just surface life in general, he was really starting to believe in one other person: himself. He had made a lot of great friends on the surface, not just in Frisk's circle, but also at his own job; his coworkers, while initially somewhat apprehensive around him, eventually came to realize that he really was a kindhearted person.

If he felt like he needed to improve himself in some way, he would. But in the meantime, as long as he continued to believe in himself, the day would eventually come where his confident attitude would become who he really was, and not just a front.

Chapter Text

It almost felt like a Christmas fairytale come to life.

Papyrus would have been happy enough going to see Mettaton's newest holiday blockbuster. Whether Mettaton was making movies, TV shows, or music, he always put forth the kind of magic that Papyrus just loved. But tonight, he was going to the premiere of Mettaton's movie. A midnight premiere, no less. Seeing the town all lit up in festive lights while he drove down to the theater felt like pure magic, as did going inside and seeing a crowd of people being surprisingly lively for this hour. And the fact that Mettaton himself not only was in attendance as well, but also that he recognized Papyrus, and was happy to see him? It was as if Papyrus had won the lottery.

As if that weren't enough, Mettaton had also offered to pay for everyone's snacks and drinks, in the spirit of the holidays. Whether it was sodas, candy, slushies, or the traditional popcorn, he paid for it all. (At least one family was especially grateful, since they usually didn't have too much money and had been saving up for this event as a Christmas treat.)

Papyrus waited in line at the concession stand, almost shaking from just how excited he was. Tonight was an incredibly special night, and he was going to commit every little piece of it to his long-term memory... or at least get a headache trying! Many voices in the crowd carried on their conversations; Mettaton's voice was among them, telling people some things about the movie they were going to watch (though he kept the details vague, knowing that the majority of his fans wouldn't want spoilers for Christmas - or whatever they celebrated).

"Hey, mister?"

Feeling someone tap him on the arm, Papyrus turned to look at the little girl standing nearby. "Yes?"

"I'm just wondering. Who's that guy on your shirt?"

Papyrus looked down at the shirt he was wearing; it was a classic Mettaton shirt, featuring Mettaton's old rectangular design. "Oh! This was Mettaton before he had his current body!"

The girl scratched her head. "He was a rectangle?"

With a nod, Papyrus grinned. "A very beautiful rectangle. My favorite rectangle, in fact!" Just then, he thought of something. "Does your TV get Delta Rune Network?"

"I don't know."

"If it does, you'll be able to see reruns of his old shows!" Papyrus glanced at the line and saw that the person in front of him had just gotten their stuff. "Oh, looks like it's my turn!"

Before long, he stepped forward and placed his order. Mettaton was leaning against the concession stand, and when the time came to pay, he stepped in and took care of it.

"Thank you, Mettaton!"

"You're very welcome, Papyrus." Papyrus' eyes twinkled; hearing Mettaton say his name was simply unreal. Mettaton smiled at him. "I think you're really going to like one scene in this movie; it involves puzzles."

"Wowie!" Papyrus could feel his magic flutter in his ribcage. "Honestly, I think I'm going to like every scene in this movie, but a scene with puzzles? This is going to be the greatest movie premiere I've ever been to!" He gave a slightly embarrassed laugh. "Especially because it's the only one I've ever been to."

Mettaton brought his hands to his mouth. "Oh my! We'll have to fix that one of these days!"

Shortly afterwards, the concession stand employee gave Papyrus his food, as well as an empty drink cup for him to fill. As Papyrus went to do that, he saw Mettaton give him one more smile. Papyrus could have sworn that this was just a dream, and yet, it felt way too real.

The movie hadn't even started yet, but Papyrus could already tell that this was going to be one of the greatest nights of his life.

And going by just how friendly he and Mettaton had been becoming as of late, something deep down wanted to amend it to "one of the greatest nights of his life, so far".

Chapter Text

"Quite honestly, darling..." Mettaton sighed. "I'm deeply worried."

On the screen of the phone, Papyrus tilted his head. "What's wrong, Metta?"

"It's just... it's children, darling!" A class of students was scheduled to drop by Mettaton's recording studio soon as part of a field trip; even though this had all been planned out in advance, Mettaton still couldn't help but feel nervous. "They don't always behave themselves; no matter how much I say not to touch certain equipment, I just know someone's going to do it anyway. Plus, I have to tone down my usual repertoire somewhat because they're children." He could just imagine someone's parents being angry at him because their child was scared or hurt, or just because he was Mettaton; he'd already had to put out at least one press release saying that he wore the color pink and dressed the way he did because he personally liked it, not because he was deliberately trying to "confuse" anyone.

Papyrus gave him an encouraging smile. "You can do it! You've had children on your show before, have you not?"

"Frisk was one child, and a well-behaved one at that. There were also extenuating circumstances, at least when we were still underground." By now, Frisk had become a young teenager, but they still appeared on Mettaton's programming from time to time, often as part of their duties as an ambassador. "This is an entire class full of children... children I don't personally know. I'm excited to share the things we do here, but I would hate for something to go wrong."

"Well, just remember: you're not alone! You have all the other workers in the studio to help you, do you not? And Napstablook and Shyren? And I'm sure the school officials will also help you!"

Mettaton thought for a moment; in truth, only some of the other workers would be able to help him, since the others were either off work today or weren't used to dealing with children. Even Napstablook and Shyren would probably run into a few issues here and there. But for field trips, a lot of preparation was required, and those who had volunteered to help were good with children.

He smiled. "I think you may have a point, sweetheart."

Papyrus nodded. "And if you're worried, you can always send me a text message! If you're allowed to, of course."

Just then, one of the technicians came into the room. "Mettaton, sir? I'm sorry to interrupt, but they're almost here."

"Thank you, beautiful. I'll be right there." He turned back towards the phone. "And thank you, Papyrus. It looks like we'll have to cut this conversation short, but I certainly feel better about this now."

"Of course! I, the Great Papyrus, love to help everyone believe in themselves!" He grinned. "And I believe in you, too!"

"Likewise."

Once the two said goodbye and hung up, Mettaton headed out towards the entrance to the studio, ready to greet the guests. Before long, he could see a school bus pulling up and stopping in front of the building.

The first person to emerge from it was none other than Toriel, who stepped off the bus and looked back inside. "Come along now, children! Mettaton is here, and I'm sure he's very excited to meet you all."

One by one, the children emerged from the bus. Some were humans, some were monsters, some showed their excitement by cheering, and others just smiled and waved. A couple of other chaperones emerged from the bus as well.

With a grin, Mettaton threw some glitter into the air. "Hello, beauties and gentlebeauties, and darlings of all ages! Welcome to my studio!"

Once more, the children clapped and cheered.

Toriel walked up next to Mettaton. "Now remember, children, a lot of the equipment in here is undoubtedly very expensive. So please keep your hands to yourselves unless Mettaton says otherwise. All right?"

The kids either nodded or said okay.

Mettaton also nodded. "Now that that's out of the way, why don't you all head into the lobby? There's an MTT-Brand goodie bag for each of you!"

While the kids and the chaperones headed inside, Toriel briefly stayed out to talk to Mettaton. "I know you're not one for dealing with entire groups of children, but I would still like to thank you very much for agreeing to do this." Her eyes had a sparkle to them. "They were all so excited when they saw you!"

"Well, Toriel, who wouldn't be excited to see me?" Mettaton flipped his hair a bit before leaning in close. "And don't worry; my technicians are making sure everything is as safe as possible."

"Thank you, Mettaton. I'm afraid that sometimes children like to push boundaries on what is and isn't acceptable, and I certainly wouldn't want anyone to be injured."

"Neither would I." As much as Mettaton loved performances with drama, romance, and bloodshed, he greatly preferred fake bloodshed over the real thing. He gave her a warmer smile. "And also, I would like to thank you. As amazing as I am, I'm still no expert at dealing with children."

"I will be more than happy to help you if you need it." Toriel looked at the building. "Well, should we go inside?"

"Absolutely; let's not keep them waiting any longer."

As the two walked away from the school bus, Mettaton felt that this day could turn out better than he'd expected.

Chapter Text

Papyrus never thought he'd appreciate having nothing to do.

In his eyes, there was always something to do, and time spent not doing anything was time being thrown away. Nobody ever became great and powerful and world-renowned because they just sat around; it was one of many reasons why he would always get annoyed at Sans' boondoggling. And when he found out that people - both monsters and humans - treated lazy days as good things? Something in his mind did not compute.

Even when he and Mettaton became close, he still found himself utterly puzzled the first time he discovered that Mettaton liked to take breaks from his work every now and then. Given that the man not only had a virtual monopoly on monster-produced entertainment, but seemed to love every minute of being in the spotlight, why would he want to stop for any reason? He wouldn't have been able to get so famous in the first place without putting in all that hard work.

The first time he'd voiced his confusion, Mettaton had just smiled and said, "Well, darling, part of the fun of being a celebrity is that sometimes you can afford not to work."

Initially, it did little to alleviate his confusion. Why would Mettaton not want to work? He was living his dream, and wasn't the whole idea of a dream job based around the fact that "you don't have to work a day in your life"?

And yet, as time went on and the two often found themselves separated because of their respective lines of work, Papyrus slowly began to realize that maybe, just maybe, Mettaton had a point.

There was one such day where the two were in the backyard, neither of them having a lot of work to do on that day. Papyrus didn't have to go into work because it was his weekend, and Mettaton was taking a bit of downtime after having recently finished a big project. And so, the two were lying in lawn chairs, with Mettaton lost in a romance novel while Papyrus stared at the clouds.

Just looking at the clouds, trying to find shapes in them... all with the faint sound of chirping birds and the occasional sound of Mettaton turning pages. One of the clouds looked like that small, white dog who liked to wander around town; Papyrus silently grumbled, remembering how hard it was to keep a bone collection when that dog treated it like his own personal buffet.

His gaze wandered elsewhere, with him hoping to think of literally anything other than that dog. Unfortunately, at the moment, none of the other clouds had shapes that he could easily discern, so he decided to look around at everything else. The leaves rustling from the very light breeze, the lush green grass mowed to a uniform style, Mettaton still absorbed in his novel...

For some reason, Papyrus just couldn't take his eyes off of Mettaton. And who could blame him? Mettaton was widely considered one of the most beautiful monsters that the entire Underground had ever seen, even before he had this form. The right amount of charisma could make even a rectangle on a wheel into one of the big symbols of beauty, after all. And when Papyrus first saw his more humanoid form, he was shocked that his human friend could come up with words in the essay question; if Papyrus had been on the show, the sight of Mettaton's lithe body would have struck him too speechless to answer. He loved every part of it, from that dark, rich hair that he later found out was surprisingly soft, to that handsomely expressive face, to the curves of his torso...

And of course, if one wished to praise Mettaton's EX form, there were two things that one simply could not overlook.

Papyrus' gaze traveled lower until he saw them. One was crossed over the other, and despite their current lack of movement, Papyrus's eyes felt glued to them.

Mettaton had the most amazing legs Papyrus had ever seen, and he was far from alone in having this opinion. People loved to praise them online, saying they were so hot that eggs could be fried on them, holding them up as examples of the kinds of legs they wished to have, and so on and so forth. It was really no surprise; not only were Mettaton's legs really long, they were curvy in all the right ways, and those pink stiletto boots framed them so well. And considering all the dancing, posing, and occasional exercising that Mettaton liked to do, and how much more his legs had gotten involved since he acquired them, it was clear that he, too, was proud of them.

Of course, if Papyrus had legs like those, he'd love to show them off, too.

"Gorgeous, aren't they?"

"Nyeh!" Papyrus looked up, noticing that Mettaton had turned his eyes away from his novel and was grinning at him. He felt his own face flush with orange magic. "F-forgive me..."

"What for? You did nothing wrong."

"It... it's rude to stare, is it not?"

"It would be if you were staring at one of my flaws." Mettaton started snickering. "What flaws? But anyway, I know how much you love my legs. I've had people tell me they could stare at them all day long. Completely understandable, in my not-very-humble opinion."

He leaned back, uncrossing his legs. "Dr. Alphys certainly knew what she was doing when she made these. I'd always wanted a long, beautiful pair of legs... and now I have them!" A smirk crossed his features. "And I know someone else whose legs aren't so bad, either."

"Really? Who?" If Mettaton of all people was saying this person's legs were amazing, it had to be true. Were they, perhaps, one of the people who inspired his EX form's design?

"Look straight ahead, and then look down."

Papyrus did so, and saw...

...Oh my god.

He turned back towards Mettaton, feeling slightly dizzy. "You... you really think my legs are beautiful?"

"I know they're beautiful, sweetheart." Mettaton reached over, grabbed his hand, and gently kissed it. "You use them so frequently... you're such a diligent, hard worker."

"Wowie..." Papyrus couldn't help but slump back in his seat. He caught sight of the clouds again. "Ooh! I think that one's shaped like a heart!"

Mettaton glanced up at the cloud in question. "Oh my... you're right!"

While the two talked about random things, Papyrus (now feeling a little more confident about his body) thought about how none of this would have happened if they'd been working this afternoon. Maybe, in spite of their name, lazy days weren't so bad after all.

Chapter Text

"For the last time, darling" - judging by Mettaton's tone, it was clear that he was exercising all his self-control to prevent himself from adding an extra word between last and time - "we need to reschedule for tomorrow. My battery won't be able to hold up otherwise."

He sighed to himself. Even though his body was literally a machine, that didn't mean the man himself was entirely a performing machine. As much as he adored performing, he still looked forward to his down-time, especially in the months since he and Papyrus moved in together. Today had already been an exhausting day, and he'd been looking forward to a night of peace and quiet with the man he loved. Alas, shortly after the two finished dinner, someone from local news decided that the late evening would be a great time to ask him to drop by for an interview. As much as he would have liked to do the interview in other circumstances, tonight he was just tired. He'd been spending what had to have been at least a half-hour trying to negotiate with the newsperson over the phone. Papyrus sat next to him on the couch and frowned; he could tell Mettaton wasn't enjoying this.

Finally, finally, they seemed to reach an agreement, and after hanging up, Mettaton let out a loud sigh of relief and leaned in until his head was resting against Papyrus' shoulder. "Honestly! What part of 'I don't have enough battery life to conduct a full interview tonight' is so difficult to understand? Does she also expect human entertainers to conduct interviews when they need to sleep?"

Frowning, Papyrus put an arm around Mettaton and slipped Mettaton's hand into his own. "I'm sure she didn't mean any harm."

With another sigh, Mettaton closed his eyes. "I'm so sorry, Papyrus. Tonight was supposed to be a quiet, peaceful night for us. After all the work I did today, I was hoping we could have something before you have to go to work tomorrow."

Papyrus held on to Mettaton's hand more tightly, gently smiling. "It's not all bad. We got to have dinner together! I had a lot of fun cooking alongside you."

For the first time in the past half-hour (at least), Mettaton smiled. "Oh yes, that was certainly fun." The smile didn't last long. "Honestly, though, I was hoping to spend the rest of the night watching my shows with you. But after that little incident, we'll be lucky to get through two episodes without my battery shutting down on me."

He looked down. "I fear that, at this rate, there may be nothing else we can do tonight except go to sleep." Deep down, he couldn't hold back a sneer. All he wanted after a long day of work was a quiet night in with Papyrus! Did that lady not realize that the timing required for a face-to-face interview - both the travel times and the time spent on the interview itself - would cut into the time he needed to spend charging?

Papyrus could feel Mettaton's body tense up, and he frowned. "Metta..." He reached up, gently stroking Mettaton's hair. "I'm sure there's something else we could do."

Mettaton looked at him and raised an eyebrow, still frowning. "Such as?"

"W-well... there has to be something!" Still keeping one arm around Mettaton, Papyrus did a dramatic pose. "As your boyfriend, I, the Great Papyrus, consider it my duty to help you feel better when you need it! What kind of boyfriend would I be if I saw you feeling upset and did nothing about it? A subpar boyfriend, that's what! And I am not the Subpar Papyrus!"

As much as Mettaton admired how much Papyrus was dedicated to making him happy (especially since he would do the same for Papyrus), part of him wanted to say that Papyrus' current sentiments were wishful thinking, given how low his battery was. "Perhaps we should go upstairs and discuss this in the bedroom?"

"All right."

The two stood up, and as they went over to the stairs, Papyrus felt Mettaton take his hand. While they climbed, Papyrus thought about his boyfriend. Not long after they'd admitted that they were in love with each other, Papyrus had started wondering if it would be okay to hug Mettaton, or to hold hands with him, or to rest his skull on him like a pillow. Kissing was one thing (especially since, by design, Mettaton was usually the one to initiate it), but doing all those little things randomly? A celebrity like Mettaton seemed so untouchable; did someone like Papyrus even have the right?

And yet, it didn't take long for Mettaton to make it clear to him: not only did he allow Papyrus to touch him, he outright encouraged it.

In truth, considering that he'd had to live as an incorporeal ghost for so long before finally getting some kind of body - and then having to wait a while longer before finally getting the body he'd dreamed of - Mettaton was more than a little touch-starved. He yearned to feel people's hands on him, to be able to shake hands and hold hands and give hugs and really, literally feel people's love for him. After he and Papyrus started dating, if the two were in the same room together, then it was pretty much a guarantee that one of them at least had one hand on the other - if they weren't already in each other's arms. Of course, this had led to at least one instance of Undyne yelling at them to "get a room". But for Mettaton, being touched was a way of feeling appreciated; he finally had a body that made him feel like himself, and by touching it, people like Papyrus were showing their appreciation for his physical form.

As he pondered this, Papyrus couldn't help but feel an idea come to him.

Once they made it to the bedroom, Mettaton climbed into the bed, sighing for the umpteenth time that night as he pulled the covers over himself. Upon feeling the weight of Papyrus' body not joining him on the mattress, he sat up a little and gave him a curious glance. "Darling, is there any particular reason you're still standing in the doorway?"

Papyrus nodded. "I thought of something I could do for you. How long is your battery going to last?"

"I'd say about an hour at the most. After that, I have to plug in."

It was exactly what Papyrus needed to hear; he'd definitely have enough time. "All right. If you could just lie down on your front..."

As Mettaton flipped himself over and rested his chin on the pillow, he noticed the lights being dimmed to something a little more intimate. Part of him already had a very good idea of where this was going, but he initially wasn't sure if that voice was right.

He could hear Papyrus approach, and it wasn't long before he felt the blanket being lowered to just slightly above his hips. Before he could ask, he felt the weight of Papyrus' hands resting on his upper back; in almost no time, the hands began moving, gently pressing and rubbing the synthetic skin.

With a gasp, Mettaton closed his eyes. So far, this felt lovely, but something psychological crept up on him, and he tensed up without realizing it.

Just then, the hands froze. "Am I doing something wrong?"

"Not at all, darling." A deep breath. "Can I just ask one thing of you, though?"

"Certainly."

"When you reach the casing on my back, please leave it closed. My switch is located beneath that casing, and I have no desire to switch into my other form at the moment."

"I will."

"Thank you so much, sweetheart." Mettaton could still remember this one time when he was out of town and decided to visit a local place for a massage. Unfortunately, as well-meaning as the therapist was, they'd decided that "don't open the casing on my back" was just a suggestion, and they'd opened it anyway. Apparently, they'd thought that he wouldn't be able to feel anything through the casing, which was simply not true. The sensation of those fingers poking around so close to his switch made him tense up even more; they didn't actually trigger it, but it would have taken just a slip of the hand, and then he'd feel his inner form shift until he was in his rectangle form again. When one goes to get a massage, one should feel relief from the act itself, not relief because it's over.

Fortunately, although he wasn't quite as skilled on a technical level, Papyrus was a much better listener than that therapist. Once he reached the area in question, Mettaton could feel him giving gentle strokes and rubbing circles into it without actually opening the casing. It was at this moment that Mettaton finally allowed himself to keep his eyes closed and just breathe.

Papyrus... so loud and excitable, and yet so sweet and gentle. He did his current work in complete silence, a stark contrast from how much he liked to talk. Mettaton wasn't sure where he'd learned this or if he'd ever practiced on other people, but he was good at this, to the point where Mettaton couldn't hold back a quiet groan now and then. If Papyrus was trying to help him feel better, it was definitely working.

When Papyrus' hands pressed down particularly hard near the small of his back, Mettaton let out a loud moan; he could have just melted. "Yes..." As those hands worked that spot more and more, he allowed more moans and sighs to fall from his mouth, slowly forgetting the aggravation of earlier. Those hands had made so many puzzles, cooked so many meals, fixed so many cars, and now they were relieving tension... was there anything those hands couldn't do?

If he weren't worried about his battery, Mettaton certainly wouldn't have minded if this continued for hours. Indeed, he nearly found himself drifting in and out of power-saving mode as it went on. Sweet heavens above, he loved Papyrus so much.

Just tell me how I can return the favor, darling, and I gladly will.

Papyrus eventually gave a few more decisive rubs, his hands lightening the pressure each time until they'd completely left Mettaton's back. For the first time since promising not to open Mettaton's casing, Papyrus spoke. "You can flip back over now."

"Mmph..." Mettaton rolled onto his back, opening his eyes a little with a languid smile. He could feel Papyrus flipping open the much smaller casing on his hip.

"Now that I think about it, I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it more professional for you," Papyrus said as he plugged Mettaton's charging cable into the wall. He thought about how he could have used an actual massage table, or some soft music, or even just some massage oil.

"It's perfectly all right, darling." Mettaton stretched his arms and legs a little, feeling more limber even as he felt the charging cable being plugged into his hip; the gentle currents began to soothe his mind even more. "That was still absolutely splendid."

Just by listening to Mettaton's tone and seeing the gentle look on his face, Papyrus could tell he wasn't just saying that to help him feel better. "Wowie..." He walked over to the other side of the bed and climbed in, soon feeling a pair of metallic arms pulling him close, quickly followed by a long kiss.

"Thank you..." Mettaton whispered after the kiss was over; his eyes were tightly closed, and his voice made it clear that it wouldn't be long before he fell asleep.

Papyrus warmly smiled and gently stroked his hair, whispering, "You're beautiful and special to me, Metta."

That was the last thing Mettaton heard before falling asleep, and after the now-mostly-forgotten events of that evening, he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.


Papyrus diligently worked at making breakfast, currently working at making the hash browns crispy without burning them, when he heard the distinctive sound of Mettaton's heels.

"Good morning, sugar skull!"

"Good morning, my beautiful, shimmering star!" Papyrus glanced at him, smiling. "I'll have breakfast ready in a few minutes!"

Mettaton smiled and went to sit down at the table. Before long, Papyrus finished cooking, and he joined Mettaton at the table with the food and some milk.

"Darling?" Mettaton said a few minutes after they started eating. "I just wanted to thank you for last night. That was simply wonderful."

"I'm very glad you liked it, Metta! I didn't want you to go to sleep feeling disappointed. It wouldn't be right of me." Just then, he grinned. "Oh, and by the way. If you'd like me to give you another massage sometime, all you have to do is ask."

"I would love to take you up on that offer." Mettaton locked eyes with him. "On one condition."

"Nyeh?"

With a grin of his own, Mettaton leaned forward slightly. "Let me know when you're feeling exhausted, so I can spoil you in return."

Papyrus could certainly get used to that arrangement.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Metta?"

"Yes, sweetheart?"

"Is there a place that also does spaghetti tastings?"

The two were in Mettaton's often-handy limo, traveling home from a wine tasting at the local vineyard. Mettaton had been there a few times to sample their wares, but this was the first time he'd brought Papyrus with him. It had been rather educational for Papyrus; he'd learned how to tell different types of wine apart from each other. The smell, the taste, the aftertaste, and even the exact color all played a role in differentiating the varieties. Papyrus had even learned a few things about which types of wine went well with different types of food.

Mettaton leaned back, looking out the window at the city lights that were coming into view. "Hmm... as far as I know, I don't think there are. I think you have to buy a full plate at most places." He glanced at Papyrus with a grin. "Although... you could be the person who makes it trendy."

"Nyeh heh heh! Of course!" Papyrus sat upright. "After all, just like with wine, there are many important things to consider for every dish of spaghetti. The types of noodles, how long the noodles are cooked, what kind of sauce you're using, the type of meat you're using - if you're using meat at all..." Suddenly, it felt like a lightbulb went on in his head. "Ooh! I have an idea!"

"Oh?"

"What if you and I worked together to figure out which types of wine go best with different types of spaghetti? After what I've learned today, I'm very certain that what works for bolognese might not work for carbonara, for example."

"Hmm... you might be onto something, darling." Mettaton was now imagining himself and Papyrus making videos and/or blogs explaining which types of spaghetti should have which types of wine served with it. What would they call it though? Pasta and Wine Pairings with a Killer Robot and a Sweet Skeleton? Kind of a long title...

"Yes! Like, for example, spaghetti served with beef should be paired with red wine - preferably a lighter variety because the flavor of the sauce is rather heavy! And... oh no! I'm out of ideas already!" Despite the brief setback, Papyrus still grinned. "But you and I can come up with more ideas! And then we'll be able to help everyone have the best spaghetti dinners ever!"

Mettaton smiled; he would definitely have to bring Papyrus along the next time he went to a wine tasting.

Chapter Text

For the longest time, Mettaton dreamed of the day where he could finally have a true confidant, the kind of person to whom he could admit all of his darkest fears and worries without being told that he was wrong for feeling that way.

In the earlier years of his life, he would look to his relatives, especially Napstablook, for this type of comfort. However, as the relatives moved on to different things, he became more and more reluctant to confess everything to Napstablook. They'd already seen their other cousins leave; they didn't need to hear that their one remaining cousin also wanted to get a body and leave. It would break their sensitive spectral heart. And yet, Mettaton hadn't wanted to lie to them and say that he was perfectly content with his ghost form and his life on the snail farm.

Dr. Alphys had been another person he'd grown to appreciate, ever since the day she showed up at his human fanclub meeting, and especially after she promised to make him a body. But as he eventually discovered, she had tons of problems and insecurities of her own. Sometimes he would find himself butting heads with her; she didn't seem to want to even try pulling herself out of the hole she was in, while he didn't seem to realize just how heavy the weight of her problems was. There was one day in which he'd taken it upon himself to put his foot down regarding some of her secrets.

"You can't keep hiding forever," he'd said.

But then, she'd just glared at him and said, "Neither can you."

Understandably, the two didn't speak much after that until around two weeks later, when Alphys saw a human entering Snowdin Forest. After the barrier fell and both admitted their big mistakes, their friendship slowly but surely began repairing itself. Of course, Alphys' main confidant by that point had become Undyne, and while that wasn't likely to change anytime soon (nor did Mettaton want it to; he'd been so happy that Alphys finally admitted her feelings that he outright egged them on to kiss when everyone gathered in Asgore's throne room), the tension between her and Mettaton slowly began to evaporate.

On that fateful day underground, Mettaton also got to know a child named Frisk. At first, he thought they were a weak child; even though they were able to get through his challenges, it wasn't much of a consolation since everything was rigged anyway. Not even their managing to make it through his altered version of the Core and befriend his hired mercenaries was enough to convince him; he knew Asgore would want to fight the child, and so he took it upon himself to not only save Asgore the trouble, but also prevent the second war that he knew would happen if Asgore acquired Frisk's soul. But after Frisk accidentally introduced his EX form to the world (they'd told him some time after the fact that they didn't know what the switch on his back did), his ratings went through the roof, and he realized that Frisk was much stronger than he'd thought. They hadn't even needed to attack his body to prove it (though they did use soul magic to fire at his soul, making his limbs blow off).

Of course, once the barrier fell, he and Frisk became relatively fast friends. They couldn't always see each other, between Frisk having both ambassador duties and school while Mettaton had his own surface breakthrough to worry about, but they would still collaborate every now and then, with Frisk sometimes appearing on Mettaton's programming. Also, when everyone would gather for special occasions, the two would have fun talking to each other, and they would even sing songs together on occasion.

And yet, in spite of all this, even Frisk wasn't the confidant Mettaton was looking for. They were, after all, still a child, and in Mettaton's life, there were some topics that someone of their age might not have been ready to handle.

But then, with help from both Frisk and Undyne, Mettaton found himself getting acquainted with these two skeleton brothers.

Sans was... interesting, to say the least. He certainly loved pulling pranks and making bad jokes to get a rise out of his brother or whomever else, but he never did it to cause deliberate harm. From what Mettaton could tell, he also seemed to be rather lazy. And yet... he felt traces of something else when he was around Sans. He got the impression that Sans may have been more intelligent than he let on... that he knew things no human or monster was meant to know, and that the weight of it all was threatening his very sanity. Something about the way he carried himself, and the way he talked...

Meanwhile, whenever Mettaton spent time with Sans' younger and taller brother Papyrus, he got a different sort of vibe. Papyrus loved to go on at length about how much of a fan he was of Mettaton's work, but something about him felt a little different than most of his fans. Mettaton loved it when his fans treated him like their hero, but Papyrus also treated him like a person. He never made anyone else feel lesser just because Mettaton happened to be in the room; instead, he preferred to share his joy with everyone.

And perhaps more importantly, whenever Papyrus saw that even Mettaton wasn't perfect, he did not act like the world was ending just because his favorite celebrity was a flawed person.

One rainy day, Mettaton had to stay at the brothers' house for the afternoon because of a huge rainstorm, and he'd pretty much lost all composure, throwing himself into a panic because he was supposed to meet with his cast and crew to start filming his first new TV series on the surface; this show would be the thing that would make or break his surface career, since Delta Rune Network was still new and mostly focused on reruns. If it didn't get ratings, then Mettaton's career would probably go with it, with him being thought of as a vintage novelty at the most.

And yet, when Papyrus saw Mettaton unload all of his emotions, seeing a panicked man in fear of losing his job instead of the superstar he normally was, his first reaction was to comfort him. Not say things like "I thought you were better than that", not whip out his phone and film the freak-out so he could upload it on the internet for everyone to laugh at, not tell him that he was a celebrity and thus had no reason to ever be upset about anything. No, instead he offered to be friends with Mettaton, gave him a hug, and even offered him his number in case he needed someone to talk to. Even though he was seeing Mettaton at one of his lowest points in years, he didn't let that stop him from caring about the man behind the celebrity.

Ever since that day, Mettaton slowly began to let his walls down more and more around Papyrus. He began to talk to Papyrus about things that he wouldn't even bring up around Napstablook or Frisk or Alphys; even though Papyrus didn't always understand the exact nature of some of Mettaton's problems, he would still do his best to help him cheer up. Sometimes he'd offer some friendly words, sometimes he'd give Mettaton a hug, and sometimes he'd just listen while Mettaton would vent.

After a while, Mettaton felt so secure around Papyrus that he knew for sure, despite Papyrus' occasional odd mannerisms, that he was a true friend. Eventually, there came a day where he realized that he wanted something more than friendship from him. With Papyrus, he felt like he had someone who understood him.

He no longer had to worry about searching for a confidant; when Papyrus was there, he felt free.

Chapter Text

"So, how was the interview?"

Mettaton couldn't resist a dry laugh. "Would you like to know the truth, darling?"

"All right." Papyrus tilted his head; did it not go well?

Looking Papyrus in the eye, Mettaton leaned in and took a deep breath. "I wish I had a dollar for every time someone made a big deal out of the fact that I'm dating an auto mechanic."

Papyrus blinked. "Nyeh? What's wrong with dating an auto mechanic? They're very helpful people! I see one in the mirror all the time!"

"There's nothing wrong with dating an auto mechanic, sweetheart." Mettaton sighed. "But not according to the news media. They expected me to date another celebrity."

"Well, I'm also a celebrity of sorts!" Papyrus smiled. "Sometimes when Frisk has to do ambassador work, they have me serve as their mascot! I have some very important duties as a mascot: stand around and look cute! And sometimes talk to people."

"And I'd say you're a natural at all of those. Especially looking cute." Mettaton kissed Papyrus' skull and put an arm around him, feeling him lean in close and hearing his happy sigh. "Unfortunately, all the media sees is me dating an auto mechanic, which, according to them, means I don't have standards."

He sneered. Although he loved performing and being in the spotlight, he had no idea how some of the people associated with the news media could be so toxic. Focusing on mistakes instead of what was good, acting like his own opinions didn't matter... and he just knew that if he made it clear in these interviews that Papyrus was also the ambassador's mascot, people would accuse him of making his future work political. Not to mention the people who saw that Papyrus was a fan of his, and immediately jumped to some appalling conclusions (such as Mettaton just wanting a sycophant).

"But I know you have high standards, Metta. You always told me you did, and that it was why you weren't dating anyone yet."

Mettaton nodded. "Admittedly, there were times when I would dream of meeting a fellow celebrity and becoming a power couple of sorts with them. We'd appear on the front page of all the magazines, as well as promote each other's work..." He looked up. "And yet, in my heart, I wanted to be with someone who truly made me happy. Someone who wouldn't judge me or use my less-proud moments against me..." With a smile, he turned towards Papyrus and kissed him again. "And now, I have such a person in my life. The fact that he's an auto mechanic instead of a fellow A-list celebrity is irrelevant. Or at least, it should be."

"Nyeh..." Papyrus could have been floating. For someone like him, who'd always wanted to be cool, what higher compliment could he receive than having the person he admired most tell him "you've truly made me happy"?

"In fact..." Mettaton took out his cell phone, snapped a quick photo of himself and Papyrus snuggled up on the couch like that, and posted it on social media, with the following caption: Yes, I'm dating an auto mechanic. No, this does not mean I don't have standards. Papyrus makes me feel happy and comfortable, and what higher standard is there?

As the two continued to hold each other close, Mettaton noticed that he was already getting some comments.

"As someone who's married to an auto mechanic, I want to know who thinks it means you don't have standards! Auto mechanics are amazing people."

"Don't listen to the naysayers! You two are so freaking adorable!"

"I hope the people who accuse you of not having standards never have trouble with their cars, if that's what they think of mechanics! Best wishes for both you and Papyrus!"

He smiled. Even if the news media didn't recognize certain truths, his fans certainly did.

Chapter Text

Alphys frowned, wondering what had happened in the time it had taken her to pick up the drinks for everyone. Before she left, Undyne, Mettaton, and Papyrus were all going to cook spaghetti together; now it was just Mettaton sitting alone and sulking.

"Mettaton?" She walked over and took a seat on the couch, setting the drinks on the table. "What happened? Where is everybody?"

Mettaton sighed, resting his head on his hand, his elbow on the recliner's arm. "Papyrus and Undyne left to take a drive around town. Things were very... not good earlier."

"What do you mean?"

Another sigh. "So, we were making spaghetti, like we had planned. This was supposed to be fun. But Undyne...!" He leaned back. "Now, I mean no disrespect to her as a person, but... who taught her how to cook? Seriously, darling! I thought it was bad enough that she was going to make a mess everywhere, and that she damaged some of the equipment... but then, she almost started a fire."

"Y-yeah..." Alphys gave a nervous laugh; while her fiancee was good at a lot of things, cooking was not one of them, unfortunately. "She's done that sometimes, especially underground. Good thing we have smoke detectors."

"Yes, well... speaking of the smoke detectors, they went off while we were cooking." He grumbled. "I told her not to throw the box in there...!" A deep breath. "So then I panicked, and I disposed of the contents, and, well... Undyne and I got into a shouting match."

He could still remember himself and Undyne shouting over the smoke detectors:

"Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"What am I doing? What are you doing? This isn't how spaghetti is cooked at all!"

"Papyrus and I have always done it this way! You just got rid of all that hard work!"

"Well, he needs to forget your methods, because you're doing it wrong!"

Mettaton stared up at the ceiling. "And I think our shouting, combined with the smoke detectors... it was all too much for Papyrus. By the time we stopped the alarm, he had left the kitchen. We found him in here; he was curled up on the couch and repeating 'we don't have to fight'." With a sad sigh, he tilted his head back down, his hair covering both of his eyes. "He looked so terrified... I think he was shaking."

"Oh no..."

"And when we tried to talk to him, he said he didn't want us to argue anymore, because we're his friends..." He rested his face in his hands. "He told us that it felt like we were making him choose between us. Undyne managed to convince him to drive around town for a little while with her, and that's why I was alone until you came back."

"Mettaton..." Alphys scooted closer on the couch, trying to think of a way to comfort her friend. She certainly understood why Papyrus would have been upset; no one wants to feel like they have to take sides when two of the people they care about the most are in an explosive argument. If she had to choose between Undyne and Mettaton, she'd be upset too. "I'm sure you didn't mean to make him feel that way."

"I didn't. But I couldn't just stand there and let Undyne set fire to the house! This is where you both live!" Yet another sigh. "It's just... if we're going to cook together, she can't use those methods anymore. I can accept having to clean up a mess, but cooking equipment is supposed to last for a long time - that's why, unless I really need it, I always keep my chainsaw in storage these days - and the act of boiling noodles isn't supposed to start a fire! Undyne could have inhaled all that smoke, or the house could have been destroyed..." Just because Mettaton loved taking risks didn't mean he didn't care about the safety of his closest friends.

Alphys wasn't sure of what to say; Mettaton did have a point, but she didn't know how to convince Undyne to change her mind. While she was far better at cooking than Undyne (at least Alphys could prepare box dinners correctly), she still was nowhere close to being an expert.

Fortunately, she didn't have to dwell on that for too long, as the front door soon opened, with Papyrus and Undyne walking through. Both appeared to have calmed down quite a bit since Mettaton had last seen them.

"Hey, Mettaton, we're back--" Undyne noticed Alphys on the couch. "Whoa, hey, Alphys. Didn't know you were back, too." She glanced at the recliner where Mettaton was still sitting. "So I'm guessing Mettaton told you why we weren't here when you got back?"

Alphys nodded.

Papyrus stepped forward, looking somewhat morose. "That reminds me... Mettaton, can we talk in the other room? I'm not angry with you; I would just like to talk in private."

Despite the reassurances, Mettaton still felt the tiniest weight of dread resting on his soul (as everyone does when told someone needs to talk to them). Regardless, he stood up. "All right."

The two walked into a different room where they would be out of earshot of the girls. Once Papyrus was sure they were alone, he spoke. "Mettaton, I was hoping to talk about earlier."

At that moment, Mettaton decided to cut to the chase, looking down in guilt. "Darling, I'm very sorry. I never meant to make you feel like you had to choose between me and Undyne. Nor did I mean to make you panic."

"I know. And I understand it was an accident. It's just..." Papyrus took deep breaths, his hands fidgeting a little as he tried to stay calm. "I don't want to forget about cooking with Undyne. Even though the Royal Guard has disbanded, I still have several good memories of training with her. We would make spaghetti all the time; sometimes we would practice our magic as well. There were even a few times where she tried to teach me how to play the piano... I never quite mastered it, despite being great in other areas."

Mettaton chuckled, despite himself. "Oh yes, Undyne's piano..." He himself was no stranger to it; it provided such a lovely view of the room for him while he snacked on grapes.

Papyrus nodded. "But as I was trying to say... Undyne was my first friend, aside from my brother. She and I would always cook spaghetti together, and so now that you and I are friends, I thought all three of us could do it, and we'd all have so much fun." Once more, he started trembling a bit. "But... it didn't work that way. Undyne and I were cooking it the way we always did... if I'd known you didn't like cooking it that way, I would have suggested some kind of compromise."

"Sweetheart, I was just worried that the house would be set on fire. To my understanding, the infrastructure of surface houses isn't as durable as the houses were underground." Ever since moving to the surface, he had to learn his share of things about fire safety in order to be allowed to perform; fortunately, he learned the vast majority of it the easy way. "I just didn't want Alphys to come home to a destroyed house... although I do admit that I might have panicked a little. Especially when the alarms went off."

"Nyeh..." Papyrus rubbed the back of his skull. "Now that I think about it, I probably should have told you how Undyne and I make spaghetti before we started."

Mettaton resisted the urge to chuckle dryly; it seemed that even the greatest people (such as himself and Papyrus) weren't immune to making mistakes. "I am by no means saying you have to stop cooking with her, by the way. I'm just suggesting that the two of you should... alter your methods. Preferably in a way that makes it less likely for a fire to break out."

"We could do that, but then Undyne might say that it isn't fun anymore."

"That's why you make it fun... in ways that don't create fire hazards, of course." He looked at the door. "Perhaps we should ask Undyne and Alphys about this?"

With another nod, Papyrus followed him to the door.

Once they were out in the front room again, Undyne approached them. "Hey, guys, I've been talking with Alphys, and, well... Mettaton kind of had a point. We kinda shouldn't start fires in the kitchen, especially since most houses on the surface can't handle magic fire like underground houses." She muttered under her breath, "Even though I'm gonna kinda miss the carnage..." Still, she could always get her share of carnage through a video game or something similar; she realized that she and Alphys might get into trouble with the local authorities if a fire broke out.

Alphys nodded and adjusted her glasses. "So, uh... you wanna try cooking again, or is it too soon?"

"What do you think, Papyrus?" Mettaton set a hand on Papyrus' shoulder.

"Well...!" Papyrus thought for a second, before coming to a decision. "I think we should, so today can end on a good note."

With that settled, everyone went back to the kitchen. Mettaton and Alphys took charge this time, showing Papyrus and Undyne how spaghetti is properly cooked; the two were still able to make some (less dangerous) contributions. By the time they'd finished, the resulting spaghetti (while not bringing the house down either literally or metaphorically) was a resounding improvement over earlier attempts.

By the time Papyrus and Mettaton went back to their respective homes, everyone had forgiven each other. They all vowed not to forget this day, though - not out of a desire to hold grudges, but instead to use it as a learning experience.

Chapter Text

"Just my luck! Just my rotten luck!"

Papyrus didn't know which storm was more intense at the moment: the rainstorm that was raging outside, or the emotional storm that Mettaton was going through at the moment. At first, Papyrus couldn't have been happier to have Mettaton in his home; he was more than willing to offer his house as shelter from the rainstorm - at least until the roads stopped being flooded - and Sans was all right with it as well, even though he was currently choosing to spend time in his room instead of in the front room with the other two.

But Mettaton, though grateful for the shelter, was anything but happy.

"We were supposed to start filming our first show on the surface today! If this rainstorm doesn't end soon, we won't be able to film at all until further notice!" Mettaton, who had sprawled himself on the couch, flipped over and buried his face in the couch's arm, shuddering a little.

Papyrus frowned, walking up to him. "You can always film on a different day... can't you?"

Mettaton looked up at him, looking rather irritated; his eyes were threatening to fill with tears, though. "You really don't understand the gravity of this situation, do you, darling? There are deadlines we have to meet. If we don't get enough progress done soon, we could easily get cancelled! And if we don't have a new show for the upcoming season, Delta Rune Network might fail! People can only tolerate reruns for so long; if I don't release something new, the humans are going to assume I'm just some novelty, and the monsters..." His head lowered again. "They might move on from me..."

Deciding to sit on the floor nearby, Papyrus looked at him. "I won't move on from you. I love your shows and performances."

"I appreciate that, darling. However..." Rolling back over, Mettaton turned his attention to the ceiling. "With all due respect, you're just one person. I need an entire audience in order to be able to sustain my ratings and keep my shows on the air."

His arm dangled, fingertips nearly brushing the floor, as he continued, his voice quiet and distant. "If I don't have an audience... that's it. I'm finished. Mettaton will be a has-been, a thing of the past, a relic of the days underground whom the monsters no longer needed after moving to the surface, a footnote on those where-are-they-now shows..."

Suddenly, he threw himself into an upright position and cried out in frustration, his emotions boiling over. "Of all the days to have a rainstorm this severe! Why couldn't it have been yesterday? Would that have been so difficult? Oh, sure, go ahead and flood the town! It's not like people's livelihoods are on the line!" Several horrible thoughts entered Mettaton's head: being reduced to a punchline for stand-up comedians, being thought of as "old news", having to go back to life doing a mundane job where no one cared who he was...

How the mighty have fallen...

He allowed himself to collapse onto the other end of the couch, where he buried his face in the arm and allowed some sobs to escape his throat.

As Papyrus watched this unfold, he wished he had an idea of what to say. He had posters of Mettaton, as well as a picture of him for his phone's lock screen, and all of them displayed a confident, glamorous man who was going to take the world by the horns - and do it with style. And yet, on his couch right now was the same man, stripped of his confidence and glamour, seriously and honestly afraid of no longer being able to live his dreams.

Although he wasn't sure of what exactly to say, Papyrus knew he had to say something. He couldn't just sit and watch. So, he stood up and walked over.

"Would you like a hug, Mettaton?"

Mettaton looked up at him, his eyes stained with tears, and silently nodded.

Sitting next to him, Papyrus pulled him close, his hand gently moving up and down Mettaton's back. "It's okay if you need to cry. Sometimes my other friends need to cry, and there's nothing wrong with that."

Other friends? Papyrus considered him a friend? The two hadn't even interacted much yet; he could count the number of times they'd interacted beforehand, and not reach the double digits.

As if reading his thoughts, Papyrus continued. "I can be your friend if you need one. Everyone should have a cool friend to help them feel better."

Mettaton exhaled; did Papyrus really mean that, or was he just saying that because he liked Mettaton's work?

"Think about it this way, Mettaton: it's only one day. If you all work really hard, you might be able to make up for it, and then it'll be like you weren't behind schedule!"

"I hope it's only one day," Mettaton said with a sigh.

"I'm sure they'll understand, since the weather is being so unreasonable today." Papyrus grabbed the remote. "Here, I can turn on the news! Then we can find out when it'll be safe for you to go home."

"All right."

Papyrus switched on the TV and went to one of the local news channels. The two sat on the couch for a long time afterwards, watching for any updates; Sans came downstairs once or twice to ask if they needed anything. As stressed as Mettaton was, Papyrus never lost his patience with him; he listened as Mettaton occasionally complained about the time it was taking, saying that he wouldn't be able to charge because his charging cable was at home.

(He'd left his house to go on a shopping trip, picking up some supplies for the forecasted rainy weather, among other things; he hadn't expected the rain to kick in that soon, and especially not that heavily. After calling Alphys and Undyne, they'd recommended that he stay at the skeleton brothers' house until the worst of it was over, since it was the closest to where he currently was. Even after eventually acquiring a limo, Mettaton would be forever grateful for taxi cabs because of the events of today.)

Bit by bit, Mettaton began calming down, occasionally sending text messages to his cast and crew, giving them updates on the situation. Some of them said similar things that Papyrus did, saying that when they finally could start filming, they could work extra-hard to make up for lost time.

Finally, later that evening, the weather died down enough that Mettaton was able to call another cab and safely go home. Before he left, he and Papyrus exchanged phone numbers.

"If you ever need to talk to me, just go ahead and call me! I, the Great Papyrus, always answer within the first two rings!"

By now, Mettaton finally felt like smiling again. "Thank you, darling."

As Mettaton rode back home in the back of the cab, he checked social media, and found that some gossip magazine had caught wind of his crew being delayed that day. The headline read, Is Mettaton's surface career over before it started?

Mettaton scoffed to himself; he was trying, and if the tabloids couldn't handle him at his worst, they didn't deserve him at his best.

...

Wait a minute.

In that moment, Mettaton had an epiphany. That afternoon, Papyrus - a long-time fan of his - had seen him at his worst; he saw him lose control of his emotions, freak out about the future, and even burst into tears. And yet, instead of treating him like a joke or allowing his pedestal to be broken, Papyrus offered sympathy and a hand of friendship, even giving Mettaton his phone number.

It was at that moment that Mettaton realized the truth.

Papyrus was no longer merely a fan of his. By now, he wasn't even just a friend of a friend.

Papyrus was his friend.


(Later that night, after Mettaton made it home, he gave Papyrus a call to thank him for everything earlier. True to his word, Papyrus answered within the first two rings. The two talked for what felt like hours after that.)

Chapter Text

All things considered, today was shaping up to be a pretty good day. Mettaton hummed to himself as he walked through the park; Papyrus was supposed to meet up with him pretty soon, but the traffic was delaying him quite a bit. Once Papyrus did arrive, the two would film a vlog for all their followers. And today was a nice day outside; a cloudless sky, chirping birds, people having fun...

"Mettaton...!"

As well as fans recognizing him and telling him how amazing he was.

Mettaton smiled at the young woman running up to him. "Hello, beautiful!" He always loved his fans telling him they loved him.

Once the woman made it to him, she held up a photograph of him. "Mettaton! I've been looking for you! I have all your merchandise! Would you please sign this for me?"

"Oh, absolutely!"

"Oh my god! Thank you!"

Mettaton took out his pen. "And who do I have the honor of making this out to, darling?"

Suddenly, the look on the woman's face became a little more devious. "Your girlfriend, of course."

Mettaton's thumb froze in mid-air before he could click his pen. After a few seconds of stunned silence, he chuckled. "Actually, darling, I have a boyfriend."

"Well, now you have a girlfriend instead."

"...what?" With a slightly nervous laugh, Mettaton cleared his throat, taking a slight step back. "No, darling, I have a boyfriend. His name is Papyrus, and I quite adore him. He's appeared in a lot of my recent videos. As much as I'm flattered by your offer, I have to politely decline."

"Come on..." The woman approached more until she was pretty much in Mettaton's face. "What does he have that I don't have?"

Mettaton rolled his eyes, the cracks in his patience beginning to show. "Well, for starters, he respects my personal space." As much as Mettaton loved being touched, he had to draw the line somewhere.

"Yeah, and what does he do for a living? Fix cars?" The woman smirked. "I have a more creative job. You'll be able to bring me on your tours all over the world! We could start a family together! I could give you so much more than any stupid, greasy auto mechanic can give you." She laughed. "Probably didn't even finish school..."

More than any what now?

"Welly. Welly. Well then." The pen returned to Mettaton's pocket, and he turned on his heel and began walking away. "If you're going to stoop to the level of insulting the people I love, then I'm leaving. I have better things to do."

The woman followed him, but when she caught sight of a certain someone entering the park, she smirked and ran in front of Mettaton, raising her voice. "So you will go out with me, Mettaton?"

"What? I never said--!"

And then the woman pulled him close and rammed her lips into his. His eyes could have bugged out, and he squirmed around, trying to break free. She had a tight grip on him, but he was looking for any means of escape.

Finally, once she let up a bit, Mettaton found an opening and pushed her away; if looks could kill, the one he was now giving her could have sent anyone to Hell. "Get away from me!"

"Mettaton?"

Both he and the woman turned towards the new voice; Mettaton trembled slightly, while the woman smirked again. It was Papyrus, who apparently had seen everything.

The woman was almost gleeful in those milliseconds she spent imagining what could happen. Would Papyrus just run away crying? Or would he tell Mettaton off? Maybe he'd call him every nasty name in the book, or say other horrible things, or even attack him! Anything could have happened at this point, and then Mettaton would be hers!

Unfortunately for the woman, and fortunately for Mettaton, she did not know Papyrus very well.

Papyrus ran up to him, the look on his face one of concern, not of anger. "Is everything all right? Are you hurt?"

With a smile, Mettaton sighed in relief. "Aside from that massive invasion of my personal space just now, I'm not hurt."

"That's good! Well, except for your personal space being invaded." The woman watched as Papyrus turned towards her and folded his arms, looking rather annoyed. "You know, you really shouldn't kiss people without their permission. It makes them feel unsafe. And I know you don't want to be thought of as an unsafe person to be around, so please don't do that."

"I... what..." This was not what the woman had planned. "He said he wanted to go out with me!"

Papyrus wasn't convinced. "I'm pretty sure he didn't say that. He and I smooch each other all the time, and he never glares at me or pushes me away or yells at me to get away from him."

"The thing is, darling..." Mettaton slipped an arm around Papyrus' shoulders. "This woman apparently didn't realize that the boyfriend I was telling her about was the one and only Great Papyrus. Some of the things she had the gall to say about you... never have I heard such blatantly false statements since the time someone online said my shows air too much!"

The woman wished a hole would open up in the sidewalk and make her fall into a parallel dimension.

Mettaton took one step closer to her. "Look me in the eye, darling." She did so; the look on his face was that of a man who was going to lay down the law. "I don't care if you think Papyrus is, to quote your words, just a stupid, greasy auto mechanic who didn't even finish school. What's important is that he's my favorite auto mechanic - and none of the other ways in which you described him are accurate at all. He makes me happy, and if you're so unwilling to accept our love for each other that you'd resort to attempting to sabotage our relationship, then I have to question just how much of a fan of mine you really are. Love me, love my loved ones. That's what I say."

He turned and started towards a distant tree. "Come on, Papyrus. As I was saying earlier, we have better things to do."

As Papyrus watched Mettaton walking away, the woman sighed. "I wanted to go out with him... why'd you have to find him first?"

"Sometimes life is freaking weird." Truth be told, Papyrus himself had never imagined dating Mettaton until the two had actually started bonding. He looked at the woman. "I hope you take this as a lesson in how not to treat people."

"Are you coming, darling?"

"Huh? Oh! Yes!" Papyrus waved goodbye to the woman, who sighed and walked away, and ran off to see Mettaton.

Mettaton laughed as Papyrus approached. "No, sweetheart, I'm the one who says 'oh yes'."

"I don't get a special boyfriend privilege?"

"Actually, now that you mention it..."

As the two got ready to film their vlog, they knew that they had a really strong bond - and that it would take far more than a desperate attempt by some jealous fan in order to drive a wedge between them.

Chapter Text

"Bratty! Bratty! Do you, like, have the popcorn yet?"

Bratty turned her eyes away from the popcorn bowl she'd just finished pouring. "I just, like, poured it, Catty."

"Well, come on! It's gonna start in, like, a few minutes!" Catty headed to the fridge and got out the two-liters of soda before leaving the room.

"Like, wait up!"

The girls headed out to the front room of their apartment, where they'd set up their shared laptop on the coffee table. They all but threw themselves onto the couch as they waited with bated breath, staring at the screen. Mettaton was about to go live for at least the next couple of hours, and the girls wouldn't miss it for the world.

Finally, when the screen changed, the girls had their eyes glued to it like it was the most important thing in the world. Eventually, as the chatroom started going into overdrive, the title screen of one of Mettaton's licensed video games appeared, with a separate screen in one corner showing the man himself.

"Ohhh yesss! Welcome, beauties and gentlebeauties, to another edition of Gaming with a Killer Robot!"

The girls cheered loudly, and Catty's claws flew over to the keyboard; the message she sent consisted of the word "METTATON!!!!!!!!!" followed by several hearts.

"Tonight, we're going to be playing a game based on one of my many, many movies! And I also have a very special guest with me; he's a very good friend of mine." He looked offscreen. "Why don't you introduce yourself, darling?"

A tall skeleton who was dressed vaguely like a superhero came into view. "Nyeh heh heh! Attention, everyone! I, the Great Papyrus, am very pleased to meet you all!"

While a few members of the chat weren't quite sure of what to make of him, others gave him nice greetings. Bratty and Catty weren't entirely sure of what to think, either (aside from feeling a little envious).

"That's right, darlings! Tonight, Papyrus and I are going to play Mettaton Catches Disco Fever!" He looked at Papyrus. "I understand that, out of all the movies I've made, this is one of your favorites?"

"Indeed it is! The first time I saw it, I couldn't stop singing the songs for at least a couple of days! I hope my brother Sans didn't mind..."

Some of the chat members (especially the ones who had seen the movie in question) laughed; they, too, had had the songs stuck in their heads.

Mettaton laughed along with them. "Well, I hope all of you are prepared to have those songs stuck in your heads all over again! Let's not delay any further!"

As the two started the game, Bratty and Catty watched with rapt attention. They hadn't seen this movie quite as much as some of his other movies, but it would be interesting to get another perspective. Especially since this Papyrus guy seemed to be another of Mettaton's fans.

After the introductory cutscene, which displayed Mettaton (in all of his rectangular glory) expressing his desire to bring disco back into popularity, the game proper started. The background music for the first level was an instrumental version of one of the musical numbers in the movie (this would also be true for the other levels in the game, with each one having a different song); as such, Mettaton couldn't resist the urge to sing the lyrics when that part of the song came around. Early in the song, he grinned at Papyrus and said, "Sing it with me, darling!", and so it didn't take long for Papyrus to join in with the backing vocals. The chat members couldn't help but point out how much fun the two were having as they sang and played together.

In between these impromptu karaoke sessions, they would talk about various other things, such as the levels themselves, the movie the game was based on, and some of Papyrus' favorite Mettaton Moments. Sometimes, Mettaton would even ask Papyrus to tell the viewers about himself. The viewers, Bratty and Catty included, learned quite a bit about Papyrus during this stream; they learned that Papyrus liked cars, puzzles, making spaghetti, and saying "Nyeh heh heh!" and "Wowie!" - and, of course, that he was a huge fan of Mettaton.

During a lull in the action, Bratty whispered to Catty. "We should, like, watch this movie again."

Catty's eyes widened. "Oh my god. Yes. And then, we should watch the rest of his movies. We could, like, eat Glamburgers while watching them! Those are all three of my favorite things: Glamburgers, Mettaton, and being with you!"

"Like, oh my god, Catty! Those are my favorite things, too!"

And as the girls watched the livestream, they couldn't help but notice that, as of late, it appeared that one of Mettaton's favorite things was being with Papyrus. The way he seemed to let his guard down and laugh with him... was Papyrus becoming to him what the girls were to each other?

All the girls knew was that this livestream was wicked awesome.

Chapter Text

"C'mon, everyone! We're not gonna make it up the mountain just by standing around!"

Mettaton winced at Undyne's volume. "Undyne, must you shout like that on a mountain? Haven't you seen the movies? You could start an avalanche!" As much of a thrill-seeker as he was, he still had no desire for any of his friends to die or get seriously harmed, especially not today.

Alphys, who was standing with Undyne, looked back at Mettaton. "Actually, Mettaton, I did some research and I found out that shouting doesn't cause avalanches. Even when it's really loud, it's still too weak of a force."

"That's a relief!" Papyrus said. "I was briefly concerned that my voice would make rocks fall. Even though it would be cool to have a power like that, I don't want my friends getting hurt."

The four of them stood at a relatively low point on Mt. Ebbot, dressed in hiking boots and other appropriate gear. Every year, on the morning of this particular day, Undyne would climb Mt. Ebbot; it had only happened once before, but she was determined to make it a tradition. Last year, she'd only brought Alphys with her, but this year, they'd invited their respective best friends along. Maybe next year, Sans or Frisk or Asgore or Toriel (or any combination thereof) would be able to come along as well.

Undyne looked forward, up the trail. "Well, come on! Our voices may be too weak to cause avalanches, but that doesn't mean we're too weak to climb this mountain! Let's go!"

And so the four of them advanced up the trail. In the years following Frisk and the monsters' return to the surface, the trail had been made a little safer so that no one would end up falling into a much emptier Underground. While the Underground itself was still open to tourists, everyone just wanted to take precautions.

As they were walking up the trail, Undyne had an idea. "Hey, why don't we sing a song? It'll make it easier to pass the time!"

Mettaton grinned. "Ooh! I'm quite good at singing."

"Yes, he is!" Papyrus said with a nod.

Undyne briefly looked back at them. "Great! This is one of my favorites."

With that, she took a deep breath and began singing:

"Miss Susie had a tugboat, the tugboat had a bell

Miss Susie went to heaven, the tugboat went to

Hello operator, please give me number nine

And if you disconnect me, I'll suplex your

Behind the 'fridgerator, there sat a piece of glass..."

Mettaton and Papyrus looked at each other, wincing. From ahead, Alphys laughed nervously.

They continued up the mountain trail, with Undyne continuing to sing loudly while the other three just walked in an awkward silence.

"...D-A-R-K! Dark, dark, dark!

Dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show

A show is on a TV screen, and this is what I know

I know that I know Alphys, and she knows Mettaton

I know I know Papyrus, he likes dancing on my lawn!"

After holding that last note, Undyne turned back towards the others and laughed. "Isn't that song just classic?"

"Er... yes. Classic." Mettaton looked away and rolled his eyes. You can't spell "classic" without... wait a minute. He looked at Papyrus, feeling a bit confused. "Papyrus, darling, do you really like dancing on Undyne's lawn?"

"Sometimes!" Papyrus looked up. "I've heard some people refer to dancing as 'cutting a rug' and I thought, why would anyone want to cut rugs? They can be very expensive, and a lot of work goes into making them! But people cut their lawns all the time, so I thought it made sense."

"Yeah, and he usually mows it for us too, so I'm not complaining," Undyne said.

Mettaton shrugged. "Fair enough. Besides, there's nothing wrong with dancing." He struck a dramatic pose as well as he could in a backpack.

After walking for a little while longer, Undyne suddenly stopped and looked at the other trail that had appeared. The other three soon saw why she'd stopped; this trail led to the entrance to the Ruins. It was no longer just a hole; it had since been outfitted with an elevator.

"Just think about it," Undyne said. "If Frisk hadn't fallen down that hole, none of us would be up here today." She looked at the sky, remembering how Frisk managed to outsmart her. "That punk was determined... they still are!"

"Yeah... we really owe a lot to them." Alphys grabbed her water bottle and took a sip.

Undyne grinned at the others. "And you know what? I'm determined too. Determined to make it to the top of this mountain! Come on, everybody!"

The four made that last push, for it wasn't very long until they'd be able to reach the mountain's summit (or, at the very least, the top of the walkable trail). Deep down, Alphys felt a bit envious that her three companions got tired much less easily than she did, but she remembered how Undyne and Papyrus would tell her that the more she exercised, the easier it would get.

It would probably even help clear her mind for certain other projects.

At long last, the four made it to the peak. The world looked so small down below, and yet, they could see so far from where they were. Undyne took a deep breath and began to recite a speech she had prepared for this occasion (and she had taken copious amounts of notes so she wouldn't forget it, unlike the time she confronted Frisk near the entrance to Hotland).

"Two years ago, on this very day, monsters saw the sky for the first time in millennia. We all wondered if it would be possible in our lifetimes. When we woke up in the morning two years ago today, I don't think any of us were expecting for a human to be sighted in the Underground. And I just know none of us anticipated that, not only would we reach the surface by the end of that day, but we'd do it without killing the human or starting another war. But now, two years after that day, we're on the surface, that same human is one of our best friends, and the entire world is at our disposal. We are the monsters, and today, we celebrate our freedom!"

She summoned a magical spear, held it aloft, and let her battle cry ring out across the land.

Papyrus felt so inspired by his best friend's words that, after her voice died out on the wind, he struck his own pose and let out a "Nyeh heh heh heh heh!"

Mettaton looked at the two, shrugged, and also posed dramatically with an "Ohhh yesss!" to continue the theme of catchphrases.

With another nervous laugh, Alphys half-heartedly threw a fist in the air. "Um... yay!" This wasn't really the best time for her to not have a catchphrase.

They all stood there for a minute longer, staring out at the world in front of them, before Undyne spoke up. "So, should we head back down now?"

"We probably should." Mettaton checked the time on his phone. "I have to start getting ready for tonight's anniversary broadcast soon." This day was especially important to him; not only was it the anniversary of monsters reaching the surface, and of them meeting Frisk, but it was also the anniversary of Mettaton premiering his EX form to the world. Truly one of his finest moments to date, even if it had to be cut short thanks to his poor battery life at the time. (Fortunately, one of the first things Alphys did afterwards was improve his battery so that he could actually use this form on a more frequent basis. Given how proud he was of this body, it was the least she could do to make it up to him for what she'd done earlier.)

With a grin, Papyrus started back towards the trail, with the others soon following. "All right! I, the Great Papyrus, volunteer to be the next person to sing a song! And you all can sing along if you want to!"

Mettaton sighed. "Please tell me it's not going to be another vulgar one..."

"Why not? Vulgar songs are fun!" Undyne lightly elbowed Mettaton and gave him a smirk.

"Actually, I had this one in mind, and it's not vulgar." Papyrus cleared his throat. "When I wake up, well, I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you..."

Undyne grinned. "Hey, I know that one!" And then she joined in.

The four continued singing and talking as they went back down the mountain. Mettaton certainly hadn't anticipated going on a hike this morning (at least, not until a few days beforehand), but it would certainly provide lots of interesting stories in the future.

And besides, Papyrus was here, and Mettaton was really starting to enjoy his company as of late.

Chapter Text

A car with four monsters in it was making its way down an open road. Today was a very momentous occasion: one of the monsters in said car, Undyne, was going to make her pay-per-view debut at a professional wrestling event that night. Sure, her match wasn't going to be the headliner, but there was still a lot of buzz surrounding the event, since she was to be one of the first monsters to wrestle in a pay-per-view show. The fact that she'd led the Royal Guard before everyone made it to the surface certainly helped with her credibility; all she'd needed to do was take some training related specifically to pro wrestling, as well as participate in a number of smaller matches, and just like that, she'd quickly become a promising up-and-comer.

She leaned back in her seat; her wife Alphys was in the back seat with her, her best friend Papyrus was driving, and Papyrus' boyfriend Mettaton was in the passenger seat. (Undyne and Mettaton had had a slightly heated argument over who had the right to ride shotgun; they ended up flipping a coin over it.) This was a very special day, and as such, she decided to treat it with the dignity it deserved.

"Hey, Papyrus."

"Yes?"

Undyne smirked. "Are we there yet?"

Papyrus sighed. "No, Undyne, we are not there yet."

"How about now?"

"No."

"Now?"

With a loud groan, Papyrus focused on the road in front of him.

Mettaton turned his head to face the back seat, looking very unamused. "Isn't it bad form to distract the driver?"

"Said the guy who insisted on sitting up front with his boyfriend, when we all know what he thinks of you." While Undyne knew that Mettaton's looks weren't the sole reason Papyrus loved him, it was still clear that Papyrus definitely appreciated his style.

"And that's precisely why the Great Papyrus always stays focused on the road!" Papyrus continued looking forward. "I do not want my sexy robot boyfriend - or anyone else, for that matter - to get hurt because of negligent driving!"

Shrugging, Undyne returned her attention to her surroundings. Her thoughts were in overdrive; she was going to make history tonight, for sure. Undyne the Undying, making her big-league debut... of course, she already knew how the match was going to turn out, but there was no way she would spill the results before the event itself happened, not even to her best friends. (Well, her best friend, her other-best-friend-turned-wife, and her resident frenemy.)

That said, the anticipation was driving her crazy... was this what Mettaton felt before his performances?

She found herself wondering out loud, "Hey, can this thing go any faster?"

Papyrus checked the speedometer. "We're at the speed limit, Undyne. If we're caught going any faster, we could get into trouble!"

Undyne noticed a car going by at a much faster speed than their own car. "That isn't stopping those guys!"

"Papyrus does have a point." Alphys squeezed Undyne's hand. "If we get a traffic ticket, it could make all of us look bad."

