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Little Guard

Chapter Text

So, it happened.

Everything that lead up to this moment was confusing, tiring, and tear-filled. That's not to say it wasn't worth it.

"Cross," Called out a familiar voice for the tenth time from the kitchen, dishes and pots clattering about. Nightmare had been washing the dishes after the gang's recent lunch, feeling charitable enough to not stick the job onto one of the other's as they all scampered out to not be pinned with such task. He slipped off the floral dish gloves, raising a brow when he heard no response from the guard in question. It wasn't like him to not answer, even if he were engrossed in a show or some toy. With a sigh, he undid the apron he wore, not that it had much need from a guy like him. Setting it aside, Nightmare walked to the Livingroom, scanning the room to find the monochrome guard in question. They had some unsaid rule where he had to stay within the large rug on the floor, especially when he was like this.

So when Nightmare found the toybox toppled over, and Cross not in sight, he knew he was up to no good. Just about to leave the room, he heard a soft clicking noise, one you'd hear when winding up a toy car to send it racing across the room. Of course, they never worked on carpet. Checking behind the couch, he heaved a sigh once he found the skeleton hunched over on the floor, blocks and cars surrounding him like some ritual. He must've been there for a while, with how many cars toppled over in a pile on the wall in front of him. Clearly he's been letting them hit the wall freely, not that he minded. Nightmare cleared his throat to get his attention. " You know you aren't supposed to be over here young man. What have I told you about disappearing without telling someone? Not to mention, I've been calling you for a while. "

Cross gave a sigh, barely looking back at Nightmare as he released the two cars in his hand, watching them crash into each other, then reaching for more. " So? You know where I'm at. It's not like I left the Livingroom. " Someone has clearly picked up an attitude after lunch. It was bound to happen, after all those greens the they made him eat, it was just a reason for him to let out his frustration. He only picked a fight as a tentacle scooped him off the ground, dropping him onto the couch he'd been hiding behind. It was fair to mention he was a little too close to the hall, but if Cross had it his way, he would be racing cars down the full length of it, like he has before.

Oh the times Nightmare has stepped on a car or two, or heard swearing from the other's because they slipped and fell. A cheeky grin from Cross then told them enough, he's done it on purpose. "You know better than to talk to me like that. You act like it's going to kill you because you ate some. Now pick up your things and-"

"No."

Oooof course. Well, they couldn't go a week without getting a fight out of him, big or small. Nightmare slung him over his shoulder, letting his tendrils pick up the many hazardous cars Cross had strewn about, the guard thrashing on his shoulder, kicking and squirming as if that would get him anywhere. Spoiler, it does, but not to a place he'd expect. "I'm not playing games Cross. Either you calm down and pick your things up, or I do and you get something else in return. Must you make a big deal out of this? " Nightmare was a fair guy, at least in some places. He set Cross down and gave him a chance to fix his act.

Cross, being the pesky little brat he was, did the opposite. " I don't want to- I'm not gonna! " He yelled, kicking at the toys on the floor, sending them across the room. That was something he quickly came to regret. Nightmare wasn't like Horror, who would sit him down and talk, or like Dust who would find a way around his bad tempers. Nightmare was...Well, as bad as you could expect him to be. His tantrum was quickly put to a blazing stop when he was pulled over his knee.

" I gave you a warning. "

SMACK!

Tears.

Chapter Text

It'll take a bit of working to get used to it, but it's been a joy.

A fun secret to keep from the world.

Subtle music played from the Tv, some recent new hit cartoon show about dogs. Cross was seated on the floor, blanket hanging low on his shoulders. It was one of those chilly days in the castle that made you shiver, or want to put on a pair of fuzzy socks and stay in bed. Of course, staying in bed was never an option for the gang, especially not Cross. His adamancy on doing things seemed to carry with him, no mater what age or headspace he was. Even if catching up on the latest cartoons wasn't progressive, it was better than being glued to the bed all day. A fine day for relaxing however! Things were finally settling down in the castle again, allowing some much needed stress relief for them all.

He reached out for the juice-box nearby, needing his quarterly fill of no good sugars and preservatives. Pausing, he shook the box in dismay, as if not believing it could already be empty. Great, just what he needed. With a grumble, Cross stood up and smoothed out his pajamas, dragging the blanket behind him to the kitchen. Perfect! Horror was still in there deciding what to eat. Jabbing the juice-box into the larger monster's side, he looked up at him expectantly, as if another would magically drop into his hands a second later.

"Er- Sorry bud, no can do. Saw yer' other one in tha trash, I think a third would be a bit overkill." Horror stifled a laugh, plucking the empty box and tossing it away, patting the guard on the head. He paid attention to the finer details, and wasn't as unhinged as one would expect. Hey, he's gotten better over the months! Had he not seen the previous in there, he would have no problem handing over another. But, with someone like Cross, it was clear he didn't stop at one, or two. If he could get away with it, he'd have five before regretting his choices. Horror was not about to deal with a tummy ache, or an alternative problem. They've been trying to tackle his issues when it comes to the bathroom for a while. They've been in the clear for almost a week now! It'd be a shame to break the streak now.

"It's only one more! I've been really good today, it won't hurt to have it." Cross pleaded. In any normal circumstance, he would've gotten it himself. But the gang has learned to not trust Cross unless they were completely sure he was not going to slip, which was his downfall.

"Hm, you have me there, but no more juice. Were trying to make it last one week this time." Horror shut the cabinet and fetched a Sippy cup for the skeleton to drink from. He still couldn't believe the same guy who stayed on a strict diet when normal, was a completely different person when it came to this. Seriously, like this he only lives off of funny shaped macaroni, small circle pizzas, and the occasional fancy dinosaur nugget. A sip of water now would not kill him. Filling up the cup, he screwed the lid on and sent Cross off with the water.

Which you can guess, was not very happy to only return with water, but it would make do for now. Settling back down into his spot, Cross set the cup aside and resumed his cartoons. Why was Horror so adamant on this? It's not like anything could happen. Sure the pit feeling he had told him otherwise, but it's not the end of the world! Or so he thought.

 

After a bit, Horror came into the Livingroom to check on Cross, having finally deciding on a sandwich to soothe his hunger. He hasn't heard anything from him in a while, not even the sound of him rummaging through the overfilled toybox. He was relieved to find him still in the same spot, now leaning back on a beanbag wrapped in the blanket, idly biting down on the nozzle of the sippy cup. Ah, no wonder they start leaking after a bit.

"Hey squirt, still watching your show huh? Thought to check in on ya since it's been a moment since I've seen ya come around." Horror said, sitting next to Cross to reach over and pull the cup from his mouth. Shouldn't be chewing on it in the first place, but it was a habit Cross had, even out of headspace. The amount of bent pens in his room was astounding.

Cross gave a slow nod to Horror, the midday sleepiness seeming to catch up to him. Managing to pull himself up, he cringed at the sluggy feeling that clung on him like glue. He had to squeeze in every second of cartoon time he could before a nap was due, even if it called for drastic measures. Shifting onto his knees, he could tell all the liquids were finally catching up to him but- this was a new episode, he couldn't get up and leave now! He didn't even have to look at Horror to know the gaze he was giving.

They weren't supposed to be helping Cross out with this as much, they've moved past that stage a while ago. Though it never hurt to give a helpful push in the right direction.

"You haven't forgotten anythin, have ya? Y'know, it's okay to admit that you have." Horror hinted, swishing the water remaining in the cup.

"I-," Unfortunately, the bathroom was always a touchy subject with Cross. It was more embarrassing to admit he had been neglecting his need again. His face tinted purple at the thought. He thought to reach for the pacifier that was clipped to his shirt to avoid the subject, but that would make him seem guilty. He tore his look away from the Tv for a brief moment to think of a lie. "I went during a commercial break. " A bold attempt.

