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Blood of the Covenant

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                It was a beautiful day.

                Birds were singing, flowers were blooming.

                And on days like these, kids like them…

                … S h o u l d  b e —

                “Wakey wakey, sunshine!”

                Frisk grunts sharply, jumping awake from a nightmare they’re too familiar with to be too phased, anymore. Lifting their face from the pillow, they throw a bleary-eyed glare across the room, at the desk sitting in front of their window. On the desk, sitting directly in the light of the rising sun coming through the glass, sits a flowerpot, with a single golden-petaled flower inside.

                “Howdy, sleepyhead,” Flowey flashes an all-too-wide grin over at Frisk, tilting his face to a slight angle as his petals bob. “Happy Monday morning! Guess what time it is?”

                Glancing at their nightstand, Frisk’s stomach sinks as they realize their phone isn’t there. With a groan, they look at their desk, and – lo and behold – it seems they’d made the terrible mistake of leaving the device within Flowey’s two-foot radius, last night.

                Clambering clumsily out of bed as the plant cackles in unbridled glee, Frisk snatches up their phone and unlocks it with a practiced swipe.

                Their face scrunches into an unamused frown at their new background photo; a rather dynamic selfie Flowey had taken of the most twisted grin he could muster.

                Despite the comment Frisk is preparing to sign in Flowey’s direction, their stomach sinks again when they notice the time.

                “Eight AM on a Monday morning!” Flowey sings, swaying in place and swinging his leaves. “What a shame your alarm didn’t go off! Don’t your classes start in an hour?”

                Scowling, Frisk makes a hurried ‘up yours’ sign to the flower, eliciting another cackle from him as they throw their phone onto the bed and rip off their nightshirt.

                Flowey freezes, deadpanning. “What are you doing.”

                Frisk tears off their pajama pants and heads for the dresser, right across the room from the desk, digging inside for some fresh clothes.

                “Oh, god.” Flowey winces, straining to bring his leaves up and cover his eyes. “No, no no no no, don’t, agh! For the love of god, put your clothes on!”

                Clearly triumphant, Frisk turns around with a t-shirt and a fresh pair of shorts in their hand. After tossing those onto the bed, they wiggle their hips, and sign fiercely.

                ‘Vengeance!’

                Grumbling, Flowey turns away pointedly to stare out the window as Frisk pulls on their clothes. After taking a moment to comb their messy hair into something resembling decency, Frisk snatches up their backpack and heads for the door.

                “Wait!!”

                The human pauses, halfway through the doorway, and languidly turns to look over their shoulder at the flower. For a moment, Frisk feels bad for bothering him; he looks sad, lost, almost even afraid as he sits morosely on the desk, staring at Frisk with eyes that seem somehow different from his usual, dead-eyed gaze.

                Eyes that remind Frisk of a charming, soft laugh, and a lost soul sitting in a golden flowerbed.

                “Can you… Can you take me to the kitchen, before you go?” Flowey winces, and can’t bring himself to meet Frisk’s eyes. “There’s, um, more going on out there, and there’s some nice sunlight in there all day…” His voice grows quieter as he speaks, until it trails off completely.

                Visibly relaxing, Frisk smiles, and nods, walking toward Flowey to pick up his pot. The flower remains quiet as Frisk carries him out the door, down the short hallway, and into the kitchen, setting him gingerly on the windowsill behind the sink.

                “Oh, good morning, dear,” Toriel calls from the sitting-room, which is only cut off from the kitchen by a breakfast bar, “You seem to have overslept; I would have awoken you earlier, but –“

                Cutting her off with a dismissive wave, Frisk smiles at the boss monster, and signs in turn, ‘I’m fine, mom, just didn’t hear my alarm, is all.’ Flowey bristles in annoyance at his prank being dismissed.

                “Sounds like you were bone tired, kiddo.”

                Frisk gives a quiet huff of laughter and turns to look at Sans, who has just emerged from the hallway, his eyesockets drooping tiredly, but his permanent grin fixed in place same as always. Waving, Frisk shoulders their backpack, and heads for the door, leaning their back against it to quickly wave goodbye as they slip out into the hallway, down the stairs, and into the apartment building’s lobby.

                “hOI,” shouts the receptionist, and Frisk waves ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ simultaneously as they run for the door.

                “bOI,” the receptionist shouts again, as Frisk leaves. “Hav gud DAY!”

 

~*~

 

                Sans shakes his head and chuckles as Frisk bolts out the door; the poor kid looks like they barely woke up, and he doesn’t envy them having to run off at this ungodly hour. Barely stifling a yawn behind his bony hand, he shuffles into the kitchen to fix some coffee, and glances over to Toriel, where she sits on the couch.

                “Shouldn’t you be gettin’ to work about now?” He asks, pouring water into the tank before shoving the mug under the spout and tapping a button.

                She chuckles in response, waving a paw at him. “I wish. However, I have had to call today off, for an appointment.”

                “More embassy stuff, I take it?”

                “Mm,” she nods, taking a sip of her tea, and the machine next to Sans gives a soft ding. He takes his cup, eyeing the flower on the windowsill as he takes a swig of the scalding drink.

                He doesn’t know if he’ll ever understand why Frisk insisted on going back to dig up the little bastard and bring him home, yet while Flowey’s been more of a pain in the ass than most people would put up with, Frisk insisted on keeping him in their room, and watching over him themselves. Sans almost hates to admit it, but he’s grown used to the little thing over the four years they’ve had him.

                Strangely enough, Papyrus seems to like Flowey just fine, even after everything else.

                “Is something the matter, Sans?” Toriel asks, and the worry in her tone drives a spike through his soul.

                “Nah, sorry, T.” He shrugs, walking into the living room. “Guess I’m just pretty empty-headed, today.”