"And besides, darling, you know what they say: reputation takes a lifetime to build and only seconds to destroy." Mettaton folded his arms. "And I, for one, am not about to have my reputation destroyed just because someone else was impatient. If I was caught in a car that received a traffic ticket, it would cause such a scandal - and not even one of the fun ones! I'm sure you wouldn't want your own reputation as a wrestler to be tarnished by this incident, either. Or the reputations of your wife and your best friend."

"I wasn't being totally serious, you know." Undyne thought for a moment; for someone who was still relatively new, reputation was a very important thing. She'd probably catch hell if her boss found out that she'd directly caused her friend to get a speeding ticket; even when she'd been training for the Royal Guard, she'd still initially tried to maintain at least some level of decorum. And yet, if highway patrol didn't see it...

But then, as they drove further and noticed that same car from earlier pulled over on the side of the road, with a highway patrol officer speaking to the driver, Undyne sighed. "Touche."

Noticing her bored tone, Papyrus decided to speak up. "Don't worry, Undyne! I know we're going to get there very soon, and then you'll be able to do whatever you need to do before the show!"

"I guess you're right." Undyne sat up. "But I do have just one question, though."

Mettaton glared back at her. "We're still not there yet, sweetheart, so don't even bother."

"What? I was just gonna ask if we could stop somewhere! I'm thirsty."

"Of course," Mettaton muttered under his breath. "First she wants us to hurry up, then she wants us to stop."

"Hey! I heard that!" Undyne pushed some hair out of her face. "Besides, I'm an athlete. I gotta stay hydrated!" Being a fish woman, this went double for her.

Papyrus, not wanting to hear his boyfriend and best friend arguing with each other, spoke up. "I have an idea! Why don't we all sing along to the radio until we get there?"

Alphys, having similar sentiments, leaned forward. "Y-yeah! That sounds like fun!"

"Then it's settled!" Papyrus turned on the radio.

Despite that voice in her head nagging her, Undyne told herself that she could have a little more patience; it would all be worth it to hear the audiences cheering for her without having to worry about her reputation getting damaged because of a traffic ticket. She still didn't totally understand traffic laws - what was the point of making cars go so fast and then saying it was illegal for them to go that fast? - but she knew there were lots of other, more legal (and less dangerous) ways to go full-throttle in life.

Maybe she could channel her pent-up feelings into her performance.

Chapter Text

Despite being a famous celebrity, Mettaton wasn't often sighted in a lot of restaurants on the surface at first.

There were a few good reasons for this, the biggest being that his body wasn't equipped to handle human food; if it wasn't made with monster magic, he wouldn't be able to digest it properly, and thus it would clog up his internal systems and most likely require an unannounced visit to Alphys' place. This was true for many other species of monsters as well; even many of the more bestial monsters still preferred monster food, even though they could eat human food without any ill effects.

In the months (and eventually years) since monsters moved to the surface, many human-owned food establishments found themselves slowly transitioning to include more options for monsters. This transition didn't happen overnight, though; at first, the monsters who couldn't or didn't want to cook had to rely on specialized markets for their groceries, and they didn't have much in the way of eating establishments aside from Grillby's restaurant and Muffet's bakery. Fortunately, not only did more monster-owned businesses soon crop up (such as the coffee shop owned by Zoe, the rabbit monster who ran the shop in Snowdin Town), but many human-owned businesses altered their methods so they could make food that would cater to this new demographic.

When Mettaton was sure that there were restaurants that both had the upscale aesthetic he was looking for and served food that he could actually eat, he began visiting them on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes, he would even invite some of his closest friends and family to join him if they had no prior commitments, or if it was a special occasion.

And of course, as he and Papyrus went from acquaintances to friends to boyfriends, he would absolutely invite him along as well.

One such night, as the two walked into their chosen restaurant hand-in-hand, Papyrus' magic was fluttering in his ribcage. Date nights with Mettaton were always very special, and he was going to make sure this night was no exception. His handbook had suggested that he treat everyone - not just his partner, but all the employees they would speak to - with the utmost courtesy, which he was certainly going to do, especially since that was what he would have done anyway.

As the host escorted them to their table, Papyrus told him, "I hope you're having a wonderful night!"

The host smiled. "As a matter of fact, tonight has gone quite well. Thank you for asking."

Once they made it to their table, Papyrus went over and pulled out a chair for Mettaton, whose eyes sparkled.

"You are such a gentleman, darling," Mettaton said as he sat down, allowing Papyrus to push his chair back in before he took his own seat.

"Of course! I, the Great Papyrus, aim to please!" Although he was speaking more quietly than usual to account for the formal atmosphere, he wasn't any less enthusiastic about the whole thing.

At the sight of this, the host continued smiling. "Your server will be by shortly with your water." He walked away, ready to greet the next patrons.

Papyrus looked around, feeling like he was in the middle of a really good dream. He was on a date with Mettaton at a fancy restaurant, with candlelight and quiet music and white tablecloths, among many other things. "Wowie..."

"Oh yes. I can tell we've both been dreaming of this." While Mettaton was still restricted to only eating monster food, it was certainly a step up from the days before he had his body, where he could only eat ghost food. Although his body got its energy from charging every night, his soul got its energy from food, and the increased capabilities of his body certainly broadened his options. "All the most famous celebrities attend these kinds of restaurants, and thanks to my body, I can be one of them."

He still remembered when he was in charge of his own restaurant back underground; having heard stories about the kinds of problems that can occur in restaurants when customers don't get certain things, he'd decided to make each customer reserve everything in advance so they'd know exactly what they were getting. It was only after making it to the surface that he'd figured out that such an arrangement was more trouble than it was worth; while the resort's restaurant was still open, the day-to-day operations had been turned over to someone who could manage it more efficiently.

Papyrus, in the meantime, was hung up on just how lucky he was. Back in the days underground, he would have considered himself incredibly lucky if he'd been able to have just one short conversation with Mettaton. And yet, not only were the two eating in a fine restaurant together, but the reason for it was because they'd developed such a strong bond - to the point where they'd legitimately fallen in love with each other. Mettaton's shows had always made him happy in the past, and now that the two were closer than ever, Papyrus wanted nothing more than to make Mettaton happy, as a way of thanking him for everything.

Maybe someday, they'd be able to not only eat more meals together, but they would eat meals that they themselves made together.

"Darling?"

"Nyeh?" Papyrus snapped out of his daydreaming and noticed Mettaton handing him a menu that the server had given him. "Oh! Thank you!"

The server nodded and set down the water glasses. "Can I get you started with some bread?"

Since Papyrus was Mettaton's guest, Mettaton let him decide. Papyrus nodded and said, "Yes, please."

"It will be out shortly." The server walked off.

Once they were alone again, Mettaton leaned in close so he could whisper. "If you don't know what something is, sweetheart, just ask me. I've been to these restaurants several times, so I know what most of these dishes are."

"Thank you, Mettaton!" In his heart, Papyrus was ready to take any advice, for he was more driven than ever to make it a wonderful night.

It's not every night that you get to go on a romantic dinner date at a fancy restaurant with your favorite celebrity, after all.

Chapter Text

"Wowie! That cloud looks like a dragon!" Papyrus pointed up at the cloud in question.

"Oooh... it certainly does, doesn't it?"

Spending the afternoon with Papyrus on this secluded beach was certainly one of Mettaton's better ideas. The soft towel and warm, pillowy sands, combined with the gentle ocean sounds... if there was a way for today to get any better, Mettaton didn't know what it was. For some reason, though, Papyrus seemed a little apprehensive about the whole thing; sometimes, he would look at the ocean before looking down at himself with a frown. He seemed to cheer up when Mettaton held him close, though, and that was when he'd caught sight of the clouds.

The two just lay there for a little while, with Papyrus occasionally pointing out cloud shapes. For some time, everything seemed to be all right, but when Papyrus sat up a little and Mettaton felt him grow tense in his arms, he knew he had to say something.

"Are you okay, Papyrus?"

"Yes, everything's fine! I just..." Papyrus took a deep breath. "I want to go swimming."

"Then go, sweetheart. There's nothing stopping you." He wondered why Papyrus would be so tense over this, but when one possible thought came to him, he grabbed one of Papyrus' hands and gently kissed it. "If you're worried about making me feel left out, I can assure you that I won't be upset. Instead, I'll think of it as a sneak preview of what I'll get to look forward to when my body eventually becomes waterproof."

Oddly enough, Papyrus' tension didn't seem to totally go away. Nevertheless, he still gave Mettaton another hug. "Thank you."

With that, Papyrus stood up and started towards the waves, praying every second that Mettaton wouldn't notice a certain something.

"You're going to swim with your shirt on, darling?"

...oh no.

Papyrus turned towards him while frowning, not entirely sure of what to say.

"It's all right if you are," Mettaton continued. "I was just curious."

"I... I was going to take it off over there!"

Mettaton raised an eyebrow. "Why don't you take it off over here? That way, we'll be less likely to lose it." Suddenly, Mettaton had another idea, and he grinned. "Besides, darling, you've seen my gorgeous body, so I would love to see yours."

When Mettaton said that, he'd hoped that it would have the same effect his compliments usually did. Instead, Papyrus just continued standing there in silence, slightly trembling.

Before Mettaton could ask, Papyrus sadly sighed and looked down. "My body... it's... really not that gorgeous."

Wait, what? Mettaton wondered if he'd secretly stepped into some kind of alternate universe. Normally, Papyrus loved to put himself over and talk about how cool he was. Why was he suddenly doing the opposite? Did someone tell him he was ugly? Or was he even comparing himself unfavorably to Mettaton? Either explanation would have made Mettaton upset; for the former, no one had any right to speak to Papyrus that way, and for the latter, Mettaton wanted his fans to feel empowered to express their beauty, not feel ugly because they felt inadequate when compared to him. Especially since Mettaton's body was made to order, unlike how his fans had had their bodies since birth, and were given them through pure chance.

"Sweetheart... come over here." As Mettaton watched Papyrus walk over, he gently patted the space next to him on the towel. Once Papyrus sat back down, Mettaton slipped an arm around him and spoke softly. "I can assure you that your body is more beautiful than you think it is. What is it you don't like about it?"

"It's just... some of my ribs have cracks and chips in them." Papyrus shuddered a bit. "Whenever I see them, all I can think of is how I should have been more careful when making puzzles and doing things with Undyne. I feel like I've permanently damaged myself, in a way."

Mettaton pulled him a little closer. "It's not your fault, sweetie. It's no one's fault. Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks 'hmm, I think I'm going to trip over the sidewalk today!' It just means you were willing to take risks." He thought for a second. "You mentioned Undyne. Given the sort of work she's done over the years, I imagine she has quite a few scars. But she doesn't seem to be ashamed of her body, as far as I can tell."

Papyrus had some thoughts of his own for a brief moment. He remembered this one day not long after the barrier fell, where Undyne and Alphys went to the beach. They took a lot of pictures and posted them on social media; quite a few of the pictures were selfies, and the girls had been wearing swimsuits. In all of those pictures, Undyne looked happy and excited; if she was worried about looking bad, she had done an amazing job at hiding it. And from what Papyrus could remember, her scales weren't entirely pristine. In fact, even though she was missing an eye, she still felt proud of her body! He could remember her talking about her battle scars, but every time she did, she was never ashamed of them to any degree beyond a laughing "whoops"; he would have honestly been surprised if she secretly did feel bad about them.

Finally, he looked up and took a deep breath. "Well, I suppose if Undyne can do it..."

He felt Mettaton kiss his hand once more. "Everything else about you is beautiful; I see no reason why your body has to be the exception."

That settled it; Papyrus felt a rush of bravery, and he knew he had to act on it while he still could. He began to carefully unbutton his shirt, and when the last button was undone, he let it slide off his shoulders and drop onto the towel. Moving it out of the way, he lay back down, feeling terrycloth against the back of his ribcage, and Mettaton began looking him over. As the seconds slowly dragged on, Papyrus began noticing an odd look in Mettaton's eyes.

Was that... admiration?

"Ooh..." Mettaton took hold of Papyrus' hand and smiled. "It seems you have quite a few stories to tell. May I hear some of them?"

"Oh! W-wowie..." With another deep breath, Papyrus moved his hand towards a chip on one of his ribs. "Well... I got this one when Undyne and I were practicing our dramatic speeches on top of that crag between Waterfall and Hotland. She told me that the best way to enter a battle after a dramatic speech is to jump down from a high place, so we practiced together. Unfortunately, I slightly misjudged the landing."

"Oops..." Just then, Mettaton quietly snickered. "I have to admit, that reminds me of back when I was teaching myself how to dance, before I officially premiered this body." He leaned down to whisper. "Dr. Alphys had to make several repairs before I finally mastered it."

Papyrus blinked. Even though he knew Mettaton more intimately than his other fans did, sometimes it was still easy for him to forget that Mettaton didn't always have a body. He never really thought about Mettaton having to learn to walk, or pick things up with his hands, or do all those other things that most adults would take for granted. The first time he saw Mettaton on TV, he never would have believed that there was a time where Mettaton didn't have arms; while he knew that Mettaton didn't always have legs, Mettaton seemed to adapt so well to having them that Papyrus almost could have been fooled.

Suddenly, he felt his prior shame begin to dissipate.

"Why don't you tell me some more stories, beautiful?"

For the next several minutes, Papyrus did just that, describing each of the wacky incidents that left proof of their existence on his ribcage. Even when he wasn't sure of the exact details of some of them, he still did his best to retell everything.

"...and to this day, I still refuse to have anything to do with puzzles that have conveyor belts. I am not going through that garbage again."

"I can imagine; that sounded dreadful." Even though Mettaton didn't mind conveyor belts, he certainly understood why Papyrus had issues with them after hearing that story.

Papyrus thought for a second. "And... I think I'm out of stories."

He felt warm metal arms wrap themselves around him, followed by a kiss to his skull. "I certainly enjoyed hearing them. You're very brave, darling; I can't help but admire a fellow risk-taker." Mettaton looked up. "After all, if I didn't take risks, I'd still be a nameless snail farmer."

Oh my god, he thinks I'm brave... For the first time in quite a long while, Papyrus truly felt radiant, instead of irresponsible, when he thought of his body.

For several minutes, the two lay in silence, the only sounds being those of the waves and of Mettaton's systems. Finally, Mettaton squeezed Papyrus' hand and spoke again.

"Did you still want to go swimming?"

"Oh! Right!" All that stuff regarding his body had nearly made him forget his original plans. He sat up. "I can do that right now!"

Mettaton's eyes sparkled. There was the Papyrus he knew! "If you find any seashells, darling, I would love to look at them."

"Absolutely!" And with that, Papyrus headed out towards the water, his hands fluttering as quickly as his soul, no longer weighed down by insecurity.

As Mettaton watched Papyrus play around in the water and heard his joyful laughter, he too felt excited; against all odds, today had managed to find a way to improve on itself!

Chapter Text

From the small cabin, Mettaton looked out over the expanse of the theme park. The Ferris wheel was large enough that one could easily see the entire park when one's cabin was at the high point; even the biggest rollercoaster in the park looked like nothing more than a toy from this height.

He glanced at the two skeletons in the cabin with him. "You know what I think, darlings?"

"No, what?"

"Nyeh?"

His eyes developed a wistful look. "It would be just sublime if I could have my own theme park someday." In a dramatic pose, his arm cut through the air in a sweeping motion. "MTT Gardens: the most fabulous place to spend your day!"

"C'mon, MTT," Sans said as he crossed his ankles. "You sure you don't wanna call it Hotterland?"

Papyrus folded his arms. "There is no lava around here, Sans. I haven't seen any magma, either. Plus, with a name like that, the developers might get the idea to put lasers on conveyors in the park! Is there anything more appalling?"

"Actually, sweetheart, I already have some ideas for some rides - and they don't involve lasers on conveyors." Mettaton gave that winning grin. "Perhaps there could be a Ferris wheel quite like this one, except the front of it would have a giant screen broadcasting my music videos! Rollercoasters of several types, all colored bright pink! A motion simulator based on one of my movies... which one, though? Oh, the dilemma..."

After thinking for a second, Papyrus had an idea, and raised his hand. "Ooh! Maybe some of the rollercoasters could be based on your movies!"

"Rollercoasters based on my movies...?" The wheels in Mettaton's mind turned for a few seconds, and before Papyrus could say anything else, he felt Mettaton's arms surrounding him and pulling him close. "You're a genius, darling!"

"Nyeh...!" Papyrus felt orange magic dusting his face. "Well, I am the Great Papyrus, of course!"

With a chuckle, Sans looked out at the park. "Bet you dollars to donuts that it's gonna be the pinkest theme park anyone's ever seen. Probably gonna set a world record..."

"Oh yes. Many things in the park would absolutely be pink." Mettaton smirked, resting a hand on his hip. "And if they think I'm wrong to like the color pink that much? Too bad, darlings!"

The brothers laughed a little; no way would Mettaton back down from his convictions.

Finally, once the cabin returned to the ground, Mettaton and Papyrus walked out together, with Sans following close behind; Papyrus thought he heard Sans muttering something about the Ferris wheel being his hero, but decided not to ask.

"So what should we do now, darlings?" Mettaton looked around. "Truthfully, I've had my eye on that rollercoaster over there."

When Papyrus caught sight of the rollercoaster that Mettaton was pointing at, his eyes widened. "Wowie... that's a big rollercoaster. But it's nothing we can't handle! Because we are all amazingly cool!"

Mettaton took Papyrus' hand. "That's the spirit, sweetheart!"

"You guys go ahead." Sans looked elsewhere. "I'm gonna go check out the arcade; I'll be there if you need me. Have fun on the 'coaster." He looked back and smirked. "Apostrophe-coaster. Short for rollercoaster."

As Sans walked off, Mettaton and Papyrus walked through the park. The smells of salt, grease, and fresh lemons were on the wind.

"I still remember when Frisk wanted to come here for their twelfth birthday," Papyrus said. "And I was hoping to share it with you one day, when we could all get together again."

Mettaton thoughtfully nodded; he hadn't been able to attend Frisk's twelfth birthday celebration because he'd been in the middle of a tour at the time. (He'd made it up to them by sending souvenirs that he thought they'd like; while he couldn't find any trinkets with their name on it, he was still able to find other nice things. Among other things, Frisk still liked wearing the baseball cap he'd gotten for them.) A couple of years had passed since then, and since everyone's schedules seemed to line up perfectly, they'd decided to go to this theme park once more. Today wasn't Frisk's birthday, though; everyone had just decided to come here for some fun, with Mettaton and the skeleton brothers forming just one group of many.

"Frisk has wonderful taste in birthday party venues, I must say." Mettaton looked at the cloudless sky. "I may have to make a few return trips when I can."

Papyrus nodded. "I've heard they do special things for the holidays! On Halloween, for example, you can go trick-or-treating here, and they have a costume contest!"

"Oh my..." Suddenly, Mettaton wondered if he would see people dressed up as him if he came here on Halloween. What would they say if they saw he was there, and if they entered the costume contest, would their Mettaton costumes get high marks? How many would come dressed up as his EX form, and how many would come as his rectangle form?

The two eventually made it to the line for the rollercoaster, where they watched the trains speed along the tracks. Papyrus couldn't help feeling slightly intimidated when he saw the loops and corkscrews; he could still remember when Undyne had asked him to ride this coaster with her. He'd been quite dizzy after the fact!

That was two years ago, though, and now he was more willing than ever to conquer the rollercoaster.

When they made it to the front of the line, the attendant gasped; he had a pin of a certain rectangular robot on his uniform, glittering in the sun. "Mettaton?"

Grinning, Mettaton struck a dramatic pose. "The one and only, darling. Accept no substitutes!"

"I didn't know you came here! That's awesome! And you even brought... Papyrus, right?"

Papyrus' eyelights sparkled. Oh my god, someone recognized me!

"Oh yes. All of our friends are here, as a matter of fact." Mettaton glanced backward. "I, for one, think the view from the Ferris wheel is quite lovely."

"The teacups are my favorite!" Papyrus chimed in.

"Cool! Well, have fun on the ride, and make sure to keep everything in the vehicle at all times."

With that out of the way, the two boarded the train, joined by a number of other guests; they both could hear some hushed voices saying "oh my god, is that Mettaton?" and other such things. Seatbelts were fastened, lap bars descended, and after one final safety spiel, the train began moving.

Many rollercoasters had a dramatic ascent up the first hill, and this one was certainly no exception. As the train turned into the hill in question and began to climb, Papyrus steeled his nerves. He'd done this before, and he was going to do it again. Especially since Mettaton was here; if Mettaton was willing to take this experience by the horns, Papyrus would be right alongside him. Thanks to everyone in his life, Mettaton included, he believed in himself more than ever.

The train stopped at the high point; just a little movement forward would send it and its passengers through high speeds.

Mettaton grinned at Papyrus. "Don't you just love rollercoasters, darling? So much dramatic tension, and they don't even need a story!"

"Y-yes, they're quite--"

And then it moved.

A dozen voices screamed as the train went down the first big drop; some were terrified, some were excited, and many were both. Papyrus was part of the latter; his previously-quivering bones felt the forces of the drop, but he felt his bravery surge.

I can do this! The Great Papyrus can do anything!

Mettaton, meanwhile, had a huge grin on his face as the coaster sped along the tracks. He craved these sorts of sensations, the ones that pushed him to his limit while still being as safe as possible; it came with the territory of not always having had a body. The loops took him upside-down, and the corkscrews made the world spin, and his hair was undoubtedly getting messed up from the G-forces, and he was having far too much fun to even be concerned about that.

Indeed, when the coaster finally slowed to a stop at the station, Mettaton found himself thinking, Is that it? Nonetheless, he kept grinning as he stepped off, letting out a few unrestrained laughs.

Papyrus, deep down, felt pride welling up in his soul. He'd really done it! He'd ridden a huge rollercoaster, and instead of being afraid, he had fun!

It seemed Mettaton had had fun, too. But Papyrus just wanted to be sure.

"I take it you liked it?"

Mettaton looked at him with windswept hair and a huge smile, and made his answer very clear.

"Ohhh yesss!"


When they met back up with Sans (who had won quite a few prizes) at the arcade, he'd asked them if they'd enjoyed the ''coaster ("Which is short for 'coaster. Which is short for..."). Mettaton told him that he would definitely be endorsing this place in the future. Papyrus, meanwhile, was texting Undyne about how he'd conquered his fear of that rollercoaster.

They didn't call them thrill rides for nothing, and for everyone involved, a lot of good memories were made on that day.

Chapter Text

In the future, Mettaton would look back on this day and wonder just how he'd been so lucky for Papyrus to end up in his life.

(Truthfully, he felt that way about a number of days, but this day in particular may well have driven away anyone else, had they been in Papyrus' position.)

When Papyrus heard his ringtone go off that day and saw that Mettaton was calling him, he was at first incredibly excited to talk to his friend, especially when he noticed that Mettaton specifically wanted a video call.

"Hello, my wonderful friend!" he said after Mettaton appeared on-screen.

"Hello, sweetheart." Although Mettaton was smiling, the look in his eyes was anything but happy. Combined with the tone of his voice, Papyrus could tell that something was off.

"Is everything okay, Metta?"

Mettaton's eyes widened a bit before he gathered his composure. "Actually, I was hoping to talk to you about something." He took a deep breath, his face settling into contemplation for a brief few seconds, before speaking again. "You remember Bryan, right?"

"Bryan...?" Papyrus thought for a moment.

"Orange fur? Sarcastic demeanor?"

"Oh, right! He was at that party we went to all those months ago!" Papyrus frowned. "Did something bad happen to him?"

"No. At least, not as far as I know." With another deep breath, he spoke again. "Anyway, his birthday is coming up, and I was hoping to give him something."

The expression on Papyrus' face went back to a joyful one. "Oh! Did you need help finding a present? I may not know him that well, but if you need my help, I can still help you decide on a cool present!"

For a moment, Mettaton was silent, looking very pensive. He knew in his heart that he had to tell Papyrus about this sooner or later. But just the very thought of things made him furious at himself... what if Papyrus decided he wanted nothing more to do with Mettaton after hearing this? After hearing how he treated another fan of his?

With another deep breath, he continued.

"Well... it's not just that." The look on his face was completely serious. "Papyrus... have you ever wondered why he's a former employee of mine?"

"Somewhat? I didn't ask because I didn't want to be rude."

Mettaton looked down. "The truth is... the reason he doesn't work for me anymore is because, when he did, I was utterly horrible to him."

"Horrible?"

With a nod, Mettaton began his story. "You see, darling... Bryan was a fan of mine. He'd told me that it was his dream to work for me. And at first, I was just as enthusiastic about having him as an employee." He leaned back. "But then, he told me that he wanted to be an actor, and..." A sad sigh. "I feel so foolish, just thinking about it."

When Mettaton remained silent for a little bit, Papyrus raised his brow. "What happened? I'm listening."

"Well... I sort of panicked. I was worried that, if I indulged his dreams and he became an actor, he would end up not only doing everything I can do, but doing it better. And people would start being fans of him instead of me." The palm of his hand met his forehead. "I didn't even think about how humans have multiple celebrities, and how some prefer the old over the new. At the time, all I could think about was how I wanted to be the Underground's one and only celebrity, and how I didn't want my career to be over so soon because I'd lost my audience to the next big thing. So I..." He sighed once more. "I stuck him in food service. And whenever he complained, I'd act as if he'd brought it on himself."

From there, it all just came spilling out.

"Most of the time, when I spoke to him, it was to criticize him. Even when I praised him, I was rather condescending about it. Eventually, I just stopped calling him Bryan, and instead called him by some unflattering nicknames." A certain eleven-letter one, in particular, flashed through his mind as his fists clenched. "I even made an entire album consisting of nothing but songs that directly insulted him, that I'd play whenever he made a mistake! Have you ever heard of anything more childish, Papyrus?"

Papyrus frowned again. "Mettaton..."

"I treated him as if he mattered less than the ground I walked on... and it was all because he shared the same dreams I once had. Honestly, I'm not surprised that he quit after we moved to the surface. And so I wanted to get him a birthday present as a way of apologizing for everything." With yet another sigh, he looked up. "After all that I've done to him, though, I have reason to believe that he wants nothing more to do with me. I'm still shocked that he attended the party with us! Anything that I get for him... no matter how sincere and thoughtful it is, I just know he's going to assume that I'm trying to buy my way back into his good graces. And I honestly wouldn't blame him; if any of my personal heroes treated me the way I treated him, it would take a miracle for me to forgive them."

He thought about how he'd wanted to inspire people when he became a celebrity. For the most part, he'd been overjoyed when he'd found that he did inspire people; however, when he discovered that someone was so inspired that they wanted to follow in his footsteps (or wheel-tracks, as the case may be), he was so afraid of being pushed into their shadow that he ended up subjecting them to the very fate he was trying to avoid. This wasn't like what he'd done to Blooky and Shyren; while leaving them without a word certainly wasn't one of his prouder moments, at least he hadn't spent every possible moment deliberately putting them down.

And now, as a consequence of that, here he was, waiting for Papyrus to respond to his confession. He'd already shattered one fan's pedestal, and he braced himself for the second shattering that he was sure was coming. In his mind's eye, he was already preparing to adjust to life without Papyrus.

"Mettaton."

Here it comes. "Yes?"

Now it was Papyrus' turn to take a deep breath. "I'm not going to lie and say that I thought you did the right thing. If someone treated me that way, I would have thought they were being freaking weird."

Mettaton solemnly nodded, waiting for the inevitable I expected better from you, I can't believe you would do something like that, I've lost my respect for you, we can't be friends anymore.

"However..."

Huh?

"If you just try, I know you can make things right. I can tell you're not proud of what you've done, but I'm sure you can still bury the hatchet, or mend the fences, or whatever you consider it. I believe in you."

"Thank you, sweetheart. However..." Mettaton leaned back against the wall. "What I'm mainly concerned about is whether he believes in me."

"Well, he went to that party, didn't he? And I know attendance for it was optional." Papyrus smiled. "Instead of choosing to do anything else, he chose to go to a party that he knew you were attending. So I think he might forgive you, even if it is just a little bit."

Mettaton thought for a moment. Papyrus was right; everyone who had been invited to the party had the option to say no to attending. And yet, not only did Bryan attend the party, but he actually seemed to have fun while he was there. Sure, he was rather snarky now and then, but he ate food and danced and even sang karaoke without starting any incidents or screaming to the world that "Mettaton isn't who you think he is!"

Maybe, in order to repair his image of Mettaton, Bryan had just needed a few years away from him.

"Darling... I think you might be onto something." For the first time since shortly after starting the call, Mettaton smiled. "In fact, I think I know what I want to do for him now. Thank you so much for talking with me about this."

"Of course, Metta! I'm always available if you need me; I don't want any of my friends to feel like they have no one to turn to."

As they spoke for a little while longer, Mettaton felt something welling up in his soul. Someone like Papyrus, who would encourage his friends to become better people, and never let go of them even when he learned about their moments of weakness... those kinds of people only came around once in a lifetime. At least, it felt that way.

Mettaton didn't want to let go of Papyrus, either.


On Bryan's birthday, Mettaton visited him at his apartment, where he sat down with him and formally apologized for the way he'd treated him. More than anything, he wanted Bryan to know that he felt awful about treating him badly, and that he hoped to make it right somehow. It wasn't the most pleasant of discussions, but by the time it was through, both of them felt better. They both knew it would still be a long time before they were ready to consider each other friends, but their relationship was at the very least on its way to patching itself up.

Slowly, but surely, Mettaton began to feel clean again.

Chapter Text

Mettaton lay back in his seat, glaring at all the cars that were surrounding his limo on the freeway. Did none of them realize just who was in this car, and what he wanted to do?

Of course, even if the car was on a completely open road with no one else in sight, he still wouldn't feel like he'd be getting there fast enough.

He'd just spent the last few months on tour; it had taken him to several different cities around the world. Of course, he simply adored performing for all of the crowds in each locale; performing was his very life, and hearing everyone cheer him on for doing what he did best was a feeling that just couldn't be replaced.

That being said, there was another feeling that couldn't be replaced. And unlike performing, Mettaton hadn't been able to indulge in it in quite the same way that he normally could.

The plain and simple fact was that he missed Papyrus. Of course, the two always had social media and their phones in order to talk to each other, but it wasn't exactly the same. Mettaton couldn't give Papyrus kisses, nor could Papyrus take Mettaton into his arms and hold him close, while the two were separated by a huge number of miles. And for someone as touch-starved as Mettaton, this was more than a little unpleasant; there was always crowd-surfing and other such things, but sometimes you really yearn for one specific person to lay their hands on you.

Night after night, he slept in different hotel beds alone; he'd grown so used to having Papyrus cuddled up against him late at night that, if it weren't for how his body's charging function worked, he probably would have had a much more difficult time falling asleep each night. The beds were certainly comfortable, but for Mettaton, it wasn't the same without a ribcage to rest his head against, or some long, bony phalanges brushing through his hair, or that normally-loud voice whispering sweet, gentle words of love...

But that didn't matter now. He was on the freeway late at night, the last show of his tour having concluded recently, and once he reached his exit, it wouldn't be long until he was finally home, and finally back in those arms again. Sure, at this time of night, and at this level of battery life, Mettaton wouldn't be able to do much after getting home except fall asleep, but that was perfectly all right; he always had tomorrow, and if not that, then the next several weeks at the very least.

He had to get home first, though, which was more than a little difficult in all this traffic.

To pass the time, Mettaton decided to sing some of his favorite songs to himself. It was a shame that no one else (except maybe his chauffeur) would be able to hear his most recent renditions of various glam-rock and synthpop anthems, but he wasn't too concerned about it as long as he wasn't literally out here all night. Besides, if people chose to engage in rubbernecking on the freeway, that wasn't his fault.

The minutes stretched on and on and on, and all the while, Mettaton had the soothing sounds of his own voice to keep him company. He went through several different songs before he noticed the traffic finally beginning to speed up; once everyone was moving at a decent pace again, he looked around at the signs. His exit wasn't too far from here.

And in that instant, another song entered Mettaton's head. It was a song he knew quite well, as a matter of fact.

Both he and Papyrus loved this specific song; sometimes, they would sing it together while driving down the highway. If it came on the radio, then of course they'd join in, but sometimes they didn't even wait for it to come on before bursting into a rendition of it.

As he saw the signs pass by, Mettaton was filled with excitement. He took a deep breath, and once more, the sound of his voice filled the back of the limo.

"Tonight, I'm gonna have myself a real good time..."

He continued singing as best as he could; even though Mettaton had a good vocal range, it was much easier for Papyrus to hit the high notes. Nevertheless, he still put a lot of enthusiasm into it; it wouldn't be long now.

When he launched into the chorus, he could just imagine Papyrus singing the counterpoints alongside him. He was so engrossed in his little impromptu performance that he eventually stopped paying attention to the surroundings; he didn't even notice when the car slowed to a stop.

"Yes, I'm having a good time, I don't wanna stop at all...!"

As he held that last note with a dramatic pose, he heard his chauffeur speak up.

"But sir, we're here."

"Oh! We are?" Mettaton looked around; this was indeed the driveway of his and Papyrus' house. He let out a slightly awkward laugh. "Well, in that case, I actually would like to stop... very much so, in fact." With a smile, he took out a wad of bills and handed it to the chauffeur. "Thank you so much, darling; you can do whatever you like with this money."

"My pleasure, sir."

Mettaton collected his things in record time, and after quickly unlocking the door, he was greeted with the familiar sights and scents of home; there was nothing else quite like it. The lights were out, but the TV was on (broadcasting one of Mettaton's shows, no less), so Mettaton followed the bright glow until he reached the couch. Papyrus was lying there with his eyes closed, softly snoring.

Gently smiling, Mettaton turned down the TV's volume a little. "Oh my... what have we here? A sleeping skeleton, it seems! I wonder what would wake him up... true love's kiss, perhaps? Only one way to find out!"

He leaned down and pressed his lips to Papyrus' teeth, holding them there for quite some time. Upon hearing a quiet groan, Mettaton broke off the kiss and stood back upright with a grin.

"Nyeh...?" Papyrus' eye sockets slowly opened, and Mettaton watched his expression go from sleepy confusion to utter surprise. "M-Metta?"

Hearing Papyrus' voice in person was like pure joy for Mettaton's soul; he could barely stay composed as he spoke. "Oh yes. As of now, I am officially home from my tour."

Papyrus' face lit up as he joyfully laughed, and Mettaton soon felt those bony arms pulling him onto the couch. The next several minutes were nothing short of blissful, as the two gave each other all the hugs and kisses and cuddles that they'd both been missing. They could have spent hours on that couch, but when Mettaton's systems gave that quiet chime that signalled his low battery life, they both knew it was time to head upstairs.

"I missed you so much, darling," Mettaton said as they climbed the stairs.

"I missed you, too." Papyrus gave him a bright smile. "Tomorrow, I can show you all the cool stuff I learned while you were away!"

"Absolutely; I'd love to hear about it."

Once they made it to the second floor, Papyrus suddenly lifted Mettaton off the ground and carried him into the bedroom. Mettaton smiled and closed his eyes, not sure that he could feel any luckier if he tried.

As soon as he felt himself being lowered onto a familiar mattress, his eyes opened again. He began pulling off his gloves as he watched Papyrus retrieve his charging cable.

"I'm glad your tour went well, Metta. Whenever I watch you, I can tell how much you love to perform."

"Oh yes, sugar skull; there is nothing I'd rather do for a living than show off my creative work. Being home with you, though... it's simply divine."

Papyrus felt himself glow deep down. "Wowie..." Both he and Mettaton loved being the reason for others' happiness, even as much as they loved to promote themselves; it was no surprise that they loved making each other happy as a result.

A few minutes later, Papyrus climbed into the bed, hearing Mettaton let out a warm sigh as the two cuddled close beneath the covers. Mettaton's gloves and shoulderpads rested on the bedside table, with his boots nearby; Papyrus had plugged him in, and as the charge slowly lulled Mettaton to sleep, Papyrus leaned close and whispered two simple words.

"Welcome home."

Mettaton pulled him a little closer. "'Welcome home' indeed... I love you, Papyrus."

"I love you too, Mettaton."

Mettaton belonged in several places: on the stage, in the recording studio, and on the set of a movie or TV show of his. But at this moment, the one place he really belonged was right here with Papyrus, in this comfortable bed. As he closed his eyes and floated away, thinking of both the soft warmth right now and the good times that were sure to come in the morning, he knew he couldn't have been happier.

Chapter Text

It had been an exhausting day for both of them, and now that they were both done with their work for the day, they couldn't think of anything they'd rather do than cuddle on the couch and watch TV.

And so it was that Mettaton lay on the couch, with Papyrus lying on his front on top of him, as the TV broadcasted one of Mettaton's shows. Papyrus couldn't get enough of his favorite celebrity's content, and Mettaton loved looking back on his projects and remembering how all the work ended up being worth it.

At one point, the show went to commercial and displayed an advertisement for a lavish resort; as he watched, Mettaton couldn't help but think about something. Once a different advertisement came on the screen, he took hold of Papyrus' hand. "Sunflower?"

"Yes, my shimmering star?" Papyrus felt warm inside; he loved when Mettaton called him different pet names, and the fact that Mettaton had some specific ones just for him (such as "my love", "sugar skull", and "sunflower") never failed to make him feel special.

"I was just thinking... have you ever thought about possibly traveling with me someday? And I don't mean on tour; I mean just as a small vacation."

"Hmm..." Papyrus slipped into some thoughts of his own. It used to be that the thought of going on vacation at all was the opposite of what he'd consider to be fun; hard work was a very important thing in many aspects of life, after all. Ever since moving to the surface, though, and especially after starting a relationship with Mettaton, he had started to appreciate some of the more quiet moments in life. Sometimes just lying down and talking together - or even just silently holding each other - could be just as meaningful as actively doing something together.

That said, he still loved his job, but since he'd been saving up his vacation days, traveling somewhere with Mettaton seemed like a definite possibility in the future. And yet...

"Where would we go, though?"

"Well, we could go to one of those beach resorts, like the one in that commercial just now." Mettaton thought about how, ever since he helped Papyrus feel better about his looks, Papyrus had been much more willing to have fun on the beach. "Or we could travel somewhere snowy; I know how much you love the snow. I've been thinking of taking up skiing, as a matter of fact."

"Wowie! That sounds like fun! Although..." Papyrus certainly didn't want Mettaton to feel left out. "Maybe we could go to one of those big cities? We could watch performances at the theater, and go on big shopping trips, and see everything lit up at night!"

"Ooh!" Mettaton's eyes sparkled. "Maybe if the city has a racetrack, we could purchase tickets to see one of the races!" He could already hear all of the cars.

"Or we could attend a fashion show!"

For several minutes, they continued bouncing ideas back and forth. Among other things, they discussed traveling to some of the music and film capitals of the world, or going to one of the world's most elaborate theme parks, or even visiting some more secluded locales in the countryside for some peaceful and quiet alone time together. They both agreed that, if and when Mettaton became fully waterproof, a cruise would definitely have to be in the cards.

"And... I think I'm out of ideas," Papyrus said after a while.

Mettaton chuckled. "I'm not surprised; we've listed so many of them that even I'm having trouble thinking of more."

Papyrus' face settled into contemplation for a little bit, trying to think of more ideas, when a realization hit him, and he cheerfully laughed. "Oh my god! I just thought of something!"

"What?" Mettaton blinked, tilting his head.

"We came up with so many ideas that I've realized just how strong and cool our bond is! As long as we're together, we could go anywhere and still have a wonderful time, because we have each other."

"Aw, sweetheart... come here." Sitting up a bit, Mettaton wrapped his arms around Papyrus and gently kissed his skull. "I'm grateful for our bond, too. Meeting you is one of the best things that's ever happened to me."

"Nyeh..." Papyrus shuffled upward a little and gently pressed his forehead against Mettaton's forehead.

By now, the show had already gone to another commercial break, but neither of them minded that much; they just held each other close, daydreaming of all the fun they could have together no matter where they went.

Of course, this now led to a different problem: if they'd decided they could go anywhere, how could they possibly narrow it down to just one place?

Then again, given that one of them was Mettaton and the other was the Great Papyrus, they would certainly find a way in time.

Chapter Text

Under a moonlit sky, waves broke against the shore of a faraway country. This beach was bordered on the other end by a hotel; some of the rooms had their lights out, for their occupants (if they had any) had already gone to sleep or were out somewhere, while others had the lights on, signifying that some of them hadn't gone to bed yet.

In one of the latter rooms, a certain mechanical celebrity stared out at the ocean, letting out a wistful sigh. After this night, Mettaton would be spending one more day in this locale before heading off to the next stop on his tour. The show he'd just returned from earlier that night had certainly been amazing; the crowd loved him and his band, spending most of the concert either cheering or singing along. After a wonderful performance like that one, he would have just loved to celebrate by sipping some cocktails on that pristine beach, which would certainly have been a fitting reward for pulling off another successful performance.

However - and this was a very big "however" - it just wouldn't feel right.

Mettaton wanted to sip cocktails on the beach, yes, but more than anything, he wanted to sip cocktails on the beach with Papyrus. The fact that Papyrus was all the way back home, living his day-to-day life as normal, was the big thing preventing Mettaton from heading down to the shore. It wouldn't be right for him to spoil himself while Papyrus got nothing; if Mettaton had his way, Papyrus would be able to partake in all of the same lavish perks that Mettaton had access to on a regular basis. Papyrus had always made Mettaton feel loved and cherished, and Mettaton wanted to love him right back.

Really, if it weren't for the fact that Papyrus loved his job, Mettaton would have felt even worse.

Somewhere along the line, he slipped into a daydream in which he and Papyrus traveled to many different places together. Seeing the lights of the big cities, sampling the wares at some renowned five-star restaurants, taking a walk down this very beach, hand-in-hand, before cuddling up close and watching the sunset, all while listening to the waves--

Just then, Mettaton's phone rang, and upon hearing the ringtone, he was quick to pick it up, feeling relief wash over him. While Mettaton used his theme song as his main ringtone, he assigned special ringtones to certain people in his life. This particular ringtone meant that Papyrus was calling him; it was a quirky, upbeat tune that seemed to resonate very well with Papyrus ("If there's one song that accurately describes the Great Papyrus, it's this one! Wait, does the special dance mix count as a separate song?").

Mettaton took the call, and in that instant, Papyrus appeared on-screen, waving at Mettaton with his typical bright smile. "Hello, my beautiful starlight!"

"Sugar skull! It's so wonderful to hear from you."

"Of course! I thought you might be lonely tonight, as anyone would be if they had to be away from the Great Papyrus for too long, so I decided to give you a call!"

For a brief moment, Mettaton's smile faltered. "Actually, you couldn't have called at a better time, darling. I am lonely tonight... very much so." He leaned back in his chair. "I miss you, Papyrus. I love performing around the world, but at the same time, I miss being there with you."

"I miss you too, Metta. I can assure you that everyone here is doing well, though! Alphys says she's close to a breakthrough. Sans and Flowery are helping, too!"

"Tell them I'm sending my best wishes." Mettaton smiled again; if Alphys was able to cure everyone's family members, it would be a huge step in her being able to put one of the darker parts of her past behind her. Knowing that both Sans and Flowey were helping also had to help her self-esteem; as cynical as Flowey tended to be, he certainly seemed to have changed since the early days of surface life.

"I certainly will! In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying your travels!" Papyrus paused for a second. "I hear waves. Are you at the beach?"

"My hotel is next to the beach, yes."

"Wowie! That must be a lot of fun, being able to just go down to the beach and build sandcastles!" He struck a valiant pose. "For the king and his guardsman!"

Mettaton laughed a little. "Yes, well... quite honestly, I really wish you were here right now. The beach is certainly lovely, but it would be even lovelier if we both could enjoy it. The same goes for everything else in this town. And besides, I have to spend most of the day either preparing for the show or performing."

"Oh..." Papyrus' expression settled into a contemplative one for a moment. It felt like a short while before he spoke again. "You could ask Napstablook and Shyren to go to the beach with you!"

"Hmm... if they're up to it, then I just might do that if I have time tomorrow."

Papyrus nodded. "And also, think about all the money you'll make from this tour! Maybe one day, we can come here together on a real vacation, and you can show me all the cool things in town! That way, I'll know everything is MTT-approved!"

"Oh..." Mettaton blinked. "I honestly didn't think of that, darling. I was only thinking of how I didn't want to make you feel left out."

"Don't worry, Metta! You deserve to have fun! You've made so many people really happy, and you deserve to be happy too! Don't worry about making me feel left out; I, the Great Papyrus, can use the time to come up with new things to do!" Papyrus gave him another smile. "Besides, it's only two more weeks, is it not?"

"It's closer to two-and-a-half, but you do have a point." Mettaton found himself thinking over Papyrus' words, even as they continued speaking.

The two continued their conversation for quite some time after that, each exchanging little stories, until a familiar chime resonated.

"Oh! It seems like you need to charge!"

With a bittersweet look on his face, Mettaton nodded. "Yes... we may have to cut this conversation short, unfortunately. I really appreciated hearing from you, though."

"Anything for my shining star!" There was a reassuring look in Papyrus' eyes. "It will be wonderful to see you in person again. But until then, I, the Great Papyrus, will have enough fun for both of us! And I hope you do, too!"

"I most definitely will, my love. Thank you again for calling me."

"Always!"

After they said good night to each other and ended the call, Mettaton decided to spend a short few minutes to himself before plugging in for the night. He opened the large glass door to the hotel room's balcony and walked out, breathing in the salty air. Maybe tomorrow morning, he would be able to build sandcastles with Napstablook and Shyren before they all had to prepare for the show; he also thought about getting some fruity drinks for all three of them to sip while they did that.

And he knew in his heart that someday, he'd return here with Papyrus, and they'd do all that and more.

Chapter Text

When Mettaton performed, he didn't do it just for himself. Sure, a lot of it was driven by his own desire to perform, and most of what he made (or performed his own interpretation of, if it wasn't his original material) was media that he himself would love experiencing if he were on the other side of the screen or stage.

But aside from that, he also wanted to bring joy to his viewers.

Times had been rather boring when he and his family lived on the snail farm. Aside from the occasional news of another human entering the Underground, not much happened, especially since their most frequent customer no longer showed up. Furthermore, the monsters of the Underground were so focused on escaping that their entertainment sectors remained rather stagnant; they didn't have much beyond the human media that sometimes ended up in the garbage dump, and while some of it was of dubious quality, it was certainly better than nothing.

That said, it wasn't enough for the pink ghost who would later be known as Mettaton. The man had big dreams; he didn't want the Underground to be entirely focused on the negative things in life, especially since monsters literally required hope to survive. Thus, as soon as he got his first body, he decided to start a career in show business as soon as possible.

And while he would later come to regret the exact events leading up to him getting a body, he certainly didn't regret becoming a performer.

The bright stage lights, the roars of the crowds, their smiling faces as they chanted his name and sang along with his songs... all of it was positively electrifying. And just like how electricity tends not to stay in one place, the crowds themselves seemed to feel the energy as they participated in the shows. They loved Mettaton, and they loved making sure he knew it.

Mettaton kept all of his fan letters; in fact, he even framed the first one he ever received. Sometimes when he had doubts for one reason or another, he would go back and read some of those letters; knowing that his fans believed in him was always a wonderful motivator. The thrills only increased tenfold after he'd premiered his EX form to the world; he felt wonderfully at home in that form, and knowing that his fans loved it as much as he did felt like such a relief that he had no words to describe it. And although he had a slightly rocky start at first on the surface, he ended up with quite a large number of human fans as well.

Even though it was tough to keep track of individual fans because he had so many of them, he still loved it whenever they told him just how much he meant to them. Whether they did it through words, creating fan content, or even just wearing one of his licensed shirts in public, it was a surefire way to bring warmth to his heart.

Of course, Papyrus was no exception to this rule.

One day, relatively early in the pair's friendship, Mettaton ended up going to the local park alongside Papyrus and Alphys. The weather had been steadily getting cooler, but fortunately, in the short weeks since that fateful rainstorm, the roads had long stopped being flooded. Papyrus had invited Alphys to go jogging with him - which, to Mettaton's understanding, had become something of a regular thing between the two, especially when Undyne was busy with training to become a wrestler. At the very least, such activities seemed to help out with Alphys' self-esteem, even just a little.

Considering how tough it would be to jog in heels, Mettaton instead decided to occupy the nearest park bench and read the newest book he'd picked up; the history of some of his favorite music genres was a rather fascinating one. Alphys and Papyrus would occasionally pass by, and he'd give them a friendly wave before going back to reading.

Finally, after a while, the two were on what was apparently the final lap (judging by Papyrus' shouts as it began). Mettaton continued reading, intrigued by the history of how synthesizers and drum machines became prevalent in pop music, when he heard Papyrus' voice in the distance.

Apparently, Papyrus was singing now. Mettaton listened closely, wondering which song it was, but as Papyrus approached, he slowly noticed something.

...Wait a minute! That's one of my songs!

He could feel that thrill going through him again, and couldn't hold back a smile as the sounds of Papyrus' singing and Alphys' panting came closer. Once they stopped in front of him, he marked his book and started applauding.

As Alphys hunched over and took deep breaths, Papyrus smiled at her. "Wasn't that cool? How do you feel now?"

"Like... pudding..." She looked at Mettaton, who nodded and moved towards the side of the bench to allow her to sit down next to him.

"But after jogging with the Great Papyrus, you're not just any kind of pudding; you're positive pudding!" Papyrus pointed towards the sky in a dramatic pose. "The best possible kind of pudding to be! Isn't that right, Mettaton?"

Mettaton gave an awkward smile. "Er...yes. Positivity is always a good thing." The smile soon became a more natural one. "I must say, beautiful, you have exquisite taste in music."

The lights in Papyrus' eyes twinkled; he just barely remembered to keep his composure. "Nyeh heh heh! Well??? Your music! Makes me really happy!" By the sheer power of being Papyrus, he still had enough energy and then some to flutter his hands at his sides as he continued speaking. "It's so cool! It's great for dancing, and I love it when the fireworks go off!" He did a little pose. "Ka-wowie!"

"Oh yes, I always love including special effects in my performances." Still sitting down, Mettaton did his own pose. "Because why would I want to merely sing a song when I have the option to perform it, or even celebrate it?"

"Your music could make anyone feel cool!" Papyrus briefly looked around, making sure Mettaton and Alphys were the only ones listening, before leaning in closer. "When I listen to it, it makes me feel incredibly cool. Like I, the Great Papyrus, can do anything!"

Deep down, Mettaton felt warm again. Knowing that his works could bring joy into others' lives... well, it wasn't the sole reason for him becoming a performer, but it was definitely high on the list.

Alphys weakly raised her hand. "I... I'm sorry to interrupt... but can we get something to drink? I'm really thirsty."

"Of course! It's always important to stay hydrated, especially when exercise is involved!" Papyrus reached out towards her, offering to help her off the bench.

As the three went off to find the nearest drink vendor, Mettaton thought about each of his performances, and how Papyrus wasn't the only person who felt inspired by them. He remembered his fan letters, and how the viewers would call in to tell him that they loved his show, and how at least one of his fans was inspired to explore a new side of himself after seeing Mettaton wearing a dress. Just by doing what he loved to do, Mettaton had made so many people happy.

Positively electrifying, indeed.

Chapter Text

A coffee shop was a great place to socialize with friends and family. Sans knew this; he'd done it before, and he was likely to do it again. Sure, he usually preferred Grillby's, but the coffee shop was nice too.

And under other circumstances, it would have been a great opportunity to socialize. At the moment, Sans was sharing a table with Papyrus and Mettaton, who were happily carrying on a conversation in between sips of coffee and bites of pastries. He tried to focus on the conversation, knowing that at any moment, either of them could ask him about something.

However, his mind couldn't stop itself from getting lost in thought.

In his heart, he found himself wondering just how the wheel of fortune ended up landing on this specific fate. He'd had vague memories of several different occasions in the past where he could have sworn everyone made it to the surface, only for him to wake up back in Snowdin as if it was all just a dream. Part of him wanted to think it was, but it felt far too vivid, even by dream standards.

But one day, the force causing this seemed to have stopped. Everyone was able to start their lives on the surface; it didn't stop Sans from being worried about it all being taken away, but he still tried to enjoy himself for his brother's sake.

And then, several months after the fall of the barrier, all of Frisk's friends gathered to celebrate their eleventh birthday.

It was on that day that Papyrus met his hero for the first time.

Sans was ready to jump in at any moment; if Mettaton said a single word against Papyrus, it wouldn't take any time at all for Sans to defend his little brother's honor. But throughout the entire event, Mettaton had had nothing but kind words to say to Papyrus; he'd gotten slightly annoyed with Undyne at a couple of points, but not Papyrus. When they went home later that evening, Sans could just feel the joy radiating from Papyrus as he talked about how "I got to meet Mettaton! And he liked me!"

For the next several months after that, meetings between the two were slightly more common, with the common link being either Frisk, or Alphys and Undyne. Many times, their meetings were in the context of birthday parties or other special occasions; not only did Undyne, Alphys, and Mettaton himself all have birthdays in that timeframe, but everyone also celebrated the summer solstice together, as well as the first anniversary of the barrier's destruction.

And not long after that last event, a rainstorm came to town, and Mettaton needed to stay at the skeletons' house for the evening.

Sans wasn't sure exactly what had transpired, but whatever had happened had led to Mettaton and Papyrus developing an actual bond. From then on, the two had started hanging out together for the sake of hanging out together, not just because Frisk and/or the girls invited them both to the same event.

But as the two became closer, Sans felt a strange feeling in his soul. He wasn't sure of where it came from, either. Was it jealousy because Papyrus had someone new to hang out with? (If so, why hadn't he felt nearly as strange when Papyrus befriended Undyne?) Was Sans afraid that Mettaton might use Papyrus or take advantage of him? Or was it just lingering fear of the resets?

No matter what the reason was, it took a little while for Sans to warm up to Mettaton. He didn't outright hate the guy, but he was still reluctant to let his guard down. And yet, sometime in the (almost) three years that Papyrus and Mettaton spent as friends, the ice began melting.

(Rather appropriate considering that Sans lived in Snowdin and Mettaton lived in Hotland before everyone moved to the surface.)

However, on one fateful summer day, Sans learned that Mettaton and Papyrus had decided to start dating.

And just like that, the ice re-froze.

Friendship was one thing, but romantic love was something completely different. Romantic partners tended to learn things about each other that not even their closest friends or family members knew. What if Mettaton discovered some things about Papyrus - and then stabbed him in the back with them? Barring that, what if Mettaton only liked Papyrus because Papyrus was his fan? What if Mettaton saw this as a temporary arrangement until he found someone hotter and more newsworthy? And even if Mettaton acted like a total saint towards Papyrus, there was still the issue of Mettaton's fans to deal with, as well as the news media.

All of Sans' assorted fears came to a head one day, when Mettaton ended up confronting him over the way he'd been acting. Over the course of that discussion, Sans ended up realizing that his overprotective attitude was doing more harm than good; while some level of protectiveness was healthy, Sans realized that he was not only mistrusting Mettaton, but he was also mistrusting Papyrus's judgment. After all, in all the time Mettaton and Papyrus had spent together, no one - not Papyrus himself, not Undyne, not Frisk, not anyone else - had ever reported anything worse than the occasional spats that are inevitable in any relationship.

By the end of that conversation, Sans - though still with some lingering doubt - had decided to step back and see what developed before passing judgment. Although judging was part of who he was - as Frisk undoubtedly remembered from that encounter in one of the castle's corridors - Mettaton had yet to accumulate enough evidence for Sans to declare a "guilty" verdict.

In fact, as the weeks and months passed since that day, the pendulum only swung further towards the "not guilty" side.

Sans was good at reading people, and his brother was certainly no exception. Whenever Papyrus came home from a date with Mettaton, Sans would notice some subtle changes in the way he carried himself. However, instead of Papyrus being hesitant and withdrawn as Sans feared he'd become, he seemed more genuinely confident in himself. The tone of his voice sounded legitimately warm and happy as he told Sans about everything he and Mettaton had done. And whenever Sans himself came along for the ride - whether in a trio setting like right now, or in a setting where the entire group was together, or anything in-between - he noticed that the two would legitimately have fun together. Not only that, but going by the way Mettaton smiled and laughed in that special way when he was with Papyrus, it seemed he himself felt able to let his guard down.

This time, when the ice melted, it stayed melted.

And it was all leading up to what was to come a few short weeks from now. Mettaton and Papyrus had decided to move in together - they had a house picked out and everything - and while the big day hadn't happened yet, they all knew it would come before any of them knew it. Of course, after Papyrus finished packing up what he wanted to take to the new house, Sans would keep the rest of Papyrus' bedroom exactly as he'd left it, just in case Papyrus needed to return for whatever reason.

This year was to be the fifth anniversary of the barrier's destruction. In that time, Sans watched his little brother meet his hero, make a new friend out of him, fall in love with him, and eventually decide to move in with him. And when the three of them finished their pastries and cups of coffee, their lives would become hectic once more. Sipping all the coffee in the world wouldn't make those boxes pack themselves any faster - although it would give the ones packing them plenty of energy to burn.

It felt like yesterday when Papyrus was still a babybones. Now he was an adult, with his own car, his own career, and a man who loved him.

You've really come far, Papyrus...

All too soon, the three finished their coffee and pastries. Papyrus, always a helpful one, offered to dispose of the waste. While he went off to do that, Sans looked at Mettaton.

"Hey, MTT?"

"Yes, Sans?"

"I just wanted to say..." Sans gave him a real grin. "You've made my brother really happy." He looked down. "And I know we got off to a rocky start at first, but..." Looking back up, his grin got wider. "I'm glad I gave you a chance."

"Thank you, Sans." Mettaton smiled back. "And quite honestly, I can't entirely blame you for being protective of family. I mean, if anyone mistreated any of my cousins, they'd head straight to the top of my mortal enemy list."

"Yeah, well, when I think about the way I acted before, I still can't help but say to myself..." Sans winked. "...'oh, brother.'"

"Pfff..." Mettaton covered his mouth with his hand, unable to resist snickering.

Shortly after that, Papyrus returned, and the three left the coffee shop. As they walked outside, Sans had one more thought on his mind.

Bro... even if we're not gonna live together anymore, I'll still be around if you need me. And even though I doubted MTT at first, I just know you two are really gonna make each other happy.

And in that moment, the big brother's only desire was for the little brother's continued happiness.

Chapter Text

From his flower pot, Flowey looked around Alphys' lab. Of the four other people here, Sans was the only one who knew about his secret, since Frisk had told him; apparently, none of the other three had any clue. Sans and Alphys were carrying out different scientific procedures, while Mettaton and Papyrus sat on the sidelines for moral support. Flowey himself would be asked to help every now and then, either by providing a few miniscule and easily-replaceable samples from his own body, or sometimes by helping to grab something; the former happened more frequently than the latter on this particular day, since Mettaton and Papyrus were both tall and could easily reach things up high.

The years since that day underground had certainly changed him; while he was still cynical about the world, he was slowly beginning to regain some of his own hope. Sans had encouraged him to help with Alphys' research because, if she was able to cure the Amalgamates, she might then be able to find a way to more permanently change him back into Asriel. Although Flowey had protested, saying it would be better if no one else knew who he really was, part of him still yearned to be able to feel things again; that small taste he'd had in that final confrontation with Frisk had reminded him of what he'd been missing and of the kind of person he used to be.

So Flowey was just sitting there and watching, waiting for something to do, when Alphys spoke up.

"It... it looks like we're going to need a power strip and an extension cord!"

Papyrus raised his hand. "Sans and I could get those for you!"

All of a sudden, much to Flowey's surprise, Mettaton spoke up. "Actually, darlings, I would be more than happy to pick those up." Even more surprisingly, he looked at Flowey. "And you can come with me."

Flowey raised an eyebrow. "You sure? I mean, you probably know this place inside and out; what do you need me for?"

Mettaton shrugged. "I just thought you would appreciate a brief change of scenery." And yet, Flowey couldn't help but notice that there was a slight quaver in his voice. For some reason, Mettaton's expression only became more nervous when Papyrus approached, but before Flowey could ask, Papyrus spoke up.

"Don't worry, Flowery!" By now, Flowey had all but given up on trying to tell Papyrus that that wasn't his name. "Metta's really nice. I think you'll get along really well with him!"

"Thank you, sugar skull..." And there was that awkward tone again, before Mettaton stood up a little too quickly, picking up Flowey. "Well, let's go, shall we?"

Flowey stayed quiet as they left the shed where Alphys conducted her research. As soon as Mettaton set foot in the main house, though, Flowey couldn't take it anymore.

"All right, spill it."

Mettaton blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"Don't play dumb with me." Flowey sighed. "I saw how you've been acting around Papyrus. You're hiding something from him, aren't you?"

"Oh, right." Mettaton took a deep breath. "Truthfully, this was why I was hoping to get you alone. Can you keep a secret, darling?"

Flowey tried not to roll his eyes at the pet name. "Depends. Is it a good secret, or a bad secret?"

"It's a good secret; a very good one, as a matter of fact. But I don't want Papyrus to know yet."

"Eh." If Flowey had arms, he would have shrugged. "Sure, I'll keep the secret. It's not like I've got anything better to do." Oh, the irony...

"Thank you, darling." As they made their way further into the house, Mettaton lowered his voice to a whisper. "You see... I want to ask Papyrus to marry me."

"Oh. That kind of secret, huh?"

"Yes." Mettaton frowned. "I don't know how I want to ask him, though. Should I ask him at home, or should I take him stargazing, or should I invite him on stage at one of my shows, or...?"

"You know what's gonna happen if you ask him in front of a crowd, right?" Flowey furrowed his brow. "Everyone's gonna want him to say yes."

After a few seconds of silence, Mettaton spoke up again. "I... don't quite see where you're going with this."

Wow. Resisting the urge to make a snappy remark, Flowey continued. "The point I'm getting at is, what if he's not ready to say yes? At least if you ask him in private, he can tell you why, and you can talk it out together. But the crowd? They don't care about those things; they just want to hear him say yes. And if he doesn't? They're gonna hate him. Have fun explaining that to his brother."

As the two entered the garage, where the needed supplies were located, Flowey made one more point. "Besides, even if he does say yes when you ask him in front of everyone... is he doing it 'cause he wants to, or is he just doing it so you won't look bad?"

Mettaton thought for a moment. Initially, he hadn't seen any problems with public proposals; he just thought it would be another way for him to proclaim his love of Papyrus to the world, not unlike the vlogs they would make together. But Flowey did have a point; asking someone to take such a huge step forward in the relationship was a serious question, and it might be one of the rare occasions where having spectators could actually make things worse. Although...

"I'm not sure why he wouldn't be ready, though. He and I have been dating for three years, and living together for nearly two of those years. In a way, we're already sort of married; I just want to make it official."

"Yeah, well, you never know. He could have reasons that he never told you about before, or that he only just realized."

Mettaton rummaged through a cardboard box until he found the power strip and the extension cable; while he did so, he continued thinking. Even after so long, there were still fans of his who took issue with Papyrus simply for being Mettaton's romantic partner, and that had been one of the reasons why Sans was so wary about the two becoming a couple. If a failed stunt of Mettaton's ended up turning more fans against Papyrus when it was supposed to be a joyful occasion... Mettaton honestly wasn't sure how he would explain it to Sans.

Aside from that, he also remembered the day when he and Papyrus confessed their mutual feelings. Since they had been in a secluded space, they were able to enjoy some quiet, happy alone time together, floating away on the shared relief and elation. If they'd had an audience, that little moment might not have been possible, since people would have asked them tons of questions about their new relationship (either that, or simply congratulated them; had the moment of the confession been public, Mettaton would have hoped that the reactions didn't get any worse than that).

Finally, he stood back upright, holding the items he'd come here for. "The more I think about it, the more I realize that you do have a good point. Asking him in public will probably be out of the question, then. Although that still leaves the question of what I should do."

"Hey, don't look at me. I've never proposed to anyone in my life. I've just seen a bunch of horror stories that talk about what not to do." Flowey sighed again. "To be honest, I'm not even sure why you're asking me about this. Wouldn't it make more sense to ask Sans or Alphys? I mean, Alphys is already married."

"Undyne was the one who proposed, though, and I'm not ready to trust her with some of my secrets." Mettaton gathered the flower pot in his arms again. "And anyway, I was hoping to get a different perspective; you and I don't speak very often, so I was merely curious."

With another "Eh", Flowey decided that that was as good a reason as any.

As they were heading back through the house, though, Flowey had another question on his mind.

"So... you don't mind the thought of being married?"

Mettaton gave him an odd look. "If I did, we wouldn't be having this conversation, sweetheart."

"I know. It's just... I've seen a lot of sitcoms, and they act like marriage is the worst thing ever. Like it's just a ball and chain or something." Flowey couldn't help but imagine Mettaton watching TV while Papyrus nagged him about work, all with a cheesy laugh track and possibly a black-and-white filter. "And, you know, you never struck me as the kind of guy who's interested in settling down. I always thought you were interested in more casual stuff."

"Oh, we'd still be living our lives like we've always been since moving in together. I'm not ready to retire from performing, and I probably won't be for quite a long time." Mettaton gently smiled. "And anyone who tries to convince me that a marriage to Papyrus would be a 'ball and chain'... well, if I agreed with them, he and I wouldn't be living together. He makes me feel safe and welcome, and he never judges me for my mistakes. And honestly, what more could I ask for in a romantic partner? If there are any problems, we'll be sure to work them out."

Yeah, I hope so, Flowey thought.

Once they headed outside, Mettaton gave him another smile. "Thank you for talking about this with me, by the way."

"Sure. And don't worry, I'll keep it a secret." Deep down, Flowey wondered why the proposal even had to be a secret; wouldn't it make more sense for Mettaton to sit down and talk about things with Papyrus? Then again, Mettaton did love his romance novels.

After they made it back to the shed with the others, they both acted like nothing had happened besides them getting the supplies. Mettaton, however, couldn't help but slip into his own thoughts, wondering just how he was going to propose.

Flowey, on the other hand, was focused more on the experiment.

Chapter Text

For as long as they could remember, monsters had been yearning to see the sun; only the oldest monsters could still recall a time from before the war that sealed their people underground, and hearing their stories gave everyone something to fight for.

Thus, when the monsters finally made it to the surface, many of them found themselves deeply appreciating those natural phenomena that many humans would have taken for granted. When they found out that the summer solstice was the longest day of the year, it was no surprise that that day would become an important holiday for monsters and the humans who supported them. They would usually celebrate by spending the entire day outside; since this was also the first day of summer, "outside" often meant "at the beach".