Horror kept silent. Surely he would break? He wasn't known to lie twice. His silence remained.. and nothing. Heaving a sigh, Horror pushed himself off the ground, groaning once he was on his feet. "Alright, I believe ya. Good job squirt. "

Horror left and Cross felt guilty. He wanted to get up and follow after--but one familiar voice from the Tv said otherwise. He could always go after.

 

Cross was bound to be dozing off by now, or so Horror thought. He was greeted with the exact opposite once entering the room. He couldn't even get a word out before Cross had burst into tears, sobbing into the blanket he wore earlier. Instead of being angry, he bent down to console Cross. It was partially his fault after all, he had a gut feeling something was not right the moment he left him be. Scooping Cross into his lap, he pat the sobbing soldiers back.

"Aw geez, no need to spring the waterworks. I know ya didn't mean for it to happen. "

Well. He supposed he never could be too helpful.

Chapter Text

They've gotten so far in a short amount of time.

They wouldn't change a thing about it.

 

It all started simple. Who knew whose turn it was to keep watch, or even if they had turns. All Dust knew was one second he was heading to his room to be alone, only to find a little someone playing on his bed.

"Hmm, make yourself comfortable, if you haven't already. " Dust shut the door behind him, briefly checking his room to see if Cross had touched anything along the way. It wasn't exactly baby-approved. He swiped a few things off the counter, putting them away in the drawer just incase the other had a thought in taking anything. He had a habit of being drawn to the worst things in a room. He took a seat on the bed next to Cross, rolling his eyes at the things he brought to the room. Multi-color play blocks, which were made of plush and fabric, and had a rattle sewn on the inside. The perfect toy to keep anyone enthralled for a bit.

Dust leaned back against his bedframe to give the other space, whipping out his phone to pass the time. He only looked up when he felt something be pushed up against his leg. Well, he shouldn't have expected the other to not want to play with him. Picking up the cube, he tossed it aside grinning in success when Cross turned away to go and retrieve it. Perhaps he should get the messa- bonk.

"Did you just throw that at me? Look, I'm not gonna stoop down like Killer would and play baby with ya. Nuh uh, ain't happening. I'm letting you stay on my bed, the least you can do is play by yourself like you were before." When Dust only got a stare, and a cheeky giggle through a pacifier, he sighed. Course, as if Cross was actually going to listen to him. Chucking the cube back at the padded guard, who was dressed in a pale bee onesie, Dust resumed looking back at his phone. Or, well, he would've if Cross had not squeezed himself under his arm to sit on his lap. Dust scoffed lightly. "Yeah no, we're not doing this. Not some plaything you can sit and drool on ya brat, move. "

Cross, in fact, did move- further onto his lap. Squishing himself onto Dust's chest, craning his neck up to look at Dust.

"Oh you cheeky little bastard- your diggin your elbow into me! If were gonna do this, at least get it right!" He scolded lightly, setting down his phone so he could prop up his pillow. Leaning against a hard surface with someone leached on you was only a recipe for a sore back. It was at this moment now did Dust appreciate how small the other was compared to him. Cross stood at an outstanding 4'11, being the shortest member in the group. Where he lacked in height, he made up in other spots. But as of now, he was only using that to his advantage. Tucking one arm under Cross's side, Dust half cradled him. It allowed for Cross to coddle him as he pleased.

"Hey now wait a damn minute, I shouldn't even be doing this for you. You're so lucky I haven't kicked you out yet." Oh yes, because kicking Cross out sure looks like letting him settle in all comfy. "You better not fall asleep, I am not carrying you to your room." And yet the second he even looked a bit cold, Dust grabbed the blanket Cross always carried around, tucking it in on his body. Gee, what a spoiled little brat. It's totally not their fault he's like this.

Letting out a happy little purr, Cross let the pacifier fall from his mouth, turning his face to hide into Dust's jacket.

" You seriously can't be tired already. "

And Dust was completely right, he wasn't. Well into the evening, it was about time he eat a little something, and Cross was going to let that be known. Planting his face square into Dust's chest, he began rooting.

Dust about died on the spot.

" Hey-HEY- We are not- I don't- Just let me get you a god damn bottle! "

Chapter Text

Would the future be different if they hadn't done this?

Would they choose the same route if they knew?

 

The smell of bacon on a pan wafted through the air, sizzling and popping as it cooked. On the spot next to it, lay some pancakes, that were almost fully cooked and ready to plate on the side. Horror had gotten up to make breakfast for everyone, feeling as if it would be a good reward for this past weeks mission. It was a pain to get through, but it had been worth it in the end. Now everyone was just looking to unwind. Flipping the pancakes twice, he plopped them onto a plate, humming in success at the size of them. Lightly browned, fat, and fluffy! Pouring new batter, he waited for one end to cook slowly, as he switched off the heater cooking the bacon. The smell brought a hungry appetite, just fresh out of bed.

Cross slugged in, still bundled up in a blanket, eyes half-lidded.

His use of his pacifier, even out of headspace became a common sight in the castle. He never gave them a straight reason as to why, other than the sense of comfort it brought. Maybe a tease here and there, but they never questioned the guard, not after that day. Nowadays, they always had one or two around just incase one were to go missing. They sure learned the hard way the first time he lost a pacifier, his only and favorite. It was never found again, but Cross eventually moved on to a new one, which glowed in the dark! How cool is that?

"Nice to see your awake, no accidents during the night? Ya know how you are after missions." Horror said, not tearing his attention away from the stove. He couldn't let these pancakes burn. It'd only slow down the process, and Cross wasn't the only cranky one in the morning. Simple questions were always asked in the morning to gauge where Cross stood, even if they were a bit shameful.

Cross gave a light blush and plopped down at the table, resting his head in his arms. Shrugging, as if Horror would see, he paused to stretch out, his body still waking up from the clutches of slumber. "Maybe, I don't know. The other's weren't awake so.. " He trailed off as he rubbed his neck, watching Horror serve the final pancakes. Two plates full of them! With how much the other's ate, it only made sense. Maybe he made chocolate-chip? Cross wasn't able to sneak a glance when he walked by, but he could only hope!

"Yeah? I'll make sure to deal with it when I'm done picking up. Didn't even make it to the bed last night, had to carry ya to the room, out like a light. Lucky too, missed the boss ramblin about somethin 'important.' Hope ya didn't mind that I changed you into somethin comfy." They all were pretty tired last night, thankfully Horror had taken the chance to help Cross out. The second he had sat down on the couch, he fell asleep. Horror changed him into a onesie, and one of his thicker brand of diapers just incase. He turned into quite the heavy sleeper after missions.

"Oh- well thanks. I wasn't sure who had, but it was really nice." Cross appreciated the little gestures they did for him, even if it was something as small as looking out for him at night. He was thankful to not wake up to wet sheets after all. Kicking his legs, he stuck the pacifier back into his mouth, shutting his eyes for the time being. It was only when Horror had surprised him with the sudden pick-up, did he open his eyes.

"Whoops, didn't notice ya nodded off there. Said I was gonna help you out when I finished up. Try to wake up, 'kay? Don't need you face planting into breakfast now." Picking up Cross was a piece of cake, especially when he was like this. Supporting a hand under his butt, Horror let Cross get comfy in his hold, letting him tuck his head into the crook of his neck. A short trip to his room, and Cross was laid down for a quick change. One look told him they were not getting any potty-training in today, so Horror stuck to a reliable padding that was fit to keep him safe from any leakage. "Alright bud, you're all ready to go. We stayin with the regular chair today?"

