Actions

Work Header

Monsters Aren't Real

Chapter Text

Entrance

 

The myth wasn't a particularly fascinating one to hear. It's the one thing everyone in Ebott knew, a legend made up to add some excitement to the quiet village where nothing of particular interest happened. Everyone knew each other in this quiet village, we had a few trouble makers, few drunken brawls on a Friday night and the occasional burglary. Nothing we can't handle.

 

However, ever since the legend was made up for that mountain, the streets cleared and were empty of anyone after 19:00 hours. All the shops shut, everyone ran home, the village became dead and children locked away in their houses until the next day. Why, you ask? Here, let me read you the legend.

 

A little village called Ebott sat at the bottom of a huge mountain, Mount Ebott. This mountain that held only dead trees, short yellow dying grass and crows a plenty was always shrouded in a level of mist, hiding a dark creature inside the depths. Every clear night, at 19:00 hours until the morning, the mist on the mountain would clear and Mt Ebott can be seen perfectly from the small village at the base. With the moon shining above the mountain, it was a beautiful sight, something the villagers used to admire. Not only was it a marvel to see from below, it was more enchanting to see from the top of the mountain. You could feel like the king of Ebott, standing on top of the mountain and see for miles around.

 

Then, one clear night, as the villagers gathered outside in the village to gaze at the wonder of the clear mountain, a child climbed the mountain, ready to gaze at the wonder of the village below. They had heard of the beautiful sight that could be seen from the top of the mountain and how they could become king should they reach the top. With the thrill for adventure, the child made their way alone to the top of the mountain.

 

They did not return.

 

Days. Weeks. Months passed. The local police force looked everywhere in village, around village and on the mountain itself, calling the child's name, their parents putting missing posters, leaving their number to call, a reward for their return. They did everything. But to no avail.

 

Soon, people had forgotten about the missing child, with no news and no leads, life returned as normal.

 

Until a second child did the same.

 

On a clear night, a second child had gone to climb Mount Ebott, searching for kingship and that chance to see the whole world below them. It would be like a dream, to be able to tell all of their friends that they were king of the mountain, and they were the dirty rascals that now had to bow to them as they had climbed Mount Ebott.

 

They did not return.

 

The parents and family of the second child repeated what the parents of the first child had done, leaving help posters, talking to the press for more help and helping the police force wherever they could to find the missing child. The search went on much longer, the village becoming worried as they had lost two children to the mystery of the mountain. Months passed and not a single trace of the children could be found. The village became distraught, was this a kidnapping? Was it a murderer? A child murderer? Or was the mountain cursed?

 

The village became wary, parents holding their children close and for them to not go far alone. Many residents asked for the mountain to be cornered off, a wire fence to be put around it to prevent any more children going missing on the mountain. The local authorities refused, deeming that unnecessary as they declared that no more children would go missing.

 

That remained true, for a time. Until, one day, something had appeared from the mountain.

 

A terrifying creature appeared in the town, walking slowly from the mountain. A tall creature, taller than any man, with gleaming yellow eyes, thick white fur, huge curled horns on top of its head, wearing long purple robes with a winged crest above three triangles in the centre and long droopy ears. In the arms of the creature lay their worst nightmare come true.

 

The dead body of the first child that had disappeared.

 

Terrified, the women and children who had been walking home that night screamed and ran for their homes. The fathers and brave people of the village yelled at the creature, hoping to terrify it away. But the monster ignored them all, simply walking forward towards a patch of golden flowers that stood at the centre of the village. More fathers and uncles came out to see the commotion that scared their families, guns at the ready as they spotted the monster with the dead child's body walking through the street without a care. At once, the people attacked the monster, petrified that it had appeared to kill more of their children. Terrified that the monster had appeared as a warning. Furious that the monster was showing off their kill.

 

The monster took the hits, barely flinching as the bullets cut through its body, though the monster never bled. The monster, however, came to a stop. Mystified, curious and afraid, the people stopped, too. The monster looked up and smiled. This smile, they say, was not a kind one. What emotion it was, they never say. With a shake of its head, the monster turned and walked back towards the mountain. The village let the monster go, believing that it would die on the way back and that their children were safe again.

 

And so, the village remained stern, watching the mountain with weariness rather than marvel when night fell, afraid that monsters would appear from the mountain again. Time passed and the town grew less weary, leaving their children to roam more freely as night after night, the mountain remained silent and dead as it had always been.

 

Until a third and fourth child went missing.

 

Both children had been chasing each other nearby the mountain, though had promised their parents that they wouldn't dare venture too high up the mountain. They remembered the story their parents told them, the mountain was not safe, if you travel too high, the wolves would eat them for touching their mountain. The eldest of the two children was carrying a mobile phone, promising that they would keep it on and call should anything happen. No call was made from the phone.

 

The next day, their parents called the phone when they didn't return, worried at the unusual behaviour. Straight to voicemail. Another day passed and the parents stopped calling and went to the police. An investigation was held, sniffer dogs sent out around the mountain to find the missing children. They found no bodies, no traces of the children in the misty mountain, nothing but the murder of crows, watching their every move.

 

A week later, another child went missing.

 

The fifth child had been close friends to the third and fourth and had become distraught to learn that their friends had gone missing on the mountain. In a daring rescue thought of only a fearless teen, they marched towards the mountain, a tough glove that they found from their father's wardrobe. That did not save him. Again, the parents got the police involved, an investigation was held, nothing was found. Not even footprints. It was then that the mountain was deemed cursed by the village folk and condemned. People stopped coming out of the village at night to gaze at the moon shining high in the sky above Mount Ebott, for fear that the monster who had appeared was stealing more children away at night, where no one could see them. Nobody would stay out of their houses after dark. Nobody would come out to see the clear night sky, because that is when the monsters could see the village clearly from the mountain.

 

It was several years before the next child disappeared. The village had grown paranoid and so the children hadn't been able to leave their homes to be taken from the monsters to the mountain. The sixth child, however, didn't have a home. They had lost their home not long ago, their mother had died from childbirth whilst the child survived and the father soon died of cancer. Without a house to live in, the child was sent to an orphanage. The child was a trouble maker. Nobody was fond of the child, the deaths of their parents damaging the child beyond repair, who lashed out at anyone who attempted to help them. It was in a fit of rage at their carer that they ran out of the building and up the mountain, intending to hide away from the world.

 

They got their wish, as they were never heard from again. Nobody looked for the child and nobody cried. They looked to the mountain, feeling glad that it was none of their children who had been swallowed up by the mountain this time. To this day, the villagers refused to allow their children to exit their homes on a clear night after 19:00 hours and hardly a soul will dare set foot near Mount Ebott, for fear that they will be taken next.

 

Until now, that is. If you ask me, that legend is a bunch of bollocks. Honestly, a white furred monster walking through the village with a dead child just gets shot and doesn't bat an eyelid? Please! It is true, to this day, people don't like hanging out after 7pm. I don't blame them, six missing children is nothing to sniff at. I wouldn't call it the work of monsters. I'd call it the work of a serial killer. After hearing the legend for the fifth time, you kind of become numb to this sort of thing. Working for the police probably helped with emotional deprivation as well.

 

My life revolves around this legend now, ever since I got that promotion from Sergeant to Inspector. I found that out the day after the party, still sporting a hangover in the morning. When I was given the case, I admit, I was pretty annoyed. This was a cold case, the sixth child went missing a long time ago and nobody put in a case for them, there was a name; Oliver Saunders. From what the orphanage told us, he was a boy who preferred to be left alone, was bullied but was able to take care of himself. He ran away after getting into a fight with a carer, losing his temper and was never seen again.

 

There was nothing to go on, other than the other children that had gone missing in a similar way, the five other children from the legend. Each had a name, the first missing person called Chara Daemon was an eight year old girl when she had gone missing, found dead in the arms of her murderer months later and her body was never seen again.

 

The second missing person was William Prince, a sweet innocent six year old who grew up with a wealthy family and was rather a spoilt kid. Who could blame him, with a family like he had, the skies were the limit.

 

The third and fourth children were actually related, though the legend doesn't mention that anywhere. They were called Godfrey and Bruce Walters. Godfrey was said to be a patient boy, quiet and reserved and the elder brother of the two. He took great care of his brother, Bruce, the two inseparable. Bruce was more outgoing than Godfrey was, but still not ever so. He was stubborn, however, he could sulk for days and wouldn't say no to any challenge given to him.

 

The fifth child was Allan Baker, he was around the same age as Godfrey in their early teens and was close friends with the Walters brothers. Allan Baker had been a rash child, always plundering head first without thinking first, all brawl and not much brain, but he did pretty well in his football team at school.

 

Then Oliver Saunders being the sixth child. Nothing new had turned up since then, the parents had no new information to give us, we were stuck in a rut with this case.

 

Except, a miracle happened this morning. Another child, the seventh child in the span of twenty or so years to have gone missing without a trace in Ebott, was reported yesterday. Beatrice Maxwell, a nine year old girl who loved animals more than anything. Bunnies were her favourite and she had gone near the bottom of Mount Ebott to go see the wild rabbits that liked to hang around the area in the Spring. She didn't return later in the night and her parents looked everywhere for her. They got in contact with me shortly after and we declared her missing. We let the press know and asked the neighbouring villagers if they knew where she had gone and if anyone had seen her around.

 

We finally got a lead after a simple door to door check. We reached Mr Rodgers' house, an active mountaineer who loved adventuring and wasn't often home. He must've returned recently as he answered the door after my knock.

 

“Excuse me, Mr Rodgers, Inspector Frisk Fanshaw of the local police department. Sorry to interrupt but do you mind if I ask you some questions?” I asked him, as per routine, bringing out my wallet to show him my I.D. “There is nothing to worry about, we are simply making inquiries as to the whereabouts of this girl, Beatrice Maxwell,” I bring out of my pocket the photo the family gave to me to photocopy and ask the town.

 

Recognition hit Mr Rodgers' eyes as he looks at the photo, a smile resting on his face. It made my heart leap, thinking 'yes! We got a lead!' “Yes, I remember seeing her on Mount Ebott yesterday afternoon. I was climbing the mountain to go crow watching, I do it every so often to remind myself of home, when I saw her walking towards the top of the mountain. I called to her, asking if she was alright, but she said she was fine looking for rabbits so I left her to it.” He replies, then a frown falls on his face. “Should I have stopped her?”

 

I let the relief show on my face, letting him know that he did a good job. “No, no, you had no idea she was lost, Mr Rodgers. Thank you for telling me, are you able to tell me what she was wearing and how far up the mountain she was?” I got my pen and notepad out, taking down notes on everything Mr Rodgers was telling me. I still couldn't get over the excitement of finally having a lead on a dying case, this was a dream come true! Imagine it, Inspector Frisk, saviour of children as she solves the mystery of the Ebott Disappearances. I didn't have to stop to wonder why Mr Rodgers had been up on Mount Ebott simply to go bird watching, that was just how he was. Fearless, full of adventure, only returning here to see his parents who retired to this quiet village.

 

Mr Rodgers explained that he remembered Beatrice wearing a pink apron with her lovely flowery white dress, the apron had been stained by dirt from playing around in it, Mr Rodger believed. There was a whining sound below me as I was writing down on my notepad and Mr Rodgers looked down at my side to see Shadow, my German Shepherd canine companion. We had three dogs working with us in the local police force; Shadow who was my dog, trained to chase after criminals and knock them down so we could arrest running criminals, Poppy a Springer our sniffer dog and Spot the Beagle, another sniffer dog, though not as well behaved.

 

I smiled fondly at Shadow, patting him on the head as he panted, wagging his tail. I looked back at Mr Rodger, “Thank you very much, Mr Rodger. Now, did you see anyone else with Beatrice when she was up on Mount Ebott?” Mr Rodgers told me he didn't see anyone else and there was nobody else there for the entire time he was birdwatching. “Alright, and what time approximately did you see Beatrice at?” He gave the answer about 12:30 give or take from what he remembered. “Thank you very much, Mr Rodgers. You've been a big help.” I gave a bow, a tip of my hat and with a whistle to Shadow, we were on our way.

 

That was how my team and I were now on the peak of Mount Ebott, all three of our dogs with us, as per Chief Inspector's wishes. There is a group of about thirteen of us here, looking carefully on the ground as we kept an eye out for any clues as to the whereabouts of Beatrice and the other missing children (though they would be corpses by now).

 

“Dogs got a lead at all?” I ask the group in general, hoping for a positive answer.

 

Poppy's owner, Frank Darwin, shook his head in answer. “Not a thing yet, Guv.” He frowned. “If you ask me, I don't see that girl being up here. This place gives me the creeps.” He wasn't wrong, the place left everyone with shivers on their back. The place was dead, a thick mist covering the entire area making it difficult to see anything from far away and the dead almost black trees weren't helping anything either. The crows sitting on the trees were silent, staring at our every actions, judging, but making no noise. It was the silence that bothered me the most, besides ourselves, there were no birds chirping this high up, the sun couldn't penetrate through the mist to get rid of the gloomy feeling hanging over our heads. I was waiting to turn and see gravestones of the dead and felt surprised when I didn't.

 

Shadow felt the same, so it felt. He was tense by my side, his head looking this way and that, his fur wasn't laying flat, his hackles were at the ready to raise and I could hear a deep rumbling growl. He was very protective of me, as was in his nature. We lived alone together, I only had fleeting partners and never really stuck around, so Shadow never had to get used to sharing me. It's just me and him. I'm okay with that, never bothered me anyway, I'm at work too often to care about that.

 

“We'll keep at it for a couple more hours, then we'll call for a lunch break.” I declared to the group, hearing sighs of relief from some and groans of despair from others. This place really had them rattled, but if there was even the slight chance of finding a clue to finding this poor kid, I wasn't going to let a scary forest on a mountain stop me. Yes, this was the best lead this case has had since the first child's body was found, I couldn't let this slip from my fingers!

 

Another hour passed by with nothing, not a trace, nadda, squat, absolute failure. I couldn't give up, however. There had to be something here, there had to be! We travelled a little further, keeping it slow for the sniffer dogs, as well as making sure we weren't separated. If this was a murder case, we couldn't be alone or risk someone getting killed. I was so glad I had my messenger bag by my side. I had always been a little bit of a geek, tablets, consoles, you name it. Smartphone, gotta have that. Walking on the mountain with this, my stab proof vest on, my gadgets and my uniform, however. That was a combination that made me regret having to deal with the weight of it. I thought bringing my tablet with my mp4 had been a good idea, my shoulder disagreed.

 

I dug into my bag, looking for the notes I wrote from Mr Rodgers interview. I was sure I wasn't wrong, this was the right area, they must've been around here somewhere. How does a person just disappear without leaving even traces of their footsteps? It was just one mystery after ano-

 

Shadow stopped moving. I stopped too. He stood, still as a statue, ears perked up, listening for something. The other dogs whined at his behaviour, worried, sniffing the air. I raised my hand a halt to my team. I had taught them well as they stopped without question. Well, one guy tried but the others hushed him quickly. I listened, but I couldn't hear anything, it was a good thing Shadow's hearing was a hundred times better than mine. The loud metal music I had on my mp4 quite often probably didn't help.

 

We stood for a long while, though it was probably only for a few minutes, before Shadow began growling, his head leaning forward and down, his hackles raised, ears up. Was someone there? Was something there? The other dogs, still sniffing, moved their nose to the ground and walked forward, their tails wagging. Did they catch something? Was there a clue? Were we having our breakthrough? God, I hoped so! A few more minutes passed by, before Spot lifted his head quickly, his tail going still before he barked. He barked a few times, before rushing off in a direction. He got something! Excitement and hope flowing through my veins, I ran after him, Shadow following close behind. I could hear the others following behind, shouting that we had to slow down.

 

I should have done, it wasn't safe to be separated, but I couldn't get Spot get away when he caught something! A breakthrough in a dead case! This could make my career, safe the whole village, prove that the stupid legend was just that, a legend! Tree branches whizzed past me, some catching on my arms as I pushed them away, but I didn't care. I could be solving this case that has haunted our village!

 

Of course, I was so excited that I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings.

 

Spot suddenly stopped, no warning, just stopped and because of the thick mist, I didn't notice until it was too late. My right foot caught on a tree root sticking up in the ground and I lost my footing entirely, going flying forward. My left leg must have kicked out in panic, hitting Spot as I heard a yelp from him and we both went falling into the deep pit in the ground I hadn't noticed until I was already falling. I could hear Shadow's bark as I fell and my echoed screams. I didn't hear anything else but my screaming for a long while.

 

Until I hit the ground with a crunch.

 

I landed, right foot first, as my left was limping from taking the damage of the tree root. I stopped screaming then, my voice gone from the blinding white pain as I felt my leg break. I ended up rolling onto my side, my bag hitting me a few times from the speed that I was thrown. Until I stopped after several more rolls. I immediately grabbed my leg, definitely broken, but somehow still alive. Holy shit, I was still alive! I should be more glad, more amazed, but all I could think of was the pain of my leg. It was absolute agony and I tried my best to remain as still as I could, trying my best to remember my basic first aid training and failing miserably. Tears fell from my eyes, sliding down my face and onto the ground as I lie there, immobile, in pain and trapped.

 

God. I'm such a fucking idiot. How did I not see that pit? How did we miss that? Why didn't I listen to orders? What kind of leader was I, if I was just gonna break the rules anyway?

 

It took a while, but the white blinding pain started to settle, how I hadn't been knocked unconscious was beyond me. It took until then to realise that there was a furry body nudging me, a cold, wet nose making me shiver. I opened my eyes, wiping my eyes with my arm as I saw that Spot was trying desperately to get my attention. He looked at me, his eyes wide, his tail down and a whine in his throat as he stepped closer. I smiled, at least I wasn't alone down in this pit, but that didn't help the situation at hand. We were trapped down here. I took the moment to look up at where we fell to see the light filtering at the top, dust falling on top of us and the light to the surface... so far away. I survived a fall that far? Man, I'm a lucky sonuva bitch.

 

I tried to sit up, but- fuck me! I couldn't, falling back down with a shout as my leg flared up in pain again. I was breathing heavily, the pain too terrible it left me winded. Spot whined again, walking to my face, licking me a few times to cheer me up. Well, it made me feel a little better.

 

I'm sorry, bud.” I said, at least hoping I was making some sense to him. It was the best I could do. “I can't get up. Guess we're stuck here.” I noticed then that my hat was missing. A damn shame. My short brown hair left to flare across the ground. It was then that I noticed I wasn't lying on stone, granite or the like. I was lying on a patch of golden flowers that must be surviving from the light filtering from the top and rain every one in a while alone. Heh, how poetic. That was some comfort, at least, but that left questions as well. How big was this pit?

 

Trying my best to not move my body, I turned my head to try to get a feel for how big the pit was. Not ever so, but to the left of me, I could see the pit opening up into a pathway. What was down here? I couldn't see much more as the pit was too dark to see.

 

I heard growling. Spot turned, looking over me to the right and whimpered, hiding his head in my side and lowering himself to hide behind me. Fantastic that I happened to get the scared dog to follow me so the murderer would have no trouble waltzing up to me with a knife! I didn't want to turn around. I really didn't want to turn to look. I turned and looked.

 

There, stood a pair of blue blazing eyes, white fangs grinding together in a snarl and it was holding something. I shivered. Was this... was this the beast in the legend? Was it real? Oh God, please tell me-

 

And out of the shadows came... well, Shadow. My hat in his teeth. His snout back to relaxed, his tail wagging and eyes shone with happiness at the sight of me. I swear, my dog was going to kill me, someday. I let out a sign of relief. Heh, monsters. What am I, a child? No, monsters don't exist, just a stupid fairytale. I'd prove it was just a psychopath, a horrible paedophile, some serial killer or something.

 

A quick glance at Shadow revealed that he wasn't injured at all in the fall, not even limping, whilst Spot, standing back up and tail wagging once more, seemed out of breath and limping slightly on one side from where I must have kicked him accidentally. Unable to get up, I held out my arms up into the air, both Shadow and Spot taking this as an invitation to come into my arms. It wasn't the intention, but it was a welcome one. I couldn't help but smile, I wasn't alone in this, I had my partner Shadow and the new pup Spot by my side who loved me with all their hearts. Even if I was stuck in a hole with a broken leg, I wasn't alone.

 

But I was rather useless. I couldn't muser up the strength to lift myself off the ground with my right leg broken and left foot bruised to hell. Just turning to lie on my back had been an exhausting effort. I needed to splint my leg, I remember. If I could keep my leg straight, maybe lean against something that could handle my body weight, I could get off the floor.

 

Hey, bud, Shads!” My voice was quiet, my throat hurt from the screaming I had done earlier, but Shadow still heard. His ears twitched as he recognised my tone, his tail wagging as he stared at me. “Cmon, get a stick boy!” It got a result, Shadow panted, wagged his tail and jumped over my prone body, walking off to the right and down the path. Wow, I hadn't expected that to work!

 

The first thing I did after Shadow left was try to get Spot out of my face. Easier said than done. He wouldn't leave me alone, it was only when I waved my hat up that he grabbed it and started running around me with it that I got peace enough to check my jacket pockets. Ah ha! My walkie talkie! It was completely intact, which only raised the question of how I hadn't heard anything from it yet. They must've realised I was missing, I wasn't sure how far behind they were but had they even heard my screams?

 

I pushed the button on the side; “813, this is Inspector Frisk Fanshaw, officer down request immediate assistance!” I opened up the comm to get a response. The response was simply static, a horrible screeching static that didn't sound like anything I had heard come from it before. What the...? I tried again. “Come in! Do you read me?” It hissed again in response. “Answer me! I've fallen down a pit on the tip of Mount Ebott, I need emergency response units immediately!” Still the same crackling, screeching hiss came from the walkie talkie. Was it broken? Could nobody hear me? With a sigh, I pocketed the walkie talkie. If only I had my phone...

 

Speak of the devil, Shadow trotted back with a bark. In his mouth was my messenger bag. Perfect! It had my phone and my tablet! If there was no internet signal and my walkie talkie was broken, at least I could try to get a signal from the satellites! It wasn't a stick, but it was a ticket to get help! My dog was awesome. So glad I had thought to pack my gadgets!

 

Immediately, I grabbed the bag out of his mouth when he came close enough and I rummaged to get a hold of my phone. Yes! It worked, the screen was cracked but the touch screen still worked and it wasn't dead! Thank goodness I wasn't in a horror film.

 

Or, maybe I was. No signal. Nothing, not even emergency services. There wasn't internet signal anywhere nearby either, nothing at all! What kind of place was this that could block the satellites!? Jesus Christ! It was hopeless! I'm stuck down here with a broken leg, unable to move and a couple of dogs who were just as helpless as I was. I couldn't even manage to crawl, my leg couldn't take any movement whatsoever. I'm stuck down here, trapped. This was not my day. This is what I get for thinking that I could help the village out, save a poor kid, do some good. A broken leg and stuck in a pit. Well, at least there were flowers here already for my funeral. Heh.

 

Shadow must've realised my gloom as he whined, nudging my face and licking my nose. It was nice that he was trying support me, but I didn't feel like there was anything else I could do. He couldn't handle my body weight and I didn't see Spot doing anything helpful either. There was nobody else here, just me and the dogs. I never did accomplish what I had hoped.

 

I laid there for a long while, nothing but the dogs panting, my heavy breathing as I lay there in pain, my face scrunching up every so often as I tried to remain still. They refused to leave my side, Shadow to my left and Spot to my right. Nothing had changed, the light still shone from the top and I failed to see anyone peak from above. My voice was too painful to shout, and if they hadn't heard my screams it was hopeless to try shouting now. I don't know how long I was there, trying not to absolutely lose my shit and panic. It wouldn't accomplish anything and I didn't want to worry Shadow or Spot more than I already was. Fuck. C'mon Frisk, chin up.

 

Shadow growled. Quick as a flash, he stood up, putting his front legs to my right and his hind legs to my left, his body towering over my crumpled form to protect me. He was snarling now, ears up high, hackles and fur raised. There! Footsteps! Was this help? Someone else was stuck here as well? I hoped, oh I hoped! I wanted to call out, I was so excited. Help was here! Someone to save me!

 

I turned my body around. I froze.

 

There. Down the pathway to my right stood a biped creature. They were barefoot, wearing only a purple dress with a blue emblem with a bird and three triangles on it reaching below their knees. One arm was to their side, their other to their mouth in a show of surprise and horror, their blue eyes wide open in shock. They were tall, like, really tall and covered in white fur with horns on their head.

 

Oh sweet mother of God. I couldn't believe it. White fur, massive in size, the symbol, horns on the head. The monster, the monster from the legend. The one who held the body of the first dead child. This was it! Fuckmeintheanus that thing is real! And it found me, here, lying helpless. Like a child. Ohfuckmeno.

 

My reaction was immediate. “Get away from me! I'll sic my dog on you if you come any closer!” Fuck that broken leg, there was a monster child murderer in front of me! But I was too frightened to move. The best I could do was glare and hope I looked angry enough for them to think twice. Wait, my taser! As I saw the monster lower her arm from her face, her other arm lifting and her feet moving as if to come towards me, I scrambled into my pockets to pull it out. “I'm warning you! I've got a weapon! Stay where you are, hands up or I'll tase you!”

 

Whether it was me or Shadow that looked frightening enough, it was enough for the monster to raise both arms in surrender. They held no weapon, no pockets for a weapon and they were alone. It made me feel a little better, but I wasn't going to relax.

 

Please, my child.” It spoke. A she, definitely a female voice, calmer than I imagined she was feeling. “You're hurt, I could hear your screams from my house. My name is Toriel, Keeper of the Ruins.” The Ruins? What ruins? “I come here to help humans who fall from the surface. You're badly wounded. Please, I mean no harm.”

 

She... she sounded sincere. Her eyes were wide and innocent, they seemed kind. She didn't seem to be lying. It was hard to be angry, hell it was like magic words, her voice a soft velvet, trying to calm me down. It worked on Shadow, he calmed down immediately, though he watched Toriel with careful, watchful eyes. And Spot. Immediately ran to her, jumping up trying to reach her face to lick. That dog was going to get killed so fast.

 

She smiled at this, really Spot was way too small to be even slightly terrifying, and patted him on the head. She looked back at me, still pointing the taser in her direction. “Is he yours?” I didn't answer.

 

She walked forward and I was stiff as a board again. I pushed the taser forward. “Stop moving! I'm not a child!” She did stop moving, but that didn't change the expression on her face. She still looked calmed, trying to placate me. No, I wasn't having any of it! “Not so interested now I'm not a child, are you? I won't let you get away with what you've done, child murderer.”

 

That brought a reaction out of her. She stopped and her eyes seemed to gather moisture- was she crying? She was crying. Suddenly, she looked like she was about to burst into tears, holding her hands together near where I assumed her heart would be and her ears drooped. I was clueless.

 

No, I. I tried to stop them. I tried to stop them going further past the Ruins. I tried to save them.” This wasn't making any sense.

 

You're the monster that came to our village, white fur, horns, that emblem. It has to be you! You fit the description! You killed the first child, you killed Chara!” She had to be! Who else could have done it? Nobody would ever find this place, it was the perfect hiding spot! She fit the description, monsters were real and there she was! It had to be!

 

And didn't I feel like a right bastard for solving it when she burst into tears at the mention of the name Chara. She reminded me of when I had to tell the other parents that their missing child, even if we found them, they would probably never turn up alive. Even if we found them alive, they'd never be the same again. Fuck, I felt like dirt. And yet, why? Why was this murderer feeling this upset, like one of her own children had died? She killed them, what right did she have to feel upset?

 

Through her sobs, I could hear her words. “Oh Chara. Chara, my dear child Chara. Asriel. My dear children!” Asriel? That was a new name, we had nothing on a child called Asriel, so who was that? Another human child? But, nobody heard about an eighth child going missing, so who was that?

 

Her sobbing, her words, it didn't make any sense! I closed my eyes, lowering my weapon to the ground as my arms collapsed under exhaustion both mentally and physically. I was frustrated. Nothing was making sense. Monsters were apparently real but hiding out in this cavern in the mountain, the child murderer apparently felt bad for what she had done to the point of hysteria and here I am with a fucking broken leg and more questions than answers. Fucking cut me a break, man!

 

Shadow wasn't helping either. He felt bad for Toriel and trotted his way to her, sitting beside her and gave her arm a lick. I opened my eyes to catch Toriel's shock, looking down at my dog and giving him a sad smile and a thanks. Traitor.

 

She looked back at me, after she was done wiping her eyes, now red from crying so much.

 

Your words are cruel, my child.” She ignored me 'am not a child!' “Yes, I killed those children.” Fucking knew it! “I should have kept them here, I shouldn't have let them leave the safety of the ruins to be killed by other monsters.” Fuckme really there's more!? “I should have destroyed that door a long time ago, blocked the way so no children could get themselves killed.”

 

Okay. That answered zero questions. My face must've shown it, as she went further to explain. “All the children that fell down here met the same fate. They came. They left. They died. Now I see, this is my punishment for not saving them from their fate. They looked so happy for the chance to get home, I couldn't say no.” Nope. Still not clearing the air here. “Please, your words cut harshly but... you are a good person at heart. I feel that. I see it in your soul. Let me help you.”

 

She stepped closer. Oh no.

 

In a fit of panic, I forgot about my leg. I did it. I grasped the ground beneath me, feeling the flowers rustling in protest as I lifted myself and pushed myself away.

 

Fucking agony. A scream doesn't even describe it. Blinding white light covered my vision as I gasped, my voice gone in the pain, and grabbed my leg. I shut my eyes tight, trying to take deep breaths as I heard another gasp and suddenly someone was right besides me. My leg hurt. It hurt so bad. I couldn't concentrate on who it was that was besides me, my leg hurt! I vaguely remember someone picking me up, jostling my leg again that struck me hard enough that I finally passed out.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2 Making Friends

 

I woke up to a headache and pain all over my body. Must've been some party, bloody hell. I had the strangest dream, that I had fallen down a pit, broke my leg and a great white monster appeared. Okay, no more drinking for a while for me. Taking a moment to groan in pain, I opened my eyes to an unwelcome sight.

 

The room was rather dark but not pitch black and it didn't take long for my eyes to adjust. The first thing I noticed was that the bed was a little small for me, a child's bed. There were a lot of toys on the left side, all of various stuffed animals. There was a wardrobe, desk and chair nearby. Where was I?

 

Looking down at myself, I saw I was still wearing my uniform, black smart somewhat baggy trousers, black t-shirt with a black jacket with badges of my inspector rank in my shoulders and hi-vis bands around the wrists and arm. This was typical police uniform, but I found it strange I was still wearing my uniform.

 

My leg. My leg was in pretty bad shape. The trouser leg had been rolled up and my leg was wrapped up tight in bandages. They looked a little bloody, I don't remember bleeding, but it no longer looked like it was bent at a horrifying angle.

 

So then... it wasn't a dream? I fell down the hole...

 

Was I in that monster's house? Was she keeping me hostage? But why would she wrap up my leg if that was the case? Why would she put me on a comfy bed? Did she even know that I was an officer of the law?

 

Footsteps. Quickly, I considered pretending to be asleep, but decided a face on approach was more effective. I would not be scared of her, I'll confront her and ask her hat she meant earlier. Yes, I had to know what happened to those kids. Oh, not to mention about the whole monsters are real sort of thing. That too.

 

The door opened, slowly at first, then it burst open as a large fluffy creature hurled itself towards me with a howl.

 

“Oh sweet Jesus!” Shadow wasn't a puppy anymore and being a dog that was trained to bring big brutes down with his jaws my poor crumpled form might as well have been tackled by a rugby player.

 

But I still laughed as his tail wagged fast enough to break several things in the room, mostly the table lamp. I ignored that to pet Shadow, his tail wagging even faster as he became excited. He licked my face until I became a laughing slobbering mess.

 

There was laughter just by the door and I froze. Shadow sensed my discomfort an stopped, stepping to the side so he could lie by my side. There in the doorway stood Toriel, still barefoot and in the same clothes as before. She looked... happy, surprised and adoring. She wasn't showing any worry, malice or fear of me being in the same room as her, nothing that I expected a child murderer to act. I was confused, why was she acting this way? This didn't make any sense.

 

“Ah, my child,” she said, her voice just as calm and kind as it was before. Again, this confused me. I hadn't met many murderers, Ebott was entirely too quiet for that, but I had read up on them and of serial killers. Always was a geek, I could spend hours watching cop shows and documentaries on serial killers, though not understanding how a person could possibly do that. They talked about how a serial killer who had been killing for years were often disconnected from emotions, but led surprisingly normal lives. That's how it was so hard to catch a murderer, they weren't special, they didn't cackle like evil doo-ers in every cartoon ever. They seem to lead and live a normal life. So, really, how did I know what to look for in a child murderer?

 

“'m not a child.” I mumbled. It was quiet, but it seemed like Toriel had heard me.

 

“You're not a child?” She seemed surprised. Wow, okay well then. I realised I was rather short, 5'2 wasn't exactly something to brag about, but that sure did shatter my ego.

 

“No!” Yeah, that sounded insulted. Good. “Geez, lady I'm twenty six years old, plenty old enough for kids if I ever wanted any.” Oh good going, Frisk. Live up to your name, throw out that training for talking to people. Well, Toriel wasn't... she was a living being that spoke English. Good enough reason to be polite to her.

 

Toriel seemed surprised, then blinked a few times. “Oh, so were one of those children...?”

 

Oh no, she can't think... “Oh sweet no! No, certainly not!” I took a moment, taking a breather. Come on, Frisk. You can do this. “Sorry, I'm still a little shocked about the whole... you're really tall, white fur and horns and all.” I cleared my throat, gaining my composure. “My name's Frisk, Frisk Fanshaw. I, uh. I don't have my bag, but I do have I.D there. I'm an inspector, a police officer, looking into the disappearances of seven missing children, one that disappeared only a few days ago.”

 

Toriel seems to get the gist of it, though she didn't seem to entirely understand. “I'm sorry, your surface terms still confuse me, but I believe a 'policeman' is a guard upholding good and honesty?”

 

Uh. Well. Kinda. Close enough. “Sort of. Don't you have rules and regulations around here? You know, stealing is bad, don't beat people up etc? Where even is here anyway?” She did mention that she wasn't the only monster out there, that there were other ones out there. Enough to make a community I assumed.

 

Toriel smiled a kind smile. “My dear, I'm sorry for not explaining to you earlier. Welcome to the Underground. You fell from the top of the mountain and landed into our world, a world filled with monsters. You're the first adult human that has ever fallen down here.”

 

The first adult human. So, other people had fallen down here? “You mean, like seven children?”

 

Toriel nodded, a sad look appearing over her features. “Yes, seven children have fallen down into the underground, at least in my lifetime.” So more could have fallen down, perhaps before Toriel was born or she simply wasn't aware of it. How did children find this place? How come an adult hasn't fallen down into this area before? I had a lot of questions, but I needed something.

 

Um, Miss Toriel. Can you grab my bag? I'm going to need to ask you a lot of questions and I have a feeling it's gonna take a lot of wrapping my head around. I just want to get to the answer of what happened to those children.” Toriel didn't seem to mind and smiled, standing up and excusing herself before leaving the room, leaving the door open. I could hear her walking around the house, this must be a rather small house from the sounds of it, or maybe she's just heavy footed? There was soft clicking on the floor, before I heard a bark. Spot. Smiling, I whistled and with a yelp, Spot ran from his place, by the sounds of it he tripped a few times, before running into my room. He was panting, his ears alert and tail wagging ridiculously fast. He stood for a moment, looking at Shadow, then he pounded over and leapt up at the bed.

 

Into the bed. He leapt into the bed, hitting it and bouncing off. I couldn't help it. I laughed. Loudly. Enough to jostle my leg a little bit. So, my laugh was cut short by a gasp and a loud “sonnuva bitch!” from me. Toriel appeared suddenly, my bag in hand as she appeared worried. She didn't seem to take notice of Spot fumbling about on the floor trying to get to his feet again.

 

I heard a shout, are you alright, my dear?” Toriel clutched my bag close to her chest, as if keeping it from dropping on top of me. I nodded, I didn't want to talk in case I started cursing more. Toriel seemed like the type to disapprove heavily of swearing, but hey that was stereotyping. “Well, I'm glad. Do be careful, I managed to heal the worst of the leg damage, though it is still fragile and fractured. Now that you're awake, you can have some monster food, they have healing properties that should help the recovery process.” Like... what, medicine? In their food? No idea, doesn't make sense to me, but food sounded good about now.

 

My stomach apparently agreed, as it rumbled loudly, Shadow's ears perking up as he heard the rumble. Toriel smiled, giggling slightly. “I'm sure your questions can be done over some pie. How do you feel about snail pie?” Uh. I went to France once. I guess escargot was not entirely unpleasant. I nodded, smiling and thanking her. She smiled back and handed my bag to me before leaving the room.

 

So. Toriel was nice. That much I gathered. She seemed happy when I was happy, or at least so far I noticed and she seemed worried when I shouted out and hurt my leg. Completely unlike that definition I got from the word 'monster'. I had expected her to eat me up as soon as she saw me with the taser, or took me away for torture because she was a monster. She called herself a monster, as in a race, or species. Out of all the names, why would you pick that one to name your species considering what the name meant, or was seen as? After seeing her caring about my well being, finding joy in my laugh... I find it hard to believe that she could be a child murderer. Not to mention, her reaction to my accusations, she flinched, sobbed and cried when I threw them at her. She felt guilty, horrible and to blame for what had happened. No. She didn't seem to fit the bill for a child murderer, but she still knew something. Something crucial that I was missing that would fit the pieces together. What was that? What was she hiding? She probably wasn't doing it intentionally to annoy me, but it was grating on me. I had to know. What happened to those children after they fell down here?

 

I made sure to note all my notes down on my notepad, listing what Toriel told me, how it connected to the children. If Toriel was not the murderer, and the longer I was spending time with her, the less likely it seemed she was the murderer, then who was? Someone who looked a lot like Toriel, sharp horns, droopy ears, yellow eyes, towered over most people. So far, Toriel had been the only monster I had seen, I assumed that monsters didn't all look like Toriel, but how did I know? The only point in reference I had was that Disney film I watched years ago. Was it like that? Did they come in all shapes and sizes, colours and either covered in fur or scaly? Imagine a monster that could climb on all walls and change colour to hide camouflaged. That... okay. That would be cool. So long as they didn't have the personality of Randall.

 

Toriel came back whilst I was still writing my notes. Shadow leaned against me, closing his eyes as he snoozed. Shadow was so comfortable around Toriel, he was a great judge of character normally, just another reason I didn't see Toriel as the killer, though I wouldn't tell the judge that. Spot. Well. Spot didn't hate anybody.

 

Toriel was wearing snail patterned mittens as she was carrying a pie dish with a lovely smelling pie in her hand. I actually don't remember the last time I ate, so I quickly wiped my mouth as my mouth salivated. Man, I was making the greatest impression on this lady monster. Bet she thinks all humans are freaks now. Toriel giggled, seeming very happy with my reaction as she was about to put the pie on the floor.

 

Ah, um, Miss Toriel.” I said quickly before Shadow woke up. “Sorry, back home if I put food on the floor, that means Shadow can eat it.”

 

Understanding dawned on her face as she smiled brightly, thanking me for telling her and she instead puts the pie on my lap, the mittens beneath so I wouldn't burn. She was very considerate, almost like a mother.

 

Like a... mother. Ah shit. Just go and call a mother-like being a child murderer Frisk, use those diplomacy skills. Wow. She wasn't wrong, I was a cruel person for doing that. I must've frowned, or shown some sort of reaction to my thoughts as Toriel asked if I was okay.

 

I looked up at Toriel, then back down at the pie, unable to look at her. “Why are you so nice to me?” I looked up at her then, almost frustrated but I tried not to show it. By Toriel's blinking and blank expression, I assume I failed in that. “Man, I threatened to tase you, called you a child murderer and probably brought up some bad memories if your reaction was anything to go by. I'm pretty sure I made the worst impression possible.”

 

Toriel smiles brightly, however. “Ah, do not worry, my dear. You were injured and terrified, anybody would have reacted in the same way. I'm just so glad that I found you first.”

 

The way she said it sent shivers down my spine. “F-found me first?”

 

Now dear, eat your pie. It has magical properties that should help heal your leg faster. I've run out of groceries, so you will be alone with your dogs for a while. Here.” She drops a note on my lap and I take notice that it is a phone number, though not one I recognised in any country. “I noticed you already have a cell phone, call me if you need anything!” And off she went, quickly scurrying out of the room before I could protest or ask any questions. Wow. She sure was good at avoiding topics.

 

Wait!” I tried lifting myself, then winced as I remembered my leg was pretty much butchered at this point. Shadow woke up, sensing my distress and licked my face. I sighed, patting his head, as he turned away and jumped down off the bed. Damn. Having a bummed out leg was going to be a lot more troubling than I thought. There wasn't much I could do about that, I figured. Settling down, I made a start on the snail pie. It smelled delicious! Toriel must be a really talented cook. I was awful at cooking, pasta was about as extensive as I got with cooking. Eating real cooked food was a blessing rather than take away or something from a tin.

 

Suffice to say... that pie didn't last long. It was delicious! It almost felt like it had some caffeine in it, which felt strange. As I ate it, I felt a tingling sensation, like I had drunk a lot of coffee and felt a lot more refreshed than before. My leg still hurt like hell, but it felt like I could ignore it easier now. I could live with Toriel forever if it meant eating that kind of food again! Yeah, I was pretty easy to please at heart. Guess seeing all the horror humanity could pull on themselves from seeing famous serial killers, people noted down as evil to the core and just the job in general, it was a relief to see that not everyone was entirely hostile.

 

Toriel's words didn't leave my head. She found me first and she was glad of it. What did she mean by that? Were there monsters that were actually dangerous? And the children fell down into a place like this? Man. There were too many questions running inside my head. It was exhausting my brain again, even after the boost of food. It was even more tiring realising that I couldn't even follow Toriel to answer my questions. I wasn't stupid, I knew a broken leg when I saw it. I wasn't going to be moving for a long while. Guess I would have plenty of chances to ask Toriel some questions about where this is, what monsters were, where the children had gone... how to get home.

 

I didn't have much, never really did much but work hard to get to where I was in my career, but I had a home. Had a house, a dog, life sorted, a job. It wasn't much, but that was home. Fuck it. Moping wasn't getting me anywhere. With a sigh, I fell back onto the bed, resting my head on the pillow, shifting around to try to sit up somewhat. Reaching into my bag, I tried to get a hold of my tablet. This was the best way I always found to pass the time. I was an avid reader, always been dubbed a bookworm in my school and that hadn't changed when I got a tablet. That just meant having more books without having to deal with the physical form. Yeah, my house wasn't the best for being clean. Well, the house was clean... if you ignored the dog hair and dirty dishes. And the books. Can't forget the books. Mostly books. Turning my tablet on, that had somehow survived the fall (they don't make technological devices like that anymore!) I realised that there were no wifi spots in this area. That didn't surprise me at all, but I hoped. Good thing that I had downloaded plenty of books ready for a situation like this. What else could I do? Later, I'll try to catch Toriel off guard and try to get those answers I'm looking for.

 

So, that's how I spent weeks at this house. Toriel took every opportunity to avoid me and since my leg was taking it's sweet time getting better, I couldn't really catch her off guard. Shadow wasn't any help, when I gave him the order to cut Toriel off, he did just that as ordered before melting into a fur-ball when Toriel petted him. Shadow didn't usually get much attention outside of work except from me, he was often too intimidating for anyone to want to pet him, preferring his own space. Toriel just seemed to break that barrier entirely, petting him just as he loved to be pet, the way I always pet him.

 

Again. Traitor.

 

Spot was just Spot. Let's be honest. She provided food and Spot immediately preferred her over me. Dogs.

 

I finally regained the use of my legs when Toriel took pity on me. After being stuck in bed for about two weeks, she came into my room after knocking. Her floppy ears peaked out from the doorway, her eyes blinking slightly as she noticed me sitting up, but making no progress getting up from my bed on my own. She opened the door wider, revealing that she was carrying two large thick branches. They seemed to be a strange shape, almost like...

 

Crutches!” I couldn't begin to tell you how widely I smiled. I was just so happy to finally have a way of getting out of bed on my own! Toriel didn't seem to know what those were, judging by her surprised expression, but she seemed happy about my being happy regardless. Sure, I was ecstatic! My tablet had run out of battery a long while ago and I was currently devouring Toriel's book collection, I had to call out to Toriel for a while to convince her to even enter the same room as me whilst I was awake.

 

You seemed rather upset just sitting in this room all day so, I've been looking for a solution to the problem.” She smiled, seeming rather shy all of a sudden. “I'm not particularly talented a woodcarver, but I hope this will do until we can find something better.” Wow, that really touched me. I wasn't usually the type to accept help like this, most of the time they felt like they were insinuating that I was too weak. Didn't get this inspector rank for nothing! This, though, the thought that I needed it not because I was weak, but because I was bored and needed to be entertained. That and I had tried and failed on many occasions to get out of bed and walk myself. Shadow couldn't handle my weight, despite being quite the big dog.

 

Wow, thank you!” Seeing my willingness, Toriel stepped more into the room, handing the crutches to my outstretched hands. I gripped them, pushing them against the floor and added some weight onto them. They seemed to hold pretty well! Now was the real test. Taking deep breaths, I pushed the covers back with the one foot I had working and tried to pull my bottom half off the bed. Yeah, it hurt like fuck. But the chance to get out of these gross sheets and maybe change out of my uniform, I was willing to deal with the flares of agony. It was sharp, like being stabbed (well I assumed, other officers from other precincts knew what that was like, not us here in Ebott) in the joints between my hip and leg several times. Ouch. Toriel held her hands together, ready to help but knowing that I had to do this on my own. Otherwise, how was I going to progress? Standing was the easy part, walking on the other hand... I'm sure I'll get there. I could, I knew I could.

 

After about ten minutes of struggling, I was standing. I was standing! Yes! And I felt absolutely gross. Could do with a good shower. My legs were shaking with the effort of standing, having not been able to for a long while. Seemed okay, haven't collapsed yet! This is great!

 

Smiling up at Toriel, I just had one more favour to ask, “Miss Toriel, do you mind if I use your bath?”

 

Of course not, my dear! It had completely slipped my mind! It is down to your left at the end of the corridor. Whilst you are in the bath, I'll cook us a meal for tonight. How does hot dogs sound?” Delicious actually. I tell her so and she smiles, before leaving the room and disappearing to wherever she goes. Finally, I would be able to see what the rest of her house looked like! Shadow, who had been lying on the bed watching the conversation with interest, jumped down and watched me carefully as I attempted to take my first step. My right leg hung limply in the air and my arms were taking almost my entire weight. This took a lot of effort, something I couldn't afford to do too often. It'll be worth it, this once.

 

Eventually, I made it to the door, which was left open thank goodness. The house was... the walls were surprisingly yellow and very homely. Much nicer than my home. There were potted plants all along the corridor and several doors leading to other rooms down the corridor to the right of me. To the left, it seemed to open up to the front room, though it seemed pretty empty of any furniture. I went straight to the bathroom, I could always see the rest of the house when I felt clean again. Heading to the bathroom, I passed a mirror. Looking into it, I spotted myself, but not quite right. My eyes had huge bags, like that time I had to do night shift then straight to day without sleeping. My hair had been jostled in the time I spent bed ridden and was about as greasy as a battered fish in a fish and chip shop, felt that gross too. My face was quite a bit more pale than I remembered, though considering what had happened I wasn't at all surprised. I hadn't looked this bad in a long time, I'd be glad for the shower.

 

The bathroom was warm and cosy, blue tiles along the wall and a lovely white bath mat on the floor. It wasn't going to be white for much longer if I'm as gross as I'm feeling. Bless Toriel's kind heart, on the closed toilet seat I found a change of clothes, she must've gone out to buy them as well as fresh bandages to wrap my leg around should I need it. Simple jeans, a nice blue shirt top that was probably a little big on me, but that was no problem. Baggy is cool. She also brought boxers. With snails on. Huh. Interesting choice. Not exactly what I would wear normally. Oh, stop complaining Frisk, just be thankful. Toriel had been nothing but kind to me, despite my hostile reaction to begin with. I still couldn't process what she wanted by doing this, or what she gained, but maybe that was just her. She was just a person who loved taking care of others. Well, I say... yes, a person. Honestly, if I had my eyes closed, I wouldn't even notice she was a monster, her voice gave nothing away and she didn't treat me any differently for not having fur or horns coming out of my head.

 

Those were the thoughts I had in the bath. Always get the best thoughts when soaking in the bath. Many a case being considered and thought over whilst I'm in baths. Right now, I was debating my next plan of action. Do I stay with Toriel a while longer until my leg heals before I inquire how to get out of here? Do I push her to try to get the answer to where the missing children were? That seemed harsh, after she was so nice to me, I just don't think I could do it. I could try asking, was there harm in it? It'd be bringing up bad memories, and I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to help Beatrice Maxwell before she is... Let's not think of that.

 

I stayed in the bath until the water began to go cold. The water wasn't anywhere near clear anymore, gross. I had managed to get a good look at my leg after I got the bandages off before getting in the bath. It didn't look as horrific as I thought it would. My leg was bruised to all hell, black, blue, yellow and purple, but not red at least. There was a scar where the leg had been cut, I had to wonder if that was from when the bone must've been sticking out of my leg. How I didn't bleed out earlier, I don't know, I hadn't even noticed when I fell that I had been bleeding, my leg too painful to feel the blood soaking it. Hey, at least it wasn't numb, that was the worst that could happen.

 

Drying myself was certainly a challenge, having only one arm free to do so as my other held my body up from falling. You never realise how bad one legged folk have it until you feel like living like a one legged folk. Being careful around my leg, I only dabbed it whilst I was sitting on the toilet seat, trying to dry it at least enough to wrap bandages around it. Scratching at the door, then a whimper. Ah, that was Spot who it seems wasn't used to being left alone without some companionship other than Shadow. He seemed to really like Toriel, though it seems like she didn't take him out with her this time. Apparently, there was no problem with dogs roaming around the Underground.

 

Bandaging the leg took time and effort as well, by the end of it, I was exhausted again. That bath probably didn't help wake me up, I always became more sleepy after having a bath. Getting changed into my new clothes, I opened the door to spot Spot (haha gettit?) rushing at my bare feet, sniffing them and wagging his tail before sitting and looking up at me with adorable wide eyes. Man, I really was a sucker for dogs. With a sigh, I whistled for him to follow me, Shadow appearing from my room with ears perked. Well, I slept with two warm furry bodies that night, feeling much more refreshed than I had been in a while.

 

 

Things progressed the same way for a while. I thanked Toriel for the new clothes, telling her that I loved them and she smiled brightly, saying she'd get my uniform sorted again soon as she had already sent them to be repaired. This woman, I would be sad to have to leave soon. My leg was getting better, slowly but surely. Still using the crutches, but I felt a lot more confident on them now. Two weeks passed, I was fidgeting on whether to ask Toriel about the children. I finally gained the courage that morning.

 

Tori.” She asked me to call her Toriel or Tori for short, Miss Toriel made her sound old, apparently. “Can I ask you something?”

 

Toriel beamed, she was currently baking one of her infamous butterscotch pies ready for lunch. I've had worse for lunch, her pies were always amazing. “Of course, my dear! How can I help?”

 

Well. Here goes nothing. Gay abandon and all that. “Is... is there more to the Underground than just here? So far, I've only seen you, a few Froggits and a couple of Whimsuns.” I think I got the names right, they had introduced themselves after Tori gave them to stink eye for trying to 'engage in a FIGHT' whatever that means. I actually had to stop myself from giggling at the idea of me, 5'2 fighting a froggit the size of Shadow. It was amusing for a short while, anyway. “You mentioned other monsters, didn't you?”

 

Tori remained silent for a while, watching the oven baking her pie as if waiting for it to begin rising whilst she was watching it. She sighed, finally replying; “Yes, the Ruins is simply the entrance to the rest of the Underground. I sealed off the Ruins to the rest of the Underground a long time ago, after... the children...” I remained patient, putting a hand on her shoulder, as if to support her. Fat lot of good that was. Apparently, she appreciated it as she smiled, looking back at me. “They were so hopeful, so determined to go back home after falling here. I warned them, beyond the Ruins, monsters aren't so kind to humans as I am, or the Froggits or Whimsuns. I told them, if they leave the Ruins... Asgore would kill them. They didn't listen.” She looks back down at her oven. “I haven't heard anything since. I- I just can't think about it.”

 

Well. Okay, so one; guess who is the biggest arsehole in the country? Yoohoo! Frisk, extraordinaire heart breaker and cruel bastard pointing fingers at anyone who seems remotely related to a case and shout GUILTY. Way to jump the gun, Frisky. Second; geez, the children seemed to have really affected her. I couldn't imagine the situation, being a kind lovely woman taking in children who had lost their way down here in the Underground, only for them to want to go home despite the clear warnings Toriel gave them. Here I was, considering doing the very same thing, to want to go home, but to also save those children, if it wasn't already too late.

 

I'm sorry you had to go through that, Tori.” It sounded pretty lame coming from my lips, but she smiled slightly regardless.

 

Not to worry, Frisk. You deserve to know, as you have been living here long enough now.” I looked at her, quizzically, wondering what exactly she meant by that. “You are comfortable here, are you not?” Well, yes. What was she getting at? “I'm glad. It's been nice, having someone over. It's really helped.” Might as well grab a knife and dig it in my heart, the way this conversation is going.

 

I smiled, holding back those feelings I could feel fluttering away. I was good at this, hiding what I was really feeling. “I'm glad to have been good company, I'm just sorry about the way we met.” It was tense for a long while, just standing there with nothing else to say.

 

Knock knock.”

 

Blinking, I looked at Toriel. “Who's there?”

 

Old lady.”

 

Old lady who?”

 

Wow, I didn't know you could yodel!”

 

Cue me choking on air, then laughed really hard. I was quite the dork, but I didn't know she had it in her! Bad jokes, always the life of the party. If there was a Christmas Cracker joke or a Penguin bar anywhere, I was always on that shit. Bad jokes were always the best ice breakers. Could I top that?

 

Okay, okay. Will you remember me in two minutes?”

 

She blinked, surprised by my sudden change of topic. “Of course!”

 

Knock knock.”

 

Who's there?”

 

I pouted; “Hey, you didn't remember me!” She loved it! Spot ended up barking because he freaked out at how loudly Toriel was laughing. Smirking, I puffed up like a proud peacock for having cheered her up and found something we both had in common. Bad jokes! Either love them or hate them, finally I found a companion who loved bad jokes just about as much as I did.

 

After many hours of bad jokes, reading books together and eating dinner, I went to bed feeling much better about my situation. It wasn't so bad down here, Toriel and I got along once we put aside our differences and I put down my cop mind and my leg was getting better everyday. Soon, I'd be able to walk normally again. I couldn't wait! Sleeping came easily once I calmed down, I was ready for the next big day.

 

So. Why was I woken up at godforsaken o'clock in the morning? Shadow was barking, loudly. He never barked, not even the Froggits or Whimsuns bothered him. So, why tonight? Bloody dog, being a big pain in my arse. With a groan of effort, I got up out of bed, staying in the pyjamas Toriel had got me. She saw them and insisted I should wear them, because she found me adorable in them. Only her dog wide eyes she must've learnt from Spot convinced me to wear them and she gave me a fuzzy hug for it. That ego, man. About as bruised as my busted leg.

 

Shadow's barking was coming from the basement. Toriel told me that the exit to the Ruins did lie there and she wasn't comfortable going down there, but I was welcome to go down there if I was careful. I promised I wouldn't leave through the door until my leg healed, relieving her of her internal fear I knew she was having after her confession about the children. I hadn't bothered to go down the basement, however. What was the point if it lead to a door I wouldn't open? But that's where Shadow was barking his arse off right now, better go fetch the beast.

 

Toriel, slap me now.

 

The corridor down in the basement was blank, nothing but blank walls for a long while. Shadow was still barking like mad, then he was growling, scratching at the door. He seemed pretty annoyed at something. Did he want to go out? Why did he just scratch at the front door? And not at unforgivable o'clock too?

 

I finally spotted him at the end of the corridor, he was up on his hind legs, scratching at the door begging to go out. Fucking dog, really? If nobody could tell, I wasn't in the mood for this this early in the night.

 

Annoyed, I was about to call out, when I heard a couple of knocks.

 

knock knock.” Said a deep voice on the other side of the door, male and by the accent I could imagine him to be a cool bloke at the bar. Too cool. “woof woof! there's someone at the door!” When he said that sentence, however, his accent changed to be more gruff. Uh, I wasn't getting it. Shadow was wagging his tail, whining loudly, he hadn't noticed me at all. He starts scratching the door again. “you don't like knock knock jokes, buddy?” This voice sounded like he was taunting Shadow from the other side. Well, that sure answers why Shadow was getting all riled up if there was a strange man on the other side of the door taunting him. Really. It's too early for this.

 

i got it, i'll throw you a bone. how about this one? knock knock.” The monster (I assume?) on the other side knocked on the door again, the door sounded pretty thick from the sounds of his knocking. This just riled Shadow up more and he barked again. “dishes.” Shadow just growled, landing back down on the ground and kicked the door. Well, he would've if he could've. “dishes a very bad joke.”

 

I gave my position away at the other side of the door when I snorted, pretty loudly. Shadow turned quickly, his tail wagging and mouth wide open in a pant trying to look as innocent as he could. The person on the other side of the door went silent, surely he had heard my snort.

 

you finally catching my jokes, pal? they are rather fetching, aren't they?” The person on the other side was the worst. Worse than Toriel, that was saying something. Well, he knew there was more than a dog on this side now after I practically broke my side in laughter.

 

After calming down, I came to the door. I knocked twice. “who's there?”

 

Police.” I answered. The voice at the door took a long moment, probably trying to place my voice and accent and put a face to it.

 

police who?”

 

Police, stop with your bad knock knock jokes!” I was rewarded by a hearty laugh on the other side of the door. He seemed to be enjoying himself.

 

Smiling, I struggled to get myself sitting down, panting and grunting at the effort. The person on the other side heard that and heard the thump of me sitting down. He stopped laughing. “you okay there, pal? sounded like you were having a hard time.”

 

I sat so I had my back towards the door, leaning against it as I put a hand to my leg to stop it aching. “Nah, I'm alright, I shi-tzu not.” Snickers from the other side of the door filled the silence. Shadow was still staring at the other side of the door, then he whined. “Why are you bothering my dog at this hour? Shouldn't you be sleeping?”

 

eh. woke up. got bored. decided to practise some knock knock jokes for my big show. your pal didn't catch on to most of 'em.” I could just picture the wide smirk on this guy's face. Wow, he really had a load ready for every opportunity, didn't he?

 

He is a dog, he can only catch so many. Deep down, I'm sure he digs them.”

 

unlike you. you seem to catch on pretty quickly.”

 

That big show of yours sounds like a bust. Bet it's gone down to the dogs.

 

ouch. brutal.” He was silent for a while, before he clears his throat. “i've been knocking on this door for months. this is the first time someone has answered. what took you so long, bud?”

 

I considered what to tell him. Then decided, fuckit, what would it harm to tell him? “Broke a leg. You know how it is.” Months huh? Toriel must've heard the knocks eventually, maybe she just didn't want to be reminded of the children? Didn't want to give herself false hope? Who knew.

 

There was a knock on the door behind me. “knock knock.”

 

Who's there?”

 

adore.”

 

Adore who?”

 

adore is between us.” Well, he wasn't wrong. It still made me chuckle either way. This went on for a few minutes longer, knocking on the door, trading jokes with each other until I was growing too tired to think anymore.

 

Sorry, I'm gonna have to quit out now or else I'm gonna fall asleep.”

 

heh. not to worry buddy, my brother is probably going to wake up soon. he loves getting up at the crack of dawn.” That was quite the lame door joke, even his tired chuckle let me know that he knew it too. Bed time for the both of us. “are you going to be back? i had fun, even gave me ideas for the big show.”

 

I had to smile. “Sure thing, I can come back late at night again.”

 

i gotta work just by the door, be there all day. sure you can't make it earlier, bud? gonna be bonely without you.”

 

I wasn't sure what Toriel planned for tomorrow, we had just gotten comfortable hanging around each other and she even seemed to enjoy the company. I couldn't lie and tell him I would definitely be there but... “I'll try my best. See you later, door buddy.”

 

There was a chuckle on the other side of the door. “night night, kid.”

 

I barely made it back to my bed before I collapsed asleep, excited for more than one thing the next day.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 Monster History Lesson

“So, Tori.” That was how I begun the next morning, try to look completely innocent like I hadn't woken up quite late and hadn't been having knock knock jokes until about 5am. Toriel didn't ask why I slept in and she didn't seem to realise all the noise Shadow was making last night. “Have we got any plans today?” Subtle. Completely subtle.

Tori looked at me, confused. “Well, I do have to get more groceries today, we are running rather low. So you may have to be alone for most of the day today, I do hope you don't mind?”

I smiled, thankful. “Oh no, that's fine! I had plans for today as well. I was going to ask if you minded.”

“Oh?” Now Toriel was interested. “What are your plans?”

“Well...” Could I tell her? Could I really tell her? She was going to find out in the end, I knew it. Though, I knew she would disapprove of my actions. Not to mention... do monsters get jealous?

No. Wait. I have a plan.

“I went exploring last night, I couldn't sleep so I went for a walk around, Shadow came with me.” That wasn't entirely a lie. “I heard some noise in the basement, I thought that was you, so I went to investigate and see if you were alright. Well, someone was knocking on the door, apparently from talking to him, he's been knocking on it for a long time.” Toriel watched me, her facial expression showed that she wasn't happy with what I had done, but she was curious enough to listen. Keep them captivated, keep them calm. “He seemed nice enough, so I decided to entertain him. He has no idea who or what I am, though. I was thinking... can you teach me about Monster History?”

That hadn't been what she was expecting at all. “Monster History?”

This was the hard part. “You better take a seat, Tori.” She didn't look happy now. I don't blame her, those famous words were never good news. I'll try to make it easier for her. “You know I'm not going to be staying here for too much longer, right Tori?” She didn't answer, she seemed to be pretending she couldn't hear me. I knew this wasn't easy for her, but it had to be done. “I need to find out what happened to those children, maybe even find Beatrice and get her home.” Okay, that was a lie. Probably. There was no way she was still alive, having been too out of action to get past that Ruins door, and hearing that there are monsters right outside that door, there was no chance for her. It was probably already too late before I woke up in Toriel's house. The least I could do now was give the children's parents closure and warn them to stay away from the mountain.

Oh sure, that'll go over swimmingly. Just tell the town; yeah that myth? Totally real, bro. Totally! Saw it with my eyes, some goat lady found me with a broken leg, fixed it now though, sorry your children got killed by the rest though. Terribly sorry! Oh, how did I get out? Turns out a dog and taser is pretty good for fending off Big Foot. What am I kidding? I'd need psychiatric help after this. I couldn't tell anyone about this, nobody would believe me, I didn't when they hadn't even seen the monsters. If I get out alive, what was I going to tell them? Another problem for another day.

“So, you're just like the rest.” That. That wasn't a tone I expected from Toriel. She didn't sound sad, exactly... defeated. That'd be the correct mood.

“No, you're comparing my want to go home with the children's, aren't you?” Bang on the money, by Toriel's flinch. “This isn't just something I want to do, Tori. It's something I have to do, so many people are counting on me up on the surface. They need to know the truth.”

“No!” Tori stood up quickly, panic in her eyes. “You can't tell them about us. You can't! Don't you remember? Anything can come inside the barrier from the outside, but nothing can leave. Why would you-”

“Tori! I'm not going to tell them about you.” I'm not? Huh, apparently my mouth made the decision for me, but I had figured earlier telling them about monsters would be like saying aliens are taking over the Earth. You just don't say it.

Toriel calmed down a lot after that outburst, shock on her face but relief at the same time. “You're not?”

“What, that monsters live here? You know how people would react if I did? Claim that I have gone insane, I could have been the murderer the entire time, get put into a mental asylum, anything could happen! In our world... you just don't say those things. People... people aren't nice.” It was the best way to explain to a person like Toriel, she had only met children but... children could be horrid too, genuinely horrid.

But Toriel still seemed confused about that answer. “Uh, don't humans hate us? After all, they were the ones to trap us all down here.”

Oh. I understand, of course monsters would remember this, but us humans? We've done too many terrible things to remember a certain specific terrible event. “Well... yes and no. Here's the thing... people use the whole 'monsters' as a terrifying story to tell children, like scary stories and nursery rhymes. Monsters are never really the good guys, normally but there are plenty of people who love the ideas of monsters. There's even films about them, good and bad monsters!” I had to be honest, though I was trying not to give her the wrong idea. “But, otherwise, that's just it. Monsters are stories, nobody remembers them as being real. Nobody knows you guys are real, you're just that up on the surface, stories.”

