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Fathom Me Nothing

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The snow was beautiful. Pure white, crystalline, and silent. It drifted from the trees in an almost fairy-like grace, turning and pirouetting across the cavern ahead. It was quite beautiful, contrasting greatly with the charred bits of sweater and the puffy, red skin underneath. Frisk stopped, sucking in a deep, deep breath. Tears were coating the back of their eyelids, but they wiped them away with a rough jerk of their hand. No, no don’t cry! They weren’t allowed to cry. They pulled in another breath, to ignore the shudder in their lungs. Their lip trembled. They shouldn’t cry. They couldn’t cry. Good kids didn’t cry. They steeled their resolve, clenching their small fists into tight, little balls.

“Please, don’t come back…”

No. They refused going to think about that.
Their nose and cheeks were a frosty rose color, staining their face a bright, delicate pink. They wiped the back of their sleeve across their countenance, effectively marking their visage with a soot streak.
C’mon, stop being a crybaby. They took a final, deep-lunged breath, and let it seep out of their lungs slowly, letting a last hiccup out with it. They shoved all those though to the back of their mind.
Now, where did they have to go next?
Ahead of them was a path, straight forward and surrounded by trees in all directions. They hesitantly took a step forward, a nervous little twinge in their stomach.
It looked... really scary.
They popped a piece of monster candy into their mouth, running their tongue over the small orb and savoring the non-licorice flavor. It seemed to melt in their mouth, quickly turning into a lingering taste on the tip of their tongue. They let out a contented sigh as their burns began to heal, closing their eyes and savoring the moment.

Silence.

They shivered.

They opened their eyes again, just in time to see the last of a large burn on their hand disappear into tan skin. They moved it around, testing it out to see if it hurt anywhere. It didn’t. They smiled softly, wiggling the fingers around wildly. It still didn’t hurt.
This stuff was awesome!
They made a mental note to stock up on more of it before they went back to the surface. This would be so useful! It was perfect!

Frisk took a step forward, but, they paused for a brief moment, and turned back to look once more at the door. They noted the purple engraving etched onto the ancient stone, like the one on her robes. Their heart ached…

They could always go ba-

Frisk frowned, and began to move forward again, leaving the door behind with a quick jerk of their head. No. They couldn’t go back. The Lady behind the door had made that perfectly clear.
They stumbled a bit on the next step.
They… they didn’t blame her.
Frisk focused on the road ahead of them. The walk was long and quiet, doing it’s best to both unnerve and sooth Frisk simultaneously. Their skin was prickling with goosebumps knitting together into minuscule hills. They didn’t like this. The silence was nice before, but now…
It was just creepy.
A shiver raced down their spine as they clutched at themselves, drawing the fabric of their sweater close to them. They hunched their shoulders together. They scrunched their face up and stuck out their tongue. They were being dumb! There was nothing to be afraid of! They nodded their head in affirmation of this fact. No, they were just being a scared-y cat, like always. What would momma and dad say? They stepped over a huge branch in the road, having to tentatively make sure they didn’t trip over it.
Yeah!
They straightened their spine, ignoring the way their muscles seemed to refuse to move. They held their head up high.
Yeah! This was nothing! They had seen worse! Their stride quickened into a more steady gate, confident in where they stepped. They were OK! They had to be OK, they were going to be fine! There was absolutely nothing to worry about. They managed a relieved smile. This was nothing compared to-

S N A P

Frisk whirled around so fast they swore they heard their neck break in two. Their eyes frantically darted around for an attacker. They dimly noticed how their lungs were seizing up, gasping for breath and that their fingers were curled painfully into their palms. Frisk stayed perfectly still, their feet frozen, as their blood rushed in their ears.
What was that?

They waited for a crystalline, still moment, for something to happen, for the silence to be shattered.

But there was nothing.

Frisk’s heartbeat was still pounding, beating itself into their ears. They slowed down their rapid breathing. They didn’t like this, this was creepy! Their teeth chattered before they ground the small molars into each other. No, no, they had to calm down. They had to think. They looked around, this time slightly less frantically… and saw-
Oh.
Frisks breath caught in their chest once again, leaving them in a painful, high-pitched noise that sounded like a mouse being strangled.
The large branch in the middle of the road had been completely snapped in half.
Wood was splintered around it, splattered like blood across the snow. Frisk took another, wide-eyed look around, before gingerly stepping over to the shattered log. They nelt down carefully, and stared at the gaping wound in the wood.
It looked like it had been hit by… something.
There was someone big around here.
There was someone dangerous around here.
...
Nope!
Frisk began to briskly walk in the other direction.
Cold sweat created a sheen on their forehead. They silently begged their feet to walk faster.

They tried to ignore the feeling that they were being watched.

Their nerves hiccuped for a moment, before spreading into static that seemed to cause them to jitter and shiver, but, ironically, not from the cold.
Frisk picked up the pace, settling into a quick jog. They kept their eyes in front of them, fixed up ahead. It-it was just a monster! They could reason with monsters. They were good with monsters! At least, they thought they were. All it took was a little bit of kindness! And they would be their-

Frisk jolted, freezing for a moment as their mind moved to a blank.

Frisk had caught the speckle of movement in their peripheral vision. A shadowy figure, casually walking between two trees, like in some sort of cheesy 80’s horror movies that they caught their dad watching while he was passed out on the couch.
Before they even knew it, Frisk’s legs were pumping up and down as snow sprayed everywhere, soaking their pant legs with a cold, icy slush. Pure adrenaline had kicked in as they stumbled along, the wind biting their face and tearing at their cheeks. They did not want to meet that person! It was probably someone that would be really hard to convince, and big, and scary. But… wasn’t it their responsibility to help them, if they were in trouble?
Frisk frowned at the thought, a twinge of guilt sitting uncomfortable in their soul.
They… they should help them, shouldn’t they?
Frisk slowed down to a stop, gnawing at their lip uncertainty. They played with the frayed ends of their sleeves, feet shifting from spot to spot.
What if they needed something? They could be hurt… or… or sad, or lonely! Shouldn’t Frisk do something if that was the case? That was their job, right?
But, what if they attacked them? Frisk was, quite frankly, tired of being hurt. It wasn’t like they were going to rush, soul in hand, to their death. The thought of even approaching them made Frisk jittery. They began to walk again, conscious whirring.
Wooden structure stood up ahead. A bridge, over a crevice! With...bars? Frisk didn’t know why those were there, but, Frisk was glad for them. A big monster couldn’t follow them through, and that was the only way over the crevice! They could lose it!

They picked up speed, barreling towards the structure. Putting their all into it.

Almost there…
They made i-!

Frisk was suddenly frozen in place.
They couldn’t move.

 

Crunch.

Crunch.

Crunch.

Footsteps echoed behind them, slow and heavy. A shiver laced it’s way up Frisk spine, settling between their shoulders and pooling in their pores. Frisk could feel the presence behind them, slowly creeping closer. The steps were painfully slow echoing among the trees like gunshots.
They were frozen, paralyzed, their hands clenching and unclenching painfully at their sides.

The footsteps stopped.

Frisk could feel it’s breath on their neck.

“H u m a n.”

All they could hear was its voice and the drumming of their own heart. It was deep and low, exactly the kind of voice Frisk pictured for a big, scary someone.

“D o n ‘ t y o u k n o w h o w to g r e e t a n e w p a l ?”

Frisk’s hair stood up on it’s ends, quivering in the cold air.

“T u r n a r o u n d a n d s h a k e m y h a n d.”

What would happen if they did?
What would happen if they didn’t?
Frisk slowly rotated on their heels, sticking their frozen, chapped fingers out of their sleeve.

 

Frisk quickly grabbed the offered hand, focusing on their snow-covered sneakers. The hand they grabbed was… hard? It felt smooth, almost like ivory piano keys. But, there was something…

Pppppppfffffbbbbbbbbbb!

Frisk couldn’t help but look up immediately.

Was that a… whoopee cushion?

Frisk gaped for a split second.
Before bursting into a fit of tiny giggles.

 

“heh heh, the old whoopee cushion in the hand trick. it’s ‘always’ funny.” The deep voice said.
Frisk looked up at the monster in front of them, spasms slowly dying in their chest. The initial shock of the absurd joke was beginning to wear off, shifting into subtle wariness.

The monster that stood in front of them was… a skeleton?
Frisk COULDN’T stop their jaw from dropping.
They had never seen any monsters like this in all their exploring in the ruins. All of them were small monsters, even shorter than Frisk! Napstablook or ...Toriel were probably the closest to anything like that.

They ignored the pang in their chest.

The skeleton was staring down at them, hands tucked into the pockets of a stained blue jacket. He had gym shorts (Do skeletons even get bothered by the cold?) and pink, fluffy slippers. But what really caught Frisk’s attention was his face.

It looked, well, like a skull. But, a weird skull, to say the least. Kind of… cartoon-y, like it was from one of those Sunday morning shows! The skulls in the books that Frisk had seen looked fierce and sharp, with jagged teeth hanging down from a grossly severed jaw. His skull was rounded, friendlier-looking, with a rounded smile that that seemed genial, at the least. His eyes were hollow sockets with little white… lights? Did he have eyeballs? Or was it just magic?’
They gave a little awed gasp.

“anyways, you’re a human, right?” The skeleton asked, as casual as he could be.
The little white lights stared them down. He leaned back on his heels. “that’s hilarious.”

Frisk couldn’t help but burst out into giggles again, despite their best efforts.
Would he take offense to their laughing? They looked up at him once more, trying to see any turn in emotion. His eyes seemed a little… brighter? Frisk didn’t know if they were just imagining things.

“i’m sans, sans the skeleton.” Sans? Wasn’t that… a font?

“i’m actually supposed to be on watch for humans right now.”

Frisk tensed at this, guard raising again. They searched his face for emotion again, but to no avail. Was he always smiling like that?

“but… y’know… i don’t really care about capturing anybody.”

Did he care about killing anybody instead? No, that would be cheesy. Even for Frisk.

“now my brother, papyrus, he’s a human-hunting FANATIC.”

Oh, that wasn’t good.

The Lady in the ruins had warned them about monsters trying to attack before, (multiple times, actually), but it still didn’t make Frisk feel any better about what Sans was telling them.

Why was Sans telling them this?
It seemed like he was almost… warning them.

“hey, actually, i think that’s him over there.” Frisk whipped their head around. They could see a white and red colored figure in the distance, getting closer.
Frisk stared back at Sans, panic in their eyes.

“i have an idea. go through this gate thingy.”

Sans gestured at the structure behind them, the one they had been trying to fit through earlier. They glanced back at Sans once more. Was he actually trying to help them?

“yeah, go right through. my bro made the bars to wide to stop anyone” Frisk turned and sped-walked through the gate, Sans trailing behind him. They came to a clearing with what seemed to be a booth(?) and something else Frisk didn’t even recognize.

 

“quick, behind that conveniently-shaped lamp.”

Oh…
That was the weird...thing, right? It was shaped a lot like them, and vaguely of a lamp. But Frisk didn’t want to make a mistake.

 

Frisk looked up at Sans again for confirmation, still disbelieving about his help, and trying to make them self as small as possible. He gestured to the thing that Frisk thought was the lamp. “Go on.”

