Actions

Work Header

I'm Telling the Tooth!

Work Text:

It had began as what was supposed to have been a relatively simple shopping trip at the local mall.

 

But it had ended as anything but that.

 

Frisk had taken the skeleton brothers along with her because they insisted on tagging along, telling her they had some errands to run as well. Except the two had never been out in public quite like this since coming to the surface and they stuck by her like baby chicks to their mother. After about an hour of this, she had finally managed to squeeze away from them long enough to use the restroom.

 

It was after she exited the restroom and was finding her way back that the trouble began.

 

“Hey. You. Pretty girl.”

 

She continued walking; whoever it was that spoke had obviously not been speaking to her.

 

“Hey, I’m talking to you. Where you going, baby?” A man with a somewhat muscular build abruptly stepped out from his hiding place and in front of her, blocking her way with a smile and a gleam in his eye that made her insides churn with unease.

 

“Um, I…” Even after her adventures in the Underground, she still wasn’t good at dealing with confrontation.

 

But then again, she knew that monsters really were different than humans. The monsters she had dealt with on her journey had been at times violent, hateful, and rude, but so were a sizable portion of humans. The grand difference between them was, the monsters had understandable reasons for their unscrupulous behavior. Humans, more often than not, didn’t need a reason.

 

And Frisk never liked to judge anyone by their appearance or judge to quickly on the first impression, but she could tell from a single glance and the manner in which that one question was said that this man was nothing but a troublemaking creep.

 

She needed to get away from this guy, maybe alert someone of her presence, but didn’t it just figure that he would approach her when next to no one was around?

 

“How about you and I go somewhere quiet together, huh?”

 

He reached out to touch her, perhaps take her by the arm, but she quickly sidestepped him.

 

“Leave me alone.” She gave him the most disinterested glare that she could muster, but he had the gaul to laugh at her.

 

“Oh, you’re a feisty girl! I like that. It’s no fun when they don’t fight back a little.”

 

She’d had enough of this nonsense. Frisk slipped past him, but she didn’t get very far before her arm was grabbed harshly, fingernails digging painfully into the flesh and her entire body was yanked backwards and pressed roughly into his chest. She thrashed and squirmed furiously, attempting to kick, bite, punch and scratch to escape his grip with little results. He laughed cruelly at her, his other hand reaching over to clench her shoulder tightly with enough force that she was certain it would leave more bruises. She took a breath, ready to shout for help, but he clamped his other hand over her mouth and hissed,

 

“You try to scream, and I’ll snap your neck right here.” This man definitely had the build to do so, and she didn’t want to find out if he was bluffing or not. “Now when I move my hand, are you going to try to scream?”

 

She furiously shook her head, her heart and SOUL thumping wildly in her chest out of fear.

 

“Good girl. Now, you’re gonna pretend that you’re my girl. So quit squirming around and looking so miserable before people start staring. You’ve got an awfully pretty face, and it’d be a shame if you forced me to break it.”

 

Once he removed his hand from her mouth, it shifted to her now aching shoulder, to her back, all the way down her spine, and then the small of her back. Thankfully, he didn’t get to move his hand any lower before…

 

Frisk heard her captor let out a pained yowl and she was immediately released. Disentangling herself from the loose hold around her that remained, she came face to face with one of the skeletons she had left behind just minutes earlier in another part of the store. Sans had caught the man’s wandering hand and was bending it backwards at an angle that was sure to be uncomfortable.

 

“now, i understand more than anybody that babydoll here’s got a gorgeous rear view…” Frisk would have normally scolded him for such a crude statement, but the sheer venom in his voice had shocked her into silence for the moment. “but, that don’t mean you can jus’ go and grab her anywhere any ol’ way you like.”

 

Sans began twisting his arm as if it had the same flexible properties as rubber, his expression appearing at first glance to be the very image of calmness, but the anger bubbling underneath and in his tone was eerily evident if one were to take another look. Normally, he allowed his expressions to twist and fluctuate with his emotions. Normally, he permitted his volume to gradually rise and fall along with his temper. Sans’s expression, an uncomfortably wide toothy smile accompanied by violently trembling red pinpricks which served as his pupils that were just barely visible in the blackness of his large eye sockets still seemed far too relaxed, and his words were spoken in an intonation that seemed far too soft for him to use in this particular situation. It was a tranquil fury, a type of anger that was entirely foreign to him, and Frisk couldn’t recall ever having seen him this enraged before in her somewhat short, but incredibly eventful time of knowing Sans. And this terrifying display of emotion was brought about entirely due to concern over her wellbeing.

 

“sweethearts like her need to be treated sweetly, and gently…”

 

They both could hear the slight creaking sound coming from the man’s wrist. Frisk was aware of how ironic it was that he was twisting and flailing around in the same fashion as she had previously in his attempts to free himself from Sans’s grip. She wondered when it was that the man would turn to violence, but she didn’t have to ponder this thought long before he stopped struggling and balled his free hand into a fist. He swung at Sans’s face, right between the eyes, but the skeleton dodged it with ease. Sans had let go of his wrist, but rather than run, the man was instead looking for a fight, and it seemed her monster friend was more than willing to comply with his foolish wishes.

 

Frisk was torn between leaving the scene to find Papyrus and staying to see how things between the two turned out. She knew there was no use in trying to end the skirmish herself - she could ease Sans out of a dispute herself whenever one arose with some kindness, gentle persuasion, and determination, but he was out for blood and beyond reasoning with.

 

Sans was taking this personally; that man had his filthy hands all over his sweetheart, and Sans had been anticipating the first sign of aggression he could find so he could have an excuse to retaliate.

 

In the end, either option wasn’t possible for Frisk. A crowd of shoppers had paused in their browsing to gather and watch the impending strife, and she had become trapped among the mass of people. She couldn’t see what was happening anymore due to her height, and she couldn’t move past them to find Papyrus either. She hoped that Papyrus would eventually notice the sudden absence of shoppers in whatever store he was currently in if not the surrounding chaos and intervene himself.

 

Once the fight had began, the man couldn’t seem to land any hits on Sans; the skeleton ducked, dodged, and swerved out of every punch thrown his way and then Sans would take advantage of any openings left to inflict damage himself. He didn’t need to use any magic – laws had been recently created limiting the use of monster’s magic in public, but it wasn’t like he cared anything about that. Sans could wipe the floor with him without relying on his supernatural powers, and that was exactly one of the pieces of information about himself he was making abundantly clear. The next being that Frisk was his human, and this particular human was gonna pay for treating her like some sort of cheap toy that was meant to break.

 

Eventually, though, Sans grew weary. Not tired, just bored. His opponent’s attacks were far too predictable. He couldn’t just walk away from an important fight like this, though, so he resolved to be creative to keep things interesting. So at some point during the fight, Sans pulled out a pair of glasses from his hoodie pocket that he had taken from somewhere when he had briefly teleported mid-dodge, being most likely unpaid for (they still had the price tag displayed on the frames), and put them on. He even had enough time and plenty to spare to tape them to his skull so they wouldn’t fall off.

 

“you wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would ya?”

 

MISS

 

“you couldn’t hit a guy with glasses!”

 

MISS

 

He was actively messing with the man now. He almost would have felt a twinge of sympathy for him if he hadn’t rough-handled Frisk and wasn’t a complete creep that was caught preying on women when they were alone. Sans could understand the manly desire to display some aggressive romantic advances, but he paid particular attention to and had learned how to pick up on the mood of his lady and knew when to really back off when his flirting wasn’t appreciated. This human needed to be taught his place, and that the beating he was being put through was just a gentle warning compared to what would have happened if Sans hadn’t shown up when he did.

 

Frisk had finally managed to wiggle herself towards the front of the clamoring audience, cupping her hands around her mouth and shouting over their whoops and howls,

 

Sans!

 

“yeah, dolly?” His tone was casual but still attentive, not turning his head towards her when he spoke as he leapt away from another swing of the man’s fist.

 

She wanted to tell him to stop, that the guy wasn’t worth it, and Sans could get into trouble with the law for what he was doing even though he had initially only been trying to defend her. Instead, she found herself asking,

 

“How did you even get here so fast?!”

 

“i was lookin’ for ya.”

 

“I was gone for five minutes!”

 

“which was four minutes and thirty seconds too long ta be without ya.”

 

Ever since they had left the Underground, Sans had practically been attached to her at the hip. She barely had a moment to herself anymore. Papyrus and some of her other monster friends were similar in wanting to occupy all of her time, but none of them could even hold a candle to Sans.

 

Frisk remembered when this possessive streak of his first began to show itself; he had stopped her in the Judgement Hall, begging, pleading with her not to leave them – not to leave him. Only two foreseeable fates lied in front of her then should she continue with the last leg of her journey; defeat Asgore and return to the surface, or be killed continuously by the king of monsters. Sans was one of the select few that knew of the true nature behind her temporal powers, but it didn’t matter to him if she could simply load after each of her demises. He didn’t want Asgore to kill her and he didn’t want her to go somewhere where he would never see her again.

 

She had made him care again, and then she was going to leave him.

 

He had finally relented and allowed her passage, but he wouldn’t let her go without a fight. He would never take her life like all the other monsters had, no, but Sans was determined to keep her with him, and he would do anything within his power to make that possible. With each instance he dropped her HP down to 1, he would then incapacitate her and carry Frisk all the way back to Snowdin, muttering how this was for the best and what he was doing was done out of love. This process repeated, over and over again, an uncountable number of times, until finally she had learned to predict his attack patterns and in turn caused him to use up his magic until he was near ready to collapse.

 

She could have ran past him and left him there, a screaming sobbing wreck, but she didn’t. She had taken that opportunity to instead comfort him, reassure him that he and everyone else wouldn’t be trapped Underground forever and she would do everything to ensure that they would one day reach the surface. His expression then told her he didn’t believe her, but he had reluctantly let her go.

 

Frisk was the catalyst for everything good that has happened recently in his life; he and Papyrus making up after several years’ worth of senseless arguments and hurling petty insults towards each other, Alphys and Undyne finally speaking to each other as equals when both were too caught up in their pride to do so, Mettaton and Napstablook apologizing to each other first in private then on live television, thus putting their past estrangement behind them… Frisk was responsible for it all.