Cross's meek glance away told it all. Sure, he was big, but it was hard to resist not wanting to sit in it! It was comfy, gave him his own spot at the table that nobody could steal, and was really good for making messes with food on. Who could ask for more? "I- think you already know.."

Of course. Tossing away the used diaper, Horror scooped up Cross into his arms, patting his back lightly as they walked back into the kitchen.

Seems as if someone else had risen from the dead to grab food to eat. Dust was seated at the table, coffee in hand as he munched on a piece of bacon. Nothing better than not having to make breakfast yourself! "Oh, I didn't know you were up. Having 'mama' change you?" Dust flashed a devilish smile.

Horror flushed a pale red. Oh boy, he did not need to be reminded of that day. He sat a now squirmy Cross in the highchair, locking him in just incase he had a thought to try and jump out.

"It was one time! I-I- you know I didn't mean too!" Argued an embarrassed Cross. He has not dropped the mommy word ever since that day, Cross couldn't believe he was still bringing that up! He was about to argue some more before food was shoved into his mouth.

"Why don't ya shut it you two, you'll spoil the food with the bickerin." Horror said, pulling the empty fork from Cross's mouth. That day was sure something. While it wasn't a painful memory, it was a touchy subject for Cross. "Besides, I heard you two in the room the other day, wanna explain what you were yellin about? Never seen ya burst outta there so quick. Where were ya headin? The kitchen?"

"I'm not explaining shit."

"That's what I thought, now open up ya damn Oreo. You got two chocolate-chip pancakes callin yer name over here. "

Chapter Text

Maybe in the end, things would've stayed the same.

If they didn't stop him though...who knows what could've happened.

 

After a nap, Cross always had a need to get up and burn energy. While it may be very cute, trying to catch him is a different subject, especially when he was only half dressed! Killer had turned away for one second to put away changing supplies, and Cross had seemingly vanished in thin air. That's just great. With maybe half a sock on, and a half bunched up onesie that sat at his stomach, Killer has some work to do in dressing the little monster. Grumbling, he took the other sock and fetched a stuffed animal. A small, worn dinosaur plush that had a rattle inside. Dinoman, as Cross called it, would be a great lure to catch a speeding skeleton on the loose.

Walking out of the room, Killer held up the toy and gave it a light shake. "Ohh Cross, I got something you might want! You better come quick before I take it for myself! " He teased, listening out for any sound indicating he was around.

Silence.....Silence.....Crinkle.

Bingo.

"Oh man, I guess he isn't around. Sure is a shame! I guess I can take Dinoman back to my room to show him around the place. I bet he'd love my bed. " Being a trained huntsman was one thing. Sound meant anything, it was funny to know he still needed to use his keen skills in these situations. He listened out again, turning to pinpoint where Cross was. When he went to look for the guard, he got charged at, hands trying to grab at the plush in his hand.

"Give 'm back! He's mine! " Fussed Cross through his pacifier, jumping to reach his friend that Killer kept high out of his reach. His escape plan suddenly turned into a rescue mission, which evolved back into an escape mission the second Killer pulled him up into his arms. Cross was able to snag his beloved toy, holding it close to his chest with a huff. "You meanie! He's gonna be wiff me forevow!"

"Uh huh, but first were getting you fully dressed you rascal. Now stop squirming, promised the boss I'd have you in the Livingroom by now. I was gonna get you one of those gummy snacks you like, buuut...since you don't want to co-operate.." And now blissful silence. Killer chuckled quietly as he carried Cross back to his room. Sure, it was borderline manipulative, but Cross had his ways in getting back at them. He couldn't count how many times they've been fooled by his fake tears trick. The brat would suck up to Nightmare so quick and complain, just to get them in hot water. Cross was equally, if not worse than him.

Buttoning up the onesie, and putting on the other sock, he pulled the small soldier back into his arms. Sure, he could let him run off, but that defeated the whole purpose. With a pause on his potty-training, Cross really put a dent in his streak, Nightmare wanted to finally put the playpen into use. At least then it kept Cross from running out on them. As promised, he hit the kitchen first and got the needy bastard his gummies, who took no time in eating all of them in one go. He was never one for enjoying his snacks. Walking to the Livingroom, he presented Cross to Nightmare, who had just finished setting up the pen. "Got him in one piece boss, just like you asked."

"Took you long enough, now put him in there. I want to make sure I baby proofed this thing, he's like a mouse, one little hole and he's free." Said Nightmare, opening the small door that let them enter the playpen. It locked from the outside, and was babyproofed so Cross couldn't try and unlocking it himself. Watching Killer plop Cross in, he waited. "Go nuts."

Freedom! Or, so he thought. It looked so easy to get out of, clearly. He first tried stepping over. Thank god for all the pillows and blankets, he kept tumbling over, he even lost his footing at some point. Okay... Maybe pushing it. A shove here, a push there, no budge. Perhaps the old stacking toys trick? None of his little masterplans worked! Frustrated, Cross sat in the middle of the pen, facing away from the two with his arms folded. This wasn't fair! "I want out."

"Perfect, it works. I'll leave him to you. I'm sure you know how to handle it from here." A grin spread on Nightmare's face. Finally, something Cross hasn't busted out in.

With Nightmare leaving, Cross instantly looked to Killer, pleading on his knees with his best puppy eyes. He couldn't do this in front of Nightmare after all, he'd just tell him to not let him out! All the toys in his room seemed super interesting to play with in the halls! Or maybe running through the halls with a pinwheel, or running his corn-popper down the halls and making all the noise he could. Phase one, grabby hands.

Killer frowned. "Cross, you haven't even been in there for a minute. Why don't you go play with your toys or something?"

Cross shook his head and bounced in his spot, reaching out for Killer like his life depended on it. Okay. Maybe this wasn't working.

Phase two, the ole fake tears.

"Out, pease! Peeaaase!!" He whined, faking a small sniffle. "Play on couch wiff Killer? An'...an'..watch Tv!" For extra effect, he grabbed his beloved toy, and held it out. "I eben let you play wiff him!"

What a good deal-if he would actually stick to his word. "I'm not falling for it Cross, give it up. Nothing you do is going to let you out of there anytime soon." Sure, he was playing a hard bargain, but Killer wasn't going to fall for his cheap tactics yet. Yet.

Cross instantly sank into his spot, producing a small amount of sniffles as he looked down into his lap. "You don't wanna play wiff me..?" He asked, in a small, overly pathetic voice.

Fuck. That deceptive little shit. Biting his odds, Killer stood up, leaning over into the pen. "Fine fine- I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. I'll let you out, only if you promise to stay on the couch. That's the only place your allowed to be, got it? "

"Mmhm mhm! I pomise!" Fingers twisted behind his back, he reached out for Killer excitedly, kicking out his legs in joy. Freedom! He could taste it! Planted on the couch, he waited for Killer to settle down, and get comfortable. Maybe a nuzzle into his side, and a happy little babble before he 'dropped' Dinoman onto the floor. With fake surprise, he slipped off the couch, grabbed the plush and- bolted.

"Son of a- I'm never trusting you again you little rascal. When I get my hands on you I swear, I'm gonna tape you onto my body so you never get away again!" Yelled Killer, as he took off after Cross. Damn kid could run!

Suppose things would never change, not that he minded. Things being normal would take the fun out of it.

Or, at least that's how Killer saw it. He wouldn't mind chasing Cross around all day, just as long as he got the see the little buttface happy.

Chapter Text

He was pretty good at keeping a secret, at least, until that day.

Seems a guard can't guard their feelings for too long.

 

Ah, nighttime, all warm in your bed, ready to catch some well earned z's after a hard day! Snuggled up in a blanket, happy and secure. That's what Cross would've been, had his mind not been preoccupied. He wasn't sure how it happened, but his mood had only soured until he snuck away to his room, where things only got worse there.

