“Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock….”
The clock chimes 3:00, startling you out of a daze. A smile creeps up on your face; it’s time for your meeting with Papyrus! As much as you’re reluctant to admit it, your meetings with Papyrus make you… happy. His loud, enthusiastic energy is almost grand enough to rival yours- and yet even with all of the shouting, the over-enthusiastic cooking lessons, or the flattery suplexes, you always had fun with each other and it never REALLY got out of control. He was the voice of reason to your madness, the one that held you back when your temper got a little TOO out of control, the one that taught you how to handle kids better (apparently swearing in front of kids and suplexing them was not the best way to make a first impression). Even if your introduction to Papyrus was a little unorthodox, you wouldn’t hesitate in calling him your best friend now.
“Tick, tock, tick….”
You look up at the clock again- it’s 3:06, and Papyrus usually arrives right on time to everything. You refuse to be bothered by it yet; sometimes Papyrus gets caught up dragging his brother out of Grillby’s, or playing with the Snowdin children, or cooking up yet another pot of spaghetti. You’ll yell at him when he gets here for being late, but you try and remain calm for the moment.
“Tick, tock, tick, tock…”
It’s 3:15 now. You’ve never known Papyrus to be any more than 10 minutes late to something. You pull out your cell phone, dial in that number that’s become so familiar that you don’t even need to look at the numbers to punch them in anymore.
“Ring… ring… r i n g…. r i n g…”
Your blood runs cold. You know that Papyrus has a ringtone set specifically for you, one that he always picks up immediately no matter what he’s doing. Even if you’re not the one calling him, he always picks up within the first two rings.
“HELLO THERE! YOU’VE REACHED THE VOICEMAIL OF THE GREAT PAPYRUS! I’M PROBABLY BUSY RIGHT NOW, BUT LEAVE A MESSAGE AND I’M SURE I WILL GET BACK TO YOU SHORTLY! NYEH HEH HEH!”
You hang up. NOW you're nervous.
“If this is some kind of practical joke, Papyrus, I’m going to KILL you. No, no, Papyrus doesn’t love jokes like his brother does… maybe that dog took his phone? Yeah, I bet… the dog took it… and that’s why he’s late, because he’s looking for it!” You mutter to yourself.
But wouldn’t he have come anyways, even without his phone?
You call his phone again as you make the short trek to the river boat.
“Ring… ring… ring… ring… HELLO THERE! YOU’VE REACHED THE VOICEMAIL OF-“
You jump onto the river boat, bark an order at the river person to book it to Snowdin; they must have seen the look on your face, because they start down the river without so much as a “Tra la la.”
“HELLO THERE! YOU’VE REACHED THE-“
You jump off of the boat as soon as Snowdin comes into view; you know the way to Papyrus’ house well enough, and by this point your worries are starting to mess with your head.
“HELLO THERE! YOU’VE REACHED-“
You finally reach the house. You pound on the door so hard that your knuckles start to hurt; you’ve punched a hole straight through the wooden door. Oops.
"Papyrus, Sans, you guys home? Oh, and I'm sorry about your door by the way."
But nobody came.
You can’t take it anymore- You were willing to overlook Papyrus being late. You could brush aside Papyrus not answering his phone. It wasn’t that unusual for Papyrus and Sans to not be home; Papyrus was an active monster (You knew that well enough from when you first met him, when he had come to your doorstep at midnight to ask you about being in the Royal Guard). But all three of those things together?
You bust the door down, hoping, praying to smell the rancid stink of Papyrus’ cooking, or to hear the sound of Sans’ incidental music. Hell, even a bucket of water getting dunked on your head would have been welcome. It would have been a sign of LIFE.
“Papyrus? You home, you noodlebrain?”
But as you look around, it’s clear the house has been empty all day. The stovetop is clean, the pet rock has a distinct lack of sprinkles on top of its head, and the remote is sitting neatly on the coffee table. The house is silent, aside from the quiet hum of the fridge and the wind whistling through the open door. One of the post-it notes stuck next to Sans’ sock gently falls to the floor.
It all just feels so dead.
You burst out of the house.