 

And now she had granted him and every other monster a life of freedom here on the surface, just as she had promised.

 

She was important to him, and she knew that, but Frisk couldn’t even begin to fathom just how much value her life and happiness truly meant to Sans.

 

So much so that sometimes it nearly drove him mad.

 

The throng then began to shuffle around boisterously with the action, some laughing at Sans’s antics while pushing and shoving each other to get a better view of the spectacle. Someone standing next to Frisk elbowed her a bit too hard in the ribs and she accidentally let out a yelp.

 

Sans immediately froze, his focus drawn away from the fight as he whipped his head towards the direction he heard Frisk cry out, but couldn’t see her.

 

“sweetheart?”

 

That was all the hesitation his opponent needed; the man he had been walloping for the past five minutes took this moment to strike Sans directly in the mouth, probably because he had been taunting and insulting him throughout the entirety of the match. Sans stumbled backwards, moving one hand to hold the affected area and felt something wet there – pulling his hand back revealed it was stained with red magic, his own magic.

 

If he still had a mere HP value of 1, that would have killed him.

 

The idiot, the absolute buffoon, then made the fatal mistake of gloating over his accomplishment, one successful strike against the monster compared to the dozens Sans had effectively delivered, but he was instantly silenced when Sans reeled back and punched him just as hard in the solar plexus, sending the man hurtling towards the ground. He fell, and it didn’t look like he would be getting back up anytime soon.

 

Ignoring his pain and the garbage on the floor, Sans bolted towards the crowd and began tossing people aside haphazardly and without care until he found Frisk. He took her face in his large skeletal hands and pulled her close, wobbling eyelights worriedly searching her form for any signs of injury.

 

“babydoll! you okay? i heard you shout.”

 

“Yes, I’m fine. Someone just accidentally elbowed me a little too hard in all the excitement…” She then gasped, eyes wide and hands clasped over her own mouth. “Oh my stars! Sans! Y-Your tooth!”

 

“my wha-” He then ran his glowing red tongue, made of magic, over his teeth and noticed one was missing – his gold one.

 

“That piece of-” He growled, wrapping one protective arm around Frisk in case the man woke up again to harass them as he scanned the floor for his missing tooth.

 

It didn’t take long for him to find it, the deep lustrous yellow contrasting against the marble white of the floor. He picked it up and pocketed it, still clinging to Frisk as he did so. Once that was done, his attention was instantly shifted back onto her.

 

He took her by the hands, rubbing soothing little circles with his bony thumbs over her knuckles. “sweetheart, ‘m so sorry i was late... did that walking mixture of crap and raw sewage hurt you?!”

 

When she had been grabbed, it certainly hadn’t felt good, but after taking in the complete thrashing Sans had given to her assailant, she wasn’t sure if mentioning the bruises that were forming on her skin was a wise idea for fear of what more he might do.

 

That man wasn’t worth Sans losing his freedom over, she thought.

 

However, before she could respond, Sans’s hands glided carefully up her arms to rest on her shoulders, phalanges delicately grazing over where she had been seized earlier, and Frisk automatically flinched. Her reaction was enough of an answer for Sans.

 

“i’m gonna kill him.”

 

“Sans, please don’t-”

 

“i really mean it. i’m gonna. but first, i’ll castrate him. right here.”

 

“Sans, he’s not worth it!”

 

“he hurt you, and then he tried to touch you. and if i hadn’t shown up when i did, he would have. he’s scum.”

 

Thankfully, before Sans could carry out his threat, Papyrus had finally made his appearance. His sudden arrival was enough to stop his brother in his tracks as he strode up to them with a look of vexation, arms crossed and appearing ready to put Sans on the receiving end of a brutal tongue lashing for being at the center of such pandemonium.

 

“OUR FIRST TRIP INSIDE A HUMAN MARKET, AND YOU CAN’T EVEN STAY OUT OF TROUBLE FOR TEN MINUTES WITHOUT ME CONSTANTLY HOVERING OVER YOU. I WOULD ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY SENSE OF SHAME IF I WERE LESS INTELLIGENT AND DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER.”

 

“D-Do you know him?!” The man was apparently conscious again, but he couldn’t move around much; he couldn’t even sit up properly.

 

“AND WHO IS THIS?” Papyrus questioned as he gestured to him boredly.

 

The man then pointed to Sans, attempting to play the victim – the only ones that knew the truth of what had transpired were him, Frisk, and Sans. He was in front of an entire mob, and if this other skeleton didn’t believe him, then the human members of the crowd almost certainly would over the word of a monster.

 

He didn’t even get the chance to plead his case before being interrupted by an enraged Sans that already knew what he was trying to do.

 

“This lunatic tried to-”

 

i caught this pervert about to grope frisk!

 

Well that got Papyrus’s attention.

 

“and before that, ‘m pretty sure he bruised her up! she flinched hard when i touched her shoulders checkin’ over for any damage!”

 

Papyrus’s already narrowed sockets thinned to slits, his heels clacking thunderously against the floor as he closed the distance between them, snatching the man by the front of his shirt and lifting him up with a single arm. Sans’s height was somewhere in the area of six feet, but Papyrus was a seven foot tall, extremely intimidating skeleton monster; so Frisk’s would-be kidnapper was dangling almost two feet off the ground and was at the mercy of a being that had only just recently learned and had a clumsy grasp on the definition of the word.

 

Papyrus didn’t say a word as he suddenly summoned a large and heavy bone nearly the size of himself, lifted it with his free hand as if it were weightless, then slammed it over the man’s head. He didn’t even get to let out an ‘ow’ before he was out cold once again.

 

“He’s going to get brain damage at this rate…” Frisk said, her blatant display of concern for her aggressor shouldn’t have shocked the brothers in the slightest considering her compassionate and forgiving nature, but it did.

 

“AND YOUR POINT IS…? IT’S NOT AS THOUGH HE WAS USING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.” Papyrus scoffed, dismissing his bone-based attack he had used as a makeshift club.

 

“gotta agree with my bro here, babydoll. moron should’a used what few brain cells he had and backed off when he had the chance.”

 

Sans and Papyrus were not finished with him in the slightest, she realized. But before the two could concoct more ways to injure the man further, for the third instance that day, a timely arrival, this time of the police, kept her from having to play the role of the ineffectual peacemaker.

 

“All right! All right! Break it up! Nothing to see here! That’s right, get moving! You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here!”

 

After convincing the gathered people in the area to disperse, the pair of officers suited in blue, a man and a woman, then approached the three. Much to Frisk’s relief, they didn’t appear to be upset with any of them, and she had been so sure that they were here to arrest her two delinquent monster companions. Rather, they swooped in to apprehend the man lying unconscious on the floor of the mall from where Papyrus had clubbed him.

 

“We’ve been trying to catch this guy for weeks.” The lady officer, Nina Sanchez explained once the officers had successfully carted the man away and the air around them had began to calm. “He landed himself on our wanted list for multiple charges of sexual harassment, threatening behavior, stalking, and attempted abduction. And now we have to add minor assault to that list.”

 

“he was gonna try to take my baby away…” Sans quietly muttered into Frisk’s neck; the shorter of the two skeletons was curled up to her side as they sat on a nearby bench, his arms locked firmly around her as if she would disappear into nothing if he loosened his hold by even the slightest amount.

 

“We’re going to make sure he stays behind bars for a long time.” The other officer, Duke Durland, continued. “He didn’t succeed in kidnapping or causing any serious harm to any of the women he’s interacted with, but the intent was still there and crystal clear. He needs to be punished by being locked away where he can’t bother anyone anymore.”

 

“I ASSURE YOU; I AM MORE THAN CAPABLE OF DOLING OUT A FAR MORE APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENT.” Papyrus was all too eager to propose.

 

“I understand that you’re angry over your lady friend being targeted,” He went on, attempting to pacify him. “but up here on the surface, it’s the job of officers and the court to deal with criminals.”

 

“And that means no vigilantism.” Frisk was quick to add.

 

“BUT YOU CLEARLY DON’T UNDERSTAND – I WAS VICE-CAPTAIN OF THE ROYAL GUARD IN THE UNDERGROUND, SO I’M ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT I CURRENTLY HOLD THE CREDENTIALS NEEDED IN ORDER TO DELIVER PROPER RETRIBUTION UPON TRANSGRESSORS OF THE LAW!”

 

“Papy, that’s not how it works…” Frisk patted his skeletal arm, urging him to sit down on the bench next to her and Sans; he complied with an almost childish pout, crossing his arms as he did so. “Forgive him. His comprehension of surface world laws is still a work in progress. Back where he came from, if somebody had a problem with someone else, then they settled it between themselves – usually with violence...”

 

“Oh, you don’t have to tell me that.” Duke laughed heartily, “I have some monster friends of my own, and there isn’t a single dull moment with them around!”

 

“I thought for sure the two of you had shown up to arrest them or kick us out.”

 

“On normal circumstances, we would have had to,” Nina nodded in her direction, “But you saved the both of us a lot of trouble in hunting this guy down, and your boyfriend here was in the right to react as he did. …Well, maybe not by starting a full-blown fist fight in a public mall, but we checked the security cameras and the court of law would say he was acting in self-defense and defending another party, in this case, you.”

 

“Thank you for being so lenient and considerate, but… he’s not my boyfriend.” Frisk awkwardly chuckled, having tried to wiggle out of Sans’s death grip on multiple occasions throughout the conversation, but failing each time. She eventually just sighed in defeat and reached up to pat the top of his skull.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry… I’m usually good at picking up on things like that.” Nina apologized, but she took a quick glance at the skeleton currently latched onto Frisk and noticed that his grin had slipped just slightly.

 

“It’s alright. A lot of people say the same thing about us.”

 

“Uh-huh…” The lady officer allowed her gaze to fall on Sans again and he looked even more glum than a few seconds prior. “Anyway, onto a more pressing matter – your friend lost a tooth in the scuffle, correct?”