Cross was sensitive. Not that he wanted to be, but it happened. He never showed it outwardly when something hurt, bottling it up for later when he was alone. It had been raining all day, light speckles of thunder here and there. Cross didn't like thunder. It had just begun to kick up once more, and he sought for comfort from one of the gangmates. Busy, busy, not around, busy. He must've bothered Dust a little much, enough so to get yelled at. Cross had tried to bring up his mood with short play in the Livingroom afterwards, but with the thunder still apparent, it was another reminder to his shortcomings.

That brought him to now, sitting in the dark clutching onto his pillow. Cross felt the tears threatening to fall. No one had come to check on him, tuck him in, or at least offer a bottle before bed. Was he that needy? He assumed the worst, as if they had finally gotten sick of him playing baby. Instinctively, he went to suckle on the corner of his pillow for comfort, but tore his mouth away. In a burst of anger, he swung his pillow at the wall, kicking all the things off his bed as if it'd make him feel better. It...did not. He was cold, sad, and afraid, very afraid. What if Dust told the others how he felt? What if they were going to kick him out! Distraught, and at a breaking point, he began crying, hot tears running down his cheeks. As if matching the mood, the rain seemed to roar up, pelting against the window loudly.

Cross sank to the floor, unable to help the coaxing methods he now felt gross with. Maybe this was why Dust yelled at him? He probably told nobody to check on him because he was some gross baby who couldn't manage himself well. He choked a sob, hands reaching out over the mess of blanket and toys for something comforting. Ah! He felt his hand brush over something familiar. Underneath his bed was- his old fabled pacifier. The one he thought he lost ages ago! Cross immediately brushed it over the fabric of his blanket, trying to clean the dust that lightly cover the thing. No use. He scrabbled over to one of his drawers, pulling out wipes to thoroughly clean it. Once good enough, he immediately stuck it into his mouth, furiously biting at the nub to cool his nerves. Despite the comfort it brought, he still felt horrid, gross, and now itchy. A change was due for the weeping guard, but he was too fearful in leaving his room. He lay quietly in the room for a while, soft sniffles and whines barely heard over the pressing rain.

It was a while until something happened, the door knob jiggled, then the door quietly was opened. Through his squished state against the corner of his room, where he took refuge amongst the many other stuffed animals he had, Cross could tell the light was flicked on. He was now sulky, and very tired. Whoever was in here, was clearing searching around the room. Cross held his breath as all seemed silent. Maybe the case was cle-

He was lifted out of the pile, and very quickly was against a familiar chest. Dust. Cross's soul sank as he tried to find words to say, something, anything. A fresh sob is all he got out. As much as he tried not to, he gripped onto the other's sweater, a subtle hiccup escaping through his pacifier, along with all the other noises he couldn't seem to stop making. God, he was so pathetic-

"Alright alright I get it, I fucked up. Don't need to rub salt in the wound. " Dust spoke, draping his jacket over the other. Damn guard was freezing cold! With a sigh, he turned off the lights with a shoulder, carrying the crying soldier with two arms to his room. He had gotten an earful after admitting he snapped at the other, though frankly they all had to admit they were a bit ignorant when it came to Cross. Dust only found it fair he go and retrieve Cross, as he was the first one to get them into this mess. Patting his back, Dust settled into bed with Cross in his arms. Suddenly he was thankful for Horror offering to leave a bottle in his room, quickly swapping out the pacifier for the warm bottle. However, it seemed like other was not too keen on drinking it. A swift shift in position meant he was now cradling Cross against his chest, instead of letting the other straddle him like before. Tilting the bottle up, he popped it into his mouth, squeezing the bottle lightly to give him the message.

It was a quiet few moments before Dust spoke again. "You know I'm not too good at this apologizing shit. I-had no excuse to yell at you." He admitted, waiting until the other had finished before swapping the two items out again. One pat to the butt made him recoil. Gross, another reason for Dust to feel lightly guilty. He knew Cross must've been sitting in the wet diaper for sometime. "Alright, I'm gonna have to move, no funny business while I get this off of you."

Laying Cross flat on his back allowed for an easy change, which he tossed in the small waste-bin he kept in his room for trash. It'll do for now. Laying back himself, he let the guard get comfy on him, pulling up the hood on the jacket Cross now wore to fully cover his top half. A blanket was tugged to keep the other end warm so he wouldn't be too cold anymore. Dust pat the his back for a while, letting Cross shift as he pleased until he moved no longer. Pausing, he lightly lifted the hood, and sure enough he had fallen asleep.

Dust huffed. "I'm sorry."

Chapter Text

They thought he was kept secret well, but it seems like an old friend picked up on something.

 

Nightmare sat at his office table, typing away at the large computer in front of him. He's been in there for a while, barely acknowledging when someone came in to drop him off another coffee, or something to eat. He's been cooped up in his office for a while, not that he noticed, at first. Even if you were an old king, it still seems like one has to do a few things to keep stuff running. When the door opened, then shut a second later, he paid no mind. Perhaps another coffee delivery, he was running low on his current one anyways. His brow furrowed as he finally tore his attention away from his screen, not seeing anyone from the position he was in. He felt something brush up against his leg, and sighed. Oh, now he understood. Nightmare scooted back his chair, spotting Cross under the table, smiling up at him.

"What are you doing here? Thought I told the others to watch you." Nightmare said, motioning for Cross to come forward to pull him out from under the table. Couldn't risk him bumping his head. Apparently he must've thought it was an invitation to sit on his lap, as the guard now sat comfortably in his lap, the blanket plush in his hand. "Cross, I'm very busy right now, I have things to do."

"Well- I was playing hide-n-seek, but I got bored...Then I wanted to see you, so I did! I brought you a snack too!" Cross produced a small bag of goldfish from underneath the small blanket toy, looking up at him waiting for approval.

Another sigh, followed by Nightmare taking the baggie and setting it on the table. Well, it would be rude to refuse something like that from Cross, even if it wasn't something he'd ever consider eating. He patted his head, swiveling to the side to scoot Cross off to send him back out. Once again, he didn't get the message. Of course.

"What are you doing? Can I help? Horror said I was a good helper! We can play afterwards together! Or- or read a book! Maybe-" Cross was met with a pacifier to the mouth. He had a tendency to ramble, not that he noticed much.

Nightmare opened his mouth to ask the other to leave, but he knew the other just wanted to spend time with him. Dammit. Had he become soft? He usually wouldn't permit the rest staying in, but somehow when it came to Cross, he seemed to just get lucky. Rolling his eye, he scooted back into the table, settling Cross on one knee. This was fine, surely the other understood the importance of his work. Which, for the record was putting too much into Cross. When the smaller reached out to press the keys, Nightmare redirected his hands back to his lap. "Ah ah, no touching. If you want to help, why don't you.." He scanned the desktop, taking a small notepad and pencil, handing it to Cross. "Draw me something nice while I work, that'll help me."

Perfect, silence from him was always nice. This let Nightmare get back to work. What he failed to notice was the amount the sticky-notes now stuck on his desk.

"Can I have something bigger?" Cross asked, twirling the pencil in his hand as he looked at all the doodled notes he had. It seemed to barely spike a reaction out of Nightmare as a notepad was dropped in his lap. Oh! Finally something he can show his masterpiece on. He went back to scribbling, happily kicking his legs as he worked on his best art yet. With Nightmare distracted, he carefully leaned over and opened one of the drawers, reaching for pens that were in different colors. His work needed a bit of finesse after all! "Do you like red or blue?"

"Red." Nightmare replied briefly, grumbling quietly. This damn website was taking forever to load, it's not like he had all day here.