And that was precisely what Frisk and their friends were doing on one particular summer solstice. They'd all arrived in the morning, and had proceeded to spend that time having fun in different ways. Given that many of them had busy lives, it was certainly a welcome opportunity to just take a break and spend time with close friends.

At the current moment, it was lunchtime, and so everyone was enjoying the food as they carried on their respective conversations.

"So you see, that's why we have high tide and low tide." Sans bit into a hot dog.

While Mettaton idly chewed on a donut, Papyrus' eyelights sparkled. "Wowie! I knew the moon was beautiful, but I didn't know it did that, too!"

Swallowing his bite, Mettaton frowned. "I still don't entirely understand. If the moon isn't a star, how does it shine?"

"It reflects light from the sun." Sans winked. "That rocks, doesn't it?" He grabbed his soda and took a sip.

Papyrus sighed. "Okay, that one's kind of a stretch, Sans..."

Before anyone else could comment, they heard Undyne complaining from a short distance away.

"These are seedless? Oh, come on!"

After a second, Papyrus looked at Mettaton and Sans. "Excuse me for a moment." He got up and walked a few steps over to where Undyne was sitting. "What's wrong, Undyne?"

With a sigh, Undyne held up the slice of watermelon in her hand. "This is what's wrong, Papyrus! Why'd they have to bring seedless watermelons? Part of the fun of eating watermelon is spitting the seeds!"

"Eugh... no, thank you," Mettaton muttered. "I have my dignity, after all."

Papyrus looked back at Mettaton and nodded, before turning back towards Undyne. "Well, Undyne, spitting the seeds doesn't make for good table manners."

"You dork." Undyne rolled her eye before gesturing out towards their surroundings. "Just look around you! Do you even see any tables? Are we at some kind of formal dinner party where we're dressed up in our finest clothes and we have to pay attention to what silverware goes with what dish? No! We're eating on a beach! Come on, live a little!"

Just then, Mettaton called out to her from where he was sitting. "I think he's been living quite well without needing to spit out seeds to have fun, Undyne!"

Undyne sneered. "Hey! I wasn't asking you!"

Before it could escalate any further, Frisk walked up to Undyne. "Hey, Undyne, if it makes you feel any better, we're gonna make s'mores later on tonight."

"S'mores? Hell yeah!" Just like that, Undyne's previous annoyance was forgotten; it was amazing how the simple activity of skewering marshmallows and toasting them over open flames could make her cheer up.

With that settled, Papyrus went back to sit with Mettaton and Sans again. "So what do you want to do after lunch? I was thinking of building sandcastles!"

"Ooh!" Mettaton looked intrigued. He'd had a lot of fun just spending the morning lying in the sun and listening to the waves while reading a novel, but he was ready to try some other activities by now.

Sans shrugged. "Eh. I'll do whatever sounds like fun." Suddenly, his grin became a smirk. "Heh, while you're making sandcastles, maybe I could make Sans-castles!"

Papyrus groaned, not just because of the pun, but also because he knew what Sans was really going to do: gather some sand into a little pile, stick a flag in it, and call it good.

"Oh, that reminds me!" Mettaton's eyes sparkled as he looked at Papyrus. "Have you ever thought of making a sand replica of the MTT Resort? I could give you some pointers on where everything goes!"

"Wowie! That sounds like a really cool challenge!" Papyrus posed dramatically. "And the Great Papyrus never turns down challenges, especially not cool ones!"

This was going to be a very fun summer solstice, indeed.


Alphys returned from getting some food of her own, sitting next to Undyne. "Hey, Undyne. I... I heard yelling earlier. Did I miss anything?"

"Eh, not much." Undyne leaned against her, sipping some fruit punch.

With a shrug, Alphys decided not to ask any further.

Chapter Text

As the sun was finishing its rise over the horizon, its rays tried to seep through the window shades of a certain bedroom. Of the two occupants, one of them was still fast asleep beneath the covers, and the other was wide awake.

Papyrus held a piece of paper, studying the words written on it as if they held the key to instant success. Today was Valentine's Day, and he wanted to celebrate by writing a poem for Mettaton. He liked writing poems every now and then, but whenever he wrote one for the man he loved, he would always put in special effort. Mettaton had made an entire career out of being creative; he was much easier to impress than he'd initially seemed, but Papyrus still wanted to put every ounce of effort into making things for him.

In writing his most recent poem, Papyrus had consulted several resources; his dictionary, thesaurus, and web searches related to "what rhymes with this word" had been a very big help. There were many ways to describe Mettaton, but having these ways constrained to a certain meter and rhyme scheme certainly added to the challenge.

Fortunately, the Great Papyrus loved challenges.

Even now, though, he wasn't entirely sure about the word choices. He'd been writing this poem over the past few days, and yet he still felt like he might have needed more time to perfect it. The inspiration for this poem was, after all, both the man he loved and his longtime hero; no way was he going to put in anything less than the utmost effort.

After a little while, he decided to read the poem out loud, to see if anything sounded awkward. Focusing intently on the words he had written on that piece of paper, he took a deep breath and, in a slightly hushed voice, began reciting his newest work.

The stars have always been a source of light
Their beauty shines in many people's eyes
Forever they've adorned the quiet night
In constellations strewn across the skies

My favorite star shines brightly on the stage
The audience, he certainly commands
So skilled when he performs, just like a mage
Deserving every one of all his fans

Sometimes he needs someone to help him shine
Like when thick clouds obscure the stars above
If he needs help, I'll always offer mine
For he's the vision of my deepest love

The Great Papyrus has felt great before
But Mettaton helps him feel great once more.

Upon finishing the poem, he thought for a moment. Although it seemed to turn out well, some of the rhymes and other things felt a little awkward. In particular, he wondered if the mage rhyme felt a little forced; he couldn't think of a way to work rage or cage into the poem, though, and although he'd tried to incorporate the word page at first, he wasn't sure of how to do it in a way that didn't feel like a stretch or a cliche. Also, he wasn't sure if he wanted to keep the word deserving, or replace it with enchanting; the latter would have been more fitting with the magical reference in the previous line, but Papyrus really did feel that Mettaton deserved to have all of his fans.

With a shrug, he turned around, figuring that he would decide later...

...and promptly froze.

The man who had served as the subject of his poem had woken up, and was sitting upright, a surprised look on his face. He'd brought his hand to nearly cover his mouth as his wide eyes seemed ready to fill with tears.

"Nyeh!" Well, there went Papyrus' possible plans to revise the poem. He rubbed the back of his head with a nervous laugh. "Mettaton! Good morning! I was just--"

"Come over here, sweetie."

Papyrus did so, climbing back into the bed. Mettaton held out his hand as if to silently ask for the poem, and Papyrus handed it to him. As he read the words that were written on that piece of paper, his smile only grew bigger, and a few tears gently rolled down his face.

For a brief second, as Mettaton set the paper on the bedside table, Papyrus was ready to ask if Mettaton liked the poem.

But when Mettaton pulled him close and planted kiss after kiss on his skull, he realized he didn't have to ask. Instead, he just happily sighed and returned the hug, nearly going limp in Mettaton's arms as Mettaton whispered sweet things in between kisses.

On second thought, maybe I don't need to revise the poem at all!

Chapter Text

This would end up being one of the weirdest and most eventful nights that Mettaton had experienced in recent memory. And that was saying a lot, considering that, as a celebrity, Mettaton had seen a lot of things, and would see many more in the future.

But still, it's not every night that your limo breaks down in a part of town that you don't frequently visit, especially not while you, your cousin, your friend, and your fiance are all traveling in it.

They had all gone to that part of town because they'd heard that there was a nice restaurant over there; given how stressful things had been as of late, with Napstablook and Shyren planning out an album of their own as a side project, and Mettaton and Papyrus having their hands full with wedding planning (among other things), it was certainly nice to take a little break and just spend time with each other. Since this restaurant not only served monster food, but also ghost food, they knew they had to go there together.

The restaurant itself had been wonderful, but when they returned to the limo, they found that the car wouldn't start. Upon closer inspection, the battery had died. Even more unfortunately, there weren't any auto shops within walking distance. Papyrus had taken it upon himself to head out and find some help, leaving Mettaton in the car with Shyren and Napstablook.

After typing on his phone for a little while, Mettaton set it down. "There. I just sent Alphys a message explaining what's going on."

"I hope we can get home..." Napstablook said.

"Don't worry, Blooky. We have jumper cables; all we need to do is find someone to help us jump-start the car." He smiled. "And given how sweet Papyrus is, I'm certain he'll have no trouble finding someone."

Just then, Mettaton's phone vibrated; Alphys had replied to his text message. As the two went back-and-forth for the next couple of minutes, the others watched intently. Shyren was taking some deep breaths to calm herself; the situation was becoming tenser by the minute, and if it grew too tense, she wouldn't be able to speak.

Fortunately, as he typed, Mettaton explained what was going on. "Alphys says she has a couple of friends living in this area, and they might be able to help us."

Shyren let out a relieved sigh. "That's good... I hope they can help us."

"Indeed. I'm going to let Papyrus know right now."


Papyrus was in the middle of speaking with an employee in a grocery store when his phone went off.

"Oh! Excuse me." He took out his phone and noticed that Mettaton had just texted him:

Are you still in the grocery store, sweetie?

He sent a message of his own: YES! DID YOU FIND SOMEONE???

Yes. A couple of Alphys' friends live around here. Stay in the store, and I'll let them know where you are so we can meet up.

OKAY!!!

With that settled, Papyrus explained the situation to the employee, and began wandering around the store much more slowly so he'd be easier to find. Every now and then, Mettaton would give him updates, and Alphys sent him a picture of what these friends looked like so he'd know who to look for.

He was in the middle of looking at the magazines near one of the check-out lines - to this day, he still couldn't believe that he'd made the cover of some of them, just by virtue of being Mettaton's romantic partner - when he heard a pair of voices.

"Bratty! Bratty! I think that's him over there!"

"Like, oh my god! You're right, Catty!"

Before long, the alligator and the cat who had been in that photo Alphys had sent came running up to him; the alligator was the first one to speak.

"Are you, like, the Great Papyrus?"

Wowie! Papyrus cleared his throat before posing a little. "As a matter of fact, I am indeed the Great Papyrus! Champion of puzzles, and unparalleled spaghettore! And you must be... Bratty and Catty, correct?"

The cat fervently nodded. "I'm Catty, and she's Bratty! We're, like, best friends!"

"We, like, saw you in Mettaton's videos!" Bratty leaned down. "You're gonna marry him later this year... you're, like, the luckiest monster in the world!"

"Yeah, really lucky!" Catty looked up. "I hope you have Glamburgers at your wedding!"

"We're still trying to figure that out." Papyrus looked towards the door. "But in the meantime, we should head outside. The others are waiting for us."

"Oh! Right!" The girls promptly followed Papyrus.

As they walked, Bratty looked at Papyrus. "There's a car place a couple of blocks from here if you need help."

"Fear not! I, the Great Papyrus, fix cars for a living!" Papyrus smiled. "But we will need to replace the battery, and we can't do that without a replacement battery, so thank you for letting me know! We don't visit this part of town very often."

Catty blinked. "Why not? It's pretty cool!"

They stepped outside into the cool air of the night, and began walking through the parking lot.

"Well, we don't live in this part of town, and--"

Papyrus didn't get to finish his explanation. A mysterious human ran up to them, brandishing a knife.

"Give me your wallets."

All three of them froze; Catty was the only one who had managed to speak. "Like, what?"

"Did I stutter?" The human took another step forward. "Give me your wallets, or else I'm gonna take them from you."

Bratty was about to protest, but before she could, Papyrus looked at her. "Get behind me!"

As the girls did so, Papyrus stuck out his hand and began to channel some magic. The human's bright orange soul suddenly turned a deep blue, and they fell to the ground, unable to deal with the sudden weight.

"Now follow me!" Papyrus ran out some distance, with the girls following him, looking behind themselves to make sure the human wasn't going to try anything.

Finally, when they were quite some distance away from the human, Papyrus stopped and looked at the girls. "This is as far as I can go without breaking the spell. One of you, call the police." He lowered his voice until he was sure the human wouldn't hear. "I need to let Mettaton know what's going on."

"I got it." Bratty took out her phone and dialed the number for the police. Once she was on the line, Papyrus grabbed his own phone.


When Mettaton noticed that Papyrus was calling him - not just texting, but calling - he knew he had to pick up. "Hello?"

"Mettaton?" For some reason, Papyrus' voice was hushed somewhat, and even trembling a bit.

"Papyrus! Is everything all right, sweetheart? What's the matter?" There had to be a reason for this; given that Papyrus wasn't telling him in person, it probably wasn't a good one.

"W-well... the girls and I were leaving the store when someone ran up to us and demanded our wallets." The next four words made Mettaton's heart sink. "They have a knife."

Mettaton gasped. "Please tell me you called the police..."

"One of the girls is doing that right now. I'm trying to hold off the attacker with my magic, since I get the feeling they don't want to listen to words. I don't know how long my magic is going to last, though."

"I'll be right over there, sugar skull." Steeling himself for a few seconds, he spoke again. "And remember, no matter what happens, I love you always."

"I love you too, my beautiful star."

After they hung up, Mettaton took a few deep breaths, trying to fight back tears.

Napstablook looked over. "Mettaton? What happened...?"

With one more deep breath, Mettaton looked at the two. "Blooky. Shyren. I'm going to leave the car for a little bit." His expression solidified into a completely serious one. "Stay right here until I come back. Trust me on this."

Neither Shyren nor Napstablook were known for being argumentative, and this occasion was no exception.

Mettaton stepped out of the car, and as soon as the door closed, he headed for the grocery store at top speed. The only thing that was on his mind was saving those three lives. He may not have known Bratty and Catty all that well, but what he did know was that not only were they fans of his, but Alphys was close enough to them to be like a sister figure. Alphys was only just beginning to recover from the weight of her past; losing two of her closest friends would be a huge blow. And Papyrus... sweet, kindhearted Papyrus being cut down in the prime of his life, and having to be scattered decades before it was his time? Before he and Mettaton could travel to all of those wonderful places, before they could do all of those wonderful things they'd had planned... before their wedding bells could even ring for them? All because some human couldn't find a way to get money that didn't involve hurting others?

As he made his way to the grocery store parking lot, a cold look developed on his face. He remembered how, in one of his routine maintenance visits to Alphys' place, she had said something about installing some new defensive features; they could be activated with just the flip of a secret switch.

And it was time for Mettaton to flip that switch.


Having long since finished that phone call, Bratty huddled close to Catty as they watched Papyrus hold onto his magic. The human was crawling towards them bit by bit, muttering curses all the while; Papyrus just kept backing away, with the girls following his lead.

They kept it up for a little while, but eventually, Papyrus' bones began to tremble.

"I... I can't-"

And just like that, exhaustion forced him to break the spell. He slumped over, panting heavily.

The human's soul turned back to orange, and they stood upright, staggering towards the three.

Papyrus frowned. "We... we don't have to do this! We can just talk..."

The human wasn't having any of it, though. "You...! As soon as I get over there... I swear to god...!"

But before anyone could see it coming, a pink-and-black blur landed between them. Papyrus, Bratty, and Catty could see spiky armor, glowing wings, and a familiar set of pointed heels. They couldn't see his face, but they didn't need to in order to know who this was.

"Care to finish that statement, darling?" This voice was far more mechanical-sounding than even his rectangular form's voice - and he was slathering on the venom very liberally as he spoke. "Go on. I believe you were about to describe what you were going to do to my fiance and our friends. And I would very much like to know your plans; that way, I'll be able to decide whether I should just blast you in the face, or whether I should knock you down and drive a stiletto heel through your spine."

(Papyrus couldn't help but wince at that.)

"What-?" The human looked around frantically. "Who the hell are you?"

"Who the hell am I?" A metal hand - his only hand now - grabbed the human by the throat, and he met the human eye-to-eye. "I am Hell. And if you think I'm just saying that to sound threatening..." He raised his arm cannon, which replaced his other hand, to the sky and fired off a warning shot before returning his focus to the struggling human. "See that? That's what you'll get to look forward to if you lay even one finger on any of these sweethearts. And I am not in the mood to send anyone to the hospital tonight, let alone the morgue. Do not force my hand."

In a last-ditch attempt, the human tried to raise their knife - only for his cannon to slap it right out of their hand.

"Nice try, darling." He looked down at the human's exposed soul. "Your trait is bravery? Answer me this: what is so brave about robbing people at knifepoint? Especially when there are so many other ways to legally get money? My family's business once fell on hard times, but you didn't see any of us threatening people out of their money - and since we're more invulnerable than most people, we would have had the advantage!"

By now, the human's struggling had slowed down, so he dropped them on the ground and pinned them there with his boot. "Normally I'm not one to assume the worst of the poor. However, when you threaten the people I care about, you've crossed the line."

The human gasped for air, trying to threaten him again...

...only for the sound of police sirens to cut through the air.

A policewoman ran up to the scene. "What's going on here?"

Bratty, Catty, and Papyrus all described what was going on, and it didn't take long for the assailant to end up in handcuffs and in the back of the police car. Once the car left, everyone took a moment to catch their breath.

Papyrus was the first one to speak afterwards. "Mettaton?"

Slowly, Mettaton turned to face the three, and he walked up to Papyrus. His hair had been swept out of one of his eyes, his teeth looked sharper, his armor had more spikes on it, and he had wings and an arm cannon - but he was still recognizably Mettaton.

He crouched down in front of Papyrus and gently held him close. "Shh... you're safe now, my precious sunflower. You all are."

Although Mettaton's voice sounded more mechanical, his tone was no less sincere - and that special pet name only further confirmed his identity. Papyrus returned the hug, being careful with the wings. "I didn't know you could do that..."

"Oh yes. Dr. Alphys installed some modifications in my body to allow me to access this special defensive mode. I call it my NEO form."

Catty's eyes sparkled. "It's, like, wicked awesome!"

"Is it, like, permanent, though?" Bratty asked.

Mettaton shook his head. "All I have to do is flip a switch, and then I'll be back in my EX form. But for now, I'll stay in this form until I'm sure I won't need to use it."

"Oh... okay."

Papyrus soon stood up. "All right, now that we're safe, we need someone to help jump-start the car."

"Oh, right!" Catty looked over at her and Bratty's car; all the chaos of earlier had nearly made her forget why they were here to begin with. "And when your car works again, we can, like, show you where the auto shop is!"

Mettaton smiled at the girls. "We would deeply appreciate that."


The rest of the evening almost felt like a blur. Napstablook and Shyren had been confused upon seeing Mettaton's new look; he'd just said it was a long story and that it wasn't permanent. Papyrus and the girls helped get the limo running again, and they were able to replace the battery once they got to the shop. Over the course of the evening, both Papyrus and Mettaton received concerned phone calls from friends and family who had heard about the incident on the news; they reassured everyone that they were all safe and sound, though still a little rattled from what had happened.

Eventually, all three duos parted ways for the evening, either driving to or being dropped off at their respective homes. As soon as Mettaton walked inside, Papyrus saw him fiddling with a switch he'd never seen before. The wings and armor soon retracted into his body, his cannon changed back into a hand, and everything else about him changed until he was in his EX form once more.

Mettaton let out a relieved sigh, all but throwing himself onto the couch. "Thank god we're home..." His voice had also gone back to its less-mechanical timbre. "I was utterly horrified when I'd heard what had happened to you!"

"I didn't want anyone to get hurt, either..." Papyrus came over and hugged him. "Thank you for saving us, by the way."

"Always." Mettaton buried his face in Papyrus' shirt, and Papyrus felt tears moistening it. "I just... don't want to lose you..."

Papyrus gently slid his hand up and down Mettaton's back. "And you won't. I, the Great Papyrus, never want to leave any of you. That's why I always practice my magic when I can. Some people are freaking weird, and you can't stop them with just words, so I wanted to practice my magic in case I ever needed it." He sighed. "It was a little exhausting, though."

"Tell you what, darling. Why don't you go upstairs and take a warm bubble bath until you feel better, and then we can watch TV together until it's time for me to go to sleep?"

"All right."

As Papyrus went upstairs, Mettaton turned on the TV. He knew that he, Papyrus, Bratty, and Catty would probably have to be questioned by law enforcement over the next couple of days, at the very least. It certainly wasn't what he'd had planned, especially with everything else going on in everyone's lives.

And yet, he would gladly take this over the alternative.

Chapter Text

Papyrus loved the way Mettaton smelled.

Something about this smell was unique, mainly because it didn't have just one source. A few parts oil, a few parts perfume (often rose-scented), a touch of ectoplasm, a dash of metal hair gel, and those were just the components that could be easily picked out. This smell was just so uniquely Mettaton that the only way to accurately describe it would be "he smells like Mettaton".

Depending on the occasion, the scent would sometimes be different. Whenever Mettaton returned from having maintenance done on his body, for example, the smell of oil would be much stronger. His cooking shows would sometimes leave him faintly smelling like whatever he'd made on that episode. One time he came home smelling like chocolate and paperwork - that had been quite a long story!

And, of course, whenever it was a really special occasion, he would put on more perfume than usual and end up smelling like a rose garden (with some metallic hints, of course).

There was one such night where he and Papyrus were at a formal dance party together. They'd been to such parties before, and would attend such parties again, but it always felt special for both of them. Several other famous people were there, all dressed up in fine clothes for the event; Papyrus was wearing the black suit he usually wore for these types of events, while Mettaton had chosen a magenta ballgown.

In-between sampling the refreshments and making small talk with the other celebrities, the couple spent time talking with each other.

"I would love to do some more collaborations with other performers," Mettaton said after he sipped his drink. "Not only would it be fun, but it would also be a boon for human-monster relations to see their respective stars getting along so well!"

"Wowie!" Deep down, Papyrus was wondering if Mettaton liked the bone cologne he'd put on tonight. "I'm sure it'll get you a lot of new fans!"

Mettaton nodded. "There are so many options, though. Should I release an album, or just a few singles? Or we could make guest appearances on each other's shows!"

"Hmm..." After thinking for a moment, an idea came to Papyrus. "I know! Frisk is learning how to play the harmonica, aren't they? Maybe they could be in one of your songs! And I could play the guitar, if you need a guitarist! And Sans has his trombone..."

As he thought, Mettaton felt the wheels in his mind turn. Frisk was the ambassador of monsters, after all, with Papyrus serving as their mascot. If he teamed up with them and made a song - even if the song itself had absolutely nothing to do with politics - it could help bring people together. "Well welly well well... that might just sound like a plan, gorgeous."

Papyrus' magic fluttered. Recording a song with Mettaton... that would be yet another Mettaton-related dream come true!

The two continued talking for a little while until the music eventually changed to another slow song.

"Oh, I love this song!" Mettaton's eyes sparkled as he stood up, and before long, he had his hand held out to Papyrus. "May I have this dance, sweetheart?"

Oh my god... Papyrus couldn't find words at the moment, but he was at least able to nod and take Mettaton's hand. The couple headed towards the dance floor, where they soon ended up in each other's arms in a gentle slow dance.

Admittedly, Papyrus wasn't much of an expert on slow dancing; of the two people closest to him before Frisk and Mettaton entered his life, Sans didn't seem to be much of a dancer at all, and Undyne preferred more energetic dancing. In fact, the only time Papyrus had ever seen Undyne slow-dancing was at her and Alphys' wedding - and even then, the song that played for their first dance had both fast and slow sections, and the songs that played afterwards were a varying mix of tempos. So Papyrus didn't have a lot of role-models to teach him how to dance; fortunately, since he wasn't stepping on Mettaton's feet, he figured that he had to be doing something right.

All the while, as they held each other close, Papyrus just kept breathing in that lovely rose-garden scent, getting lost in the moment. The way Mettaton was humming to the song so quietly that only Papyrus could hear him, the soft material of his gown, the metallic arm holding him close... Papyrus very nearly forgot that he was at a real dance party, instead of in some magical dream world.

Eventually, as the song faded out, he heard and felt Mettaton take a deep breath, before leaning down slightly. "Is that cologne you're wearing, beautiful?"

Just barely managing to snap back into reality, Papyrus nodded. "It's my favorite brand of bone cologne!"

Mettaton smiled and kissed his skull. "It smells absolutely lovely."

"Wowie..." Papyrus couldn't help but hold Mettaton close as the next song started.

They didn't leave that dance floor for quite some time.

Chapter Text

Papyrus braced himself, waiting for the inevitable sting. As his vision was blacked out, he waited... and waited...

But something was off.

"Nyeh? This is new."

"What is, sweetheart?"

"It doesn't sting!"

"Sting...? It's not supposed to sting."

"It stung when I tried to do it before. What kind of limes are you using?"

"Limes?"

"Aren't these limes?"

"Er... these are cucumbers, darling."

"Cucumbers? When I saw them on TV, they looked like limes."

"Wait... did you put lime slices over your eyes?"

"Yes. It didn't work. Even when I added more."

"No wonder it stung! Limes are acidic, and acid is not good for the eyes. Cucumbers don't sting; in fact, they're supposed to have a rejuvenating effect."

"So I was just wasting time? And wasting limes? Oh no! I'm not supposed to be a wasteful skeleton!"

"It's all right, sweetheart. You can think of it as a learning experience."

"Hmm..."

"I must say, it is lovely to know someone else who likes spa treatments like I do."

"I just wanted to have eyes like yours. Those handsome bishounen eyes..."

"An understandable sentiment, undeniably. And there's certainly nothing wrong with taking care of yourself every now and then; we all need it sometimes."

"Yes... I still wish I could have done it right the first time, though. It would have saved me a lot of trouble... and a lot of eye pain."

"At least now you know for next time."

"You're right... and Undyne can have all the limes I'm not wasting!"

"Huh...?"

"It's a long story."

"Oh... well, I'm about to apply this mask. Are you ready?"

"Yes."

If beauty treatments were supposed to be soothing, Papyrus thought, then why did they leave him feeling confused? Nevertheless, as he prepared himself for the next phase, he felt like he understood things a little more.

Chapter Text

Mettaton was fed up.

It was just a couple of months ago that he and Papyrus confessed their romantic feelings for one another. Life was supposed to get better from that point on; the two would be in a happy relationship, with supportive family members and a lot of great friends who would be there for them. For the most part, everyone was indeed supportive.

However, in the case of Papyrus' older brother Sans, things were a little different.

In the case of Sans, it was as if he and Mettaton had suddenly gone back to square one after nearly three years of a budding friendship. All those days they'd spent together and had a good time - holidays, birthdays, being Alphys' escorts at her and Undyne's wedding - seemed to suddenly not matter anymore; it was almost like they'd been erased from Sans' mind.

What other explanation was there for Sans' sudden cold and distant attitude around Mettaton? Sure, Sans didn't outright attack him either physically or verbally, but he sure seemed to like glaring at him as of late, and his demeanor was nowhere near as relaxed as it usually was. And, of course, when he was talking to Mettaton, instead of making lots of bad puns, he was more likely to give him various warnings on "if you ever do anything to hurt Papyrus".

If Sans had just given him that warning once, at the beginning of the relationship, Mettaton might have let it slide. It was natural for siblings to be protective of one other, after all, and Mettaton felt the same way about his cousins.

But when Sans felt the need to threaten Mettaton every single time he came over to pick Papyrus up for a date? If it were anyone other than his boyfriend's beloved brother, Mettaton would have lost his patience a long time ago. After two months of dealing with this, it had gotten to the point where Mettaton actually began to partially dread going on dates with Papyrus - not because of Papyrus himself, but because he was sick of the way Papyrus' older brother always treated him like a threat for no clear reason.

Finally, a day came where Mettaton decided to do something about it.

It started when he asked to spend an afternoon at the skeleton brothers' house. True to form, when that afternoon came, Papyrus gave him a happy greeting, while Sans provided a much colder "Hey, MTT."

However, Mettaton had a plan up his sleeve. Not long before this afternoon, he'd put together a CD featuring rough demos of the songs on his next album, and he'd given a copy to his technicians at the studio, with specific instructions to only give it to a tall, enthusiastic skeleton who spoke in a loud voice and answered to the name Papyrus. Furthermore, Mettaton's studio was located all the way across town, giving him plenty of time for what he needed to do.

He was having a conversation with the two brothers, but when talk eventually stalled for a bit, he decided to break the silence, feigning surprise. "Good heavens, I just remembered something! I had this lovely present for you, Papyrus, but I seem to have accidentally left it at my studio! Would you be a dear and pick it up for me?"

While Sans gave him a suspicious look (of course, Mettaton thought), Papyrus enthusiastically nodded. "Absolutely! Are you sure you don't want to come with me, though?"

"Oh, I'm sure, darling. I'm so excited for you to see the surprise that I might accidentally spoil it before we get there!" He gave a warm smile. "Besides, I've been meaning for my technicians to get to know you a little more. They're really fabulous people! And I'm sure they'd love to see firsthand just how great my boyfriend is..."

"Wowie!" Even after two months, Papyrus still couldn't entirely believe that he was really and truly Mettaton's boyfriend. He struck a valiant pose, taking Mettaton's hand in his own. "Worry not, for I, the Great Papyrus, will gladly visit the studio and introduce myself to the technicians! I'm sure they are indeed fabulous people, considering who hired them!" He nuzzled his mouth against Mettaton's hand in a skeleton version of a kiss.

Mettaton giggled, doing a phenomenal job at hiding his tension. "What a gentleman you are."

After Papyrus bid him and Sans farewell for the time being, Mettaton looked through the window, watching him drive away. When he was sure Papyrus had completely left, he took a deep breath and turned around, frowning. "Sans."

"Yeah?" The look in Sans' eye sockets was anything but jovial.

"I think you and I are in desperate need of a talk."

"Fine by me." Sans walked over and sprawled on the couch. "You can start by telling me what this alleged 'present' is."

Rolling his eyes, Mettaton walked over. "It's a demo version of my upcoming album. That's all. Calm down." As he sunk into the nearby armchair, he continued scowling. "More to the point, I have a question for you."

Sans rolled over and looked him in the eye. "Shoot."

"When are you going to stop acting like I want to hurt your brother?" Mettaton folded his arms, one leg crossing over the other. "Honestly! Papyrus and I have known each other for years at this point! Don't you think that if I truly wanted to hurt him, I would have done so by now?"

At first, Sans didn't respond, so Mettaton continued.

"And furthermore, in that timeframe, you've gotten to know me. Remember when the three of us were on the Ferris wheel together earlier this summer? Or the summer solstice, when you told us facts about the moon? Or... how about that one time earlier this year where we escorted Alphys down the aisle at her and Undyne's wedding? Remember how you helped me feel better when I was worried that something would go wrong? I just..." Mettaton took a deep breath, letting it out in a loud, robotic exhale. "What happened, Sans? You and I were beginning to get along quite well, but as soon as your brother and I start dating, it's as if you don't know who I am anymore!"

Finally, Sans let out a long sigh. "Look... this is Papyrus' first relationship. And, well... don't get me wrong, he's really cool and smart, but at the same time, he needs to use handbooks in order to understand what to do on dates. How can I put this...?" He thought for a second. "...Let's just say, I don't want you to get angry at him if he can't live up to your standards."

Mettaton raised an eyebrow. "Standards? My main standard for romantic partners, aside from a few obvious ones, is that they treat me with kindness and understanding. Papyrus has gone above and beyond in that regard, so I don't think you have anything to worry about."

"Yeah. I get that. It's just..." Sans took a deep breath. "I know you really like expensive luxuries, so what if Papyrus wants to do something simpler one day? What if he doesn't want to go to a fancy restaurant or wherever you wanna go? And what if the tabloids find out about it? Aren't you worried about them ripping you to shreds? Or treating Papyrus the same way?"

"Darling, everyone knows that nothing ever satisfies the tabloids. You can be the most perfect person in the world, and they'll still find a reason to mock you. I've been learning to ignore them when I can. And more to the point..." Mettaton leaned back. "Do you remember my first activation day on the surface? Papyrus' present for me wasn't even a material good; it was music he played on his guitar. The only reason I can still revisit it is because I still have the recording of the entire party. And yet, I loved it! He was still new to playing guitar, and yet he took the time to learn how to play my music because he wanted to pay tribute to me. I didn't fall in love with him because I wanted him to give me material things - I know full well that I can afford many things he can't! The reason I fell in love with him is because he makes me feel safe and comfortable."

Just then, he remembered something. "Oh, by the way. You may find this hard to believe, but this is also my first romantic relationship. Even though I only have a few standards, I'm still very choosy regarding my romantic partners. As much as I've fantasized about being a hot power couple with another celebrity, what I've really wanted is someone who truly makes me happy... someone like Papyrus." He tightly gripped the arm of the chair. "You want to know what my ulterior motive is for dating your brother? Love. That's my ulterior motive. Nothing more, nothing less. For the record, I don't appreciate being threatened every single time I want to spend time with your brother. Once, as a warning, is fine, but unless you have a serious reason to believe that I'm hurting him..."

As he spoke, he couldn't help but let his thoughts wander. Was Sans threatening him that much just because he was overprotective, or...?

Steeling his quivering soul, he took a deep breath. "Is he afraid of me?"

Sans blinked. "What?"

"Is Papyrus afraid of me? Whenever he's preparing for a date with me, or whenever he comes home, or whenever he just talks about me, is he afraid?"

Shifting himself until he sat upright, Sans let out a long sigh. "There was this one time before the two of you went on your first date. He told me that he was really nervous about making sure it goes well. And... one of the things he said..." His bones trembled. "He was worried about making a mistake and accidentally making you look bad in front of everyone."

"I..." Mettaton's eyes widened; he wasn't sure what to say. "I've had him on my livestreams before, and they've always gone well. I had no idea..."

"Those livestreams were made when you were just friends. It's different when you're a couple; everyone's got different expectations for you then." Sans folded his arms and crossed his ankles. "Which reminds me. You don't appreciate being threatened? Well, I don't appreciate being made out to be the bad guy just because I want my brother to come home safely, without being turned into social media's newest punching bag just because he openly disagreed with you on something." When he noticed Mettaton about to protest, he continued. "And before you say anything... even if you don't mind him disagreeing with you on things, someone will. The last thing I need is for my brother to end up in danger just because someone wanted you for themselves and decided Papyrus wasn't good enough for you, or that he was in the way. What if people recognize him on the street - and not in a good way?"

Mettaton sighed. "Unfortunately, in circumstances like that, there may not be a way to prevent it from happening except for me making it clear that I don't appreciate my fans acting that way. We may just have to deal with it as it happens... if it happens."

"You never know. You may think it's not gonna happen, but then it's gonna blindside you on some Tuesday afternoon." Sans let out a sigh of his own and looked down. "The point I'm getting at is, I just want to protect my brother. I want to be there for him if he needs me. I'm not acting this way just for the hell of it."

For a brief moment, both were silent, thinking things over. Finally, Mettaton spoke again.

"Darling... it's understandable that you want to be there for your brother." He looked up. "My cousin, Napstablook... they're very delicate. They're often worried about being a burden. And even though I wasn't always the best cousin to them, I still would like to make up for it. As much as I would love to shield them from every possible problem, I've realized that it won't help them grow. I need to let them take risks - after all, if I never took any risks, I wouldn't be anywhere near as famous as I am now - but at the same time, I don't want to completely let go of them. I want to help them feel better whenever they need it, and give them the encouragement they need to blossom into the confident person I know they can be." He was silent for a few seconds. "What I'm trying to say is, I want to support them without sheltering them."

Even for a man like Mettaton, who had once publicly said "a little pampering never killed anybody", there were still lines that he didn't want to have crossed. (In his eyes, there was a big difference between pampering - as he defined it, at least - and sheltering; the former was "you've worked hard and taken risks, so it's time to reward yourself" while the latter was "you can't take risks, ever".)

"So... you think I'm sheltering Papyrus?"

With a sigh, Mettaton suddenly stood up and walked over to the couch, taking a seat next to Sans. "Would you like to hear a secret, darling?"

"I'm listening."

Mettaton looked Sans in the eye. "The past few times Papyrus and I have left for a date, as soon as we were alone, he apologized for your behavior."

Sans' eyelights widened. "R-really...?"

A solemn nod. "He said, 'You'll have to forgive my brother. He just wants to look out for me.' And I've been trying to forgive you, but..." Mettaton looked down, his hair covering both of his eyes. "Do you have any idea how hurtful it is to be threatened every time I want to spend time with your brother? Papyrus and I were both hoping you would be more supportive, especially since you and I actually knew each other beforehand."

Taking a deep breath, trying so hard to restrain his emotions, he looked back up. "There was one time, back when Papyrus and I were still just friends, when we went to visit Undyne and Alphys at their house. Undyne and I ended up getting into an argument, and Papyrus... he told us that he didn't like seeing us argue, because he felt like he would have to take sides. And even though, to this day, Undyne and I still don't get along very well, we both agreed that we didn't want to make him choose between us."

Looking in Sans' eye, Mettaton said one more thing.

"And, the thing is, darling... I don't think he wants to have to choose between his brother and his boyfriend, either."

For the next several minutes, they both sat in silence, thinking about everything that had gone on since Mettaton and Papyrus had started dating. Sans in particular wasn't sure of what to think. He wanted to be the older brother who made sure his younger brother was happy - especially since, for the longest time, Papyrus had been all he'd had - but he hadn't even thought about how his actions could have backfired. If it had gotten to the point where Papyrus actually felt the need to apologize for what Sans had done in the name of protecting him...

Sans hung his head in shame. He'd been the judge of the Underground before everyone moved to the surface, but somehow, even this judge didn't operate on an "innocent until proven guilty" principle. Instead, he'd chosen "guilty even after being proven innocent"; the more he thought about it now, the more he realized that this attitude made no sense, given the way Mettaton had previously acted. If Mettaton had done something truly horrible to Papyrus, then Sans might have heard about it from Undyne or Frisk or Alphys, but even when he asked, none of them had ever told him that anything disquieting happened - and given that Sans was quite good at telling when people were lying, he would have known a long time ago if Mettaton had actually done anything.

And yet, despite being observant of when other people were lying, Sans hadn't even noticed until now that he had been lying to himself. While the concerns he'd previously explained were definitely part of why he was so protective of Papyrus, there was a certain truth that he hadn't wanted to admit, not even to himself.

Papyrus was growing up, and Sans didn't feel prepared to deal with it.

Finally, Sans took a shuddering breath, trying to stop his voice from breaking. "It's just... I've known him since he was a babybones. I watched him grow up, get his own hobbies, develop some hopes and dreams of his own, and..." He took more deep breaths, knowing that if he continued, he would probably start crying.

After a brief moment, Mettaton realized what was on Sans' mind. His expression softened, and he leaned down. "And you're worried that he's going to forget about you?"

Sans just nodded, not even looking at Mettaton.

"He won't. I can assure you of that." For the first time since Papyrus left, Mettaton allowed himself to smile. "He hasn't forgotten about any of his friends, so I know he certainly won't forget about his brother. He cares so much about everyone..."

"Yeah..." Sans whispered.

In that moment, Mettaton had another thought. "Sans, darling... did either of us ever tell you what happened on that day, during the rainstorm? The reason why I became so close to Papyrus?"

"Don't think so."

"Well... at the time, I still needed to film my first show on the surface. We were supposed to start filming on that day, but the weather was so horrible that we wouldn't be able to, because the roads were flooded." He stared up at the ceiling. "That afternoon, I was on this very couch, panicking because I was honestly afraid that my surface career would end before it even started. I lost all composure in front of a fan of mine... he could have easily lost respect for me, or even used it as a weapon against me." Turning back towards Sans, he smiled again. "But he didn't. Instead, he comforted me, and when it was time for me to leave, he even gave me his phone number. And even on later occasions when he found out that I've made mistakes, he still chose to believe in me and tell me that I can be a better person."

He scooted a little closer. "As hard as it is to believe, I have regrets too. Papyrus knows that I haven't always made good choices, but he still believes that I can change for the better. I love him so much..."

As Sans listened to just how sincere Mettaton sounded, he began feeling more certain than ever. The way Mettaton spoke... that was not the kind of tone used by someone who wanted to use someone else. Nor was it the tone someone would use if they were just dating someone in the interim while waiting for a more glamorous, media-friendly partner. By all indications, when Mettaton said he loved Papyrus, he seemed to be telling the truth.

Deep down, Sans still had worries about many things that could go wrong, but it didn't take long for him to come to a conclusion: for Papyrus' sake, it was time for him to put his concerns to the side for the time being, and wait and see what would happen.

After a while, Sans spoke again. "MTT?"

"Yes?"

Sans looked him in the eye. "I'm really sorry about the way I've been acting. And when Papyrus comes back, I'm gonna apologize to him too. You're right; I should at least wait and see if you actually hurt my brother before I start threatening you like that."

Although Mettaton was still slightly upset at even being threatened in the first place, he still decided to give Sans another chance, also for Papyrus' sake. "Would you like me to give you a hug, Sans?"

"Sure." As the two gave each other a friendly hug, Sans looked up. "Can I just tell you one more thing, though?"

"What sort of thing?"

Sans took a deep breath. "You see... when we were all still living underground, Papyrus wanted to join the Royal Guard. He wanted everyone to be his friend, and he said that when he had lots of friends, he'd bathe in a shower of kisses every morning." He grinned. "So I think, if you did that for him, he'd be really happy."

"Ooh..." Mettaton's eyes sparkled. "I'll try to remember that. Thank you so much for telling me, sweetheart."

"Sure thing."

When Papyrus eventually returned home, Sans, true to his word, talked with him in private so he could apologize for the way he'd been acting. There were still some lingering doubts here and there, but after that day, all three of them felt their bond beginning to repair itself.

And it would only become stronger in the coming months.

Chapter Text

An entire stadium full of spectators roared as they watched the two wrestlers in the ring take each other to the limit. For almost everyone watching, the atmosphere consisted of nothing but excitement.

However, a certain group of spectators were more than a little annoyed.

Frisk and almost all of their monster friends were all sitting in the same section together; this event, which was being filmed on pay-per-view, was going to be their friend Undyne's first appearance in a major wrestling event. Undyne, Alphys, Mettaton, and Papyrus had all driven into that part of town together, with the others arriving later. Everyone in that group was excited to see Undyne's match, even if a number of them otherwise had no interest in wrestling; it was always exciting to see Undyne in action.

Unfortunately, when they were heading into the arena and making their way to the special reserved seating, the bouncer wouldn't let them in. No matter how much they argued that they had the right to be sitting there (showing their tickets and different forms of identification, among other things), the bouncer, for some reason, was convinced that they were lying. So everyone reluctantly headed to a different section, which Sans affectionately referred to as "Ye Olde Nosebleed Seats".

Out of everyone sitting up there, it seemed like only Frisk and Flowey were completely focused on the current match. Toriel and Asgore were listening to Sans explain different things about wrestling (since he knew more than they did), and both Alphys and Papyrus were desperately trying to stop Mettaton from channeling his own inner wrestler.

"I've never been so insulted in all my life..." Mettaton gripped the armrest, trembling with barely-restrained anger.

Papyrus frowned and gently put an arm around him. "Metta, sweetie, it's not all bad. We can still watch Undyne's match when it's time, along with the rest of the matches..."

"We should be watching those matches from the reserved seats! You know, the ones we paid for?" His body tensed up. "At the very least, the bouncer should have recognized me! I'm Mettaton - the Mettaton! And what about the ambassador and their mascot? Doesn't anybody watch TV anymore?"

Also frowning, Alphys gently rested her hand on Mettaton's wrist. She wished she could have thought of something to say to help him feel better, but deep down, she honestly agreed with him. Her wife was going to be wrestling in this event, and given that they'd paid to sit in a special section, there was no reason why they had to be barred from sitting in that section, especially since none of them had been behaving out of line. At the very least, they should have been sitting in a section where the wrestlers didn't look so tiny.

Eventually, the match came to a close. The bell rang, the winner's theme song sounded throughout the arena, and after the celebrations were through, a band gathered near the ramp for a live musical performance before the next match.

Not long after the song started, a security guard entered the area where Frisk and their friends were sitting. "Ambassador Frisk Dreemurr?"

Frisk stood up, holding Flowey. "Yes?"

"It would seem there was a bit of a misunderstanding earlier with one of our bouncers." The guard looked at all of Frisk's friends. "If you would all please follow me..."

Mettaton couldn't hold back a "thank god" as he and the others headed back down to where they were originally supposed to sit. While part of him wanted to inwardly rant that they should have been allowed in that seating area to begin with, the sensation of Papyrus holding his hand as they walked managed to soothe his temper.

Finally, they'd all made it to that special seating area, which was at one of the lower levels and provided a nice view of the ring. Everyone made sure to thank the security guard, and after the guard left, Papyrus gave Mettaton a hug.

"Wowie! We made it into the correct seating after all!"

Trying to tell himself that "what's done is done", Mettaton took a deep breath and smiled. "Oh yes. We're finally where we should be."

Alphys looked at them with a grin. "I... I think we're just in time, too! I'm pretty sure Undyne's match is next."

"Probably a good thing we made it down here, then," Sans said. "If Undyne found out that we couldn't be in this section for her match because of a misunderstanding... well."

He didn't need to say anything else; everyone just laughed nervously, grateful that there wouldn't be any incidents.

Eventually, after the musical performance finished and the band left, the lights dimmed. Before long, some guitars and drums started up, and Frisk and friends were instantly paying full attention. They recognized this song as the one Undyne had chosen to be her entrance theme, and when the video screen above began broadcasting images of Mt. Ebbot, they all knew for sure.

As the song continued to play, the announcer's voice spoke above it.

"And now, in her first major pay-per-view appearance anywhere... hailing from the Underground, a former captain of the Royal Guard, here she is! The Spear of Justice! Undyne... the Undying!"

In that instant, Undyne ran into view at the top of the ramp; she summoned a magical spear and held it high, screaming her famous battle cry. As she descended the ramp and headed towards the ring, the song's chorus triumphantly blared through the arena:

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible!

The crowd as a whole was roaring, but in terms of individual people, Frisk and their friends were probably the loudest. It didn't take long for Frisk, Papyrus, and Alphys to start chanting for Undyne, and other members of the audience soon followed suit.

As Undyne climbed to the top of one of the turnbuckles, she looked directly at where her wife and friends were sitting, and she grinned.

Even though Mettaton and Undyne often rubbed each other the wrong way, and even though part of Mettaton was still angry about the earlier misunderstanding, even he couldn't help but grin back. While he usually preferred standing before a crowd instead of in a crowd, this was certainly an interesting change of pace. And knowing just how important Undyne was to both Alphys and Papyrus... at that moment, Mettaton only had one thought.

Go get 'em, darling.

Chapter Text

Love can do weird things to people, such as making them grateful for the traffic being slow.

One afternoon, not too long after confessing their feelings, Mettaton and Papyrus were sitting in the back of the former's limo. Having just spent the last couple of hours at the local movie theater to watch a movie they both wanted to see, they were now on their way to a public park. Or, at least, they were trying to go there; since it was getting close to rush hour, both the surface roads and the freeways were filling up with cars and trucks (and the occasional motorbike). Currently, the traffic on the freeway was bumper-to-bumper, and Mettaton was finding it hard to hold onto his patience; he'd been hoping to watch the sunset with Papyrus, something which would have been easier to do in the park than on a highway where they had to be constantly moving (even if at a snail's pace).

Mettaton was leaning back in his seat with a frown, tapping out an impatient rhythm on the inside of the car door as he sang to himself. "Na na na na na na, she's got the look..."

With a frown of his own, Papyrus looked over at him. He could just feel the tension radiating off of Mettaton, and he wanted nothing more than to surprise him with a big hug. However, what if Mettaton didn't want to be hugged in that moment? Papyrus certainly didn't want to make Mettaton feel less comfortable.

Finally, Mettaton sighed. "Well, I can't think of any more songs at the moment." He looked around at the traffic. "Is someone pulled over up ahead? Are these people's lives really so boring that they consider someone being pulled over to be world-class entertainment?" Pulling Papyrus closer, he whispered. "Maybe they just need to watch more Delta Rune Network."

"Nyeh heh heh... everyone should watch Delta Rune Network!" Just then, Papyrus remembered that Mettaton's hands were on him. "Oh, that reminds me! I noticed you weren't feeling very well, so I, the Great Papyrus, wanted to know if you'd like a hug."

Mettaton's demeanor seemed to soften a bit. "That would be absolutely wonderful. In fact..." A hand slid down and gently took hold of Papyrus' hand. "If it's all right with you, would you hold me for a little while?"

Papyrus' eyes widened. "Oh! W-wowie..." He cleared his throat. "In that case, I most certainly will! I will hold you like a ravioli holds treasure!" After a second, he frowned a little. "That made more sense in my head."

"Heh heh..." Mettaton soon felt Papyrus wrap his arms around him and pull him close until his skull was resting against his chestplate. Already, Mettaton felt his irritation began to float away, and he closed his eyes. "Oh, yes... thank you so much, darling. I really need this right now."

"I thought you might!" Papyrus looked up. "I just wanted to ask you first."

"And I certainly appreciate you thinking of that." Mettaton's hand moved over to gently run up and down Papyrus' arm. "Quite honestly... I love being touched."

"Oh?" If Papyrus had eyebrows, he would have raised one.

Mettaton nodded. "I've wanted to be touched for as long as I can remember, but it was a long time before I had any body at all, let alone one that could truly feel things. My rectangular form was a good start, but it isn't quite as sensitive as this form is. But no matter what form I'm in, when people put their hands on me, it tells me that they appreciate my body. Of course, I do have some reasonable limitations, but in general, being touched makes me feel cared for."

"Oh... okay." Papyrus felt like his mind had just been blown. He knew that Mettaton liked crowd-surfing, but hugs were something else entirely. Furthermore, some of the people closest to Mettaton seemed to really value their personal space; Shyren preferred that people ask her before hugging her, and even though Alphys was a little more open to physical contact, she seemed to save most of it for Undyne. And, of course, there was the little matter of Mettaton being a celebrity; Papyrus considered it a miracle that Mettaton was actually physically present in his life to begin with, so spontaneously touching him almost felt like asking too much.

But if the man himself not only said that it was okay, but also said that it made him feel loved on a personal level...

Suddenly, Papyrus had an idea.

Still keeping one arm firmly wrapped around Mettaton, he reached up towards his face. "Can I...?" When Mettaton nodded again, Papyrus reached over and began to slowly, delicately stroke Mettaton's face. Mettaton let out a happy groan, keeping his eyes closed; as boisterous as Papyrus could be, he certainly knew how to be gentle in certain situations.

Papyrus, meanwhile, couldn't help but admire the sheer amount of care that Alphys had put into creating this body; no wonder Mettaton loved it so much. "It's so soft..."

Opening one eye, Mettaton looked up at him and smiled. "My hair is also soft, if you'd like to feel it for yourself."

"Wowie..." Was Papyrus dreaming? This certainly felt like a really good dream. Regardless, he reached upward and gently brushed his phalanges against Mettaton's hair. It was indeed rather soft, albeit a little stiff from the metal hair gel he liked to use. Tentatively, he slipped his fingers between the locks and slowly combed through them. "Is this all right?"

Mettaton closed his eye again. "Oh yes, please keep doing that..."

As the minutes carried on, the two found themselves not minding the heavy traffic as much as they previously did. They both could feel a new understanding develop between them; it was as if their horizons had expanded in the course of that one car ride.

Indeed, when the traffic began speeding up again, the two felt a very light twinge of sadness; they could have stayed in each other's arms for hours upon end. Of course, they both soon remembered that there was no rule against cuddling in the park.


"I always love watching the sunset," Mettaton said as he leaned into Papyrus' arms. "Photos and videos are nice, but there's nothing quite like a live performance."

Papyrus leaned back against the tree that the two were sitting under. "Indeed! Especially when you get to share it with someone!"

As Mettaton admired the colors, he took hold of Papyrus' hand. And being in that someone's arms just makes everything better.

From that point on, cuddling became one of their favorite things to do together.

Chapter Text

Snowflakes silently drifted to the ground in the cool mountain night, all around the grounds near a ski resort. While this area had been a little more active earlier in the day, the tourists had since gone elsewhere, either to enjoy other parts of the nightlife, or to take a long rest after the events of the day.

The two occupants of one rustic cabin on the resort grounds, despite seeming to be the type to do the former, were quite happy to indulge in the latter tonight.

Inside the walls of the cabin, the only light came from the blaze in the fireplace, and the only sounds were the soft crackles of the flames. Nearly everything else inside was perfectly still; the only other sources of liveliness at the moment came from the two who shared this cabin, and even then, it was a loose definition of "lively". Not that either of them minded, though.

Next to the fireplace was a huge armchair; it was so large that its occupants, despite being tall, were able to comfortably cuddle in it together. And that was exactly what they were doing at the moment, with the flames casting a soft glow over the entire room, and a very large, very soft blanket keeping the two warm and cozy.

It had been quite an exciting day for Mettaton and Papyrus; they had just arrived at this ski resort the previous evening, and both of them were still rather exhausted from the trip to do much else that night. When the next day came, though, they certainly made the most of it. Papyrus had an utter blast playing in the snow that morning; as much as he loved being on the surface, he would always feel nostalgic for things that reminded him of Snowdin. When the afternoon came, the couple hit the slopes for some skiing. Since they were still new to the sport, they stuck with some of the easier slopes; they definitely weren't quite ready for the diamond slopes, but they knew that if they kept practicing, they would be able to conquer those slopes one day. It would certainly give some exciting stories to tell - Undyne would be on the edge of her seat when she heard them. Even on the less-intense slopes, though, they still had fun; the first time Mettaton had made it down a slope, he let out an exhilarated laugh before pulling Papyrus close for a hug. Papyrus laughed, too, full of joy that he and the man he loved were finding new ways to enjoy Papyrus' favorite type of weather.

And then, after the sun set on an incredibly fun day full of excitement and adventure, the two decided to head back to their cabin for some peace and quiet. Together, they cooked a meal with the old-fashioned equipment in the cabin, and they even made some hot chocolate with marshmallows; they shared the meal at the table while watching the snow fall outside. Once they'd finished their food, they decided to spend some quality time cuddling in front of the fireplace beneath a warm blanket.

Although Papyrus seemed to have limitless amounts of energy most of the time, even he could feel tuckered out now and then. And after all the fun he'd had that day, being sandwiched between so many comfortable things - the soft chair, the warm blanket, and Mettaton's comforting body, all warmed further by the fire - felt so amazing that he ended up drifting off right there with a smile on his face.

When Mettaton looked at him, he couldn't resist smiling either. Papyrus, fast asleep, cuddled up against him... what was he dreaming about? Was he dreaming about Mettaton, or all the fun the two had had that day, or the fun they were sure to have in the coming days? Just seeing that smile made Mettaton feel like he and Papyrus made the right choice in choosing this resort for a vacation. Neither of them had to worry about work - Papyrus was on paid vacation time, and Mettaton was in the interim period between major projects - and there was nothing else stopping the two from spending some time with each other.

Seeing Papyrus' sheer joy as he played in the snow was easily enough to warm Mettaton's heart. Papyrus' happiness had helped Mettaton get through some tough times before, and would undoubtedly help him again. While their relationship had been incredibly one-sided when everyone still lived underground, in the sense of "a fan admiring a celebrity who probably didn't even know that this specific fan existed", it became more and more equal in the years on the surface, and Mettaton couldn't have been happier about it. Papyrus was like a ray of sunshine cutting through the dark clouds, a soothing oasis in the midst of a desert, a sunflower sprouting and thriving in soil that initially seemed to be unsalvageable; when Mettaton was with Papyrus, he felt like he was safe and understood.

In fact, no matter where they were, when Mettaton was with Papyrus, he felt like he was home. And Papyrus' smile at the moment, not put through any of the conscious mind's filters, made it clear that the feeling was mutual.

Mettaton took a slow, deep breath and let it out in a perfectly happy sigh as he slouched further in the chair. He loved Papyrus so, so much; Papyrus had brought so much joy and comfort to his life that Mettaton often wanted nothing more than to do the same for Papyrus. While Mettaton did care very much about all of his fans - even the ones whose names and faces he didn't personally know - Papyrus would always be special to him.

Briefly glancing over, Mettaton noticed that the blanket had slipped off of one of Papyrus' shoulders. He carefully lifted up the edge of the blanket and put it back around Papyrus' shoulder, moving delicately so as not to wake him up. Papyrus didn't wake up, but he did let out a small happy groan in his sleep as his smile grew bigger.

And in that moment, Mettaton realized that he too was sleepy.

Before long, both occupants of the cabin had slipped into a nap (or at least, their version of such) right there in that armchair, and neither one of them minded at all. The only things on their minds were their dreams; they dreamed of each other, and the fun they'd had that day, and everything that was sure to come in the future. Whether they were sleeping in an armchair in the glow of a fireplace at a faraway resort, or sleeping in their own bed in the house they called their own, as long as they had each other, they knew they would always be home.

Chapter Text

Papyrus paced across the living room floor, his mind full of concern as he tried to think of ideas. Mettaton had been out of town for the past few days; he, Napstablook, and Shyren were all attending a music festival so they could perform some of their newest songs. On top of all that, this event was supposed to be a charity event, so in theory, it would be for a good cause.

Unfortunately, as Papyrus ended up learning from several of Mettaton's disgruntled messages, the event itself was a good cause - for concern.

It had been clear that a lot of the budget had gone towards hiring acts like Mettaton and his band; the facilities at the festival were mediocre at best, and the equipment kept malfunctioning. Since the organizers hadn't even bothered to pick up any monster food, Mettaton couldn't participate in the dinner with the other celebrities - although, given that the other celebrities had reported that their food was barely even edible, he probably hadn't been missing much. The drinks were nothing special either; all they'd had was water, milk, and a few types of fruit juice.

But the final straw came because of the event's poor scheduling, leaving Mettaton unsure of when he and his band were supposed to go on. He, Napstablook, and Shyren had all tried to ask event officials about the schedule, but at best, they would get an ambivalent answer. At worst, there was an incident where Shyren and Napstablook seemed to accidentally hit an organizer's last nerve after calmly asking about the schedule; the organizer had snapped at them, leaving them in tears, and instead of apologizing, the organizer just kept being rude to them, even telling them to stop crying.

It just so happened that Mettaton soon walked in on the scene of this official verbally laying into two of the people closest to him. As expected, he had two words for this organizer, and they were not "oh yes".

Mettaton's actual performance had issues as well. Because the event was so stressful, and particularly because of the incident with the official, Shyren found it hard to even speak, let alone sing. They were able to get a keytar for her to play, but given the last-minute nature of this development, they knew they would have to improvise - and Shyren wasn't quite as good at improvising as Mettaton was. Another problem with the performance was that, due to the budgeting issues, they couldn't afford special effects; given that a large part of the appeal of seeing Mettaton live was the special effects and how they would complement the music itself, this was a loss for the audience as well as for Mettaton himself.

And if the poor scheduling as a whole ended up being the last straw, then the last straw's last straw occurred when Mettaton and his band had to cut their performance off in the middle of one of their songs. Even that wouldn't have been so bad if they had actually been told about it before they went on stage, and if they'd been told about it through any other means besides having an organizer suddenly rush on stage when the song was in full swing and signal for them to stop, telling them that time was up.

Mettaton's final words on stage made it clear that he was leaving, even if it was a charity event, because "where is the decorum, darling?" As an added bonus, before heading out the door, he glared at the audience and said, "Oh, by the way, if you're the type to cry easily, I suggest you leave too before the organizers make you feel even more unwelcome than they already have. I'm still waiting for one of the organizers to apologize to my cousin and our friend for making them cry just because they asked a simple question - and then demanding that they stop crying! What did you even expect, darling?"

The whole event was being livestreamed and liveblogged, and so many of Mettaton's closest associates had a few things to say on the matter. Mettaton and Napstablook's cousins were among the first to complain, with Maddy calling the whole thing "despicable. Despicable! Despicable!" and the other cousin simply posting emoticons that expressed annoyance at the event and sympathy for their cousins. Bryan's attitude towards the organizers was similar to what Mettaton had expressed in his last words before leaving - "well, what did you expect?" Both Alphys and Frisk left messages apologizing for how poorly the event went, as well as offering to stand up for Mettaton if anyone tried to give him grief about leaving a charity event. And, throughout his entire time away, Mettaton often received messages from Papyrus, expressing his concern and his hopes that the event would manage to go well.

In fact, almost as soon as Mettaton stepped out of the building, he received a phone call from Papyrus. Papyrus, too, was upset that the event hadn't gone so well, and he offered to do whatever Mettaton wanted to do when he came back. Mettaton sounded utterly relieved to hear from Papyrus, and even though he had some traveling to do, he was still happy to take him up on that offer.

And that was how Papyrus ended up pacing across the living room floor, wondering what Mettaton wanted to do. Did he want to visit a restaurant, or take an evening spa trip, or just go straight home so Papyrus could comfort him?

In the middle of pondering this, Papyrus ended up getting the answer to his question when his phone went off.

We're in town now, and we were thinking of visiting the nice cream parlor. Did you want to join us?

Papyrus grinned; ice cream was certainly a good way to lift moods.

SURE!!!

He headed off to get ready, both physically and emotionally.


Over the course of the subsequent limo ride, Mettaton was of course upset. Papyrus noticed that Mettaton seemed to be holding back for the sake of Shyren and Napstablook; even when he held back, though, Mettaton still let loose with his emotions.

"Honestly, sweetheart! How awful is it to make someone cry and then tell them to stop crying? That's like physically attacking them and then telling them to stop bleeding!" Mettaton's grip on Papyrus' hand tightened. "And it was all because we wanted to know when we'd be going on stage. None of us were even rude about it!"

"That sounded awful..." Papyrus briefly lifted Mettaton's hand to his face and nuzzled it.

Mettaton's voice sounded tired as he spoke. "And do you know what the worst part is, darling? This event was for charity! I just know that if I'd walked out any sooner than I did, the presses would all be asking why Mettaton walked out of a charity event." He slouched a little, his hair threatening to cover both of his eyes. "I feel like a fool for even agreeing to appear at this event... I should have checked the organizers' credentials, among other things."

"I don't think anyone will hold it against you, Metta. They probably all saw that the event wasn't going well, or heard stories from people. And before you left, you did tell them why you were leaving." Papyrus looked out the window at the sunset-painted sky. "If someone disrespected Sans like that, I would be upset too. I don't understand why people take their anger out on each other. When I'm angry, I do a puzzle, or I make a puzzle, or I think about cool things; I don't hurt people. Even when I'm annoyed at that dog who steals my bones, I still don't want anything bad to happen to him."

An exhausted, wistful sigh floated from Mettaton's mouth. "I wish more people were like you, sunflower."

Papyrus put his arms around Mettaton, his pulse fluttering at the compliment. "Wowie! Hopefully, someday, everyone will have a cool skeleton friend to hug. We're very warm and cuddly and soft... and full of calcium!"

Mettaton chuckled at that last remark, allowing himself to smile a little, before he heard Papyrus himself laugh.

"Oh my god!"

"Yes, darling?"

"I'm full of calcium and you're full of iron, or at least something similar - some kind of essential mineral. We must be an incredibly healthy couple indeed!"

As he laughed again, with Napstablook and Shyren laughing along, Mettaton's smile only grew bigger; he was glad to be back home with people who actually cared, especially since one of those people was his darling love.


In the middle of scarfing down his Neapolitan sundae, Mettaton couldn't help but rant further about the event and what it meant for his career.

"I was hoping to use this to help further promote my work and my album. But what if people think it's a joke because of how poorly everything went?"

Napstablook, who was carefully eating a ghost cone of their own, looked at Mettaton. "It was just one show gone wrong, and I think everyone will understand... I hope..."

Shyren nodded. "A lot of the other performers are complaining online as well, so it wasn't just us." She started back in on her soft-serve cone; the creamy texture was certainly a welcome distraction from the bad memories.

"You both have a point." Mettaton sighed. "I just may have to be more careful with how I choose to promote myself from now on. I love promoting my brand, and the event seemed legitimate..."

Papyrus swallowed a bite of his own sundae. "Maybe from now on, everyone will only invite you to properly-planned events! And you can still promote your album; I know you can bounce back from this! You're good at a lot of things, and I'm sure bouncing is one of them! Even if your official basketballs aren't for bouncing."

Yet again, Mettaton laughed. The more he thought about it, the more everyone's words swayed him. He was Mettaton, after all, and if he could survive other mishaps, he could survive this one as well.


After everyone finished their Nice Cream, they headed home, with Mettaton and Papyrus saying goodbye to Napstablook and Shyren for the evening, and Mettaton giving his usual huge tip to the chauffeur. Once Mettaton and Papyrus were inside, they both knew it was time for some more cuddles.

Before long, the two were lying on the couch together, with Papyrus behind Mettaton and gently rubbing his shoulders while humming songs Mettaton liked. Mettaton, with a pillow beneath his feet and a blanket covering himself and Papyrus, typed away at his laptop, preparing a tell-all blog post in which he outlined everything that went wrong at the festival and why he left as soon as his set was over. Charity event or not, he still expected some level of decorum from an event that invited him, and he was going to tell his fans all about the food he couldn't eat, the equipment that had trouble working, the unclear schedules, the organizer who was rude to his bandmates, and - of course - the set that was abruptly cut off without prior notice.

As soon as Mettaton was finished with that post, he would finally, finally be able to relax and put that event behind him. Of course, just being with Papyrus certainly helped to soothe his emotions, but if he'd known that the event would go that poorly, he would have just stayed home and spent more quality time with his one true love.

He was a risk-taker at heart, though, and even when the risks ended up not bringing rewards, he would take it as a lesson in what to do (and what not to do) next time. It was going to take more than just one bad performance to bring down the one and only Mettaton, after all.

Chapter Text

The first summer after moving to the surface, Papyrus saw the most amazing thing.

It had all started when Sans asked him if he wanted to go to the local lake with him one afternoon, "'cause I wanna show you something cool." Papyrus was always up to seeing cool things, even if part of his mind was worried that his brother was just going to prank him. They went to the lake together, sitting by the trees near the banks while eating picnic food and doing puzzles, while they patiently (to an extent) waited for this cool thing to happen.

And when it finally happened after the sun went down, the look on Papyrus' face was all worth it. His wide eyes, his huge smile, the way the word "wowie" kept floating from his mouth almost as naturally as breathing... he was amazed, to put it quite simply.

It was no surprise that, several summers later, Papyrus wanted to share this with someone else who was close to his heart.

"We're here!" Papyrus said after pulling into a parking space.

Mettaton blinked. "The local lake?"

Papyrus took out a large tote bag as well as his picnic basket. "I know what you're thinking, but do not fear! I have no plans to go into the water this evening! I just wanted to show you something cool that happens in the evening at this time of year. Sans showed this to me, and I think you'll love it too!"