“HELLO THERE! YOU’VE-“
You run up to kids, asking them if they’ve seen the skeleton brothers at all today in as calm of a voice as you can muster. They tell you they haven’t, and you can see that they’re starting to worry as well. You put up a tough front, telling them it’s probably a prank and you’re going to whoop their asses as soon as you find them. That seems to reassure them a little, so you move on.
You go to Grillby’s. Everyone is worried- no one has seen Sans since this morning, and he’s usually come in at least 5 times between now and then. Grillby says he’s worried too- Sans is his best customer by far, and he hasn’t come in since Grillby’s first opened this morning. You ask if Papyrus came in after Sans. He says no, Papyrus was supposed to go fight the human.
You don’t hear what he says next- your mind is jumping to the worst possible conclusions as you rush out of the restaurant.
“PAPYRUS! PAPYRUS! PAPYRUS THIS ISN’T FUNNY ANYMORE YOU ASSHOLE!”
“…fucking knew humans were no good. Everyone else is still okay, why Papyrus? He’s too nice he’s TOO NICE. WHAT THE FUCK DID HE DO TO DESERVE ANYTHING? HUMAN. ANSWER ME!!!”
You scream until your voice is hoarse. The kids in Snowdin can probably hear you swearing from here, but right now you can’t find it in you to care.
“Heh… probably tried to hug the human or some fucking bullshit like that…”
You’re sprinting. You’re outside of Snowdin now, in that little strip of land that’s always shrouded in mist. It feels colder than normal.
You finally break through the mist. There’s a red scarf on the ground.
“P… papyrus?” You don’t recognize your own voice. It sounds too quiet. Your thoughts are loud enough to fill the silence.
And yet, even through your anger, you can’t help breaking down in the cold snow clutching that red scarf. It still smells like spaghetti, like bones, like Papyrus.
You call for Papyrus one last time, your broken sobs wracking your whole frame as your voice cracks.
But n o b o d y c a m e.
You lay in the snow for a long time. It’s so cold. Your whole mind and body feels numb, whether from the cold or shock you don’t know. You gently fold Papyrus’ scarf and tuck it into your pocket- some part of you is tempted to tie the scarf around your forehead in some sort of heroic warrior look, but you don’t want to ruin the scarf. It’s all you have left of him to hold on to.
You call Royal Guards 01 and 02.
“Get my battle armor ready. Yeah, the super heavy armor. Oh, and FIND ME THAT HUMAN.”
“Seven. Seven human souls, and King Asgore will become a god. Six. That’s how many we have collected thus far. Understand?”
You don’t wait for the human to respond. You force yourself to continue on.
“Through your seventh and final soul, this world will be transformed. First, however, as is customary for those who make it this far… I shall tell you the tragic tale of our people. It all started long ago…”
You can’t do this.
You finally force yourself to turn around and face the human. You don’t know how to describe the look on their face. They still have a certain softness to their face, their eyes still hold some warmth in them. They don’t look like the human that just killed your best friend. They just look tired.
Oh well, makes it easier for you.
“Look. Papyrus didn’t come to his meeting today. Say what you want about him. He’s weird, he’s naïve, he’s self absorbed…” Countless nights of excited conversations, countless utterances of “THE GREAT PAPYRUS” echo in your mind.
You glare at the human. “But Papyrus has NEVER missed a meeting. And no matter what time you call him on the phone… Night, day, afternoon, morning… he ALWAYS answers within the first two rings.”
Papyrus’ answering machine starts and stops itself over and over again.
“But now he’s gone. And his brother isn’t around, either.” No matter where you had looked, you still couldn’t find Sans. But you couldn’t find any evidence that Sans had died with Papyrus, so for the moment you’re assuming he’s alive. This does little to calm you down.
“What did you do to him?” You’re shouting again. “What did you DO TO HIM? Papyrus, who I have trained every day, even though I KNOW he’s too goofy to ever hurt anyone…”
“Go ahead. Prepare however you want.”
You see the human pause in confusion.
“But when you step forward…” You let a sadistic grin creep onto your face.
“I will KILL you.”
You hope the human doesn’t notice the tears welling up in your eyes.