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One Last Try

Chapter Text


“Edge, you’re being--”


Red groaned at the shrill sound of his kid bro fighting with his parents at butt-o-clock in the morning. What--

Oh. First day of school. 

Getting ready didn’t take Red long, so Edge was still screaming his ribcage off when he shortcut downstairs. “Red! How many times I gotta tell ya to walk?” Dad asked, flames flickering in irritation. 

“that’s what happens when you’re born with teleportation, daddy-o,” Red said. Dad's flames tinged redder, a sure-fire sign he didn’t like the nickname. “what’s for breakfast?”

“You, if you ever call me that again.” Despite the warning, he slipped some fluffy pancakes and eggs onto his plate. “Ya excited for sixth-grade?”

Red snorted. “excited for school? me? ya got the wrong kid.”

“Alright, we’ve reached an agreement!” Pops declared as he swept into the kitchen with a tiny Edge in his arms. “Edge has agreed that Red can walk him to school today.”

“no way!” Red growled. “i’ve got school!”

“It’s in the same building,” Wings pointed out.

“make wings do it!”

“He’s in high school now.”


“That’s enough!” Pops bellowed. “Red, you will walk your brother to and from school. No arguing! It’s his first day so you will be nice.”

“fine! ugh!”

Red held Edge’s hand until they were out of sight of the house, then dropped it. “i’m not gonna walk ya every day, ya little butt.”


“yeah? then why’d ya say it?”


Chapter Text

Red found two kids blocking the way to Edge’s class. 

“paps, it’ll be fine! you’ll love school!” 


“you’ll make new ones!”


The older kid spotted Edge and Red. “see, i bet this kid’ll be friends. hey, bud, what’s your name?”

Edge narrowed his sockets at the stranger. “I DO NOT KNOW YOU!”

Red laughed. It was always funny when Edge was a turdnugget to someone else. But… the other little kid looked real bummed. Ugh. “edge, that kid’s gonna be in your class so you can tell ‘em your name.”



“I HATE YOU!” Edge hollered, then stomped past the other two. He froze in the doorway and glanced over his shoulder. “YOU ARE COMING WITH ME,” he declared, grabbing Paps(?) by the arm and dragging him. “YOU’LL BE SCARED IF YOU GO IN BY YOURSELF.”

Ah. Edge was nervous.

“‘ave a good day or whatever,” Red called. “i’ll pick you up here after school. don’t get freaking kidnapped.”

“you too, paps,” the other kid said. “i’ll see you later.”

With that, both kids disappeared into the classroom. “your parents make ya walk your turd to school, too?”

“heh, yeah.”

“ugh, parents suck.” The other kid didn’t say anything. “you’re new.”


“cool. i guess ya can come with me to class.”

The other kid nodded and followed Red down the hall, head ducked and shoulders scrunched.

Chapter Text

Red and Sans found Mr. Stretch’s room without trouble. It was the only one that had skeleton halloween decorations in the hall. Freaking weirdo.

Red took a seat next to the kid in the class that he hated the least and Sans sat in the last open seat, directly in front of Red and by the biggest nerd in the universe, Alphys. 

“hey, is this class gonna suck?” Red yelled.

Mr. Stretch gave an unbothered shrug. “depends on whether or not you suck, mr. gaster.”

“be hard for ‘im to,” Sans said softly. Everyone stared at him. “no lips.”

A beat of silence, then Mr. Stretch laughed. “good one, mr. serif! hilarious!”

Sans grinned. “got a skele-ton more of those.”

Sans likes puns? Huh.

Red didn’t give another thought to Sans until they both wandered down the same hallway to pick up their little bros. They walked in awkward silence, but Red didn’t care. He wasn’t here to entertain weird new kids.

Edge and Papyrus were standing together outside the classroom, Papyrus talking excitedly and Edge actually listening to him. “--THE GOLDFISH!”




“looks like our bros bonded,” Sans said softly.

“wonderful,” Red muttered, then louder, “get over here, dog breath!”

Edge rolled his eye lights and said, “YOU’RE THE DOG BREATH!” then turned to Papyrus and said, “I WILL TALK TO MY DADS.”


Chapter Text

Life was officially unfair.

Red just wanted to spend his Friday playing some video games, eating some ‘za, and ignoring the dumb assignment Mr. Stretch gave. He wasn’t gonna spend his dang weekend building a ‘better bridge’. 

But no. He was in charge of Edge’s little play date

“why can’t wings do it?” Red whined.

Dad huffed. “'Cause he has the puzzling tournament, which is the same reason that me and Pops can’t do it, which I’ve already told you four times .”

“‘s not fair! i’m not the one who had kids and doesn’t wanna deal with them!” 

Red knew he went too far. Dad’s flames brightened and sparked and even Wings was too stunned to make some dumb comment. Finally, Dad said, “We’ll discuss this later.”


“I said later!”

His flames popped and Red beat a hasty retreat to school… where Sans promptly reminded him of his guilt. “hey, paps’s supposed to come to a sleepover at your house.”


“so i need the address?”

“‘m sure my dad’ll just tell yours.”

“my parents are real busy; it’ll be easier if you just tell me.”

“fine, whatever.”

“thanks. see ya tonight.”

Sans wandered off and Red laid his head down on his desk. He shouldn’ta said that to Dad. He knew Dad cared, heck he spent tons of time cooking with Edge and went to all of Wings’s stuff. Wasn’t his fault that Red sucked. The teachers were right; Red was ‘certainly no Wings Gaster.’

Chapter Text

“i said go to sleep!” Red screamed up the stairs. It was nearly three a.m. and his folks would be home soon. He’d get in trouble if Edge and Papyrus were still awake. “butt munches,” he growled.

“want me to try?” Sans asked. 

Hours earlier, Edge fell down the stairs right before Sans brought Paps over. In a panic, Red drug Sans inside to help. He ended up staying for ‘za and video games.

Sans headed upstairs. When he returned, Red couldn’t believe how quiet it was. “the heck ya tell ‘em?” Red asked.

“just told ‘em about the sleepover boogieman that eats kids who stay up until 3:30.”

“oh yeah, the sleepover boogieman.”

“can’t believe you forgot to warn them,” Sans laughed.

The front door opened and Red stiffened at the sounds of his parents talking quietly. They came into view and Red knew that he was in trouble. “heya,” Red said.

“Red, may I ask who  your friend is?” Pops asked, voice full of razor-sharp warning.


“Hello Sans.”

“he’s papyrus’s bro! he was just helpin’.”


“i’m real sorry,” Sans said, giving them the ol’ puppy sockets. “i was nervous ‘bout paps’s first sleepover and didn’t wanna leave ‘im alone. i’ll head home.”

Dad sighed. “Your parents know where you are?”

“... yeah.”

“Very well. You will stay the rest of the night then,” Pops said.

Red’s sockets widened. Sans saved his coccyx three times that night. Maybe he was ok after all.

Chapter Text

Red and Sans began exchanging puns on the walk to and from picking their bros up. Only Pops shared Red’s love of jokes before, but Sans was funny, too. Red wouldn’t call them “friends” but they were… fine. 


“It’s, like, totally gross.”

Red looked up from his math work (Mr. Stretch didn’t play with missing work; he made Red do it at lunch if he didn’t turn it in on time). “what’s gross?” 

“Sans wears that same hoodie every day,” Catty said.


“So that’s totally gross.”

“Yeah, he’s weird and gross,” Bratty agreed. “Hey! Sans!”

“leave ‘im alone,” Red growled, but Sans was already sauntering over to their table. 

“whassup? callin’ me over doesn’t really add up,” he said, tapping Red’s homework. Red grinned.

“We heard you have, like, bone fleas,” Catty said. 

Sans’s eye lights shrank just a little. “sorry, bud, but i dunno whatcher talkin’ about.”

“Did a mage curse you to wear, like, only the ugliest clothes?” Bratty asked.

“well, this’s been fun but--”

“What’s with your hoodie? You wear it all the time. Do you, like, cut yourself or something?”

“what?! no, i--”

Before Red could react, Bratty was dumping cottage cheese down the front of Sans’s hoodie. Sans squeaked and… disappeared?

Sans could teleport too?!

“you guys are freaking disasters,” Red growled before getting up from the table.

“You’re not going to hang out with that freak?! What if his fleas are contagious?!”

Red flipped them off and went to find Sans.

Chapter Text

Red found Sans leaning over the bathroom sink, painstakingly washing the cottage cheese out of his hoodie. His undershirt was grubby, which made Red frown. Pops and Dad would lose their butts if he tried to leave the house like that. “whaddya want?” Sans growled.

“uh... you can teleport.”

Sans sighed. “yeah. ever since i was a babybones.”

“me too!”

Sans paused his cleaning. “really?”

“yeah! i never met no one else that could do it!”

“me either.” He huffed at his hoodie. “too bad i moved too slow to keep from getting cheesed.”

“they suck,” Red said.

Sans shrugged. 

“so... why’s your shirt so dirty?” Red asked. Sans’s face colored blue and Red felt… weird. He rushed to fill the silence. “ya wanna borrow my hoodie? i got extras in my locker.”

“i’m fine; i don’t need your charity.”

Red was taken aback. Why was Sans acting like that? He just wanted to help. “listen, i don’t care whatcha wear. but if the others see that shirt, they’re just gonna be meaner.” That sounded too… something… so he added, “and i don’t got time to listen to ya cry about it.”

“o-ok. fine. thanks.” 

Red teleported to his locker and back and held his extra hoodie out to Sans. The dude looked good in his jacket, he decided. “ya can borrow that one long as you want,” Red said. “i got plenty.”


Red shrugged. “ain’t a big deal.”

Chapter Text

The next day, Mr. Stretch asked Sans to stay after class so Red went to get their bros. Papyrus freaked out, but calmed down when Red explained. When they got back to the classroom, Sans was holding a grocery bag and his skull was blue.


“hey! how was school today?” Sans asked over Red’s question. Red narrowed his sockets.



“IT WASN’T A SPARROW! IT WAS A SPARROW HAWK ,” Edge corrected irritably. Sounded like he’d said that a few times already. “AND THAT’S RED’S HOODIE.”


“what?!” Sans hissed. He nearly dropped Papyrus.


“n-no, bro--”

“come on, butt breath,” Red growled. He could feel his skull turning red and he wanted to leave. Now. He grabbed Edge’s arm and, without looking back at Sans or Papyrus, teleported home.

“WHY DID YOU DO THAT? IT WAS RUDE TO NOT SAY GOODBYE!” Edge yelled when they got home.

“shut up!”


“he’s not my datemate! don’ say that again!”


Red tackled Edge and clamped a hand over his mouth. Edge bit his hand and Red growled, “you little--”

“Red! Edge! That’s enough!”

“you say that again an’ i’ll rip your teeth out,” Red snarled.


Red groaned. He was gonna get in trouble. Again.

Chapter Text

The next weekend, Red was on freaking babysitting duty again. His dads said he could invite Sans, too, so Red choked down the weirdness their bros caused. Being awkward was one thing, but havin’ to watch both their bros alone? Yeah, Red wasn’t about that. Luckily, Sans agreed, which is how the two of them ended up in Red’s room that night.

“what’s this?” Sans asked, holding up one of Red’s models.

“‘s a glider.”


“yeah, i’ll show ya.”

The two of them went out on the lawn and Red grabbed the winding device that he made. He attached it to the nose and turned the crank, twisting the rubber bands attached, then held it up and let it go. 

The little glider arced up, then flew in large circles over the yard. “wow! where’d ya get that?” Sans gasped, eye lights bright as he watched it.

“made it.”

“you mean like from a kit?”

Red shook his head. “nah, i designed it myself.”

Sans stared at him slack-jawed. “you designed it?”

“yeah,” Red answered with a shrug. “ain’t a big deal.”

“dude, that’s awesome! can you make other stuff?”

He shrugged again. “prob’ly.”

The glider took several minutes to return to land, during which time Sans was practically vibrating with excitement. He scooped it up and beamed at Red. “this’s so cool!” He frowned, then said, “if i tell ya something, will ya promise not to laugh?”

“i mean… i guess?” Red said.

Chapter Text

“so this’s what mr. stretch talked to ya ‘bout?” Red asked.


“science masters.”

“mmhm! you have a team an’ they do all these engineering challenges and labs and stuff!”

“and you joined.”

“it sounds fun. ‘sides, alphys asked if i would.”

“you want me to do somethin’ that alphys thinks is cool?”

Sans turned blue. “... i think it’s cool, too, so…”

“do you want ‘em to shove ya in a locker?” Red growled. “this ain’t gonna do ya any favors with our class.”

Sans ducked his head. “you can get scholarships and stuff.”

“so? we’re in middle school, dude. who gives a crap ‘bout scholarships?”

“gotta pay for college somehow,” Sans muttered.

“what ‘bout your parents?” Red asked. “nevermind; i don’t care. the answer’s heck no.”

“but you’re so good at building stuff! that’s what we need, someone to--”

“i said no! ‘m not a freaking nerd like you!” Sans’s sockets widened and he swallowed hard. Red shoulda stopped talking, but it poured from his mouth. “i hate that dumb crap! if ya wanted a smart friend maybe ya shoulda been friends with wings!”

“you’re plenty smart, red. just look at this glider!”

Red snatched the glider from Sans and snapped it in half. “there!” he snarled. “now will ya shut up ‘bout it?”

Sans’s mouth snapped shut and he slipped out of Red’s bedroom. The bathroom door down the hall closed. Red growled and shredded the pieces of the stupid glider until it was stupid sawdust. 

Chapter Text

Sans hardly spoke to Red after that and took Papyrus home as soon as he woke up. Didn’t really talk much at school either.

Stupid that Sans was such a babybones about it.

On Wednesday, Mr. Stretch called, “mr. gaster, i would like to speak to you for a moment!”

Sans muttered, “i’ll go get our bros,” then slipped out.

Red cautiously approached Mr. Stretch’s desk. “‘sup?”

“we need to discuss your ‘build a better bridge’ project.”

“what ‘bout it?” 

“you’re a very gifted engineer,” Mr. Stretch said. Red felt himself blush. Stupid . “i think you should do science masters.”

“i’m not joinin’ your dumb nerd club. just ‘cause i’m wings’s brother doesn’t mean i like that crap.”

“actually,” Mr. Stretch said, “i don’t think wings would’ve done well on this team.”

“what?” That didn’t make sense; everyone wanted Wings on their team. Wings was good at everything .

“your brother is terrible at building things. he has many skills, but engineering is not one of them.”

Red had never heard a teacher say Wings was bad at something. Ever. “ya really think i’m better at that crap then wings?”

Mr. Stretch nodded. “you have a gift.” He handed Red a glossy pamphlet emblazoned with the words Science Masters. “just think about it. i won’t mention it to your folks or anything, but i think you’d be perfect for the team.”

Red shoved the pamphlet into his hoodie pocket and dashed out to meet Sans.

Chapter Text

“hey, uh, dad?”

“Yes, Red?”

Dad was making some kind of new recipe he wanted to try at the restaurant. It smelled alright. Edge was playing outside with Papyrus, Wings was studying, and Pops was at work, so it was just the two of them. 

“uh... i wanted to ask… what if i wanted to sign up for a club?” Dad paused and Red blushed, but Dad didn’t actually look at him, so he continued. “there’s this dumb thing sans’s doin’ and he asked me…”

“What is it?”

“... science masters,” he murmured, pushing the crumpled pamphlet at him.

Dad turned from the stove and picked it up. “Hmm… Never heard of this one. It looks like fun. Sure, you can do it.”

Red blinked. “just like that?”

“Just like that. Bring home a calendar so me and Pops know where ya need to be when. Can we go to the competition to watch?”

“you... wanna watch?”

Dad finally looked at him. “What? ‘Course we do! We go to all of Wings’s things, right?”

Red looked away. “yeah.”

Dad’s flames turned lavender, his worried color. “Red… You know we’d never miss something you’re doin’, right?” Red shrugged, so Dad walked around the counter and pulled him into a hug. “You’re just as important to us as your bros, Red. ‘M sorry you don’t always feel like that.”

“lemme go,” Red grumbled and Dad released him with a small smile.

“I love you, Red.”

“yeah, whatever. you too.”

Chapter Text

“so now you’re doing it? i thought i was a freaking nerd that you hated,” Sans muttered when Red told him.

“i never said that!”

“pretty sure you did!”

“i didn’t freaking mean it, ok! stop being so sensitive!”

It took a minute for Red to work up the nerve to try again. “‘m sorry i hurt your feelings or whatever.”

Sans huffed, “yeah, ok. just don’t be such an asshole next time.”

Red tripped over his own feet and looked at Sans in surprise. Swearing was not allowed in the Gaster house; Pops said it was ‘crude and inarticulate.’ The one time Red had tried, he’d spent the weekend writing 1,000 alternate words he coulda said instead. 

“what?” Sans demanded warily.

Red was embarrassed to be caught acting like a babybones, so he said, “yeah, i’ll try to be less of an asshole. even though we don’t got those.”

Sans chuckled. “no butts about it.”

After school, the newly formed Science Masters team had their first practice. Mr. Stretch burst into the room and handed out a list of events for them to work on. Red scanned the list and his soul flipped. Bridge building, catapult, car… “we really getta do all this?” Red asked.

“genetics? bio lab? this’s awesome!” Sans breathed.

“Robotics!” Alphys squealed.

"Soul studies!" Flowey said. "The rest looks kinda lame, though."

The other members of the team murmured in excitement, too.

“we’re gonna have a skele-ton of fun!” Mr. Stretch said with a grin.

Chapter Text

Red didn’t expect Science Masters to be a full time commitment, but they had practice every day after school. It was nice that he didn’t have to walk Edge home; Wings stopped and got him and Papyrus and took them to their home until after practice. If he couldn’t, Dad left the restaurant early or Pops took a late lunch to come get ‘em.

It was kinda cool, being the Gaster that had stuff to do after school.

After three weeks of practice, Mr. Stretch called Red and Sans to his desk. “it’s time to begin working on our hardest event,” he told them, “mission possible.”

“what’s that?”

“a rube goldberg machine! we have a task for it to do--in this case, land a golf ball on a tee--and a start task and we get points for doing stuff in between! and i want you two to do it!”

Red was stunned. Sure, he was killing’ it on the building events, but Mr. Stretch wanted him to do the hardest event? He shuffled his feet awkwardly before finally saying, “what ‘bout alphys? or flowey? they’re way smarter’n me. they’d be better partners for sans.”

“there’re lotsa kinds of smart, mr. gaster, and we need your kind on this. whaddya think?”

San shrugged at Red. “sounds like a real tee-t,” he said with a grin.

Red sighed. “fine, but i don’t wanna hear it if i screw it up.”

“you won’t, mr. gaster. you’re gonna do great.”

Chapter Text

“not like that!” Red yelled. Sans pulled his hands back as Red snatched the dominoes from him. “there’s a real precise way to set ‘em up or it won’t work!”

They’d been working on Mission Possible for a month and only accomplished five of the fifteen tasks. They ran into problems that Red didn’t even know could happen. It was… frustrating.

“What’s the matter?” a sing-song voice asked. 

“‘sup, bud?” Sans asked Flowey. “shouldn’tcha be studying souls?”

“I’m a quick learner,” Flowey said. “What about you, Fleas? I thought you’d like a useful partner.”

Sans stiffened at the nickname and Red felt his temper flare. “whaddya call him?” Red growled.

“Fleas. Because he has bone fleas. We all know he does.”

“that doesn’t exist!” 

“Then what is that white stuff on your hoodie?” Flowey asked. Sans’s eye lights blinked out and Flowey smirked. Flowey was right; there was white stuff on Sans’s hoodie. It looked like little grains of rice.

As Flowey left, he bumped the table and all of the dominoes fell over. Red moved to grab the dumb flower and rip his petals off, but Sans caught his arm and drug him back over. “just stack them again,” Sans whispered.

“he can’t talk to ya like that!”

“it’s fine.”

“no, it ain’t! i’m gonna kill ‘im!”

“stop, red! just fucking drop it, ok?!”

Red’s eye lights blinked out. Sans muttered something about going to the bathroom and slipped out of the room leaving Red alone with the dominoes.

Chapter Text

It took a week for Sans to get back to normal. Sans didn’t wanna talk about it, so Red just let it go. He noticed Mr. Stretch give Sans stuff a lot, but he didn’t know what. Sans and Papyrus also started staying for dinner most nights. Red didn’t give a crap but his dads and bros were thrilled. 

“How was practice today?” Pops asked.

“eh, ok. havin’ trouble with the inclined plane,” Red muttered. 

Regionals was nearly a month out, but it felt a whole lot closer, seeing as they still had less than half of the tasks completed in their machine. 

“And what about the Christmas Ball?” Dad asked. “Have ya decided if you’re goin’?”

Red blushed. The Christmas Ball was a Big Deal where everyone got all fancy. The rest of the team was going to relax the night before Regionals, but he hadn’t talked to Sans about it yet.

Not! That he cared if Sans was going!

“i gotta babysit,” Sans said.

Pops frowned. “Why doesn’t Papyrus just come over here? He is spending the day here during your competition; I see no reason he couldn’t stay the night as well. You both could, if it’s alright with your parents.”

“PLEASE SANS?!” Papyrus begged.

“um…” Sans glanced at Red. “ya wanna go?”

Red blushed furiously. “uh... yeah, ok.”

“Aw, that’s so cute!” Wings cooed. “Red’s first date!”

“Wings,” Pops growled, “leave your brother alone.”

Red tried to disappear into the floor but Sans blushed and grinned.

Chapter Text

Sans was acting weird. Red thought it was just nerves ‘bout Regionals (only three days away!) but the only time he seemed calm was when he was working on the machine.

After practice, Sans kept picking at his fingers and Red finally snapped, “the heck’s wrong with ya?! you’ve been actin’ weird all week!”

Sans blushed blue and looked away. He took a deep breath and said, “i can’t go to the dance.”

“what? why?”

Red’s chest felt weird. It felt like being upset, but that couldn’t be it because he didn’t give a crap if Sans went or not. He just didn’t want to be stuck at a lame dance without the most fun person on the team. That was all.

“i just can’t.”

“but ya said ya would.”

Sans hissed and finally admitted, “i don’t have anything to wear.”

Red blinked in surprise. “why don’t ya just ask your parents?” Red’s own parents insisted on taking him shopping the next day. 

Sans rolled his eye lights. “my parent’s aren’t like yours. they’re... busy.”

“... but they’re coming to competition to watch, right?”

“yeah. ‘course. that’s why pap’s going to your house.”

Red nodded. Then, an idea occurred to him: “why dontcha just come shopping with us tomorrow?”

“uh... mom and dad didn’t leave me that kinda money… still gotta buy food…”

Red waved that off. “my dad’ll pay.”

“i can’t just take your money, red.”

“sure ya can! who cares?”

“just fucking drop it, dude.”

Chapter Text

Red… didn’t f-ing drop it. 

Dad took him shopping and it was kinda fun. Dad got him a pretzel, then they tried on clothes. Red picked a red shirt with a striped bow tie and fedora but he lingered over a light blue shirt-with-white-bow-tie combo. “hey, dad? can i get both?”

“Why? You only need one for the dance?”

Red shuffled his feet. He didn’t think Sans would want him to tell, but… It was stupid for Sans to not go to the dance just ‘cause his parents were out of town again! He shouldn’t have to miss just ‘cause his parents kinda sucked! 

Red wanted to go with him.

“um... maybe… just in case someone needs it?”

Dad frowned and looked over the second outfit that Red chose. “Someone, huh? So you want an extra outfit in case someone at school needs it for the dance?”

“... yeah.”

Dad softened a little. “Do you think they might need pants, too?” Red nodded and Dad added a nice pair of gray slacks to the pile. 

“t-thanks, dad.”