Toriel seemed to be thinking for a while, as if trying to take in the idea that monsters were a myth up where I lived, scary stories and nothing more. “So..., should the barrier ever break... with what you're saying, there's a chance to reunite on the surface?”

Uh, I definitely didn't say that! Oh God, imagine if monsters suddenly came out from the mountain and went to Ebott asking if it was cool to live there, the village would go ape shit! I'd have to tread carefully, but I couldn't break Toriel's heart by saying 'nah, honestly Tori, just stay here, t'is better for everyone.' Besides, there were people out there who would totally lose their shit if monsters came to the surface, there were plenty of people with big hearts, willing to mingle with monsters and become the best of friends. There could be a chance, if they were all friendly... but that was a dream thought, and Toriel knew it by the look of her face. It was a dream, but it was a nice one to think about.

“What's wrong with staying here?” Toriel seemed hopeful, maybe explaining to her that humans, or in general a lot of people aren't really that nice most of the time and the idea of going to the surface was insane.

“Tori... I know this is your home but... do you think this isolation is good for you?”

Toriel shook her head, her eyes looking sad again. “I cannot go back, there is so much you do not understand, my child.”

“So, make me understand.” I took a deep breath. “I haven't seen on the other side of the door, I understand you told me humans are... killed on sight on the other side, but you're a monster. By the sounds of it, you had been living outside of the Ruins for a long time before you hid in the Ruins.” I knew I was spot on, Toriel didn't like to share much about herself, mostly liking to delve into the stories and factual books she kept and talking about the Ruins. She loved to talk about the puzzles and how once upon a time they had been made to keep humans away. Oh, she gave me a brief overview of what had happened there, humans and monsters went to war (she didn't seem to remember why, or she didn't want to say), many deaths were had on both sides, but eventually the monsters had lost their advantage. Their punishment was being imprisoned away here, in the mountain, a magical barrier keeping anything from getting out, but surprisingly, not stopping anything from getting in.

Well, apparently that wasn't entirely correct. I brought it up to her that, no, there had been a monster who crossed the barrier, everyone in town claimed to have seen it. Toriel did nod and confirm that yes, there had been a monster that crossed the barrier, but that he died shortly after returning. Toriel claimed she didn't know how the monster managed to cross the barrier, nobody did as he returned and died from his injuries from the towns people. I wasn't sure how truthful that was, but Tori didn't bend from that story, so I was inclined to believe her.

Back to the task at hand, however. “What are you hiding from out there? Why do you hate out there so much? You've gone as far as to hide yourself away from everyone, hide away in isolation with no friends, no family, nothing. Why would you do that?”

The kettle whistled, letting us know that it had boiled. Tori got up to her feet without a word and turned to make us both a cup of tea. This silence made me shift uncomfortably on my seat. Had I pushed her too soon? Was she going to break? A person who suffered from isolation, probably hadn't talked to another proper person in weeks, maybe even months, I couldn't imagine what was going through her mind. That's why I took my time, I wasn't a stranger to loneliness, but to be isolated for months at a time without human contact... I heard stories, people break from that, they go insane, their mind shuts down, they don't really... come back, from something like that. I remember reading about Stockholm Syndrome, pondering how a person could possibly get attached to their own kidnapper to the point they no longer plead them guilty, they can't bear to be cut from them. That's what it did, loneliness. Doesn't matter what that person did, as long as you weren't alone, any person would do. I remember having been witness to a case like that, an abusive relationship, not so much as kidnapping, but the principle was the same. A guy, he was abused by his girlfriend, kept from going out, unable to see his friends, just living in their house, but even when we arrested her, took her to court, he plead her not guilty. All because she was the only thing he had. Human minds sure are fucked up if you fuck it up.

And so, I was tentative with Tori, I wanted to break her out of this isolation, how she managed it for so long I wasn't sure.

Tori sat down, after handing me my cup of tea and she cradled her cup of tea close to her. She took a deep breath. “I didn't want to tell you... I wanted to keep you here.” She smiled sadly. “That's rather selfish of me, I'm sorry. I was... I was just so happy to have someone to talk to.” I smiled patiently, holding out my hand so she could grab it. She took my hand, grateful for something to pull her down to earth. “Okay, my child. I'll tell you. Just, promise me, when you finally decide to leave, you'll take care of yourself?” I nodded, of course I would and if there was even a slimmer of a chance of Beatrice being alive, I'd take care of her as well. If not, I wouldn't rest until I found their bodies, so I could give them a proper burial, give them a proper send off that the children deserved, and find their killer. Toriel smiled, as if she could sense my thoughts. “You are a very determined human, I had begun to worry when I couldn't feel your determination shine through your soul. I can feel it more now, you have no idea how happy that makes me.” I knew about souls, to an extent. I hadn't ever seen mine, Tori made sure of that, monsters pulling out your soul was like ripping off your armour and exposing your weak point to be attacked. Souls were real, our living essence and monsters, depending on how powerful they were, could see into others' souls and find out what kind of person you are. Boy, that'd be useful at the station, sure beats using a lie detector if we could just look into people's souls and get the truth outright. I'm taking this other world stuff pretty well, but I doubt I could be surprised much else, this is an entirely new world and if I wanted a chance to survive, I had to understand every aspect.

“I did lie to you, but I lied to protect you. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I forget... you're not a child, you don't need protecting. For that, I apologise, my child.” I blinked, but I wasn't entirely surprised. I had guessed she was lying, but to outright declare “liar!” when she had been so nice to me, I couldn't do that to her. She would've told me eventually. Well, I had hoped. I wasn't wrong! “I do know who crossed the barrier over to your world, and I know how Chara died. I must begin to say, Chara was not murdered.” What. The first child, she wasn't murdered? “Chara fell down from above, it was my son who found her.” Son?

“Biological or...?”

Toriel nodded. “Yes, my biological son, Asriel.” Now that name rang a bell. I remember Tori shouting it when I accused her of being a child murderer those many weeks ago. “He said that he had heard crying and brought Chara to me and my husband. She wasn't too badly injured from the fall, she was just a scared child, so we took her in. Asriel had always wanted a sibling. They grew very close together, they were the best of friends. Chara never expressed wanting to leave back to the surface, she seemed very happy here. We lived like a real family.” She smiled, her gaze looking over to the wall behind me, that far away look in her eye as she remembers what her life used to be like. It sounded lovely. How did it get to this point, where she now lived completely and utterly alone? “Then, one day, Chara grew sick. She had caught an illness, but us Monsters do not get sick like humans do, so we didn't know what to do.” Toriel's eyes begin to tear up and she grabs a nearby napkin to dab at her eyes. I held out my hand, trying to me as supportive as I can. I smiled, letting her know that she could take her time.

She smiled, thanked me before continuing on. “Before she died, Chara asked if she could see the golden flowers that grew in her village, it was the one thing that she missed about the surface world. With the barrier in place, there was nothing we could do. We watched as Chara got slowly weaker, everything we tried, monster food didn't do anything. She passed away soon after.” She took a drink from her tea, dabbing at her eyes again and sniffed a few times before continuing, her voice trembling. “Asriel took the death the worst. He... he took Chara's body, we were too late to stop him. He took Chara's body, and with his and Chara's soul working together, they broke through the barrier.” She looked at me, her eyes looking apologetic, but at the same time guarded, as if she weren't sure how I was going to react. “It was Asriel that came into your village. That story you told me, it is true, Asriel walked through your village, Chara's body in tow, intending to lie her on the flowers one last time before her burial.”

I sat there, speechless. I... it's hard to describe exactly, even in my head, how I felt about the situation as a whole. Poor Toriel! Whilst Chara wasn't her biological child, they loved and cared for her just as if she were her own child, even if she was a human child. But... didn't Toriel say that the perpetrator...?

“You... you lost two children that day.” I said it, just like that. A horrible fact, out in the open air and Toriel looked at me, her eyes watering as that fact reached her ears, as if she only now just realised how awful it was. Just this once. Just this once, I broke my training protocol. I stood up, letting go of Toriel's hand and she looked at me, tears escaping her eyes, though she was trying to fight them off. I could feel my own eyes, prickling slightly, even though I don't remember the last time I even teared up. I opened my arms and pulled Toriel into a hug. That broke her waterworks, she hugged my tightly, her eyes getting my jumper she bought me soaked. I didn't care, she needed this, she needed the closure. I briefly pondered how long it had been since she had contact like this, since the incident, maybe? Police officers weren't meant to get emotionally involved in cases, we weren't even meant to show this much support for the family if we could help it. But I couldn't leave her sitting there and sobbing. I couldn't. I wouldn't be human if I didn't.

But I guess that statement doesn't mean much now. Humans were the ones who caused her this much pain, killing her biological child. So much for her being a monster, she was anything but.

It took a while for Toriel to calm down, but slowly she came to her senses. She thanked me, over and over and apologised for acting so distraught. I told her it wasn't a problem, that she needed to do that, she had to. The body could only take so much strain before it reacted.

She took another sip of tea. “Asgore... he didn't take the news lightly. King Asgore, after the death of a human child and a monster child, he declared war on you humans. He declared to the entire Underground that should any human fall down into the Underground, they were to be killed on sight and their souls taken. With enough souls, Asgore believes he can use their power to break the barrier entirely and let monsters roam free on the surface. He would rage war against the humans, so that we monsters could live on the surface together.” I would say that he was overreacting... but I'd be the biggest hypocrite if that were so. He reacted much like my village did when we thought Asriel had killed the child, though many probably reacted more strongly in fear that a goat monster was loose in the village. But I knew some reacted because a child murderer is one of the worst things you could possibly be in the eyes of many people. I couldn't hold it against him, not when I was looking on both sides of the spectrum. My village reacted the same way. But it didn't mean that either side was right. My head was feeling it now, the conflict and having to be stuck between the two sides. By the look Toriel was giving me, I'd say she understood the feeling very well.

“That's why I left, my child. I could not stay in a world where people think it is right to murder children who are not involved in this war, just so they can escape. Most monsters were filled with hope again after Asgore said we were at war with humans, I couldn't bear to stand living with others who celebrated a child's death. That's why I hide here, in the Ruins. I would rather be alone than be around child murderers.” Have to say, Toriel was a tough woman. I didn't blame her, not one bit. But I cannot say that I would do the same. I don't know, would I? Would I live alone, for days, weeks, months, years to be away from a murderer, even though they weren't ever going to murder or harm you in any way? Could I stand and watch a child get murdered if it meant not being alone?

I'm not entirely sure how to answer that. I can say this though, I had to admire Toriel's determination. She was a tougher woman than I.

“I don't know if you've ever heard this, Tori, but you're a stronger woman than you ever let on. I wouldn't be able to do what you have done. Ever.” I smiled at her, letting her know that I was serious. We hugged again, this time for longer as our tea began to grow cold. Shadow and Spot came into the room soon enough, barking, complaining that they were hungry.

Toriel giggled, breaking off the hug and stood up. “Thank you for listening... it has actually helped, Detective Frisk.”

Okay, I admit I blushed as she praised me and I smiled back at her. “Ah, what are friends for?” Smooth Frisk, smooth. That still left a problem at hand. Toriel went into her cupboards, looking for dog food for Shadow and Spot as they wagged their tails harder, mouths wide open in excitement. “If humans are just killed on sight just like that, how can we possibly find the bodies of the children?”

Toriel shot up, looking up in surprise. “We? Bodies?”

I blinked, before smiling uneasily. “Of course, we can't leave their bodies wherever they are. The least we can do, if their souls are captured and bodies out there, we need to free them. It's too late to bring them back alive, but maybe we can give them and their parents closure, save them from Asgore and give him what for! Teach that bastard a lesson.”

Toriel couldn't help but giggle at the last sentence, but she still looked nervous as she brought out the big bag of dogfood. It looked nothing like the human pedigree bags of dog food, I actually preferred the look of this one. A nice big dog face smiling brightly and pink and bones everywhere. Cute. She bent down to grab both of their bowls, I still had to pay her back for those but shockingly British Sterling was pretty useless down here. As were Euros and dollar bills, utterly useless. “I uh... I'm flattered that you would do such a thing, my dear. But I cannot join you, I just cannot return back to the Underground.”

I was upset to hear that, I figured that she would say that. I didn't want to leave her alone here, but I had to repay her somehow. I had to do something, leaving those kids out there, even though they were dead, Toriel's story confirmed that souls were real (maybe like ghosts?) and they were out there, panicking, confused and hurt. I had to do something!

I watched the dogs, Shadow waiting patiently and Spot jumping up and down too excited to wait for his breakfast. Huh... Shadow was perfectly capable of looking after himself, he was my partner, we worked together well to chase down robbers and thieves. But Spot was a sniffer dog, he didn't have a clue if a criminal grinned at him, he'd think they were his friend.

Yes. Of course! Toriel didn't have to be alone, it's the least I can do. “Toriel. Can you do me a favour?”

Toriel finished filling the dogs bowls up and put the bowls down on the floor for them to eat. Happy, she stood back up and smiled at me. “Of course, Frisk! What can I help with?”

“As soon as my leg gets better enough that I can walk and run unassisted, I will be leaving the Ruins.” That plan was set in stone, nothing would change my mind. I'd save those children's souls and if I could, I'd bring them home. Toriel looked a little upset, but she nodded her head, understanding that I wouldn't be swayed from my mission. “I want you to look after Spot whilst I'm away.” That shocked her, her eyes widening as she looked down at Spot almost choking on his own breakfast, yet Shadow ate quickly and leisurely.

She looked back at me. “Are... are you sure? But he-”

I shook my head and held out my hand for her to stop. “Spot wouldn't last a day out there, he is a sniffer dog, trained to sniff out people, items and weapons. He doesn't understand the difference between friend and enemy. There is no such thing as an enemy to him. If the monsters out there saw me with him, they'd destroy him without him realising they were enemies!” I almost wanted to roll my eyes saying it. “He's still a young dog as well, it's how he has so much energy. Besides, he seems to like you more than me. I think he'd be happier with you.” Her reaction was a welcome one. Her hands went to her mouth, shocked and almost not believing what I said, that she could keep Spot for herself, to finally have a companion, even though he wasn't human or monster and probably wouldn't have as good a conversation with as I, but it beat staying there, alone by herself.

Her eyes went teary again, and she stepped towards me, giving me a hug. Man, we were making good progress on this hugging, I didn't often give hugs but here I was, giving plenty. She thanked me, over and over, as I patted her back.

After eating breakfast together, spending time reading books together and she taught me a bit more about monster history. There is a group called The Royal Guard who are in charge of finding humans and bringing their souls to Asgore. Their captain is a monster often found in a suit of armour known as Undyne, who apparently had a fierce temper on her and several attitude problems. Sounded like business as usual, I have had to deal with plenty of punks and people who had attitude problems. That's just the norm. She told me that Snowdin was the next village over and to be prepared for snow on the other side, so wrap up warm and try to remain low. Most monsters actually had no idea what a human looked like, apparently! It was entirely possible for me to walk to the village and go to the inn and not be recognised as a human whatsoever. At least, as far as Toriel recalled, only a select few even had any vague description of a human. She even had hope that because of my size, uniform if I left with it and stature (not entirely sure what she meant by that but okay) I wouldn't be recognised on the spot by most as a human. She was sure there would be patrols for humans out there, but if I could be convincing, I may be allowed to pretend to be a monster. That. Wow. It was extremely valuable information, the fact that most monsters didn't have a clue what humans looked like, even though they had seven fall into their world. How did that work out? Toriel didn't seem to have an answer to that. If that were true, the children didn't get very far, or strayed away from the well used paths if nobody had a clue what humans looked like.

Toriel left shortly after a late lunch, wanting to get to the shops before they closed. She asked if she could take Spot and Shadow with her for a walk, for company and to give them some exercise. I smile and told her that was fine, she could take as long as she wanted and go for a nice walk and bond with them. She deserved some fresh air and time with the dogs alone. A lot was said today, it was a lot to take in, but I finally felt like I was getting somewhere. I felt much better about the children's chances of a happy outcome.

Before she left, however, she did ask about my plans, apparently she hadn't forgotten that I mentioned knocking on the Ruins door and was talking to a monster on the other side.

“Don't worry, Tori!” I reassured her, smiling brightly not at all like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “I got this! We're just telling knock knock jokes for now, he's a pretty hilarious guy. As far as he knows, I'm just a monster living in the Ruins. I'll get him warmed up and ask about the other side, purely curiously. I'm pretty good at bullshitting my way out of troub- what're you laughing at?” I must've said something, because Toriel suddenly burst out in laughter in a serious conversation. Uh. Okay then. Maybe she'd finally gone mad.

After about a minute, she finally calmed down enough to explain; “Be-because. I'm a goat/cow and you're good at bullshitting.” Oh. OH. Oh yeah. Toriel was master of bad jokes. I did roll my eyes that time, no amount of bad jokes or Toriel laughing was going to make me think that was even remotely clever this time. “Ah well, I had a chuckle.” Sure. Sure. “I shall leave you in peace then, dear Frisk. I understand and believe that you know what you're doing.” Well, kinda. Sorta. “I am but a phone call away! Do not hesitate to call if you need anything at all.” She smiled and hugged me tightly. I hugged back, although I tried to put on a face like I didn't enjoy it. That's just my ego talking, really. She then threw in an entire new puzzle and kissed me on the forehead, sending me into a fluster that left me speechless. Toriel giggled, said that I was adorable and easy to tease, before waving goodbye. Shadow tilted his head at me, pondering about why I had changed colour slightly and why I seemed so out of it, before snorting and turning around to follow Toriel out the door. And there I was, wondering when Toriel was ever not going to surprise me, or tease me. I felt like a teenager again, mother always teasing me because it was hilarious to watch me squirm and overreact to everything.

I arrived at the Ruins door, the place was silent and there was no knocking on the door this time. Not yet, anyway. Huffing with effort, I pushed myself to the Ruins door on my crutches. Taking a few deep breaths, I knock on the door, with my fist and not my crutches, didn't want to freak the poor guy on the other side.

At first, I heard no reply, but then I hear a reply; “who's there?”

I smile, hearing that it is indeed the same guy I had spoken to the night before. So, he had returned like he promised he would. This could work to my advantage, if I played my cards right. If I was careful, indulged him for a while, became a friend, maybe I could get further information about what it was like on the other side. After all, I hadn't ever left the Ruins, a monster born and raised in the Ruins and heard only stories about the other side. That's good. Stick with that story if he ever asks. Just hope he doesn't ask what I look like, make some shit up if I needed to.

“Amish.”

“amish who?”

“Aw how sweet! I miss you too!” I was rewarded with laughter, pure unbridled laughter. Maybe he laughed a bit too much, but it sounded like he needed that kind of laugh.

“i almost thought you weren't coming back, pal.” Aw, he actually sounded worried that he missed me.

“Nah, wouldn't miss this, knock knock buddy. I just had to talk to a friend about important things, is all.” I struggled to lower myself onto the floor using the crutches, wincing a bit when they banged on the door and clattered to the floor. “Sorry, dropped my crutch. Leg is still troubling me. It's getting better, though.”

I heard a hum on the other side of the door. “that's good. glad to hear it, bud.” I could hear from his voice that he was curious, wondering how I broke it, but he didn't ask. Instead, I hear him knocking. “Who's there?”

“woo.”

“Woo who?”

“don't get too excited, it's just a knock knock joke.” I had to chuckle, was it sad that I was actually enjoying sharing knock knock jokes with a complete stranger on the other side of a door? I didn't know his name and I didn't even know what kind of monster he was. Eh, for now, it didn't matter, but I would have to ask his name eventually. At least have one friendly monster on my side hopefully on the other side of the door. “s'up bud? your canine is very quiet.”

I smiled. “Shadow is having a walk with my friend today, he was getting sick of being cooped up in this place. I gave her some good news, some bad news, but I'm feeling better.”

“heh, glad to hear it, pal. man, my brother just woke me up twenty minutes ago, still ain't awake.” Twenty minutes ago. Last I checked the time before Toriel left, it was almost 1pm. Wow, this guy was one of those night owls. He sure liked to live dangerously with his job.

“Wow. You must've literally rolled out of bed, got dressed and ran to work for that.”

“yup. literally rolled out of bed and poof to work.”

“Poof? What, skip to work or something?” I mean, what else do poofs do? Yeah, okay not a nice word, but this guy seemed like the type to not care for labels or insulting names. At least, I assumed he called himself a poof. Hey, I ain't judging.

“skip? nah that's effort. this lazybones doesn't run, let alone skip.” Oh yeah. Monster, he doesn't know what poof means, or at least in that way. Probably a good thing. “knock knock.” He didn't even knock that time, simply stated the words, as if he had to prove the point.

I had to smile and roll my eyes at that. “Who's there?”

“rhino.”

I raised my eyebrow. That sounded almost random. “Rhino who?”

“rhino every knock knock joke there is.” I could practically hear the grin on his face. It sounded like a challenge. I grinned. Challenge accepted. I knocked on the door. “who's there?”

“Some.”

There was a moment. “some who?”

“Some bitch telling you a fucking knock, knock joke.” The man on the other side burst out in laughter, I could even hear the slight knock on the door as he used it to support himself. I smirked, victory! Guess that knock knock joke from earlier didn't live up to expectations, he hadn't expected nor heard this one.

“wow, didn't know you had a mouth on ya.” His voice sounded light, like he had actually had a good laugh. “so. not a girly girl then?”

That was... unexpected. It sounded almost like he was flirting. Huh. Keep that in mind, Frisk. “I could be, if you wanted me to be.” I left my voice rather curious, pondering if egging him on really was a good idea or not. That was rather cruel, being friends was one thing, teasing a guy who had a crush on you was another thing entirely. Eh, his opinion would probably completely change when he finds out what I am, if he ever finds out. Who knows, maybe he leant a certain way or two.

“wow, uh, you're really a girl?” He seems surprised, but also like he was second guessing himself. So much for not being nosey.

“Does it really matter?” That was my reply. Honestly, in my opinion, gender didn't matter to me, I saw no limitations with any gender and didn't think gender gave you anything special. Still to this day I didn't understand why there was gender inequality in the world, I hadn't realised having specific sexual organs made you special. That was my opinion, and probably a pretty dangerous one too. But an opinion is an opinion.

“eh. 'spose not. got a friend who's a lessie and my brother totally gets a right boner for a TV star. can't judge. who knows, could always experiment.” OKAY, dangerous territory, Frisk! Or maybe I'm just being arrogant, thinking a guy could possibly be flirting with me. I wasn't a stranger to it, wasn't a stranger to any type of flirting really and sex wasn't an awkward occasion for me either, well too awkward anyway. Had a few one night stands, won't lie, but not for a while. And yet, this man on the other side of the doors continued to surprise me. He seemed very terse, I had to wonder if that extended to his jokes as well. He didn't seem too much like it the first conversation, maybe it took a while for him to become comfortable.

“You hinting at something?” I teased. Okay, not helping myself here. Stop it, Frisk.

“could be. if you wanted me to be.” Well, a taste of my own medicine I suppose.

“You do sound like you could be a really fun guy to be around.” Yup. Brain to mouth filter isn't really working today. Or maybe my brain just entirely shut down. After a short pause, minute but still there, the man on the other side of the door knocked on the door twice. “Who's there?”

“al.”

“Al who?”

“al give you a kiss if you open this door, doll.”

There it went. He didn't mean it, had no idea what it meant really, but the fun had to stop there. I couldn't open the door, I wasn't ready, if I appeared as I did, he'd know for sure and I wasn't confident he wouldn't lash out or capture me. Shadow wasn't here, so I had no chance of fighting back either, not to mention my taser was back in my room. There was no chance I could open the door, but how do I tell the guy on the other side I couldn't? He had no idea I didn't have fur, or scales, or three eyes or whatever else monsters had.

“Sorry, don't answer the doors to strangers.” There, keep my voice light, it doesn't quite sound like an excuse that way!

“heh, sure kid. name's sans. sans serif.” Honestly, I hadn't expected him to say his name, but then of course remembered why would he care, he had no idea what I was. Didn't matter if he told me his name. Also, what kind of name was Sans? “don't be a stranger, you got a name, kid?”

“Frisk, Frisk Fanshaw.” I don't think it matters if I tell him my name either. There was a howl of laughter behind the door, I had to blink. What on earth set him off?

“oh my god. did your parents name you after your personality? because you do seem pretty frisky to me.” Oh Jesus fucking Christ of course. Telling him my name was the worst idea I've ever had. Why did I do that?

“I hate you. You're no longer my friend.” I sulked.

That just made Sans Serif, laugh again. “aw c'mon buddy, don't be like that. thought we got on pretty well, if i don't say so myself.” He almost sounded worried there, as if he were afraid he'd offended me. Ha, really, nothing much offends me. It'd take a lot to do so. I knocked on the door again, twice. “who's there?”

“Gus.”

“gus who?”

“Gus you don't want to play anymore?” That seemed to relax him, as I could hear him snickering on the other side of the door.

“i'm so glad you answered the door, the shows gonna be a lot easier with these jokes you're giving me.”

I smiled. “Thought you knew every knock knock joke out there?”

“oops. caught me out.” He sighed suddenly, out of nowhere, seemingly annoyed. “sorry bud, I gotta hit it. My brother's calling me and I don't like to leave him hanging.” That was rather adorable, even if he sounded slightly annoyed to have our meeting cut short, it sounded like he was really fond of his brother.

“Aw, I'm your dirty little secret, is that right?”

“heh, better believe it, kid. don't want anyone else knocking on the door.” There was movement on the other side by the sounds of it, I could hear Sans' feet crunch against the snow. Huh, there really was snow on the other side, and yet the door and room didn't feel that cold. “i'll be back tonight, probably late. my brother papyrus gets cranky without a bedtime story, so i can come back after that.”

I smiled to myself, suppose I could come back after Toriel goes to bed. “Of course, I'll turn up after my friend hits the sack. She likes to go to bed early.” I learnt his name... that was a start. Otherwise... really, I seemed to have forgotten I was supposed to try to get some information out of him. Well, his name was Sans, he had a last name which surprised me as Toriel hadn't told me hers. I assumed monsters didn't have one. Maybe some did and others didn't? Sans also had a brother Papyrus, a little brother I had to imagine, and Sans seems to care a lot for him. I also had confirmation that there was indeed snow on the other side if I had to guess by the sound of Sans' footsteps pressing down. It was unmistakable. I may have to ask Toriel to go shopping for a thick coat, if I didn't want to freeze and lose some fingers.

“sure thing, see ya later alligator.”

“In a while, Crocodile.” I heard a chuckle from him, before I heard his footsteps walking away from the door. Definitely snow on the other side. Well, I better get used to cold temperatures then.

“SANS! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, YOU LAZY BONES?” I suddenly heard a voice from the other side, it sounded like yelling, but from the distance and the door I could barely hear it. Just about, if I really concentrated, I could hear the voice. I assumed this was Papyrus? “I'VE BEEN LOOKING EVERYWHERE FOR YOU!” I didn't hear Sans at all, so it was a mystery what he said. “YOU HAVEN'T TOUCHED YOUR PUZZLES IN FIVE DAYS. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING OUT HERE, BROTHER?” Definitely Papyrus. Bloody hell, I couldn't imagine how loud he was if I were right next to him. How did Sans have ears anymore hearing that? Also, puzzles? Like, rubix cube or like the puzzles around the Ruins? “I DON'T HAVE TIME TO PRATTLE ABOUT. I MUST BE READY. I WILL CAPTURE A HUMAN AND BECOME A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GUARD.”

Well... bollocks. Sans' brother was a member (was he?) of the Royal Guard. So, Sans must be working close to the Royal Guard. I had to tread carefully now, don't let them know. Maybe this plan was stupid, maybe I should try to sneak in when Sans wasn't there. This put a rut into it. Sighing, I grabbed my crutch and attempted to get up. Well. This would take a while. Well, I'll get up. Eventually.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 Beyond the Door

 

Day after day, I returned back to the door, exchanging knock knock jokes with Sans on the other side of the door. Day after day, Toriel taught me more about how monsters worked. She told me the most common problems that the Underground was facing, that being the overcrowding and claustrophobia. However, most monsters took it well with a grain of salt, knowing that there wasn't anything that they could do about it and handling it in their own way. I knew that would change if they heard a human was in the Underground. Not just a child human either, a fully grown adult. Toriel wasn't sure how the monsters would react to an adult human, one had never fallen before as far as she knew, so there was chance that none of the others outside of the Ruins would have seen a full grown human. After all, they have to pass through her house to exit the Ruins. I don't question why she thought it was a good idea to build her house there, but whatever. Her house.

 

After the fourth day of talking to Sans behind the door, I finally managed to pop the question; “So, my friend said she saw a human go through this door about a month ago. You ever seen a human?”

 

There was a long bit of silence on the other side, making me worried whether I had asked him too soon. Things had been going well, they were getting rather flirty which both excited and worried me at the same time. “wow really? sure, i saw a human pass here.” was the reply. I took that information in, Beatrice hadn't been careful it seems. At least, I hoped it was Beatrice he had found.

 

One way to find out. “Wow. I've uh... I've never seen a human before,” I hope he didn't hear my voice waver, hoping to be convincing. “What did it look like?” saying 'it' sure felt rather horrible as opposed to she, a child.

 

“hard to describe. no fur, standing on two legs, wears a lot of clothes, oh guess a patch of fur or something on the round head, two eyes, a nose, mouth, two ears. pink/white skin, two arms, two legs, five fingered hands... think skeleton but with flesh and skin and hair. this one had blonde hair, think it was female, sounded it anyway. was a bit short for a human, too, 4'3 or something.” That was definitely Beatrice! Finally! So I knew for sure that she had passed through those doors, maybe Sans had an idea of where she had gone. I knew now I had to keep a grip with Sans, if he had valuable information. “looked fine if you're into flesh-covered skeletons... cuz you sure seem pretty keen.” Was he hinting at something here? I could almost hear the wink. What was he getting at?

 

“Wow, that sounds... bit weird, yeah.” I wasn't entirely sure how to reply, quite honestly. I had Froggit, Whimsun, Loox, Moldsmals and Toriel to go on for monsters. That was about it. From what Sans was telling me, skeletons were real and monsters too. Interesting, always had to wonder if the classic would actually be a monster. “What did you do when you saw the human?”

 

“curious, kitten?” I flushed, thankful Sans couldn't see how I reacted. I felt a poke to my side to see Shadow there, staring at me with big eyes, tail wagging, panting. He tilted his head, wondering why I was changing colour. Or maybe he was being smug. He looked smug. I glared at him. He didn't care. “had a chat with them, they seemed pretty nice, pretty friendly. i just told 'em not to harm my brother and sent them on their way. supposed to stop humans but eh. that's a lot of required effort just to stop a small human that just wants to go home. besides, my brother never saw 'em, the dog team got 'em in, I heard. felt pretty bad about that, they seemed really nice.”

 

Dog team? His slang words were ones that I was very familiar with, through TV mostly, but I had heard the stories from other precincts. Translate: the dog team had killed Beatrice. Yet, as he said this, Sans didn't seem the least bit put out by the fact. That unnerved me, very much so. How can a guy be so chill about someone dying, been killed? He said he was disappointed, but he really didn't seem that bothered. His tone of voice was all wrong. Who thinks like that?

 

“That sounds horrible!” I was being totally honest here, feelings and all. Maybe monsters did live up to their name sometimes. Dogs killing children, shit children, and here's a guy behind a door telling me it happened whilst still seeming pretty chill about everything. Who acts like that!?

 

Sans didn't seem to know how to react, from the silence and no moving I heard from the other side of the door. I hadn't heard him move, so he hadn't left. Was that a good or a bad thing?

 

yeah... it's pretty horrible, alright.” That... his voice sounded so very tired all of a sudden. “lot of monsters are desperate to get to the surface, so things this side of the door can be pretty rough. after the King's message, things got better and worse at the same time. uh... if you get me.” I didn't, but I hummed anyway. I wasn't sure I could ask more about it without giving too much away. Maybe it was safe? I wasn't sure. But what were the chances Sans could guess?

 

Uh, no sorry. I don't get it. Don't really get the news here in the Ruins.” Hopefully, that was a believable excuse.

 

Sans chuckled, seems that I was in the clear there. “guess without a knock knock buddy, i gettit. see, even though it's a human, even though it's kind kinda trapped us down here and declared war on us for no reason a while ago, don't make it right we kill a kid cuz it's in the wrong place. ain't the kid's fault we're trapped here, happened long before this kid was alive. kid did nothing wrong.” At least I was thankful there seemed to be at least one monster on the other side of the door that didn't like killing humans. So he seems to say, anyway. That was a relief, but also left me thinking, why didn't he? If everyone else on the other side didn't care, why did he? If what Toriel was telling me is true, humans' souls were the key to getting out of this place. Sans' words seem to be backing up her claim.

 

Human souls, the key to getting to the surface. Sans saying people were hopeful again after the King's message. How long had they been trapped down here? Probably for generations, if we forgot about them. The chance to finally escape... how close were they to getting out? How many souls did they need? Well done, Frisk. Forget to ask Tori that question. Guess she couldn't answer every question and I couldn't remember to ask every question. But of course, I guess it took a lot of time for it to really sink in. Monsters were probably reacting this way not because the King declared it so, as Tori explained, but because they were desperate. Sans' responses threw in that new theory, people were hopeful, they could see the surface again soon. So, it seemed the human souls were actually working if they were getting excited. I'd be walking into a place that wouldn't hesitate to take my soul if it meant getting out of this place and up to where humans were. Jesus, this was like... a zombie film or something. Yeah, those kind of zombie films, where you wouldn't hesitate to kill another person if it meant that you would live and survive. Never imagined I'd be living one before, but hope I don't have to use the same tactics.

 

Huh, wow, yeah, uh. Heh. Um. Boy, I'm shaking pretty hard. Didn't realise. Oh. Yeah. I know the symptoms. My breathing was a little fast... quite fast, yes. I was shaking, my throat was dry, I have trouble focusing... panic attack. I'm having a panic attack. Shit.

 

you okay, pal? you're kinda quiet.” Sans sounded worried, but I was having trouble focusing on what he was saying, like my ears were blocked. I really didn't need to be having a panic attack in front of Sans of all people.

 

Yeah yeah... just need some laughs.” I think I almost sounded like I wasn't needing a paper bag. Yeah. Sure. Cool. Jesus, when did my hands sweat so much?

 

There was a brief pause. “how did the little scottish dog feel when he saw a monster? terrierfied.” Had to admit, it put a smile on my face, even if my chest felt like it was taking a right beating. I heard a whine and suddenly pressure on my stomach. Oh, Shadow was still here. That woke me up a little bit, but I was still shaking and breathing too quickly. “what do you call a cold dog? A chilli dog.” Jesus, these were fucking terrible. “what's a dogs favourite kind of pizza? sure your pal can answer this.” Shadow didn't seem to think so. He looked to the door and tilted his head. “pupperoni.” Okay, that got a chuckle out of me.

 

Sans continued to tell bad jokes for a while longer, all dog related, as I slowly but surely calmed down from my shock. Honestly, I wasn't surprised that it happened, but I was surprised it took this long for it to finally sink in. I had been with Toriel for almost two months and it's only now I'm truly getting scared about what is behind the door? Maybe because I didn't think too much of it, I wasn't going there for a while. But... the time was coming soon. I was able to stand without the help of the crutch now, though running was still a challenge, I felt confident enough to move on forward. I had to do this. I can do this. I can do this! For Beatrice. For Chara. For Oliver, William, Godfrey, Bruce and Allan. All the children that had fallen into this Underground. For the village, I'd do it for them.

 

Yes. It was time to go. But, I needed to do a few things before I go.

 

Sans?” I heard Sans hum a reply. “Can you promise me something?”

 

Hesitation. “er, bud, i'm no good with promises...” that wasn't a surprising response, Sans was a pretty private individual from what I learnt. He talked about his brother a lot, but always hesitated to talk about himself. Keeps his cards close to his chest.

 

Can you try? For me?”

 

He hesitated longer, before I heard a sigh. “guess i can't say no to ya, doll.”

 

I didn't really stop to think what he meant by that. “If... if a human were to come through here. Will you please keep them safe? Keep them from harm and protect them?”

 

He whistled. “you don't ask for small things, do ya doll?” Let's just say I was so glad that he didn't ask for why I asked him to protect humans, let's be thankful for the small things.

 

I'm sorry to ask a lot, especially with how it must be on the other side, but do you trust me?”

 

Silence. Ugh, maybe this was a stupid idea, a horrible cruel idea. Sans had been nothing but lovely, and here I was asking for- “alright. i'm no good with promises, but i'll try.”

 

I smiled. This was the best news I had heard in a while. At least I didn't have to worry about Sans killing me on sight when I pass those doors. But, I was pretty sure he was going to be hurt with finding out the truth anyway, that his 'doll' was one of those 'flesh-covered skeletons' as he nicely put it. I wasn't really looking forward to that, but it seemed like a small penalty to saving seven souls and seven bodies. If Chara's soul was trapped like the others, that is.

 

Thank you, Sans. It means a lot to me.”

 

I heard an embarrassed cough on the other side. Wow, really? I got him worked up? “uh, yeah sure. whatever. whatever pleases you, dollface.” Oh, dollface now?

 

Am I working you up, Sansy boy?”

 

I heard a thump on the door, like someone banged on it. No guesses as to who that was. “c'mon, frisky. don't be frisking on me. might get the wrong idea if ya keep at it.”

 

Had to laugh at that. “Don't worry, Sansy. My leg is getting a lot better now... I should be able to leave the Ruins soon.”

 

That must've gotten his attention, because I could hear him shuffling around a lot, but near the door. Like he was... pacing? “really? cool. cool. heh, get to see this handsome face soon. betcha can't wait.” Poor guy was nervous, if the pacing was anything to go by, though his voice didn't really betray it too much. He did seem to have more trouble keeping his cool lately, though.

 

I chuckled. “Can't wait to get out of this dump, more like. What's Snowdin like?”

 

snowed in, really.”

 

Bugger me backwards, who'd have thought?”

 

king ain't the best with names, doll. look at the name, you know its game.” Then he chuckled. “gotta say the same to your parents. frisk is rather frisky, being a little risky, eh?” He didn't know the half of it.

 

After a few more exchanged jokes, we both called it in for the night, as it was getting close to 3am. Guess I could say goodbye to that nice sleeping pattern I had. And still, as I made it to bed and laid down, I couldn't relax. Shadow was snoring away in the corner of my room and I could hear Spot snoring down the hallway too. Just had to have snoring dogs, of course. Pretty sure Tori snored too. Then there's me, the only relatively normal person without a nose problem.

 

With a sigh, I got out of bed and decided to get changed into my inspector uniform. It had been completely repaired and it felt so good to be in my uniform again after so long. It felt... almost like home. I smiled to myself, it was strange how my inspectors uniform that did come with a stab-proof vest could make me feel so much safer. It was just a uniform, really, it symbolised nothing down here, but it gave me a nice feeling regardless.

 

I left a note on the table for Tori should she wake up at some point in the night, telling her not to worry I just needed a walk. I had my phone on me, Tori had phone chargers but not one that fit my tablet apparently, and took my bag with the taser on my belt just in case. I hadn't been around the Ruins on my own before, I always had Shadow with me. But I felt confident, my leg was much better now. The monsters in the Ruins didn't seem to be bothered by my presence anymore and I was fitting in well.

 

I didn't see a problem walking around the Ruins late at night.

 

There were no monsters around the place whilst I walked. The place seemed like a different area when it was night... whatever night was here without the sun telling us so. It seemed like the lights around the Ruins just dimmed when it became late more than anything, like the Ruins were alive, only enough to tell you the time. I stopped to relax just outside Tori's house, leaning against the dead tree that was probably a lovely tree once upon a time. I took deep breaths. I hadn't really calmed down from the earlier panic attack. This was happening. I was going to leave the Ruins tomorrow. I had to, my heart was telling me so. I was ready. Hopefully. Probably. Shadow would be with me, Tori just a phone call away, Sans wouldn't instantly kill me when I cross the door. I had this handled. I got this.

 

Howdy!”

 

What? I blinked, looking around me. I hadn't heard anyone approach and it was easily 4am, why was anyone around at this hour? Looking around, there was nothing. Up the tree? Nope.

 

Hey! Down here!”

 

Looking down, I was greeted by a smiling face. Seemed friendly enough, though this was a monster that I hadn't seen before, and I had explored the Ruins a lot. Smiling up at me, standing at about 30cms tall was a smiling golden flower, the stigma (pretty sure that was the stigma) had a huge grin on its face, petals wide open and pretty golden. Flowers. Even the flowers were talking, moving and smiling at me. This place wouldn't cease to surprise me.

 

Howdy! You're looking pretty lonely, thought I'd come brighten your day!” I blinked. I don't think it really registered that I'm talking to a flower, or a flower is talking to me. Wow, I was being pretty rude.

 

I smiled. “Sorry, I think I'm just tired, but I just can't sleep. You know how it is.”

 

The flower danced a little, moving from side to side with a thoughtful look on its face. “Sure do! I only sleep a few hours a day, if even that. It gets pretty boring late at night when everyone else is asleep.” Wow, that was rather unusual. I felt a little bad for the guy, I could imagine what trouble it'd have.

 

I can only imagine. What brings you here to the Ruins? I have been here a while and I haven't seen you around here before.”

 

The flower looked from side to side, as if worried someone would overhear our conversation. Odd. When it was satisfied we were the only ones around, it turned back to smile at me again brightly. “I've always been here. I'm just... I don't like people.” Ah, an introvert, then? That didn't explain why it suddenly saddled over to me, expecting company, if so. “They just seem so boring. Going about, doing the same things over and over. Talking about the same things. Never changing their ways, no lessons being learnt, nothing.” It smiles wider, looking at me with some sort of excitement. “But you! You're different! I've never seen you here before either, and boy do you have determination!” That word was being thrown about a lot, Tori mentioned it quite often to describe me, and now this flower was using it too. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a nice word, but I don't see how it is so special. tenacious seems to work just as well. Or resolute. Or, bet Sans would love this, dogged.

 

The flower seemed to sense my confusion and just continued to beam a happy smile. “Golly! I forgot to introduce myself! Howdy! The name's Flowey!” You cannot be serious. My face must've said it all, as the flower seemed to sigh. “Nobody here really has a good idea for coming up with names.” Then he beams again. “What's your name?”

 

It's Frisk, Frisk Fanshaw.” I smile politely. I'd hold out my hand but since Flowey doesn't have hands... don't make this awkward, Frisk.

 

That's a nice name!” I thanked the flower for his comment, not sure what else to really say. I mean, what do you say to a flower that popped up out of nowhere to greet you? “So, you're living with that goat woman, are you?” I nodded, though I scrunched my nose slightly, his tone seemed rather odd. This flower... “You know she's hiding things from you, right?” This flower wasn't such a nice flower, it seemed!

 

What's it to you?” I put my defences up. I was used to this kind, the gossipers. They found everything boring, life dull and wanted to spice things up a bit. What's the best way to do that? Cause minor trouble and inconveniences, of course!

 

Well, she looked after me for a while too. I got cold outside in Snowdin and buried away, ending up in her house. She helped me out but she never told me who she really was. Kept saying that the king was horrible for killing those humans.” If a flower could shrug, this one would have. “Can't argue with that. Nobody else seems to care though, everybody else seems happy to see the humans die, why does she care?” This flower was treading on dangerous territory, its smile never wavering, staying exactly the same, as if it weren't talking about the murder of children. “Honestly, who cares about some dead kids?”

 

My hand went to my taser, but I clenched it down. No time for a temper tantrum. Don't show a reaction, that is what it is looking for! Calm it down! Don't let it get to you! I pulled my hand away from my taser, trying to play it cool pretty much, and just grinned. “Hah, wow. Little vindictive, are we? Suppose I shouldn't expect much more, flowers don't really have a heart to understand, I suppose.”

 

Flowey seemed to grin at that, not phased in the least. He grinned wide, it was almost creepy. You know, if it wasn't 30cm tall. “Sure, I got a heart! Wanna take a peak?” He winks, sticking his tongue out as the air in the area got tense. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and I stood up straight, my gut instinct telling me this wasn't a good place to be. For a moment, my chest felt a little tight, like I had phlegm in the back of my throat. I tried clearing it, about to bump my chest with my fist when I stopped. What the fuck was that? No, seriously, what the fuck was that?

 

I looked down, having not noticed the change of lighting, and there floating just above my chest, slightly to the left, was a cartoon looking heart, with text reading FRISK LV 1 HP 84/90. Huh. Heh. Well. I remember comparing this to a zombie's apocalypse or something, but this is ridiculous. I heard laughing and I looked up at Flowey's laughing creepy face. Yeah, creepy! Who knew flowers had teeth to grin with, not to mention sharp, dirty teeth too.

 

That. That's your soul, the very culmination of your being.” He explained, but it seemed very through one ear and out the other because... seriously, was that my REAL heart that came from my chest? My soul? Yes, I remember Toriel saying something about souls. That if your soul was ever pulled out of your chest, you were in a FIGHT. The person that pulled your soul out of your chest was an enemy. It was like stripping armour off of your body, leaving your vulnerable, easy weak point exposed. The person that pulls your soul out of your body wants you dead.

 

Bastard was trying to steal my soul!

 

Well. I laughed. I laughed and laughed. Enough for Flowey to pause, become agitated as his petals ruffled almost like feathers slightly as I laughed enough I bent down, slapping my good leg before wiping my eyes with tears.

 

Why're you laughing? What's so funny?” He sounded like he was getting more and more angry and that just made it more funny really. It was hilarious!

 

Of course! Of course it's hilarious!” I still was trying to get my breath together, but I finally calmed myself down enough to stand up straight and smirk at the flower. “I know what a FIGHT is, I know what a soul is, I'm fully aware of what your intention here is. That's why it's so hilarious. Because, quite honestly, who can possibly be scared of a 30cm tall flower like you?” I shrugged my shoulders. “Sorry dude, the scary flower thing just ain't working for me. You can make creepy faces all you like, but it doesn't change the fact that I could accidental step on you and kill you. Wouldn't want that.”

 

Flowey seemed very, very annoyed about that fact. Like, how dare I not take his antics seriously. He was practically shaking, he was so angry. And still I stood there, smirking with my arms crossed, staring down at him even bending down to look closer at him. It was rather amusing to see a monster, anyone really, put out and one upped. It was a great feeling.

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a white... pill shaped object? What? I stood up straight, confused as it flew closer towards me. What on earth? Then, as I blinked, it flew right towards me. Idiot that I was, didn't react in time and it collided with my... soul. Fuckme! Like getting hit in the leg with a bowling ball, my bad leg collapsed underneath me. Goddamn! HP 74/90. Guessing I wouldn't have a good time if that ever reached zero.

 

Flowey cackled, just like an evil villain would, only this was like it went through a computer and sped up to sound high pitched. “Idiot! Of course I can still kill you now! I have more power than you know, a power you can't hope to possess or understand!” Okay, I was getting a little nervous now. “Too bad, you really should have listened to me, maybe then we wouldn't be in this situation now. You could have lived a little longer, but you went and pissed me off!” Leaning on my good leg, I struggled to get myself standing, though Flowey didn't seem to enjoy that. He starting shouting some evil nonsense to me, before summoning more of those white pill things, all around me. Of course, I freaked out.

 

I, uh, oops, oh shit. Didn't mean to. Bollocks.

 

I freaked out and, with my good leg, I kicked him with all my might. Oh, he went flying, screaming profanities as he went, wishing me a painful death and promises he'd rip my soul out. He flew far, until I couldn't see him anymore. Ah. Did I kill him by accident? My LV remained one, so... I imagine not? My soul then disappeared back into my chest, and suddenly it was like that combat had never happened. The pain in my leg said otherwise. Fantastic, back to square one.

 

I had enough!

 

Without hesitating, I limped my way back to Tori's. She wasn't awake yet and neither of the dogs had woken up to find out what the noise was. With a painful grunt, I got back into bed, hoping my leg would recover in the morning. I didn't want to bother Toriel with what that flower said right now, it was just a flower and a simple kick seemed to do the job of telling it to beat it. I was just tired. So fucking tired. Tired of everything. Fuck it. I fell asleep easily after resolving to do something about it in the morning.

 

 

Tori noticed alright. Oh boy, did Tori notice. And she was pissed. Apparently, going out at night was dangerous and going alone through the Ruins was even more dangerous. Of course, I explained quickly that the Froggit was no match for me, just a kind telling off after it blew flies into my face and I walked away. No harm, no foul, that Froggit just got a little excitable. Tori didn't take the lie very well. My HP clearly stated I took more damage than from a mere Froggit, or that Froggit just stayed a while and I sucked at dodging. Yeah, sure, go with that story. Tori sighed, troubled but not able to do much about it as she gave me and the dogs our breakfast. Did I mention how much I loved Tori? I was going to miss her food, and most of all her company, when Shadow and I had to leave today.

 

Thank you very much for having me here, Tori. You've been lovely.” I smiled as she blushed slightly at the compliment, giggling.

 

Oh, it's been no trouble at all, Frisk, dear! Thank you for keeping this old woman company, it has been an absolute pleasure.” She kissed my forehead and gave me a hug I had to return, she was just so lovely and motherly. I was really going to miss her.

 

Well, I best be packing up the things I need. Today is the day, Tori, me and Shadow will find those souls and the bodies and bring them home where they belong.” I put a hand on her shoulder, comforting her knowing she wouldn't take the news well, but I had to remain positive. “Not to mention, kick Asgore's arse, can't forget that.”

 

Toriel smiled, amused by the thought. Man, she really didn't like Asgore. “What are you going to do to him when you find him?”

 

That was the question, wasn't it? Under normal circumstances, it'd be arrest him, put him under trial, punishment then lock up until he learns the errors of his ways. Seven counts of murder was life time in prison, several lifetimes. If he were arrested, he'd never be let out of prison again. Thing is... can monsters be arrested? How do you punish a monster? “Uh... probably figure that bit out when I reach Asgore. But don't worry, I won't harm him. Even if he is a scumbag murderer, the goal is to punish, not harm, to teach him the error of his ways.” Toriel seemed satisfied with that answer, probably worried I would kill him. That wouldn't be a very good lesson learnt there, the goal was to prevent, not become. I could see her getting worried about that though, rightfully so.

 

Alright, Frisk. I'm...” She cuts off, she's smiling but her eyes are tearing up. “It's been a pleasure having you here. If you are ever in trouble... don't hesitate to give me a call, or knock on the Ruins door. I'll always answer.” She wiped her eye, trying her best not to cry. I smiled, giving Toriel a hug as she sniffed. “I wish you the best of luck, my dear. I'm going to miss you.” Try as I might, I found myself sniffing as well, though I tried to pretend that I wasn't crying. Toriel didn't seem to mind. She pulled away, holding her hands on my shoulder as she smiled. “Now, don't forget to grab your things, be prepared for the snow and don't forget to take a slice of cinnamon pie.”

 

Toriel, always looking after me. I grinned at her, “Thank you, Tori. You're the best. Wish me the best, eh?” I pulled away, turning to my chair where my hat was hanging on the top. I grabbed it, putting it nicely on my head and gave Tori a wink. “Well. Thank you very much for letting me stay, Tori. We better get going, before it gets too late. I wouldn't want to walk around Snowdin too late.” I whistled, Shadow coming to my side immediately and flopping down on the floor. I pet him for a long while, getting him excited. He deserves to be pet every so often.

 

I probably had prepared a little too well. As well as wearing my work uniform, Tori bought me a jacket, saying that too many layers was better than not enough. There were gloves, leather too, and a torch. Not to forget, Tori's cinnamon pie wrapped in tinfoil in my bag, along with my mobile in my jacket pocket, cuffs on my belt tablet and note book in my bag. My taser was also close to my cuffs on my belt along with a baton (though, admittedly probably useless against monsters). This was the best I could do, I don't believe I was missing anything.

 

After I had everything settled, I walked down the familiar hallway that used to be an escape from my problems and reality, for a little while. Now. Now, this was the doorway to my final goal, to find Asgore Dreemurr and bring him to justice. That was the plan, anyway. I was nervous, won't be lying. When I pass through those doors, if I wasn't careful, monsters wouldn't hesitate to take my soul, or take me to Asgore himself, chained up. I could only hope that I wouldn't mess this up, I didn't want to hurt anyone, I didn't want to be hurt either and deep down, I really didn't want to go through those doors. But I had to. It needed to be done. There, the doors stood strong and shut. They looked heavy, incredibly so, but it seemed simple enough. More than likely, Sans would be asleep right now... maybe I was really hoping for that, to put off having to face me lying to him, tricking and manipulating him. Man, I was so nervous! I'm terrified!

 

Shadow barked a couple of times, tilting his head in confusion, wondering what was wrong with me. I smiled, petting Shadow again and he wagged his tail, happy again. Life must seem so much easier for him, he didn't have to deal with stupid emotions that people have to deal with. It's not the first time I'm jealous of Shadow's free attitude.

 

Okay. Here we go!

 

Taking a deep breath, resolve burning through my soul, I brought both my arms out on the right door and pushed with all my might. Slowly, the door pushed open, snow blowing through the crack. I blinked, surprised even though I had been told to expect it. Weather, in the Underground. How was that possible? Magic? I shook my head, I didn't want to begin to try to understand how such a thing was possible. Pushing the door open enough, Shadow hopped out through the door, tail wagging, excited to be somewhere new. He started barking madly and ran off, from what I heard. Worried, I got out through the door quickly wondering if someone was on the other side.

 

Nope. Shadow was just extremely excited about the snow. He was jumping up and down, running around in circles, then looking up, seeing the snow dropping from the sky. His tail continued wagging really fast, then jumped up, trying to catch the snow in his mouth. I began laughing, Shadow hadn't seen snow before, Ebott shockingly didn't get much snow despite being at the bottom of a mountain. Probably on the wrong side of the mountain to get the snow properly. I was just glad Shadow was happy, finding some enjoyment in something so simple. He needed to unwind every so often.

 

Looking around whilst Shadow was barking away, jumping up and down, I looked around. Somehow, shockingly, there were trees growing down in this underground forest. All the trees were dead, standing ridiculously tall, as tall as buildings, but none of them had any leaves. It continued to boggle my mind how things worked down here, fallen leaves in the Ruins, flowers at the start of the Ruins, trees here towards Snowdin and the weather... the snow. I shook my head, there was no point trying to dwell on it.

 

I looked on the floor (why didn't I think to do that first?) and spotted footprints. Shoe footprints. Fairly fresh. The snow hadn't settled down on top of the tracks yet. Shadow's running around didn't disturb them somehow, from my guessing, I'd say the wearer was a size 5 or 6, guessing at about my height going for average human size. They seemed like normal human shoe tracks, but too big for a child like Beatrice. No other humans had fallen down in the time I had lived with Tori, and I could see Tori wearing shoes if she wanted to.

 

Someone was here, someone had been here, pacing in front of the door, then heading towards a bush to the left side of the door. What? Why? I had to squint, lean slightly when something glinted. A camera lens. Someone was watching me! I am freaking out right now. So much for trying to sneak in, I didn't stand a chance. Quickly, I walked to Shadow, whistling. Trained like he was, he instantly came to attention, going from 'play' to 'work' mode. His tail still wagged, though much slower. I tilted my head towards me, Shadow didn't hesitate, going to my side and sitting down to attention. He stared up at me, without fail. He was always such a good, trained dog. No, a partner, full fledged loyal partner.

 

I looked around the forest, but there was nothing I could see through the trees. They were pretty thick, considering they were all dead. There was nothing living, as far as the eye could see. Nothing but me and Shadow. With a deep breath, moving my hat slightly so it was almost covering my hair and covering my ears, hopefully, I walked forward. Shadow followed, right by my side without being a step in front or behind. A dog on a mission.

 

For a while, nothing happened. The forest was still as dead as the trees. It was pretty freaky. There was no wind, even though there was weather and snow was falling from the sky... ceiling, but no wind. It felt... wrong.

 

Shadow stopped. His ears prick up to attention. I stopped next to him, he seems to have caught something, or heard something. He sniffs a few times, then sneezes as snow landed on his nose. He wags his tail. Huh, false alarm? I don't blame him, he must be pretty shocked at all the new smells that I can't detect in the area. I did look around quickly.

 

There! For a second, I saw something in the corner of my eyes. A dark, humanoid like shape for a split second, gone the next when I focused my eyes back on that spot. Did I imagine it? Was I going crazy? Was someone watching us right now? Shadow didn't seem bothered as he was still wagging his tail, his tail banging slightly against my leg, his panting breaking the silence of the forest. Maybe... I had heard, in moments of increased stress, your mind starts imagining things that are there, but they aren't. Your mind fears that something is there, something is watching, so your brain makes it feel like you are, makes you... see things, hear things. I trusted Shadow, he had a way better nose and better hearing than me. Though, I did have better eyesight than him, but I don't think Shadow could suffer the same paranoia that I could. I don't know...

 

I don't like this. Chills are going up my spine. I need to get out of this forest. Someone is definitely watching me, I feel it. Shadow started whining, he can feel my uneasiness, he can feel me shaking. He doesn't understand why, but he wants to make me feel better. I feel his tongue licking my hand, finally tearing my eyes away from the tree corpse. He whined again, closing his mouth, staring at me with his puppy eyes. Heh. Thanks, Shadow. I smiled and patted his head, running my gloved fingers through his fur. He opens his mouth again, panting, happy again, comfortable.

 

I'm being stupid, I'm letting this get to me. I'm just stressed. Yeah. Calm down. I got this.

 

Deep breath. I fidgeted with my hat again, moving it to its respectable place, before I walked forward again. We didn't have much time, I had to move, I had no time to freak out over a little thing. I have to be resolved. I've got to stay determined.

 

Crack.

 

Shadow reacted. He stood to attention, stopping. His ears perked. I stopped before he had, frozen. Someone was here. Someone was here. Someone was here.

 

Someone was here!

 

Shadow stayed there, ears perked, for a long while. He had definitely heard the branch break like I had, he was worried now. He growled slightly, looking around. No, he was just as much at a loss as I was. Was this a haunted forest? Was this... like the Aokigahara Forest? No, don't imagine it. Stop freaking out. You're Frisk Fanshaw, Inspector Frisk Fanshaw, you can do this! Remember your training.

 

Training had nothing to do with being in a forest of the dead!

 

Shit.

 

Fuck.

 

Okay. Deep breath. Deep breath. Shadow is with you. You're not alone. Remember why you're here. You need to find the souls, the seven souls, save them. Yes. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this! Yes! C'mon! Move!

 

Shadow seemed to think the same thing, nudging my legs with his head, whining. He didn't like this place either. Let's get out of here, buddy.

 

In front, there was finally something other than snow. There, in the distance, stood a structure. It appeared to be a bridge, a wooden, rickety bridge. For some reason, there were thick logs standing on either side, as well as another log sticking down through the gap, like someone was going to block the way past this door and gave up halfway, or cut the log a bit too low and left a bit too much log than they had meant to. Huh. Interesting. Interesting architecture.

 

Together, Shadow and I walked to the structure. We could easily pass through it and walk through to the other side. I patted my lap for Shadow to stick close, he did without question. I took a deep breath. I walked closer to the bridge, ready to step onto it, when Shadow growled. I stopped.

 

There was something behind me.

 

There was something behind me.

 

Fuckmetherewassomethingbehindme.

 

H U M A N.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 First Meeting

 

“D O N T Y O U K N O W H O W T O- wha!?”

 

Wha? What? I turned around, having before been frozen in fear of whatever was hiding behind me, to see pretty much a nightmare I probably had once when I was a kid.

 

Shadow was growling, having caught something in his mouth and he was pulling at it insistently just like he had been trained to, pulling whatever he had in his mouth towards him and away from me. What he had in his mouth... a blue parka? The full picture: a humanoid looking being wearing a blue parka, white shirt, black simple trousers and sneakers who had been pulled down onto the ground now laying limb as Shadow dragged them across the snow away from the bridge. It took a little more looking as I noticed this was a monster. Because now that it was being dragged across the snow, the parka's hood was pulled down and I could see a skull. No, I'm not kidding, a skull! No skin, nothing, no eyeballs staring at me, just blank eye sockets with two dots staring at Shadow wondering what he was doing. Shockingly, he didn't seem all that bothered about being dragged across the snow, like he was used to getting this treatment. Hard to tell, with the whole massive grinning smile that didn't seem to let up and all.

 

Skeletons are made of bones, right? Uh. I should stop Shadow. Oh my God, don't let my dog eat a monsters arm Jesus I don't need this!

 

“Shads!” I whistled as well. At the command, Shadow let go of the monster's arm. The monster slumped to the ground, not moving. Did Shadow hurt them? Shadow wagged his tail, waiting for his next command and of course he looked so fucking proud of himself. 'Caught the bad guy! Got him down well!' Uh, the monster wasn't standing up, but they were still alive if the rising and falling of the chest was any indication (skeletons breathe what?). “Shads, lie down!” And he does just that. On top of the monster, who gives an 'oof' in response. Shadow went down pretty hard, almost collapsing on top of the poor thing. Ah. This is... perfect! Got an upper hand, question the thing, ask it information. Clearly it knew what a human was on sight, clearly it was a special case. Or Tori was lying to me. Let's stick to special.

 

I stalked towards the skeleton monster, wary in case he suddenly pushed my dog aside, that he was just playing dead to catch me off guard. I kept my hand close to my taser, dunno what good it would do mind you against a creature without skin or a pulse.

 

“Alright, cough up. I need a name and I need to know why you snuck up on me like that.” I demanded, glaring at the monster on the floor.

 

The monster lifted its head, turning it around to look at me, the lights in its eye sockets staring at me (they are eyes, right?) then blinked, as if looking at me for the first time. His grin didn't falter, it just remained the same as it had when I first saw it, but I saw his eye sockets close slightly, like he's squinting, but I'm pretty sure he was reacting the same way as if he were grinning wide. His grin did get bigger, I swear. “hey now, bud. was just gunna give a friendly greeting. you greet all ya friends this way?”

 

Wow. This guy was a right cocky little shit, wasn't he? For someone who had a dog on top of him, he looked smug. “Only the ones that sneak up on me and try to frighten me.” Wait. That voice. It was definitely familiar. “State your name.” I was more forceful this time.

 

That grin did not falter in the least, despite my unfriendly tone. “aw shucks, doll. you were much friendly when there was a door between us. ain't i adoorable?”

 

Oh. This was Sans alright. Let's say I expected someone... at least with flesh. Or fur. Or something. Nope, skeleton. I had been knocking on death's door the whole time. Well then. He was a little shorter than I was, from what I can see with his laying down and Shadow wagging his tail on top of him, looking at me so proud. He was pretty... chubby? Not exactly, maybe the parka was making him appear much bigger than he actually was. Or he was big-boned. To put it politely.

 

I lowered my taser then, realising who exactly this was and his position.

 

“So, Sans Serif.”

 

“yup. in the not-flesh, if you prefer.” He winked as he said it, gauging my reaction. My reaction of blinking and putting my taser away.

 

“Right, right. Mind telling me why you were sneaking up on me?” I raised my eyebrow, trying to remain serious, but I had a feeling serious and Sans didn't really mix that well.

 

“well, didn't know it was you at first, my knock knock buddy. now i know why you wanted me to promise to you.” Okay wow. Sans knew how to turn from joke to dead (ha!) serious in a matter of seconds. How does he do that?

 

But I wasn't sorry for manipulating him like that. “Yeah... I'd say I'm sorry, but I'd be lying to you, dude. Gotta watch out for my own skin.”

 

Sans remained grinning, still can't tell if he has any other facial expressions. I mean, how many expressions can a skeleton have? “heh, i'd say i'm the same kiddo, but I ain't got skin to lose.”

 

Shadow turned from me, I noticed, growing bored of the situation and looked at Sans. Sans reacted by raising an eyebrow (?), still grinning. He stopped grinning finally when Shadow decided to lick his face, his tongue dipping into the eyesocket as Sans was “ewwww”-ing and his pupil disappeared. Shadow barked, proud of showing affection towards Sans and he got off him, rushing off in a direction not far away, tail wagging. I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to cover up the fact I was laughing at him. “Uh, sorry my dog seems to really like you. To eat or play, not sure about that yet.” I teased. Why not make the little shit nervous, payback for him scaring me earlier.

 

Sans wiped his face with the sleeve of his parka and with great effort (he made it seem like effort) he sat up, still wiping his face until it was clean. It didn't seem to hurt him, but it sure made him uncomfortable. He looked back at me, his pupil returning as he grinned again and tilted his head slightly. “dogs eat skeletons? welp, I won't be saying bone-appetite to him. ya hear that, pap?”

 

What?

 

Didn't have that question in my head for long when arms suddenly wrapped around me entirely and I was lifted off my feet. Total freak out! I cried out in shock, my legs kicking out but it was useless. Shadow was barking and snarling, but he didn't know what to do. He hadn't been given an order and was unaware of how to deal with the situation.

 

“FEAR NOT, BROTHER. I HAVE THE HUMAN CAPTURED.” A booming voice shouted right at my ear, deafening me. How did I miss hearing this monster coming at me. I did see a flash of white around my body, another skeleton I had to imagine and a woosh of orange (cape? Rag?). “AND THEIR CANINE COMPANION IS JAPED BY THE GREAT PAPYRUS.”