They ducked behind the lamp and curled in on themselves, trying to keep as small as possible. And, by extension, as warm as possible.

 

Tromping footsteps neared, in a determined and purposeful manor.

“sup, bro?”

“YOU KNOW WHAT’S UP, BROTHER!”

Frisk was not ready for the loud, high-pitched voice that came from behind them. They jumped, and almost burst into laughter.
He sounded like someone right out of a TV show.

“IT”S BEEN EIGHT DAYS AND YOU STILL HAVEN’T RE-CALIBRATED. YOUR. PUZZLES!” YOU’RE JUST STANDING AROUND IN FRONT OF YOUR STATION! WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?”

“staring at this lamp. it’s really cool. you wanna look?”

Frisk sucked in a breath and tensed, preparing to run.

“NO!! I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT !! WHAT IF A HUMAN COMES THROUGH HERE!?! I WANT TO BE READY! I WILL BE THE ONE! I MUST BE THE ONE!”
“I WILL CAPTURE A HUMAN! THEN I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS… WILL GET ALL THE THINGS I UTTERLY DESERVE!”

“RESPECT…”
“RECOGNITION…”
“I WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO JOIN THE ROYAL GUARD! PEOPLE WILL ASK, TO BE MY ,’FRIEND’?

Despite the the fact they were kinda terrified by what the skeleton was saying, they felt… kinda bad for him.
They would be his friend, if he wanted them to be.

“I WILL BATHE IN A SHOWER OF KISSES EVERY MORNING!”

“mmm, maybe this lamp will help you.”

Frisk bit down on their tongue. Hard.

“SANS!! YOU ARE NOT HELPING!”

“YOU LAZY BONES!! ALL YOU DO IS SIT AND BOONDOGGLE! YOU GET LAZIER AND LAZIER EVERY DAY!”

Their shoulder started to shake. Boondoggle? What does Boondoggle even MEAN!?!

“hey, take it easy. i’ve gotten a ton of work done today. a skele-ton.”

Frisk clamped their hand over their mouth, stifling a laugh, but not quite managing to stop the small hiss of air through their nostrils.

“SANS!!!” The tall skeleton wailed. (Papyrus, they corrected themselves. They should of remembered that.)

“come on. you’re smiling.”

“I AM AND I HATE IT.”

Papyrus sighed melodramatically, which caused another silent giggle. A warm, slow feeling crept into their chest, one that caused their smile to stretch even further.

“WHY DOES SOMEONE AS GREAT AS ME... HAVE TO DO SO MUCH TO GET SOME RECOGNITION…”

“wow, sounds like you’re really working yourself…”

There was a pregnant pause.

“down to the bone.”

Frisk started as a shriek emanated from behind them.

“UGH!!! I WILL ATTEND TO MY PUZZLES… AS FOR YOUR WORK? PUT A LITTLE MORE…”

Frisk waited on an elated baited breath.

“BACKBONE INTO IT!!!! NYEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!”

The joke was even better mixed with Papyrus’s wiry laugh. They were fairly positive that if they had to hold any more laughter in, their ribs were going to completely break.
I suppose you could say that they were…

Ribbing them!

Frisk beamed from underneath their fingers.

They heard Papyrus’s feet run off, running off. They strained their ears. Would Sans tell them to get out? Or…

“HEH!”
Frisk gave a small shriek, and flinched, hands coming upwards. Their back hit the lamp, which slowly,
slowly,
tipped backwards
And crashed into the snow, landing with an audible thud!

Frisk shivered, wide eyes scanning Papyrus up and down.
They backed away slowly.

Papyrus was way more angular than his brother. Instead of the casual clothes Sans adorned, he seemed to be wearing armor, a shiny silver breastplate. Red seemed to be his favorite color, as he had boots and gloves of a scarlet shade. A crimson scarf billowed in the wind.
Papyrus’s mouth was open in shock, and his eyes almost looked like googly eyes as he looked down at Frisk. (He was so… tall!)

“UH SANS?”

“yeah, bro?”

“WHY IS THERE A SMALL MONSTER HIDING BEHIND A LAMP?”

“I think they were just trying to…

Papyrus glared at Sans.

Sans’s grin only got wider.

“get some shade.”

Papyrus groaned loudly, throwing up his hands in exasperation. Frisk cracked a nervous smile at the pun.
Papyrus thought they were a monster.

“NOW, TINY MONSTER, ARE YOU LOST?” Papyrus nelt down, but despite this, he still towered over them.

Frisk gave him another hopefully-not-wobbly smile. They shook their head slowly. Their eyes darting over to Sans for help or… something. Nothing happened besides bright white dots meeting their eyes.

“WELL, DO NOT FEAR, TINY MONSTER, AS A FUTURE ROYAL GUARDSMAN, IT IS MY DUTY THAT I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SHOULD MAKE SURE YOU RETURN HOME SAFELY! EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT LOST!” Papyrus stood back up proudly, scarf fluttering in a sudden wind (Where was it coming from? Frisk couldn’t feel it at all).

“N-nuh-”
Frisk snapped their mouth shut, cheeks reddening in both panic and embarrassment. It was like their vocal chords shut down on them, clamping and seizing up.

“SANS, THE LITTLE MONSTER IS LOOKING QUITE SCARED. ARE THEY OK?”

“uh, maybe they are in shock from your coolness.”

“WELL, MY COOLNESS IS CERTAINLY OVERWHELMING. BUT WHY WOULD THEY BE SCARED OF SUCH AN AMAZING PERSON SUCH AS MYSELF OFFERING THEM PROTECTION?”

“ i dunno, bro.”
There was a snort and a low chuckle. “heh. rhyme.”

Papyrus brought their focus down to Frisk.

“ARE YOU ALRIGHT?”

Frisk nodded frantically. They gave him the biggest smile they could manage. If they couldn’t rely on their vocal chords, then they would have to rely on body language.

Act cheerful, pacify and escape. Their old tactic is how they got out of the ruins, and those times they even gained some new friends! It worked out better than it did on the surface! They could do this!

They felt determined to get out of this situation.

“I’m-” Frisk cleared their throat. They analyzed Papyrus’s face for any trace of anger, or aggression. All they could see was a bright, confident grin. Although, it was hard to tell with a face made of bone.

“It’s very nice of you, b-but it’s OK. I don’t want to trouble you.” They looked down at the feet and the glistening snow.

“NONSENSE! IT WOULD BE NO TROUBLE AT ALL FOR THE GREAT PAPYRUS! IN FACT, I CAN GET YOU HOME TWICE AS FAST AS YOU NORMALLY COULD!”

Oh no, that’s the opposite effect Frisk wanted! They clenched their fists, digging their nails into their palms.

“Uh, what if a human comes through here? Don’t you need to be here to, um, fight them?”

“FIGHT? OH NO NO NO, TINY MONSTER! I WOULD NOT FIGHT A HUMAN UNLESS THEY GET PAST ALL MY PUZZLES FIRST!”
Puzzles? Oh. Toriel did say something about monsters loving puzzles.
“BUT, YOU DO HAVE A POINT.” Papyrus frowned, pinching his chin in his hands.
“WHAT IF I MISS THE HUMAN? THAT WOULD BE HORRIBLE!
Papyrus looked conflicted.
Yes!

“hey bro, how ‘bout you go on up ahead and calibrate a puzzle or two while they make up their mind. If they want an escort, they’ll tell you.”

Frisk didn’t protest at this, just keeping their head down.
“AHH! THAT’S A GREAT IDEA SANS! TINY MONSTER! IF YOU WANT SOME ASSISTANCE, MEET ME UP AHEAD! NYEHEHEHE!”

Papyrus sped away, leaping over snowdrifts and leaving fresh powder in his wake.

Frisk sighed in relief, and turned to Sans, a thanks and apology on their tongue. They flexed their hands a bit, cringing at the perfectly indented crescents that had buried themselves in their palms.

“heh. my brother is so cool, isn’t he?”

Sans had beat them to the chase, and they flinched slightly as he talked. His voice was really deep, like-

Frisk nodded quickly, trying to show utmost agreement. They flashed him a small, albeit genuine smile.
Papyrus was really cool. Kinda… kinda scary, but really cool! His outfit was awesome! It looked like something out of a storybook, or even a video game! They should probably tell him that, sometime. If they ever got the guts to, that is.

There was a pause as they both listened to Papyrus’s cheerfully maniacal laughter echoing in the distance. It sounded like he was shouting encouragement at… a puzzle?

“U-umm, thank you.” Frisk started the conversation back up, rolling back and forth on their heels. “For trying to hide me. Sorry for, um, messing it up.” They cringed, chewing on their lip. A snowflake fell on the tip of their nose.

“No prob. And don’t worry ‘bout it.”

Sans’s easy grin was still plastered on his face, still and sedimentary. But… his eyes had changed. His eyes traced their face, like he was looking for a crack or a festering wound instead of freckles.
They felt the hair on the back of their neck stand up.

“actually, hey, hate to bother ya, but can you do me a favor?”

Frisk tilted their head up, intently listening. And instantly, the look was gone as Frisk’s eyes met his.

“I was thinking… my brothers been sorta down lately.”

Frisk frowned slightly. Papyrus had seemed very cheery, but… maybe he was actually sad. That would, that would not be good. They wanted to help.

“he’s never seen a human before. And if you tell him you are human, it might just make his day.”

They looked up sharply at Sans, eyes wide and searching.
Why would they do that?
They wanted to help him, they really did, but...that was a death penalty!

“don’t worry, he’s not dangerous, even when he wants to be.” Sans’ grin seemed to get wider for a second, but you were fairly positive that it was your imagination.
“trust me, he’d never hurt a fly, nevertheless you, kid.”

They didn’t have a choice.
Sans already knew! Why didn’t he just tell his brother right then and there? Why did Sans even attempt to help them in the first place?

“so, waddaya say?”

Frisk looked down, hugging themselves carefully. They didn’t really want to, but, honestly, what choice did they have?

It was either tell Papyrus immediately, or have Sans tell him.
No, no, this was good. Maybe this way, they could make friends with Papyrus. They could cheer him up, too!

They nodded hesitantly.

“great!” Sans said, rolling his shoulders backwards in a single lazy motion. Two white pinpricks watched them as they shuffled their feet, moving the snow between their soggy shoes.

“i’ll meet you up ahead.”

They nodded, shivering in the icy cold.
“Sorry.” They offered again, and started down the path.

Frisk noted, with a small pang of panic, that they thought they figured out why Sans’ gaze unnerved them a bit.

He was inspecting their every move.

Chapter Text

Frisk shivered as they walked down the path, the wind biting through their threadbare sweater like it wasn’t even there. They missed their fluffy, purple jacket. They loved the little flowers printed on the fabric, and they were the main reason Frisk used to wear it so much. They probably had given it to some other kid, by now, Frisk thought. Some other kid who didn’t even love it as much as them. Along with their other stuff. Frisk kicked the snow, sending it flying. The stinging of tears in the corner of their eyes caused their entire face to burst aflame.

They felt bad.
Shame at their jealousy began to kick in as they came to a fork in the path. One of the weird, tiny yellow lights twinkled in the crook of the two roads.
No. It was good that someone else got it. It could get really cold in town, and Frisk wouldn’t want anyone to freeze.