 

Sans nodded, not willing to dig in his pockets to present his severed tooth if it meant letting go of Frisk.

 

“HOW LOVELY. THIS MEANS A TRIP TO THE DENTIST; YOU KNOW THAT, DON’T YOU?” Papyrus’s tone was unenthusiastic and dry as he turned to his brother, and Frisk felt Sans flinch.

 

“bro, w-we can’t go. we don’t got the cash for that.”

 

“Actually, if the payment to fix your tooth problem is an issue, we can easily have it arranged that the perpetrator pay for the procedure out of his own pocket.” Nina offered, “He won’t be needing any of that money when he’s in prison, and it’s not like he can, oh say, go to the mall to buy anything, now can he?”

 

“That sounds perfect!” Frisk eagerly replied, the amount of silver linings of this situation gradually revealing themselves had yet ceased continuing to surprise her. “What’s your verdict, Co-Captain of the Royal Guard, Papyrus?”

 

“HMMM, I CAN FIND NO REASON TO OBJECT.”

 

“does what i think or feel not mean anythin’ to any of ya?!”

 

“NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. NOW HURRY UP AND GET TO THE CAR! WE NEED TO GET THERE BEFORE THIS TRIP THROWS OFF OUR SCHEDULE FOR THIS EVENING EVEN MORE THAN IT ALREADY HAS!”

 

Sans let out a noise that sounded like a mixture between an annoyed grumble and a soft whine but obeyed his brother’s command without protest, dragging his feet as he followed Papyrus’s longer strides out of the building.

 

“You two would make a really cute couple, though.” Duke commented before Frisk left to catch up with them.

 

“I’m surprised you would say something like that. Most people look at human and monster relationships as… you know…”

 

“Heh, it might surprise you to hear someone say this directly, but I’m glad you brought the monsters to the surface. I never would have met my girlfriend otherwise, Miss Ambassador.” He chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m dating a bunny lady right now. She used to run a store in a town in the Underground called Snowdin. …I hope to one day call her my wife.”

 

“It makes me glad to hear you two are happy together.” Frisk found herself smiling; it was rare for her to encounter humans that were so open about their tolerance or admiration for the monsters.

 

“You should probably get going now; your, uh, not boyfriend was shaking like a leaf when he heard the word ‘dentist’.”

 

“Yeah, he was. I never would have thought of him as the type to freak out over something like that, but… I better go with them. Just in case.”

 

She would have tagged along anyway even if Sans had been completely unfazed by Papyrus’s declaration, but if he really was frightened about the visit then her presence might help to ease his fears and provide moral support, even if only by a small amount.

 

When she had caught up to them, they were already at Papyrus’s car, a sleek black sportscar with painted on hot rod flames, and its owner was already buckled up and behind the wheel. Sans, however, was having difficulty with his own buckle as his hands were shaking too hard.

 

“OH FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE – STOP BEING SUCH A BABYBONES!”

 

Papyrus was swiftly losing his patience and his temper.

 

“Here, I’ll help.” Frisk crawled in the back seat and fastened the buckle for him, their hands brushing over each other’s for a few seconds as she fumbled with the safety apparatus.

 

“…thanks.” His reply sounded choked to her.

 

“HUMAN FRISK, STOP SPOILING SANS BY COMPLETING TASKS FOR HIM THAT HE’S PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF ACCOMPLISHING FOR HIMSELF. HE MAY BE MY BABY BROTHER, BUT HE IS NOT THAT INCOMPETENT. NOW CEASE YOUR LOLLYGAGGING IMMEDIATELY AND GET UP HERE WITH ME!”

 

“Alright, alright. Yes, your vice-captain of the royal guardship.”

 

“DON’T TEST MY ALREADY DWINDLING FORBEARANCE, FRISK. THIS IS JUST AS STRESSFUL FOR ME AS IT IS FOR MY BROTHER, I CAN ASSURE YOU.”

 

“Why so?” She inquired as she buckled herself in and the engine roared to life.

 

“YOU’LL FIND OUT AFTER WE GET THERE.”

 

“It would be really helpful of you to let me know now.”

 

“UGH, FINE. WHEN SANS LOST HIS ORIGINAL TOOTH AND BEFORE HE OBTAINED HIS GOLD ONE, HE WAS EXTREMELY PANICKED AT THE THOUGHT OF HAVING SOMEONE MESS AROUND WITH HIS MOUTH. YOU ARE PERFECTLY AWARE OF HOW EVERYDAY LIFE WAS FOR MONSTERS IN THE UNDERGROUND – A DENTAL PROCEDURE WOULD PUT HIM IN A STATE OF VULNERABILITY, AND HE WOULD HAVE TO COMPLETELY TRUST THE ONE PERFORMING THE PROCEDURE NOT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.”

 

“I guess that feeling of uncertainty is still with him, even though he knows there isn’t in any danger of that happening here...”

 

“THERE’S MORE TO IT THAN THAT – ANESTHESIA WAS REQUIRED THEN, AND I DOUBT THAT IT WILL BE ANY DIFFERENT HERE IN THE PRESENT AND ON THE SURFACE. AND OTHER THAN THE THOUGHT OF HIM FALLING ASLEEP AND NEVER WAKING UP PLAGUING HIS MIND, HIS BEHAVIOR UPON AWAKENING IN THE PAST WAS… INDESCRIBABLE.”

 

“‘m right here. ya can stop talkin’ like ‘m not.”

 

“I’m sorry, Sans!” She squeaked, now acknowledging that she had been effectively ignoring him and was additionally asking Papyrus intrusive and probably embarrassing questions about himself. “Listen, I know the needle will be scary, but it’ll all be over before you even know it and then you can go home. I had to get my wisdom teeth removed before and it was finished in an hour, but you won’t even need to get stitches-”

 

stop it.” He nearly growled before taking a deep, shuddery breath and his tone shifting to one that sounded less dangerous and more annoyed. “i know yer tryin’ ta help, but i’d rather jus’ not think about it ‘til we actually get there.”

 

“Ok… I understand.” Frisk tried not to show the hurt in her own tone as she replied, “I just thought that you might need a little reassurance since you seemed nervous...”

 

“…”

 

“you ass. now look at what you did – she’s sad now.” He inwardly began to berate himself. “that little frown on those pretty pink lips is your fault, all you. this is why you don’t even deserve to share the same space as her, much less think you’ll ever be good enough to be the kind of man she needs.”

 

He looked out the window and watched the scenery roll by in silence, feeling even worse than he had previously.

 

And after about five minutes of pure silence, Papyrus suddenly spoke up.

 

“I NEGLECTED TO MENTION THIS BEFORE, FRISK, BUT IS NOW AN UNOPPORTUNE MOMENT TO INFORM YOU THAT I WON’T BE THERE TO SUPERVISE SANS ONCE THE PROCEDURE IS FINISHED?”

 

“what?!” “What?!”

 

“I WON’T BE THERE TO SUPERVISE SANS ONCE THE PROCEDURE IS FINISHED.”

 

“Yes, we heard that the first time, but why?!”

 

“I AM TO ACCOMPANY CAPTAIN UNDYNE, HER MAJESTY, QUEEN TORIEL AND HIS MAJESTY, KING ASGORE, TO AN IMPORTANT MEETING DISCUSSING MONSTERS AND THEIR FUTURE ON THE SURFACE. WE ARE TO, UNACCOMPANIED AND UNAIDED BY YOU, OUR AMBASSADOR, PRESENT PROOF THAT WE ARE NOT MENACES TO SOCIETY. AND IF THE HUMAN OFFICIALS WERE TO CATCH WIND OF WHAT OCCURRED IN THE MALL BACK THERE, I LOATHE TO THINK IT MAY IN TURN CAUSE TROUBLE FOR THE REST OF MONSTERKIND; EVEN THOUGH SANS DID, FOR ONCE, ACT OUT IN A MANNER THAT WAS ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE FOR THE GIVEN SITUATION.”

 

“i still wanna castrate him, though.”

 

“AS DO I, BUT IF WE WISH TO BE ALLOWED TO LIVE OUR LIVES ON THE SURFACE IN RELATIVE PEACE, WE HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THE LAWS OF THIS LAND AND LEAVE HIS FATE UP TO THE HUMANS AND CONSEQUENTLY THEIR UNSUPERIOR AND BORING METHODS OF DISTRIBUTING JUSTICE.”

 

“The two of you scare me sometimes…”

 

“AH, BUT DON’T YOU FEEL SO INCREDIBLY LOVED BEARING THE KNOWLEDGE THAT ONE INCREDIBLY HANDSOME SKELETON AND ANOTHER OF SUB-PAR ATTRACTIVENESS BY COMPARISON WOULD BE WILLING TO SHED BLOOD IN YOUR NAME?”

 

“Not really…”

 

“HMPH. VERY WELL, THEN. IF IT TRULY DISPLEASES YOU SO, THEN MY BROTHER AND I WILL DO OUR BEST TO KEEP DISCUSSION OF HYPOTHETICAL BLOODSHED TO THE MINIMUM FROM THIS POINT ONWARD.”

 

“Please do. I’d appreciate it if the both of you wouldn’t try to find creative ways to get yourselves locked away in prison.”

 

“wait just a sec: if pap an’ i did go to prison though, we could beat up that guy for ya! can’t get in ta trouble and thrown in the slammer for beatin’ the snot out of a guy if we’re already in there.”

 

“YOU MAY HAVE A POINT, SANS! THERE’S A TOLL BOOTH UP AHEAD; I’LL GO THROUGH IT WITHOUT PAYING AND SEE IF THE AUTHORITIES NOTICE AND PULL US OVER.”

 

No! Neither of you are going to prison if I can help it!”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

It wasn’t long after they arrived at the dentist’s office that Sans’s name was called, the skeleton shuffling out of the waiting room like a man sentenced to death row on his way to his own execution. He hadn’t uttered a word since they got here, his posture ramrod stiff, but the greatest sign of the discomfort he felt was noticeable in his eyes – his red eyelights had shrunken down to quivering microscopic pinpricks.