“No prob… And, if your classmate needs something else, tell me, ok?” Red nodded and Dad relaxed a little. “And ya could always tell  your classmate that this was extra. Maybe a hand-me-down from Wings so they don’t feel weird about taking it.”

It was a good plan. The next day, Sans shyly agreed to 'borrow from Wings' so he could still go to the dance. Red… was glad.

It’d be lame without him.

Chapter Text

The blue shirt looked awesome (not that Red cared) and they both looked like cool mobsters with their fedoras. His dads insisted on taking a buncha pictures and catcalled ‘em until they ‘ported to school. 

Alphys grabbed Sans immediately. “Dyna said we should d-d-d-dance!”


“I can’t d-dance with her! She’s so c-c-cool!”

“and you’re cool, too. you’re lizard lady!” 

Sans led her towards the gym and Red followed, gobsmacked into silence. He knew it was a dance, duh, but he didn’t even think about actually dancing . Was he supposed to…? 

The gym was full of people, most standing along the walls, but a few were dancing. Red blushed at the idea of dancing with Sans. He! Didn’t! Want! To!

… did he?

“Get OUT HERE, nerds!” Dyna roared. She marched over and grabbed Alphys. “We are DANCING! NOW!”

She shoved Sans into Red, who adjusted quickly to catch him so he didn’t hit the floor, and pulled Alphys into her own arms. Alphys looked thrilled. Sans, less so.

“sorry ‘bout her,” Red said.

“‘s fine. maybe we should? dance, i mean? i’d hate for her to supplex us.”

Red blushed. “yeah, ok.”

Red didn’t know what to do with his hands, but eventually settled them on Sans’s hips. Sans put his hands on Red’s shoulders and locked his elbows. There was plenty of space between them, but Red felt like they were too close. He was sweating like crazy.

… Did Red have a crush on Sans ???

Dang it!

Chapter Text

They just kept dancing together. At first, it was real awkward, but soon they were laughing and joking. Their elbows maybe got a little less locked and they ended up closer and closer together.

Then their eye lights locked and Red couldn’t breathe. He wanted to… kiss Sans? He wanted to kiss Sans! 

Sans leaned a little closer and Red realized that Sans was thinking the same thing. Or, at least he thought he was… 

Their faces were barely a breath apart when suddenly Sans jerked back. Red felt something cold on his hands. He looked down and discovered that Sans was covered in… was that soda?! What the--

A (familiar) high pitched laugh cut off his thoughts. He looked over and saw Flowey doubled over, two empty cups clutched in his vines. And Flowey wasn’t the only one laughing; most of the gym was. “Look, Sans peed his pants!” Flowey yelled, howling with laughter.

Sans pulled away from Red and spun to face Flowey. “dude! this isn’t my outfit!” Then, his eye lights blinked out. He hadn’t meant to say that.

“Not… your… outfit?” Flowey wheezed between laughs. “Holy crap! You’re so poor you had to borrow your boyfriend’s clothes?! Hee hee hee!”

“he’s not my boyfriend!” Red snapped. He immediately regretted it when Sans backed away from him, looking like Red hit him. “sans--”

Sans didn’t wait to hear what he was saying; Red felt the thrum of teleportation. He grabbed Sans’s arm and went with him. 

Chapter Text

They appeared in some old abandoned store. “where are we?”

“shit! why’d ya grab me?!”

“...your backpack’s here.”

And it was. Sans’s backpack lay beside a nest of blankets, by a shelf with food and books and clothes.

Realization smashed into Red like a brick. “ya live here? you and paps?” Sans stiffened and Red knew he was right. “where’re your parents?!”

“you can’t tell anyone.”


“no! they’ll take me and paps away! we’re fine. i make sure he has plenty to eat and he’s warm and i even got him some extra clothes!”

“what happened to your parents?”

“you can’t tell!”

“fine! just tell me what happened!”

Sans looked away. “they died. the police came and took us...” Red didn’t like the face Sans made. “had to run away.”

“you’ve lived here the whole time i knew ya?!”

“... yeah.”

“when’d they die?”

“... four years ago. dust plague.”

Red couldn’t believe it. “ four years?!

“we’re fine! and if you tell anyone, we’ll run. again!”

“ok. ok, how ‘bout this? come stay with me.”

“we can’t. your dads--”

“‘s a big house. i can hide ya.”

“that’s dumb.”

“i’m not leavin’ ya here!” Red snapped.

“we’re fine! mr. stretch gave us clothes and food and your dads feed us most nights.”


“if we’re not fine, i’ll tell ya, ok?”

Red didn’t like it, but what could he do? He didn’t want Sans to leave! He nodded in agreement.

Sans relaxed. “thanks.”

Red felt sick. 

Chapter Text

Both boys were exhausted when they woke at 5 a.m. for Regionals. Red had trouble sleeping. Even though his dads could be annoying, imagining actually living without them made him sick.

He was glad to concentrate on Regionals instead, even if Flowey was on the bus too and looking real smug. None of the adults saw what happened at the dance and Dyna trying to punch him distracted everyone. Figures.

The bus rolled up to the huge campus of Summit University, the big college on the edge of Ebbott. It was where Wings wanted to go, so obviously it was super fancy.

Sans was thrilled. Red didn’t know what he was talking about as he rambled about their science program, but his excitement was contagious. 

“alright, team!” Mr. Stretch called when they reached the homeroom. “no matter what happens, i’m so proud of you! you already worked so hard. have fun today and don’t worry about whether we win or not.” He continued on to explain the rules of the day, just typical school stuff. Each student got a schedule that told them where their events were and which adult was walking them there. Sans and Red each had several events separate from one another before the big event during the very last time slot: Mission Possible. Red glanced at the machine that they painstakingly carried up three flights of stairs and would spend at least an hour recalibrating before time to start. They were ready.

(He hoped.)

Chapter Text

Regionals was as tough as Mr. Stretch said it would be. Red’s bridge didn’t hold up that good and Sans couldn’t remember the genus of some turtle on the herpetology exam. Flowey said souls studies went good (but screw that guy anyway) and Alphys’s robot did ok but she didn’t know if it was the best. There just wasn’t any way to know for sure until the awards ceremony.

The closer they got to the last time slot, the more nervous Red got. 

“ready to carry ‘er down?” Sans asked a half hour before. Red nodded.

Dad was their adult walking them to Mission Possible. Mr. Stretch, who’d visited different events all day, came too. Red could feel himself sweating, but Sans looked real chill. How the heck was he so calm?!

“you’ll do great,” Mr. Stretch told them for the twentieth time as he opened the door to the competition hall. 

Red and Sans froze. The room was full of other teams, all spread out with their own machines. Some of them looked really crappy compared to theirs, but others looked like they were built by freaking Rube Goldberg himself. Red glanced over his shoulder as the door closed just in time to see Dad give him a thumbs up. “alright, here’s your spot,” Mr. Stretch said. “i’ll be over there, but remember i can’t help ya.” He paused. “you’ve both worked real hard. just do your best, yeah?”

And just like that, it was time to begin.

Chapter Text

“what the hell? hey, red!” Sans hissed, smacking his arm.

Red swallowed a growl as he dropped one of the dominoes. Their half hour to set up was ticking away and it was the third time he’d tried setting them up. “what?”

“look at the second ramp!”

The second ramp wasn’t attached to the side of the machine anymore… it was in Sans’s hand. “the heck happened?!”

“dunno! it was just layin’ here!”

Red took a deep breath, just like Dad taught ‘im. He wanted to panic, but… One glance at Sans told him that Sans was losing his mind. Someone had to be the calm one and it wasn’t gonna be Sans.

(--don’t think about how he always has to be the grown-up, the one who doesn’t panic, don’t--)

“alright, we’ll glue it back.”

“we don’t got time!” 

Ten minutes left.

“only takes seven minutes for that crap to dry,” Red said with the confidence of someone who’d held a lotta crap while super glue dried. “i’ll glue, you hold, an’ i’ll keep settin’ up. yeah?” 

“y-yeah, o-ok.”

Red took the extra seconds to carefully trace the right angle with glue. Getting too much glue or the wrong angle’d only mess ‘em up more. Then, Sans slid in and held the ramp in place. Sans held as still as possible. Even then, the dominoes shook.

Seven minutes later, Sans let go. The ramp held. Red let out a breath. All that was left to do was run it.

Chapter Text

“well... least it didn’t catch on fire,” Sans muttered glumly as they left the room.

Red rolled his eye lights. Everything that could go wrong, did. “may as well have.”

“nah,” Mr. Stretch said brightly. “i know it wasn’t your best run, but i promise it wasn’t as bad as ya think.”

Red didn’t answer. He knew he was only saying that ‘cause he was a teacher and it was his job. Red tugged up his hood and followed along to the auditorium. It was time for awards.

“There’s Pops and your bros,” Dad said, elbowing Red, who ducked deeper into his hood. He wished they hadn’t come; he wasn’t gonna get any medals anyway.

Sans and Red slid into their seats and listened as the announcer droned on ‘bout going to State. Red only felt worse. They weren’t gonna get to go ‘cause he wasn’t as good at building as Mr. Stretch thought he was. He shouldn’ta ever joined the team.

“Golly, Red, you sure seem upset,” Flowey whispered.

“leave us alone, weed,” Sans hissed.

“Fleas! I’m disappointed in you!”

“Quiet down and listen,” Dad growled. His flames sparked a little; he musta heard Flowey and didn’t like the nickname.

Finally, the actual awards started. They began with the study events and Red only barely suppressed a groan when Flowey placed first in soul studies. He was radiating smugness with that dumb medal on his stupid stem.

Red sank deeper in his seat and tried to disappear.

Chapter Text

Red sank lower in his seat as teammates medaled. Alphys, Flowey, the Bun twins, Sans… Soon everyone but Red had at least one medal. He didn’t bother listening when they started calling the building events, so he was confused when everyone started yelling his name. Sans shoved him out of his seat and laughed, “‘s you! go!”

Red staggered to the stage and goggled at his gold medal. Pops, Dad, Wings, and Edge all cheered for him. It felt… amazing. And it only felt better every time he got called up there. Every single event he worked on medaled. Not all of ‘em were gold, but he didn’t care.

Finally, it was time for Mission Possible. Sans grabbed Red’s hand so tight that Red couldn’t feel his fingers.

He didn’t mind.

“In third place, Perseverance Private Charter.” The cheers were deafening, but Red could barely hear them. “In second place, Jefferson Middle School!” 

“And, our first place winner… Ebbott Magnet Academy !”

Sans and Red stared at each other for a few seconds before their teammates got them up. It wasn’t until later, when Dad and Pops showed them the pictures, that Red realized that he and Sans never let go of each other’s hands. 

Speaking of pictures... turns out, the winning team gets to go up on stage and get a team picture with this big trophy. Mr. Stretch pressed the trophy into Red’s hands and they all smiled huge.

They were going to state. They won.

Red… was happy.

Chapter Text

Everyone kept going on and on about Science Masters, talking about how smart Red was and how his dads must be so proud. It felt weird. Red didn’t see what the big deal was and by the last week of the winter semester, Red was sick of it. 

He flopped down on the couch beside Wings after practice. “What’s wrong with you?” Wings demanded.


“Are you still fighting with Sans?”

“what? we ain’t fighting.”

Wings raised a brow. “He hasn’t been staying for dinner.”

“he’s busy.”

“Uh huh. So then what’s wrong?”

Red huffed. “nothing.”

“Fine.” A pause. “How was Science Masters today?”

“i don’t wanna talk ‘bout it!” Red roared.

“Wow, okay.”

“‘s not a big deal!”


“winning! the other teams musta just had real bad builders or whatever! ‘s not like i’m that good at it!”

Wings just stared at him for a minute before he finally said, “What?! Of course it’s a big deal! Red, do you understand how hard that competition was?” Red glared at the floor. “Brother, some of my friends did Science Masters when they were in middle school and they can’t stop talking about you medaling in every building event.” He turned back to the tv. “You really are an idiot if you think that’s all a fluke.”

Red openly stared at his brother. Wings never said nice things to him. “ya... mean it?” Red asked. His voice was small and stupid.


“oh. cool.”

“Shut up. I’m watching TV.”

Chapter Text

Gyftmas came and went. Red didn’t see much of Sans during the break, but Dad made sure he and Edge got the Serif bros presents. Papyrus loved his puzzle set and Sans shyly accepted his new hoodie. Somehow, the Serifs had presents to give them, too. Red figured it was better not to ask. Other than that, the Gasters spent break skiing in the mountains, returning the day before school started.

Sans and Red walked their bros to class like always. Sans looked terrible and had a cough, but insisted he was fine. Even though he had more hoodies now (the two from Red plus a couple more that he got somewhere), Red noticed more of the white stuff on him as the weeks went on. 

Flowey noticed too, of course. The second that Mr. Stretch left the room, he was all over Sans. “I didn’t know that bone fleas could make you cough! Did they get into your ribs?” he sing-songed.

“leave me alone,” Sans muttered before breaking into a coughing fit. Red winced.

“Wowie, you sound awful! Is your little brother this gross, too?”

Mentioning Papyrus seemed to be the final straw. Sans’s right eye light disappeared and his left flared yellow. Flowey laughed, “Oh, the fleabag is getting angry!”

“shut up,” Red growled.

There was a whirring sound and a floating dog-sized skull appeared. One of its eyes glowed like Sans’s. “shut the fuck up,” Sans said, voice flat. “never talk about my brother again.”

Chapter Text

Red didn’t know what to do but he was pretty sure that Sans was a superhero and gonna murder Flowey. Not that he didn’t deserve it, but Red didn’t want him to turn into a super villain and murder everyone or whatever.

“Mr. Stretch! Sans said the ‘f’ word and has a weird skull gun!” Flowey yelled.

Red glanced over his shoulder and saw that Mr. Stretch had re-entered the room. “what’s goin’ on, boys?” he asked slowly.

“flowey’s makin’ fun of sans,” Red said. 

“sans, flowey, come with me.”

“sans didn’t do nothing!” Red yelled. “flowey’s been making fun of ‘im all year!”

“I was only joking,” Flowey said, complete with sniffles.

“you were not!”

“‘s fine, red,” Sans muttered. The floating skull was gone and Sans’s eye lights were back to normal. He stepped out from behind Red and followed Mr. Stretch and Flowey out into the hallway.

Several minutes later, Mr. Stretch came back without either of ‘em. “mr. flower and mr. serif have gone home for the evening.” Red started to protest, but Mr. Stretch silenced him with A Look. “mr. serif will rejoin the team tomorrow. mr. flower will not. i do not tolerate bullying on my team. is that clear?”

“Yessir,” everyone chorused.

Sans was sitting on the playground when Red came out. “y’ok?” Red asked. Sans shrugged, then coughed. “that skull thing was cool. you have superpowers.”

“so do you. you can teleport, right?”

Red grinned... but he was worried.

Chapter Text

That night, Red tiptoed upstairs to Pops’s study and knocked. “Enter!” Pops called through the door.

“What can I do for you, my boy?”

Red twisted his hands nervously. “um... are bone fleas real?”

“What? What are bone fleas?”

Red shrugged. “little white things that get on skeleton’s clothes?”

Pops stiffened. “Do you have white particles on your clothing?” He grabbed Red and began looking him over. “Where? Show me!”

Red squirmed and said, “no! i don’t have white stuff!”

“Then why do you ask?”

“no reason! just curious!”

“Red. ‘White stuff’ on a skeleton’s clothing can be a sign of severe illness or injury. If you have them or your brothers--”

“no! it... it ain’t us.”

Pops frowned. “Is it Sans then? Or Papyrus?”

Red froze. He didn’t want to out Sans, but… “is it bad?”

“Yes. Red, I need to speak to their parents. If they haven’t noticed… What is their phone number?”

“... dunno.”

“Very well.” Pops turned back to his desk and scribbled out a note. “You will give this to Mr. Stretch tomorrow.”

“i don’t wanna get sans in trouble…”

“He won’t be in trouble. He didn’t do anything wrong. But it is dangerous for this to go untreated. This is important, Red. He could get very sick, even die.”

Red felt sick. He didn’t want Sans to die, especially not now that they were goin' to State. He took the note. “i’ll... i’ll give it to ‘im." 

Chapter Text

Sans wasn’t at school the next day; Papyrus said he skipped ‘cause he didn’t do his homework. Red gave Mr. Stretch the note, like Pops said, and Mr. Stretch looked all worried and went to talk to someone. When he got back, Mr. Stretch told him, “sans’ll be ok. do ya know where he is today?”

Red didn’t.

Practice sucked without Sans. He didn’t make much progress on the machine and the thought of walking home alone made him drag his feet on the way out.


He looked around and saw Papyrus running toward him, sockets huge and terrified.

“what’s wrong? where’s sans?”


The world felt like it was spinning. He didn’t know what to do! He was a moron! He couldn’t take care of Sans if he was dying or what the heck ever! “hold on; i’ll call...” He trailed off. He still didn’t wanna tell on Sans.

Maybe someone else’d help without tattling.

The phone rang once, twice, thrice, before, “Gaster residence.”

“wings? i need ya help.”

“What? What’s the matter? Where are you?”

“‘m at school. it’s sans. somethin’s wrong.”

“What is it?”

“ya gotta come to school. somethin’s wrong with sans.”

“Red, I am very busy! Can’t we just talk about your emotional ineptitude when you get home? Why do I need to come there?”

“he’s sick, wings! please?”

A beat. A sigh. “Fine. Fine, I’m on my way. Stay there.”

“thanks, bro. hurry.”

Chapter Text

Papyrus showed them the little storefront where they lived. Wings didn’t say anything, but his sockets narrowed when he saw it. Sans was lying too still in the pile of blankets in the corner. That white stuff was everywhere in the little blanket nest. 

“HE WAS SICK WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL BUT HE WOULDN’T WAKE UP WHEN I GOT HOME,” Papyrus wailed. Edge held his hand too tight.

Wings knelt beside Sans and stared at his chest. Checking him. “His HP’s down,” he said. He sounded worried. “Papyrus, where are your parents? He needs a healer.”


Red frowned. That wasn’t what Sans said.

“Alright, how do you get a hold of them?”


Wings moaned and ran a hand down his face. “Okay. Okay. We’re going to take him home and I’ll call a healer. Hopefully Sans will be able to call your parents when he wakes up.” With that, he scooped Sans up and started home. 

Red tugged his arm so he slowed a little. “their parents’re dead,” Red whispered, low enough that Papyrus and Edge didn’t hear.

What?! ” Wings hissed. “What the hell, Red, they need help!”

“they’re fine!”

“Does he look fine?! He’s really, really sick!”

At home, Wings settled Sans in Red’s bed. Edge took Papyrus to his room to do puzzles, Wings went to call a healer, and Red sat beside Sans and watched him breathe. Terrified he’d stop. “don’t freaking die, you moron,” Red growled. “state’s in a couple months.”

Chapter Text

“He has low HP in general, but it dropped enough to be a cause for concern,” the healer explained to Pops. “Below two, which is considered emergent. It is fortunate that your sons called when they did.”

“And with the treatment?”

“He should make a full recovery, as long as he stays warm, dry, and well-fed. Crumbling can be deadly, but I believe we got to him in time. I will contact the court about child protection--”

“That won’t be necessary, Volcana. I will take it from here.”

Red didn’t really mean to listen, but they were right next door. “WHAT’S CRUMBLING?” Edge asked, not even bothering to lower his voice.

“IT SOUNDS SCARY,” Papyrus added. Neither looked up from their coloring books.

Wings sighed. “It’s something that can happen when a monster has been sick for too long.”

“IS IT BAD?” Papyrus asked.

Wings winced. “It’s not good.” When Papyrus’s sockets began to shine with tears, he quickly added, “But! The healer said Sans is going to be fine!”



“You remember that white stuff on Sans’s bed?” Nods. “Well, monsters are held together by their magic. His was too weak and couldn’t keep his bones together.”


“... Yes.”


Papyrus was fully crying now. Edge glared at Wings, then pulled Papyrus into his closet and shut the door, hiding away like he did when he was upset. 

“nice job, genius.”

“Shut up!”

Chapter Text

“Why is your brother in his closet?”

Wings and Red both flinched.

“Papyrus is upset?” Wings tried.

“Would that be because you explained Sans’s condition to him?”

Wings said, “Maybe” at the same time that Red said, “yup.” Wings glared at Red.

Pops scrubbed a palm down his face. “Go wait downstairs.”

Eventually, Pops and Dad emerged with Edge.

“We’d like to have a family meeting with you boys now that Papyrus’s calmed down,” Dad said.

Red stiffened. He’d already told ‘em everything he knew ‘bout the Serif’s living conditions and he didn’t know what they were gonna do now. His dads wouldn’t want to send Sans away, but adults do crap for dumb adult reasons. What if they had to send Sans away and it was his fault?

“Sans and Papyrus do not have a house,” Pops began.


“That doesn’t matter. What would you boys think about them staying here?”


“As long as they want.”

“They’d be like new bros,” Dad added.


Dad chuckled. “That would still be ok.”

“am not,” Red snarled.


“We’n do that. Wings? Red?”

“It makes me no difference,” Wings said with a shrug.

Sans… living here? With them? Red felt himself blush a little. “‘course i want ‘em to stay here. idiot’ll kick it out there if he don’t.”

Pops smiled. “Great! We’ll ask them when Sans feels better.”

Chapter Text


“heya sansy,” Red answered. “ya almost died, idiot.”

“where’m i? paps?”

“my house. paps’s with edge.”

w h a t .” Sans’s voice dropped an octave and his eye lights blinked out. “you told your dads?! we gotta go! now!”

“where?! yer still sick!”

“they’re not takin’ paps from me!”

Sans’s laser skull thing whirred as its mouth lit up.

“Sans, calm down!” Pops yelled. He grabbed Red and pulled him back.

let us leave, ” Sans growled.

“SANS!” Papyrus burst into the room, dodged Pops’s grasp, and leapt onto the bed. “I’M SORRY! I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE CRUMBLING!”

Slowly, the blaster dissolved as Paps cried on Sans’s chest.

“Sans, we have talked it over. We would like to…” Pops paused and glanced at Dad, who smiled and nodded. “We’d like to offer you and Papyrus a home here.”


“You’re both practically our boys anyway,” Dad said. “It ain’t like we don’t got the room or money.”


Sans winced. “paps, i told ya they aren’t looking for us. but... you’d wanna? stay here?”


Sans glanced at Red. “that ok with you?”

Red shrugged, even though his soul felt fluttery.

Sans smiled and Red relaxed. “um... yeah. yeah, if you’re sure… we’d like that.”

“Welcome to the family, boys. Glad to have you.”

Chapter Text

Moving Sans and Papyrus into the house was a whirlwind. They didn’t have much stuff, so Dad insisted they go shopping when Sans felt better. Papyrus just wanted new crayons, but got a bunch of toys and new clothes for school, too. Sans refused to ask for anything, so Dad ended up just getting him some new clothes. “When ya settle a bit more, we’ll get ya whatever ya need, ok?” Dad’d said as he pressed the bags into Sans’s arms.

Sans and Papyrus hid in their new shared room that night. Red could hear whispers, but he didn’t knock. Dad said not to, to let them have some time to settle in. It would be hard, he’d said, to suddenly have a new family, even if it was better than living in that old store.

Didn’t mean Red had to like it.

He tried to concentrate on the shooter he was playing, but Wings plopped down on the couch beside him. “whaddya want?” he growled.

Wings sighed. “Look, I know you’re worried.”

“‘m not.”

“It’s probably scary to have your crush move in with you--”

“my what ?!”

“--but it’s going to be fine. You will figure it out.”

“i don’t have a crush on sans!” Red snarled.

Wings made the same face that Pops did when he didn’t believe them. “What about the dance?”

“what about it?”

“You went together.”

“as friends!”

“I’m just saying--”

“well don’t be just saying!” Red growled and stormed out of the room.