As Mettaton took out his own picnic basket (containing the drinks and the dessert, whereas Papyrus' basket contained the rest of the food), he couldn't help but notice that Papyrus was being rather vague about what this cool thing was. He certainly wasn't going to complain, though; Papyrus was keeping him in suspense, and as Mettaton certainly knew (and practiced), the right amount of suspense could liven up anything.

He followed Papyrus to some trees near the banks of the lake (though fortunately still a reasonable distance away), where Papyrus was laying down a blanket. After setting things up, the two started in on the food itself. It wasn't too complex; most of it was just sandwiches and pasta salad, with lemonade and iced tea to drink (Mettaton had initially wanted to bring wine, but upon learning that Papyrus would be driving, he decided against it).

"I must say, it is quite lovely out here." Mettaton looked up at the sky; aside from a few tiny clouds, everything was clear and bright, although the sun looked like it was going to set soon.

Papyrus grinned. "It is! And that's why I thought we should do it today!"

Little by little, Mettaton was gaining more of an appreciation for eating outdoors. After hearing stories of bugs, birds, and bad weather interrupting others' picnics, he initially hadn't been so sure about trying it himself. He had since tried it a few times, though, including today, and everything ended up going surprisingly well. It was certainly fun to eat in a fancy restaurant, but eating outdoors surrounded by nature was surprisingly peaceful.

As the sun dipped lower in the sky, the two finished the main course and started having dessert; Mettaton had brought a slice of red velvet cake for each of them. They continued talking about random things as they ate; all the while, Papyrus kept glancing out at the lake as if waiting for something.

Mettaton savored the sweet taste of the cake as he ate; part of him wondered if he could work the phrase "eating cake by the lake" into a future song, even if it did sound slightly silly. Wait, wasn't there another song that had something similar, though...?

"Any minute now..." he heard Papyrus mutter.

Since Mettaton wasn't sure of what to look for, he didn't know if he could help Papyrus; he hoped that whatever was supposed to happen would happen, since he hated the thought of Papyrus being disappointed while trying to show him something cool.

The sky grew darker, and before long, Papyrus gasped and pointed out towards the water. "There it is!"

"What? Where?" Mettaton quickly looked around...

And then he saw it.

Floating not too far from the water was a scattering of fireflies, their lights slowly brightening and dimming before brightening again. There were just a few at first, but little by little, more began to appear. Mettaton knew that fireflies existed, of course, but he'd never seen them in action until now.

"Oh, my..." Mettaton couldn't take his eyes off of the spectacle. "They look just like little stars!"

"I thought you would like this!" Papyrus put an arm around him. "Little stars glowing over the lake... wowie!"

"'Wowie' is right..." The stars were in Mettaton's eyes as well as he kept watching.

Given that they'd lived underground for the majority of their lives, it was no surprise that many monsters, Mettaton and Papyrus included, were amazed by little things that some humans would take for granted. It was an entire world, untouched and unseen by monsters for over a thousand years, and everything still felt so new. Something that could elicit a simple "wow" from a human would be like pure magic to a monster.

The fireflies just kept aimlessly floating around, forming little random constellations that changed every second. All the while, the two watching them didn't want to look away for even a second; even as they finished their cake, they kept all eyes on the little glowing bugs that decorated the scenery.

Springtime was just about over, and the warmth and excitement of summertime was slowly creeping in. As the couple watched the beautiful sight before them, they wondered what this upcoming summer would bring. Whether it was good or bad, the fact that they had each other was always encouraging; it lit the inner fire in their hearts and compelled them to shine even more brightly than ever.

Chapter Text

Frisk watched the screen with slight tension as the man on the screen threw himself back and forth against the walls of the hallway, switching between a real appearance and a pencil-sketch appearance, before finally becoming real and embracing the woman who ran towards him. Both the video and its accompanying synthpop song faded out after this moment.

"Whoa..." Frisk said.

Mettaton, who was sitting next to them on the couch, grinned. "And now you know why this is considered one of the greatest music videos ever."

"Yeah... that must have taken a really long time to make!" The people who made that video must have been really determined indeed.

Frisk was spending the afternoon at Mettaton and Papyrus' house since both Toriel and Asgore were busy today; even though, by now, Frisk was old enough to be trusted to stay home by themselves, Toriel still didn't want them to be lonely while she was away. Since Mettaton had been thinking of making some music videos for his newest batch of songs, he had been wondering if Frisk wanted to appear in one of them. This led to the two watching music videos for a little while for some inspiration, since Mettaton still wasn't entirely sure of what types of videos he would make for his new songs. As a bonus, this also allowed Mettaton to introduce Frisk to some of the very same videos that had enraptured him when he was still just a snail farmer with big dreams.

"I can only imagine. Some of my music videos took quite a while to film, so I know that from experience, but incorporating hand-drawn animation? Oh, my!" Mettaton's eyes twinkled; it was clear that this hero had some heroes of his own. "Music videos with special effects, like this one, have always been a favorite of mine; that's why I include special effects in my performances, since I think many people will love them as much as I do. And going by what people have said about them, I'm not wrong."

Maybe someday, Mettaton thought, he would end up inspiring the next big performer with his special effects - and this time, unlike the stuff that happened with Bryan, he was going to at least try to be a good sport about it.

Sitting up, Frisk looked at Mettaton. "Maybe someday, we could inspire people to help change the world. There are still some politicians who have doubts about humans and monsters, but it's been years, and everything's gone well."

Mettaton gave Frisk a knowing smile. "I'm not surprised, considering our ambassador is really thoughtful and kind. And their mascot... where do I begin with him?"

The two chuckled a little.

"Speaking of that..." Mettaton stood up. "Perhaps we should check on him and see if he needs anything. He wanted to do quite a lot of garden work today, and I imagine he's probably thirsty."

Frisk nodded, and followed Mettaton into the backyard.


Papyrus hadn't learned that Frisk was coming over until after he'd gotten started on the garden work, and he was determined to see it through to completion. He did greet Frisk at the door alongside Mettaton, and explained why he would probably be outside for quite a while afterwards.

"Maybe, when I'm done, we can all pretend to go camping and look at the stars together! Or at least the sunset," he had said.

After visiting Asgore's place a couple of times and seeing his lovely garden, Papyrus was inspired to start one of his own. This desire only increased tenfold after he and Mettaton moved in together; he wanted to make a lovely little outdoor space for him and Mettaton (and sometimes their other friends and family members) to share together when the weather was nice. He'd installed lots of comfortable patio furniture and planted flowers, hedges, and even some edible crops; there was even a small fountain in one corner of the yard, which often saw use as a birdbath by some of their more avian visitors (Papyrus also hung up a bird feeder nearby when he noticed this).

By now, he'd finished most of his chores, and the only reason he wasn't currently taking care of the last tasks was because something tiny and kind of cute was distracting him.

"Wowie! Hello, little pill bug!" he said to the small creature tiptoeing across his fingers. When he saw that the pill bug was walking towards his watering can, he gently pulled his hand away. "You don't want to go for a swim in my watering can. It's not a very good swimming pool because there's no easy way out! Well, except for maybe the spout... which could be like a water slide? But there's no pool to land in, just the ground. And I think water slides are supposed to go into a pool, not out of it."

In the middle of his musings, he heard the sound of a sliding door. He turned around and smiled at his cool partner and cool friend. "Attention, everyone! I, the Great Papyrus, am almost done with the yard work! And I found a pill bug!"

"I was wondering who you were talking to," Frisk said as they walked up to him and studied the critter in his hand. Toriel had taught them to be kind to small creatures as well; as much as she liked bug-hunting, she still wanted the bugs to be treated with kindness, since most of them were harmless.

Mettaton walked up to him as well. "A pill bug, darling?" He too had an appreciation for little backyard creatures, and even though this one wasn't a snail, he was still intrigued.

Papyrus nodded. "Yes! They're called pill bugs because they can roll up into a little pill shape! But I've heard that they're actually crustaceans, not bugs... I guess 'pill crustacean' doesn't roll off the tongue as easily." He looked at the soil. "I was just pulling up some weeds when I found it; I should put it somewhere safe so it doesn't get hurt when I finish the yard work."

With that, he stood up and walked a short distance away to an area he'd already tended to before gently setting his hand down. "Here you go! I, Papyrus, think you'll be much safer over here!"

The pill bug seemed to agree, and it skittered off of Papyrus' hand, disappearing into the neatly-mowed blades of grass.

Papyrus walked back over to the others. "We should always be nice to smaller creatures. They're more scared of us than we are of them. Of course, if they knew how nice we were, they probably wouldn't be scared."

Frisk nodded; they would very often go out of their way to avoid stepping on bugs, and would never understand why people sometimes did it on purpose, even when the bugs were outside.

"You're such a sweetheart, my darling." Mettaton would have given Papyrus a kiss on the skull at that moment, but since Papyrus was wearing a straw hat, it would have been a little difficult. Instead, he just set a hand on his shoulder. "It looks like you've done quite a lot of work, so Frisk and I were wondering if you were thirsty."

"As a matter of fact, I am." Papyrus smiled. "I only have a little more work to do, and then I'll be back inside so we can all watch music videos together! But a drink still sounds lovely right now."

"Yeah... I'm kind of thirsty too," Frisk said.

"Well, darlings, there is lemonade in the fridge, and I'm more than happy to give you some. I'll even put sugar on the rim of the glass for you if you'd like."

"Ooh..." Frisk could already picture the sweet and tangy taste.

As Mettaton headed back inside with them, another idea for a music video struck him. He'd heard of this one song where an official video was released, but the record company and TV stations also asked viewers to make their own videos for the song in a contest. Part of him wondered if he could ask his fans to do something similar with one of his own songs before releasing the official version. Frisk was right; people like them and Mettaton certainly did have the power to inspire people.

Meanwhile, Frisk themselves was always happy to spend the day with their friends, whether their friends from school or their friends from the Underground. And between music videos and pill bugs, they were certainly learning a lot today.

The knowledge that they could all help change the world for the better, in both big and small ways... it filled Frisk with determination.

Chapter Text

When Mettaton woke up and noticed that everything was still dark, he knew exactly what had happened - especially since everything was really dark.

A power outage had just happened in the middle of the night; if Mettaton was cut off from a source of power while in sleep mode, he would wake back up even if he wasn't fully charged. (Normally, as soon as Mettaton's charge reached its full capacity, he would shift from his regular sleep mode into a power-saving sleep mode that worked more similarly to the way humans slept, allowing him to wake up when he was ready; he could also access this mode when not charging, as a way of napping.) While Mettaton's battery still had a good amount of charge from the sleep he did get, it wouldn't be enough to carry him through everything he had to do over the next day unless he switched into his more energy-efficient rectangle form, so he hoped the power would return soon.

From what he could tell in the darkness, Papyrus was still fast asleep next to him. Thanks to the soft pink glow from his soul casing, Mettaton could still somewhat see him; he always looked like such an angel, whether he was asleep or awake.

That said, Mettaton wasn't in the mood to stay in bed tonight. He had a lot of things on his mind, and he felt like he needed some fresh air to clear his thoughts.

Mettaton very slowly climbed out of bed, not wanting to wake Papyrus, and crept out of the bedroom as quietly as possible. He sent Papyrus a quick text message letting him know that the power was out and that he would be in the backyard if Papyrus woke up and saw he wasn't there (Papyrus' phone was on silent, so Mettaton wasn't worried about waking him up through that method). With that settled, Mettaton silently descended the stairs (the fact that he wasn't wearing his boots certainly helped him stay quiet) and made his way straight for the backyard door.

Upon sliding the door open, the fresh night air and the quiet fountain noises were the first things to greet him. Closing the door behind himself, he walked over to one of the lawn chairs and lay down, staring up at the night sky. There were no clouds; it was just a large scattering of stars and their constellations, as well as the moon, strewn across the inky black night.

Given that his boyfriend's brother was highly interested in astronomy, Mettaton learned quite a few things about the night sky thanks to him. One was that stars were incredibly long-lived; they existed long before humans ever came around, and would continue to exist long after the present day was nothing more than a very distant memory. But despite their longevity, even stars didn't last forever.

And Mettaton knew that this wasn't just true for the ones in the sky.

Being able to perform for large audiences had always been Mettaton's big life goal; it was part of why he wanted to go to the surface, and it was part of why he wanted to save humanity even when the rest of the kingdom thought humans were to be destroyed. Mettaton had the soul of an entertainer, and he always loved coming up with new ideas for performances; at the rate in which he came up with new things, he would probably have ideas for decades. TV shows, movies, songs, licensed video games, maybe a book or two... he would just love to share them with his audience, since they'd probably love to see what he came up with, as usual.

But what if they disagreed?

Every year, a new batch of stars would come soaring into the spotlight; some would end up being one-hit-wonders, as it were, while others would become lasting names as they continued making their own projects. There would always be people who would rather ignore the newest stars and stick with the ones they'd loved for years; at the same time, though, there would be people who would argue that the older stars should hang up their hats and pass everything on to the next generation.

Mettaton had ideas for decades, but what if his audience wanted him to retire before he could show off a lot of them? What if they left him for the next big thing? This fear wasn't new to him, having been the main reason why he'd mistreated Bryan all those years ago, but given how many years had passed, it was starting to return. Mettaton absolutely wasn't ready to retire, but if his audience considered him old news, they would probably stop coming to his shows - and a performer needs an audience in order to carry on with their career.

And then what would be left for him, a performer forced off the stage by popular vote before he was ready to leave on his own volition? Would he spend the rest of his days in bars and on talk shows, reminiscing about the old days when the crowds would roar for him? Would he still make new material in defiance of what the people said, but release it on a much lower profile than he wanted to? And those were just if the crowds simply lost interest in him; what if they came to openly dislike him due to his large body of work making him hard to escape? What if there came a day when admitting to being a Mettaton fan became an open invitation to be mocked from all corners? It would be one thing if there was a big scandal that ripped his popularity away, but if the crowd turned against him just because they thought his time in the spotlight was up and he needed to completely pass the torch?

He didn't want to think about such things, but deep down, he knew he had to sometimes. After all, time wasn't like a recording that people could rewind; it would just keep going forward, on and on, with no way to prevent things from happening once they'd already happened. He'd met Frisk when they were ten, and now they were a teenager, and in just a few short years' time, they would be an adult. Was this why Sans was so uncomfortable at the thought of Mettaton and Papyrus dating? Was he scared to think about how much the world and the people in his life would change over time?

Mettaton gazed up towards the night sky; it seemed to stretch on endlessly, almost as if the world was frozen in time. So far, he'd cherished every moment of his career (even in spite of his regrets) and he wanted to make it last as long as possible. This was his dream life, and he wasn't going to let go of it if he could help it. But time had a way of passing in the blink of an eye, and he feared that, before he knew it, he would be giving his last performance.

He felt so alone in that moment, and as he took some deep breaths to calm down, a song started floating through his head. Yearning for any possible form of catharsis at the moment, Mettaton allowed his voice, quiet and emotional, to come forth.

"Lying in my bed, I hear the clock tick and think of you

Caught up in circles, confusion is nothing new

Flashback, warm nights, almost left behind..."

He could hear the sliding door open, and he let himself trail off after a few more words.

"Suitcase of memories..." Glancing over, he noticed that Papyrus had gotten up and was now joining him in the backyard. "Hello, sugar skull. It's always wonderful to see you."

"Of course! The Great Papyrus can brighten up anyone's day - or night!" He took a seat on another lawn chair next to Mettaton. "Were you just practicing your singing, or...?"

"I just have a lot of things on my mind tonight."

"Like what?"

Mettaton was silent for a brief moment longer before taking one more deep breath and turning to face Papyrus.

"The truth is, darling... I'm terrified of losing my audience."

"Nyeh?" Papyrus tilted his head slightly. "Why would you lose your audience? You haven't done anything wrong."

"Well... I'm scared that they'll find someone new and just move on from me one day. That I'll become old news to everyone, and..." His voice glitched a little. "They won't want to see me perform anymore... I don't want to be a has-been. I still have the desire to perform, and I probably will for many, many years. But what if my audience stops caring? I can't perform without an audience..."

As Mettaton spoke, he looked more and more upset, and Papyrus looked more and more worried. Having been so close to Mettaton for years, he knew just how excited Mettaton was to go on stage and show off his work to crowds who would cheer him on every step of the way. He also knew how little Mettaton had enjoyed living a quiet, stagnant life where barely anyone knew his name; it was clear Mettaton was terrified of the thought of having to go back to those days. That rainy afternoon all those years ago had certainly made it clear, but while Mettaton back then had been afraid that his surface career wouldn't start, Mettaton currently was afraid that his entire career would come to an abrupt end long before he was ready to retire.

"Metta, sweetie..." Papyrus reached over and held Mettaton's hand. "I, Papyrus, think you'll have a lot of fans for a very long time. Everyone still cheers for you at your concerts, do they not? And your programming on Delta Rune Network still gets good ratings!"

"Yes... however, I can't help but imagine other programming pushing my work off of Delta Rune Network. I can already imagine my last timeslot on the network being taken over..." He swallowed what felt like a rock in his throat. "And I know I shouldn't be thinking this way, but... I don't want my audience to leave me."

Papyrus smiled. "Well, you still enjoy performing, right?"

"If I didn't, we wouldn't be having this discussion." Mettaton gave a dry chuckle, despite himself.

"Well, I think that, as long as you love performing, it'll shine through in your work! You put a lot of heart and soul into it - that's why your songs have great beats!"

Mettaton laughed a second time, a little livelier.

"And I think everyone will see how enthusiastic you are, and it'll rub off on them! Even if some of your fans like other performers now, if they see how much fun you're having, they'll probably want to see more of you. And they can like you and the other performers at the same time."

"Hmm..." Mettaton thought about how a number of classic rock fans also enjoyed more modern acts, and how the old and new acts could support each other. New bands as opening acts for the old, both types of acts performing at music festivals, collaborations between the old and the new...

And I suppose if there are people who think I'm too overexposed, then they may just have to change the channel.

Papyrus' eyelights sparkled. "Also, I can assure you that there are many people who will always want to see you! Your cool friends and family members, for example. Shyren and Napstablook always travel with you when you perform, and Frisk likes your performances!"

Mettaton smiled, remembering how Frisk had once written a paper describing how they considered their Underground friends, Mettaton included, to be their heroes.

"Alphys and Undyne both really care about you, as well! Undyne's a bit of an emotional cactus about it, but she does care." He slowly nuzzled Mettaton's hand. "And even though I didn't know you until after you were famous, your fame is not the only reason why I like you. I like you for you; you seem like a wonderful person to be around. Even if you've made mistakes, the fact that you want to change for the better makes you a good person. You've inspired so many people; I don't think they'll forget about you anytime soon. Even if they find new things, you'll always have a special place in their hearts."

Oily tears began leaking out of Mettaton's eyes, stemming from both his prior emotions and from Papyrus' words. Mettaton had no idea if there could be a better partner than Papyrus, and he didn't want to find out. "I love you so much, sweetheart..."

"I love you too, Metta." Papyrus nuzzled his hand again for a little while.

And after a couple of minutes, much to Mettaton's surprise, Papyrus' voice quietly and melodically floated through the air.

"If you're lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time

If you fall, I will catch you, I'll be waiting, time after time..."

Finally feeling free to smile, Mettaton looked up at the vast night sky once more. The stars in that sky wouldn't last forever, but they would still last an incredibly long time.

And this star, burning with a performer's passion, wasn't about to burn out anytime soon if he could help it.

Chapter Text

"Cannonbone!" Papyrus sprung off the diving board and landed in the water with a splash.

Undyne swam up to him with a laugh as he emerged. "Did you just-?"

"Well??? Anyone can do a cannonball, but it takes a special sort to do a cannonbone!" Papyrus, too, let out an excited laugh.

Today was Undyne's birthday, and she'd wanted to go to this public pool to celebrate. Everyone was either playing in the water or hanging out near the edge; of those who weren't in the water, Sans was trying to encourage Toriel to go swimming (while she wasn't sure, not wanting the whole party to smell like wet goat), Alphys was sipping some fruit punch while sitting near the shallow end of the pool, and Mettaton and Asgore were in the middle of their third round of playing "dots and boxes".

In the middle of playing around with Papyrus, Undyne heard someone call out to her.

"Hey, birthday girl!"

She looked and saw a yellow rabbit swimming up to her, with a blue dragon following behind.

With a grin, she waved at them. "Hey, Tucker! Hey, Lance!" They'd stopped going by their respective code names of 01 and 02 since the Royal Guard disbanded.

Tucker stopped in front of her. "This party is, like, totally righteous!"

"Mm-hmm," Lance said with a nod.

"I know, right?" Undyne threw her arms in the air. "This is the most awesome birthday party ever!" She brought them down, each hand splashing the water.

"It certainly is fun!" Papyrus chimed in.

"Wait a minute..." Tucker swam a tiny bit closer to Papyrus. "Hey, dude, I'm just wondering. Is your name Papyrus?"

Papyrus' eyes sparkled. "Wowie!" Catching himself, he cleared his throat. "Yes, I am the Great Papyrus! It's nice to meet you!" What were the odds of him being recognized by two former Royal Guards?

"Cool! Well, word on the street is that, back when the Royal Guard was still a thing, you wanted to join. And, y'know, in order to join the Royal Guard, you would have to, like, be really athletic and stuff."

"Of course! That's a large part of why I took up jogging! A member of the Royal Guard must always be in top physical condition, after all!"

"Yeah." Tucker looked back at Lance, who nodded, before continuing. "Well, Lance and I wanna see what you can do. Think you can beat Undyne in a swimming race?"

"I, the Great Papyrus, am certainly up to the challenge!" He looked at Undyne with a sly grin. "Now, the other question is: is she up to the challenge?"

The fire burned in Undyne's eye. "Like hell I'm gonna back down from that challenge! You're on, dork!"


Mettaton groaned, looking up from the paper. "It looks like you win again." He smiled and shook Asgore's hand. "That was quite fun, though."

"I agree; you're very good at this game." Asgore stood up. "Well, if you'll excuse me, I would like to try some of those donuts."

"Now that you mention it, that does sound quite nice." Mettaton got up to follow him.

After getting their donuts, the two went off to do their own things. For Mettaton, this meant joining Alphys where she was sitting.

As he walked over, Alphys looked up at him and smiled. "Hi, Mettaton. I... I hope you're enjoying the party."

"Oh yes, it's quite lovely." Mettaton sat down next to her. "Would you like a donut?"

Alphys shook her head. "I had one earlier, but thanks, though."

It wasn't long before the two noticed some kind of commotion at the other end of the pool; soon enough, they saw Undyne and Papyrus swimming laps together, apparently in some kind of race. The two in the water would occasionally shout greetings to the two on the ground as they passed by. Undyne, being a fish monster, was a natural in the water, but Papyrus was just as determined; he swam in a strong crawl stroke as he tried to claim his glory.

Mettaton was in the middle of watching the race when he heard his friend sadly sigh, and he looked over at her. "Alphys, darling, what's wrong?"

"I just..." Alphys fidgeted a little. "I feel like I should have made you waterproof by now. I don't want you to feel left out..."

He frowned, understanding where her thinking was coming from. The main attraction of this area was the pool, and he couldn't even partake in it because of his waterproofing not being fully optimized; on top of that, the big reason why everyone was here was for Undyne's birthday party, and Mettaton and Undyne didn't always see eye-to-eye. There were many things that Alphys didn't want to have happen, and one of them was for her wife and her best friend to be on bad terms with each other.

"It's okay, sweetheart. Take as long as you need to; you can't rush genius, after all." He smiled. "Besides, I can always improvise and find other things to do here. I am an actor, after all; a lot of us are good at improvising."

Alphys smiled, despite herself. She was mostly staying out of the water for now, not quite confident enough in her own swimming ability to go to the deep end. Besides, it was pretty fun watching Undyne and Papyrus race each other.


There was just one lap left; despite having gone through nine laps around the pool already, Papyrus absolutely wasn't giving up. His crawl stroke grew more determined than ever as he kept going, doing his best to focus only on the goal and not where Undyne was.

The goal was in sight - he knew it because Tucker and Lance were sitting next to it, and it had served as their checkpoint throughout the race - and he gave that one final push...

...and before long, his hands met the wall.

He looked up, taking deep breaths, and he heard Undyne coming in just a little bit behind him. Surprisingly, Lance was the first to speak.

"Whoa..."

Tucker nodded. "Dude... I think you won."

"I did?" Papyrus looked behind himself and saw Undyne panting, leaning up against the rim of the pool.

"Holy crap, you're fast..." she said.

As it slowly registered in Papyrus' thoughts, he looked down at his hands and smiled. "Wowie..."

"You're, like, awesome!" Tucker said, while Lance clapped a little.

Papyrus did a little pose. "Nyeh heh heh! Of course! That's why I'm called the Great Papyrus!" He turned around. "Well, I should probably-"

"Just a minute, dork!"

He looked back at Undyne. "Nyeh?"

Undyne gave him a devious smirk. "You may have beaten me in a swimming race..." She came a little closer. "But can you beat me in a round of..." She raised her hands as if to dunk him. "Water wrestling?"

"Oh my god!" Papyrus trembled a bit, caught off-guard.

However, before he knew it, Undyne ended up being pushed under the water, thanks to a different set of bony hands.

"Geeettttttt dunked on!" Sans looked back up at Papyrus. "Quick, bro, get out while you still can."

Papyrus scrambled out of the water, and not a moment too soon, as Undyne emerged, looking rather fired up; the air was starting to smell like angry fish.

"Water wrestling!" she cried, and quickly engaged Sans in a splash fight.

Deciding it would be best to make himself scarce for the moment, Papyrus headed over to where Mettaton and Alphys were sitting. As much as he wanted to run, he knew it would be a violation of pool safety rules, so he settled for a brisk walk as he fluttered his hands.

When Mettaton saw him approach and waved at him, he waved back before finally getting close enough to talk to him.

"Metta! Did you see me?" Even as he sat down next to him, he couldn't resist bouncing in place. "I beat Undyne in a swimming race, and two of the former guards thought I was amazing!"

"They're not wrong, sweetheart." Mettaton gave his skull a quick smooch. "You're amazing at so many things; it's no wonder you're called the Great Papyrus!"

"Wowie! That's what I said earlier!" Papyrus felt warm inside; he loved receiving praise, and receiving it from people he'd admired - the Royal Guards, their captain, his favorite celebrity - only made it even more special.

Alphys frowned. "I just hope we don't get kicked out because, well..." She motioned towards the deep end, which had since become an impromptu arena for water wrestling.

Rolling his eyes at Undyne's behavior, Mettaton sighed. "I suppose, since it's her party, she can do that if she wants to. Not that I have to agree with it..." He could already imagine Undyne telling him that he would do it too if it were his party (and if he were waterproof).

Papyrus grinned at them. "At least we can still eat cupcakes later on!"

"You do have a point, sweetie."

This was definitely one of the weirdest, coolest birthday parties any of them had been to in recent memory.

Chapter Text

From the very moment he and Papyrus confessed their love for each other, there was a certain reality that Mettaton couldn't deny: sooner or later, he would have to tell the media about his and Papyrus' relationship.

And Mettaton was torn.

On one hand, he greatly loved Papyrus, and if he could be open about his feelings, then it would allow him to really celebrate his love for him. And if he revealed it on his own accord, it would be much easier to control any possible fallout than if people found out by accident.

At the same time, though, he wasn't entirely sure how everyone would react to it. Their friends and family already knew, and they'd all come to accept it, even if it took longer for some than for others (it was only just recently that Sans decided to calm down around Mettaton). And their fans undoubtedly knew that the two were close, going by their livestreams and vlogs together. But since Mettaton was a very frequent target of fan crushes, would they be able to accept the fact that Mettaton was now officially taken?

And what would the media think? Would they start going after Papyrus, either for dating Mettaton or for his two careers? People like Mettaton were expected to date fellow celebrities, after all, so the media would probably make a big deal out of Papyrus' being an auto mechanic. Even if Mettaton did point out that Papyrus was also the ambassador's mascot, that would open a few new cans of worms on its own. First, it was likely that anyone who paid enough attention to the news already knew about this, and those who didn't would find out on their own eventually. Second, they would probably accuse Mettaton of making his work political, just for being associated with a politician. (Knowing how overzealous people could be about politics, Mettaton didn't talk about them very often, and when he did, he stuck to issues that were immediately relevant to himself, his family, and his friends.) Third, people would probably say things like "well, if this auto mechanic is also the ambassador's mascot, he can't be that bad", which would then call into question why those people thought so poorly of mechanics in the first place.

Unfortunately, as Mettaton discovered one day, Papyrus himself seemed to share those fears.

They were spending the afternoon at Mettaton's house and getting ready for another Gaming with a Killer Robot livestream later that evening. This was going to be the first livestream Mettaton and Papyrus did together since becoming boyfriends, and even though Papyrus seemed excited on the surface, Mettaton noticed a sad look in his eyes now and then. While he initially chalked it up to nerves, part of him couldn't help but wonder if there was something else behind it, and after a while, he finally decided to ask about it.

"Papyrus? Is everything okay, sweetie?"

"Huh?" Did he just call me "sweetie"? Papyrus looked over and took some deep breaths. "Well... to be quite honest... no."

With a frown, Mettaton led him over to the couch and sat down with him, holding him close. "What's the matter?"

"I... I just..." Another deep breath. "I love being your boyfriend, but I'm worried that your fans won't like me anymore! I may be the Great Papyrus, but when you put me next to all of the other Mettaton fans - there's at least an entire mountain's worth of them - it feels like... like I was supposed to be invisible. Just another fan." He looked down. "They may think it could have been them instead of me... I really love being with you, and I don't want to leave you, but... what if they decide that the Great Papyrus isn't so great after all?"

"Well, darling..." With a deep breath of his own, Mettaton looked at him. "If my fans decide they don't like you, then I'm afraid I will just have to disagree with them. My choice in romantic partners isn't up to them to decide, and if they can't accept my feelings for you, that's their problem. Not yours, not mine."

"Hmm..." Papyrus looked up at the ceiling. "I just still can't believe it myself. Out of all the famous people you could have chosen, you chose the Great Papyrus..."

"Why wouldn't I, sweetheart? You're so sweet and kind and wonderful..." As he trailed off, he looked into Papyrus' eyes, and his face settled into an unreadable expression.

"Is something wrong, Metta?"

After a few more seconds of silence, Mettaton smiled once more and took Papyrus' hand. "Would you follow me, beautiful? I want to show you something."

"Okay." Papyrus' curiosity burned more brightly than ever as he and Mettaton got up.


Before he knew it, he was in Mettaton's bedroom, with the two standing in front of the large full-length mirror. (Mettaton had quite a large collection of clothes, and he often liked to stand in front of this mirror as he coordinated his outfits.)

Mettaton gestured towards the mirror's reflection. "Just look at this beauty!"

As Papyrus looked, his gaze was trained more towards him and Mettaton standing together, something which didn't escape Mettaton's notice. He chuckled.

"Although I am incredibly beautiful, that wasn't what I meant." He gently tilted Papyrus' head so he was staring at himself in the mirror. "I mean this beauty."

"Nyeh...?" As Papyrus studied himself, he soon saw - and felt - that smooth hand gently stroke near his eye sockets.

"Just look at these beautiful eyes. They're so full of excitement and wonder - and the drive to be a truly great person! They tell so many stories, darling." The hand moved to gently hold his lower jawbone. "And this smile? It always brightens my day. So much genuine love and happiness... and I always love being the cause of it, of course. Just like how you're the cause of many of my own smiles."

"Wowie..."

That hand moved down, gently took hold of one of Papyrus' own hands, and began to caress it. "These hands are amazing. They've made so many puzzles and meals and fixed so many cars - and I know that that doesn't even scratch the surface of what they can do! You're so talented, and such a hard worker..." Papyrus' arm was next. "And these arms... they're so comfortable."

Papyrus grinned, orange magic glowing on his face from the compliments. "Yes, well... I, the Great Papyrus, want to be a very comfortable person to be around! If anyone needs a cool friend, I want to be there for them."

"And you've been there for me several times, sugar skull. That day in the rain, the time we picked up my diary collection, that time when Bryan's birthday was coming up..." He kissed Papyrus near the top of his skull. "You truly are worthy of being called the Great Papyrus. I still can't believe no one else found you before I did!"

"Well, I'm a skeleton with very high standards!" Such standards, of course, included being able to make spaghetti, appreciating puzzles, and being cool, smart, and full of humility (that last one in particular always reminded Papyrus of himself). "And you've met all of them! It's right there in the first three letters of your name!"

Mettaton chuckled. "I'm sure everyone will be able to see how much I care about you when we film our livestream. If they see how happy we make each other feel, I'm sure they'll be quite supportive of us." He held Papyrus' hand. "This is going to be a very special livestream indeed."

Although Papyrus still found it hard to quell his nerves, he believed in himself and in Mettaton.


When the livestream began, Mettaton and Papyrus were together on screen, introducing themselves and the game they were playing - which, as was true for a lot of these livestreams, was based on one of Mettaton's other works. (This one was based on one of Mettaton's more recent movies, pitting him and a female lead against a jewel thief.) For the most part, everything went normally.

However, as the livestream progressed, Mettaton grew just a little more affectionate towards Papyrus. Aside from calling him "sugar skull" on camera, he also rested his hand on top of Papyrus' hand a few times during cutscenes, and even held his hand throughout a particularly tense one. He even spent quite a bit of time talking about how much fun he was having since Papyrus was with him; anyone watching that livestream may have noticed that Mettaton seemed just a little more vulnerable that evening. The two even hugged during the credits, which played the movie's love song.

Finally, after the livestream concluded and Papyrus headed home, Mettaton spent a quiet moment to himself before going to his social media and making a very important post.

Some of you who have watched tonight's Gaming with a Killer Robot livestream probably have a burning question on your mind regarding me and Papyrus. Even if you haven't, you might have seen some things in the past couple of months - perhaps some rumors of some sort.

Well, tonight, it's about time I admitted the truth.

Beauties and gentlebeauties, the rumors are true. Papyrus and I are officially dating.

Some of you may be excited, and others may be disappointed. I can assure you that I am not making this announcement lightly. Everything you saw if you watched tonight's livestream is how I really feel about him, and he in turn feels the same way. We really do care about each other very much. His friendship has helped me through some difficult times, and I couldn't be happier to have him in my life.

No matter how you feel about this news, we hope for your continued support as the news breaks in the coming days.

Thank you, and stay beautiful.

-MTT

As soon as he hit the send button, he leaned back in his seat, his soul quivering in its case. "Well... this is it."

The seconds ticked on.

He received some notifications.

His post had already received quite a few likes.

And people were beginning to comment.

A good number of comments said "Congratulations!" and/or talked about how cute the two were together. Some of them talked about how lucky Papyrus was, and at least one person replied saying that Mettaton himself was lucky. Much to Mettaton's amusement, a few people even said "Finally!" There were, unfortunately, a few negative comments here and there, but none of them so far were particularly vitriolic towards Mettaton or Papyrus - and if anyone did decide to make such comments, Mettaton would definitely report them.

He knew he would probably still have to talk to the media about this, but he could breathe just a little easier knowing that his fans were (largely) on his and Papyrus' side.

And things would just keep getting better and better. He could already feel it.


Papyrus, lying on his racecar bed, read the comments on Mettaton's latest post and smiled. Maybe he wasn't so invisible after all!

Chapter Text

Being monsterkind's most famous celebrity, it was no surprise that Mettaton was pretty rich. However, given his lavish tastes, it sometimes was surprising to see how he would spend his money.

Papyrus could still remember the first time Mettaton invited him to his house. He was prepared to see a huge, ornate mansion, with statues and fountains and very intricate landscaping...

...and then they ended up pulling into the driveway of a modest house that couldn't have had more than three bedrooms.

"Nyeh?" Papyrus stepped out of the car.

"I know what you're thinking, sweetheart." Mettaton continued speaking as he led Papyrus up to the doorway. "And trust me, I was sorely tempted to create a huge mansion for myself. However, I have to be pragmatic; if my career ever ends up falling into a dry spell for whatever reason, I at least want to be able to still afford to live somewhere." At first, he'd wanted to joke about how it wasn't likely for his career to fall into a dry spell, but memories of a certain rainy day not too far in the past persuaded him not to.

"Oh... that makes sense."

When they actually entered the house, Papyrus found that, despite the house itself being smaller than anticipated, Mettaton owned some high-quality furniture. Both the tables and the seating were stylish as well as comfortable, and Mettaton had a large, high-definition flatscreen. Hanging on the walls were a variety of different things; aside from some paintings, there were also some vintage posters advertising Mettaton performances that had long since passed (or promoting "upcoming" or "new" shows that had long since stopped being either - although there was also one advertising his first show on the surface), and even a framed gold record commemorating the success of Greetings from the Underground, Mettaton's first music album to be released on the surface. And these were just what Papyrus could see from the front room!

"See, darling? It may be a small house, but I can still make it quite comfortable." He gave a rather silly grin. "Plus, it has hardwood flooring. Sometimes I like to just walk around and listen to the sound of my high heels against the floor. I have legs, darling! Can you believe it?"

As Mettaton let out a gleeful laugh, Papyrus laughed alongside him. Although he didn't entirely understand Mettaton's situation - having had legs for his entire life - he still found it hard to argue with someone who was so excited.

They spent some time watching TV together, and Mettaton revealed some of his future plans.

"One of these days, I plan on investing in some high-quality sound equipment, so I can set up a home theater system." Stars were in his eyes. "If there's anything more fun than watching myself, it's watching myself in the highest quality possible! Can you imagine watching one of my concert films and feeling like you're actually in the audience?"

He scratched his head. "Although, it would be quite bizarre for me to do that, since I'm supposed to be the one on stage."

Papyrus gave him a bright smile. "But if you do, you'll get to see how it feels for us!"

"Hmm... you may have a point."


Mettaton still found other ways to use his wealth, in spite of his house not being too big. He eventually acquired his own personal limousine and hired a chauffeur (who was always generously paid); this was quite useful for trips around town and even beyond. A lot of the money also went into producing his works; he knew full well that it was important to spend money in order to make money. The only reason why he'd even been able to make his first shows was because he'd received funding from the crown, after all. And, of course, he knew the importance of saving his money; that way, he could have some to spend on various odds and ends (travel costs, basic needs, gifts for others, gifts for himself, and more).

Papyrus, meanwhile, received more modest paychecks from the auto repair shop; he wasn't too worried, since he and Sans (who had gotten a job at a planetarium) would both contribute to paying the bills. Every now and then, though, when he needed to report to his other job as Frisk's mascot, he would receive much larger paychecks thanks to it being official government work. These paychecks would often end up in his savings account until he needed the extra money for whatever reason (emergency money, money for presents, vacation money, and the like).

As time went on and the bond between the two grew stronger - and especially when they realized the true extent of their feelings for one another - they discovered another benefit of having this much money: they could afford to spoil each other, even when there wasn't an occasion beyond simply being in love. Sure, they both also liked spoiling each other in ways that didn't require money (it cost them zero dollars and zero cents to cuddle each other, for example), but there was nothing quite like going out somewhere for some quality time.

Even though money couldn't buy everything, it was certainly nice to have - and nice to spend when the occasion called for it.


Many years after Mettaton invited Papyrus to his house for the first time, the two eventually moved into a larger house of their own. It still wasn't a giant mansion, but it was a pretty nice size, with a few guest rooms and some other spare areas.

And thanks to this extra space, Mettaton was finally able to install his home theater system. It was indeed surreal to watch one of his own concert films in this environment, but thanks to it, he gained a new understanding of what it was like for his fans.

Chapter Text

Papyrus knew the value of keeping things organized.

This was one of many ways in which he and Sans were opposites. While Sans seemed to prefer living in "organized chaos" (although sometimes Papyrus suspected Sans left it that way on purpose just to tease him), Papyrus usually preferred keeping everything tidy and organized if he could help it. A clean home was a happy home, after all. This was also why he liked visiting the Snowdin librarby, despite not having a library card; the way the books were organized by color inspired him so much. It made everything just feel right.

Mettaton already knew this thanks to having visited the brothers' house many times, but he really began to notice it when he and Papyrus moved in together.

From the moment they'd chosen a house to live in, Papyrus had already started developing a plan for where everything - from furniture to knickknacks - should go. Of course, he didn't leave Mettaton out of the planning, since this was going to be his new house, too. He'd incorporate Mettaton's ideas with his own as he decided where things were going to be placed. Given that Mettaton himself wasn't quite as meticulous as Papyrus was (not to the extent of Sans, but more like somewhere in between the two), he found it quite intriguing.

"You're quite precise about this, darling," he had said at one point.

"Nyeh heh heh! Of course!" Papyrus gave him an excited look. "There should be a place for everything, and everything should be in its place! That way, if you want something, you can just go over to it and take it without having to look for it! A sense of order like that... it just fills me with power!" He looked up. "Plus, it helps make the house look nice!"

Indeed, it took quite a bit of planning and a few shopping trips, but when everything in the new house was set up and put away after the move was complete, everything did look neat and organized. Maybe it was just the excitement of living in a new house with the man he loved, but Mettaton certainly saw what Papyrus had been saying. It was quite convenient to be able to find something that easily. Cooking appliances, books, tools, and more were all neatly sorted in their respective locations.

That said, Mettaton himself was no stranger to organization. His wardrobe was often so huge that organizing it was pretty much a requirement if he was to be able to find a specific outfit; there were some days in which wearing his usual combination of his chestplate, tights, gloves, and pink boots just wouldn't cut it. Combined with the fact that there were some outfits of his made specifically for his box form... even for a thrill-seeking man like Mettaton, one had to have limits.

With that in mind, he couldn't help but admire Papyrus' dedication. While Papyrus' wardrobe wasn't quite as extensive as Mettaton's, he still preferred to sort his different types of clothes (mostly between casual wear, formal wear, and bedtime wear) so he would always know where to find certain clothes of his. The garden was another good example; Papyrus would plant different types of plants in different sections, just in case some of them had different water requirements than others ("It wouldn't be good to overwater some and underwater others! Especially not underwater - they could get lost in the tides!") or had other different needs from other plants. It was also for this reason that he kept the garden, the patio furniture, and the fountain in separate areas; there would still be some extra room that they could use for anything they wanted at any given moment.

Of course, there were some days where Mettaton and even Papyrus would grow a little lax - not too lax (Papyrus did honestly love this kind of work, after all), but they would still leave something hanging around in an illogical place here and there. It wasn't too big of a deal, though; they could always just move it elsewhere later on, when they had the time and/or the energy.

(This never happened when Mettaton was on tour or otherwise away for a while, though, unless something else really required Papyrus' attention. He always wanted Mettaton to return home to a clean, welcoming environment.)

Overall, being in charge of their own home, with everything neatly in its place and easily able to be found... it filled them both with power.

Chapter Text

From the moment Papyrus opened his eyes that morning, he was in a panic. Hyperventilating and whispering "oh my god" to himself, it seemed as if very little could calm him down.

He looked to his right and saw Mettaton still lying there with his eyes closed. With his pulse racing, Papyrus lowered the blanket, his eyes heading straight for Mettaton's waist; he saw that pink soul still glowing as brightly as ever in there.

A sigh of relief escaped his mouth. "Metta..." His emotions soon returned in full force, though, and he curled up close, pressing his skull against Mettaton's soul casing and letting his tears flow. He felt himself gently rocking back and forth, wishing Mettaton would just wake up.

Eventually, a song started running through his head, and he felt the urge to sing it to himself (for he knew Mettaton probably wouldn't be able to hear it). He took a deep breath, and in a hushed, trembling voice, he let the words come out.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away..."

For some reason, he kept hanging on that last line; he knew the next verse, but something deep down didn't want him to sing it. Not now, at any rate.

When Mettaton's soul casing started loudly whirring, Papyrus felt a huge weight being lifted away; he wasn't sure if a higher power existed, but he still wanted to thank somebody.

He looked up just in time to see Mettaton's eyes open; just like Papyrus, Mettaton also seemed to be panicked about something. His face had taken on a shocked look, and he too was breathing heavily and whispering, "Oh... oh god... oh god..."

The sound of Mettaton's voice felt like a huge relief, even in spite of the things he was saying, and Papyrus couldn't hold back his emotions. "Mettaton!"

Suddenly, Mettaton gasped and drew back, as if expecting something less friendly and welcoming than Papyrus. He froze for a second before taking a deep breath. "Oh... it's only you, darling..."

"Of course..." The look in Papyrus' eye sockets was rather confused; why would Mettaton act so jumpy right now? Unless... "Did you have a nightmare?"

Mettaton shuddered. "Yes... it was absolutely dreadful."

"I had one, too..." Papyrus wrapped his arms around Mettaton, not wanting to let go. "We're safe now... we both are."

Even as he was still recovering from the horrors of his own mind, hearing that Papyrus had also had a nightmare caused Mettaton's protective instinct to kick in. He held Papyrus close and kissed his skull. "It was just a bad dream. Everything's going to be okay, sunflower. I promise, I won't let anyone - or anything - hurt you."

For some reason, after that last statement, he felt Papyrus' bones shudder more forcefully and his sobbing grow louder.

Mettaton blinked. "Did I say something wrong...?"

After a moment to gather his composure (during which he took a few shuddering breaths), Papyrus looked up. "W-well... in my dream... you were... I saw you..." The tears came back, and he buried his face in Mettaton's chest again.

With a frown, Mettaton gently rubbed Papyrus' back. "Take some deep breaths, sweetheart."

Papyrus did so, repeating some things to himself. I'm safe... he's safe... I was just dreaming... we're going to be okay...

Finally, he looked back up. "In... in my dream... I was trying to escape from some people who wanted to hurt me. I think I was trying to run to Undyne's house so she could help; I can't remember now. But then, I heard a loud noise from an alleyway, and I heard you screaming."

Mettaton's eyes widened; Papyrus shook a little more as he continued.

"And... and I ran into the alleyway to see if you were all right. But when I got there..." He took a deep breath and locked eyes with Mettaton, looking horrified. "Your body was broken! And this" - he lowered his hand towards Mettaton's soul casing - "was completely empty!"

Mettaton gasped; it didn't take a genius to know what that implied. "Papyrus..."

"I... I don't remember much of what happened after that. I think I was begging you to wake up, and then I was trying to defend myself from..." It became too much, and he collapsed into another sobbing fit.

"Oh, Papyrus... I had no idea." Mettaton held him close and slowly rocked back and forth in a comforting gesture. He wiped the tears out of Papyrus' eyes and gave his skull some more kisses. "It was only a dream. I'm alive, and I'm safe, and everything's going to be okay. My precious sugar blossom..." Leaning down, he whispered to Papyrus. "My body is very durable. And if anyone tried to attack me, I would absolutely put up a fight. Both of my forms are equipped with powerful defensive capabilities." Even then, he thought, he should probably ask Dr. Alphys to make something else for him, just in case.

It was a little while before Papyrus was able to speak again. "I just don't want to lose you... I mean, if I had to live without you, I'd live to the fullest because I know you'd want me to, but... I hope I never have to live without you."

"I feel the same way about you, sugar skull."

They just held each other for a little while, allowing Papyrus to register fully that it was all just a bad nightmare, and that none of it was true, and that Mettaton was okay. Even as he slowly began to calm down, though, there was a burning question on his mind.

"Metta?"

"Yes?"

Papyrus looked down. "We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to, but... you said you had a bad dream too, right?"

Mettaton tensed up a little. "Yes. I did. And... although it was horrifying, I feel like I should talk about it."

"I'm listening." Papyrus leaned up and gently nuzzled his face.

He could hear Mettaton's systems running a little more loudly. After a deep breath, Mettaton began his story.

"I was back in the Core, confronting Frisk and telling them the truth about everything in Hotland. By now, the crowd had gathered, and they were all watching us. Frisk tricked me into turning around so they could flip my switch, just like how it happened in real life. But this time..." He took more deep breaths, feeling Papyrus hold his hand. "As soon as the spotlights came on and everyone saw my EX form, they became really quiet. I was waiting for their reaction, and almost ready to just carry on with the show... but then I heard someone say it."

"Say what?"

Trembling a bit, Mettaton gathered his composure, and he spoke four words in the same snarl he'd heard them as in his dream.

"He's a human sympathizer?"

Papyrus' jaw dropped.

"And just like that, everyone turned on me!" Mettaton's voice began to glitch slightly. "They all started booing me... some of them even threw things! And then... some of them climbed onto the stage and said, 'Why don't we show him what we do to humans?' They rushed the stage, and then..." He exhaled. "Then I woke up."

"Metta..." Papyrus, shaking a bit himself, began to slowly and deeply stroke Mettaton's hair.

"At the time, I didn't even think about the possibility that they'd hate this body. Everyone at my resort seemed to be on board with the idea of doing things the way I thought they did on the surface..." It wasn't until just a short moment ago that Mettaton realized just how incredibly lucky he was that they liked his body.

"But they don't hate your body. Lots of people think it's really cool. I do, too!"

With a sigh, Mettaton stared up at the ceiling. "Not everyone... I've seen some comments online from people who like my rectangular form better. One of them even said that, ever since I started using this form, it's been nothing but 'legs this and legs that'. I..." He looked down at himself and frowned. "Am I wrong for being excited about having this body? The body of my dreams? And I haven't just been talking about my legs..." It was one of his biggest fears: getting the body that truly made him feel complete, only for his fans to reject it.

Papyrus, himself frowning, gave Mettaton a few more nuzzles. "I don't think you're wrong at all. If your body makes you happy, it makes sense to be excited about it. And even if some people like your other form better, you still have lots of fans who like both of them."

When Mettaton remained silent, only holding Papyrus close, Papyrus thought of something else to say. "Mettaton... I was watching your show when you premiered your new body."

"Oh?" Mettaton gave him a curious look.

Papyrus nodded. "And when I saw it for the first time, I thought you looked really beautiful. You looked so radiant and happy!"

"I was..." Mettaton gave a wistful smile. "I'd been waiting for such a long time to show it off. So my fans could see me smile, and watch me dance like I'd never danced before..."

"And they loved it!" There was a sparkle in Papyrus' eyes. "Everyone called in to tell you how much they love your show! I tried to call you, too, but I think it got lost. I wanted to tell you how much you inspired me to become greater than I ever thought I could be."

The look in Mettaton's eyes grew happier upon hearing that. "Trust me, darling, if it weren't for my low battery, I would have just loved to take every single call I received in that moment."

Papyrus hugged him even more tightly than ever. "You've inspired so many people both underground and on the surface. And no matter what form you're using, you're Mettaton, and you're beautiful."

"Thank you so much, my sweet sugar skull." Mettaton closed his eyes, feeling safe again.

He soon felt Papyrus press their foreheads together. "And thank you, my beautiful star."


They ended up staying in bed for a little longer than normal, gently comforting each other to help banish their subconscious fears. Papyrus didn't have to go to work that day, but Mettaton did have to head off for some work of his own later in the morning.

"Are you going to be okay being here by yourself, my love?" Mettaton asked an hour before he was supposed to leave.

"I'm sure I'll be okay. I, the Great Papyrus, am a strong skeleton!" By now, reality was starting to win out over the nightmare; Mettaton had always arrived home safely in the past, and he most likely would again. Just then, he had a thought. "Ooh! Maybe some music would cheer us both up?"

Mettaton smiled. "That sounds lovely."

With that settled, Papyrus headed into the other room; when he returned, he had his guitar with him. "Music is especially fun when we can perform it together!"

"Indeed it is; performing will always be a joy to me." Slowly, Mettaton began to breathe easier; that little what-if situation he'd dreamed of was just that - a what-if situation. In reality, he'd been accepted by his fans, and the majority of his fans still accepted him today, whether he used this form or his rectangular form.

Papyrus sat back down on the couch next to him. "I want to start with one that I learned how to play when you were on tour. It's a very hopeful song."

"Oh yes, it's good to have hope." Especially on days like today...

Nodding, Papyrus made sure his guitar was tuned properly, and then he began to play.

He sang a beautiful song about holding onto hope even through a storm, because things will turn out well in the end. There weren't many lyrics, but the song didn't need a lot of lyrics to get the message across.

"...and you'll never walk alone!"

And they both knew it was true. Even if they couldn't physically be together, whether for an afternoon or an entire span of months, Mettaton's confidence and Papyrus' optimism would always rub off on the other and get them through whatever the world threw at them.


Despite what the nightmares would have had Papyrus believe, Mettaton not only returned home later that day, but he returned home unharmed (both physically and mentally). And that night, when the two fell asleep, instead of the desolate nightmares of the previous night, their dreams were full of nothing but fun and happiness.

As long as they had their families, friends, and each other, they knew that everything was going to be okay.

Chapter Text

Papyrus didn't know what was making him more upset at the moment: the sad movie playing on the TV, or the sound of Mettaton sobbing next to him.

While he knew that Mettaton was only crying because of the events in the movie (and he couldn't blame him; he felt tears coming to his eye sockets at several points), he still didn't like seeing the man he loved look so upset. He just wanted to take him into his arms and hold him for a little while, stroking his hair and whispering that everything was going to be okay.

At the very least, he and Mettaton were cuddled up close; they were snuggled beneath a soft blanket on the couch. An empty bowl of popcorn rested on the coffee table, along with a box of tissues. Every now and then, Mettaton would reach over and grab a tissue so he could wipe his tears away. Papyrus would gently nuzzle him from time to time, wanting him to know that he was there.

Finally, after the credits started rolling, Mettaton sniffled and grabbed another tissue, his voice glitching slightly. "Please forgive me, darling... I always cry when I see this movie."

"It's nothing to be ashamed of." Papyrus' hand slowly moved up and down Mettaton's back. "Between you and me, even I, the Great Papyrus, felt like crying."

Deep down, Mettaton felt more than a little surprised; Papyrus was normally not one to admit to crying, so the fact that he so freely told Mettaton about this was definitely something special. The thought that he well and truly made Papyrus feel that safe and comfortable... while he knew it before, this was one of many moments that reminded him that Papyrus truly loved him for who he was, and not just for being a popular celebrity.

He kissed Papyrus' forehead. "Sometimes, it just feels good to cry. That's part of the reason why these movies are so popular." As a man who considered "drama, romance, bloodshed" to be one of his many mottos, Mettaton knew this all too well. "Quite honestly, I wish the rest of the world would understand that there's nothing wrong with crying."

When Papyrus felt him tense up, he knew he was undoubtedly thinking of a few unpleasant memories, such as that disastrous music festival. Mettaton would definitely go on the warpath if anyone ever made Blooky and Shyren cry again and/or coldly demanded that they stop crying; this was also true for one of his other cousins, as well as Frisk and Alphys (assuming Undyne hadn't gotten to the aggressor first and suplexed an apology out of them). What Mettaton was discussing right now was also part of the reason why Papyrus didn't want to admit to crying; for some reason, people had gotten the idea that it was shameful and childish, even when some people honestly couldn't help it no matter how they tried.

He snuggled closer. "If you need to cry, you can always cry around me. I, Papyrus, will never make you feel bad for it."

Mettaton smiled, despite the tears in his eyes. "Thank you so much, sugar skull. And you're welcome to cry around me, too. I won't tell anyone if you don't want me to."

"Thank you, Mettaton." Maybe someday, when he could be sure that the world wouldn't think lesser of the Great Papyrus for showing those kinds of emotions... but he still had his friends, family, and partner, and none of them would judge him.

And so the two cuddled on the couch beneath the warm blanket, grabbing tissues and wiping their tears every now and then. It was funny how love could make them feel so vulnerable and so safe at the exact same time.

Chapter Text

To most of the world, Mettaton appeared to always shine.

He always seemed very confident in himself, able to push through setbacks easily, and he loved his fans. Ever since realizing his mistakes at the MTT Resort, he always made sure to treat service workers with kindness, no matter what job they had. Talented, confident, and caring, he seemed to have it all.

However, while a good amount of it was how he really was, there was also a good amount that could best be described as a layer of varnish for his real self.

Mettaton certainly wasn't outright malicious to anyone, even if he had slipped up a few times (and when he did, he felt remorseful afterwards, even if it only happened years after the fact like with Bryan). A lot of his self-promotion came from any combination of just having fun, wanting his fans to see more of him, and wanting to inspire people to believe in themselves after seeing someone who thoroughly believed in himself.

Some of his self-promotion, though, came from those times when he needed to convince himself to believe in himself.

Hard as it was to believe, even Mettaton doubted himself every now and then. Given that performing was his life, the thought of it being taken away from him for whatever reason was nothing short of a nightmare. Deep down, he often feared the tabloids digging up some past mistake and holding it against him (even if he apologized for it, and even if those he wronged didn't hold it against him anymore), or even just taking something out of context and assuming the worst.

Some nights, he would just be amazed at how lucky he was; he'd been a snail farmer with big dreams, and thanks to meeting the right person, he'd managed to luck out on not only getting the body he'd always wanted, but also becoming a huge superstar. Were such things even supposed to happen? He'd heard that those kinds of situations were supposed to be pipe dreams, and that he was supposed to not take his dreams of stardom too seriously so he could instead focus on a more "realistic" career. After all, for every successful person in a creative field, there were supposed to be hundreds of people who never got off the ground.

With this in mind, it wasn't much of a surprise that he and Alphys became friends. They both loved creating things - she liked making machines (and fanfiction), while he loved making movies, songs, and TV shows, and coming up with new ways to win over crowds. When she built his first body and presented him to the king, she got him his big break, and he got her a position as the Royal Scientist. Their friendship did end up on the rocks after a while, but after a little personal growth from both of them, they were able to get along once more.

Mettaton's belief in himself further increased when he met Papyrus and became close to him. Papyrus seemed to have enough hope for everyone; if he believed in you, it seemed to be impossible to change his mind. Even after Papyrus learned that his hero had flaws, he didn't let that stop him from considering Mettaton to be his hero, especially since Mettaton wanted to change. Knowing that he could tell Papyrus pretty much anything, and that Papyrus wouldn't just show him the door and tell him not to let it hit him on the way out, certainly helped to brighten Mettaton's days and encourage him to be the best person he could be.

Sometimes Papyrus wasn't around due to work-related commitments, though. Fortunately, by now, the entire group of monsters that Frisk befriended had become rather close-knit, and Mettaton would find friends in unexpected places.


One winter's day, Mettaton had decided to travel around town for a little bit. He'd been feeling pretty lonely and needy that day, but Papyrus was at work, so he couldn't go visit him. Mettaton knew that Papyrus wouldn't want the man he loved to feel down, though, so he decided to see if something in town could cheer him up.

Somehow, Mettaton ended up passing by the local science center, and he'd decided that that was as good as anything at that moment. Thus, he ended up going inside and exploring some of the different exhibits. It was fun (and pleasantly distracting) to explore some of the different ways in which the world worked, and it would also provide some things to talk about with some of his more scientifically-minded friends.

He was in the middle of looking at an exhibit comparing soil samples from Earth and the moon when he heard a familiar drawl nearby.

"Heh... y'know, if this exhibit were a joke, it'd be a dirty joke."

Mettaton turned around and noticed a certain other skeleton who was starting to become a more welcome sight; he smiled. "Oh... hello, Sans."

Sans leaned against the nearby wall with a grin. "Hey, glam metal. Wasn't expecting to see you here."

Chuckling a bit at the nickname, Mettaton walked a little closer to him. "Oh, I just wanted to travel around town today. This museum is quite lovely."

"I know, right? I'm glad I work here." Suddenly, Sans smirked. "I would say it's out of this world, but that's one of those puns that you kinda see coming. Maybe if I space out for a second, I'll think of a different one."

Mettaton laughed again.

Sans looked over towards the hallway that led to the planetarium. "Well, it's gonna be time for my shift pretty soon. We're gonna do a presentation about meteor showers, if you wanna watch."

"Ooh! That should be quite fascinating!" Since the sky had been sealed off for so long to monsters, it was often a very interesting subject to them, even to those who otherwise had no interest in other forms of science.

In fact, it sounded so fascinating that Mettaton decided he just couldn't resist.


As the lights in the planetarium dimmed and some ambient music started playing, Sans' voice began floating through the room.

"Tonight, we're gonna explore a phenomenon that's inspired people for centuries: meteor showers. And before anyone asks, we don't have any data on meteor baths, so don't hold your breath."

The audience, Mettaton included, chuckled at this.

It was a rather peaceful and quiet presentation. Sans certainly knew a lot about the night sky, and he presented many interesting facts about meteor showers, with the projections above providing a realistic visual aid. Every now and then, he'd slip in a pun out of nowhere, drawing some laughter from the crowd. Mettaton found some of the information to be quite interesting indeed.

So they originate from comets? And that's why they happen at the same times every year? Hmm...

(He couldn't help but wonder if Papyrus would like to watch a meteor shower with him sometime in the future.)

After the presentation was finished, Mettaton headed back out into the main part of the science center, where he found that Papyrus had sent him a text message.

I HOPE YOU HAD A LOVELY DAY TODAY!

Today has certainly been getting better, Mettaton thought as he typed out a reply.

It's been quite interesting, sweetheart. I went to the science center today.

They texted back and forth for a short while:

WOWIE! SANS WORKS THERE!!!

Oh yes! I saw his presentation at the planetarium. They were talking about meteor showers.

HE KNOWS A LOT ABOUT OUTER SPACE!

After a brief pause, Mettaton received another text from Papyrus.

IT MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY TO KNOW THAT YOU'RE BOTH GETTING ALONG NOW!

I agree.

Mettaton smiled as he thought about things; he and Sans didn't get along well at first, but ever since they reached a new understanding, Sans was starting to become a friend to him as well.

And having one more person to help you feel better about life when you need it is always a good thing.

Chapter Text

Mettaton loved his hair.

It had taken Alphys quite a while to install it in his body, but going by his reactions to it, every second she'd spent on installing each synthetic strand in each synthetic follicle was worth it. Just that simple addition of his hair had managed to ramp up his self-confidence in so many ways. He loved combing it, brushing it, and (with the help of metal hair gel) styling it until some of it draped over his eye just so. (Originally, it was out of necessity because that eye hadn't been finished yet, but he liked the style so much - for making him look alluring, mysterious, and just out of people's reach - that he kept wearing his hair like that even after both of his eyes were finished.) If his hair was ever damaged, Alphys had even installed a function that would let him regrow it with help from his magic.

And thanks to the way Mettaton's body worked in contrast to a human body, Mettaton didn't need to wash his hair as often as humans did.

However, he still had to do it sometimes, which presented a problem.

If a human's hair needed to be washed, they could just take a shower and wash it in there. Mettaton, unlike humans, wasn't waterproof yet, so this wasn't an option. He often had to use the sink instead - and to minimize the risk to his body as much as possible, he would need someone to help him. At first, Alphys would take on this duty, washing Mettaton's hair for him whenever he came over for some maintenance. When it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to do this all the time due to her other work (and due to his occasional need to travel), he would start looking in town for different hair salons whenever he needed it. He always looked at the reviews online before even being seen near a place - if an establishment ended up being run-down and unsafe for the human patrons, it would probably be a nightmare for Mettaton's cybernetic body.

That was how it was for his first several years on the surface - he'd either have Alphys help him, or he'd visit a professional. But one day, after he and Papyrus moved in together, things took a bit of a left turn.

Papyrus had been the first one to return home that evening, and he had just finished cleaning up and changing into more casual clothes when he heard the front door open. As he headed downstairs, ready to greet the man he loved, he heard a frustrated groan; Mettaton was standing nearby, holding a mirror and looking very dismayed.

"Good evening, my special star! What's the matter?"

Mettaton looked up and sighed. "Hello, sweetheart. Today was very windy, and there was quite a lot of debris in the air. My hair is positively filthy now." He set down the mirror and leaned against the nearby wall. "But after everything I had to do today, I promised my chauffeur the rest of the night off, so I can't just visit someone. And even if I could, Alphys is very busy today, and I don't know if my usual hairdresser at the salon is in tonight. I can't just leave my hair like this, though; it looks atrocious and feels even worse!" Barring that, knowing that Papyrus would be falling asleep next to that dirt didn't give Mettaton a warm feeling.

Seeing Mettaton looking so upset was never a pleasant sight for Papyrus; although he didn't have hair of his own, he understood from some of his friends (Mettaton included) that hair was a frequent point of pride for many people. And that was precisely why it didn't take long at all for him to decide to do something about it.

"What if I washed your hair for you?"

"Oh...?" Mettaton raised an eyebrow. "You know how to do that?"

Papyrus nodded. "Sometimes Undyne asks me to do her hair before she and Alphys go on a date. She says I'm pretty good at it!" Aside from that, there had also been some times where Papyrus accompanied Mettaton on a trip to the hair salon; since Papyrus didn't have any hair, he couldn't have any treatments done on himself, but he still wanted to be there in case Mettaton was lonely (and in case something went wrong).

"Well... you'll have to be quite careful, sweetheart. I'm nowhere near as waterproof as she is." Besides, who could be more waterproof than a fish monster?

"Don't worry, Mettaton!" For fun, Papyrus struck a heroic pose. "I, the Great Papyrus, will not let a single drop of water touch any of the delicate electronics!"

Mettaton hoped Papyrus was right; as much as he trusted him, he still couldn't help but worry about things.


"The Great Papyrus' Makeshift Hair Salon!" consisted of a chair set up in the bathroom near the sink, positioned so that Mettaton would be as comfortable as possible. Papyrus had been prepared for a situation like this; not only did he have a couple of bottles of Mettaton's preferred hair-care products, but he had also installed a detachable spray nozzle in the sink.

As Mettaton himself lay in the chair with his hair swept over towards the sink behind him, he sincerely hoped Papyrus would understand just how important it was to be careful with this. He'd always been nervous at the thought of meeting a new hairdresser whenever he had to travel outside of town; all it would take would be one round of poor service, and just like that, he'd have to make an emergency trip back to Alphys' place. At least that massage therapist who almost triggered his switch would have only caused a minor inconvenience; an inattentive hairdresser could have outright damaged him.

When Papyrus turned the water on, Mettaton mentally prepared himself for anything. Papyrus gently pulled his hair back and sprayed it with the nozzle, and Mettaton closed his eyes at the warmth of the water. It was funny in a strange way how water could be both soothing and nerve-wracking for him; as someone who wouldn't be able to experience some of the good things about water until Alphys figured out a foolproof way to protect his body without altering it too much, he could only imagine what it would be like to be able to really touch it or even immerse himself in it without fear of damaging himself.

Soon enough, Papyrus grabbed the shampoo and began working it into Mettaton's hair. Although Mettaton couldn't see what Papyrus was doing from this angle, he definitely felt it; Papyrus moved his phalanges as carefully and intricately as if he were arranging a puzzle. Most importantly, he made sure to avoid Mettaton's scalp, not wanting to risk any form of damage. Even if this meant that Mettaton's roots probably wouldn't be completely clean, both of them easily preferred that over the alternative.