 

Frisk was surprised that he hadn’t began to rattle; when skeletons felt a great amount of excitement, anger, or fear, sometimes their bones would clatter against each other in response. And the only reason she knew this was because of their confrontation in the Judgement Hall – the entire duration of their one-sided fight, the sound of his bones continuously and violently clinking together echoed throughout the space around them with trepidation at the thought of her leaving the Underground forever. It was the first and so far only time she had heard the noise, and she hoped that should she ever hear it again, it would be from happiness.

 

Sans had snapped at her during the car ride when she tried to comfort him, so she was left feeling useless and her company unneeded. However, when Sans’s name was called, he instinctively grabbed her by the wrist.

 

He had wanted to hold her hand.

 

He held no issue with grabbing her by the hands or nearly anywhere else when he was flirting, but in his time of emotional insecurity, Sans couldn’t allow himself to be put into a position that would reveal what he discerned as his inner weakness. He wanted Frisk to see him as her big, scary skeleton monster bodyguard. How was she supposed to perceive him that way if he was getting his shorts twisted over something as simple as a visit to the dentist’s?

 

He was both proud and ashamed of the look he gave her before he stood up; Sans managed to reign control over his eyelights for a few seconds, willing them to go back to normal long enough to stare her in the eyes with all the intensity he held within.

 

Sans looked at Frisk like she was his entire world and this may be the last time he would ever see her.

 

And it very well may be the last time they see each other; what if the office was filled with monster hating bigots, and when he went under he never woke up again, and then the entire incident would be ruled as a misfortunate accident and swept under the rug along with his dust? Sans loved sleep, but the thought of being forced into an eternal slumber was enough to paralyze him, and every single bone in his body went rigid once the needle came into view.

 

Frisk and Papyrus were in the waiting room for nearly an hour afterward before a nurse came over to tell them he was almost ready to be taken home. The taller skeleton nudged Frisk along towards the direction the nurse pointed out, his face turned away from her with a light redness dusting his sharp cheekbones.

 

“YOU NEED TO BE THE FIRST THING HE SEES WHEN HE REGAINS CONSCIOUSNESS. I WOULD ONLY MAKE THINGS WORSE IN THIS SITUATION.”

 

She wanted to argue that his claim wasn’t true, that the familiarity of Papyrus’s presence would reassure Sans far more than her own, but his tone had sounded so convinced and final that she didn’t push the issue. Frisk followed the nurse to the back room where the dentist himself greeted them before allowing her to see Sans. He went over the things that she might need to be cautious over and what to expect in the next few hours, but she also wanted to know about his current emotional wellbeing.

 

“How did it go? His reaction, I mean.” She asked with a twinge of unease.

 

“Just fine. A little bit of cursing when the needle went in, but then he was out like a light. He should be waking up any moment now.”

 

Another nurse popped in directly after his statement, “Actually, the patient woke up just now and he’s acting… emotional.”

 

When Frisk heard the word ‘emotional’ pass her lips, she had expected a large-scale, curse-ridden tantrum from the skeleton. What she didn’t expect to find was Sans nearly curled up in his seat, quietly sniffling as tears ran down his cheekbones like miniature waterfalls. He looked so lost, so terrified, and so vulnerable… It was utterly heartbreaking and pulled at her SOUL in ways she couldn’t even begin to describe.

 

She understood now why Papyrus had wanted her to see him first; Papyrus did love his brother, but he couldn’t handle his more softhearted outbursts. For years, the pair had grown up believing that to show tears was a sign of fragility, a stamp of death in a kill or be killed world, and it was only after the two met Frisk that they became more receptive towards the notion of openly expressing feelings that were unrelated to rage. Sans didn’t cry often, but whenever he did, his brother still didn’t know how to deal with it in the slightest. So it was because he loved his younger brother that Papyrus decided to pass him onto Frisk’s more tender care.

 

“Sans…?” She maintained a soft volume as she approached, not wanting to startle him.

 

His head immediately whipped up at the sound of her voice, far too quickly to not have been painful, she thought, and his eyesockets went near impossibly wide as if he couldn’t believe she was really here. Those red eyelights then began to swell, almost filling the entirety of the dark space they occupied.

 

“y-you came for me…” He whispered, his words slurred but still intelligible.

 

“Of course I did. I would never leave you, Sans.” She delicately reached over to stroke the crown of his skull and this seemed to placate him somewhat, his flow of tears beginning to slow.

 

Sans had dreamed while he slept.

 

It was a dark dream. He had been taken somewhere pitch black and couldn’t see or hear anything. It was The Void, he was certain; a place monsters occasionally spoke of, mostly respected, and always feared. No one knew just how one would cross over to this place, but it was said that once one entered there was no escape. And for Sans, being there even while inside the relative safety of a dream was a complete nightmare. There was nowhere and nothing, time and space no longer existed, and with nobody to speak to, he was left with only his thoughts to keep him company. He was far, far away from Frisk and his brother, and he just knew he would never see either of them again.

 

So when he opened his eye sockets to find himself in a world of sound and color once more, he had first been overcome with relief. But then his blurred senses couldn’t detect a single sign of Frisk’s existence within immediate reach, nor his brother’s, and that was enough for him to feel as though he were dropped back into another nightmare realm. Her presence and words brought him a great deal of comfort and eased his frightened and weary SOUL; she had told him what he had wanted to hear always, that she would never leave him – if this too was another figment of his imagination, then he didn’t want to wake up if it meant being forced to live in a world without her.

 

Sans gave her a lopsided grin with his newly reattached golden tooth, content now that she was here before him, safe and within his reach. He wrapped his arms around the limb of hers closest to him, wanting nothing more than to cuddle his precious human. But she needed to go tell Papyrus that he was awake so his brother could help her guide the stocky skeleton to the car, and he was extremely reluctant to allow her to leave his sight for even that.

 

“Sans, I’m just going to get your brother. You know, Papyrus? I’ll be right back. I’m not going anywhere far, just into the next room.”

 

He squeezed her hand, gazing up at her with wobbly eyelights. “p-promise…? promise me you’ll come back.”

 

“I promise.” She used her free hand to stroke his left cheek, and he leaned into her palm, lifting up his own to rest over hers and press himself further into her touch.

 

He reluctantly permitted her to leave only after placing a clumsy kiss against her fingers as they slipped out of his hold.

 

The dentist stepped into the room directly after, preparing for his last patient for the day and making it easier for Sans to get up when his escorts came by adjusting the chair. As he scurried around the room doing this and that, Sans suddenly became talkative.

 

“didja see that girl i was with?”

 

“Yes, you mean Ms. Frisk, the ambassador? Is she a friend of yours?”

 

“yeah, she is. she’s my best friend in the whooooole world besides my brother.” He swayed around happily in his seat with a carefree giggle. “and i’m gonna marry her one day, but she doesn’t know that yet.”

 

It took every ounce of his willpower for the dentist to not laugh and retain his professionalism; he saw dozens of patients a week that had their fair share of interesting and amusing things to say while under the influence of the anesthesia, but Sans was behaving so innocently and had spoken so fondly of the human in his company that it was enough to melt the old man’s heart.

 

“Getting married is an important step in a committed relationship, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to let her know how you feel?”

 

His eye sockets widened. “you’re right…! i-i do need to tell her! i need to tell her right now!”

 

He then attempted to wiggle out of his chair to find Frisk himself instead of patiently waiting for her to return. The only thing that prevented him from tumbling out and falling flat onto his face was the dentist’s swift movement of grabbing him by the shoulders to steady him, then carefully easing Sans back into his previous position while scolding him on his recklessness as if he were a misbehaving toddler. The six-foot-tall skeleton then slumped backwards with a pout, his preceding lovesick expression screwing into one of annoyance.

 

When Frisk eventually did return with Papyrus, as they lead him out the back door and towards the car that was parked just outside, she couldn’t understand why the dentist was looking at her, smiling and chuckling to himself as if she were missing out on an inside joke or something of the sort. Sans must have said something really special for a professional that saw this sort of behavior daily to react in such a way. She nearly shuddered to think what nonsensical statements a mind such as his could have assembled while in this state.

 

She assisted Sans in buckling him in the back seat as she did before. He practically begged Frisk to sit next to him, but she politely declined. He was acting so loopy that it was taking all of her self-control not to laugh at some of his drunken antics and articulations. He might take her laughter the wrong way and accidentally have his feelings hurt, since he seemed to be far more sensitive when he was like this.

 

Sans was also incredibly chatty while high, she learned quickly.

 

Every single thing that popped into his head was evidently broadcasted to his captive audience of two. And most of what was said were things that would certainly embarrass him if anyone else aside from the pair heard them. Sans could most likely brush aside anything that occurred here with them later, but right now he was rattling off puns that made no sense and jokes without punchlines, and Frisk also made the mental note that he was acting incredibly and uncharacteristically sappy. She wondered if this was what Papyrus had meant when he mentioned his behavior being indescribable.

 

Indescribable was certainly one word for it.

 

“frisk. ey, frisk? frisky~”

 

“Yes, Sans?” She sighed for what felt like the fifth time in the past three minutes.

 

“has anyone ever told you your hair is really pretty…?”

 

“Sometimes…?”

 

“well, it is, and no matter how many times ya may of heard so already, it still don’t get said enough. it’s… really really pretty. like, it’s all soft and it smells nice. skeletons don’t have all that soft stuff on our heads, you know. and i know i probably reek of mustard all the dang time, so… it’s really different. it’s nice.”

 

“Thank you, that’s really sweet of you to say.”

 

“no no no, you’re the one that’s sweet. you-your trait is determination, and i admired that about ya a lot from the moment we first met, but, b-but you have so much kindness in your SOUL that sometimes it’s a lil’ overwhelming... i didn’t understand that back then, but i do kinda have an idea now and i appreciate it so much… i appreciate you so much, frisk.”

 

“I appreciate you too, Sans. You’re a good friend.”

 

“no ‘m not. ‘m always causin’ trouble for ya. because of me, people look at ya funny on the street an’ they start ta talk. they’ll look at ya anyways without me there ‘cause yer too pretty not to talk about an’ look at, but i make ‘em look at ya an’ talk in the bad way. it’s all my fault.”