Frisk brushed their hand against the glowing yellow star, and a strange feeling washed over them.They didn’t quite know if this was good or bad. They didn’t even know what these things did, but… they made them feel…

Determined.

They kept on walking forward, ignoring the gnawing curiosity to peek over at the wooden box at the side of the road. It was someone else's stuff, and it was rude to mess with other peoples things!

Soon, Papyrus and Sans stood ahead on the path.

Frisk’s eyes widened, mouth opening in a small “o”. Their brow furrowed as they stared at Sans. How did he get ahead of them? Did he take a shortcut around Frisk? They crinkled their face in bewilderment, scrunching it up in a confused and childish manner.

“AHHH! HELLO TINY MONSTER!! WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO WALK YOU HOME NOW?”

The high pitched shouting voice suddenly got closer as Papyrus ran towards them, smiling. Frisk, again, had to crane their head up to look him in the face, eyes large and owlish, but a small smile on their lips. He was just so tall.

And now Frisk had to tell hum that they were a human.They could feel the tiny smile drop from their face. They bit their lip.

“A-actually…” Frisk stuttered over the first vowel, vocal chords snapping unpleasantly with begrudging resignation.
Their hands trembled and they looked over at Sans, who was watching them from around his brother.
“I-I-I-” Frisk bit down hard on their tongue, and squeezed their eyes shut, scrunching up their shoulders to their ears. They didn’t want to do this! He was going to hurt them the moment they found out!

“I-’m a human!” They spat out.

“WHAT?!?!?”

Frisk’s eyes snapped open in surprise, and because of the eardrum-breaking shout that emanated from the shocked skeleton inches around their face. They touched their ear to make sure it wasn’t bleeding.

Papyrus was staring at them like the world had come down on their head and crumbled into pure gold. Frisk stared back with as much shock, head tilted slightly.

Since when did he have “eyeballs”?!?!?

“IS THIS TRUE?” Papyrus leaned down even further, expression ecstatic.
“ARE YOU TRULY A…” His voice dipped down to what have been a whisper for him, but ended up being a normal speaking voice, still a couple notches louder than what Frisk was used to.
“A HUMAN?”

Frisk, despite feeling petrified, managed a small nod, and even tagged on a quaking smile.

“OH MY GOD!” Papyrus jolted up right. His gloves smacked against his cheekbones with a muffled clicking noise.

 

“SANS! I FINALLY DID IT!” Papyrus was literally jumping with joy, trotting from foot to foot with a wide grin on his face. The ridiculously happy skeleton managed to startle a giggle and a petite smile out of them. He looked happy.

Maybe if he was happy, he might not hurt them as much?

“UNDYNE WILL… I’M GONNA… I’LL BE SO…”

He took in a big breath, gulping in air.
“POPULAR!!! POPULAR!!! POPULAR!!!” He twirled around, scarf flapping.
Sans looked like he was about to lose it, and Frisk could hear muffled laughter from beneath his glove.

“AHEM.” Papyrus glared at Sans, who simply shrugged with a “sorry, bro. you just tickled my funny bone.”

Frisk managed a small hum at the pun, smiling at the brothers. If you were friendlier, you got hurt less.

They also liked them, even though they were scary.
They were funny.

“HUMAN!” Frisk’s attention snapped to Papyrus, who was once again towering above them. They shrunk in their sweater at the loud noise.

“YOU SHALL NOT PASS THIS AREA!”

Frisk’s heart contacted, squeezing itself tightly in a painful twist.

“I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HAVE TO SADLY REDACT MY OFFER TO TAKE YOU HOME BY THE ORDERS OF THE KING, AND WILL INSTEAD CAPTURE YOU! YOU WILL BE DELIVERED TO THE CAPITAL! THEN… THEN!!” Papyrus furrowed a brow, hand pinching his chin. “I’M NOT SURE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.” He looked slightly disappointed, but Frisk felt the exact opposite emotion.
He only wanted to capture them!

“IN ANY CASE! CONTINUE, ONLY IF YOU DARE! NYEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!
Papyrus zoomed off, leaving Sans and Frisk alone in the a trail of snow powder.

Frisk let out a small huff of breath, watching as it turned into white mist before their very eyes. The terror slowly ebbed from their body, most of it seeming to leak out of them completely, while the rest settled into their belly to aid in the ever-present anxiety. Their mom had once said something about your stomach hurting if you get too stressed. (Momma always said you were going to give her one). Was it called an…ulcer? They thought maybe they were getting an ulcer.

“well, that went well.” Sans chuckled, winking at them. They looked down at their shoes again, keeping their gaze carefully lowered.

They could hear his feet crunching the snow underneath them as he walked near. They were hunched over, and looked like they were trying to become one with the sweater. They tucked their hands in their sleeves, kneading their hands into the fabric.

“uh, you ok there?” A light tapping on the head caused Frisk to jerk their head up. Sans was staring at them, brow furrowed, with his arm still extended from when he knocked on their head lightly. They nodded their head again vigorously, so hard it almost looked like it was going to roll off their shoulders. Embarrassment flooded through them.

“Sorry.”

“well, that’s good. i was worried we broke yah or somethin’. He leaned back, looking slightly relieved.

Frisk still felt like he could see through them.

“you might wanna get going. I know my bro was really excited to see you do his puzzles n’ stuff. i mean, you could probably tell.” Sans looked back to where Papyrus headed off two. Frisk smiled, this time with more authenticity.

“welp, i’ll keep an eye socket out for you.” Sans finished with a wink. “see ya around.”

Frisk gave a small tentative wave, and continued around.

“Bye.” They said softly.

As they trekked through snow, they ignored the freezing cold and the way it bit through their sweater, and focused instead on their surroundings. They grinned and giggled a little when they came across Papyrus’s sentry station, and gave the cardboard a little pat.
They stumbled into a birdlike monster who only wanted a laugh, and left him grinning. They ignored the rampant palpitations of their heart.
They stood still and give Doggo a good petting. In fact, they pet him several times, until he was reduced to a happy dog-shaped pile at their feet. They loved doing that and laughed the whole time, (but only after they figured out that, if they were still, he couldn’t hurt them).
Frisk tentatively listened to Sans, and absorbed every word about blue attack they could. They laughed at his jokes, and began to feel more comfortable around him.

Currently, Frisk was keeping their head down, and listening intently to a snowman talk. He said he wanted to see the world, and asked of them a favor. They gladly took the piece with them, a small smile on their lips and uttering kind words.

“I’ll take it with me everywhere! Promise!” They crossed their heart in an attempt to show that they truly meant that statement, clumsily folding their frozen fingers over their chest. He seemed pacified, and even joyful, about this development. They enjoyed the small flicker of warmth in their heart at the happiness in his voice.
“I’m sure you’ll be able to travel soon!” Frisk piped up, keeping a perky note in their voice. “You never know what might happen!”
The snowman chuckled slightly, and Frisk could detect a slightly more hopeful tone as he spoke.
“Thank you. This old snowman hopes that happens.” Frisk nodded, waved goodbye, and walked away, a slight spring in their step. They were heading towards a wooden sign which they hadn’t read earlier.
He seemed really nice, they thought. They stored the snowman piece in their inventory. They really hoped it wouldn’t melt in-

Frisk stepped down.
Their foot slid on something cold and slippery, whipping them forward. They waved their arms wildly, skidding for balance, before thrusting their arms around the sign, body-slamming it with the momentum of their slide. They felt the skin on their palms tear. Frisk clutched the sign to their chest, breathing a white puff of air in relief. They smiled slightly.

Until their legs slowly started to slip out from underneath them.
The pedaled their feet frantically against the ice, but their worn tennis shoes decided to fail them in this moment.
They managed to aim a petty glare at the offending objects, sticking their tongue out into the frozen air before they fell face-first into a poff of snow.
They laid there in the snow, splayed out comically for a beat, shell-shocked.
Then they started to laugh.
Small, light giggles bubbled out of their chest. They turned over, wiping the snow off their frosty pink face, wiping their nose on their spoiled sleeve.
They grinned brightly, staring at the cavern ceiling up above, before dissolving into another fit of childish giggles.
They stayed like that for a while, ignoring the ice water seeping through their sweater and instead clasping at the snow around them, their quest for escape forgotten. Frisk sat up from their icy bed, choosing instead to indulge them self in making something cool with the white powder. They crafted clumsily-made snowballs in their hands, tongue peeking out of their mouth as they molded the flakes. They ended up stacking them into a battalion of snowmen, war ready and in formation. Their hands were chapped and it pained Frisk to move the stiff joints, but this was really fun!

When they had assembled around twenty snow people, they sat back and surveyed their work. They frowned, tilting their head to the side. Something was missing.
They looked down at their small shivering hands, noticing the new scrapes they had attained on the splintering sign. They let the blood bead, and pressed it onto the snow, scarlet red against soul white.
They drew terrifying, bloodthirsty faces with gaping mouths.
War faces for a war battalion.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HUMAN?” Frisk jumped, jamming their back into the sign. Their arms were thrust above their head, and their knees curled up to their stomach.

“NYEH?” Papyrus said (or, more correctly, shouted). He was leaning over Frisk, confusion written over his face. They relaxed, forcing them self to unfurl.

“H-hello, Mr. Papyrus”, they started, trailing off. They were at a loss for what to say.

“YOU CALLED ME MR. PAPYRUS???” He said, dragging the conversation into a territory Frisk didn’t see coming a million miles away.

“U-uh,-“

“WOWIE!!! YOU RESPECT ME THAT MUCH?!?”
He practically shouted, eyes sparkling.
They nodded with a smile.
“THANK YOU, HUMAN!” He seemed very, very happy about this development. “BUT! THERE IS NO NEED TO CALL ME MISTER! JUST PAPYRUS IS GREAT ENOUGH IN ITSELF!” He pointed at the sky, before once again looking down at them. The look on his face was mixed, like he had just realized something.

“HUMAN, DO YOU HAVE A NAME?” He said quizzically.
They couldn’t help but grin.
“Uh-huh. Frisk.” They said, shifting to a more comfortable position. “I like your scarf.”

“THANK YOU!!! I QUITE LIKE IT AS WELL! ME AND MY BROTHER MADE IT, ALONG WITH THE REST OF MY GLORIOUS BATTLE BODY.”
The armor glinted as if to exhibit his point.
Frisk’s mouth opened into a small oval, and looked the costume up and down.
They were in awe. Their eyes were pretty much star-shaped at this point.
“That’s so cool!” Frisk stared at the armor with admiration.

“TWO COMPLIMENTS WITHIN 30 SECONDS? YOU MUST REALLY LIKE ME A LOT! I MEAN, OF COURSE YOU DO! BUT YOU SEEM ESPECIALLY ENAMORED BY ME! I LIKE YOUR CREATIONS AS WELL, HUMAN!” He sat down next to Frisk, examining their mini-militia. His brow furrowed.

“UHH… WHAT EXACTLY ARE THEY?”

“Snowman-army.” Their face burned, and they looked down. That sounded really dumb, now that Frisk said it out loud. They looked down, waiting for Papyrus to say something.

“OF COURSE! THE SCARY FACES JUST THREW ME OFF FOR A BRIEF MOMENT! BUT THESE LITTLE TROOPERS ARE MASTERFULLY MADE AND EXTREMELY CREATIVE!” Frisk looked up in surprise to see him examining them intently.