"Oh, my..." Mettaton let his thoughts drift away for a little while. Papyrus certainly loved to work with his hands, and this showed in quite a few things he did. From cooking dinner to fixing cars, from making puzzles to playing guitar, and even in several of his other hobbies, it was rare for Papyrus to not be doing something with his hands. Those long fingers of his were quite nimble and dextrous, and this was one of those moments where it really paid off.

After a short while, Papyrus grabbed the nozzle again and rinsed the shampoo out. He just sprayed it at first, but once most of it was out, he set down the sprayer in a little stand and grabbed a nearby comb. Mettaton groaned a little as he felt the comb slowly run through his hair; he would never stop being amazed at how Papyrus could be so gentle despite his usual boisterous attitude.

Once the shampoo had been rinsed and combed out, Papyrus went to work on conditioning Mettaton's hair. Since he didn't need to go deeply into Mettaton's hair for this one (he knew from a few sources that only the ends needed to be conditioned), both of them were a little less worried about this step.

All the while, Mettaton began wondering to himself how he would return the favor later on. Just because Papyrus didn't ask for too much in return for his kind deeds didn't mean Mettaton only wanted to give him the bare minimum. In Mettaton's eyes, Papyrus was a treasure, and he deserved to be treated as such. But how exactly would Mettaton pay him back for this when Papyrus didn't have any hair of his own to wash? Perhaps he could pay for a nice spa day the next time Papyrus was exhausted from work? It wouldn't be quite the same, but at least it would be something.

Still, there was a small thing Mettaton could do at that moment, as Papyrus waited for the conditioner to finish working.

"Thank you so much for this, sugar skull." Mettaton gently smiled. "This is wonderful."

"Anything for you, Metta!" Papyrus leaned into his field of view. "You're very special to me, and I want to make sure you remember it."

You certainly have, sweetie.

Once a few minutes had passed, Papyrus worked with the sink again. "Now we just need to rinse out this conditioner, and then all we have to do is dry your hair. This is going to be a little colder, since that's what's best for hair."

Fortunately, Mettaton had an idea of what to expect, so when the cooler water hit his hair, he wasn't too surprised. He just thought about how much he loved his boyfriend; Papyrus had so many good qualities, and his thoughtfulness was just one of them.

Finally, the water shut off, and Mettaton internally let out a sigh of relief, now that the tension was over. Papyrus wrapped Mettaton's hair in a thick, warm towel to help it dry faster; once Mettaton's hair had gone from being wet to merely being damp, the two headed downstairs and cuddled on the couch together, with Mettaton's hair still wrapped up, as they listened to a music album that Mettaton had been wanting to listen to.

By the time his hair was completely dry, Mettaton would be ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the world was still a little too windy that night, so he settled for just holding his boyfriend close and giving him kisses as a way of thanking him for all of his help; he could always style it in the morning.

For all of that, Papyrus had definitely earned a place in Mettaton's list of favorite hairdressers.

Chapter Text

Sooner or later, every relationship - no matter the nature of it - runs into a few bumps in the road.

Mettaton knew this all too well; it seemed like every one of his closest personal relationships would run into at least one rock. He had trouble facing Napstablook and Shyren again after suddenly leaving them, he didn't always get along well with Alphys, he had a rough start with Frisk when they were still underground, and thanks to his jealousy, his friendship with Bryan very nearly ended before it could even start.

From the moment he became close to Papyrus, he knew that even this friendship would eventually hit a few obstacles. And while it did every now and then (the first things to come to mind being that day at Alphys and Undyne's house, as well as Mettaton's touring keeping him away from everyone), the two got along so well that they were able to fix it in no time. Papyrus was a very forgiving person, and Mettaton found it hard to stay upset at a person like him.

It didn't stop the very occasional arguments from happening, though. And months after they started dating, they had their first real fight.

Mettaton had recently returned from his latest business trip, and Papyrus was unsurprisingly happy to see him. The two spent quite a long time talking in video chat together, and all seemed to be well.

But then Mettaton said it.

"...and in just two weeks from now, I'm going to do a special feature for that magazine! They've asked me to fly out to them and do a photoshoot and some interviews..."

Papyrus, however, fixated heavily on the words "two weeks" and "fly out". "Wait a second... does this mean you're going to leave again?"

Mettaton frowned. "Unfortunately, yes. It'll just be for a couple of days, sweetheart."

"But you just came back! We miss you..." Papyrus looked down.

"We can always talk through video chat, like we're doing right now, can't we?" Even as he spoke, Mettaton began feeling really doubtful and unsettled.

"It... it's not the same. I miss hugging you and dancing with you and holding hands..."

"I miss it too, beautiful. But this is very important for my career, and I already promised my fans that I would appear in the magazine."

Papyrus shook a little, with tears about ready to leak from his eye sockets. "But two weeks from now is Valentine's Day... our first Valentine's Day! I wanted to do all sorts of cool things with you..."

At that, Mettaton froze. Papyrus definitely had a point; couples may spend lots of Valentine's Days together, but they only get one first Valentine's Day. And Mettaton had just been away for a while, taking care of some other official business; Papyrus had probably been anticipating Valentine's Day for so long, so he could show Mettaton how much he loved him, but to find out that he couldn't even do that because of other plans...

On the other end, Papyrus sighed. "If it's really important to you, though, I won't make you choose. We can always do those cool things some other time... I just don't want to get in your way."

That last statement especially gave Mettaton pause. It sounded like something Napstablook would say... as a matter of fact, now that Mettaton was thinking about it, they probably did say something to that degree when the two were talking about whether Mettaton would ever become corporeal or not. He'd already abandoned those close to him once before; was he about to alienate someone again by following his dreams?

"Darling... I..." Mettaton's voice suffered some glitches as he spoke; he too felt tears beginning to come. He sighed and looked down. "Can we end this call for the time being? I have so much to think about. I'll get back to you later when I've made a decision."

"All right." Papyrus gave him a concerned look. "I still love you, Mettaton. I just really miss you."

"I love you too, sugar skull." There was a bittersweet tone to Mettaton's voice as he said that.

When they ended the call, Papyrus felt the emotional tension of the past several minutes finally catch up with him. He knew how important Mettaton's career was to the man himself, and he never wanted to force Mettaton to choose between him and his career. But at the same time, he was really hoping to spend some quality time with Mettaton after he'd been away for so long. Especially since Valentine's Day was coming up...

Not knowing what to think anymore, Papyrus buried his face in a pillow and quietly sobbed.

Was he being selfish?


Am I being selfish?

Mettaton wasn't sure of what to think at all as he walked down the street. It seemed like dates were starting to blend together; he hadn't even noticed that this trip would partially be taking place on Valentine's Day until after he'd already scheduled it. He loved his career, but he also loved Papyrus, and it felt like the world was making him choose. Even if Papyrus didn't hold it against him, he would still be upset about not getting to enact his little plans, whatever they were.

It was a conflict between his two greatest loves, and it made him feel dirty.

As soon as Mettaton saw the building he'd been looking for, he sighed in relief and headed up to the entrance. The entrance to this building was done in an airlock style to keep the warmer air inside - essential for all the little workers.

When he walked through the second door, a little bell chimed, and the establishment's proprietor looked up, all five of her eyes sparkling.

"Ahuhuhuhu~ Look who it is, dearies! An old friend of mine, walking into my parlor!"

Mettaton gave a bittersweet smile. "Hello, Muffet. It's lovely to see you." It still felt a little weird for both of them to think about how they first met; Mettaton had hired Muffet to kill Frisk, only for Frisk to befriend both of them. Then, when Muffet was able to reunite the spider clans and bring everyone to the surface, Frisk's friends, Mettaton included, had helped her get her new surface business off the ground.

"It's lovely to see you, too. Especially since business has been so slow recently. Halloween is our peak season, after all~" Muffet leaned on the counter. "So what brings you here today? Did you want to try one of our new spider eclairs?"

"That sounds wonderful, darling. But also..." Mettaton sighed and looked down again. "I needed someone to talk to."

"Oh? Whatever is the matter, my deary?"

As Mettaton explained the situation, Muffet gained a contemplative look on her face. It sure sounded like Mettaton was in a bit of a conundrum; having to decide whether to disappoint his fans or his boyfriend certainly didn't sound fun. Even though Muffet had yet to find a special someone of her own, she already knew she wouldn't want to be in that situation.

"...but if I just cancel the appearance, the media will think I don't have any decorum! After all, you're only supposed to cancel these things if something very dire comes up; if I cancel it just to spend Valentine's Day with my boyfriend, they'll think I'm petty!" He sighed. "But it's our first Valentine's Day as boyfriends..."

"Hmm... that is a very difficult decision." After a second, Muffet spoke again. "Have you considered rescheduling?"

"I don't think they'll let me push it back further."

"Will they let you do it sooner, though? If they will, it'll be out of the way, and then you'll be able to spend Valentine's Day with him~"

Mettaton thought for a moment. "You may have a point. But I hope they'll let me do it, and I hope Papyrus doesn't mind if I end up leaving sooner than projected."

"There's an old saying amongst us spiders." Clearing her throat a little, Muffet recited what she'd learned a long time ago. "'Sometimes you have to decide which creature is more worth trapping in your web.'"

For a short moment after that, Mettaton kept thinking. Muffet also had a good point; what if the magazine officials wouldn't let him change the date, though? But then again, he wouldn't know unless he asked.

It was a little while before he spoke again. "Muffet, darling... may I leave for a few minutes? I need to make some phone calls."

"Take as long as you need to, my deary~"

Fortunately, the bakery had a restroom, which Mettaton could use for privacy (if nothing else). He headed in and, after steeling his emotions, took out his phone.


"...but even though I'm the Great Papyrus, I don't want to make Mettaton rearrange his entire life to suit my needs." Papyrus rested his mandible on his hands, staring out the coffee shop window. "Even if he is my boyfriend now, I admired him for so long; do I even have the right?"

Undyne sipped her coffee. "Hey, it's totally understandable that you want him to be here for Valentine's Day. I mean, hell, even though I really wanna be a wrestler, I'm scared that it's gonna prevent me from spending time with Alphys. That's the main thing making me nervous about joining the big leagues."

Before Papyrus could say anything else, his phone went off, and he checked to see who it was. "Oh! It looks like Mettaton's calling me..." While normally, the sight of Mettaton trying to call him brought nothing but joy to Papyrus' heart, today it felt a little more uncertain. "Excuse me for a moment."

He entered the coffee shop's bathroom and took the call; lo and behold, there was Mettaton, with an unreadable expression on his face.

"Hello again, Papyrus. I know you're probably still trying to sort your emotions out, but I have some news for you."

"Nyeh...?" At this point, Papyrus was more confused than anything else.

Mettaton nodded. "You see, sweetheart... I spoke with the magazine's officials, and they told me that, if I wanted to, I could meet up with them in one week instead of two. Even though I would be leaving sooner than any of us anticipated, we would still be able to have Valentine's Day together. I just wanted to run it by you first and see if you liked the idea..."

Just the tone of Mettaton's voice made it clear to Papyrus that he felt horrible about their last phone call, and that he really wanted to make it right. Papyrus wanted to make it right, too.

"Metta... I like that idea." Papyrus gently smiled. "That way, we can both have what we want! And even if you are leaving earlier, it's still just a few days, is it not?"

"It's more like a couple of days." Although Mettaton also smiled, it was more bittersweet. "Trust me, darling, I miss you just as much as you miss me. And when I come back, I absolutely want to make up for lost time."

"Wowie... I'm sure it's going to be really cool!" Just then, Papyrus frowned. "And... Mettaton?"

"Yes, Papyrus?"

"I'm really sorry about earlier."

"I am, too."

The tears were returning to both sets of eyes at this point, only this time, they were out of relief. They carried on their conversation for a little while longer, and by the time they ended the call, both felt like a weight had been lifted off of their souls.

"I was wondering if you'd gotten lost in there!" Undyne said when Papyrus returned to their table. "...So, is everything okay?"

Papyrus smiled. "Yes, Undyne. Everything is going to be okay."

And he knew it was true.


When Mettaton returned with a smile on his face, Muffet smiled herself. "Ahuhuhuhu~ I take it it went well?"

"Oh, yes. It absolutely did." After that phone conversation, Mettaton had felt like his soul had been cleansed.

"Wonderful!" Muffet gestured towards the bakery display with one of her six hands. "Would you, by any chance, like to celebrate with some spider pastries?"

"Hmm... let me see what you have, beautiful."

Even if his relationships rolled up against rocks sometimes, Mettaton learned more and more each day that it didn't have to permanently damage the way he and his closest companions felt about one another. In fact, sometimes it could lead to them more easily understanding each other.

Life wouldn't always be perfect, but they all knew they could make it through together - and maybe even become stronger in their hearts and minds along the way.

Chapter Text

Today was an interesting day, for sure.

With both Toriel and Asgore busy again, Mettaton and Papyrus had taken it upon themselves to look after Frisk for the day (by which they meant "spoiling them like the cool uncles we are"). It just so happened that there was a circus in town, and Frisk wanted to go. Given that circuses often had a lot of spectacle, neither of the two had any complaints.

When they arrived there, Frisk was excited enough, but the excitement only increased tenfold when, as they approached the entrance, they heard a voice calling out to them.

"Yooooo!"

Frisk turned to look, wondering if they were just hearing things, but as soon as they saw a certain armless monster running up to them, they knew this was real. "Kid?"

Kid nearly skidded to a stop in front of them; over the years, and especially after becoming a teenager, they had gotten better at balancing themselves. "I wasn't expecting to see you here, Frisk! This is awesome!"

With a quiet laugh, Frisk shrugged. "Well, it just sounded like fun. It's good to see you!"

From behind Kid, a taller monster who resembled them approached, panting heavily. She was dressed in some more feminine clothes. "Honestly, Kid... one of these days, you're gonna get yourself into trouble running ahead of me."

"Sorry, sis; I was just really excited to see my friend and two of my heroes!"

"That is definitely an understandable sentiment!" Papyrus crouched down until they were closer to Kid's eye level. "Just make sure you stay safe, all right? Your sister just wants to make sure nothing bad happens to you. My brother and I feel the same way about each other!"

"Okay." Kid smiled. "It's really cool to see you and Mettaton here, too!" Back underground, they'd been somewhat interested in Mettaton's content, but as soon as Mettaton asked one little question during the premiere of his EX form - "Who needs arms with legs like these?" - Kid immediately knew that Mettaton would be their newest role model... next to Papyrus, of course.

Mettaton posed a little. "Of course, darling! Frisk wanted to see this show, and if the ones I love want to see a show, I never turn them down if I can help it."

Kid's sister nodded. "Our parents were out today, and neither of us had anything better to do."

"Can you imagine doing all those cool things they do here?" Kid's eyes sparkled. "Magic tricks, walking on tightropes, flying on the trapeze... I don't know if I could be that brave!"

Papyrus smiled. "You can still do lots of cool things! All you have to do is figure out what you're good at, and then build on it! That's how the Great Papyrus became so talented!"

"He absolutely is," Mettaton said while giving Papyrus a hug; Frisk smiled at the sight.

Kid's sister lightly chuckled before looking at her younger sibling. "C'mon, twerp. How does some soda and cotton candy sound?"

"Cool!"


Both groups ended up staying with each other as they got their refreshments and then headed inside for the show. Even though neither Kid nor their sister had arms, they could still hold things thanks to their telekinetic magic. (This magic didn't really start to manifest in Kid until they were around twelve, a couple of years after everyone moved to the surface.)

The five were all sitting in the stands, currently watching a pair of clowns in the middle of a comedy skit.

"...and so I asked the scuba divers, 'hey, why do you guys fall backwards into the water?' And their leader looked at me and said, 'if we fell forwards, we'd fall into the boat!'"

The audience laughed at the joke as the same clown took center stage.

"Stick around, folks! It's almost time for the ultra-high-flying, gravity-defying, make-it-look-as-easy-as-pie...ing..."

The clown seemed to trail off and look worried as the other one ran up with a pie tin full of whipped cream.

"Did somebody say pie?!"

And just like that, the first clown became the target of one of the oldest slapstick jokes in the book.

Frisk and Kid laughed as the clowns left the stage. After all the hard work that came with being in school and with Frisk's occasional job, it was nice to have a chance to just be kids (even though they were technically teenagers) and laugh at simple stuff.

The ringmaster soon took the stage again to properly announce the next act: the trapeze artists. Before long, the lights dimmed, and when they came back on, the stage was set for the high-flyers.

Mettaton watched them with eyes of wonder as they performed. Circuses had been around for a long time, and while some of their acts were no longer valid in the present day (after hearing about what past circuses had done to get animals to perform in animal acts, for example, he was grateful that this circus didn't include any), these people seemed to defy logic and amaze audiences long before special effects became heavily refined for movies and television shows.

In his mind's eye, he was beginning to wonder if he could incorporate a circus theme into one of his shows or music videos. Maybe he could pull off some gymnastics, or switch into his rectangle form and do some juggling while balancing on his wheel, or be the humanoid cannonball... maybe Papyrus could join him and do some tricks of his own, and they'd tell a story without words, ending with the couple pulling each other close and kissing before the curtains fell.

It was at this moment that he felt Papyrus squeeze his hand a little tighter, as if the world heard his thoughts.

"Wowie! Did you see that flip in mid-air? That's amazing!"

"It certainly is, sweetheart." Especially with the performers hanging on the swing by their knees; Mettaton would always admire performers who had strong legs.

Once that act reached its triumphant finish and everyone applauded for it, the clowns returned to the stage and did another comedy skit to lead into the next act.

"...and remember, folks, a magician never gives away their secrets, and neither does this guy. So if you're some kinda spy, get outta here!"

When the other clown leaned in and smirked, the first clown glared at him. "I said spy! Spy!" Sighing, the clown addressed the audience once more. "You see, this guy's trying to get me to say the name of a certain dessert so he can hit me in the face with it. I fell for it once, but I'm not falling for it again! You hear me, buster?"

The other clown saluted. "Aye-aye, me hearty!"

"Uh... why are you talking like a pirate?"

Right on cue, the other clown pulled out another pie tin. "Yarrr! Did me matey just say pie-rate?"

"Darn it!"

Splat!

As everyone laughed again, Frisk knew they were glad they decided to come here. Seeing their friends look so happy filled them with determination.

And eating that popcorn a little bit ago filled them with thirst, which they decided to rectify with a few long sips of their drink.

Chapter Text

Tonight was a very big night for both Mettaton and Papyrus.

It was less than a month before the newest season of Escape from Castle MTT was to premiere; Mettaton had already filmed the entire season. At least, that was what Papyrus thought.

This was why he was utterly surprised at the news Mettaton gave him one evening: he wanted to film a special episode of the show, with Papyrus as the contestant.

Of course, the initial shock ended up giving way to excitement from Papyrus. He was going to get a chance to be in an escape room of Mettaton's own design, and demonstrate his puzzle-solving prowess to the masses! If the world didn't already understand the greatness of the Great Papyrus, they would after this performance! Deep down, though, he was a little nervous that something would go wrong somehow.

Little did he know that Mettaton was also nervous - and not for the same reason. As Mettaton listened to Papyrus' excited rambling about the cool things he might do on the show, he tried his best to hide his trembling. He definitely wanted Papyrus to win this one, but he had to strike the right balance between easy and hard puzzles to guarantee that, despite this being an assured victory, Papyrus would have still earned it.

And besides that, Mettaton had a few plans for after the show, especially with the meteor shower tonight. If there was ever a thing that could make Mettaton of all people nervous, this was absolutely one of them. Every day he'd planned this, he was grateful for that little discussion he'd had with Flowey that one day; thanks to the advice he'd received, failure would just mean embarrassment for him and Papyrus, and not for anyone else.

Success, however, would mean every moment of planning would have been absolutely worth it.


In what appeared to be a prison cell, Papyrus sat on the bed, deeply focusing and listening to Mettaton's words.

"Tonight, on this special edition of Escape from Castle MTT, our lone contestant has found himself trapped in the dungeon. Using only his wits and whatever he may find lying around, can the Great Papyrus beat the odds and escape from the castle before sunrise? With the power of strength, intelligence, and true love, anything is possible."

Papyrus nearly lost his composure at that last remark; he'd seen every episode of this show, and this was the first time Mettaton had ever mentioned true love. Anything could happen in this episode, but in his heart, he was ready to take it on.

He was filled with bravery.

"It's a half-hour until sunrise, so let's not delay any longer. Three, two, one, go!"

In that instant, Papyrus sprung off the bed and ran straight for the door. Upon finding it locked, he immediately went to work searching for a key. It wasn't under the pillow, or in the drawer on the desk, or even on the underside of the chair. He continued searching every possible surface.

After a short moment, he caught sight of a potted sunflower on the windowsill. He inspected it and found a key resting on the soil in the pot. "Wowie! Here it is!"

He grabbed the key, set the potted plant back down gently, and ran back up to the door, fiddling with it until he unlocked it. As soon as it opened, he was out the door.

"Oh my! Papyrus has escaped the dungeon! But can he make it through the rest of the castle? Better hurry, sweetheart, before the guards wake up!"

Papyrus inspected every door in the hallway, going down the row one by one. The doors were locked, and most of them didn't work with his key, but when he found one that opened, he all but threw himself into it...

"Hey! What are you doing here?"

"Nyeh!" Like a deer in headlights, Papyrus froze. He had made it into the royal kitchen - and the royal chef (who looked quite familiar with his orange fur) was already awake. Quickly picking his brain, Papyrus thought of the first excuse that came to mind. "I - I just... had to go to the bathroom! Sitting in a dungeon for that long can make anyone's bones quite dirty, after all, and I was just looking for a place to wash up!"

"...the bathroom. Right." The chef walked up to him. "Well, let me cut you a deal. I won't tell anyone I saw you here, and I'll even give you a hint to help you escape... if you can help me with something."

"Of course! I love helping people!" Papyrus wondered what he had to do.

"Well, you see..." The chef led Papyrus over to a counter, where a wide variety of pasta-filled containers stood along with some different labels. "I was supposed to get these properly labeled, but I'm not much of an expert in pasta at all. So if you know anything about pasta, I could really use it right now."

"Wowie!" Papyrus posed dramatically, as was appropriate for a guest appearance on a Mettaton show. "Never fear! The Great Papyrus knows all sorts of things about pasta! Now, let's see..."

He looked through the labels, and one by one, he began attaching them to the appropriate containers. For each label he attached, he took the liberty of explaining what each type was.

"Farfalle, the bow-tie pasta! Macaroni, the smaller tube-shaped pasta that's sometimes shaped like elbows! Penne, the straw-shaped pasta with uneven ends - unlike rigatoni, which has flat ends!"

Papyrus kept going like this for a brief while before finally attaching the last label. "...and last but certainly not least, spaghetti!" He stood back and grinned at his handiwork.

The chef laughed. "Wow... you really saved me right there. You sure know a lot about pasta." He cleared his throat. "So as thanks for helping me, I'll keep your secret. Also, if you look in the silverware drawer, you'll find the next key."

"Wowie! Thank you so much!" Papyrus began looking through the different drawers. "Now let's see... silverware, silverware - ah, here we are!" Once he had the next key, he headed elsewhere to find its lock.

Meanwhile, the chef thought to himself, Wow. Now I know who to call when I need someone to help me make pasta... wasn't expecting to learn that much tonight.

As the minutes ticked on, Papyrus kept making his way through the castle and solving the puzzles and challenges within. There was one puzzle where the solution involved eleven candles, a riddle that dealt heavily with rain, another puzzle that took place in the castle's cold storage room, and these puzzles and a few more all led up to Papyrus finding a special key - which, instead of being the key to a door, was the key to a car. Appropriately enough, one of the outdoor areas he'd previously been in was full of cars, so he retraced his steps and headed back to that place.

He tested the car key for a little bit until he found the exact car it responded to - and inside this car, there just so happened to be the key to the gate blocking Papyrus off from his victory. Papyrus ran to the gate, opened it in a flash, ran back to the car, and got inside before driving through the gate to his victory.

"Ohhh yesss! Papyrus has done it, beauties and gentlebeauties! He has officially escaped from Castle MTT! And with five minutes left on the clock, at that!"

Before long, Papyrus was back out of the car, standing together with Mettaton himself outside of the castle's front door, while Mettaton congratulated him and told him what he'd won.

"Along with an official Escape from Castle MTT shirt, you also win an official MTT-Brand songbook! You can learn how to play many fan-favorite songs featured on my shows; it has all the guitar chords and lyrics listed for each song! And you get to be the first person to own a copy of my latest Cooking with a Killer Robot cookbook, which includes every recipe from the last three seasons of the show!"

Papyrus' eyelights sparkled. "Wowie! Thanks, Mettaton!"

"And thank you, my love, for being on the show tonight." As Mettaton gave him a big hug, he looked at the audience and delivered an outro speech. "The castle may be large, and strong guards may be in charge, but as long as you keep your wits about you, you too can escape the castle. I'm Mettaton, and alongside the Great Papyrus, I would like to say..."

With a grin, Papyrus joined Mettaton in making the traditional closing remark.

"Good night, and stay glamorous!"


To say that Papyrus was a ball of energy after the filming concluded would have been the most recent understatement of the century. He bounced up and down, his hands flapped, and he just couldn't stop talking as he and Mettaton made their way into the lobby of the building where they'd all agreed to meet up.

"Can you believe it? I actually did it! Well, of course I did it, because I am the Great Papyrus, but still, I did it! Wowie!"

"And you were absolutely wonderful, sugar skull." Mettaton gave him a kiss on the forehead.

Taking off his chef's hat so he could scratch his head, Bryan chuckled a little. "Gotta admit, this was actually pretty fun. And I sure learned a lot about pasta tonight."

"Oh yes. Papyrus is very intelligent, isn't he?" Mettaton walked over and gave Bryan a hug. "Thank you so much for agreeing to this, by the way."

"Yeah, well, I gotta get experience somehow." Bryan returned the hug. "I gotta go home pretty soon, so... I hope the two of you have a good night tonight."

For some reason, Papyrus thought he saw Bryan saying something else to Mettaton. He couldn't hear anything, but he noticed Bryan leaning in closer, and his mouth appeared to shape the words "good luck". Deciding not to question it, he just gave Bryan a friendly farewell for the night.

Once the two were alone, Papyrus wrapped his arms around Mettaton. "That was a lot of fun, Metta!"

"It certainly was." Mettaton's systems ran just a little more loudly as he looked over to the elevator. "There's a meteor shower tonight. Why don't we watch it together on the roof?"

"Wowie!" Papyrus nodded vigorously.

With that settled, the two walked into the elevator hand-in-hand, and Mettaton soon sent it to the top level. It rose for a little while before finally stopping, and the doors slid open to allow them access to the small courtyard on the roof. Mettaton led them over to a bench, where they took a seat and stared up at the shooting stars.

"The night is incredibly beautiful." Mettaton's arm tightened around Papyrus' shoulders. "And sharing it with you, darling, makes it even better."

"Nyeh..." Papyrus snuggled close. "That's how I feel about spending time with you."

Mettaton smiled, even as his systems whirred more quickly than ever. He'd been very nervous about this moment for the past few months, and now it was finally here. But knowing that Papyrus felt so safe around him...

After a few minutes, he took a deep breath, and finally spoke again.

"You know, darling... as much as I love performing, I really love sharing these quiet moments with you. These moments where it's just us in our own little world..."

He could feel Papyrus nod.

"And, well... over the past several years, I've realized that I love sharing everything with you. All the moments that make life wonderful, both big and small..." The smile on his face became slightly bittersweet. "Even when things have gone wrong, you always know what to say to help me feel better. After all, even stars like me need comfort sometimes."

Papyrus gently stroked his hair. "Of course! I always want to be there for everyone. And you've inspired me so much with your shows that it's the least I could do."

With a soft sigh, Mettaton continued; bit by bit, his demeanor became less of "the star of all monsterkind" and more of simply "a man in love". "I just love you so much, Papyrus! Even though I hardly even knew you specifically existed before we all moved to the surface, we've become so close that I honestly can't imagine life without you... nor do I even want to try."

Smiling, Papyrus continued to stroke his hair. Although Mettaton was silent for a short moment afterward, Papyrus noticed that his body was tensing up a little here and there. Before he could work up the nerve to ask, Mettaton spoke again.

"Darling... there's one more prize that I wanted to give you. I just wanted to wait until we were alone before I offered it to you."

Papyrus blinked. "Oh?"

He felt Mettaton let go of him and stand up before taking both of his hands and having him stand too. Mettaton looked deeply into Papyrus' eyes as he spoke, his voice glitching here and there.

"You mean so much to me, Papyrus, and I want the world to know it. That's why... I want to make it as official as possible."

Papyrus didn't ask him what he meant. He didn't have to.

For as soon as Mettaton finished speaking, he lowered himself to one knee and took a box out of his pocket; inside was a silver ring with a ruby on it. Mettaton looked up at Papyrus with a sincere smile and asked him the question he'd been keeping inside for months.

"Papyrus... would you marry a ghost?"

"I..." Papyrus trembled a bit, feeling tears brimming near his eye sockets. Just when he'd thought this night couldn't get any better, just when he'd made it to cloud nine, here was Mettaton, pulling out a ladder and offering him a chance to climb to an even higher cloud.

And for Papyrus, there was only one acceptable answer.

"Heck yeah!"

With tears of his own forming, and with his heart feeling lighter than ever, Mettaton smiled and slid the ring onto Papyrus' finger. "Great answer. I love it." He stood up and put his arms around Papyrus again. "And I love you, sunflower."

My fiance, Papyrus... Mettaton was already liking the sound of that. And by its very nature, it would eventually become my husband, Papyrus. He never knew he'd be so fond of the idea of becoming someone's husband, but Papyrus made him believe.

"I love you too, my beautiful starlight..." Papyrus sniffled a little; this was one occasion where he couldn't have been happier about having tears in his eyes.

The two returned to the bench, where they cuddled close and kissed each other's tears away beneath the night sky. They were perfectly happy to spend quite a long time up there, holding each other close and talking about their excitement for the future as they watched the meteor shower. Neither of them would have minded at all if this moment never ended.

And yet, at the same time, they both looked forward to what tomorrow - and the rest of their lives - would bring.

Chapter Text

There was always something special about visiting the historical district, in Papyrus' eyes. So many cool shops to visit, many of which were one-of-a-kind... it almost felt like taking a step backwards in time to the days before chain establishments became a huge thing. And since monsters weren't physically present in modern society until long after the same stores started showing up every few blocks, it was particularly special for them.

As such, it was no surprise that he not only liked to drop by the historical district now and then, he also liked to show his friends around the place sometimes - as Mettaton eventually came to find out during a date with him.

"...and over here, they have an astrology shop!" Papyrus gestured towards the building in question. "I must confess, I have a very difficult time trying to solve the horoscope - especially because I'm never sure of which tools to use! They have so many different decks of tarot cards that I don't know where to start!"

"Oh yes, that sounds like quite a conundrum." Deep down, Mettaton wondered if the horoscope even could be solved, but he had a feeling that if he asked Papyrus, the reaction would be something like "not with that kind of attitude!"

The two continued walking down the brick pathway hand-in-hand, seeing which places they wanted to check out today, until Papyrus caught sight of a building.

"Ooh! Here's a good one!"

Mettaton saw the sign he was gesturing towards. "Old Town Soaps and Candles?"

Papyrus nodded. "It smells very nice in there!"

"Well, shall we?"

As they quickly approached the building, Mettaton thought about the store's name. Did Asgore, by any chance, name this shop?

When they reached the entrance, though, Mettaton noticed a small sign in the window: In case our monster customers are wondering: Asgore Dreemurr did not name this shop. We appreciate your patronage regardless, though!

Well, there goes that theory, Mettaton thought.

As soon as they pushed the door open and stepped inside, a little bell chimed and a wide variety of scents greeted them. The proprietor behind the counter gave them a friendly greeting, which they returned in kind.

They walked around for a little while, inspecting the different candles and soaps for sale. Papyrus was right; many of them did smell quite nice. Vanilla, cinnamon, lemons, and lavender were just a small sample of the scents on display.

"By the way, did you know everything in here is hand-crafted?" Papyrus asked as he set down a bar of citrus soap. "The owners of this store have been making candles and bars of soap for years!"

"Oh, my... they're quite dedicated to their work." And for Mettaton, there was certainly nothing wrong with that; he could relate.

"They sure are!" Papyrus wistfully looked up. "Now if only my imaginary flame store could become real... candles and fire are perfect for each other! Of course, then we'd also have to have a water store, so the soap wouldn't be lonely..."

"Heh heh." Mettaton went over to look at some more candles.

Eventually, they left the store, with Papyrus having purchased a few assorted bars of soap, and Mettaton having purchased a couple of rose candles.

"Where should we go next, sugar skull?" At this rate, Mettaton was perfectly fine with staying in this part of town for a few hours, especially since Papyrus was with him.

Papyrus held up a pointer finger as if to make a declaration. "Well!!!" After a few seconds, he faltered. "To be honest, I can't decide. Because everything in town is so cool! There's this toy store that has an entire blacklight room dedicated to glow-in-the-dark toys, for example! And one of the souvenir stores here sells all sorts of saltwater taffy; none of it tastes like saltwater, though. Oh! And there's another store that sells homemade glass trinkets!"

As Mettaton listened to Papyrus describe the many different establishments in this district, his mind just kept coming up with more and more ideas for future dates with Papyrus. Perhaps they could buy some new clothes from one of the clothing stores here? Or purchase thoughtful gifts for each other from one of the antique stores? Maybe they could have a nice meal at one of the local restaurants...

Suddenly, Papyrus stopped. "Wowie! How about this chocolate shop, Metta?"

Mettaton looked inside; from what he could tell, it certainly looked warm and inviting, and the sign on the door advertised that it sold monster-friendly products. "Ooh! This looks quite lovely."

When they walked inside, they were greeted by both a human proprietor and a monster employee; the avian monster wore sunglasses and had a nametag reading "Chilliam Drake". As the two began to look around, the monster cleared its throat.

"My friend Snowy recommends the chocolate bark; he says it's better than his bite." Chilldrake posed like a rockstar. "Eat it for every meal!"

Neither Mettaton nor Papyrus were quite sure of what to make of that.

Aside from chocolate bark, the shop also had truffles, bars, and a wide variety of other types of chocolates. Milk, dark, and white chocolates; chocolates filled with caramel, peanut butter, marshmallows, or different types of nuts; coffee chocolates, mint chocolates, chocolate-covered fruits, and even chocolate-filled chocolates - all were on display.

"Where do I even start...?" Mettaton always had a bit of a sweet tooth; it was taking him everything he had to not just decide to pick up one of everything.

Both he and Papyrus ended up picking up a couple of little bags of chocolates for later, and they each picked up a chocolate bar to eat on the way to their next stop. As soon as Mettaton unwrapped his chocolate bar and bit into it, he knew he and Papyrus had made an excellent choice in going to that shop. It tasted so rich and creamy; he could already see himself becoming a regular customer.

And the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was no surprise that Papyrus liked this district. Even though it had an old style to it, the mindsets of those who ran their shops here were definitely not stuck in the past. Humans and monsters of all kinds were welcome to shop and work at the establishments here; it was like a junction between the old "mom-and-pop" business style and the new mentalities that promoted acceptance for all.

"Now that I think about it, I think we should go to the book store next." Papyrus' eyes sparkled. "It's very cozy; it reminds me of the Snowdin library!"

Mettaton smiled. "Lead the way, darling."

As they continued their little adventure, Mettaton felt taken by the atmosphere; there was truly something magical about the way everything was designed. This trip to the historical district wasn't even over yet, and yet Mettaton was already looking forward to a return trip... several return trips, as a matter of fact.

He would always be glad that he encouraged Papyrus to come up with ideas for dates.

Chapter Text

"I'm just..." Mettaton sighed and stared up at the ceiling. "...not sure of what I should get for her."

With a frown, Papyrus looked at his friend. Mettaton had just returned from a long tour a few weeks ago, and now the two were sitting in his house and discussing what to get Alphys for her birthday, which was coming up in a couple of weeks.

Mettaton stretched on the couch a bit. "I mean, I don't even watch anime, and I'm not sure if she likes beauty treatments... furthermore, I don't even know what Undyne and the others are getting for her."

When Mettaton trailed off a bit, Papyrus decided to put his two cents in. "Maybe you could get some nice clothes for her? Or you could get her some cooking appliances! She did tell me she wants to learn how to cook."

"Those are some good ideas, but..." Mettaton felt his body tremble a bit before he sighed and looked down. "I feel like I need to get her something truly amazing, to make up for all the times we didn't see eye-to-eye." He looked into Papyrus' eyes. "I owe so much to her, Papyrus. She created my body and helped me get my big break... if it weren't for her, I'd still be..." The expression on his face looked particularly pained, as if he was trying to fight back tears.

"Mettaton..." If there was one thing Papyrus didn't like seeing, it was his friends being upset. He scooted a little closer. "Would it help you feel better if I gave you a hug?"

Mettaton nodded. "Please."

Papyrus put his arms around him and held him close, hearing his systems running more loudly than usual as he took deep breaths. After a couple of minutes of them just sitting in each other's arms, Mettaton took a louder breath and spoke once more.

"Darling... I didn't always have a body."

"Oh?"

Nodding, Mettaton leaned back. "You see... I used to be one of the ghosts who lived on the snail farm in Waterfall. And even though I love my family, I am so glad that everything else about that part of my life is in the past. I'm living my dream... and I'm finally corporeal. Being incorporeal was just..." He visibly shuddered. "I just couldn't live the rest of my existence like that, sweetheart!"

Papyrus tilted his head. "I take it it wasn't fun?"

"It absolutely wasn't fun; there's a reason why we want to become corporeal." For some reason, Blooky was the exception to this rule. They had never been in much of a hurry to get a body of their own; even though Mettaton didn't understand, he was still supportive of his cousin's decisions. Putting aside that thought for a moment, Mettaton noticed a look in Papyrus' eyes. "I'm guessing you're wondering what it's like?"

"Well... I don't want to make you uncomfortable if it's a bad memory."

"I'm fine with talking about it right now, beautiful."

"Okay."

After a couple more deep breaths, Mettaton began his explanation. "Being incorporeal is like... for most of my life, I felt incomplete. It just felt like something was missing. More than anything, I wanted a body; it would have given me the confidence I needed to fulfill my other dreams. But the thing about ghosts is that, once we become corporeal, there's no going back. So I didn't want to possess anything unless I knew for sure that I wanted it to be my body." He looked up. "I was a very choosy ghost, though. Some of my cousins were satisfied with becoming training dummies, but it wouldn't work for me. I wanted something more... something I could perform in, and something that humans and monsters would love. But those kinds of bodies didn't come easily underground. My existence just felt barren for the longest time..."

He locked eyes with Papyrus again. "And then I met Alphys. She was the only other person to come to my human fanclub meeting, and even though I thought she was a little odd at first, I still wanted to get to know her. And I'm glad I did. She showed me sketches for what would become my body; it looked like everything I'd dreamed of and more!" He chuckled a bit. "Admittedly, the first few times I possessed the rectangular body, it felt a little awkward - but it was already an improvement over not having any body at all. And the first time I took on this form... it didn't last very long at all because the battery was terrible, but it just felt right."

Standing up, he couldn't resist a few dramatic poses. "That moment in the Core, when I premiered it to the crowd... as soon as I heard them roar for me and my new body, I knew I was finally living my dream. Performing in the body of my dreams before a cheering crowd..." His eyes sparkled as he smiled. "I'd never felt so alive! I finally felt like I was complete, like the person I was meant to be... I finally felt like me."

Papyrus put two and two together. "And that was when you became corporeal?"

"Exactly; it honestly felt like a sigh of relief after so long. And that's why I want to give Alphys a wonderful birthday present." He sat back down and thought about things; he had given her a car the previous year, but for rather obvious reasons, that wouldn't work this year. With a sad sigh, he looked down. "She literally made me feel complete... and yet, she and I haven't always been the best of friends. I want to make sure she knows that, despite our checkered history, I really do appreciate everything she's done for me."

"Well..." Papyrus thought for a second. Remembering what he'd given to Mettaton for his last activation day, he spoke up. "Maybe you could make something for her? Like a song or a photo album... or you could do both! A musical slideshow!"

As he listened to Papyrus' words, Mettaton felt a lightbulb switch itself on in his mind. "Hmm..." After a moment, he spoke again. "You know what, darling? I think I should visit the craft store pretty soon." He smiled and gave Papyrus a hug. "Thank you so much for talking with me about this."

"You're very welcome, Mettaton! I, the Great Papyrus, always want to be there for my friends!"

Mettaton's heart felt warm inside. And I hope we stay friends for a long, long time, beautiful.


When everyone gathered to celebrate Alphys' birthday, and the time came for her to open her presents, she found that Mettaton had given her a photo album showcasing many of his greatest moments, from his original premiere to the premiere of his EX form to all of his performances on the surface, and everything in between. He had written her a message on the front inside cover telling her that none of the moments pictured in the album would have happened without her help (the back inside cover included a longer, more personal message from him, telling her that he truly appreciated what she'd done for him and that he hoped they could be close friends again despite their respective mistakes).

Papyrus, meanwhile, had given her a few cookbooks, each containing simple recipes that even beginners to cooking could make. And, of course, one of them was dedicated to pasta dishes.

Chapter Text

The first time Mettaton kissed Papyrus, it had been to calm him down.

Papyrus had just admitted that his feelings for Mettaton extended beyond just friendship, and it took Mettaton more than a few seconds to process what Papyrus had told him. The silence initially made Papyrus fear that he made a big mistake, and he started stumbling over his words, wondering out loud if he'd made a bad decision in confessing his feelings.

And Mettaton not only let him know that it wasn't a bad decision, but he did it in the clearest way possible.

He didn't leave a visible mark on Papyrus' hand when he kissed it, thanks to the magic of stain-proof lipstick; that one little kiss, however, did leave an invisible mark on Papyrus' soul. And when Mettaton followed it up by admitting that he felt the same way, it only further solidified the imprint on Papyrus' heart.

The two cuddled for what felt like a long time after that; it was at that moment that Papyrus knew that Mettaton's kisses would have to become a regular occurrence.


The first time Papyrus "kissed" Mettaton, it had been to reassure him.

Since Sans still had yet to start fully trusting Mettaton again, he would often make it clear that if anything happened to Papyrus, Mettaton would be in for it. As time went on, Mettaton understandably began to feel more than a little attacked and threatened. While, at first, Papyrus had said things like "he's just worried about me; that's what brothers do! I worry about him all the time!", it eventually reached the point where he was starting to agree with Mettaton.

They were sitting in the limo, Mettaton looking quite annoyed at what Sans had told him for the umpteenth time before they'd left, when Papyrus gently rested a hand on top of Mettaton's hand.

"You'll have to forgive my brother. He just wants to look out for me."

Mettaton sighed. "I'm trying, darling. It's just... does he really have to threaten me every single time I even breathe in your direction? I haven't even done anything to hurt you..." He looked Papyrus in the eye, frowning. "...have I?"

Papyrus shook his head. "If I thought you were acting weird, I would have told you about it."

Deep down, Mettaton couldn't help but feel unsure about that. Papyrus had been honest with him before, but he'd also idolized Mettaton for quite some time; what if he still didn't feel like an equal?

With a slightly wistful smile, Papyrus continued. "I'm sure one of these days, Sans will come around and see that you're really cool!"

"We knew each other beforehand, though... does he not remember that anymore?"

"Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure of what exactly is on my brother's mind." Papyrus' smile returned, more self-assured than before. "But I, the Great Papyrus, can assure you that I trust you! You're very special to me..."

For some reason, Papyrus looked slightly nervous as he said that last sentence, and Mettaton was about to question it.

Before he could, though, Papyrus suddenly leaned over and pressed his front teeth against Mettaton's cheek, nuzzling a bit. When he leaned back, he was greeted with a quite confused Mettaton.

"Er... what was that, darling?"

"That was a skeleton kiss! We don't have lips, so we have to improvise." Just then, Papyrus frowned, realizing something. "I... probably should have asked you first, shouldn't I?"

Mettaton, however, wasn't upset. Far from it, in fact. His eyes sparkled and he pulled Papyrus into a big hug, delivering a kiss of his own on Papyrus' forehead.

"N-nyeh?"

Smiling, Mettaton continued to hold him close. "You're so sweet, sugar skull."

Papyrus' apprehension floated away in that instant; he knew he would have to do that more often, if Mettaton really liked it. And deep down, Mettaton agreed.


Mettaton and Papyrus gave each other many more kisses after that day; as such, it was only a matter of time before they had their first mouth-to-mouth kiss.

It was their first date since Sans and Mettaton had had that talk; this time around, when Mettaton came to pick up Papyrus, Sans was actually friendly. There were still a few hints of caution in his eyes, but at least this time around, he wasn't outwardly threatening Mettaton. Thanks to that, Mettaton was able to breathe just a little more easily.

They had eaten dinner at a nice restaurant earlier that evening, and were currently walking hand-in-hand through the local park. The moon and the stars were out, providing quite a lovely backdrop.

"I've always loved looking at the stars since we've come to the surface," Mettaton said.

Papyrus grinned. "Me too! And it's twice as fun when I'm with my favorite star of them all!"

Mettaton's fans ran just a little more loudly at that remark, and he grinned.

Before long, the two were sitting in the grass a little further away from the rest of the park, staring at the sky above. Somehow, the discussion ended up derailing into Papyrus' thoughts about food.

"Why are they called moon pies if they don't come from the moon? And which stars would star fruits come from?"

"Probably a famous one." Mettaton smiled and rested his hand on top of Papyrus' hand. "If I could start an official MTT-Brand garden, we'd have a definitive answer!"

"Wowie!"

After a moment, Mettaton pulled Papyrus a little closer. "Thank you so much for tonight, sweetie. I feel like my life has gotten better and better since you've become such a huge part of it."

Papyrus didn't know if he would ever get used to hearing remarks like that; knowing that he improved people's lives was good enough on its own, but knowing that he improved the life of one of his biggest heroes would always be special. "Of course, Metta! You've brightened so many of my days that I want to do the same for you!"

He leaned up a little and pressed his forehead against Mettaton's forehead, warmly smiling.

"This is another way skeletons kiss," he explained after moving back.

"Oh...?" With every passing millisecond, a certain thought in Mettaton's head was getting louder and louder. Finally, when he couldn't take it anymore, he leaned in very closely, his lips nearly brushing against Papyrus' teeth. "May I?"

After a second, Papyrus realized what Mettaton was asking him, and he nodded vigorously; deep down, he'd been hoping that Mettaton would ask that question.

And when Mettaton's lips met Papyrus' teeth, they both knew it was all worth it. Mettaton's mouth tasted a lot like the cheesecake he'd eaten earlier, while Papyrus tasted more like caramel. This small little moment was a little awkward in a few ways - mainly since Papyrus was trying to find a way to reciprocate - but neither of them really minded at all. It felt like so many new possibilities opened up for them in that moment; even though Mettaton was once again wearing stain-proof lipstick, this kiss left another invisible mark on Papyrus' soul, and he felt as if he could have been flying.

When it broke off, Papyrus cuddled even closer in Mettaton's arms, a gooey smile on his face. "Oh, wowie..."

With a smile of his own, Mettaton held him even more tightly, his soul beating more rapidly than usual. "I agree."

Thanks to that little outing, they felt more than ever that kissing was fun; whether with lips, teeth, or foreheads, it definitely became a regular occurrence between them from that point on.

Chapter Text

Papyrus lay in bed pondering things, as he tended to do on late nights like these when Mettaton was asleep but he himself wasn't even close to drifting off.

Mettaton's day hadn't gone well at all; it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. A bunch of little things just piled up - technical difficulties here, bad traffic there, and a few particularly unkind social media comments at times - and so by the time he finally returned home, he was quite on edge.

Of course, the sight of Mettaton looking so upset was never a pleasant sight for Papyrus; as such, he did all he could to help Mettaton feel better, asking him what he needed and then giving it to him (if he could). More than anything, he wanted Mettaton to go to bed feeling like something went right that day. And while he was able to take the edge off of most of Mettaton's stress, he still felt a little bit of tension radiating off of the man he loved before they went to bed.

As he lay awake, with that silent, motionless body charging next to him, there was one thing he knew for sure. He wanted tomorrow to be perfect.

And it wasn't just as a way to counterbalance how poorly the previous day went. The next day just so happened to be Mettaton's birthday, and Papyrus wanted to make sure nothing went wrong. Having a bad day was unpleasant enough on its own, but having a bad day on the day that's supposed to be special to you? While Papyrus would never wish for anyone to have a bad day, he especially wouldn't wish for it on their birthday.

With a determined light flashing in his eye sockets, Papyrus reached over to his phone and set an alarm. He wanted to wake up even brighter and earlier than usual the next morning, for he was a skeleton with plans.

And when Papyrus had plans for the people he loved, it was very difficult to change his mind.


Before Mettaton even opened his eyes that morning, he could smell something quite lovely. It was some kind of food... his sleepy mind tried to register it for a bit before he subconsciously decided to open his eyes.

The first thing he saw was a stack of pancakes sitting on a plate, which in turn sat on a tray. From here, he could also see eggs and toast... was that cinnamon toast?

"Oh...?" He couldn't even see which drink was in the nearby glass before he heard a very familiar voice.

"Good morning, my special star!"

He looked over to where Papyrus stood...

...and couldn't hold back a cheerful laugh at the sight before him.

Papyrus just so happened to be wearing a shirt depicting Mettaton (in his box form) wearing a Froggit shirt, and at the moment, he was even mimicking the pose the Mettaton on the shirt was taking.

"I, the Great Papyrus, want to make sure you have the best activation day since... well, your last activation day!"

"Well, darling...!" Mettaton chuckled a few more times. "Welly well. It's certainly off to a wonderful start!"

Papyrus nodded. "And I would very much like to keep it that way! I made you a lovely breakfast, and you can eat it right here while I tell you all the things I like about you!"

"Thank you so much, sugar skull."

Soon enough, Mettaton started eating his breakfast. The pancakes were very fluffy, the eggs were cooked exactly how he liked them, the cinnamon toast was crispy and sweet, and the milk helped wash it all down. (While Mettaton's body got its energy from charging, Mettaton still needed to eat to fuel his soul; it provided fuel for his magic, it helped keep his mood up, and it was just plain fun.)

In the meantime, Papyrus stood by his bedside and described quite a few of his favorite memories with Mettaton, from both their days as friends and their days as boyfriends.

"I loved that one time on your show when you talked about your love for skeletons! And when we sang karaoke together at that fancy outdoor party!" Papyrus couldn't help laughing at the memory; what were the chances that they'd both have the same song stuck in their heads?

Mettaton smiled and nodded. "Oh yes. I'd love to have a repeat of that someday; singing with you is quite fun, and it's even more fun when there's an audience!" He thought for a moment. "Hmm... maybe if there's a karaoke machine at my party..."

"Wowie!"

As Mettaton continued eating his food, Papyrus cheerfully described more memories. He had lots of tales to tell, and he was so excited as he described each one.

By the time Mettaton finished his breakfast, his heart felt warm and he had a huge smile. "You are just the most wonderful darling in the world."

Papyrus' smile was just as big; it seemed that his little plans were working so far. "Thank you so much, Metta! I'll go take the tray into the kitchen; just a moment!" He grabbed the tray and ran downstairs as carefully as possible so as not to trip.

In any case, he certainly was dedicated; it had to have been less than a minute before he ran back into the bedroom. "Metta, sweetie, I'm back!"

Mettaton's eyes widened. "Oh my... you certainly are dedicated."

"Anything for the birthday bot!" Papyrus walked back over to the bedside. "So what else would you like this morning? Would you like me to sing for you, or comb your hair, or give you a neck rub, or...?"

"Actually..." Mettaton took Papyrus' hand with a smile. "I would absolutely love to cuddle with you right now."

Papyrus grinned. "Nyeh heh heh! Skeletons are very cuddly!" After briefly nuzzling Mettaton's hand in a gentlemanly gesture, he ran back over to his side of the bed and (almost literally) jumped back in, quickly scooting close to Mettaton and throwing his arms around him.

With another bright laugh, Mettaton returned the gesture and pulled him close, kissing his face in thanks for everything he'd done that morning (and for everything that was still to come). Papyrus' shirt was so soft... and when Mettaton remembered the design on it, he quietly giggled.

"Happy birthday, Metta," Papyrus whispered.

Mettaton snuggled even closer. "Oh, it certainly is, darling. With you around, it couldn't possibly be anything but."

Indeed, he ended up having a very happy birthday, a sharp contrast from the events of the previous day; he received many thoughtful gifts, and everyone had fun at his party. But even if things had gone wrong, knowing that Papyrus would be there no matter what was definitely a reassuring thought.

In a way, Papyrus' presence in his life was itself a gift.

Chapter Text

As the snowflakes fluttered to the ground outside of Toriel's house, the inside was full of activity. It was brightly decorated with lights and baubles and, of course, a large tree as the centerpiece. The entire circle of friends and family had gathered for the get-together, and everything seemed perfectly normal for them.

"In the meadow I can build a snowman, and pretend that he's a circus clown!" Undyne, wearing her gaudiest sweater, sat at the piano and gleefully pounded out the melody to the song she was singing. "And if someone tries to hurt my snowman, then I'll suplex that punk right out of town!"

And for Undyne, that was indeed perfectly normal.

Frisk had doubled over in laughter, Sans was snickering, Flowey rolled his eyes, Napstablook and Shyren had no idea what to make of this, and Asgore and Alphys looked at each other and shrugged. As long as Undyne was having fun and not causing any serious property damage...

When she finished the last chorus and then ended the song by slamming one final chord, Undyne stood up and grinned at the others. "So, anyone got any requests? I know lots of songs: 'Twelve Days of Christmas', 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'..."

"Is that last one even a Christmas song?" Flowey asked.

"It's good for every time of the year, and no one's gonna tell me otherwise!" Undyne let out a laugh.

Frisk raised their hand. "Maybe we should wait until they're done with the cookies."

"Huh?" Undyne thought for a moment, before chuckling and rubbing the back of her head. "Oh, right. I just know that as soon as I start playing that song, they're gonna run in here and turn it into a live theatrical performance. And Toriel's probably gonna get confused." She grinned. "But it'll be fun later on!"

Everyone else laughed a little at the thought.


"They", of course, referred to Papyrus and Mettaton, who were helping Toriel make some shortbread cookies in the kitchen. One batch was already in the oven, and having rolled out the dough for the second batch, they were busy cutting out shapes. Toriel used the tree-shaped cutter for her part of this batch, while Papyrus used a snowflake-shaped cutter and Mettaton used a star-shaped cutter.

"I think everyone will love these cookies." Mettaton cut out another star shape. "After all, who could say no to a beautiful star?"

"I sure couldn't!" Papyrus leaned over and gave Mettaton a loving nuzzle.

With a giggle, Mettaton kissed Papyrus' skull. "You're so adorable, sunflower."

Toriel looked over and let out a giggle of her own. "It is so wonderful to see how much you two love each other."

Papyrus nodded. "Of course! After all, cookies, like any food, should be made with love!" Thanks to the efforts of people like Mettaton and Toriel (Papyrus was grateful for learning her name; calling her "Clone Asgore" or "Lady Asgore" all the time would have been too confusing), he had certainly learned many things about cooking over the years.

"Love is indeed a very important thing to have, especially at this time of year." Toriel let out a sigh. "I must confess, the holidays can be quite stressful at times. As a teacher, I have to start coming up with lesson plans for the new year, and sometimes, what I would like to teach is not the same as what my superiors would like me to teach. So it's very important to me that we all enjoy this time together; this is supposed to be a time in which we don't have to worry about these sorts of things, is it not?"

"Oh, I certainly agree, darling." Having finished his part of the cookie-cutting for this batch, Mettaton began to carefully peel away the excess dough. "There is just so much pressure to make sure nothing goes wrong, and while it certainly is worth it in the end, sometimes it gets so exhausting. But having someone you love with you certainly helps to take the pressure off. Isn't that right, sugar skull?"

"Nyeh heh heh! Absolutely!" Papyrus moved a little more slowly than the other two, being very meticulous about cutting cookies; he was almost done with his portion, though.

Toriel couldn't help but give a wistful smile, remembering the days when she was in love. Even though she was nowhere close to being ready to consider being with Asgore again, she had become at least willing to tolerate him in the years since the day of the monsters' escape from the Underground. It was always unsettling for her to think about how the sweet, kind man she'd grown to love so much could end up making those horrible decisions; those memories provided such a huge mental block that she wasn't even ready to consider herself Asgore's friend again.

Before long, the three had finished, just in time for the oven to go off for the first batch. They switched the cookie sheets accordingly, transferring the finished ones to a cooling rack.

Toriel smiled. "Before we resume making cookies, why don't we check and see how everyone else is doing?"

Both Mettaton and Papyrus liked the sound of that idea.


"...and then he said, 'thanks, but what I really need right now is a kitchen sink!'"

Sans winked at his listeners, imagining a rimshot playing. The others all chuckled, with varying levels of enthusiasm.

When Sans noticed the three newcomers, he waved at them. "Hey there. Wanna hear some bad jokes?"

Toriel started snickering, Mettaton blinked, and Papyrus sighed. "Come on, Sans..."

"Yeah, come on, Sans!" Undyne looked over at the piano. "You know what they really wanna do: sing Christmas carols!"

Flowey scoffed. "Christmas carols. Right." He glared at the three. "You know what she considers Christmas carols?"

"She's just having fun, Flowery!" Papyrus walked over and smiled at him. "And it's good to have fun at this time of year!"

Toriel cleared her throat. "Actually... our first batch of shortbread cookies just came out of the oven. Would anyone like to try one?"

"Cookies!" Frisk stood up and went over to her; even though they were a teenager, they were still very much excited at the thought of sweets.

With a giggle, Toriel led Frisk (and some others) into the kitchen. "Just one, now. The rest are for dessert. And I am also going to make butterscotch-cinnamon cookies later on; I know you will want to preserve your appetite for that."

In the meantime, Papyrus gave Mettaton a big hug, laughing cheerfully. "This is fun!" Christmas was definitely his favorite holiday; it reminded him of when he was a babybones, living with Sans in Snowdin and waiting eagerly for the morning to come so he could enjoy the magic.

Mettaton smiled. "I agree. And it's so wonderful to share all of this with you."

He planted a long kiss on Papyrus' teeth, and Papyrus reciprocated by gently stroking his hair. They could have stayed like that for quite a while...

...until they heard Flowey clear his throat.

"Uh, guys, you know the mistletoe's over there, right?"

The two broke the kiss off and looked to where Flowey was indicating.

"Oh, my..." Mettaton chuckled. "So it is."

Of course, Mettaton and Papyrus loved kissing each other so much that they didn't even need mistletoe as an excuse.

And as the group's little Christmas celebration continued, with the snowflakes continuing to fall outside, the couple were grateful for their families, friends, and each other.

Chapter Text

With a determined light in his eye sockets and a list in his hand, Papyrus took off through the grocery store.

The first thing he wanted to do was head straight for the aisle that contained the spices and herbs; he would be able to start small and work his way up to larger items later on. Although he wasn't outright running - he did have to watch out for other customers, after all - his pace was quite brisk.

He made it into the aisle and started looking for the specific ones he needed. Garlic powder, paprika, parsley, oregano - he picked up a small container of each, carrying them all in one hand while he looked at his list to see what he needed next.

Oatmeal.

Not at all one to turn down the chance to get ingredients for his favorite breakfast, Papyrus headed straight for the cereal aisle. There were many boxes containing other cereals on the shelves; when Papyrus saw a flash of pink among them, he had to will himself not to stop and look at the box containing his beautiful star's licensed cereal, MTT-Brand Sparkle Puffs. There would be plenty of time to look at that box after this; besides, he was able to look at the man himself in person almost every day at this point.

Continuing down the aisle, Papyrus found the cylindrical containers filled with his beloved dinosaur egg oatmeal. He tucked one under his arm before checking his list once more.

It was time for him to visit his favorite aisle: the pasta aisle.

As he made his way there, he thought about how much he'd learned about making pasta in the years since he'd come to the surface. While he definitely knew several facts about the different types of pasta, making it was a different story. His only tutor for the longest time was more interested in causing carnage than actually making edible food, and his personal methods ended up being a mix of her methods and things he'd read online and in different books. But thanks to people like Toriel, Asgore, and of course Mettaton, his cooking had become better than ever, especially when he started learning new recipes.

Indeed, when he made it to the pasta aisle, he had to resist the temptation to buy one package of every kind of noodle; he and Mettaton would only need a few types for the time being. Of course, being Papyrus, he had to pick up some spaghetti noodles. Then he picked up some rotini, some shells, and last but not least a box of rotelle (or, as he once described it to Mettaton, "The wagon wheel pasta. I do not recommend affixing it to your car, though; it's too small and it's not going to hold the weight. Maybe if you made a pasta replica of your limo, though?").

By now he was carrying so much that it would have been tough for him to pull out the list, but he didn't need to, for there was only one item that he still needed to pick up.

Butter.

Being especially careful not to drop anything, he made his way to the back of the store, where the dairy products were located. And not a moment too soon; the man he loved was rolling into the same place with his cart before walking over to where the gallons of milk sat on shelves behind closed doors. While he was busy with that, Papyrus headed over to where the butter was located and picked up a box; he'd wanted to save this for last because the butter had to be refrigerated.

With his list complete, Papyrus ran over to the cart and began placing his different soon-to-be purchases inside. He got the last item in just as Mettaton turned around with a gallon of milk, and Papyrus greeted him with a triumphant pose. "Ta-da!"

"Ooh!" Mettaton's eyes sparkled as he set the milk into the cart. "You are quite efficient, sugar skull."

"Indeed! A skeleton like myself should always get the job done as quickly and thoroughly as possible!"

Mettaton chuckled a bit. "I must say, this is quite different from how I've usually done my shopping. But if we're going to go shopping together, we might as well have fun doing it, hmm?"

Papyrus nodded. "The price is right!" He then took hold of the cart. "By now, that cart must be quite heavy, so allow me to be a gentleskeleton and take over from here!"

"Oh, my..." Mettaton fluttered his eyelashes a bit before kissing Papyrus' skull. He would never get tired of Papyrus' kindness and eagerness to play the role of a gentleman.

Letting out a small, happy sigh at the kiss, Papyrus looked at Mettaton. "So, would you like to go to the checkout now, or...?"

"Actually..." Mettaton's grin became a bit more playful. "Now that I think about it, I'd like to pick up a box of MTT-Brand Sparkle Puffs before we leave."

"Wowie!"

And thus, the two most energetic shoppers in the whole store continued their little adventure. Since grocery shopping was one of those things in life that had to be done, the two were definitely eager to make it into something worthy of being called entertainment - even if they weren't sure if they actually had an audience.

Besides, it was an opportunity to have fun together, and they weren't about to pass that up.

Chapter Text

Sometimes, back when Papyrus was just one of Mettaton's many fans, he would daydream about possibly getting to perform with him someday.

He did have a few slight fears here and there - given that he didn't have as much experience as Mettaton did, he wasn't sure if he could live up to Mettaton's standards. Even if he was the Great Papyrus, Mettaton was probably the one person whom he considered to be even greater. Would Mettaton like him? What about his fans?

As such, it was often a pleasant surprise when he not only received approval from the man himself, but the occasional bit of guidance as well.

"I would say 'perform like no one is watching', but I want people to watch me when I perform," he told Papyrus one day. "So instead, I would say 'perform like your best friends are watching'. They'll always support you, sweetheart."

"Wowie! I never thought of it like that!" And yet, Papyrus knew that Mettaton was right. Frisk would definitely support him as his friend and workmate, Sans and Undyne would always cheer him on (even if they did like to tease him), Alphys would return the favor for how he helped to build her confidence, and even Flowery would probably believe in him (he often seemed upset about life, so Papyrus figured he just needed a friend).

And Mettaton - who was becoming more and more important in Papyrus' life as time went on - would support him, too; after all, just because Mettaton considered himself a gift to the world, it certainly did not mean that he thought he was the only person that mattered.

In fact, he grew to like Papyrus so much that he even invited him to perform with him during informal events.

Papyrus would never forget that night at the outdoor party, where he and Mettaton, by virtue of having the same song stuck in their heads, ended up singing on stage together. He'd been quite nervous at first, but having the fearless Mettaton by his side certainly helped with his confidence. With Mettaton letting the song naturally flow from his mouth, and the crowd having fun watching them, Papyrus realized he had nothing to be afraid of, and ended up getting lost in the song just as much as Mettaton did.

Sometimes, Mettaton also liked singing during livestreams - particularly if he was playing a game based on one of his own works, and that work included an instrumental version of one of his vocal songs. As early as the first time he appeared on Mettaton's livestream, Papyrus would end up singing along as well. The fans seemed to like it, so Papyrus grew more confident in expressing himself in front of them; sometimes he'd bring his guitar to one of Mettaton's non-gaming videos and play different songs he'd learned. Eventually, he and Mettaton even started making videos where they'd sing different songs together; Papyrus would have his guitar, and Mettaton would play a synthesizer.

It seemed that, thanks to Mettaton, Papyrus seemed to forget that he was ever supposed to have stage fright.


The sounds of a popular new wave dance anthem resonated through the speakers of the karaoke club. Everyone was here to celebrate another successful school year for Frisk, and the start of their summer vacation. Given all the wonderful things that Frisk had done for them, it was only natural for them to celebrate their friend's accomplishments (especially since many of them also wanted to make up for some of their more questionable actions towards them).

Mettaton seemed to be in his natural element as he took the stage, and as Papyrus joined him, he already felt his own apprehension begin to disappear, replacing itself with bravery. Thanks to the way Mettaton's body worked (his chestplate included a means to amplify his voice without needing a microphone), he didn't even need to stand near the microphone as he sang those famous opening lines.

"We can dance if we want to! We can leave your friends behind!"

Papyrus, taking full control of the microphone, was more than happy to join him: "Cause your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine!"

He'd slowly been getting less nervous about singing on stage over the years; while at the outdoor party, it took until the first chorus of the song for Papyrus to really let loose, here it took almost no time at all. Mettaton's fans loved him, Mettaton himself loved him - in a romantic sense, even! - and he had a lot of supportive friends, who were all currently dancing along, or at least clapping their hands to the music.

And because of all of this, Papyrus was more sure than ever that it was indeed safe to dance - and sing, and play his guitar, and express himself in other ways. Instead of trying to be just like Mettaton, he would explore his creativity in his own way (while still taking a few inspirations here and there), and let the world know that he was the Great Papyrus, and that he was proud of himself.