 

“No, none of that is your fault, Sans. If those people are going to look down on me because you’re my friend, then I don’t want those same individuals to be looking at me in a positive light during the rare times you’re not standing next to me. And besides, staring is rude.”

 

“but-but what about when i look at ya? does that mean i can’t ever look at ya again because it’s rude? i can’t do that – you’re too cute to ignore. even fer a little bit. i can’t help it. i just gotta look at ya, all the time-”

 

“Alright, alright! I’ll make a special exception for you – you’re the only one that’s allowed to stare at me, Sans. On occasion.”

 

“AHEM.”

 

“Ok, you’re given an exception too, Papyrus…”

 

“THAT’S MORE LIKE IT, AS I’M CERTAIN YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY FLATTERED TO BE THE OBJECT OF MY ATTENTIONS?”

 

“Sure…”

 

“‘asides, if i don’t always look at ya, then what’ll happen if someone decides to take ya away?”

 

“That won’t happen-”

 

“but it could! and it almost did just today! d-don’t you remember at all?! y-you were there! my baby almost got taken away from me forever…”

 

She heard him let out a soft sob in the back seat and Papyrus shot her an unimpressed glance, mouthing out the words that she was still somehow able to decipher despite him not having lips, ‘SAY SOMETHING TO HIM…’

 

“B-But it didn’t, Sans! You showed up at just the right moment when I really needed you! …I feel fortunate to have someone in my life that takes such an active interest in watching over my wellbeing.”

 

And that was the truth. Before she befriended the occupants of the Underground, Frisk’s life had been barely acknowledged by those around her, and those that did pay her any mind gave her the sort of heed that she nor anyone would want; tormentors, perverts, thugs; those were the only sort of people that gave her quiet existence any notice… So when the monsters that entered her life began showing signs of appreciating, reciprocating, and even actively vying for her attention, Frisk had secretly felt incredibly flattered and somewhat ashamedly relished it. For once in her life, she finally felt important to not only someone, but several someones. But now that the inner bliss of those occasions had begun to fade and the consequences of their extreme behavior, particularly Sans’s, had come about, she was much less thrilled over the dramatic and even sometimes possessive in nature gestures and displays that were frequently presented to her.

 

These monsters had gone so long without expressing love for another, they didn’t know how to anymore without going entirely overboard with it.

 

And that’s exactly what Sans was doing currently – going completely, utterly, and not-so gracefully swan-diving-into-the-water overboard with showing his affections for her.

 

Sans was flirtatious by nature, and she knew he didn’t mean to indicate interest in initiating a serious romantic relationship with the recipient of his sweet words, recurring caresses, and terms of endearment, especially whenever they were directed towards her - because that’s just who Sans was. And he had absolutely no filter even without the involvement of anesthesia and little understandings of personal space, most likely because he was raised in and exposed to a violent upbringing and environment. So with him there existed a thin line between when either a positive or negative touch, depending on the mood set of the situation, was appropriate at any given time. He would throw his arms around her and nuzzle the pulse point of her neck with the tip of his nasal ridge just as swiftly and eagerly as he would throw a punch to someone on the street that had personally wronged him in some shape or form.

 

Sans was the living definition of the expression and phrase, ‘all or nothing’ and ‘go big or go home’.

 

“aww… i feel lucky ta have ya too, sweetheart.” His cooing was slurred, and Frisk imagined the dopey grin he must be wearing as he swayed around as he spoke – the mental image was enough to bring a smile to her own lips. “yer always so nice and sweet ta everyone, even me. …that’s why i love ya.”

 

Before Frisk could utter a single word or even the slightest sound, they had pulled up at a traffic light, the car pulling to a stop with a loud screech.

 

How appropriate.

 

After a long and uncomfortable silence, she slowly turned her head towards Papyrus, but he wasn’t looking at her. His gloved fingers were clutched tightly to the steering wheel and he was staring straight ahead of them at the vehicle-infested road.

 

“…I LOATHE DRIVING AT THIS HOUR.” Was all he said, his voice noticeably more faint than usual and a near imperceptible tremble discernable in his tone.

 

The quietness around them stretched on. The only things that could be heard were the sounds of the car’s engine, the air condition, and the occasional honk from an impatient driver somewhere.

 

Frisk’s cheeks were burning. Her throat felt dry.

 

Nobody had once ever said that to her. In any shape, way, or form.

 

Her SOUL should be bursting with happiness, to hear someone say they loved her. But all she could feel was a sense of uncomfortableness – Sans was clearly not in his right mind at the moment. Frisk knew she was important to him, he told her that enough on a near daily basis and she knew that unlike his flirtations, his appreciation for her was entirely sincere.

 

Perhaps he did love her, she thought, but not in the romantic sense, surely…

 

She finally managed to regain her voice.

 

“Thank you, Sans. For saying that. I love you too…”

 

“noooooo…!” He whined loudly as he kicked his legs, surprising her. Before she could question his odd response to her reply, he continued. “not like that; i know you like me. i-i even know you love me… but, i didn’t mean like that.”

 

Frisk couldn’t recall having ever felt so confused in all her life – by that way, did he think she had misunderstood his declaration of love as something romantic when it was only intended to be platonic? He had told Papyrus just fifteen minutes prior that he loved him as well…

 

“you’re the best bro i’ve got, papyrus...” He had nearly cried when Papyrus turned on the air conditioner after Sans complained about the heat.

 

“I’M YOUR ONLY BROTHER.” He sighed.

 

“i know, b-but you’re still the best. i love ya, papyrus.” He sniffled, causing Papyrus, after a few seconds had passed, to quietly mutter that he felt the same.

 

Papyrus probably would have appreciated the sentiment far more if Sans hadn’t been high as a kite when he said it and his eye sockets had been dry.

 

“Then in what way did you mean when you said that, Sans?” Frisk honestly wasn’t sure if she should have asked – his brother looked so tense behind the wheel, but he wasn’t giving either of them any warning glances or cues to put the topic to a close.

 

“you know… i love you - like that. like… like this.” He raised up both hands, weak and wobbly, then touched the pads of his two index fingers together. “oh wait, you can’t see back here from up there…”

 

“I’m afraid I can’t, Sans.” She laughed uncertainly, but she had heard him make a noise with his mouth that sounded like a kiss, despite him not having lips.

 

Or perhaps he did…? Or maybe she just misheard him because of the air conditioner. Yes, that had to be it.

 

Papyrus, however, had apparently seen everything from the car’s internal mirror that gave him a view of the back seat, which escaped Frisk’s view because of her far smaller height.

 

“GOOD HEAVENS, SANS!” He rolled his red eyelights with an indignant huff. “SHOW SOME SELF RESTRAINT FOR GOODNESS SAKE! SHE’S ALREADY MARRIED!”

 

…What?

 

That was all Frisk could think after that rebuttal. She wasn’t married; it was true that she wore a ring on her left hand on the finger that usually indicated if someone was or not, but she did so mainly because of the sizing of the ring and because it felt most comfortable on this hand. Papyrus knew that.

 

And so did Sans.

 

But in his disoriented state, all logic and reasoning he normally would have exercised and applied in this situation had been flung out the window.

 

“frisk, how could you?!” He shouted with dismay, struggling against the binds of his seatbelt. “i’m not with you for… for… i get unconscious… and-and the moment i do, you go and get married to some other guy behind my back?!

 

“…What?” Frisk turned to Papyrus, hoping for some sort of explanation, but all she could see were the beginnings of dread and regret in his expression.

 

“WHAT BRAND OF CHAOS HAVE I UNLEASHED…?”

 

Sans was having a complete nuclear meltdown in the back now, and at this rate, poor Papyrus’s nice and very expensive car might be totaled from the inside out if either of them didn’t put an end to his brother’s tantrum soon.

 

Sans, calm down! You’re going to hurt yourself! …Or this car!” She managed to somehow raise her normally soft voice above and over his own, a feat she would later be impressed by. “Sans, I’m not married!

 

“……y-yer not? then… then why did papyrus-”

 

“IT WAS A JOKE. A JEST. A JAPE!” Papyrus interjected with another huff. “…BUT NOW I REALIZE MY MISTAKE. TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR… EMOTIONAL VULNERABILITY AT THIS TIME, IT WAS… A RATHER CRUAL JAPE.”

 

“yeah, it was.” Sans readily agreed, letting out a growl of his own.

 

Papyrus mumbled another apology before returning to his usual persona. “NOW CAN WE RETURN TO HOME WITHOUT ANY FURTHER INCIDENTS, PLEASE? THERE, I SAID ‘PLEASE’.”

 

“frisk… frisk really isn’t married…” He sounded so relieved. “uuunnh…”

 

And once again, Sans was so overcome with emotion that he could only express it by spontaneously bursting into tears.

 

“Papyrus, would it be possible for you to pull over, please?” Frisk timidly requested. “Maybe if I sit in the back with him, he’ll calm down for the rest of the ride?”

 

He wordlessly nodded his consent, then visibly cringed at the sound of his brother blowing his nose into the sleeve of his jacket.

 

“y-yer gonna sit in the back, frisk? with me?” Sans momentarily paused in his sobbing, but only just for a moment. “i’m so…haaaaappyyyyyy…”

 

At the next traffic light, Papyrus let his forehead hit the top of the steering wheel with a loud groan.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

A while later, the three had reached the skeleton brothers’ house without too many more tears being shed. The drive home had only lasted about thirty minutes, but it had felt like hours to Papyrus. He just wasn’t equipped to handle Sans while he was in this condition, so it gave him some amount of relief that Frisk was the one who would be dealing with him.

 

But only by a small amount.

 

He didn’t completely trust Sans at the moment, and he would continue not to for as long as he was like this.

 

“IF HE ATTEMPTS TO DO ANYTHING UNTOWARD, I GRANT YOU FULL PERMISSION TO WARD HIM OFF WITH THIS.”

 

He then tried to present Frisk a wooden baseball bat riddled with nails. Curiously, there was also a bright red ribbon tied to the handle. Was this supposed to be a gift of some sort?