 

No he fucking wasn't. I was just so glad I was one of those people who could whistle without their hand. I whistled, a clear signal for Shadow and an order. His ears twitched, his tail grew still and he snarled. He barked before running at Papyrus behind me, aiming for the monster's legs I assumed. Only, Papyrus didn't seem to give a shit. There was a dog who had his leg in a tight grasp in his teeth, pulling to get him off balance, yet Papyrus didn't shift at all. Holy shit, what is with this guy!?

 

Whistle in front of me. Looking up, I saw Sans now held a pretty big bone in his hand, waving it lazily side to side. How the fuck does a skeleton whistle!? Shadow noticed this too. “hey bud, got a better bone for ya.” It got Shadow's attention and he lifted his head, conflicted. Don't you dare, traitor, don't you dare. I whistled again and Shadow whined, grabbing onto Papyrus' leg again but he wasn't happy about it. Guess Papyrus's leg wasn't really a bone. Another whistle from Sans and Shadow relented, he let go of Papyrus' leg and ran to Sans, tail wagging. Sans threw the bone far behind him, Shadow running after it and here I was left at the mercy of two monsters.

 

So, how about that partnership I talked about? I was legit worried now, my partner off distracted entirely unaware of me being in danger. He had never done anything like that before, then again he had never had to confront skeletons. I tried again, kicking out and aiming for Papyrus' shins. Honestly, it did worse to me than to him.

 

HAHA. YOUR CANINE COMPANION LEFT DUMBFOUNDED BY MY BROTHER SANS. A VICTORY FOR THE GREAT PAPYRUS.” He bellowed, sounding very pleased with himself. He shifted his body side to side, moving me with him and I struggled again, to no avail. “WE SHOULD REPORT THE HUMAN'S CAPTURE TO UNDYNE!”

 

I knew that name. I knew that name was one to be feared. Toriel warned me to stay away from Undyne at all costs. I couldn't let her see me! “Wait! No, I can't see Undyne!”

 

Papyrus stopped. For the first time, he let go of a tight grasp of me, still holding me in the air and turned me around so I could face him. Oh uh. Yeah, he was another skeleton, but he just had eye sockets as eyes and he had massive teeth left exposed as he had no lips. He was wearing a cape and some strange body armour from what I could see instead of actual clothes. “CANNOT SEE UNDYNE? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, HUMAN?”

 

Quick, Frisk! Make up some bullshit, you're pretty good at that! “Uh well... I'm a good human, see? I'm a Police Officer back on the surface, it's my job to help those who are in trouble and punish evil doers.” I remember Toriel saying that Undyne believed that all humans were absolute bastards and the dirt of the Earth. I tell ya, she's probably not too wrong about that, but I wasn't going to agree with Undyne if I ever saw her or any of the Royal Guard.

 

Papyrus' eyes seem to widen, eye sockets whatever, maybe he recognised what a police officer was? “POLICE OFFICER? CATCHING EVIL DOERS? SANS!” He looked away, looking towards his brother suddenly excited again. His face practically has sparkles around it and if he had a tail, it'd be wagging by now. “IT'S JUST LIKE ALPHYS' HUMAN HISTORY BOOKS AND DVDS.” They had history books on us? Police officers were in it? Not that historical then.

 

's pretty cool, paps.” Sans replied, though he wasn't really looking at Paps, he was still busy analysing me, looking me up and down, before he grins wider. “bet they got dangerous weapons on 'em. we best check the human just in case.” What.

 

GOOD IDEA, SANS!” He was about to drop me on the floor.

 

wait, paps. i'm too small to hold the human, you keep 'em up and i'll search the human.” Oh, like hell that bony little twat was getting anywhere!

 

OF COURSE. HUMAN, REMAIN CALM WHILST MY BROTHER TAKES YOUR WEAPONS. THEN, WE CAN TAKE YOU TO OUR DUNGEON AND DISCUSS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.” Dungeon!? Fuck this noise, I was getting out of here!

 

I figured training wasn't going to be much help here, I was pretty sure throwing my head back to stun him would not go well. I'd take more damage than he would, possibly knocking myself unconscious. I went for trying to bend down to throw him over my back using his weight, but I quickly realised that wasn't going to work. He didn't move, like, at all. It was as if trying to lift a tree, he just wouldn't budge one bit! So that left one more option, thrash around wildly. Not classy, but it was enough for Papyrus to start getting worried.

 

HUMAN! CEASE AND DESIST! YOU'RE GOING TO HURT YOURSELF!” He held on tighter, as if that would stop me. It almost hurt and, after a few minutes of struggling, I was left exhausted. Papyrus was not one to be beaten physically. The best I could hope for was to fool them later, but this would be tricky. Sans, the brains and Papyrus, the brawns. I did whistle for Shadow, hoping to get some help from him. He did quickly dash back to see the situation and he began snarling again. He glared at Sans, from what I could see and Sans did respond in kind. He looked back at Shadow and just materialised another bone in his hand. He waved it, before dropping it at his feet. This was a man who had worked with dogs before, his body language was proper, alpha, and Shadow was having difficulty seeing a side to choose. When Sans continued to grin to Shadow, it must've said something for Shadow, as he walked slowly towards him and took the bone, lying down and putting his head down. For whatever inane reason, Shadow saw Sans as another alpha, or at least a leader. It had taken me months to train Shadow and yet this guy just struts his stuff and becomes alpha in a matter of minutes.

 

I give up. Really. I stopped struggling, but I was still tight as a string. Sans still seem to take that as a sign of acceptance. Not accepting this, I will get my revenge.

 

He didn't waste time, going down on his knees (you have no idea how tempted I was to kick out and hit his chin, but I felt I would regret that from Papyrus) and patted down on my leg. His hands didn't surprise me, they weren't rough, but they were like being patted on by a fake hand. He was going to go the whole way. I grit my teeth as he pat down on my leg, I grew more tense as his hands wandered up, entirely innocent. If only the person on the other end of those hands had any intention of being innocent. He pat my thighs, still completely innocent and I continued glaring down at him. Papyrus didn't comment, remaining quiet which surprised me as Sans continued his search work. My other thigh got the same treatment. Did he really expect me to have knives hidden in my trousers or something? Or was this just an excuse to get up close and personal to a human? Fuck if I know, both probably.

 

He finally gets to my belt, where he takes my torch, dropping it onto the floor, my baton which he turns around several times and puts into his parka (my damn baton, he took it!). Then, he finds my cuffs.

 

hey paps. know what this is?” He asked Papyrus.


“AH YES! ALPHYS SHOWED ME A SHOW ABOUT HUMAN POLICE OFFICERS USING THOSE TO CAPTURE BAD GUYS. THEY PUT THEM ON THE WRISTS SO THEY CANNOT USE THEIR ARMS.” He was entirely correct, a very interesting fact. Maybe they really did have human shows down here. How, I couldn't tell, but it was something I took note of.

 

really?” He didn't sound surprised, probably just asking Papyrus for a second opinion, perhaps. I didn't know what went on in that skeleton's head. “could be useful if the human doesn't cooperate, dont'cha think?”

 

GOOD IDEA, BROTHER! BUT THAT WON'T BE NECESSARY. THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS THIS HANDLED. COME, HUMAN! YOU SHALL BE TAKEN TO OUR DUNGEON AND THEN WE CAN DISCUSS WHAT TO DO NEXT.” It wasn't like I had any choice, I went along exactly as Papyrus said. He put me down on the floor and dashed forward, chanting “NYEH HEH HEH!” or something like that. Shadow walked to my side, sitting down then looked up at me. He wasn't sorry. Bastard.

 

He whined, begging to be pet. A second. My hand pet his head, stroking his ear the way he loved it as I lay defeated to my dog. Bastard. His tail wagged, happy again and glances back behind him. He stood up quickly, turning around, taking my hand with him as I didn't stop petting, reassuring myself that he was still there. I ruffled Shadow's head and stopped when I felt something else touch my hand. Not Shadow. I look back to see that Sans had snuck up quietly and close behind me and had his hand on top of mine, on Shadow's head. Shadow didn't seem bothered.

 

I was very bothered.

 

Sans really wasn't bothered.

 

His grin was still stuck on his face. “aw, i got you bothered, dollface?” Not in the way he's thinking, he's not.

 

I glared at him, taking my hand out from under his. “Ha, you wish. You were a lot less of an arse on the other side of the door as well.”

 

He snickered, he seemed to be really enjoying it. “hey, be thankful. i thought for sure paps would make you go through all his traps, he's been practising them for months.” His grin seemed to falter slightly after a little while. “i'd appreciate it if you played the captured human for a while, though. the dog patrol I told ya 'bout patrols around here. if they see a human running loose... well.” The same dog patrol that had killed Beatrice? Was it a good idea to play along as Sans said, or make a dash for it? Think I'd rather risk it for a biscuit right now., go with Sans' idea, come up with a better plan later along the line.

 

SANS, ARE YOU BRINGING THE HUMAN WITH YOU?” Papyrus called out in the distance and Shadow began barking a few times.

 

Sans looked at me, as if he was expecting me to answer Papyrus. No, he was waiting for me to make a choice. There wasn't really much of a choice, this is what I had been working on, right? Befriend the monster behind the door, I succeeded in that and he's offering me a way into Snowdin without capture. At least... I sure hoped so. I had to risk it.

 

With a sigh, I turned around and put my hands together behind my back. I didn't want to see any stupid grin on Sans' face to see if he was celebrating this victory. I heard and felt the clack of the cuffs hitting my wrist... what was he doing? Ah, there. Poor guy didn't know how cuffs worked, until he put pressure on accidentally and figured it out. Both my wrists cuffed together, Sans took whatever opportunity he could. He pulled me close to him, his face close to my right ear as he whispered, “now be a good human and don't try anything i wouldn't.” I couldn't tell if that was a threat, a promise, or just another lame attempt at passing off as a sexual joke. This guy threw emotions completely out the window and not surprisingly he was hard to get to grips with emotionally. “we're comin' paps!”

 

What had my life become? Now I was in this situation, Papyrus the tall skeleton with so much energy he jumped over anything that got in the way instead of walking around it and Sans, the laid back pretty chill, much shorter big boned skeleton behind me, pretty silent apart from some replies back to Papyrus. Shadow was at my side, completely unaware or just not bothered that I had been cuffed up and was being lead like a prisoner around the snowy wasteland. Yes, I agreed to this, I figure this was a better plan than trying to make it through on my own. Let's just hope Sans was telling the truth and not pulling my leg and sending me to my firing squad.

 

We passed a patrol station, it was empty at the time but Papyrus mentioned that a Royal Guard mercenary worked there sometimes. The sign next to the station said clearly ABSOLUTELY NO MOVING. I wasn't sure what to make of that. Papyrus did mention that he wasn't on duty right now because; “THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS THIS AREA UNDER MY EYE SOCKETS,” apparently. I figured the real reason was because some people really need days off at some point. Or... those burnt dog treats. And the smell on the sentry station... I guess even hundreds of metres underground you aren't going to avoid some kind of drugs. This dude seemed to be into some hardcore stuff, had to wonder how the hell he makes it to work.

 

Huh... you guys have your own type of drugs down here?” Both Sans and Papyrus stopped by my sides, Papyrus left and Sans right. Shadow was just a little ways sniffing in the distance.

 

Papyrus was always quick to reply, “WHAT'S THIS 'DRUGS'?”

 

Coping mechanism.” Was my reply.

 

horrible habit.” Was Sans'. Let's be honest, both were correct.

 

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS DRUGS THING.”

 

Good, you're too young.” I mumbled, thankfully Papyrus was too loud to hear me. Sans heard and was snickering quietly. I looked to Sans with an eyebrow raised. “Dude, can you imagine Papyrus having coffee?” Monsters knew what coffee was as Toriel had some, though it tasted quite different to how I expected.

 

Sans shook his head. “he's not allowed coffee. the world isn't ready for papyrus on coffee.” I burst out laughing, even if I was their prisoner... on a very technical level, they were pretty chill. Chill. I blame Sans.

 

YOU TWO ARE WEIRD!” Papyrus proclaims loudly, before turning with a NYEH HEH HEH and going to pet Shadow on the head. Shadow wags his tail, happy to have attention again.

 

Sweet Jesus. I knew children at eight years old who knew what drugs were, as quite a few had parents that smoked. Fags, cannabis, those were quite a lot more common than most people think, though the smoking ban in public places brought it down a notch. The cannabis smoking got worse lately.

 

How the hell have you kept so much from Papyrus? I know kids who know what drugs are... hell, I've seen an eleven year old smoke before.” I took a glance at Sans, who was now leaning against the sentry station, his arms stuffed into his pockets. He sure looked a lot more relaxed than he actually was, if his slightly smaller... pupils, were anything to go by.

 

trust me, it ain't for lack of trying. he literally is just that clueless.” Sans shrugged. “watch. hey yo, pap.” Sans called, maybe slightly louder than normal.

 

Papyrus turns around from petting Shadow, who was now lying on the snow, and blinks at Sans. “YES SANS?”

 

Sans turns to give me a huge grin, like bigger than usual. I felt like I was in trouble. “wanna see the human do a cool trick?”

 

OOOH YES PLEASE, SANS! I BET IT'S REALLY COOL!” Trick? What trick?

 

Without warning, Sans' palm made quick contact with my rump with a loud smack and I swear a yipped like a dog, falling forward slightly at the force of it. I turned and gave Sans my absolute death glare. “You arsehole! What the fuck man, what's with that!?” Sans just kept grinning.

 

SANS. HAS THE HUMAN BEEN A NAUGHTY HUMAN?” What. I felt shivers and my face must've gone an absolute pale white as I turned around to see Papyrus looking confused. Like, genuinely confused. He wasn't actually taking the piss.

 

Looking at Sans, he was grinning so wide he really did look like he was squinting. “yup, been an absolutely naughty human that needs to be taught a lesson. like being a good prisoner.” As if that couldn't sound more like a flirt. Sweet jesus, if I were a virgin I'd be red as a chilli pepper. But this type of flirting wasn't new to me, but Jesus in front of his brother!?

 

Papyrus brightened. “AH OF COURSE! GOOD IDEA, SANS! SOMETHING THAT WILL FINALLY STOP YOU BEING LAZY. KEEP IT UP!”

 

Oh my God. This was just too precious.

 

Don't let your brother ever step onto the surface, he'd quickly learn what drugs, alcohol, sex and rock and roll is. Seriously. My dog has a dirtier mind than Papyrus and I cut his balls off years ago.”

 

Sans' eyes flick to me quickly, sweat beading on his skull. Skeletons sweat. Huh. Yet, dogs don't, only on the pads of their feet. Interesting. “say what.”

 

Of course, I assume any dogs they have here are actually monsters. I smirked at him. “Yup, so better watch it, bone boy.” He pretty much had the same reaction that most guys did when I gave them that warning when they tread over a line. Sometimes, I'd threaten them with that for the pure pleasure of seeing them panic if they really got on my nerves and deserved it.

 

Sans didn't comment for a while. “wow, so uh... little vindictive, eh?” His eyes seem to narrow, suspicious. He seemed almost constantly paranoid, unlike his brother who wouldn't know sex if I showed him a porno.

 

Oh now I HAD to do that. List of things to corrupt Papyrus.

 

My smirk didn't leave my face, despite being cuffed still and clearly at a disadvantage. I did chuckle a little, “It's just a threat I tell all the boys. Didn't want you to feel left out.

 

huh. what do ya tell the girls, then?”

 

I blinked. “Huh?”

 

Sans' smile grew. “no girls try to hit it off with you?”

 

Was this a crack at my sexual orientation? Or was he trying to figure something else out? “Uh, there are no girls.”

 

ah, i see how it is.” He winked. What in the world?

 

SANS! HUMAN! YOU LAZY BONES, WE STILL HAVE A TREK AHEAD OF US TO MAKE IT BACK HOME!” Papyrus shouted, seemingly impatient. “WE MUST HURRY BEFORE WE BECOME ONE WITH THE SNOW.” Papyrus sure had an interesting way of looking at the world.

 

Then, we were off again. Papyrus spent most of the time talking about his puzzles as we passed each one of them, talking animatedly how long it took to create them, how they worked, how he came up with the ideas. Gotta admit, he was a very passionate individual about his traps and puzzles. He also went to talk about how lazy his brother was, after we passed his blank space that had just a newspaper lying on the ground from two months ago. It was fascinating how it hadn't soaked through the snow yet. Sans didn't really seem to be bothered by his brother calling him lazy constantly, maybe this was just simple picker between brothers, but Sans seemed to love hearing Papyrus talking about how great he is. Maybe he looks up to his brother, or is just so happy to at least have someone full of hope?

 

Then he spoke about the barrier. “SOON, WITH THE POWER OF YOUR SOUL, HUMAN, WE CAN BREAK THE BARRIER.”

 

I stopped walking at that point, knowing that this conversation was taking a dangerous turn. I really didn't want to be here. Huh, did Sans take the key to the cuffs? They were in my back pocket, if I could keep them talking. “What? You only need one more soul?”

 

Papyrus seemed confused with that, whilst Sans was leaning against a nearby tree, almost falling asleep. That explained the lazy comments. “LAST SOUL? NO HUMAN, JUST THE POWER OF YOUR SOUL ALONE COULD OPEN THE BARRIER.”

 

Was that really the truth? He sure believed it to me true, but if that were true, then where were the missing children? The souls? Was Toriel telling the truth or Papyrus? Or was this all just their excuse to kill humans because you know, racism? Or the fact we did trap them down here for years, guess it's kinda justified.

 

Well... sorry pal, I'm not helping you open the barrier either way. I'm kind of using this soul on a permanent basis.” Haha! Thank God monsters were rather ignorant about human culture, the key was still in my pocket. I managed to keep a tight hold of it and twisted my wrist, trying to reach the lock to undo my cuffs. Hopefully, they wouldn't notice what I was doing.

 

OH BUT HUMAN, UNDYNE SAYS THAT WE JUST NEED ONE HUMAN TO OPEN THE BARRIER, A POWERFUL SOUL AND WE CAN ALL BE FREE.” He seemed very happy about this, either completely oblivious or he really didn't care that it would cost me my life to use my soul like that. Or Asgore would not want to use a live body, either one. It seems that Papyrus has made a decision, didn't matter what Sans had promised, Papyrus was going to call Undyne immediately and take me away to be slaughtered.

 

No. I wasn't going to be caught by the first monsters I encounter and sent to a firing squad. I could do this! Fuck these monsters, I'm outta here!

 

A very faint click was the only noise the cuffs made as I was finally free, quick to surprise them (or Papyrus really, Sans was still asleep) I threw the cuffs out in front of me at Papyrus, distracting him and I took that opportunity to turn and run. Only to shortly collapse into a surprised heap on the floor as an intense pressure forced me to the ground. Shitting hell! Was this what it was like to be hit by the Force? No, I was able to stand back up again, but it felt like I was carrying a 10kg backpack and it was tiring. Looking back, I could see Papyrus' wide open toothed smile. “NYEH HEH HEH. MY ATTACK, YOU'RE BLUE NOW. I CAN'T LET YOU ESCAPE, HUMAN. UNDYNE IS COUNTING ON ME AND WITH YOUR CAPTURE, I CAN FINALLY BE A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GUARD!” Was this Sans' trick all along, to get his brother promoted to the Royal Guard if he caught a human? That's right, play nice, promise you'll never hurt the human and protect them but sorry, bros before hoes. Can't say I blame him, I did the exact same thing... without the whole him dying at the end of it, anyway. That still filled me with anger and betrayal, even if I was a raging hypocrite.

 

Shadow was paying full attention by now and was snarling at Papyrus. He barked at him a few times before rushing at him, leaping at the skeleton and sending them both crashing down to the ground. The heavy weight disappeared and without looking back, I ran as fast as I could out of there. Because Papyrus was in front of me, I ended up backing up and running from Snowdin, rather than towards it. I needed another plan of action, if the skeleton brothers lived in that village, I had to get around it somehow. I wasn't that adept at survival, but looks like camping out was my only option without getting caught.

 

I was running for maybe ten minutes before I stopped and realised I had no idea where I was. Narnia, for all I knew. The trees were endless, most dead, some evergreen but covered in endless snow, no directions, no roads, no footprints. Stuck in the middle of a monster forest. Fantastic. I knew Shadow would be able to find me, my scent was left behind, but I wasn't sure if that would be a problem if there were dog sentries nearby. I... I was really in over my head here. I was now lost, tired, hungry, without my dog and no help. It only hit me now that running away was probably a bad idea, now they'd certainly alert the guards and I'd be hunted down and killed on sight. Idiot! I panicked, couldn't keep the act up, at least enough information out of them to have an idea of where to go to find Asgore. Yeah, no idea where Asgore is! No idea how to get to him! I knew I needed to hit through Snowdin, but where to beyond that? The Capital? Possibly, but I had no idea how to get there either! Toriel advised avoiding Waterfall, but where was that? Toriel told me that the barrier lay right beyond the King's Castle, that he'd probably be keeping the souls there. Of course, being a human that I am, entirely forgot the directions to go after two skeletons take me prisoner. Wonderful!

 

Oh yeah they took my bag too. Fantastic, got absolutely nothing. My day is going so much better. My phone gone too so I can't even call Tori for help. End of the line, Detective Frisk!

 

you lost?” And like a cat on steroids, I leaped into the air, turning around and suddenly THERE Sans was leaning against a tree, bag over his shoulder as if he'd been there the entire time staring at me. Was he there before? When did he get there? How was he so quiet?

 

Look, look, dude I'm not out looking for trouble, okay?” I kept my hands up in a peaceful manner. Wonder how vindictive he was... attacking his brother and all. Hope he wasn't here for revenge, or to take me back if he really planned on Papyrus being a Royal Guard member.

 

Sans raised an eyebrow, looking at me sceptically. “oh yeah? what're ya here for then?”

 

Well. I took my hat off, scrunching it up slightly in my fist as I used my right hand to brush hair out of the way and took a deep breath. “Don't you remember me saying? I'm a police officer. Detective Frisk Fanshaw. I'm here to bring justice on Asgore Dreemurr for the murder of six children. And I'm here to bring the souls and their bodies back home to their families, where they belong. I'm not here to fight with any other monsters, I'm not planning on staying or getting in people's way. Just for Asgore to answer to his crimes.”

 

Sans laughed. Of course he did. The idea sounded even more ridiculous given the situation I was stuck in. It didn't stop me bristling like an insulted feline, but at least I understood where the laughter came from. He wiped non-existent tears from his eye and crossed his arms. “wow, 's pretty big mission ya got there. tell ya what, since i like ya so much, i'll even help ya out.” He winked. “i know all the short cuts here in the underground. can get ya to asgore without running into too many monsters, or ya know they won't bother us if you're my prisoner, if they figure you're a human.”

 

What really? Simple as that? “Really? Just like that?”

 

well...” Of course there's a catch. “what're ya gonna do to asgore when you get there? and what about the barrier? what after? what're ya gonna do after since we're all trapped down here anyhow?”

 

All very good questions. Questions I had none of the answers to. “I don't really know... I just feel like I have to see Asgore and punish him for his crimes. Oh, don't worry, where I'm from on the surface, we don't kill people for their crimes, we haven't done that for years now. I just hope that Asgore feels regret and sorrow for what he did to those kids and so the parents and the children themselves can have closure and move on with their lives.”

 

Sans blinked, staring at me as if assessing my answer. He nodded. “a'ight. cool. guess we'll find out when we get there, right?” He holds out my bag, shaking it as a sign for me to grab it. I smile, finally, I was getting somewhere!I was still a little wary, but I figure trusting Sans (even though he dicked me over just earlier) would be a better idea than being stuck in bumfuck nowhere. Besides, he was giving my stuff back to me, how stupid a thing is that to do if you weren't being sincere? I reached for my bag, thanking him as I took it.

 

He grabbed my arm, pulling me forward quicker than I realised what was happening and I heard the click of the cuffs going right back on my wrists. Are you fucking with me right now!? I heard another click, but my other arm was still at my side... what? Looking down, I see what Sans has done, he had cuffed my right hand with his left hand and we were stuck together. Looking back at him, he smirks, giving me a wink. “sorry toots, but after that little play earlier, can't let my kitten go running off on their own. we're gonna have to be tied together for this. just to make sure...” he pulls out the key to my cuffs and dangles them. I quickly reach to grab them but Sans pulls it away, over his head and drops them in his suddenly open mouth. And swallows.

 

The key does not clang down his ribs and doesn't land on the floor like I expected it to. It didn't shake out from his clothes, didn't slip from his arm, nor down his short leg. It disappeared into the mystery that was Sans' body.

 

You... did you just...?” I was stunned, didn't even know skeletons ate things! He hadn't opened his mouth the entire time he had been talking, I figured he couldn't do it!

 

yup.”

 

IDIOT!” I shouted, glaring at him. “That was the only key I had for these pair! These cuffs can withstand chainsaws for lengthy periods of time! We're stuck like this now!”

 

...oops?” He looked sheepish. GREAT. FUCKING MARVELOUS. WONDERFUL DAY THIS WAS. JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER.

 

Fantastic, I'm stuck underground trying to solve this 40 odd year old case of children going missing, find out they're getting murdered so break a barrier trapping you guys down here and I'm now next on that list to die, been captured once already, my dog is missing, my family is probably missing me like hell, my co-workers probably think I'm dead, I'm lost in the middle of nowhere right now and now I'm stuck here with a bonehead cuffed to my side for an indefinite amount of time!” I had to collapse on the ground.

 

Fuck my life.

 

wow, dude you need to chill out.”

 

Fuck your puns, Sans. This is your fault!”

 

He acts wounded. “whaaaat. you're hurting this bonehead's feelings, doll.”

 

Don't you 'doll' me, arsehole!”

 

c'mon babe, thought we had a thing going.”

 

I'm dead serious, I will punch you in the gob if you don't shut up.”

 

heh, they said dead serious.”

 

Glaring up at Sans, I swept my foot so I could catch his and knock him down to the ground. He did, with a flop face first in the snow. Success! I laughed, it was like a fish just flopping down onto dry land and remaining there. Sweet Jesus. I took that time to get up off the floor, dusting myself off of snow and moved forward.

 

And get yanked back. Looking down, Sans hadn't moved, except to move his head up enough to look up at me pathetically. “carry me?” Fucking hell this guy. I glared at him, turning away and PULLED. Well. This is my adventure now. Me, Detective Frisk Fanshaw, dragging behind me Sans Serif who has now cuffed himself to me without a way of getting out of it. He had managed to roll himself around so he was dragging in the snow on his back, looking very pleased with himself. Dick.

 

What a great first day of being on the Underground.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 Nothing Goes to Plan

 

“Hi sweetie! How are you doing in Snowdin?”

 

“Haven't made it there yet, kinda had a bump in the road.”

 

“Oh really? What kind of bump in the road?”

 

Tori sounded very excited and happy to hear me calling her so soon after I had passed through the doors to the Ruins. It must've only been an hour ago, before everything went to shit. I looked down at the snowy ground, seeing Sans had fallen asleep whilst being dragged through the snow, gave no shits that his hood was filling up with snow, going down his back, probably inside his ribcage, his shorts were getting closer to going down his hips and showing off his... whatever. And he's just asleep there, no care in the world.

 

What had my life become?

 

“I just happened to run into the most annoying monster in the whole of Underground and also happened to be cuffed to him as well. He ate the keys and now I'm hauling his arse around the middle of nowhere through the snow. This really isn't how I pictured meeting my first monster outside of the Ruins.”

 

I could hear Tori laughing on the other side of the phone and I scowled. Of course she's loving this, she wasn't freezing her arse off! My uniform really wasn't equipped to dealing with this situation and my feet had two pairs of socks on and I was still freezing. My leg was starting to play up as well in the cold weather, still not entirely healed, but I didn't have much of a choice. “I'm sorry, dear, I don't mean to laugh but... it is a little funny.”

 

“Yeah. Hilarious. I'm stuck with this dickbag until I can find some sort of pliers or something, these things were built to not be broken easily.” I sighed, still walking on and dragging the sleeping bag of bones across the floor still. I envied him, he had no skin to freeze off, probably didn't feel the temperature, if only I could say the same.

 

“I'm sure you two will get along and somehow find a way out of your situation. Oh, Spot says hello, by the way!” I could hear him barking in the background, God knows what he found or was digging up in her garden. But Tori sounded very happy and pleased with the company of Spot. I knew I made the right decision to keep him there to give Tori company. I had to smile, happy I made the right choice. Imagine Spot out in this, I'd never find him again.

 

“whoa, didn't know you could smile, pal.” There goes the smile when he says it. I look down, still on the phone, spotting him still lying on the ground as he was, shorts halfway down his not-arse, hoodie filled with snow and he just sits there grinning, eyes staring at me.

 

“Gotta go Tori, I'll call later when I reach Snowdin.” I cut the call off before Toriel could say anything, I didn't need her hearing whatever I would say to Sans. She didn't need to know that. “All you've been doing is getting on my nerves, of course I haven't smiled to you.”

 

Sans tilts his head a little, snow falling out of his hood as he did so. “you look cute when you smile.” This guy never gives up. Honestly.

 

“Look, dude.” I sighed, stopping where I was and turning to him, looking serious. He didn't seem to care, making no move and making no changes to his face either. Still grinning away. It was creeping me out. “I'm pretty sure there are plenty of fish in the sea here... quite literally, I feel. So, why don't you go sexually harass someone else that probably wants it?”

 

Sans just lay there for a moment, tilting his head the other way, before he shrugs. “already had all the fish, lookin' at a different ocean now, and i sea you.”

 

Fuck his terrible puns, fuckit to hell. Wait, what did he say? “Seriously? You're pretty sexually active?” Looking at him... he's a skeleton, honestly, what the hell is he even doing to have sex? Guess strap-on was the only way to go?

 

Sans winked lewdly, if that was even possible, and stuck a... blue glowing ectoplasmic or some shit tongue out of the side of his mouth, almost like a dog. Seriously, it was blue, like neon blue, dripping with goo and it was almost transparent. Really, if he thought that was a turn on, he had another thing coming. This was some Ghostbusters stuff right here. “wouldn't you like to know?” Huh. Interesting.

 

But of course, pride won't allow it. I huffed. “You wish. You can keep dreaming, bone boy, but you're not getting a piece of human. Body or soul. Better luck somewhere else.”

 

“i know you like me, c'mon. you sayin' that flirting was nothing behind the door?” Ah... I guess he wasn't incorrect there, I was being rather unfair since I didn't stop to correct him at any point there. I DID do it to get him on my side better, so I wouldn't die immediately if I passed the door but I hadn't anticipated this after he saw what I was.

 

“Well, yes, exactly that actually. I hardly know you dude, didn't know what you looked like. You can flirt without it meaning sexual, you know.” Apparently, Sans didn't know as his grin faltered. Didn't even realise his grin could falter or fall at all. “It's a common thing on the surface, with humans. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to lead you on, but I thought if you liked me, as a friend, I'd not get killed on sight. I only had my survival on my mind.” Ouch. I mean, I saw Sans flinch but even I flinched in my head when I said it like that. Cold Bitch Frisk is on the roll today. No lie, I was freezing still. But even I felt that that was a little too harsh on Sans. “Ah, that... that sounded pretty harsh. Sorry.”

 

Sans blinked a few times. I heard what I assumed was a sigh as he rolled over onto his feet, dragging me slightly forward and snow flopped out of his hood. His shorts weren't hanging off his bones anymore either. He looks at me, grin slightly smaller than what I considered normal for him. Then he winks and is back to normal. “of course. friends. i see.” That was sarcasm I detect. Definitely sarcasm. He didn't believe a word I said. “i see. so, no commitment. i see how it is, fuck buddy.” How the fuck does he manage this!? I knew there were guys out there that could try pretty hard for a lay but this guy was a whole other kettle of fish!

 

“Dude! You're a skeleton!”

 

“yes, i know that.”

 

“That's a human without skin or muscles or anything!”

 

“wow, really? thought that was a myth. cool. no problems with compatibility then.” FACEPALM.

 

“I can't believe I'm discussing how weird it is I'm talking to a skeleton about sex.”

 

“hey, it's a normal thing in a life cycle. we're monsters looks don't really matter here. you know, those lesbian friends i was talking about? well, they're not dating yet but can you imagine an anthropomorphic fish and lizard snogging?” No. No I didn't. “welp, there ain't much we turn our noses on when it comes to that.” He winked again. This is just ridiculous how he was rationalising this.

 

I was going to argue that humans weren't at all like that, but... no. We had a case once where we had to fine someone for trying to fuck a sheep. More than once. And more than one person. I remember reading the newspaper and seeing someone died because they tried to rape a horse. Dolphins commonly kidnap and rape human beings in the deep sea, literally fuck them to death. So here I am trying to contradict a skeleton that having sex with someone that looks a hell of a lot different to them are weird. I'm not sure I have much to say about that.

 

“Just. Shut up.” Good going. Ten outta ten. Perfect!

 

“heh. so. interested?”

 

“Are we seriously discussing this again? I'm on a mission to catch Asgore and punish him for murdering six children and here you are thinking about sex?”

 

Sans shrugs. “hey, imma guy. gimme a break.”

 

“Really, not all guys are like that.”

 

“you really think that?”

 

I looked at him. Really looked at him. “Yes, there are plenty of guys out there who don't think about sex all the time.”

 

Sans tilts his head, he was probably thinking of another comeback, if I had to guess. Then he shrugs. “a'ight.” and walks on forward. Really now! What is with this guy? What does he want? What is he hoping to accomplish here? Seriously! I had no idea! So many twist and turns with this guy, confusing the hell out of me.

 

“Really? Just like that? After begging so much, you just walk off?”

 

Sans looks back, still walking and so I had to follow pace. His grin widens by a considerable amount and winks again. “well, you said you're not interested so.” He looks away and continues to walk, putting his hands in his pockets of his parka, pulling me closer to him. I had to walk side by side with him as the chain to the cuffs were really not that long at all. I mean, as in there wasn't enough gap that I wasn't touching his side, even when I try to pull back his arm just refuses to move. Hard to believe a skeleton was stronger than someone who actually had muscles and such. Bah.

 

“What are you really after?” I ponder, looking at Sans, almost staring really, trying to figure this guy out. Surely, it's not a simple case of 'you flirted with me for a month behind a door, we should totally be a thing right now'. Unless he had a human fetish? Hey, I ain't judging.

 

Sans looked at me through the corner of his eye-socket, his grin not wavering. He just shrugs instead of answering.

 

Alright. Playing hard to get. I dash in front of him, pulling his hand out of his pocket at my sudden movement and he stops when he sees me glaring at him. His grin doesn't even falter, it's glued to the same place it has since I met him. “There's no way you cuffed me to yourself, insist on annoying me all the time just to get laid. Nobody is that determined just for a mess about.” Sans snickers a little, probably more amused than anything, that just makes me scowl more. “What are you really after?”

 

Sans' eyes seem to glint as he squinted, he seemed very amused by how this was turning out. “you're a detective, right? why don't you figure it out? bet you'll never get it.”

 

There was no way I was getting sucked into his games. No. I crossed my arms, or I tried to, and stopped quickly when Sans allowed himself to be pulled up when the chain wouldn't allow further space. He was still grinning stupidly. “No, forget it. I'm not playing your game, I've got more important things to be worrying about.”

 

Sans seemed like he was about to say something, but stopped when we heard barking in the distance. I looked behind me, had Shadow finally caught my scent and found me? I sure hoped so! Smiling, finally, I called out. “Shadow! Here boy! C'mere! I'm okay!”

 

The trees were pretty thick in this forest, so it was hard to see what exactly was coming our way. But, even though I could clearly hear the barking of a dog, what I saw in front of me didn't look like a dog. I stopped calling. That wasn't Shadow.

 

As they got closer, I could hear clacking... what was that? I didn't have to wait long to find out. There, in the shadow, stood a tall, 6ft or so body of plate armour (I assume plate) wielding a pike and poking through the top of the armour was a dog head. The pike had a face on it. I've seen it all at this point. A white fluffy Samoyed was poking it's head out, staring at me. Only, it wasn't the size of a Samoyed, the head anyway, Samoyed's were rather big, but this was much bigger, its head was bigger than mine! And he was growling at me, glaring at me, his fur standing up and he aimed his pike down.

 

Holy shit I was going to be speared by a Samoyed in armour! I quickly raised my hands in surrender, well as much as I could, Sans refused to lift his hand. “Whoa, whoa there boy. I'm not here for trouble, just passing through, honest!” Could it understand anything I was saying, or was it like Shadow in that it can understand the tone of my voice but that's about as far as it goes? Its head turned then, staring at the fact that Sans' arm was moving with mine, it tilted its head in confusion. Then it snarled, right out snarled at me and I started backing right the fuck away.

 

Only Sans didn't move, he just stood there, watching this dog stalk its way towards me. Damn bone boy was going to get me killed! So, of course, I was pulled back by the chain that wouldn't let me get any further away and I felt the same pulling sensation on my chest as I did when Flowey had tried to start a confrontation. POP out came my soul, a bright red heart dancing in front of my eyes, like it was trying to match the height of the dog. Great tactic there, soul, make it easier for this dog to get at me!

 

Wait, wait! I don't want to fight, honest!” The Samoyed didn't seem to care. “You worried about this?” I lifted the arm that had Sans cuffed to it, he blinked and looked at me when I raised my arm, pulling his up with it. “It was his idea!” I pointed accused at Sans, who acted shocked about the very notion of doing such a thing. “He cuffed me to himself, honest that's the truth!”

 

Samoyed blinked, seemed like he understood everything I said, that made a change! Only Sans had to open his huge gob up. “now why would i do something like that? if i wanted to capture you i'd tie your hands together, not tie myself to you.”

 

I turned, glaring at Sans. “Oh don't you play the innocent monster, Serif! You did this, you cheeky little-” I shut up when the Samoyed growled at me, I could see what side he was on. I kept my hands raised in surrender as he got close enough to sniff me several times. He held the pike standing up as he continued to sniff me. Then his tail began wagging, that was a good sign right? His face was really close to my soul, I was feeling rather uncomfortable about it. FRISK LV 1 HP 74/90. Seems I wasn't doing too bad. He kept sniffing, moving his head down to unwelcome places. Dogs have really sensitive noses, right? Like, really sensitive? Don't smell-

 

And he suddenly makes a lunge at my bag, grabbing it in his large jaws, dropping his pike and starts pulling, bringing me with him as well as Sans.

 

Hey! Down, boy! There's nothing there!” Oh, unless Tori snuck some dog treats in there for Shadow. Shit, of course the Samoyed would smell those! Good thing he closed his jaws on the over flap of the messenger bag as well so it wouldn't fall open and drop all my things in the snow. The Samoyed began really shaking his head, trying to get my grip off the bag so he could run away with my bag, or maybe he thought we were playing? He was shaking his head violently enough to be throwing me from side to side almost, but I just about held my ground. Sans was probably helping, but I was a bit too preoccupied focusing on the Samoyed not tearing off my arm. FRISK HP 72/90. It didn't escape my notice that this was injuring me, I thought my arms at first. It wasn't until the Samoyed started pulling hard backwards, almost running backwards that it hit me.

 

Urk!” My leg gave way. The pain hit me suddenly, my hands letting go of the bag and my arms and head slipped out of the strap quickly as I fell to the ground. Fuck, my leg... it caused me to scrunch my eyes up and I had to take deep breaths to not yell out in pain. There was a reason you were meant to take it easy after a broken leg, the running away from the skeleton brothers probably didn't help any. Most people didn't fully recover until about a year later, I had waited maybe six weeks, my leg was likely to break again if I kept this stuff up. It hurt... a lot, felt like I could vomit almost.

 

whoa, bud, are you okay?” I felt a bony hand on my shoulder, shockingly gentle for someone who didn't have any skin. I managed to struggle to get my eyes open, at first all I could see was my soul, still as bright as ever, but the text said different. FRISK HP 54/90. Ouch. The Samoyed hadn't even attacked me, this was purely from my leg giving way. It didn't feel like I had broken it again, but it didn't feel good.

 

I shook my head, to answer Sans. This seemed stupid, but I pushed both my arms down on the ground, trying to get off the icy cold snow, the snow was making the pain worse rather than better. Hissing, I didn't want to risk moving my bad leg, just in case I made it worse. I heard whining, and looking to the side, I saw the Samoyed, out of his suit of armour, he was about the same size as Sans and a little shorter than me, but that was still rather terrifying. This dog was a beast! He nudged my side, pushing me onto my back, hurting my leg again. I couldn't help but gasp out in pain. Yup, definitely done something to that leg. As if the day couldn't get worse.

 

hey, pal, you need help sittin' up?” Sans sounded worried, though with his permanent grin he didn't really seem it. Nodding, Sans with some difficulty being chained together, I remind you whose idea that was, grabbed around my waist and got me sitting up. Enough that I could grab my leg, lift my trouser leg up to see the damage. Ouch. Ouch. It was black, blue, red, yellow and purple, a rainbow of painful colours, though I wasn't bleeding thankfully. “it s'posed to do that?” Sans asked, his eyes staring at my leg.

 

No, it's pretty banged up.” I told him, figuring that he had no idea what bruises were. “Remember I told you I had broken my leg? Yeah, it's still not doing well.”

 

The Samoyed tried nudging me again, as if trying to get me back on my feet, he had dropped my bag not too far away. Sans looked at the dog, “hey, chill greater dog. this guy's a'ight. he's just feeling paw-ly.” Guess there really wasn't such a thing as a time and a place in Sans' pun world. Greater Dog didn't seem to care, just panting away and tilting his head. “tough crowd.” He remarked. “c'mon, let's get you on your feet, you can crash on my and pap's couch tonight.” With the help of Greater Dog coming to my side and allowing me to put an arm around him, since he was basically the same size as me, Sans on my other side I was able to get back to my feet and keep my bad leg off the ground.

 

Thanks, I really appreciate it.” I smiled, both at Greater Dog and, sigh, Sans. I guess even if he loved getting on my nerves a lot, he did care somewhat. Or maybe it was because of the cuffs that he had no choice? He probably should have thought about that before putting them on, let's be honest.

 

Sans looked up at me, his head under my arm and his grin remained there, though I swore I saw a dusting of blue. But what do I know, I'm in pain with a bummed leg again. “don't sweat it, kid. no need to break a leg, just take it easy.”

 

Is there every not an appropriate time for your puns, Bone Boy?”

 

nah, gotta break the atmosphere, as it were.”

 

I looked to Greater Dog, who was keeping his eyes forward as we were talking. His twitching ears assured me he was listening, though. “Is he always like this? A Comic Sans?”

 

Greater Dog wagged his tail and barked in response. “he says 'totes, ya'll gotta see 'is comic show at mtt resort' word for word.”

 

I glared at Sans. “I bet you a fiver that is not at all what he said, I'd literally pay to see a dog gangster.”

 

well, we do have a dog who is a punk, spiky collar and everything.”

 

You are showing me this dog. I don't care if it eats your leg, I'm seeing that punk dog.”

 

Sans seems to shrug, but he was smiling wider than usual, amused. He glances at Greater Dog who has tilted his head. “naw, she's just... frisky, is all.” Motherfucker. Sans laughs suddenly. “yup, he's pretty tough, managed to get away from papyrus' attack without too much trouble. yeah, she's gotta dog friend. oh really? dog treats in the bag? bet he's got 'em saved for his dog shadow.” Apparently picking a gender was a difficult thing for Sans to do, what the hell? “no, it's literally got a dog called shadow.” Whatever floated Sans' boat, I suppose. Wouldn't be the first time being called 'it'.

 

'It' is hearing everything you are saying, Sans.”

 

heh, hey babe. greater dog likes you, was wondering what the deal with the cuffs is.”

 

Please, don't tell me. It's your wildest fantasy come to life, literally you got the weirdest boner right now and the dog is calling you a pervert whilst at the same time not totally understanding what that is.” Ladies and gentlemen, sarcasm. The finest form of wit.

 

oh no, the dog knows all that. encourages it, actually.”

 

I paled, looking down at Greater Dog who just continues to smile as we walk, panting and his tongue hanging out. We didn't stop the entire conversation. To imagine that this dog knew about sex and bondage, really? “It's a dog, Sans.”

 

aw, don't say that to greater dog, you'll hurt his feelings. he was pretty adamant that we should just... what was it, 'shut up and kiss already.'” The grin on Sans' face couldn't get any bigger.

 

I groaned out aloud, my emotional and physical pain reaching new heights. “Of course, only alive human reaching this far to my knowledge and I found the two monsters that are telling me that humans and monsters really aren't that different if getting laid is at the top of the list of wants.”

 

Sans laughs, pretty loudly and for a while. Greater Dog was vibrating, probably laughing as well, though he just wasn't able to as well. Sans wipes his eyes after a while. “nope, dr alphys is way worse. she literally keeps tapes of porn she got at the garbage dump. well, i say porn, cartoon porn.”

 

I cringed. Wow. Monsters really, really weren't that different to many humans. Now, I'm not a virgin flower, don't get me wrong I've had plenty a one night stand and no real lengthy lasting relationship, and yes I had seen porn before, but I wasn't one for keeping tapes of it or flirting with everything. There was a certain level I could tolerate, this was a bit much.

 

But something caught my attention. “You mean, wait, cartoon porn? You guys have cartoons here? Tori didn't even have a TV, you're telling me you have TV?”

 

Sans raised an eyebrow-socket thing. “most of us, yeah. dr alphys gets plenty of stuff from the garbage dump that humans throw out and is able to fix most of them and sell it on to monster-kind.”

 

Hold the fucking phone. “You guys have actual technology? Like, hang on, keep me up.” I managed to grab my bag that Greater Dog kept at his side and, ignoring my pain, I grabbed my tablet in my bag and showed it to Sans. “You know what this is?”

 

Sans blinked, tilting his head slightly. “a... big mobile?”

 

Sigh. Guess they weren't that advanced. “Nah, more like a small computer.”

 

Sans blinks, then his grin gets wider. “oh, paps has a computer, a pretty big one and he's pretty popular online, almost two digits of friends on undernet. man, my brother's so cool.”

 

Speaking of his brother...

 

SANS. HUMAN. WHERE ARE YOU?” Oh, there he is. Almost got worried I'd never run into him again.

 

here bro.”

 

I could hear barking again, but this time I definitely recognised it as Shadow's own barking. Greater Dog at my side stopped, forcing Sans and I to stop as well as his ears perk up, twisting this way and that. Then he dashed off into the snowy wasteland and since gravity was my worst enemy, I fell face first without the support and thanks to those cuffs, pulling Sans right on top on my back. Then just. Laid there.

 

Why me?

 

Managing to lift my head off the snow, shaking my head like a dog to get the snow off my face, I turned to give Sans my 'bad cop' glare. That glare I like to give to the most difficult inmates who either demand a show or rattle off about how unfair prison life is or starting fights etc.

 

Sans grin gets bigger, he doesn't bother to life his head at all, which is currently only a few inches from my face. He wasn't intimidated in the least by my glare. “hey babe. you're pretty comfy, could just sleep on ya.” These hints are getting increasingly less subtle as he talked more. Guess that 'bad cop' look needs more improvements if some lazy, fat skeleton who spouts puns, one liners and pick up lines didn't get shaken up in the least by them.

 

I could hear Shadow growling, not sure when he got that close, but he did. Looking to the side, I saw him jogging up to my and Sans' side, then behind Sans. Suddenly, Sans was dragged off me, his sudden whine of “nooooo,” told me this hadn't been intentional. Of course, dragged far enough away, I was being dragged too.

 

Aaah, Shads down!” I managed to somehow shout that without sounding like I was dying. Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself when my leg fucking hurt. Shadow dropped Sans quickly, who didn't move at all, up until his brother joined the scene.

 

BROTHER. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, LAZYBONES?” Papyrus demanded, booming voice sure to let know half of Snowdin know exactly what was going on. Shadow hopped over Sans, going to Great Dog and sniffing each other's noses. A greeting, perhaps?

 

Sans' expression didn't change as he stood up, he made it look like the most exhausting thing to do. That took some talent, sweet Jesus. “lookin' after the human, bro. Look, they tried to capture me but think they're hurt.” Yup, tell that to all the monsters, Sans, pretty sure that helpless human would be easy to take their soul from. Arsehole was gonna get me killed in so many different ways.

 

But Papyrus didn't seem to think like that, shockingly. For a monster who was part of the Royal Guard hellbent on capturing and murdering humans, he didn't act like it. “HURT? SANS, DID YOU BREAK THE HUMAN? IT'S NOT STANDING UP AND IT'S MAKING A WEIRD FACE.” Sans suddenly seemed nervous, if the bead of sweat was anything to go by (skeletons sweat?). Huh, did he hold his brother's view of him that highly?

 

Let's test that theory. “Yes, Sans did, indeed, break this human.” And no, I don't feel bad for lying. Sans deserved a taste of his own medicine somewhere.

 

Papyrus gasped, looking at Sans in utter shock. “SANS, BROTHER, HOW COULD YOU?” Oh okay, the glare Sans was sending me did actually creep me out a little bit, but I remained steadfast, grinning back at him like a cat who got the mouse. His little white dots for eyes narrowed and his grin held skin-lines at the edges of his mouth (wrinkles? Seriously?). That was the first bit of powerful emotion I finally saw from this guy and it involved his brother. His brother was clearly a soft spot, someone he cherished above many, many things if he could get a reaction out of this skeleton. Keeping that in mind. “FEAR NOT, HUMAN! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL ENDEAVOUR TO HELP FIND A WAY TO FIX YOU.”

 

Wait what. “Excuse me?” I looked up, blinking. Wasn't this guy meant to capture me? Here I am, helpless as a fish out of water and he wants to help?

 

I WOULD BE A VERY BAD CAPTURER IF I DIDN'T KEEP YOU HEALTHY, HUMAN!” He bellowed. “IT WOULDN'T BE VERY FAIR, TO CAPTURE YOU WHEN YOU ARE AT YOUR MOST WEAK. NO CLASS AT ALL. FEAR NOT! WE CAN PROCEED WITH THE CAPTURING WHEN YOU ARE BACK AT FULL HEALTH!”

 

Was this capturing business just a game or something? Did he find this funny? Yes, children dying, fucking hilarious. I scowled, about to tell him where he could stuff his ideas of this 'game' when the look on Sans' face stopped me. Remember earlier, his glare of white pupils and teeth slightly strained were aimed at me? Try having no fucking pupils at all, just black pits of eye sockets staring at you, just daring you to say what you have in your head out aloud. Now, he's a small guy, wasn't really intimidating in the least before, but Papyrus seemed to bring a whole other level of shit from this guy. He was creeping me out! His grin was still there, wider than ever, imagine Joker from Batman level of grinning. Yikes! I hesitated, shivering slightly from cold and terror. So, that was a monster.

 

Papyrus seemed to take my hesitation and shivering to be something else though. “NO NEED TO BE SCARED, HUMAN! I MAKE FANTASTIC SPAGHETTI THAT WILL GET YOU UP AND BACK ON YOUR FEET IN NO TIME! I'M A HOSPITABLE SKELETON, AS YOU CAN SEE!” You don't say? Apparently, Papyrus was completely oblivious to his brother silently threatening to stab me in the chest with a bone or something. When I still didn't answer, wanting to actually crawl out of this space and pretend this never happened, Sans' left eye began to glow, a sort of light blue colour, with it's own dark pupil in the middle. It seemed to be letting out some smoke.

 

Ha... haha.

 

Of course, I'd love to try your spaghetti, Papyrus!” Did I sound too excited? Too happy, maybe? Well, Sans' eyes were back to normal and his grin was as if it hadn't changed at all. I hadn't imagined the guy threatening me, had I? It was like that exchange never happened.

 

Papyrus cheers, reaching down and quickly picking me up. I ignored my leg telling me it was hurting best I could. Sans seemed to shuffle, pulled by the cuffs, it still caught us both off guard, it seems. “EXCELLENT! YOU'LL BE BACK TO FULL HEALTH SOON ENOUGH, HUMAN. MASTER CHEF PAPYRUS WILL MAKE SURE OF THAT.” With that, he threw me over his shoulder like I was some sack of potatoes, sure felt like one, and blinked a few times when I saw in the tussle somehow Sans had been dragged around by the chain between our cuffs and was hanging in the air by his arm, barely touching the floor behind Papyrus. He didn't seem bothered by this. He kind of just remained... limb. Like a skeleton. Ugh. No, I really can't think of a better description than that.

 

Shadow was trotting along behind with Greater Dog, the pair of them walking pretty close together. Like they were guard dogs. I wasn't wrong there, let's be honest. Greater Dog was panting, seemingly happy with how things had turned out, even though he lost his armour and his pike, he didn't seem bothered at all. Shadow, on the other hand, seemed to be giving Sans the stink eye. Don't blame him, I'd give him one if I wasn't so tired of everything. Papyrus' shoulder wasn't exactly the most comfortable thing in the world, but I gotta say, after the leg acting up, the adrenaline wearing off, having been running for a while and being carried away carefully, I was feeling like I didn't want to move for a long time. I needed this chance to rest.

 

Ugh, maybe I was just way in over my head? What chance did I stand going to Asgore if I couldn't even get to Snowdin without stuff going to shit? Maybe this was a terrible idea. Should've stayed with Toriel, poor lovely Toriel. I miss her pie already, her laugh, her jokes, her welcoming home. Here I am in the frozen wasteland.

 

hey pal, you don't look so hot.” I heard Sans talk from below. I looked down, giving him a tired glare, like a cat who was entirely too lazy to move or do anything about the annoying creature buzzing around. “aw c'mon, where's the dollface that i know?” His eyes were doing that squinting thing again. I wasn't sure what to make of that. “i think someone needs a knock knock joke.”

 

SANS NO!” Papyrus turned around, but that just turned Sans around as well, he was in for a hell of a ride if Papyrus kept turning, flying through the air.

 

Sans laughed. Had to admit, it got a little chuckle out of me too. “knock knock.”

 

NO KNOCK KNOCK JOKES!”

 

...who's there?” I figured I'd actually indulge him.

 

ben hur.”

 

I felt like I was going to regret asking. “Ben Hur who?”

 

That wink he gave me told me everything. “ben hur over and give it to 'em doggy style.”

 

Silence. “... I DON'T GET IT.”

 

I had to laugh. I had to. This was unreal. Precious Papyrus, never change, always be that innocent little snowflake.

 

there we go. almost missed my bitch.”

 

SANS, DON'T BE SO RUDE!”

 

but bro, just needed to get her barking with laughter with my jokes.”

 

NO MORE PUNS!”

 

shadow likes them, he really digs them.”

 

YOU ARE SCARING THE HUMAN WITH YOUR JOKES.” That's how he interpreted my shaking. It was silent laughter really, but I wouldn't tell him that.

 

i'm sure he is absolutely terrierfied.”

 

If Papyrus could scream. I'm sure he would.

 

think the human is howling in laughter at my hilarious jokes.”

 

Oh. I was having a little trouble breathing, finally bursting out in laughter. Maybe I was going insane? Worth it to see Sans and Papyrus bicker.

 

DON'T ENCOURAGE HIM, HUMAN! HE WON'T STOP WITH DOG PUNS FOR A WEEK NOW!”

 

aw bro, don't say that. i like the human pugkering up to me.” These are awful.

 

THAT DOESN'T EVEN WORK!”

 

They continued their bickering the whole way to Snowdin. I had to yell at them to stop about three times before we got there otherwise I was going to forget how to use my lungs. How Sans managed to keep those dog puns going for an hour, I would never know. He was a talented individual, I had to give him that. Gotta admire that pun power.

 

I could tell we had arrived in Snowdin when I spotted the sign written almost childishly in happy colours 'WELCOME TO SNOWDIN'. I couldn't turn to see the village to see what it looked like, Papyrus still had too tight a hold on me at this point, but I was getting strange looks from the villagers. Greater Dog was barking out in greeting to some of the villagers, and Shadow stuck close to him, nervous around all the different smells, monsters and sights. I'd pet him better if I could reach. Sans seemed to have fallen asleep whilst dangling in the air, swear this guy could sleep anywhere if that was the case. Papyrus didn't stop to greet anybody, which already got me thinking that he wasn't much for socialising with the locals, despite what his outward personality suggested. I saw plenty of houses here, a Christmas tree with gifts at the bottom of it (it wasn't November when I fell down, so this struck me as odd), a pub called Grillby's (totally doing there), a Librarby (that's what it was spelt) and then Papyrus stopped.

 

HERE WE ARE. OUR HOUSE!” Papyrus got me off his shoulder and turned me around so that I could glance at the house that they lived in. Easily the biggest building out of everywhere else I had seen so far, it was very snug, very rich looking if you ignored the Christmas lights dangling from the top and looked very comfortable as well. Had to wonder how much it cost to have a house like this. Sans did mention having several jobs, or at least more than one, how much did the Royal Guard pay their workers if they could afford a house like this? I had a pretty nice house back on the surface, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as nice as this house.

 

Greater Dog barked a few times behind me.

 

OH. OF COURSE, THANK YOU FOR HELPING THE HUMAN, DOG!” Papyrus replied. So, skeletons could talk to dogs? Or was Papyrus just imagining what he was saying? Sure explained why Shadow was strange around Sans, loving him one moment and then the next glaring at him. Bizarre to say the least.

 

Shadow whined, poking Greater Dog with his nose. Greater Dog wagged his tail, licking Shadow's mouth before scurrying off further into the village. Right into Grillby's. I didn't ask why.

 

PREPARE YOURSELF, HUMAN, FOR YOU ARE ABOUT TO WITNESS OUR HOUSE AND TASTE MY FINE, SILKEN SPAGHETTI!” Papyrus announced, bellowing loudly still despite me being right there on his shoulder. My ears could bleed if I had to keep hearing him yell in my ear.

 

Sans looked at me. Still. Grinning. “hope you have an appetite, doll, cuz paps ain't gonna stop until you can't eat anymore.”

 

I felt like I was in for the time of my life, once I passed through those doors and was greeted to the skeleton's house.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7 How to not Interrogate

 

The skeleton brothers actually had a really nice house. It had a pretty decent sized living room with a large flat screen TV at the back facing a wide settee. There was also a table directly to our right with a rock on a small plate covered in sprinkles, I didn't ask. The kitchen was directly in front, no door to separate the kitchen and the living room. It was small, cosy from what I could see with an oven with four hobs, a desk, a sink that was 5 ft above and the under sink covered that entire 5 ft underneath, I didn't ask about that either, and a fridge freezer in the corner. There was an upstairs, three doors, two I assume were Sans' and Papyrus' bedrooms and the other the bathroom. It was... cosy. Yet, oddly neat for two brothers to be living in. It was very... I'm not sure there's an appropriate word for it. It was a nicer house than I had back on the surface. So, they seemed to be making the best of it whilst trapped underground, only making me more furious that Asgore resorted to having his people kill children to escape a place that didn't seem so badly off. But what did I know, I didn't have to live with this.

 

Papyrus put me down on the settee carefully, worried I might break more should he drop me, Sans had gone back to sleep and flopped onto the floor. Papyrus proceeded to yell and call Sans a lazybones, always napping and Sans woke up with a shrug and a yawn, remaining sat on the floor with his feet out in front of him, rubbing his eye with the sleeve of his hoodie. Gotta admit, kind of adorable if he wasn't a skeleton. Had to agree with Papyrus somewhat, though. He was falling asleep a lot for someone who was a healthy being. Did skeletons need more sleep than we did? Tori seemed to have a normal sleeping pattern. I don't know.

 

“REST WELL HERE, HUMAN. MASTER CHEF PAPYRUS WILL COOK YOU THE BEST SPAGHETTI TO HELP YOU HEAL!” He proclaimed and dashed at the speed people shouldn't move into the kitchen. I couldn't see what he was doing from where my head was laying, the further side away from the kitchen as the doorway didn't open up enough for me to see, but I felt I should be worried by the flying pans that flew out of the room, along with pasta.

 

Sans just seemed to snicker, like he knew something I didn't. I glared at him and he peaked at me sheepishly, ducking his head into his hood and looking away innocently. Yeah, I don't see that flying by.

 

“So, first things first, we have to get these cuffs off. So, you got the key hidden in your ribcage, or something?” I asked, figuring that this was a perfectly reasonable question to ask.

 

But no, Sans had to react like I asked if he could pull his heart out in front of me, Indiana Jones style. He stared at me, wide eyed (wider eyed?) then gasped dramatically and grasped with his right hand over where his heart should be. “no!” He sounded very offended. “how would you like it if i pulled something out of your chest?”

 

He, uh. He had a point. Except. “Dude, you're a skeleton. I figure you don't have organs or a heart inside that hoodie of yours. I figure you could reach in there and pull the key out, easy, problem solved, right?”

 

“what the fuck, man.” Yeah, he was very offended. “i'm hurt, I got a heart here somewhere. you don't see me reaching in to take food out i've eaten and then eat it again, do you?” Can't say I've actually seen him eat so, what do I say to that?

 

But, I mean, surely the food has to go somewhere? You don't just eat and use all the energy, right?” I was getting nervous now, surely the key wasn't gone forever. Seriously. Right?

 

pretty much. monsters don't have as strong a physical matter as you humans, we're more magical and so because of that, we waste less energy, any we need to waste we just use our magic abilities.” He shrugs, like this wasn't a big deal.

 

No. Surely not. Not even plankton left no residue behind after eating. What was this? “And... if you happen to ingest something that can't be used for energy. Like, a key?”

 

Sans' grin doesn't falter whatsoever. “magic can digest anything, pretty sure it's disintegrated by now.”

 

He must literally be fucking with me right now. That key can't be gone. Seriously. “So. There is zero chance of me getting that key back?”

 

yup.”

 

So. This was a problem. “So. Do you guys have weapons that are stronger than a chainsaw? Enough to break this chain at least?”

 

Sans looked at the cuffs, tilting his head slightly as he puzzled over it. Using his right hand, he grabbed the chain and gave it a tug, testing the strength. “probably. there's a scientist in the next area, hotland, she'd probably be able to figure out a plan to get these off. dr alphys.”

 

You mean the one with the collection of porn tapes?”

 

yes, that one. she'll have more of an idea on what to do about these cuffs, if you want them off so badly.”

 

I raised an eyebrow, suspicious suddenly. “This Dr Alphys, she wouldn't be of high importance or status, would she?”

 

oh yeah, she's the royal scientist.”

 

Of course she was. “Then of course I can't go there, idiot. Human, remember? I don't know if you want me dead, but I don't want me dead.”

 

nah, she wouldn't do that. if she did, you'd already be dead.” Yeah, that makes me feel a whole lot better. “not sure if you noticed, but there are cameras all over snowdin and further on. she already knows you're here.” He shrugs. Drat, I had hoped they wouldn't look back at their camera feed and notice I had walked in from the Ruins. The kids certainly didn't stand a chance.

 

Which reminded me. “Okay, we'll figure that out when my leg gets better. Now, second thing, Greater Dog, I think you called that dog back there?” Sans nodded. “He was part of the dog patrol, was he?” Sans nodded again. “The same dog patrol that murdered Beatrice.” Sans stiffened and shrunk his head into his hoodie, as if to hide away. When I first saw Greater Dog, I imagined him to be an executioner, with that massive pike, the plate armour and the snarl he had on his face, the drive to take down anyone he saw as a threat. He was a guard, doing his job, I did have Sans chained to my side and if he didn't know what cuffs were, I would've understood his reaction.

 

And yet, quick as a flash, arguing with Sans about something stupid seemed to calm him. He seemed to immediately become like a dog, taking my bag, playing, acting like a Samoyed should. Once I had become hurt, he became worried. This left me more than a little puzzled, to say the least. How does a dog that loves to play, eat snacks, does his job well and protects those he cares about, go from that to murdering children at the orders of his king? Because he said so? And not seem to care?

 

...then again. He was a guard, he only showed aggression when he thought I was hurting Sans. Did they view children as threats for some reason? I heard of dogs having a reaction such as that, dogs bullied and abused by children and grow to hate them, attack them before they get attacked. But are completely fine with adults. Was this a situation similar? Or was this a case of self defence? Did the child attack the dog first out of fear, and in turn causing the dog to fight back? Was Greater Dog even that involved with the attack? Or were they just so desperate for freedom in a place that seemed to sustain itself fine? As far as I had seen, they had houses, they had people who cared for each other, that was a lot more than some people on the surface had.

 

Sans.” I crossed my arms, giving him a stern look. He didn't look at me. “Just tell me, was Greater Dog involved in killing Beatrice, the human child that passed by a month ago?”

 

He was looking at the floor as he shrugged. “'unno. weren't there. was probably doggo or dogamy and dogaressa. g.d. there prefers to play, unless you piss him off.” He still didn't seem that bothered about it. Like this was normal, like he just accepted it for what it is. “gotta admit, he did a good job piking you up.”