Especially since, thanks to all the things he'd learned from everyone, he really was becoming proud of himself.

Chapter Text

Undyne was in the mood to party.

And who could have blamed her? She had just recently completed her wrestling training, and was on the fast track to becoming a full-fledged member of the federation's roster. For her, this was definitely cause for a celebration, and she wasn't about to leave her wife (or their respective best friends) out of the fun.

Not only did she bring everyone to a local bar-and-grill she liked (directing Papyrus on where to drive), but she also made it clear that she wouldn't be going with her usual tea for a drink; she wanted something a little stronger. In the spirit of it being a party, both Alphys and Mettaton decided to follow suit; Papyrus, being the designated driver, was the only one who chose something without alcohol (cola, to be specific).

The four friends discussed things like normal as their meal progressed; when they ordered their appetizers, they made sure to get at least one that wasn't greasy (since Papyrus didn't like the way grease felt in his mouth), along with one that was (since Undyne, the guest of honor, loved grease). Things were quite enjoyable as they spent time catching up with each other, along with speculating on what the future held for Undyne's career.

However, it was around the time of them receiving their main meals that the effects of the drinks started to become apparent.

"Hey, Papyrus." Undyne, having finished her second (and last) margarita of the night, gave a weird smile towards her friend. "What do you call a shark in a monster truck?"

Papyrus, having previously lived with someone who loved making bad puns at every opportunity, wasn't sure whether he wanted to know the answer. Then again, he'd never heard this one before. "...I don't know, Undyne."

Undyne snickered. "Well, neither do I!"

The others all chuckled, and Papyrus said, "Fair enough."

Once Undyne was done with laughing at her own joke, she grinned at Papyrus. "Hey, maybe one of these days, we can take Mettaton's limo or something, and you can join in!"

"Hmm..." Truthfully, Papyrus wasn't sure. While Mettaton had certainly taught him to appreciate wine, to the point where they'd occasionally share some during meals, he still wanted to limit his intake. As the mascot to monsterkind's ambassador, he did have a responsibility to uphold his image, and one night of drunken antics might tarnish the reputation of the Great Papyrus.

"That's a lovely thought, Undyne." Mettaton, himself feeling slightly loopy from the champagne he'd been drinking, set his glass on the table. "But everyone knows that Papyrus technically doesn't need to drink to enjoy himself at a party." He did a little pose. "Why? Because he has me, of course!"

Undyne laughed again. "Oh, right. I've seen how he sometimes gets when he kisses you. Gets all... quiet and falling-over, and... stuff." She barked out a laugh. "Universal dork signal, if I've ever heard of one. Right, Alphy?"

Alphys let out a nervous laugh. She'd only had one cocktail, and after deciding that was enough for her, she'd switched to water. It was probably for the best, considering that one cocktail was already making her feel pretty buzzed.

Folding his arms, Papyrus cleared his throat. "I'm still here."

"Oh yeah. Sorry about that..." Undyne looked at her empty glass. "Think I'm gonna have water from here on. I don't want to end up like those guys in all those movies... or that video game."

"Video game, darling?"

"Yeah. There's this part where this guy challenges you to a drinking contest, and then you wake up and a priestess yells at you... what was it called...?" After thinking for a few seconds, Undyne shrugged. "Eh, it'll come to me eventually."

Deciding not to ask further, Mettaton grinned at Papyrus. "Isn't this sun, funflower?" Feeling something was off, he frowned. "Wait, that's not right..."

Papyrus nodded, deliberately ignoring Mettaton's mistake. "I can't wait to see Undyne's matches! Suplexing other wrestlers like they were boulders... wowie!"

Undyne grinned. "Hell yeah! I can suplex ten huge boulders! Maybe one day, I'll even suplex myself!"

A perplexed look appeared on Mettaton's face. "Is that even possible?"

"Not with that kind of attitude, punk!"

"I'm more glam rock and new wave than punk, sweetheart..."

Their discussions continued on like this for quite some time as they ate their food; despite the occasional awkwardness, a fun time was had by all.


The car was full of loud singing as Papyrus drove everyone home; some of it came from the radio, some from the passengers (who were a little more off-key than usual). Fortunately, Papyrus was an experienced enough driver to not be distracted by any of this.

When the car pulled up in front of Undyne and Alphys' house, Papyrus briefly left the car to walk them to the door. "Stay safe, all right? Don't do anything the Great Papyrus wouldn't do."

Alphys nodded; she already knew that the next morning would not be fun for either her or Undyne. "See you tomorrow!"

"See ya!" Undyne waved goodbye.

Once they were inside with the door closed, Papyrus headed back to the car to drive himself and Mettaton home. Not long after the car started moving again, Mettaton leaned back in his seat.

"I've been thinking of waking up early tomorrow."

"Oh?" Papyrus glanced at him for a split second.

"Oh, yes." Mettaton's eyes shimmered. "Then we could watch the sunflower together, sunrise!" He paused, thinking over what he'd just said. "Oh, dear... I really do need to go to bed."

As Papyrus silently drove, he knew for sure that this was definitely one of the weirder nights of his life.

Chapter Text

As Alphys' character crossed the finish line, Undyne stared at her, slack-jawed. "Whoa, you're good at this..."

Taking a breather from the brief spike of adrenaline that came with being "in the zone", Alphys laughed a bit. "W-well, I had to practice a lot in order to race with people on global multiplayer. They're really good." She looked down a bit.

Undyne, having a good idea of what was on Alphys' mind, slipped an arm around her. "Hey, thanks for not holding back against us. If we're gonna play this, we're gonna go all-out! 'Cause otherwise, what's the point?"

Papyrus, who had just been munching on a handful of popcorn, grinned. "Indeed! And sooner or later, you'll both see why I'm called the Great Papyrus! I am an expert with cars, after all!"

"Well, good news, dork; it's your turn to pick a course!" Undyne grabbed some popcorn of her own.

Heading out of the results screen, Papyrus went to select another course. He was torn between two courses that looked good, and was about ready to ask the girls if they had a coin he could flip, when he felt his phone begin to ring in his pajama pocket.

"Nyeh?" He took it out and looked at the screen - and promptly brightened up when he saw who was calling him. "Wowie! Mettaton's calling me!"

"Well, go ahead and answer it! I'm sure he misses you." Just then, Undyne had another thought. "Hey, see if he wants to talk to us too, okay?"

Papyrus nodded and, after heading to a slightly quieter corner of the room, answered the phone in a flash. Mettaton appeared on the screen; judging by the furnishings nearby, he was most likely in some kind of hotel room.

"Hello, my special star!"

At the sight of Papyrus, a look of adoration crossed Mettaton's face. "Hello, Papyrus! How's my beautiful sunflower doing?"

"Everything's been quite lovely, Metta! Alphys, Undyne, and I are having a sleepover. Would you like to talk to them too?"

"The more, the merrier, darling!"

"Wowie!" With that settled, Papyrus ran back over to the beanbag chairs in front of the TV and threw himself back onto his seat, whereupon Alphys and Undyne came closer until Mettaton could clearly see them.

Alphys was the first one to speak. "Hi, Mettaton. I hope your tour's going well!"

"It certainly is, darling." Mettaton had a sparkle in his eyes. "I had the crowd on the edge of their seats tonight! They were all singing along with my biggest hits, and even the deeper tracks had them excited!"

Hearing this made Alphys want to smile; as she worked to help the Amalgamates, she often needed reminders of her past successes to encourage her, and knowing that her best friend still regularly put on show-stopping performances to this day, thanks to the body she'd made for him... it was certainly a good motivator.

"Cool!" Undyne grinned at Mettaton. "We're just sitting around, eating popcorn, and playing video games. Probably gonna watch a movie later on."

Papyrus nodded. "They're very good at racing games. But I, the Great Papyrus, have also been practicing! And I'm wearing my lucky socks!"

"Lucky socks, darling?" Even though Mettaton had been living with Papyrus for some time now, he'd never heard anything about lucky socks.

"Yes, they're very lucky! Here, I'll show you!"

Papyrus tilted the phone until Mettaton got a good view of the socks in question. The more Mettaton looked, though, the more he noticed something: these socks weren't even a matching pair. One of them was bright orange, and the other was bright pink - and Mettaton had reason to believe that it wasn't just a trick of the light.

Tilting the phone back to where it was, Papyrus grinned at Mettaton. "One of them's pink because it's your favorite color and you believe in me, and the other is orange because it's my favorite color, so it reminds me to believe in myself! And what's really lucky about these socks is that, because they're mismatched, I have two pairs of them!"

"Ooh..." Mettaton grinned. "Now that you mention it, that's very lucky indeed!" He began pondering something. "Perhaps if I wore a pair of pink thigh-highs during my next concert...? Or maybe black thigh-highs? I could wear one of each like you're doing now; it'd be a great way to get the audience to notice my lovely legs! Or if I found ones with pink and black stripes... I just hope they don't consider me childish if I wear them. The presses can be quite ruthless sometimes."

"Perhaps you could be a trendsetter?" Papyrus thought back to some of the times he'd walked around town. "I've seen quite a few more people wearing pink and black clothes recently, so maybe you already are!"

"Well, of course, sweetheart! Who could expect anything less from the one and only Mettaton?"

Papyrus smiled; Mettaton could be wearing a garbage can and still look beautiful to him. (Of course, he wouldn't want Mettaton to wear a garbage can unless the man himself wanted to for whatever reason.)

They all talked for a little while longer until Mettaton had to hang up for the night.

"Enjoy your sleepover, darlings!" He gave them a friendly smile. "Perhaps tomorrow I'll see if some of my own socks end up being lucky."

"Good night, my beautiful star!"

"Bye, Mettaton!"

"See ya!"

After hanging up, Papyrus smiled and put his phone back in his pocket. "Now, where were we?"

"I think it was your turn to pick a level," Alphys said before sipping her soda.

"Oh, right!" Papyrus grabbed his controller and picked one of his two choices at random, hoping the power of the lucky socks would get him through.

Of course, knowing that a man like Mettaton was in his life was very often enough to make Papyrus feel lucky.

Chapter Text

Mettaton hummed to himself, lightly tapping the edge of his spatula against the side of the pan, as he waited for bubbles to form in the multicolored masses of batter. Normally, mornings like this would be the other way around - Papyrus would be down here making breakfast while Mettaton was getting ready upstairs. However, the previous day had been a really long day for Papyrus, so Mettaton decided to make breakfast this morning as a way of lightening Papyrus' load.

Plus, this gave him the opportunity to try out a new method of making pancakes. (Mettaton was often one of those people who liked coming up with any possible reason for doing special things for those he loved; sometimes, he didn't need any reason other than "because I can, darling!")

When the bubbles finally formed, Mettaton expertly slid the spatula under each pancake and flipped them until he was greeted with two purple stars. At first, he wasn't sure of whether he wanted to try making rainbow pancakes or star-shaped pancakes, but then that voice in his head asked him, "why not both, gorgeous?" Mettaton couldn't help but laugh to himself; he was such a genius.

He waited for a little bit, and when he was sure the pancakes were fully cooked, he transferred each one to a plate before grabbing one of the nearby squeeze bottles - this one filled with blue batter - and making two more stars in the pan. For several minutes, he kept making pancakes like this, going through the rest of the colors - green, yellow, orange, and finally red - and stacking the finished pancakes on the plates accordingly.

Once both plates each had six pancakes stacked on them, Mettaton turned off the stove before studying the plates with a pondering eye.

"Hmm... should I serve these pancakes with maple syrup and butter, or whipped cream and sprinkles...?" He really wasn't sure of which option sounded better; whipped cream was often more suited for dessert, but it would probably be prettier. "Maybe I'll ask Papyrus when he gets down here."

"Ask me about what?"

Slightly startled, Mettaton turned around and was greeted with a somewhat puzzled Papyrus. "Oh... good morning, my love. I made some pancakes" - he gestured towards the plates - "and I was wondering what to serve them with. I can't decide between maple syrup and whipped cream."

"Hmm..." Papyrus thought for a second. "Maybe we could use the syrup now, and save the whipped cream for sundaes? Or Mondays, or Tuesdays... probably not Fridays, because to my understanding, frying ice cream involves grease, and you already know how I feel about that."

Mettaton chuckled lightly. "Well, then it's settled. I'll get the syrup."


Once the two were at the table, Mettaton noticed that the first thing Papyrus did was take out his phone. On closer inspection, going by the way he was holding it, he seemed to want to take a picture (or several) of the pancakes. While Mettaton initially raised an eyebrow, he smiled once he realized what was going on.

"I thought you would like them, darling. They are quite beautiful, aren't they?"

Papyrus nodded. "They're so beautiful that I almost don't want to eat them! But I have to eat them, because I'm not a wasteful skeleton, so I'm taking pictures of them. That way, I can have my pancakes and eat them too!" That was always the dilemma involving food art; eating it meant destroying the art, while not eating it meant wasting food. Fortunately, since Papyrus had a phone camera, he didn't have to worry for too long about it.

"That's a wonderful idea, sweetheart! And if you're still not sure, you can think of these beautiful pancakes as fuel for a beautiful day!"

"Wowie!" Papyrus reached for the syrup and began drizzling some on his pancakes. "I love beautiful days - especially when I get to spend them with my favorite beautiful star!"

Mettaton smiled; as much as he loved excitement and thrills, even things as simple as having breakfast could be made more special just by virtue of having Papyrus there.

And as the two happily ate their pancakes and talked about what they wanted to do that day, they both knew that, whatever they did, it was going to be beautiful.

Chapter Text

Papyrus sat in the stands of the performance hall, almost literally on the edge of his seat as he watched Mettaton perform. One of the perks of being so close to Mettaton was that he (and Frisk's other close friends) would very often receive discount tickets to his local shows; Mettaton never wanted his potential fans to have to pay a small fortune just to see him perform live, so he did his best to strike a healthy balance between profitable and affordable with regards to ticket prices.

Tonight was one of Mettaton's "throwback nights", where he would do an entire show in his rectangular form; however, before the show started, he had told Papyrus that there would be a few special surprises tonight. This led Papyrus' mind to pay even more attention than he usually did to Mettaton's performances; for a man like Mettaton, who almost seemed to have an endless supply of plot twists wired into his very being, "a few special surprises" could mean anything.

At the very least, Papyrus was definitely ready to find out what Mettaton had planned. Papyrus was definitely dressed for the occasion; the baseball cap and shoulderpads he wore for the occasion both looked like Mettaton's box form, and he also brought his "Glamorous Darling" T-shirt.

Mettaton seemed to be telling a story as he proceeded through each of his songs and skits. "Seemed to" was the operative phrase, though; while there was a very loose plot, the events on stage mostly served to give Mettaton an excuse to tell a joke or a story, or to launch into one of his classic musical numbers. Nobody really minded, though; Mettaton very often had a taste for absurdism, especially back when he performed underground (he had to distract his fans from the dreariness of their lives somehow).

After one scene concluded, the curtain closed to signal a transition. At this time, Mettaton's voice came on over the PA systems.

"While you wait for the next scene, here's a classic recipe from Cooking with a Killer Robot. Heat up some milk in a pan, incorporate chocolate of some sort, add as much sugar as your little heart desires, and stir everything until it's well-combined. Voila - hot chocolate! Now all you have to do is pour it into your favorite MTT-Brand mug and put your favorite marshmallows on top - and yes, the marshmallows are required, because otherwise, where's the fun in that? Oh, and remember the hot chocolate rule: never, ever let it cool!"

The curtains began to glide open once more.

"But speaking of cool... what sorts of cool things await our fabulous heroes at the forest? It's about time we found out..."

As Papyrus caught sight of the forest set, he noticed that a bush in the corner wasn't a prop; it was actually being played by someone. And as soon as he saw the orange fur, rounded ears, and "why-did-I-agree-to-this" expression on the actor's face, he knew exactly who it was.

Mettaton rolled on stage with Napstablook and Shyren. "Welly welly well well. Looks like we've made it to the forest, darlings! It's going to be quite a difficult journey from here... but we can't give up yet! As long as we pull ourselves together and keep our morale intact, we should make it through!" He almost seemed to slump over a bit. "Although... I think we should see if there's a doctor in the forest..."

For a brief moment, Papyrus and the rest of the crowd waited with bated breath. Whenever Mettaton mentioned doctors in his shows and it wasn't an explicit reference to Alphys, it was usually a signal for one thing.

After the obligatory dramatic pause, Mettaton looked out at the audience and pointed to the ceiling, saying the words everyone saw coming. "Because I've caught disco fever!"

The crowd cheered as a song started; this was one of the more popular songs from Mettaton Catches Disco Fever, Part I, to the point of appearing in Mettaton's other concerts from time to time. Multicolored lights came on, a disco ball descended from the ceiling, and Mettaton began to dance as a star appeared on his screen and he delivered the song's usual spoken-word introduction.

"It's good to be serious... it's important in life. But sometimes you just need... to let go of your strife!"

He began singing not long afterwards, and by the time he was halfway through the first verse, most of the crowd (Papyrus included) was already dancing along. Napstablook controlled the music from their DJ booth, and Shyren sang the backup vocals, all while Mettaton hammed it up as usual.

It was around two-thirds of the way through the song, during the instrumental break, that Mettaton threw the crowd for a loop. His body seemed to descend on the floor as he slid back and forth, and he eventually slid so far down that his wheel was no longer visible. The crowd raised their collective brow; how would Mettaton be able to dance without a wheel? Was he about to perform some aerial maneuvers or something?

And then his body began to rise back up, and instead of his wheel, his body now had the legs of his EX form protruding from his lower half.

Some of the crowd members gasped, some of them cheered, and Papyrus actually said, "Oh my god!" While his mind had traveled to a wide variety of places regarding what Mettaton's surprises would be, he never would have seriously guessed this to be one of them.

Mettaton sang and danced his way through the third verse, moving his body as if it were a natural extension of the music itself. He shimmied, he pirouetted, he did a flying leap that landed in a split before pushing himself into a kneeling position, lifting his microphone high above himself, pointing it straight downward, and belting out a long, high note...

And then an orange paw landed on his screen as the music stopped, complete with the sound of a record needle scratching.

Bryan, whose head and arms were poking out of his bush costume, glared at Mettaton with wild eyes and yelled out his words like every single one of them was important. "Are you out of your sequin-slathered mind?"

A question mark briefly appeared on Mettaton's screen before settling into a more neutral display of random squares. "I never claimed to be healthy, sweetheart. That's why it's called disco fever, not disco immunity."

"I don't care what you call it! The point is, you have to stop now, or else the vengeful spirits of the forest will get angry! As the guardian raspberry bush of the forest, it's my duty to warn you of these things!"

Mettaton tapped his finger against the side of his "head" for a moment. "Hmm... perhaps they just need a little sparkle in their lives!" He pushed himself upright. "Thank you for your advice, O Guardian Raspberry Bush! Do you have any more advice for us before we go on our way?"

Bryan crinkled his brow. "Maybe later. But for now, I have only one thing to say to the likes of you."

"And that would be?"

After backing up a little, Bryan took a deep breath and, instead of saying any actual words, blew a raspberry.

The question mark returned to Mettaton's screen. "Er..."

Bryan glared at him. "That's for getting the song stuck in my head!" With that, he exited stage left.

Once Bryan left, Mettaton looked out at the audience. "...Well. That just happened." He laughed a bit. "But let's continue on, shall we? The forest and all of its discoveries await - and remember, you can't spell 'discoveries' without 'disco'!"

As Papyrus laughed alongside everyone else at the jokes, he eagerly anticipated what the rest of the show might bring. Mettaton was a master of surprises, for sure, and his shows never failed to get Papyrus on the edge of his seat - sometimes literally.

Chapter Text

Anyone hoping for a peaceful and quiet late-morning trip to the park was in for a big surprise on this particular day; after all, it's not every day that a celebrity, a mechanic/politician, a wrestler, and a scientist all decide to go for a loud and enthusiastic bicycle race through the park.

But that was exactly what these four were doing before lunch. Alphys' research had progressed so far that she was on the verge of having a working cure for the Amalgamates' condition; to help her get the enthusiasm to make that last push, Papyrus offered to ride bicycles with her through the park. Of course, Undyne and Mettaton both wanted to join in to help support Alphys - and since those two were so competitive, what was originally intended to be a simple bike ride ended up turning into a race.

And due to being easily the least athletic member of their little group of friends, Alphys really had to push herself. Mettaton did a lot of dancing as part of his shows, Papyrus' day job involved a lot of hands-on work (and he still loved to run around regardless), and Undyne regularly exerted herself as a pro wrestler; by contrast, while Alphys had definitely gotten better at exercise since the first few times she and Papyrus had jogged together, she still wasn't quite on their level.

She didn't want to pedal with all of her might quite yet, especially since the other three had more stamina than her, so she kept a steady pace as she watched her friends in the not-too-far distance.

Mettaton, meanwhile, grinned as he kept the lead. Those long, supple legs of his weren't just there to look good; they had many practical uses as well, this being just one of them. Being an android, he didn't get tired as easily as humans or bestial monsters, but both Undyne and Papyrus had the capabilities to match him (Papyrus due to a combination of natural skeleton traits and his never-ending drive to succeed, and Undyne because of her athleticism and determination).

He heard a bell coming from behind him to his left.

"Ring ring, punk!"

And with that, Undyne passed him, laughing all the way.

Oh, you're just asking for it now. Mettaton focused on the path ahead, determined to beat Undyne.

Behind them, but ahead of Alphys, Papyrus kept up his own pedaling, holding back not just for the sake of preserving his stamina, but also so Alphys could hear his encouraging cheer.

"We are awesome! We are cool! We get A's in greatness school!"

And in the back, Alphys couldn't help but repeat that chant to herself as she pushed on.

Over the next several minutes, the four of them kept at it, with Alphys focusing, Papyrus chanting, and Mettaton and Undyne overtaking each other every couple of minutes. A few bystanders in the park couldn't help but watch; some had their own bets regarding who was going to win, while others just wanted to see what all the commotion was about. One of them even cheered for Mettaton as he passed by, and he gave them a friendly wave.

All the while, Mettaton kept focusing, pedaling as intently as if he were in a professional bicycle race that was being filmed for television - and given that he was Mettaton, someone probably was filming it for television, or at least filming it on their phone. He had overtaken Undyne yet again a minute ago, but he hadn't heard from her in at least a couple of minutes; there was no stopping now, though, unless the others reported an emergency. This was a competition, after all.

Finally, he heard a bicycle bell ring twice, but instead of the enthusiastic alto of Undyne's voice, he heard the equally-enthusiastic tenor of his own fiance's voice.

"Metta, it's me!"

He looked over at Papyrus, who was now pedaling alongside him; Papyrus didn't look worried at all, but Mettaton wanted to be sure. "Is everything all right, sugar skull?"

Papyrus nodded. "Undyne is back with Alphys!"

"Oh..."

Meanwhile, Alphys was beginning to feel her muscles telling her that enough was enough. But she couldn't give up now; it was just a little more until the finish line, and she could see Undyne right there...

She managed to catch up with Undyne, who glanced at her and grinned. "Hey, nerd!"

"Hi..." Alphys took some deep breaths.

Undyne looked out into the distance. "I probably should have gone at a steadier pace like the rest of you did... but we still have a chance! We gotta get that finish line and suplex it - just because we can! Are you with me?"

"Y-yeah... I hope I can do this..." Alphys already knew that her legs would be killing her when she woke up the next morning.

"I know you can do it. Show that finish line who's boss!" Upon seeing the slightly doubtful look in Alphys' eyes, Undyne suddenly had a thought. Part of her wanted to wince, feeling that it was an evil, evil thought, but another part thought it might give Alphys the push she needed. "Alphy... I'm sorry to do this to you..."

"Huh?" Alphys looked up at her, feeling slightly nervous.

Undyne leaned down. "Pretend the finish line just said that Mew Mew Kissy Cutie 2 is where the series started getting good."

"What?!"

And with that, a yellow blur took off down the pavement.

Undyne watched her; if there was ever a really good way to vent frustration over internet arguments... well, Undyne could think of several, but this was definitely good for right now. Alphys could burn off energy and frustration at the same time through this; it wasn't long ago that she was involved in an internet argument regarding which season was better.

With the fire burning in her eyes and the desire to defend her favorite show from its inferior sequel in her heart, Alphys pedaled with all of her might. She saw the finish line, she saw Mettaton crossing the finish line, she saw Papyrus crossing the finish line...

She crossed the finish line.

Panting heavily, she slowed to a stop and climbed off of her bike. "Mew Mew 1... is the best Mew Mew. And no one's... gonna tell me otherwise!"

Papyrus dismounted his own bicycle and walked over to her. "Congratulations on completing the first annual Cool Bicycle Race for Cool People! Well, I haven't yet decided if it's going to be annual, or semiannual, or biannual, or instruction manual... but it's still a nice thought, isn't it?"

"Heh..." Alphys looked up at him and smiled. The only reason she wasn't completely soaked with sweat was thanks to the magic of deodorant; even then, her body still felt like pudding now that the adrenaline was wearing off. But at least it was positive pudding.

Mettaton came up to her and set a hand on her shoulder. "You're amazing, darling. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't."

Over the years, that statement had started feeling less and less like a lie to Alphys; she could feel her belief in herself growing more and more as the weeks, months, and years went by.

Undyne caught up with them. "Whoo! That was a rush!" She looked at Alphys and gave a slightly sheepish chuckle. "Hey... no hard feelings, right?"

Alphys gave her a smile. "It's okay... I needed that last push."

As the two hugged, Mettaton looked at everyone. "Well, darlings, that was certainly a good race."

Slipping an arm around him, Papyrus spoke with a sparkle in his eyes. "Indeed! By now, I'd say we're the valedictorians of greatness school!" After that race, he himself felt more ready than ever to handle whatever life would throw his way.

"Mm-hmm." Undyne let go of Alphys and looked towards the buildings in the distance. "So, is anyone else hungry after that?"

Alphys adjusted her glasses a little and nodded. "You're right; let's get some lunch."

As the four headed off to get some food, she thought about how far she'd come over the years. Her greatest failure as the Royal Scientist was so close to finally being rectified that she could almost taste it. If she succeeded, it would not only mean new leases on life for the monsters she'd previously accidentally corrupted, but it could also lead to new scientific breakthroughs.

And as long as she had her loved ones by her side, it would always be easier for her to approach these challenges than if she had to go it alone.

Chapter Text

"So," Undyne said, looking out at the assembled group of her and Alphys' friends, "I'm sure you're all wondering why we asked you to come here today."

Indeed, everyone had gathered at Undyne and Alphys' house for what was ostensibly a simple get-together. They'd all spent a little time catching up with each other in the meantime; Sans in particular had been spending quite a bit of time hanging out with Toriel and Asgore, while occasionally meeting up with Mettaton, who of course was spending a lot of time talking to Papyrus. As he glanced at the latter two from time to time, he couldn't help but notice that the two almost seemed to be attached at the hip as of late. It seemed like whenever they were in the same room together, there was no separating them for longer than a few minutes.

(Sans wondered why he had mixed emotions about that.)

Speaking of Papyrus, he raised his hand. "Ooh! Did you finally get that giant robot suit you posted about on UnderNet?" Undyne had previously posted about how she wished she had one.

"And if you did, does it look like me?" Mettaton asked.

Sans looked at them. "C'mon, you two. She's obviously trying to tell us that she got one of those bouncy castles for the backyard."

"Wowie! Did you want us to dig the moat?"

As Undyne watched Papyrus' bouncing, she muttered "you dorks" under her breath before clearing her throat. "No, no, no, and no - but if we ever do any of that stuff, you'll be the first to find out. Alphys and I wanted you all to come here because we have a big announcement to make - one you can't just make online if you can do it in person."

Now it was Frisk's turn to raise their hand. "Did you finish your wrestling training?"

"Not yet; I still have way more things I need to learn. Good guess, though!" Since no one seemed to guess so far, Undyne looked at Alphys and grinned. "You wanna tell them, Alphy?"

Alphys blushed and let out a nervous laugh. "Well...!!! I don't know how to say this, but... maybe I'll just show you." She had been wearing gloves, and her blush only grew as she slipped them off. "Do you... notice anything about my hands?"

At first, nobody was really sure of where to look; for the most part, Alphys' hands looked the same as they'd always looked.

But then Sans noticed it.

"Wait a minute... do I see what I think I see around your finger?"

As everyone else saw the sapphire ring on Alphys' left ring finger, Undyne grinned at them and confirmed what they were all thinking.

"She said yes!"

In that small instant, the mood completely shifted.

"Oh my goodness!" Toriel said with a sparkle in her eyes.

Asgore beamed. "Congratulations!"

Frisk cheered and jumped up and down in excitement, Flowey blinked, and Sans' grin was wider than ever. And as for Papyrus and Mettaton? Both were quick to rush over and give their best friends big hugs.

"Oh my god! Undyne! This is just so... wowie!" Papyrus' mood hadn't been set to this degree of "wowie" since the day he and Mettaton first met each other (though it had certainly come close a few times).

"Alphys, darling, I'm so happy for you..." Knowing that life kept getting better for Alphys certainly brought warmth to Mettaton's heart.

For a little while afterwards, everyone kept discussing the upcoming wedding. Alphys and Undyne didn't have an exact date set at the moment, but they both wanted it to be sometime in the upcoming spring; they also wanted it to be elegant, but not to an overblown degree.

After the initial surprise had worn off and everyone returned to the conversations they were previously having, Mettaton was about to head back over to Papyrus when he heard Alphys from behind him.

"Mettaton?"

He turned around with a smile. "Yes, beautiful?"

"Can Undyne and I talk to you in private?" After noticing a confused look develop in his eyes, Alphys quickly spoke up again. "There's nothing wrong! We just wanted to ask you a favor."

"Certainly."

They headed out to the backyard, where Undyne was already waiting, looking quite thoughtful. "Hey, Mettaton."

"Hello, Undyne."

Undyne walked up to him and looked him in the eye. "Listen... I know you and I don't always get along perfectly, but... Alphys and I have been talking about it, and we'd like to ask a favor from you."

Mettaton thought for a second. "Did one of you want me to be one of your escorts?"

"I... I was hoping you'd be one of my escorts. But also..." Alphys tapped her claws together. "If you're not too busy... Undyne and I were hoping that you could help us plan our wedding."

Mettaton's mouth formed an "oh" shape as his soul began to flutter. He had a busy life as a superstar, so it wasn't always easy for him to make time to hang out with those he cared about. And considering that this was Alphys who was asking him a favor... Alphys, who had previously been legitimately worried that Mettaton would abandon her (and not without reason, given the way he used to act)...

Even though he'd already rebuilt his bridges with Alphys, it was his chance to give them some extra reinforcement. And there was not enough money in the world to get him to turn this down.

He smiled and took Alphys' hand. "You have a deal. I'll make sure this is the best wedding either of you could possibly have! It'll be a family story for the ages!"

Alphys hugged him. "Thank you so much."

"Yeah... thanks." Just then, Undyne glared at him. "You better not try to turn our wedding into a monument to how awesome you are, though. Or else Alphys and I will get pregnant shortly before your wedding, and we'll announce it on stage at the reception!"

Mettaton gave her a shocked look. "As if I would even dream of doing such a thing!" He blinked. "Wait a minute..."

"What?"

"You're both going to get pregnant?"

"Believe it, Circuit City!" And with that, Undyne headed back inside.

Mettaton looked at Alphys, who looked right back at him, shrugged, and said, "I don't know, either."


It was funny how time could fly so quickly.

One minute, Mettaton was finding out about Alphys and Undyne's upcoming wedding. The next minute, he was knee-deep in planning for the occasion. The minute after that, he was escorting Alphys down the aisle, crying as he watched her and Undyne's first kiss of married life, watching the two cut the cake and have their first dance, all while feeling utterly relieved that everything went swimmingly...

And by the time Alphys and Undyne were celebrating their first anniversary, Mettaton had certainly grown closer to Papyrus.

What had been a really close friendship at the time of Alphys and Undyne's wedding ended up becoming a really close romantic relationship by the time of their anniversary. In that time, Papyrus and Mettaton confessed their feelings for each other, managed to convince Sans that there was nothing to be afraid of, went on several dates, and even started making plans to move in together.

Time, as always, continued to pass afterwards, but the couple never grew bored with each other. In fact, their bond only grew closer and deeper over the next couple of years.

As such, it was only a matter of time before that fateful dinner party.

The same group of friends had all gathered at Mettaton and Papyrus' house to catch up on everything and share some good food. This time around, there were a small handful of new additions; Napstablook, Muffet, and Shyren were there, as were Mettaton's two other cousins. Mad Mew Mew (or "Maddy" for short) was excitedly chatting it up with Alphys and Undyne, while the other cousin (who had been answering to "Hush" as of late) was more focused on their meal.

As everyone carried on with their conversations, Mettaton looked at Papyrus. "Sugar skull... do you think we should tell them now?"

"Well... we have to tell them sometime." Papyrus tapped his fingertips on the table. "It would be no use for us to invite everyone to a dinner party to make a big announcement, and then not make the announcement. That would be like going to a car convention that didn't have any cars!"

"You're right; we might as well get it out of the way right now."

With that settled, Papyrus tapped the handle of his spoon against his glass, and he and Mettaton stood up. "Attention, everyone! I'm sorry to interrupt, but Mettaton and I have an important announcement to make!"

Just like that, the conversations fell silent, and all heads turned to face the two. Papyrus fidgeted with his hands a little, not sure how to begin to approach the topic.

Fortunately, Mettaton saved him the trouble. "All right. Beauties and gentlebeauties, by now you probably know that Papyrus and I love each other madly."

Undyne smirked. "Whaaaat? I had no idea at all!"

"Calm down, Undyne." Mettaton gave a light, dry chuckle. "Anyway. The reason we invited you all to this dinner party is because we have some wonderful news!"

Maddy raised her paw. "Lemme guess: you got a big, fancy summer home in the tropics. Did ya? Did ya?? Did ya???"

Another laugh escaped Mettaton's throat. "It's been tempting, but no. Not yet, anyway." He squeezed Papyrus' hand. "Papyrus, darling, would you like me to tell them, or do you want to tell them?"

By now, most of Papyrus' nervousness had evaporated, so he smiled at Mettaton. "I'll tell them!" He cleared his imaginary throat, and steeled his nerves. This one simple sentence was going to be quite difficult to say, so to avoid keeping them waiting, he briefly shut his thoughts off and let it out. "Mettaton and I are getting married!"

The silence, though only lasting for one second at the most, was deafening.

Maddy was the first one to speak. "Oh my god. Oh my god! Oh my god!"

Undyne got up, ran over to Papyrus, and began to noogie the skeleton while laughing uproariously. "Yeah! This is awesome! I knew you had it in you, you big dork!"

"Un-Undyne!" Papyrus winced at the noogies. "He was the one who asked me!"

"But still, though! It's awesome!" Undyne looked up and grimaced a bit as she realized something. "We're probably not going to be able to wash out the glitter for years, though..."

Mettaton smirked. "You say that like it's a bad thing, darling."

He soon found Muffet resting one of her many hands on his shoulder. "Ahuhuhuhu~ If you need someone to make you a wedding cake, my spiders and I are always available!"

"Thank you so much, beautiful."

Maddy stood up. "Hey. Hey! Hey! Can I be one of your escorts? Or did you already pick some people?"

"Hmm..." Mettaton thought for a second. "You could be one of my escorts... but we also need a maid of honor. We'll think of something, sweetheart, so stay tuned in the coming weeks!"

And just like all those years ago, the entire group eagerly discussed the upcoming wedding. Some of them wondered which among them would be the next to get married, some were ready to present ideas for this wedding, and everyone wondered what the future would hold.

Chapter Text

For Papyrus and Mettaton, the day began like any other day.

They both woke up, they both did their own morning rituals, they each fixed themselves their own breakfast in their own kitchens, and they each thought of the other.

Papyrus was going to be visiting Mettaton at his house that afternoon; this wasn't an unusual thing at all. They were, after all, really close friends at this point, and it was only natural for close friends to visit one another from time to time.

But something had been eating at Papyrus.

And something had been eating at Mettaton.

Papyrus had certainly thought Mettaton was beautiful and amazing even long before getting to know him. However, while it was mostly in the sense of seeing him as a role model, it had started to take on a different form in the past month; in more recent times, when Papyrus thought of Mettaton, one particular thought had started to make itself known:

I don't mind the thought of spending the rest of my life with him.

And while he felt this way about many of the people in his life, what he felt towards Mettaton was a little different than the way he felt towards Sans or Undyne or Alphys or Frisk. He valued Mettaton's friendship, undeniably, but as of late, he'd been having a different brand of fantasies. His thoughts were full of them: pulling out Mettaton's chair for him at a fancy restaurant, giving him an umbrella on a rainy day, watching the sunset and dancing in the moonlight and making Mettaton feel so loved and cherished, like he was the most beautiful man in the world - because to Papyrus, that was exactly what he was.

But did Mettaton only think of him as a friend? If Papyrus confessed his love, would Mettaton assume the worst of him? Probably not, considering that the two had a close bond at this point, but Mettaton probably received several love confessions a day from his fans; what if he hardened his heart to them to avoid disappointing anybody? Even if he didn't, what if his feelings for Papyrus didn't extend beyond platonic love? What if their friendship became awkward because Papyrus wanted something more and Mettaton didn't?

As such, Papyrus had been trying to ignore these thoughts. But trying to ignore them only made them come back even more loudly than before, and deep down, he found it more and more difficult to try to hide his feelings.

Meanwhile, Mettaton himself had been grappling with some feelings of his own. Whenever he was with Papyrus, he truly felt understood, like he could lower his guard and trust that someone wouldn't fire a cannonball into his heart. He knew for quite some time now that he loved Papyrus, but it was only just recently that he realized his love for Papyrus wasn't the same kind of love he felt for Alphys or Shyren or any of his cousins; he wanted something deeper. Mettaton wanted to take Papyrus into his arms and give him lots of kisses, and sing for him whenever he needed a little extra comfort, and tell him all the things he liked about him, and in general make him feel like the most precious person in the world - because to Mettaton, that was exactly what he was.

But what if Papyrus didn't feel the same way? If Mettaton confessed his love and Papyrus only liked him as a friend, would Papyrus feel guilty about not returning Mettaton's feelings? Romantic feelings weren't something that could be forced, and Mettaton certainly didn't want Papyrus to feel guilty (not even by accident) for just not feeling that spark towards him.

Over the years, Mettaton had been learning to stop ignoring his problems and start actually doing something about them; that was how he'd managed to rebuild his bridges with Blooky, Shyren, and Alphys, and it was how he started being on... well, better terms with Bryan. But what if he rushed into this too soon and ended up losing who had become one of his dearest friends?

It was certainly getting tougher and tougher to try to quell these thoughts, but he tried his hardest as he prepared his home for the visit.


When Papyrus arrived at Mettaton's house, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Each noticed that the other seemed a little more shy than usual, but they both inwardly played it off as a trick of their perception.

Mettaton's itinerary for the visit was quite simple; it involved watching a couple of movies and maybe playing some games. In particular, there was this concert film that Mettaton wanted to show Papyrus; it wasn't one of Mettaton's own concerts, but it featured a musical group that he really liked.

And so, after making some popcorn, they took their seats on the couch, and Mettaton started the movie. At first, all was well; Papyrus bounced up and down a little to the rhythm of the songs, and Mettaton similarly bobbed his head. Every now and then, Mettaton would whisper a brief fact about the band or one of the songs they played; judging by Papyrus' intrigued looks and the occasional "wowie", it was clear that Papyrus was legitimately enjoying the movie and not just putting up with it to be polite. Mettaton couldn't help but feel relieved; when one of your favorite genres of music is widely considered a guilty pleasure, it's nice to find someone else who's open to it.

But Mettaton's relief ground to a screeching halt as soon as the band began to play one specific song.

He bit his lip - out of annoyance at himself rather than his usual flirtatiousness. I should have known they would be playing that song...

On the surface, there didn't seem to be anything wrong; the song in question was just a simple love ballad. But that was just it - it was a love ballad. And hearing this love ballad next to the skeleton who gave him such conflicted feelings as of late... god, he wanted to just slip his arm around Papyrus and slow-dance with him to this song, getting lost in him and hearing him sigh in happiness, and just making him smile...

To distract himself, he turned his attention to the popcorn, grabbing piece after piece of it and scarfing it down as if it were candy. He nearly shut his mind off, and he didn't even notice that he was finishing off the last of it until Papyrus suddenly rested a hand on his arm.

"Uh, Metta? I don't think those kernels are even popped."

"Huh?" Mettaton looked down at his hand, holding the unpopped kernels he was about to shove into his mouth. It wasn't like he could replace them with anything, either, since unpopped kernels were all that remained in the bowl. He sheepishly laughed and paused the movie, trying not to blush. "Well welly well well, well well welly. Looks like I need to make some more popcorn. Excuse me for a moment."

Mettaton stood up, holding the bowl, and walked out of the room a little too quickly.

As Papyrus sat on the couch, looking at the paused frame of the movie and listening to the sounds of Mettaton getting out another bag of popcorn, he wasn't sure how to feel. Mettaton seemed just as nervous as Papyrus was... could it be possible...?

He kept staring at the floor, feeling his emotions storm through him, even as he heard the microwave buttons beeping, the microwave itself beginning to hum, and the sound of Mettaton's footsteps getting louder as he re-entered the room.

"Darling? Is something wrong?"

Papyrus looked up at him, watching him sit back down. "Oh! Uh... well, the thing is... you see..." The gate in his heart wanted to open; for every pound of force he threw against it, it pushed back with two more pounds. He couldn't hold back for much longer at this point; in his heart, he forced himself to accept that today would probably be the day that Mettaton found out about his feelings. If Papyrus didn't confess, then as far as Mettaton knew, Papyrus had been acting strange for no reason whatsoever.

Mettaton frowned. "Sweetheart, if something is making you uncomfortable, you know you have the right to speak up."

"I'm not uncomfortable." That came out a little more quickly than Papyrus had intended. "I just... have things on my mind. And they're not really easy to talk about."

"...Did you want me to turn the movie back on, or did you need to take a breather for a few moments?"

"I think I need to take a breather."

And that was exactly what Papyrus did over the next couple of minutes. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths, focusing on every word of what he was about to confess, and hoping that Mettaton would accept it. At the very least, he didn't want Mettaton to feel awkward whenever he thought of this movie ("That was the time he confessed his feelings and I wasn't sure what to say"), but at the same time, he couldn't just lie to Mettaton.

It was shortly after the microwave stopped humming and let out a few beeps that Papyrus took a deep breath, and with it, also took one of the biggest risks of his life.

"Mettaton..." He looked him in the eye. "I need to talk to you about something. I assure you that I'm not angry or upset with you. It's just that..."

It was official; there was no going back. If he gave up now, Mettaton would know he was hiding something.

And so, Papyrus continued.

"Allow me to describe some very complex feelings. Feelings like... the joy of meeting someone you admire so much, and getting to know him as a friend, and feeling stronger because of his encouragement, and helping him feel better..." He took another deep breath, his phalanges fidgeting like the world depended on it. "What I'm trying to say is, I, Papyrus, couldn't be happier about our friendship. But I've been giving everything a lot of thought, and, well..."

He tugged at his collar a bit before taking Mettaton's hand.

"Mettaton... I think my feelings for you extend beyond friendship."

And that was it. Papyrus had officially said it.

"You..." Mettaton's face settled into a somewhat shocked look. "You love me?"

"Yes..." Papyrus' voice was a whisper.

When several seconds passed without Mettaton giving him a clear answer, Papyrus trembled a bit before sighing and looking at the floor.

"This was a bad idea, wasn't it?"

He didn't hear the light gasp, being too focused on his own thoughts.

"I understand if you don't feel the same way." At this point, he felt far too emotional to even look at Mettaton, let alone look him in the eye. "If you want, we can just pretend I didn't say anything, and we can just be friends. I know it's hard, but I don't want to make you uncomfortable, and--"

He didn't get to finish that thought.

Something soft and moist pressed against his hand, and when Papyrus worked up the nerve to look, his pulse nearly froze.

Mettaton, still with a firm grip on Papyrus' hand, was kissing it.

...oh my god.

After pulling back, Mettaton gently stroked Papyrus' hand, leaning in close to where Papyrus' ear would be if he had them. "Shh... come here, gorgeous."

Papyrus nearly slumped into Mettaton's arms like a ragdoll; he didn't protest when Mettaton tilted his jaw to look him in the eye.

"If I can be perfectly honest, Papyrus... hearing that from you felt like such a relief." He gently stroked away the tears brimming at the edge of Papyrus' eye sockets. "I think your friendship is one of the best things that's ever happened to me. You've given me the courage to face up to things I'm not proud of, you've brightened my days with just how utterly sweet you are... you have such a beautiful heart. And even though we initially met as a celebrity and a fan, I truly do feel like we're equals now. You're so precious to me, darling, and, well... I love you too!"

And with those words, the weight on both of their souls was lifted away.

With a huge smile, Papyrus threw his arms around Mettaton and rested his head on his shoulder, sobbing in relief and elation. He felt Mettaton's fingers slide up and down his back, and heard his soul casing run more loudly than ever.

After a couple of minutes, Mettaton (with a few tears of his own) began to think out loud. "My boyfriend, Papyrus... Papyrus' boyfriend, Mettaton... I like the sound of those. Don't you, sugar skull?"

Papyrus looked up. "Nyeh? 'Sugar skull'?"

Mettaton gave a slightly awkward chuckle. "It's a nickname I came up with just for you, because you're such a sweetheart. I hope you like it."

"Wowie..." Orange magic colored Papyrus' cheekbones. "Can... can I call you my beautiful, shimmering star?"

"Always."

The next several minutes were definitely among the happiest minutes of their lives up to that point. They cuddled in each other's arms, whispering sweet things to one another while wiping away the tears, their hearts singing all the while. It had been a big risk, and neither of them could have been happier about taking it.

Eventually, Mettaton remembered that they had been watching a movie, and he resumed it with Papyrus' full consent. The band was still playing the love ballad from earlier, and while it had previously brought nervousness, the new couple were now completely happy to listen to it, smiling and holding each other.

I wonder if Papyrus would like to dance with me later on, Mettaton thought.

It wasn't long before the song ended, and as the audience clapped and cheered, Mettaton allowed his thoughts to wander...

...and then he gasped, sat straight up, and paused the movie again.

"Metta, what's wrong?"

"The popcorn!"

And with that, Mettaton ran back into the kitchen.

Fortunately, since the microwave had long since stopped, the popcorn wasn't too worse for wear. After refilling the bowl, Mettaton returned to the couch, and the two resumed their movie for the second time. Papyrus, on the other hand, seemed to want to watch Mettaton - something that didn't escape his notice.

"Is everything all right, my darling?"

"Of course!" Papyrus rested a hand on Mettaton's shoulder, smiling brightly. "I just think you have really beautiful eyes."

With a giggle, Mettaton kissed Papyrus' forehead. "You do too."

And so the two continued to watch the concert film, no longer afraid of their feelings for one another. A new chapter of their life began on this very day, and they both looked forward to the future, with bravery, determination, and - of course - love.

Chapter Text

It was quite ironic, in several ways, that the years after falling into a mountain and meeting actual monsters were the first years in quite a while that Frisk had some measure of stability in their life.

They didn't remember much of their life from their toddler years; what they did remember was that, while most of their classmates at preschool and kindergarten lived with moms and dads, Frisk lived with their grandma and grandpa instead. Sometimes their classmates would ask them why, but the only answer Frisk could give was "I don't know". It was around the time of first grade when Frisk, while at home, was approached by some adults they didn't know and told that their grandparents couldn't take care of them anymore, and thus they would have to prepare to live in a new home. At the time, Frisk was as distressed as any child would be if they had to leave their loving caretakers, possibly forever.

(It wouldn't be until several years after Frisk started living with Toriel and Asgore that they finally learned why they had to leave first their parents and then their grandparents: Frisk's parents had become quite neglectful of their child, and Frisk later had to leave their grandparents because they were both starting to become quite ill, and most likely wouldn't be able to properly take care of Frisk.)

With reluctance in their heart, Frisk ended up in the foster care system. Most of the families they ended up living with at least tried to properly take care of them, even if some of them didn't entirely understand exactly what Frisk needed. Sometimes, Frisk's caregivers would try to get them to use their words when they were tense, even when Frisk was so tense that they found it hard to do that; for most of these parents, it was simply because they didn't know better, having been taught that speaking was the main form of communication that everyone should use.

Sometime in their third-grade year, Frisk was transferred into the home of this one couple, who came off as quite friendly at first. And indeed, whenever they took Frisk out in public, they seemed to be all smiles as they proudly showed off Frisk to whoever asked about them. But when Frisk and their new parents were home behind closed doors, or even when they were just in the car, that facade dropped. It was clear that the couple only wanted to adopt Frisk for the sake of their image; thinking about it years after the fact, that was the only explanation Frisk could think of for why they were told variations of "you'd better not embarrass us" pretty much every day. And as for what embarrassing the couple entailed? It could have been anything from showing too much emotion in public, to being unable to sit still, to even ordering the wrong thing in a restaurant (fortunately, the three of them only went to a restaurant together once).

Understandably, Frisk only stayed with that couple for two weeks; when it was determined that they were decidedly not thriving there, and that the couple raising them just weren't ready for the responsibility, they were moved to a different home.

And this home ended up being the last one they lived in before meeting the monsters.

Unlike the couple who only saw Frisk as a bragging object, the lady in this home was kind and understanding. She had a dog, who quickly became one of Frisk's best friends; whenever Frisk was done with their homework, they would play with the dog in the backyard. The dog's favorite game was always fetch, and Frisk loved to throw sticks for it. At first, Frisk had been afraid of animals, but this dog helped them become more comfortable around them, to the point where Frisk would even scratch behind the dog's ear while they watched TV.

The lady herself was kindhearted, as well. She helped Frisk with their homework, she helped them concentrate through the use of stim toys (it was while under her care that Frisk was officially diagnosed with autism), and she also helped Frisk come up with ways to communicate in case they were too tense to talk. Eventually, the lady introduced Frisk to her girlfriend, and while Frisk initially wasn't sure of what to make of her, the girlfriend ended up being nice as well.

(Frisk had initially been confused upon hearing that their foster mom had a girlfriend, since they'd previously been taught from various sources that girls are supposed to have boyfriends, and vice versa. The lady gently explained to them that sometimes boys love other boys, and girls love other girls. While that cleared one thing up for Frisk, it still didn't explain to them why they were starting to feel like neither a boy nor a girl.)

For the rest of their third-grade year, and the entirety of their fourth-grade year, Frisk lived with this lady and her dog - and eventually the lady's girlfriend as well, when she moved in. Under their care, Frisk really began to thrive; they were getting good grades in school, and were starting to make friends.

Unfortunately, near the start of Frisk's fifth-grade year, they received the news: Frisk's time with these ladies was drawing to a close, and they would soon have to move to a new home. Frisk was understandably not happy about this, and neither were their moms, who were ready to go to court and argue that they should be allowed to legally adopt Frisk. The battle was long, and it didn't look like there would be a clear outcome for quite a while.

On the fourteenth of September, Frisk was lost in thought. These ladies had been wonderful parents to them; why should they not be allowed to adopt them? What if Frisk ended up in the home of someone who wasn't so loving? What if they ended up with that other couple again, or what if they even ended up with someone worse - someone who tried to force their autistic behaviors away, or wouldn't allow them to explore their gender identity, or even tried to physically harm them?

They suddenly had a thought. In fourth grade, they had learned about a local mountain, Mt. Ebbot, which had quite a few legends surrounding it. Many of these legends said that those who climbed the mountain never returned - indeed, at least seven other people had previously climbed the mountain in the past, and only one of them was ever seen again (in their case, they weren't even alive anymore by that point). But what if Frisk could be the first person to climb the mountain and return? What if they even managed to find out what happened to those that climbed before them? They would be a hero - and anyone convinced that their moms weren't good parents would have to think twice after seeing how strong Frisk had become under their care.

Thus, they were filled with determination.

On the morning of September fifteenth, they woke up far earlier than usual and ate a really early (and really simple) breakfast before grabbing a stick from their yard and leaving a note explaining where they'd gone. And just like that, they were off. The mountain was quite a walk from Frisk's house, but knowing that they could show off their strength and make it back in time for lunch made them more determined than ever. They moved quite quickly for someone who had just skinned their knee a few days ago (and still had the bandage to prove it), and it wasn't long before they made it to the mountain.

They made their way up the path - for a tall mountain, it was surprisingly easy for a child to climb - until they came across a fork in the road. One way led to the top of the mountain, and the other led to a hole. While Frisk tried to tell themselves to just keep climbing up the trail, the more curious parts of their ten-year-old mind wondered what the hole contained.

Maybe I'll just take a peek down the hole and then go back and climb the rest of the mountain.

So Frisk approached the hole and leaned over, peering into the darkness, even crouching down a little to see if they could get a better look-

-and then they lost their footing.


They woke up on a bed of golden flowers, and while looking for a way out, they ran into another flower - and this one talked.

And thus began Frisk's adventure in the world of monsters.

As much as they wanted to defend themselves, the thought of accidentally killing anyone felt nightmarish; they decided early on that they would only attack if they had to. This decision was solidified in their mind when Toriel showed them that monsters could be reasoned with through different means; Frisk just had to figure out what was important to each monster and then show them kindness.

Toriel was such a nice woman, opening her home to Frisk that easily, and Frisk really wanted to stay with her. But at the same time, they remembered their moms on the surface, and how they would be worried sick about the child they were fighting so hard to keep as their own. In their heart, Frisk knew they had no choice; they would have to leave Toriel.

Not even hearing about the fates of the six prior humans was enough to shake Frisk's determination. Toriel eventually challenged them to a fight, demanding that they prove their strength if they were so desperate to leave. Frisk, however, refused to fight; they took everything they'd learned from their adventures in the Ruins and applied it here. They wanted to prove that they could show mercy without fighting or running away, even as the voice in their head expressed doubt that it was possible. With the help of their resolve, they managed to convince Toriel that they could survive in the world outside; the two shared a big hug, and as Toriel asked them to be good, Frisk vowed that they would do exactly that.

They traveled through Snowdin, making friends with comedians, curmudgeons, and a whole lot of dogs - and, of course, a pair of skeleton brothers. Sans came off like the cool-but-silly older brother that Frisk never had, which was undoubtedly helped by his actually being an older brother. Something about Papyrus, meanwhile... he seemed a lot like Frisk in some ways; he couldn't sit still, and he had next-to-no emotional filter. But beneath all of that bluster and all of those bone attacks was a total sweetheart who didn't seem to mean any actual harm towards anybody; as such, once the two were no longer on fighting terms, they became fast friends.

Undyne hadn't been so easy to befriend, though. She saw Frisk's soul as the key to saving her people, and pursued them all throughout Waterfall. Frisk soon discovered that she was the Royal Guard's captain for a reason; if it weren't for a few lucky breaks (some of which were thanks to a certain monster kid), Frisk probably wouldn't have lived to tell the tale. Regardless, they kept befriending everyone they met - clean monsters, creepy monsters, gelatinous monsters, singing monsters, mad monsters - and even met up with their old friend Napstablook (well, they were as much of an old friend as an acquaintance met some hours ago could possibly be). Undyne herself put up a huge fight in their final confrontation, and she refused to be spared; Frisk had to run away from her, and when she ended up on the verge of heat exhaustion as a result, they gave her some water to save her life. At first, she still wanted nothing more to do with the child, but after Papyrus cleverly goaded her into trying, she realized that Frisk was actually all right, especially since they had no will to actually attack her at this point.

Alphys and Mettaton... their story was quite weird. Frisk allowed Alphys to guide them through Hotland under the pretense that she was protecting them from a malfunctioning celebrity AI. However, Frisk ended up discovering that not only was Mettaton not actually an AI, but he and Alphys had set this whole thing up to make her look like a hero. But just because Alphys had turned out to be lying didn't mean Mettaton himself was entirely innocent; he eventually tried to outright kill Frisk, first through rearranging the Core and hiring mercenaries to kill them, before deciding to do the deed himself in what he'd originally planned to be his final show underground. He didn't get to achieve his dream of going to the surface by the end of that fight, but he did achieve a couple of his other dreams: he finally became corporeal in his dream body, and his ratings reached record heights. And so, even as his battery gave out for the time being, he was happy.

As Frisk proceeded towards the king's castle, they learned a few more things that nearly threatened to shake their determination. First, Alphys told them that leaving would also require them to take a monster soul - which meant they would most likely have to kill Asgore. Once they ended up in his home, several of the monsters they'd befriended showed up to tell them a story of how Asgore was once a loving father, but he lost both of his children in the same day and made an anti-human decree in a fit of grief. They'd even learned that Sans was the one in charge of judging people's actions; he seemed proud that Frisk hadn't taken any lives, but his subsequent reminder of the dilemma Frisk had to face with Asgore did little to quell the storm in their soul.

Indeed, when they finally met Asgore, he seemed like a sweet person; even after realizing that Frisk was a human and they wanted to go home, he gave them as much time as they needed to prepare for the final confrontation with him. Frisk rehearsed everything they wanted to say, everything they could possibly say in order to convince Asgore to show them mercy.

But when the door behind them closed and Asgore took his battle stance, the look in his eyes made it clear: nothing that Frisk could say would get him to stop fighting.

And so, for the first time since falling underground, Frisk raised their weapon against a monster. The battle was fierce, with neither side giving in, but eventually, Frisk managed to bring Asgore to his knees with one decisive swing of their knife. They looked Asgore in the eye and put the knife away, making it clear what they wanted; as much as they missed their moms, the thought of leaving all the friends they'd made without a king was too upsetting to them.

Unfortunately, Flowey didn't give them a choice in the matter, and not only struck Asgore down, but destroyed his soul as well.

As for what happened after that? Frisk had no idea how to even begin to describe it, other than that it was a miracle that it didn't break them.

Flowey seemed to be impossible to beat, but Frisk, remembering how they'd found each of the items related to the souls he carried, called out to the owners of the souls one by one. Slowly, the tide began to turn in Frisk's favor, and while they had to raise their weapon once more, they really had no choice at this point.

For a moment, it seemed that all was lost when Flowey reversed the events of their battle...

...but the souls still remembered. And since Frisk had shown them mercy when Flowey hadn't, they knew who they wanted to fight for.

When Flowey just sat there afterwards, broken and wilted, Frisk had every right to just strike him down. But much to his confusion, they didn't, not even after he warned them of what he could do. Eventually, he couldn't take it anymore and ran away.


Frisk, now alone in the darkness, saw a light. They walked towards it, getting closer and closer...

...and soon found themselves outside of the mountain, with the sun beginning to set.

The first thing they did was head down the mountain so they could go home, and when they reached the base of the mountain, they found that their moms were waiting for them, with their car nearby.

With relief in her heart, Frisk's "official" mom pulled them into a big hug. "Frisk! You're okay! We were so worried about you! Please don't ever do something like that again, okay?"

"Okay..." Frisk felt a little sad, thinking about everything. They'd managed to climb Mt. Ebbot and return, but they had to leave so many new friends behind in the process - and despite Frisk's vow to not kill anyone, one of them ended up dying anyway. But at least they could return to their normal life...

Unfortunately, as they learned while traveling home in the car, it wouldn't be quite that simple.

"Frisk, kiddo... we appreciate what you were trying to do," Frisk's mom said as they drove home. "But the thing is... the fact that you disappeared for that long isn't going to reflect well on us in the eyes of the law. They're gonna say stuff like, 'if you're such good parents, why didn't you keep a closer eye on them?'"

At that, Frisk's stomach fell. The thing that they had hoped would secure their place in their moms' household would most likely instead lead to them leaving it more quickly. They trembled, and tears began leaking out of their eyes.

This isn't what I wanted at all...

Later that night, they returned to their room after finishing dinner, and they noticed they had two new voicemail messages on their phone. The first one was from Sans, explaining what had gone on since Frisk had left the underground; Papyrus and Undyne had some contributions of their own in the message as well. Frisk couldn't help but give a bittersweet smile; even if they weren't likely to see their faces again anytime soon, it was still nice to hear their voices one last time.

The second message was from Flowey, of all people. He reminded them that they still had the power to reset; Frisk was no stranger to that power, having had to use it a few times after making mistakes that ended up in death (usually their own). On top of that, he promised that if Frisk reset and left the castle, he would help them bring a better ending to everyone - and Asgore wouldn't die.

And thus, once they'd been tucked into bed for the night, Frisk closed their eyes and tapped into that power...


They found themselves back underground, and as soon as they headed back towards the MTT Resort, Undyne called them and asked them to meet in Snowdin. She had a letter that she wanted to give to Alphys, and when Frisk delivered it, things got a little weird. At first, Alphys had thought that the human wanted to date her, but it wasn't long after they made it to the garbage dump that the truth came out: Alphys loved Undyne. And thanks to a bout of overly-enthusiastic roleplaying, Frisk wasn't the only one who found out about it. Alphys ended up being thrown into a garbage can, Papyrus invited her on what ended up being the first of many jogs the two would take together, Undyne demanded to know if anime was real, and Frisk was at least relieved that things were going differently.

Soon, they ended up visiting Alphys' lab and learning the real reason why she was so insecure. As they pressed onward through the True Lab, they learned the details of Alphys' past and her experiments, placated the fused monsters that had resulted from these experiments, and even learned a few things about the royal family - particularly regarding exactly what had become of Asgore and Toriel's children.

(They couldn't help but notice that the voice in their head seemed to be acting especially odd during this whole time.)

After finally exiting the lab, they found themselves back at New Home. With nowhere else to go, they confronted the king once more. Asgore was about to draw his trident and close the door again...

...but a fireball cut him off.

Toriel had returned to help stop the fight - and one by one, each of Frisk's other friends returned. Undyne and Alphys, Sans and Papyrus... even Mettaton showed up, even if it was just for the briefest of moments! Frisk's heart settled in relief that everyone was going to be okay.

And then Flowey showed up again, wrapping everyone in vines.

It seemed as if he'd learned nothing from the last time he'd tried to steal souls, and he tried to kill Frisk once more. But just because their friends were wrapped in vines didn't mean they couldn't help out. They each defended Frisk from Flowey's attacks, and encouraged them with their words, with more and more monsters showing up to cheer them on.

That was just what Flowey wanted, though.

The world twisted and warped once again, and Frisk found themselves alone with a boss monster.

But rather than being Toriel or Asgore, this was their fallen son Asriel Dreemurr.

Once he became the God of Hyperdeath, he made it clear that he was not going to give up easily at all. He threw everything he had at Frisk and then some, but Frisk was more determined than ever to save their life, save their friends' lives, and save the very world itself. Not even what should have been a fatal blow was enough to stop Frisk; their soul pieced itself back together when Asriel broke it in two. Frisk was ready to scream against the darkness and against reality itself in order to set things right.

Even when Asriel assumed his ultimate form and tried to stop Frisk from doing anything, Frisk (with the help of the voice in their head) remembered what they did the last time this monster trapped them in an unwinnable situation after taking others' souls: they reached out to the souls themselves and swayed them to their side.

And that was just what they did. Undyne and Alphys, Toriel and Asgore, Sans and Papyrus... it seemed all had forgotten ever meeting Frisk, but when Frisk reminded them of the good times they shared, the memories and love returned. With everyone cheering them on, Frisk realized that they had one more monster to save.

Asriel didn't want to be saved, but Frisk wouldn't take that for an answer. They were going to show mercy to absolutely everyone, even the one who was trying to break the very fabric of the world itself. Even when Asriel blasted them with everything he had, Frisk refused to die. Realizing that he truly couldn't win this one, Asriel conceded defeat.

Knowing that he couldn't just leave the world and everyone in it like this, Asriel gave up the souls, even knowing that it meant he would become a flower again. But before he did, he performed one final act, the least he could do to make up for hurting everyone: he used the power of everyone's souls to shatter the barrier.

And after a final farewell, Frisk left Asriel and returned to their friends.


As Frisk and Toriel stared at the sunset, Frisk explained to her that they were in a complicated family situation; they did have parents, but they didn't know for how long anymore. Toriel admitted that she wasn't sure what the future held, but she and Asgore would see if they could have a say in it. (She wasn't about to even think of dating Asgore again, let alone remarrying him, but given that he had been the highest authority of monsters, she reluctantly admitted that his thoughts and opinions mattered for this topic.)

Things were chaotic for a little while, but by the time it was all over, Frisk ended up in permanent custody of Toriel and Asgore. The two didn't live in the same house, but they did live on the same street, and Frisk would alternate between their homes every two weeks.

Of course, this meant that they had to say goodbye to their previous moms. It was rather bittersweet, but they all promised to keep in touch - and they agreed that, at this point, it was probably for the best.

And as the years went by, the group of monsters that Frisk had met underground began feeling more and more like a family to them. Toriel and Asgore were their mom and dad, who always encouraged kindness and patience; Sans, Papyrus, and Mettaton were their uncles, who encouraged Frisk to do the right thing, always be brave, and stay true to themselves; Alphys and Undyne were their aunts, who helped them find reasons to push on even when things looked difficult; and even Flowey ended up rejoining their family shortly after Frisk was officially adopted. He wasn't entirely sure why Frisk still wanted him around, but Frisk just didn't want to let him rot when they could easily give him a second chance.

Thanks to these monsters, Frisk finally had a stable, permanent home and a family who loved them - and it was all because they'd wanted a family in the first place.

When they turned eighteen and celebrated their birthday with their family and friends, they wondered what to wish for. Alphys and Undyne were happily married (with no sign of that changing anytime soon), Papyrus and Mettaton would be following suit later that year, Toriel and Asgore were slowly starting to at least repair their friendship, Sans was regaining his hope, Flowey seemed to be having a better life than before...

Thinking about their ambassador duties on top of everything else made them finally decide.

I wish to never forget what got me here.

Frisk looked at their family - Alphys and Undyne telling Papyrus and Mettaton about wanting to start a family, Mettaton in turn talking about his and Papyrus' upcoming wedding as Papyrus cuddled in his arms, Sans making Toriel and Asgore laugh with his jokes, Flowey munching on an appetizer - and smiled. None of this would have been possible if they hadn't shown mercy in their time underground.

And knowing that they had a wonderful family and a stable life at last... it would always fill them with determination.

Chapter Text

For the longest time, Alphys had been living in shame because of her past.

As the king's Royal Scientist, she was often called upon to help solve problems; by the time she was appointed to the position, the monsters had already gathered six human souls, and so a lot of what she had to work on dealt with the topic of souls. Would it be possible to utilize pre-existing resources to somehow synthesize a fake soul and break the barrier? That was what Asgore had asked her to study, and when she received the bodies of monsters who had fallen down, she did her best with the resources she had.