“WHAT ARE THESE NOBLE SNOW SOLDIERS GOING TO BATTLE?”
Frisk paused for a moment, then shrugged. They hadn’t thought that far ahead.

“WELL, I PROPOSE THAT THIS BATTALION SHALL SPAR WITH ANOTHER ARMY OF SNOW PEOPLE! NYEH HEH HEH HEH!” Papyrus began to create more balls of snow, which Frisk happily joined in with. Soon, an opposing force was built from the ground up, but this time featuring happy, smiley faces instead of vicious snarls. Papyrus had insisted on such, and Frisk obliged immediately.

When they had finished the last one, Frisk's eyes searched for Papyrus’s, looking for some question on what to do next. Should they leave now? As much as Frisk was having fun, they didn’t want to annoy Papyrus. (They were also starting to succumb to the cold. The tips of their fingers were completely numb.)
He was sitting across from them, looking quite pleased with his creations. When he noticed Frisk staring, he smiled widely and began to pick up a creation. With a battle cry, it attacked a red-faced snowman with strength, but not enough to destroy it. It fell over.

“I HAVE DEFEATED YOU, FOE! NOW SURRENDER!”

Frisk laughed and launched into play, controlling a bunch of red soldiers. One by one, they fell to the blue, until Frisk was forced to sign a more than generous terms of surrender.
After that, Frisk and Papyrus began to make tiny houses for the snow people, tiny huts for both types of snowmen. Soon, they had made an entire civilization of snow people, and Frisk laughed longer than they had in a long time.
It took them awhile to realize that they couldn’t feel their feet, but they didn’t mind.
Maybe the cold was affecting their eyes too, because they hadn’t seen Sans approaching.
“heya.” Sans had suddenly appeared behind Papyrus, causing Frisk to jump.

“SANS! YOU ARE JUST IN TIME TO WITNESS THE BEAUTIFUL UNION OF TWO FORMER NEMESIS’S.” He gestured to where they had set up a wedding, where a smiley-face and scary-face were about to get married. Frisk called them Snowmeo and Julicet.

“Cool.” Sans said, plopping himself down in the snow. Frisk hid little laughs behind their hand at the pun, while Papyrus just glowered with a gaze that could melt all the snow in a 100 foot radius.

“So I suppose the whole puzzle thing is snowsponed.” Frisk laughed again, and Sans flashed a grin at them. They grinned back.

“OH MY GOSH! THE PUZZLES!” Papyrus was up in a flash, eyes wide. “I COMPLETELY FORGOT!”

“HUMAN-ER, FRISK! WE MUST PROCEED TO THE NEXT PUZZLE AT ONCE! COME!” They saw his hand come down towards them, and the breath left their body. They flinched away, squeezing their eyes shut.
What has they done wrong? They thought he was happy. Had they stayed too long, spoiled the fun? Or was it just because they were, well, them?
Nothing happened.
They opened their eyes.
Papyrus offered his hand to them, and they stared at it, breath returning to their lungs. Oh.
They noticed Sans staring at them, and carefully, and cautiously reached to take Papyrus’ hand.
They ignored how much it was shaking, and instead looked at his face, eyes wide.
His face looked happy, yet… concerned? They didn’t quite understand.
But, Frisk gave him a wide grin, ignoring how their cheeks were flushing in embarrassment and tears pricked the corners of their eyes.
“Sorry.” They said softly.
They took the soft red fabric of his glove and offered a smile.
They hoped everything was alright.

________

In all honesty, the puzzles were fun.

Frisk completed each of them in a relatively quick manner.

(The later ones were more difficult as it became harder and harder to walk.)

As they spent more and more time with the skelebros, they became more and more fond of them both.

Papyrus was enthusiastic, and fun, and… and…

“Cool” was a weird way to describe a walking, talking, animated skeleton, but it fit perfectly.

Sans on the other hand, was relaxed and calm, but not in a bad way. Despite the way it felt like he could see their every thought, he seemed...nice. And really funny.

 

Not to mention the other monsters Frisk met. They greeted everyone with politeness, and ended up making friends with every one of them. In fact, Frisk had just finished playing with greater dog, giving it love and vigorous pets behind the ears. It slobbered all over them, but Frisk didn’t mind in the least. He reminded them of dogs on the surface, and the fact that it seemed more intent on trying to get hugged than killing them was a tiny bit of a comfort.
He lept out of his suit to reveal a small, white fluffy dog that lept up to lick Frisk’s face, then walk away, it’s butt wagging in the air like no tomorrow as it (inexplicably) toddled away. They giggled at the site, and began to walk forward, almost reaching the bridge. They could hear Papyrus and Sans across the bridge, most likely discussing something or other. They could also hear something else… a scratching noise?
They stopped.

“Howdy there!”

Their lungs choked on the frozen air

They didn’t turn around.
They didn’t have to.

A bright, yellow flower appeared in front of them, with a sickly sweet smile poorly taped onto its face.

“You’ve made lots of friends down here, havent’cha?” He drawled, tilting his head with a cloying grin. “Wasn’t very fun for me, but I supposed I would allow it. After all, this is all my game, isn’t it?”

They took a shaky step backwards, away from the plant.

“I mean, Chara, isn’t this what you wanted? For us to be together? At first, I didn’t recognize you. But I realize now how stupid that was! It’s you, Chara! Of course it is! Your soul is exactly the same as it used to be! I was just going to let you be, but…” He paused, leaning towards Frisk, his stem extending grotesquely with sickening noises. “I realized after our little talk.” He said the word casually, like it was a passing conversation about the weather instead of a vague death threat. “That all of our problems would just be solved if I just took your soul!”

 

They rapidly backed up, before something wrapped around their limbs, strangling them and sinking molten needles into their calves, their arms, their stomach.

They couldn’t help but shriek.

“I would have my ability and my best friend back! You just need to make sure not to load too fast, alright?”

I don’t know you! I’m not Chara!” They wanted to shout, to scream.

But nothing came out.

Flowey’s face morphed, this time into something… different. It looked like a mini-version of Toriel, with big, innocent doe-like eyes and a kind smile.

“We’ll be together soon! Just like you always planned, Chara!” He said, his voice lighter, more childlike.

Suddenly, they were in the air, gravity warping around them. They were falling again, but this time staring at the snow-covered ground and the icy river below instead of golden flowers.

They screamed,

And screamed,

And screamed,

Until they hit something with a sickening, wet cracking noise.

Their side blossomed with pain and they screamed, their leg and ribs crying out with agonizing, searing pain.

But they were still falling.

Frisk’s vision rolled, the black of the cavern then the white of the snow then the black of the cavern then the white of the snow then black of the cavern then-

They hit another ledge, this time their shoulder snapping against the hard rocks. They could feel the ligaments pop and pull.

They rolled, slowing down but never quite stopping.

They gasped for air, greedily trying to pump it back into their lungs.
It didn’t work.
Not before they were plunged into the darkest, coldest depths they ever felt.

They struggled, crying out, and tried to hold out, tried to keeps their eyes open against the numbness.

Fear overtook every part of their body as they could see their death approaching.

It wasn’t like falling. With falling all you could feel was the wind and your resolve and the ground wasn’t scary, it just was.

With jumping, the ground was your resolve and it was all going to be over soon, with no time to think about how young they were or their parents or any other part of the world of a broken child.

But with water, it was slow, exhausting, and you had time to think about it all.

They wanted a family.
They wanted to be held and loved.
They wanted to go to school again.
They wanted to act like a normal kid.
They wanted someone to care about them.
They wanted to get out of here and make it back to the surface.
They wanted to feel better.
They wanted to cry.
They wanted to…
To…
To...
Frisk suddenly realized, in a startling jolt that ran shot through their soul, that they didn’t want to die.

Which was odd, because wasn’t that the reason they were here in the first place?

And their consciousness faded into the dark, the cold pulling them gently into peace.

Their breath released.

Chapter Text

T̝͚̺̯͚̦h͈̦̖̗e̮̯̺ͅr̲e ̳̖͚ẉ̜a͎̯̠̲ͅs̯̤̪͕̞ ̞̤̜̟ͅo̞̠̹̩ͅn͇l̪̦͔̱y̱͓͍̦ ̥̰̲d͍̹͍̤̤̱̺ar̤̣̬̮kn͍e͉̺̥s͎̗͓̖̝s͕̯͇̣̝̠.̙ ̹

͎̱̗̯͖ͅ
̤̪̠̜

̘
͖̙̖̟̪͔
̬̱͙
͉
͉̤̲͔̟
̙̰͙̝͈ͅ
͍͚͖͕̤
̮͉͕̭͓
̤͍͎̗
̙̮̰̗B̞̘̙̣̭ͅu͉t̝͕̫̰͍̺ ̯̯͍t͎͚͔h͚͎̙̤a̹t̞̲̟ ̻͓̝w͎a̙̙̜͙̺͔ͅs
̤̝͙̳̩̜̤ab̜̤̪̳o̙̫ͅu̠̯̗t̩͍͖̫͈̹ ͇t̩̱͇͖o̭ ̘̱̙c̝͔̬̜h̞̟̠̝̘̘͉a̬̫̯̺̠͉̻n͉̬͕̲g̰̬e͔̯.̳̯̝̹͈͍
͔
͓̱͍

 

Th̘̻̤e͓͇y̗̣͓̮̝ ͈̠̦c̱͈͓̜̬͍̩o̳̪ͅul̦͚̼͍̬d ̮̳̹
̘̙̞͍̥ͅ

̞ ̩̲͓̫ ̭ ͇̹ ̹̠̪̘͙̩ ̩̜͉͔͓̤̱ ͉̳͖͉͉̙ ̰͚̼͓̩̯̩ ͈͔̮ ̤̪̣͖̰͈̰ ͍ ͍ ͇̪ ̣͎ ͎̗̹̟̪̖̟ ̮̤̯̙̲̹̝ ̹͈̼̮ ̪͈̪ ͓͉̺̱̪͉ ̦̱ ̟S̭̱̫̬ͅe̻͍n̲̬͎͓s͖̮̠̬̭̟̟e̤̙̦͉̹
͚̮ͅ
̩̲̺ͅ
IT͉͔͎͍͇
̞͕
̯͓̼͕͓͎

Chapter Text

Warmth.
Warmth surrounded Frisk, fluffy and soft and nice.
Something was wrapped around them, swaddling them comfortingly in a light, relaxing feeling. A feeling that, if given the choice, they would stay in forever. Although, it seemed the world had other plans. They gently came into consciousness, slowly but comfortingly, despite their desperate pushing away the clinging hands of wakefulness. They grumbled, wanting to snuggle back into the warmth and peace of sleep. They were going to stay like this forever. They began to shift, intent on curling tightly into the soft coddling, a contented sigh on their lips.
That sigh quickly turned into a sharp, pained gasp that ripped down their raw throat.
A burning pain spread through them, a sharp, blistering feeling in some areas to a dull ache in others.