 

I couldn't believe this guy. “Sans, you're joking around and mingling with monsters who have killed a child! A child! Heck, I'm pretty sure Greater Dog was ready and waiting to kill me if given the chance!” Sans didn't seem to have anything to say about that, he couldn't meet my eye, he was hiding inside his hoodie, probably hoping that he could escape from this conversation altogether. Too fucking bad. “So, that's alright then, murder human children, who gives a shit, right? Better to just joke about it, hope the problem solves itself. Get real, dude. Wake up, realise this isn't a game, this is serious!” That got his attention, his head shooting up and, there, a genuine reaction! Finally! Something else that touches a sore spot other than his brother, but how I did that I wasn't sure.

 

His eye sockets blacked out as he stared at me, his teeth almost grinding, definitely a sore spot. “you don't know what you're talking about.”

 

That's fucking rich coming from him. “Really? A human police officer is just completely in the blank here, really? Go on, then. Enlighten the clueless human.”

 

He snickers, but it wasn't an amused snicker, more of a mocking one. “nah. it wouldn't change anything, you're gonna go do what you're gonna do anyway. i just got this to say, kid: i'd quit if i were you. nobody beats king asgore. nobody.” he shrugs. “what're gonna do anyway? he's king, you can't really do anything.”

 

He... wasn't wrong. I had been ignoring that, something telling me that didn't matter, I could do this, I could! I was tenacious, driven to go down this path, heck even if there was nothing else I could do, at least talking to the King, getting answers, was better than moping around doing nothing hoping someone will eventually do something!

 

I've got to do something. I can't just sit here, hoping something new will change. Change doesn't happen just like that, you've got to make change, make it happen! Everyone on the surface is like that, ignore all the problems we suffer, just hope it goes away soon. I'm sick of that shit, man.” I shook my head, feeling resolve flow through me. “I can't just let this go, I have to find those souls and those kids, or I'm not leaving the Underground.”

 

Sans couldn't believe I had said what I had said, from the look on his face. “you'd willingly stay here, just for those souls?” he shakes his head, a slight smile (nope still a grin) on his face, but it didn't seem happy. I wasn't sure what to make of it. “i don't get you.”

 

That was when Papyrus suddenly ran back into the scene. I had completely forgotten about him. He looked... like a chef who had a fight in his kitchen. That white apron wasn't white anymore, it was any colour but white. Covered like a canvas, if it were it'd probably be worth a lot of money. I don't understand modern art either. He held in his hand a plate full of spaghetti bolognaise though... it didn't seem entirely right. I mean, it looked like Spag Bol, maybe a little less meat than I expected (uh, where did they get that?) and chunky vegetables that didn't bother me. Since when did Spag Bol shine?

 

HERE HUMAN!” He plopped the plate down on my chest, you know the one place where if I sit up it will fall over and stain my entire uniform with Spag Bol. “EAT THIS. THIS WILL HELP YOU GET STRONGER. GOOD FOR THE BONES, AS THEY SAY.” Then he sits right down, right near my face, kneeling down on the floor actually I imagine it's difficult in his armour he's still wearing in the house. He clearly has no concept of personal space, as he knelt forward, elbows on the floor and his head leaning against the back of his gloves as he watched me, waiting for me to go ahead and try his pasta. Looking slightly to the left of Papyrus, Sans sat there having to endure the cramped space and he was watching my reaction too. Uh, this was just Spag Bol, didn't exactly expect there to be a spectacle made out of it.

 

Nervous with two skeletons staring at me, I struggled to get myself sat up, leg was actually feeling a lot better already after warming up and resting. Now I could look at it properly, I realised something. Yes, the pasta looked alright and the meat (what meat is this?) seemed to be cooked... who put glitter on this? Flavoured glitter, maybe? Do they exist? Hope it's just a strange type of cheese they have underground here? Welp. Too late to back out now. Picking up the fork, I twirled some spaghetti onto the fork, making sure it wouldn't land on the uniform I got back fixed and cleaned not too long ago, and took a bite.

 

And promptly spat it back out.

 

What the fuck!? Are you trying to kill me!?” I learnt my first lesson, never accept cooking from random monsters. That was not meat, it must've been some strange wheat substitution that Vegetarians can get from super markets, the pasta wasn't cooked properly so it was still crunchy and don't get me fucking started on the glitter.

 

Papyrus gasped, a painful expression on his face. “OH NO, HUMAN. ARE YOU ALLERGIC TO GLITTER?”

 

Yes. Yes I am.” Well, no but humans shouldn't eat glitter. Ever.

 

OH MY GOD. YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID SO EARLIER! I AM SORRY, HUMAN, FOR NOT REALISING THIS.” He took the plate from me and dashed to the kitchen to get rid of it. Thank goodness. He came rushing back, however. “I HAVE AN IDEA! I'LL GO TO THE SHOPS AND GET A SUBSTITUTION TO GLITTER! BRB!” He literally said brb as he ran out the house, cape flying heroically behind him as he opened the door and ran into the snow.

 

I looked to Sans quickly, who looked very amused. “Please, don't let me ever have Papy's cooking if you want me to live.”

 

Sans snicker didn't relent, his grin just as wide as ever. “it's better than it has been, at least it was somewhat edible this time.” Couldn't imagine how it could get worse, unless he used rotten food. Had to scrunch my nose up at that idea.

 

I swear, I'm not trained to deal with this shit. Fuck, I need a drink.”

 

hey, wanna go to grillby's? pap never goes there, and uh, well. you said you wanted a drink.”

 

That. “That is the best idea I have heard all day.”

 

That was how I ended up now at Grillby's. Gotta say, it was a really nice place, small, quiet and had a nice homely, warm atmosphere compared to outside in the snow storm. It was rather quiet inside, there was a fireman (literally, a man made of fire) wiping down his counter at the far back of the bar wearing what appeared to be a suit and red tie and wearing glasses, a jukebox that didn't seem to be on in the right far corner of the building and there were about three sets of tablets with chairs around them in this pub. Man, this was tiny. There, sat at the biggest table in the middle of the room, sat five dogs. There was a tall dog, though rather thin, wearing a spiked black collar around his neck, possibly a Border Collie from the looks of the breed. He was smoking a... dog biscuit, in the corner of his mouth and he had a look of concentration on him as he read his hand of cards.

 

Two dogs opposite that dog were wearing dark hoods and carried axes that looked identical to each other, besides that one had an eye with and eyelash and the other an eye with a thick eyebrow. From where I was standing, it was hard to see what they looked like, but they appeared to be white German Shepherds (Shadow will be pleased), they were also concentrating on their hand of cards. They were sat pretty close together and, as I watched, they nuzzled each other. A couple, then. Cute.

 

Another dog, this was another Samoyed, was wearing considerably less armour than Greater Dog had been, and he was much less fluff. He had a sword at the side of his chair, a sword that seemed almost as big as him, and armour enough to cover his chest and stomach. He had the worst poker face, his tail wagging as he gave away how good his cards were and the happy panting. Poor guy.

 

The last dog. Greater Dog, with his armour back on, inexplicably. He was concentrating on the hand of cards until he looked up and noticed the pair of us along with Shadow, peaking from behind Sans. He was always wary of bars and pubs, one too many times we got called in to deal with fights breaking out here, and he always got excited to work here. He was expecting an order, I could see it in his body language. He'd calm down in a minute, hopefully.

 

Greater Dog dropped his cards on the table, his tail began wagging and he panted, barking a “hello!” to us. At least, I assumed he did. The other dogs quickly turned to look at us, curious about the new visitor that Greater Dog was taking an interest in.

 

What? Is someone there?” The Border Collie asked, head tilting in confusion. His eyes were squinted, like he was having a hard time seeing anything.

 

Sans kept grinning (he never stops) and raised our hands up that were cuffed together. “yo.” Was all he said.

 

Oh! Hi Sans!”

 

Hey Sans!”

 

(Afternoon, Sans.)”

 

Wow. Seems like Sans was a rather popular guy in this bar. He did seem like the type, and with Grillby's being about a minute walk away, it wasn't surprising at all that he comes here often enough to be a regular.

 

Sans, why do you have a... whatever monster cuffed to you?” Wow, they really didn't recognise me as human? Tori wasn't kidding, and if monsters had been locked down here for longer than they can really remember, I'm not surprised that they had no idea what humans looked like.

 

Better get ahead of the bandwagon before Sans ends up ruining everything. I quickly took my hat off and gave them a polite smile. “Hi, name's Frisk, Frisk Fanshaw.” I gave a polite wave to the dogs. “I'm just a visitor from the Ruins, things got bad over there so I'm just roaming about the place at the moment. Sans found me out there lost in the forest and helped me out.” Not entirely a bullshit. Man, I'm getting good at this.

 

One of the bigger dogs, the white German Shepherd who had the axe with eyelashes, stood up and put their hood down. A female German Shepherd as she had long attractive eyelashes and lovely puffed up ears. I am meeting civilised dog people. This is so cool! I notice as she is standing up that she is wearing sandals, but the types I see Japanese people wearing and not holiday makers. She walked close to me and sniffed close to me, I guess that was a form of welcome? I tried to remember my dog training, learning about their behaviour, pretty sure the sniffing of the butt was a greeting.

 

(...you smell like the skeletons and snow. You're alright!)” The dog said, happily wagging her tail and she held out a paw. “(I'm Dogaressa! That's my partner,” She pointed towards the other hooded dog, “(Dogamy and there with the collar is Doggo. Excuse him though, he can only see moving things. Then here with the sword is Lesser Dog, and opposite is Greater Dog, though he tells me he already knows you.)”

 

They seemed like a friendly bunch, even if I was very cautious as I remembered Sans telling me the dog patrol were the ones that killed Beatrice. These seemed like the dog patrol. But I had no concrete evidence they really killed Beatrice or that they were violent or even the dog patrol. So, I did the next best thing I figured to socialise. “Nice to meet you, Dogaressa! Say, are you guys playing poker? You want another player?”

 

Sans looked at me, seemingly surprised. Maybe he hadn't expected me to willingly converse with other monsters, because of the whole killing children thing. But no, he doesn't quite get it, what better way to learn about the situation, the world and such than by talking to the locals? It's what I learnt first, always speak to the locals, they know the place better than you ever will.

 

The Dog Patrol seemed very enthusiastic, however, wagging their tails and quickly Doggo gathered all the cards together from the others and shuffled the deck ready. Greater Dog shuffled over to make room for Sans and I as we grabbed chairs to sit at the table. I wasn't the most lucky of people, but I thought I was pretty good at poker. It was a game a lot of the lads back in Ebott played after a hard day of paperwork or hoping something happened. Shadow recognised the atmosphere and feeling much more relaxed, he walked to my side and plopped his head on my knee. I smiled, petting his head and scratching his ear just as he liked it. His tail wagged slowly and he closed his eyes. I think Shadow was in need of sitting down, I can only imagine what is going on in his head.

 

The cards were dealt, Doggo got his cards together and dealt out the three cards on the table. Game on.

 

Oh. Wait. “Hey, Sansy. You don't mind paying for my drinks? I'm flat broke.”

 

Sans' head shot up from his hand of cards and he looked at me, incredulous. “wha?”

 

Doggo barked out a laugh. “ Sansy. That's the best I've heard!” Lesser dog also barked out a laugh as Sans tried to bury his head into his hood.

 

Dogaressa giggled a little as well, “(Yeah, just like Trixie rabbit head.)” She turned her eyes on Sans, I believe a smirk on her face. “(You take her up on her offer yet? She's been yowling at everyone that you're apparently denying yourself.)”

 

Sans' head further sinked into his hood. If it went down anymore, he'd cover his eyes. He didn't look very comfortable being in the spotlight like this. “no. you know i wouldn't.”

 

I think I could just about understand what they were saying. I think? I looked at Sans just to the side and he quickly puts his cards face down. “You said no to a girl?”

 

Sans didn't answer as he picked up his cards. “Let's just play.” A sore spot, apparently. Interesting.

 

So, I decided to give him a break. Calling when it came to my turn, I watched as the next card was turned over. Not going well for me.

 

So, it was time to get to business. “So, what is there really to do around here? Since I broke my leg, I'm gonna need to find a new job somewhere.” I hoped that that was convincing enough for the Dog Patrol to get comfortable talking about Snowdin. I'd be pretty suspicious if a random weird monster had just turned up out of the blue.

 

Dogamy was the first to jump in at the chance to talk. “Oh, not a lot. I don't go anywhere without my darling, Dogaressa.” They cuddled together, almost whimpering and broke it off before it got uncomfortable. “There's not a lot of work going around, unless you apply for the Royal Guard really, but not many people want to be a part of that. The hours are relentless, not a whole lot happens, the whole table here can vouch for that.” All the dogs around the table seem to nod together, all in agreement that whilst the job sucked, at least they had a job when most of the Underground seemed to be having trouble. Now, didn't that sound familiar?

 

Suddenly, halfway through Dogamy talking, the fire man, monster literally made of fire, brought a pint for each of us to the table, and a bottle of ketchup. He gave us each a pint, all of us thanking him as he gave us our drinks and Sans' grin grew wider as he got his own pint, as well as that bottle of ketchup. “cheers grillz.” So, that was Grillby? It was a rather fitting name for a monster that was a flame elemental thing. The dogs didn't seem all that bothered that Sans had his own bottle of ketchup, or even weirded out. I peaked out of the corner of my eye to see Sans bringing the bottle of ketchup to his mouth and he bites onto it, squeezing as he took in the ketchup. So, Sans just straight out drinks ketchup from a bottle. Just another thing that leaves be baffled by this guy.

 

I looked back at Dogamy, as he was waiting for a reply. “Really? I heard about the Royal Guard from Sans' brother, but he made it sound like his dream job.” Not meaning to put Sans on the spot there, but it just wasn't really adding up in my head. Then again, I met Papyrus.

 

The dogs all looked at Sans, pondering what they could possibly say in his presence, were they just as nervous about his reaction as I was? Because that stunt earlier, Sans could look like a right creepy bastard if he wanted to.

 

His expression, at that moment, didn't change, however. It remained the same, creepy smile, seemingly calm when I bet inside that head of his, he wanted to get out of this conversation.

 

Dogoo took the line of fire, shrugging his shoulders with a bit of a doggy smile. “Some people have their preferences. I don't mind the job. It's just difficult when things don't move.” Doggo puts down his bet. “Couldn't really get a job in anything else, so I'm a mercenary for the Royal Guard. We're meant to report back to Undyne but...” Doggo pauses.

 

Dogamy speaks up when Doggo hesitates. “She's a little too... boisterous for our tastes really, for us to get along. I mean, yeah that last human we had was a right monster, it was really close to town, could've killed the children if it got in!” Now, that wasn't what I was expecting. The Dog Patrol viewed a little child, if this was Beatrice they were talking about, as a huge threat? How was a child in any way threatening to these dogs that had weapons, like a pike or a sword half the size of them?

 

Dogaressa joined in. “(Oh yes! That human was vicious! Oh, tell them the story, darling!)”

 

I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by, even as Sans was shaking his head, I had to hear what they had to say for themselves for this. “Yeah, please, it souds like an exciting story!” I tried my best to not seem so eager. I heard Sans sigh at my side as he took a big gulp of his pint. I decided that I would do the same, to better prepare myself for the story I was going to be blessed with.,

 

Well, if you think so.” Dogamy coughed a few times, to clear his throat. “My hotdog and I were just taking a stroll in the snowy woodlands, minding our own business just outside Snowdin, when I spotted something in the distance. At first, I thought it was a young monster, I saw the striped shirt first underneath the stained apron that they were wearing on top before I saw the rest of the figure. I remember it being about half your size, actually Frisk, looked a lot like you.” I tensed, thinking for sure my cover was blown and I was about getting ready to sprint the hell out of there, when Dogamy continued. “Blond hair, brown eyes, didn't smell good. We figured out a smell rating, to help us find humans, oh that creature was definitely a red rating!”

 

(Oh yes! Definitely set off the red rating! Oh, my brave Dogamy shouted to the creature, to back away but the creature didn't listen. It was armed with a pan and it was screeching, like a war cry and ran at us. Oh, it was terrifying!)” It... it sounded like Beatrice Maxwell, but I didn't see her acting like this. A war cry? Armed with a pan? It didn't make sense.

 

That does sound terrifying! What did you do when it started screeching?” I asked, ignoring the tugging I could feel of Sans pulling at the cuffs. No, he wasn't taking this from me. I have to know, I needed to hear what had happened! If this was even a human child they were talking about, though that denial didn't last very long. What else could it possibly be?

 

Well, when it started running at us, arms open wide like it was going to crush me, I panicked! I cut it down.” Dogamy brought up his axe, to emphasise the point. “Cut its screeching head clean off, it was a lot weaker than I expected. Mind you, their HP did look rather low when I took a glimpse at their green soul.”

 

Green soul? When I had seen my soul in my confrontation with Flowey and G.D., my soul was red. Was this significant? Did different coloured souls mean something? I could hardly think, I'm still amazed, looking around the table, to find myself playing poker with a bunch of monsters who found no problem in Dogamy having murdered a child. But his story... Beatrice running at Dogamy, screeching a war cry, arms wide open to attack Dogamy? That didn't sound like Beatrice at all, from the file I read and the parents' testimony. She had no problems from bullying, her parents claimed to have never laid a finger on her, she was getting perfect scores in school, she had a close knit circle of friends, she had a pet dog she had called Candy, she seemed like a normal little girl. Was she really having problems that laid so deep nobody knew? Was that why she ended up on Mount Ebott? That seemed very unlikely, given that she was eight years old, very unlikely would she have been able to hide anything like that from her parents or close friends.

 

This was getting me nowhere, I didn't know what to think. These dogs made it seem like the human child was a monster themselves, attacking them, a threat to the village. I just didn't see what there was to fear from human children. I took another gulp of my beer, having a feeling that I was going to go through many more.

 

(I've got to say, you do resemble that human quite a lot, Frisk.)” Dogaressa commented, tilting her head. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sweating under the pressure of all the dogs' eyes on me. Any minute now, they'll see through my useless pretence, they'll spear me on the spot, dead right then and there. Dogaressa then laughed. “(But no, maybe they were descended from your kind? You're much too large to be a human! Are you a giant? A small giant?)” Wait... much too small to be a human?

 

Is that the only reason I've been getting away with this the whole time? Because I was really tall compared to the children that got in here? That... seriously, that can't just be it. Sans recognised me as human the moment he laid eyes on me, Tori did as well. There must be more to it than that, surely? How did these dogs not know I was human?

 

I don't know. I finished my drink off, called Grillby over for a refill, the one of many I knew I would be having tonight. I didn't care, my head hurt, my brain hurt, I was confused as all hell, nothing was making sense. I was stuck down here, broke a leg, did nothing for a month, can't get a break.

 

The turn was over, and we all revealed our hands. I didn't win, Greater Dog panted and barked, demanding his winnings. That's when I elbowed Sans. “Hope you've got money, cuz it looks like I'm not going to win for a while.”

 

Sans looked at me, his gaze seemingly worried for a second (probably imagining that) before he grins wide. “what makes you think i won't just leave a gambling debt over your head?”

 

I sighed. “C'mon man, I'll pay you back. We're stuck together anyway, just one night of getting plastered, I'll pay you back, honest!”

 

Sans raised an eye-bone thing. “what'll i get back in return?”

 

Anything, especially if you ask me whilst I'm plastered, I'll probably do anything.”

 

Sans thought for a long moment, before nodding, a smirk on his face. “kay. hold ya to it, kid.” That was probably a very stupid thing to say, given what Sans has proven himself capable of with his words. That didn't seem to stop me buying more drinks at his expense, however. Apparently he has a tab. Well, I think I'm preparing to run that tab down to the ground. As for the betting... I'm sure I could figure something out.

 

Things seemed to go a little downhill from there. Doggo didn't let the whole killing the human thing go. “You need to show Frisk the weapon you got from them!”

 

Dogamy gave Doggo a strange look. “It's back at my station, that's quite a trek just to show off a weapon.”

 

Lesser Dog seemed to perk up at that point, barking a few times as he puts his hand of cards down and dashes out of the pub. Okay then. Sans translated for me, “he says he's gonna get the weapon and armour to show you from dogamy's sentry station. says he wanted to go for a walk outside anyway. rather him than me.” He shrugs, before sticking his head back in his cards. He continually shocked me, here he gives off the vibe that he is a rather popular character, having a funny side to him and talk a lot, at least when we are alone. But here, in a group of people, he prefers to not say anything, simply sit and listen to the events happening around him. I had to wonder, was it because of the matter of the subject that he kept quiet, or because he just actually doesn't like being in a crowd? I couldn't imagine with his charisma him feeling shy in a crowd, maybe he just preferred listening to actually talking? I wasn't a psychologist by any means, but us police officers get used to reading people really well after you've been there for a few years. Ever since I was eighteen, so six years and only promoted twice. It can be a bit of a downer when I've seen loads of people get promoted much quicker, but I feel grateful I've been promoted at all, some never get those chances. Yeah, surface life sucks.

 

But wait, yes, Lesser Dog said that he was getting the weapon the human monster had used. A pan counted as a weapon in their eyes? Well, I suppose if used threateningly... but this! An opportunity falling into my lap! And I just had to leave Spot behind, but he probably wouldn't be of much help anyway. I didn't know how to command a sniffing dog, Shadow wasn't trained in being able to sniff out a trail or substances, he was purely a K9 unit. Maybe, with any luck, he could sniff something out on the weapon?

 

It fell on me then and there, however, that even if I did have the weapon and the armour and even if it was clearly Beatrice's, there was nothing I could do with it. Keep it? Sure, the DNA would be gone by the time I could find a way to the surface, I didn't know how to find DNA, that was forensics' job. I didn't have the tools necessary to find any information from it. Shadow wouldn't be able to sniff anything out since it was a month old and even if he could, he wouldn't know what to look for being a K9 unit. He'd probably smell the food that was cooked on it and try to eat the pan if anything. The Apron probably didn't fare any better, unless it clearly had her name on it, it could easily be passed for a monster apron with anything that has two arms, like these dogs. Even if it had a recognisable brand, Sans made it seem like human rubbish and items made it's way down here regardless, so it could be passed by for that. So many possibilities, so many holes, the weapon and armour could possibly help, but to what end? This was why we worked in teams, having several departments working on huge cases like this, us finding the initial evidence, giving it to the forensics team and sometimes even some forensics on scene to get blood samples, weapons, clothes, anything they could find to get some form of DNA. We corner the area up, scene of the crime and work with the evidence we have. Police duty of that form was never a solo job. And here I am, soloing and absolutely buggered, with little idea of what to do or how to proceed besides asking and going to the supposed root of the problem. I had to try something. I took another drink. Beer number three.

 

“So, this whole watching out for humans coming into the Underground... is that all the Royal Guards do?” I had to ask, surely there was more to it than simply that, since only seven humans (eight if they included me) have ever fallen down here in the Royal Guards' lifetime. Well, so it would seem anyway.

 

Dogaressa answered this one. “(That's just our main objective, we're supposed to help others when they are in need, be a beacon of hope, as it were. But, with the overcrowding, no jobs really going around, the fear that one day we'll run out of resources and food. There's not really a lot we can do to help in that regard. I mean, us dogs often feel we're just not treated with respect really.)” Oh, I knew that feeling very well, I had to admit I really felt for them then. They were a lot like us police officers, though I didn't know how far the hatred ran for them. I could completely relate to those feelings. We got names thrown at us, we were a beacon of hope to others, some don't care. There wasn't really a day that goes by where we don't get called something hateful or hopeful. Was... was that what the Royal Guard was like? A feeling of bringing justice to the common folk, helping others out where you can, trying to right all the wrongs in your home village? That was the feeling I got when continuing this job.

 

Doggo barks a couple of times, I think maybe it was laughing? “Totally! Locals saying we don't do anything, can't do anything. Shows them now that Dogamy and Dogaressa stopped that monster human! We saved the town! Undyne was proud of us for a little while.” Oh. Oh. Holy shit. Like that wasn't hitting too close to home. That was the exact feelings I felt when I had been working my job back in Ebott. I had only been promoted a few weeks ago, I had a lot to prove that I was worthy of that title, that I could carry a team with that title as I had done with my previous Sargent rank. Bet I was a right laughing stock back on the surface now, gone missing days into the investigation.

 

That was another beer gone, was downing these pretty heavily now. The Dog Patrol stared at me, before laughing, Dogamy patting me heavily on the back. “Yeah Frisk! Drinking like a true dog!” I had to smile at that, feeling proud of myself. It felt rather good to be accepted, even if it was purely because I needed to get plastered right now. Well, I say need, more a want, because I'm such a lost puppy right now. And my head was swimming a little bit. Probably shouldn't have drunk so fast. Just needed my mind to shut up for five fucking minutes.

 

Dogaressa spoke up, “(Don't drink too much now, dear. We wouldn't want to clean up the mess later.)” I giggled, probably getting closer to drinking too much now. Hadn't that been the plan anyway?

 

“Fuckit, I can hold my drink fine! Only pussies can't hold it in their stomachs.” That's what our team always said, train and hold your liquor, to be the best boys in the pub.

 

That's when Lesser Dog came running in, a pan in one hand and a scrunched up apron in the other. The apron seemed rather orange, it probably was once upon a time white, but it didn't seem that way. There was a red cartoon heart on the middle of it. Nothing that really seemed extremely human, but it was rather small, fit for a child and made out of PVC specifically for a child. It would have suited Beatrice well. L.D dashed towards me, panting and then dropped the apron and the pan (I caught that quickly somehow) onto my lap. I looked down at them, taking the apron first. Yup, definitely PVC, Grillby's flames behind me shining off the fabric. Then, I see just underneath, almost like text appearing in a virtual reality setting: +11 defence. +1 HP every other turn. Uh... yeah, I really should stop drinking, fucking seeing writing now.

 

Wow, I'm a bit more drunk than I realise, some fuckin' text on it.” I blinked slowly. Yeah, I'm just a little pissed. I went to pick up the pan, only for Greater Dog to pick it up. When I looked at him, he just whined and shook his head, clearly not wanting me to touch the pan, for whatever reason. “S'ok, just wanna see it.”

 

Sans stopped me, I had almost forgotten he was there! “better quit whilst you're ahead, bud. you're a little bit drunk, wouldn't want ya handling a weapon now.”

 

Ha! “S'not a weapon, just a frying pan. Worse is gonna do is fry a fish.”

 

Sans sighed, standing up and puts a hand on my shoulder. “c'mon bud, let's get you to bed before you talk more about fish.”

 

I blinked. Then remembered. “Ooooh, because that Undyne is a fish, I gettit... think she'd be offended if I cooked fish in front of her?”

 

Sans grimaced, even as I heard the Dog Patrol howling in laughter, or literally howling I don't know who gives a fuck anyway. “honestly, pal, i don't wanna know. let's just get you home, before paps complains about not getting his bedtime story.”

 

Instead, I pulled the arm what was cuffed to him quick to my side, causing him to fall forwards and go face first to my crotch. I laughed, now that was hilarious! “Aw c'mon misery guts, let a dude have some fun once in a while!”

 

Sans didn't move for a good while, before he seemed to realise where he was and quickly got himself back to his feet. He stared at me with uncertainty, like he couldn't decide what he should say next. He looked to the Dog Patrol, who were too busy laughing to care, dunno at what mind. He looked back at me and grabbed my cuffed arm. “can't let that tab go on forever, 'sides it's late, been here hours. shadow needs feeding as well.” Ohshit yeah, can't forget the dog. Shads loves the grub.

 

Ohyeah. Better had then.” I yawned, standing up with a stretch, stumbled a little bit to the side, Sans apparently following my movement. “My God, no need to follow me.”

 

um, i'm chained to you. i can't not follow you.”

 

Oh yeah. Forgot 'bout it.” Sans shook his head, though he seemed rather amused by it. He reached out to grab something I had in my hand and I pulled it back. “Mine.” I looked to see what I had in my hand, forgot what it was. “I need this.” The apron. Needed it. Evidence, I remember now!

 

Sans sighed, but he nodded, not wanting to argue. He turned and thanked the Dog Patrol for nothing, they were still laughing at something, and Sans held me by my arm as I struggled to walk in a straight line out of the building.

 

Fucking freezing out here!”

 

yup, that's snowdin for you.”

 

Fucking stupid name. 'course it's fucking snowed in. Twats.”

 

wow uh, you sure have a mouth on you when you're drunk, huh?”

 

'm not that drunk, fuck.”

 

there are other words, ya know.”

 

fuck up.”

 

Sans snickered.

 

Think I'm gonna puke...”

 

whoa, didn't you say, what was it again? 'only pussies can't take a drink'?”

 

I laughed. Think we made it to the building, eh, probably. “Am a fuckin' pussy though. All the lads back there always said it; 'Frisk, just grow a pair of balls and stop complaining. Ain't no girls gonna be in our group.” Bunch of a'holes they were. Just cuz I'm young and short they gotta try to put me down. Heh, put me down. Short.”

 

Sans took a long while to reply. Went through the front door, only just noticed now. Not so cold anymore. Struggling up stairs, jesus fuck stairs.

 

Jesus, fuck the stairs.”

 

Sans chuckled. “please, don't. say, frisk, these guys giving you trouble... what do you do when they do?”

 

Fit in. T'is the best you can do. World up there could eat you alive if you're too nice, the people and the world. Kay, kay, worst thing I ever saw up there. Visited a house, got complaints about some smell or summat, thought someone died in there. I get called to visit, turns out there's a person living in a house filled with rubbish. Like, literally, someone didn't take rubbish out. Just filled with rubbish. Ceiling was coming down on 'em, leaks in the ceiling, mould everywhere, couldn't see the floor. Smelt so bad thought I'd lose my nose. That happened cuz the owner gave up.” I rubbed my eyes, they were watering just from the memory of smelling that rotting house. Hoarders, they were called. “I can't give up, I ain't gonna live like a piece of crap. Ain't gonna let things crawl over me. Naw, gonna take it by the horns, or whatevs.”

 

Sans got us through another door, had disco lights or some shit underneath it. Didn't ask. Door opened and this place smelt... mostly of Sans. Saw a messy room, little bit of rubbish here and there, bed wasn't made, didn't care. Probably Sans was just a messy person, certainly seemed like one. Not a bad thing!

 

This your room?”

 

yup.” Sans smiled, walking me to his bed and he dropped me down there on his bed.

 

I blinked, remembering something. “Hey, we sleeping together then?”

 

Sans blinked, his face turning a shade of blue. “what?”

 

I laughed. “Well, I won't say no to sex man, totally fucking pissed here what's another sin?” I grinned.

 

Sans remained about as blue as... ice fuckit I don't know. He shook his head, bit like a dog. Ohshit was Shadow here? Eh probably, Shadow always follows, Shadow was the best. “no, thank you. you're pretty drunk and you need to go to sleep.”

 

C'mon, bone boy... where's your boner ya had a moment ago?” Don't say I play fair. I pulled my cuffed arm towards me again, though Sans didn't fall for that trick a second time, remaining steadfast in his place.

 

look, there was no... none of that. i was just flirting with you because it was funny watching you get all riled up!”

 

I paused for a moment then. Sans seemed to blink, before he looked away, his free hand coming up to rub the back of his skull, sweating. I huffed after a moment of silence, pushing myself back on the mattress and put my head dow on the pillow, taking the duvet and putting it over me. I had the foresight to take off my shoes, at least. “Rude. Giving me the wrong idea. Fine, whatever, don't need sex to feel better anyhow. Going to sleep.”

 

Sans didn't move, however. He just stood there, sweating more, fidgeting if I had to guess from the cuffs. He didn't know what to say. “look... 'm sorry. that was mean, i know. i just had to know something. you forgive me?”

 

I peaked an eye over the duvet. I didn't have to take time to decide at all. “Fine. Just lemmi sleep. Head gonna hurt like a bitch tomorrow. G'night.”

 

I think Sans said something else, maybe he laughed, but I don't remember when I promptly passed out.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8 Taking Frisks

“HUMAN! SANS! THIS IS NO TIME TO BE SLEEPING!”

Dead. That is what I was, definitely dead. This is hell, my head was going to burst bloody purple pieces all over the room if Papyrus kept yelling like that. I'm never drinking again, I swear this time! I don't remember too much of what happened last night, it was still a blur. My head is just splitting open, Jesus. Why do bad things happen to good people? I grabbed what I knew to be a pillow and pushed it down against my head, I had been sleeping on my front and I can feel the chains on the cuffs pulling tight, so Sans was nearby, but staying as far as he possibly could. I didn't care, it didn't hurt my arm and the cuffs weren't on tight enough to do any real damage to my wrist. I just wanted time for my head to calm down and stop trying to kill me.

“pap, frisk ain't feeling too well, so she can't get up.” I hear Sans reply to Papyrus, from his voice trajectory, I could guess that he was sitting right at my side, right near the bed. I feel a little bad I took his bed from him, but I doubt he cared too much.

“OH NO. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP?”

“Not shouting would be a start...” I somehow, with power unbeknownst to me, managed to mumble that out of my mouth, and realised how badly I sounded like death.

Sans' laugh just further cemented the fact that I probably smelt, looked and sounded like death. Funny that, considering he was a skeleton and all.

“I BET IT WAS FROM THAT GREASY PLACE, WASN'T IT?” He was still shouting. “I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU ALL KEEP GOING THERE, EVERYTIME SANS AND THE DOG PATROL COME BACK ON NIGHTS THEY END UP THE SAME. GRILLBY MUST NOT BE ABLE TO COOK WELL IF YOU KEEP ENDING UP LIKE THIS THE NEXT DAY.” Let's just not explain to Papyrus what alcohol was, my head hurt too much to want to explain what the point of it was and why poisoning yourself somehow gave you some form of delight. Too complicated for the morning.

“nobody can cook as good as you, bro.” Sans spoke highly of Papyrus. Considering he had poked fun at his brother and often pranked him, he really looked up to Pap. Either that, or he was trying to give Pap an ego boost... not that he needed one, really. “pap, can you let undyne know i'm looking after a sick friend?”

There was a short pause, before Papyrus bellowed again, my head exploding in pain. “OF COURSE, BROTHER! I HOPE YOU GET BETTER SOON, HUMAN!” And with that, I heard his tell tale stomping down the stairs, the front door opening and slamming shut. Head hurt worse. Feels like I could totally vomit anytime now.

“good morning.” Sans taunted me, he sounded so bloody cheerful this morning as well. “i'd make you a cup of coffee or summat, but i'm a little tied down at the moment.” He gestured as such by moving his arm up and down. I remember trying to say something, but it came out a garbled mess.

We sat there in silence, well Sans remained silent anyhow. I remained hidden under his pillow until my head stopped throbbing, it probably took a good hour or two. Like a puppy trying to see the light of day for the first time, I peaked my head out from under the pillow. Oh. The smell hit me first. This room was definitely Sans' room, as it stank of his scent. He hadn't opened the window in a long time, the smell of ketchup, dust and just generally a boy's bedroom. He had a table nearby with a lamp that seemed to have a torch duck taped inside of it? Instead of changing the light bulb. Smooth. That was just so Sans. I turned my head to see Sans sitting on the floor, Shadow was asleep lying across his lap. He was leaning forward somewhat, his lest hand that was cuffed to my right hand was on Shadow's lower back, his thumb stroking Shadow's fur, whose tail was wagging slowly in his sleep. Seeing it from my nest of duvet and pillow, it was rather adorable watching a bone creature and bone eating creature getting along like two peas in a pad. Sans seemed like he was too busy concentrating on something he had in his right hand, but from the angle I was lying at, I couldn't see what.

I lay there for a little while longer, until Sans snickered. Oh? What could be so funny that Sans is snickering like that? Eventually, I managed the strength to get myself sitting up and got a good view of Sans looking at a mobile phone. A smart phone, to be precise. Strange, I assumed that because he was a skeleton, a smart phone touch screen wouldn't be able to pick up on his touch, but he surprised me. I wondered for a moment who he was texting, until I looked again. I recognised that phone. Wait a fucking minute...

“Is that my phone you're looking through?” I demanded, feeling somewhat violated that he would just snoop through my phone. Really, who does that!?

Sans suddenly turned, looking at me, shocked that I had caught him in the act. He looked guilty for about half a second, before he smirks, his eye sockets moving to give me a smug look. He turns the phone around, so I can see exactly what text he was reading. Oh. Oh God. “wow, so who's the babe?” Right there. Right there. A lovely, high definition picture of a pair of tits, 35D, nipples perked, the lot. A picture I remember taking, sending it to a one night stand of mine who requested it, after I explained that I had had a horrible lay earlier, still frustrated. I remember that he had send a picture back, commenting on his mediocre lay.

I reached quickly to snatch the phone back, I refused to be embarrassed. Sexting was not that uncommon, after all! “No one! Jesus, haven't you heard of privacy?”

Sans seemed like he was thinking of taking the phone away just out of my reach, but seemed to think better of it. “nope. it's just been me and pap for a long time, spent most of our time working. s'nothing better to do.” He shrugged, but he looked apologetic. “sorry. It was buzzing in your bag and I didn't want it to wake you. Then... uh, heh.” He rubbed the back of his head, his hand brushing slightly against the fur of his hood. He looked away, clearly nervous about my reaction. “I got curious, I've never seen a phone that still retained files from the surface before. Every phone ever gathered here has the memory wiped.”

Oh. I calmed down hearing that. Of course, I couldn't remain too angry about it. Sure, I was pretty mortified, a little angry, but if I saw new alien technology, I sure would snoop myself. Maybe I was being too sympathetic with Sans, maybe I was growing soft.

“It's fine, I suppose.” I sighed, probably sounding pretty tired. I was still hungover, still feeling like shit. “Just, remember not to do that again. Just ask next time before you stumble onto something you shouldn't.” There, that'll put him straight. He looked back at me after I said that, nodding in understanding, but he still seemed to fidget, like he had something else he wanted to say but didn't know how to say it. “You may as well ask, worst I'm gonna do is probably say no.” I reassure him. Honestly, I was curious.

Sans looks down at Shadow first, admiring the collar Shadow had. It was a normal collar, other than it had a tag so we could track his location should he go running off too far, as well as a strip of high vis so people could see his location. Was the hope, anyway. He then looks back up at me, curious. “you've got pictures of what the surface looks like, haven't you?”

I suspected that that was what he had been looking for the entire time. Pictures of what my world looked like, compared to this world down under the ground. I decided that it would be fair to indulge him into some of the pictures of the world I live in. Preparing myself, I slipped down the bed to sit next to Sans, trying not to wake Shadow, though good luck with that. When he was deep asleep, he could sleep through a bomb blast, I swear. Quickly, I looked through my pictures, making sure he couldn't see anymore rude pictures, deciding to quickly delete them all, before I let Sans see the screen once more. There wasn't really that many exciting pictures on my phone, I never really got in with a crowd to take pictures, plenty of pictures of my rota for the week. Sans seemed shocked that we had official days off, in the Underground apparently those weren't so common, but he was more appalled that legally, you only got a break if you worked six hours or more and only a half an hour one unpaid. Some places would let you have longer, depending on where you worked. Sans explained he had at least four jobs, seriously four jobs, and so hence he was allowed four times the breaks. That... that was rather broken. A fifteen minute break seemed to be the norm here, after three hours at minimum. That seemed rather nice, actually. Sans explained he just took those many jobs, pretty much working at hot dog stands, border control, security, selling ice creams (the list went on) so he could get extra breaks. I wasn't sure that was quite how it worked, but Sans wouldn't be swayed.

After showing him the picture of the police station I worked at, Sans made a comment that caught me off guard. “i could see you being pretty good in the royal guard.”

I had to look at him then, incredulous. I guess he wasn't wrong, but he was wrong. “Yeah, I'm not about ready to murder children, thanks.”

Sans blinked, before he backtracked. “wait, no i didn't mean... i meant...” he got flustered, “meant that i bet you woulda been a great cop. are a great cop. yeah.”

Looking at the picture, I did find myself missing that time. I had been down in the Underground for a little over a month, I figured living in the United Kingdom I would be used to not seeing the sun, but no, here has it so much harder. They probably had no idea what the sun looked like, maybe didn't know what the sun was, never saw the sky, never felt pure wind fan through their skin/bones.

Or maybe they just had high expectations, lush green grass, lovely breezes, changing weather and the look of the world as the seasons change. When, reality, we humans have ravaged the world a bit too much in most places for any season change to look anymore than normal. Maybe we were just too accustomed to what was given to us, we take everything for granted, always expecting there to be plenty of food and water to provide for us for years to come. And yet, these guys, it sounds like they were having a shortage, with the overcrowding and the overpopulation, it sounded a lot like a third world country. This wasn't a problem that just got solved overnight.

Or, at least, shouldn't be solved overnight. My moral scale didn't know what to think anymore. If your entire kind was doomed under the mountain of Mt Doom for centuries, no predators to keep you in check, no way to spread out to other parts, overpopulated, no jobs, low on food, water, housing, would you hesitate to find a way to get out, save your people? I asked myself, really asked myself, if my entire town was held under a dome, for years and we were running low on space, food and one way out was to murder monster children, would I hesitate? The answer; yes, undoubtedly, but whether I would kill children or not... I can't answer. Build a new empire on blood and sacrifice didn't sit well with me, but I wasn't in that situation, my thoughts could change entirely were I in that situation for years.

Why couldn't life be so much easier; good guy bad guy, good guy catches bad guy, bad guy goes to jail and good guy saves the town. That'd be nice.

Letting the phone just slip out of my hand, I sighed and leaned my head down on my knees. I didn't look at Sans as I spoke, “This is just so much harder than I thought it would be. I figured I could just walk in, arrest the killer and be out by dinner time. Life totally sucks when things don't go the way you want it to.” Sans seemed to hum in agreement, so I figure, either that or he was deep in thought, but at least he was listening. “Maybe they were right, I'm not cut out to be an inspector, probably just gonna rot away with you down here.”

Sans was silent for a while, when I took a peak at the corner of my eye, he was watching me with a serious expression on his face. An expression I never imagined that I would see, his grin disappeared into a grimace and his eyebrow thing scrunched up, like he was thinking pretty hard. Then it smoothed out and he had a smile on his face, though a small one, remorseful almost. “pal, i think you're doing a pretty good job. i mean, look at yourself, you ain't dead yet and ain't killed anyone in a land where it's kill or be killed for ya.” He shrugged, “i dunno how much you remember from last night, you said you were looking for stuff on the kids?”

Last night? What was he talking-?

Wait.

The Dog Patrol. Gambling. L.D. running out to get something. They said they had been attacked by a human that ran at them, screeching, arms wide open, Dogamy panicked and killed the human, believing he had saved the entire town from a dangerous attacker. L.D having the apron and the pan that Beatrice had been carrying, apparently attacked them with it. Felt something wasn't right, their story didn't add up, Beatrice was kind, gentle, loved animals, why would she do this?

I remember now!

Quick as a flash, getting out of my stupor, I stood to attention on my feet, dragging Sans across the floor slightly, to which he complained about. Shadow got woken up and he barked, annoyed that he had been woken up. “Of course! Shit, how could I forget!? The Dog Patrol know what happened to Beatrice! I gotta ask them, properly, they must know where Beatrice's body is! Heck, they may know where all the children are and their souls!” Feeling hopeful again, I looked down, picking up Sans with ease and gave him a right big bear hug, spinning around. He stopped complaining about that, instead more going still and just accepting the hug, maybe even hugging back a little? Oh, who cared anyway, I had a lead! A proper one! I wasn't a complete failure, after all! “This is fantastic! Thanks, bud! Where would I be without you?”

Sans didn't answer right away, instead seemed to almost nuzzle his face into my chest. He lifted his head slightly, though refused to move away, as he peaked a look at me with his white pupils. “dunno, probly freezing in the snow. maybe even... snowdin?” Then his face turned confused. “your chest feels really tight, you wearing something under this get up?”

“Bullet proof vest, standard with the police. Pretty good protection,but I'm surprised I didn't come out feeling worse sleeping in it.” Really, it was a wonder, it wasn't built for comfort. Maybe I was just used to wearing it at this point. “Never mind that! Where would the Dog Patrol be at this time?”

Sans still refused to move his head away, instead turning it so he had the side of his head pressed right on my chest, moving a little to the left. “probs grillby's, they have their breaks there.” He said whilst seeming distracted.

With that in mind, I promptly let go of Sans, who had been relying on my holding him so fell down onto the floor with an “oooff.” “C'mon! We have to get to them before they go back to work, it'll be even better when they are all together!” With new vigour and determination, I grabbed my belongings, my bag phone, jacket and let's not forget the hat, before I had to drag Sans through the house, down the stairs (he refused to walk down them so he didn't enjoy the stairs much) and dragged him out of the house by his cuffed arm. It made me wonder if Papyrus had done the same to him before, he didn't put in a fight at all to being dragged all over the place. Shadow followed behind the stairs, he seemed very confused as to why Sans was being dragged around the place, but once outside the house he stopped caring and came to my side in his police dog mode. He was alert, wary, ready.

It took me a little while to remember where Grillby's actually was, considering this was only the second time I had been outside in Snowdin. The brightly lit up sign sure helped, and I made a quick stride towards the pub, Sans remaining silent the entire way.

Opening the doors, I could see Grillby's was just as quiet as before, the Dog Patrol at their table with dog bowls and food inside. L.D and G.D weren't there yet, but I figure they wouldn't be far behind. Shadow growled, feeling apparently nervous, probably because of the way I was acting, but I would deal with that later. I ignored the rest of the bar, Grillby was too busy right at the back cleaning cutlery and glasses, as I strode up to the table with the Dog Patrol and sat down quickly at the table. “Good morning, boys.”

All the dogs stopped eating, noticing my sudden appearance and they seemed to smile, if a dog could smile. Doggo was first to talk, “Hey look, Frisk is finally up an about again!”

As awesome as Doggo looked, I was here on a mission. I couldn't just forget that these dogs were killing machines, I had to remain vigilant. Getting my pen and notebook out of my bag, I crossed my legs as Sans grabbed a chair from nearby and sat down, looking down at his hands and fiddling with his fingers. Shadow sat at my side, ears up and alert, staring at the Dog Patrol. Often, when I was interrogating others, Shadow would sometimes let out a snarl, scaring the interrogators and often convincing them to tell the truth, it was a dirty way of doing it, but it got the job done. Good cop me, bad cop Shadow.

Now, to get down to business. “Now, Doggo, Dogamy, Dogaressa. I need to ask you a few questions, regarding that human you said had attacked you. I need to hear everything, don't leave anything out! I just feel like there's something missing.”

Doggo laughs, though it was a rather incredulous laugh. Dogamy and Dogaressa look at him, shocked that such a laugh could come from their canine companion. “There's nothing else really to it. Like Dogamy said. Here; this is what happened.” He seemed to cough a few times, to clear his throat, but it sounded more like a dog sneeze, or a dog choking, both were possible. “It was a dark and stormy night...”

“Uh... no, it was pretty snowy, I remember.” Dogamy interrupted.

“Right! It was a snowy wasteland of a day, the day that creature came!” I could hear Dogaressa letting out a groan and mutter a quiet 'here we go', before she went back to eating her dog food. “Dogamy and Dogaressa were taking a scout around our patrol zone, I was following not too far behind, I had just finished my shift and was heading back to Grillby's when I heard Dogamy shout. I leapt to the scene, turning around to find what caused him to shout in such surprise. Naturally, I didn't see anything, as nothing was moving out there in the wilderness. I can only see moving things. So, for a long time, nothing moved, it was quiet. I was about to tell Dogamy that nothing was there, until I spotted it! The horrific creature! It stood 4'7” wearing that stained apron, stained with the dust of other monsters I swear it! Wielding that horrible frying pan as a weapon, ready to strike us all down! It was screeching something horrible, arms wide open, the frying pan ready to strike Dogamy and Dogaressa down, it was coming to destroy and kill everyone in the town! It charged forward, shouting out 'DOGGY' as it spotted us! We all freaked out, we were doomed, we thought!” He took a deep breath, “But no! Dogamy stood tall and brave, he took his mighty axe and protected Dogaressa and the town, swinging his weapon through the air and cut that human down! It spurted out this horrible red liquid everywhere, it's green soul appeared before us and we grabbed it quickly before it could regenerate and come back to life! Dogamy had saved the entire town, we let Undyne know immediately and she took the soul and body away to Asgore. We had to take a few minutes, Dogamy was still in shock from almost being killed by that horrible creature, but he saved us all!”

I write all that he said down, asking him to repeat certain bits of the story so I could get a clear thought of what had happened. It just didn't seem likely that Beatrice would go on and attack the dogs without being provoked, out of nowhere. Why would Beatrice do such a thing, with her frying pan that they viewed as a weapon? Confused, I went to grab my phone, bringing up her file (this was probably against protocol, but it was a good thing I had a copy of it on my phone in this instant!) to check on her history and the basic description of her personality we got from her parents. She was kind, never hurt a fly, loved animals, always went to school, a popular child, had loads of friends, went to other children's houses very often, she was a healthy child aged eight.

Wait. Loved animals. Eight years old. She had a pet dog at home. She spent a lot of her time with her pet dog, loved animals to pieces. She shouted 'doggy' and was screeching as she ran towards the Dog Patrol with her arms wide open.

Oh Jesus Christ no. This... this was horrible.

“You idiots!” I couldn't stop my reaction, finally coming to the conclusion of what had happened. All of the dogs jerked back in surprise, even Sans did out of the corner of my eye, all of them giving me a worried look at my sudden outburst. Shadow started growling, taking my outburst as a sign that I was angry. I wouldn't correct him, I wasn't just angry, I was absolutely furious! Not necessarily at the dogs, just at the situation as a whole! How could this happen!? A simple mistake! I slammed my hands flat down on the table, glaring at the whole group. “She wasn't charging at you! She wasn't going to attack you! She was going to hug you! She was about to pet you!” This couldn't be happening, an entire misunderstanding that lead to a child being killed. “God fucking damnit!”

There was silence, I couldn't even hear Grillby washing or drying dishes anymore. The entire bar was silent, utterly silent besides Shadow growling. Dogaressa was the first to speak again, after silence for a good minute or two. “(But... how do you know this? You've never seen a human before, have you Frisk?)”

Well. I seemed to have ruined everything by letting my emotions get the better of me, finding out how Beatrice had been killed, that Asgore had her body and her soul locked away somewhere, I assumed his castle or quarters whatever he had. I was about to answer her, though I wasn't entirely sure what I could say that would make anything less awful than it already was, when a cruel laugh from behind me interrupted me. “Of course it has, it knows full well what humans look like!” It was a voice I hadn't heard before, one I didn't recognise immediately, but could place that the voice was female, cruel, I had to guess possibly around the same age as me, certainly young enough to have been around. She sounded deadly, her voice brutal, sharp with a clear threat in there somewhere. I could hear Sans intake air sharply, breathing out a quiet 'shit,' before ducking his head in the hood of his parka and pushing his hands quickly into the pockets. Shadow hated the figure, immediately barking at her behind me, snarling and fur standing on end, crouched low in clear warning for her to back away. “That's because it IS a human!”

I froze. I froze entirely. I took a quick glance at the Dog Patrol, who were also frozen, before they quickly backed away from the table, leaping away from it (from me) with shouts of “what!?” and there, that look of disgust when they see your uniform, your hat when you are clearly not wanted right where you are. It's a look I was familiar with seeing when drunks go out to town and we have to tell them to keep it down, make sure they don't fight, keep the peace. Thankless work, really. I can't lie and say it didn't hurt seeing it on their faces, considering we had been playing poker together, had a laugh together. Suddenly they realise I'm a human and suddenly I'm a virus. Heh, that is... monsters have no idea how closely related they may actually be to us humans.

Pushing those thoughts away, I turned to greet the pest that ruined everything. That, uh. Oh. That. Wasn't a pest. Right in front of the door to Grillby's, still holding the door open, was clearly a humanoid fish thing, wearing a suit of armour that was built specifically for her needs, a much more heavily built body of armour than Papyrus' which left no area of her body uncovered by metal. She had long red hair that reached easily to her arse, fins where her ears should be and a pair of teeth that was too big to fit inside her mouth, so they were always on show outside of her mouth. Her eyes... eye was slitted, like a cat's eye and was yellow in colour. Her other eye, her left eye, was covered by an eyepatch and a long curved scar escaped from above the eyepatch, an indicator that she lost that eye in a battle of some sort. For the moment, she appeared unarmed, but that suit of armour was not comforting in the least. There was no doubt in my mind as to who this monster was, and already I was starting to break out in a sweat.

“Undyne! What do you mean they're human!?” Doggo was the first to speak, I could tell he was nervous. That also gave me confirmation that, yes, that one person Tori told me to avoid had found me, only a day into staying in Snowdin. God-fucking-damnit, nothing would go my way today! Finally hit a lead, got an answer at least, but it seemed too bad I wasn't going to get out of this without serious injury, or worse.

Undyne glared at me, with that one working eye, it was menacing. She walked forward and let the door slam shut behind her. I felt more than I saw Sans get up off his chair and hide behind my body, he was short enough to just be able to manage it.

Undyne didn't pay any attention to anyone else, she only had eyes on me. “Alphys told me there was a very large human lurking around, she wasn't even entirely sure you were human. But I know you are, I can smell it.” She lifts her arm up and a spear materialized into her hand out of nowhere. Are you shitting me? “Seven human souls, that is how many we need. We have six in total. Yours is the last one we need! I'll strike you down, human, and free monster-kind finally from this hell and take back the surface from your scum kind!”

This was, actually rather unbelievable. No, she didn't only just kill human children to save her own kind, she actually revelled in it, she enjoyed bringing them down! She was one of those racist arseholes who justifies their actions because those they attacked are a lesser being than they themselves are. They really weren't so different to people, after all. Quick as a flash, I brought out my taser I had kept in my bag at my side, Shadow snarled at Undyne, taking a few steps forward and barking at her. “In your dreams. Undyne, you're under arrest for the suspicion of the murder of five children. You have the right to remain silent, you do not have to say anything, anything you do say will be given in as evidence to the court. Do you understand?” That was protocol, pretty sure it didn't matter here, but it felt good regardless to say it. Like I was finally in control of something.

Undyne laughed and took a stance that I knew meant that she wasn't about to come quietly. “I'm not listening to any shit you have to say, you might've had the dogs fooled, heck even got Sans and Paps wrapped around your finger, oh yeah Sans you boney bastard!” I didn't dare take my eyes off Undyne, even as I heard Sans grumble something behind me. “I knew there was something fishy going on when Paps told me you were looking after a sick friend, you'd never do something like that!”

Sans seemed to snicker, probably because of the play on words despite the situation, but he sobered up quickly and poked his head out from behind me. “hey undyne, wasn't lying though. Friend was sick earlier and cuz i'm a little tied up, couldn't come to work.”

“Save it, nerd, I've heard it all before. I'll deal with you after I defeat this disgusting creature.” She raised her spear, it looked like she was getting ready to throw it. I didn't want to do this, I really didn't want to get into a fight if I could help it, but I wasn't going to be speared and killed, not when I had come so far! I whistled, giving Shadow his order to attack and he didn't hesitate, barking in confirmation and he dashed forward, running to the side to confuse Undyne and leaped at her armoured arm, biting down as hard as he could and pushed his entire weight onto it. As she shouted out in anger and annoyance, I took the chance whilst she was distracted to run around the table the Dog Patrol had been using for their food and flipped it over, using it as a barricade like I had been taught to take cover and watched as the dogs scrambled to get away, I saw Doggo quickly rush to where Grillby was and hide behind the bar there, whilst Dogamy stood in front of Dogaressa snarling at me. Things sure took a U-turn pretty fast, I didn't have time to fully process how this would affect me in the long run.

“uh, buddy.” I heard Sans whisper, it took until he spoke that I realised he had huddled real close to me, he seemed to want to hide away from the situation as a whole. I'd feel sorry for him, but if I could have avoided dragging him into this, I would've. “know you've never fought monster human style before, but er, HP is a necessity, and I only got one of it so... be gentle?”

I wasn't entirely sure if he was serious. Apparently, in that time I was trying to decide if he was or not, Undyne must've shaken Shadow loose as he began barking again and I felt the tugging sensation that indicated she was initiating a confrontation. Sans looked extremely uncomfortable as well, suddenly I was able to see more text floating nearby. Squinting, I was able to read the test that was floating besides his head. Sans HP 1/1 ATTACK 1 DEFENCE 1 All talk and no action. An innocent civilian. Whether those were my thoughts that were floating besides his head, or someone telling me to keep him alive, I'm not sure but I didn't have the time to dwell on it now. Also didn't need telling twice to decide that.

Worried about Shadow's safety, I called him back with a whistle again. Hearing him bark back, I peaked my head enough just to see over the table to see Undyne throw her arm out and give Shadow a good whack, throwing him to the side and his high pitched ear piercing yelp got me into action. Alright, fuck this bitch, nobody touches my dog! Taking careful aim, I pulled the trigger and watched the taser lead propel out of the gun and land on her shoulder armour plate. I pushed the button, the taser meant to zap in a hearty electrical current that is not enough to kill a person (unless they had existing problems with their heart as it turned out) but certainly enough for them to fall to the floor. Only... nothing happened. Nothing at all. Whatever armour Undyne was wearing, it did not conduct electricity like I had hoped, and so I was left with no weapon at all against her. She turned her head around, suddenly spotting the long lead that lead to the taser gun I held. I dropped it quickly like it burnt me and hid back under the table, just as a spear went whizzing past my head and landed a few feet behind the table, almost hitting my leg.

“... we calling it a bust, then?” Sans asked meekly, he was trying his best to not sound worried.

Now, I've never used a spear before in my life, and I had no idea if this was going to backfire horribly, but I still wasn't ready to lie down and die. “Not until she gets busted.” I got to my feet and quickly dashed towards the spear, ready to grab it. I didn't count on Dogamy. Had entirely forgotten he was there, he must've taken the time whilst I was distracted by Undyne to find his axe and stomped towards me and swung the axe down in a mighty chop. I'll admit, I screamed, though I was a goner, but turns out by some miracle or quick reflexes, the chains of the cuffs got in the way and were chopped in half, the axe going straight through and cut into the floorboards underneath. Quickly, I pushed myself away, scared for my life, but my HP remained the same. I saw that Sans had managed to escape as well, somehow, and he was staring at Dogamy with an expression I couldn't describe, even now.

I looked back to Dogamy, he only had eyes on me. He was getting ready to swing his axe again. Quickly, not even giving myself time to think, I got to my feet and grabbed the spear, just in time to block an attack from Dogamy's axe. Brute strength, Dogamy should have won, he was heavily built and had a massive axe, but I had to assume I was simply too fast for him and pushed the axe to the side, quickly moving my feet to trip him over so he landed hard on his back and out of commission for at least five minutes.

Quickly, I looked for where Undyne was. She had stepped over the table, Shadow was struggling to get back to his feet, but he wouldn't be able to do anything before Undyne would be at my throat. A quick scan revealed that Sans was suddenly nowhere to be found. I had no idea the guy could move so fast out of battle, considering how he acted! Looks like I was on my own against the Captain of the Royal Guard.

Bringing the spear up, I tensed up as Undyne laughed. “Looks like Sans didn't hesitate to leave you for dust the moment he could get away. Guess you aren't so good as you seem.” She had another fucking spear in her hand, just like that. What good could I do against something like that? Where was my gun when I needed it?

“With that one hp he had, I don't blame him. I'd bail the moment I could. Besides, I don't need help to bring you down.”

Undyne glared at me, a glare that shone her eye slightly. Oh boy, she really hated me. “Wanna run that by me again, punk?”

Why not be a cocky little shit if it bothered her? I knew I wasn't going to win, Spear against spear when I wasn't trained in a spear could only end in disaster on my part. But if I could piss her off enough, she might make enough mistakes, be too rash and I could gain an upper hand and make a run for it! “I said I could beat your lame arse without any help, you got beaten down by a dog earlier, a human like me will have no problems beating you down.” Or maybe I was just digging my own grave. This was a stupid plan!

With a roar of anger, Undyne charged at me. She was hot tempered, just as I had hoped. I tried to remember my self defence lessons, maybe they could he helpful here. I backed away quickly, holding the spear in what I hoped was a defensive manner. Really, I hoped for the best for a long time and used my quick feet to avoid most of the thrusts with her spear. If I could, I would grab a chair and throw it in her way, slowing her down and hoping to get her more angry so she'd make more mistakes. Another time, I flipped a table over and jumped over it, causing her to falter for a little while before she simply threw that out of the way like it was a massive pain. It must've looked like some scrawny kid had played a horrible prank that had gone horribly wrong against some built up wrestler that didn't appreciate his masculinity being questioned and wanted to pound some shit into the kid that ruined his day. I was the scrawny kid, getting their day ruined by someone who really, really hated me. I had no idea what the rest of the bar was doing, Dogamy must've hidden away from Undyne's wrath, if only I could say the same about myself. Nobody else dared to even touch this battle.

My plan was working, somewhat! With her anger, she wasn't focusing, she was thrusting out wildly, trying her best to catch me but I saw the movements easily by reading her body language and jumped out of the way or blocked when I could.

My luck wasn't meant to last, clearly. One thrust, after many thrusts, she caught my hand and the shock of it caused me to drop the spear. HP 82/90. That was my final mistake.

With the spear gone, and myself distracted by the shock of my hand being slashed at by a sharp point of the spear, my whole body was completely exposed to any attack that she could throw at me. She took that chance the moment she had it. With my chest and soul fully exposed, she threw a spear directly for the centre, with precise aim that only years of practise must've gotten her that ability, striking straight through my soul, then my chest, through my chest, through the bullet proof vest and out the other side, stuck. It... it hurt. I'd have screamed, I made the motion with my mouth to scream in pain, but my throat quickly became blocked up by the blood and spit foaming up in my mouth. I was under no illusion, blood spilled slowly, like a small waterfall from my chest, I couldn't help but stare at the long handle of the spear that was sticking out from the front, my mind not fully comprehending that I was good as dead. It took me a while to realise I was sitting on the floor, my legs had given up. Actually, I had been thrown to the floor by the force of the spear going through my soul and chest, going straight through the table I had barricaded myself behind at the start of the fight. Heh, I started and died here, kind of sad really.

I felt... the bulletproof vest had shattered, it wasn't meant to withstand anything like this and had shattered, falling to pieces on the floor under my clothes and with it...

“frisk!” I heard Sans' shout, to the side, he must've come from hiding behind the bar. It hurt to move my head, so I moved mostly my eyes, able to see him from the corner. He looked... horrified. His pupils were gone, only darkness was seen from his eye sockets, sweat was rolling off his bald head and his... his mouth was set in a grimace, teeth still showing, but a clear grimace, a horrified expression for what he could manage. I couldn't imagine what it looked like, seeing a human stabbed through to a table. Since Tori told me monsters turn immediately to dust when their HP reaches zero, to see a person hang on to life, to have to feel the pain and to see them falling apart even as their HP has reached zero. I can't imagine it. A quick glance at my soul tells me; FRISK HP 0.5/90. The red heart was barely hanging on, a long crack through the middle where it had been struck, but it hung on, somehow, it was hanging on for a moment. For me to do one last thing.

“The fuck? That human... it's a she!?” Undyne sounded more incredulous than anyone else, even as Sans' pupils came back and glanced to notice that, yes, the binder that had kept my tits in the whole time had finally snapped and let those 35Ds out for the first time since before I fell down.

I had to laugh, the situation just seemed all the more ridiculous. This was how it was shown, not because of some embarrassing walking in whilst I was changing, or showing, or something stupid. No, bearing speared to death by a fish lady was how it came about. Fuck you, universe. I remember laughing for a while, until I was choking on my own blood and spit. Naturally, with the last energy I had left to do it, I spat my blood and spit right at Undyne's feet, hoping she got the message of what I thought of her at this very moment.

“Like it fucking matters... pair of tits did... no wonders for this.” I spat out, or more garbled out as blood built up in my throat, making it hard to breathe, talk and impossible to swallow. The metallic taste only added to the pain in my throat, burning it. “Congrats... another murder to your list... hope you're happy.” I had to chuckle, even if it hurt. This was the last thing I was seeing, the last thing I will ever see. No sun, no bed, no comfort, no loved ones to even remember me, nothing at all. It was a horrible way to go. I was scared, but like I could show any of that to Undyne. I glanced at Sans, glanced to see Shadow struggling to his feet, whining and whimpering. I looked back to him, smiling slightly. “Do me... a favour. Keep... keep the bone muncher alive, for me?” Sans couldn't answer, he seemed almost frozen in time, his same horrified stare, staring at my soul. It couldn't be helped, I suppose. I tried my best, at least I kept the ones I cared about alive, even as I failed to keep myself alive.

But. Did it have to end this way? Give Undyne that satisfaction?

No.

I smirked at Undyne, I could feel my soul shudder, I was making my intentions clear. “Ha... you killed me... save your monster kind. You want to kill man-kind... up above... well, princess... I won't let you.” FRISK HP 0/90. As the final point five disappeared, as I choked on my own blood as I laughed at Undyne's pissed off face, I watched as her face turned from pissed off, to horrified as my soul shattered before us, breaking into a thousand pieces and I heard her horrified yell as I took what she needed away from her.