It was a while before anything happened between the two of them. Cross would occasionally ask for something, or sneakily get it himself. When his fine work was completed, he slid the paper onto the computer keyboard, looking up at Nightmare in approval.

Nightmare sighed, about to brush the paper off the keyboard, though he knew better to at least spare a glance for his sake. It got a smile out of him, which was quite rare. It was a decent enough drawing of the two playing together. For once he actually looked at the time...then the mess on the table. Nightmare shut the computer, picking up each individual sticky-note to look at them. Well, he sure had been here long enough.

"Did I help? Are you done now?" Cross asked.

"Yeah, all done. No more work." Nightmare could always finish it later. Setting the drawing on top of the closed laptop, standing up with Cross in his arms. About to leave, the door swung in, and came in three frantic skeletons.

"Boss- we lost the-," The trio fell silent upon seeing Cross in Nightmare's hold.

"No need, he's been with me the entire time. But, since you all came together, I suppose you wouldn't mind playing with us yes? I was thinking about a better game of hide-n-seek. Cross and I will search for you, and you better pray I 'lose' you too." He couldn't excuse their mistake of even losing Cross for a few minutes, but over an hour? They better be glad Cross was here.

"Y-....yes boss." Said the three, looking away in a mix of fear, and shame. They were in for it.

Chapter Text

It was up to them to keep watch over him, when he couldn't.

 

Times were simple when Cross was little. No matter the age, he had things pretty easy! He knew the other's would care for him, and make sure he was okay! Well, all was fine until one bright afternoon, he found himself teetering in and out of the headspace. Thankfully, it was still an age where Cross could do things on his own, but... It didn't excuse his need for protection. When he was a little, wearing a pull-up wasn't too bad, and truthfully he never paid much attention to it. However, when he wasn't in the mood, Cross was hyper aware of every little thing. Even so much as wearing a onesie out of the 'space' was considered embarrassing, and almost humiliating.

For the sake of the other's he respected their wishes in keeping him in protection no matter what, even if it kept him constantly worrying that something awful would happen.

Settled on the couch, Cross worked on a small word puzzle to busy himself, leaning against Dust. The other had been helping him with it so far, pointing out a word he missed, even congratulating him on finishing a page. Not that the other asked him to do so, but it clearly didn't seem to bother Cross. He liked the help. When he was all word puzzled out, he watched Dust play dumb little games on his phone, lightly conversing over what to do in the game as if Cross would ever get it himself. Chill days like these were always the best, in, or not in littlespace at all. However, Cross had teetered back and fourth between slipping, which led to the decision of him putting on a pull-up, which he had denied at first. With a little convincing, they had agreed in him wearing one for at least a while, and the suggestion was soon proving to be a good one. Sipping water from a cup, he snorted when Dust had died in his game, causing the other to roll his eye's.

"Yeah yeah whatever, I let them win out of pity." Dust nudged him with his shoulder, reaching out with his other hand to swipe the pacifier out from his mouth, grinning as Cross fought against him.

"Heyy- I don't take your shit from you, give it back you jer-" Cross was silenced as Dust shoved it back in, cheekbones a light purple. With a huff, he tucked his face lightly into the turtleneck he wore, masking the furious moving of the pacifier as he chewed on it. It was embarrassing to admit he depended on the damn thing a lot, even out of littlespace.

The two remained in their position, at least until Cross kept shifting around. Dust thought nothing of it, other than telling him to stop moving or else he'd leave. It seemed to work for a while, but the peace wasn't forever. Cross dug his hand into his leg, abruptly jolting as if he remembered something. Oh shoot-Cross had ignored his own signs again! He doubted he even had the chance at making it, but he did not want to admit to Dust he needed pull-ups now. Biting the odds Cross-

Sat there. Oh how he was going to ask, but he froze up in shame, glancing away at the now sodden pull-up. Tears pricked his eye's, but he refused to allow himself to cry in front of Dust for an accident, so he did the next best option. Hide in Dust. Cross instantly buried his face into his shoulder, as if that'd make him the least suspicious ever.

"Cross- what the hell are you doing? I'm not in the mood to cuddle so if you can just-" Dust made the mistake of peeling him off, and instantly was met with frantic apologies. It didn't take him long to find the source, Dust sighing as he let Cross weep into his shoulder. Helping him onto his feet after another small apology session, he scoffed. "Cross, I told you that you needed the damn things and I was right, better be thanking me instead." Taking his hand, Dust led Cross to his room, pausing by the bathroom once. "And you're sure your-"

It had become a thing now to ask if he was done, Dust being met with frantic nods. He'd take his word on it.

One change later, and Dust had turned his back to put everything away, barely a minute or so after changing Cross and-

"Cross- I thought you were done?!'

Chapter Text

-. . .

 

A very late night for them, the gang all crowded on the couch binging movies. It was one of those nights you kept up as long as possible, using the excuse that you'd sleep after this show or movie, only to play another. Drinks had been passed around, and food was spilled, making an overall enjoyable binge.

Settled happily in Dust's lap was Cross, who squished himself up against his side, blanket wrapped around half of his body. He had been struggling against sleep for a while, slow blinking and very cuddly. He gave a whine when Dust moved his arm, grabbing at it to set it back at his side. Wiggling to get back to his comfort spot, he squinted at the TV, the screen blurry to his tired eyes. He heard the sound of someone getting up, then disappearing off into the kitchen. Perhaps more snacks? Cross didn't bother looking, waiting for his vision to clear. He wasn't even sure what movie they were watching, something about killer apes and diamonds, he couldn't remember, or care to. Then, out of nowhere, something was shoved into his face, making him flinch.

Horror had gotten up to make a bottle for Cross, giving it to Dust since he was currently holding the leech of a guard. Dust sighed, fishing the pacifier from his mouth to wedge the new warm bottle of chocolate milk into his mouth. Cross was avoiding it like the plague, picking up on their not so subtle plan. "Dammit Cross, just take the damn thing already. I'm not going to fight with you over this." Said Dust, finally cramming the thing into his mouth.

Cross, being unsuccessful, gave up the fight and began drinking. He was far too tired to put up much of one anyways. The milk hit him like his own special form of kryptonite, pulling away from the near empty bottle to bury his face into Dust's chest. If he was out of it before, now was a good time to mention he was awfully tired. He raised a fist, softly hitting it against Dust for having him succumb like this. "I-...hate you.." He said out, throwing another weak punch at the other.

Dust only chucked, leaving the bottle in his seat as he stood, supporting Cross to let him lay his head against his shoulder, arms half dangling over. "Uh huh, I'm so hurt by this news. Sheesh, Cross was sure the heat collector, practically a personal furnace. "Try not to drool on me, I'd like to go back without wet patches on my shoulder." He ignored the snicker from the others by the comment. They all knew he wasn't coming back, even he did. Which is why he didn't even bother heading to Cross's room, instead turning to corner to his room instead, flicking on the light of the dark room. Dumping Cross onto his bed, he shut the door, watching as he inched to his favorite spot on the bed. Damn kid, that was his spot.

Cross yawned out in denial, sitting up in the bed and kicking the sheets away. "Can we read my...favorite book? And-"

"Yeah yeah, you know the drill. No horsing around or else I'm sending you to your own room and leaving." Dust flicked on the nightlight in his room. Ever since this little bastard took to sleeping in his room more, Dust had made some effort to make it towards the other's liking. Things like toys, even changing supplies took residence in his room. It threw off the normal edge vibe it had. Swiping the book in question off the counter, he slipped off his shoes, pushing Cross off to the side so he could get in bed himself. With a flick of his finger, the fan lights were off, and the small lamp by the table came on. "Get comfy, none of that wiggly shit you always do. You know I'll show you the damn pictures. Now, the little rabb-"

"Wait wait-....I wanna see the picture."