Chapter Text

The next school day, Red’s dads went to school to explain the situation. Red walked Edge to class alone; Sans and Papyrus went to the office with his parents. 

“Hey, Red!”

Red glanced up and frowned when he saw Flowey smiling at him. “what?”

“Where’s Fleas?”

“don’t call ‘im that!”

“Well, where is he? He sick at home with his fleas again?”

“shut up!”

“Saw him and his bro in the office today with your dads. Why’s that?”


“Are they worried that you’re gonna get fleas from him? I mean, with how close the two of you are…”

“shut up!”

“mr. gaster, mr. flower, sit down.” They both spun to see Mr. Stretch standing in the doorway with a cup of coffee and a frown. “we will discuss this after class.”

Sans came back about halfway through math with a note. Mr. Stretch barely glanced at it as he shooed Sans to his seat. Red scribbled a quick note and passed it while Mr. Stretch’s back was turned. everything go ok?

Sans scribbled back, yeah.

Red frowned. Sans had been quiet since… well, honestly, since the dance, but even more so since his dads found out. Red wasn’t sure what to do about it, but it was starting to get on his freaking nerves. what’s wrong with ya? Red wrote. 

Sans glanced at the note, rolled his eye lights and wrote, nothing.

He didn’t respond to any more of Red’s notes for the rest of the day.

Chapter Text

“i just wanted to tell the two of you that mrs. bundie told me about your housing change,” Mr. Stretch whispered to Sans and Red in the hallway during practice. “if either of you need anything…”

“thanks,” Sans muttered. “can i get back to work now?”

Mr. Stretch’s smile was a little strained as he nodded. Sans slipped back into the classroom without looking back at Red.

“he’ll be alright, red.”

Red glared at Mr. Stretch. “how do ya figure?”

“it’s a big deal, moving in with a new family. give him some time to adjust.”

“it ain’t just that!” Red exploded. He didn’t mean to say it, but he couldn’t help himself. “he’s been weird since the dance!”

Mr. Stretch frowned. “did something happen at the dance?”

Red hesitated. “you... you won’t tell anyone?”

“i won’t tell anyone anything you say, unless you tell me that someone plans to hurt someone else. i have to tell if that happens.”

“flowey made fun of ‘im while we were dancing.”

“what’d flowey say?”

“that he was poor and had to wear his boyfriend’s clothes.”

“and what did you say?”

“that he ain’t my boyfriend! cause he ain’t!”

“well, i think we found the problem. i think ya hurt sans’s feelings.”

“what?! that’s dumb!”

“i think maybe sans thought ya didn’t want him to be your boyfriend,” Mr. Stretch said gently.

“i don’t!”

“that’s fine. but maybe you should talk to him ‘bout it.”

Red groaned. Talking was the worst .

Chapter Text

“so... are you… ok? or whatever?” Red coulda slapped himself for how stupid he sounded. Sans, who was in the middle of eating some crackers and cheese as an after-practice snack raised a brow.

“why wouldn’t i be?”

“uh... dunno? you’ve been actin’... weird.”

Sans shrugged. “nope. all fine here, bud.” Red was about to let it go when Sans kept talking. “i mean, might as well enjoy this while we can, right?”

“whaddya mean?”

“having a house.”


“it ain’t like your dads’re gonna let us stay here forever,” Sans said with another shrug. “just gotta try to pretend not to be worried about it until the other shoe drops.”


“it’s fine,” he interrupted. “ya pretend long enough, it becomes real. anyway, it’s not your prob, bud. ain’t like i’m your boyfriend or somethin’.”

Red stared at him. Mr. Stretch was right? Sans was ticked off ‘bout the Christmas Ball? That’s so stupid!

(Another colder, darker feeling wrapped around his soul. Did Sans think he didn’t want to be his boyfriend? Did Sans not want…? Red remembered dancing with him, wanting to kiss him…)

(He felt sick.)

Before he could respond, Sans was in his and Papyrus’s shared bedroom with the door shut and Red was left staring at cracker crumbs.

“You messed up, little brother,” Wings said from behind him. Red didn’t bother turning around before flipping him off.

“Red!” Pops said, scandalized.

Red groaned and banged his skull on the table. Nothing was going his way.

Chapter Text


Red shuffled into Pops’s office late that night. 

“Red? Are you alright?”

“i just got a question.”

“Alright. Have a seat, my boy.”

Red pinked a little as Pops sat his pen down and  turned off the radio behind him, giving Red his full attention. It made him feel… special. Important.

“it’s about dad.”


“how’d... ya know ya liked him? an’ that he liked you?”

Pops chuckled. “It’s rather an embarrassing story. We met while I was in college. Your dad worked at the bar that my friends frequented. I knew him for a year… I didn’t realize that we were dating until he kissed me. Turns out that I’d taken him on a dozen dates over that year. He thought I was just shy.”

“was he mad?”

“Extremely. And embarrassed. He thought that I didn’t, as you said, ‘like’ him. That was very much not the case, but I hadn’t realized it. After a week of him not talking to me, I sat outside his apartment until he came home from work and begged him to forgive me. We’ve been together ever since.”

Red looked down at his feet. It only took Pops a week to apologize; Red had months and he didn’t apologize! Sans must think he just didn’t care!

“Do you perhaps ‘like’ someone and are having trouble telling them, Red?” 

Red shook his head. “i kinda… already told everyone i didn’t like them.”

Pops winced. “It sounds like you have some apologizing to do.”

Chapter Text

Turns out, Sans was a master at not talking about crap that he didn’t wanna. Any time Red thought he’d talk to him, Sans weaseled away. Didn’t help that their practice schedule for Science Masters was doubled with State only a couple days away. 

They walked home late after practice, Sans still dodging any topics that mattered, when they heard a sound in the bushes. “what’s that?” Red asked.

Sans shrugged, and stepped towards the noise. He yelped and jumped back as something shot at him. “flowey, what the fuck!” he yelled as he fell on his tailbone.

“Heya trash bag,” Flowey said. “I just wanted to have a chat about you getting me kicked off the team.”

“i didn’t--”

A vine shot out and wrapped around Sans’s cervical vertebrae, cutting him off. Red was frozen as Flowey rose up out of the bushes. “I just don’t think you deserve to be on the team either,” Flowey said coldly. “You have LV after all. You’re a danger!”

“only danger here’s you,” Sans wheezed.

“Come on, Fleas. Fight back!” Flowey taunted, tightening the vine.


Red’s sockets widened as a second vine grabbed a rock off the ground nearby and waved it tauntingly. “Maybe I’ll bash those stupid brains out!” 

Red couldn’t explain how he knew Flowey wasn’t bluffing. Without making the conscious decision, he ripped open the void and reappeared in front of Sans. Flowey’s eyes widened in surprise as he slammed the rock down and...




Chapter Text

Yelling. Cold. Then, light too bright. 

Darkness again.

The soft voice of Pops. Heat on his bones, too hot like when Dad touched ‘im.

Something soft. Warm.

Was he sick? Did he have the flu? Sans’d be annoyed if he missed practice.


Red tried to sit up but strong hands forced him back down. His sockets flew open. He was in his room. Dad and Pops were both there, and it was the two of them that were holding him down. He blinked to try to clear his blurry vision, but it didn’t help. Pops looked tired and Dad was neon purple, a color that Red’d never seen on ‘im. 

“sans?” he wheezed.

“He’s fine,” Dad said. “Finally fell asleep a couple hours ago.”

“wha’ ‘appened?”

Dad hissed angrily and flickered red, but Pops put a hand on his shoulder and he calmed. “You were in a fight,” Pops said.

“‘m in trouble?”

“No, my boy, you’re not. You protected Sans. Your Dad and I are very proud of you, but you’re hurt and you need to rest now.”

“How do you feel?” Dad asked.

“m’head hurts.”

“Yeah… that makes sense…”

Pops leaned forward and asked very seriously, “Does your face hurt?”

Normally, Red knew better than to answer that, but he couldn’t think. “no?”

Very solemnly, Pops said, “That’s strange. It’s killing me.”

Dad laughed and Red groaned, but the joke made him feel better. He must not be too bad off if Pops would pick on him.

Chapter Text

He rethought that when the healer showed him the crack in the side of his skull. He also broke his ulna when he fell (a big deal for a skeleton). 

“Bed rest for the two weeks,” the healer ordered, “He’ll need these anti-coags to keep his magic flowing and these sunglasses on to protect his eye light while it heals.”

“what?! no, state’s tomorrow !” Red wailed.


“no!” Tears threatened like he was a little babybones. “what about mission possible?” He had to go! They’d been working on it since October! It wasn’t fair!

(Sans was already mad at him. How much angrier would he be if Red ditched him for State?)

“I’m sorry,” Pops said.

“i hate you! leave me alone!”

Red squeezed his sockets shut, trying desperately not to cry. They quietly said they loved him, then slipped out of the room and closed the door.

A few minutes later, it opened again.

“said go away!”

“not to me, bud.”

Sans was standing there, light bruising on his neck. “‘m sorry,” he said softly.

“what? why?”

“for everything. ‘s my fault you’re hurt and now ya can’t go to state and… and i’m real sorry. i’m not gonna go tomorrow. i’ll stay here with you.”

“what?! no! ya gotta go! ya gotta win!”

“shoulda been me. shouldn’t getta go if ya don’t.”

“don’t be dumb! ya gotta!”

Sans looked away. “ya really don’t hate me?”

“‘course not. might if ya don’t go to state, i guess.”

Chapter Text

After dinner, the doorbell rang. It was Mr. Stretch and he had a laptop. “sorry to bother, but i have something for red.”

“No bother at all,” Pops said politely. 

“how’re the boys?”

“Understandably upset.”

“‘m sure. whole class was devastated.”

“Even the ones who’ve been bullyin’ Sans all year?” Dad growled.


“you’re right, mr. gaster. i... i didn’ know. ‘m sorry.”

Dad softened. “It’s not your fault, Stretch. I’m sorry. It’s just… they’re my boys, ya know?”

Mr. Stretch sat the computer up in Red’s room and produced a small camera the size of a button. “we’re all real disappointed you can’t be there tomorrow,” Mr. Stretch said, “but this’s the next best thing. if sans don’t mind, he’ll wear this camera and ya can watch it on ‘ere.”

He turned the computer so Red could see the screen. He saw himself, then the picture changed to a grinning Sans when Mr. Stretch turned to look at him.

“whaddya think, boys?”

“it’s awesome!” Sans exclaimed.

“yeah... pretty cool,” Red admitted.

Mr. Stretch beamed. “we won’t see ya tomorrow, red, but you’ll see us. and we couldn’t of done any of it without ya.” Red blushed, but Mr. Stretch wasn’t looking. “got ya this too,” he said. He pulled out a card from the team, complete with a framed team picture of them at Regionals. 

Red looked away to hide the stupid babybones tears in his sockets. It was just the pain meds makin’ him all stupid emotional. “thanks.”

Chapter Text

Pops stayed with Red while Dad took Sans to competition. Papyrus and Edge stayed home too, but they spent most of the day playing outside. Pops promised to call them in when it was time for the awards ceremony.

From the very beginning, his teammates talked to him through the camera. Everyone contributed, but Sans did the most. He muttered the comments that he would have whispered to Red, had he been there.

When the team reached the homeroom, Mr. Stretch went over the same reminders that he did at Regionals, with one exception. “okie dokie, y’all! let’s show our support for red!” Everyone dug around in their stuff and produced… oh. They all had sunglasses that matched the ones that Red had to wear while he recovered. 

“miss ya, buddy,” Sans said, holding the camera out so Red could see that he had the sunglasses on, too.

Red missed part of Sans’s first competition (herpetology test) because he burrowed into his blankets. He wasn’t crying or nothing, but his sockets were leaking a little. From his injury. 

The camera didn’t stay with Sans the whole day; Mr. Stretch took it to any event Red’d worked on. His bridge did ok, the car and catapult both did ok, too. At lunch, the whole team took him on a tour of the campus, a big state school a few hours out of town.

It was nice.

Before long, it was time for the only event Red really cared about: Mission Possible.

Chapter Text

Mission Possible was last (again) so Sans’d had plenty of time to get nervous. Dad called Pops’s phone so they could discuss last minute prep. 

“yer still awful at dominoes,” Red growled. 

“ya said to put the fourth one upside down--”

“yeah, but ya gotta finesse it!”

“i’m tryin’!”

Pops placed a hand on Red’s non-broken arm and Red rolled his eye lights. “you’ll do fine,” he muttered through gritted teeth. 

“i... i’m real sorry if i can’t,” Sans said, soft. “i’m gonna try like hell but…” 

“Language!” Pops reprimanded.


“Really not the time, babe,” Dad said.

“ya’ll do fine. yer way smarter’n me.”

Sans chuckled. “not at building sh-- stuff.”

Red blushed. “well... there’s always next year. if it doesn’t go good.”

With that, they arrived at the huge banquet hall hosting the event. Mr. Stretch led Sans in and helped him set up, gave him a thumbs up, and scurried out of the competition area. All Red could do was watch.

The dominoes kept falling. 

“come on, sans! finesse!” Red growled. Pops squeezed his shoulder and Red leaned closer and closer to the camera.

After he finally got the dominoes, the rest of the set up wasn’t too bad. Before long, he was ready. The judge--a round human in a wheelchair--watched, even complimented their machine. 

Pops grinned at Red. “You did great, my boy. We’re so proud of you, no matter what.”

Red blushed and burrowed back into the blankets to wait for the awards ceremony.

Chapter Text

Getting Edge and Papyrus to sit still on the bed was a chore. Red growled once when they jostled his arm too much and Edge smacked Papyrus’s arm, then they both froze and settled.

The awards ceremony was even fancier than Regionals had been. This one had ten times as many people there, a whole auditorium full of teams from all over their state. 

After a bunch of fancy speeches, including one from Pops’s boss, they finally started with the medals. 

They didn’t win near as much as they did at Regionals. No one else was called up until Sans placed fourth in bio lab and second in genetics. 

Then, the engineering events.

Red’s sockets widened when his bridge placed third. The catapult got fourth. His car, fourth. Sans accepted the medals for him, but they were his. He won those. Pops cheered and hugged him carefully.

Finally, Mission Possible.

They didn’t place fifth or fourth. Some school from up north got third, then their biggest competition got second. Red held his breath and Pops’s hand. 

“And in first place… Ebbott Magnet Academy!”

Sans staggered to the stage with the camera. It was almost like being there, looking out over the crowd. Everyone was cheering. Pops hugged him again; Edge and Paps had to be hastily shoved off onto the floor so they didn’t jostle Red too much in their excitement.

“we did it, bud,” Sans said just loud enough for the camera to pick up. “well, mostly you.

Chapter Text

Sans got home super late. Red wasn’t asleep, but the pain meds made him drowsy. He didn’t hear them come in downstairs and about fell off his bed when his door opened. 

“sorry!” Sans hissed, quickly pulling the door shut behind him. “didn’t mean to wake ya!”

“ya didn’t. just the meds.”

Sans shuffled over to the bed and held out a pile of medals. “these’re yours.”

They were so heavy, so shiny. “wow,” he whispered.

“heh, yeah…”

Red scooched over so Sans could clamber onto his bed beside him. He did so carefully, as aware of Red's injuries as their little bros weren't. 

"we'll do it again next year," Sans said, "and you'll be there this time."


"m sorry. that you got hurt."

"ain't your fault flowey's an… asshole."

Sans snorted. "didn't mean to plant the idea swearing was ok, bud ."

They both laughed, then Red said, “hey, uh, ‘m real sorry about the dance.”

Sans raised a brow. “what?”

“that i said ya weren’t my boyfriend.”

“we’re not talking about this.”

“i just meant… i mean, ya weren’t my boyfriend!”

“i know. just... just, shut up about it.”

“i hurt yer feelins.” Sans didn’t answer. “‘m sorry.”

“look, it’s fine. i get it. we don’t need to talk about it. ever. ‘s not like dating was ever gonna work anyway. ‘s fine.”

“so... you don’t wanna?”

“go to sleep, red.”

Red didn’t want to, but the medicine beckoned and he did.

Chapter Text

That marked the first of many nights that Red spent in a haze of pain medicine. Sans hung out with him each night, but artfully dodged any further attempts to bring up the dance or feelings. Eventually, Red let it go.

By the time his arm healed, Red was more than ready to get back to school. He was a lazy schmuck but even he had his limits.

The team welcomed him back like a hero. Mr. Stretch arranged a school assembly and had the principal give Red his medals in front of everybody. "ya didn't get to get on the podium at state, so this’s the next best thing," Mr. Stretch explained.

It was a good ending to Science Masters. The team was already excited for next year. Red figured the rest of his school year’d be lame like usual.

But then, a month after the assembly, Mr. Stretch stopped Red from leaving after class. "Have an idea that I need ya help with," he said. "i wanna start a stem club for the elementary kids and i need someone to design engineering projects and help lead 'em. whaddya say?"

Before Science Masters, Red woulda told him to stuff it, then went home and took a nap. After all, he was the wrong Gaster bro for that nonsense and he was only in sixth-grade and an idiot. 

Now, he grinned. "sounds fun. can sans help too?"

"definitely! i'd love it if he did!"

"cool. i'm in."

Chapter Text

It took another couple of weeks of brainstorming, practicing, arguing, and testing ideas on their little bros, but Red and Sans eventually came up with the idea to do a Puzzle Fair. 

"See, the kids'll work on it in the club so they don't have to at home" --that was Sans's idea, apparently working on at-home projects with Paps was real difficult when they were on their own-- "and then we'll have judges and prizes! Pops said maybe some folks from CORE could come!" Red explained to an equally-enthused Mr. Stretch.

"That sounds great, boys! Now, you put together your team for the club, make me a supply list with costs, and put together a flier to send home with the littles."

It was a lot of work, even more than Mission Possible had been. They worked on it every spare second: at lunch, at recess, during study hall and after school. The two of them were forced to stop working and sent to bed by their dads many times during those weeks.

It was all worth it for the day that Edge and Paps both proudly showed their fliers at dinner, begging to go to the club.

They weren't alone in their enthusiasm, either. Most of the elementary school showed up. They had to recruit the rest of the Science Masters team to help and soon they were up to their sockets in excited little engineers all building puzzles. 

Red had never been so excited to go to school.

Chapter Text

"This's stupid! I hate stupid puzzles!"

Red dodged as a little hamster monster threw her most recent attempt across the room. Her little nose crinkled and eyes watered with tears.

So did Alphys's, who was supposed to be helping her.

"whasswrong?" Red asked, sinking down to her level.

"It won't open when you enter the code! It's stupid!"

"why dontcha go get it and we'll take a looksee."

"NO! I wanna go home!"

"hmm. well, yer stuck here for another hour 'til your folks come anyway. let's just see if we can fix it."

After a minute of pouting, she retrieved the (now) mangled puzzle. Alphys smiled gratefully at Red and moved out of his way so he could help.

Red saw the problem instantly, but he thought about how it felt to fix Mission on his own without Mr. Stretch telling him how. "Tell me about what ya did with the springs here," he asked.

She did, animatedly talking and talking and talking until… "Oh! It needs stronger springs!"

He grinned. "wow! hey, you came up with that yourself. good job not being a quitter." He high fived her and wandered away.

As the kids left, Mr. Stretch stopped him. "you're a darn good teacher, red. what is it you wanna do when you grow up?"

No one except Mr. Stretch ever told Red he was good at stuff. 

"really? i, uh, dunno what i wanna do."

"yup. you'd be a great teacher, if that interests ya at all."

Chapter Text

The Puzzle Fair was just as big of a deal at the Gaster house as Science Masters was. All five boys were involved; Red and Sans running it, Paps and Edge competing, and Wings helping judge. 

The school gym was loaded with tired parents and kids buzzing with excitement. They demonstrated their puzzles with enthusiasm. A lot of the kids called Red over to show off to him, too, which was pretty cool.

All the parents seemed to like him, and no one called him 'Wings's brother' or 'Zaph's boy'. He was just ‘Red’, the guy who helped come up with the Puzzle Fair.

It felt good

Everything went smoothly. Mr. Dreemur even came down to present the awards. Edge and Papyrus each won an award for their age group and beamed with pride. At the end, Mr. Dreemur called Red, Sans, and the rest of their little team up onto the stage. "These young people are the ones who made today possible," he said in his deep voice. "Mr. Stretch tells me that they are extremely gifted." He rattled off their names and the crowd cheered.

After, Dad and Pops took them all out for nice cream, then Edge and Papyrus insisted their brothers get their Science Master medals for a group picture (with Wings in his Judge Badge, too). Pops promised to print and frame the pic asap.

“We’re so proud of you boys,” Dad said, pulling them all into a group hug. “Every single one of you.”

Chapter Text

Before they knew it, it was the last day of school and they were free for the summer. Dad and Pops had some business dinner and Wings was going to a friend’s house (Red couldn’t believe that Wings had actual, real-life friends ), so it was just the four younger bros at home that night. Sans and Red settled in for some video games and ‘za while Paps and Edge played outside.

They heard the front door open and the scuffle of little brother feet. “WE’RE GOING TO PLAY UPSTAIRS! RIGHT NOW!” Edge yelled.


Sans paused the game and he and Red exchanged a look before quietly tailing their bros up the stairs. They found the bathroom door shut and the sound of water running, but they could hear ‘whispers’ if they listened at the door.

“--Gotta Clean It!” Edge was saying.

“But What If Water Gets Inside?” Papyrus worried back.

“It Doesn’t Matter! If We Don’t Clean It, It Might Get Infected!”

“What If He Crumbles?! It Looks Like Crumbling!”

“What the hell is crumbling ?!” an unknown third, squeakier voice demanded.

When they heard the new voice, Sans and Red both burst into the bathroom.

“CAN’T YOU FREAKING KNOCK?!” Edge screamed.

“who’s in here?” Red growled.



Red shoved them out of the way to get a look at the bathtub. The sight made him freeze in his tracks. 

Four tiny, dirty skeletons looked up at him from the bathtub.

Chapter Text

The little monsters looked just like them . Well, two of ‘em did; one looked just like Sans and the other looked just like Red. Then there was one with blue eye lights and one with purple. 

“who’s this?” Sans asked.

“NO ONE! GET OUT!” Edge screamed, which is when Red realized his hands were behind his back. Red scruffed his brother and spun him around, only to find a fifth tiny skeleton. This one was limp and had a huge hole in their skull. 

“who the hell are they?” Sans demanded.

Papyrus’s chin wobbled. “THEY’RE OUR FRIENDS AND TUBES IS HURT!”


“Listen, I don’t know who you are,” the one with blue eye lights growled, “but you will unhand my brother, whelp!”

“or what?” Red growled.

“enough,” Sans hissed. “who’re you?!”


“Who I am,” the one with blue eye lights declared, “is someone who’s gonna turn you into a prickly plant if you don’t put my brother down!”


“when?” Red asked.



“it don’t matter,” Sans said. “help now; ask questions later. you still got leftover anti-coags from your broken arm, right?”


“listen, bud, we just wanna make sure he’s ok.”

“You better not hurt him,” the blue one hissed. “I’d hate to have to flay you.”

Chapter Text

Sans was scarily good at taking care of injuries. Soon the whole group of mini-skeletons were on Edge’s bed resting comfortably. Sans drug Paps into their room without further comment.

Edge opened his mouth to say something, but Red clamped a palm over it and pointed at the door. Together, they pressed their auditory canals against the wood.

“--hell’re ya thinking?!” Sans was hissing.


“ya can’t bring home fucking pets, paps! or new species of monsters! or whatever! this isn’t our house !”


“mr. gaster.”


his name’s mr. gaster ! both their names are mr. gaster! ok? ya don’t get it, paps! we... listen, this’s a good place, right? ya like it here?”


“and ya wanna stay?”


“then ya can’t do shit like this! the second we’re too much trouble they’ll send us somewhere bad. remember the doctor?”