Then. Nothing. I died.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9 Therapy Session

 

“You can't give up, Frisk!”

 

I... I wasn't dead? I can hear someone talking to me. A booming, kind male voice was calling to me. I don't recognise it. I opened my eyes, at least, I think I did, but I see nothing. Darkness, for miles on miles on end. Nothing to see, nothing to hear other than my own terrified breathing. Breathing? Wasn't I dead? What was going on?

 

“You are the future for humans and monsters!” Really? The voice was all surrounding, the only thing I could hear in this darkness, the only thing that indicated that I wasn't dead. Sure, I was breathing, but I couldn't see anything. Was I blind? Was I stuck in a cave? What happened? Don't really want to remember, but Undyne killed me, I thought for sure... I can't have imagined the whole thing, it was entirely too detailed. But the pain was gone, and feeling my body I still had the bulletproof vest on and no giant hole of where I had been speared alive. This was freaking me out!

 

“Stay determined!” What did that even fucking mean!? I tried to speak, but no voice left my throat, it was like I was in some kind of void, devoid of light, sound, everything. Only this voice, booming at me to not give up and to do... something, lived here. What did it want? What was it talking about? Who was it? What was it?

 

Then, a bright light.

 

And there I was. Standing tall, feeling pretty pumped up, in Sans' bedroom. That moment where Sans told me about the Dog Patrol, what had happened that night when I got drunk, about the pan and apron that belonged to Beatrice. A few hours before I got speared to death by Undyne. Just... just what the fuck was going on!?

 

Of course, I freaked out. “Ooooh my God. Am I dead? I'm dead, so totally dead. Jesus, there's no way I'm not. Got speared to death. This is hell, knew I had a one way ticket.”

 

I paused when I heard soft laughter to the side of me. “wow pal, you look like you got speared.”

 

Sans. Standing right there, joking about the fact I died. This was hell. “Don't you fucking laugh at me! I knew you were going to hell as well, but did you have to join me?” I whined. Of course, a personal hell was nothing if you didn't have an annoying dick following you. But wait. I don't remember him dying. “How did you die? Dude, you ran away! Don't blame you, just, how?”

 

Sans looked blank for a moment, like he couldn't quite believe what I was saying. A moment. “wait. you don't know?”

 

This was getting more and more bizarre. I didn't like it, not one bit. “Don't know what?”

 

Sans seemed to snort, like he couldn't believe he heard what he had. When my facial expression didn't change, he seemed to face palm. “this can't be happening. i figure it out after years, and this is what i get.” I had no idea what was going on. I just died, I got killed by Undyne.

 

Shit! Undyne!

 

“Whatever! I got killed by Undyne! If we're in your house, in Snowdin, that means she can't be far away! Jesus, I gotta get out of here! Hide! Run away! Something! I can't fight that thing! I need a gun, damnit, this is why we officers should have guns! Shadow couldn't do jack shit against that armoured thing, bloody bollocks! I've got to-” I was cut off when Sans, who had been shaking, his palms covering his face the entire time I went off on a tangent, stopped me and grabbed my head. I thrashed, trying to get out of his grasp, not quite there, in fight or flight mode. I heard hushing, hush hush, and deep breathing. It was something to focus on, so I did, finding myself breathing that same rhythm, closing my eyes to hear better.

 

Several minutes later, I was calm. Felt pretty silly after that, that was completely out of character for me, to panic. What good would panicking do? I opened my eyes, only to see a couple of black holes with small white pupils staring at me. I couldn't see the back of his skull through those black holes, they were just that, black pits. Also, he was very close to my face, I could see all the lines where if he were a human, they'd be wrinkles or worry lines. They were very faint, but there. There were deep bags under his eyes, like real deep, hard to notice from a distance, like he hadn't slept in weeks. Now that I was seeing close up, paying attention, thinking more carefully and not entirely focusing on the children or myself... Sans didn't look good. What happened?

 

“hey, babe,” he spoke in a low voice, “keep staring at me like that and i'll give ya a bone. and not the type shadow likes.” He winked. And just like that, I stopped caring. Glaring at Sans, I took my hat off and pushed it into his face, to which he laughed at in response. He took the hat out of my hands and put it on his head, low on his head so he was peaking at me from under the tip. I refused to say that it was adorable, but it was, with that wide grin of his.

 

Just like that, my glare dissipated. “Goddamn, here I was worrying about those bags under your eyes and suddenly I tried to remember why I cared.”

 

Sans' facial expression didn't change, if anything his eyes closed, his head held high, pretty sure if he were a peacock he'd be throwing his tail wide open with pride, feathers proud and clean. “naw, baby girl, that's just my age showing.” He was a good liar, but the twitch in the corner of his eyes, now that I was close enough to gage his reaction, gave him away. Or maybe I was getting used to him? Before, he wasn't near as easy to read. Something had unsettled him, really ruffled his boney hide.

 

“Whatever you say, bone boy.” I sigh, taking a seat on his pretty unmade bed. Not sure how long it had been since he had washed the sheets, honestly I didn't want to know, but it was still more comfortable than the floor. I took a few more deep breaths. “Alright, cough it up. Since you seem to know all about it, what don't I know? Wasn't I dead? And hello? Undyne killed me!”

 

Sans, not taking the hat off, honestly I could say it suited him somewhat, sat beside me, putting his elbows on his knees and leaned forward, completely relaxed pose but I could feel the tension in the air. Anything but relaxed. “a'ight. sure. i can tell you all i know, but first, tell me this.” He turns to look at me, a serious expression on his face which was something I didn't see everyday. “why'd ya hide who ya are?”

 

Wow, he was that bothered by it? That also confirmed the fact that, no, dying to Undyne was not a dream, I remembered clear as day feeling the binders snap whilst I was wearing it under the damage from the spear. Probably broke some ribs when that happened, but since I was pretty buggered anyway I didn't notice. “What, the fact that I'm a woman? Didn't realise it was such a big deal.” I'll admit, I probably sounded pretty sulky. Bad day, okay? “Honestly, I never cared.” But I owned him an explanation, if he was going to explain things to me. “Back on the surface, yeah sure I'm an Inspector, but people judge others by the most insignificant of things. Quite a few just simply believe that females aren't as powerful as men and don't like it when a girl is higher than them. So, I took a lot of... comments, about my biology. I was having a pretty hard time of it, parents too far away to talk about it really, my friends have all moved on in life, so I decided to get rid of the problem.” I shrugged. “I posed as a guy, started acting like one, wearing a binder to hide the evident fact that I'm a woman and soon enough, they forgot I was a woman because I stopped acting like one and looking like one.”

 

“Then, I fell down, I pretty much had nothing else but what I'm wearing right now until my friend Tori found me. She took me in, healed me up from my fall and bought me new clothes.” I looked to the ground, trying to hide the small grin I had on my face remembering that day. “Only thing is, I must've been so good she totally had no idea, bought me a pair of boxers and men's clothes, I just didn't want to tell her. So, I just carried on. Then you came around, you clearly had no idea judging from your reaction. So uh... surprise?”

 

“surprise indeed.” Sans was smiling, or grinning, it was all the same on his face really. “your friend, tori... surely not toriel?”

 

I blinked. How did he know? I didn't remember mentioning her full name, had I? Maybe I forgot? “Yeah, Toriel. You know her?”

 

Sans looked to the side, he was going to tell me something I wasn't going to like, I can just tell. “well... her full name is toriel dreemurr, so...”

 

Wait. “Toriel Dreemurr.”

 

“yup.”

 

“Like... Asgore Dreemurr?”

 

“yup.”

 

“Sonuvabitch!” That answered a lot of questions. Toriel Dreemurr. Married to Asgore Dreemurr. Her hatred for him, knowing so much about how the family lived, the monster history, why she wouldn't leave the Ruins no matter how I tried to convince her. She was Asgore's wife! Or, ex wife, it seemed, by the way she reacted.

 

That made Toriel a queen. “Oh my God, I've sworn like a sailor, flirted a bit and the queen thinks I'm a dude. Jesus Christ, back where I'm from if I ever looked at the Queen funny I'd be arrested, or beaten or something!” I could see it, Queen Liz wouldn't take anything lying down. I did rather admire her for that, she took no nonsense and nobody ever looked down at her. Well, nobody should anyway.

 

“gee, you humans have weird customs. isn't a queen meant to help their people?”

 

That was just getting into stuff that would take way too long to explain and probably too complex or stupid right now. “You're steering away from what we're meant to be talking about. I've told you why I hid who I was from you, because apparently tits is just a massive issue with the men I hang around with. It's why I'm not so sure you guys should be gearing up to leave down here, it's not much better up there.”

 

Sans shrugged, he seemed to look like he already figured that. “yeah, I figured as much. try telling that to the other monsters though.”

 

“It's a lost cause, I know.” I turned fully to Sans then, focused on getting him to tell me. “Now, tell me what you know. Don't hold back, no pussy footing around, give it to me straight. What the hell happened with Undyne?”

 

He didn't move, for a good while and when he did, he sighed and suddenly he seemed to deflate. Just like that, the happy, confident and joking skeleton deflated, like he had the world on his shoulders. His grin turned into a grimace, his pupils seemed to dim slightly, the bags were much more prominent now. He looked awful. It was amazing how he was able to keep such a strong facade around me, around Papyrus, around the whole Underground. He had his fair share of problems, it seemed. More than just problems, maybe.

 

“okay, i'll try to explain best that i can, but you may get lost anyhow. i'll start from the top. er, you mind if we have a coffee first? that uh, last few minutes that happened we could probably do with one.” I couldn't exactly say no to him, he looked like he needed at least ten cups of the stuff. Handing me my hat, he lead the way downstairs and to the kitchen. Shockingly, it was nice, clean and pristine considering the stuff that Papyrus cooked. That was actually quite the feat, one I could do with back home. Sans filled the kettle up, getting the mugs and coffee ready. He asked if I wanted sugar or milk, but I refused, black coffee was probably needed for this story. He agreed, though put a teaspoon of sugar in his.

 

He cleared his throat, before he begun. “okay, a lot of this papyrus doesn't even know, so i appreciate it if you could keep it to yourself.” That was not a hard request to follow, I nodded. “my first job was actually a scientist, I used to work in the capital, paid well and I got along with everyone okay.”

 

“Wait, you were a scientist?” I found that hard to believe, he certainly didn't act like it.

 

Sans did seem to grin a little bit, but it fell as quickly as it came. He nodded. “sure. i worked with the royal scientist, the one before alphys, along with a few others. we were working on a way to break the barrier, as you could expect, but we found very interesting results. we long ago figured we could break the barrier with human souls, eight to be exact, but asgore wanted a way to break it without using human souls, if he could.” I didn't quite understand why Asgore wanted some research into that, unless the falling of humans was taking too long? That was all I could think of. “so we thought, maybe an artificial soul? the second child you mentioned going missing, dunno who they were, didn't ask, but asgore gave us that soul. it was a dark blue soul, a soul that represents integrity. they gave us an old tutu and ballet shoes, said the kid had been using them and counted as armour and weapons so got confiscated. tried as we might, though, we couldn't replicate the soul, a human soul is much, much stronger than a monster soul, one human soul is equivalent to 58,925 monster souls.” That blew my mind, to say that apparently my one soul was stronger than almost the entire population of monster kind. That, that just didn't quite click for me.

 

At that point, the kettle was boiled and Sans quickly made us a cup of coffee. Thank goodness, I really needed this. This story was already sending me into a twist, and Sans was trying his best to not appear a criminal. “so, we figure the only way to replicate a human soul was to combine the souls of 58,925 monsters. when we sent the report to asgore, he told us outright that it would be impossible and so that was dropped.” He took a sip of his coffee, leaning against the side of the cooker, trying to act cool, but he looked anything but as he continued his story. “we did some other research though, on the side, off grid. if uh, you get my drift?”

 

Oh, I understood perfectly. Off grid, basically an explanation that you were doing something local authorities knew nothing about. Translation, he didn't tell Asgore about this experiment.

 

“good. when we had the soul with us, we noticed something a little... off. Little moments, we kept a note of everything that happened, the size of the soul, its colour, weight, how bright it appeared colour spectrum wise as sometimes it would slightly change colour. we believe it was a mood indicator, the soul seemed perfectly aware of everything that was happening. it loved attention, i remember that much, kid probably loved being experimented on with all the attention it got, none of our tests were harmful in any way.” He was quick to reassure me of that. “one day, i came back to check on the soul, only to realise that i had already made note of the soul's condition. i don't remember doing it, but there it was my notes of having checked the soul ten minutes ago. or, actually, ten minutes in the future. immediately, i ran to the royal scientist and told him what happened, showed him my paper when we still had five minutes until the time recorded on the computer. that was when we looked into timelines and time travel.”

 

I'll admit, it took a lot of convincing myself to realise what Sans was implying. A kid, the second child he believed to have ever fallen down. William Prince, surely? Time travel? What, Marty McFly or something? Only, some things were not affected, apparently? I didn't get it.

 

Sans nodded his head. “yeah, i didn't get it either. so we looked into it, started recording a timeline with the soul, keeping a good eye out on anything that seemed different. a few things, actually, kept cropping up. we had to keep the soul happy, we knew the power that a human soul could have and none of us scientists were really fit for battle, so we kept the little guy happy. showed him some tv programs, though we didn't have much, played a few games together, gave it newspapers to read. we kept noticing that it would shift time around, so we would keep playing the same games, see the same tv channels, over and over. we only noticed as the computer recorded that the same tv show had been shown sixteen times before the kid got bored of it. the shifting of time was never longer than an hour, so i noticed, not long enough time to change anything. we didn't tell asgore any of this, we didn't want to freak him out over something that didn't seem that much of an issue without too much proof it could become an issue. so, we gave him back the soul when we were done and worked with what we had into researching time travel.”

 

“So... like Back to the Future?”

 

“what?”

 

Oh yeah. Monsters. “It's a human film, you'd probably love it, a professor and a kid go back in time in a car by driving 88 mph to try to prevent the professor from dying in the present time.”

 

“right.” Sans coughed. “so, with all the information we had, we got to work on creating a time machine. took us months, but we got it. only thing is, there was only one way to test it out, and so i volunteered.” He took a big swig out of his coffee cup, heating the kettle up again to have another one. I took a few swigs, knowing his next bit of information was not going to be pretty by the way he was reacting. “i... i don't quite remember what happened. one minute, i was in the machine, the next i came out and everything was gone. it was like an explosion went off, the machine had been destroyed from the outside, it was no longer working, but i didn't... feel anything. it felt like only a few seconds went by, but the last note on the computer that was still working was a year ago.” I couldn't imagine having to go through something like that. How do you even begin to process that? “i ran straight home, worried what had happened to pap, he was still a teen at this point. turns out, he had been staying with a family friend whilst i was presumed dead, along with all my colleagues and the royal scientist. disappeared without a trace, not even the notes explained where they had gone. they were just that. gone.” He poured himself another cup of coffee and wasted no time tipping it down in one gulp. That didn't burn his throat out? Well, I suppose he had no throat to burn out. Monsters. “that's how we came to live in snowdin, i took pap with me and left the capital, everyone was talking about what happened, asking me over and over what happened. got sick of it.” He shrugged, putting the kettle on, yet again. I was starting to get worried about his mental health at this point, as he spoke on about what happened. No wonder he looked like shit.

 

Silence.

 

“That... yeah, that all sounds awfully horrible, I'm not sure how you dealt with it so well.” I commented, feeling a little awkward and, honestly, awful for not being able to offer anything better. Let's be honest, my life was pretty easy compared to Sans' cluster fuck. “But, what does that have to do with what happened?”

 

Sans raised an eyebrow. “don'tcha gettit? you RESET. that's what we called it, a human with enough determination in their soul will refuse to die, fight for their life and even turn back time as if the whole event had never occurred. anything that had happened in that timeline before you reset is entirely forgotten by all, so undyne has no idea you are here.”

 

“Except you.” I noted. He had said everyone forgets, and yet he knew everything that had happened, was even more aware than I was. And, apparently, I had caused this? A RESET? A likely story. “You recall me getting stabbed by Undyne, being killed, you didn't seem too worried that I could've died in that encounter. Did you know that was going to happen?”

 

“honestly, no.” He answered, not seeming intimidated at all by my hostile tone. “undyne almost never visits grillby's, she must've been looking for me cuz I gave a poor excuse, sorry 'bout that.” He scratched the back of his head, seeming genuine about that statement. “but yeah, you RESET. you died and with your determination, you RESET the timeline and you must've SAVED here. i thought you would, the look in your eyes were definitely determined. it gets worse though.” Another cup of coffee is made. “i'm the only one, so far i've noticed, that remembers everything that has happened in a previous timeline, i'm aware of when a RESET happens, but i can't RESET myself. trust me, i've tried. when the RESETS started happening, i left back to my old place in the capital and brought the time machine back. it's in the garage actually right now, i still haven't fixed it, but i've tried. it just won't be fixed.”

 

“i've lost count how many RESETs have happened. they started soon as i was in snowdin. i thought this place was cursed, until i met you. well... not you, you. Kid you, kid frisk.” What? What was he talking about? He looked upset when I didn't reply right away. “you really don't remember anything, do you?”

 

What the fuck was he going on about? “There's nothing to remember, I don't know what you're talking about.” I growled out, not liking this one bit. Child me? Honestly, I had never been here before. I would've remembered something like this happening! Why would I forget this? Forget that monsters really existed? I could imagine child me would've loved it!

 

Sans sighed, an emotion I really couldn't place flitted over his face for a split second and was gone again instantly. “it seems like you did a HARD RESET, you completely forgot being here in a past life. okay.” He took a deep breath. “frisk, there's a reason i did this.” He gestured to the cuffs. “the moment you said you were inspector frisk, i thought for sure it was you, the frisk from before. we didn't end on nice terms before, so i had to keep an eye on ya. so, when i saw these, i thought it was perfect timing. after all, you're the one who keeps RESETTING this world, over and over, when you die or things just don't go your way. something must've happened, cuz the last time you reset, it was back at the start a few days before you fell. it happened so often i knew exactly when you'd fall. you didn't. i was left without a RESET for years, this is the first RESET in seventeen years. now I know for sure. It's you.”

 

That tone did not sit well with me. I backed away a little, taken by surprise by Sans' hostile tone that suddenly appeared. His facade, mask, dropped entirely, his eyes blacking out, those white pupils disappearing, his grin growing wide, wider than it should for a head that size and he tilted his head slightly to the right, giving him this horror look. Jesus fucking Christ, this guy would do well in a horror film. “what do you want? why are you doing this? why can't you leave this all alone? why are you back? first time not good enough for ya? when will you learn that pissing me off is not a good idea? if you're gonna die so often, why can't ya stay dead and not drag me in your stupid game?” Something flit across in the corner of my eyes, something white, blue, god I don't know. Whatever it was, it was gone. It creeped me the fuck out. The hairs on my arms stood on end, the back of my neck felt like I should be hissing like a cat, I didn't like it. “do I gotta make myself clear, freak? let me make myself clear;” his right eye appeared, staring at me, only... it was blue, a blue thick outline appearing around his normal white pupil, staring at me. “S T O P. I T.”

 

Oh no. No no no. I was not playing into his game. “Back the fuck off, pal.” Feeling the tension in the air, Shadow made his way into the room. He stared at Sans for a moment, before he began whimpering. What, whimpering? A genuine whimper of fear, coming from Shadow, the most courageous dog I have ever known, taking on guys twice my size easily and never complaining. Whimpering over Sans, of all monsters. He could look scary, but I had seen his stats, he even told me himself, he wasn't capable in battle, he had 1 HP. What good is 1 HP? “I don't know what you're talking about, I've never met you before! Knocking on the door, that was the first time I had ever spoken to you, maybe you got the wrong Frisk. Or someone gave a fake name, whatever, whoever it was, it wasn't me.”

 

For a long while, Sans remained the same, not moving, not even appearing to breathe. A few minutes pass, Shadow hid under the table nearby, watching nervously. I didn't call him to my side. Sans sighed, relaxed, his pupils were back to normal, he was sweating on his forehead. The tension, whatever it was in the room deflated, my fight or flight feeling disappearing with it. What the fuck was that? “sorry, kid. been a rough day.” I'll say! “but no. you are the same frisk, i can see it in your soul. you have the same hair, the same eyes, the same soul. you are frisk.” He smiled a sad smile. “we used to be best buds, you, pap and i would hang out in snowdin, we'd make snow angels, have snowball fights, you'd help me sell hotdogs when pap and i were working, you even made friends with undyne. those were the days.” He had this far away look in his eyes, remembering those past timelines it seemed, if that was even a thing, I still wasn't quite believing it myself. But there was no way I imagined Undyne stabbing me, what else could I believe but what Sans was telling me? “i remember you were quite the flirty kid, you'd get yourself into so much trouble. so uh... it took me off guard to see you all grown up.” He seemed nervous now. Especially nervous. “you look... good. yeah, good.”

 

I considered my options carefully. Sans had been through some tough shit, his mind probably wrecked to pieces, and I wasn't sure if all that he said was his imagination or if it actually happened. Should I go by his words? He really believed that everything had happened, and so far the RESET made sense, I had been killed by Undyne, I remember a voice talking to me, and suddenly I returned to a point where I remember feeling my most confident and, dare I say, determined to solve a problem. Was that SAVING? Maybe it was... one thing was for sure though.

 

I squared myself, Sans grew more nervous and started fidgeting, too preoccupied until it was too late. I full on punched him in the face. “Idiot!” It hurt my fist, but it was so worth it. He yelped in pain, clearly hadn't been expecting it and quickly grabbed his non-existent nose, just the hole where his nose would've been. He looked at me, surprised, completely taken aback. “Don't scare me like that ever again! I could have shot you, what would you do with your measly 1 HP!? Dumbass!”

 

His soul didn't take any damage from that punch, to be honest I think it hurt me a lot more than it hurt him. Worth it. He closed his eyes, rubbing his not-nose for a little bit before lowering his hands, smiling at me in a guilty fashion. “yeah, guess i was being a right numbskull, huh?”

 

For fuck sakes. “Dude, this here. This attitude. It's not healthy.” Somehow, I was irritated enough to grab his head when he attempted to look away from me. “No, listen here. Groundhog Day is awful, I'm sorry you're going through this, but you can't just bottle it all up like this. You can't keep degrading yourself! You just let Papyrus call you lazy, you don't correct him, poor Pap has no idea what you're going through. You can't let him keep doing this!”

 

He glared at me, full on glare. His eyebrow bone whatever curved downwards, clearly unhappy and his white pupils stared right at me again. “what does it matter? just gonna RESET again anyway, i've done it a hundred times, i've seen what happens when i tell pap. Didn't leave the house for weeks, cuz pap was crying any time i was nearby, he thought he could cry for me. it made it worse. whoever i talk to forgets the next timeline anyway, does fuck and all. what's the point?”

 

“i even spoke to you about it, young you, who didn't judge me for being lazy, no motivation, nothing. i thought for sure, the one thing RESETTING would be the best person to talk to. look at what happened! it doesn't fucking matter, nothing does. i tell you everything, then the next you're gone, i wake up in bed like it was all just a bad dream.”

 

That's when I realised the full scale of Sans' mental condition. It really was Groundhog Day, only it wasn't the same day just being repeated over and over, it was set days, weeks, months, who knew? From all that I was hearing from him, he had no control over it at all.

 

“seeing you again... i almost lost it. couldn't believe it, i just knew then and there I can't be away from you. you're RESETTING, there has to be a way to stop doing that! killing you doesn't stop it, there has to be something. what do you want? i'll do anything, really, anything, just stop RESETTING.”

 

Okay, I panicked at this point. You know a man is past his point when he begs, begs for something to stop. Stop what, I had no idea, I didn't know. I just... couldn't beat to see him do that to himself. I did the next best thing. I hugged him. Because of his size, he reached chest height, right onto my chest. It didn't really bother me, considering I still wearing my bullet proof vest and binder.

 

Shockingly, it worked. Sans stopped shaking as badly, though there was no helping that, his arms were still awkwardly to his side, like he wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I couldn't see his face, but I imagined his eye sockets to be wide and surprised.

 

“what... what're you doin'?”

 

Roll of the eyes. “What does it look like? You were freaking out, I was freaking out. Hugging... it just seemed like the best course of action, honestly.” I have a way with people, as you can see. Geez, I was a mess of a person.

 

Sans laughed, it was a rather quiet one, almost breathless. “you're unbelievable sometimes. you really haven't changed, you've just got this cold persona on the outside.” We didn't move for a little while, until Sans seemed to grow comfortable enough to put his arms around my waist. “thanks bud.”

 

We stood there, just taking everything that was said, shouted, thrown out in that moment. I tried desperately to grasp everything Sans told me, trying to wrap my head around RESETS, SAVING and the fact that apparently I had been here before. It would certainly answer as to why Sans was paying such close attention to me, for sure, but I couldn't believe it. I didn't remember a thing, yet this RESET I remembered everything crystal clear, wasn't even aware that I had RESET. Yet... why would Sans lie about that? He didn't seem... well, entirely insane. The way he spouted about the RESETS, his pain at having to remember everything, relive the days over and over, that he did speak to me about it but soon after it was all gone before he realised it. He also mentioned that last time, we had left on bad terms. What did he mean by that? I didn't want to ask him, not right now. Not when I was afraid a mention of it would hurt him even more than he was already hurt.

 

I have to say it... wow. I had to admire him. Who would've guessed, under that boney exterior, behind those grins, the jokes, pranks, the love of his brother, dedication for what he worked for... was a broken man? He hid those dark circles, his lumped position, his dark thoughts, probably not eating very much either with jokes. Why would you doubt a jokester? From the sounds of it, everything else he had tried, talking to someone about his problems, telling his brother, all of that didn't make a lick of difference. So he pushed it aside, tried to ignore it, push on regardless, hide his dark thoughts behind jokes and gags, probably spent most of his time at Grillby's, I'd be shocked if he didn't. It was amazing to see that Sans hadn't become more self destructive than he already was. People who went through a lot less problems than Sans was currently would dope themselves on cannabis, heroine, cocaine, anything else similar to get away from their problems of lack of money, a family issue, loss of job.

 

Sans was wrong. He wasn't a weak monster, despite his 1 HP, despite his 1 ATTACK, his 1 DEFENCE, he was still standing, after seeing the world stop, rewind, repeating over and over in an endless cycle. That would've sent anyone else insane, but Sans still stood and acted as a normal monster would, not telling anyone that he knew what they were going to say, knew what they were going to do, went through a predictable line of dialogue and actions. If anyone else were to be experiencing these RESETS, what would they do? If everything was going to RESET, nothing mattered, right? Who would care then if this or that went missing? Who would care if I did this and that, when they may not remember it tomorrow?

 

It was any wonder that Sans did what he did, instead of reacting like I would see a human would. Take advantage of the situation, somehow. If I was causing all of these RESETS, I could imagine plenty of people be gunning for me to cause a RESET to happen, to turn back time and pretend the last few minutes, hours, days had never happened. If they could remember after the RESET, that is. A thing it seemed that only Sans and I remember.

 

An awkward cough from Sans. Oh. Blushing slightly, I couldn't help it, I backed away, tilting my hat down hoping to cover up at least a bit of my face. Hope he can't read minds. “Ah yeah... sorry, was thinking.” That was my excuse.

 

Looking down, Sans seemed to perk up, or at least hide behind his facade again, as his eyebrows curved into a sultry look. “oh really? what about, babe?”

 

Remind me why I cared about this guy? “Actually, about the next plan of action.” He doesn't need an ego boost with that attitude.

 

Sans sobered up, as he pushed himself up and sitting onto the kitchen counter, he was actually face to face with me at this height. “with undyne in town, it might be better to lay low for a while. you still planning to get to asgore?” I nodded, there was no turning back. “a'ight. best way is through to hotland, we can make a pit stop at alphys' in the mean time and see if she can handle these cuffs.”

 

“But isn't Alphys hunting me down?” I had to ask, recalling what Undyne said. “She told Undyne about me, won't she kill me on sight?”

 

“naw. alphys couldn't hurt a froggit. besides, i know alphys, she'd probably throw me a bone if i ask a few favours.” He began swinging his feet back and forth, his feet were nowhere near the ground, reminding me of just how short he was. Shadow watched Sans' feet, intently, moving his head back and forth following the exact movements of Sans' right foot. “it's the best chance we got. we gotta get through her lab to get to the core as it is, that's the best way to sneak into the king's castle without going through the capital.” It made sense, I didn't like that we had to wait a day, but it made more sense than trying to force our way and having to go through Undyne, I couldn't go through another round with Undyne again.

 

Just then, Shadow stood on his feet, tail wagging and lunged forward, taking Sans' slipper in his jaws and pulling it off, then rushing off, up the stairs and into his room.

 

Well. His slipper was moving. It was pink.

 

Sans didn't even bother complaining about my dog taking his sleeper, he simply shrugged, though he still seemed rather shocked that Shadow had done that, and jumped off the counter. He head straight for the couch and laid down, taking almost the whole couch. Too bad he was too short. Resigned, I decided to join him, sitting down, looking at his pretty impressive flat screen television. Imagine watching films on that thing!

 

“we got mettaton, mettaton goes forth, mettaton and the killer robot, mettaton christmas special, mettaton christmas special ultimate edition, mettaton fables, cooking with mettaton, come dine with mettaton, improve your house with mettaton, help my mettaton has gone haywire, visiting hotland with mettaton, top capital tourist spots with mettaton-”

 

“Um. Anything not Mettaton?”

 

Sans seemed to smirk, like he knew my pain from hearing those titles. “nope. pap went a bit nuts on our last shopping trip.”

 

Of course. Good thing I had a healthy alternative. “Wait here, get comfy!” You have to love being able to download films and watch them later without needing the internet. Thank you, technology!

 

Only to be promptly pulled back because Sans didn't move and the cuffs were still there. I had forgotten about that, the whole being stabbed and the cuffs being cut from Dogamy's axe apparently technically didn't happen. This was just some Dr Who nonsense that my head was taking a while to grasp.

 

“Um. I need to go to your room. To get the thing I want to show you?"

 

Sans didn't move for a minute or two, before he sighed like I was hard work. "i suppose i'll have to stand up so you can find your thing." And he took an age to stand up, worse than an old man whom had back problems. Honestly, I was half tempted to just pick the damn guy up and go upstairs than watch this agonisingly slow sit up. I was so tempted to start yelling at him to hurry the fuck up, but I knew he was just looking to get a reaction out of me.

 

Finally, when he finally got his arse off the sofa, we took a hike up the stairs (Sans called it a hike), and into his room. I didn't ask about the rubbish tornado in the corner, apparently it just did its thing and kept the room clean.  I told Sans that that isn't how that worked, but he scoffed. When we finally got back into his room, I reached for my bag instantly, looking inside, pushing around the change of clothes I had, getting the PJs out and my tablet. We were going to have a good film night, I could feel it.

 

I was about to take my trousers off, undoing the belt that came with the uniform with all the gadgets I needed, when Sans coughed. Turning my head, I saw that Sans' face was all blue for some reason and he quickly looked away. "uh, warning maybe babe? don't remember asking for a strip tease."

 

Oh. "I'm just getting changed, Sans, you never seen a girl in underwear before?" I really wasn't all that bothered by being in just underwear around guys. I suppose in training to be a police officer and such, I just grew used to the fact that you don't really have too much privacy sometimes. Or maybe that was just because that was who I was, wasn't bothered in front of guys, more worried that girls would judge me more than a guy would. Plus, I was still wearing boxers, guy boxers, that are basically like shorts, there was nothing to see.

 

Sans reacted in a way I didn't expect when I said that, puffing his chest up, almost like he was offended. "of course i have. yeah. totally. who hasn't?"

 

Okay?

 

"If you're that bothered, you can turn around so you don't see." I told him simply, plainly. He didn't seem to react when I told him that, so I just rolled my eyes and turned around. I took off my trousers, letting them fall to the floor as I couldn't reach for them without dragging Sans down also, then attempted to take off my top. Ah. "This isn't working. Because I'm cuffed I can't take my jacket or shirt off."

 

Sans turned his head, looking at me. Apparently he had looked away. "oh. just keep wearing them then?"

 

"Well, I don't really have a choice but I'd like to get the binder off. That's what hides my... uh, I guess gender is the nicest word for it." I trailed off awkwardly. Had to ponder, if all female monsters did have breasts and whether they all looked the same. But thoughts of horrific alien like things stopped me in my tracks, not wanting to imagine something way worse than it actually was.

 

Sans seemed puzzled, until it clicked and a ding as a light bulb lit up comically somewhere. "ah uh, okay. why?" He genuinely seemed curious.

 

"Well, the binder works by compressing and tightening over my chest to hide my breasts, making them flat and feel tense like a man's chest. The problem is that it puts a lot of pressure on my back and chest and sometimes makes it harder to breathe, and without practise, it hurts to breathe when I lie down and worst case, could suffocate me. Worst case." I reiterated when Sans gave me a horrified look that I would subject myself to such a thing.

 

"why do you do that to yourself?" he asked, that all important question.

 

One that I never really felt entirely comfortable answering. "One day, I'll tell you. Not today, let's just forget this shit day and watch some Star Wars."

 

"star what?"

 

"Take this binder off. You need to see Star Wars."

 

We struggled through it for ten minutes, Sans feeling nervous that he was going to catch my skin with his bones or get a string caught in his bones, and me telling him to stop tightening because OH DEAR GOD that hurt when he does that! When my binder was finally free, I put my shirt and jacket back on, having to deal with being slightly overheated in the jacket before Sans could stare too much at my bare back. When I turned around, his eyes seem to widen. Or, his little white pupil eye things.

 

"wow uh okay. that's a, well, surprise. they're much..." he holds his hands up, like he were weighing two balls in his bangs, moving one up and the other down. I knew that implication. "yeah, that."

 

"Wow, thanks Sans. Great words of wisdom. Stop staring. Let's just go down and watch this stupid film."

 

Turns out, Sans was a nerd for space. He loved the idea of space, stars and planets in general. He couldn't believe it when I explained that people had been on the Moon and we sent out droids on Mars to record data. It was adorable and refreshing to know that Sans hadn't completely given up. He still had a love for something other than just his brother. Whilst Pap was an angel, living for one person was not healthy. I had to show Sans a planetarium one day.

 

We stayed, watching the entire trilogy (Star Wars 1-3 does not count) until we fell asleep, exhausted from the days events right on that couch.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10 Shopping is Hard

 

I woke up to the sound of Sans and Papyrus arguing. Well... I say arguing...

 

“SANS. YOU ARE INFLUENCING THE HUMAN IN AN AWFUL WAY. WHY IS THE HUMAN ASLEEP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY?”

 

“she told me sleep is the best cure for when humans are sick. i didn't argue. she knows more than me.”

 

“OH 'SHE'? WOWIE, SHE'S JUST LIKE UNDYNE!” Not what I wanted to hear in the morning. Afternoon. I'm still not entirely sure how the time of day works in the Underground and I had been living with Tori long enough.

 

“huh?” Sans genuinely seemed confused. Oh, I had to hear this. “what makes you say that, bro?”

 

“WELL. FROM WHAT UNDYNE AND ALPHYS SHOWED ME IN THEIR HUMAN HISTORY FILMS, A POLICE OFFICER BEATS UP THE BAD GUYS, SHOOTING THEM WITH GUNS AND CHASING THEM DOWN. THEY WOULD STAND IN FRONT OF OTHERS IN NEED TO PROTECT THEM, JUST LIKE UNDYNE WOULD. I CAN SEE FRISK AND UNDYNE BEING GREAT FRIENDS.”

 

Sans chuckled, he was close enough that I felt the vibrations on my side. He was pretty close, pretty comfortable. "maybe. but frisk is human, and undyne doesn't like humans. you remember that, pap?"

 

Papyrus hmm'd aloud to himself, I could imagine that he was purposefully giving the exaggerated look of him thinking, just because that was how Pap was. "YOU'RE RIGHT, SANS. I MUST CONVINCE UNDYNE HOW SHE IS WRONG. NOT ALL HUMANS ARE TERRIBLE, AFTER ALL, YOU SEEM TO BE FOND OF HER, BROTHER."

 

Sans spluttered, sounding rather surprised by what Papyrus had said. So was I, honestly! Honestly, after our last talk, it seemed like he wasn't too fond of me at all. From his perspective, I seemed to be ruining his life, causing RESETS, making him relive days over and over, without any pattern or reason that he could see. He sounded relieved that I was gone, by the way he put it, because then he could live a normal life, as normal as possible in the Underground anyway. If he wasn't, he should be. I couldn't imagine going through Groundhog Day, over and over. That hardly seemed like someone being fond of another.

 

"what makes you say that, bro?" Sans asked, sounding pretty cool and collected for what Papyrus had implied earlier.

 

Papyrus laughed "NYEH HEH HEH. YOU THINK I DON'T SEE IT? I KNOW YOU, BROTHER. YOU DON'T LIKE TO KEEP CLOSE COMPANY FOR A LONG TIME. EXCEPT FOR ME, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, BECAUSE I AM THE GREATEST, OF COURSE. BUT THIS FRISK, YOU DON'T FALL ASLEEP WHEN SHE TALKS, YOU HANG ON TO WHAT SHE SAYS AND VALUE HER WORDS. IT'S WEIRD." There was the sound of rattling bones, those horror films taught me well, before he continues. "YOU CANNOT JAPE THE GREAT PAPYRUS, BROTHER. CLEARLY, YOU CARE DEEPLY FOR THIS HUMAN. FEAR NOT! ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, I WILL PROTECT. JUST LIKE UNDYNE TAUGHT ME!"

 

There was silence, for a moment or two. I got worried that me faking sleeping had been discovered, when Sans spoke again. "thanks bro, you're the breast." As he said this, suddenly there was a poke, no more like a pinch, to my boobs and I shot up, still sitting but dragging the duvet up with me covering my chest. I screeched, my hair must've been a right mess, clothes ruffled and creased from sleeping on the settee, I must've resembled the wicked witch of the west or something.

 

"That hurt, you arsehole!" I spat out, and I wasn't lying, a month or so of hiding these except for when going to bed did that. Not to mention, Sans' fingers were not exactly cushioned, and the little bit of fabric from PJs I had packed away (Tori insisted) did not cushion them very well.

 

Papyrus gasped, seeming almost appalled. I thought for a moment because of my language, but he seemed to be... "SANS. YOU HAVE REACHED THE LEVEL OF TOUCHING WITHOUT PERMISSION. YOU TWO..." He put his hands to his face in a shocked manner, before a massive grin took over his face and he hugged his brother close. "HAVE REACHED BEST FRIEND LEVEL! OH, I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!" He then reached for me with his other arm closer to me, pulling me forcefully to his chest. He didn't cushion it, so I knocked tits first into his chest. And that hurt. I winced, Sans must've realised as his eyebrow bone raised, asking if I was okay. I just rolled my eyes, I didn't want to explain human anatomy to a male, let alone a monster. But...

 

Papyrus was pretty adorable. I wasn't sure we were best friends, Sans and I. We still barely knew each other, but people make friends really fast in certain environments, like school, right?  Maybe this was just one of those situations, or maybe just people clicked better and made friends quicker than others. I was usually pretty reserved, I didn't make friends too easily in recent memory, being androgynous people were never sure how to react when they initially met me.

 

Well, really, labels were just that. I enjoy Sans' company and wouldn't mind having him around, maybe even rather have him around rather than being alone. That is that.

 

We broke apart not long later, then began discussion of our plans. Or, rather, my plan, with the help of Sans. "So, what's the best way to get to Alphys? You said she's pretty much the only one who can break these safely, and I don't want to go visit Grillby's anytime soon."

 

Papyrus put his hands on his hips, almost glaring down at Sans (it was a weak glare at best) "I TOLD YOU THE HUMAN WOULDN'T LIKE GRILLBY'S, BUT YOU NEVER LISTENED TO ME!"

 

I had to laugh, adorable Papyrus. "It's not Sans' fault, he was only introducing me to his favourite place. It's what friends do."

 

Papyrus seemed to beam at his, his mouth slipping into what I assumed to be a wide smile. His eyes certainly squinted in a similar way to his brother, showing happiness. "OF COURSE. IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS. I'M JUST SO HAPPY YOU FINALLY FOUND A BEST FRIEND!" Papyrus was practically beaming, looking at his brother, looking so proud of him. And Sans just kept that grin of his that never truly seemed genuine and rubbed the back of his head, looking away, embarrassed.

 

"aw gee bro, it was all thanks to your advice." Sans says, he spoke it rather quietly, as if he were trying not to draw attention to himself. I noticed that, whenever it came to compliments, he shied away, uncomfortable almost with being given any compliments, but didn't bat an eye when he was scolded r told any negative things. I had to wonder what caused him to react in that way. Abuse victims were not that uncommon, in actuality it was even the most crimes we got a call about, domestic abuse on both sides. He was showing some signs but... then again, he had told me he was living Groundhog Day and it was apparently my fault, or at least I was causing them. Why I had been doing it myself, I wasn't too sure, having completely forgotten I had even been here before. I was still adjusting to that, the idea that time is repeating itself because I'm unhappy with the way things are. At least, that's what Sans seems to be making it out as.

 

Papyrus seemed to beam under the attention he got, entirely the opposite to Sans. "WELL, I AM THE GREAT PAPYRUS, AFTER ALL." His scarf seems to flutter in the air, dramatically, like some kind of super hero from a comic and he stood proud, chest thrown out in pride. I decided to amuse him and agree.

 

"sure are, bro. you're the best a brother can have." Sans' eyes reflected his feelings, his grin wide, it looked more real than his other grins he usually put on. He really did care for his brother, more than he was willing to show openly. I never had a sibling, so I didn't quite understand the relations between siblings, but the look Sans gave Papyrus and the one Papyrus had given in return showed what a true sibling bond was.

 

Papyrus then stood to attention suddenly, "ENOUGH TALKING. HUMAN, YOU SAID YOU NEEDED TO SEE ALPHYS? OF COURSE, I SHALL ACOMPANY YOU AS I AM TO VISIT UNDYNE SOON ANYWAY. MAYBE I CAN EVEN INTRODUCE YOU!"

 

"No!" I shouted, probably louder than I had meant to, as Papyrus looked at me with a puzzled expression. I coughed into my fist, trying to cover my mistake. "No, not yet. We're trying to surprise Undyne. Wouldn't she be amazed to see a human who works the same job as her only on the surface?" That was the quickest pack of lies I had ever thought up in my life, barring the time I had to lie to my mother last. I was pretty impressed.

 

"OH OF COURSE! WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA, HUMAN!" He took my hand, then proceeded to fist pump my closed, still fist. Right. "WE SHOULD WORK TOGETHER ON THIS. WHEN WE REACH WATERFALL, I SHALL DISTRACT UNDYNE BEFORE BRINGING HER TO ALPHYS. YOU AND SANS GO TO ALPHYS, MAYBE THEN WE CAN PUT AN END TO THIS."

 

What is he talking about? "Come again?"

 

Sans snickered, glancing at me from the corner of his eyes. "pap is trying to set up undyne and alphys together, since everyone but them realises they wanna bone each other. you remember the lesbians i mentioned before?"

 

Ah yes, I remember now. So, Undyne the psychopath wanted to have it on with Alphys the scientist? Interesting, but they do say opposites attract. But, I could use this to my advantage, it was perfect! I felt bad taking advantage of Papyrus at a time like this, but it seemed too good to pass up. "Sure, that sounds like a fantastic plan, Papyrus. I am a great believer in being true to yourself." I wasn't lying, but it did sound like it came from some cartoon film, I do admit. Best I was gonna do.

 

I thought I could almost hear a squeal from Papyrus, as his eyes almost looked like black diamonds as they were shining (how? HOW?) "OH THANK YOU HUMAN! YOU ARE ALMOST AS GREAT AS THE GREAT PAPYRUS. Almost." He seemed to look shifty for a moment, before walking up close to you and says in a normal voice next to your ear. "What's this, lesbian thing? Is it a friendship ritual?"

 

Um. "Well. It's... a girl thing. Only girls do it." Saved!

 

"OH. I UNDERSTAND NOW. JUST LIKE BONING IS MOSTLY A SKELETON THING. BUT UNDYNE IS SPECIAL."

 

I was not entirely sure Papyrus knew what boning meant. A glance to the side at Sans confirmed that no, he didn't know what boning meant. That grin of his was almost to his eye sockets, he had a hand in front of his mouth as if to hide himself giggling. Too bad his smile was way bigger than his mouth. His eye sockets were squinted, silently laughing. Wow, sometimes he surprised me by how childish he could be, considering what he had suffered. As much as he surprised me in showing me how broken he believed he was, he still had a reason to live. I sure hoped that nobody could act that well, pretending to be happy whilst their lives fell apart around them.

 

"Ah... of course, Papyrus." I coughed again into my fist, hoping to diffuse the awkward situation. "Anyway, here's the plan. You guys got a shop or something in this town? I don't remember much of it after you guys captured me."

 

"AH YES OF COURSE! HOW RUDE OF US!" Papyrus exclaims as he once again, stands to attention, posing in a heroic pose for dramatic effect. "I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SHALL GIVE YOU AN ENTIRE TOUR OF THE TOWN. SANS. YOU... oh." Papyrus pulled me forward, dragging me to the door and was probably about to tell Sans to hold the fort when he was dragged with me just behind. Oh yeah, we were still cuffed together. "... WELL. IT SEEMS WE ALL MUST GO. SHOPPING TRIP!" He seemed so excited to be going to the shops, like a child on Christmas. Or something.

 

That was when Papyrus opened the door and leaped out of the house. Dragging me and Sans behind him. I almost fell forward, struggling to keep up with Papyrus whilst Sans didn't attempt at all an fell, landing on his back and allowed himself to be dragged again.

 

"SANS. YOUR LEGS WILL FALL OFF IF YOU KEEP REFUSING TO WALK ANYWHERE."

 

"i can just put them back on again if they do that."

 

"EXCUSES. YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO CAPTURE ANOTHER HUMAN WITH AN ATTITUDE LIKE THAT."

 

"naw don't need 'nother one."

 

"UNDYNE WOULD BE SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU."

 

"i'll just joke back into her graces. you know how she fishes for compliments."

 

"OH MY GOD NO. NO PUNS."

 

"she'll suddenly feel gill-ty for yelling at me."

 

"NONE OF THIS NONSENSE."

 

"i wonder, on a scale of 1-10, how gill-ty she'll feel when she finishes."

 

"THE HUMAN DOESN'T NEED TO ENDURE ANY OF THIS HORROR."

 

"but we're, like, best chums. ami'right?"

 

Papyrus continued to screech inane words, I wasn't sure what made up swear words he had, but he sounded pretty irritated. Sans was pretty impressive of coming up with puns on the fly like that, far more skilled than I ever will be. Humour, that was quite the defence mechanism. Or, maybe this was his way of spending time with Papyrus? Either or could be true. Arriving at the shop, we discovered it wasn't very big and there was a bunny woman at the till. Seriously, an anthropomorphic rabbit, with big ears and noticeable lipstick on. She glanced at the ground, frowning, as we entered. "Is your dog well trained?"

 

Oh yeah, Shadow. Being with other people like this and not being on duty, or doing badly at my job, I seem to struggle to pay as much attention to Shadow as I should. I feel bad. Maybe I should get him more treats, as an apology.

 

A look in a direction reminded me of my current state of undress, that I needed a bra, badly. At least if I wasn't going to use my binder. It would be easier to just have a bra if nobody cared. As I walked up, I paled. What. The fuck are those? Hammocks for dogs? They were huge! I could fit a Jack Russell in each cup! The rabbit monster must've laughed, seeing my expression at seeing such huge bras.

 

"Yep, you're definitely from The Capital! I heard the larger monsters had to evacuate out of The Capital and further into the cave because of the lack of space there. Is that true?"

 

I wasn't sure, no idea what the real name of the capital was, but it sure reminded me of the well known problems other countries on the surface had. So I smiled sadly and explained; "Yeah, unfortunately. It's tough to find a job and good home in the capital these days. It's why monsters are leaving there slowly but surely."

 

Sans seemed rather surprised by my powers of bullshitting on the spot, but the only clue he gave me that he was surprised was a slight lift of the bone brow. Shadow, on the other hand, seemed very interested in the bunny monster. I paled, hoping he didn't find similarities with the rabbits he chased back home and this monster who owned the shop. I really didn't need to be banned already.

 

"Aww, well you probably won't have much better luck here, I'm afraid darling!" The bunny monster smiled, but it seemed more morose than anything. "Not unless you want to work with the Royal Guard. Speaking of, how is that going Papyrus?"

 

"IT IS GOING, GLORIA. THANK YOU FOR ASKING." He was still shouting, but at least Papyrus was using his manners. "I PLAN TO SURPRISE UNDYNE TODAY, BUT SHH IT'S A SECRET." I'm not sure Papyrus knew what a secret was either. Now I'm suddenly nervous. Was Papyrus at all capable of keeping quiet? Sans nudges my shoulder slightly, turning my head I see him looking at me. His grin was smaller, but still a grin, and he gave me a wink. I wasn't sure what he was telling me. Monsters and their lack of expression.

 

Papyrus and Gloria continue talking, whilst Sans tugs on the cuffs a little and heads in a direction. I knew that that not so subtle message meant he wanted me to follow him. Of course, he goes straight to the seasoning bay and immediately grabbed a few bottles of ketchup in his arms. He then looked at me, like a dog so proud of his catch. I had to roll my eyes. He was trying to be adorable. "You realise we survive on more than just ketchup, right? We need something other than ketchup."

 

He just kept looking at me, like he wasn't at all bothered. "i'm just picking up my meal for the journey. this is mine."

 

"Do all skeletons survive like a student or is it just you?"

 

"nah, i'm a special case, babe."

 

"'Special case', indeed."

 

"ouch. i feel like there's an insult there somewhere."

 

I didn't want to educate on Sans about making jokes of people less fortunate than us, when you work with people constantly throwing insults at you, you tend to grow a dark humour. It was the best way of coping with the problem. "Let's just say I don't have the best coping mechanism."

 

Shadow began barking. He didn't sound like he had gotten to the dog food section, so I walked over to where he was barking, Sans following close behind holding the bottles of ketchup close to his ribcage. He was still in the clothing section where I had been earlier, though he had gone further in the back of the store. He held something in his mouth, it looked like a glove, a pink leather glove, one that looked really expensive, clearly made for a humanoid creature. There was a tag hanging off of it showing the glove cost 50g. I didn't understand why Shadow was showing this to me.

 

"Shadow, you know you're not supposed to pick things up randomly." I told him, taking the glove from his mouth. Luckily, the glove hadn't been damaged at all in his jaws and he hadn't slobbered all over it either. Though, I noticed that there was a mark on the inside of the glove. Writing. In pen. A name, a name I recognised.

 

Trevor Baker.

 

It took a moment, but I knew I recognised the surname. Trevor Baker. Like Allan Baker. The fifth missing child. +5 Attack said the floating text just beside the glove as I looked at it long enough. I blinked. The text was still there.

 

"that's a weapon." I jolted slightly as Sans came right beside me to take a gander at what I was staring at. "don't recognise it, none of the royal guard use that anyway."

 

"No, take a look there." I turned the glove so the name written in ink was shown to him.

 

"trevor baker? he a baker or something?"

 

"That's a human name. One of the missing children who fell down here was called Allan Baker, he ran to the mountain trying to find his friends who got lost here too, stole a glove from his dad and was never seen again. Tori said the children all passed the Ruins, so they must've gone through Snowdin. Allan Baker must've died nearby Snowdin somehow if his glove made it here."

 

Sans seemed to tense, I only noticed because the cuffs seemed to become more taut and I saw him back away the slightest bit. "that's a human weapon?" he asked. Turning my head, he seemed to be grinning still, but there was a strain to his lips. By lips, I meant the bone material that seemed to react similarly to flesh, but honestly I had no idea what it felt like.

 

"Back on the surface? No, honestly." I told him the truth and his eye sockets widened slightly in surprise. "This honestly is a fashion item. I don't really know much about fashion though. It's just meant to look good, but you'd never catch me wearing this." Papyrus and Gloria were no longer talking when I turned around, so I took the opportunity to ask her; "where did this glove come from?"

 

Gloria looked towards me, a thoughtful look on her face. "Ah yes! It was found with that Manly Bandana." She points towards a bandana that was nearby hanging on the racking, also for 50g with wavy lines drawn on with black felt tip pen. "It has abs drawn on it. I found it in the forest when I was gathering wood, just in the snow with a single glove. I'm sure it has a glove to go with it but I never found it. Nobody seems to have lost it, so I decided to put it on sale until someone claims it. I saw the name, Trevor Baker, but I don't know anyone by that name. It's a strange name." She shrugged her shoulders. "Do you know who this belongs to then? You seem to recognise it."

 

Well. What else was I going to say? "Yeah, I know Trevor Baker, they have a kid Allan Baker. I haven't seen them in a while though, just so busy in the capital you see!" I could feel Sans looking at me, but I didn't give in, I didn't look back. I didn't want to see his expression, telling this lie. "They'll be so glad I've found them. Maybe even give me an excuse to see them again."

 

Gloria put on a sweet smile. That kind of smile women put on when they are going to tell me bad news, but are trying to sugar coat it. "Ah, of course. But, since it has been such a long time, I can only sell it to you. For 50g for both, half price, especially for you!"

 

Well. The Sterling was bloody useless here and I had no gold, only moths in my wallet. So, I glanced to Sans.

 

"what. no, i'm already buying the food."

 

"C'mon, Sansy, just a few gold."

 

"i'm not rolling in dough, ya know. for the baker stuff." That was probably his worse yet.

 

"I'll pay you back, honestly."

 

"i'm letting you stay in my house too. you're already racking up on your debt."

 

"Fine, since I probably won't be able to get any gold for a while, how about some favours then? Favours for the glove and bandana?"

 

Sans raises an eye brow, putting a hand under where his chin would be, like he was thinking hard. "you sure? any favour i ask?"

 

He didn't sound flirtatious, but I could only imagine what kind of favours he was imagining. "Yeah sure, anything that is within my power, so don't go asking for anything impossible."

 

Sans stood a little taller, closing his eyes in a wide smile. "no problem. i'll keep it in mind. sure. i'll get you the glove and bandana, and i'll come up with a favour later." He held out his hand to shake the deal, to which I did. His hand was rough, like I expected bone to feel, but he was surprisingly warm and not dead (ha!) cold like I had expected him to feel. There was no heartbeat, that didn't surprise me, but there was a faint thrumming, almost like an engine running. Despite there being no pulse, he still felt very alive, unlike all those films and video games that always portrayed them as stiff and undead. Wow. I was learning a lot about Sans today.

 

However, getting this glove, although I didn't know where Allan Baker had died, or how, I knew at least that he had fallen down here for sure, and he probably died nearby. How Shadow sniffed this out as human was beyond me, perhaps he had been learning slightly from the sniffer dogs? Yeah, that was a dream. I'd never be able to utilise that when I need it, only at random when Shadow felt like it, I assumed. Though, this gave me a bit of hope, reminding me what I'm here for. Maybe at least some closure for the parents as well. Here's hoping!

 

With that deal sorted, I pulled Sans back into finding a suitable bra for myself, so at least it made me feel more dignified. That and I could imagine all the sexual innuendos that Sans would be telling me if I didn't sort it out. There was only so much I could deal before I would freak.

 

With that sorted, I moved onto picking up some food. We wouldn't have a kettle, or water, so I grabbed enough water for the desert. I was going to pick some for Sans and Papyrus as well, but Sans assured me that skeletons didn't feel the temperature 'cuz the cold goes right through us'. I'd heard that one enough to tell him he needed to try harder.

 

It was then that I noticed Papyrus putting his phone away. I had just picked up bread, ham, mayonnaise, peanut butter and other food that goes well in a sandwich when I turned around and saw it. At first, I didn't think anything of it, just politely asking; "Hey, Pap, who're ya texting?"

 

Papyrus got excited, mouth moving up in a smile. "UNDYNE WAS ASKING WHY I WASN'T AT MY POST, AS SHE WAS JUST SCOUTING OUTSIDE WATERFALL. I JUST SENT A TEXT BACK TELLING HER I WAS SHOPPING WITH SANS AS WE WERE GOING ON AN ADVENTURE." Um.

 

"Didn't you say Sans was a lazybones and barely makes it to work half the time?"

 

"UNLESS I YELL AT HIM TO WAKE UP. HMPH. HE'D NEVER MAKE IT TO WORK WITHOUT MY WAKE UP CALL." That's what I was worried about.

 

"Won't Undyne find that a little... weird?"

 

"NO PROBLEM, HUMAN." Yeesh! This is not what I need! I flinched like a scared cat when Papyrus yelled, and I could hear Gloria gasp behind. "SEE, THE GREAT PAPYRUS DOESN'T LIKE TO LIE TO FRIENDS. SO, ALL I DID WAS TELL THE TRUTH BUT LEAVE SOME FACTS OUT. THAT WAY, I DIDN'T LIE AND I PLEASE BOTH FRIENDS! MAKING FRIENDS IS EASY." I was pretty sure that that wasn't how it worked. It was nice to dream though, and I would feel like the devil himself if I tried to trash on Pap's dream.

 

But, right now, I was feeling pretty pissed that he had shouted my identity like that.

 

Sans laughed, however. Laughed! What a dickhead. "yeah, friends are easy to make, right human?" he said it so plainly, but his words strained on the word human. Not like he was disgusted with it, but like he was pushing it forward.

 

"Stop calling me that!" I was panicking inside. So much for a bunch of brothers trying to keep my cover low!

 

Sans laughed again, looking to Gloria as she looked more confused than ever before. "just messin' with ya. see, cuz frisk here looks human she gets so flustered and angry whenever we call her that. she's too big to be human though, but i can't help it." Sans may very well be my hero. He was better at bullshitting on the spot than I was, and that grin on his face made it hard to question him on whether it was true or not.

 

Gloria seemed to take what Sans said as true, as she laughed along with him. "Sans, you shouldn't tease the poor girl like that." She then looks to me with a smile. "I hope those boys are treating you well. They've certainly made the town a lot more interesting since they moved in a few years ago."

 

Shadow then began growling, his ears perking up slightly and twitching. He sniffed a few times, before he began barking at the door. Gloria didn't appear amused by that, though she didn't seem too annoyed either, merely asking kindly if I could calm him down. I trusted Shadow to know that he didn't just bark because he felt like it, however. Someone Shadow didn't like the smell of was arriving. I stared at the entrance, I felt Sans tense beside me. The only one that seemed otherwise oblivious was Papyrus who had found pasta nearby and was talking about the ways in which he would cook the pasta whilst in Waterfall and Hotland.

 

Nothing happened. For a minute or two. Shadow was still barking and snarling. Sensing the tension, Gloria didn't say a word, just as worried as the rest of us. It felt like a confrontation was going to happen.

 

Suddenly, something broke through the window behind me, the window I hadn't been paying attention to as Shadow was glaring at the door in front. I turned quickly, taken completely by surprise as a spear stabbed right through my chest once again. It didn't hurt any less this time than the last. FRISK HP 30/90. Shit! I coughed up blood, spitting it out and blinked several times to see Undyne standing before me in her full armour. I hadn't fallen over this time, still stood up purely by Undyne's strength keeping me up. Her yellow eye was staring at me, full hate in that gaze.

 

"You may have them all fooled, but I know better, human!" I think is what she said, there was a ringing in my ears making it hard to hear and I was sure Papyrus was screeching, Gloria shouting and Sans... I'm not sure. "Best to be rid of you before you poison anyone else!" I'll admit, I closed my eyes. I didn't want to face death just like that, when I saw her materialise another spear ready to finish me off. Closing my eyes, I didn't want to give her the satisfaction, I prepared for the inevitable blow to kill me.

 

...

 

Then I woke up.

 

I was standing in the shop still, looking at the glove. The window to the side hadn't been broken through by Undyne. Sans was still at my side holding bottles of ketchup. Paranoid, my fight or flight still flowing through my instincts, I looked out the window quickly. Nothing.

 

But the reflection was...

 

Over my shoulder, there stood a black figure, like my shadow had dethatched itself and hovered over my shoulder, with two blood red gleaming eyes staring right at me. Quickly turning around to face my attacker, I gasped in surprise when there was nothing. Just the shop door that was closed. Turning back to the window, it was gone. What was...?

 

"FRISK?" Papyrus put a hand on my shoulder, I shrieked slightly and turned around to look at him, sure that my eyes were wide woe frightened eyes. "ARE... ARE YOU OKAY? YOU ARE CHANGING COLOURS."

 

It took me a good few seconds to realise what he was saying and to stop thinking changing colour like a chameleon. I must've looked like a ghost, but that was something else new, that monsters do not typically change slight skin colour when angry, sick, or scared.

"Yeah... yeah just... um, would you excuse me, for a moment?" I put up my index finger as a sign to wait, then proceeded to walk slowly to the door. I had forgotten that Sans had been cuffed to me, until I went around the building, gave a huge sigh that almost sounded like a sob and collapsed to the ground. Shadow followed close to my side the entire time, realising something was wrong and sat beside me, rubbing his nuzzle to my side, doing his best to cheer me up. This was how it always was, if I grew upset or the pressure grew too much for me, Shadow would always be there for me, like a giant teddy bear, for me to hug and comfort me without judging me. He didn't give a shit if I looked like crap, a zombie or witch, if I made his fur wet, he didn't care. He loved me, as I loved him, as family. He didn't understand a word I say ever, but that felt better sometimes that he didn't understand what I was saying. I didn't want him judging me for feeling stupid that I was getting upset over nothing.

 

I didn't feel stupid about this. Twice, I had died twice. I had just been killed by Undyne again, so quickly and so suddenly, then blinked back in time as if the whole thing had never happened. Neither Papyrus nor Gloria even knew what had happened, had no idea that, if nothing changed, in an hour Undyne would stab me through the chest and murder me right there without hesitation in front of civilians. Jesus. She hated me that much, that she wouldn't spare Gloria the brutality of seeing a human speared through the chest and blood spilt.

 

God, I can still smell it. Taste it. I could throw up. But I don't.

 

Scrunching noises in the snow. Someone was here. I tensed up, hiding my face in Shadow's fur, but the fact that he was not growling meant it was a friend. Peaking up from his fur, my eyes surely red and looking like a mess, I saw Sans moving to sit on the floor right beside me and Shadow, on Shadow's side. He didn't say anything for a while, just sat there, looking out in the distance, then looking down at the floor, tugging at his parka at the arms. I felt bad for him, honestly. He didn't seem like the type of guy who knew how to comfort another, he was already a broken man, it must've hurt to see someone else break in front of them. I'd apologise, but my throat hurt from sobbing too much, plus I'd sound like a toad if I tried.

 

Sans brought out a mobile phone, it wasn't his. "took papyrus' phone whilst he wasn't looking. figured we can't have that happen again." Wouldn't lie, that was somewhat sweet, in an insane way. I was very thankful that he did such a thing, even if it wasn't much, but that was how Undyne must've known I was there. "undyne has texted pap, asking where he is. pap doesn't have many friends, he's always wanted to make friends with everyone. he doesn't know what happens to the humans who fall here or their souls. but he knows that undyne doesn't like humans. she did get trained by asgore, so guess i can see why she hates humans."

 

We sat silently, for a moment or two.

 

"What about you? Or am I just a special case?" Sans' eyes seem to strain, taking a peak at me through the corner of his eye. "Look, I know you don't like me, the RESETS, living years of your life that never mattered and disappeared suddenly. I didn't make that RESET happen. One minute I was in pain, stabbed and dying and then the next I blinked and was suddenly looking at the glove like that whole event never happened. It's... it's so fucked up." I rested my chin on Shadow's shoulder. His tail wagged, whacking Sans slightly on his arm and face. He flinched away, I couldn't help but smile a little bit, but it didn't help. Not really. "I don't blame you if you do hate me, I'd probably wish the person who caused Groundhog Day on myself to disappear from my life."

 

"ouch. you uh... you make me sound like a dick like that." Sans' face did genuinely seem upset. He actually showed emotion, he looked... distraught. Yet, sympathetic. "is... is it bad, that i'm glad that happened?" I was about to say something, but he stopped. "no, no, listen. i'm not happy it is happening to you, all this awful shit. i guess this is selfish of me, but i feel glad that i'm not suffering through this alone. this repeating madness and not knowing where you are for a moment, or what happened. and yet, remember everything. it's harder trying to pretend everything is okay. guess it's nice sometimes to not pretend." his eye sockets went downcast, almost like a cartoon character showing sad emotion with their eyes. His grin was still in place, like it didn't know how to show any other emotion other than grinning.

 

I smiled sadly, I didn't blame him. "Don't worry, us humans get that too, it's rather normal. That's just the feeling of wanting to belong. Besides, being on the police force, I've seen a lot worse. Reading the newspaper; oh that's a paper that shows the news what has been happening locally and around the world, adverts and puzzles, you hear about some awful stuff. I've talked to a few other officers in the nearby cities, it's a lot worse there it seems. I assume you get nasty monsters too, right?"