Chapter Text

-. . . ! Well, shit.

 

Things were going to plan, invade an AU, cause a ruckus, confront the Star Sanses. A week, he had a full week without one slip, that was far good enough for the gang to allow him to tag along. Having the extra hands on board was great, more so since nobody had to stay behind to watch Cross. It was normal, as normal as one could get destroying something of course, but then things went south.

The Star Sanses came quickly, almost too quick, had this been an ambush? It was far too late to round everyone back up, the gang spread across the place to cover ground. It'd be hard to spread the message they were here. Alone, Cross charged forward in the snowy forests, making sure to keep aware of his surroundings. He had lost Horror, as they had been traveling together up until now. He took another step forward and slipped, the soft snow giving out from under him as he sled down the hill. So much for paying attention. His weapons had been dropped in the process, so Cross had to sift through the snow to find them. Spotting something black poking out from the snow, he assumed it to be his trusty weapon, but he was deceived the moment he picked it up.

A black and white pacifier. With his track record of a week not reacting differently to such things, it would be a first thought that Cross would simply assume he had left it in this jacket, and go on his merry way to meet up with the gang. Except, that's not what happened. A quick twirl of the object in his hand gave him a slight flush to the cheekbones. Now was not the time to be putting your mouth on things! Fumbling, he shoved it back into his pocket, and located his weapons. He clearly must've taken too long, as a branch from above cracked, signaling that he had been caught. Mind still fresh on the thought of his pacifier, Cross barely had the time to react to a few bones sent his way, landing on a nearby tree. At least now he knew who it was. Swap, that skeleton from Underswap.

"Whew-! I've been trying to catch up to you for ages!" The skeleton shouted, landing by Cross, who was instantly in a defensive position. They were awfully far from the true heat of the battle happening in Snowdin, Dream and Ink fending well against the rest, helping the monsters escape to safety. Only he had spotted Cross and Horror separate, and went after the two. The trees provided a lot of hiding ground, though it was quite dangerous to be out here. A storm could kick up out of nowhere. "Where's your other friend? Horror, was it?" Swap asked, distancing himself from the other.

Usually so locked up tight, Cross blurted out. "I don't know, I lost him." Before looking away. What the hell was he doing? He shouldn't have told Swap that, it gave away the chance that the other assumed Horror would be near. He had to get his mind straight.

Swap seemed to stare for a moment, squinting lightly. No. He shouldn't get that idea, it had to be some mistake, or a lie. "Right, right! Thanks for letting me know, I'll keep an eye out!" A perfect time to strike! Swap lunged forward, summoning two bones in his hand to defend against Cross's knives, those things sure left a mark. They were back and forward for a while, before Swap had landed a successful hit against Cross, sending him back into a tree. Sure, it had been a while, but Cross wouldn't have left his guard open for such an easy blow.

Swap approached him, bone pointed down at his body. "Are you taking it-"

"WAIT-!" Interrupted Cross, awkwardly shuffling forward in the snow on his knees. He had lost it. He knew it had fallen out during the battle. "Don't-don't take another step-" He pleaded, eyeing the prized possession under the other's foot.

Swap froze in place, watching his odd display. What was he so worried about? Cross had never acted like this around him in battle before! Not ever since- Swap had lifted his foot, picking up the item in question. Oh. Oh no- he hadn't been- Swap sputtered. "Oh my gosh- I'm-I'm so sorry I had no idea you-well, you know! I would've stopped if I knew! Here let me help you up!"

It all made sense now! Swap pulled the other up, rushing to hand over the pacifier and standing back. Well, at least it was not like the first time. That was one awful interaction they vowed to never speak about. Swap hadn't even told the other's which worries him if they'd try and find him. "Oh- I hurt you! Stars- why aren't you back erm- home?" Swap asked, rushing to take off his scarf and wrap up Cross's arm. Seems like another hit had landed on him without any knowing.

Swap knew a lot more, though it was an accident on his behalf, quite literally. When it first happened on a mission, Cross ended up blurting everything through a fit of tears. The two had almost gotten caught because of it. Wincing as Swap touched at the small wound, he shrugged lightly. "I wasn't aware of it. None of them were. I didn't think it'd happen now! I just wanted to help out instead of staying home and-"

Swap pulled away after covering the wound, knowing he was getting in a sour mood quick. Not that he blamed Cross, after finding out, all previous thoughts on fighting were gone. Just stalling for time until he knew one of them was around. "Maybe this isn't the best of times to talk about this...it's not much but, sure were supposed to be enemies and all but, maybe we could bend the rules a little? Mweh- maybe you can come over to my place, and we can talk this out? I'm sure you know where."

Branches cracked and rustled from afar. Swap watched as Cross pulled his hood up, sitting down with his back against a tree to calm down. At some point, the pacifier found its way in his mouth, and with the noises getting closer, Swap knew it was his time to leave. Now's not the time to get caught with Cross, not like this. "Think about it, okay?" He said, waving off to the other and leaving. Now to find Dream and Ink, he was sure by now everything had to be calming down.

With Swap gone, Horror tore through the trees with his axe, spotting Cross against the tree. One look to the blue colored scarf on his arm, and the footsteps in the snow leading away, Horror knew automatically.

"C'mon, yer gonna catch a cold sittin in the snow like that."

Chapter Text

The secret was bound to get out anyways.

 

It had been a month after the mission, Cross refused to talk to Horror about what happened, so the other eventually laid off. A month was all it took for Cross to consider the invitation, and actually go.

Of course, it took a bit of convincing, and lying to get the other's to have him go, even in his current off state. As long as he promised to come back, or at least call if he felt like he was slipping again. He didn't tell them he was heading to Underswap, or what he would even be doing. More or less, he said he was meeting up with a friend, and begged and pleaded until they budged. And yet, the moment he set foot on the snowy grounds of the AU, he felt nervous. With a bag slung around his back, filled with some things that he chose to bring, like Swap's scarf, and perhaps a comfort item or so, he approached the house. He couldn't head back now, it would seem suspicious, not to mention a few monsters of the place caught wind of his sights.

Inhaling sharply to gain confidence, he knocked twice. When the knob jiggled, Cross turned back to hide away, giving up on the thought of actually wanting to meet Swap on a personal level. A hand reached out, and grabbed his shoulder.

"Eh? You're not trying to knock and ditch are ya?" Asked a tall lanky skeleton in orange. Underswap Papyrus. The infamous lazy, lanky skeleton of this AU came to the door instead. Flipping the other around, he cocked a grin. "Oh, you're familiar. Your that...black and white skeleton my bro has been talking about all week." A lot smaller than he expected. Geez, did they all come fun sized? The two had bad history, but he could overlook it, especially if his Sans had something to do with the skeleton in question. Temporarily at least. If this monochrome cookies and cream of a skeleton pulled anything funny with his brother, things will not go over easy. "Well, don't just stand there, my brother has been waitin for ya for some time. He's in the kitchen. I'm sure you know your way around."

Orange Papyrus, as Cross will now secretly label him, allowed him in. As if things weren't awkward enough. To be courteous, Cross took off his shoes, cutting off another inch to his already small height. Just incase he wanted to feel anymore towered over by the orange light-post looming over him.

"Papyrus, who was that at the- Oh!" Swap came around the corner, the corners of his mouth turning up in a grin. Well, what a lovely surprise! He certainly wasn't expecting him anytime soon. "I would've come to the door myself had I known! I hope you don't mind staying in the kitchen for a while, I'm in the middle of baking!" Shooing off his brother with two hands, he motioned for Cross to follow him into the kitchen after setting down his jacket and bag.