Red’s sockets widened as he heard sniffles. Edge was struggling in his grip to try to get free, growling angrily, but Red held tight.

“You Said We Wouldn’t Have To See Him Again!”

“i said we wouldn’t if we’re careful! i told ya not to piss the gasters off!”

“I-I’m Sorry! I Don’t Want To Leave!”

“s’ok, paps; i’ll figure it out. we’ll... we’ll just get edge and red to put ‘em back outside before their dads get home. i‘m sorry i yelled. i love ya.”

“I Love You, Too. I’m Sorry.”

Red and Edge locked eye lights. What. The Heck?!

Chapter Text

Red and Edge retreated to Edge’s room, where Red found the blue skeleton in the middle of the floor holding up a fork he found somewhere.

“ok, start talkin’, boss. who the heck’re these guys?”

“What’s it to you?” Blue growled

“yer in my house,” Red growled back.

“Two, just stop,” the purple one hissed before hopping down off the bed to stand by Blue (Two?). “My name is Four and these are my brothers. Your brothers have been helping care for us for quite a while.”

“are ya… tiny skeleton monsters?”


“We... don’t exactly know. We know that we’re brothers and our names, but other than that we don’t know much,” Four explained with a shrug.

“Just our old master’s house,” Two muttered darkly.

“that what happened to that one? escaping?”

“No, he was attacked by a raccoon.”


“We just need somewhere to stay long enough for Tubes to recover, then we can go back to the woods.”

“absolutely not,” Sans said. He and Paps appeared in the doorway. Paps was still drying his sockets. “y’all gotta go back where ya came from before their dads get home.”


Sans’s eye lights blinked out and Paps started crying again. Before Red could speak, Sans said, “you’re right, bud. this’s your place. come on, paps. we’re not gonna have anything to do with this.”

With that, Sans and Papyrus disappeared back into their room.

Chapter Text

Sans and Papyrus didn’t come out the rest of the night, no matter how much Red knocked. Edge refused to even try. 

“so what’re ya gonna do with us?” White Eye Lights (named One, apparently) asked. 

Red sighed. “we’ll hide ya, but jus’ until he’s better.”

Edge brightened and dove onto Red. He gave him a fast, tight squeeze of a hug, then broke away before Red could react. “We Don’t Need Them ,” he declared. “They Can Be Scaredy Baby Bones If They Want.”

Red disagreed. He wished Sans was helping find a way to hide the little dudes and also make sure Tubes didn’t dust on ‘em. Eventually, they settled on making a safe space in Edge’s closet out of the box Red’s video game console came in. They put soft blankets (“we ain’t kittens,” they growled), food, and water. Red snatched the heating pad Pops kept for when his spine ached and put Tubes on it.

That night, Red slept in Edge’s room. He woke in the dark to three tiny bodies climbing onto the bed. Red pretended to be asleep as One, Three, and Four all cuddled up to Edge. “we don’ even know it’ll work with monsters,” Three whispered.

“won’t hurt to try. if it works, it’ll help tubes.”

“Go to sleep,” Four growled. “We can’t find out unless we go to sleep.”

Red wanted to ask, but was afraid he’d scare ‘em off. Instead, he closed his sockets and drifted back off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Dad was definitely suspicious at breakfast the next day.

Dad was a big believer in family meals, so Sans and Papyrus were there, but they weren’t themselves. None of them were. Papyrus was muted and both Edge and Sans were silent. Red couldn’t think of nothing to say that wouldn’t make it worse.

“So,” Dad finally said, “Edge, ya still not feelin’ well?”


“yeah, ya were real puny last night, bud,” Sans said. “never seen ya ask red to stay in your room.”

Realization dawned. If Dad and Pops found Red in Edge’s bed, they’d investigate. They’d of found the tinies. But Sans helped cover for ‘em? Edge’s blustering about not asking Red to sleep in his room was interpreted as his normal prickliness and they moved on.

Finally, breakfast ended and the others dashed away and left Red alone with Dad, just like he planned. He had a question to ask.

“when’re ya gonna make sans and paps leave?”

Dad flickered red and purple. “What?!”

“it ain’t like they’re gonna stay forever,” Red said.


“jus’ tell me first, ok? so i’n make sure edge is ok.”

“Red! Pops and I aren’t gonna make them leave! Why do you think that?” Red shrugged. “No. I need to know. Why do you think that?”

Red shrugged again. “sans said."

“Why does he think...?" Dad’s flame faded to a pale blue. "Go do something else, Red,” he ordered. “I need to talk to Pops. Alone.”

Chapter Text

Red didn’t see much of Sans or Paps the rest of the week. Edge refused to even mention them and talked loudly over Red when he brought them up.

Red hung out with Edge and the tiny skeletons. The hurt one, Tubes, woke up on the third day. He seemed lost and scared unless Two was nearby, which worked just fine ‘cause Two was always nearby.

Red was laying on Edge’s bed reading one of the books Mr. Stretch loaned ‘im for the summer while Edge played with Three and Four on the floor. Edge built them some tiny puzzles to do and they both were willing enough to play along.

One and Two were curled around Tubes, asleep on Red’s chest. They all glowed a little as they absorbed energy from Red’s soul. 

It’s not like Red cared ‘bout ‘em; it just turned out his soul worked better than Edge’s for some dumb reason.

He thought they were caught when someone knocked on the door. He hastily pulled the blanket up and Three grabbed Four and teleported back into the closet. The door cracked open and Red breathed a sigh of relief to see it was just Sans.

“your dads want a family meeting,” he muttered.

“Why?” Edge asked.

Sans shrugged and disappeared. Red sighed and followed him downstairs. They only had family meetings when something big was happening… Like getting caught with five strangers in your bedroom.

Red groaned. He was gonna be in so much trouble. Again.

Chapter Text

“So… what’re we talking about?” Wings asked.

“Sans and Papyrus.” 

At the sound of their names, Sans visibly paled. 

“You explained to us that your parents are… gone,” Pops said carefully. “And you do not have any other family. Is that correct?” Sans nodded mutely. “Then we would like to discuss you staying here. Permanently.”

“We’d like to adopt ya,” Dad said. “If that’s somethin’ ya want.”

Papyrus surprised everyone by speaking first. “NO!” Everyone stared at him as he shook and clutched at Sans, hyperventilating. “NO! IF YOU ADOPT US MOM AND DAD WILL NEVER COME BACK FOR US!”

“Paps, buddy, calm down,” Dad cooed. “If ya don’t want us to adopt ya, we won’t, but you’re not ever gonna get kicked out, ok?”


“Forever, if they want.”

He glared at the Serifs. “WELL? HOW LONG DO YOU WANNA STAY?”

Papyrus sniffled. “Forever. But You Can’t Be Our Dads. We Have A Dad.”

“That’s fine,” Pops assured him. “We just want the two of you to be safe and happy.”

“What about a legal guardianship?” Wings suggested. “That way, you would have the same rights as parents without adopting them?”

Dad and Pops exchanged a look, then smiled. “We would really like that. Boys?”

Sans made eye contact with Red, a silent question: Do you want me to stay?

“yeah,” Red said, “that sounds good to me.”

Finally, Sans nodded. “... yeah. if ya really want.”

Chapter Text

After the family meeting, the four youngest went upstairs together. Papyrus and Edge took off to see the little skeletons and Sans awkwardly asked if Red wanted to hang out.

Boy, did he.

The two of them spent hours hanging out, just like before. They all ended up having a sleepover in Edge’s room. Their house guests took turns trying the racing video game, even though it took two of ‘em to run the controller. Eventually they all drifted off to sleep on the floor, all cuddled together and glowing.

A yelp and a crash downstairs woke Red up hours later. Sans was already on his feet. “the heck was that?” he growled.

Teleporting downstairs, they found the kitchen light on and Pops was pressed against the wall gripping a large frying pan in his hands, staring at the counter. 

Red and Sans both froze when they saw what he was staring at: it was Two and Three, each holding a block of cheese, blinking up at him.

“Who the hell are you?!” Pops demanded. “And what are you doing in my house?!”

Two stepped in front of Three and bared his teeth. “Stay away from us!”

Red couldn’t stop himself. “pops!” he yelled, dashing into the kitchen. “don’t hurt ‘em! they’re... uh…”

“friends of ours,” Sans finished. Red was surprised to find him standing right beside him between Pops and the littles.

Pops sighed. “We better wake your dad. It sounds like you two have some explaining to do.”

Chapter Text

“You’re an absolute moron.”

“shut up, wings.”

“You tried to hide an entire new species from our parents? In Edge’s closet?”

“shut up!”

“I mean, you’ve done a lot of dumb crap--”

“i’’ll kill ya!”

Sans turned Red’s soul blue and held him back without even looking up from the dishes. He and Red were on dish duty for the rest of the summer because of the whole Hiding Five Strangers In The House debacle. 

(“This family is gonna learn to communicate if I have to lock us all in a closet!” Dad had yelled. “The next person who keeps very important info to themselves is gonna be grounded for the rest of their bloody lives! And that includes you, Zaph Gaster!")

“How do you do that anyway?” Wings asked while Red calmed down.

“dunno. always been able to.”

“That doesn’t make any sense! It’s almost like magic, but that’s ridiculous--”

“we’ve got a whole species of mini-skeletons living in the closet like harry fucking potter,” Sans deadpanned, “i think we’ve passed the point of ‘ridiculous.’”

"Language!" Wings chastised, sounding just like his Pops. Then, he switched gears, back to Sans's weird powers. “And they can do some of that stuff, too! It’s very interesting.”

“yeah, yeah, yeh nerd,” Red muttered, rolling his eyes. 

“Nerds rule the world, little brother. Besides, you’re the one with gold medals in Science Masters. You’re the nerd now.”

Sans laughed and Red blushed. He didn’t mind being a nerd if the company was right.

Chapter Text

The rest of the summer passed fast. It was chock full of video games and doing the dishes. There were appointments with healers, follow-ups for Red’s injuries and attempts to improve Tubes’s. They all spent the summer learning Hands from Pops so Tubes communicate with everyone. Sans and Papyrus started seeing a counselor to help deal with the loss of their parents. Dad became the head chef at the restaurant downtown. Everything felt… good. Normal. Happy.

Then, The Court Date arrived.

It was just before school started. Their dads put them all in nice clothes (Red wore his outfit from the dance) and they went to a judge to get legal guardianship of the Serifs. Mr. Stretch met them there to congratulate them. It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal; it was just a formality. There wasn’t anyone to contest it and there wasn’t any reason to anyway. Dad and Pops were the best.

Shoulda been simple.

No one expected the greasy human man that stomped into the room and announced he was their guardian. No one thought he would have all the paperwork, their birth certificates, everything. There was nothing the judge could do; the human had all the proof that he needed to take them away.

And that’s exactly what he did. 

Red didn’t even manage a goodbye before Sans and Paps were ripped from their lives. He could only watch as the doors closed behind them.

Chapter Text

Edge wouldn’t leave his closet. He accepted meals, but that was it. The littles all piled in on top of him. Two stood guard over the group; Red and Wings slept outside the door. Just in case Edge needed ‘em.

Red couldn’t sleep, not really. Pops said he was gonna fix this, then disappeared into his office. As time ticked on, he wondered if maybe there were some things that even Pops couldn’t fix. Maybe this would never be ok.

What if he never saw Sans again?

And who was that guy, anyway? He introduced himself as Doc, which made Red flinch. He remembered the frantic conversation he overheard at the beginning of the summer. He saw how scared Sans and Paps were. What if they were in danger?

A few weeks after Court Day, Red heard harsh voices downstairs. He ported down and listened to his dads argue.

“--thought you didn’t like my job?” Pops hissed.

“Why the fuck’ve I put up with it all this time if ya weren’t gonna use it when we needed it? You saw that house, Zaph! You saw those kids! Sans won’t last there and you fucking know it!”


“What? It’s ok to murder fools as long as Asgore says so, but when our family’s in danger,  you’re suddenly too good to order a hit?”

Red didn’t wanna hear more. He fled back upstairs and snuggled up to Wings on Edge’s floor, fear thrumming in his soul.

Chapter Text

Two nights later, in the middle of the night, Red woke to someone ringing the doorbell. Red and Edge both dashed to the door, but Wings scruffed them both and pulled them back. “Be quiet,” he hissed. “It’s probably one of Pops’s associates.”

“why would pops have people show up here in the middle of the night?” Red growled.

Wings raised a brow at his little brother. “You know he’s not just a lawyer, Red.”

Red… didn’t like that implication, but he didn’t get a chance to ask any more. The bedroom door opened to reveal dad flickering between red and purple. “Boys, stay in here,” he ordered. “I mean it. Pops’s boss is downstairs.”

“Why’s Mr. Dreemur Here?” Edge asked.

“Just stay here an’ be quiet!” He slammed the door as he left.

“welp, i’mma teleport downstairs.”

“You are not!” Wings said. He grabbed onto his brother just as Red stepped into the void. Luckily he didn’t accidentally shove his bro into a wall or something.

Wings frantically waved at Red, trying to tell him to teleport back upstairs, but he swatted him away and listened to the voices in the hall.

“Grillby, take them both upstairs,” Pops said. “And call Marta to look at that arm.”


“Turtle, the boys need you. Please.” Some shuffling, then, “Sans, he’s going to be alright. You’re safe now. You’re safe here.”

Red and Wings’s eye lights met. Sans?!

Chapter Text

Sans was home?!

“Zaph, we have business to discuss,” said a voice Red recognized as Mr. Dreemur.

“Of course. Love?”

“Come on, Sans. Let’s--”

don’t touch him!” 

“Ok, I won’t touch ‘im. You carry ‘im up.”

They passed, Sans covered in something dark and carrying Papyrus limp in his arms, and Dad flickering a bright purple. 

“You killed him in front of the boys ?” Pops hissed once they were gone.

“The human was already dead when we arrived. He hurt the youngest and, well...”


“He is the same age as my youngest. I am honored to have been of help. Please bring them all over for dinner soon.”

Red and Wings teleported back upstairs to find no sign of Sans and Papyrus. “Dad probably sent them to wash up,” Wings said. “Since Sans was covered in…” He trailed off and glanced at Edge.

“Sans Is Downstairs? IS PAPYRUS WITH HIM?”


The door opened and Dad was there. He joined them inside and got them to all sit with him. “Sans and Papyrus are back,” he said slowly, “but they’ve had a real hard time while they’ve been gone.”

Edge narrowed his sockets. “ARE THEY HURT?”

“Paps’s arm’s broken and Sans is real upset.”


"Don't worry 'bout it, Edge. Don't ask 'em."


"Cleaning up. I'll let ya know when they're done." Dad gave Red a meaningful look. "They'll wanna see ya."

Chapter Text

Finally, Dad let them see them. Sans sat on the bed with Papyrus pulled into his lap. They were both littered with bruises and Papyrus was asleep. 

“PAPYRUS!” Edge cried. Sans shifted and pulled Papyrus tighter to himself and Dad caught Edge.

“Give ‘em some space,” he said gently.



“‘s fine,” Sans muttered. He let Edge snuggle up to Papyrus. 

“I know you boys have been through somethin’ awful,” Dad said, “but it’s over now.” When Sans didn’t respond, Dad sighed. “Alright. I’ll leave ya boys alone. Lemme know if ya need anything, ok?”

Hours later, Red woke up confused. He looked up and saw dim white eye lights by the door. “what’re ya doin’?” Red asked.

“... nothin’.”

Red sat up and blinked at him. “are... are ya tryna leave?!”

A sigh. “i only came to bring paps here. knew your dads’d take care of ‘im, but i can’t stay. i’m dangerous.”

“yer not--”

“check me.”

Red did. At first he didn’t know why, but, “yer lv. it went up.” When he understood, he looked at Sans in horror. “you killed ‘im.”

Sans didn’t look away this time. “see? i’mma murderer .” His voice broke on the last word.

“that’s dumb,” Red snarled. “yer not dangerous. you were savin’ paps, right?”


“do ya plan to hurt my bros?”


“then ya better freaking stay. dad’ll have a fit if ya don’t.”


“go to sleep.”

“... ok.”

“‘m glad yer home. idiot.”

“heh. me too.”

Chapter Text

Somehow, life continued. Sans slowly began talking and, once Paps got his cast off, even smiled. 

School helped. Science Masters starting up again helped more. Actually getting a court order for the Serifs to stay helped the most.

One night about a week after court, Red couldn’t sleep. He ‘ported downstairs to get some milk and found Pops already at the stove. “pops?”

“Red? You should be in bed.”

“so should you.”

“You’re not wrong. Your dad said the same thing, which is why I’m making my own grilled cheese. Would you like one?”


As Pops gave Red his sandwich, Red finally asked, “why’d the police never come for sans?”

“What do you mean?”

“because he killed that human.”

“He told you that?” Pops sighed and rubbed his sockets. “Don’t blame him. It’s my fault. If I’d gotten them sooner…”

“‘m not mad! i just wanna know when the police’re gonna take him away!”

“They’re not.”

“why not?”

Pops sighed again. “Because… Mr. Dreemur told them not to.”


“Red, please. Just trust me.” A pause. “Do you… want Sans to leave? Are you... afraid of him?”


“Okay. Then let it go, Red.”

Murderers were supposed to go to jail. He didn’t want Sans to or nothing, but if the police would just let Mr. Dreemur tell them not to arrest people, who else did he keep outta jail? When Red finally went to bed, his world was a little bigger and a little scarier than before.

Chapter Text

Red’s seventh-grade year proceeded without much further incident. He and Sans both medaled in Science Masters again, but this time he was there to get the medal himself. They went back and ran the puzzle fair again. Wings began visiting colleges, hoping to graduate a year early. The littles began a rigorous homeschooling curriculum that, surprisingly, they all loved. Even Tubes tried his best.

The first real hiccup came a few weeks before the end of school. Dad and Pops were both home when everyone got home from school, which was weird. “what’s up?” Sans asked, casually pulling Papyrus against him.

“Nothing!” Pops said. Dad glared at him. “Nothing bad!” he tried again. 

“YOU LOOK UPSET,” Edge pointed out.

“No, no! We just have dinner plans tonight. All of us.”

“where?” Red demanded. “why’re ya bein’ weird?”

“We’re not ‘weird,’” Pops said. “It’s just dinner with my boss, Mr. Dreemur, and his family!”

Red saw how Sans and Paps both froze and their eye lights blinked out. He wondered what all happened that night that Mr. Dreemur brought ‘em home. “i don’t wanna,” Red announced.

Dad looked pained. “Sorry, kiddo. Sometimes we gotta do stuff we don’t wanna do.”


“Because Mr. Dreemur invited us.”

“It won’t be bad,” Pops said. “They have a son about Wings’s age and a little girl your age, Edge and Pap. It’ll be fun!”

“Go get changed into some nice clothes. Maybe what you wore to court,” Dad said.

“yeah,” Red muttered. “fun.”

Chapter Text

The Dreemur house was the biggest house Red’d ever seen in his whole life. It looked like the castles they studied in social studies. Bigger, even! A whimsum parked their car for them and then they were on the doorstep.

Sans was shaking.

“Best behavior,” Pops repeated for the hundredth time since they left the house.

“no promises,” One said with a shrug. Two, who sat beside him on Edge’s shoulder, punched him in the arm. Four caught them both by their souls before they could fall.

“He will behave,” Four said.

The door opened and Red was surprised to see a human girl. She must be the Dreemur kid; she looked to be the right age. She had chopped brown hair that hid her eyes. “Hi!” she said happily.

“Frisk Dreemur, what have I told you about answering the door without an adult?” a female voice called. A huge white goat monster appeared in the doorway. “Greetings!” she said. “I am Toriel, young ones.” She pulled Pops into a hug. “It’s good to see you, Zaph. Grillby. Come in, come in! Gorey, our guests are here!” 

The girl, Frisk, fell into step beside Sans. “Hi,” she said again.

Sans nodded at her, but didn’t say much. Luckily, Papyrus had something to say. “HI!”

“You’re Papyrus, right? And you’re Edge?” 


“No, silly. My daddy told me about you.”


Chapter Text

Dinner was freaking boring. At least, it was until Mr. Dreemur turned his attention to the kids. Specifically, the tiny skeletons. 

“You five really are quite a wonder,” his rumbly voice said. “Where did you come from?”

“THE FOREST!” Edge chirped. 

“The forest, hmm? And I hear you have special powers--”

“Daddy! You’re being scary!” Frisk hissed.

“She’s right, Gorey. You sound like you’re going to… hide those boys in the labs and experiment on them,” Mrs. Dreemur chittered. “Don’t worry, young ones. My husband is simply curious and has forgotten his manners.”

“They’re just the sweetest!” Frisk said happily. “Little bitty monsters. Bitties!”

“Excuse me?” Two spat, but Four covered his mouth.

Frisk giggled. “You’re always so funny.”

Red frowned. Always?

“And how are you doing Sans? Papyrus?” Mr. Dreemur continued. “Settling into your new home alright?”

Red felt Sans stiffen beside him, but he still answered, “yessir, we’re fine.”

“I understand you do Science Masters. How is that going?”

“real good,” Red answered so that Sans didn’t have to. “state’s next month.”

“Indeed? Are you boys ready?”

“yeah, we will be.”

“Wonderful! I could use you two brilliant scientists in my labs. Zaph, remind me to give you information about the young internship program…”

Red was glad when Mr. Dreemur’s attentions left them. He didn’t feel safe again until they got home again. He needed to unwind and it looked like Sans did, too. “i got something to show ya,” he told Sans as they headed for bed. 

Chapter Text

It was the best place to see the stars.

“why’re we here?” Sans asked, staring up at the sky in awe.

“‘cause ya seemed freaked out at dinner and i’ve been meaning to show ya my star spot anyway.”

“your what?!” Sans snickered, even as he turned bright blue.

“that’s! not!”

“‘s fine, i know ya didn’t mean it like that.”

“guess we should workshop the name. not like i’ve ever brought anyone here before.”


Red shrugged. “yer... like my best friend. or whatever.”

He expected Sans to make fun of ‘im, but Sans didn’t. He just grinned and blushed and said, “yeah, well. you’re my best friend or whatever, too.”

The two of them settled in to watch the stars. After a bit, Red asked, “are ya scared of mr. dreemur?” Sans stiffened. Red pushed ahead. “‘... did he hurt ya? that night?”


“then why--”

“i don’t wanna owe him shit.”

Red swallowed hard. “oh.”

“ya know, me and paps weren’t the only kids there. at doc’s. that’s why they called ‘im the doctor; he took ‘bad kids’ outta the foster system to ‘fix ‘em.’” Sans shivered. “and i dunno what happened to the others. he wouldn’t tell me. just said not to worry about them.”

Red didn’t know what to say, but Sans didn’t seem to mind. They watched the stars together in silence for a bit before Sans whispered, “i don’t think i mind owing your dads. i think… we might be safe here.”

Red smiled.

Chapter Text

Frisk was a weird kid, Red decided. He’d spent all of eighth-grade babysitting between Science Masters practices. Sans was busy--he won a spot in the young interns program at CORE--and Wings was doing twice the work to graduate early. Red didn’t mind; Paps and Edge were easy to watch now that the ‘bitties’ were around. Two and Four kept ‘em from doing anything against the rules and One made sure they didn’t do anything dangerous.

Frisk came over most days. She, surprisingly, joined Edge and Pap’s class that school year, so she usually just walked home with ‘em. 

Frisk spending every day at their house meant that Red saw a whole heck of a lot more of her dad. He came to pick her up most nights. Red didn’t miss that Sans and Paps usually weren’t downstairs when he came and reappeared pretty quick after he left. 

It was weird that a guy like that could also love his kid.

Frisk wasn’t the only addition to Red’s life. In ninth-grade, a new kid moved into their class that year, another skeleton with neon blue eye lights named, very creatively, Blue. He was a nice enough guy (a little fake in Red’s opinion) and he slotted nicely into their friend group. It was all going good… until Red noticed the way Sans blushed when Blue complimented him. 