They let out another small gasp, their eyes squeezing tightly together. Their ribcage stung from the sudden intakes of breath.
That... that hurt! They suppressed the small cry of pain creeping up their throat. That wouldn’t feel nice, either.
Thankfully, the pain faded away almost as quickly as it came, leaving only a memory of it’ vengeance on Frisk’s skin. They almost sighed in relief, before quickly remembering that it wasn’t the best idea.
Why did… why did moving hurt?
The question was bolded in Frisk’s mind, and yet, no matter how hard they thought, they didn’t have an answer.
They felt their heart pumping, and they gulped air in, whimpering when their ribs eventually shriveled and creaked. They couldn't remember, and now… and now they didn’t know where they were and they were scared and they needed to know that no one was going to hurt them and they needed to if momma and dad were here and they needed to know where they were.

They snapped their eyes open.
They had no idea where they were.

They looked around, slowly, slowly propping themself up, their heart still palpitating. They felt their jaw quiver, before turning to gnaw on their lip as their nostrils flared with erratic breaths. As they lifted themselves up, their left shoulder cried out and tried to buckle under the weight, but they just gritted their teeth and shifted the weight to their right arm. It hurt less there, they noticed dimly. But the majority of their focus was on the scenery around them.

They were on a green couch, a color that reminded Frisk of split pea soup (they hated split pea soup. It tasted like feet!) curled under fluffy blankets, with a pillow propped where their head was laying. The walls were a dark plum, with orangey brown stairs accompanied by a periwinkle carpet. A TV was on in front of Frisk. It was playing something about a pink, glittery fiasco with loud music.

They, they had no idea where they were.
Their breathing tried to accelerate even more, but the pain of their ribs stopped them in their tracks.
They didn’t know where they were.
They strained their mind, just trying to remember how they got here.
They jumped, and then they met Toriel, and then they met the brothers, and then… then...
And then Flowey tossed them off the cliff.
Flowey had tossed them off a cliff.
He had… and now they were…
Their hands went to their wrists, their chest, their legs, ignoring how everything felt like shattering glass. No vines. They breathed a gentle sigh.
They could remember him, and the needles, and how… how were they not… not dead?
They question caused them to pause in their squirming, the pain receding into a blistering aftershock. They should of been gone. There was water in their lungs! Didn’t that, didn’t that mean they were dead? Dad had told them…
They had to get out of here.
They managed to drag themselves to the edge of the couch, balancing carefully at the edge. Their feet didn’t even reach the floor. Frisk listened intently for any noise, but Frisk couldn’t hear anything over the roaring television. They shivered. They didn’t like not knowing who was around them. That’s how this whole thing started in the first place. Because Frisk didn’t notice who was right behind them.

“‘sup’ kid?”

Frisk let out a high-pitched squeal and leapt off the couch.

Thud!

“woah!”

Frisk immediately collapsed, their diminutive frame hitting the carpet with muffled resonance. Ow, ow, ow, ow ow ow ow! Their legs felt like they were cracking apart on the inside.

They felt a hand touch their shoulder.
No, no! They flinched away, trying to drag themselves away as far as they could from the encroaching shadow. Who was that? What did they want with them? It had to be a monster.They tried to ignore the pain, whimpering and crying out softly through chattering teeth as they continued to crawl somewhere, so they could avoid a fight.
They hit something soft, blocking their escape.
They curled as tightly as their aching muscles let them, bringing their knees to their chest and nestling their head underneath their hands.

“h-hey there...uh, heh, I didn’t mean to, uh, alarm you.”

Frisk peeked their head up at the voice, still curled up tightly.

Sans was kneeling down next to where they had jumped and fallen, his hands held up in a calming gesture. His smile seemed slightly strained.

“i mean, i do like to mess with yah, but, um, this wasn’t exactly what i was thinking.” He chuckled a bit at this, but Frisk could spy a little bit of sweat on his temple. (Frisk wanted to know if skeletons really did sweat.)

Their breath began to even out, and they uncurled, sitting up against the couch. They let out a sheepish smile. Oh thank goodness. “S-sorry.” They stuttered out.

“mmm, nothing to be sorry ‘bout kid!” He gave them a pointed grin, gesturing to them.
“although I think your bones may want an apology. you really need to give them a break.”

Frisk gave a small, surprised giggle at that, unfurling even more, loosening their hunched stature into a more natural position.

“Maybe i’m too callus to say anything to them.” They tried.

Sans’ grin seemed to widen, and he chuckled deeply. “hmm, I wouldn’t peg you for the type to pull that sort of crap, i won’t fibula.”
Frisk began to snort and laugh at this one, until their lungs protested. Sans and them fired these back and forth for a few moments, the distraction calming them down from their panic. But, Frisk’s already tired mind was beginning to run out of puns. They cocked their head, eyes looking at the ceiling for a couple moments, until they looked down at the floor. They had to think of something!
But, their silence went on a little to long. Probably about 2 minutes to long, to be fair.

 

“whaaat? Already? And here I thought I was going to have a rival.” He chortled, shifting onto his knees. They smiled and shrugged. There was a slight pause in conversation.
He then gave them a look, smile dimming a bit. They stiffened, eyes darting upwards and breathing stuttering.

“we should probably get you off the floor, though. even if I joint you, It’s probably not as comfy as the couch.”

Oh, ok. They nodded. They could do that. He stood up, and Frisk started to shift as well, using the edge of the couch to try and stand up.
They hissed in surprise as their legs flared. Frisk had forgotten about their… injuries? They still didn’t know what was going on. They sat back down, and nawed their lip. This was going to hurt, but they were going to do it! They took a deep breath, determined, and began to stand up.

“wait, frisk-”

They snatched at the green couch in a deathclaw. This, this hurt! But they kept on going, grunting as they tried to drag themselves upward.
Their legs began to shake.

“hey, don’t strain yourse- kid!”

They yelped. Their grip slipped and their already small amount of progress went tumbling into the ground.

Something caught them, looping under their arms. They held Frisk up, taking the weight off their injured legs, and carefully deposited them onto the couch. Frisk stayed stiff as a rock until the soft cushions accepted them.
They looked up at Sans with wide eyes.

“Th-thank you.”

Sans plopped down on their other side, stretching out in a relaxed way.

“no prob. you’ve already taken two falls, don’t really want to add a third.”
There was a long, weighted pause.

“Wh-wha.” They took a second to find their voice.
“What happened?” They said shakily, panic beginning to enter their voice. The lightness of the previous banter began to wear off, leaving stone cold fear in its wake.
“Where am I?”
Sans winced, and met their eyes, searching. They looked down.

“That… depends. what do you remember?” Sans said.

“Uumm…” Frisk started. They played absentmindedly with a loose thread on the couch “I was by the bridge, and... and…”
Frisk came to a stop, holding their tongue tightly between their teeth. They didn’t know if they should tell him about Flowey. It seemed… dangerous. What if he thought Frisk had done something bad to make Flowey want to kill them, so he tried to hurt them? Sans was nice to them, and he hadn’t even tried to murder them yet. But… neither had Toriel. Although, she hadn’t really try to kill them, had she?
If they fibbed, would he even believe them? Would he think they were lying to them? Either way, they had to say something before things become awkward and he began to think-

“Then I was falling. dunno how.” Frisk blurted out. They mentally cringed at the blatant lie. It was the first thing that had decided to shove its way into their mind.

Sans was staring at them, they could tell, even with their head ducked down. They curled into themself, trying to take up the least amount of space humanly possible.

If Sans had noticed their lie, he didn’t mention it, only shifting once again. Frisk looked up at him, twitching at his every move. He propped his hands behind his head.
“well, what whatever happened, we didn’t see you ‘till after.”
He paused, cocking his head at you. His smile seemed relaxed but his gaze was seeking. It made their skin prickle, and they hunched their shoulders as if to make it stop. The feeling of being see-through was...uncomfortable.
“more like heard, actually. You were, uh, screaming the whole way down.”

Frisk winced.

“me an’ paps got down there ASAP. we couldn’t really tell where you fell in, aside from the ripples in the water. He sounded casual, as if he was describing an especially stressful round of go-fish opposed to a life-threatening event. Something in Frisk’s chest began to twinge, twisting painfully like someone would a soggy hand towel. “Pap dove in the river to save you, and brought you here.”

Frisk stared blankly at their knees, picking at the weird, stiff skin around the rim of their pinky finger with their teeth. It pinched, but they didn’t really notice. The weird feeling coiled and throbbed beneath their sternum.
They had almost died.
Frisk had almost died.
They could feel the water in their lungs, and the weakening of their heart. And the how cold it was, and how they had accepted death, and then they remembered why they had come down here for the first place so why were they so they sad and everyone was out to kill them but the brothers had saved them and they didn’t understand why and they were so scared-

“man, my brother is the best.” Sans said. They lifted their head to stare at him. His smile looked lighter at this, and more genuine, Frisk noted numbly.

Frisk was still staring ahead, lip quivering.
Sans seemed to notice this, and an almost distressed tone struck his smile.

“uhh, you ok there-”

“Why?” Their voice was thick and eyes watery with emotions they couldn’t feel nor understand. “W-w-why did you help me?” They stuttered out. “I don’t u-understand.” They struggled with the sudden, thick strangling feeling in their throat. A little, tiny, croak escaped them, as they labored their breathing. Don’t cry, don’t cry, why were they almost… why were they such a baby? Why were they-why were they upset?
And, in their moment of desperation, as if their mind was answering their plea, a shimmering, glittering memory swarmed into their consciousness.

“Frisk. Stop. Crying.”

“Frisk. Stop. I mean it.”

“STOP BEING SUCH A-”

 

It was just to much, the harsh words biting at their chest.They burst into tears, the salt water dripping down their face in warm, clear rivlets.

“oh, oh fuck- uh, umm…” Sans looked absolutely panicked, a deer in headlights. Or, more accurately, a skeleton in the presence of a suddenly emotional child. His hands were held up, pupils shrinking larger and smaller semi-rapidly. If they weren’t having an emotional crisis, they may have thought it was kinda hypnotic.

h-hey, why did the snail cross the road? to get to the other slime! heh, heh…heh.” He didn’t seem to know what to do next, his face a silent plea for them to settle down and act like a normal human being. Actually, in his perspective, monster-being might be a better descriptor.

Their conscious worked rapidly as they wrestled with their emotions. They strained at their mouth, pulling at the ligaments to form a watery, desperate smile. They could only hold it for a few seconds before it completely collapsed, and they began to transcend into snivels once more.
They squeezed their eyes shut as hard as they could as they tried and failed to prevent any droplets from escaping, hiccuping and biting the inside of their cheek till they could taste copper. They weren’t allowed to cry, yet they couldn’t help it. Their ribs were screaming at them from the small sobs that racked their lungs, and their thoughts hurt.
They were never gonna get back home.
They felt their breathing pick up into gasps, and yet it still felt like they couldn’t pump enough oxygen into their lungs.
They were so pathetic. The world felt like it went into tunnel vision.
They were worthless, good-for-nothing, hopeless, horrible, useless-!