Cross let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, glad to get away from him. Once walking into the kitchen, the sweet smell of fresh bakes hung in the air. He found himself now taking a deep breath to soak it all in. Wow, not even the kitchen at the castle smelled this good unless Horror was making his occasional pie.

"There's a bake sale happening in town to raise money for a gift exchange! I figured I should contribute too, since I have the time of course. Baking helps me wind down anyways. Would you like to help me make some cinnabuns?" Turning to the sink, Swap washed his hands, drying them with a clean towel to ensure he didn't get anything into his bakes. Talking over baking was so much easier, and wasn't as scary as being face to face. Truthfully, Swap was a little scared to chat too, but that wouldn't stop him from trying.

"Er-I'm no good at baking myself, but I guess I could help with like...dishes or something." He was no chef. These hands were not made for cooking.

"What! No way I would have a guest do dishes, trust me, you'll be a natural! Mweh! And with me helping you, it should be easy!" Swap had him wash his hands, leading the skeptical Cross over to a mixing bowl. "Alright, start with 4 cups of flour! There's a container over there full of it. Take the bowl with you while I warm the milk and butter. It helps activate the yeast better, which makes fluffier buns!"

Alright, should be easy? It's just some flour, how bad could it be? Four scoops and- "Oh shit-" His previously black sweater was now coated in a light layer of flour. All he heard was a snort from Swap, and an apron tossed his way.

"That's okay, were all a bit clumsy! Did you know Dream is actually horrible at baking? Gosh, he tried making a cake once and well...Let's say it was hard as a brick!" He could remember that day, his sides hurt from how hard he was laughing. Who knew you could weaponize a cake? "Anyways, how were things after you got back, I'm sure a lot has happened?" The atmosphere was light, a perfect time to make small talk! Swap came over to take the bowl, having Cross pull out the milk and butter from the microwave.

Dream, horrible at baking? Who would've guessed?! "Oh, well not really. Things tend to calm down at the castle after stuff like that. I uh- well you know after I got back.." Cross trailed off, swirling the buttermilk mix absent mindedly. Getting into it so soon huh? Talking about it was much harder than he first thought. "Oh-Oh! I brought your scarf back. I cleaned it up of course, I hope you don't mind."

"Did you? That's very kind of you Cross! How's your arm? I hope I didn't hurt you too bad, things are different in the heat of the moment." Considerate of the other to even return it. He had forgotten he gave it to Cross in the first place. Swap would keep the pace of the conversation moving, it was easier to keep him talking anyways. He was learning how quick the other locked up about certain things. "Crack three eggs for me okay? After this we have to let it rise."

"My arm is fine, healed up by now. It wasn't too bad." He wasn't about to admit he cried in the infirmary with Horror. "You sure got this...baking thing down." Cracking the eggs in separate bowl, he handed it over to Swap for mixing. Cross reserved himself by standing off to the side and watching. Soon, it was covered to rise some.

The two talked aimlessly for a while. Things they liked, didn't like. Swap tried to get him to open up, but he would always change the topic, or stare off into space as if searching for the right answer.

"Well-," Swap interrupted, cleaning himself off. "We have some time to burn." Turning to Cross, he grabbed his hands. His calm and slow method wasn't working. As much as Swap hated to pry, they had to talk about it, about that day. "We both know why were talking, we really shouldn't avoid it any longer."

The day which sparked a change in not just the two of them, but the day that started Cross's new adventure with the gang.

"I don't think I can- it's not that I don't want to I just-"

"We can take it slow. I've been needing to ask a few questions for a while. Please, for me? I promise, after this, no more questions, and I'll leave you alone." Swap slipped off his apron, helping Cross take off his before extending out his hand. No doubt his brother was going to be nosy.

Cross took a shaky breath, glancing over at the time. He supposed it was about time he told Swap too, it was only fair. If the gang got to know him like this, so should he. He took Swap's hand. "I'd like to take my bag with me, just incase."

A reasonable request, Swap was sure he already understood.

"Don't be afraid to tell me if you need anything, now come on, I think it would be better to talk in my room. Afterwards, we can come back downstairs and finish up to enjoy the cinnabuns!"

Papyrus watched as the two left upstairs, waiting a moment before following after them. Just what was going on between Cross and his brother that they were secretive about?

Chapter Text

Odd mistakes lead to funny interactions.

 

Swap shut the door behind him, waiting until it clicked to signal it had shut completely. It was about time Swap finally got a few things off his mind. Seated on his bed, he pat the spot across from him, watching as Cross set down his bag, then sat himself a short distance from him. The air felt almost thick as a silence settled over the two. Swap cleared his throat. This was a lot more daunting than he first thought. "Let's-start with something simple. You don't have to answer it if you feel uncomfortable." He glanced to the door once before sighing, here they go.

"How-no, why do you do it?" The memories of that day burned fresh in his head. Truthfully, that day after they left that long battle in that barren void, Swap didn't get any sleep. He could remember staying up all night on his computer trying to find anything about what happened. They never fought in there again after that. It led him to a number of conclusions. Swap needed to hear from him why he does it.

Cross knew that look in his eyes. It's the same one he shared at this recent mission. Wringing his wrists, he considered staying silent, but that would defeat the whole purpose of coming. Thinking in silence, Cross eventually looked up at Swap. "I used to have horrible night terrors about-things I've done. Nothing I did would help, and I was getting desperate. I was still new to the whole gang thing with Nightmare, so I didn't want to be fucking up around him because of some stupid dream I couldn't shake off. I-...I was desperate for any type of relief at that point, and finally decided to look online for help." A bit shameful to admit something like this, but it was much easier to get it off his chest in front of someone like Swap. He couldn't count the amount of times he almost wanted to cry in front of the gang admitting something as stupid as that.

Swap knew his place, but he still reached out and took Cross's hand, squeezing his hand to offer comfort. He seemed grateful in the offer, smiling as felt a reassuring squeeze back. Okay, he was still okay. "Go on, I'm listening." Being supportive was the best thing Swap could do right now. He could guess what happened afterwards, but continued to let Cross explain.

"R-right. I came upon 'it' that night. Truthfully, I didn't think it'd even do anything other than making me feel...stupid. And I did feel stupid- but it worked. I couldn't look at myself for a few days, but sure enough I kept doing it and well....I couldn't stop. I mean of course I still got them occasionally, but it was more- er...Manageable." Cross took a breath, looking back at his bag. It all started with that damn pacifier. He got that pit feeling that things were not going to stay like it was right now. "So, yeah. Was that good enough for you?"

Swap nodded, brushing his thumb over his palm, drawing circles into it. "I see, that certainly brushes away a lot of my questions. I suppose since I don't see you personally like the rest, I have to ask do you even like doing it? Oh, and as long as you don't mind, it seems like it occurs during the day? When did that happen?"

Oh, there it is. That sinking pit feeling got bigger. "At first, I mean- well no. I absolutely hated it. Overtime it just turned into some comfort thing and I stopped hating it- as much at least. I still get a bit 'gross' knowing it happens. And to answer your other question..." Cross trailed off, swallowing hard. "Th-that mission. I had...never even considered it before then."

Swap couldn't stop himself from gasping. What a horrible introduction! "Gosh I'm so sorry! To think you had to deal with all that in one day. I can't imagine what you must've been feeling." Oh but he could guess. Swap had never heard up until that day such frightened screaming. The other was so blinded that he became a danger to everyone. Yet- the second Swap had approached, Cross had leeched onto him. He frowned at the thought of it. Swap wished back then he could've done more than just stand there and endure it. It was a while until he was able to get Cross off and flee the scene before the 'nightmares' came over themselves. The other was in such a deep state of panic and he did nothing in fear of his life. "I actually wanted to apologize for that day- I didn't do anything I just wasn-"

"Please don't apologize. It's not like you planned to get caught in the middle of it. You did enough...at least in my eye's." A mutual bond formed that day. For a while Cross didn't go on missions while he figured himself out, the other's included. He was never one to be so touchy-feely in this headspace, but Cross reached out and hugged Swap, rooting into his neck.