So he decided to do something about it when the winter dance came around that year.

Chapter Text

Red was too late.

That day at lunch, Blue casually asked Sans if he’d like to go to the dance with him. Sans spent the rest of the freaking day gushing about it. 

Sans looked incredible in his button down and slacks. Dad’d rolled his sleeves up to the elbows so Sans’d stop fiddling with them, taken a few pics of them, and wished them luck as they ‘ported out the door. 

They found Blue gossipping by the snack table. When Sans grinned and asked Blue for a dance, Red thought his soul might explode.

Then, Blue laughed .

Sans and Red were both frozen in surprise. Blue wiped his sockets and looked at Sans apologetically. “I’m sorry! It’s just… you know we’re not here together , right? You know I like Al!” He gestured to a buff lizard monster currently bench pressing his best friend. Blue’s sockets widened. “Wait! Did you think this was a date? Sans, I’m so--”

Sans didn’t hear the rest. He was gone.

Red rounded on Blue. “what the heck?” he growled.

“I didn’t know he thought it was a date!”

“i always thought you freaking sucked, blue! just... just leave sans alone!”

“Wait. Do you like him?”

Red sputtered angrily. “‘course not! but i’d never let ‘im think i was taking ‘im on a date like that!”

Except that time that he did… 

Red snarled to silence his own conscience and stepped into the void. He had an idea of where Sans might be going.

Chapter Text

It was the second dance that Red watched Sans ‘port away from in horror. Least it wasn’t Red’s fault this time. 

That… didn’t really make him feel better.

He found Sans curled up by a large rock at their star-gazing spot. He plopped down next to him and waited. Finally, Sans sighed. “it’s stupid.”


“it’s just… i thought blue liked me, ya know?” Sans laughed bitterly. “i have the worst luck with fucking dances.” He blushed at the memory. “i just feel like… i mean, no one ever… likes me.”

“i like ya.”

Sans gave him a scathing look. “yeah, thanks, but i don’t mean as friends, pal.”

Neither did Red, but he couldn’t force out the words. “want me to beat ‘im up?” he managed.

Sans laughed. “no. ‘s not his fault i’m…” he trailed off. “whatever.”


“thanks for tryin’. i guess… it’s fine. i’ll get over it.”

Red stared at Sans and tried to say something. Anything. But what could he say? Sans liked Blue now. Red… would just have to get over it, too.

“wanna head home?”

“nah. your dads aren’t expecting us for a few more hours. i don’t wanna explain why we’re early. you should go back to the dance. i’ll just… i’ll hang out here ‘til you’re done.”

“nah,” Red said easily, falling back into the grass. “rather just stay here with you.”


“the dance’d suck without ya there. now. ya learn any new constellations since we were last out here?”

Chapter Text


Red looked up at Papyrus, who stood over him while he laid on the floor studying for his engineering test the next day. “whaddya mean?”


“ok, less spy movies for you.”


“it wasn’t me, paps. really.”

“STOP LYING TO ME!” Papyrus was really screaming now. Tears shone on his cheekbones. “EVERYONE ALWAYS LIES TO ME! I KNOW THAT YOU HURT HIM AND IF YOU DON’T TELL ME I’LL… I’LL… I’LL BREAK ALL YOUR MODELS!”

Red, stunned by this uncharacteristic outburst, only manages a, “whoa. you... wanna talk about it?”


“i can’t, buddy. you’ll haveta ask sans.”

Papyrus didn’t say anything else, just gave a wordless screech and stomped away, stopping to throw one of Red’s books across the room before yelling back over his shoulder, “JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE AND LET HIM BE HAPPY!”

The kid disappeared upstairs, leaving Red to think on the floor. Maybe Paps was right. Maybe Red should just leave Sans alone and let him be happy. Be his friend, but let this little crush go. 

He heard footsteps and looked up at an angry Edge. “WHAT DID YOU DO TO PAPYRUS?!” Red groaned and shut his sockets. He just couldn’t catch a break.

Chapter Text

Sans and Blue’s relationship remained tense for a while after, but eventually, time dulled the hurt. Just like it had with Red. Blue and Al dated for a while, then broke up, then dated again and broke up again. Red developed a thing for a pretty fire elemental named Kyndle. She eventually broke up with him because he didn’t give her enough time. How could he? He had Science Masters (at the high school level now!) and Advanced Engineering (on Mr. Stretch’s recommendation!) and the puzzle fair, which was now a multi-school competition. 

He was busy.

Not as busy as Sans, though. Turns out, Sans wasn’t just smart. He was a genius like Wings. (Well, not like Wings . Sans wasn’t a jerkwad.) Their Freshman year, he began taking college-level science and math classes. 

Red and Sans still ‘ported to the elementary school to pick up Edge and Paps after school (along with the bitties, who joined their class that year). One afternoon, Paps wasn’t outside with the others. “MRS. BUNDIE SAYS THAT PAPYRUS HAS TO STAY UNTIL SHE TALKS TO POPS OR DAD,” Edge reported.

“what? why?” Sans demanded.


Sans groaned and he and Red went inside. They found Paps sitting in the office, arms crossed and magic drying on his face.

“what happened?”

“I HATE IT HERE! AND I HATE YOU!” he yelled, pointing at Sans.

“maybe we better call dad,” Red suggested.

“... yeah, i guess.”

Chapter Text

“please tell me what’s going on,” Sans begged Papyrus.


“i’m your bro! you can tell me anything!”


Sans looked like he was about to cry himself. “lemme try,” Red said. “go check on the others, yeah?”

Sans gave him a pained look, but eventually did what Red said. When he was gone, Red sat by Papyrus. 




“ok. well, i don’t hate you.”

Dad and Pops eventually arrived and joined the principal in her office. They didn’t say a word until they got home, where they sat Paps and Sans down at the table to talk. Red hovered at the edge of the kitchen listening in.

“Paps, Mrs. Bundie’s worried aboutcha.”


A beat, then Dad continued, “We think it’d be a good idea to getcha someone to talk to. Both of ya. You’ve been through a whole lot more than most kids your age.”

“like a shrink?”

“We really think it will help,” Pops said.


Papyrus stomped out of the kitchen, upstairs, and slammed his bedroom door.

Sans ended up bunking with Red that night. “what do i do?” Sans whispered. “i dunno even what’s wrong.”

“dunno why you think i’n help. i suck at feelings.”

“heh. ya think he’ll be ok?”

“definitely. and if he ain’t, we’ll fix it.”


“... promise.”

Chapter Text

The first time they went to therapy, Pops had to carry a kicking and screaming Papyrus. The therapist--a nice-looking platypus monster--insisted that was pretty normal. Eventually, Papyrus stopped fighting about going.

Papyrus’s troubles at school seemed to even out. He stopped getting kicked outta class every day, but his grades stayed low enough that he got assigned summer school. Finally, Sans lost his temper at his little brother. “what the hell’s wrong with ya, paps?!”




“who says so?” Red growled.

“... Everyone.”

“ya ain’t dumb, paps,” Sans said. 






Sans’s eye lights quivered. “buddy, what brought this on?”


“wait, who’s tem?”


“well, if he thinks you’re dumb, then he’s a real idiot. you’re plenty smart, bro, but i’m not gonna leave ya. no one is.”


That was news to Red. They just finished Freshman year and Sans had college applications? 

“ok, but i’m still not gonna leave ya, bud.”


“i’ll just have to prove it to ya.”

Chapter Text

Sans cut back on his schedule the next school year. He dropped his internship at CORE. Sans didn’t mention college anymore or spend his free time looking at college websites. Red was worried. He didn’t want Sans to leave, but… Sans was always on about becoming a scientist. He couldn’t do that if he just hung out with a loser like Red all the time.

Blue… wasn’t helping with things. He and Al were off again and he had his socket on Sans. He flirted until Sans blushed blue, then ignored Sans for days. He dropped by after school but only talked about himself and got Sans to “help” with his homework.

“Oh Sansy, I wish you were in our normal science class,” Blue cooed one day. “It would be so much more fun! And we could spend more time together!” 

Sans muttered something about college and Blue outright laughed . “Sansy, I knew you were a nerd, but college?! Why? Your family’s rich!” Then, he said the worst possible thing. “Are you worried they won’t keep you after you graduate? Is that why you’re so worried about college?”

“shut up,” Red snarled. “sans can live here forever if he wants!”

Blue shrugged. “Everyone says that, but then things change. You hear about that all the time!”

“i’ll kill ya!”

Red lunged across the table and tackled Blue. Blue screamed and, before Red knew it, Sans was dragging him upstairs and while Tubes healed a huge gash on Blue’s skull.

Chapter Text

“you need to chill out, dude,” Sans hissed.

“me?! you heard what he said!”

“he didn’t mean--”

“no! he’s doin’ it on purpose!”

“no, he isn’t. i can have friends besides you, red.”

“not blue!”

“you can’t tell me who to be friends with!”

“he sucks!”

“you suck!”

Sans stomped out of the room and Red threw one of his pillows at the wall hard as he could. Stupid freaking Blue! And Sans defended him! Red punched the pillow for good measure.

A while later, his door creaked open and Edge, Paps, and Frisk came in, each holding a little notepad. “whaddya want?” Red asked.

“WE’RE HERE TO THERAPY YOU!” Edge declared happily.


Red rolled his eye lights. “i don’t need therapy-ed. leave me alone.”

Edge and Papyrus exchanged a look and wrote something on their notepads. “HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL THAT SANS HAS A CRUSH ON BLUE?” Edge demanded.


“why would i care who sans has a crush on?”


“do not!”

“DENIAL!” the kids said in unison.

“what the heck your therapist been teaching you?”





Well, crap.

Chapter Text

Red teleported into the hall, but the hellions were already in Sans’s room. "get out here right now!" Red hollered. 

"--GROUP SESSION TO TALK ABOUT YOUR SECRET FEELINGS!" Paps was saying when Red arrived.

"paps, no--"


“You guys are cute together,” Frisk added with an evil grin.


"yeah, blue sucks," Three said, and oh great, the bitties were in here, too, all sprawled around Sans’s bed. Fan-freaking-tastic.

"blue's fine," Sans hissed, "and you two don't get to use therapy as an excuse to pick on him! drop it!"


"i said drop it!"

And with that, Sans vanished. 


One cackled and Frisk scolded him while snickering herself.

Red left them to their laughter and went in search of Sans. Eventually, he found him out by the small lake behind the house. Sans wouldn’t look at Red when he approached. “can we pretend that never happened?” 

“sure,” Red said, feeling anything but. “wanna get some ‘za?”

“yeah, ok. thanks.”

Chapter Text

“Ya wanna explain why Blue’s ma called me upset, sayin’ her boy got beat up by mine?”

Red groaned. “not really.”

“Sorry, I phrased that like a question. I meant: what the heck, Red?” Dad pushed Red’s legs out of the way so he could sit beside him on the bed. “Ya know better’n that.”

“he just! he keeps tryna get sans to drop outta the smart classes! and he said the only reason sans wants to go to college is ‘cause he’s afraid you’d kick ‘im out when he graduates.”

“You know we’d never do that, right?”

“that’s what i told ‘im, but he wouldn’t stop!”

Dad sighed. “Alright, I get it, but violence ain’t gonna fly in this house.”

“‘m sorry.”

“You’re on dish duty for a month.”


“And son? It’s ok to be jealous, but it s’not ok to act on it.”

Red blushed. “‘m not--”

“Not sayin’ ya are. Just sayin’ I’d understand if ya were.”

“... ok.”

“Ya know, your Pops had a girlfriend when we met?”


“Yeah, a cute little dog monster. I was hotter’n a summer wildfire, but more’n anything I wanted him to be happy, ya know?”

“.... yeah.”

Dad leaned a little closer, a wry grin on his face. “But if she’d been bad for ‘im? Dragging him down? I’dda fought ‘er too.” He pressed a hot kiss to Red’s forehead, pulling back before Red could flail in horror. “Keep takin’ care of Sans, yeah?”

“... i will. i promise.”

Chapter Text

Life continued until it was nearly Gyftmas again. One afternoon while Wings was home for the holidays, Dad drug everyone downtown to look at an abandoned storefront. 

“why’re we here?” Red grumbled.

“I gotta big announcement!” Dad said. He smiled huge and held up a piece of paper. “This here’s the deed to this place! Your Pops and I bought it!”

“WHY?” Edge asked. 

“We’re gonna make it into our very own restaurant!” Dad said excitedly. “It’s what I always wanted and now--”

“I HATE IT!” Papyrus yelled. Everyone stilled and looked at him.



Sans put a soothing hand on Papyrus’s back. “hey, calm down. you’re lashing out.” Papyrus stiffened. “it reminds me of the store, too, but it isn’t. they’re gonna make it real nice. it’ll be a cool restaurant and it won’t remind ya of me... crumbling... anymore.”

Oh. The Gasters all looked around awkwardly. Eventually, Papyrus said, “I’m Sorry, Dad.”

“It's ok, buddy. But... when did you start calling me Dad?”

Papyrus paled. “Is It Okay?"

“More than ok! Come on; let’s get outta here. We’ll bring ya back when it’s all set up, ok?”

As Dad carried Paps off, Red pulled on Sans’s sleeve. “hey, ya ok?”

“... yeah. 's just weird to hear him say 'dad'. didn’t know he was callin’ him that.”

“been doing it a while. you could too. if ya wanted.”

“... maybe. it’s, uh, complicated.”

“s’ok. he’s not goin’ anywhere.”

Sans grinned. “yeah. guess he’s not.”

Chapter Text

The restaurant was an overnight success. Dad had live performances most nights, and Sans MCed those. He was darn good at it. There was a milkshake counter that Red was pretty good at running. Dad paid ‘im for it and it was kinda nice to have something to do besides homework.

The only downside was that it made him a captive audience for his least favorite person in the universe. 

Blue came in every day while Sans and Red worked. Sans wandered over during his breaks to talk to him.

It pissed Red right off. 

But… Sans seemed happy. So Red determinedly ignored the playful touches and the way Sans blushed bright blue. 

‘Course… not everyone ignored it. Paps and Edge were vocal about their dislike of Blue and the bitties pulled pranks constantly. The third time the salt shaker lid fell into Blue’s fries, Blue burst into tears.

“I don’t understand why you’re so mean !” he wailed. 

“aw, it’s just a joke baby blue,” One giggled.

“I am not a baby !”

“THAT’S WHAT BABIES SAY,” Edge said helpfully. 

Red couldn’t help but snicker as Blue ran off, but the smirk was wiped off his face when Sans stomped up to the counter. “stop picking on blue!”

“come on! we’re not picking on him!”

“pranks every day is a little much and he doesn’t like it!”


Sans stomped off, out the door and after Blue. The restaurant immediately felt colder without him.

Chapter Text

Pops MCed the rest of the show, then took over the milkshakes. “Go check on him,” he ordered.

Red found Sans at the park on the swings. 

Red sat down beside him. “listen--”

“you’re treating him like everyone treated me when i was the new kid.”

“no, you didn’t suck. he sucks.”

“why? it’s cause he actually likes me, right? ya don’t want me to have anyone else. i’m just some… project that you use to make yourself feel better and you can’t stand that someone actually likes me!”

Red should’ve felt bad, but instead he was just mad. “the hell are you on about? you’re my best friend! and... he’s not the only one who likes you…”

“we’ve been over this! i don’t mean as a friend!”

“me neither!”

The confession hung between them for a moment, both their eye lights quivering. “what?” Sans finally managed.

“i’ve always liked ya.”

Sans snorted. “that why ya told everyone at the dance ya didn’t like me?”

“dude. we were in sixth-grade.”

“nope. well, yeah, but i meant the one with blue. heard all about it monday. fucking sucked.”

Red… completely forgot about that. At the time, he was just screaming at Blue. He didn’t think… Yeah, he didn’t think. “didn’t mean that.”


“i didn’t!”

“i don’t think you mean it now,” Sans growled. “ya only seem interested when i’ve got someone else looking. just... leave blue alone and stop trying to string me along.”


But he was already gone.

Chapter Text

Blue blatantly avoided Red after that. It shoulda been nice, not having to deal with his nutzo crap, but Sans was still upset, too. There was a cool distance between them, the kind Sans always put up when he was trying to heal wounds.

Red hated that he’d caused enough of those wounds to know that’s what Sans was doing.

One night, Sans had some sorta science thing at CORE he was going to, so Red worked alone. Frisk wandered in, plopped down at the counter, and ordered a strawberry milkshake. 

“So you pissed Sans off. Again.”

“‘m not looking for a shrink, kid.”

“Listen. It’s going to take a lot to convince him you mean it, but if you keep going, eventually he’ll believe you. But you have to actually put in the effort. Like, a lot of effort.”

Red stared at the gangly fifth-grader. “and ‘m supposed to believe that a little kid’s suddenly a love expert?”

Frisk laughed. “Nah, but I know the two of you really well.”


“Have you tried actually asking him on a date?” she pressed.


“I heard the zoo has a cool exhibit right now. Oh! And there’s a really cute park by there. The two of you could have a picnic and watch the ducks.”

That… actually sounded pretty cool. Red narrowed his sockets at Frisk. “what makes ya think he’ll say yes?”

“He likes you. He’s just scared to trust you.”

Red sighed. It… might be worth a shot.

Chapter Text

“Why are you so… smiley?” Two demanded when Sans got home that night.

“that’s just my face.”


Sans blushed. “um... sure.”


“Boys, leave Sans alone.”

Dinner proceeded in relative peace, until the end of the meal when Sans muttered, “uh, mr. gaster? i, uh, was wondering if it’d be ok if i went to the mall saturday?”

Dad flickered a suspicious green. “Why’s that?”

“blue asked me if i wanted to go to a movie.”


“CAN I COME?” Papyrus asked.

“no, bud, it’s not that kinda mall trip.”


“He is going on a date,” Two said, “with the blueberry.”

“ya know ya look like a blueberry, right?” Three asked.

“Shut up, cretin!”

“a cute lil blueberry,” Three cooed.

“I will use your dust to fertilize the garden!”

“Boys! That is enough!”

A few nights later, Red waited for Sans to get back from his… date. He heard footsteps on the roof and ‘ported up there to find Sans sitting with his head on his knees.


“leave me alone.”

“what happened?”

“nothing. i’m fine!”

Red held up his hands placatingly. “ok. sorry.” He sat down by Sans. Eventually, Sans uncurled. 

“i don’t wanna talk about it.”

“ok. hey, wanna tell me the constellations again?”

Sans paused, then smiled. “yeah, ok.”

Red wasn’t distracted enough by the constellations to miss how Sans pressed closer to his side.

Chapter Text

After The Mall Incident, Blue became less of a staple in Sans’s life. Red worried about what happened, but he wasn’t sorry that Blue wasn’t around anymore.

‘Course, that was too good to last.

A few weeks into their junior year, Sans and Red were eating lunch with Alphys and Undyne. 

“Like, is it true?”

Red and Sans both turned to see Catti standing behind them. 

“what?” Red asked.

“That Sans and Blue… did it!”

“... it?”

Catti giggled and made a crude hand gesture. “Everyone’s talking about it! You two, the mall last summer…?”

Red stared at Sans and thought back to that night--Sans curled up on the roof, hiding his face, clearly upset… He never told Red what happened that night. 

Holy crap.

“What?!” Catti squealed. “OMG! Like, it’s true!”

Red… said that out loud. Crap.

Sans shoved his lunch away and stomped away. 


“what the hell, red?!”

“but... but is it true?”

Sans spun on his heel and stared at Red. “what?”

“you were so upset that night--”

“is it true?” Red shrank back from Sans’s black eye sockets and shaking fists. “of fucking course it’s not true! you really think…? i would have told you!”

“oh yeah, you’re so forthcoming--”

“oh, that’s rich, coming from you!”

“Oh my god, they’re fighting about it!”

Red looked over to see… half their class staring at them. Crap . And right at the front was Blue, sockets filling with tears. When he turned back around, Sans was gone.

Well, crap.

Chapter Text

Things… didn’t get better. Everyone was talking about it. Sans wouldn’t say anything.

A week after, Mr. Stretch asked to see them. Sans… didn’t go. Red did, though. 

“red! it’s good to see you!”

“‘sup, teach?”

“i wanted to ask if you and sans would like to help with science masters this year. i could use some extra hands.”

“yeah! that’d be great!”

“where’s sans?”

Red spilled what happened.

“red, that kind of bullying ain’t ok. it needs to be dealt with.”

Red shrank a little. “sans doesn’t wanna say nothing.” … Probably . Not like Sans was really speaking to him. Or anyone.

Mr. Stretch sighed. “sans doesn’t always make the best decisions for himself. would it be easier for you if i talked to your teachers about it?”

Red hung his head. “i dunno. it’s just… he’s so mad at me.” His voice was low. “i keep screwing up and he just gets more and more hurt...”

“do you apologize to him?”

“...yeah.” Usually.

“sans has a lot of reasons not to trust others. my advice? start actually treating him how you feel. make your actions match your words and feelings.”


“it’s scary to put yourself out there. but if you really want sans to know that you care? i think your actions are gonna have to match up.”

That… was what Frisk said, too, basically. And Dad. And Wings. And Pops. And Edge and Paps.

Maybe it was time for Red to actually listen.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Fleas! Can skeletons get pregnant? That why you’re so moody lately?”

Red was ready to take everyone’s freaking advice. “hey, dickface!” 

The tiger monster, a senior, snarled, “What’d ya say to me?”

“i said yer just jealous that we’re gettin’ more tail than you!” The tiger’s claws shot out and he growled. “can’t get it up? that’s fine; it happens to a lotta guys. i mean, not me, but--”

Red dodged when the tiger swiped at his face. Miss. 

“wow, ya suck! no wonder ya feel like ya gotta make fun of other people!”

Miss. Miss.


The tiger’s claws raked across Red’s face, crossing over the old scar from Flowey, and Red was flying through the air. He braced to hit the wall. Maybe if he did Sans would finally believe him. 

It’d be worth it.

He didn’t hit the wall, though. Something grabbed his soul and he hovered a few inches above the ground.

Sans saved him.

“you just made a mistake,” Sans growled. 

“sans, lessgo,” Red yelled.

Sans glanced over at Red, then pulled him into the void with him. The two of them staggered out and Red realized they were at their stargazing spot. 

“lemme see,” Sans demanded. “what were ya thinking, fighting with that guy? he’s the size of a truck!”

Red grinned. “sick of people messing with my best friend.”


“and the dude i like.”

Sans blinked at him, then a small smile ghosted across his face. 

Yeah… totally worth it.

Chapter Text

The scratches got their dads involved. They weren’t happy that Sans was getting bullied and no one told them. Again. 

Sans stopped avoiding Red. He sat a little closer to Red on the couch when they played video games. He casually touched Red’s arm when he asked a question and bumped shoulders when they walked together. His whole attitude changed, really. It wasn’t like Sans started baring his soul to Red or anything, but he seemed less guarded. More trusting. Happier.

Red really, really liked it.

Over the next few weeks, Red thought more about Mr. Stretch’s advice. “Make your actions match your words and feelings.” Red was sick of Sans shutting himself off, but didn’t he do the same thing? He was always distancing himself from other people and stuff he liked to keep from getting hurt or failing, but he was happiest when he just… let his actions match his feelings.

So… he decided to try. He made himself admit he liked it when Wings called home. He asked Dad if they could cook together and got Pops to build some models with him. He hung out with his younger bros without pitching a fit. He actually pushed himself in his classes instead of coasting and when the guidance counselor handed out fliers about a college fair, he didn’t immediately throw it in the garbage. 

It was hard, and he screwed it up all the time, but… he was happier. Way happier.

Chapter Text

Soon, it was time for Science Masters season. Since Edge and Paps were in 6th-grade now, Red just sorta assumed they’d both do Science Masters. At least, he did until the night before their first practice.