                Flowey gives a small groan, and Toriel chuckles.

                “Is that so? And here I always thought you were hard-headed.” She lifts a paw and gently raps on his cranium with her furred knuckles.

                The grin on Sans’s face could have outshined the sun as he laughed in turn. He plops onto the sofa next to her, and takes another deep sip of coffee.

                “Actually, it is good that you got up before I had to leave,” Toriel goes on, and Sans lifts his gaze to look at her properly, trying not to get distracted by how the light from the kitchen window seems to have gilded her fur in gold dust. “There is a favor I need to ask of you, Sans.”

                “Anything for you, su-“ he blanches, and catches himself, “Ah, Tori.”

                He stretches his grin in an attempt to hide what he knows is blush on his cheekbones as she glances down at him, smiling that soft smile that turns his ribs to jelly.

                If she notices anything, she elects to ignore it, and simply goes on. “There is a Parent-Teacher Association meeting happening tonight at Frisk’s school. While I would love to go, I fear this appointment with the local representatives might take longer than anticipated. Would you mind going in my stead?”

                Sans pauses. This meeting sounds like work, like effort, like something that goes against every grain of his personality, but that look in Toriel’s copper eyes is making him want to squirm.

                As if she senses his inner struggle – god, does she have a knack for that – she goes on to add, “It should not be too big of a hassle, most of the other parents seem to handle the discussion on their own. You might even get a nap in.”

                “Well, shit, Tori, you drive a hard bargain.” Sighing, he leans back into the couch cushions and shuts his eyesockets, resting for a beat before shrugging. “Aw, sure, what the heck, Tori. What’s the worst that could happen?”

                She gives an audible sigh of relief that has Sans questioning the wisdom of this promise.

                “You have my utmost gratitude, dear.” Her weight shifts on the couch, and he distinctly feels the warm, fuzzy sensation of a snout booping against his forehead. “I will make it up to you, I promise.”

                Sans can only respond with a sound similar to a clearing of the throat and a nervous laugh.

                Without much warning, Toriel glances at the clock, and rises to her feet. “Goodness, I have spent far too long dallying!” She drains her tea, and sets the cup on the coffee table as Sans wills himself to open his eyes again, staring up at her from where he’s retreated into the hood of his jacket. “Now remember,” she turns back to him, and he feels himself sweating just looking at her, “the meeting starts at five, and should go on until seven at the latest. Thank you again, Sans.”

                Toriel smiled brightly at him, and he reciprocated as best he could.

                “Yep. You got it, T. I’m on it.”

                With a giggle and a small wave of her large paw, Toriel was out the door, and Sans was alone in the apartment with the flower in the windowsill, who rolled his eyes dramatically and mimed a gagging motion before turning his attention back to the sunlight outside the window.

                A shadow flickered near the hallway, grabbing Sans’s attention.

                Welp, he thought, mostly alone.

 

~*~

 

                The shadows hum quietly in this apartment, and the sound is not unwelcome. He sighs, softly, feeling the tension melt from his shoulders as he relaxes into his now-natural hunch. He spies the eyes watching him from the couch, and lifts a hollowed hand to wave a greeting.

                Sans waves back subtly after casting a watchful glance at the flower once again, making sure he isn’t watching. He then returns his attention to his half-finished coffee.

                Deciding it’s best to leave him be for now, the figure in the hallway slinks back, passing through wall and across floor until they reach the child’s room.

                No, not a child anymore, the figure reminds himself, but not quite an adult; a lovely young person, making a way for themself. A swell of pride bubbles in his chest, and he casts the dim lights of his cracked eyes over the room.

                Frisk had awoken in a hurry, this morning, and the figure feels displeased that he could not distract the flower from guarding the phone all night long enough to fix the alarm. Then again, he reminds himself with a twinge, he isn’t sure what would happen if he touched it in the first place.

                Glancing at the desk, he looks over the things lying across it; a few pens, an absentminded doodle of the downstairs receptionist (quite detailed, might he add), two empty teacups – he will have to remember to wash out the dregs later, when everyone is gone – and…

                Oh dear.

                He lifts a hand to his now-downturned mouth, picking up the singular piece of paper with the utmost care. It shifts startlingly in his grip, nearly making it impossible to read, but he has grown far too used to such things, he fears. He can make out the typed-out problems, and the well-thought-out, written responses beneath, as well as the name scrawled in pencil at the top – Frisk Dreemurr.

                He sighs. One would think the person who saved the Underground could remember to take their homework to class. One would be mistaken.

                He sets the paper down, leaving it in full view on the center of the desk, and scoops up the cups in his long-fingered, hollow hands, shifting toward the wall adjacent to the bathroom. He pokes his head through, and upon finding it empty, sets to washing out the long-cold dregs of tea from their insides.

                Though he knows the flower can’t see him, he doesn’t like being near it longer than he has to. The thing is almost as unnatural as he is, now, and that’s saying something.

                Once he’s contented with the cups, he returns them to Frisk’s desk, stacking them neatly within one another, and moves to the nightstand, where he spots a yellow post-it note he hadn’t noticed the previous night. He stoops slightly to read it, finding that observing things without touching them is the best way for him, these days. It reads:

                Thanks for the tea, Grandpa G. You tell the best stories! – Frisk

                His chest quite literally bubbles with affection, this time, and an inky, black tear rolls from his eye-socket. Gingerly picking the note off the table with his spindly fingers, he tucks it inside the roiling mass his body has become, like he does with all the rest.

                Maybe one day, Gaster thinks, the pretty notes his found grandchild leaves him will bring some color to his existence.

 

~*~

 

                Damn it, Frisk just knew they’d left something at home, today.