 

A hand touched their back and they sobbed even louder, turning from quiet whimpering and hiccups to a loud wail. The hand was removed immediately as Frisk tensed, waiting for it to come down with force, but it was instead replaced softly, running in small circles up and down their back. The touch was new to them, foreign, and it terrified them. But they found their muscles relaxing.
They didn’t understand.
The circles on their back continued, never painful. In fact, Frisk, despite the fear, found it very...comforting. They found themselves slowly, but surely, melting under the touch, absorbing the new comfort and feeling of relaxation. They let out a shaky breath, sobs turning into small hiccups, and began to quiet themselves.
The hand stopped.
Much without their consent, a small, tapered whimper escaped their throat, followed by a little, panicked sob. They wanted the comfort back. They, they needed it!
In an instant, It was rubbing their back again, quickly resuming where it left off with a little bit of vigor. It was rhythmic, and this time, it was accompanied by a soft padding on their hair. Frisk fully relaxed into the separate motions, their desperate hiccups turning into deep, refreshing breaths. They leaned into the fingers focusing on their relaxing motions, clinging on to them as their gasping ceased.

They could hear muffled talking, but it was distorted and warped, like it was submerged in water.

Their head began to clear, their chest a little lighter. They felt hollow.
The voices took shape.

“-They just started crying, and i don’t know-”

“-ARE THEY-”
“-i don’t think-”

“DID THEY INJURE THEIR RIBCAGE FURTHER BY THEIR CRYING?”

 

The voices finally came into focus, like eyes adjusting to a blinding light. They peeked from behind their eyelids.

“It’s not impossible. you should probably rib-air them bro, just in case.”

 

“SANS! YOUR INCESSANT AN HORRIBLE PUNS ARE NOT WHAT THE HUMAN NEEDS IN THIS TIME OF DISTRESS!” The patting on their head became faster and more frantic, Frisk giving little jerks every time it came down. Sans snickered at the unintentional pun. “DO NOT FRET, HUMAN FRISK! I WILL LET HIS HORRENDOUS HUMOR HARM YOU NO LONGER!”

Frisk finally opened their eyes.

Papyrus was kneeling in front of them, face in a grimace, but also with… concern? But, this was mostly a footnote in Frisk’s consciousness. What was really dominating their conscience was the fact that it Papyrus’s gloved phalanges were the ones softly tapping the top of Frisk’s head. They looked to the side, only to see Sans attempting to make eye contact. He was the one gently stroking their back.
They had no idea what to do.
“uhh...You ok there, kid?” Sans spoke gently, but strained, like he was unsure of himself. He gave them a smile that Frisk could only assume was nervous.

“YES HUMAN! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” They nodded sniffing, and wiping their eyes. They felt heat rushing to their face.

“so-o sor-ry. I-I didn’t mean to cry.”

“NONSENSE HUMAN! IT IS ALRIGHT TO CRY!” He stopped his sentence here, sending a glare at Sans. “NOT THAT I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS EVER CRIES! BUT IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO DO SO.”

“pap, you were crying over snakes yesterday.”

“BUT THEY DON’T HAVE ARMS!!!” Papyrus sniffed, tears welling in his eye sockets. They weren’t even going to question that anymore.

Papyrus cleared his throat. He hopped onto the couch energetically, bouncing on the couch cushions. Frisk was surrounded.

“NOW” Papyrus looked at them, gently gripping their shoulders. “HOW ARE YOU FEELING, HUMAN FRISK?” He looked them up and down.
“ARE YOUR RIBS HURTING?”

“No… nott really.” They had hurt when Frisk was crying, but now the pain was reduced to a dull ache. They crossed their arms across their abdomen, breathing in deeply. One last tear made its way down their cheek.

“THAT’S GOOD!!! I DON’T KNOW IF YOUR BODY COULD HANDLE ANY MORE OF MY EXCELLENTLY POTENT HEALING MAGIC!” Papyrus looked proud of himself, but that quickly melted away into what resembled concern.

 

“WAIT. ARE YOU LEAKING RED STUFF ANYWHERE?”

The words that Papyrus had said said didn’t register to Frisk for a good five secounds, until it hit them like a truck speeding down a freeway.

“Oh, umm, no. I don’t think i’m bleeding.” Why did he care? Why were they even still alive?
“But, why-” They looked down, freezing suddenly.

They were wearing a thick, white woolen sweater that looked… old, but was still extremely nice. Their pants were replaced with long sweatpants that were to the same degree. ‘’

Their breathing sped up.

“W-where are m-my clothes?”

They shrunk down, staring at the brothers with a wide eyes, terrified eyes.

“I HAD TO CLEAN THEM AFTER THE…” he paused. “ACCIDENT, AND, AFTER YOUR BATH, THEY STILL WERE NOT READY! SO WE SIMPLY GAVE YOU SOME OF OUR CHILDHOOD CLOTHING!” He gazed down at Frisk. “ARE YOU NOT SATISFIED BY SAN’S SWEATPANTS? I CAN CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND IF SO.”

Frisk began to shake, breath speeding up. They had seen, they had seen, they had seen, they had seen.

“Y-y-y-ou s-s-aw?”

Sans shifted besides them, drawing their attention quickly to the other side.

“saw what, kid?”

They gulped. Why weren’t they mad? If they had seen, they would be mad.
Was it possible that they hadn’t seen?

“You g-gave me a b-bath. So you saw.”

“HUMAN, I DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING.” I TRIED TO LOOK AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE, JUST ENOUGH TO WASH ALL OF THE RED STUFF OFF! NO NOT WORRY, ABOUT WHATEVER YOU ARE WORRYING ABOUT.”

“Oh, o-okay. Thank you.” Relief washed over them, and a thank you spurted out of there mouth before they could think about it.

“So… you healed me?” Frisk dipped away from the topic, trying as they might to dodge away from whatever questions the brothers may ask.

Don’t ask don’t ask don’t ask don’t ask… They silently willed the the brothers to drop the subject.

“OF COURSE!” His voice dropped a little bit in volume, but still loud enough to be considered shouting. “YOU...YOU WEREN’T LOOKING TOO GOOD… BUT YOUR INJURIES WERE NO MATCH FOR MY HEALING MAGIC!”

Oohh. Healing magic. Toriel had used some on them in the ruins, but…

“But..but when I move, it still hurts…”

“we can use only so much healing magic on you.” Their head whipped back to Sans. Sitting between the two skeletons was more difficult than Frisk had imagined.
“pap’s healed most of your wounds, but you’re still pretty injured. some of your muscles are probably still torn, and bones still fractured.” Frisk shivered at this. Shouldn’t they get a cast? They didn’t want to bother them any more than they already have, though.

“T-thank you. For helping me.” They said desperately, realizing they had said nothing of the sort. “Th-thank you so much! Do I…” They paused. “owe you anything?” They pinched the fabric of their sweatpants. They had a little gold, but not much else.

“IT IS NO PROBLEM, HUMAN! YOU DO NOT OWE US ANYTHING! AFTER ALL, WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?”

“F-friends?”

“OF COURSE. RIGHT?”

They stared at him, mouth agape.

“You want to be my friend?”

“YES!!! I MEAN, I ALREADY HAVE COUNTLESS FRIENDS, BUT THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR MORE!”

“I want to be your friend too!” The words were out of Frisk’s mouth before they could stop themself.

“NYEH! THEN IT IS OFFICIAL! AND NOW, SINCE YOU ARE GOING TO STAY WITH US, WE CAN HAVE MANY MORE BONDING MOMENTS!” Papyrus was bouncing in his seat, sparkles in his eyes.

“What? No, no, no, I can’t do that!” They saw Papyrus’s smile dull, posture slackening. Oh crap! “No, not like that! I men’t, you’ve already done a lot, and I still need to get home, and…”

“NONSENSE!” Papyrus cut them off mid sentence. “YOU ARE INJURED! YOU NEED REST! I WOULD BE A BAD FRIEND IF I SIMPLY LEFT YOU IN THE COLD.” His hands were on his hips, and the disappointment on his face had melted into something firmer.

“yeah kid.” Sans started up. They turned their head once again. “Besides, where else would you go? i don’t exactly see any other options here.”

He… he had a point. Frisk frowned, kneading their fingers into the skin of their arms. But, why would they do that? They had to keep going!

“W-well, i could just keep going, a-and”

“HUMAN, YOU ARE IN NO CONDITION TO WALK! NO, NO, YOU MUST STAY WITH US! I PROMISE, WE WILL TAKE GREAT CARE OF YOU! OH, WE CAN MAKE SPAGHETTI TOGETHER, AND WATCH METTATON, AND MAKE PUZZLES AND SO MANY OTHER THINGS!” He frowned. “AS SOON AS YOU ARE FEELING BETTER, THAT IS.”

“What do you guys want from me?” They asked, getting to the point. They bit their trembling lip.

“what do you mean?”

The brothers were staring at Frisk. Were they too direct?

“You have to want something from me. You have to.”
“FRISK, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.”

They didn’t either.

“we want to take care of you, kid. that’s what we want.”

I mean…
That kind of made sense?

“That doesn’t make sense.” They said firmly.

“if we leave you all broken like this, that, uh, would kinda make us horri-bone people.” Sans chuckled at this, rubbing the back of his head.

That made a bit more sense

“But-” A gloved had suddenly covered Frisk’s mouth. They flinched back.

“NO BUTS, YOUNG FRISK.” Sans snickered, and Papyrus glared.

“butts.”

Papyrus cleared his throat.

“ANYWAY, YOU NEED TO STAY HERE AND HEAL, AND I WILL NOT LET MY NEW FRIEND SUFFER!”

“But... i’m a hu-”

“NOPE! I WILL HEAR NONE OF THAT!” He finally removed the hand from in front of their mouth.

“NOW, I WILL MAKE SOME OF MY EXCELLENT CUISINE FOR YOU! WHILE NORMALLY I WOULD MAKE MY FAMOUS SPAGHETTI, MY BROTHER SAID THAT SOUP WOULD BE MORE APPROPRIATE, SO I WILL BE MAKING YOU MY NOT-YET-FAMOUS WATER SAUSAGE SUPER-NUTRITIOUS SOUP! NYEHEHEHEH!”

He raced off to where Frisk assumed the kitchen was, and soon a clatter of pots and pans.

Frisk looped their arms around their knees, sighing a shuddery breath into the soft fabric of the sweatpants. Their hands shook, gripping into the cloth.

They didn’t want to stay.

“Hey there bucko, don’t look so worried.” A hand came down to ruffle their hair, but, they jerked away, eyes darting to Sans. He stared at them, hand lowering briefly, before coming back up to ruffle it again, more tentatively.
It didn’t hurt.
“We’ll take good care of ya.”

Frisk didn’t understand why.

Chapter Text

Warmth.
Warmth surrounded Frisk, fluffy and soft and nice.
Something was wrapped around them, swaddling them comfortingly in a light, relaxing feeling. A feeling that, if given the choice, they would stay in forever.
Although, it seemed the world had other plans. They gently came into consciousness, slowly but comfortingly, despite their desperate pushing away the clinging hands of wakefulness. They grumbled, wanting to snuggle back into the warmth and peace of sleep. They were going to stay like this forever. They began to shift, intent on curling tightly into the soft coddling, a contented sigh on their lips.
That sigh quickly turned into a sharp, pained gasp that ripped down their raw throat.
A burning pain spread through them, a sharp, blistering feeling in some areas to a dull ache in others.