Unfortunately, everything went wrong. The monsters seemed to have woken up again, and Alphys had sent out messages to everyone promising that their family members would soon return... only for said family members to end up fusing together into creatures that later became known as Amalgamates.

And Alphys hadn't the slightest clue of what to do. If she just told everyone about what had happened, they could have gotten angry or even fallen into despair. But she couldn't keep hiding it forever; she knew that someday, she would have to come clean.

It was only with Frisk's encouragement that she worked up the nerve to finally explain everything to the monsters' families. While some of them were initially shocked upon seeing what had happened to their family members, it eventually gave way to relief that the family members in question were still alive - and since those family members had previously been on a countdown to death, there was actually a little more hope for their condition after all.

Alphys still felt horrible about everything, though; even as the Amalgamates' family members accepted them back into their respective families, it seemed that at least some of the Amalgamates themselves were still holding out hope that they could have their own bodies again. One of them, Lemon Bread, seemed especially eager to return to their old life as three separate monsters; given that they were composed of Aaron's brother, Shyren's sister, and a lemon-scented Moldbygg (the former being quite touch-starved, with the latter two valuing their personal space), it was understandable. And thus, Alphys began work on trying to synthesize a cure, allowing the souls to separate from one another and the monsters' individual scraps of dust and DNA to also separate and then reform as their own bodies.

When Asgore found out what his task for Alphys ended up creating, and especially when he found out the effects it had on her self-esteem, he was so upset that he felt he needed to shoulder some of the responsibility. Although he didn't help Alphys in the lab because he himself wasn't much of a scientist, he did offer small samples of his boss monster DNA to use in case they would be of any help. Sans, being a scientist himself, was more than willing to help Alphys with the hands-on aspects when he could; although Alphys didn't know where Flowey came from (which was probably for the best), she still appreciated his help as well. Everyone else in their circle of friends was there to give Alphys moral support when she needed it.

And so, for many years, Alphys worked at finding a cure. She tried all sorts of combinations of materials, ran all sorts of tests on DNA samples provided by the Amalgamates and their families, and in general worked as hard as she could at this project, with her friends and eventual wife cheering her on the whole way through.


Finally, over seven years after the day she confessed what had happened to everyone's family members, Alphys now held what was supposed to be the key to their return to normalcy. This liquid, floating inside of a syringe, had tested positively with DNA samples, but she still had yet to test it on any of the Amalgamates themselves. Lemon Bread had offered themselves up as a test subject; at this point, anything was possible.

Alphys felt her heart pounding as she waited for them to finish talking to their family members in the other room. If the monsters that made up Lemon Bread ended up dying from this... if even one of them died, she wouldn't be sure if she could ever forgive herself. Undyne, Mettaton, Napstablook, Sans, Papyrus, and Asgore had all gathered here as well to help provide encouragement to Alphys and to Lemon Bread's family members.

"Oh, god..." Alphys hugged Undyne for dear life, trembling like it was below zero. "I hope this works..."

Undyne rubbed her back, softly whispering to her. "We're all on your side, Alphy."

Alphys' heart was still on overdrive as she all but buried herself in Undyne's embrace. The last thing she wanted was to end up taking lives a second time over - especially in a more permanent manner. But the only way she could know if the cure worked was if she tried it on one of the Amalgamates, and their family members had probably already come to terms with the possibility that this could fail.

She still felt like she was under the worst pressure of her life, though.

All too soon, she heard the door open, and she turned around to see Lemon Bread slithering into the room, followed closely by Aaron, Shyren, and the lime, orange, and grapefruit Moldbyggs. Every one of them looked quite tense, whether in their facial expressions, their movements, or both.

"Well..." Despite his utter fear, Aaron kept on winking as fervently as ever. "We've all said everything we wanted to say."

Shyren, meanwhile, didn't speak, but instead made a beeline towards the couch where Mettaton, Napstablook, and Papyrus were sitting, nestling herself right in between Mettaton and Napstablook and shivering all the while.

"Deep breaths, gorgeous," Mettaton whispered to her.

As Lemon Bread approached, Alphys took a deep breath, studying the hypodermic needle in her hand one last time. "So... is everyone ready?"

"Yes." Despite it only being one word, when Lemon Bread said it, it sounded like it came from several sources all at once.

For one last bout of reassurance, Alphys glanced at her companions; they all smiled at her.

"We believe in you!" Papyrus said.

Alphys smiled back at them, hoping this wouldn't be the last time she ever smiled, and turned back towards Lemon Bread. "All right... here we go."

Lemon Bread offered one muscular arm, and after a brief moment's hesitation, Alphys took it and began to slowly inject the liquid. She pushed the plunger down ever-so-slowly, allowing Lemon Bread's body to slowly adjust to the liquid's presence; the room was absolutely silent, save for the faint sounds of breathing (and Alphys' own heartbeat thundering in her ears).

Once the syringe was drained, Alphys withdrew it and stepped back, soon feeling Undyne's arm around her. All eyes were on Lemon Bread at this point.

After several tense seconds ticked by, Lemon Bread began to tremble. "I... I feel something...!"

When their body suddenly broke apart into dust, Shyren gasped and huddled even closer to Mettaton, feeling tears coming to her eyes. She soon heard Napstablook's voice, though.

"Shyren... look..."

She did so, and she gasped. A strange white shape was floating in the middle of the dust - which itself was floating in midair instead of falling to the ground as monster dust usually did.

"Is... is that their soul?" Aaron asked.

Asgore stared at it from his seat. "It has to be... and yet, only human souls and boss monster souls persist after death. They must still be alive..."

The shape slowly began to separate into three equal parts, each one shaped like a monster soul. As this happened, the dust seemed to move on its own accord, sorting itself into three different clusters, one for each of the souls. The souls began glowing more brightly, as if they were magnets drawing their respective types of dust towards themselves.

Bit by bit, the dust surrounding each soul began to take on an actual form again, swirling faster than ever-

-and then came the first bright flash.

Everyone shielded their eyes until it dimmed, and when they looked, they gasped.

In the space where one of the soul-and-dust clusters previously floated, there now stood a Moldbygg. The smell of lemons began to float through the area once more as it gave some questioning burbles in the slime language; off to the side, its three family members made excited slime sounds, wiggling in a still-excited (yet chaste) manner.

Alphys gaped at the sight. "Did I...?" She turned her head to the other two clusters...

...just in time for the second flash.

This time, the monster that formed looked a lot like Aaron, except this one seemed to be prone to grinning instead of winking. He stared at his own hands. "Am I... me again?"

Aaron didn't wait for him to figure it out, though. "Ryan!" He all but tackled him in a big hug; for just this moment, Aaron looked less like a creep and more like another monster reunited with a long-lost family member.

"Whoa!" Ryan nearly felt his eyes bug out, before he laughed and returned the hug, grateful for every second of it. For many years, he'd had to share his body and soul with two monsters who didn't like physical contact very much, and while he wanted to respect the wishes of the other two monsters who shared his body, he really yearned for hugs and other friendly touches.

Of course, there was one final cluster. Mettaton, Napstablook, and Shyren in particular watched it intently as it began to form itself...

...and one flash later, they were face-to-face with an old friend.

For a brief moment, Doughremi just floated there, staring at her own fins, before she finally looked over at her sister and old friends. "Hey, Shy... it's me."

"Mimi...!" Shyren let out a cheerful laugh, tears flowing from her eyes at the same time. Of course, she'd been happy to know that Mimi was still alive as Lemon Bread, but the trio's life as an Amalgamate had become so stifling that they'd all made it clear that they wanted their own bodies again. Now that Mimi was free to live her own life, the reunited Shyra sisters could perform to their full potential.

As for Mettaton and Napstablook, both found themselves taken by old memories, where the ghost cousins and the Shyra sisters would fantasize about starting their own musical group and taking the Underground by storm. Three out of four of them were eventually able to fulfill that dream, and now that Mimi was her own person again, it would be easier than ever for her to finally join in.

Eventually, Alphys called the three monsters who once called themselves "Lemon Bread" over to her. "I'm so glad this worked... now, I may need to keep an eye on you for the next... week or so? Just to make sure there aren't any side effects. And if there are, we'll do our best to handle them."

"Thank you so much," Mimi said, while the lemon Moldbygg burbled in agreement and Ryan pulled Alphys into a hug.

Alphys nervously laughed and hugged Ryan back.


Once the three monsters left the room for a little while to catch up with their families, Alphys felt herself pulled into a second big hug - and this time, Undyne was the culprit.

"Oh my god, Alphys! You did it! I knew you could!"

Alphys gave her a bittersweet smile. "I hope it holds up, though."

"I bet they'll let us know if there are any problems." Sans got up and walked over to her. "But think about it, Alphys. Not many people have the chance to say 'I brought people back from the dead' and actually mean it in real life. When monsters fall down, they're usually as good as dead... but you saved them."

Asgore nodded. "Perhaps if you can refine this somehow, you might be able to come up with a way to lengthen monsters' natural lifespans." He felt a bittersweet pang in his heart; due to the way his and Toriel's lifespans worked, they'd both outlived a vast number of their subjects. Perhaps, if death by old age became optional for more monsters than just those two...? At the very least, longer lifespans would be a boon for monsterkind.

"I..." While part of Alphys did feel like a hero, another part wasn't so sure. She still felt a little ashamed that the entire mess even happened to begin with, even it did end well. And besides... "I don't want to take risks with other people's lives again, now that I know what can happen. I feel like I was really lucky here..."

Feeling some regret of his own, Asgore looked down. "Well, Alphys, the only reason everything happened as it did was because neither of us knew what would happen. If I knew then what I know now, I probably would not have asked you to go through with those experiments - or, at the very least, I would have approached it differently."

Alphys stayed in Undyne's embrace, thinking about how even her former boss had regrets, when she heard the sound of heels approaching, and soon felt the gloved hand on her shoulder.

"Alphys, darling... you've done something truly amazing today. Please don't sell yourself short; even though you'd made a mistake, the fact that you worked at setting things right - and that you worked at it for years - is more than enough to prove that you're not a bad person." Mettaton leaned into Alphys' view with a sparkle in his eyes. "Did you see the look on Shyren's face? Not only did her sister return, but she now has her own body again - and it was because you wanted to fix your mistakes instead of running away from them."

Papyrus joined his fiance's side, grinning at Alphys. "You're a hero, Alphys, even if you don't think you are! You believed in yourself like we believed in you, and even when everything was difficult, you still didn't give up!" He struck a heroic pose. "Alphys is awesome! Alphys is cool! Alphys gets A's in greatness school!"

"Hell yeah!" Undyne said.

Alphys rubbed the back of her head. "W-well, I couldn't have done it without everyone's help..."

And yet, deep down, she really did feel like celebrating; one of the biggest weights on her soul began to lighten its load on that very day.


Over the next week, Alphys checked in on Mimi, Ryan, and the lemon Moldbygg every day, whether through phone calls or visits. Much to her relief, all three of them seemed stable and healthy; none of them were quite the same people that they had been before being fused, but they were all beginning to enjoy their lives more than ever. They were on the surface, they were healthy, and they had their families.

And as Alphys prepared to ask the remaining Amalgamates which one wanted to be cured next, she too felt like life was getting better every day. She thought about all the support she'd received - not just from her wife and friends, but from the family members of the Amalgamates - and she knew that, even when things didn't look hopeful, she would always have people there for her to help her through the struggles.

Knowing that she wasn't as alone as she'd thought she was, and knowing that she could fix her mistakes...

Alphys thought about this, and she smiled.

Chapter Text

Mettaton was so comfortable in his body that he almost forgot what it was like to be incorporeal.

Thus, when he received the news that one of his cousins had become corporeal after so long, he definitely considered it a cause for celebration. Cousin Maddy had recently discovered the joys of corporeality, so Mettaton invited her for lunch at any place she wanted to go; Maddy wanted to go to Muffet's bakery, and Mettaton had no problems with that. With full permission from both Maddy and Mettaton, Papyrus tagged along; considering that Mettaton was familiar with Sans, it was no surprise that Papyrus wanted to meet some of the other members of Mettaton's family. He knew Napstablook, of course, but meeting another of Mettaton's cousins would be interesting.


"So I had to wait about..." Maddy counted on her gloved fingers. "Seventeen minutes just to find out that I couldn't purchase the outfit I wanted to buy, because it was an incomplete set! Even though there weren't any other clothes like it on the rack!" She grumbled. "I was looking forward to showing it off... so if you don't like the clothes I'm wearing right now, yell at the store employees, not at me!"

"That is unfortunate." Mettaton paused to take a sip of spider cider before looking at his downcast cousin. "Perhaps you'll find it in a different store?"

"Hmph. Easy for you to say." Maddy folded her arms. "You got so much money and fame that you could just waltz into any old store, and the people working there would bend over backwards to give you what you want! You could get the folks at a shoe store to make you a cheeseburger if you wanted to! What about someone like me, me, me? Someone who's still trying to find her way in this crazy world?"

"You can do it! I believe in you!" Papyrus scratched his skull. "Admittedly, I don't know you that well, so I'm not sure of how your life has been so far."

Maddy blinked. "Right. Right! Right! I never told you my story, did I? Well, Mettaton knows some of it, but I don't think you do. Therefore!" She cleared her throat and struck a pose. "In living color: the story of Mad Mew Mew!"


For many years, Maddy had been trying to become corporeal in the body of a training dummy - specifically, the one that Undyne had in front of her house. (Even though Maddy often saw Papyrus visiting Undyne's house now and then, he and Maddy never really spoke to each other - not for lack of trying on Papyrus' part, though.) When it came time for everyone to move to the surface, Maddy wondered what her future would be. Did humans even need training dummies on the surface? She originally dreamed of being a mannequin in a fancy department store, but upon seeing other mannequins, she wasn't sure if she'd make the cut. While this body did have a pedestal, it had neither arms nor legs; would any fashion stores be willing to hire her?

Fortunately, one did; while it was mainly a human-run fashion store, a couple of monsters had also sought employment there (particularly one named Ice Cap). This store wasn't quite as fancy as the kind Maddy had dreamed of, but at this point, she was willing to take anything she could get. The employees certainly appreciated having her around, as well; if the clothes she was modeling were impractical or uncomfortable, she would let them know, and they would fix them accordingly. (Maddy's main speciality was modeling hats, scarves, and other similar accessories.)

All the while, she kept trying to fuse with her body. No matter what she tried, though, it just wasn't working; she wondered if she would have to do something like wear especially uncomfortable clothes so she could explode in rage. And it wasn't like she could just ask any of her coworkers for help, either; they probably had absolutely no experience with this.

Things eventually changed after several years, though. To celebrate the anniversary of the Mew Mew Kissy Cutie franchise, some special merchandise had been released, including limited-edition life-sized dolls known as Animatronic Limited Edition Mew Mew Machines. The first time Maddy laid eyes on one, she knew she had to acquire one of her own; something about it just made her feel like she could be even more of herself than ever before if she tried possessing it. And not only that, it also had arms, legs, and the capability to wear different outfits, so not only could Maddy keep her current job, she could more easily model different outfits and not just accessories.

But the big question was, how was she going to get one?

It wasn't long before she had her answer, though. She remembered her old friend Undyne; the two still kept in touch from time to time, and to her understanding, both Undyne and her wife (especially her wife) liked the Mew Mew franchise. And on top of that, the holidays were coming soon, so Maddy had the perfect excuse to ask for one of those dolls. (When Maddy told them exactly why she wanted one, Alphys seemed especially eager to assure her that they would get one for her.) But of course, she couldn't just ask for something without giving something in return... what could she give, though?

Fortunately, she soon had an answer after browsing UnderNet. Alphys and Undyne both wanted to attend the upcoming Mew Mew convention that spring, but they needed to get started on assembling their cosplays beforehand. Maddy couldn't just give them freebies or even discounts on clothes from her store, though - it was against company policy. But she could still go to other stores and find things for them there...

After asking them what they needed and what sizes they wore, Maddy went into another part of town and picked up some clothes according to the list. It was tough finding some of the things she needed, and the lines were often pretty terrible, but she eventually emerged victorious, and was able to present the clothes to the two on Christmas.

In turn, the couple gave Maddy the exact kind of doll she'd had her eye on.

At first, the thought of leaving her dummy body and possessing this new body was a little intimidating; the dummy body was what she'd known for years. Indeed, she felt a little empty after vacating her old body. But when she took control of the Mew Mew doll... when she looked at herself, with a new face, arms, legs, and even a tail, she really did begin to feel more like herself than ever.

Of course, she had to learn how her new limbs worked; it was quite embarrassing at first. Fortunately, her friends and coworkers were willing to help her out; she worked at it day and night, figuring out how to walk, pose, dance, and grip things. (She was really lucky she still had use of her telekinetic powers in case it didn't work out.) In the meantime, she kept up her modeling work for the clothing store; some of the hats felt a little awkward with her new cat ears, but now she could wear full outfits.

By the time the convention rolled around, she was ready and able to join Alphys and Undyne without looking clumsy - and the two looked really cool and cute in their cosplays, thanks to Maddy's help. Needless to say, quite a few of the convention's guests couldn't believe their eyes when they saw Maddy walking around and engaging in conversation. She looked a lot like the dolls that some of them had acquired over the holidays, and yet, she acted like a living, breathing person.

It just so happened that this convention had karaoke, and Maddy made it clear to Alphys and Undyne that she wanted to visit the karaoke stage. She had been practicing a little routine in the weeks leading up to the convention, and she was just itching to show it off. Since Alphys and Undyne were also hoping to sing karaoke, they had no reason to argue with her; after visiting a couple more vendor booths, they headed to the room with the stage.

Maddy waited ever-so-anxiously for her turn to come up, but when it finally did, she was ready to show everyone a routine that was gnarly, tubular, way cool, and all those other adjectives. (She'd wondered if anyone would be able to tell that she was Mettaton's cousin.)

When she took the stage, a ska rendition of one of the show's songs began to play, and before long, she was singing her heart out. She had spent quite a lot of time practicing this, and it showed; every note and every word was right on point, and when she threw herself into the music and improvised a little at a later point in the song, it still felt natural. During the song's instrumental portions, she let loose with a dance; she'd always loved ska dancing, and now that she had arms and legs, she could really go all-out.

And as she soon found out, the crowd loved watching it as much as she loved performing it.


"They gave me a standing ovation! I'd never been so excited in all my life!" Maddy looked up. "And when I was walking back to my seat afterwards, I noticed that something felt different... and that was when I knew."

Mettaton gave her a knowing nod.

After taking another bite of a spider donut, Maddy leaned on the table. "And now you know. And knowing, as they say, is half the battle." She stood up with a dramatic pose. "New life! Cool life! Mew Mew life!" She sat back down with a grin. "...mew~"

"Being corporeal feels so amazing, doesn't it, darling?" Although Mettaton had no interest in the Mew Mew Kissy Cutie series, he could definitely relate to Maddy through their similar struggles at finding a body, as well as their mutual love for performing. "Finding that perfect body that makes you feel like yourself, and getting to make it your own..."

Maddy had a twinkle in her eye. "It does. It does! It does! I thought I'd have to get really angry in order to fuse with my body... but it turns out other emotions work, too! Now I have so many possibilities, mew~ I could meow into primetime in this body... I could get my own show on Delta Rune Network!" She smirked at Mettaton. "If you, by any chance, happen to know the guy whose shows take up ninety-eight percent of the network's timeslots, I suggest you warn him!"

"Watch it, now!" Even then, Mettaton couldn't help snickering; ever since he'd started rebuilding his bridges with his family, he and Maddy often liked teasing each other.

In the meantime, Papyrus noticed that another customer had entered; as Muffet was tending to them at the counter, Maddy seemed to be watching her with a strange kind of look in her eye. Even after Mettaton had stopped laughing, Maddy didn't continue their previous conversation, instead keeping her attention on Muffet.

Papyrus cleared his throat. "Is everything all right, Maddy?"

"Huh?" Maddy turned back towards them; for some reason, a light blush had crossed her face. She chuckled a bit. "Of course! Everything's mew-rrific!"

Papyrus didn't seem to notice the oddities in her behavior. "Did you want to order something else?"

Mettaton, on the other hand, was quite a bit more observant. He smirked and his voice dipped a little low. "Oh, I know what she wants to order, darling. She wants to order a bouquet of flowers."

Maddy's ears turned sideways. "W-what?!"

Leaning back and crossing his legs, Mettaton kept up his smirk. "Don't try to deny it, beautiful. I can tell you had reasons for bringing us here, and they're not all related to the food."

"Shut up. Shut up! Shut up!" Maddy felt her fur stand on end.

Papyrus tilted his head. "I don't think they sell flowers here. Unless it's on the secret menu?"

"They don't." Mettaton slipped his arm around Papyrus' shoulders. "But I just know Maddy would love to bring them here and set them where Muffet can see them."

Resisting the urge to hiss, Maddy reached towards Mettaton's volume knob and tried to turn it down.

"She wants to see the sparkle in Muffet's eyes upon receiving some lovely flowers, and perhaps invite her to take the evening off so they could have dinner together and/or see a show, and Maddy, darling, if you're trying to turn my voice off, it's not going to work, because my voice is intrinsically tied to my soul and that knob on my chestplate just allows me to amplify it over long distances, so it's already as far down as it's going to go because I don't need to do that at the moment." He took Maddy's hand and grinned at her. "Nice try, though."

Defeated, Maddy looked down and sighed, feeling her tail droop as well. "This is revenge for all those times I teased you about Papyrus, isn't it?"

"Now we're even, gorgeous~" After giggling a bit, Mettaton offered her a more sincere smile. "But seriously, trust me on the flowers. She loves them so much that she's even started her own garden recently; she has quite a few pictures on UnderNet."

Maddy chuckled a bit and rubbed the back of her head. "Well then. Well then! Well then! ...I'll have to remember that." Her expression brightened a little. "Thanks for the advice, mew~"

Mettaton smiled. "Anything for my cousin. And if you need help on navigating a corporeal body, I can help with that, too."

All the while, Papyrus himself grinned. Having known from the man himself that Mettaton had some regrets when it came to his family, it was wonderful to see him and another cousin of his get along. And even though he personally didn't understand some of Maddy's tastes in entertainment, he still felt happy that she found her own perfect body - and perhaps found a special someone of her own.

It seemed that, in spite of the old saying, some news could be good news after all.

Chapter Text

Guided by the flickering light of a nearby lantern, Kid flipped through the pages of the book on the table - they all seemed to be blank - before finally finding a page with some text. "Yo! Here's something!"

Papyrus, who had been fruitlessly trying to open a dresser, looked up. "Nyeh?"

Kid looked back towards the mysterious book. "It says, The family in this house lived well, but now they've all gone straight to..." They tilted their head. "I think the last word is smudged; I can't read it."

"Hmm?" Mettaton stood up, having just tried to look under the bed, and walked over. "May I see that book, darling?"

"Sure; here you go." Kid handed Mettaton the book.

Grabbing the covers, Mettaton held the book open and turned it upside-down - and just as he suspected, something fell out of it, clinking against the ground.

Kid leaned down to look at the shiny object. "A key..."

With a nod, Mettaton picked it up and walked towards the door. "Come on, darlings. The rest of this wing awaits!"

He unlocked the door, and the trio were soon on their way. Kid clutched their plastic bucket with help from their magic, trembling slightly and looking around. With all the cobwebs in the corners, the dim lighting, and the decaying walls and flooring, this haunted house felt way too decrepit for a family to have ever lived here; would they run into the something - or someone - that ended the family's time here? Just because Kid was dressed like a dragon right now didn't mean they had the powers of one; neither their parents nor their sister Tina had any fire powers, since if they did, they would have already started teaching Kid how to use them.

A portrait of a family - presumably the same one who once lived here - hung on the wall of this hallway. As the trio passed by, the family's eyes followed them.

Mettaton, using his light-up wand as a lantern, looked around. "There should be a stairway somewhere around here. But where...?"

Keeping one hand on his prop cutlass, Papyrus grinned. "Maybe, if we listen very hard, the truth will come to us at last!"

"I hope so..." Kid looked from corner to corner, on high alert.

Before long, they wandered into what appeared to be an armory of sorts. Several empty suits of armor, some equipped with weapons like maces and axes, stood perfectly still. Were they really empty, though?

Papyrus braced his shield. "Don't worry; if anything goes after us, I, the Great Papyrus, will defend you two!"

"And I know quite a few electric spells." Mettaton struck a little pose with his wand.

They looked around for a little bit. It was so quiet inside of here... almost too quiet. Kid held onto their bucket almost as if it were a lifeline as they inspected some of the different objects around the room.

Noticing Kid's worried expression, Papyrus smiled at them. "Don't worry, Kid! I've seen enough episodes of Escape from Castle MTT to know what to do in places like these! There should be a key somewhere; sometimes a room isn't just a room, after all!"

"Right..." Kid kept up the search.

Mettaton, noticing a long treasure chest in one corner of the room, raised an eyebrow. "Oh? What's this?" Papyrus and Kid followed him as he walked up to the chest...

...only for a nearby suit of armor to suddenly glow with red eyes.

"And just what do you think you are doing?"

Kid yelped and retreated behind Papyrus and Mettaton, who drew their respective prop weapons.

"Stay back!" Papyrus waved his plastic sword at the armor. "Or else I, the Great Papyrus, leader of the Great Papirates, will be forced to take action!"

Mettaton glared at the armor. "I have a wand, beautiful, and I know how to use it!"

Whoever or whatever was in the armor was not fazed, despite not attacking or even moving. "The key you are looking for is not in this chest. Opening it would be a very bad decision."

After a second or two, Mettaton took a deep breath. "All right, then, we won't. Come on, darlings, let's--"

"Too late!" A second new voice sounded from within the chest as the lid slowly creaked open. Everyone found themselves frozen in their tracks as a long arm slipped over the side, and as its owner pushed themselves upwards, the trio found themselves face-to-face with a vampire.

Kid glared at the vampire, and Mettaton and Papyrus held up their weapons, shaking a bit. The vampire looked at the three and let out a long, maniacal laugh...

...before turning into a bat and flying away.

There was another clinking sound, and Kid felt a weight in their bucket; they peeked inside and quickly noticed that it was no longer empty. "Huh? A key? I didn't put that in there!"

Papyrus came over and eyed the mysterious object. "Hmm... that's weird. But we do need keys, so this is also good!"

"Oh, yes." Mettaton looked towards a door. "Let's get out of here while we still can, shall we?"

"That is a very smart decision," said the armor. "Just beware the rest of the manor's perils."

Certainly, none of the three had imagined that they would be taking advice from a living suit of armor anytime in the near future, but this was one of those nights where anything could happen.


The next half-hour was interesting, to say the least. Among other things, they took a trip to the mansion's library (where even the books seemed to be haunted), the ballroom (where Kid was almost expecting the piano to grow teeth and chase after them), and a wardrobe room full of mirrors (where the lights malfunctioned every now and then). Every room included a close encounter with another vampire (or its shadow, in the case of the mirror room), and while it always ended with the three finding another key, it certainly wasn't a walk in the park to deal with. The vampires had quite a way of showing up when the three least expected it, to the point where even Mettaton felt more than a little rattled by the time they made it to the stairway.

As the three went down the stairs, Kid quite literally quaked in their boots. "Y-yo, if they have any garlic bread in here, I wanna split some with you."

"We shouldn't be in too much danger, beautiful. Vampires drink blood, and since we don't have any, we should be safe." Mettaton took a deep breath. "...I hope."

Papyrus slipped an arm around Mettaton's shoulders. "If anything goes wrong, I will gladly stand up for both of you!"

"Thank you so much, sugar skull."

They finally made it to the bottom of the staircase, where they proceeded into the main room. It was rather large and quite ornately decorated, with fine rugs, carved wooden furniture, and even a chandelier raised high above the ground. Oddly enough, the only light came from the fireplace and some random candles scattered around the room; the chandelier itself remained unlit.

"Hmm..." Mettaton once again used his wand as a flashlight of sorts as the three went to the center of the room. "There should be an exit around here somewhere..."

It was when the three were standing directly under the chandelier that every flame in the room suddenly went out. Kid yelped for what had to have been at least the fifth time that night and huddled closer to the others, now that Mettaton's wand was the only source of light. Everyone looked around the newly-darkened room until they finally heard something. A voice began laughing, and one by one, more voices began to join in until it was a miniature chorus of discordant laughter.

Directly above them, the sound of moving chains resonated through the air, and the chandelier suddenly began to drop. It abruptly stopped just a few inches above the tip of Mettaton's hat, whereupon a few candles in the room turned back on. The trio all kept very still and very close to one another, pulses pounding like jackhammers.

Finally, the laughing died down, and one of the voices spoke up. "You have come quite far tonight... solving the mysteries of this house."

"However... we have to stop you here," said another voice. "Wizard! Dragon! Pirate... knight... enigmatic being!"

Papyrus raised his hand slightly to avoid bumping the chandelier. "I'm a pirate knight! Not a pirate day, though; Pirate Day was last month."

"Fair enough!" Some mist began to float through the room. "We're sorry to say, your journey ends here..."

Some silhouettes began to appear in the mist, and when the fog cleared, the trio saw every vampire they had encountered staring them down; all had huge grins. The vampires slowly approached the group, and Papyrus drew his plastic cutlass once more, holding up his shield for good measure...

...only for the chandelier and the rest of the flames to turn on as soon as the vampires were just a couple of feet away from the three.

The vampire who had just been speaking to them gave them a friendlier grin. "Because you have just finished the escape room!"

"Whoa!" Kid felt like they needed to catch their breath. "...really?"

"Yes, really!" said a third vampire. "The three of you are very brave and clever indeed!"

Papyrus grinned and posed. "Nyeh heh heh! That's why I'm called the Great Papyrus!"

"Ohhh yesss!" Mettaton did a pose of his own.

A fourth vampire grabbed some goodie bags and brought them over to the trio. "Please take these goodie bags as a reminder of your adventure tonight. They have some fun trinkets - and, of course, some yummy candy! And you can take that door over there to go to the courtyard, where you can join the party!"

After the three took the goodie bags and thanked the vampires, the vampire group all stood together. "Happy Halloween!"


As soon as the trio stepped outside, they were greeted with the sight of a party full of costumed characters, with the rollercoasters and the Ferris wheel in the distance - and three familiar faces.

"Hey!" Frisk, all decked out in their werewolf costume, ran up to them, with Undyne and Alphys following.

"Yo!" Kid held up their bucket, while Papyrus and Mettaton waved.

Undyne (who, like Alphys, was dressed up like a starship commander) let out an excited laugh. "So, did you punks have fun with the ghosts?"

"Actually, we met vampires!" Papyrus said.

"We met ghosts in our part of the mansion..." Alphys adjusted her glasses. "But we'll take your word for it."

"Well, there was also this living suit of armor..."

As Kid continued to tell stories, with Frisk giving stories of their own in return (such as the haunted appliances in the kitchen), everyone headed over to the refreshments tables. The tables were loaded with such treats as garlic bread, spider pastries from Muffet's bakery, blood-red fruit punch, and, of course, many different varieties of candy.

They were in the middle of getting their snacks when they saw a bright flash - and given what they'd just been through, none of them could help jumping a little. Fortunately, it was just Sans and a camera (which completed the look of his tourist costume, along with the sandals, shorts, flowery shirt, hip pack, lei, and sunglasses).

Sans shrugged. "C'mon, this is a real camera, so I might as well use it."

"Hello, brother!" Papyrus walked up to him. "That haunted house was quite disturbing - but the vampires ended up being friendly!"

"So were the werewolves in our part - and I don't just mean Frisk over there."

Tina, Kid's older sister (who was dressed up in a mermaid costume), gave Papyrus a curious look. "What are you supposed to be? You look kinda like a pirate, but also like a knight."

"I couldn't decide which one I wanted to be, so I became a pirate knight." Papyrus unsheathed his fake sword and did a pose. "The official knight of the Great Papirates!"

While Sans, Frisk, and Undyne burst into a snickering fit at the pun, Tina gave Papyrus a playfully scolding look. "Just don't steal anything!"

"Don't worry! The only thing I steal is people's hearts!"

Mettaton put an arm around Papyrus. "And believe me, darling, he's very good at it." He kissed Papyrus' forehead, drawing a happy sigh from him.

Meanwhile, Sans scratched his head as he pondered Mettaton's costume. "So... you're a wizard, MTT? Not the first thing I would've expected, but okay."

Chuckling a bit, Mettaton looked up. "Well, it all started last Valentine's Day, when Papyrus wrote a lovely poem for me..."

As they all continued talking about their Halloween adventures, they all felt just a little more brave inside. Kid in particular couldn't help admiring their heroes' bravery and wits in the face of danger - even fake danger. Maybe someday, Kid themselves could be someone's hero.

But they would have enough time to ponder that later on; at this moment, it was time to eat some snacks and candy and have some fun (and perhaps place their bets for who would win that night's costume contest).

Chapter Text

Ever since moving to the surface, Mettaton had a bit of a weird relationship with rain.

Given that his body still had yet to be completely waterproofed, it was understandable that he wasn't a very big fan of it at first. He would have to bundle himself up in all sorts of rain gear in order to go outside, just to be safe. Alphys had said that she was hoping to figure out a way to waterproof his body without altering it too drastically; even though Mettaton wasn't about to rush her since he knew about everything else she'd been going through (and besides, he would rather wait for a working solution than push her for a solution that may not work), he still couldn't help but dream of the day when rain and other water-related things would be no big deal.

And then, sometime around the first anniversary of monsters making it onto the surface, there came one particular rainy day. While, at first, Mettaton considered it to be the very thing that would cement his disdain for the rain for all eternity (or at least until he became waterproof), the developments that resulted from this day began to plant a seed in his thoughts.

This was the day where he had to stay at the skeleton brothers' house for the afternoon when he should have been filming his first new TV show on the surface. Flooded roads made it all but impossible for Mettaton and his crew to meet up safely, though, and Mettaton's emotions as he ranted to Papyrus could have easily been likened to a thunderstorm.

However, it was also because of this rainy day that Mettaton and Papyrus really started to grow close. After all, when you're a celebrity, and one of your big fans reacts to you freaking out by comforting you while giving absolutely no sign that they think any less of you after seeing you like this... well, it's hard not to want to get to know them a little more.

As they grew closer and closer, Mettaton learned that Papyrus had more than a few ways of cheering him up during rainy days. Phone calls were always a good option; whether audio-only or video calls, Mettaton appreciated them just for the chance to hear Papyrus' voice (and possibly see his face). Sometimes, Papyrus would also come over for a visit just to make sure Mettaton had no chance of becoming bored; it helped that Papyrus himself could handle the rain. What happened next could vary depending on what Papyrus had on his mind; sometimes he would want to join Mettaton in watching TV, sometimes he would play games with him, and there were at least a few times where Papyrus brought his guitar and showed Mettaton some new songs he had learned (there was even one time where he sang a song about raindrops falling on someone's head). Considering that Papyrus knew so many ways to help Mettaton cheer up on a rainy day, Mettaton couldn't help but wonder if Papyrus was also secretly an actor.

In fact, by the time the two moved in together, Mettaton found himself unable to deny it any longer: he was actually starting to like rainy days.


There was one thing about rain that Mettaton always had to admit: it did have a soothing sound.

And as he and Papyrus lay on the couch beneath a soft blanket, listening to the raindrops fall and imagining the puddles on the ground, he knew it was even better when he could enjoy it with someone. This was especially true when this someone was the exact person who had taught him to appreciate this weather.

He gently held Papyrus' hand. "Sweetie?"

"Yes, my beautiful star?"

Indeed, there seemed to be stars in Mettaton's eyes as he spoke. "I never knew I liked rainy days until I met you. And I'll be able to enjoy them even more when I'm finally waterproof." He snuggled a little closer. "Thank you so much, sunflower."

He really did think Papyrus was like a sunflower; even though the nickname had mostly stemmed from one specific incident, it still felt fitting because Papyrus really was like a ray of sunshine, even when the weather couldn't have been more gloomy.

"Wowie..." It had to have felt special for Papyrus to know that his hero started liking something because of him.

As they closed their eyes and listened to the rain, Mettaton knew that he wouldn't be able to stop the rain by complaining - but that didn't matter at the moment, because, as long as he had Papyrus, he was free.

Nothing's worrying me...

Chapter Text

Slowly opening his eyes, Mettaton groaned a little as his mind began to wake up. He'd just been in the midst of a wonderful dream; he and Papyrus had been holding each other and laughing...

His mind tried to grasp for more fragments of the dream... anything? Unfortunately, it was hard for him to remember anything specific other than what he already did remember.

The only other thing Mettaton knew for sure at this moment was that he now had a song stuck in his head after waking up from that dream; while it wasn't wholly unusual for him to have random songs stuck in his head after waking up, the specific song in this case - when combined with the dream he'd just had - felt far too much like his subconscious had planned it out for him. Leaning back on his hotel bed, he began to whistle the instrumental riff of the song; it was a deceptively happy melody, for the song it belonged to felt quite bittersweet in a few ways.

After a bit of whistling, he softly sang the song's first line.

"Show me, show me, show me how you do that trick..."

He abruptly stopped. There was still a quick and easy fix for his current loneliness - well, there were a few fixes, but this was one he made a point to do every day while out on tour.

The previous night, after his first performance in this tour stop concluded, he dropped by a local souvenir store to see what they had. There were quite a few pencil holders in stock, and as soon as Mettaton saw one shaped like a pink high-heeled boot, he had two reactions. His first was to laugh, and his second, of course, was to pick it up so he could purchase it, "because it would be positively criminal if I didn't have one of these!"

Every morning, before Mettaton left to prepare for the show he would be doing later that night, he would take a photograph of something related to the location he was at and upload it to UnderNet. Since he had already taken a photo of the view from his hotel room the previous morning, he knew that this time around, he just had to share the little trinket he'd picked up.

After placing the pencil holder in a photogenic place in the room and making sure the lighting was good, he took a photo with his phone. Soon, he had it uploaded to his official UnderNet page, with this caption: I found this at a souvenir store last night. It seems like the whole world knows my name - and/or my legs - at this point! Isn't it exciting, darlings?

He waited for a little while so the notifications could steadily trickle in. Likes and comments came in at a decent rate, and Mettaton smiled at the nice comments he was starting to receive...

And then, finally, he saw the two notifications he had been waiting for.

CoolSkeleton95 liked your photo.

CoolSkeleton95 commented on your photo.

His heart fluttered, and he went to view the comment in a flash.

WOWIE!!! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A REALLY COOL SOUVENIR STORE! I'M SURE EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOUR PERFORMANCE TONIGHT, IF THE SOUVENIR STORE HAS THOSE! AS ALWAYS, MY FRIENDS AND I ARE THINKING OF YOU, AND WE LOVE TO SEE YOU SHINE!!!

Mettaton smiled and sent a reply to the comment. It wasn't overly complex, for the most part - thanking Papyrus and telling him to give his regards to the others - but once he'd sent his reply, he sent another message to Papyrus through the instant message feature.

I just woke up from this wonderful dream about you, where we were laughing together. I wish I could remember the rest...

In that moment, he thought of the song again, and something within him felt compelled to sing more lyrics from later in the song. "Dancing in the deepest oceans, twisting in the water, you're just like a dream... You're just like a dream..."

Sadly sighing, he let himself fall backwards onto the mattress. He was a strong robot celebrity, undoubtedly - he didn't need to be around Papyrus all the time in order to feel able to function - but it sure was nice to have Papyrus around. And that dream, reminding him of what he couldn't have at that moment, since Papyrus was all the way home and Mettaton was in another country...

He stared up at the ceiling, feeling quite alone. As much as he loved it when his fans cheered for him, and as much of a thrill he got out of performing, sometimes he really missed spending time with those he loved. At the very least, Napstablook and Shyren got to travel with him all the time by virtue of being in his backing band, and he truly did love their company; the two were becoming more and more confident after every successful performance, and they would sometimes tell him interesting things they'd learned about the cities where they would perform.

But unless there was some sort of diplomatic meeting calling Papyrus overseas, he wouldn't be able to meet up with Mettaton in person until Mettaton returned from his tour. And even if there were such a meeting, they would both be far too busy with work to spend anything resembling quality time with each other.

Mettaton sighed once more. At this moment, he just wanted one simple thing - to either hold Papyrus or be held by him - but he couldn't even have that because of the physical distance between them.

"Why are you so far away, he said? Why won't you ever know that I'm in love with you... that I'm in love with you?" Of course, Papyrus already knew that Mettaton loved him, to the point where they even lived together, but--

The phone suddenly buzzed, and Mettaton quickly grabbed it; sure enough, Papyrus had replied to him.

WOWIE! I WAS DREAMING ABOUT YOU THE OTHER NIGHT, TOO!!!

Really? Mettaton punctuated it with a couple of hearts.

YES! WE WERE GOING FOR A JOG THROUGH A VOLCANO PARK, AND FRISK WAS WITH US WEARING A CAPE!

That seemed like a quite bizarre dream, but then again, Mettaton's own dreams didn't always make perfect sense. He was about to reply, but upon seeing that Papyrus was typing, decided to wait.

I ONCE HAD A SIMILAR DREAM WHERE WE WERE IN A SUBMARINE THAT WAS POWERED BY RUNNING. ALPHYS AND UNDYNE WERE THERE, OFFERING US SOME CUPCAKES SO WE COULD RUN FASTER!!!

Mettaton couldn't help chuckling; of course, actually entering a submarine would feel like far too much of a risk as long as he wasn't fully waterproof, but how exactly would one power a submarine by running? What were Alphys and Undyne doing there, and how exactly did they get cupcakes into the submarine? Why wasn't Undyne one of the runners? Dreams were so weird.

For a little while, they kept talking about their dreams, before Mettaton eventually sent him a different message.

You're such a sweetheart... I can't wait to see you again.

The next message he received was exactly what he needed to see.

I KNOW YOU'LL PUT ON AMAZING SHOWS! AND WHEN YOU COME BACK, WE'LL BOTH HAVE COOL STORIES TO TELL!

His heart felt warm; as much as he missed Papyrus, he still loved performing in front of audiences and visiting new places.

And as they continued to talk in the small amount of time they had before Mettaton had to seriously think about starting his day, Mettaton knew he would give tonight's show his all - just like the shows before it and the shows still to come. He would dazzle the audience and let them know that Mettaton was here, and he was glamorous.

If there was one other thing that he knew, it was that seeing Papyrus again after a successful tour would be just like heaven.

Chapter Text

Papyrus didn't know what to do except nearly turn the house upside down in his search.

Today was one of his scheduled gardening days; while there were some small chores he'd do every day (such as making sure the plants were watered and that no four-legged invaders had tried to steal anything), it was on days like this that he'd really go out there and take care of things like pulling up weeds and trimming the hedges. It wasn't always easy work, but knowing that the end result would be a lovely, clean backyard space for him and Mettaton to share... it definitely filled Papyrus with determination.

But one thing that didn't fill Papyrus with determination was being unable to find his gardening gloves.

He needed those, undoubtedly; trying to wash the soil out of his phalanges would take quite a long time if he went without (especially since it wouldn't just be soil - any manner of contaminants could be lurking in the things he touched, and considering that Papyrus liked to prepare dinner, washing his hands was definitely a must even after wearing gloves). Aside from the practical uses, they also made him feel distinguished, and they just felt nice on his hands.

This was precisely why he ran up and down the house, searching many different rooms for the gloves in question. They weren't in the bedroom, nor were they in the garage. He couldn't find them in the living room, or in any of the closets (which had lots of gloves belonging to both him and Mettaton, but none of them were gardening gloves). At one point, he even checked the kitchen; he looked in the cupboards and drawers, on the counters, and even in the fridge, but still no gloves. And of course, he checked the garden itself at least five times in his search; he probably should have realized they weren't there, but, he thought, checking again wouldn't hurt, especially in the place where the gloves were meant to be used.

Finally, after a while of searching, it was clear to him that this was going nowhere. He trudged outside to the front porch and sat down on the swing (a relatively recent purchase), frowning all the while. This would definitely throw off his usual schedule for gardening; while he would be able to purchase a new pair, he still liked his old pair, and they weren't anywhere close to being worn out enough to warrant a replacement.

He looked down at his boots, wondering how on earth he could have misplaced his gloves so horribly, especially since he wanted to keep an organized home. "Nyoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo..."

For a while, he just listened to the quiet sounds of the outdoors. Eventually, the soft humming of a motor began to float through the air, and Papyrus saw a familiar limousine pull onto the street out of the corner of his eye socket. He heard the door open, followed by the sound of Mettaton's voice as he thanked his chauffeur; before long, the limo drove away, leaving Mettaton to walk up to the porch. Papyrus wasn't sure how long it was before he heard Mettaton speak again.

"Sunflower?" Mettaton came over to the swing and took a seat next to Papyrus, an arm slipping around his shoulders. "Whatever is the matter?"

Papyrus sadly sighed. "I can't find my gardening gloves. I checked everywhere I could think of." He looked at his gloved hands. "And I can't use these gloves, because they're not gardening gloves!"

Mettaton wrapped his other arm around Papyrus and softly kissed his forehead. "I'm sure you'll find them, sugar skull. Do you remember where you last saw them?"

"Well..." Papyrus tapped his mandible, thinking of his last gardening day and what he'd done since then. There was one day where Mettaton, just like today, had gone out to run some errands, so Papyrus had decided to visit Frisk and Asgore. He'd learned beforehand that the two had been spending part of the day gardening, so just in case they needed any help, he decided to bring his...

Wait a minute!

Papyrus sprung upright and gasped. All the places he checked, even the garage, and yet...

"I never checked the car!"

In a flash, he ran inside and headed straight for the garage, making sure to grab the car keys. Despite having checked that room, he somehow hadn't even considered checking the centerpiece of that room. It was very good that Mettaton was the only person who knew about this; the fact that a professional auto mechanic didn't check his car when looking all around for something was quite embarrassing, the more Papyrus thought about it.

The very second Papyrus entered the garage, he unlocked the car (even before turning on the light). "Now, let's see... if you're looking for gloves in your car, the most obvious place to check would be the glove box." He opened the passenger-side door of the car and unlocked the glove compartment (which required a key of its own since Papyrus' car was a convertible), before pulling it open...

...and the first thing he saw was the pair of gloves that had eluded him for the past couple of hours.

"Finally! Here they are!" He took out the gloves in question and locked the compartment back up, feeling relief that his gloves hadn't fallen into another dimension while he wasn't looking, and that he could return to his regularly-scheduled routine. "Now I can finally do my gardening for today! Nyeh heh heh heh heh!"

"Ooh!" Judging by the twinkle in Mettaton's eyes and the smile on his face, the relief was mutual. "Mind if I watch, darling?"

"Not at all, Metta! Having you around is always exciting!" Papyrus locked the car. "Hey! Maybe you could make a show called Gardening with a Killer Robot's Cool Boyfriend! I bet your fans would love it!"

Mettaton once more put an arm around Papyrus as the two left the garage. "I'm sure your fans will love it, too."

"Wowie!"


As Mettaton watched Papyrus work in the garden and listened to him explaining the different intricacies of his work, he began wondering about purchasing some gardening gloves of his own so that he could join Papyrus. Of course, he would probably have to save some tasks for when he became waterproof, but with help from Papyrus and Asgore, he could probably learn to mow lawns and trim hedges with the best of them.

At the very least, he could still suggest different plants that Papyrus could grow in this garden, from colorful flowers to edible crops. Some plants just made the space look nice, and some plants could be used in recipes - and in a way, since Mettaton and Papyrus both agreed on what plants to grow, it would really feel like their garden despite Papyrus taking care of most of the maintenance. Mettaton had helped to pick out and assemble the patio furniture back when they were setting up this space, but after that, most of the work had fallen to Papyrus.

But seeing Papyrus' dedication and enthusiasm never failed to brighten Mettaton's day; in fact, it made him want to return the favor.

Maybe I'll see about getting him some extra pairs of gardening gloves...

Chapter Text

If someone had approached Mettaton a week or two before this day and told him that he would be seeking legal advice by this time, he probably wouldn't have been sure whether to take it as a threat or to just be confused.

Of course, in that time, he had since attended a rather disastrous event that claimed to be a music festival (but as he and other musicians knew, calling that event a music festival would be an insult to music festivals). Some highlights of that event included most of the celebrities eating very mediocre food (which Mettaton couldn't even eat because it was human food; many of the other celebrities were quite envious of him), no one knowing what time everyone was supposed to go on, an organizer lashing out at Napstablook and Shyren just for asking a simple question, and Mettaton's set getting abruptly cut off in the middle of a song. At that point, Mettaton had had enough, so he took his bandmates and his things and just left - and according to some stories he'd heard, the rest of the event completely failed to redeem itself.

Understandably, many of the performers who had been scheduled to appear at this event were now seeking settlements - and Mettaton was definitely one of those performers.

Mettaton definitely had a few ideas of things he wanted; aside from monetary payments, he also wanted the organizers to give him a very good explanation as to why they couldn't afford things like functioning equipment and monster food, as well as why they couldn't be bothered to set up a fully-detailed schedule despite going to the effort to hire all those organizers. And, of course, he wanted to give an especially long talking-to to his least favorite organizer at the event; he honestly wanted to know the reason behind yelling at two very sensitive people just for politely asking a simple and legitimate question, and he wanted to know what telling them to stop crying was supposed to do.

Ever since the livestream of his appearance at the event, and especially since the time he made a long blog post explaining everything about his time there, many of his fans agreed that yes, he should definitely sue the organizers. He'd learned that he was very likely to win the case, since there were many videos and photographs of the event from various sources (fans, other performers, and even a few staff members who had nothing to do with organizing the event), so the evidence was overwhelmingly in favor of Mettaton and the other performers.

That said, since Mettaton still wasn't sure of all the little bits and pieces of the legal system around here, he had decided to meet with a lawyer.

"This case probably won't go to trial," the lawyer had said while Mettaton was filling out some paperwork. "If there's enough resistance from the organizers, it may go to trial, but the majority of lawsuits don't."

"Oh..." Mettaton gave the lawyer a nod; he had seen footage of real trials, and he'd quickly found that they were nothing like those courtroom drama shows he'd see on primetime. They seemed nowhere near as exciting or energetic; the lawyers in real life didn't even pound their hands on the benches, point their fingers, or yell things across the courtroom. He would definitely be thinking things like get to the good part, darling if he were in a real court.

As the meeting went on and Mettaton and the lawyer looked over and filled out more paperwork, it looked more and more like Mettaton would definitely have a case against the organizers; they hadn't even made him sign a non-disclosure agreement, so his blog post wouldn't get him into any trouble. His heart began to swell with triumph; justice for him, his bandmates, and the other performers would be served very soon.


By the time he left the law office, he had grown quite exhausted from all of the legal matters, so he decided to distract himself in the most self-indulgent way he knew how. And it wasn't a spa trip, nor was it singing his own songs at karaoke. He wanted something a little richer.

Inside the Nice Cream Parlor, Freddy grabbed the dish containing Mettaton's order in his blue paws before handing it to Mettaton. "Enjoy your triple chocolate sundae!"

"Thank you so much, darling." Mettaton left a nice tip in the jar and went off to a table. Even though his favorite flavor was Neapolitan, sometimes he just needed to eat chocolate and more chocolate after an exhausting day.

From the moment he sat down, he grabbed his spoon and went to work on his treat. The look in his eyes seemed quite determined; even though he was stuffing his face, he did it in as careful a manner as possible to avoid making a mess. He didn't know who could have been watching him, after all.

Indeed, he ended up being proven right when the bell chimed again and he heard Freddy's voice: "Hi, Bryan!" Even then, Mettaton didn't even look up, instead working little-by-little at his dessert. The rich chocolate flavors certainly helped to distract him from the stresses of earlier; it was a fitting reward for everything he had to put up with just because the organizers didn't want to set up a function that, well, functioned.

The only thing that made him look up was when Bryan, holding his mint chip cone, walked over to him. "Hey... are you okay?"

After swallowing his most recent bite, Mettaton sighed. "Sweetheart... try to get involved with the law as little as possible if you can help it. Even when they're on your side, settling things can be so stressful."

Bryan blinked. "This is about that festival, isn't it?"

"Oh, yes. Consider yourself lucky you weren't there." Mettaton returned to his dessert.

Shrugging, Bryan walked off to a table of his own. There wasn't much he could do except hope for the best - and considering that he was willing to take Mettaton's side, he knew for sure that either the times had changed him or the event really was that bad (or both).


After making it home, Mettaton decided to watch some TV for a little while. He was in the middle of learning about the process of creating stepladders when he heard a familiar set of noises coming from the garage; his heart felt lighter, knowing what this meant.

Right on cue, Papyrus soon walked in, still in his work uniform. "Good evening, Metta!"

Mettaton smiled at him as he joined him on the couch. "Good evening, sweetie."

They put their arms around each other, but just before Mettaton could really begin to relax, he heard Papyrus sniffing. "Nyeh?"

"What's wrong?"

"Is there any particular reason you smell like chocolate and paperwork?"

"Well, earlier today..."

Chapter Text

"Come on, show us what you can do!"

Frisk and Kid looked at each other and nodded; they were definitely up to the challenge.

As the two partook in a friendly game of soccer with some friends from school, Papyrus and Mettaton sat on the sidelines - a nearby park bench, to be specific - and watched everything unfold. It was shaping up to be quite exciting, especially since Frisk was quite determined despite their relative lack of experience playing soccer. Even though Frisk had said that both Mettaton and Papyrus were welcome to join in if they wanted to, neither of them wanted to admit to an audience of older teenagers that they didn't know how to play soccer, so they made up excuses about being too good at kicking the ball.

"If I kick the ball with these legs, it could end up in the stratosphere, darlings!" Mettaton had said.

Papyrus nodded. "And I don't think we all have jetpacks installed in our phones, so it wouldn't be fair."

Of course, both Frisk and Kid suspected the real reason behind them turning it down, but decided not to say anything to preserve their reputations.

For those reasons, Mettaton and Papyrus watched the developments of the game from the nearby park bench. Mettaton slipped an arm around Papyrus.

"Hard to believe how quickly time has flown by, isn't it, sugar skull? It seems like only yesterday when we first met each other at Frisk's birthday party..." He swept his other arm in a dramatic gesture. "And look at how far we've come! Frisk is graduating high school soon, and you and I are getting married this summer..."

"Wowie..." Papyrus leaned into Mettaton's hug.

It didn't take long at all for Mettaton's words to get to Papyrus, and he became lost in thought. He still remembered when Frisk was small; that short child who had challenged all of his puzzles in Snowdin had grown into a quite tall teenager. Somewhere in the depths of his mind, he could see himself back then, watching a younger Frisk trying to solve some puzzles he'd set up in the park. And Kid... it wouldn't be long before they were a kid in name only.

With all of this in mind, Papyrus' thoughts couldn't help but set themselves on the future.

He remembered what Alphys and Undyne had been recently discussing - now that the Amalgamates had all been successfully cured, Alphys had said that she wanted to start a family with Undyne pretty soon, and Undyne was on board with the idea. If they did have children, Papyrus would definitely be happy to serve as their uncle - and going by the way Mettaton acted around Frisk and Kid, Papyrus knew he would feel the same way.

Would he and Mettaton sit on this same park bench in the future, watching little monster children - half-fish, half-lizard - running around in the grass, acting out scenes from their favorite cartoons, or even practicing their magic? Watching them grow over the years, becoming strong like their moms...

...

Or maybe in the future, they would sit on this bench and watch over little babybones, or whatever ghosts called their children... or maybe even skeleghosts? Papyrus could see himself teaching them everything he knew about making puzzles, so maybe they could make puzzles of their own. Or maybe Mettaton would teach them about performing, and they could hold little concerts, throwing glitter and sparkles everywhere.

"Is something on your mind, sweetie?"

"Nyeh?" Papyrus found himself abruptly flung out of his fantasies; he looked over at Mettaton, raising an imaginary eyebrow.

"You were kind of staring off into space for a moment, darling," Mettaton said.

"Well..." Papyrus took a deep breath, his hands fidgeting a mile a minute. "I just have something on my mind."

"Would you like to talk about it?"

Papyrus looked around; the others seemed engrossed in their game, and there didn't seem to be anyone else listening in. When he was sure he was ready to talk, he looked at Mettaton and took a deep breath.

"Mettaton, forgive me if this is too forward, but... have you ever thought about us becoming parents someday?"

In that instant, Mettaton's eyes widened and his mouth formed an "oh" shape; Papyrus could hear his systems running more heavily than ever.

Papyrus frowned and set a hand on his shoulder. "We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to."

"It's not that, darling." Mettaton took a few cleansing breaths. "Truthfully, there's a part of me that would love to take care of a child... to help them blossom into a beautiful, confident adult."

He sadly sighed and looked down. "But... I fear these dreams may clash with my career. I ended up leaving Blooky all those years ago so I could start my career, and every now and then, I have to leave you home alone because I'm touring or filming or participating in an event or interview. And both you and Blooky are self-sufficient adults; the thought of leaving my own child behind at home, when they need me..." A shudder briefly came over him. "They may end up thinking I don't care about them. I could end up missing their first puzzle, or their first song... or even the moment they become corporeal!"

As he felt Papyrus' arms wrap around him and a bony hand gently run up and down his back, he continued. "And, to be quite honest... it would feel more than ever like I have to choose between my career and my family. I'm still nowhere near close to being ready to retire... but if I have children, my world may end up revolving around them until they're old enough to live on their own. Will my fans still care about me by the time I'm ready to make a full return? Performing and creating is how I provide for you; if I'm unable to do that, then..." Another sigh escaped his throat.

Papyrus reached up and gently stroked his hair. "I'm sure your fans will understand, Metta. You don't have to give up performing; maybe you could just slow down new releases and make your tours shorter? And a lot of your fans have children of their own - I don't think any of them will say 'he needs to stop thinking of his family so much and just make new things' because people who say those kinds of things are considered to be freaking weird."

"I know. It's just..." Mettaton's voice began to glitch slightly as tears formed in his eyes. "When I think about how I left Blooky and Shyren behind, or my falling-out with Alphys, or how I used to treat Bryan... if I could treat my family, my best friends, and a fan of mine that way, I could very well end up treating my own child that way."

Tightening his hug, Papyrus whispered to him. "They've all forgiven you, Metta. And those happened many years ago; you've become an even cooler person since those days, and a lot of people believe in themselves because of you! Some humans and monsters have become friends with each other because they both think of you as a cool role model! Everyone makes mistakes and bad decisions, but anyone can be good if they just try."

Mettaton nodded. "I just feel as if I can be a needy person sometimes... if I ended up making my child feel horrible about themselves, I could never forgive myself."

"We'll all be here to help you, Metta." Papyrus gave him a sincere smile. "And to be quite honest, I, Papyrus, think you would be a wonderful father. You're such a cool inspiration to so many people..." He gently nuzzled Mettaton's forehead with his teeth. "But if you're not ready yet, that is perfectly all right. I, the Great Papyrus, completely respect your decision."

With a slightly tearful smile, Mettaton kissed Papyrus' hand. "Thank you so much, sugar skull."

Just then, they heard a commotion from the field, and they turned to look.

Before they could ask, Kid ran up to them. "Yo! Did you see the goal Frisk just scored? They intercepted the ball from...!"

As the two listened to the soccer stories, they both felt a little more determination in their souls. Maybe one day, they would end up hearing stories like this from their own children, if they had any.

But even if not, they would always be cool uncle figures for Frisk - and for whatever other children would end up in their family.

Chapter Text

After several months of dating, Mettaton and Papyrus felt closer than ever in their hearts; ever since they'd confessed their feelings, their bond had only grown stronger. Whenever they were around each other, they truly felt safe and understood; they could tell each other anything without fear, and each of them always knew that the other would love to hear about his interests and wouldn't mock them.

There was, however, one big hindrance in their relationship, considering just how much they loved being around each other.

At some point, dates and hangouts had to end, and the two would then have to go back to their respective homes for the night. Of course, it wasn't like they didn't enjoy being home; Papyrus did enjoy living with Sans even when his jokes drove him up the wall, and even though Mettaton lived alone, he still had social media, phone calls, and text messages as ways of getting into contact with the many people in his life. But the two still found themselves missing each other, especially when a really fun date concluded and they wanted nothing more than to cuddle for hours.

When Mettaton nearly ended up missing his and Papyrus' first Valentine's Day as a couple - only managing to be there with him by negotiating with the magazine people who wanted to interview him - it planted a seed in both of their minds. What if they didn't have to say goodbye at the end of the day - what if they instead said good night? What if they could be more easily physically present for each other?

By the beginning of March, they'd discussed it between themselves for a little while, and their friends and family soon received the news: Mettaton and Papyrus wanted to move in together.

"You think you can handle it, bro?" Sans asked Papyrus shortly after learning about the plans. "I mean, when you live with someone, you learn tons of things about them. If MTT ends up being the kind of guy who leaves soda cans and potato chip bags lying around from time to time... that's the same guy who's on TV all the time, y'know? If he's like that, you think you can handle those little things?"

Papyrus blinked. He'd been to Mettaton's house before and it always seemed tidy; though, he could have just kept it cleaner than usual because he had a visitor. That being said, he already had something wonderful going on with Mettaton, and wasn't about to throw it away just because of a few potential bad habits. Besides, having already known about some of the more questionable parts of Mettaton's past, he already knew that his hero wasn't a flawless marble statue.

With that, Papyrus looked at Sans. "I trust him very much, Sans, and if there are any problems, he and I can talk about them." He posed. "I, the Great Papyrus, will be the best boyfriend I can be for him!"

Deep down, he still hoped it would work well.

Meanwhile, Mettaton was in the middle of a similar conversation with Alphys and Undyne.

"I really do want to live with him, darlings..." He thought about the times in the past in which he would rush into things. "Is it too soon, though?"

"Hey, if you think it's a good time, then it's a good time." Undyne shrugged. "Alphys and I didn't even date for as long as you two did before moving in together - we got our own place as soon as the initial diplomatic stuff on the surface blew over."

Mettaton nodded, remembering how the monsters lived in temporary residences for the first couple of months on the surface while everything settled down between humans and monsters. As soon as it was clear that everything would be just fine, they all moved into more permanent dwellings - and Alphys and Undyne decided to live together. Since Mettaton didn't really see eye-to-eye with Undyne, he decided to live on his own, though his house wasn't too far from Alphys and Undyne's place in case he needed maintenance.

Undyne folded her arms. "Just watch out, though - if you're upset with him for whatever reason, you can't just run home, because your home is his home too. You're gonna have to really talk to him and make compromises."

"And that's a risk I'm willing to take." Sentimentality shone in Mettaton's eyes. "Papyrus makes me so incredibly happy, and I want to be there for him. I love my job, but it keeps me away from him sometimes; I would have missed spending this past Valentine's Day with him if I hadn't been able to change my plans! And that's why I'm up to the challenge."

Undyne grinned; despite not having a perfect friendship with Mettaton, she couldn't help admiring someone who was willing to take challenges. "Trust me, if you can make it work, living with someone is freaking awesome! Right, Alphy?"

"Y-yeah!" Alphys, who had been sipping a soda, gave a grin of her own, though a little startled at being put on the spot. "Ever since I started living with Undyne, I feel like it's easier for me to believe in myself. And if Papyrus helps you feel that way..." As one of the select few individuals who had personally known Mettaton before he became famous, she knew that even he wasn't a bottomless well of confidence.

"I would rather fail than give up, darling." Mettaton knew this probably wouldn't be easy, but as someone who had to take risks in the past, he figured there was no harm in taking one more.


For a while afterwards, the two looked for the best house to suit both of their needs. Mettaton's current residence wouldn't be an option because it was rather far from the auto repair shop where Papyrus worked, and Papyrus' current residence was itself far from Mettaton's recording studio (and besides, his current residence was also Sans' residence, and it would open a whole new can of worms if all three of them lived together). Papyrus wanted a nice garage so he could store his prized convertible when it wasn't in use, and Mettaton sought a house with extra rooms so he could set up a home-theater system, among other things. Both of them also wanted hardwood floors (Papyrus because they were easier to clean, Mettaton because he liked how his high heels sounded when walking on them), and they both agreed that a two-story house would really feel like home.

The couple kept up their search for some time; it was harder than they'd thought to find a house that fit all of their needs and wants. There was at least one house that was perfect in every way except for being on the outskirts of town, far from any of their workplaces or close relations. Some houses had spacious garages but not enough rooms, and some had a lot of rooms but only had outdoor parking. Price wasn't too much of an obstacle, what with one member of the couple occasionally working in politics and the other being the monsters' most famous celebrity.

"Hey, Metta?" Papyrus said one day when they were eating lunch at a sandwich shop in the middle of another search. "I feel like we're on one of those TV shows where people hunt for houses."

Mettaton grinned and sipped his drink. "Good thing I'm a natural in front of a TV camera, isn't it, darling?"

Papyrus wondered if their fans would have any advice in looking for a home.

Fortunately, he wouldn't have to ask. It wasn't long afterwards that the two of them found this two-story home on a relatively quiet street. The house had a little more carpet than both of them would have preferred, but other than that, it had everything they were asking for. It had Papyrus' huge garage, Mettaton's large number of rooms, multiple stories (with both a second floor and a basement), and it was located in a good part of town so that they could easily drive to work and so they and their friends and family could easily see each other.

As they walked through it, they both felt more and more every second that this was it. They could honestly see this house filled up with furniture, and the two of them living their day-to-day lives here. And if the carpet really bothered them, they could always pay to replace it with hardwood.

By the time the tour was finished, both of them seemed to be in agreement: if they couldn't find a better house, they would go with this one.

And that was just what they ended up doing.


After bidding farewell to the movers and thanking them for all their help, Papyrus closed the door and locked it. He turned back towards Mettaton, whose eyes couldn't stop sparkling.

"Can you believe it, sugar skull?" He gestured towards the spacious front room. "This is our home!"

"Wowie..." Papyrus' pulse pounded in his ribcage. He ran over to the back door and looked at the yard; the late-summer sun still shone high in the sky. "I could start a garden back here - Flowery might like it! And we can make lots of cool recipes in the kitchen! And that's a big couch; we can watch all of your cool shows together!"

"Indeed..." Mettaton couldn't wait to show Papyrus some small everyday acts of kindness, making sure he always knew that he had a special place in Mettaton's heart. "Would you like to watch some TV right now, as a matter of fact? Or would you rather put everything away first?"

Papyrus walked over to a stack of boxes. "Let's put everything away first, so that it's out of the way. In more ways than one."