 

“I really don’t think that will be necessary, Papyrus.” She gave him a weary smile. “Sans wouldn’t do anything… as you said, untoward. Even when he’s like this.”

 

“YES, I’M FULLY AWARE THAT HE WOULDN’T. THAT WAS YET ANOTHER ATTEMPT OF MINE TO MAKE A JEST. IT SEEMS ALL MY JAPES ARE FAILING THIS EVENING.”

 

“…Oh.” That was all she could say; he looked genuinely upset that he had failed to make her laugh, but only for a moment before his usual scowl returned just as quickly as it left.

 

That wasn’t truly why he didn’t trust Sans right now; he knew his younger brother respected Frisk’s boundaries and wouldn’t harass her, even while intoxicated – no, what Papyrus couldn’t trust him with currently was…

 

“TRUTH BE TOLD, IT’S NOT SANS THAT I AM CONCERNED WITH.” He began to confess, his expression contorting to one of concern. “OUR LIVES ON THE SURFACE WORLD ARE FAR DIFFERENT THAN WHEN IN THE UNDERGROUND, BUT I HAVE NOTICED THAT THIS WORLD IS NOT DEVOID OF VIOLENCE AND CRUELTY. THE OUTCOME OF OUR BRIEF EXCURSION TODAY REMINDED ME OF THAT… SO, IT WOULD EASE MY MIND SIGNIFICANTLY IF YOU WOULD ACCEPT THIS WEAPON I AQUIRED, SOLELY FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE.”

 

“Oh, Papyrus…” She had misunderstood his intentions; he was only trying to protect her, in his own odd way.

 

She gingerly took the nail bat from him, giving it a test swing at a safe distance from any of their furniture, just to make him happy. It did. When she turned around, it was quick, but she caught a glimpse of his smile. Not one of his cocky smirks, but his real smile. There was no other way for her to describe it but dazzling.

 

“Thank you, Papyrus. I probably won’t have to use it, but I appreciate it and I’ll keep it nearby… because it came from you.”

 

A deep scarlet rose over his cheekbones. He diverted his gaze from her, shyly.

 

“THE CRIMSON RIBBON… IT’S THERE IN ORDER TO IDENTIFY ITSELF AS YOURS.”

 

The Underground had three primary colors, each representing something the entire monster population held sacred to them.

 

Red – Determination. The monsters craved this trait of the humans that imprisoned them above all else, so they donned its color for strength.

 

Gold – Their currency. For money sometimes held more value than anything else in their bleak and dreary lives.

 

Black – The Void. Its purpose unknown, and its existence constantly acknowledged and feared.

 

Of these colors, red was the only one that held any true significance to the monsters since the breaking of the barrier. Because that was the color of the SOUL of the human that had brought them their salvation.

 

The ribbon looked fancy, expensive even. Frisk couldn’t say she had ever wanted a nail bat, especially since she considered herself a pacifist. But she could tell that this gift came from Papyrus’s heart, metaphorically speaking.

 

She took another moment to appreciate the ribbon’s texture before he awkwardly cleared his throat.

 

“I MUST BE GOING NOW… I SHOULDN’T BE ABSENT FOR LONG. I EXPECT TO BE BACK SOMEWHERE AROUND TEN TONIGHT. BY THEN, THE ANESTHESIA SHOULD CERTAINLY HAVE WORN OFF. AFTER MY RETURN, MY BROTHER AND I WILL ESCORT YOU TO YOUR OWN HOME.”

 

“Papyrus, that’s kind of you, but it really isn’t necessary. I live just down the road, remember?”

 

When the brothers had first began looking for a house on the surface, the sole requirements they had listed were that it be located within walking distance of Frisk’s own home, and that Grillby’s was easily accessible from wherever their future residence was located –this second condition came solely from Sans. She didn’t understand herself why that last bit was so important to him when it was common knowledge to the three of them that he could easily teleport anywhere he wanted to go as long as he knew where his destination was located.

 

And for whatever reason, it seemed both skeletons had assigned themselves as her bodyguards ever since they moved to the surface.

 

“I WILL NOT ACCEPT ‘NO’ FOR AN ANSWER. I CAN COMPREHEND WHY MY BROTHER’S COMPANY MAY BE GRATING AT TIMES, BUT IS MY PRESENCE SO UNDESIRABLE AS WELL?”

 

Oh, Papyrus was not above playing the guilt trip card on Frisk if it meant keeping her safe.

 

“That’s not it at all! Neither of you are unwelcome around me-”

 

“THEN YOU ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH MY SUGGESTION THAT WE ARE TO ESCORT YOU LATER TONIGHT…?”

 

“I suppose there’s no harm to be found in it…”

 

“OF COURSE THERE ISN’T. YOU SHOULD LEARN TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO RELY ON OTHERS MORE OFTEN, ESPECIALLY WHEN THIS OTHER PERSON IS MYSELF.”

 

“I’ll try to keep that in mind. Good luck at the meeting, Papyrus.”

 

“I HAVE NO NEED FOR LUCK; I CAN CHARM THE OPPOSITION TO SHIFT THEIR CONTRASTING OPINIONS IN OUR FAVOR WITH EASE, BUT I ACKNOWLEDGE THE SENTIMENT.” He was as delightfully conceited as ever as he said this, like a strutting peacock with its feathers fanned out. “KEEP YOUR PHONE CLOSE BY – SHOULD YOU NEED MY ASSISTANCE, FOR ANYTHING AT ALL, I WILL CUT MY PRESENCE AT THE MEETING SHORT AND RETURN HERE. JUST FOR YOU. AS I KNOW YOU WOULDN’T INTERRUPT SOMETHING SO SIGNIFICANT FOR ANY REASON THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED FOOLISH.”

 

She agreed to keep her phone on her person at all times while he was gone, and he allowed his gaze to linger on her for a short while longer than necessary before he stepped out the door, leaving Frisk alone with Sans tucked into bed upstairs.

 

Sans had fallen unconscious the instant his head had hit the pillow. Guiding him up the stairs had been a challenge for them both; Papyrus could have simply lifted him and carried Sans up the stairs without the need for any issue, but Sans had insisted that Frisk help him alongside Papyrus, and neither of them were in any mood to hear another one of his tantrums.

 

He had almost fell down on a few occasions, and a task that should have only taken a few seconds to accomplish instead took several careful minutes. The stocky skeleton had even briefly fell asleep halfway up and the two were forced to carry him with one of them grasping him at each end.

 

“MIDNIGHT WILL HAVE PASSED BY THE TIME WE REACH THE LAST STAIR IF WE KEEP IT UP AT THIS RATE. I THINK WE CAN AFFORD TO GO A LITTLE FASTER, WOULDN’T YOU AGREE?”

 

“Huff… That’s easy for you to say!” She panted, struggling to keep a firm hold on him. “You have the light end!”

 

“SANS DOESN’T HAVE A LIGHT END.”

 

And to emphasize his statement, Papyrus made them switch sides, nearly sending the slumbering skeleton down the steps for the third time since they began their gradual ascent when he suddenly tried to turn over in his sleep.

 

Frisk hoped that Sans never got into another accident that would make him lose one of his teeth, because she wasn’t sure she could survive having to carry him up that flight of stairs again.

 

Magical skeleton monster or not, he shouldn’t be that heavy! That was what she had thought then.

 

The muscles in her arms ached, but at least she could relax a little now.

 

They had brought Sans home at about six ‘o clock, and he remained asleep for a little over an hour before Frisk was alerted he was awake by him suddenly letting out an agonized wail.

 

She quickly pounded up the stairs, his wails sounding as though he were in sincere and significant pain. When Frisk entered his room, she found him lying on his back, eye sockets wide open with his glowing irises shrunken down to pinpricks once more. His hands were clutching the sheets in a shaky grip, and his entire body was trembling violently.

 

“Sans?” She called out to him softly, knowing that he didn’t seem to be completely there as of yet from whatever undoubtedly horrific dream it was he had escaped from. “Sans, it’s me. Frisk.”

 

“…frisk?” He murmured after a long stretch of silence, his body stilling.

 

His voice still sounded slurred, but less than before.

 

“Yeah, it’s me. I’m right here. I’m here.” She slowly stepped across the carpet towards him until she eventually reached his bedside. “Can you tell me what’s wrong? Are you hurting anywhere?”

 

“…had a nightmare.”

 

“Do you want to talk about it or…?”

 

He shook his head from side to side, small streams of tears escaping his closed sockets.

 

“That’s alright. You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to.” Frisk sat down on the edge of his bed and softly cupped his cheeks, gently wiping the tears that fell with her thumb.

 

He raised his own hands weakly to cover her own, his touch featherlight and barely there as he let out another wet sob.

 

Unlike the several instances where he had burst into tears during the drive home, this spell of tears felt less like a small child’s tantrum and more like a plea for help. It was more akin to when he first woke up and noticed that Frisk and his brother were nowhere to be found. He had been seized by a sudden, almost primal fear, a deep loneliness that threatened to smother him if not immediately remedied.

 

“i… i love you, frisk.” He choked out as he squeezed the top of her hand. “i love you so much… you don’t have to feel the same way that i do, but please, just let me love you and don’t leave me, ever…”

 

This declaration, again, unlike when they were in the car together, sounded far more desperate and anguished.

 

And it was also now undeniable that he intended his words to be perceived by her as being nothing but romantic in nature.

 

Frisk wanted to convince herself that it was probably the anesthesia talking, that she must appear different to him while in this state and it caused him to act more needy, and she just happened to be the person closest to him during this time, so she was the one being subjected to his forsaken whiplash responses. Anyone else could be standing in her place at this moment and his reactions wouldn’t change - this is what Frisk tried to tell herself.

 

But she found herself quickly getting sucked into the whims of this new side of him revealed to her, this lovesick and vulnerable Sans that was looking at her and only her.

 

“Shh, shh, shh… Sans, it’s going to be alright. I’m right here, in front of you, holding you, and I’m not going anywhere.” She shushed him, attempting to calm him even if only slightly. “It’s okay for you to love me. I love you too.”