They let out another small gasp, their eyes squeezing tightly together. Their rib cage stung from the sudden intakes of breath.
That... that hurt! They suppressed the small cry of pain creeping up their throat. That wouldn’t feel nice, either.
Thankfully, the pain faded away almost as quickly as it came, leaving only a memory of it’ vengeance on Frisk’s skin. They almost sighed in relief, before quickly remembering that it wasn’t the best idea.
Why did… why did moving hurt?
The question was bolded in Frisk’s mind, and yet, no matter how hard they thought, they didn’t have an answer.
They felt their heart pumping, and they gulped air in, whimpering when their ribs eventually shriveled and creaked. They couldn't remember, and now… and now they didn’t know where they were and they were scared and they needed to know that no one was going to hurt them and they needed to if mom and dad were here and they needed to know where they were.

They snapped their eyes open.
They had no idea where they were.

They looked around, slowly, slowly propping themself up, their heart still palpitating. They felt their jaw quiver, before turning to gnaw on their lip as their nostrils flared with erratic breaths. As they lifted themselves up, their left shoulder cried out and tried to buckle under the weight, but they just gritted their teeth and shifted the weight to their right arm. It hurt less there, they noticed dimly. But the majority of their focus was on the scenery around them.

They were on a green couch, a color that reminded Frisk of split pea soup (they hated split pea soup. It tasted like feet!) curled under fluffy blankets, with a pillow propped where their head was laying. The walls were a dark plum, with orange-brown stairs accompanied by a periwinkle carpet. A TV was on in front of Frisk. It was playing something about a pink, glittery fiasco with loud music.

They, they had no idea where they were.
Their breathing tried to accelerate even more, but the pain of their ribs stopped them in their tracks.
They didn’t know where they were.
They strained their mind, just trying to remember how they got here.
They jumped, and then they met Toriel, and then they met the brothers, and then… then...
And then Flowey tossed them off the cliff.
Flowey had tossed them off a cliff.
He had… and now they were…
Their hands went to their wrists, their chest, their legs, maneuvering in a way to avoid aggravating their left shoulder.
No vines. They breathed a gentle sigh.
They could remember him, and the needles, and-
How were they not… not dead?
They question caused them to pause in their squirming, the pain receding into a blistering aftershock. They should of been gone. There was water in their lungs! Didn’t that, didn’t that mean they were dead? Dad had told them…
Maybe they were dead. Was this heaven?
No. Heaven wouldn’t hurt this much. They would also feel safe.
Safe was a complete juxtaposition of what they felt right now.
They had to get out of here.
They managed to drag themselves to the edge of the couch, gritting their teeth and balancing carefully on the edge. Their feet didn’t even reach the floor. Frisk listened intently for any noise, but Frisk couldn’t hear anything over the roaring television. They shivered. They couldn’t tell if anyone was here. And after Flowey sneaking up behind them, the idea of another surprise felt nauseating.
“sup’ kid?”

Frisk let out a high-pitched scream and tumbled off the couch.

Thud!

“woah!”

Frisk immediately collapsed, their diminutive frame hitting the carpet with muffled resonance. Ow, ow, ow, ow ow ow ow!

 

They felt a hand touch their shoulder.
No, no! They flinched away, trying to drag themselves away as far as they could from the encroaching shadow. Who was that? What did they want with them? It had to be a monster.
They tried to ignore the pain, whimpering and crying out softly through chattering teeth as they continued to crawl somewhere, so they could avoid a fight.
They hit something soft, blocking their escape.
They curled as tightly as their aching muscles let them, bringing their knees to their chest and nestling their head underneath their hands.

“h-hey there...uh, heh, I didn’t mean to, uh, alarm you.”

Frisk peeked their head up at the voice, still curled up tightly. That voice was familiar.

Sans was kneeling down next to where they had jumped and fallen, his hands held up in a calming gesture. His smile seemed slightly strained.

“i mean, i do like to mess with yah, but, um, this wasn’t exactly what i was thinking.” He chuckled a bit at this, but Frisk could spy a little bit of sweat on his temple. (Frisk wanted to know if skeletons really did sweat.)

Their breath began to even out, and they uncurled, sitting up against the couch. They let out a sheepish smile. Oh thank goodness. “S-sorry.” They stuttered out.

“mmm, nothing to be sorry ‘bout kid!” He gave them a pointed grin, gesturing to them.
“although I think your bones may want an apology. you really need to give them a break.”

Frisk gave a small, surprised giggle at that, unfurling even more, loosening their hunched stature into a more natural position. Their heartbeat began to putter and slow.

“Maybe i’m too...um, callus to say anything to them.” They tried.

Sans’ grin seemed to widen, and he chuckled deeply. “hmm, I wouldn’t peg you for the type to pull that sort of crap, i won’t fibula.”
Frisk began to snort and laugh at this one, until their lungs protested. Sans and them fired these back and forth for a few moments, the distraction calming them down from their panic. But, Frisk’s already tired mind was beginning to run out of puns.
After a period of cheap humor, they cocked their head, eyes looking at the ceiling for a couple moments, until they looked down at the floor. They had to think of something!
But, their silence went on a little to long. Probably about 2 minutes to long, to be fair.

 

“whaaat? Already? And here I thought I was going to have a rival.” He chortled, shifting onto his knees. They smiled and shrugged. There was a slight pause in conversation.
He then gave them a look, smile dimming a bit. They stiffened, eyes darting upwards and breathing stuttering.

“we should probably get you off the floor, though. even if I joint you, It’s probably not as comfy as the couch.”

Oh, yeah. They nodded. They could do that. He stood up, and Frisk started to shift as well, using the edge of the couch to try and stand up.
They hissed in surprise as their legs flared. Frisk had forgotten about their… injuries? They still didn’t know what was going on. They sat back down, and gnawed their lip. This was going to hurt, but they were going to do it! They took a deep breath, determined, and began to stand up.

“wait, frisk-”

They snatched at the green couch in a death grip. This, this hurt! But they kept on going, grunting as they tried to drag themselves upward.
Their legs began to shake.

“hey, don’t strain yourse- kid!”

They yelped. Their grip slipped and their already small amount of progress went tumbling into the ground.

Something caught them, looping under their arms. They held Frisk up, taking the weight off their injured legs, and carefully deposited them onto the couch. Frisk stayed stiff as a rock until the soft cushions accepted them.
They looked up at Sans with wide eyes.

“Th-thank you.”

Sans plopped down on their other side, stretching out in a relaxed way.

“no prob. you’ve already taken two falls, don’t really want to add a third.”
There was a long, weighted pause.

“Wh-wha.” They took a second to find their voice.
“What happened?” They said shakily, panic beginning to enter their voice. The lightness of the previous banter began to wear off, leaving stone cold fear in its wake.
“Where am I?”
Sans winced, and met their eyes, searching. They looked down.

“That… depends. what do you remember?” Sans said.

“Uumm…” Frisk started. They played absentmindedly with a loose thread on the couch “I was by the bridge, and... and…”
Frisk came to a stop, holding their tongue tightly between their teeth. They didn’t know if they should tell him about Flowey. It seemed… dangerous. What if he thought Frisk had done something bad to make Flowey want to kill them, so he tried to hurt them? Sans was nice to them, and he hadn’t even tried to murder them yet. But… neither had Toriel. Although, she hadn’t really try to kill them, had she?
If they fibbed, would he even believe them? Would he think they were lying to them? Either way, they had to say something before things become awkward and he began to think-

“Then I was falling. dunno how.” Frisk blurted out. They cringed at the blatant lie. They hated lying. It was dirty and dishonest and, well, they sucked at it.

Sans was staring at them, they could tell, even with their head ducked down. They curled into themself, trying to take up the least amount of space humanly possible.

If Sans had noticed their fib, he didn’t mention it, only shifting once again. Frisk looked up at him, twitching at his every move. He propped his hands behind his head.
“well, what whatever happened, we didn’t see you ‘till after.”
He paused, cocking his head at you. His smile seemed relaxed but his gaze was seeking. It made their skin prickle, and they hunched their shoulders as if to make it stop. The feeling of being see-through was...uncomfortable.
“more like heard, actually. You were, uh, screaming the whole way down.”

Frisk winced.

“me an’ paps got down there ASAP. we couldn’t really tell where you fell in, aside from the ripples in the water. He sounded casual, as if he was describing an especially stressful round of go-fish opposed to a life-threatening event. Something in Frisk’s chest began to twinge, twisting painfully like someone would a soggy hand towel. “Pap dove in the river to save you, and brought you here.”

Frisk stared blankly at their knees, picking at the weird, stiff skin around the rim of their pinky finger with their teeth. It pinched, but they didn’t really notice. The weird feeling coiled and throbbed beneath their sternum.
They had almost died.
Frisk had almost died.
They could feel the water in their lungs, and the weakening of their heart. And the how cold it was, and how Frisk had accepted death, and then they remembered why they had come down here for the first place so why were they so they sad and everyone was out to kill them but the brothers had saved them and they didn’t understand why and they were so scared-

“man, my brother is the best.” Sans said. They lifted their head to stare at him. His smile looked lighter at this, and more genuine, Frisk noted numbly.

Frisk was still staring ahead, lip quivering.
Sans seemed to notice this, and an almost distressed tone struck his smile.

“uhh, you ok there-”

“Why?” Their voice was thick and eyes watery with emotions they couldn’t feel nor understand. “W-w-why did you help me?” They stuttered out. “I don’t u-understand.” They struggled with the sudden, thick strangling feeling in their throat. A little, tiny, croak escaped them, as they labored their breathing. Don’t cry, don’t cry, why were they almost… why were they such a baby? Why were they-why were they upset?
And, in their moment of desperation, as if their mind was answering their plea, a shimmering, glittering memory swarmed into their consciousness.

“Frisk. Stop. Crying.”

“Frisk. Stop. I mean it.”

“STOP BEING SUCH A-”

 

It was just to much, the harsh words biting at their chest.They burst into tears, the salt water dripping down their face in warm, clear rivlets.

“oh, oh fuck- uh, umm…” Sans looked absolutely panicked, a deer in headlights. Or, more accurately, a skeleton in the presence of a suddenly emotional child. His hands were held up, pupils shrinking larger and smaller semi-rapidly. If they weren’t having an emotional crisis, they may have thought it was kinda hypnotic.

h-hey, why did the snail cross the road? to get to the other slime! heh, heh…heh.” He didn’t seem to know what to do next, his face a silent plea for them to settle down and act like a normal human being. Actually, in his perspective, monster-being might be a better descriptor.

Their conscious worked rapidly as they wrestled with their emotions. They strained at their mouth, pulling at the ligaments to form a watery, desperate smile. They could only hold it for a few seconds before it completely collapsed, and they began to transcend into snivels once more.
They squeezed their eyes shut as hard as they could as they tried and failed to prevent any droplets from escaping, hiccuping and biting the inside of their cheek till they could taste copper. They weren’t allowed to cry, yet they couldn’t help it. Their ribs were screaming at them from the small sobs that racked their lungs, and their thoughts hurt.
They were never gonna get back home.
They felt their breathing pick up into gasps, and yet it still felt like they couldn’t pump enough oxygen into their lungs.
They were so pathetic. The world felt like it went into tunnel vision.
They were worthless, good-for-nothing, hopeless, horrible, useless-!