 

"well, yeah." Sans seems thoughtful for a moment. "undyne may be an example to you. but, she isn't bad. should warn you, the kids here in snowdin love her, she's great with kids and she's pap's best friend too."

 

"That's relatable." I said, plainly, but I sniffed a few times and rubbed my nose on my sleeve. Sans didn't seem to care. "A lot of hate attacks and racist comments we get are actually from loving fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers. It doesn't matter. Anyone is capable of it, we literally don't judge anymore."

 

"yeah." Again, silence. "sorry. i'm not good at this."

 

I smiled and looked up at him from Shadow's fur. "Don't worry, it helped."

 

Silence. "so. we buying this or are we gonna make a run for it? cuz i'm not one for running." It wasn't until he mentioned it that I realised he was still carrying the bottles of ketchup in his arms.

 

I then realised as well that I had walked out with the gloves and manly bandana. "Oh my God, I've made a right tit out of myself. She probably thinks I've just run off with the merchandise."

 

Sans chuckled. "naw, even if you did, she knows where i live, she'd just raid my house. cuz, yeah, everybody knows me 'round here."

 

"Well, aren't you the popular one?"

 

Sans seemed to smirk, grinning at me and his eye sockets raising in a flirtatious fashion. I almost forgot he loved to tease like that for a moment. "yup, gotta fight for my affection, babe."

 

I had to smile, glad to know he hadn't changed and that this was just him. Or, at least, this was just how he was going to act with me. "I'm sure I'll cope fine. You just keep dreaming." Taking a deep breath, I stood up, feeling better about the situation, even if it was awkward. It felt like we both had so much to say, but just couldn't say it. Like Sans was itching to do something, but decided against it, and then there was me trying my best to not look weak and pathetic in front of him. Man, we were a pair. "Thank you, I know you didn't have a choice, being cuffed to me and all. But just having someone listening to be moan and cry made a difference. Even if they are a bucket of bones."

 

Sans made to grasp where his heart would be was he a real person, with a real heart. "you wound me. what would papyrus think?"

 

Chuckling, I ran my hand on his bald skull, like I was ruffling his hair if he had any. "I'm only teasing. You're a sweetie really, and you don't hear someone calling a skeleton cute every day."

 

Sans' face began to glow slightly blue, and he quickly stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking away bashfully whilst the grin stayed in place. "you flatter me, babe. though... do i get a reward or something for being a good listener, despite having no ears?"

 

Wow was that... was that blue light blushing? They were on his cheeks and his reaction immediately seemed shy and slightly unfocused. Wow, Sans was losing his cool, who would have thought! That gave me an idea, to see how much worse it could get. Smiling, I leaned forward and gave him a kiss on his forehead, giving a wink for good measure. There it was! Almost his entire skull became a sea blue colour of embarrassment. He ducked his head down, trying to hide it into his parka, hoping the fur lining his hood would hide his face and the fact that he was changing colour. That. That's adorable. Also a little bit hilarious. "How is that for a reward?" I asked, to which Sans grumbled something behind his parka. I didn't hear it, but I could assume it was referring to the kiss earlier, causing me to giggle.

 

"Alright, c'mon bonehead, we've spent long enough in here. Better pay for those groceries and grab some more food before Papyrus is worried and thinks we've ditched him." Before Sans had a chance to react, I grabbed onto his arm that was cuffed to mine and pulled him towards the shop again. I whistled for Shadow to follow close behind, and he did so with a wag of his tail.

 

"WOW SANS, FRISK, I THOUGHT SOMETHING HORRIBLE HAD HAPPENED. FEAR NOT, IN YOUR ABSENCE I TOOK THE LIBERTY OF GETTING ALL OF THE GROCERIES WE NEED FOR OUR PICNIC ADVENTURE!" Said groceries he got was spaghetti, pasta shells, twirly pasta, mince, glitter, a block of cheese, tomatoes and a metal pan. Ah. I don't think I had it in me to argue about how to cook pasta on the go whilst in Waterfall and Hotland.

 

Sans didn't seem to either, as he just shrugged his shoulders, bringing his head out sheepishly and bringing out his wallet. 300gp, I wasn't sure how much that was translated to sterling, but it sounded like a lot. Then again, yen wasn't really worth much either. With those groceries paid and the glove and bandana also bought, we were set for our journey to Waterfall.

 

"THIS IS GOING TO BE GREAT! I CAN FEEL IT IN MY BONES!" Papyrus was like a kid on Christmas, skipping and bouncing around. "YOU MAY EVEN SAY, I FEEL HEATED FOR OUR TRIP TO HOTLAND."

 

Wait. "Did you just make a pun?" I blinked, looking at Papyrus.

 

He stopped, then turned to look at me. "I HANG AROUND MY BROTHER TOO MUCH." Was his excuse as he quickly tried to cover up the fact he made a pun, Sans having a huge grin on his face as we set off for our adventure to Hotland to meet Doctor Alphys. With the hope that I didn't have to run into Undyne again.

 

Or, maybe I hoped. Maybe Undyne knew something about Allan Baker's death.

 

After all, how did they get his soul, if he died due to natural causes and his bandana and single glove was left behind? Where was the other glove? And who took his soul? I certainly would love to have a word with Undyne, maybe catch her by surprise at her house. These are all ideas I could ask Sans' assistance on. Well, once we were not cuffed together anymore, that is.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 What Is This Devilry?

 

It took five minutes of leaving Snowdin before we ran into one of Sans' sentry stations. His eyes seem to light up as he makes his way there.

 

"BROTHER, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE DAWDLING." Papyrus seems to chastise his brother, waving his arms around. I don't think he was capable of reacting in a calm way. He was quite like a child, in that way, then the whole not understanding flirting... how old was Papyrus? He seemed an adult to me... but what did I know about monsters? I was dragged along with Sans towards the sentry station, wondering what he wanted. He was carrying the bag of belongings, all the food items anyway, I had changed into my new bra taking a detour to their house to do so and put the binder away in my bag. I had a feeling the binder would hinder my progress, I was still twitchy from Undyne's attack, both of the attacks. I was afraid she would leap from the shadows like a tiger and slaughter me.

 

Sans ducks his head under the desk of his, stretching out his hand and smiles wide when his arm comes back with- "Oh for fuck sakes, Sans. You already have like three bottles of the stuff." More ketchup.

 

"HUMAN. THIS LANGUAGE." Papyrus seem to stiffen.

 

Oh.

 

"Sorry Paps," I apologised, not realising that the skeleton was actually sensitive to curse words. "I didn't think, used to the bad guys we arrest screaming swear words all the time."

 

"YOU ARE A LOT LIKE UNDYNE, I CAN SEE YOU BEING BEST FRIENDS!" His eyes seem to sparkle, as he puts his hands on his would be cheeks, as if like an embarrassed teenage girl. At least, that was the best description I could think of. "OH TO THINK. IF SANS' BEST FRIEND AND MY BEST FRIENDS WERE ALSO BEST FRIENDS. WE COULD BE ONE BIG BEST FRIEND CIRCLE!" Then sparkles just seem to go off nearby him, creating this almost magnificent look to him. It was... yeah, I'm not sure what to think. I was almost waiting for spotlights to flash onto this moment and for him to suddenly break into song and dance. Can you tell I wasn't a musical fan?

 

"Right... yeah, sure Paps, maybe if I wasn't a human that'd be ideal." I had to break his little heart, but his racist best friend wasn't just going to get over the fact that I was biologically a human being. It seemed she wasn't going to be faked out of me not being a human like all the other monsters.

 

Papyrus seem to flatten slightly, then suddenly eye sparkles again, like I hadn't said a thing. "THEN WE JUST NEED TO SHOW HER HOW AWESOME YOU ARE. JUST LIKE THE GREAT PAPYRUS! AND WE CAN SHOW HER YOU ARE BEST FRIENDS WITH SANS, AFTER ALL, YOU DID LET US CAPTURE YOU." I wasn't quite sure that that was what happened, but I felt bad for the poor guy, so I didn't argue. "YOU ALSO HAVE A DOG. US SKELETONS HAVE A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH DOGS, BEING MADE OF THEIR FAVOURITE THING, OF COURSE."

 

"Uh, yeah, sorry, the first meeting I had with Sans was my dog trying to eat him." Oh God, I still remember it to this day. "This isn't exactly describing me as not a horrible person."

 

"DO NOT FRET, HUMAN!" Oh my God please stop shouting that. "WE WILL PROTECT YOU SHOULD UNDYNE SURFACE," he pauses when Sans seems to snicker a little. He ignores his brother and carries on; "AND WE WILL GIVE YOU TIME TO SHOW HER HOW GREAT YOU TRULY ARE. SECOND ONLY TO MYSELF, OF COURSE."

 

"yeah, don't worry, chum. you just need to throw the bait, get fishing for compliments  and it'll be orca-y."

 

"OH MY GOD, SANS, NO. WE DON'T NEED THIS."

 

"but it'll all go so swimmingly."

 

"WHY MUST YOU TORTURE US WITH THESE AWFUL PUNS, BROTHER?"

 

The whole trip would've gone on like this I feel if I hadn't stepped in to talk about something else quickly. I don't think I had the mental capacity to deal with a pair of arguing skeleton brothers, one who got flustered easily and the other who caused it.

 

"I swear I'm going to bollock the both of you if you don't quit it." Well, it did the trick, they both shut up. For a little while, anyway. "Let's just keep moving, get through Waterfall as quickly as we can until we can reach Dr Alphys' lab, okay?" I'm not sure why, but my patience felt thin, but I had been stabbed to death twice and we were going through the territory that belonged to said monster that had killed me twice, sorry I was a little angsty.

 

"got it, boss."

 

"OF COURSE HUMAN!"

 

I was travelling with a circus band. And people back in the old days were worried that monsters were going to hurt them. But I remember Undyne. Oh yeah.

 

Seeing the first waterfall, I grew worried that Shadow and I were going to have trouble getting around, but when Papyrus just skipped across the water and showed that the water was shallow, I felt a little better. Those rocks falling down the waterfall, though. But, as it turns out, they were infrequent and so a small bother.

 

As we got to the other side, there was a small blue flower that seemed to be glowing off to the side of the path. There had been others, out in the further reaches of the cave where we couldn't reach, but this was the first one that we came across in our path. Shadow was first to go over, rubbing his nose against the glowing blue flower.

 

"Today's horoscope is just as boring as last week's."

 

Was that flower talking? I grew worried, remembering Flowey from before, I had actually almost forgotten about the weed, but this flower didn't have a face, it literally seemed to be a normal flower. What a strange thing to say when a dog was sniffing you.

 

Sans noticed my confusion, his grin said it all. That specific grin out of fifty grins, anyway. "you never seen an echo flower before, sweet cheeks?"

 

"I'm not really a huge fan of talking flowers, I have to admit." Especially the malicious ones.

 

Sans' eye sockets opened a little bit more, his grin still staying the same. Sometimes, he could be a creepy bastard, but I knew he didn't mean to be. "this is an echo flower, it repeats the last thing it heard over and over." He reached out to touch the petals, and it repeated exactly what he said, same voice and everything. That was pretty impressive! Better than your own pet parrot in the room. "they grow all along waterfall, many people talk to them, leave secret messages, this is actually a prime spot for, heh well." I can imagine. Secret love letters, I bet. But, given that the monster community seemed to be such a small close knit one, like my village, doing this seemed... well, I hate to say romantic, but probably that. I wasn't really one for romance, though I wasn't a hater of it, I just felt it was being overused by Hollywood and hyped up to be the most precious thing a person could feel. I wasn't really seeing the love for most people when domestic violence was the thing I got called on the most about. Shadow was there simply to scare them or catch them if they run more than anything.

 

"Guess if it makes them feel better, I'm just surprised that such a small community would come out here to leave love letters or confessions."

 

Sans shrugged. Papyrus put a hand on my shoulder, leaning over close to me. "You see, the Great Papyrus, believes that monsters do this to bring courage into their heart, like practising on a stage before a big performance." He seemed to think he was whispering. I don't believe Papyrus and whispering worked in the same sentence.

 

That sounded too staged for Papyrus to have plucked that from thin air. "Did you get that from a TV show?"

 

Papyrus stood to attention quickly, cape swaying in the wind that never blew down here in the Underground. A hand to his chest, almost in a salute. "OF COURSE, ONLY FROM THE SECOND GREATEST MONSTER, METTATON!" Ah, that... the only idol in the whole of the Underground. "I QUOTED THAT FROM HIS SPECIAL DVD ON HIS INTERVIEW ON HOW HE BECAME A STAR." It was like he hadn't just leaned close to me and spoke at a normal volume earlier. Jesus Christ.

 

"That sounds really nice, Pap." I told him, smiling. "I should have to watch more Mettaton with you one day."

 

"YES! IT WOULD BE A PRIVELAGE TO WATCH METTATON WITH YOU, HUMAN! MAYBE YOU CAN EVEN CONVINCE SANS TO NOT FALL ASLEEP DURING THE SHOW." Haha, no that ain't happening mate, as lovely and adorable as you were. Sans was the type of man that couldn't be convinced to do anything he didn't want to do, no matter what. Sans' grin and clenched eye sockets seemed to signal that he thought the same thing, that there was basically zero chance of that happening.

 

"can't help it bro, i'm a born lazy bones."

 

"EVERYONE CAN BE TAUGHT NEW THINGS. YOU CAN BE TAUGHT TO NOT FALL ASLEEP ALL THE TIME, UNDYNE IS GETTING MORE AND MORE ANNOYED AT YOUR ANTICS." Jesus Christ, it was just getting worse.

 

"I will age ten years before we see Alphys, I swear." Shadow seemed to agree, tilting his head and whining at me. I looked back at him, he tilted his head the other way. That... that wasn't a normal thing for him to do. Was he okay? Concerned, I kneeled down, Shadow seemed uneasy and backed away slightly. What on earth was going on with him? He began panting, wagging his tail and licked my face, like the whole uneasy exchange had never happened. Maybe he was just nervous, being in such a new place, or maybe the pair of skeletons arguing was making him twitchy. He seemed okay now, though.

 

Sans and Papyrus waited until Shadow and I were ready, before we moved on. The caves here were beautiful, with high ceilings dripping with water on occasion, almost imitating droplets of rain. There was the echo of drops of water, the waterfall crashing echoed through the entire cavern. It was humid, but warm at the same time, to my relief. Shadow was quick to get a drink of water when he could, so we made a pit stop ten minutes later until he was done. I went to the side a little bit (with Sans), taking in the environment, when I looked into the water.

 

And froze.

 

There. A humanoid shadow, hanging over my shoulder in my reflection, with two red glowing eyes and a wide white fanged grin, like devil's teeth. They were staring right at me, leaning closer, I thought I could hear a child's laughter in my ears. Turning around quickly.

 

Nothing. Gulping, sweating suddenly, my eyes darting around like a wild animal, there was nothing out there. The laughter was gone. Did I imagine that? I look back at the water and see no reflection there, just my own face, terrified eyes staring right back. Was that a hallucination? Was I suffering from psychosis? PTSD? Did my dying to Undyne cause this? What was that? A monster? Or worse?

 

"hey. you look like you've seen a ghost." Sans. His voice was joking, what the fuck was he joking about? Turning around, about to give him a slap, I stopped when there was a newcomer. He was petting Shadow, a look of what I imagine fascination on his face as his hand seemed to phase through Shadow. Shadow didn't seem bothered, tail wagging, his paw lifting several times as he poked the monster over and over. So. There were ghosts. And it looked exactly like a Halloween ghost, two eyes watching, only this ghost appeared to be wearing headphones around it's... where it would have a neck. Its arm just seemed to be a mass of whatever, ectoplasm if I'm going to go with Ghostbuster logic, as it slowly slipped back into its body. Shadow grew more excited when his paw kept going through the ghost, he began barking, his tail wagging, his mind probably wondering if that was real or if he was annoyed he couldn't touch the ghost.

 

"Oh, hi Sans. Sorry, didn't meant to be here. Oooooh," He spoke in a low, depressed dragging voice, almost like that caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, the Disney animated one of course. He also said 'oooooh' like a ghost would, like he couldn't help it. I guess he couldn't, I caught Tori bleating sometimes when she was asleep or sneezing. Maybe just some traits stayed depending on the monster. "Is this your dog? He seems bothered by me, am I bothering him?"

 

Wow, he sure was a very self conscious guy. I was never good at dealing with people like that, they were common, a lot of people were actually self conscious of themselves, including those that are pretty egotistical. If anything, they were worse. This guy just fully reminded me of that smoking caterpillar. Tread carefully. "Sorry, he's my dog. This is Shadow."

 

Hearing me, he turned, tilting his head, like he had never noticed me. "Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't see you there. Oh wow. That's horrible of me. I'm sorry." I was not good with people like this. I really wasn't.

 

I laughed, probably sounding a lot more nervous than I felt. "Oh seriously, don't worry about it. I was busy just... lost in my own thoughts, you know how it is."

 

The ghost seemed to respect my answer, but he didn't look any better. Even if he had no face to really show emotion with. "Oh, I didn't tell you my name. Sorry. I'm Napstablook."

 

I gave him a polite smile, was about to reach out my hand for him to shake then realised that he wouldn't be able to take my hand. Instead, I tipped my hat, doing almost a tiny bow for him, like I remember seeing the chief of police doing to other officials. This was the greeting I served for the more annoying people I had to deal with sometimes, you know the elderly who have this high up attitude that they are better than everyone else, but because they are elderly you feel like you can't say anything? And those adults that really are asking for you to punch them in the face, be polite and it pisses them off. Got to have some payback for your job, right? "My name's Frisk, Frisk Fanshaw. Pleasure to meet you, Napstablook." Shadow seemed to have finally gotten bored with Napstablook being untouchable, as he sneezed, shook his body and walked back to my side, sitting down and stared up at me, wondering how good of a job he did. I smiled, patting his head and ruffling his fur, his ears flattening with my hand as he wagged his tail happily.

 

"Oh. Am I in your way? Sorry, just thought I would say hi. I live nearby here, just so you know. If, you know, if you wanted to visit... or not. Whichever, really. No pressure." He almost began mumbling by the end of his speech, and just suddenly faded away and disappeared. Just like a ghost. Well then.

 

"HE WAS AWFULLY SHY AND QUIET, WASN'T HE, HUMAN?" Papyrus was back to shouting again the moment the ghost disappeared.

 

"Yup, he certainly was, Pap." I breathed out a sigh, that was one of the most awkward conversations I have had, but I felt for Napstablook. He seemed like he had it hard out here, he reminded me of those kids you see in school, always having headphones in, drawing art in class and on their breaks, preferring the company of their teachers than the students. Not a bad way to live, but I knew that meant you were often picked on. Maybe Monsters were different in that way, however, bullying may actually be a thing of the past for Monsters. Wouldn't that be amazing?

 

We continued walking after that, not talking much about running into Napstablook. Sans explained that Napsta was just like that, he got nervous near new people, had always been socially awkward and seemed to prefer his own company most of the time. He also explained he lived next door to Undyne, so probably best to not visit his house. Duly noted.

 

We walked a little more until we reached a randomly lying telescope. A sign just before it said that the wishing room was not far away. Sans immediately made for the telescope, running a finger bone whatever down the side of the telescope like he cherished it. He looked at me. "i keep saying i'll get into the telescope business, charge a few hundred gold to use this baby." He had a smug grin on his face as he explained. "wanna give it a try?" Well, if he was offering, how could I refuse? He let me use it for free (shockingly since I had no money) and I had to duck down on one knee to use it. I looked through, but all I could see was black. What? I could have sworn I had looked up at some point in this cavern and there were sparkling stones at the top that just seemed to shine with its own light. I backed away, looked at the ceiling and lo' and behold, there were sparkling stones on the ceiling.

 

Looking to Sans, I told him; "Thing's a bust, all I see is black. Might wanna get a new one."

 

His expression hadn't changed, he looked the same smug self with that grin of his. "ah, too bad. thought i really had something. i better scope out some more for something specktacular." He just had a pun ready for everything, didn't he?

 

"SANS, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE LOLLYGAGGING. GET THAT CRUD OFF THE HUMAN'S FACE AND CONTINUE ON OUR JOURNEY! UNDYNE AWAITS US!" Crud? I didn't hesitate to the nearest small pool of water, despite the slight fear I might see a shadow again. I didn't. Instead, I saw a nice black ring around the eye of where I had looked through the telescope. That guy. THAT guy. He got me good. This was going to take forever to get off my face, if that was really ink! Absolute bastard.

 

"Jesus Christ, Sans you dick. Keep at it and you'll be sans a dick." I warned, whilst at the same time feeling secretly proud at my threat. Yeah yeah, I was ten years old, whatever. He started it.

 

He didn't seem the least bothered. "'ey, don't be ridickulous. what's a guy ever done to deserve that? don't bang it out on me, i'm just doing my breast."

 

"Just because I now have a pair of tits doesn't mean it's open to joking about!"

 

"this isn't even the breast i can do, i've got a tit-an of puns at my back."

 

"Are you kidding me?"

 

"you're in for a teat if i ever saw one. i can just keep busting out with these, no biggie."

 

"How about you put a cock in it? Stop dicking around so we can get a move on."

 

That resulted in Sans winking at me, a blue phantasmal tongue sticking out from his teeth that hadn't opened, that tongue just appeared. "girl, i can put a cock in it and show you a dicking time, can put the moves on you."

 

"I'M RIGHT HERE." Fuck. Had entirely forgotten that Papyrus was even there. Pretty sure we had been flirting hardcore there. Like, the type you don't do in front of other people, let alone their brother! Yes, I have flirted with the odd man or two before, playfully even flirted with women before that meant absolutely nothing but... flirting with Sans, that was rather fun. His personality just made it easy to say anything without worrying about offending him. Damn, he was the type of guy I would like to hang around often without worrying that I was gonna sound like a freak. This... this was a bad idea. I was growing too comfortable in Sans' presence, which wasn't necessarily bad, it was just the fact of he was so easy to be myself around. Sure, the sex jokes are a bit much, but he probably couldn't give a shit if I were male or female, at any point. As long as he treated me an equal, that was fine by me. But this mission, going to Asgore and... what then? Like Sans, could I really just arrest him? I was stuck down here just like the rest of the monsters, always on the run from others that want my soul. What was I hoping to achieve by seeing Asgore? I wasn't sure, but I hoped that when I got there, something would come up, I would just then and there know what I was doing, like an inspiration. Some hope, right?

 

But I had to try, I had to do something. Finding those souls and Asgore is probably my best bet. Right after we find Alphys and separate.

 

Going into the Wish room made it harder. The echo flowers were singing out all the wishes that people made in this very room, most that they wanted to see the surface so badly, to be able to see the sun, feel real weather, seasons changing and feel the sun's rays on their skin. To be somewhere with space, no overcrowding issue, places to explore, be somewhere and be someone different. I felt bad that probably most of those dreams would be dusted the moment they see that humans had more or less the same problem in some countries. I could somewhat understand their want, their passion to want to see above ground, it was something new and different, like a dream world! I often dreamed of going to other countries, seeing what they were like, how their culture worked, to get out of this stifling village I had lived in a long time. If only I had the money. But, to move to that country, I felt like I would be sorely disappointed later on and grow bored, just like we humans do.

 

Papyrus made a wish to one quiet echo flower, that if he ever did get to the surface, he would have to buy a red sports car like his bed so he could feel the wind in his hair. I didn't want to be the one to already wreck it by saying he had none. Shadow was fascinated by the flowers, going to each and rubbing his nose on it to make them talk, so we didn't miss a single wish. He looked at me, asking if I had a wish I wanted to tell the echo flowers. Did I? Well, the one thing I could think of now was to be able to bring those children that were killed in the Underground peace of mind, let them rest in peace. I told him I had no idea, though, feeling silly with the thought of Papyrus and Sans being there to hear my wish. Oh, and to not get killed by Undyne again. I wasn't ready for that.

 

We moved on, talking the whole way, me explaining what the surface world and my work was like. Pretty much that I probably took everything for granted, but it wasn't this magical amazing place that everyone thinks it is. Papyrus still got excited about the possibility of there being more than just Mettaton to watch on TV, that there were a lot of celebrities on the surface, too many to count really.

 

Then we got to a dead end. "Well. Now what?" I looked at the pair of skeleton brothers, both of whom seemed rather puzzled.

 

"I REMEMBER THERE BEING  A LADDER HERE. IT WASN'T A VERY GOOD ONE, BUT IT WORKED." When I looked at him questioningly, he gave a better explanation. "SEE, DOWN THERE IS WHERE ALL THE HUMAN RUBBISH FALLS. EVERYONE LOVES COMING HERE TO FIND ANY HIDDEN TREASURES THAT FALL. THAT IS HOW WE GOT OUR NINTENDO THING."

 

"he means the snes." I wasn't a big gamer, but I knew what that was, I remember most of my school friends playing that. I had no idea that they still worked, especially when they were thrown in the rubbish heap. "i managed to fix it up for him, found some tapes that went with it, was the best thing i found." Boys will be boys, regardless of whether they were skin or bones. All the younger men in the force did talk a lot about this Call of Duty game or something like that. Not really my thing.

 

"Well, what do we do now? Is there another way down?"

 

I believe Sans and Papyrus were going to answer my question, they seemed to motion as if to answer it, when the ground suddenly began to move. Panicking, I quickly look behind to see that (too late) part of the cliff edge had cracked under the weight of the three of us being on the far end, glancing down at the wreckage below of human rubbish. Shadow was quick to react, leaping for the side of the ledge that wasn't falling, and he looked quickly at us, barking at us to hurry up. I tried, made a quick dash to the edge, but it was no use, I quickly lost my footing and slipped down with the ground. I had noticed that Sans wasn't by my side anymore, the cuffs throwing about uselessly in the air, and with a quick glance I noticed he was on the side with Shadow. What? But, worse, underneath the pair of them, under the ledge hanging onto the cliff side with the biggest sharp teethed grin I had ever seen. A sunflower, with roots that had taken hold of the entire ledge, gripping the side he had managed to rip off thanks to his ability to bury himself into any ground surface he wanted.

 

Flowey.

 

I was helpless, flailing my arms in the air uselessly as the ground came closer and closer. Papyrus wasn't far, I could hear his shouting, it was a man shouting out in pure fear of what was eventually going to hit us. It was terrifying, to see the ground coming closer and closer, much worse than when falling the first time into the Underground, as I saw death in the face coming closer and closer. I could see the garbage pile looked sharp, horrid, I could smell it from even that distance. It was going to hurt, a lot. I didn't stop to think how Sans managed to leap out of the way, got out of the cuffs quickly, I was too busy screaming, terrified. Hitting the ground. Ugh. Well. You know how it feels when you land on your feet but forgot to bend your knees? Yeah, it's nothing like that, it's like feeling a million needles stabbing through your entire body at the same time, ripping apart your entire being everywhere. The world became white for a split second, I heard several crunches as my body must've basically disintegrated onto the ground in red mist. The pain lingered, unbearable, for a second or two before I felt nothing at all. Black. My red soul shook, then shattered.

 

Then I was back in the Wish Room, Sans at my side, shaking that I could feel from the cuffs. Shadow was by my side, suddenly nervous by Sans' shaking and he nudges Sans' hand. Sans flinches away; actually he sort of just... was where he was and then wasn't, he was a few feet to the side away from where he was. And out of those fucking cuffs!

 

"You lying sack of shit." I turned my glare to Sans, taking a step forward pissed as fuck. Shadow flinched away, he didn't like that tone of voice and Sans... he began to sweat, ducking his head, his grin hadn't changed though, but he ducked his head away almost like a turtle as if to get away from the situation. "Are you telling me that this whole time we have been cuffed together, where I had to get changed with you in the same fucking room, got ourselves into awful situations we almost died in, had to drag your lazy arse through the snow you could just fucking teleport!? Out of those cuffs!?"

 

There was silence for a long time. The tension was thick in the air, Shadow whined, Papyrus was silent, there was just the drip drip in the background from the water dripping from the ceiling onto the wet floor.

 

"oops?" That fucking did it. With a growl, I quickly grabbed Sans by the front of his parka, pissed off to have been played with for this long. It explained why he was so quick to cuff us together, if anything went horribly wrong he could just teleport. The many times he could've teleported and prevented situations happening. Maybe half of them wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been cuffed to Sans, could I have done better without him impeding me? I practically snarled in Sans' face, pulling him towards me, face to face. I must've reminded him of a raging bull, red in the face, snarling, teeth showing, smoke leaving my nose in fury. All this, for a fucking joke! Could you believe this guy!? Papyrus seemed to be stammering something, trying to calm me down, but I was too angry to pay attention to him. Who would do this? For a joke!?

 

"You sonnuva bitch, this would all have been easier if you hadn't done that! What was this for, a joke? A prank? Think this is a fucking game!?" I snarled, glaring eye to eye with Sans. Sans' eye sockets were wide, his white pupils surprised, I was getting better at reading his emotions, his eye sockets wrinkled despite being bone slightly like he was worried. Good. "I oughta-" Stopped. Because suddenly, there were lips against mine. Lips!

 

This hadn't at all how I imagined kissing a skeleton was like. Last I checked, Sans didn't have lips, but it sure felt like he had some. His face was too close for me to see, I was still too busy blinking in shock, my anger suddenly disappearing like I never felt angry in the first place. I was just too surprised by Sans' audacity, or maybe his smarts, to do this. It felt no different to kissing a normal guy, except that Sans seemed un-experienced, new to this. He just had pressed his mouth to mine, not moving his lips at all, stiff as a board. Although I knew, at least figured, that Sans wasn't at all against being intimate with me. This was his attempt to calm me down, to quickly stop me from giving him a bollocking. Though, the fact he chose that way so quickly, does it mean more than it actually does?

 

I let go of Sans in shock after a few seconds of standing still, his skele-lips pressed against mine. I couldn't see the lips, but I did put a hand to my lips, as if I could stop the buzzing feeling on my upper lip. Well, it had done the trick, I wasn't angry anymore. I was shocked, surprised, somewhat mortified. Yet, I wouldn't... I wouldn't have opposed it going on longer. Shit. No. This was just... sexual frustration, it had been a long time, though I'd gone longer before in a bout of wanting to be alone. At least, that's what I told myself. This was just... to like a skeleton, despite him having feelings, was his own person, he was a different species. This wasn't like a race problem, he was an entirely different species, but someone did once think it was a good idea to fuck a monkey. And caused HIV.

 

I shook my head, lowering my hat over my eyes so neither Papyrus nor Sans could see the conflict in my eyes. But they could probably see it in my soul. "Look... just give me a few minutes, I need to think things through. I'll be fine and I'll be back later, promise. Just... just gimme a few." I heard Pap reply in affirmative, adding a 'nyeh heh heh' and Sans mumble something, I wasn't sure what. With a sigh, I turned and walked away, Shadow following close behind.

 

I didn't walk far, a good five minutes away where I had left a track, but far enough that Sans and Papyrus couldn't hear anything. Silence. Alone time, at last. It had been a long time, being cuffed to Sans for a long time, I've lost count of the days now, it felt like a blessing to be alone. My thoughts were so cluttered, wondering why Sans did what he did. Apparently, we had been close friends when I came here when I was young. But how and why did I forget coming here? Was this an Alice in Wonderland kind of deal? Through the Looking Glass? Why would I forget everything? Did all that happen, or is Sans just lying his arse off to cover himself? He seemed genuine when he spoke, but he had managed to hide his ability to teleport, he hid the news about RESETS, he hid that he knew me from before and treated me like a complete stranger at first. That was impressive, maybe Sans was an actor or something, he'd certainly win an Oscar.

 

Child laughter. What? I looked around, Shadow hadn't reacted in the least, tail wagging, happy as can be. He was lying down on the floor. Was I hearing that? There was nobody around, just crystals that had grown from the sides of the cavern, they were actually lovely. Wouldn't mind some jewellery made out of it, should any jeweller get a hold of it, they'd make a fortune from this. Taking a closer look at the crystal, I noticed something. They were pretty reflective, able to see my face almost like looking into a mirror. But there, again. The black shadow again behind me, staring at me, with a huge grin of fanged teeth ready to bite.

 

"What are you?" I whispered, I was still chilled, shaking seeing a shadow following me. Not just a shadow, definitely a being, a monster maybe? Hidden to everyone else, perhaps?

 

A friend. That wasn't. Nobody was around. Shadow hadn't reacted much, but he began whimpering, his ears going down, afraid. My dog had never been afraid like this. The shadow in the mirror tilted its head, still staring at me with that white grin, its red eyes squinting to give me more of an evil look than it already was. You don't remember me. But I remember you. Chills went down my spine, the creature's fangs didn't move, the sound didn't seem to be coming from behind me, or in front of me. I was just hearing it. It bent forward, like it was getting closer to my ear and my back shivered as if it were really there. I'm hurting, always hurting. You'll help me, won't you?

 

Then, a blinding white light as jesusfuckingchristonacuntingwankingbike. I couldn't scream, too busy gurgling as, looking down when I had a moment to breathe, were  pike shaped roots. They had pierced through my chest, straight through my soul (a-fucking-gain) and retracted quicker than I thought, letting me fall to the ground. At this point, yeah I was in mighty fucking pain, but opening my eyes to glare at the fucking smug sunflower, I was getting a little tired of being stabbed in the back. Literally. In the time it took for me to open my eyes to glare at the weedy little shit, Shadow already had his fangs around the sunflower's neck and was tugging insistently at the sunflower, trying to get it out of the ground. He began shaking his head violently, doing the sunflower damage to his HP, I noticed, but I had no idea what his HP was to begin with. But I knew there, he wasn't invincible. The sunflower took a stab at Shadow, catching him on his shoulder, enough of a jab that he let go howling and yipping loud enough to burst my ear drums. Flowey dived under the ground, but Shadow was furious, his snout curled in a snarl, his teeth showing and he had a strange green liquid flowing from his mouth from where he had ripped into the sunflower's stem and almost ripped it to pieces. He lunged, digging wilding where the sunflower fled, I could hear its panicked shouts over the sound of Shadow's barking and snarling.

 

"shads!" That. That was Sans. I hadn't been expecting him to have heard anything. Shadow was quick to respond to Sans' order, hearing his voice, he snarled at him at first, but quickly recognised him and began whining. I watched the whole thing, whilst slowly bleeding to death, not my favourite way to go quite honestly, it hurt, but, in a way, it was like trying to fight off going to sleep after pulling three all nighters. Trust me, I've done it. Just more painful. A lot more painful. Shadow began whining, barking sharply and yowling, before dashing to my side and rubbing his head on my side. Sonuvacock. I hissed, grabbing my chest before realising what a stupid idea that was.

 

Sans swore, hurrying to my side. I didn't see Papyrus, maybe he told Papyrus to not follow him. "you're making a habit out of getting stabbed in the back, kiddo." He tried his best, putting his hands on the wound, as if that would do anything. I knew though, sitting there, my blood slowly like a slow waterfall leaving my body, that I wasn't going to make it in this timeline. I had been too preoccupied wondering what the fuck that thing was.

 

He got to you. It was saying in my head, laughing. He got you. He will always get you. Because he is looking for me. What? I blinked, I know Sans was talking to me, but I couldn't hear him. I could only tell he was talking because he was making different expressions, what expressions he could with his mouth constantly grinning, his eye sockets downcast. He won't stop until he finds me, he is trying to get me. Go to Asgore. He will help. With those six human souls. I didn't know what the voice was talking about. I didn't have a clue. I was too tired to care, too tired to give a damn. I just wanted to sleep. Forget today happened, just move on.

 

I woke up back in the Wish Room.

 

I felt like shit, my head hurt, my vision seemed blurred for a moment or two, I had to pant out a breath or two. Then I was fine. What the hell happened there? Shadow was whining, backing away from me slightly. What got into him? Did he remember any RESETS, or was it a case of he had slight memories or feelings? I couldn't ask him, no way to tell.

 

"what happened there, kid?" Sans was being neutral, but his voice sounded anything but. He didn't sound angry, just pretty serious. What would I tell him? Oh, yeah, saw a black shadow following me, talking to me, probably a demon possessing me or something. Yeah I can see that going down real well.

 

Tell him about the flower. I flinched, there was no way I was not going to react outwardly to a voice talking to me in my head. Seriously. Sans noticed, an eye bone brow raising. Maybe he was concerned? Or suspicious. Probably the latter. "Saw my reflection, seems there's a shadow red eyed demon thing following me I can only see in mirrors, it's talking to me." Well. I could have said that a lot better. And, shockingly, the voice in my head doesn't seem to be too peeved that I said it. Surprise, surprise?

 

Sans reacted about as well as I could have expected. "you goin' crazy about me, now?"

 

Rolling of the eyes. "Yes, yes of course. It's not like I could possibly be suffering some serious PTSD or trauma because of being stabbed three times."

 

"dunno what that is, sounds dodgy. speaking of not dodging, let me get right to the point, what happened there?"

 

Papyrus seemed to not be bothered at all by our talking nearby him. He was too busy looking at the crystals, making stupid faces and laughing at them. Shadow joined him, feeling the 'adults are talking' vibe near me and Sans and immediately disappeared to more fun areas. Like stealing Papyrus' glove. "I actually entirely forgot, but that other timeline when we fell down the ledge, there was a sunflower, he calls himself Flowey." Sans' eyes seem to widen slightly, hearing this bit of news. "Yeah, stupid name. Anyway, he broke the ledge, probably cut down the ladder, killing me and I assume Pap followed me?"

 

Sans shrugged, trying to seem tough by not being bothered at seeing his little brother literally fall to his death. "you fell first and faster, since you weight more than paps. you RESET before pap hit the ground. uh, i'd say thanks but... that makes me sound like a dick." He rubs the back of his skull nervously with his hand, sweating slightly on his bald head.

 

I sighed, putting a hand on his skull and stroking it like you would a dog. He hummed, closing his eye sockets and leaning it into my head. Like a dog. That's adorable. With that stupid big grin on his face too. Totally took a picture on my phone. Too late. Nobody'd believe me otherwise. Done. Was that creepy? Eh. "I know you don't mean it that way. But anyway, I was having my breather, when I looked in my reflection off one of the crystals. I saw a shadow, a black shadow, I thought I had imagined it for a long time. But it started talking to me, what it said made no sense though, about how a flower wants it, whatever it is. I must be going mad, seeing things in reflections, hearing voices, talking murdering fucking flowers."

 

"a talking malicious flower?" Oh yeah, of course he'd notice that one. "hm, pap was telling me the other day that a flower was talking to him, telling him to do some things, giving advice, giving him predictions. i thought it was an echo flower. but, that'd take a lot of work to make sure nobody else hears it. i told him to be careful, but he seems to think the flower harmless. you think the flower is planning something?"

 

I had no idea. I just figured one thing. "He seems to be after my soul, a human soul at least. You don't think... like the story?"

 

Sans shook his head. "don't worry, i won't let that happen. i'll keep ya alive, babe. don't worry, sansy has got it covered." He winks at me.

 

"Dude, you ran away from a bar fight."

 

"i'm just not good at close combat."

 

"You didn't even hide in a corner and throw glasses out or anything!"

 

"maybe i didn't know which side to support, i do now."

 

"Your attack and defence are both one, what are you gonna do?"

 

"dunno, maybe if you get murdered by the flower again we can find out together." Was it horrific that it was so easy to joke about death now? Now that I can just turn back time and pretend like it never happened? This sounds like a horrific thing, what this must be doing to my brain right now, that death was just a nuisance now than a threat... that is serious levels of fucked up. No wonder I'm hearing voices. Seeing demons in reflections. Yup, okay, all those crazy people in asylums had a point. This is freaky shit.

 

"We are just so fucked up in the head it's not even funny."

 

"ya know what's more fucked up? is that sentence sounded hot from your mouth. i can listen to bad language from your mouth all day."

 

"Jesus Christ, it's like listening to a teenager going through puberty."

 

Sans laughed. "aw, you make it so easy. c'mon, let's get to alphys, maybe she can even shed light on your... weird voices, in your head and that sunflower."

 

I nodded. "Yeah, you're right. Shadow! Pap! C'mon, we need to head off before Undyne turns up."

 

Papyrus saluted, Shadow wagging his tail and barking in reply. "OF COURSE, HUMAN! IT WOULD BE A DISASTER IF UNDYNE FOUND US HERE! ONWARD!"

 

I didn't hear the voice again, we took a different path, still heading for the junk heap, maybe Alphys would be there. Sans said that she often went there, it was always worth checking it out, but we would have to go the long way. We told Papyrus it was because I was afraid of heights (well, I was of that certain ledge anyway) and took the long way. We didn't run into Flowey and we made our journey to the Dump without too much more trouble.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12 Staring the Lion Down

We arrived at the Garbage Dump without any more trouble. It was... yeah, it pretty much looked like the local tip, smelt like it too. I scrunched my nose, it stank of damp more than anything. The smell of rotting food and rubbish didn't really stick out too much, I imagined that the bugs or something that lived in these underground tunnels must've been feeding off the rubbish that somehow made its way here. It was the only explanation that I could come up with, I wasn't exactly well versed in biology or any sciences really. It wasn't quite like how a human dump was run, at least from what I saw from TV. There wasn't a huge hole where they just dumped everything, no this place clearly got ransacked on a daily basis as there were clear paths to get from hill to hill of rubbish. Sans had mentioned, before I was giving him the silent treatment, that monsters came here regularly, especially those adept with technology, to scrounge off any tech that could be repaired that humans threw away. He mentioned that was how he got Papyrus' computer, the casing had been destroyed but the CPU and everything else inside had managed to hold out somehow.

Oh yeah, Sans was getting silent treatment. That did make the walk here pretty awkward when Sans tried at any point to initiate a conversation with me, yet a single glare from me shut him up quickly and sweat to appear on his skull. He lowered his head into his parka hood, like a tortoise trying to avoid getting eaten by a dog. Well, I was being a bit of a bitch, but there were pranks and then there was endangering my life and those around me. Not to mention, himself! Did he not care about himself? He seemed to in the pub brawl where he almost got cut in half by the axe and ran away, I don't blame him, he wasn't trained for that sort of combat. He teleported when he was about to fall down the cliff and saved himself, but unable to save me or Papyrus, for whatever reason. I haven't asked yet. Maybe when I've stopped seething. In that moment of being tired, him looking at me with his big black eyes and white pupils staring at me, tilting his head slightly, he did look adorable. Haven't told him about the picture on my phone, it was my background now, looking a lot nicer than a picture of myself giving the victory symbol. Damn, I was a dumb teenager.

"welp, this is the dump." Sans said, almost a yawn in his voice, like he was uninterested, but I knew better. He was tapping his foot a little bit, he had his hands stuffed in his pockets a little more forcefully than normal, but more obvious was that he was still sweating on his bald skull. It still amazed me that a skeleton can sweat, whilst a pig cannot, but what do I know? "it's... yeah."

There was an air of awkwardness in the air, tension. It, uh yeah. I was waiting for Sans to apologise, but he won't. He's that type of person, believed he was doing right. Even if he did, he probably wouldn't mean it. So, here we are.

"CANINE FRIEND, PERHAPS WE COULD GO SNIFF OUT SOMETHING COOL HERE TODAY?" Papyrus turned to look at Shadow, Shadow wagging his tail having not a clue what Papyrus was actually saying. But, when Papyrus started patting his, uh, where his knees would be, Shadow suddenly knew what he was talking about and bounded after him. The pair of them turned the corner and were suddenly gone, hunting inside the dump somewhere for... something.

"so... about earlier..." I glared at Sans as he tried bringing up an apology.

"Don't bother wasting your breath, I know if you'd been given that chance to do it again, you would. You meant to cuff to me, sure is easier than following, right?"

Sans looked like he wanted to be offended, but couldn't muster up the energy to look offended, or act offended. "look, lady, i didn't just cuff to ya just for shits and giggles, 'kay? i had my reasons."

I rolled my eyes. "Sure, I'd love to hear your reasons, go on. I've heard it all before." Okay, maybe I was being a bit harsh, I even felt it, but the words just tumbled out of my mouth before I could shut it.

Sans didn't look at me, like he was... I'm not sure. His eyes seemed less harsh, less annoyed somehow, and yet- "i can't say, it's better you don't know, kid."

I could punch him in the face, I swear to God. "Sans, it's not like I'm a grown adult or anything, not like I work with the police, I've seen a dead body before, woman died in her sleep nobody knew she was there for days. Flies covering the house, it was grim as fuck. So, you know, forgive my poor fragile mind, I couldn't give a shit, just tell me."

Sans looked at me, finally able to force his pupil to look at me. He stared, for a long time. Then his grin was back. "sure pal, if ya think your mind can take it. cuz mine couldn't." he began, looking away from me and up at the cave ceiling. I kept my eye on him, not out of distrust, but more to see his reaction. "you think a person has a tiny bit of bad in them, like a little devil on their shoulder that they listen to sometimes, no matter how good of a person they appear to be?"

It was an odd question, I thought, to start explaining anything he had going on in his head. "Of course, we can't be perfect, there is always going to be something that pisses someone else off."

Sans smiled, his grin lessening into a sadder version of its normal self. "nah, i ain't talking 'bout that. i'm talking about good and evil, jekyll and hyde." I didn't question how he knew of the book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but I imagined he got it from here. "cuz hyde was a nice guy, scientist, helped others in need, good local man. then there is hyde, nobody knows about him, goes around tearing the town apart, raping women, stealing from stores, punching guys, causing fights. gonna bet that story was somewhat based on a true story. cuz i think you are like jekyll." Of course, maybe that was the time to be outraged, to spit out that he was nuts, insane, a twat for saying such a thing. What, is he calling me bipolar or something? Christ no! Except... it laid heavy on my soul, something seemed extremely bothered by this, weighing on my soul, that didn't feel right. I couldn't reply to him, couldn't repute his statement. "ya got a little devil on your shoulder, babe? it telling you things you shouldn't know?"

Shut up, you fucking sack of shit. I flinched, that voice sounded lethal, deadly, angry. Turn my head, looking over my shoulder. Freakthefuckout. It was leaning forward, right into my face, massive fanged grin, way more creepier than Sans' could ever be, red eyes glowing, with blood red pupils staring at me. Their figure was entirely black, as in pitch black, I could see nothing of their body, facial expression, anything, even when this close up to the demon. I admit it, first time I screamed in my life (apart from when I was an infant, but I don't count that). I fell backwards, landing on my arse. The demon laughed, it echoed in my head, it's teeth separated as it roared out in laughter, I didn't see a tongue, that was probably for the best I couldn't imagine it having an ectoplasmic tongue to go with this horrifying thing, or an Alien tongue. God no.

I blinked and it was gone, as was the laughter, the slightly darkened area around where the demon had been. Just gone, like that, in a blink of an eye, like it never happened. Fuck, I must be suffering some weird PTSD or something. But what Sans said, it clung to me, bothered me a lot, freaked me out. A little devil on my shoulder? More like a big demon having a piggy back ride with my shadow.

"i can't see what you see, i don't know what causes you to act the way ya do." Sans continues talking, as if the whole demon incident hadn't happened, as if I hadn't been scared shitless. "but i know one thing, when you were a kid, first few RESETS you were great, a lovely kid, smiling, happy, a joy to the world. then, slowly, summat happened, not sure what, but you weren't smiling nicely anymore. you smiled, but it was different, nasty, greedy, fanged. you walked funny, you held a knife close to ya, covered in dust, your grin was worse than mine. you forgot how to laugh, forgot your friends, turned nasty, very nasty. well... someone had to put you in your place." When I turned around to look at him, he looked... his eye sockets were blank, dark, staring at me, he still had a grin on his face, it freaked me out, caused me to shiver. "that's why I can't let ya go." His pupils came back and he winked with his right eye, his eyes and grin back to normal again, shrugging with his hands out of his pockets for once. "someone's gotta look out for ya, doll. since you ain't doing it, guess i gotta do it myself."

What he was saying... dust on my clothes, a knife to my hand, a nasty smile, walking funny... "Are... are you saying...?"

Sans just stared at me, for a little while. "i'm saying hyde went to town on us monsters, couldn't wake you up. you couldn't remember us, so i had to stop you. after that, i didn't see you again, until i knocked on the door and you answered. when i heard your voice, i knew it was you." He closed his eyes, as he began leaning on the wall nearby, I could hear Shadow barking in the distance along with Papyrus' "nyeh heh heh!" but I paid it little mind. "shads is a smart friend ya got. the way you were walking, ready to fight if you saw someone, even though you didn't have a knife, i thought you were hyde, yet at the same time you were much bigger than i remember. you were shorter than me before." Sans had a strange smile on his face, it reminded me of nostalgia, like he was remember something fond from a timeline that no longer existed. That nobody but he remembered anymore. "it's a good thing shads was with you. or else our first time meeting again was gonna be a little... different." He didn't clarify what he meant by that. I already knew what he meant by that, it did cause me to shiver, to lean away from Sans slightly. But. I didn't blame him. I remember seeing a lot of horror movies when I was a teenager, proving to myself I was an adult by watching films that were 18+ when I was fifteen. I don't regret it, I didn't get scared by them, just a little jumpy. A lot of the protagonists in horror films like Friday 13th do fight back against the murderer, celebrating when they believed they had killed him not because they had killed him, but because they have lived and saved others and themselves from death.

Here I was, comparing myself to Jason Voorhees and imagining Sans as a hormonal teenager out camping and saving himself from a hockey mask wearing maniac. I am now getting worried that my sense of humour is passing dark, darker than cop humour already was.

Why not arrest the dick right where he stood? Well. He's not expressly saying he had murdered anyone, sure he said he thought of doing it, had planned on it. Though, law forbids it, planning and thinking it is not against the law, you actually have to attempt it. Minority Report was not a reality, you can't arrest someone for that, that's where a lot of misunderstandings happen and you mostly all suffer with that misunderstanding. Not to mention, isn't that the most hypocritical thing? He was only going to defend himself from me, because I was going to flip, arresting him seemed like the worst idea.

Also, my cuffs were still on my wrist, the other side hanging uselessly now that Sans pulled some Who Framed Roger Rabbit bullshit. Well, on the floor. Until I struggled to get up off the floor, I must've been spooked more than I thought but, how else do I take the thought of being possessed or followed by some demon? Suddenly, baggy trousers in front of me, trainers on the floor, if I looked up, oh. Then again, skeleton, pretty sure he has no crotch really to speak of, who cares, what's to look at? Look straight up to see Sans' smug grin.

"good view down there?" How he was still able to throw these out after I had been scared to death, he told me he planned on murdering me, that I had murdered him before in a past life was just insane.

"Do you just always deflect everything with innuendos or am I just special?" I grumbled rather annoyed, but Sans' sudden hesitance surprised me. It wasn't long, but long enough I took notice. You learn these things, having to interrogate people, hesitance spoke a lot of words. So, one of those is true. One he didn't want to admit. Fifty fifty on which one though.

"you do keep cumming back for more." He even winked and, was that a nudge of his hips!? How funny would it be if I punched him right now at this level? With a huff, I struggle to one knee, but suddenly I saw Sans move, or lean, and there was a heavy weight on my back as Sans just collapses on top of me. What the fuck?

"Dude, what the fuck?" He had just collapsed on top of my back, his feet almost off the ground, pushing me to the floor. Like a dog would dogpile on someone.

"i saw that look in your eyes, i'm protecting myself. i don't wanna be on the other side of that fist."

"Seriously, knock it off." For a bag of bones, I'd say Sans was pretty heavy. That wasn't the problem. My limbs just refused to move, not paralysed but stiff as hell. Like I had Lurgy or something. "Are you using fucking magic or some bullshit Hogwarts crap?"

"dunno 'bout pigs, i'm just using what i got. pretty sansational, eh?"

"I'd show you a fucking sansational time if you let me go."

"heh, kinky." He refused to move and I was growing tired physically. I don't think I really fully recovered from everything that had happened and this was just proving it. Can't even throw off a lazy skeleton off my back.

"OH MY GOD, SANS AND HUMAN ARE YOU PLAYING A GAME?" Oh get the fuck away from me, Papyrus, don't you dare.

"sure bro, it's called dog pile. shads loves this game." Maybe the demon had a point, Sans is very lucky to be alive.

"DOGPILE!" I didn't see it happen, that made it all the more worse, when Papyrus and Shadow joined in and jumped on top of Sans and myself. Somehow, I was still breathing, but barely. I was now lying flat on the ground with two skeletons and a dog on top of me. How ridiculous did that sound? Something dropped in front of me, with my barely working body, I managed to turn my head to see a knife fall to the floor. It wasn't real, it was clearly made of plastic, completely useless, +3 Attack what a joke.

... what did I care about that though? How was it useless? It was a children's toy, it is meant merely for entertainment.

After Sans took pity on me and heard my gasping for help, he got Shadow and Papyrus off of me and helped me to my feet. As soon as I could, I did punch him in the shoulder, all the good it did was make Sans laugh.

"OH HUMAN. I FOUND THIS WEAPON AND CAME TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT." Papyrus picked up the plastic knife, holding it carefully as if it were a real weapon able to damage him. "IT SEEMS STRANGE, WHO WOULD MAKE A PLASTIC WEAPON? THAT SEEMS LIKE A WASTE."

Wait. "Pap, don't monsters make these for their children to play with?"

Papyrus looked like I asked him to stab a squirrel out of a tree. He looked beyond horrified. "GIVE A WEAPON TO A CHILD? WHO WOULD DO THAT?"

"coughundynecough." I heard quietly from Sans. I couldn't tell by his grin if he was serious or not.

"WHAT WAS THAT BROTHER?"

"nothing. hayfever."

"IN WATERFALL?"

"i blame the echo flowers."

"YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE A NOSE TO GET HAYFEVER."

"miracles happen bro."

It was like listening to the twins Diddy and Dilan Holdsworth. They were a pair of trouble makers that liked to cause all sorts of problems, usually graffiti and shop lifting penny sweets (yup you heard that right) and whenever they were brought into the station, they would argue immediately about how it was the others fault for getting caught. We called them the Terrible Two. Because, really, they were terrible at crime. Still not as bad as Sticky Mickey. Nobody was as bad as that guy, he was fond of big girls, strong girls, but didn't think about that when trying to get a feel of them. Needless to say, the girls always managed to punch him, slap him hard or their boyfriends did, but Mickey never knows no. That's when we get called in, groan, instantly rock paper scissors who gets to handcuff him and back into a days' work.

"Uh, Pap, back on the surface, those aren't weapons, they couldn't really hurt you even if you really tried with us humans." I explained, but that made me realise that this didn't belong to a monster. But, then again, we were at the dump where most things here are actually human made. "Where did you get that sword from?"

"OH, THIS WAY." Papyrus then made a mad dash towards the area where he found the sword. "IT WAS HERE. THERE IS A RIBBON HERE NEXT TO SOME GLASSES AND A BOOK. WHO WOULD THROW THESE THINGS OUT? AREN'T THEY PRECIOUS TO SOME?"

It did seem strange. Strange that they seemed rather... neat, for being in a pile of rubbish. Like they were left there recently. "Let's see if the notebook says anything." And there it was, in writing:

Dear Diary,

Godfrey and me miss Toriel, we'd love to go back there for a day and ask her to help us, but she looked really upset when we left. We're moving on from Snowdin now, it's too cold there and we haven't got any coats on or nothing. Waterfall looks lovely, everyone here is so nice as well. I loved singing with Shyren, and the Riverperson reminded me of that Grim Reaper from Grim's Adventures. I miss TV. I miss mum and dad. We'll be there soon! Toriel says we have to look out and not run into Undyne, a big fish lady with a spear. She's scary and doesn't like humans. I don't get why, but maybe humans hurt her before? Or her family? We promised Toriel we'd be careful.

The Nice Cream Guy was nice and gave us Nice Creams when we didn't have any gold on us. He heard our tummies rumbling, laughed and gave us a free Nice Cream. He was awesome! There was a nice song playing from the statue before the cave where it rains, me and Godfrey stayed there a little while, before we had to move because we couldn't sleep here. Undyne was too close, we gotta run.

I don't like Undyne. She scares me. Hope me and Godfrey get home soon.

Bruce Walters and Godfrey Walters.

The next page was blank, I had trouble trying to open the next few pages, as the pages were sticky with what I could see was dried blood. Jesus Christ, they were children. They can't have been older than teenagers, ten or so maybe from what I remembered on my file, harmless, trying to get home and Undyne came along and gutted them like fish, simply because they were the same species as those that trapped her and her people down here. That was fucked up. Truly fucked up. All he had wanted was him and his brother to return home. He wanted to leave in peace, leave the monsters alone, hell, he made friends with the monsters and this is what she did!

Could kill that bitch.

I was sad to say that that voice was tempting. How could a let a child killer scott free? But, I would be as bad as them, if I didn't give them a trial. That was just not the way we work. Something seemed to huff at the back of my head. I ignored it.

"These belonged to two children. Bruce and Godfrey Walters. They were brothers, they were playing a game on the mountain when they fell down here into the Underground. Allan Baker only came down here because he was trying to find his friends, looks like they made it further than he did. Undyne must've caught up to them, that was their last entry. they were running from Undyne, trying to escape, trying to live and she killed them in cold blood."

There was an awkward silence, before Papyrus tried to speak up. "Human, maybe there was a reason-"

"Pap, nobody kills children, not unless it was self defence. I don't care if Undyne is your friend, how could anyone kill a child?" Papyrus wasn't sure what to say, he did look like I kicked a kitten. I felt bad. This wasn't fair. I didn't like Undyne by the sounds of her, did I mention she killed me twice?, but Papyrus seemed to think that she was his best friend. And Papyrus was lovely, probably wouldn't be able to find a fault in a person, even if there was, he'd try his best to make them feel good about themselves. I wasn't sure how he managed it, he just seemed to be so filled with hope, he hadn't been exposed to all the horrible things that the world has, somehow Sans had kept him shielded from it all.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't glare at Papyrus, there was no way to tell him that his best friend was a cold blooded killer to his face. There was just no way. It couldn't be done.

I sighed. "Okay. Like we do on the surface, I will listen to what Undyne has to say for herself. She will have to explain why she did what she did, then we can see what to do."

Papyrus seemed to be satisfied with that, his eyes began sparkling and he rushed to give me a crushing hug. My ribs protested. His didn't. "OH HUMAN, THANK YOU! YOU WON'T REGRET IT, YOU AND UNDYNE WILL GET ON LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE. PROBABLY LITERALLY." What. "AFTER ALL. EVEN THE MOST HORRIBLE PERSON MUST LIKE SOMETHING, RIGHT HUMAN?"

Huh, that was oddly clever of Papyrus. Not that I thought he wasn't clever, he just didn't seem like the type to get particularly philosophical. He seemed to be a simple person, but that is what made him so likable, he was straight forward and to the point. No messing around with Papyrus.

After looking around for any more clues, we take Godfrey and Bruce's items of a faded ribbon, toy knife, cloudy glasses and torn notebook and continue on our way. The further we went, the warmer it became, it felt like it was becoming warmer quickly, considering it had been very chilly near Snowdin. Perhaps it seemed we were finally getting closer to Hotland. It became hot enough that I took my jacket off, tying it around my waist and that left my short sleeved shirt on show. Sans seemed to turn his head away at first, then turned back to look, intrigued. Not in a perverted sense, but more of wonder, poor guy had probably never seen breasts on a skinny person before, they must've stood out so much. That was the problem working in the police, most of the criminals had no pride, didn't care if they were caught staring. Sans was different, he didn't seem to be staring aroused (that was bizarre considering his many comments, again I wondered if he really thought what he said) but like he had never seen them before. Like a child would. Interesting. Papyrus seemed to be doing the same, but he quickly grew bored, as his attention didn't seem to last on many things. Interesting, that the brothers seemed to be so different. Sans was short, Papyrus tall, Sans quiet, Papyrus loud, Sans liking his own space, Papyrus lonely and wanting more friends. It was like they both complimented each other. It was nice to see.

We made it through the caverns, thankfully the lights stayed on long enough that we could get further on. Sans told me to ignore Temmie village. When I asked why, he just said to trust him. Um. Okay. So, we didn't visit Temmie village. Relief finally hit us when we were walking through a long straight path, exhaustion starting to creep up on me when a huge sign saying 'WELCOME TO HOTLAND' appeared. Yes! Oh my God, we finally made it! It only took half a day or so to make it to Hotland. We made it past Sans' other patrol station, before we came to a bridge. I was about to cross, panting like a hot dog, sweating everywhere, when I looked down, hearing bubbling underneath me.

And freaked the fuck out.

JESUS CHRIST LAVA. LAVA. FUCKING LAVA. GET OUT OF TOWN.

"Sans! When you said Hotland, I didn't think you meant volcano!"

"hey what did you expect? we're deep in the underground, besides lava is great for energy. It magmars dreams."

"I couldn't give a shit about your stupid Pokemon puns and how do you even know Pokémon?"

"got a gameboy with pokemon red in it. these pokemon real up on the surface?" I didn't want to tell him that they weren't, I wanted to see the look of disappointment on his face to realise that Pokémon was just that, a video game.

"Get me off this bridge, this isn't happening, I refuse!"

"but you're already halfway."

"Don't care! That half is safer!"

"i can see alphys' lab from here, just look there and don't look down."

I looked down. "No. No. I'm done. Done. I didn't sign up for this, I'm no doing it!"

Sans sighed. Papyrus looked between the both of us. Shadow tilted his head, looking at Papyrus. They both seemed to shrug almost simultaneously. Dogs shrug? Sans walked forward, coming across the bridge. I stood still, terrified because LAVA HELLO. "look, if you aren't gonna move forward, at least move so we can get past."

"Are you serious? I ain't moving! If I move the bridge might collapse!" Was now a good time to say I don't like heights? Or lava? Mostly lava.

"hey babe, wanna hear a joke?"

"I got one, you know what the joke is here? That I'm on a rickety bridge over LAVA!"

"knock knock."

I could kill him. "Who's there?"

"lava."

I could kill him. "Lava who?"

"babe, i lava you a lot."

"Get me off this fucking bridge, Sans." Sans just shrugs, how was he still wearing his parka when there is LAVA below us!? With a sigh, he bends down and- "Oh my God! I changed my mind! I'll get off myself!" He picked me up, over his shoulder, don't know how he has the strength in his bones, as my feet were kicking, then I clung to him like a limpet because I was looking down. "Jesus Christ. This view is gonna kill me."

"dunno about that, my view is pretty good here." Smug little shit! That was definitely a pinch to the arse. These trousers for work were not padded that well. "though, don't get it, what's with the flesh around here anyhow?"

"Comfort. Mostly comfort, honestly. But apparently men find them attractive."

"don't have an arse so i can't comment really. it looks more funny actually, what i could make you do when i pinched it." He wasn't wrong, I did flinch pretty bad and even almost went to slap him when he pinched my arse, but to hear that he didn't find it arousing... that was a shocker and, dare I say, a bit of a downer. Well, he is a skeleton. And hey, I may be the least girly person around, but I still had my self esteem. But my pride. Yeah, that disappeared, my pride has gone.

So, Sans carried me the whole way, ignoring my protests and I was too frightened to want to struggle out of the grasp that Sans had me in. As soon as we made it across the bridge (apparently Papyrus and Shadow had no trouble at all) Sans dropped me to the floor, so I landed on my arse right away.

"Gee, thanks." I grumbled as I struggled to get to my feet.

"no probs." Sans still had that grin on his face, looking at me like he hadn't done anything wrong at all. Of course, though at the same time it was half a breath of fresh air. None of that 'milady' or 'maam' nonsense. I was never one for upper class talk, upper class also seemed like a society I wanted no part in. To have to wear a dress or a skirt? No thanks.

Looked up and there it was, The Labs. It seemed like a huge building, factory, with the word 'LAB' written on top of the only entrance. It was a white building and I was baffled that the building had a chimney. It did make me realise, though, that I hadn't the entire time had trouble breathing in this area. With this amount of magma around, surely I should be suffering lack of oxygen, trouble breathing, breathing in Carbon Monoxide or something? Dioxide or something, I'm not a scientist. So, maybe the chimney was significant somehow else, since there appear to be monsters living here.

Papyrus jogged over, rushing to the door and knocked on the door with such enthusiasm that surely, Alphys must've known who was knocking on the door right away without looking. That is, if Alphys knew who Papyrus was, I didn't doubt though.

"DOCTOR ALPHYS, IT IS I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, COME TO GRACE YOU WITH MY PRESENCE." Well. There was no way she hadn't heard that. For a long time, nothing happened, nobody replied and nothing moved. I was about to ask if she was even home, or in a close radius of her home, when the Lab door opened by lifting up. This was reminding me of some horror film, several of them. With a dramatic flick of his scarf, Papyrus made his way into the lab without waiting for my recovery, or Sans to say a word. I looked to Sans, he just shrugs, Shadow whines and tilts his head at me. I sigh. In we go. We were the masters of silent communication when Papyrus wasn't around.