 

“nooooo…” He groaned again, followed by a hiccup. “stop it. just stop teasing me like this! you don’t think i am, but i’m being serious! i love you, frisk. i really really love you! and not just as a friend either. i… i don’t want some no name human guy jerk to be the one to marry you. i wanna be the one to do that… i wanna marry you, frisk!”

 

Frisk had never felt such a red-hot burning sensation in all her life. Her face was such a vibrant shade of crimson, it was nearly scalding. She was certain that if she could look in a mirror, it would appear as if she had received a severe sunburn, her face was so red.

 

“Sans…” She began to trail away, but he grabbed her wrist and yanked her back towards him onto the bed and himself, wrapping his arms around her and pulling Frisk into his chest.

 

She could hear a wild series of thumps coming from his ribcage, which produced a sound not unlike her own heartbeat at this point in time. There was no other thing that could have produced this noise but his SOUL, forlornly crying out for her own.

 

“if… if you want a pretty ring, i’ll get one for you. i’ll get you one that’s much bigger and even prettier than the one on your finger. if it’s a fancy and expensive wedding you want, i can give you that too. it may take me a while, but i’ll make it happen, for you. if it’s kids you want, i’ll give you as many as you want our family to have, or none at all if you’d rather it be just us two… but if you do want some, i’ll provide for you and them the best i can, i promise, frisk.”

 

He had said the ‘p’ word – promise.

 

Sans hated making promises. While the monsters weren’t ones to honor their word while they had been immersed in the old ways of the Underground life, he still felt the word put him into a position of responsibility. That’s why he avoided that word at all cost.

 

And Sans had just promised to love, marry, and have children with her if she so desired, three of the most responsibility-laden commitments known to mankind.

 

Forget being flushed with embarrassment; her head was spinning far too much to even think straight now. How could anyone possibly think straight after hearing all this while being in her position?

 

Sans slowly carded his phalanges through her hair in a manner that was meant to be soothing as he spoke, his tone much lower and softer than she was used to hearing. Her head was tucked under his chin and his other arm was draped across her back, preventing any possibility of a successful attempt at escape.

 

Frisk was immensely thankful that Papyrus wasn’t here to see this. Otherwise, the taller skeleton might have actually made due on his previous joke about bashing his brother over the head with a bat covered in nails for this display of behavior.

 

She wiggled uncomfortably, but instead of loosening his grip, Sans only held her tighter. He then adjusted the two of them into a slightly more comfortable position, as if that would fix the matter in some way. Sans must have thought so, because the hand that had been absentmindedly tangled in her hair moved to the back of Frisk’s head when she had been caught trying to raise herself up and pressed downwards, her ear directly over his ribcage where his SOUL was still hammering away against his bones.

 

After lying there for a few more seconds, mulling over her options, Frisk finally decided to just be direct with him.

 

“Sans, you’re gonna have to let me go.”

 

“no. i don’t want to.” He held her even closer, somehow. “if you’re not here with me, you might go somewhere where i’ll never see you again. so… i’m never letting you go again. ever. simple as that.”

 

“You can’t do that, Sans. It’s not possible.”

 

“well not with that attitude.”

 

Sans!” She struggled, kicking her legs to little effect.

 

“do you hate being with me that much…?” There was an audible hint of nervousness and uncertainty in his tone as he said this.

 

She managed to lift her head enough to get a glimpse of his face, and she wasn’t prepared for how lost and alone it looked. He wasn’t trying to manipulate her with his words – Sans, at this moment, truly was drifting in a sea of self-doubt and was seeking for the answers in her.

 

“Don’t say something so silly.” She reached up to pat his boney cheek, the texture smooth and oddly soft against her skin. “I enjoy your company. I love being with you, Sans.”

 

“…i love spending time with you too, sweetheart.” He lifted the hand that had been behind her head and rested it over hers to keep it there, closing his eye sockets as he enjoyed the blissful warmth that emanated from it. “if i could have it my way, i’d never go a second without you. because i love you…”

 

Frisk involuntarily shuddered; he had moved so his mouth was directly next to her ear. Hearing something like that, so possessive yet loving, with his breath ghosting over her skin… it was just too much.

 

These affectionate, and nearly obsessive words that were coming from Sans were things she had secretly always wanted to hear.

 

And it was terribly, horribly cruel.

 

Because he was only saying these things because he wasn’t in complete control of his thoughts or actions.

 

Anyone else could replace her at this scene and in this moment, and nothing would change.

 

So no matter how much Sans insisted that his affectionate claims were true, she couldn’t believe a word of it until he was fully sober.

 

“…ya never gave me an answer.” He spoke again after a while, almost causing her to jump at the abruptness. His voice was beginning to sound more slurred too. “i finally confessed to ya… i’ve told ya just about everything i’ve always wanted ta say to ya since when i realized i felt this way… but you never said a word.”

 

“…” She still wasn’t sure what to say.

 

“i’ve poured out my whole SOUL to ya, and it still ain’t enough…” Before she could come up with a reply, he started speaking again, his tone urgent. “then tell me what i can do ta have ya, to make ya mine.”

 

“Sans-”

 

“i’m not flirting with nobody but you no more cuz you’re the only girl i think is attractive anymore. could come home ta find some blonde thing in a skimpy red bikini, posed all seductive on my bed and i wouldn’t feel a thing. nothin’. ask her what she thought she was doin’ here an’ tell her to shove off.”

 

Frisk absorbed his statement and then took a moment to dwell on it. Her mind did a replay of the time they had spent together on the surface, and she found she couldn’t recall a single instance of him flirting with anyone aside from herself. In fact, he almost looked annoyed whenever a member of the opposite sex flirted with him these days. It had certainly happened on a few occasions, and Frisk was there to witness it.

 

“and i try not to cuss as much anymore cuz i know you don’t like it. same thing with the alcohol – i used to look forward to one day tryin’ the booze you humans got for myself if i ever got up here, but now i know you hate the smell, and drunk people scare ya, and you’re right: the risks just ain’t worth it. can’t get any of those diseases you humans get, but my mouth runs somethin’ wild plenty enough when ‘m not drunk.”

 

“Oh, I know. Believe me, I know this now…” She thought, but also had to silently admit that everything he was saying was indisputably true.

 

Sans had changed a lot since they had become friends.

 

And she had been mostly blind to it, paying more attention to him for his misdemeanors than his efforts to change. He had been silently working to improve himself, and Frisk hadn’t paid him any mind.

 

It made her feel guilty, but she still couldn’t allow herself to believe that he really loved her – not yet.

 

Her own crippling self-doubt and denial was stronger than her desire for affection.

 

“so… what do i gotta do ta make ya fall in love with me?” He finally allowed her some breathing room, but only so he could gaze into her eyes – eyes were the window to the SOUL, and he needed a glimpse inside hers now more than ever. “i’ll do anything. really. anything ta make ya mine and mine alone.”

 

“Sans… you don’t need to do anything. Not at all.” She smiled at him, but it wasn’t the one he liked, the one that would make his SOUL do somersaults and backflips every time he saw it. This one looked strained, forced. “I just… this is a lot to process… and I can’t really believe anything that you’re saying right now.”

 

why not?!” He replied, indignant.

 

“Because… you’re not acting normal. You’re… you’re all hopped up on anesthesia right now. And, well… anesthesia makes people say a lot of crazy things that they normally wouldn’t. So until it’s worn off, I can’t believe you.”

 

“so yer sayin’ ya can’t trust me cuz I’m drunk? ya think ‘m not tellin’ the tooth?!” He spat; his voice was really slurred now. “the-the nerve ‘a ya! i-i’ll have you know… that i am cone sold stober…!”

 

Frisk just smiled at him, almost smugly as realization bloomed across his face, that what he just said didn’t sound right.

 

“wait, wait, wait. crap. i… i’ve got this, just… gimme a minute…” His eye sockets began to narrow sleepily.

 

“Sans, I’ll make an agreement with you, about your confession,” He perked up just slightly, now rapt with attention. “Tell me again in a little while. Then I’ll give you a proper answer. But first, you need to sleep.”

 

“ok, i promise. but-but… how can i… possibly sleep…” His body was growing heavier and heavier. “when i know that… when I wake up… the most important moment a’ my life…”

 

The back of his head hit the pillow with a soft ‘pomf’. She sighed, but felt a bit of anticipation as she disentangled herself from him and tucked the covers up to his chest again.

 

She gave his cheek another gentle pat and made her way out of his room, hoping that this time no nightmares plagued his sleep and that he was in his right mind when he next awoke.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

At about nine-thirty, a half an hour before Papyrus’s scheduled return, Frisk once again heard sounds coming from Sans’s bedroom.

 

She put down her book and padded up the stairs, opening his door and praying to herself that the mostly sane Sans she knew had returned.

 

uuuugh, i feel like i got hit by a freakin’ sixteen-wheeler truck! fully loaded!” He groaned, clutching his cranium crabbily.

 

“Oh, Sans, you’re back!” She couldn’t help but shout, causing him to flinch and she gave a quick apology.

 

“did i go somewhere…?”

 

“Kind of? You went to the dentist.”

 

“…oh yeah, that did happen. i’m remembering that now… can we not talk about it? i don’t wanna think about it.”

 

“Certainly. And how are you feeling?”

 

“aside from feeling like my bones were hollowed out and got loaded with rocks? pretty ok, i guess? everything’s kind of a hazy blur ta be honest.”

 

“Is that so…?” She laughed, but it sounded so forced, to both of them.

 

“…why are my zygomas wet?” He reached up to touch his cheekbones, his confused expression contorting into one of disgust. “feels like i’ve been cryin’. …i didn’t… do that, did i?”

 

“…”

 

frisk.”

 

“Yes, you did cry…”

 

“how much?”

 

“When you first woke up, when you woke up again, on and off nearly the entire ride home-”

 

“holy sh-” He caught himself. “crap… oh crap… you… and you saw everything… you must’a been so embarrassed an’ grossed out.”

 

“No, no, Sans… it’s… it wasn’t like that.” Frisk rubbed at her arm, averting her gaze.

 

“then what was it like?”