 

A hand touched their back and they sobbed even louder, turning from quiet whimpering and hiccups to a loud wail. The hand was removed immediately as Frisk tensed, waiting for it to come down with force, but it was instead replaced softly, running in small circles up and down their back. The touch was new to them, foreign, and it terrified them. But they found their muscles relaxing.
They didn’t understand.
The circles on their back continued, never painful. In fact, Frisk, despite the fear, found it very...comforting. They found themselves slowly, but surely, melting under the touch, absorbing the new comfort and feeling of relaxation. They let out a shaky breath, sobs turning into small hiccups, and began to quiet themselves.
The hand stopped.
Much without their consent, a small, tapered whimper escaped their throat, followed by a little, panicked sob. They wanted the comfort back. They, they needed it!
In an instant, It was rubbing their back again, quickly resuming where it left off with a little bit of vigor. It was rhythmic, and this time, it was accompanied by a soft padding on their hair. Frisk fully relaxed into the separate motions, their desperate hiccups turning into deep, refreshing breaths. They leaned into the fingers focusing on their relaxing motions, clinging on to them as their gasping ceased.

They could hear muffled talking, but it was distorted and warped, like it was submerged in water.

Their head began to clear, their chest a little lighter. They felt hollow.
The voices took shape.

“-They just started crying, and i don’t know-”

“-ARE THEY-”
“-i don’t think-”

“DID THEY INJURE THEIR CHEST FURTHER BY THEIR CRYING?”

 

The voices finally came into focus, like eyes adjusting to a blinding light. They peeked from behind their eyelids.

“It’s not impossible. you should probably rib-air them bro, just in case.”

 

“SANS! YOUR INCESSANT AN HORRIBLE PUNS ARE NOT WHAT THE HUMAN NEEDS IN THIS TIME OF DISTRESS!” The patting on their head became faster and more frantic, Frisk giving little jerks every time it came down. Sans snickered at the unintentional pun. “DO NOT FRET, HUMAN FRISK! I WILL LET HIS HORRENDOUS HUMOR HARM YOU NO LONGER!”

Frisk finally opened their eyes.

Papyrus was kneeling in front of them, face in a grimace, but also with… concern? But, this was mostly a footnote in Frisk’s consciousness. What was really dominating their conscience was the fact that it Papyrus’s gloved phalanges were the ones softly tapping the top of Frisk’s head. They looked to the side, only to see Sans attempting to make eye contact. He was the one gently stroking their back.
They had no idea what to do.
“uhh...You ok there, kid?” Sans spoke gently, but strained, like he was unsure of himself. He gave them a smile that Frisk could only assume was nervous.

“YES HUMAN! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” They nodded sniffing, and wiping their eyes. They felt heat rushing to their face.

“so-o sor-ry. I-I didn’t mean to cry.”

“NONSENSE HUMAN! IT IS ALRIGHT TO CRY!” He stopped his sentence here, sending a glare at Sans. “NOT THAT I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS EVER CRIES! BUT IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO DO SO.”

“pap, you were crying over snakes yesterday.”

“BUT THEY DON’T HAVE ARMS!!!” Papyrus sniffed, tears welling in his eye sockets. They weren’t even going to question that anymore.

Papyrus cleared his throat. He hopped onto the couch energetically, bouncing on the couch cushions. Frisk was surrounded.

“NOW” Papyrus looked at them, gently gripping their shoulders. “HOW ARE YOU FEELING, HUMAN FRISK?” He looked them up and down.
“ARE YOUR RIBS HURTING?”

“No… not really.” They had hurt when Frisk was crying, but now the pain was reduced to a dull ache. They crossed their arms across their abdomen, breathing in deeply. One last tear made its way down their cheek.

“THAT’S GOOD!!! I DON’T KNOW IF YOUR BODY COULD HANDLE ANY MORE OF MY POTENT HEALING MAGIC!” Papyrus looked proud of himself, but that quickly melted away into what resembled concern.

 

“WAIT. ARE YOU LEAKING RED STUFF ANYWHERE?”

The words that Papyrus had said said didn’t register to Frisk for a good five seconds, until it hit them like a truck speeding down a freeway.

“Oh, umm, no. I don’t think i’m bleeding.” Why did he care? Why were they even still alive?

“So… you healed me?” Frisk dipped away from the topic, trying as they might to dodge away from whatever questions the brothers may query.

Don’t ask don’t ask don’t ask don’t ask… They silently willed the the brothers to drop the subject.

“OF COURSE!” His voice dropped a little bit in volume, but still loud enough to be considered shouting. “YOU...YOU WEREN’T LOOKING TOO GOOD… BUT YOUR INJURIES WERE NO MATCH FOR MY HEALING MAGIC!”

Oohh. Healing magic. Toriel had used some on them in the ruins, after the Froggits and Whimsies had roughed them up a bit. Healing magic was wonderful, and beat bandages and gauze by a mile. No, a hundred miles. But, whenever Toriel had healed them, it was different.

“But, it still hurts?” In the ruins, Frisk was always as good as new after they had been mended.

“we can use only so much healing magic on you.” Their head whipped back to Sans. Sitting between the two skeletons was more difficult than Frisk had imagined.
“pap’s healed most of your wounds, but you’re still pretty injured. some of your muscles are probably still torn, and bones still fractured.” Frisk shivered at this, but some of their worries were assuage. That was really bad, but at least, from experience, all those things were fixable. Shouldn’t they get a cast? They didn’t want to bother them any more than they already have, though.

“Thanks. For everything.” They said desperately, realizing they had said nothing of the sort. “Thank you so much! But I have to get going.” They heard them attempt to say something, before they charged into their next sentence. “What do I…” They paused. “owe you?” They pinched the fabric of their sweatpants. They had a little gold, but not much else. They didn’t really know how to make it up to them.

“IT IS NO PROBLEM, HUMAN!” Papyrus cut them off from their thoughts. “YOU DO NOT OWE US ANYTHING! AFTER ALL, WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?”

Frisk jolted. “F-friends?”

“OF COURSE! RIGHT?” Papyrus suddenly looked nervous, tapping his pointer fingers together.

They stared at him, mouth agape.

“Yes! I mean yeah, of course!” They couldn’t help but grin widely. “I would love that.” They said softly.

“YES!!! I MEAN,” He cleared his throat “I ALREADY HAVE COUNTLESS FRIENDS, BUT THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR MORE!” He grabbed their hands. His gloves were very squishy as Frisk squeezed his hands.

“I want to be your friend too!” The words were out of Frisk’s mouth before they could stop themself. They were smiling so hard it felt as if their jaw was going to snap. They were like that for a single beat.

“mind if i join on this “friend” train here?” Sans interjected, tapping their shoulder. Frisk nodded immediately, not even hesitating a moment.

“Duh! Of course I want to be your friend! You’re so...” They offered one of their hands to Sans, before their spine straightened and face bleached as they trailed off. They hadn’t meant to be so… enthusiastic.

“heh. cool.” Sans took their hand before they could retract it. His glove was warmer than Papyrus’. Maybe it was because he kept his hands in his pockets.

“NYEH! THEN IT IS OFFICIAL!” Frisk looked back at Papyrus. They could feel a crick in their neck forming. “AND NOW, SINCE YOU ARE GOING TO STAY WITH US, WE CAN HAVE MANY MORE BONDING MOMENTS!” Papyrus was bouncing in his seat, sparkles in his eyes.

What?
“What? No, no, no, I can’t do that!” They saw Papyrus’s smile dull, posture slackening. Oh crap! “No, not like that!” They clutched onto both of the hands in theirs. “I men’t, you’ve already done a lot, and I still need to get home, and…”

“NONSENSE!” Papyrus cut them off mid sentence. “YOU ARE INJURED! YOU NEED REST! I WOULD BE A BAD FRIEND IF I SIMPLY LEFT YOU IN THE COLD.” His hands were then moved onto his hips, and the disappointment on his face had melted into something firmer.

“yeah kid.” Sans started up. They turned their head once again. “Besides, where else would you go? i don’t exactly see any other options here.”

He… he had a point. Frisk frowned, retracting their fingers hesitant to knead their fingers into the vulnerable underbelly of their sleeves.. But, why would they do that? They had to keep going!

“Well, uh, I could just keep going, and”

“HUMAN, YOU ARE IN NO CONDITION TO WALK! NO, NO, YOU MUST STAY WITH US! I PROMISE, WE WILL TAKE GREAT CARE OF YOU! OH, WE CAN MAKE SPAGHETTI TOGETHER, AND WATCH METTATON, AND MAKE PUZZLES AND SO MANY OTHER THINGS!” He frowned. “AS SOON AS YOU ARE FEELING BETTER, THAT IS.”

“But, i don’t have anything to give you.” There had to be something they could do! Just to make it up to them. To their friends.

“we don’t need anything. if we required payment when you’re seriously injured like this, that would kinda make us horri-bone people.” Sans chuckled at this, rubbing the back of his head.

That made a bit of sense. Still!

“But-” A gloved had suddenly covered Frisk’s mouth. They flinched back.

“NO BUTS, YOUNG FRISK.” Sans snickered, and Papyrus glared.

“butts.”

Papyrus cleared his throat.

“ANYWAY, YOU NEED TO STAY HERE AND HEAL, AND I WILL NOT LET MY NEW FRIEND SUFFER!”

“But... i’m a hu-”

“NOPE! I WILL HEAR NONE OF THAT!” He finally removed the hand from in front of their mouth.

“NOW, I WILL MAKE SOME OF MY EXCELLENT CUISINE FOR YOU! WHILE NORMALLY I WOULD MAKE MY FAMOUS SPAGHETTI, MY BROTHER SAID THAT SOUP WOULD BE MORE APPROPRIATE, SO I WILL BE MAKING YOU MY NOT-YET-FAMOUS WATER SAUSAGE SUPER-NUTRITIOUS SOUP! NYEHEHEHEH!”

He raced off to where Frisk assumed the kitchen was, and soon winced at a clatter of pots and pans. Papyrus yelped, as muffled shouting about a dog emanated from the kitchen. For some reason, Frisk got the sense that this sort of chaos was relatively common in the skele-bro's household.

Frisk looped their arms around their knees, sighing a shudder-like breath into the soft fabric of the sweatpants. Their hands shook, gripping into the cloth.

They didn’t want to stay.
No matter how nice the brothers were, Frisk couldn’t pay them back. They had to leave, anyway. To tell her they were OK and that they were safe. Even if she didn’t care. She would care, right?

They wanted to go back home, wherever that was right now.
...
Frisk wanted their mom.

They inched their way forward on the couch, casting a wary glance at Sans. He looked them back in the eyes, but didn’t move. Would he let them leave? They sent off a silent prayer that he would, for whatever reason.
Frisk began to ease their way onto their feet, crushing the carpet between their toes. They braced their knees and wedged their hand behind them, and gradually brought themself to stand. They almost shrieked, managing to bite their tongue instead and clamping a claw down on the armrest. Pain stroked it’s way up their calves and all the way to settle in their stomach in the form of rampant nausea.
They were determined. They took a shaky breath.
They moved their foot forward.

Something stopped them in their path, freezing them and making them feel weightless. A blue aura surrounded their vision. Frisk forced their breathing not to stop.

The light began to move them backwards, ignoring their yelp. They saw their soul, blue and bared on their chest before they were back on the couch and everything returned to normal, including their heart rate.

“Hey there bucko, don’t look so worried.” A hand came down to ruffle their hair, but, they jerked away, eyes darting to Sans. He stared at them, hand lowering.
“We’ll take good care of ya.”