Inside, it was certainly a lab, it looked rather modern compared to what I was expecting. Every horror film ever told me to expect glass everywhere, tubes filled with liquid, dirty walls, rusting ceiling, broken shit everywhere, papers flown all over the place. Well, that was still true, there was a trail of papers around the place, some with angry pen marks that reminded me of my doctor's writing; illegible.

There, in front of us, stood two figures. The first one was one I didn't recognise. A yellow dinosaur leaning forward in their seat looking at the massive TV screen the size of me that had me on it, wearing a scientist lab coat, a pen in the pocket and wearing glasses. She was about the size of Sans, so up to my shoulder, or so. She had a small tail as well from what I saw. That. That's cool. Dinosaurs were the thing back when I was a kid, though not so much anymore. Dinosaur scientist was having me imagining a reverse Jurassic Park, and I quickly tried to get that image out of my head.

It didn't take long when I realised who was nearby the dinosaur. It took me a little while to recognise her, as she always wore armour whenever I was nearby, but today she was not wearing  any. She was wearing a simple gym shirt and wearing track suit bottoms with big boots, like she was going out to train her soldiers. She wasn't carrying a spear right now, but I recognised her quickly by her hair, it was hard to not recognise. Red, long, tied in a pony tail, reaching her lower back and I could guarantee that it looked dramatic when blowing in the wind. I remembered what she was like, attacking me like a trained warrior, aiming to kill quickly rather than show her strength or impress her opponent. The way she attacked, quickly where I had no chance, exterminating me, it made me shiver, seeing her standing there, as she turned around and appeared shocked. She straightened up, having been bending upwards slightly to see what was on the big TV screen, when she heard us come in.

"UNDYNE! WE DID NOT EXPECT YOU HERE. WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE!" Papyrus rushed forward, wrapping an arm around Undyne's shoulder, though she didn't seem that bothered, too busy staring at me with an expression I couldn't define. I must've been looking at her the same way, staring her down, like she were a danger to me. She was.

She killed you; what are you, a moron? Kill the bitch!

"WE HAVE BROUGHT A FRIEND FOR YOU TO MEET. UNDYNE, THIS IS FRISK. FRISK, THIS IS UNDYNE. SHE IS MY BEST FRIEND AND CAPTAIN OF THE ROYAL GUARD." Then he put a hand on the dinosaur's shoulder. "AND THIS IS DOCTOR ALPHYS, THE ROYAL SCIENTIST."

Silence.

"UM. HERE." Papyrus grabbed Undyne's hand, pulling it forward and walked towards me, bringing Undyne with him. I flinched, taking a step back, though Papyrus didn't notice and grabbed for my hand. He grabbed it, pulling it towards Undyne's and got our palms to touch. Her hand wasn't slimy, it was actually slightly slippery, yet at the same time rough on my skin. I could feel her claws dig into my skin slightly, not hurting, but rather almost a threat. It worried me a little, I was already feeling stiff and stuck in fight or flight, but instead remaining paralysed trying to stand my ground and appear threatening. Undyne appeared to be doing the same. She was scared of me? Was that what her reaction was? She was scared? Scared of me? She had killed me without much trouble before, why was she scared of some poor human when her only weapon is useless against her?

"YOU CAN SHAKE YOUR HANDS NOW." Silence.

Undyne coughs, "So. You're a human."

Well thank fuck Undyne was the master of observational skills. "Last I checked."

Undyne dropped her hand, almost eagerly, before running a hand through her red hair claws going through the hair slightly touching her scalp. "Look, you seem like a nice person, but you're still a human, and I made a promise to the King so..." I stared at her, crossing my arms to my chest, looking sternly at her. Her toothed smile seemed to waver, I could see her begin to sweat. Alphys didn't seem at all bothered by my presence, somehow. She was watching, silently, looking between Undyne and I. Sans, dunno what he was doing. Papyrus was close by, wondering what we were doing. Shadow was doing the same, confused by my reaction. Of course, Shadow didn't remember the RESETS, otherwise he would be ripping Undyne's throat out right now.

"Oh please, do tell how a promise to your King is worth the lives of six dead children. I'd love to hear it." My tone of voice was ice cold, unkind, bad cop mode.

Undyne flinched, though not entirely out of fear, more at the viciousness of my tone of voice, the sternness of it. She probably felt guilty. Good. "Ah gee man, c'mon lady, you know the story. The Skelebros told you." She looked to Sans and Papyrus, but they said nothing. She sighed. "Humans killed us, none of them died in the war, not one. We were slaughtered, one human is stronger than a thousand of us, we stood no chance. You realise how fucking terrifying that is?" I faltered slightly. She... she had a point. "I'm the best there is, I trained everyday to keep my friends and family safe from humans attacking. Six humans have fallen down and died in numerous ways, some our fault, some not. We had one human, the child of hope, Chara was going to fix relations with the humans. Asgore told me, he thought with Chara, we could be friends with the humans, that it was possible because Chara loved us. When she died, we lost hope. When Asriel died, we gave up. "That was what Asgore told me, to kill any human that entered here, before they kill us. Humans will never change, they'd kill us on sight. That's what I was told, that's what I believed."

"But you. You're weird. You didn't freak out when you saw Sans. Alphys showed me the video, when you first met him. When your buddy here tackled bonehead here, you apologised, felt sorry instead of freaking out. What gives?"

Wow. Undyne sure had a lot to say, for a person who was very physical instead of talking a lot. She had passion, I could tell that much, she was undyingly loyal to Asgore, by the sounds of it, the way she spoke of him. That didn't surprise me, being Captain of the Royal Guard, she must be close to him. She genuinely believed that humans were dangerous, I didn't blame her now. Hearing her side of the story, she was genuinely frightened for her life from humans. With the monster's past, I suppose it didn't seem entirely unreasonable.

But she still killed children, hadn't she?

"Maybe you should try not to lump all people in the same basket? Just because most dogs hate cats and that's a stereotype, doesn't mean that all dogs hate cats. Some prefer the company of cats, some are raised with cats. That doesn't mean that all cats would try if they could to kill all dogs because one day a random dog might come along to eat them."

Undyne huffed. "What, let it kill someone before I do something about it? What good is that shit? Those two smaller humans, one was throwing his weapon about like a maniac! He was going to kill someone with it! I can't let humans like that live, he was laughing with his brother, I assumed they were brothers. How could I?"

"Maybe, instead of swinging your spear around and just throwing it at anything that looks even remotely dangerous, you'd think first before just shooting and not bothering with questions." I shook my head, getting frustrated. "I haven't attacked a single monster whilst here, but you wouldn't have hesitated to kill me anyway. I was talking fine with monsters, Sans and Papyrus accepted me into their homes and let me stay with them, eat with them, travel with them and you couldn't care, because I'm human. Obviously, I can't be anything other than a killer." Undyne didn't say anything, knowing that what I was saying was true. "I get that you're scared, I was scared when I came here. But, I knew that if I killed anyone, that would just make what you said true, that all humans are just killers, attack first  and don't bother with questions. I don't want to be like that, even when I was attacked by other monsters, I still tried to defend myself without harming the other. As a police officer, we are always taught to disarm. If we disarm, they won't be able to hurt us and we can find out why they did what they did."

Undyne seemed like she wanted to speak, but I stopped her. "Look, humans are shit, I know that. My work revolves around trying to solve that issue and trying to make people better people, punishing bad behaviour and trying to lead their life to a new brighter road. Just, most of the time we don't manage it. That's why I'm a cop. I protect my people, but I don't do it through killing, Undyne, I do it through disarm."

Undyne shook her head, she seemed conflicted. "I-I get it. But I promised Asgore. He is my King." That's why I couldn't blame her entirely, even if I wanted to. She was following orders, that was a little messy in terms of the law, as if she ignored his orders, at least in our country it would have resulted in her disobeying orders, which could eventually lead to court marshal. That is, if their military system worked any at all like ours did. But her feeling good about killing those children, as she seemed to. That. That I couldn't forgive.

"Do you really, Undyne? I've met plenty of hate before, us cops are used to hate being thrown at us, I've seen plenty thrown in for racist crimes white people beating up black people. What's the difference really?"

Undyne shook her head. "It ain't like that. Asgore declared war, we're at war with ya. I thought I was doing good. I thought I was saving my people, I didn't know those humans weren't dangerous!"

At this, I took out Bruce's torn notebook, handing it to Undyne. "Read that. Read it all. Understand who you have killed. At least do the kid a good thing and feel remorse for who you killed. For the time being." I didn't want to tell her that that was probably the worst I could do right now, without being in control of the situation all that much, this was the worst I could do. Maybe give her the chance to repent, to truly take in what she had done. Maybe give Bruce and Godfrey peace of mind. It was the most I feel I could do, for now. Until I could get to Asgore. "Anyway, Alphys."

The dinosaur almost seemed to squeak, flinching slightly as I said her name. My voice was still pretty icy, I didn't blame her for being worried, or even scared of me. Considering what Undyne believed, I wouldn't blame her for her reaction either. "Y-y-yes?"

Huh, she had a stutter, was I that frightening? I tried to calm down, good cop mode. "Sorry about that, but Sans was telling me that you're the Royal Scientist. I got a bit of a problem." I raised my arm, the cuffs dangling there uselessly.

"O-oh! I've seen those before!" Alphys suddenly seemed excited, walking right up to me without a care in the world and grabbed my arm. Wow, her hand felt a lot like Undyne's, actually. Just more dry. "They use these to apprehend bad guys, r-right?"

"Uh, yeah."

"S-so. Sans t-totally thinks you're a-a-a bad guy, right?" Where was she going with this?

"I, uh, don't think it works that way?"

She had a sheepish grin on her face, putting her hands to her mouth as she shook slightly, a blush to her cheeks. What on earth? "it'ssoadorableohmygodishipitishipitsohard." I didn't catch a word of that. I had no idea what she said.

"Right." I coughed. "So, can you get these cuffs off for me?"

She smiled brightly, excited to be asked for help it appeared, or that she loved her science that much. "O-o-of course! Right this w-way!"

Chapter Text

Chapter 13 You're My Amalgamate

Alphys took me upstairs, well took me to the escalator that went upstairs (did she really need those?) where I saw her personality a lot more than if she ever spoke a word. Ah. This was clearly her room, as she had a bookcase filled with comic books by this escalator, as well as the other escalator she had on the other side of the room. She had a desk where she had a chainsaw lying there (that made me a little nervous), blueprints for something I couldn't begin to understand, and a poster of some Japanese cartoon I couldn't translate. She had another desk nearby that was almost hidden under a mountain of letters. Hand written letters, not just spam like I remember Sans' post box was filled with. Interesting, what was she ignoring all these hand written letters for? They all had different writing styles, therefore by different people. Was she famous here in the Underground?

"A-alright. If you would j-just take a seat h-here." She gestured towards the chair that was right by the desk. Right by the chainsaw. I could hear Undyne, Sans and Papyrus talking (shouting) downstairs. I mean, just Undyne and Papyrus, Sans was as silent as always but I had a feeling he was beside his brother, watching the conversation with feign interest. Or maybe he was. Who knew.

With a sigh, waiting for Alphys to get her things prepared, I brought out my phone, pondering if calling Toriel soon would be a good idea, now that I knew who she really was. I missed talking to her, haven't had the chance really with all that was happening. Apparently Alphys wasn't far away, because next thing I heard squealing behind me and I turned around quickly, worried she was suffering a panic attack or something. She was practically vibrating in place, the biggest, dorkiest grin I've ever seen on her face. I was genuinely worried.

"That. T-that is so adorable. O-M-G IshipitsohardyouaremynewOTP!" She squealed, before calling down for Undyne to "totallylookwhatFriskhasonherphoneSOCUTE." I think that was English.

There was then the tell tale of Undyne stomping up the stairs, along with Papyrus' "NYEH HEH HEH," following behind. There was also Shadow barking, indicating he was joining in on the excitement that just happened to be happening right now for whatever reason. It wasn't until Undyne rushed up the escalator and grabbed for my phone immediately that I realised.

Undyne guffawed, at least with her voice it seemed that that was what she was doing. She ignored my protests, even as I stood up and demanded in my bad cop voice that she give that phone back or else. She just laughed, not bothered at all by the bad cop voice, turning the phone to show Sans, who was stood next to his brother with that blank grin. He took a look, at first his eyebrow bone whatever raised in question. When he saw the picture, I saw his eye sockets grow wider in surprise. His face showed he knew exactly when that was taken, so I didn't blame him for being surprised, I had been rather hostile at that point. His reaction wasn't one I expected from how he had acted towards me.

He took a moment, looking at the photo, before he turned his head away, looked away and stuffed his hands far into his parka pockets, his head ducking into his parka hood in the fluff, his nose hole hidden, his mouth hidden and only his pupils and top of his skull showing. He was looking away from everyone, to the side and his pupils seemed dimmer, smaller almost. He broke out in a sweat, quicker than a human ever could.

Undyne's grin seemed to remind me of a shark that could smell blood nearby. It was downright creepy, and seemed to spell disaster. She still had hold of my phone, paid no more attention to me, as she came right at Sans' side and nudged him hard enough to almost knock him over to the side. "Hey, you getting hot and bothered, Sansy?"

Sans seemed to blink, turning his head to look at Undyne and he put on an uneasy smile. "sure am, is what happens when you're in hotland. you get hot." Wow. That was an interesting reaction. Normally, I would've expected him to make a sexual comment or some sort. Instead, he deflects it as if he were avoiding it. He was sweating like he was nervous, fidgeting, his smile seemed rather strained... what could that mean? And reacting in a different way, now showing as a timid quiet character instead of the flirty outgoing one he had shown himself to be. Was this what he was really like, quiet, hiding away from the scene? Oh, I don't know, whilst I was getting better at reading people, I was not a therapist. Never will be a therapist.

Yet, Undyne didn't seem deterred by his reaction. "Always were one for deflecting things away from you aren't ya?" She seems to pat him heavily on the shoulder, something Sans didn't wince at, just took it like a soldier without flinching. She leaned towards Sans, whispering something I couldn't hear. Since I didn't know how to lip read, I had no idea what she was telling Sans. His reaction though gave me some idea but I still had no idea. He seemed shocked, flinching away when Undyne finished, her grin wide and she winked. Sans seemed to sweat more (if that was at all possible), and stared at Undyne wide eyed. Papyrus seemed to have heard what was said though, as he "nyeh'd" like Skeletor and threw an arm around Sans' shoulders. Sans looked to Papyrus, who just winked (he also said wink) and gave him a thumbs up. Sans seemed to sigh, looking down and closing his eyes as if fed up, but it seemed exaggerated. Undyne and Papyrus then high five each other, "YEAH!" There I was. Left completely out of the loop. Not that I cared. I had Shadow by my side who cared about as much as I did.

"Are you going to give my phone back?"I held out my hand, completely unamused probably looked like a pissed off teacher. Undyne rolled her eyes, muttered party pooper before giving my phone back.

Alphys coughed, "U-um. S-shall we get s-started on the procedure?"

I had almost forgotten! "Sure!" I turned happily to Alphys. Happy to ignore the plot that Undyne seemed to be plotting against Sans. At least, it seemed that way.

Or, I tried to anyway. "Bugger that nerd stuff, Alphys! I can totally do this!" She flexed her arms, showing off her muscles that I could only dream to achieve. "Just hold out your arm, Frisky. I can get that ring off faster than you could shout."

Wait what. "Um. No thank you, I'd rather the safer option with Alphys. Thanks." I was worried who was going to come out worse, my arm or Undyne's hand. I had a feeling that I was going to be in for a losing battle. In my mind, I could already picture it; Undyne grabbing for the cuff stuck to my wrist, pulling it off with force and taking my arm with it as I faint and lie in a bloody pool. She's not touching that arm.

Undyne sure as hell wasn't backing down. "It'll be quicker! Trust me! Besides, I'm sure Alphys can stick your arm back on if it falls off."

"What!?"

"I'm joking." That glint in her eye wasn't reassuring me. "Alphys can always use her laser, it'll only scar a little bit."

Maybe this was a horrible idea. "Anything that won't harm my arm?"

Silence.

"I'll just keep this. I mean, it fits nicely."

"NONSENSE, HUMAN." Papyrus seemed to join in. "AS UNDYNE HAS ALWAYS TAUGHT ME, A BIT OF PAIN MAKES YOU STRONGER." That's not how it works. That's not how it works at all.

"I-if you do s-suffer any adverse effects, I-I'm sure we can h-help solve the issue."

I was not willing to be a guinea pig. "I'm good, seriously. I'll just deal with this and get it off somehow myself." I patted my thigh, Shadow standing to attention at the sound of my palm hitting cloth. He came to my side, knowing that that meant we were ready to move on. Sans seemed to realise it meant something of a similar calibre, as he walked over to my side, much like Shadow had. I had no idea how he understood Shadow's body language so well, years working with the Snowdin dogs maybe?

"We can always put you to sleep! Alphys can manage that with chlo...chloro... science things!" Undyne took a step closer.

No. No, I'm done. Even though, rationally, I didn't believe she meant me harm, my instincts told me to run. So, run I did. Not out of the doors, I didn't think I would be able to get away very far if I tried to run through Hotland, but I remembered seeing a door with a lock on it. Alphys' bathroom. I don't know what I was trying to achieve, maybe hoping that they'd calm down, realise that no I wasn't going to allow them to try to get those cuffs off with any force. Nobody was able to stop me. Shadow followed nearby but wasn't able to get through the bathroom door like I had. I took a moment, deep breaths from running, realising what I had done. Wow, that was... pretty pathetic.

Completely, utterly pathetic. Cowardly. Should've fought back.

... like I stood a chance.

The room went dark, suddenly. That caused me to turn around, to reveal that I hadn't entered a room I expected to see. I thought there would be just a toilet, mirror, sink and shower, maybe a bath too. I hadn't expected a big room that was entirely empty with green walls but not much else. It wasn't even designed to be a storage room, it was just a room that existed for reasons I couldn't think of. I could hear talking on the other side of the door, but I couldn't tell what they were saying. That's when the room started shaking and I could feel the room dropping. Like a lift going down, about fast enough to make you uncomfortable, but not dangerous. That made me blink, this was a lift? How? There were no buttons to go back up! And it was a short trip down, before the room stopped moving and the mechanical sounds of gears whirling stopped. The doors opened automatically, I felt apprehensive. Here I was, dogless, with just a torch in some unknown place that Alphys kept hidden in her lab. Taking a deep breath, I went outside the door.

Oh. Ah.

This is more like I had imagined a lab to look like. A derelict building with green walls, looking old, smelling of damp, seemed rusty, there looked to be air vents all around circulating air throughout the building. At least, this basement, assuming it were a basement. There is a faint hum of the electrics moving through the building, and I thought I could hear giggling, but I was sure my mind was playing tricks on me. I shone the torch down the hall, it kept going, there didn't seem to be an end to the corridor and the light of the torch disappeared as the corridor went on. I hesitated, this place was freaking me out, even though there was nothing to be afraid of so far. It was just a dark corridor that was very long and didn't seem to have an end. No big deal!

Something jumped on my back. I screamed, thrashed around, but whatever had jumped onto my back clung on. I was about to freak out, when I heard laughter. Laughter I recognised.

"Sans! Jesus fucking Christ you giving me a heart attack?"

Sans laughed again, wrapping his arms tighter around my neck to prevent himself from falling down, his sneakers he had on rested on the belt of my trousers. He wasn't very heavy at all, almost felt like a backpack if he didn't squirm so much. Or was a bit shorter. "sorry, had a little mishap when trying to follow you. just here to make sure you're alright, babe." He sounded concerned, that didn't mean he wasn't a dick. "alphys said you shouldn't be here, especially not on your own. but since the lift is broken, guess i gotta keep an eye out for ya."

Whenever a person says that you shouldn't be in a place, especially to a cop, that means they got something to hide. "Now that makes me more curious. It's my job to be in places people don't want me to be in, what does she have to hide then?"

Sans seemed to be uncomfortable suddenly, but he doesn't let go, happy to remain on my back. "dunno, her hentai collection?" I had no idea what that was. When Sans smirks at my cluelessness, I was afraid to ask what it was.

"We've got to figure out a way to get the lift working again anyway, since I'm assuming you can't teleport a second person?" Sans shook his head, after a short hesitation. "Well, perfect. Let's take a look." Sans lowered his head onto my shoulders, giving me goose bumps, the hair on my arms standing on end, as well as my neck. Not entirely unwanted. Time and a place, body! Time and a place.

"what's this?" Sans asked, genuinely bemused.

"What? Goose bumps? Nah, that's normal. It's just a fear reaction, nothing to worry about." That was a bit of a lie, just a tiny one. I mean, Sans didn't need to know. No really, he didn't need to know. Keeping the torch steadily pointed forwards, we moved forward. Sans soon figured he would get off my back and walk besides me, his hands thrust into his pockets.

"you felt fear before? can't imagine someone with a powerful soul like yours fearing anything." Sans commented, turning his head to glance at me from the side. His pupils seemed rather... almost worried. It was something strange to see on his face.

"Well, back on the surface, having determination and a powerful soul doesn't mean anything. If you've got a gun at your face, you're not going to stand a chance. I watch a lot of crime documentaries, literally TV shows about crimes, it's surprisingly easy for people to die. That's why  I'm a little wary about you guys going up to the surface." I turned my torch around to look at Sans, I had to jerk back a bit when his face seemed a lot closer than I thought it was. Since the fucker doesn't make noise when breathing, or seem to pant at all (I don't think so? But I've never seen Sans move fast enough to pant.) I had no idea he was that close to my face. When the torch shined on his face, swear to god he looked like a human skeleton and freaked me out. But he had that stupid grin on his face, like he knew what he had done. "You are such an arsehole, you know that?"

"yup, i do a good job of being one." With a shake of my head and a roll of my eyes, I turn away to continue down the long corridor. There appeared to be lights, so there was electric running through, but the lights just simply weren't working right now. "so uh, just the two of us, eh?" I wasn't entirely sure what he was getting at, so I just hummed in acknowledgement that I heard what he said. "s'been a while, since we've had pap. not even shads is here." What was he getting at? "can i ask you something?"

I slowed down, the end still wasn't in sight though I was moving pretty slowly, to look at Sans. He seemed rather... nervous, yet at the same time resolved. "Er, sure."

"i don't wanna beat around the bush," He grabbed my arm, gently, to stop me from walking more, before getting close. Instinctively, I backed away, backing into a wall as Sans got both his palms flat on the wall either side of me, his head was close enough I could almost feel breath leaving his mouth and nosehole. He stood, his legs almost in between mine, almost touching but not quite, certainly close enough for my whole body to shiver with anticipation. "so, what do you think? about me?"

Was... was he really doing this? Now? "I'm thinking that we should be looking around for a way out?"

Sans didn't seem satisfied with that. "c'mon babe, we've been dancing around it for a long time. i know you like me, yes that way, your soul practically sings whenever i lean in." He demonstrates, leaning forward almost forehead to forehead, I couldn't help my eyes relaxing slightly as he leaned close, nor the unintentional licking of lips, or staring into his pupils staring back at me, or wanting to lean forward. "it's pretty deafening. bet you can't help but wanna get closer, eh?" He proves this by moving back, slowly, slowly enough I'd be prompted to follow. 'lo and behold, my hormones would betray me and do exactly as he hoped. His grin on his face practically beamed, proven correct when I suddenly realised my head was following his, hoping to make contact.

That's when I glared, weakly, but I tried all the same. "I reiterate, you are a dick." If I could cross my arms, I would, but his body was too close to mine, so I left my palms braced against the wall.

He laughed, seemingly pleased with himself. "sorry babe, you just make it too easy. but really. you. me. i think we'd be great together." He leans forward again, this time our foreheads touch, leaning against one another, looking at each other.

I'll admit, I giggled a little bit. Rather girly for me, I admit. "Really? What makes you say that?"

"well, you seem to laugh at my terrible jokes, you can keep up with me, we have similar attitudes, you understand me pretty well, oh and let's not forget that you're hot, i'm hopeless to the feelings so we might as well, right?"

That did surprise me somewhat, he held myself in such high regard when really, I seem to be pretty hopeless as well. "I think you've set your bars pretty high there."

Somehow, not sure how, he got closer into my personal space. There wasn't any space left, almost every point of body contact was touching. I shivered. Sans seem to as well, just as excited as I was. "naw baby doll, you tick all my boxes." His eye sockets seemed just as lulled as mine, almost closing but not wanting to miss seeing what was bound to happen. "just wanna seal the deal, ya know?" That's when he leaned forward, kissing me on the lips, closing his eyes as mine did the same. It wasn't any different to kissing a normal man, except that Sans was clearly hesitant and not at all as confident as he said he was. Either his mandible was flexible enough to imitate human flesh or he used magic, who knows, but he quickly grew more confident when I ended up dropping the torch and grasped his parka, pulling him closer. By his mouth, I could tell he was smiling, pleased, happy to be pulled closer and he moved his legs to be between mine touching, hips close together. He seemed pretty eager.

Moving one hand, I used it to pull his head closer to mine, our lips synchronising together in movement. When my tongue touched his lips, he seemed to have no discernible taste, not like most where you can faintly taste something. He was all too eager to open his mouth to welcome an intrusion. There it was, his tongue, seeming much more wet than a normal human tongue, but again it had no discernible taste. It was as if he hadn't swallowed, it was a little strange, maybe even disturbing but I learn to ignore it. His teeth sure were something, they were slightly fanged, though not by much, his canines were sharp, I couldn't push my tongue that much against them or else my tongue would be cut. His tongue did about as much exploring as mine did, curious to see how each another worked, what made the other tick, he was very curious about my teeth, how they were much more curved than his and a lot less perfect and crooked than his own. He was very eager, somehow despite being a skeleton, able to suck on my tongue in his mouth. I was taken by surprise by that, but that didn't stop us.

What did was suddenly a bright light shining in my face. Annoyed, but not stopping with Sans, I peaked a look to the side, blinking through the bright light, to see a torch. My torch. Being held by something. I pulled away quickly, frightened, from Sans, pushing him away at the same time. He must've been confused, I didn't pay too much attention to his reaction, but he must've noticed my staring in a direction as I heard him make a surprised noise. There, holding my torch out, blinding us, was... well. The best I could describe it as was almost a stick person, a white humanoid figure that had less substance than even skeletons did as it appeared as literally a blob standing tall, having a slightly rounded end to resemble a head with no face, no nose, no eyes, nothing. It was holding out the torch with an arm, that looked like just a thread of white and his hand was just a blob of white without fingers. Sans didn't seem to know how else to react, but to take the torch that he was handing out, then the figure just vanished. Faded away as if he were never there.

"What... what was that thing?" I managed to gasp out. I'm sure I was out of breath more from the fear of something appearing than the make out session I had with Sans.

"i don't know, but it felt like a monster." Sans explained, sounded just as out of breath as I was, though I was sure he was panting for a different reason. "sure didn't look like a monster i've ever seen."

I ran a hand through my hair, I hadn't really noticed much that Sans' hand had gone through my hair, it had been tangled in his bones. That was a little awkward. We ignored it. "Got a question, why is there a monster down here? Why is Alphys hiding a monster down here?"

"something ain't right. he didn't... feel right." Taking the torch, he raised it up, to suddenly see that there was an end to this corridor, when there hadn't before. This was getting more bizarre, more creepy by the minute. Quickly dusting myself off I took a step forward. Sans stopped me. "hang on. if there are monsters in here, i'll go first. they won't attack me on sight. monsters very rarely hurt each other, we just can't do it." Well, when he put it like that, I could hardly complain. I nodded, allowing Sans to go first. It felt off, letting Sans go first when I was an officer, I was the law back on the surface, it felt strange to be lead somewhere by someone else, protected by someone who knew this place a lot better than I did. It felt like the right thing, though.

This place was creepy, old, decrepit. From the spider webs, I imagined that Alphys hadn't been here in a long time. Or she stopped caring about it. I wasn't sure which one was correct. We came quite far, before something came to life besides Sans. He stopped, turned around to see a computer screen put into the wall had come to life from our movement. And we call ourselves technologically advanced when monsters have that? There were clear words typed out on the screen, like we were meant to find them.

This is it... Time to do what the King has asked me to do. I will create the power to free us all. I will unleash the power of the SOUL.

"Is this Alphys' doing? Is she talking about... determination, you called it?" I questioned Sans, I couldn't entirely remember, as it was still rather unbelievable. But I had seen the power of determination, used it to bring myself back to life like some Harry Potter wizardry. This would be something to explain to the police. Come back with injuries, PTSD, a woman with monsters all around suddenly as a thing and oh here, this king called war on us apparently. Sort this shit out. I could see it all going down so well.

"yup, i had no idea she was working on this. though, really, i should've expected it." Sans shrugs his shoulders, turning his head to look at me. "used to work as a scientist, if you remember. cut it out later. i remember me and my boss came here once, working with alphys, asking her opinion on stuff. this was before she was the royal scientist though. dunno what it has to do with the monster we saw though." He shook his head, confounded by this predicament. It was rather bizarre, what did a monster have business doing down here? We moved forward, not too far forward as another screen lit up.

The barrier is locked by SOUL power... Unfortunately, this power cannot be recreated artificially. SOUL power can only be derived from what was once living. So, to create more, we will have to use what we have now... The SOULs of monsters.

She didn't. She experimented on her own people? It sounded horrific, but I suppose if they volunteered. But that just showed how desperate they were to get out of this place. If there was any chance, using their own bodies as experiments, it was worth it for the chance to see the sun, taste the fresh air, feel the wind blow.

"You guys really are desperate to get to the surface, for something that probably won't be worth it in the end either." It was cruel, for them to have to suffer the same problems later that they think they are trying to escape from.

"yeah, i don't get it either." Sans replied, turning away and walking on. I followed close behind. "i used to want to go to the surface just as much as they did. but i guess i woke up, realised life is just not a paradise wherever you go." He seemed very tired, like a lot of his energy was sapped from him in an instant. It felt a lot more heavier than he let on, like he had a lot on his shoulders.

"Are you okay?" The most cliché of questions, I agree. But I had to ask something.

Sans stopped, looked back and seemed rather surprised for a second before he put on his grin again. It looked forced. "sure baby doll, as okay as being stuck in a haunted lab with a hot chick can be." He winked. Instantly throwing sexual innuendos and comments at me. Definitely a defence mechanism, this confirmed it. The instant I ask something personal, or ask about him, he flips a switch to try to irritate me enough so I don't ask those questions again. Wow. But I knew I could find out.

Concentrating hard, I decided to do a CHECK on him. Sans 1/1hp; attack 1, defence 1. Close companion, no hope, down, needs help. "are you checking me out?" Sans interrupted, looking up and down at me, a smirk on his face. He was still doing it. What was with him? Maybe it's a guy thing, or just a Sans thing?

"Sometimes I swear to God you ask for a slap and a half." I mutter, glaring half heartedly at him.

Sans seemed to find it funny enough, as he laughs. "i wouldn't stop you for sure, doll." He seemed like he was about to move on, but he hesitated. "hey uh... frisk." That was one of the first times he had properly used my name, this must've been serious. "do you... like... suppose... are we a thing?" He asked, then seemed to almost flinch and back track. "i mean, are we, you know, together, romantically, i mean, an item?"

I had to hide my smile behind my hand, fearing that Sans would take it the wrong way. He was rather adorable when he was busy being an awkward dork about this sort of thing. It was pretty high school, the way he was asking. Ah, just like the rest of his personality, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. He was highly intelligent, being a scientist I could only imagine he was much more intelligent than myself. He just didn't act like it. "Well, we already made out, for quite a long time I must admit, and you seemed to enjoy it quite a lot." Sans' smile seemed almost guilty, in the same way a dog would look guilty for eating all the biscuits in the tin. He sweat a little, rubbing the back of his skull. "I like being in your company so far, you've helped me out a lot, we have somewhat similar interests. I don't see how it can't hurt to give it a try, right?"

Sans' grin grew wider, as his eye sockets blinked a few times, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. His stance seemed to pick up, his other hand leaving his parka pockets as he reached a hand out to mine. He grasped my right hand, bringing it up to his face and nuzzled a bit like a cat into my hand. "oh thank fuck. every bone in my body was saying you were gonna say no. cuz, ya know, you seemed to be getting a little annoyed with my jokes sometimes."

I rolled my eyes, but I had a smile on my face. "Just because sometimes I think you can be a real numbskull," I poked him on his skull, he didn't seem at all bothered by that. "Doesn't mean I don't like you. I knew after talking to you for a day you were my type. Just, uh. Yeah, it is rather strange to be dating something that is usually inside you."

Sans grin turns almost creepy. Not in the scary wanting to kill me way, the leery way. I didn't know he could look like that. "oh yeah babe, don't worry we can change that soon. just say the word and i can be insi-"

"Don't. Don't ever say that again." By the look of Sans' grin, I knew he was going to ignore that entirely. He would keep quiet for now, but he'd get his chance later most likely. But I was getting sidetracked. "Are you sure you're fine?"

Sans actually seemed conflicted this time, actually wondering if he would tell me. "sure, for now babe. maybe when we get back, i'll explain." I nodded, I didn't want to rush him, he could tell me when he was ready. That was best. But, clearly, there was something really bothering him, I had a feeling I knew but I didn't want to assume.

The next screen turned on quickly, telling us the rest of Alphys' notes.

But extracting a SOUL from a living monster would require incredible power... Besides being impractical, doing so would instantly destroy the SOUL's host. And, unlike the persistent SOULs of humans... the SOULs of most monsters disappear immediately upon death. If only I could make a monster's SOUL last...

"seems alphys' determination machine doesn't work on monsters. i had never thought to try it on monsters. dunno why i ever would, a monsters' soul is about 56 thousandth of a human soul. the only way i'd see us opening the barrier with monster souls is using every single monster soul that exists and more. that'd kinda defeat the whole purpose." Sans seemed to be mumbling to himself, maybe thinking with that scientist brain of his.

"Unless maybe Alphys had a better idea?" I was more hoping she hadn't been planning to use monster souls to open the barrier. If it wasn't going to work at all, monsters sacrificing themselves to break the barrier seemed like a horrible thing.

"dunno, we gonna find out though." Sans moved forward, turning to the left when the corridor bent and opened into a bigger room where lights seem to be dimly lit. There was a flashing red light on the door directly in front of us, with three unlit lights for some reason. To the left there was a corridor, but also a vending machine that seemed to have crisps by the door with unlit lights.

"Well, at least we-" I stopped, looking at Sans who looked back. "I won't starve to death." Sans' eyes seem to squint slightly to show amusement. "You got any coins?"

Sans dug his hand into his right pocket, I could hear the rustling of his hand going through his pockets as well as the jangle of the coins. "man, you're just in it for the money, ain't ya darlin'?"

"Well, maybe if you had somewhere I could exchange my sterling for your gold coins I wouldn't keep asking for a coin." Again, a roll of the eyes.

"i'm only joking. i'll get a packet each for us." He turns to the machine, putting a coin in and waiting for the machine to dispense the crisps.

In that time, my phone rang. Which startled us both, from what we remembered, having tried, we had no phone signal. How were we suddenly getting some phone signal deep underground? Quickly, I got my phone out of my pocket, to see that the number was blocked, coming up as "Unknown Caller." So, nobody I knew then. What made me worried was the fact that my phone still said it had no signal. How was it even receiving this call? Sans seemed to see the same thing, his eye sockets widening. He nodded his head, however, thinking that it might be a good idea to answer the phone regardless, just to see who it was. Or what it was.

I answered the phone, putting my mobile to my ears before greeting the other person/thing on the other side of the phone. "Be seeing you." I pulled the phone quickly away. The voice on the phone sounded crackly, almost digitised and glitchy. I couldn't place the gender of the thing, but I knew for sure that this wasn't from a human, nor did I figure it was from any monster I had ever heard of. I put the phone back to my ear. "Become one of us!"

"What the fuck are you? What're you talking about?" I hoped to God I didn't sound as terrified as I felt at that moment. A random glitchy monster or something telling me to become one of them from my mobile phone that doesn't have any signal?

"Come join the fun. It's a real get together." Then, loud white noise screeched from my mobile phone, forcing me to pull the phone away from my ear. When I did that, white sludge dripped from my phone, shocking me enough to drop my phone with a "what the fuck!?" The white sludge seemed to form a shape, before splitting up as it split in three. It shifted and moved, like something was trying to break out of the sludge mould before it finally stuck into a shape. Three shapes, all looking the exact same. It looked like nothing I had ever seen before, it resembled nothing I had ever seen before. It had the body of a worm, a long tail it seemed to use to stand up and its head... it was hardly a head. Dripping and oozing that same white substance, it's head almost seemed to be sliced in two where its jaw I imagine would've been, deep holes as if the ooze couldn't part where its mouth would have been (maybe that was its mouth?) and it seemed to have many eyes, eight, on its head spread randomly that were all looking at me. All three looked the same. I didn't know how else to describe them, they didn't resemble anything else at all.

"the fuck has alphys been doing here!?" Sans shouted out in alarm, he seemed just as freaked out as I was, his eye sockets open wide, staring at the abominations, sweating as he backed away slightly. These things didn't look friendly, staring at me either their eyes. The phone had voices going through it, but my phone was too quiet to hear. Whatever they were saying, we couldn't hear it. "i don't know what that is, it's soul is so... wrong." Sans shivered, keeping his eye sockets on the chimaera things. They slithered towards us, closer, slowly.

I backed away, pushing Sans slightly behind me. He didn't argue. "Back the fuck off if you know what's good for you." I snarled, trying to at least seem somewhat threatening towards the weird creatures.

To my surprise, they did stop. Tilting their heads in unison, it sounded like they broke their neck when their head was tilted. Jesus fucking Christ that was some morbid shit. They stopped there, staring at me. "What're you looking at? Didn't I say to piss off?" Maybe they are just scared of an alpha figure? They did seem to hesitate, something hissing through the phone, before they simply vanished. Just like that. No poof or anything dramatic, they faded away. "Wow. That actually worked." I looked to Sans, he was sweating a lot, but looking at me like he couldn't believe what he had just seen. I shrugged, trying to act like it was no big deal. "I just told them to go away and they did."

Sans shook his head, fidgeting his hands in his parka pockets. "it... it felt almost human. Those souls, a lot of determination. But, nowhere near as much as yours. But, humans don't look like that, do they?"

I shook my head. "No, I have no idea what those things were. They were hiding in my phone somehow. It was fine before, I don't know how they got in there." The horror over, I went to my phone, debating whether or not I should pick it up. The white ooze did seem to have disappeared, but that didn't mean the terrifying creatures wouldn't come back from out of my phone. I wasn't sure if I wanted my phone that much. With a shrug of my shoulders, I just picked it up anyway. The white ooze was gone, my phone was on a normal lock screen with no recording of ever receiving that call from those weirdo things. This was getting really freaky. "Apparently that call never happened, according to my phone. This is  some fucked up shit Alphys was hiding here." Pocketing my mobile phone, I moved towards the corridor past the vending machine.

Sans quickly caught up, probably not wanting to be left alone in this freaky place. "wait, are you seriously wanting to look around more in this place? they might come back." Whilst he seemed to express that he was worried, his voice really didn't sound like he was worried about them in the least.

"Guess I'll tell those all to piss off as well." Sans laughed at that, keeping close to my side, he nudged me in the side.

He winked. "good one. have a feeling alphys ain't been telling us a lot of shit we shoulda known. we all figured she was just having a hard time, experiment was hitting a dead end like it does with everyone. didn't know this was what she was hiding." He sighed, rubbing the back of his skull. "some weird thing that is human but not. No monster have i ever seen has that much determination. it didn't look like any monster i've ever seen." Yeah, so it wasn't human that much was certain. But a monster never had that amount of determination inside of them. Most monsters aren't feral either, they have control over themselves and are civil.

But what was it? What could it be?

The corridor to the left seemed to lead to a kitchen, but it was a dead end, there wasn't anything else to see beyond that point. We were about to grumble in disappointment, turn around and walk back when a screen lit up nearby. Curious, we took a peek.

I've done it. Using the blueprints, I've extracted it from the human SOULs. I believe this is what gives their SOULs the strength to persist after death. The will to keep living... The resolve to change fate. Let's call this power... "Determination."

"Wow, you weren't wrong, seems like Alphys discovered this power of Determination just like you thou- Sans?" I had been talking, but stopped when I saw that Sans' lights in his eyes had disappeared, so I was staring into blank black eye sockets. His hands were out of his pockets, his fists clenched at his sides instead of in his pockets like they usually are. He was still sweating quite a bit.

"you don't gettit? alphys wrote before how monster souls do not persist after death, so she cannot have a monster soul to experiment on because of that. but she has managed to get a human soul, but even that isn't enough to cross the barrier alone. a pure heart won't get you there. it takes a being of great power to cross the barrier." He turned his head, looking right at me. "don't you remember, surely tori told you? her son, asriel, and the fallen human, working together to get through the barrier. they got through because chara's soul merged with asriel's, he absorbed her soul, her determination, and became a real monster. kid became bigger than his parents ever could."

I did remember, how could I not? Tori was heartbroken after losing both her children. She probably couldn't look at children the same way again.

But wait. "Bigger than his parents ever could? How old was Asriel that he wasn't already bigger than his parents?"

Sans grin grew wider, he was almost doing that creeping me out thing again. "eight." A kid! He'd have been smaller than me, and yet the stories say he stood higher than a man could, higher than Tori could. "if determination did that to a little kid when absorbing a human soul entirely, what do you think the determination would do to an adult monster?"

They would become like those creatures we saw before. Alphys was creating real life monsters.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14 Delving Too Deeply

It took a while for my brain to fully comprehend what Alphys had done. Monsters had been taken, given determination and had become powerful monsters. What had Alphys planned with that, to destroy the barrier by force? Get a monster through the barrier with the determination in their veins, maybe try to break the barrier on the other side? If that was even how it worked, I wasn't even sure it was possible to pass the barrier with that.

"You think that was what that... freaky alien thing was? But it came out of my phone!" It still seemed hard to bunch that alien creature that came out of my phone that disappeared when I told it to with the monsters I had come to know and love.

Sans shrugged, his pupils coming back into existence, that creepy vibe disappearing from around him as if it never existed. He seemed to be pretty good at that. "dunno, i never saw asriel so 'm only guessing what happened on rumour. but i knew he was only a kid, the new prince and all that."

I shook my head, "There's too much we don't know, let's keep going. Maybe Alphys had her reasons for doing what she did. Either way, we gotta get out of here. This place gives me the creeps." So, quickly, we turned back towards the giant door in the middle of the room with the single red light. This time, we chose to go through the door with the big red light flashing on, how that didn't catch our attention to go through first, I wasn't sure. Maybe avoided the whole monster blob coming out of my phone as well. Sans stuck close to me, almost as if he were afraid or nervous in this place. His eyes were flicking all around the room, worried, but he had his hands stuffed in his pockets and back straight. It was strange, bizarre that he could hold such a posture whilst his mind was probably freaking out. The door opened automatically, my phone light showing it lead immediately to another corridor. So, the automatic doors were working, but the lights weren't. How did that work? We could learn a lot from monster technology. You know, if the human race wasn't filled with dicks, that is. Walking not long forward, another note made itself known;

Nothing is happening. I don't know what to do. I'll just keep injecting everything with DETERMINATION. I want this to work.

"oh jesus christ, alphys." Looking to my side, I saw Sans was up close, almost nuzzling into my side. "no wonder they don't resemble anything i've ever seen. and they still weren't more determined than you, frisk." He looks to me, well my chest but I knew he was looking at my soul. "yet, you look like a damn fine human. well, compared to all that i've seen anyway."

Inappropriate joke coming up. "Great, thanks I look more fine than a child, that's good to know you have some standards, Sansy."

"oh my god, you did not imply what i think you did." He seemed to try to sound insulted, but that grin on his face grew wider, I knew he wasn't bothered by that in the least. Moving forward; another note.

One of the bodies opened its eyes.

"Bodies? Is she..." I looked to Sans, wanting to confirm what I had just read. Bodies. As in, physical and dead bodies. Of the human children? But she had talked about trying to give monsters determination, how does that work? Tori explained that when monsters die, they turn to dust immediately, leaving no physical trace otherwise behind. How did Alphys get bodies?

"huh, i'm not... i'm not sure." Sans blinked, as clueless as I seemed to be. "you don't call live things bodies, right?"

"No, bodies are dead people, their physical being left behind and their soul goes away to heaven. Well, that's what most people think, it depends on who you ask."

Sans tilted his head, pondering. "you humans are weird."

"Oh, says the talking skeleton who just happens to teleport, because he got lucky in the genes department or something." That almost made me want to ask, literally, how was he born? Was he created? Or something? Yet, he was a dude, clearly, he calls himself a dude, brother to Papyrus. But I didn't really want to ask Sans for a biology lesson, especially not Sans.

Sans grinned, shrugging his shoulders, closing his eyes, playing the cool act card. "what can i say, babe, i'm a pretty gifted guy. i can just teleport, be there for a quickie and be gone in a flash before your boss even knows it."

Oh, of course, because that's what I would use the powers of teleportation for. Not getting to work instantly and getting an extra half an hour in bed and doing things last minute. Then again, that seemed just as petty as Sans' thoughts.

"'Gifted' sounds about right."

"hey, i'll have you know that plenty of girls have commented that-"

"Oh, 'plenty of girls'?" I stopped, turning to Sans, causing him to stop suddenly and look at me in surprise. "Look, the way you kissed me earlier, you're not pulling my leg here. the real proof is in how you act, and that, mate, showed that you don't kiss very often. I'm willing to bet you've never even had sex before, am I right?" I poked Sans in the chest, well ribs, well through the ribs so of course he didn't feel a thing and didn't get pushed back at all. I'd have to get used to that, that looked so freaky watching my finger go past where I expect his chest to be! Sans still seemed to be shocked by the words rather than my action, and he seems to prove me right by looking down and a small tint of blue appearing on his cheeks, his hands coming up to his neck to play with the zipper of his hoodie and the other scratching the back of his neck. Oh my, that told me everything. "Oh my God, I am right!? You're a little virgin, aren't you?" I teased, my voice doing a sing song as I poked him in the ribs again, missing his ribs again.

Sans seemed to turn a bright blue, brighter than before,, before he grabs his hoodie and throws it over his head, covering his face almost entirely and he turns his face away from me quickly to hide it. Fucking adorable. "so what? that doesn't mean i don't know anything. just... i just never met the right girl, is all."

Again, fucking adorable. He is such a big kid, I feel like I have to give him that teddy bear that is the size of him when we get to the surface. You know, those giant Costco Teddy Bears they have in America? They're like two metres tall, almost twice the size of Sans. I could picture it now in my head, the picture is amazing.

"You are entirely too sweet and adorable, you know that?" I remember giggling, that thing that I never do, before ruffling his hood where his bald head would've been. His head ducks down, as if to avoid it. It doesn't work. "Don't worry, that doesn't bother me. Just, don't feel you have to be in a rush for anything just because you think it's cool, okay?" I say seriously, worried that maybe Sans had been rushing into things just because I seemed to be pretty okay with discussing about sex in general. It was normal, really, since fitting in with the guys talking about sex wasn't entirely out of the ordinary. It was a way of life, why bother treating it like it was forbidden or super amazing when it's just something we could do and enjoy in a sensible manner? Of course, too much and well, many things could go wrong. "It's pretty intimidating at first, trust me I felt rather embarrassed and worthless at it the first time I had sex, but soon it just becomes something still probably private to some, something natural to others. You only really know when you try first, but I imagine monster sex is pretty different."

"uh..." Sans seems to hesitate. "i figure most sex was just... you know..." He then begins to make a crude gesture, his index finger poking in and out of a circle he made with his fingers on his other hand.

"That's a pretty... blunt way to say it but yeah, basically." Glad that was out of the way at least, that somehow monsters have sex like normal beings. But wait. "Dude... how do skeletons even have sex?"

Sans smirks, though his eyes are still hidden in his hoodie, so I can only see up to his nasal cavity. He opens his maw, sticking his blue glowing ectoplasmic whatever tongue out. "if i can make this, i got no troubles making anything else."

So, sex was going to be something to get used to then. Alright. That is... something to be addressed at a later date, I would say. I told Sans as such, he nodded and shrugged, said it wasn't a big deal, with any hope we'll be on the surface before he becomes comfortable enough even taking his shirt off in front of me. That was entirely fine, whenever he was ready, that was the most important thing. Consent was everything.

We moved forward, only to find that the corridor opened into a huge open room. The first thing to notice was the fact that there were so many beds, nine to be exact, the closest bed seemed to have its quilts disturbed. As if someone had been sleeping in that bed, until recently.

"Sans. We're not alone down here, are we?" I whisper, trying to sound a lot more calmer than I actually was about this situation. So, with our luck, whatever monsters Alphys had hiding down here are probably still here, roaming around. There was a dog bowl not too far away, a large dog bowl that was filled with food, crisps it seemed. I didn't want to question what type of monster eats crisps, but hey.

"well, you got me, pal. the spooky scary skeleton." I turned to glare at him for being a smart arse, but calmed it down when I realised he wasn't looking at me, he was looking around the room for potential aggressive monsters. He was just as scared as I was, even if he tried his best to hide it. There were two different directions that we could go, forward or to the side behind the beds. That seemed like a better idea, and I could already see that there was a screen ready to be turned on. Grabbing Sans' hand (since I figure he wouldn't notice otherwise and nothing else shutup), I pulled him towards the screen, waiting for the words to appear and explain Alphys' actions.

Everyone that had fallen down... has woken up. They're all walking around and talking like nothing is wrong. I thought they were goners...?

"oooooh. bodies. i gettit."

Well, at least someone understood what was going on. "Fallen down? What, down the stairs or something?"

Sans' grin grew wider for a second, like he was holding back a laugh, before he looked about as serious as he could with that face of his. "fallen down is a term used by monsters when a monster has fallen unconscious and can never wake up. no monster has ever recovered from having fallen down. well, i guess until alphys did her dr frankenstein thing."

"Wow, I'm even more impressed you know that Frankenstein is actually the doctor and not the monster. But, really, that means Alphys has been experimenting on dying or pretty much dead monsters?" By our laws, if the family and patient say that it is okay, signed agreements and all that, it is actually completely okay to do this. Though, most of the time it would require a show in the will or a signed contract by the patient himself that they would want this to happen.

"looks like it. by the beds, gonna say there was a lot."

We didn't want to think about how many monsters were actually brought here, thought to be dead. Then turned into those monster blob things that grew out of my mobile phone like some Alien Vs Predator beast.

Going through the door, it broke into two different directions, so we chose the left side first. By that, I mean I chose and Sans followed without a word. I chose left because I saw a note again directly after, I had to know what had happened here.

Seems like his research was a dead end... But at least we got a happy ending out of it? I sent the SOULS and the vessel back to Asgore. And I called all of the families and told them everyone's alive. I'll send everyone back tomorrow. :)

Vessel? And she was using the SOULS of the dead children for this research? But, from the sounds of it, whilst she hadn't been intending on reviving the monsters she had gotten, she seemed pleased and happy that such a thing happened. Alphys, whilst she hadn't meant to do such a thing, is a hero. Wow, bringing bodies back from the dead, that was something we will never see on the surface. Something we could only dream of. And, I'm pretty sure, something we shouldn't be doing. I'd seen enough films to know what happens when you mess with nature, it didn't seem like a good idea. Nature had the tendency to bite back.

The next note proved my thoughts right. Nature is a bitch.

no No NO NO NO NO NO

All Sans and I could do was look at each other. Something had gone horribly wrong.

Clank.

I turned, faster than I had ever before, almost making me dizzy. My heartbeat ran as fast as my mind was rushing as I saw some black figure quickly hide away from my torch light down the corridor. It did not appear humanoid in any shape or form. It wasn't that white blob figure that gave me my torch back earlier. What else was down here with us?

"Did you see that?" I whispered to Sans, not looking away from where I had seen that creature disappear to.

"... i didn't want to." I heard him mumble quietly. I could feel him shaking, I'm not sure if it was out of fear or something else that I didn't know about. Sans was still as unreadable as ever. I didn't look to see his expression, I didn't want to look away in case that monster... that thing, got the drop on us. We moved forward, being cautious, ignoring the turn off to the right as I knew the monster hadn't gone down there. Too dangerous, we could get ambushed if we went down there right now.

Pushing through the last door, I came face to face with what I can only assume was something you'd only see out of sci-fi films. I couldn't believe such a thing was here, shining my light at it when it got caught under the light. There were thick pipes coming from the top of it, leading to who knew where, many from the head of the machine and two on each side of the mouth. The machine head itself looked like a goat skull, the nose broken off in two pieces like pincers that could clamp down and massive eyes that I felt could later grow pupils like the skeleton brothers could and glare at me, watch me from around the room. The room seemed to circular around this machine, whatever it was. It looked in good condition, used probably not too long ago, though the floor broke away around the machine so there was no good way to go up to it, it was hanging from the ceiling with no way to reach it without assistance.

"oh bud. you don't wanna look at this thing." Sans put a hand on my shoulder, stopping me from moving any closer to the machine. "that... that's the dt extractor."

The what?

DT Extractor?

DT?

The look on his face answered the question for me, as my eyebrows rose. I had to swing my head back around to look at the devil's machine that sure did resemble Satan himself.

Determination Extractor.

This was how Alphys got determination, the raw power that kept humans going and their SOULS living on outside of their bodies. They had been extracting raw determination out of the childrens' SOULS to then experiment on dying monsters to try to get them through the barrier. Yet, somehow, it saved them, it saved the monsters from dying and turning into dust. So it seemed, Alphys' last note made it appear that something went horribly wrong. That determination and monsters were not meant to mix, but in their desperation to leave this hell hole, they did it. Took the life essence, their will to go on away from them like some Dementor from Harry Potter. Because they were so desperate to leave this place, they would really do anything to get out. Alphys was pushed to do this, from the sounds of it, Asgore ordered her to take determination away from the children's souls and inject it into monsters to try to break the barrier from the outside. Was it terrible... that I didn't blame Alphys in the slightest? What was she to do, ignoring the orders of your King, in our country, was treason. By our laws that haven't changed in centuries, there was only one punishment for treason.

Death.

A screen lit up nearby, probably highlighting how pale I must've gone, as my skin felt cold and clammy, I felt sick to my stomach, like I could vomit at any moment, but I had to turn to read the screen I hadn't noticed until now.

Monster's physical forms can't handle "determination" like humans can. With too much determination, our bodies begin to break down. Everyone's melted together.

Everyone's melted together. Those things that came out of my phone... they were monsters. Living, breathing, talking, living monsters. This confirmed it, what I hoped I was wrong all this time. But, I never knew that those things, they weren't just a single monster melted down into a horrific mess.

Heavy breathing behind me.

Turning, quick as a flash, I see one of those... monsters. It seemed to have the body of a wet slimy snake, a blue snake, with two arms that formed on the sides, but merged back into its snake body at the hands, like a handle almost. It had large bulbous sacks along its back, running up where I expected its neck to start and then... a blank head, almost like a snake's but large sharp fangs showing off constantly, lacking lips so they were always on show. I thought the monster was blind, considering I couldn't see its eyes, but after a second, its head almost seemed to shift, its jaw becoming smaller as its eyes rose from the head, sticking out slightly and it stared at Sans and I with yellow slit eyes. There was a strong smell of lemons in the air, for what reason, I couldn't understand, too terrified to care, but they made me blink more often as the lemons stung my eyes. It was dripping a white substance, just like the creatures before that escaped my phone.

"Welcome To My Special Hell." A voice echoed from the beast in front of me, sounding like a woman and a man at the same time, several voices talking all at once. Man, woman, child. It laughed, a man laughing in pain, laughing in joy, laughing as he has gone insane, yet at the same time a woman and child doing the same thing from that beast. Laughing, crying, sobbing, man, woman and child. "Stay Here With Me." It opens its jaws, a wide black mouth showing and teeth sharp, white substance dripping from its fangs as it began to slither towards us. Sans didn't move, he froze, shaking and staring at the amalgamation, sweat beads gathering on his head, his hands by his sides but slightly outwards as if to brace for impact.

"Sans, we've got to run!" I grabbed his arm and pulled, trying to get him to move, to do something, but he didn't. He just stood there, frozen, petrified. Fuck, this was not the time to be reacting this way! "Shift your arse before you're dead, damnit!" I pulled harder, with all my might, but he was stuck, even with my frantic strength, it was as if he were a statue, utterly petrified, like he had actually been turned to stone. I knew this was not the case, as Sans' heavy breathing sounded far too loud for him to be dead.

"Do You Think I'm Pretty?" I could hear from the monster. It sounded too close for comfort. It braced itself, its jaw opening wider as if it were to swallow Sans whole. Jesus fucking Christ, this was a real monster, with jaws as big as Sans himself ready to eat him! I have to do something!

Pulling on his jacket, I notice that he kept something in his inside jacket now that I had moved it. My baton! I had forgotten about it! Watching as the monster reared its head, ready to strike and grasp Sans in its jaws, I grabbed for the baton in his jacket. I pushed him back, surprising him by pushing him, appearing in front of him, he no longer stood still and flew back as I pushed him. Pulling my arm back, as the jaws came closer, using all my strength, I swung my baton at the crocodile beast, hitting it square in the jaw and knocking it over to the side. It whimpered, shaking, crying in all its voices as it rolled over, hid its head away and slithered away and up on the ceiling. I waited, hoping that it was gone, I couldn't hear the crying anymore.

Deep breath, exhale. Then, I turned to Sans, glaring. "Fucking idiot! When I say run you don't stand there gormless!" I threw my baton onto the floor, shaking from the fright and adrenaline to have hit that monster. Jesus we could've died! "You could've been eaten by that thing! This isn't the time to be freaking out and getting killed!"

I couldn't shut up, despite my want to shut up. Sans didn't take the shouting well. His pupils disappeared, leaving empty eye sockets staring at me, as he had trouble getting himself back on his feet. Once he was on his feet, he looked away, looking down at the floor, his hands shoved inside his short pockets and jacket back on to normal. "wouldn't've mattered anyway." I heard him mutter, I was sure that I wasn't wrong.

"What? What do you mean it wouldn't have mattered?" I was taken aback, this was entirely different to the normal skeleton I knew. The usual Sans I knew would've taken the time to joke, how his damsel in distress had turned the tables and saved him, so I should be rewarded a kiss. This wasn't what I expected from the usually joyful skeleton. "Don't you give a shit that you almost died there?"

Sans stood, looking down at the floor, unable to look me in the eye, for a long time. He let out a breath of air, then shrugged.

I blinked, standing up straight. Then I realised how much I fucked up. Shit. I put a hand to my mouth, both at the horror at my realisation and at what I had done before realising. The signs, they were all there, should've known better from my police training. That was a common thing to be called for in Ebott. Always looking well, steering attention away from himself, always joking to make other people happy, the bags under his eyes I spot sometimes, the distancing, all the sleeping, the laziness... all of the signs, why didn't I pick up on them?

Sans was suffering from depression. By the looks of things, he has been suffering from depression for a very long time. Years, in fact, with no medical help or attention, no therapy, just pretending it wasn't there. This was serious, on the brink of suicide. And one thing you don't ever do to a depressed suicidal person is yell at them.

Jesus Christ. I'm a fucking awful human being.

I couldn't stop myself, I felt horrible. Not only had I yelled at a depressed man, a broken man, I'm pretty sure the depression may be my fault. I didn't waste time, walking up to him and giving him a hug, his skull falling on my shoulder as he let out a breath of air in surprise. "I'm sorry. I can be such a dick sometimes. I didn't realise... sorry." It was all I could say really, anything else just seemed so cliche, boring, or worse insulting to tell him.

Sans didn't answer for a long time, his arms to his side, as if he didn't know what to do with them, before I heard his voice, quiet, right by my ear. "what're ya apologising for?"

I had to laugh, it wasn't a funny laugh, it was a disbelieving laugh. "Is it so bad that I'm not a total bitch all the time? I'm sorry I yelled at you, sorry you have to put up with all this, sorry you're going through this, have been doing alone for a long time I feel. Maybe..." I thought for a moment. "Maybe going the surface can be a good thing. If you're suffering, I can't imagine the monsters are completely healthy mentally either." That was an understatement if they were willing to kill children to get out. Or be excited at the very prospect of a child's death bringing hope. A hope it sounds like they haven't had in a long time. It sounds so barbaric coming from me now, having lived and seen the lives monsters have had to deal with. How was I ever going to explain this to the police officers? If I was ever going to escape this Underground.

I was surprised to feel that Sans' arms wrapped around my waist, a sigh leaving his mouth. "just. five minutes." Was all he said as he buried his skull into my shoulder. I don't think skeletons could cry, as he was shaking, like he was sobbing but I couldn't hear anything, nor could I feel any wetness on my shoulder. I don't think he was sobbing either, this was probably a panic attack, getting over the shock of almost dying. Even if he was suicidal, his body still reacted to the near death situation in a horrible way. I have no idea how I was able to keep my cool, I was sure I would vomit, but apparently my stomach is just made of iron. I didn't feel safe standing there, after seeing what that snake beast could do, but I knew Sans needed this moment. I could only imagine what it was like to see a monster, something that was once something like you, be turned into a true monster. I'd probably freak out a lot worse than Sans was currently. I did pat his back, sometimes rubbing slightly, trying to calm him down. It seemed to work, he gripped the shirt of my uniform tighter, as if he were afraid I would move. So, I stayed still, standing there feeling useless to help him other than let him cling. What could I tell him? We'll be on the surface soon, don't worry, you'll see a new day out of the Underground soon? Is that what my younger self told him? Or, rather, my younger self from another time or universe entirely? I'm still trying to wrap my head around that.

"'kay. 'm done." I heard Sans whisper, but he sounded very tired. When he pulled back, after wiping his nasal cavity on his sleeve jacket of course, he had dark rings under his eyes. Where his eyes should be, anyway. I'm still constantly surprised by how human-like Sans could be, apparently skeletons have snot I presume if he wiped his nose on his sleeve and dark rings under the eyes. "sorry."

I rolled my eyes, but I had a smile on my face. More of a neutral typical smile though, bittersweet. "You've listened to me bitch a load, saw me cry and somehow brought me back up. It's only fair I return the favour." I rub his bald skull, as if to ruffle the hair that didn't exist there. Sans' eyes closed, I could almost hear a whimper, like a dog. I might one day become used to Sans' animal like tendencies that hide under the human-like demeanour. "You amaze me, actually. By what you've told me, you've had to put up with a lot of shit in your life, probably gone nuts from it and still are able to help others you feel are in need. That's amazing, honestly! But don't forget, it's okay to be selfish once in a while."

Sans was not used to compliments, that much was clear, not genuine compliments anyway. His face showed it as he hid his face back in my shirt as I could see blue blossom out. Fucking. Adorable. I had to laugh. "shuddup." He sounded so embarrassed, poor guy.

"You don't like it so much when you're on the other end, do you?" If only he had a nose, I could pinch it and watch him squirm. I feel that poking him in the nasal cavity would not be polite.

"shuddup."

Oh Sans. "C'mon, we don't want to wait for Anaconda to come back and eat us. Let's get moving, see if we can find a way out of this hell hole." I pat Sans on the shoulder, feeling him nod as he pulled away from my shirt finally. I turned, bending down to  grab my baton and put it on my belt, ready just in case we had another run in with a monster.

The room beyond the DT Extraction Machine was covered in thick fog somehow, Sans and I had no idea how that was possible when the room we were in was crystal clear and utterly fine. It was impossible for us to see anything through that smoke. We could see something moving in the room, so quickly decided that that room could go to hell for now. Leaving, we saw there was another room behind the DT machine, but something inside me told me not to go in. I wasn't sure why, but something didn't want me touching that room, going near it at all. I explained it to Sans, who seemed just as puzzled, but recommended we try that room last.

So, we backtracked to the other corridor we hadn't tried. This one seemed just as foggy as the last room , however it was clear enough that we could see that there were huge fan in this room. This must be what kept the air flowing nicely in this place. How I was still breathing, and any of the monsters hiding in here, I wasn't sure. There seemed to be pieces of white flecks floating in the air with the dust, I had no idea what they were.

"big dust mites?" Was Sans' guess. It was better than mine. There was a screen nearby, more of Alphys' notes.

Now that Mettaton's made it big, he never talks to me anymore... except to ask when I am going to finish his body. But, I'm afraid if I finish his body, he won't need me anymore... then we'll never be friends ever again. Not to mention, every time I try to work on it, I just get really sweaty.

I didn't ask Sans what she meant by that. He didn't seem to want to know either, by the look on his face. I did remember that Sans mentioned Alphys had strange tastes when it came to video tapes, so I guess it was just safer to not ask. But, the fact that Mettaton was mentioned here, that Alphys made Mettaton, didn't surprise me. I haven't seen what Mettaton looks like, but I'm well aware that he is apparently a big celebrity in the Underground. Well, Papyrus was practically in love with him anyway, much to the annoyance of Sans.

We pushed forward, past the fans and saw that the machine was still working. There was a button to activate the fans at the end of the room, the screen telling us that it was working, just deactivated, for whatever reason.