“whaddya mean ya don’t wanna do it?” Sans asked, frowning at Papyrus.


“but... edge is doing it. and so’s two and four, right?”


“ok... but i’m gonna be helping with it.”


“i’m not tryna make ya! i just wanna understand! can ya slow down and communicate with me, please?”

Papyrus looked away and twisted his fingers. “Okay. I… Don’t Like Science. I Know It Will Make You Mad Because Everyone Else Loves It, But I Don’t Like It! It’s Dumb! And I Don’t Get It!” The rest came out in a rush. “I DON’T EVEN QUALIFY FOR THE TEAM! I HAVE A D IN IT!”

“... you have a d in science?”


“whoa! you are not stupid! but why didn’t ya tell me? i coulda helped!”

Papyrus shuffled his feet and looked miserable. “I Didn’t Want To Disappoint You. I Don’t Want You To Think I’m Dumb!”

“paps, i know you’re not dumb, and science has nothing to do with that. ya don’t gotta do anything ya don’t want to, but can i please help ya get your grade up?”

Papyrus nodded as Sans hugged him. “I’d… I’d Like That.”

Chapter Text

Helping with middle school Science Masters rocked. Mr. Stretch treated Red like an assistant coach. Sans helped the kids study and do lab stuff; Red helped with team management and building events.

It was fun and gave them time to chat.

"whaddya wanna do after graduation?" Mr. Stretch asked one day. 

Sans shrugged. "dunno."

"i thought you wanted to be a biologist."

"... i'd have to go pretty far away for that…"

"what about summit university? 's only a half hour away."

"it's a good school but…" Sans kinda turtled into his hoodie. "'s expensive."

Which is how Red discovered that Sans was worried about money for college. 

On the way home that night, he gently asked, "hey you know we're loaded right?"

"i don't expect your dads to pay for me and paps to go to college. they’ve done so much for us already.”

Surely it was just a coincidence that not a week later Pops talked to all the boys (including the bitties) about the college funds that they had set aside for each of them. "I know you boys are starting to think about graduation," he said, "and I want you to know that we have plenty saved up for each of you to pay for whatever you want to do. Just find what you want to do with your lives and let us worry about the money."

Papyrus didn't take it well, but Sans left the little family meeting with shining eye lights.

Chapter Text

"if i were to miss competition for any reason, now ya'd know what to do," Mr. Stretch said with a tired smile during another chat.

Red looked back at the binder explaining every detail of what the coach did. "why're ya telling me?"

"always good to have a back up."

Red should've known that was a freaking lie .

Two days before competition, Dad and Pops met Red and Sans at the doors of the middle school. "what's wrong?" Red asked.

"It's Mr. Stretch," Pops said gently. Too gently. "He won't be able to go to regionals."

"why not?!" 

Sans didn't say anything. He was shaking.

"He is in the hospital."

Dad pulled them both into a hug. "He’s got bone cancer."

Bone cancer. For a skeleton, that was a death sentence. You might survive for a while, but...

"so he's gonna die," Sans muttered.

"Right now he's just getting treatment," Pops said. "He wants you two to run the team. Mr. Seam will be your chaperone, but he says you know what you're doing."

"We'll be there too," Dad added.

That night, Wings called. "You okay, little brother?”

"it’s stupid to be so upset."

"It's not. He's important to you."

"... i don't want ‘im to die."

"I'm sorry, Red. You… you know you can talk to me? Right?"

"y-yeah. uh, how's college?"

Wings seemed to understand that he was desperate for a subject change and went with it. The two ended up talking for over an hour.

It… helped.

Chapter Text

Red thought being onstage himself was a thrill, but it was nothing compared to seeing the middle schoolers get medals up there. Every single kid on the team got at least one. When Edge’s name got called, he didn’t just do his little half-smile like normal. Nah, the kid was full on beaming. 

The hamster monster, the one Red helped with the puzzle fair his first year, proudly showed him each of her medals. Her parents weren’t there, so he high fived her.

That was when it clicked.

Red had never wanted to be anything when he grew up. As a kid, he figured he wasn’t smart enough to be anything but some sorta minimum wage crap he hated. He figured he’d just work but not love it or nothing. Not everyone can be his dads or Wings.

But… he was good at this. Mr. Stretch said so himself. And the feeling of seeing kids succeed? That huge smile on Edge’s face? Getting to explain how to fix their projects or teaching ‘em new stuff? That was awesome , even cooler than doing it himself.

“hey, sans,” he whispered over the clapping crowd.


“i think… i think i wanna be a science teacher.”

Red didn’t know what he expected, but it wasn’t for Sans to grin at him and say, “you would be amazing at that.”


“duh.” Sans shifted shyly. “i’m, uh, really impressed with ya, ya know?”

Red sank into his hoodie, blushing like mad.

Chapter Text

“heya, mr. stretch. how’re ya feeling?”

Red set the team’s first place trophy down on that weird little table that hospital rooms tend to have. He tried really hard not to see the dark circles under his teacher’s sockets.

“better, thanks,” he said. “sit down! tell me all about competition!”

So Red sat and talked. He told Mr. Stretch about everything… including his revelation that he wanted to be a teacher. He was a little nervous about it; what if Mr. Stretch didn’t think he could do it? Sure, years ago he said Red’d be good at it and put him in charge of the team this year, but...

He shouldn’ta worried. Mr. Stretch beamed at him. “that’s awesome, red! you’ll be incredible!”

“ya think so?”

“i have absolutely no doubt.” Mr. Stretch adjusted himself against the pillows. “so you’ll be done with school in… five years?”

“yeah, i guess. why?”

“that’s how long i gotta hold on before i stop teachin’.”

“what? why?”

Mr. Stretch smirked. “‘cause i want ya to have a good job when ya graduate.”

“y-your job?!”



“there’s no one i’d rather give it to.”

Telling Dad and Pops was less scary after Sans and Mr. Stretch. They both seemed thrilled. Pops immediately did a crap ton of research and flooded Red with college info. Dad tried to keep Pops under control while making sure Red knew that they’d support whatever he decided to do.

And Red? He started filling out college applications.

Chapter Text

Before Red knew it, it was spring and he was 150% focused on college crap--extracurriculars, grades, what classes to take his senior year... He even got the idea to petition the administration to let him use one of his free class periods to go to the middle school to job shadow Mr. Stretch, who was out of the hospital and back at work. 

Being distracted was the only excuse he had for his misstep when Sans popped into his room to ask him a question one night.

“hey, ya know junior prom, right?”

He did. The dance was a big deal. Pretty much everyone went to prom, but Red hadn’t even really thought anything about it.

“well... ya wanna go?”


His answer hung in the air for a minute before Sans repeated, “nope?”

“nah, sounds boring. ‘sides, i got better stuff to do.”

“o-oh. ok.”

Two weeks later, Sans knocked on Red’s door again. “sup?” Red asked.

“hey, uh, i just wanted to tell ya…” Sans shuffled his feet and looked nervous. “i’m, uh, gonna gotopromwithal.”

Red blinked. “al? why?” 

Sans shrugged. “not my first choice, but he asked me today. might be fun.”

Red felt jealousy coil around his soul. “why the hell’d ya say yes to ‘im?”

“because no one else wanted to go with me?”


“i’m not asking your permission; i’m just telling you.”

“fine then.”


Sans slammed the door on the way out.

Chapter Text

Sans looked amazing in his tux. He and Al were supposed to meet at the restaurant and, of course, Red was working the milkshake counter that night.

Al showed up ten minutes late, but Sans’s smile was forgiving. The two of them climbed into a booth and ordered.

The door of the restaurant opened. It was Blue, wearing jeans and a leather jacket. He looked around, then made a beeline for Sans and Al’s table.

“Blue?” Al gaped.

“I couldn’t just let you go without saying something.”

“sayin’ what?” Sans growled. “after everything you did--”

Blue sighed. “I didn’t mean for all of that to happen and you know it.”

“how would i know? not like ya ever talked to me again!”

“I’m not here for you anyway,” Blue shot back. “Al, I’m so sorry about everything. I used Sans to make you jealous and now you’re doing the same thing and… I love you, Al.”

“You… love me?”

“Listen, I finally got my bike. Come ride with me. We can go to the city for the weekend, go exploring--”

Sans didn’t say anything as Al jumped out of the booth and into Blue’s arms, planting a passionate kiss on his teeth. They threaded their fingers together and dashed out of the restaurant without even looking back at Sans.

Red darted out from behind the counter and over to Sans’s booth. He froze when he saw that Sans was crying. “sans?”

“well, ain’t that a bitch,” Sans muttered eventually.

Chapter Text

“we’re gettin’ outta here.”

Sans shrugged. “don’t worry ‘bout it. you got work to do.”

“dad’ll get someone else to cover.”

The two of them stepped out of the void and into a living room. 

“where--” Sans began, but was interrupted


Sans blinked at Dyna, who was wearing a skin tight blue dress with a slit that left little to the imagination. Alphys appeared, too, wearing a fluffy dress with flowers on it and holding some fruity drink. “You guys made it!” 

“figured we’d go to alphys and dyna’s anti-prom party,” Red muttered. “that ok?”

“... yeah. thanks.”

Three hours later, Sans was super drunk. Red stayed sober because (1) he had to ‘port home and (2) he didn’t wanna know what Pops’d do if he came home sloshed. Red tried to get Sans to slow down, but he seemed intent on not remembering anything.

Red grinned at him as Sans flopped onto the couch beside him. “heeeeey,” Sans slurred.


“ya rescued me,” Sans said.

Red blushed. “‘s no big deal.”

“yer always rescuin’ me.”

“nah, it’s--” Red was cut off by Sans climbing into his lap. “sans, what’re--”

Red strangled to a stop when Sans leaned forward and kissed him. In a blind panic, Red shoved him back. Sans hit the floor and blinked up at Red in confusion. 

“what the fuck , sans?!”

“oh,” Sans said. “‘m sorry. ‘m real sorry.”


Sans disappeared.

Well, fuck.

Chapter Text

Finding a drunk, teleporting Sans turned out to be a real chore. He looked everywhere he could think of--their house, the treehouse, their star spot--with no luck. Finally, in desperation, he ‘ported into the closed restaurant.

That’s where he found Sans, curled up in the same booth from earlier.

“come on, sansy. lessgo home.”

“leave me alone,” Sans sniffled.


“what do you want?” Sans snarled. “you just keep…! and it makes me think… then you push me away! again! so, red, what the hell do you want from me?” Before Red could answer, Sans kept talking. “i can’t keep doin’ this. just... tell me ya don’t want me, ok? so i can stop.”

Red scrubbed a palm down his face. “of course i want ya, ya moron.”

Sans blinked at him in confusion. “what?”

Red nudged Sans over so he could climb into the booth next to him. “of course i want ya. but... you’re drunk and emotional tonight. i don’t want ya to regret nothing.”

“you... like-like me?”

“always have,” Red confirmed. “been tryna tell ya for years. i just suck.”

“you mean it? don’t... don’t if you don’t mean it.”

“i super, duper mean it.” Red tugged Sans so that he was snuggled against him, his body tingling everywhere that Sans was touching him. “go on a date with me. lemme prove it. just... not when you’re drunk and sad.”

“you’re a really good guy.”

“‘m a moron. so... will ya go out wit’ me?”

“... yes please.”

Chapter Text

Red hated to admit it, but Frisk was surprisingly good at planning dates. The weekend after prom, he and Sans went to the zoo. Sans retrieved a map and took it upon himself to map out all of the attractions that the two of them needed to see, then grabbed Red’s hand and tugged him off to look at the polar bears.

Sans’s enthusiasm was a rare treat. He excitedly rattled off all kinds of facts about the animals. Red just kept holding his hand and supplied him with nice cream while they wandered around.

When they had their fill of the zoo, the two of them wandered to the park to feed the ducks. Red produced a bag of frozen peas that he jacked from the freezer before they left and let Sans tell him all about ducklings while they tossed peas into the water.

As darkness fell, the two of them ‘ported to their stargazing spot.

“this’s nice,” Sans said, leaning back on his elbows. 

“it is,” Red agreed with a grin.


“yeah, obviously.”

Sans glanced over at Red. “so… we’ve done a date. ‘m not drunk or sad.”

“i think i woulda noticed if ya were.”

“do you still want to do this? the dating thing? s’ok if not, just tell--”

“shut up, idiot,” Red growled. “yeah, i wanna keep doing the dating thing.”


“yeah. right until i marry ya.”

Sans blushed. Red grinned and pulled Sans in for their first real kiss.

Chapter Text

“We’re very happy for ya,” Dad said, “but we gotta talk rules.”


“There will be no hanky panky,” Pops said staunchly. “We know that you are both growing young men--”

“just kill me.”

“--but you are both far too young for such activities.”

“‘Sides, your brothers’re everywhere,” Dad added. “Imagine them walking in on your shenanigans .”

“We trust you two to make good choices until we have cause not to,” Pops concluded, “so please do not give us cause not to. You’ve both had sex education and understand the dangers, yes?”

“And how to be safe?”

“we aren’t gonna do nothing! whatever it takes to never have this conversation ever again!” Red whined. “how’d ya know we were datin’ anyways?” 

Pops smirked. “How else? Your brothers.”

“oooh, they’re dead!”

There was a scuffle at the top of the stairs and the booming voice of Papyrus ‘whispered’, “THEY’RE COMING! SCATTER!” followed by skittering feet.

Later that week, Wings called. “So you finally did it,” he teased.

“oh shut up.”

“I’m really very happy for you, little brother. Just… be careful with each other, okay? A lot of high school relationships end, and I don’t want--”

“this ain’t like that.”

“Everyone thinks--”

“i know, i know, wings. but i’m serious. i don’t think i’m gonna marry sans someday. i know i am.”

“... I hope so, Red. Unless he hurts you. Then, I’ll make his life mildly inconvenient for a very long time.”

Red snorted. “thanks, big bro .”

Chapter Text

Time flew. Sans and Red continued to date. Sometimes, they went out together, but mostly they just hung around home eating ‘za, playing video games, and working on college crap. From the outside, it looked like nothing changed. But from the inside? Everything was different. They could both feel it.

It was awesome .

Wings came home for Gyftmas with a huge smile and a bigger pile of documents. “I’ve been hired at CORE,” he explained excitedly. “They’re paying me an advance! I join the physics lab as soon as I graduate!”

Pops poured over the documents, but ultimately gave his approval. The whole family went out for a celebratory dinner, during which Wings couldn’t stop babbling his excitement. It wasn’t until late that night that Red was able to talk to him about it.

He ‘ported into Wings’s room and found his bro reading. “What is it?” Wings asked.

“uuh..” Red rubbed his neck. He wasn’t sure how to ask, but he had to. “that job  you’re takin’. is it gonna be like pops’s job? his real job, i mean?”

Wings blinked, then he smiled softly. “No. Things aren’t like that anymore. Haven’t you noticed how much nicer the city is for monsters? The monster mob is mostly disbanded.”

“really? so pops…”

“Is just a lawyer now.”

“and you’re not gonna be a mobster?”

Wings laughed. “I’d be a terrible mobster, Red. No, I’m  going to be a scientist. Really.”

Red nodded, fears satisfied, and ported back to his room.

Chapter Text

“wait. you got into summit, harvard, and yale? why’re ya so smart?!”

Red and Sans both had their schoolwork spread out on the kitchen table when Red found the acceptance letters in Sans’s binder.

Sans shrugged. “doesn’t matter. i’m going to summit.”

Red felt some selfish relief at that. Sans was smart enough to go anywhere, but Summit was close. 

Red himself hadn’t received any acceptance letters yet. It wasn’t a big deal yet, not with it only being January, but seeing all of Sans’s brochures made him feel antsy. What if he didn’t get in anywhere? Now that he had something he really wanted to do, he didn’t know what he’d do if he couldn’t do it.

“whasswrong?” Sans asked.


Sans raised a brow. “lemme guess. you’re worrying about college, even though you applied months later than me and i just got mine this week.”

“... yeah.”

Sans laughed and pressed a quick kiss to Red’s cheek. “you got in. i looked over your applications, remember?”

“EW STOP MAKING OUT!” Papyrus yelled as he barreled through the kitchen.

“we aren’t--”

“What’s this ‘bout makin’ out?” Dad asked, following Paps into the kitchen.

“hey, when we both go to summit, do you wanna get our own place over by campus?” Red asked.

He didn’t realize how big a question it was until Sans flushed blue and stared at him with huge eye lights.

He should’ve been second-guessing himself, but… This was Sans. There was nothing to worry about.

Chapter Text

Of course, Sans found crap to worry about.

“we can’t move in together!” Sans ranted as he paced.

“why not? lotsa people room together in college.”

“people’ll think we’re…” Sans trailed off and turned bright blue.

Red followed his train of thought and felt himself turn crimson. “well... s’not like i don’t wanna with you…”


Red caught Sans’s hands. “whaddya mean really? of course i wanna! why would ya think i didn’t?”


“i really like ya. i wanna…” Red blushed and looked away. “do you… not…? with me?”

“oh! i mean, yeah. i do. but... ‘m not ready? for that? yet?”

Red nodded. “s’ok. even if we got our own place next year, we don’t have to… we’ll get our own rooms, ya know?”

Sans met Red’s eye lights and Red didn’t like the tears in the corners of his sockets. “r-really?”

“sans, i wanna be with you even if you never wanna. i would never force ya to do somethin’ ya don’t wanna do. ya know that, right?” He was horrified to see a few tears escape Sans’s sockets. “whoa, don’t cry! ‘m sorry? for whatever i said?”

Sans shook his head. “no, i just… i... i guess i need to tell ya what happened with blue.”

Red blinked. “is it… related? to this? you said you didn’t…”

“i didn’t. just... let’s go to the stargazing spot, ok?”

Red nodded, numb and worried.

Chapter Text

“we were s’posed to catch a movie,” Sans began once Red ‘ported them to their favorite spot. He scooted away from Red. It made Red’s soul ache.

“he said he had a better idea,” Sans continued. “took me out back to this abandoned store. apparently upperclassmen used to smoke there?” He sniffled. “shoulda just called your dad to come get me but…”

Red forced himself to stay calm. His temper wouldn’t help Sans, but he had a sick feeling of where this was going and he didn’t like it. Not one bit.

“he, uh, kissed me,” Sans continued, “and that was ok, i guess, but he, uh…”

Red’s fists tightened.

“i mean, he didn’t get very far. i pushed ‘im off, but he tried. he…” Sans wiped his eyes again and Red couldn’t take it anymore.

“can i hold ya? please?”

Sans looked at him in disbelief. “you still want to?”

Red nodded, then nearly fell over when Sans bowled into him. He wrapped his arms around Sans and let him bury his face in his shoulder. “hey,” Red said softly, “ya don’t gotta tell me any more if ya don’t wanna.”

“but... you should know… it’s hard, the touching…”

Red jolted. “have i ever made ya feel like ya had to do anything with me?!”

“n-no! no.”

“you’ll tell me if i ever do, right?” Red leaned back to search Sans’s face. “i don’t wanna hurt ya, sans. not ever.”

Sans smiled at him and nodded. “i promise.”

Chapter Text

This was a bad idea.

Red leaned against a brick wall by the mall parking lot. Blue emerged, waved happily to a few coworkers, then bounced toward his car. As he pulled his keys from his pocket, Red grabbed his soul and slammed him into his car.

He recoiled from the feel of how slimy Blue’s soul was.

“heya blue,” he growled.


Red bounced him off the car. “shuddup.” He tried to channel Pops and leaned over the other skeleton. “i know what ya tried to do to sans.”


“shuddup! i ain’t here to listen to ya talk. ‘m here to tell ya that if ya ever come near ‘im ever again, i’ll…” He only hesitated a second. “i’ll kill ya.”

Blue’s sockets filled with tears. “I didn’t mean--”

“i don’t care! ya never talk to ‘im again. ya never look at ‘im, even. hear me?”

Blue nodded frantically. Red backed away, released Blue’s soul, then ‘ported. He sank to his knees at the stargazing spot and clutched his chest. He didn’t usually feel the LV he was born with, but right now it tore at his soul. He leaned over and puked. He’d never killed anyone, never even threatened anyone before now, why did it feel…?

For just a second, he saw blood and dust on his fingers. He screamed and crawled backward, but when he looked again, his hands were clean again.

He stayed there, shaking and crying and remembering , until Sans found him hours later.

Chapter Text

It took Red a few weeks to calm back down. The dreams lasted longer-- dust, Sans with mismatched eyes, torture, experiments-- but Sans snuck into Red’s room each night to wake him from the nightmares.

Sans was noticeably more comfortable around Red since their talk. Red hadn’t realized how worried Sans was that Red would reject him if he knew about what happened with Blue. He would never reject Sans. Red realized it one night when Sans gently shook him awake from a nightmare: he loved Sans.

Once the nightmares died down, the rest of senior year flew by. Red’s own acceptance letters came in and neither he nor Sans wasted any time on accepting their spots at Summit. The whole family toured the campus. Dad and Pops had everyone pick out a t-shirt from the college (Papyrus and Edge got matching pink ones and the bitties had to modify onesies) to support their brothers. Dad chose a bumper sticker for his van, which he proudly displayed next to the one for Wings’s school, and Pops added a coffee cup to his collection. For Sans and Red, they chose hoodies.

“It is a tradition,” Pops explained, “that when you choose which college you will attend, you select your commitment hoodie. It’s more expensive than a t-shirt, so it’s a bigger commitment.”

A frame for the picture of the whole family in their getup was the first thing that Red bought for the apartment he hoped to share with Sans the next year.

Chapter Text

“I Need To Talk To You.”

Red glanced up from his calculus homework to find Edge. “‘sup?”

Edge came inside and closed the door. “You Can’t Tell Anybody.”


Edge was in seventh-grade now and several inches taller than Red. Their dads could barely keep him and Paps clothed; it seemed like they grew an inch a week. He looked small now, though, with the way he was hunched over. “How Did You Know You Liked Sans?”

“uh... i always wanna be around ‘im. ya know?”

“No! That’s Why I’m Asking You!”

“ya think ya like someone?”

“Did You Always Want To Kiss Sans?”

“... kinda, yeah. tried at our sixth-grade dance. flowey sorta cockblocked it.”

Edge looked like he was gonna cry.

“what’s wrong? yer freaking me out.”

“P-Papyrus Asked Me To Go To The Dance. He Said He Thought He Liked Me.”

“oh. and ya don’t like him back?”

“I Don’t Want To Kiss Him!”

“ya don’t have to. s’ok.”

“What If He Wants To Kiss Me?!”

“then tell ‘im nicely ya don’t wanna do that.”

“But… What If He Doesn’t Want To Be My Friend Anymore?”

“he might get his feelings hurt for a while, but yer ‘is best friend. he’ll come around. i woulda if sans didn’t wanna smooch me.”



“... What If I Don’t Want To Kiss Anyone? Ever?”

“s’ok too. ya don’t gotta do nothing ya don’t wanna.”

“... Okay. If You Tell Anyone I’ll Light Your Homework On Fire.”

“fair ‘nough.”

Chapter Text

“so paps says him and edge are going to the dance as friends because edge doesn’t ‘want to smooch his handsome face’.”

Red looked at Sans to gauge his feelings. He didn’t look mad. “edge mentioned that. paps upset?”

Sans shrugged. “he said he wanted to try kissing but not if edge didn’t wanna.”

“so we’re old enough now that our baby bros’re trying to talk to us about boys.”


“speakin’ of dances…” Red fiddled with his pencil. “prom’s coming up.”

“absolutely not.”


Sans gave him a deadpan look. “we are not going to prom. i’ve never been to a single fucking dance that didn’t end in total disaster. and senior prom is, like, the ultimate dance. one of us’d probably die if we tried to go. no. let’s just stay home and eat ‘za.”

“that’s why we should go,” Red insisted. “ya deserve to have a good time!”