 

“…I’m not sure how to describe it.”

 

“indescribable. just like paps said.”

 

“…”

 

He didn’t remember.

 

He didn’t remember what he had said to her…

 

It was taking every ounce of her willpower not to burst into tears herself.

 

 “You idiot. How could you let yourself believe, even for a second that-”

 

“frisk… can you come ‘ere for a sec?” He asked, his tone quieter, softer.

 

It wasn’t helping her wounded heart and SOUL at all that it was the same one he used when he had said all those beautiful things to her earlier. But she did as he requested and walked towards him, Sans not saying another word until she reached his bedside.

 

“hey, sweetheart…” He lifted one hand to cup her cheek, rubbing his thumb across her skin. “why ya cryin’?”

 

She didn’t answer him. Instead, she ripped herself away from him and his touch, as painful as it was to do so, and turned around, refusing to face him.

 

“babydoll? frisk?” He tried to unwind himself from the sheets, but she froze him in place once again.

 

“Stop it! Just stop it, Sans! Please!

 

“stop what?! i don’t understand what your problem-”

 

“No, you don’t, and that’s exactly what the problem is!” She wailed, knowing that she shouldn’t and couldn’t take out her feelings of hurt on Sans – none of this was his fault.

 

It wasn’t his fault that she was an unlovable mess that also couldn’t accept even the most simple gestures of affection.

 

Frisk stood there, crying her heart out and neither knowing quite entirely why until she decided she’d made a fool of herself enough for the night and quite possibly for the rest of her life. Just as she reached for the doorknob, his voice stopped her, barely above a whisper but somehow still audible over her sniffles and sobs.

 

“sweetheart… i’m sorry…” Sans spoke, his voice filled with genuine sympathy and warmth.

 

“Why… why are you apologizing? You didn’t do anything…”

 

“and that’s the problem. i… didn’t do something i was supposed to, right?” He smiled wearily at her. “i broke a promise. i promised i’d tell ya how much i loved ya when i woke up sober and then i didn’t.”

 

“So… you remember?”

 

“i do now.” He sighed, sitting up. “some things are still a little hazy… but, i remember everything that had to do with you. i… i meant everything, frisk. every word. what i said, those were just a handful of the things i think about when you’re on my mind, every day, constantly.”

 

“Sans…”

 

“but… you don’t feel the same, do you? i was thinkin’ you might of told me to wait because you were tryin’ to think of a way ta let me down easy, so i hesitated on telling you how i felt again. but then you started cryin’ for seemingly no reason except for i didn’t speak up when i said i would, so… i’m… kinda gettin’ some mixed signals here.”

 

“…” Frisk still couldn’t say anything, even now.

 

“come ‘ere, babydoll. let’s talk this out.” He patted the empty space next to him on the bed, urging her to sit down. “i’ve said how i feel, now it’s your turn. give me the honest truth. i can take it…”

 

He was still expecting a rejection, and he had lied.

 

He was certain he would dust instantly if she turned away his love.

 

She sat down next to him, crawling up on the bed to sit crisscrossed. Frisk opened and closed her mouth several times, but nothing would come out. Not until Sans reached out to take her hand, rubbing his thumb over the back.

 

“Sans… I… this is so hard for me to do.” She choked out.

 

Sans’s posture stiffened.

 

He was readying himself for a rejection.

 

“It’s just… nobody’s ever said anything like that to me before.”

 

His shoulders first slumped out of relief, then jumped up with surprise.

 

“…nobody ever said they loved you?” He had to say it himself just for the concept to soak in.

 

“Never. I… Sans, you have to understand; nobody has ever treated me like you or the other monsters do. I spent my entire life believing that I must have been some sort of mistake, that I wasn’t supposed to be here and had no place in the world… So the reason I even ended up in the Underground in the first place… was…”

 

“oh, sweetheart…!” He said in a gasp, gathering her up in his arms and began rocking her in their embrace. “oh, stars sweetheart, you don’t gotta say anything… not if you don’t want to. nobody’s forcing it out of ya. but… you don’t feel the same way now that you did then, do you?”

 

“No, not anymore. And… it wasn’t like that, Sans. Not how you think it was.” Frisk gazed up at him, attempting to console him now even though she was the one crying. “I didn’t jump if that was what you were thinking. I climbed Mount Ebott as a self-imposed exile. I just… it was dark. I didn’t see that hole in the ground…”

 

“even if ya didn’t jump, it’s still just too sad for my SOUL to take, sweetheart.” He held her tighter, his bones clattering softly. “you came all the way out there, all by yourself, because you were that lost and lonely… and you could of died!”

 

“But I didn’t-”

 

“but you still could have! you could have died when you hit the ground! you could’a snapped your spine in two… or broke so many bones that you couldn’t even walk… then you would of starved to death if some other monster didn’t find you and finish ya off… you would have died… and you might of never got the amount of determination to SAVE, LOAD, and RESET… and i never would have met you… oh, stars, it could’a happened!

 

He held her so tightly that it almost became difficult to breathe.

 

Now he was sobbing.

 

“frisk, i can’t even imagine what kinda life you must of lived before, but…” He released her just enough to grasp her face in his hands again. “everybody i know loves ya frisk, and even if they didn’t, even if everybody else in the world hated you, and everybody else in the world hated me for it… i would still love you.”

 

“Sans…!” She buried her face back into his chest. “Sans, that’s… that’s all I’ve ever wanted to hear! Oh, stars, Sans! I love you too!

 

“shh, shh, shh… it’s alright, sweetheart. it’s ok to let it all out, but remember to breathe.”

 

He was such a hypocrite, was what she might have wanted to say if she were less of a mess, but right now she just wanted to bask in the warmth of his love.

 

His love for her and only her.

 

After several more minutes of sobbing, they both had finally managed to compose themselves.

 

“…Look at us. Now our faces are both a mess.” Frisk laughed.

 

“you’re still beautiful, though.”

 

Her cheeks turned red at that, but now it wasn’t flushed from crying.

 

“Well, I thought that you looked cute when you were crying at the dentist’s office.”

 

“‘ey, i thought i asked ya ta not talk about that.”

 

“Alright…” She pretended to pout.

 

Her expression was so cute that Sans couldn’t resist bending down to give her a peck on her scrunched up nose.

 

“so… you love me.”

 

“Yes, I do, Sans.” She quirked an eyebrow at him – it sounded like what he had to say was leading up to something.

 

“so does this mean you’ll marry me?” Bless him, he sounded so excited when he asked her that.

 

“No.”

 

“oh…” And then his shoulders immediately sagged, along with the corners of his mouth.

 

“Not yet, at least.” She patted the top of his skull placatingly with a chuckle. “It’s still a little soon for that, but… I’m also not saying it’s entirely out of the realm of possibility. Especially if you continue to be as sweet and loving as you’ve been tonight.”

 

If Sans had a tail, it would have been wagging so fast it wouldn’t be detectable by the human eye.

 

“really? ya mean it? then can i tell everyone we’re engaged?”

 

“No.”

 

“aww… no fun allowed.” This time it was Sans’s turn to pout. “…can i say we are to some of the guys that try ta mess with ya so they’ll screw off?”

 

“…Maybe.” She almost laughed at how quickly his expression changed from sulky to joyful. “Why do you want to get married so quickly, anyway?”

 

“because… back in the underground, that’s what you did when ya loved someone and they loved you back. it was kill or be killed, so if you didn’t do what you wanted to today, you might not get to tomorrow… so that was why i decided ta be different than everybody else and do absolutely nothin’.”

 

“Pfft! Sans…” She hugged him. “I don’t plan on going anywhere, and with you and Papyrus around all the time, not to mention the others, I doubt anything will ever hurt me. The surface is different than the Underground. We don’t have to rush this relationship along – we can enjoy it at our own pace.”

 

“ok, but… i’d still totally be down for marrying you right now if you agreed to it.”

 

“At least take me out on a date, first!” She snorted, elbowing his ribs.

 

“ok! then let’s go on one - right now!” He stood up, his steps wobbly as he rushed towards the door. “then we can get married after!”

 

“Sans, where are you going?!”

 

“to get something to eat. what else?!”

 

“Wait, Sans! I don’t think that’s such a good idea!”

 

“why not? we’re just going to grill- aaaugh!

 

Sans let out a startled cry as he lost his footing on the stairs, screaming during the entire duration of his descent. He landed face down on the floor with a pained groan.

 

“Sans! Are you hurt?! Say something!” She shouted, hurrying down the steps herself as quickly and carefully as possible.

 

Sans’s hands fluttered towards his mouth, his eye sockets wide.

 

“ow… my… my tooth! oh stars, not my tooth again! it’s gone!

 

Frisk let out a horrified gasp, hands coming up to clasp at her own mouth.

 

He turned around to face her, and then removed his hands, revealing a cheeky and toothy grin, his golden one clearly visible and gleaming from the brightness of the living room lights.

 

“juuuust messin’ with ya.”

 

“You… You…” Frisk seethed, “Forget being a pacifist! I’m gonna clean your clock!

 

She ran towards him with fists flailing. He chuckled, sidestepping every blow she tried to land on him with ease. All until she slipped on the rug and it raveled up beneath her. She tripped forward, and Sans held out his arms to catch her. The both of them ended up knocked to the floor, Sans underneath her and Frisk on top of him just like before.

 

He wrapped a bulky arm around her waist and grinned.

 

“oh, i remember this part from earlier too…”

 

She tried to stay mad at him, she really did. But the sight of the smugness on his face melting into an eager smile as he leaned his head towards her with slightly puckered bony lips quickly extinguished any fury she may have previously felt.

 

Frisk tilted her head to the side so her nose and his nasal ridge wouldn’t collide with each other, but he took the time to brush the tip of his against hers – a nose nuzzle, as they had called it Underground. Then they leaned towards each other more, about to close the distance between their lips for real for the first time.

 

And at that moment, they heard the door open.

 

Papyrus stood there, standing at the doorway still as a statue, his left eye socket twitching.

 

None of them said a word for what felt like the longest, until…

 

“this… is exactly what it looks like.”