Certainly unexpected for the other, but gladly welcomed. He wrapped his arm's back around him, patting his back lightly. "Gosh I was so worried you'd hate me because of it! That's a relief. You don't have to worry a thing, I promise you again I'd never tell a so-!" Swap fell back on the bed, not expecting the other to have pushed him away. "Cross what are you- oh don't tell me you-"

"I'm sorry- I'm sorry!" Cross yelled out, quickly standing up from the bed to dive his hands into his crotch. Of all the times. Why NOW? "I didn't- I can't- please don't be mad!" An accident. In someone's room. And all he could do was stand there and let it happen. Well, isn't this just funny? If it couldn't get any worse, he looked back to the door, hearing knocking before the doorknob jiggled.

"What is going on in here?" Swap Papyrus barged in- and immediately regretted it. His gaze immediately fell on the skeleton standing in the middle of the room, miserably failing at trying to hide the fact that he just pissed himself. Honestly, where do you go from there? He couldn't just act like he totally didn't see it.

Thankfully Swap sprung into action, throwing the one nearby thing he had to shoo his brother out. The bag. The contents of it spilled out once it hit the floor.

All three of them looked down, and Cross swore he could die right then and there. Nothing like an accident, and then your shit being exposed to the world. A pacifier, his beloved Dinoman, and here's the kicker, a thick pull-up with teddy-bears on it.

Cross pushed past the lanky skeleton and hid in the bathroom.

Swap immediately cast a glare at his brother. "Now look what you've done! I just knew you'd be nosy- and I don't want to hear a word from you!" He scolded, putting everything back into the bag.

 

Swap had cleaned up all the evidence of their mishaps before going to Cross. It took him a while after lending him the bag for him to come out. But when he did, it was clear how shameful he looked.

Cross came out with his bag, toy and pacifier in hand, and Swap's scarf. He had stuffed all the wet clothes into the bag, now only a sweater and pull-up to his name. Shuffling out, he held out the scarf, averting his eye's from Swap. Oh how he wished to dust on the spot.

The two headed downstairs, Swap having Cross sit on the couch to calm down for a while. Of course, all he did was sulk in silence until the orange one came down, sat next to him- and chucked a blanket at him. They sat in silence for a while, until Swap came out of the kitchen with the cinnabuns.

"Oh dear...How are you feeling Cross?" Swap bent down, a small plate full with the goodies in hand, using his free hand to lift the blanket lightly. Expecting a grumpy skeleton, he was instead greeted by a sleeping one, pacifier in mouth, and toy clutched close to his body. He seemed to sigh in relief, before turning to Papyrus. "Could you get a container and put these in there? I have to do something."

Waiting until he left, Swap looked to Cross, helping him into a more comfortable position, before locating his bag. He fished around the front pockets until he came across something helpful. Aha, a phone! It was charged, and unlocked. Swap picked the first contact he saw without looking. "Oh, thank you for picking up, and good evening! I have your Cross!"

"What."

The person on the other side hung up quickly. Swap gulped. Maybe he could've phrased that better. . .

Chapter Text

That's not the last time you'll see him.

 

The kitchen was bustling. Seems as if everyone had decided to eat lunch at the same time, which left the place a little cluttered, food and items left all over the counter. Yet- nobody was paying attention to Cross sat in the highchair, who was less interested in his food, and that lovely pudding he was promised. Oh, what a terrible day for his clothes.

Spread across his tray were various amounts of finger foods. As a game, he would try and flick little goldfish across the kitchen, even aiming for anyone passing by until he got a verbal warning by Nightmare. With his fun interrupted, he looked to the remaining foods. A half eaten sandwich with the crusts off, a handful of goldfish, and fruit. Sure, it would've been eaten normally, but his mind was clearly more interested in the chocolate pudding. Who wouldn't be desperate for a prize like that? Looking around the room, he abandoned all forms of cleanliness, mushing the food together into a horrible slimy abomination. Great! Now- where's he going to put it? Cupping his hand over the mush ball, he glanced around the limited space, before settling on his diaper. Perfect! Or- so he thought.

It sounded oh so lovely in his head, but when put into action, was a lot grosser than he thought. Deposited into the back of his diaper, Cross shook his head in disgust. Regrettable, but anything for his pudding. Rubbing his sticky hands together, he kicked his legs in his spot, waiting for someone to notice him, before deciding to call out on his own. "I'm dooone! I want my pudding now."

"Geez, you finished a bit fast." Killer said, squinting at the other suspiciously. When he landed on the gross mess of his hands, Killer cringed. "Yeah, before you get that, let's clean your hands-and that tray. Can't be any messier huh?" Grabbing wipes from a nearby drawer, he attacked the other's hands relentlessly, then his face. All traces of suspicion were gone one he was clean. Soon, he came over with a pudding cup, and a small spoon. His sippy-cup was returned with water. "Try and get most of it in your mouth this time." He said, turning to get his toast out of the toaster before its stolen by Dust. Fucker always takes his food if he leaves it unattended.

Bingo! Cross immediately dug into it with the spoon, eventually using his fingers, then tongue to fully clean the cup. Eagerly licking away at any remaining bits, Cross was pleased with his success. By now, the kitchen had cleared up, them either eating at the table or Livingroom. This time, Dust came over, freeing him from the highchair, and setting him onto his feet. "Go, don't want you playing around the kitchen." One affectionate pat the the diaper alarmed Dust quickly of his dirty little deed. "Agh- gross why didn't you-" One flip up of the shirt made Dust go silent.

Cross only cringed, then froze in his spot. Seems like his plan was not completely perfect. When he was lifted up by the arms, he couldn't even look at Dust, cheekbones dusting purple. "I-uhm- I can explain." No he couldn't.

"Uh huh. That's gross, and a waste of damn food." Dust scolded lightly, sighing at the other as he set him back down, and had him do an awkward shuffle of shame to get himself changed. Leave it up to Cross to figure out how to misbehave in a new way. "Tch- you ruined the back of your shirt too. You know what that means. Bad boys get 'it.'"

Cross sat up from his spot, or at least tried to. Dust had pushed him back down pretty quick. No- he couldn't mean that dreaded outfit. "No- please I didn't think-I- Dust please!" He pleaded, shaking his head at the other. He'd do anything to not be put in that thing! When Dust pulled away, he tried to make a run for it, not getting very far before Dust caught him, with that dreaded bunny outfit in his hand. It was pink, fuzzy, and horrid. Came with a stupid hood with stupid fat bunny ears on them.

. . .

And he had to wear it.

When the two came back, chuckles broke out in the Livingroom.

Cross angrily sat on the floor, facing away from everyone, with his arms folded over each other. Not a happy baby, not one bit. Naughty boys get the bunny outfit.

"D'aw," Horror had at least felt a little bad for him, only a little. Picking up the grumpy fuzzy guard, he sat him down on his lap on the couch, flipping up the hood. "I think yer very cute, too cute to eat." With a chuckle, he reached down and flicked the large pompom tail it came with, patting his back lightly as he huffed and puffed. "Think we got a grumpy bunny."

Oh that's it! Cross bit him, as if that'd make up for his horrible one star experience in the worst outfit ever. And well, he immediately regret it.

"Oh we bitin now huh? Think this little bun just got himself a good ole spankin, and a nice timeout."

Ah shit.