"Good idea, beautiful."

For the next hour or two afterwards, they did just that, putting everything where it was meant to be. While a lot of it consisted of objects they'd gathered from their own houses (especially Mettaton's house; Papyrus would still have his room in his and Sans' house even though he no longer lived there), some of the objects were things they had picked out together on shopping trips. In this way, it would really be "Papyrus and Mettaton's house", not just "Papyrus' house, and also Mettaton's house". Cooking supplies were stored in the kitchen; shelves were filled with any number of books, albums, DVDs, and other such forms of media; Papyrus safely stored his car and tools in the garage; and even though Mettaton wasn't going to set up his home theater system today, he still carefully arranged his huge wardrobe in the bedroom.

Finally, once the last box was empty, the two looked at each other with slightly weary smiles. The newest chapter of their lives began on this day, and they were ready to see what the future held.

And for both of them, they couldn't think of a better way to break it in than by watching Delta Rune Network on the couch.

Papyrus snuggled against Mettaton's chest and gently ran his fingers through his hair as they watched some of Mettaton's shows. Some of them were vintage game shows from the Underground, and others were more recent productions made in the past year or two; one of the shows they watched was even a block of Mettaton's music videos. Thanks to the magic of special effects, he could do things like have his rectangular and EX forms ballroom dance together, or he could lead a flash mob consisting of clones of himself. Mettaton certainly knew how to bring the "wow" factor into his performances.

Since he and Papyrus could more permanently be by each other's sides now, he anticipated feeling more enthused than ever about his work, now that Papyrus could give him all the encouragement he needed.


Later that evening, they shared a nice dinner that they cooked together, and Papyrus made sure to call Sans afterwards (because "just because we don't live together now doesn't mean I'll let you get away with laziness and boondoggling, brother!"). Eventually, they retired to the bedroom and spent some time cuddling in their new king-sized bed before it was time to sleep. This bed was one of the new things they'd bought; from the framing to the mattress and even the bedding, they collaborated on deciding it all. And it was all worth it; as they excitedly discussed the future, they both knew that they could absolutely get used to this.

Once it was time for Mettaton to go to sleep, he plugged himself in before climbing back into the bed. "Well, darling, at this point I'm going to fall asleep in a few minutes - and the way I sleep, I'll be out like a light until the morning. So..." He yawned. "If you have anything you'd like to tell me right now, I suggest you say it. You could unplug me from the wall to make me wake up, but I'd prefer you didn't do that unless there's an emergency."

As a matter of fact, Papyrus did have something he wanted to say. He brushed the hair out of Mettaton's eyes, watching as they slowly opened and closed, and said one simple thing to him. It wasn't the most conventional thing to say in this situation, but Papyrus wasn't a very conventional person anyway - and besides, given the circumstances, Mettaton would probably love to hear it.

"See you tomorrow."

Closing his eyes, Mettaton pulled Papyrus close and held him like he was a beloved teddy bear. "I look forward to it, my love... always."

"Me too, Metta." Papyrus closed his own eyes; while part of him was almost too excited to even think about sleeping, he knew that tomorrow would be a new day - and the real start of their new beginning. Would they slow dance - or quickly dance - in the living room after finishing breakfast? Would they get started on setting up some of the other rooms? Would they invite all their friends over and have a big party?

No matter what they did, they both knew that this was their home now, and they would always have each other. Life would be different now, but as long as they had each other and their friends and family, they knew they had nothing to fear.

Chapter Text

It was a bright, cheerful day, especially among Frisk's circle of friends.

While Frisk excitedly hummed to themselves and looked around the house, Asgore walked up to Sans and Papyrus. "Thank you so much for helping to set this up. Frisk has done such wonderful things for us that I just wanted to thank them properly."

"Nyeh heh heh! Of course! Our cool friend deserves a cool party!" Papyrus looked towards the kitchen. "Does Lady Asgore need any help frosting the cake?"

A few seconds passed before Toriel looked into the living room from the kitchen, smiling at Papyrus. "Actually, I am almost done, but I still appreciate you thinking of me."

Smiling at her kindness towards his brother, Sans looked at Papyrus. "Her name's Toriel, by the way."

"'Toriel-By-The-Way'??? Although I am not sure where that name came from, I will still respect it!"

Everyone else giggled, and Toriel soon returned to the kitchen.

While Papyrus and Asgore had a conversation of their own, Sans looked at Frisk. "Well, kiddo... you made it. The big one-one. I bet last year, you weren't expecting to spend your next birthday with us, were ya?"

Frisk shook their head. "I'm really happy, though. I mean, sometimes I miss my moms, but I finally have a permanent family now. And that's really what I wanted."

"Glad to hear it." In his soul, Sans really was glad to hear it; hopefully, this would be the only eleventh birthday party Frisk would celebrate, at least for a long while.

It was at least several minutes - close to a half-hour, as a matter of fact - before there was the sound of knocking on the door.

"Oh, pardon me." Asgore went over to answer it.

At first, Papyrus paid it no mind, continuing his discussion with Sans and Frisk. It was probably Undyne or Alphys...

And then Asgore opened the door and said, "Oh, hello, Mettaton! Thank you for coming!"

Wait, what?

"Asgore, darling, thank you for having me!" Yes, that deep, mechanically-tinged voice was definitely Mettaton's. "I could never miss a party dedicated to the human who saved us all!"

Papyrus nervously laughed and trembled a bit. So Mettaton was going to be at this party... his own hero was going to be at this party.

But this was no big deal! He was the Great Papyrus, and he was going to make a good impression!

...he hoped.

After a moment, Asgore stepped aside, allowing Mettaton to properly enter. He walked to the center of the room and struck a dramatic pose, miming throwing confetti into the air. "Ohhh yesss! The star is here!"

"Mettaton! Hi!" Frisk ran up to him, and soon found themselves pulled into a big hug.

As Papyrus watched the two catch up with each other, he took deep breaths. Since this wasn't a very big party, he would most likely have to talk to Mettaton later on. On one hand, he was excited to meet his hero, but on the other hand, would the feeling be mutual?

Frisk, however, seemed to be excited for Mettaton to meet their friends. As they ran up to Sans and Papyrus, with Mettaton following closely, Papyrus realized that "later on" was going to come far more quickly than he'd anticipated.

"Have you met Sans and Papyrus? They're really cool!"

"Actually, I might have met Sans once or twice; I think he used to do stand-up comedy at my resort." Mettaton held out his hand. "Am I correct, darling?"

Sans gave him a handshake. "Yeah. We didn't really talk, though. Especially since I had other jobs across the Underground. And, y'know, the more jobs you have, the more union-regulated breaks you can take."

"...right." Mettaton turned towards Papyrus, offering the same gesture. "And you must be Papyrus, I presume."

"I... wowie..." Papyrus nearly ended up lost in the feeling of being starstruck; since the rest of him didn't want to be rude, he quickly shook Mettaton's hand, letting the words fall out. "Hello, Mettaton! I am the Great Papyrus, and I am pleased to meet you! You're so cool..."

Mettaton's eyes could have twinkled. "Oh...? What do you like about me, beautiful?"

"Well!!! You see!!!" Truthfully, Papyrus was at a stand-still; how exactly could he even begin to describe why he liked Mettaton? Regardless, he cleared his throat and decided to try. "I think you're a really, really cool dude! You have an entire ocean of fans, and they love to bathe you in a shower of kisses... and I think I saw you surfing on them once???"

Mettaton chuckled. "Crowd-surfing is so much fun, darling. I can't help it."

"Yes! And, well... I really love watching your shows! Your cooking shows are some of my favorite things to watch, because I always wanted to hone my cooking skills so I could join the Royal Guard!" He rubbed the back of his skull with a sheepish laugh. "Alas, they disbanded the Royal Guard before I could apply for their spaghetti exam. But I still want to learn! For in order to gain even more cool friends, the Great Papyrus must make a name for himself as an unparalleled spaghettore! With my skills, my huge biceps, and my puzzles, I'll win everyone's hearts! My mailbox will be full of Valentine cards all year!"

"That's the spirit, sweetheart!" Just then, Mettaton started snickering. "And trust me, I know what it's like to get love letters all the time."

Realizing something, Papyrus gasped. "Oh no! I spent so much time talking about myself that I forgot to describe everything else I like about you!"

"It's fine, beautiful. I love learning about my fans."

"But I don't want to be rude, so...!" He tried to clear his throat a second time before realizing he didn't have a throat and deciding to play it cool. "I also think you're really beautiful, if you don't mind me saying so! Your other form is the sexiest rectangle I've ever seen! Very angular and good at balancing... and this form has the longest legs I've ever seen! And you dance so quickly, it's... wowie!"

"I know; I'm self-taught." For fun, Mettaton posed again. "Amazing, isn't it?"

"Wowie...!" Papyrus repeated, trembling in excitement. He was actually speaking to Mettaton, and Mettaton seemed to like him... he was pretty sure he had a dream like this once, except in that dream, he was already in the Royal Guard and Undyne was handing out coupons for free tea to everyone.

"You okay, bro?"

"Nyeh!" Papyrus jumped a little, noticing that both Sans and Mettaton were giving him slightly confused looks. "Of course! The Great Papyrus feels absolutely... well, great today! Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh!!!"

Sans blinked. "You sure? You seem a little tongue-tied."

"Impossible! The Great Papyrus does not even have a tongue! Well, most of the time." Papyrus took deep breaths; he had to look good in front of Mettaton, and he was not about to let his brother ruin this first impression.

Mettaton gave him a friendly smile. "Sweetheart, if you are tongue-tied - or whatever you would call it - then I honestly wouldn't blame you. Who would blame you for being tongue-tied in my presence?" He struck another pose, shielding his eyes. "A star that shines so brightly that some people find it hard to even look directly at me..."

"Heh..." Papyrus couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of relief.

And then, with a grin, Mettaton went in for the kill, bringing out the one thing guaranteed to make any fan's day. "And I personally think you're quite charming, Papyrus - if I do say so myself."

Papyrus' face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Wowie!!!" Mettaton just complimented him and said his name, with a smile, no less! He wasn't sure if his words would come back to him easily after that.

Fortunately, it wasn't long after this that Alphys and Undyne arrived, and the party properly began not long afterward.


Overall, it was a very fun birthday party. Everyone ate a slice of cake, which was served with Nice Cream on the side. Sans, Papyrus, and Undyne sang a silly birthday song for Frisk, and Mettaton performed a special MTT-Brand birthday song for them. Frisk opened their presents afterwards; their friends gave them a lot of cool gifts. From there, everyone played a lot of party games - even though there were a few disagreements on which games to play.

"Hey! Let's play root beer pong!" Undyne said at one point when everyone was trying to decide on a game.

Mettaton folded his arms and glared at Undyne; he could just see a cup tipping over and spilling onto the carpet. "Hey, let's not play root beer pong, and instead play something that makes sense for this party... something that everyone can enjoy! Something like... Name That Mettaton Movie!"

Papyrus raised his hand. "Ooh! What about the six-legged race?"

"I'm in the mood for a pillow fight, myself...!" Undyne ran over to the nearby couch.

"Nooooo!!!" Papyrus braced himself.

(They ended up playing some simple card games.)


Later on, when it was time for everyone to go home, Sans listened to Papyrus' excited rambling as they drove back to their house.

"Can you believe it, Sans? I got to meet Mettaton! And he liked me!"

Although Sans had kept a careful eye on the proceedings throughout to make sure Mettaton didn't do anything to hurt Papyrus, he had since calmed down - since Mettaton, by all indications, had behaved himself. "That was awesome, wasn't it, bro?" He smirked. "Heh, maybe this could be the star-t of something really cool."

Papyrus sighed. "Seriously, Sans?"

"Just saying!"

Of course, neither Sans nor Papyrus knew it at the time, but Sans' hypothesis ended up being far more accurate than anyone expected.

Chapter Text

"Ohhh yesss! Welcome to a special vlog edition of Cooking with a Killer Robot!" As he delivered his intro, Mettaton posed in front of the camera, dressed in an official apron from the show; the apron read "My other kitchen is full of glitter". He gave the camera another grin. "And tonight, we have a special guest! For some of you, he needs no introduction, but just in case he does..."

Knowing that that was his cue, Papyrus walked up next to Mettaton, wearing a "hug the cook" apron, and did a pose of his own. "Attention, everyone! The Great Papyrus is here again!"

Mettaton grinned. "And I couldn't be happier about it, sweetheart - and I think some of our fans will agree!"

"Of course! Everybody loves the Great Papyrus; he is a cool dude! Nyeh heh heh heh heh!" After another pose for good measure, he looked at Mettaton. "So, what are we making today?"

"I'm very glad you asked me that, beautiful!" Hopefully, Mettaton thought, his viewers easily understood by now why he loved Papyrus so much. "The theme of tonight's episode is..."

He imagined a drum roll, perhaps with a drum literally rolling across the counter; maybe they could edit one in after filming. Finally, he struck a pose.

"Marzipan!"

Papyrus blinked. "Nyeh? Marzipan? What can you do with it? Can you put it in a pan, like a bundt pan or a springform pan?"

"As a matter of fact, it can be quite useful in cakes and other desserts!" Mettaton looked at the camera with a frown. "Unfortunately, in many places, it's dreadfully expensive - and not everyone has the budget of a celebrity. But if you have the right ingredients-" he gestured towards the ingredients on the counter "-it's actually quite easy to make!"

"Wowie!"

"Indeed! Let's show everyone how to make it, shall we?"

And thus, Mettaton began to describe the recipe as he and Papyrus gathered the ingredients and mixed them together. It was quite like making dough, in several ways; the room began to smell of almonds as they worked.

"Remember, darlings, if you use raw egg whites in this recipe, you may need to cook it in something afterwards, in accordance with food safety. Fortunately, we have pasteurized egg whites on hand for the purposes of this recipe."

They worked at the recipe for a little while; eventually, it was time to knead the marzipan. Since both of them were wearing food-safe gloves, they wouldn't make too much of a mess.

Papyrus, after working at the marzipan for a bit, began to notice something about its consistency. "Nyeh? This feels like modeling clay!"

Mettaton looked over and smiled at him as his hands kept at their own work. "Indeed it does - except you can eat it! You can form edible decorations for the top of a cake; that's how I formed all those little miniatures of myself for the commemorative cake on the show's one-hundredth episode!"

"Wowie! Maybe I could sculpt a marzipan Papyrus for my own celebration someday!" He frowned. "But the question is, do I even want to eat myself, or am I much too handsome for that?"

"Well, you certainly are handsome..." Mettaton gave him a coy grin.

"Nyeh..." Papyrus blushed a little.

Finally, once they'd kneaded it enough, they formed it into log shapes.

"Now that we've formed our marzipan, we'll need to chill it for a while until it's time to use it in another recipe. I, for one, recommend dipping it in chocolate." For what was at least the tenth time in that video, Mettaton grinned at the camera. "What sorts of delicious, mouth-watering treats will Papyrus and I make with this marzipan? Stay tuned, beauties and gentlebeauties!"


Once they wrapped up filming and stored the marzipan in the fridge, Papyrus looked at Mettaton. "So, what shall we do now while we wait for the marzipan to chill?" He already knew that they would either film the process of making stuff with it and trim in down in editing, or they would prepare two batches (filming the second one, with the first one being the one prepared ahead of time, as was typical of cooking shows).

Mettaton couldn't help but spare another glance at Papyrus' "hug the cook" apron. "Well, darling, that little suggestion printed on your apron definitely sounds like fun right now."

"Wowie!"

For both of them, hugs were always fun... and yet, as Papyrus hugged Mettaton, he wondered if at some point they would take the suggestion printed on Mettaton's apron, and fill a kitchen with (hopefully edible) glitter. At any rate, it wouldn't have been out of the ordinary for what Papyrus had previously learned about cooking from both Mettaton and Undyne.

Plus, if they did, they could make jokes about the sparkling kitchen.

Chapter Text

Papyrus, sitting next to Frisk, grinned as the two maneuvered through the game on the tablet. "One of the cool things about mysteries is that, if you're paying enough attention, you can solve the puzzle before the characters do!"

"Yeah, that is pretty cool." Frisk knew that writing a good mystery would be difficult, but anyone who could pull it off could provide the audience with a gripping story that could leave them on the edge of their seats.

Today was a day where Toriel and Asgore had lots of work to do at the school, so after Frisk was done with their school day, Papyrus picked them up and invited them to spend the afternoon at his and Mettaton's house. Mettaton himself had been out for a good part of the day to get some work done at his studio, but he had since finished his work and was on his way home. To pass the time while waiting for Mettaton, Frisk showed Papyrus a mystery adventure game they'd recently been playing on their tablet; Papyrus, always the puzzle enthusiast, was quite intrigued.

The two made their way through a hidden object puzzle, eventually retrieving an object from it to be used in an overworld puzzle. They were in the midst of backtracking to the relevant room when they heard a knock on the door.

Papyrus stood up. "Oh! That must be Mettaton!" He got up to answer the door; Frisk paused the game in the meantime.

Indeed, when he opened the door, there was Mettaton, who beamed at the sight of Papyrus before pulling him into a hug. "Sunflower! I missed you!"

"Nyeh!" Although startled a bit, Papyrus soon returned the hug and smiled at him. "Hello, my special star! I missed you too! Did everything go well at the studio?"

"Oh yes, it went marvelously. It shouldn't be long now before we're able to release the album!" He headed inside and caught sight of Frisk. "And a very good afternoon to you, Frisk, darling! Have you been having fun here?"

Frisk waved. "Hi, Mettaton. I've been showing Papyrus this cool hidden object game that I found."

"Oooh! That sounds quite interesting!" Mettaton began to walk over; however, as he did so, he couldn't help but notice that Frisk was giving him an odd glance.

It didn't escape Papyrus' notice, either. "Frisk? What's wrong?"

"Huh?" Suddenly aware of what they were doing, Frisk blinked. "Oh. Nothing's wrong, it's just..." They looked at Mettaton again. "Did you call Papyrus 'sunflower'?"

With that one question, both Mettaton and Papyrus felt relief cross their features; it was only that?

Papyrus was the first of the two to speak. "Yes, actually! It's his nickname for me! Well, one of them, at least."

"There's actually quite a fun little story behind it, if you would like to hear it," Mettaton said.

Frisk shrugged a little. "Okay."

"Nyeh heh heh!" Papyrus headed back to his seat on the couch, with Mettaton taking a seat of his own nearby as he listened to Papyrus' recounting of the first part of the story. "Well then! It all started a couple of months ago, about a week after we moved in together. Moving is a lot of work, and since we wanted to find new ways to relax and have some fun afterward, we decided to visit this field where sunflowers were in bloom."


"Wowie! Look at all the flowers!" Papyrus held Mettaton's hand and looked around as they walked along the path.

Mettaton nodded. "Asgore told me about this field, and so I couldn't resist bringing you here. Aren't these flowers beautiful, darling?"

"They're very bright and colorful!" Papyrus tapped his skull in thought. "And I think I heard something about a butterfly migration at this time of year; maybe if we look really hard, we might see them! We might even see the rare and elusive popcornfly!"

"Perhaps." Mettaton couldn't resist giggling.

Indeed, as they kept walking, they eventually began seeing some monarch butterflies flitting about here and there on orange-and-black wings. At least once or twice, the two were tempted to catch a butterfly or at least tiptoe up to it to see it up close; not wanting to scare or hurt any of the butterflies, though, they decided to leave them alone.

There were a couple of butterflies who seemed to have different ideas, though.

While Papyrus expected some butterflies to eventually fly across the sidewalk, he was not at all expecting one of them to suddenly fly up to him and perch on his skull. With a startled "nyeh?!", he looked up; the butterfly seemed just out of his line of sight, but before he could strain his eyelights too much, it took off once more and flew elsewhere.

Mettaton squeezed his hand a little more tightly. "Oh my... it would seem even the butterflies think you're a cool dude. Your reputation is spreading, gorgeous!"

Papyrus let out a chuckle, out of both happiness and confusion. "Wowie..."

Not long after they continued their walk, a second little fan made itself known. This butterfly, instead of perching on Papyrus' skull, made its way towards his free hand instead. As Papyrus stared at the little creature tiptoeing on the surface of his glove, he heard Mettaton giggle once more.

"Welly welly well... looks like you're quite popular today."

"Nyeh..." Still perplexed, Papyrus looked at the giggling Mettaton. "I think they think I'm a sunflower!"

"Well, you are very tall, and you're wearing bright colors..." With a light titter, Mettaton continued. "And you definitely have the cheerfulness of a sunflower; you've been a ray of sunshine in my life more than a few times. You're so sweet and kind... honestly, the more I think about it, it does make sense that they would think you're a sunflower."

Papyrus briefly glanced at the butterfly on his hand before looking back at Mettaton. "Wowie... really?"

"Absolutely." Mettaton leaned over and kissed Papyrus' skull. "In fact, when I think about just how happy you've made me... I have reason to believe you're my sunflower."

"Oh my god..." Papyrus felt his pulse quicken; sure, he lived with Mettaton now, but discovering brand-new things like this only made it even more special.

And as the two continued their walk, their hearts felt lighter than ever.


"Ever since that day, Mettaton has started calling me 'sunflower' along with his other nicknames." Papyrus struck a little pose. "And I, the Great Papyrus, will wear that nickname like a badge of pride! For sunflowers have since become some of my favorite flowers - even though my favorite flower will always be Flowery!"

Frisk giggled; given how nice Papyrus was to everyone, they couldn't help wondering if he'd even developed a reputation among animals.

Mettaton had a warm smile on his face as he looked up. "And trust me, sweetheart, he has even become more of a sunflower to me in the weeks since that day. He's a sunflower, I'm a rose... it all works out."

"But what does that make me?" Frisk asked.

"Maybe you're a butterfly, or even a popcornfly! That will be an interesting mystery to solve in the future!" Papyrus glanced at the tablet. "But speaking of mysteries..."

Before long, the trio resumed the game, with Frisk and Papyrus explaining the story so far to Mettaton. They picked up quite a few objects around the world and solved different puzzles...

...and when one of the objects to be found in the next hidden object puzzle ended up being a sunflower, all three of them had a good laugh.

Chapter Text

Alphys carefully walked into the living room, clutching a huge bowl of popcorn. "Should I put this on the coffee table?"

"Yeah, you can put it near the chips and dip!" Undyne set down another beanbag chair in front of the TV; she looked at Frisk, who was already camped out in a red one, and grinned. "This is gonna be awesome!"

Frisk smiled and nodded.

Just then, there were two small knocks on the door; everyone knew who it was immediately from the style of knocking.

"Oh! That must be Sans!" Toriel ran over to the door and opened it; indeed, it was Sans, holding a couple six-packs of root beer.

Sans looked up at her with his signature grin. "Knock knock."

"Who's there?" Toriel giggled in anticipation.

"Vinyl."

"Vinyl who?"

"Vinyl-ly, I made it." Sans gave her a wink before walking inside. "Hey folks, it's me. I got the brewskis."

While Frisk waved, Asgore gave Sans a confused look. "'Brewskis'?"

"Don't worry; it's just root beer. 'Cause real beer's too risky when some of us need to drive - and besides, Frisk is too young." Sans looked around, wondering where to put the six-packs.

Fortunately, Undyne soon came up to him. "Here, I'll put them in the kitchen until it's time for the show!"

"Thanks."

Over the next half-hour, the group of monsters (and one human) continued setting things up, excitedly discussing the show they were about to watch for the next few hours. Awards ceremonies didn't just happen every day, after all.

Finally, just as Undyne and Asgore were pouring tea into some cups (for those who didn't want root beer), Alphys ran in. "I think it's starting!"

Undyne grinned. "Yeah! Let's do this!"

Soon enough, everyone had taken their seats on either the couch or a beanbag chair, with their preferred snacks and drinks close by, eager to see what would happen at the awards ceremony.


If any of the group's casual acquaintances had joined them at this little party they were having for the awards ceremony, there probably would have been one burning question on their minds: where were Mettaton and Papyrus? Papyrus always threw himself full-throttle into anything exciting and glamorous, and Mettaton lived and breathed the entertainment industry every day; under other circumstances, their lack of appearance at this party would be a cause for concern.

However, the reason why they weren't at this party was also the same reason why all of their friends wanted to watch this event.

Mettaton and Papyrus weren't at the viewing party because they were actually attending the awards ceremony live.

They went down the red carpet together, dressed up in fancy clothes and answering questions from inquiring interviewers. Mettaton's most recent album, and some of its songs, had received nominations for various awards, so it was only natural for him to want to attend - and since Papyrus was free that night, the two could go together.

After they filed into the building for the ceremony itself, things just got even more exciting. This awards show, like many, had musical performances throughout; one of them involved Mettaton performing alongside a popular human artist, during which they sang a mash-up of one of Mettaton's songs and one of the human performer's songs. Papyrus grinned as he watched the whole thing, not just because he liked seeing Mettaton perform, but also because he was always glad to see humans performing alongside Mettaton and other monster performers. (In the initial year or two on the surface, humans as a whole weren't quite sure of what to think of Mettaton; although he had a body made of cybernetics, his behavior was far too complex and unpredictable for an AI. When it became widely known that he was really more of an android and that he really did have his own mind and soul, humans found it easier to relate to him.)

Aside from that little performance, Mettaton spent most of the night sitting with Papyrus hand-in-hand. Their pulses would race just a little more whenever the time came for the hosts to announce an award winner; even when Mettaton wasn't one of the nominees in a given category, simple curiosity helped keep them on the edges of their seats.

To no one's surprise, their excitement only ramped up even further whenever Mettaton was one of the nominees.

One of the hosts handed the other an envelope, and the other host addressed the audience. "And the award for Best Synthpop Album goes to..."

The entire crowd, as usual for these announcements, waited with bated breath as the host opened the envelope and unfolded the piece of paper within. In particular, the nominees and their fans felt the anticipation as if it were nearly tangible.


Among the excited fans were Frisk and company, who had all eyes trained on the screen as if they were about to learn something groundbreaking. No one even wanted to sip their drinks or continue eating their snacks until they heard the results.

Finally, the host gave the name of the award-winning album...

...and it was a name they all recognized, for it was Mettaton's album.

Excitement surged throughout the room as they heard the crowd cheer and watched a very thrilled Mettaton and Papyrus pull each other into a big hug. Soon enough, Mettaton was out of his seat so he could accept the award and give his speech - and Mettaton, being Mettaton, couldn't resist snarking about professional critics who had previously complained about his album.

"They tried to tell me it was 'artificial' and 'pretentious' and even 'soulless'." He grinned at the audience. "Well, guess what, darlings? I didn't listen!"

Frisk and the others couldn't help laughing; that was Mettaton, all right. Whether in his best or worst moments, he always stayed at least somewhat true to himself.

Mettaton spent the rest of his speech thanking everyone who made it possible: his bandmates Napstablook and Shyren, his other crew members, his friends and family back home, and, of course, "my amazing boyfriend, the Great Papyrus". And even when he returned to his seat and the initial excitement mostly wore off, the rest of the evening was full of smiles.


"Congratulations, Metta!" Papyrus said when Mettaton returned to his seat.

With a few tears in his eyes, Mettaton pulled him into another hug. "They love me, sugar skull..." Knowing that he wasn't just considered a novelty even after all these years on the surface - that he definitely had a chance of being an enduring performer - would always encourage Mettaton to be the best performer he could be.

Indeed, as the ceremony progressed, Mettaton ended up winning a couple more awards. His album won the viewer's choice award, and one of the longer songs on the album won an award for best five-minute-or-longer song.

Mettaton's album was even in the running for the Album of the Year award - which, being the most prestigious award in the show, was saved for the end. When the time finally came to announce the winner, Mettaton and Papyrus waited in absolute silence, wondering if it could be possible...

...but the host instead named the album from the human performer with whom Mettaton had performed earlier.

Disappointment briefly flashed onto Mettaton's features as he groaned, but it didn't last long. Just because his album didn't win the biggest award in the show didn't mean he wasn't going to be a good sport about it; he smiled and clapped for the performer before and after the acceptance speech. Besides, winning three other awards was nothing to sneeze at.

And when the stars met up at the after-party, the first thing Mettaton did was personally congratulate the performer.


Later that night, as Mettaton and Papyrus were getting ready to go to bed, Mettaton could hardly contain his excitement; his eyes sparkled, and he let out unrestrained laughter now and then.

"I won three awards, darling! Three!"

Papyrus grinned, looking at the little statuettes on the nightstand. "And you definitely deserved them! You're so cool..."

Mettaton pulled out his phone, smiling as he saw that he'd received a lot of congratulatory messages - from fans, fellow performers, and family and friends. He couldn't help but wonder what the critics who had previously trashed his album would say about it now that it had won some awards; even if all they had to say was "it didn't deserve those awards", somehow he felt that it would be easier to not take their words to heart.

Before long, the two were cuddled close in their hotel bed, and as Papyrus stroked Mettaton's hair, there was one thing he knew for sure: Mettaton would always be a winner in his heart.

Chapter Text

"I have to what?"

Since Mettaton's tone was more perplexed than anything else - if he was angry, he was hiding it quite well - Papyrus kept his bright smile as he continued to offer Mettaton the piece of cloth. "The location of our date is a surprise, so I will need you to wear this blindfold for the time being. It's only until we get there, so don't worry!"

With a dry laugh, Mettaton took the blindfold. "Is this a date or an abduction, sweetheart?"

"I can assure you that this is a date! If it were an abduction, we'd be visiting Asgore because he was our leader." Despite Asgore no longer being royalty after the monsters' integration on the surface, many monsters still considered him a respected authority and looked to him for guidance. "And I'd be driving a cool spaceship, perhaps with my face on it..."

Mettaton laughed once more as he put the blindfold over his eyes. Part of him still felt a little guilty that he nearly ended up missing this because of the prior commitments with that magazine; since he was able to negotiate, though, he managed to finish everything he needed to do for them, and now he and Papyrus could properly celebrate their first Valentine's Day as boyfriends.

Once he had the blindfold securely resting over his eyes, Mettaton leaned back in his seat. "I'm ready, sugar skull."

"Nyeh heh heh! Then let's go! Remember, no peeking until I say it's time!"

The car shook as the engine started, and as Mettaton felt it begin to move, he smiled. Whether they were friends or boyfriends, Papyrus had always had a talent for giving him thoughtfully-chosen presents, whether handheld goods, trips to special places in town, or even more abstract presents like music. Given Mettaton's undoubted status as one of the richest monsters around, this was no surprise; the easiest way to impress a celebrity who could probably afford anything he wanted was to find or even make something that really spoke to his heart.

"Here, Metta, let me turn on the radio so you can have fun while you wait!"

"Thank you, sweetie."

The sound of a radio station bumper soon floated through the air, and Mettaton smiled; this particular radio station was definitely one of his favorites, if not his all-time favorite. It played a wide variety of older and newer songs - including both Mettaton's songs and the human songs that had inspired him before he became a star. And if there was one thing that empowered Mettaton like nothing else, it was being able to reflect on how far he'd come - both as a performer and as a person - since those early days. (He still had some regrets, but knowing that the people he'd previously wronged had forgiven him and were willing to start again definitely helped to encourage him.)

Throughout the car ride, Mettaton couldn't resist humming along to the music, especially when it was a song he particularly liked. In fact, the song that was playing as he felt the car turn somewhere before slowing to a stop was one of his own; it wasn't until the song had finished that Papyrus turned the car off.

"Guess what, my beautiful star? We're here! Keep that blindfold on for a little bit longer, all right?"

As the two left the car, Mettaton worked his ears to try and give himself some kind of hint; indeed, it wasn't long before he heard a flowing noise. "Is that water I hear, gorgeous?"

"Indeed it is!" He felt Papyrus lean in especially close so he could whisper. "Don't worry - we're not visiting a toilet!"

Even Mettaton couldn't resist snickering a bit at that.

Fortunately, it was a very brief walk before he heard Papyrus' voice again. "Okay, you can look now!"

Mettaton took off the blindfold...

...and was greeted with the logo of a restaurant he'd really wanted to visit as of late. While it was far from the most formal of restaurants, it still had a classy aesthetic, to the point of even having a fountain outside.

"I already had other plans for dinner, but I was thinking we could have a nice lunch here."

With a bright laugh, Mettaton threw his arms around Papyrus. "You're so sweet, darling... thank you so much!"

"Nyeh..." As Papyrus returned the hug, he knew that everything they'd been through in the past couple of weeks was worth it.


Not only did the two share a delicious lunch in the beautiful restaurant, but Papyrus soon made it clear that this was only the first activity on the schedule; he didn't ask Mettaton to wear the blindfold again, though. After lunch, the two ended up visiting a day spa in town; while Papyrus didn't pay for full packages because the time it would have taken would have cut into his other plans, he still paid for treatments that he knew Mettaton liked, as well as treatments for himself - and made sure they would share rooms whenever possible.

Once they were through with that, they returned to the car, where Papyrus took himself and Mettaton on a scenic drive through different parts of town. Mettaton, still comfortable from the treatments earlier, was perfectly happy to just sit back and watch everything go by. From the rollercoasters and Ferris wheels of the local amusement park to the one-of-a-kind shops of the historical district, every sight stirred up good memories for both of them.

They made a brief pit-stop at Papyrus' house so he could pick something up; while Mettaton didn't mind waiting, for he knew the surprise would be worth it, he'd truthfully been starting to feel a bit cuddly after a while. He didn't know what Papyrus had planned now, but if Mettaton could just hold him in his arms and be held in return, that would have just made the afternoon absolutely perfect in his eyes.

When Papyrus returned, he wasted no time in taking them to their next (and what ended up being last) destination: Mt. Ebbot National Park. What had once been the monsters' prison had since become a popular place for them to hang out and appreciate their freedom - and it was one of the best places in town to see the sky.

Papyrus had brought some picnic food for them to share, and after setting down a blanket at a scenic spot, the two enjoyed their second shared meal of the day. By now, while Mettaton still felt a few residual traces of guilt that he almost missed all of this, it was overwhelmed by the love and appreciation he felt for Papyrus, and the desire to make sure Papyrus knew about it.

After they'd finished their dinner, Papyrus retrieved some chocolate cake (that, like the rest of the food, he'd made himself) from the picnic basket; all the while, Mettaton gave him a warm smile.

"Thank you for everything, sugar skull; this has been the best Valentine's Day I've ever celebrated."

"Anything for you." Papyrus leaned in with a grin. "And I hope to provide some competition for that title in the years to come!"

"And I'd love to do the same for you, darling."

By the time they finished their chocolate cake, the sun was about to set; fortunately, to pass the time, they'd each gotten the other a little present. Papyrus gave Mettaton a jeweled bracelet with a rose design, and Mettaton in turn gave Papyrus a star-shaped locket; one side of the inner compartment had a photo of the two together from one of their many dates, and the other side had an engraving of the phrase "Always with you". The sparkle in Mettaton's eyes as he received the bracelet, and the "wowie" Papyrus gave as he saw the inside of the locket... both were easily enough to erase any lingering unease about what had happened a couple of weeks prior.

And as the sun finally began to set, Mettaton rested in Papyrus' arms and smiled.

This was the best abduction I've ever been through.

Chapter Text

Gentle currents floated through Mettaton's body from the charging cable plugged into his hip; with his soul casing being so close to the charging port, he naturally felt the soft sensations there first and foremost. If his body weren't designed like this, nights for him probably would have been more restless, whether due to excitement about his projects, loneliness while on tour, or any of several other reasons. Fortunately, the only nights where he truly had trouble sleeping were nights where the power went out; as soon as the charging cable met that port, drowsiness would slowly take over his systems for the next few minutes until he finally went into sleep mode for the night.

And ever since he moved in with Papyrus, Mettaton quickly discovered that, whether it was a long and productive day or an uneventful one that passed by too quickly, Papyrus loved doing everything in his power to make sure Mettaton went to sleep with a smile.

This particular night was the conclusion of an especially long day for Mettaton; between interviews, meetings, and a filming session, he hadn't seen Papyrus since that morning, and it took until later in the evening for him to finally return home. After dinner, they watched TV for a little while until Mettaton's systems gave their low-battery chime. (Not long after moving to the surface, Mettaton had asked Alphys to install that feature in his body so that he could avoid a repeat of what happened at the end of his EX form's premiere.)

While Mettaton truly loved performing, he wasn't going to lie: after being on his feet for most of the day, cuddling up with Papyrus under the covers felt like the most wonderful of rewards - especially considering Papyrus' current behavior.

"Another wonderful day..." Papyrus' voice came out in soft whispers as his fingers slowly stroked through Mettaton's hair. "Even though we didn't see each other very much today, we still got a lot of cool things done! I know your fans will love your work; you always put in such an effort to give them the utmost quality."

"Yes... it's what they deserve." Already, Mettaton was somewhere between speaking and mumbling, barely able to keep his eyes open.

Those flat, smooth teeth nuzzled against his face before Papyrus' voice returned. "And since you care so much about everyone, you absolutely deserve to feel special. Lots of people do, but I, Papyrus, think you've gone above and beyond." A soft sigh, before Mettaton felt the weight of what he knew was Papyrus' skull gently resting on his chest. "My wonderful, special star..."

Even in his half-asleep state - at this rate, he had a minute and a half at the most before shutting down for the night - something within Mettaton still told him to return the favor. His hand slid down towards Papyrus' back and gently caressed the ribcage like the strings on a harp, drawing a soft sigh from him. Mettaton would never get over how this one fan of his, so sweet and silly at the same time, could feel so much like home; they'd only been living together for a few months, and yet being able to see Papyrus all the time, to live with him and laugh with him... whenever Mettaton thought of this, he knew he and Papyrus made the right choice in moving in together.

His voice took on more quiet tones than ever as he spoke. "Good night, my sugar skull... see you in the morning."

"Sweet dreams, Metta." A gentle squeeze to the hand. "Tomorrow, I want to try this new recipe I found; it sounds really cool!"

Mettaton smiled, looking forward to it even as the fog of sleep encroached on him even more, moving inch-by-inch.

And as Papyrus began to hum a peaceful melody that he knew Mettaton liked, Mettaton snuggled closer than ever and allowed everything - the charging cable, the dim lights, the soft bed, Papyrus' warmth - to finally whisk him away for the night.


In the middle of his most recent dream, Mettaton felt that little spark of awareness. It wasn't the kind of thing that he could easily watch for, given his state of mind, but he still knew it when it happened. Once his body reached full charge, it could be anywhere from a few seconds to a half-hour before he returned to the waking world...

...and in this case, it didn't take long at all.

Mettaton opened his eyes and yawned, enjoying the warmth of the blankets for a brief moment. Although it quickly became apparent to him that Papyrus wasn't there, the lingering smell of bones from the other side of the mattress - and the faint sound of kitchen noises downstairs - reassured him regardless.

It wasn't long before Mettaton unplugged himself and climbed out of bed, getting started on making himself presentable for the day; even when he had nothing to do, he still loved feeling beautiful. He was in the middle of combing his hair when he heard footsteps and saw the door open.

"Metta, sweetie, are you - wowie! You're awake!"

Mettaton's heart fluttered at the sight of Papyrus in his apron, looking enthusiastic as usual; he just couldn't resist standing up and giving him a big hug. "Good morning, sunflower. I'll be right down once I'm done with my hair."

"I was just about to say - breakfast is ready when you are!" Papyrus pressed their foreheads together.

As Mettaton returned the gesture, he thought about these little sensations - Papyrus' scent, his touch, the sound of his voice, and even the sight of him - and his heart quivered.

Oh, yes... he absolutely is my home.

Chapter Text

It was hard to believe, but sometimes even bright, enthusiastic people like Mettaton and Papyrus had bad days.

Those who only saw them from afar would have probably never guessed it. Papyrus certainly seemed to have his life in order, with two jobs that he took incredibly seriously, as well as a desire to be an awesome role model to everyone he knew. And Mettaton, the rich and famous star of the Underground, who had fans constantly getting in line to tell him how wonderful and inspiring he was? Since when did people like him have anything to worry about?

But that was the thing - Mettaton and Papyrus were still people. They still had chores to do and errands to run just like everyone else. And as much as they loved their respective jobs, even they had to admit that things weren't always perfect.

That being said, when things did go wrong, they certainly had a knack for helping each other feel better.


"But when I opened the file, I saw that a lot of the work we'd done on the song was just... gone! Even though I know I'd saved it!" With a huge sigh, Mettaton spared a glance Papyrus' way through the phone screen. "Because that absolutely makes sense, right, darling? For the save button to corrupt your file instead of, I don't know, saving it? It's not like I was actually proud of that take or anything!"

Papyrus frowned. "I'm so sorry, Metta..." Even though Mettaton wasn't angry at him, Papyrus still hated to see him look so upset. Although he wasn't sure of exactly what words would cheer Mettaton up, he didn't want to just stay silent. "Maybe you'll be able to recover it! And even if not, you could make another take that's even cooler!"

"I know, sweetie." The bittersweet smile soon vanished from Mettaton's face. "I still wish I could have kept this take, though. There was absolutely no reason for the computer to act up like that."

They continued their discussion for a little while until Mettaton had to hang up; afterwards, Papyrus leaned back on the couch and thought for a little while. It was still a good number of hours before Mettaton would be returning home - especially taking this setback into account.

And yet, one of the many things Papyrus had learned from Mettaton was how to make a wait absolutely worth it.

Indeed, when Mettaton returned home that evening, he found Papyrus putting the finishing touches on a nice pasta dinner. As the two shared their meal, Mettaton talked about how he had managed to make another take of the song - and this time around, he found a way to save multiple copies of it in case the computer acted up again. The computer had never failed him before today, but that small incident made it clear that he needed to be careful even with reliable equipment.

Once dinner was over, Papyrus made sundaes for each of them, figuring it was one of those nights. As soon as Mettaton received his Neapolitan sundae, he wasted no time in greedily (yet cleanly) reducing it to an empty bowl; Papyrus took his time with his own sundae, but knowing that this was helping to cheer Mettaton up gave him a warm feeling.

"Thank you so much, darling," Mettaton said when he'd finished. "I really needed that after today."

Papyrus gave him a hug and a nuzzle; the sight of that relieved smile, coupled with the warmer tones of Mettaton's voice, set his pulse aflutter. He always loved making Mettaton happy, whether as a pick-me-up after a bad day or as an enhancement to an already-good day.

Soon enough, the two went to the couch for some peace and quiet; Papyrus, however, noticed that in the time since he'd left his phone there to charge, he'd received a lot of notifications.

"Nyeh?" Papyrus raised his brow as he unlocked his phone. "Why did Undyne send so many messages?"

Mettaton grabbed the remote and leaned back on the couch, deciding not to get involved unless Papyrus had other ideas. He had just turned on the TV and was about to open the on-screen guide when he suddenly heard a gasp.

"Oh... oh my god!"

"What's wrong?" Mettaton muted the TV and looked up...

...only to see that Papyrus had sparkling eyelights and a huge smile, and was holding out his phone. "Look, Metta!"

Mettaton took the phone and studied it - and within a few seconds of reading the text on the screen, his own eyes widened. It was a review for the auto repair shop where Papyrus worked.

My car's been acting up recently, so I've had to come here a lot. The service is really great! If you can, see if you can get Papyrus to help you - he's a big, tall skeleton, so you can't miss him. He really knows his stuff, and he was really nice to me and my family. Would definitely recommend his services to anyone!

By the time Mettaton finished reading, he too glowed with excitement. "Sweetie, that's wonderful!"

Papyrus laughed as Mettaton gave him a big hug. "They think I'm a cool dude!"

"And they're absolutely right to think that way." Mettaton kissed Papyrus' forehead and smiled; despite the otherwise rotten day he'd been through, knowing that Papyrus had had a spot of good fortune managed to clear away some of the inner rainclouds.

Furthermore, he would still have the next day to make up for the missed opportunities of this one; the future was in his hands, and as long as he had the drive to push beyond setbacks, anything was possible.


Of course, despite the two being on equal ground now, Mettaton still had the power to turn Papyrus' day around just by being himself.

One late afternoon in the summer, Papyrus drove home from work, feeling a raincloud of his own hanging over his skull despite the lack of clouds in the sky. Despite being the type to joyfully sing along with the radio even in bumper-to-bumper traffic, today he drove in complete silence, a tense frown on his face. Even for someone who loved his job, the look in his eyes was unmistakable - he wanted to go home.

Upon finally making it there, he wasted no time in washing off and changing into some more casual clothes; at the very least, the added cleanliness and fresh fabrics bumped up his mood just a little bit. Not long before he'd left work, Mettaton had texted him about wanting to watch the sunset, so after this, it was straight to the backyard for him. Indeed, once he'd slid the door open, he caught sight of Mettaton in one of the lawn chairs.

Mettaton, who had been staring at the sky and humming a classic rock song to himself, looked back at Papyrus and smiled. "Hey, sweetie."

"Hello." Papyrus trudged over to the adjacent lawn chair and took a seat.

"Rough day?"

"Nyeh..." Papyrus said with a nod before leaning back. As he felt Mettaton take his hand and gently stroke it, he began to explain. "We had one customer who was in a hurry; it wasn't an emergency, but they still really needed to leave. I tried to fix their car as quickly and efficiently as possible, but we kept discovering new problems." He sadly sighed. "We were able to fix it, but I don't know if they got to their errand on time."

Mettaton kissed his hand. "You did everything you could, beautiful. And if they were late, it wasn't your fault; you didn't make the car malfunction."

"I know." Papyrus tapped a finger against the side of the chair. "It's just quite bonetrousling to think about. If I had been a little quicker..."

"There isn't much we can do about it now, unfortunately; we might as well look forward. Believe me, darling, I know it's hard sometimes."

With another "nyeh", Papyrus stared at the sky as Mettaton continued to stroke his hand. Inch by inch, the sun continued to dip lower in the sky, the only sounds being those of nature and the fountain, with the occasional automobile or voice in the distance...

...and eventually, once the sun began to really set in the sky, Mettaton began to softly hum once more.

Papyrus glanced over at him. "Nyeh?"

"Hmm?" Mettaton paused for a second before realizing what was going on. "Oh, don't mind me, sugar skull." The smile returned to his face. "I was just thinking about how lucky I am."

"Oh..."

Mettaton nodded. "My life just keeps getting better and better. I have the body of my dreams, my career is going well, I have so many wonderful friends - including the sweetest love I could have hoped for..." He gave Papyrus' hand another kiss.

Papyrus giggled and blushed, feeling the affection cut through his gloomy thoughts.

"And remember when the sun felt so far away? Now we can watch the sunset every evening." Mettaton stared back up at the sky and smiled. "Earlier today, one of my fans - a fellow monster - was talking about their children, and it made me realize that there are now monsters who have never known a time when we were all trapped underground. We really have adjusted quite well to surface life, haven't we, beautiful?"

"Yes... it's a little confusing sometimes, but Frisk and I want to do all we can to help everyone get along."

"You've both done amazingly well." He gripped Papyrus' hand a little more tightly. "When we first made it to the surface, I was ready to defend Alphys and Shyren with my life, and stand up to anyone who insulted my cousins, and argue for our rights... but it all ended up going much more smoothly than I anticipated." Mettaton brought his arm around Papyrus' shoulders. "I like to think it was because Frisk is such a thoughtful ambassador - and their mascot is just so lovable."

"Wowie..." Papyrus leaned into Mettaton's embrace, thinking over his words. Sure, today may have been incredibly stressful - but stressful days were an inevitability for anyone, even the Great Papyrus. And this one difficult day at work didn't erase the rest of his accomplishments.

It also did nothing to change the fact that, right now, he could enjoy a quiet summer evening with the man he loved, in the glow of the sunset in their shared backyard. For even if life wanted to throw things at them now and then, they still had lots of reasons to smile - and if needed, they could always give each other reasons.

Chapter Text

For as long as anyone could remember, "darling" seemed to be Mettaton's favorite word.

Of course, when it came to Mettaton's favorite things to say, that word was just one of them. "It's showtime", "beauties and gentlebeauties", and especially "oh yes" (whether he calmly said it in conversation or enthusiastically shouted it during a performance) all provided stiff competition for his overall favorite thing to say.

And yet, no one - not even the man himself - could remember the last time a day went by without him using the word "darling".

If he had to pinpoint an exact time and place as to where it all started, he knew it had to be sometime back on the snail farm. Sometimes, when he and Blooky and the Shyra sisters would pretend to be famous superstars, he would start casually flinging the word around like some sort of posh rockstar. But something about the word felt so good coming from his mouth that he gradually began to use it more often and more sincerely - and before anyone knew it, that word became a trademark of his long before he started incorporating actual trademarks into his life.

Eventually, he began to experiment with more words; he found that "sweetheart", "beautiful", and "gorgeous" stuck with him especially well, and those became regular additions to his vocabulary as well.

But something about the word "darling" always felt special. Perhaps it was just Mettaton wanting others to know that he cared - the word was meant to be a compliment, after all. Maybe he just liked the way it sounded. Maybe he'd said it so much in the past that it had started to become expected of him to pepper his vocabulary with this one specific word.

Whatever the reason was, the fact still remained that the word had since become one of Mettaton's favorite things to say, to the point where nearly everyone who ever met him had been on the receiving end of it. Mettaton calling people "darling" was like Sans making bad puns, or Undyne refusing to give up, or Toriel looking out for everyone's well-being - it was a fact of life.

As such, sometimes it was easy for it to come off as just words. After all, when everyone has the potential to be "darling" - to the point where even people who had managed to get on Mettaton's bad side would hear it from him, albeit sarcastically - it can be quite easy for the word to lose all meaning.

And yet, to Mettaton's closest companions, it almost always felt sincere.

Blooky, Shyren, and Mimi, who were there when it all began, knew that it had just been him playing around at first. However, his tone whenever he used it on one of them, whether he was reassuring Blooky about their spooktunes, Shyren about her singing, or Mimi about her image, was anything but playing around.

Alphys, his main source of companionship in his earliest days of actual stardom, certainly became very acquainted with the word as well. And since she was the one in charge of creating his body - fulfilling his twin dreams of stardom and corporeality in one fell swoop - he really did consider her a darling. Even as the fame began to go to his head, and even as the two found themselves at odds with each other more frequently, and even when their friendship was almost completely on the rocks, he never stopped calling her "darling". Of course, once they'd moved to the surface, the word only saw more frequent use, especially when he'd realized that he could have been a better friend to her.

Indeed, part of her had initially felt that his talk was cheap, after so long of only talking to her to ask about his body. But the sad look in his eyes on the day the two finally had a serious talk about it, coupled with those unusually-quiet vocal tones that suffered from minor glitches here and there... Alphys knew from experience that this was not just someone wanting to apologize for the sake of moving on. Whenever Mettaton called her "darling" in that conversation, she could tell there was true remorse behind it, in the sense of I should have told you more often and I should have been there for you.

From that day on, whenever he called her "darling", he always wanted her to know that he meant it, and that he'd never take her friendship and generosity for granted again. And as the two began to really and truly become friends again, she started believing him again whenever he used the word on her. Of course, by now she had a different sort of "darling" courtesy of Undyne, but he was still the second person she'd go to whenever she needed someone.

Over time, Mettaton met more and more people, and they each became "darling" to him in their own ways. Aside from Mettaton's many, many darling fans, Asgore was the darling king, Frisk was the darling hero of monsterkind, Undyne was one of the more frequent targets of Mettaton's sarcastic uses of "darling" even though Mettaton held no true malice towards her...

And then, eventually, there was Papyrus.

This skeleton, who initially had been just one of Mettaton's fans, ended up becoming closer to him than anyone could have expected; of course, when your respective best friends just so happen to be a happy couple, it's almost inevitable for at least one chance encounter to happen - especially when you're celebrating the birthday of another mutual friend. Papyrus certainly seemed like a darling; as much of a Mettaton fan as he was, he never acted like Mettaton was the only guest who mattered. He didn't try to hog Mettaton's attention, nor did he try to butt in whenever Mettaton was having a one-on-one conversation with someone else. And while he was incredibly concerned about being polite during his and Mettaton's first conversation, he didn't take it to sycophantic levels; he still clearly had his own point of view on things.

As the number of meetings grew, Mettaton began to find himself looking forward to hearing from Papyrus again. Papyrus was definitely one of the more eccentric people Mettaton had gotten to know, but someone who could be so sweet to everyone... that was certainly the kind of person Mettaton wanted to know.

And when that rainstorm came to town and Mettaton found himself cooped up in the skeletons' house, Papyrus' actions on that day truly cemented him as "darling" in Mettaton's heart.

The pair's friendship deepened over the months and years; it ran into a few awkward points whenever Mettaton had to confront some of his past demons or whenever Papyrus' inner self questioned whether he was worthy of actually being friends with the one and only Mettaton, but they always managed to not only make it through, but come out of the experiences with more wisdom and confidence than ever. Over time, each began to consider the other a main source of safety; after all, despite Mettaton's mistakes, he was still far more kindhearted than his egotistical stage persona implied. And, of course, if Papyrus cared about someone, trying to get him to give up on them was a fool's errand - and someone would have to do something truly atrocious to make Papyrus believe they were a lost cause (and even then, his attitude towards the whole thing would be more "it's such a shame" than anything else).

With all of this in mind, Mettaton found himself caring about Papyrus more and more, until he eventually realized a certain truth. While Papyrus was absolutely one of the darlings in his life, he'd now started feeling, more than ever, that Papyrus could be his darling - his one true love, as it were. After all, why else had he been starting to feel that glow in his heart whenever he and Papyrus spoke, like these conversations were one of the best parts of his day even when they were about mundane topics? Why else did he become so unsettled at the thought of Papyrus possibly falling in love with someone else, or even just not feeling the same way towards Mettaton that Mettaton felt towards him? Sure, if any of that did happen, Mettaton would respect Papyrus' wishes and boundaries, but there would probably always be that little part of him that would wonder, "what if...?"

And that was why Mettaton was thrown for a loop when Papyrus confessed that he did, indeed, want to be in a romantic relationship with him.

From there, Papyrus not only became more of a darling than ever to Mettaton, but he became so many other things as well; Mettaton began coming up with some special pet names just for him. They hadn't even spent five minutes as boyfriends when Mettaton coined the first of these many nicknames: "sugar skull". And while Mettaton still called everyone "sweetheart", Papyrus was the only one he called "sweetie". The nickname "my love" started floating around as well - and, eventually, after the two moved in together, a cute incident with a couple of butterflies drove Mettaton to start calling Papyrus "sunflower".

Throughout all this, Mettaton also continued to use his more common pet names, "darling" included, on Papyrus. That being said, sometimes Papyrus wasn't just "darling"; sometimes he was "my darling". That tiny, two-letter word just made everything a little more special, as far as Papyrus was concerned. He was someone's... well, special someone! He had someone, and this someone had him, and they would always be there for each other.

But whether they were the names Mettaton used for everyone or the names that only came out when Papyrus was around, Papyrus loved all of Mettaton's nicknames - to the point where he wanted to come up with his own nicknames for Mettaton. His set of nicknames wasn't quite as varied as the ones Mettaton came up with, though; most of them were simply variations on "my star" or "my starlight". Of course, there was always such sincerity behind these nicknames that Mettaton didn't mind at all; sometimes after a horrible day, hearing Papyrus call him "my special star" was exactly what he needed to cheer up.

And indeed, Papyrus felt the same way about Mettaton calling him "darling". He knew full well that, for Mettaton, that word was fun to say. (And Papyrus could certainly relate to the idea of certain words feeling good in one's mouth - that was a large part of why the words "wowie" and "nyeh heh heh" were mainstays in his vocabulary.) Papyrus also knew that, to Mettaton, different people were "darling" in different ways.

Somehow, though, whenever Mettaton called him "darling" - when they would greet each other after work kept them apart for a long time, or when Mettaton would listen to Papyrus' latest stories about his work or hobbies and ask questions about them, or when they would share a quiet moment right after waking up or right before going to sleep - it always felt special. And in Papyrus' eyes, that would never change.

Chapter Text

"Now, remember, sweethearts," Mettaton said as he paced the floor, eyeing his assembled guests one-by-one, "we're doing this for fun before anything else. If any of you aren't having fun, please let me know. All right?"

Aside from his typical backing band of Napstablook and Shyren, Mettaton had brought quite an eclectic crew into the studio today. Papyrus listened with rapt attention, his guitar at the ready; Sans leaned back in a folding chair, with a soda in one hand and his favorite trombone in the other; Frisk studied their harmonica intently, thinking of both the songs they could play and the shininess of the metal components; and Bryan sat at the drum kit, idly tapping a drumstick against the hi-hat.

Napstablook briefly floated over from their turntables. "Also, if something sounds weird, we can always fix it later..." As tempted as they were to add an I hope to that, they didn't get the chance.

"That's right, Blooky. It's the whole point of improvising." Mettaton clasped his hands together, his eyes sparkling. "Can you imagine it, darlings? A song we all made together!"

Of course, Papyrus couldn't hold back a "wowie" at the thought. Performing an already-existing song with Mettaton - whether one of his songs or a human song - was one thing, but making an original song with him? And not only were all of the people in the room going to contribute to the song itself, but Mettaton had plans to include several of their friends - Undyne, Alphys, Toriel, Asgore, Freddy, Kid, and more - in the music video.

But in order to make a music video, they rather obviously needed music - and Mettaton thought a jam session would be a fun way to produce it. Plus, in this way, it would really be their song, as opposed to if Mettaton just showed up with some sheet music and told everyone to play what was written on the pages.

Eventually, Mettaton took a seat in front of his favorite synthesizer. "Any questions before we begin?"

Sans raised his hand. "Yeah. If we're gonna jam, you want me to get some bread and peanut butter to go with it?"

Bryan let out a loud groan and rested his forehead in his hand. When he heard someone walk up to him, he looked back up; it was Sans, giving him a wink and gesturing towards the drums.

"Eh? Eh?"

"No way, buddy." Bryan folded his arms. "Not even gonna dignify that one."

"He's right, Sans," Papyrus said. "You'll get your bread... when you quit loafing around!"

While Papyrus posed triumphantly, everyone else snickered or at least smiled - except for Bryan, who just sighed. "Seriously?"

Mettaton looked over at him. "Come on, Bryan, darling. Why do you think it's called rock and roll?"

Frisk nearly fell off their seat as they laughed.

Speaking of rolling, that was exactly what Bryan's eyes did, before a thought came to him.

If you can't beat 'em...

He smirked. "Hey, if you keep these puns up, I'm gonna have to baguette! And then this jam session will be toast! But I'll come back if you give me some change - quarters, dimes, pennies, or pumpernickels!"

Needless to say, it took a little while for the jam session to actually start.


Once everyone had both gotten all relevant bread puns out of their system and regained their composure, Mettaton returned his focus to the keyboard. "All right, Bryan, give me a beat."

"No."

Bryan smirked as he saw Mettaton turn towards him; that confused expression was nothing short of priceless. "I'll give you a rhythm, though. One, two, three, four!"

With that, he began playing a simple drum beat.

Mettaton just barely remembered to start playing his synthesizer, sighing to himself. While he and Bryan actually got along now, Bryan had certainly learned a few things about teasing - and he was willing to take full advantage of Mettaton no longer being his boss.

The first moment proved itself awkward, as none of the others were entirely sure of when to cut in. Mettaton kept listening, waiting for someone - anyone - to join in, and was about ready to start calling out specific names...

...until the warm tones of Frisk's harmonica floated through the air, with Papyrus' guitar following not even a minute later.

From there, everyone else began to join in. Sans would throw in some random notes and scales on his trombone for seasoning, Napstablook would try to add in some bass effects from their turntables, and whenever the noise coalesced into a coherent melody, Shyren would start scat-singing. Papyrus would join her whenever his fingers needed a break; he could carry a tune quite well, no doubt thanks to taking a lot of opportunities to practice (whether in the car, the shower, or the midst of chores). Sometimes Mettaton would join in, too, even throwing in some actual words here and there as the song began to piece itself together.

The jam session continued for a little while as everyone experimented with different sounds. At one point, Sans and Frisk got into an impromptu trombone vs. harmonica duel, and everyone else tried to harmonize with them. Bryan tried out some different time signatures now and then, as well as throwing in a few drum fills from some songs he knew. There was even a moment where everything descended into a spontaneous rendition of "The Sailor's Hornpipe"; no one was quite sure how it happened.

Regardless, after an hour of fooling around, the band had come up with a hook they all liked - or at least, the instrumentation for it. They all ended up agreeing that they should start to come up with some lyrics so they could figure out how the rest of the song would sound.

That being said, lyric-writing was easier said than done.

"Come along with me, my sweetie, and I'll..." Papyrus trailed off, tapping at his mandible. "Make you some... delicious baked ziti?" He groaned. "No one's going to take that seriously!"

"Hey, there's an audience for silly songs." Sans started snickering. "You could sing about making ziti that's cheesy and meaty."

Mettaton let out a perplexed laugh. "Let's save that one for the B-side, shall we?"

Of course, Papyrus wasn't the only one who had trouble coming up with lyrics.

"I saw you hiding under a bench, and then I had to... uh..." Frisk scratched their head. "Something something socket wrench? What rhymes with bench?"

"No, it doesn't," Sans said, causing the others to groan once they noticed the joke.

Bryan, meanwhile, offered the line "Waiting downtown for the bus to come around", and while Shyren couldn't think of more substantial phrases and sentences to fit in the meter, she did provide a very important contribution: when she mentioned that the phrase "hand in hand" kept popping into her mind, Mettaton felt the metaphorical lightning strike.

"Ooh! I smell a working title!"

By the time the group decided to pack it in for the day, their little composition had a hook and a title; it had a long way to go before becoming a complete song, but it was still a start.

"Wowie... we're really making a song with Mettaton..." Papyrus zipped up his guitar case. "It's a little harder than I thought, but I had lots of fun today."

"Me too." Frisk looked up and smiled. "I can't wait to hear the finished song."

Mettaton, while putting things away, had a smile of his own. Back in the days underground, after his friendships and family bonds went sour, he'd tried to convince himself that he didn't really need those things in his life; his love for himself and the love of his fans were all he needed. It hadn't been until everyone moved to the surface that he'd realized just how lonely he'd been in those previous years. As he either developed or repaired his bonds with the others, he rediscovered the joys of having true friends - people who loved him even in his less-glamorous moments, who were more willing to laugh with him rather than at him, who loved Mettaton the flawed person and not just Mettaton the celebrity. Indeed, after becoming close to the group, Mettaton noticed that he'd started feeling much more peaceful deep down; it was nice to believe in himself and have fans, but knowing that he also had friends, family, and eventually someone to love in his corner... there was nothing quite like it.

For this reason, he knew that this song, whether it ended up succeeding or failing, would always have a special place in his heart.

Once everything was packed up, Mettaton grinned at everyone. "Well, darlings, now that that's settled, why don't we all go out for something to eat? I, for one, am in the mood for sandwiches."

Sans raised his hand. "I've heard there's a really good sandwich place a few streets down; they even have a build-your-own-sandwich bar if you don't like the other options they have on the menu." He chuckled. "Of course, if you wanna go the tried-and-true route, Grillby's has sandwiches on the menu."

"If you don't mind smelling grease, grease, and more grease while you eat!" Papyrus folded his arms. He had nothing against Grillby as a person, nor did he think anyone was wrong for liking the restaurant - but he never liked the texture of grease for how it threatened to mask the real flavors and textures of the food with its own oily flavor that Papyrus didn't particularly like. And while Grillby's menu did include non-greasy fare, so many of the restaurant's signature dishes involved grease that, if Papyrus couldn't smell it from the kitchen, he could smell it from other tables.

"C'mon, bro." Sans playfully elbowed Papyrus. "Haven't you heard the song that says, 'grease is the word'?"

"I thought bird was the word," Frisk said.

Needless to say, it took a little while for the group to actually head out to a restaurant.


Over the next couple of months, the group would meet up now and then to further refine the song. Little by little, they'd build onto it, each throwing in their own ideas for lyrics and such. When it came time to actually start recording, Mettaton helped the others understand how the process worked; while the recording process did turn out a little clumsy at times, everyone ended up being happy with the final result.

The resulting song - still titled "Hand in Hand" - ended up on Mettaton's official social media pages not long after. Many fans had good things to say about the song; although the song deviated somewhat from Mettaton's usual style by not relying as heavily on synthesizers, the fans generally didn't mind too much, seeing it as Mettaton doing an experiment with his friends. They also appreciated the upbeat, positive tone of the song, and how it managed to pull off a feel-good tone without being cloying.

Speaking of friends, when the time came to start making the official music video, Mettaton encouraged all of his bandmates to invite their friends and family over to appear in at least one scene, even if only for a few seconds. The video's concept was relatively simple: Mettaton, Napstablook, and Shyren would perform the song in a park, with the rest of the band joining in as was appropriate, while occasionally cutting to scenes of the band members doing silly things together with everyone else. More than anything, Mettaton wanted it to feel like a party instead of work.

And a party was certainly what he'd ended up with, as all the different special guests threw in their own contributions. Snowdin-shopkeeper-turned-cafe-owner Zoe (also known to her friends as the Queen of Cinnamon, or QC for short) got into a friendly arm-wrestling competition with Grillby. Undyne, Alphys, and Papyrus played a frisbee game that took them to all corners of the park, with Bratty and Catty cheering Alphys on at one point. The other two ghost cousins, Maddy and Hush, had a disagreement over whether Maddy could kick a field goal - and surprisingly enough, the normally-quiet Hush had been the instigator of that one. Sans juggled three wrapped Nice Cream bars before throwing them to Frisk, Tina, and Kid, all while Bryan and Freddy stood on the sidelines in amazement. Toriel and Mettaton cheered on a couple of snails that were slithering across the pavement in an impromptu race; Toriel's snail ended up winning. Flowey and Asgore practiced card tricks together, Gerson took a photograph of a spider web and showed it to Muffet (who gave it six thumbs up), and Lemon Bread demonstrated some (rather chaste) dance moves for Shyren, Napstablook, Aaron, and the Moldbygg family. And those were just some of the highlights from the many special guests - who also appeared during the performance scenes as the band's audience.

Indeed, by the time filming was finished, everyone was having so much fun that they nearly forgot they were there to film a music video. Many of them ended up sticking around for longer than expected; even as the special guests went home one-by-one, they went home with fond memories (and in more than a few cases, new friendships). Some even stayed to watch the sunset; if passersby didn't know better, they would think it was a national holiday of some sort.

When Mettaton eventually premiered the video to the public, he said, "We hope you have as much fun watching this as we did making it."

And the audience did - but even if they hadn't, everyone involved in the collaboration would have still kept this experience close to their hearts. As for Mettaton himself? He came out of it feeling more grateful than ever for his family, friends, and partner - his biggest fans of all.