“i always have a good time with you.”

“come on, sans.”

“i really, really, really don’t wanna risk it.”

That’s how they found themselves together on the couch on prom night. They had the place to themselves and were enjoying a nice little makeout session. Eventually, Red pulled back and said, “i got somethin’ to show you.”

“still not ready to see your dick.”

“that’s not what i meant. get offa me.”

Sans climbed off him and Red held out his hand. Sans shrugged, then grinned and took it. Red pulled him into the void.

Chapter Text

They stepped out at their star spot. Sans looked around, taking in the changes Red made. There were lights strung around the trees, a small table with a punch bowl and crappy snacks, and a portable CD player. 

“ya said ya didn’t wanna go to the dance,” Red explained, “but i wantcha to have one i don’t ruin.”

“you didn’t ruin the first one,” Sans pointed out.

“me lying to everyone and sayin’ i didn’t like ya was a pretty crap move.”

“ok, yeah, that’s true.” He looked around and grinned. “come kiss me, idiot.”

Red did, happily. Then, he turned on the crappy dance music and pulled Sans into his arms. The two of them spent the evening swaying to the music, enjoying the snacks, and lightly making out. 

It was pretty great.

By the end of the night, Sans ended up curled against Red watching the stars with him. He held Red’s hand and played with Red’s phalanges while he let Red tell him the constellations for the billionth time. Eventually, he asked, “do you still wanna get our own place next year?”


“you didn’t even think about it.”

“don’t need to. i love you. a lot. i meant it when i said i wanted to marry ya one day.”

Sans stared at him. “you... love me?”


Sans continued staring.

“ya don’t gotta say it back or nothing--”

Sans cut him off with a kiss. “i love you too, red. i love you, too.”

Chapter Text

It took a little work to convince Pops that moving into their own place was a good idea, but Dad was on their side. “The boys’re responsible,” he’d argued, “and if they aren’t, we’ll just bring ‘em back home!”

Still, Pops made them sit through a lecture about skeleton pregnancy and set strict ground rules about maintaining their grades and class attendance and general responsibility. After that, they spent the last month of senior year touring apartments that Pops deemed acceptable. They settled on a two bedroom not far from their future campus. Apparently they had excellent security and Pops knew the guy who owned the company or some crap. Red didn’t really care so long as he got to live with Sans.

By the time graduation finally came, Red was more than ready for it. He posed for pictures with everyone--his bros, Sans, his parents, the bitties, Alphys and Undyne--and shook hands with the principal when he walked across stage. 

Mr. Stretch found him after the ceremony and shook his hand. He looked tired, but his smile was genuine when he said, “i’m proud of you boys! you’re both gonna be great!”

“thanks,” Sans murmured, blushing blue.

“four more years, right red?” Mr. Stretch said with a wink.

“nah, you’ll be around way longer’n that.”

“even if i am, i think four more years is just about the right amount of time to work before i retire. let me know if you two need anything, yeah?”


Chapter Text

Moving day involved more bodily fluids than Red expected.

First, there was the sweat. Why was it so dang hot?! Even with shortcuts, Red sweat through his tank top before they were even half done moving.

Then there were the tears. Edge full on cried when it came time to leave. Papyrus just stared stoically into the middle distance and refused to speak. Two was prickly and One was silent; Tubes didn’t seem to totally understand what was happening, while Three and Four seemed ok.

“they’re just movin’ across town,” Three said, perched on Paps’s shoulder.




“He’ll come ‘round,” Dad said. “Come home for dinner some and call ‘im. He’ll be fine.”

“maybe this’s a bad idea,” Sans fretted. He looked over at Red. “maybe we shouldn’t do this.”

Red didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t exactly jazzed about leaving Edge like this either, and Paps did seem real upset. Maybe--

“They’ll be fine,” Pops insisted. “Your brothers are upset now, but they would never forgive themselves if you backed off your dreams to make them comfortable. Just do like Dad said, yes?”

“We’ll leave ya to it,” Dad said. He pulled both the boys into a hug. “We love ya both. You call if ya need anything. No matter what it is.”

“we will. geez.”

Sans blushed shyly. “t-thanks, dad an' p-pops.”

And that’s when Dad and Pops both started crying, too.

Chapter Text

That first night in the new place was spent unpacking a couple boxes, then watching TV and eating ‘za. It was weird, the feeling that no one was gonna walk in and interrupt them. 

It was freaking Sans out.

He didn’t say nothing, but Red noticed him scooting further away on the couch until he was practically perched on the opposite arm. 

“sans,” Red said.

“yeah? ‘sup? everything ok?”

“you’re freaking out.”

“what? no, ‘m good. ‘m not freaking out. this’s fine. why wouldn’t i be fine?”

“ya seem great. what’s wrong?” Sans shifted like he did before he lied. “hey. ya’n tell me. i love ya.”

Sans sighed. "'m sorry."

"for what?"

"we live together now and i wanted to… you know… tonight and you’re prob'ly expecting it and everything but 'm just… i dunno if i’m ready and i don’t wanna let ya down and--"

"dude. calm down."

Sans’s jaw snapped shut, sockets wide like Red kicked him.

"i'm not expecting nothing. i told ya already that i won’t wanna push ya. if ya never decide to… i still love ya. we don't ever gotta hook up if ya don't wanna."

"you'll get bored." Sans's voice was small. 

"i will never be bored of you. ever ."

"ya can't say that for sure."

"yes, I can." 

A pause.

".... can we stay out here awhile?"

"sure, sansy. we'n do that."

The two of them ended up asleep on the couch, snuggled up together until morning. Red couldn’t be happier.

Chapter Text

Red and Sans slept on that couch every night that first week. Neither really wanted to go to their separate rooms and… well… who was gonna make ‘em?

School started the next week. Sans was off to his biochem smartypants classes and Red to the education building. He found his first class and settled in with the fresh notebook Sansy picked out for him and a few pens. The professor was a gray-feathered eagle monster with a gravelly voice.  "Education is a noble calling that few are destined for. Many believe that to be a teacher is a simple task, but it is perhaps the most important, most difficult of professions.” He looked around the room. “Less than a quarter of you will successfully graduate from this program.”

Red felt a stab of worry, followed by a wave of determination. Less than a quarter, huh? Well, then he’d be one of those chosen few. He was gonna be a teacher, no matter what this old bird had to say about it.

“Now, let us begin with the first great teacher of recorded history--”

Red’s hand hurt from taking notes by the end of the day and he had more books than the freaking library, but he couldn’t help but feel… excited. He learned he’d get to observe in a local school as part of one of his classes. In another, he’d be learning how to teach kids science and math. 

He was pretty sure he was gonna like college.

Chapter Text

College was hard. Teaching was hard. Red sighed as he packed up his papers and shortcut back to the apartment. He was ready for a night in with Sans after that long day. One of the students in the class he was observing had a bad day, which meant everyone had a bad day. He was exhausted.

He found Sans sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by homework, but he was on his phone. He looked miserable.

“‘s fine,” he said. “thanks for tellin’ me,” then hung up.

“who’s that?”

“... pops.”


“paps got in a fight at school.”


“i guess someone called ‘im a street rat.”

“like in aladdin?”

“... yeah.”

Red ground his teeth in irritation. Someone was picking on Papyrus just like they picked on Sans? It made ‘im wanna go fight a freaking 8th-grader. He looked Sans over, taking in the hunch of his shoulders and the way he fiddled with his phalanges. He was worried. Red shoved his own exhaustion aside and pulled Sans into a hug. “ya wanna go over for dinner tonight?”

Sans glanced around at his papers. “i got a ton of homework to do.”

“want me to go?”

Sans stared at him. Then, in a blink, he was kissing Red. After a jolt of surprise, Red leaned into it. “ya would, wouldn’t ya?” Sans asked after a few minutes.


“i love you.”

“you too.”

“we should both go to dinner.”

“ok. c’n i get another kiss first?”

“hell yeah.”

Chapter Text

Papyrus’s behavior didn’t improve as the semester went on. Weekly phone calls from the school principal became daily. Finally, he got suspended. 

“What were ya thinkin’, Paps?!” Dad demanded.


“papyrus!” Sans yelled.


And with that, Paps stormed out of the kitchen.

“These kinds of feelings are normal for adopted children,” Pops said. 

“lemme talk with him,” Red suggested, then made his way upstairs to Paps’s room when everyone reluctantly agreed.


“what’s goin’ on?”


“is it? thought they weren’t yer dads. that mean this ain’t yer house? what about edge? an’ the bitties?” Papyrus growled. “‘m not sure what yer problem is, but yer actin’ a fool. what happened?”


“i didn’t take ‘im, paps. he’s downstairs.”


“didn’t ya hear me? he’s downstairs. he’s always just a shortcut away. he calls ya every day and comes home every weekend. he’s not the one who’s pulling away, kid.” Papyrus crossed his arms and looked away. “ya know how much it breaks his heart when ya refuse to pick up? he loves ya so darn much. yer the one that decided ya didn’t want nothing to do with him.”

“He Left.”

“nah. you did, kiddo.”

Chapter Text

Red had the brilliant idea to take Paps to stay with them while he was suspended. The kid hated everything they did. By the third day, Red wanted to throw him into an active volcano. Surprisingly, Sans broke first: “what the hell?! do ya hate me that much now, that ya just want me outta yer life?!”


“what?! no!”


Sans looked like Papyrus buried a knife in his soul.


“i didn’t leave.”

“YES, YOU--”

“i didn’t. they took me away. to their lab.”


“they wanted to raise my hp,” Sans explained miserably, “and get rid of my lv. so they tried all sorts of shit. they thought maybe your marrow would help so… they extracted it and implanted it into me.” Papyrus looked so young, looking at Sans with those huge sockets. “i didn’t know then. i thought ya were too young to remember or i woulda explained sooner. ‘m sorry, paps. i’m so sorry.”

“You Didn’t Leave On Purpose?”


“They Hurt Me To Help You?”

“‘m sorry.”

Papyrus burst into tears and crawled into his arms. That night, they shared Sans’s room and Red took the couch, listening to the quiet murmur of their voices long into the night.

Chapter Text

Things didn’t get fixed right away. Paps didn’t magically get good grades and never get in trouble again, but his therapist and teachers reported that he was improving. Principal phone calls dwindled over the next few months and Paps slowly opened back up to his brothers and dads. He always answered when Sans called.

As their first ever finals approached, Red found himself sad to be leaving the class of middle schoolers he’d shadowed with. They’d been through a lot together. That last Friday, he left school with a bagful of goodbye notes from the kiddos and a few tears.

He ‘ported into the apartment and set his stuff down on the floor. He didn’t look up until Sans made a throat-clearing noise. “s’rry, long day,” he said, then froze at the sight.

Sans was dressed up nicely and leaning on the kitchen table, which was decked out with delicious-looking food and even a couple of candles. “heh. thought ya might like somethin’ nice after your last day at the school,” Sans said.

“yeah. definitely.”

Dinner was delightful. They hadn’t been on a date-date in a while, so this was… nice. Afterwards, they cleaned up together, then Sans caught Red’s hand. “i, uh, think i’m ready. if you want?”

Red dropped his fork and Sans snorted. It defused the tension. “you sure?” Red asked. “ya don’t gotta--”

“i know. but... i love you. i wanna.”

Red pulled Sans into a searing kiss before leading him to his bedroom.

Chapter Text

Time flew and, before they knew it, it was their senior year. Wings got a promotion; he became the youngest lead researcher in the history of CORE. Papyrus, Edge, and the bitties were seniors in high school. Neither Paps nor Edge had any interest in college; they both decided to join the workforce. They both got hired on at the local animal shelter where they’d been volunteering. Dad and Pops were so, so proud.

Over family dinner, Two spoke up. “We have been discussing it, and we would like to change our names.”

“Did you have names in mind?” Pops asked.

“Wait… You’re ok with it?” One asked.

“Obviously. It’s your name.”


“What is it, Papyrus?” Pops asked.


Dad and Pops pulled Papyrus into a hug and cried for the first time since they dropped Sans and Red off at their apartment.

By the time they graduated, the bitties each had a new name, chosen with care just for them: Uno for One (the lazy bastard), Norris for Two (after Chuck Norris, the strongest human he could find), Nightcrawler for Three (a teleporting superhero? Sign him UP!), and Finch (for Four’s favorite literary character, Atticus Finch). Tubes wanted to stay Tubes, and Papyrus was legally Papyrus Serif Gaster.

Chapter Text

“Mr. Gaster, please have a seat.” Red sank into the chair across from his advisor, a pink mouse monster with graying fur. Mx. Moose shuffled some papers and said, “Thank you for meeting with me on such short notice. I know that you are scheduled to begin your student teaching next week, but I have an emergency placement request I thought you might be interested in.”


“It’s at your alma mater, Ebbott Magnet. Their sixth-grade science teacher is experiencing health issues, so they reached out to see if one of our student teachers could assist.”

“mr. stretch?” Red felt his non-existent gut drop. He knew Mr. Stretch had bone cancer, but it’d been so long since the diagnosis. He’d hoped--

“Yes,” they confirmed. “He stated that he would be glad to train a student teacher and, as the top of your class, the department felt you would best handle a placement with more responsibility. What do you think?”

“i’ll do it.”

That night, Sans held him tight while Red told him what happened. “i knew this’d happen eventually, but… i don’t want ‘im to get sicker,” he confessed. He felt terrible; Sans watched his parents die. What right did Red have to be so upset about a random teacher dying?

Mr. Stretch wasn’t just a random teacher.

“i know,” Sans said, soft. “me neither.”

“i don’t wanna let ‘im down.”

“ya won’t. yer a fucking fantastic teacher, red. ‘s gonna be fine.”

Chapter Text

Mr. Stretch looked… rough. His bone was chalky, his voice tired. His eye lights still sparkled when he talked to his students, but everything about him was… muted.

Red was running the classroom within his first week. Mr. Stretch had weekly treatments that left him bone tired. He had to be out two days per week--one for the treatment and one for recovery.

If it wasn’t for such a crappy reason, Red would’ve really loved the freedom. He was good at teaching middle schoolers. They were weird, smelly, and had lotsa of big feelings, but they were also funny and smart and still had a sense of wonder. He loved it.

That didn’t mean that Red didn’t have his stressed out days. There were several students in his class that were Difficult To Work With. Surprisingly, Sans helped Red with those kids more than any class Red’d ever had. 

It was Sans that thought of having a classroom economy with jobs to teach budgeting, who suggested a free snack cabinet for hungry kids, who kept Red’s classroom stocked with winter coats and extra school supplies. 

“maybe ya should be a teacher,” Red teased. 

“nah.” A pause. “hey, uh, red? what if… what if i wanna go to grad school after graduation?”

Red snorted. “then we make it happen.”


“‘course. yer helpin’ me follow my dream. i wanna help ya follow yers.”

“oh good line.”

“heh. i love ya.” more every day.

“love you too, red.”

Chapter Text

Even with being sick, Mr. Stretch was an excellent host teacher. He got Red addicted to coffee and gently gave him advice on the best ways to get students excited about science. He reviewed every single lesson that Red taught (even the ones he wasn’t there for, using the same tech that they used for Red to attend Science Masters back in the day) and gave insightful feedback. Red learned more from him in those first few weeks than he did in his entire time in college. 

One evening, Mr. Stretch kicked his feet up on the desk he set up beside his for Red and grinned. “just put in my paperwork to retire,” he said with a grin. “included a letter of rec for a certain science teacher i know well.”

“yeah? what’s their name?”

Mr. Stretch snorted. “told ya i’d make it ‘til ya were ready to take over my spot,” he said. “and red? you’re ready. you could start today if it weren’t for formalities. you’re a damn good teacher and i’m honored to have worked with ya.”

“calm down, boss. we still got three more months ‘fore i graduate.”

“that we do. so, tell me your plans for tomorrow.” 

Red grinned and did, making note of every single piece of advice that Mr. Stretch had to offer him. After all, it was only three months until he was ready to be a teacher on his own.

Chapter Text

Sans’s acceptance letter to Summit’s prestigious biochem master’s program arrived a couple of weeks before they graduated. The whole family went out to eat to celebrate, even Wings, who was increasingly busy with his new responsibilities at CORE. He and Sans talked shop the whole time, Wings dumping tips that Sans eagerly soaked up.

They were also celebrating Finch, who was just accepted into a pre-law program. He was the only bitty attending college; the others didn’t know what they wanted to do. Norris wanted to apply to be a police officer, though he had his doubts about being able to do that with his size. Uno, Night, and Tubes didn’t really know what they wanted to do yet; they were just ready to be done with school, especially Tubes, who struggled throughout his school career. His injury made traditional school pretty tough on him.

Red was enjoying his meal, holding Sans’s hand under the table, when his phone rang. He frowned when he saw the college’s number. “be right back,” he muttered, then slipped out of the restaurant. “‘ello?”

“Mr. Gaster? This is Mx. Moose.”

“hi. what’s up?”

“I’m afraid I have some bad news. Do you think you could meet me in my office?”

Red glanced back at the restaurant. It was Sans’s night; he didn’t want to interrupt everything for his crap. “uh... sure. i’ll be there in a minute.” He sent a quick text to Dad, then slipped into the void, soul fluttering with nerves.

Chapter Text

When he knocked on Mx. Moose’s door, the mouse monster answered immediately. He wore jeans and a t-shirt, a surreal sight. “Please sit,” he said. Red complied. “Your principal just called. I am very sorry to have to tell you this, Mr. Gaster, but Mr. Stretch passed away earlier this evening.”

Red felt like the world was collapsing around him.

“Obviously, the school is working hard to hire a replacement now. You will be under the supervision of another teacher until they can get someone--”

Red didn’t hear another word. 

Mr. Stretch was gone.

After, Red went back to the restaurant. What else was there to do? He stared at the table from the entryway of the restaurant. He looked normal; he hadn’t cried or nothing. Sans was laughing at some dumb thing Paps said when he glanced over and saw Red. He brightened and waved. His grin faltered at whatever he saw on Red’s face.


Red glanced down and found Uno. Absently, Red scooped the bitty up and put him on his shoulder.

“what’s wrong?” Uno asked.


“that’s a lie.” When Red didn’t--couldn’t--answer, the bitty tsked. “let’s grab a smoke.”

“i don’t smoke. you don’t smoke.”

Uno grinned wickedly. “sure, neither does paps.”

The two leaned against the brick in the alley and the smoke loosed Red’s tongue. Uno took it well. “ya need sans,” he insisted. “he’ll help ya.”

“i don’t wanna ruin ‘is night.”

“you’re an idiot. go get ‘im.”

Chapter Text

Sans held Red tightly as he sobbed out what happened afterward. Dad and Pops showed up an hour later with Red’s favorite foods and presents to take his class when he went back on Monday.

The funeral was full of people, Red heard. He didn’t go; Mr. Stretch wouldn’t want ‘im to leave the kids alone. It was a tasteful funeral, Pops reported, with lots of people there. Mr. Stretch touched lives, lots of them.

It wasn’t fair that he was gone .

That turned out to not be the only thing that wasn’t fair. Mr. Stretch made his wishes about his job very clear to the admin, but they still had a position to fill and Red wasn’t a licensed teacher yet. Mr. Stretch wanted Red to have that job, but now someone else had it.

The only thing to do was start filling out job applications. Honestly, he hadn’t worried about finding a job after graduation because he was so sure…

It slowly became clear that no schools in the area had any science teaching jobs. Even with Red’s impressive teleportation range, he couldn’t find anything nearby. 

“‘s fine,” he muttered late one night against Sans’s sternum. “i’ll just work at the restaurant ‘til i’n find something.”

“nah,” Sans said easily. “ya got that offer from that magnet school out west, right?”

“and ya got grad school.”

“they got grad school there, too.”

“but papyrus--”

“has already said it’s ok.” Sans kissed him. “let’s have a fucking adventure, babe.”

Chapter Text

Living a plane ride from home was real different than living a teleport away. Red missed home. He talked to his family every night, but it wasn’t the same as weekly dinners.

But honestly? He kinda loved it, too.

They could keep their apartment however they wanted without worrying about Pops showing up to clean randomly. No one judged them if they ate out every single night or made fun of their bad attempts at actually cooking.

His job was awesome, too. He taught a group of juniors and seniors advanced biology. Sans helped make sure his lessons were accurate between bouts of homework and research. Red practically lived at school; Sans practically lived at the labs. They made it work.

The first time that Red watched some of his students graduate, he couldn’t hold back the proud tears. Sans grinned and took all the pictures of him and the kids in their caps and gowns, then treated Red to a celebratory dinner date. When Sans wrecked the curve on his first microbiology test, Red took him to spend a whole Saturday at the movies. 

Red became the highest rated faculty member at his school. Sans got published his first year in the lab. Dad and Pops framed both Red’s evaluation and Sans’s paper.

They were exhausted. They were deliriously happy. They fought like territorial cats and held each other close every night.

They only had each other, but they only needed each other.

Chapter Text

Nightly phone calls became the norm.

“PAPYRUS HAS A GIRLFRIEND!” Edge reported one night. “SHE’S A HUMAN!”

Two days later, he reported the breakup. “PAPS SAID SHE ISN’T FUNNY ENOUGH!”

“dad tried makin’ crab cakes in the restaurant,” Three said in another call. “he didn’t crush-tacean it.”




“is dad letting ‘im keep her?”


“what’s ‘er name?”




Red and Sans both snorted. “what?!”


“IT’S NOT A CARTOON; IT’S AN ANIME!” Edge yelled in the background. “AND IT SUITS HER! SHE’S VICIOUS!”

Red’s phone dinged with a message from Uno. He chuckled and showed it to Sans. It was a picture of a floofy white kitten snuggled into Edge’s rib cage. 

The phone dinged again, this time revealing a picture of the kitten on Pops’s shoulder while Pops read the paper. “yeah, that kitten ain’t going anywhere.”

The last pic was of Dad hovering a hand over a soaked Doomfanger. “oh stars, dad’s drying the kitten off!” Red gasped. “he also loves the kitten!”

Sans printed and framed all of the pictures Uno sent and Red bought every cat toy he saw to take home at Christmas.

The phone calls relaxed both Red and Sans. Everyone back home was fine. It was okay for them to be happy here.

Chapter Text

In their second year out west, Red came home to find Sans crying. “sansy? what’s wrong?”

“felt kinda weird in my soul,” he whispered. “did a check.” 


“... i’m pregnant.”

Sans hunched over like he expected to get hit. “yer sure?” Red asked. 

Sans nodded. “little kernel of your magic’s in there. i don’t even know how… i mean, i know how ; i heard pops’s lecture, but--”

Red cut him off with a kiss, deep and hungry. “we’re gonna be dads?”

“you’re happy?”

“‘course i’m happy!”

“this’s a big deal, red. it’s... it’s a baby . my parents sucked so bad, i don’t know how--”

“my parents don’t suck,” Red pointed out, “and they raised ya longer than yers did. yer gonna be a great dad.”

Took a couple months for Sans to get excited, but by the time of his three-month checkup, he was jazzed. Red reluctantly let Sans go to the appointment alone. Red couldn’t take off work; it was a still a secret. They wanted to tell everyone in person at Gyftmas.

Red’s phone trilled about an hour after Sans’s appointment time. “hey, babe, how’d the appointment--”

“red? ya gotta come ‘ere. now. p-please.”

Sans looked small in the hospital gown.

“Mr. Gaster? Your husband asked that we wait.”

Red didn’t bother to correct the doctor. “what happened?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but the magic is dissipating. The souling won’t coalesce into an egg.”

“w-we lost the baby?”

“I’m sorry.”

They crumpled into one another, souls crushed.

Chapter Text

The house was full for Gyftmas. All of the boys were there, even if two of them were distant with grief. Doomfanger was present, as well as a huge elderly mutt that Edge somehow talked Dad and Pops into fostering. From the way she flopped on her back for belly rubs from Dad, Red had his doubts about the dog ever finding another “furever” home. 

Hilariously, Uno and Night both lounged on the dog (“Rosie”, apparently) and Norris somehow got Doomfanger to let him ride around on her back. He called her his “noble steed” and urged her to attack his brothers. She was more interested in curling up on Edge’s chest.

“Gah!” Norris yelled at the kitten. “Such betrayal! Come, noble steed, we must ride!”

“Stop being prickly and open a present,” Finch hissed at his brother.

“You’re just jealous that that cat likes me better than she does you.”

“I’m not--”

“No fighting on Gyftmas!” Dad called from the kitchen. It was an old rule, one leftover from Red’s childhood. 

“You also told us no pets,” Wings pointed out, “but here we are with two in the house.”

“Rosie and Fang are not pets,” Pops sniffed. “They’re members of the family. Goodness knows we need some grandchildren--”

Sans made a croaking noise and excused himself. Red swallowed his own misery and muttered, “maybe let’s not talk ‘bout kids for a bit.”

Dad and Pops exchanged worried looks, but no one asked, for which Red was deeply grateful.

Chapter Text

Red told his dads they weren’t going back west after everyone went to bed. Red was heartbroken to leave his students mid-year, but they needed to be home. Sans needed to be home. He was nearly catatonic with heartbreak, barely going through the motions to keep his place in grad school. He barely talked, only ate when Red shoved food down his throat.

Their dads were devastated when Red finally told them what happened. “We… understand, son,” Pops said gently. “Better than you know.”

Red didn’t ask, but he did accept their tight hugs and insistence that they stay at the house until they found a nice place of their own. Their dads paid to break their lease early and Sans transferred back to Summit for the next semester, though Red had to fill out the paperwork. Sans didn’t seem to care enough to do it himself.

Red would never forget the first time that Sans laughed after they lost their child. They were watching a dumb movie that had that song, “I’m My Own Grandpa.” Apparently Sans had never heard it. He laughed until he cried.

That night, pressed into Red’s side, he whispered, “is it ok to laugh again? even though…”

“yeah,” Red decided. “ya know, i think pops and dad lost a kid, too.”

“really? they seem so…”


“you think we’ll really be ok?”

“yeah. i know we will.”

“i love you, red. ‘m sorry ‘m so--”

“nope. nothin’ to be sorry for. i love you.”

Chapter Text

“ya know, we don’t have to move in summer. we could move literally any other time, but we only move when it’s hot enough to melt metal out here,” Red whined.

They finally found a house. They were finally okay enough to move into their own house . It was a cute little cobblestone thing in a nice cul-de-sac. It was actually part of Sans’s graduation present from their parents; close to both campus and CORE, so Sans would be close by while he was working on his doctorate, and Red’s new job, too. It wasn’t Mr. Stretch’s old job, but it was close.

Sans was doing so much better, almost back to normal, but no one wanted him to spend large chunks of time alone.

The night before his first day of work, he and Sans made their way to the cemetery with a nice bouquet of flowers. Red gently placed them on the gravestone. “hey teach,” he said softly. “finally back in town. me and sans’re doin’ ok. we, uh, got a lot to tell ya.”

Sans held his hand while Red told Mr. Stretch everything that’d happened over the last two years. He promised to come back, that he’d never forget his old mentor, to tell him everything that happened. He let Sans drive them home; Red was crying too hard to be safe driving.

“he’d be so proud of ya,” Sans said softly.

“of both of us,” Red corrected, choking back another round of tears.

Chapter Text

Before they knew it, they were at Sans’s graduation party. He was already hired as a biochemist for CORE. Dr. Sans Serif did have a nice ring to it.

Sans looked gorgeous in that suit. It was navy blue with a slight sparkle that caught the light when he moved. He schmoozed everyone while Red chilled with Edge. 




“he’s perfect . also, ‘m the big bro here.”


True. Edge had never shown any interest in romance, unlike Paps who had more partners than Red could count. None that stuck, though. Nope, just his friendship with Edge and the bitties. The seven of them all shared a house they fixed up themselves. 

Even if Paps found a permanent someone, he made it clear that they would simply add them to the house. 

“got somethin’ i need to say,” Sans interrupted the party with that easy smile. “thanks for being here. i wanted this my whole life, but there’s something i want even more. red?” Red cautiously approached his boyfriend. “you’re my best friend and the love of my life. will ya make me the luckiest schlub alive and marry me?”

Then he went down on one knee and held out a small box. 

In lieu of answering, Red tackled Sans and kissed him silly. Mr. Dr. Sans Serif sounded pretty darn good to Red.

Chapter Text

Normally visiting your fiance at work doesn’t end up like this.

That was the first thing Red thought when he woke up from whatever explosion happened while they were touring the physics lab.

The second thing he thought was that he had been here before and that he was a different person the last time. He glanced down at his casual clothes and expected to see fancy mob clothes under a borrowed lab coat. He thought there would be a gun near his hand and dust on the floor from the monsters he killed trying to save Sans.

“what the hell happened?” One Uno One Uno demanded. 

“Is everyone alright?” Four Finch asked.

“where’re chara, frisk, and dings?” Sans gasped.

Red started to ask who the fuck Sans was talking about, but it hit him like a fucking train. “‘m in the mob,” Red mumbled. “i’ve killed people!”

Sans scrambled away from him, breathing hard. “where the hell are we?! this doesn’t look like--”

The door banged open, revealing a frazzled-looking Wings and Alphys. “Are you fools alright?!” Wings demanded.

No, Red really, really wasn’t alright. His past life as a fucking mobster murderer who experimented on the bitties and kidnapped Sans overlayed with his life now, the one where he was a middle school teacher. He reached for Sans, but his victim fiance pushed him away. “don’t fucking touch me,” he hissed.

Red’s soul didn’t break so much as it fucking shattered. The pain, blessedly, knocked him out.

Chapter Text

There was a fuckton of yelling, blurred shapes, pain, painpainpainpain--

Red slept.

“red? ya awake?”

Red groaned. Every square inch of his body screamed in pain. He forced open his sockets and found Sans leaned over him, worry etched onto his skull.

“w-what--” Red croaked.

Sans shushed him. “you’ve been out two weeks. you, uh, cracked your soul.” Well, that explained the pain. “you remembered the last timeline and… and…” Sans buried his face in his hands. “i pushed ya away.” More pain flashed across Red’s chest and Sans rushed to grab his hand. “no, no, ‘m sorry, i didn’t mean…” he sighed. “i was scared. at first. but... frisk reminded me who you are. now. in this timeline. and who you are is the man i love more than anything in the universe.” A pause. “or the multiverse, i guess. i can’t lose ya, red, and… and i almost did. ya almost died.”

Red squeezed his sockets shut and tried to stop the tears of relief that threatened to fall.

It took a few more weeks for Red to recover, but Sans (and the rest of the family) was there every step of the way. Apparently, Sans told them about the timelines while Red was out and everyone believed them.


Eventually, Red was released from the hospital. Sans took him back to their house and gave him the cards his students made for him while he was in the hospital. Things got back to normal.

Chapter Text

When Red finally recovered, they didn’t wanna wait any longer to get married. They wanted a quick trip to the courthouse, but their bros lost their minds at the idea. 

Thus, the Gaster/Serif wedding became the most gossiped about event of the year.

Luckily, the younger Gaster brothers were thrilled to plan the whole thing. It was held at a fancy winery. The guest list was quite exclusive. 

Red looked incredible in his black tux and Sans was beautiful in his white one, everyone said. And the vows? Absolutely tear-jerking, even if some of the stuff about timelines was a little… odd. The kiss was perfectly timed and the fathers of the groom crying in joy together was a testament to true love. Everyone agreed that releasing some doves as the grooms left for their honeymoon may have been a little gauche, but lovely all the same.

Red didn’t give a shit about how other folks rated his wedding. “five hearts outta five,” Sans told him, peering over the tabloids at the checkout the next day.

Red only cared about his husband, who was slouched in front of him looking beautiful. The tux was nice, sure, but Sans in an oversized hoodie and shorts? Yeah, that was Red’s jam. 

Sans smiling was even better.

“let’s go back to the hotel,” Red murmured against his husband’s skull.

Sans laughed as Red pulled him into the void, a sound Red could never get sick of.

Chapter Text

A couple years passed in marital bliss. The longer they were in this timeline, the more those other memories faded like a dream, easy to ignore. They weren’t those people anymore. No reason to worry about it.

The day that Sans found out he was pregnant again was the happiest and scariest of Red’s life. They were careful, did everything they could to be sure this one stuck. When the souling detached and formed the egg, Red had never been more relieved.

He and Sans both took time off to guard the egg. When the hatching finally arrived, everyone was there. The little egg rattled and shook, then a tiny hand poked through the shell. The second hand was somehow even cuter.

The third hand was... weird.

Pops had to grab both Sans and Red to keep them from ripping open their egg to see what was wrong. The hatching was important; it could permanently injure the child if it wasn’t done right. But--

A tiny skull with huge eyes popped out and trilled a noise at them. Then, a second skull appeared with an equally precious sound. 

“twins?” Sans gasped.

Sans reached to pick them up and hesitated. “they’re so small,” he whispered. “what if--”

Dad bypassed him, scooped up one in each hand, then unceremoniously deposited them in their dad's arms. “Hold your boys,” Dad ordered.

He didn’t have to say it twice. Once they had them in their arms, they didn’t ever want to set them down.

Chapter Text

Being a dad was both the best and most exhausting thing that ever happened to Red. The twins barely slept, so they spent their nights trading off who had to get up and bounce babybones. Inexplicably, both twins seemed to prefer their uncles to their dads. 

Red didn’t know it was possible to love anyone as much as he loved them.

By their first birthday, they were kinda getting the hang of this parenting thing. They were finally getting some sleep. Date nights were possible because uncles and granddads loved to babysit.

Red shouldn’t have been surprised when he came home and found Sans pacing nervously in their bedroom. “what--”

Instead of answering, Sans hiked his shirt up so Red could see the bundle of magic attached to Sans’s soul. “just once, it’d be fucking fantastic if you could be the one who got knocked up,” Sans groused.

“we’re havin’ another baby.”

“we’re having another baby.”

This time, there were no surprises. Only one babybones emerged from the egg. She was gorgeous . Red adored her.

Time flew, and before they knew it, it was time for the twins’ third birthday.

Red really should have noticed how strangely Sans started acting a few days before the party, but he barely saw him. It was his weak excuse for not noticing the familiar red rings around his husband’s eye lights.

It was a regret he’d carry for the rest of his (shorter than anticipated) life.

Chapter Text

Edge was holding their youngest when Sans called up a blaster and, with a maniacal laughter that Red recognized from a previous lifetime, tore through them both. Red was frozen in horror as their souls shattered and they both turned to dust.

“Nice shot!” Frisk yelled.

Red spun just in time to see her scoop up the bitties and shove them into a bag. Red was woefully unarmed. He wasn’t a mobster in this timeline, why would he have a gun--

Pops was, though. He fired at Frisk, missed by an inch, then screamed as the blaster tore through him, too. Dad was on his knees clutching Pops’s dust when the blaster turned on him. “Boys!” Red roared at his sons, trying to get them to come to him.

It was too late.

The cake that Sans spent two days agonizing over exploded and, just like that, they were gone. He screamed in pain. He would’ve died right there if Paps hadn’t grabbed him and drug him away, firing Pops’s gun over his shoulder to keep Sans at bay.

It took them a week to piece together what happened. Clearly the mind control mod had been reactivated, though Red couldn’t fathom why, and Sans was being used to… to… 

He and Papyrus made a plan. They made it all the way to CORE, all the way to Sans. Red kissed him as the blaster ripped through Red’s soul. Right before everything went black, he heard Sans scream his name.

Chapter Text

“sans? what’re ya doin’? pops an’ dad don’t let us in here.”

Red’s new friend(?) stood in over his parents’ bed. When Sans turned, Red realized that the middle schooler had a knife with dust coating it. Red screamed and ‘ported away. That timeline, he, Edge, and Paps all lived to fight back against Frisk. Red actually saw Sans remember what he did before Frisk ordered him to off himself and the bitties. 

“sans? what’re ya doin’? pops an’ dad don’t let us in here.”

Frisk blew up CORE the instant the rebels entered it, killing everyone.

“sans? what’re ya doin’? pops an’ dad don’t let us in here.”

Sans’s blaster caught him by surprise.

Frisk’s aim improved, this time shattering Red’s soul with her shot.

Sans wracked up LV and always, always remembered right before the end. It was like Frisk would release him for a second, just long enough for him to remember everything. Just long enough for him to make eye contact with Red and howl with pain. Some timelines, Sans shrugs off Frisk’s control enough to kill himself before he killed anyone else. Sometimes he didn’t. Sometimes he managed to kill both of their bros or one of them. 

“sans? what’re ya doin’? pops an’ dad don’t let us in here.”

Papyrus never lost hope. He slipped a note into Sans’s pocket as Sans blew the building up, hoping it would survive unto the next timeline.

Chapter Text

The next timeline was different. 

Frisk didn’t befriend the boys. She stayed away. She took over CORE when she was twenty and her influence made sure that Sans got hired on to work there while he was in grad school. Interestingly, Red was offered Mr. Stretch’s immediately job despite not being licensed (yet). The two of them never moved west. 

The remembering in this timeline was different, too. 

The first time, Sans and Red only had to grapple with their newfound past life. Now, they had to face the loss of their three beautiful children. The murder of their children.

Red figured he was taking it better than Sans. The other timelines already felt like a dream to him, but Sans was still calling him ‘mobster’ and locking the bedroom door at night. Red took the couch and forced his soul to keep it together.

Sans didn’t need to know that Red spent those nights on the couch crying, missing Sans, their kids, and the life that they built together.

Sans didn’t need to know that Red’s soul hurt, burned like it did when it cracked all those timelines ago.

Red still got up and went to work, still taught his students. He let Edge talk him into fostering a stupid little gray kitten. 

(Neither of them said that petting Pussy made Red’s soul ache a little less.)

(Pussy curled up on Red’s chest and purred as Red cried on the couch every night.)

(It made him feel less alone.)

Chapter Text

On his way to bed one night, Sans paused. “red?”


“... do ya wanna come upstairs?”

Red couldn’t breathe. He was sure he heard Sans wrong, that his hopes and his loneliness warped some kinda perfectly normal question. 

Sans shuffled awkwardly and Red realized he’d been silent and staring too long. “ya sure?”

“not to… do anything,” Sans said quickly. “i’m... i can’t sleep anymore.”

Red felt an unexpected surge of nostalgia. They were grownass men with three kids (sorta) and Sans still couldn’t say the word sex. It was endearing and familiar and it made Red’s scarred soul flip. Red grinned. “ya miss ma dulcet tones lullin’ ya to dreamland?”

Sans flinched and looked away. “it’s stupid. sorry.”

Red didn’t want to hear more. “sweetheart. shut up.”

Sans looked so damn hopeful and so damn careful when he took Red’s hand in his own and led him towards the stairs. Red felt like his soul was floating as Sans let him in the bedroom. Red, not wanting to push his luck, curled up in the chair, but Sans whispered, “ya look uncomfortable.”

“‘m fine.”

“just... it’s a big bed. ya’n fit in here, too. just don’t touch me, though.”

Happiness smashed into Red like a tsunami. “sure thing.”

He crawled into the bed and listened to Sans’s breathing even out. Red didn’t sleep that night, just watched the love of his life. For the first time in weeks, Red didn’t cry that night.

Chapter Text


Red glanced at his little bro. He still didn’t look like the mobster that Red only sorta remembered, even if he was offering to hit Sans. “no, edge, i don’t want ya ta hit ‘im.”


Red sighed and fiddled with the cup of coffee he’d ordered. Edge insisted on breakfast on weekends, almost definitely to check on his big bro since he found out about the timelines and that Sans and Red were… broken up. “hittin’ ‘im won’ fix the problem,” Red admitted. “i love ‘im, edge, but i hurt ‘im real bad. if he wants ta leave--”




Red softened. He shoulda realized his baby bro was scared. “i know yer scared. he’s like a bro ta ya. but paps ain’t goin’ nowheres and i don’t think sans is neither.” He didn’t tell Edge that he slept in Sans’s bed the night before or that the two of them watched YouTube videos together before dinner.

It felt too fragile, the hope in Red’s soul.


“yer gonna be ok, edge, no matter what sans decides.”

“... You Will, Too.”

For the first time, Red felt like Edge might be right. He just might survive if Sans decided to leave him. 

Chapter Text

It happened on a Tuesday.

Red was exhausted. One of his students had a total meltdown in class and Red ended up having to coach them through it during his prep period, which meant staying after to grade and plan. Then, he went by the shelter to help walk some dogs that needed some socialization. He just wanted to go to bed--

"wanna do some stargazing? no clouds tonight."

Red looked up at Sans. In the months since he started sharing his bed again, things had changed. Slowly, yes, so slowly, but he thought he could call Sans a friend again. 

It gave him hope that maybe one day they could be more again.

Sans was visibly nervous about something but Red didn't know what. At least, he didn't until Sans pulled him into a kiss. It took him a few seconds to comprehend what was happening, then he was kissing Sans back, soul singing.

But he needed to know. “w-what’s this mean, sweetheart?” He couldn’t--no, wouldn’t --do some casual fling, not with Sans. “i need ta know if ya mean it.”

Sans flushed. “y-yeah. turns out i might love ya, asshole.”

Red kissed him again, but it was Sans's shortcut that led them to their bed. "you sure?” Red breathed. “we don't gotta--"

"i miss you," Sans admitted. "i love you, red, and ‘m sorry. i miss you so much--"

There would be more talking later, more healing to do. But that night, they were together again.

Chapter Text

Red hadn’t been nervous about dinner with his family since they decided to tell them about the timeline shit, but he was nervous now. Everyone was a little tense, like they had been since Sans and Red broke up. 

Sans gripped his hand so tight under the table that Red thought Sans might break it. “we, uh, got something to say,” Sans said, quiet.

“WHAT?” Edge asked tersely. Papyrus sighed at Edge and then nodded at Sans.

Sans glanced at Red for help. “red and i… we decided to… we’re together again.”

Everyone froze. Then Papyrus yanked Sans into his arms and spun him around. “REALLY? WE WERE SO WORRIED!”

“y-yeah, really. we still love each other, ya know?”

Norris scoffed. “Honestly, it’s about time.”

“Leave them alone,” Pops said. “It’s not their fault they’re stupid about love.”

Dad roasted Pops hilariously but Red was lost in the warmth of Sans’s hand. He frowned when Edge made some excuse and shoved away from the table. “be right back,” he said, planting a kiss on the side of Sans’s skull.

He found Edge smoking. “pops’ll kill ya if he sees that.” Edge shrugged. “sup, bro?”



“What If He Changes His Mind Again?”

“then we’ll both be ok.”

Edge shook his head and stamped out the cigarette. “I Do Not Trust Him But He Is My Brother. I Don’t Want You To Get Hurt.”

“worth the risk,” Red said. He held out an arm and Edge leaned into the hug.

Chapter Text

To say that things were perfect would be a fucking lie, but Red didn’t want ‘perfect’. He wanted Sans. 

It wasn’t as easy as it had been in that first reset, not at first. They talked around shit. Sans had nightmares near nightly and’d go catatonic sometimes. Red swore like a sailor now and his temper simmered close to the surface.

But gods did they love each other.

Red was scared that Sans would change his mind, remember all the things that weighed heavy on Red’s soul… but he never did. Sans worried that Red’d come to his senses and kick out the man that murdered their family, but that never happened.

It took time. It took patience and arguing and crying and never, ever leaving even when it would be easier to. It took romantic dates and confessions of love under the stars and notes in lunches packed with love.

It was worth every gods damned second.

Surprisingly, Edge had the hardest time accepting their relationship. Months passed before Edge would even acknowledge it. Three months in, he let them sit next to each other on the couch at a movie night. The first time Edge and Sans did something alone together took six months. Finally, after eight months, Edge sighed at one of his and Red’s weekend breakfasts. “He’s Not The Sans He Used To Be,” he said slowly, “But He Is Still Our Sans. Be Happy Together, Brother.”

Red smiled. They were, and they would be.

Chapter Text

“red? can i talk to you?”

A little over a year after Sans and Red got back together, Sans stood in the living room fidgeting. Red quickly set aside his grading. “sure, sweetheart. what’s up?”

“you remember what today is?”

Red did. It was the day that they planned to get married. He hadn’t said anything and neither had Sans. He figured Sans needed more time and Red didn’t mind waiting. They were doing so much better, therapy and work both working wonders for them both, but he figured Sans just… wasn’t ready. “yeah,” Red said cautiously. Sans carried a lot of guilt--every death from every timeline, compounded by shoving Red away for months. The last thing Red wanted was to add to it.

“well... first of all, ya can say no. s’ok if ya do; i understand.”


“but... well… the timelines before this are sorta fading? like they did before? i mean, i mostly remember what i felt in this one, ya know? before... well, before… and i thought… i mean, saying no’s fine--”

Red stood and tugged Sans into his arms. “sweetheart, maybe actually ask me.”

Sans looked up at him, eye lights quivering. “do ya still wanna marry me?”

Red’s soul swelled. “more’n anything in the universe.”

“even if we never have kids? if there’s another reset?”

“even if we turn inta mermaids an’ have ta live under the sea.”

Sans snorted. “ok... well… go get gussied up. we’ve got an appointment to keep.”

Chapter Text

The good people of the Ebbott County Courthouse generally didn’t prefer that you took over their lawn to set up chairs and a flowery arch for your wedding, but the Gasters were important enough to not give a shit. Red grinned as Edge, Papyrus, Pops, and Norris directed everyone else in setting up the perfect little square of chairs, complete with some garland “FOR AESTHETIC, YOU AMORPHIS DIATOM!”.

Everyone was there: their whole family, Dyna and Alphys, a few buddies from Red’s work and some from Sans’s… even Rosie, Pussy, and Fang made an appearance. Fang’s fluffy white fur had been curled. Edge was such a nerd.

The Judge appeared to be trying not to roll their eyes at the spectacle. Apparently they knew Pops so no one complained, but Red could feel it in their aura.

Oh, and he didn’t give a fuck. This was his wedding.

Eventually, Papyrus hit a button on the portable CD player and Red and Sansy’s song began to play. Sans poofed into existence at the end of the aisle and Red almost fainted. 

He was wearing the same sparkle suit he’d worn the night he proposed. His blush was a pretty powder blue and he smiled shyly at Red. 

He was gorgeous.

Their vows were short and sweet, promises to love one another no matter what the future brings (or doesn’t bring, Red added), followed by the best kiss of Red’s life.

Their first wedding was good. This one was better.

Chapter Text

Dad and Pops insisted on feeding everyone after. To both Red and Sans’s surprise, the place was piled high with wedding gifts. There was even a fucking photo booth set up, evidence that compromises were made to appease Edge and Papyrus.

“Sans, you’ve been a member of the family for years now,” Pops said in his toast, “but it’s an honor to finally add you officially!”

“We love ya boys both so much,” Dad added.




“goddamn it, edge, sit down.”

“Red Gaster, if you think I won’t make you write alternate words at your wedding, you are sorely mistaken!”

“sorry, pops.”

Wings didn’t make a toast, but Red overheard him talking to Sans. “I’m so sorry, Sans, for--”

“stop, wings. i paid ya back for it a million times over the timelines. drop it.”

“I’ll make it up to you. I’ll be the best older brother, Sans, I promise.”

“ya already are, drama queen.”

Eventually, it came time for the happy couple to leave. “ready ta head home?”

“Oh, did we forget to mention,” Pops said, “we got you boys a honeymoon? Galapagos islands for our nerds.”

“Your plane leaves in an hour,” Dad added. “Luckily we packed for ya.”

“We love you both.”

Red caught Sans’s hand and the two of them left for their adventure. Together.