"You first." I told Sans.

"is it because i get to push all of your buttons?" It was amazing how quick Sans could just jump back into being his happy annoying self again. After seeing the look I gave him, he laughed, his pupils looking much more alive now than they had earlier when he had the black cloud over his head, and he pushed the button.

Within seconds, the room was cleared out, the dust and fog dispersing quickly and clearing the air. Ah, I hadn't realised how foggy and muggy the room was until the fans blew to life. It felt so nice, to feel some wind in my hair, touching my skin. I missed the feeling of wind, I didn't quite realise that until now.

Then, the sound of growling. Turning quickly, both Sans and I spot the white splotches that had been hovering in the air were flying towards each other, almost flowing together in the air like gravity meant nothing for those liquid forms. They blended together, creating a huge blob of white that flopped onto the ground like slime. I recoiled back, disgusted and afraid of what that was since it was moving, like some Ghostbusters thing or something. It grew tall, growing into a creature with a shape. First came the legs, six of them, three on each side that were cut out to look like creatures in the gaps between the legs, a massive white body constantly moving with white slime for skin that dripped all over the floor, yet there seemed to be a never ending supply for the slime. Next grew a neck, thick powerful neck and large hulking body, a large orifice for a face, a black hole leading nowhere, leaking a strange saliva-like liquid from what I assumed was its mouth. Two large ears on top of the beast, flicking from one side to the other before settling in front and growled. It stalked forward, crouched low to the ground in aggression and growled, snarled, barked and yipped.

At first, I backed away, pushing Sans behind me, but... I took another look. The gaps in the legs... they were shaped a certain way like...

Oh.

Oh Jesus no.

She didn't.

Dogs.

They were dogs.

Dogs. Just like Shadow, they were dogs. Like Doggo, like Dogamy and Dogaressa, G.D and L.D Loads of them, five dogs between the legs and the big hulking main dog as the body of the monster. It was shaking constantly, unable to stay still, growling, barking, whining, yipping, howling, panting. This was no way for a dog to live, Jesus the monster must be so scared, in so much pain from being morphed in a body this large sharing six souls together. Jesus Christ. Determination did this, morphed six or more people together into one monster. I wanted to cry for the amalgamate, this twisted chimaera creature.

It kept stalking towards me, though it now lifted its head, tilting slightly and whining out a question. I must be shaking, but appearing unthreatening. I couldn't help but reach a hand out, causing the beast to flinch and growl, though calmed down when it saw I was simply holding out an empty hand. It seemed to sniff my hand, I'm not sure how considering the beast didn't have a nose that I could see, before it pushed its head on my hand. Stroking his head, I smiled, the slime didn't bother me, feeling it stick and move fluidly between my fingers didn't bother me, now knowing that the creature loved to be pet like this. There was the sound of panting, looking though the big gaping hole in the face did seem to be drooling saliva or something and dribbled down its neck. It didn't seem bothered about this, instead wagging its tail, flicking the white inky substance everywhere left and right like it wasn't bothered at all by its appearance, the fact that it isn't a singular entity anymore. All of them seemed to have the same feelings, from what I could see, they were all happy to see me, had smelt something interesting by the way the beast was sniffing my hands.

Then, the monster jumped up and put its front two paws on my shoulders, putting its face right next to mine even as I shouted out in surprise and a  long white wet tongue came out and licked my face. I fell down backwards, the multi dog following me down, tail wagging. Then, they lay down on top of me, getting themselves comfortable. Then, flopped their head down on my chest, right on my tits, of course. I gasped out a breath, tried to lift myself up, pushing against the dog; Endogeny so checking told me. Six dogs, I'm told Endogeny is made out of and appears to be happy, perfectly happy and content. Maybe even monster dogs are just much simpler beings and don't overcomplicate things in their mind. I'm always jealous of Shadow for that kind of thing. I'm also reminded I must smell like Shadow, hence Endogeny seemed so happy and relaxed around me.

"uh... its bigger than me." Sans spoke, coming closer and looking at Endogeny, like he wasn't sure how to react to it. Endogeny didn't seem to care for Sans, breathing deeply and I was busy trying not to freak out as the eyes of the gap between his front legs were staring at me. They looked so happy. It unnerved me, but Endogeny wasn't hurting me. Just... not moving. And it was way too heavy to push away.

"Yeah, it's bigger than me too, it's also pretty heavy." I was just about to get through my lips, it hurt a little to breathe as I was being pushed into the ground as Endogeny calmed down and got tired. That didn't seem too good for me. "Can you conjure a bone or something? Hopefully it is like a dog enough." I breathed out.

Sans blinked, like he hadn't thought of that, then nodded vigorously. "'course." He speaks, before holding a hand up in the air. A bone soon materialised in his hand and he began waving it, whistling (without lips how?). Endogeny heard, their head lifting up at the sound of something before spotting the bone. Like a button turned on, they rushed to the bone immediately. Sans ducked his head in his hoodie, startled it seemed by Endogeny moving so fast before he threw the bone. Endogeny didn't seem to be after the bone, apparently, as it ran towards Sans and crouched down in front of him. There seemed to be a lot of whining, the chimaera thing then rolling over onto its back, submitting entirely to Sans immediately. What a dick, how was he able to get along so bloody well with dogs!? This was simply unfair.

But I shut up when I saw Sans' haunted look. He held a hand out, Endogeny rolling over onto their feet, tail wagging and pressing their head onto Sans' hand without hesitation. They seemed right at home with Sans. Was it because he was a monster? But the Anaconda thing didn't seem too taken to Sans and didn't seem to care.

"oh jesus fucking christ." I blinked, what caused  such a reaction by him? "i recognise you... doggery, dogarah, little dog, doggeny, dogaron and poppydog. anyone else?" I had no idea what he was listing, but they sounded like names. Bizarre names. But, the way he spoke, he must've known these people. He seemed very upset, his voice shaky as he spoke their names, so they were friends, or even close colleagues enough to be friends outside of work. He looked up, noticing my confusion and seeing the strange look on my face. "these... these are all dog monsters, i only recognise them now because endy is standing still enough and standing close enough and letting me see their souls. their five souls merged into one, each of their souls looking slightly different that i can tell who is here. these dog monsters are related to dogamy, dogaressa, doggo, l.d and g.d. frisk." Sans sighed, rubbing the back of his neck, seeming nervous to tell me who they really were.

"these were their parents."

Chapter Text

Chapter 15 CONFRONTATION

That took a while to sink in. Doggo, Dogamy, Dogaressa, L.D and G.D. The dog patrol that I had played poker with, attacked in fear as soon as they realised I was human, but I was able to have a nice banter with ignoring the fact that I was human. Able to have a nice drink with them, reminded me of the crew back home in the force. They were so much like us humans, they had family and parents. Their parents were now one big huge dog, that had no idea what had happened to them. The looks of it, they recognised Sans as a friend, their tail wagging and head leaning on Sans' shoulder. Sans looked like he didn't know what to feel, if he should get away frightened he might get absorbed into the amalgamate, or comforting because these were his friends, his colleagues that seem like they've been radiated into this gel formation.

That was, apparently, the point my mind and body had had enough. Apparently that was enough to break my stress levels. It came from nowhere, one moment I was fine, my mind freaking out trying to come to terms with what was in front of my eyes, the notes telling me a story of what had happened. Then, about as dignified as a drunk person out on a Friday night, those ones we always laugh at, I did turn away quick when I felt the acid burning in my throat.

Yup. I did vomit. Right there on the floor, just turned away and spew. That was... wow. I didn't turn to see Sans' reaction, I was going to guess that he'd never seen vomit before, not to mention the smell must've been horrendous. I spat out the residue of acid

"S'rry." I muttered low in my voice, I probably sounded more like a man than ever before with a voice burning from the stomach acid I ejected from my mouth. I sounded horrific.

I heard padded footsteps. Endogeny, by the sound and number of feet. It stopped at my feet, no idea what it did but I felt its tail wagging and hitting my hip. Then after a moment, they lifted their head, pushing the top of their head onto my hand, tilting their head left and right as if to coax me to pet them. I wasn't sure if it was their intention, but it did make me feel a little better. It may look like a monstrosity, but deep down they were still a dog, still a lovely gentle beast. Though, it was hard to ignore the fact that I was ruffling up gel instead of fur for the monster's skin. Now that they were so close, I could feel that their body seemed to constantly vibrate, almost as if convulsing on a constant basis. Poor thing was probably in pain, but it had gotten so used to being in pain that it doesn't feel it anymore. Or it ignores it, which sounded worse.

"you sure have a thing for dogs." Sans made a comment, he seemed to be amazed that I was taking this so well. In actuality, I really wasn't taking this as well as I could. "i uh... dunno what... that whole... spitting out thing was."

Oh that answered the question; do skeletons puke? No, no they do not. "It's... that's the body's reaction to... expelling... bad germs or something." Just like we were taught in school. Well done, Frisk. A+ ten outta ten.

Sans' face seemed to show the same expression my mental one was showing. Basically, what the fuck, Frisk? "uh... bad germs? i don't know what those are." He tilted his head, like a dog pondering a question. So, there was probably a reason Sans and I go together so well, the personality similarities were probably just one of many, but since becoming a K9 unit, dogs meant a lot in my life. Figures I would end up getting along with someone who acted like a dog.

"It's what happens when you get ill, or nervous, it's fine." I couldn't explain, didn't want to explain to Sans what it meant.

Sans seemed to shrug. "if ya say so. though, i remember in a previous timeline, kid you did get sick. but you didn't... spit out anything. ya just laid there, in bed, sleeping, all day. your hp was fine, your hp is fine now too. dunno what sickness does harmful."

"Let's just say that some illnesses are just a pain, more of a nuisance because we have antibodies or whatever able to fight the disease back. Other illnesses are a lot worse. Not sure what it'd do to HP though." I wasn't sure it was a good idea entirely to talk about it with Sans, I wasn't the best at explaining things, especially on a scientific standpoint. I could just about tell when someone gets stabbed, how they did, what angle, whether there was a struggle and such things like that. I knew the difference between a person shooting themselves in the head and being shot at from a distance by seeing the bullet hole (okay, I figure I do, CSI helped with that along with a lot of documentaries.) When it comes to diseases and science, I'm lost. I'm not really a particularly clever person, I knew basic sciences, that was about it.

Sans seemed to blink. "there are illnesses just roaming in the air that could just kill you? ya know, that makes you humans a lot less threatening now." With that, we let bygones be bygones and left the room.

Endogeny followed us.

Actually, Endogeny picked Sans up by the hood of his parka, as he dangled almost lifelessly that had me worried for a little while, until he tilted his head and grinned wider. "You'd make the best Halloween decoration, remind me to tell Tesco that their decorations are absolute bull."

"tesco?"

He had a lot to learn from the surface world.

We returned back to the room that had been covered in smoke. Now that the fans had been turned on, we could see that the room was very much like a kitchen. A strange kitchen, with many freezers. Yeah, I was telling myself it was a kitchen and not a morgue. But, these freezers really did represent small freezers found in most kitchens. My problem was that there were seven of them. Why would anyone want seven freezers? This room was really chilly as well, my police jacket doing nothing to warm me up in this room. I shivered, wrapping my arms around myself. A panel turned on right to the side, showing another message Alphys had written.

The families keep calling me to ask when everyone is coming home. What am I supposed to say? I don't even answer the phone anymore.

I suddenly felt horribly bad for Alphys, being stuck in this situation. Here she had a hidden lab, where she was hoping to create a being able to pass through the barrier and be able to break the barrier from the other side. She was doing as Asgore told her, now it has flipped one eighty on her. Those mountain of letters she had on the side of her desk from many people suddenly made sense. Angry letters, demanding to know what had happened to their family members. Why was it taking so long for them to come home, what had happened, are they okay and so forth. It was no wonder she was a nervous wreck half the time when she expected an angry mob to break in and find their families they don't even know are alive and... well, not exactly well. Like Doggo and gang, how would they react to their parents being merged into one giant slime monster dog? How would you ever explain that?

Heh, funny to think I came down expecting to find six dead children and a murderous bastard. And this is what I've got. This is going to look like a right novel when I write this in my police report. And having to explain to the paparazzi. Ugh, hate reporters.

Bang!

Leaping up like a scared cat, I look around for where the noise came from. Endogeny seemed to have the same reaction, jumping up and growling, Sans swinging with Endogeny's head movements like a rag doll. He didn't seem bothered by that, though he was bothered by what made that noise. Nothing moved, except Endogeny who couldn't stay still for a second. There was no way we had imagined that happening, how would we? But, nothing moved. Endogeny whined as I moved to look around the first fridge, but there was nothing there. The room was empty. I moved forward a bit more, only to hear the screen next to this second fridge turn on.

Asgore left me five messages today. Four about everyone being angry, one about this cute teacup he found that looks like me. Thanks Asgore.

Asgore doing something nice? So far, I had heard nothing about Asgore being anything else other than a tyrant, of which Toriel ran away from because she couldn't handle him. I had pictured this big bulking monster ruling this world with the promise of violence and revenge for his dead children. Bring war to the humans because they killed his children, killing any human that stood foot into his kingdom, just like those tv shows. But this was real life, and already I assumed so many of the monsters were going to live up to their name. But the only one I had to be cautious about was Flowey, whom I hadn't seen since the RESET I had done where I had discovered Sans' power he had hidden from me. I had completely forgotten about the flower, what was he doing right now?

Sans didn't seem to have a comment about the screen, either that or he didn't bother to read it. Too busy hanging in Endogeny's mouth. Endogeny didn't seem to care, their tail wagging happily as it let out four barks at once. I sighed, I wasn't sure what to say, though I didn't feel it safe enough to say another word, not if there was someone here. I was going to move forward.

Wham!

The fridge right next to me threw itself open, the door shot open and a horrid stench hit me immediately. I gagged, covering my nose and mouth instantly with my jacket arm, my eyes almost burning. I wasn't sure what had been in that fridge, but I never wanted to know. But, soon as I uncovered my mouth and nose, I couldn't smell it anymore. Endogeny hadn't reacted and Sans barely flinched. There, inside, was a gun and a cowboy hat. Inside the fridge. What? What reason was there for the gun and cowboy hat to be hidden in there? I took the hat first, wary of the gun, as it appeared to be a real handgun. There was a label, the cowboy hat seemed pretty fake as well, almost looking like the Toy Story cowboy hat Woodie would wear. That was confirmed when the label showed the Disney logo, and a name. O Sanders.

Oliver Sanders. The final child we had been looking for. There was no body or soul, just like the others, but the weapons were here. How? How had Alphys gotten a hold of them? She didn't seem the type to go after children, even if she did work with the human souls. How had this happened? Then, I looked at the gun, taking it. It was loaded, safety was on however thankfully, but this gun was working. It doesn't appear to have been used, but that made me wonder. How did a child get hold of a gun in the United Kingdom? If even police officers were not allowed guns, how did a kid get a hold of one? I recalled from the notes that Oliver was an orphan, he didn't have the best beginning in life and from the sounds of it, nobody put in a report for him missing, not because they actually wanted to find him anyway. The orphanage just put up a report because an inspector had seen paperwork for Oliver hadn't been completed for a long time and enquired why. They said Oliver had run away and they had insufficient funds or staff to inform the police of what had happened. The worst bullshit I have heard in a long time. So, we made an assumption after all the rumours of people going missing on the mountain, that he too had fallen. This was the first official proof we actually had, barring that rumour and fairytale. It wouldn't surprise me if Oliver did get mixed in with the wrong crowd and got a gun from there. It wouldn't surprise me in the least, even if gun crime in the UK is low, it is still present.

The gun was a simple hand gun, nothing special, no extra bullets for the gun, so I had only the full clip. I took the gun, putting it on my belt where my taser usually is. I took the taser, putting it into my bag. I felt like I needed the gun close to my side. Plus, it looked pretty cool on my side.

Heh yeah. Totally cool.

Sans did seem to notice me taking the gun, his eyes watching me carefully. He didn't comment, but by the ways his eyes were looking, I assumed he wasn't happy that I took the gun. Better me than Alphys, I had been trained to use a gun should the time come, after a mental health examination proved me healthy to have one. We just never needed them, it was more of a reassurance than anything else. I probably wouldn't use the gun at all either, so far monsters gave me no trouble when I spoke to them and had a pleasant conversation with them. Well. After I RESET when I died afterwards, anyway. I still can't believe I'm taking that so much in my stride.

Another screen turned on as we passed the fridge that held Oliver's things.

I spend all my time at the garbage dump now. It's my element.

"Is it really that normal to be hanging at the garbage dump?" I didn't mean to say it out aloud, but there it was.

Sans laughed, somehow not stuck in Endogeny's jaws anymore, teleporting without either of us realising so he was standing on the ground again. He had his hands stuffed into the pockets of his parka again, playing the cool guy look. He didn't look like he was entirely comfortable here, something set him on edge, whilst he was grinning, he looked like he was holding back. Holding back what, I'm not entirely sure.

BANG!

The fridge next to us shook, making us all jump back in shock and terror. Endogeny yelped, before barking as if a whole pack of dogs were there, the gaps between his legs shivering in a strange shape I'd never thought it could. Sans hid behind Endogeny, hiding behind the mass of ooze. At least, that's where I assumed he had disappeared to, because he wasn't beside me anymore. The new gun I had gotten a hold of was kept close to me, aimed up towards the ceiling like I was an ace detective or gangster or something cool like that and glared directly to the fridge that had shaken.

Nothing. Then, it changed colour, white, and began oozing, like it was melting in the hot sun. I stared, like a scared little doe, watching as the white substance liquefied and spread across the lab floor and a shape stayed behind from the white ooze, as if a creature were freed from that white prison. Like a slime or something. In its place, stood what I thought was a Snow Drake, at first glance. Sans was only too delighted to show me a Snow Drake when we were travelling through Snowdin, and the moment it greeted me with "Ice to meet you!" I realised quickly why Sans wanted me to meet one.

This wasn't a Snow Drake. It resembled one, one that had been put out in the sun for hours and begin melting as one foot was entirely slime, the other seemed fine, its beak split in half and feathers drooping and dripping ooze. There was ooze everywhere, like melting ice, the monster resembled an ice monster melting in the sun but holding on for dear life. The eyes of this beast were nowhere to be seen, until I noticed it blinking, the mouths of the two faces in her head, split between a human shape arms out diagram that marked the middle of their face. It looked almost like those comedy and tragedy masks you see at theatres everywhere, but their mouths seemed to be the beast's eyes, or their eyes were its eyes, who fucking knew. There was gasping breaths, like it was having trouble breathing and heavy panting, like it had exhausted itself just by existing. Jesus fucking Christ, this poor thing looked worse off than zombies do from terrible films. It was slumped forward, moving slowly, dragging its feet across the floor, tail feathers dripping slime across the floor like a slug would as it moved closer to me, no fear agitation shown. Just the desperate look, faint determination from a being that appeared to be dying before my very eyes.

"s...no...wy..." I heard faintly, through gasps of breath of exhaustion and lungs that couldn't get enough air into them. The voice was female, I figured. A single voice speaking to me this time from this amalgamate, which had me pondering if this amalgamate was a single entity that had been melted. But, by those eyes moving, I highly doubted it. There were at least two monsters in this body, perhaps even three. But it was this singular female, possibly bird, monster that was reachable anymore.

Feeling sorry for the poor monster, I knelt down beside her. "I'm sorry this happened. You must be in a lot of pain, right?"

She didn't seem to know what I mean, as she tilted her head, looking confused. "i... don't... rem... ember..." She struggled to say with her split beak. There was no way she was even able to feed properly with a beak split in half, surely? Her tongue was sticking out, ooze dribbling out like a St Bernard.

"frisk." Sans spoke, for the first time having encountered this amalgamate. He was suddenly right next to me, standing normally and over me (for the first time) with his hands out of his pockets in a 'steady on' motion. "i think i recognise her... tundrake?" Sans spoke cautiously. He was peering, again, slowly behind Endogeny, who didn't seem bothered by Tundrake whatsoever. He seemed rather happy, being here. Just like a dog would be.

Tundrake didn't seem to recognise Sans, nor did she seem to really care. She shook her head, flakes of what I hoped was snow, being tossed off her head and feathers. "remem... ber. sno... wy..."

Snowy? I assume she means a Snowdrake.

Sans' grin falters slightly, but he picks it up rather quickly before Tundrake could notice. "yeah, snowy's doin' great. lives near snowdin now. picking up those great snowdin jokes. avalanche of puns, snow fun with no puns." You could tell that Sans was unnerved, nervous or tired. Because those were the worst puns I had ever heard in my life. He seems to lose his cool when put on the spot.

But Tundrake seemed to like it. She giggled, well it sounded more like a gurgle, like a baby choking on its own spit. She had a smile on her face though. "tha... nk... you..." she twitched, shivered, shaking her head, before smiling again. At least, I assumed she was. The two faces that seemed to serve as eyes were both smiling, one that always grins was smiling. The other that always frowned was also smiling. "i remem... ber... my... so... n. sno... wy."

Tundrake. Mother of Snowdrake. It should've been obvious, the name similarities, her being a Snowdrake too. The name Snowy. How did I not notice it? Then, Snowdrake never mentioned a mother, neither had I met any other Snowdrake. Though, this strengthened my resolve, to get out of this lab. Endogeny and Tundrake didn't seem dangerous, they had families to return to, I could only guess the creature that attacked me earlier also had a family somewhere in the Underground. This could even help Alphys. I'll have to talk to her.

"Hey, Tundrake. Would you love to see your son again?" Her eyes told me everything, her excited fluttering of her wings that barely functioned anymore, slime covered the walls as she spazzed. "I'll take that as a yes." I smiled, petting her on the head as she stood shoulder height to me. Her eyes closed, or those mouths depending on how you saw it. They were eyes to me. She seemed to smile, before grabbing something from behind her and outstretching her hand. I held out my hand, where she promptly dropped a key card into my hand. A blue one. Interesting, it seemed to flash on occasion, but there seemed to be nothing else special about it.

"huh. that a key for a door or something?" Sans pondered, tilting his head. Endogeny seemed particularly excited about the key, their tail wagging furiously and they turned in several excited circles. Sans teleported to my side, for fear of being whacked across the face by Endogeny's excitement as they suddenly rush to the fridge I swore had been the one to move slightly earlier. The one I had checked and saw nothing there. But, apparently, Endogeny was just better at finding things than me (maybe because they had a gaping hole as a face or maybe had several dogs inside of them?) because they flung the fridge open (how?) and grabbed something from the fridge. First, a slab of meat. Classic. It was just hanging from the gaping hole, levitating as if there were black teeth there grabbing the meat keeping it suspended in the air, but I couldn't see. They ate it in one big gulp. Then, choked and spat out a green key card.

For a brief period, I wondered if Endogeny had eaten that key card ages ago, and only now after eating again finally vomited out the key. Or, if that key was being hidden inside the meat all this time. The former seemed more likely, but still. I picked the key card up, watching as it flashed in sequence with the other key card. This was a little... strange.

Sans tells me that we should keep the keys handy, just in case. Alphys apparently was one to leave things lying about, but she didn't usually lose things like this. It was as if the Amalgamates here took them out and hid them everywhere, like a game. But, maybe that's what it was, a game? They did seem the type, well, Endogeny sure did.

With that, we had to go back as there was nowhere else to go. We went right back to the room with the beds, taking a right turn down the hallway. Endogeny whined, backing away from the corridor. No amount of petting or reassurances would let them go down the corridor. Damn dogs.

I figured out why later, when we stepped further into the room. At first, I wasn't too bothered, a room filled with yellow flowers, not quite sunflowers. They looked very much like the yellow flowers that I encountered when I had first fallen into the Underground, when I had broken my leg. But, the sheer amount of the flowers of the same type unnerved me. They looked like Flowey. Minus the face. Sans didn't comment on my sudden change of demeanour, how I suddenly became tense and were staring at the flowers, waiting for them to come to life. A single Flowey is one thing, a hundred Floweys. Let's not go there. The sound of another computer screen nearby, with more of Alphys' notes on.

We'll need a vessel to wield the monster SOULs when the time comes. After all, a monster cannot absorb the SOULs of other monsters. Just as a human cannot absorb a human SOUL... So, then... What about something that's neither human nor monster?

Like... a fucking flower, maybe!? I could hear Sans trying to ask me a question, but I didn't answer him. I had to know.

Did Alphys create Flowey?

Experiments on the vessel are a failure. It doesn't seem it be any different from the control cases. Whatever. They're a hassle to work with anyway. The seeds just stick to you, and won't let go.

"frisk!" Sans' shout finally got to me, through my muddled brain, the brain that is panicking. Yet, somehow excited.

This is where he rose! The flowers!

Then, a migraine, a stabbing pain in my head enough to blind me for a moment and I grabbed my head in pain. I don't think I held back the moan in pain as both my hands grasped my head viciously, clawing at my cranium. I was gasping in pain, that much I was certain of, my breath coming out in quick pained pants. Somehow, I managed to turn my head around, clear my vision enough from the pain to look in the mirror to see what was happening. What was really happening to me.

The shadow, the demon, was standing tall, hovering over my slumped down form, their clawed hands grasping my head tightly, teeth shining white and red eyes flashing.

The flowers brought us back.

You shouldn't have come here.

I am you now.

I am in charge now.

You've lost, Frisk Fanshaw.

What have I done!?

Letting go of my head, I didn't do that!, my body stands up straight, head looking down, but there was a grin on my face that hurt it that's not me!

Stop it! Get the fuck out of my body!

I hear no response.

Sans looks at me, he has backed away quite a distance, looking at me carefully. Endogeny and Tundrake look through the corridor, worried, shivering. Good. Pathetic whelps. "frisk? are you... are you okay?" He tilts his head, but he doesn't move a single inch. He suspects, the only one smart enough to be wary.

Don't!

My body grins. "Yeah, sure, perfectly fine, comedian."

The reaction happened instantly. There was a loud hiss, almost like a cobra threatening a predator out of their home and the skeleton had teleported to the other end of the corridor, besides his Frankenstein's monsters friends. He stood there, like some hero who meant business with their arch nemesis. That probably wasn't too far from the truth, honestly.

"demon." Sans hisses the word out, like dirt that's been sitting in his mouth too long. His grin hadn't faltered, even as my apparent transformation scared him. I could see everything, through the eyes of the demon that had taken control of my body, I could just about manage to get my eyeballs to turn away and look at the mirror to see... there, in the mirror, I could see. There was a child, a girl with short hair just like mine, probably about ten years old. She had red eyes, a wide grin that broke her innocent looks of being ten years old. This wasn't a human child, not anymore. She may look it, but the black smoke pillowing from her feet, her whole body slightly off colour in a tinge of dark purple. Not to mention, she twitches, her hands, especially her head and neck, twitches like a glitched creature in a computer. It's freaky as all hell. Like it came from Hell itself.

Then my eyeballs were forcibly snapped back to glare at Sans, I lost it, lost control again. I was losing it!

Sans was grinning. Fucking irritating prick. Since when do ten year olds learn how to swear that much!? "Missed me? It's been so long, I thought Frisky here had given up when she didn't show up like planned." My coming here... this was always going to happen? Why did I come back if I knew this was going to happen? "It's just the way it is, she was always going to show up. I was just getting a little impatient." My face was forced into grinning, cackling like some evil witch. I hate this. I hate this.

"i hoped she wouldn't come back." Sans was right. He should've killed me when he first saw me in Snowdin. I can't stop it! "just so you could lie in the void, or wherever it is you came from, demon. so, maybe, she could finally stop suffering."

Goddamnit man. You're not wrong. I'd rather be dead than be used like this. My body laughs, hand grabbing the gun at my side with such ease and holds it up, the grin growing bigger when they notice it is fully loaded safety off. Fuck! "Well, I'm here again, back for more monster dust." My body then sighs longingly, whilst deep down I shiver in repulse, want to vomit but I can't. "It really has been too long. Frisk might've been a good cop for a while, but that charade's over. She was getting a bit too close to figuring it out." I was? "Shutit." That was a whisper, to me.

But, it seemed, Sans heard it. "huh. ah. heh. wow. well." Sans seemed more at ease, still as tense as a bow string ready to fly, but better. "say, i've got a question for you." He closes his eyes, a grin still sat on his face, playing off the cool card. "who's better, a good cop or a bad cop?" He then opens his eyes back up again, his eyes squinting in hidden laughter. "the one that doesn't cop out, 'course!"

The demon snarled, seemed that it didn't have a sense of humour gotta admit that was a horrible joke. "Shut the fuck up with your stupid fucking jokes!" The gun was held up, pointed directly at Sans, who was now suddenly sweating bullets and his eyes widened like he hadn't expected that reaction. Run, Sans! "I can't believe someone like you could possibly stand in my way! A pathetic depressed bag of bones, what's the point of you trying anymore? I could just kill your brother again, it put you in your place." Sans snarled, his grin turning into a scowl, his teeth bared and sharp. His right eye disappeared as his left eye began to grow, a ring around his iris glowing yellow but occasionally seeming to flick to blue. His stance was actually pretty intimidating, reminding me of that time when he explained about RESETS, when he finally had proof that I was the one RESETTING timelines.

Even the demon that had taken over my body realised, or maybe this was just the reaction it always had, Sans was pissed off and flinched the tiniest bit. Then, the evil thing grew angry and irritated once again. "I defeated your brother, defeated the Queen, any other soldier that stood in my way. I defeated Undyne even as she was powered by DETERMINATION. I defeated everyone and everything." They were getting more and more frustrated by the minute, as they spoke to Sans. "Every one. Except for you. A pathetic, useless, depressing skeleton with the lowest attack, defence and health. Killing me, over and over. You should be dead instantly, like the rest of the useless dust mites."

Sans was able to kill this demon? Without outsmarting it somehow? He used brute force? Murdered her? How? His stats, no weapon to be shown, he fled from the battle in the bar. How?

Sans just shrugs, his facial expression not changing much. "guess i'm just a tough cookie. or, should i say, pretty dead set in my ways." He grins again, that smirk becoming proud of that pun. It was terrible.

"What did I say about the fucking jokes, you fucking dickhole!" She raised the gun, gripping it hard and shut one eye, aiming dead set on Sans, ready to shoot.

NO YOU DON'T.

I feel my face growing tight, a snarl from the lips, my hands were shaking from the effort of holding the gun, like it weighed too much for my arms to handle. The finger was struggling, trying to push on the trigger, but it wouldn't move. It was stuck, unable to move, trapped. I had somehow stopped it. That's right, bitch. I'm not becoming a murderer. Not now. Not ever. "What the fuck is your problem!? This cocksucker killed you! He was going to kill you this timeline as well! Your dumb dog stopped that. Why deny it!?" Killing a killer doesn't make you a hero. This is real life! You don't become what you set out to stop! "Ha! A bunch of fairytale bullshit if I ever heard it. I'm making the world better, get rid of this whole existence, it's utter fucking shit anyway." So that was her plan! It seemed like a stupid idea, some evil villain's idea of an ultimate destruction of a plan.

But Sans seemed to entirely pale, he was sweating more. What was he worried about? "it sure is different hearing it from your mouth rather than assuming. heh wow, guess i was right. you really are hellspawn. the fallen angel come to make the underground empty." That poem. I remembered it, in Waterfall. Saying that an angel shall come down into the Underground and make it empty. I didn't think... it meant that.

She made me laugh, my body laugh, I didn't want to laugh. It sounded awful, cruel, from my lips. I didn't mean it! I don't mean it! "Sure am. I'll get to Asgore, shoot him dead with this gun that stupid cop found, take those souls and I'll bury you all away. Wipe you from existence entirely. If I can't kill you all, then I'll just erase this stupid place! So much easier!" So, this demonic presence hates the world so much, is filled with so much spite that she wants to end it all. No remorse, a complete and utter psychopath with no emotions. Jesus Christ. And she could travel through multiple timelines, take over my body, her dying is a RESET. She was invincible!

As invincible as me.

As invincible as me.

I can't die. I come back. She can't die. She comes back.

"Hah. I see why Sans tried to kill me." I manage to break free, speaking out loud, taking control of my mouth, though not my arm.

"Who said you could say a word, bitch!?" The demon shouted back, taking my mouth back. I fought on though. I couldn't let her have her way. She could fuck off for all I cared!

"My body. My rules. And, ya know, I don't really like you in it."

"Tough shit. I need it!"

"That's a shame. I was really hoping you wouldn't argue. Guess I've got to do it the hard way." Determined, I put it all, forcing my arms up and away from Sans. He seemed relieved, less tense with the gun away from him, thinking I had taken complete control. Not quite.

His stance entirely changed when he saw what was happening, becoming wide, flashing blue and yellow in his left eye and there was a buzz in the air, static of magic. "no! frisk! don't be stupid!"

The demon seemed just as stressed, just as freaked out, when it realised. "Are you insane!? Stop it! Don't! You'll kill us both!"

With the mouth full on pressed into my open mouth, tears blinking through my eyes as I pushed it enough to surely unhinge my jaw a tad bit. Hands at the trigger. "Thay your prayth you thonotha bitchth."

I pulled the trigger.

...

I could hear a howling wind, but I didn't feel anything. The area was entirely black, and yet I could see wisps of white, like ghosts. Fucking creepy. There, in front of me, sobbing like a little bitch, was the demon girl. She looked normal now, pathetic, sobbing there, her hands covering her face and snot and drool running everywhere. Like she had a right to be upset when she almost made me kill my boyfriend! Geez!

"You're pathetic. This is really who you are?"

She seemed to flinch, rubbing her eyes until they were red and she sniffed before moving a hand away from her eyes. They were red, but a normal red now, like they could pass off as a normal eye colour. Even though red wasn't a normal eye colour, but it no longer resembled a demon from hell. "I... I only wanted to make Asriel happy. A place for me and him."

Asriel? "Asriel Dreemurr? Tori's kid?" A nod. "He's dead, he's been dead for years, kid. You can't please the dead." Harsh reality, but it was true. No, seeing Napstablook didn't change the fact that I didn't believe in ghosts.

"No! He's not dead! I know he isn't!" The kid petulantly exclaimed, sobbing louder after she had her tantrum. "He's out there! He's waiting to find me! I gotta bring him back!"

Oh. So that's what she wanted. Erase the world, so she could bring her friend back. Well... she wasn't completely Satan's spawn then. Just a little bit of Satan's spawn. Like Hitler level of evil. On that imaginary scale of evil.

"Look, kid. Harsh lesson here, people don't come back from the dead normally. We shouldn't be alive right now. We can't mess with this power, we can't expect to just bring a friend back because we want it to happen. How selfish is it to put someone through what you are going through just so you don't have to feel it?" I can't believe I'm explaining this to some snotty brat. Who somehow had the power of a demon. Somehow.

"He's not dead! He's suffering! I've got to help him! Nobody believes me! Nobody! I've tried, over and over. I've talked to him, this is the only way! I've got to do this, it's the only way he can come back!" She was adamant, pretty strongly adamant, that this was the only way to bring her friend back. But, I had to wonder. How did she know who Asriel was? Most monsters did, but this was... she looked human.

"How do you know Asriel? I thought he died years ago?" And yet, this was a teenager. By the years I was going by, Asriel died before I was born. Who was this child!?

"He's my brother. We're family and the bestest friends ever. Not even death brings us apart! We pinky promised!" Pinky... promised? Asriel was her brother? But she was a human, how could she-

But wait. I remember. Tori said that Asriel passed the barrier, because he absorbed the soul of his human sister and took her body to the other side to bury her besides the golden flowers that she loved. But, he was murdered by the humans who thought he had killed the child and he ran back with the child's body, becoming grains of dust as he got back in on the golden flowerbed just inside the barrier, her soul disappearing with him. That flowerbed. The same one I fell down on. Her soul must've hibernated on the flower bed for a long time, before I finally fell down and my determination woke her up. She must've clung to me, my determination filling her. Since determination seems to work as a life resource for souls. Jesus christ, I brought her back to life! And she began coming to life on me! That's why none of the others had this! They were kids with low determination!

"You're... you're Chara Daemon?" A nod. Jesus Christ. The first fallen child, the one that had become friends with the monsters. But had caused a rift between monsters and humans that probably will never be healed over. Not for a long time and not without horrific consequences. "Look, if I help you find Asriel, wherever he may be, dead or alive, will you let me keep my own body? So I can find the other children, their souls and bring them peace?"

Chara sniffed, wiping her nose with her jumper sleeve. "You... you believe me?"

No. "Well, I'm not sure, but I figure there is no harm in trying. You're not going to get anywhere far without some help. There's got to be another way to help your friend, besides becoming a murderer." Surely. Souls were pretty powerful, but there had to be a way besides murdering everything and taking their souls to bring them back. Or using the children's souls to bring someone back from the dead. Or using determination to bring something back to life and ending up looking like some melted abomination, like Endogeny and Tundrake. Maybe there was a philosopher's stone or something somewhere.

This sounded like a terrible idea. A horrible idea. But, what else could I do? And... I hate to say it, but I felt sorry for the brat. She just wanted her brother back, something I'm sure Sans would relate to. (oh no there's no way I'm explaining this to Sans. No. Horrible idea.) "Okay. If you promise to help me bring Asriel back. I miss him. He's hurting so much."

"Yeah yeah, we'll get your friend back. I'm sure there's a way we can do it. Without him looking fucked up like Endogeny and Tundrake there."

Chara beamed, a smile breaking out on her face entirely. She looked... happy... like a normal child. She even got up on her feet and ran towards me, hugging me tightly and rubbing her face all over my uniform, getting snot and tears all on it. "Thank you! Thank you! I'm so sorry I took control of you! I just wanted Asriel back! So bad!" She began sobbing.

Uh. Well. She apologised better than Undyne did? Gee, I'm no good with kids. All I could do was smile awkwardly, patting her on the head with an arm to my side trying not to touch her, afraid she would get the wrong idea. "Yeah, no problem kid. Now, I'll let you observe and such, but please don't take over me. But feel free to give advice, I suppose. You seem to know the monster world better than I do."

Chara nodded.

"Good. We'd better RESET, bet Sans is worried." Chara didn't seem bothered, nodding, looking up at me and giving me a big smile.

"Thank you, Frisk."

...

I had the gun to my mouth, my eyes were watering. I was ready to pull the trigger.

"no! frisk! don't be stupid!" Sans yelled, worried and horrified.

I blinked. I then put the gun down, spitting it out and almost choking on it. "Oh... my God..." I spat out, tongue hanging out like a dog.

Sans put a hand on the gun, on the hand carrying the gun and another to bring my head up. Well, as soon as I was done choking, that was. "you're gonna give me a soul attack, i swear on asgore."

I coughed for a little bit more, before I could smile a little bit. "That... is what you call blasphemy." Sans sighed, though he seemed to smile a little bit, a little tense. "Ah, don't worry... the demon is gone. I'm alright. Just good ol' Frisk here."

Sans smiled, looking relieved, before he went to hug me. Wow, I was getting lucky with these hugs. I smiled, hugging him back, pecking him on his bald head, before I let him go. "wow, how did you-?" He was about to ask. Until things suddenly went horribly, horribly wrong.

One second, he was there, about to ask me a question. The next, he was pulled up and into the air by a green vine. "Sans!" Looking up, I couldn't see where he was, in the midst of the yellow flowerbed. The vines disappearing under, making it impossible to find where the little shit flower was hiding. He was utterly and entirely camouflaged.

"I won't let you get away with this! You destroy something precious of mine! Then I'll go ahead and return the favour!" I could hear him shout out in anger, somewhere in the flowerbed, but it was impossible to pinpoint his exact location. He was impossible to find in the flowers, to which all of them looked alike. I couldn't find his stupid face on a single flower!

Because I took too long, I couldn't stop what was happening. He was throwing Sans violently, backwards and forwards. It was moving too fast for me to aim my gun to try to stop him, what if I hit Sans by accident!? What could I do!?

Then, he took Sans, pulled him back, before throwing his vine down onto the ground, slamming his poor vulnerable body onto the ground. He didn't stand a chance.

"Sans! Hang in there!" But it was too late, even as I screamed his name, told him to hang on, I could fix this, his body had already given up.

He lay there, broken, his bones cracked and broken, but his grin was still there, a light in one socket still working as he looked at me. "heh. well, that was new. sorry, frisky. maybe... next time." It was all he could manage, all he could say, before the light went out on his eye and his bones reduced to dust in an instant. I grabbed for his dust, tears flowing in my eyes that I couldn't stop. All that was left, lying on his dust, besides myself, was my police hat that he had been wearing the entire time, covered in his dust.

Sans Serif was gone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16 Suicide Is Painless

"Frisk!" I could hear someone, a male voice, calling my name. I had my eyes closed, tears still running down my cheeks as I lay paralyzed on the floor. "Stay determined! You can do it!" What was the use? I had grown fond, more fond of Sans than I had intended, and I'd failed to keep him safe. My one duty, to keep an innocent safe from harm. Be a hero. Ha. The academy was right all along. "Frisk! It's all just a bad dream. You can wake up from it." Wake up? Bad dream? But that wasn't right. This was real, Sans was dead. He isn't coming back.

...

But. He could. The voice was right.

I should wake up.

Determined, looking up at Flowey, he wasn't hiding anymore. He was high above the flowers, a huge ugly teethed grin on his face and his eyes shined, glinted in an evil fashion. "How does it feel to lose a loved one? He got killed because of you. If only you stopped caring about people, it's so much easier." Sounded now like he was speaking from experience. I wasn't sure if he was talking about that so called friend I had apparently killed he was talking about, a reason he killed Sans then and there. But I didn't care right now, fuck this guy.

"Yeah, caring about people. What a stupid thing to do." I didn't care if he saw I was red eyed from crying, looking weak and pathetic in front of him. At least I had guts.

At least I had determination.

"Makes you do stupid things, doesn't it? Caring about people." I had to laugh, knowing what I was going to do now. Why let it go to waste? "Love sure does make you stupid things. You do everything for them, care for them, cherish them over even yourself."

I was ready. "Including killing yourself for them." Pressing the gun to my temple, I had to smirk as Flowey shouted out in outrage, telling me not to dare do it. Ha, or what?

Fucker, I can RESET this bitch.

BANG.

...

I had the gun to my mouth, my eyes were watering. I was ready to pu- wait, this was familiar.

"no! frisk! don't be stupid!" Sans yelled, worried and oh yeah, horrified like last time. Then, he blinked. "wait. i was...?" I pulled the gun from my mouth, gagging again like it hadn't happened before minutes ago (guess it hadn't?). Sans looked down at his body, unbelieving that he was alive. "i felt... i remember."

We heard the rustling of the flowers this time, both of us turning quickly to look. Endogeny and Tundrake seemed to be much more alert as well, though they didn't seem to freak out like Sans and I did. Guess they don't remember the timelines, they have no idea about Flowey.

"You're such a fucking pain!" Flowey screeched from inside his flower bed, realising it was useless for even a surprise attack. We knew where he was hiding, he lost his advantage. "Doesn't matter anyway! You can't cross the barrier back to the surface, you're stuck here, just like the rest of us!" His tone got more angry, voice becoming deeper, almost demonic. "Might as well make friends, since you're either going to kill or be killed! Break free, or break us free." There was the sound of scratching on metal walls, though neither Sans nor I could see anything. He must be in the vents somewhere, there must've been a gap somewhere in the flowerbed we couldn't see. Bastard was getting away! "You could never kill a monster though. Poor Frisk. Only thing you're good at killing is yourself!" What on earth is he talking about? Killing a monster? Why would I need to do such a thing? There was the sounds of clacking from the vents, and with that, he was gone.

"This is why I don't like flowers." I couldn't help but huff out, words that came out only to hide how not okay I was. His words bothered me, I don't know why he expected me to kill a monster, why would I ever? Why would I need to?

Turning to Sans, I paused. He was sweating, clearly worried about something. What, I wasn't sure. "yeah, dunno why my brother likes 'em so much."

"So, what has you sweating buckets?"

Sans looked shocked at me, his eye sockets growing wide for a second, before he looks away, his grin uneasy as he continues to sweat. "well, we are in hotland. gets kinda hot. which i am. i mean i feel hot, not that i am hot, i mean i am. of course."

Oh yeah, I can see he's completely and utterly relaxed and not worried about anything at all. "Spit it out, bone boy. I'm gonna find out sooner or later." I huff, getting a little agitated at this dance. He couldn't be straight for one second, could he?

Sans kicks the floor with his shoes, like a kid caught his hand in the biscuit jar. "well. flowey weren't wrong."

"I do seem to be pretty good at killing myself, yeah."

Sans' face looked absolutely horrified. I tried to hide my laughter. "no, no, i didn't mean... i meant that you'd never kill a monster. you didn't kill undyne when she had killed you a few times. i don't think you'd ever kill a monster, even in self defence."

He wasn't wrong. "Of course not! Murder is murder, you guys are intelligent beings, you have feelings, friends and families. You count under the human rights law to me, but even animals I feel should always be allowed to live."

"i dunno how you became a cop. with that attitude, i always thought it was good cop bad cop."

"I know humans can be arseholes," and the rest, "but being nice can go a long way. If you were always nasty, how would anyone ever trust a police officer? If Undyne was always horrible, would you trust her?"

Sans blinked, slightly surprised, before he smiled slightly mournfully. "heh, i guess i keep forgetting you say humans aren't so different to us. those cartoons papyrus, undyne and alphys watch, not to mention our history on humans keep making me think that you humans are almost unstoppable. not to mention... those RESETs." We didn't need to talk about those times. I could imagine why he'd think that.

"What kind of cartoons do Undyne and Alphys watch?"

"there's this one about a boy who sacrifices his arm and leg to bring back his brother back in a suit of armour." Oh. "another one papyrus loves is harry potter," Oh. "and there's this other film i asked alphys if i could borrow called aliens. i love the idea of going to space, i had to see humans going to space. i didn't realise aliens lived out there, weird xenomorph things!" Ah. Um.

"Sans... uh, dunno how to tell you this..." This explained a lot. How would he know any better since I was a right freak of nature that could apparently just bring myself back to life whenever I want. I could reverse time enough to bring myself back to life and create an alter reality, that apparently somehow Sans is the only one who remembers, and myself sometimes. "Yeah those are films and tv shows. They're not based on a true story, most aren't and even if some are, they exaggerate what happened. We've gone to space, sure, but uh, no aliens. Not yet. Oh, and magicians and sorcerers and all that? Fake, made up. Never existed."

Sans blinked, like he couldn't believe what I just said. "okay, i get the films and no aliens and shit. but wizards. no. those are a thing. you're a wizard, frisk."

"Uh, no. Wizards have never been a thing and piss off with that line."

"really? how are we still trapped down here if wizards weren't a thing?"

Huh. Wait, people made that barrier? Humans made that barrier? "How? I don't think science really even existed back when you guys were put behind the barrier."

"magic. just like how you are able to RESET timelines and build new ones. i thought all humans were able to do magic somehow? with their determination, surely?"

I shook my head. "Only magic tricks we do are clever little tricks that hide how they are really done. It's not magic, it can be explained, they just don't. That is all the magic that we can do." Pause. "Could do. I think I'm just a freak of nature when it comes to being a human. Magic isn't normal for us. Never has been. Probably never will be."

"is..." Sans hesitates. "is it bad that i think that's a good thing?"

"No, I say that's a reasonable reaction. Look what I do, or did. We'd mean well maybe with magic and it'd go horribly, or horrible people could do much worse things with them." With Flowey clearly gone, Endogeny and Tundrake seemed happy enough to be at our sides. They both looked up to us, the pair of us, well across to Sans more like. Like they were looking for guidance. Though, by the looks of things, they were lost, used to being taken care of, probably in too much pain to do much more. Their minds probably too wild and cluttered with many different souls to comprehend much more than the basic things. "What did it matter that I can't kill a monster, anyways?"

Sans looked like he didn't want to tell me. With the look in my eyes, he must've decided it was easier to just tell me. "it's why i didn't want you to go. a strong human soul and will isn't enough to cross the barrier. the only thing that has been able to is asriel and chara together." Which meant... "you can only cross the barrier with a human soul, and a monster soul. that means either you die, or asgore dies. if you die, if your soul is taken, we can be free to go to the surface, to mingle with human-kind once again. if you kill asgore... every time, we are left behind, only you cross the barrier and the other human souls disappear. we remain here, like it all never happened."

Two paths, both that seemed pretty horrible to me. But, I was a bit of a freak that didn't really stick to normal rules. "I'm sure I'll be able to find what's behind door number three. Have you ever seen the surface?" Sans shook his head. Clearly, whenever I was here in a previous life, I hadn't figured out a way to allow the monsters through and survive at the same time. It was a twisted circle. Even if I allowed them to kill me and take my soul, the moment my soul escapes it RESETs and brings the world back to where I was previously alive. If I killed Asgore, the monsters still never escape but somehow I live out the rest of my life, possibly? Somehow, I always end up dying and coming back right to the start. There must be another way. Somehow. Something as strong as a human soul and a monster soul.

We didn't fancy going in deeper. Luckily, we didn't have to, as suddenly whispers came from across the room. From the dim light down the hallway of flowers, a flying monster revealed itself. It looked to be a bird, a very skinny bird with a long neck, single eyeball that when blinked looked like rows of sharp teeth. It looked like a giant eye on the side, closing vertically rather than horizontally. The beak didn't stick on the front, instead it could move from one side to the other, by splitting apart on each side of the head and twisting over to the other side. It's head stayed on its side almost like a flat fish would. Its body was thin, two tiny wings that more resembled moth wings than bird wings and two stick legs that seemed to barely hold the amalgamate up. It seemed to be saying something, but it was hard to hear as many different voices spoke over each other. The bird seemed desperate, however. Which made it harder to understand what it was saying.

"I didn't get a word of that. Slow, deep breaths, calmly."

The bird did seem to take a breather. By that, I mean it was gulping in air like it ran a marathon. After a few minutes, it began speaking slower. "keke gottit! youwantyouneedtakeit!" I could just about hear. Keke? The amalgamate bird then held out a wing, a yellow key in its wing. "Keke!" Oh! Key! Still wasn't sure what this was for, but the bird seemed insistent that I needed it. "Doorfronttheneed!"

"i can't speak parrot, so i got no idea what this bird is saying." Sans murmured, scratching his head.

The bird seemed to give an angry screech, before pecking his parka. Sans almost shouted in alarm, if it wasn't so quick and the bird then flew (hovered, more like) back the way we had come from. "Comethiswayfollow."

The bird lead us all the way back to the first room with the big door that had a red flashing light. Upon closer inspection, there was clearly a small slot for a key card for each different colour. The red one already had a key card inserted inside of it. Huh. Looking at Sans, we had to wonder how we could miss such a thing. We blamed being scared to death, almost dying several times and me actually dying that we didn't notice. At least, I had a better excuse. Inserting all the keycards into the door, it slid open. I kinda expected the whole flashing of the door, slowly pushing open and smoke pillowing out from under the door. I was very underwhelmed when it just slid apart and open. That was it. No flash, no smoke, nothing. Shame.

Inside the room was pretty dark. After my eyes adjusted a little bit, right at the back of the room was a machine that I had no idea what it was for. Possibly a generator?

Sans, however, seemed to know. "ah! a vallecula plasma excavator primum mobile! nice choice, al."

"What?"

"oh. it's basically an engine that gets its power from the lava below the ground."

"Gee, is it so hard to just say that, you nerd?"

"i don't get how you and undyne aren't just best friends yet."

"Don't make a habit of befriending people who killed me in a past life, really."

"i can see it, you and undyne being the best of friends."

"I somehow doubt it."

"cuz you're a cop, she's a guard. you're both so tsundere, but real sweethearts below-"

"What do you mean!?"

"and both fancy the pants off nerds. it's like you were just meant to be bessie mates."

"Oh my God, Sans." He made his voice a slightly higher pitch as he said 'bessie mates', putting on a horrid English accent. That kind of accent where an American who had never heard the English accent tried their best to put on an English accent. "I don't know why I tolerate you."

Sans walked right up to the generator, humming and ah-ing, tilting his head as he examined it. "think this'll be an easy fix, gimme two ticks with this." He moved over to the right, where a touch screen pad seemed to turn on when he touched it. I was just glad that these touch screens were the ones that responded to pressure and not heat, otherwise that'd be awkward for Sans to have to ask me to touch options on the pad. I wasn't much for science-y things. It took only a few minutes, with Sans mumbling some nerd nonsense and numbers whilst he worked, me patting Endogeny as he worked, before the lights flared on and blinded us all.

"ah ha! the lift should be working now! we can go back up top without a problem." Ah! Good! I felt a tug at my leg. Tundrake looked at me, her eyes seemingly worried or what I think are her eyes.

"Are we... going ho...ome?" She asks, her voice quiet, like she was worried it was horrible to ask such a thing. Endogeny looked at me in the same way, head tilted as it whined a long drone of whines. The bird tilted its head side to side, like an owl would when judging you. Talk about being under pressure.

"Yeah, yeah sure. I think we can talk to Alphys and see if we can get you guys home." I smiled, patting Tundrake's head, stroking Endogeny's head and the bird hooted, happy to be left alone.

"Home? Are We Going Home?" From behind the door slithered a creature that I recognised. It was the same amalgamate we first met that had tried to eat us. It seemed sorry, its big smile turned down as if it were a frown or a pout. "I Want To Go Home Too. I Remember Singing."

Poor thing. Even if it did try to eat us and I had to bat it out of the way. I smiled, though kept my distance. "Of course, we just need to talk to Alphys. We're not quite sure who you used to be, but we're  sure we can find out where your family is." The amalgamate snake thing that smelt of lemons seemed happy with this, smiling in its own creepy way. "Alright. We just need to get on the lift."

We faced the problem getting to the lift that the weight limit and space of the lift was too small for us to all go in. Sans didn't seem keen on leaving me behind with amalgamates and he didn't seem keen on being behind with any of them on his own either. So, I suggested he take Tundrake and the bird whilst I took Endogeny and the snake. If the snake tried anything, I felt like Endogeny would defend me. Is my hope.

Turns out, it was the right choice. Even if it was awkward that I had Endogeny panting and climbing on the walls of the lift and I had the snake amalgamate humming a tune that I recall hearing in the Waterfall area before when travelling with Sans and Papyrus. I was just grateful that there was no awkward lift music to accommodate the awkward feeling of standing here. Then my phone begins pinging, getting signal from the monster... satellite however they got phone signal here. Endogeny flinched and began hissing and the snake creature flinched and whined. I stood there, rather confused looking at the pair of them pondering why that wasn't the other way around. I took out my phone, the pair of them seeming to calm down when they noticed the device in my hand.

Turns out, it was only Toriel, she had tried to call earlier and left a text.

Are you okay, Frisk? Just wanted to check and see how your journey is going! Are you getting too 'frisky' with Sans? ;)

Lesson learnt, never tell that woman anything.

Ding!

The lift doors opened and my breath was immediately thrown out of my body as a canine threw themselves at me. I couldn't see a thing and I found it hard to breathe when my dog was wagging his tail so much, rubbing his face on my face, his tongue licking every part of my face as he whined  and whined. He must've been worried sick that his alpha had left him on his own without telling him how long I was going to be. I couldn't stop myself from laughing, even when I knew this wasn't a funny matter. It was pretty serious, but Shadow's tongue was rather ticklish, as was his fur rubbing up against me. I knew this was his way of reassuring himself and myself that I was here, I wasn't going away and we belonged to each other.

"O-oh. S-sorry!" I heard a quiet voice apologise, Alphys I figured. "I lost my g-grip. I-I-I didn't expect him t-to be that s-strong."

"Ha! Not to worry, babe!" That was Undyne, now that I could finally see as Shadow calmed down and sat by my side, leaning heavily as if to reassure himself I was still there. "Papyrus and I can train you up! Even if you can be a whimpy thing like Frisk there."

"Hey, I'll have you know-"

"We can get you to still be strong! Like I said, you've got heart and passion, that's better than any muscle I see!"

"I AGREE." Ah, Papyrus was still here too. "UNDYNE IS RIGHT, IF YOU ARE STRONG IN BODY BUT NOT IN SPIRIT, WHAT IS THE POINT?"

Glad to know that I had been missed by the group.

"But wow! Look at this thing!" Undyne, after helping me up paid attention to the two amalgamates. "And that thing! Whoa, you're weird looking monsters."

Endogeny tilted its head at Undyne, a slight wag of the tail but nothing else. Then forgot about her, as it looked at Shadow and crouched down in the position of play. Funny thing, Endogeny is bigger than Shadow, by quite a lot.

The snake amalgamate just seemed to stare at Undyne, like it wasn't sure what to do about her. Or what to think.

"U-undyne..." Alphys spoke, slowly, cautiously. "R-remember... rememb-ber I said t-that I had... something to t-tell you?"

"uh, yeah?"

"W-well... l-let's wait for S-Sans first."

Sans appeared about a minute later, Tundrake clinging close to his arm, almost clutching it like a small child. It was half adorable and half amusing as she was bigger than him. The bird tottered out of the lift, happy as can be, completely unbothered. It turned its head, left and right, even looking behind like an owl.

As we all got settled, Alphys went on to explain everything Sans and I already  figured out and knew from reading all of her research notes she had left. She explained everything. She had become the Royal Scientist after building Mettaton to try to impress King Asgore, after the previous Royal Scientist disappeared. No word, he just up and vanished and nobody knows what happened to him. Alphys was only too happy to take on the job, as she had always wanted to help monster kind any way that she could. She truly believed that she could find a way to break the barrier. After seeing notes on the previous studies on the barrier and taking into account what Asriel had managed to do, she was sure she knew what to do. She was sure the only way to break the barrier, was to create a soul that is both human and monster, as Asriel had done.

She had asked nearby families for any monsters that had fallen down, for monsters that were surely doomed. She had gotten quite a few, and so she used human DETERMINATION, taken from one of the six human souls Asgore had (at this point he had only gotten one soul; William Prince) and pumped them into the bodies, hoping that it would keep the soul alive and use it to break the barrier.

She hadn't expected the monsters to wake up.

At first, nothing happened. She kept injecting more determination into them, hoping it would do something. It did. The bodies woke up, the monsters woke from fallen down. She figured that nothing had happened, so  informed the families that they had woken up and would be sent home the next day.

Only, that never happened.

One day, some of the monsters complained about pain all over their body. At first, Alphys couldn't see a problem, but then their bodies seemed to ripple, then began to melt. Alphys freaked out, the monster didn't seem to know what was happening to them. Alphys was forced to watch, too frightened to do anything else as the monster melted and lost their form entirely, turning into a blob monster. Once she was able to move and the monster ran away, utterly confused and probably had no idea what had happened to them, she went to check on the other monsters, only to find them as they are now. Endogeny, multiple dogs melted together, Tundrake, Reaper Bird is what Alphys called the bird amalgamate and Lemon Bread she dubbed the snake amalgamate, because it always smelt of lemons. She didn't know what to do, she couldn't tell the families what had happened and she didn't want to show Asgore that her experiments had been an utter failure. So, she hid away, not answering any letters and not telling Asgore what had happened to them at all. She stayed hiding in her lab, hiding her guilt and keeping the amalgamates at hers, afraid of what would happen if news ever got out.

"I-i just. I-i didn't k-know what t-to do." She then broke down sobbing into her hands. At first, nobody moved as we all took a moment to take in everything that was told to us.

Undyne acted first, pushing Alphys' shoulder lightly, as if to comfort her but not appear too concerned. "Aw, Alfie, I think what you did is super cool." She told her, smiling, though it made her look creepy, I gotta say. Her fangs stuck out like a shark trying to smile and that eye patch didn't help her much. "Hey, gotta look on the bright side, they're alive. And they look super cool! I'm sure Doggo and everyone would be totally chill seeing them looking like something from the surface!" What? "If ya want, I can go with you to tell them all, moral support and all that bullshit."

Alphys sniffled, her eyes glistening with unshed tears and she rubbed her eyes on her science uniform. "T-thank you, U-Undyne. I-I don't deserve you as a f-friend."

"Bullshit!" We all flinched (except for Sans, he was asleep now somehow) when Undyne yelled that out, unexpectedly. "Alph, don't say that! If anything, I don't deserve you! I... I tried to kill Frisk there." Yup, I remember that. "Because I thought all humans were horrible and wanted us dead! I killed a young human because I thought she would kill us. At least you brought monsters back to life and tried to help them. I just killed a human because I thought they would hurt us. Frisk told me they weren't, they were just a kid and got excited. I feel like a right cunt right now." Wow, well. I guess I felt pretty bad too. I had expected Undyne to not really feel that much guilt over the death of Godfrey and Bruce. I felt bad for judging her too quickly.

"N-no, Undyne!" Alphys insisted. "You couldn't have k-known! You thought you were h-helping us! Y-you thought you were d-doing what was right. A-and you feel bad about it, so. So, I don't blame you."

"And I don't blame ya for turning these monsters into some goop monsters. They're alive again because of you!"

I can totally see what Sans was telling me. It literally was a moment of how were they not together already. It was like watching a soap opera, where you know they will bang, but the show makes it drag it as long as possible until sexual frustration practically throws itself in your face. All the big time fans just scream KISS at the screen, whilst the others watch and amuse themselves with how long they can dance around each other before one eventually breaks, or makes a mistake. It was pretty tragic, because it was completely and utterly obvious to anyone but themselves what was happening, or going to happen.

Yup. They were gonna bang. How they hadn't already was beyond me.

A look to the side and I see Sans grinning, his eyes still closed as if he were asleep, like he was silently saying 'told you so'.

"T-though... I-I haven't t-told you... u-uh..."

"Yeah?" Undyne blinked, totally oblivious to the fact that Alphys was nervous and blushing. Oh?

Was she really going to?

"W-well... u-uh... I-I l-lied... a-anime... animeisnotreal." What.

"WHAT?" Undyne looked utterly shocked, before she turned to look at me. Uh, what. "Human! Tell me it isn't true! Anime is totally real, right!?"

What the actual fuck. "Of course n-" I then yelped as someone stepped on my foot. It didn't hurt, but it sure took me by surprise.

"'course it is, 'dyne. she tells me all about it, she showed me her laser electric gun. it was... electrifying." Sans grinned, lying back and acting totally innocent that he hadn't almost broken my foot (I exaggerate but shh.) Or that he told the worst pun ever.

"Ha! I knew it!" Undyne fist pumped with a 'woo!' "I knew it!" She then coughed into her fist, as if embarrassed by her sudden outburst. "Besides, I wouldn't care if anime wasn't real, it's just all nerdy crap anyway."

"O-oh. You're... you're not mad?" Alphys seemed attentive, like she was waiting for Undyne to suddenly freak out and yell at her. I felt for Alphys,  poor girl looked like she was going to have a nervous breakdown.

"Well, I'm more mad that you didn't ask for help. Papyrus or I could've helped! I mean... I get why you didn't, but still." It seemed like Undyne couldn't explain it any better.

"N-no, I couldn't a-ask that of you, U-Undyne!" Alphys insisted. This... I looked to Sans, he was asleep again. I was sure he wasn't actually asleep and only pretending. Arsehole. "T-this is something I t-think I had to handle a-alone. " Oh, okay. You know that feeling you get where you aren't really wanted in a room? I was getting that vibe between Undyne and Alphys. It felt like I was intruding. "B-but... I-I could use your h-help with t-telling the f-families... i-if... um..."

Undyne didn't seem at all bothered by Alphys' hesitation. "Sure! And if any of the families even try anything, I'll beat them up for you!"

Alphys blushes. "O-oh. U-um. That. That shouldn't be n-necessary, Undyne!" Then she smiles. "B-but um... thank you. F-for the offer."

Undyne smiles, Alphys is smiling. The air is pretty uncomfortable.

"I'm just gonna... get a drink..." I mumbled, though I was sure that neither Undyne nor Alphys heard me, whilst Papyrus didn't seem to realise the atmosphere in the room between the pair of scaled monsters. He was just happy that Alphys and Undyne were getting along, watching with awe like a child. And Sans was just asleep, so I left him to it.

I said I'd get a drink, but instead found myself going to the other end of the lab and outside, being careful not to take a deep breath and take in whatever toxins came from the magma. I was pretty sure breathing it in is a horrible thing. Though, by the looks of things, the magma was calm enough that puffs of smoke of carbon monoxide or dioxide or whatever was in fire didn't spread throughout the cavern and poison the air. They also probably had a ventilation system somewhere, but I couldn't spot it nor hear it over the sounds of the lab behind me.

Shadow was panting heavily, however. Of course, being a canine, he had fur and suffered horribly if he overheated. That meant we couldn't stay near magma for too long.

A memory hit me. A memory I was sure wasn't mine. I saw a small goat monster, a pretty canny resemblance to Toriel chasing me. I wasn't scared, I was having fun. I saw walls that were flashing, lights turning on and off and many doors leading to dead ends. A single door, leading to a lift to a long path walk. At the end, a lovely little house, where I could smell dinner cooking.

That was not my memory. That was one of Chara's, I had to imagine. Unless it was a different timeline I was suddenly remembering? I was sure that wasn't quite right. I remember smelling sulphur, so wherever that memory happened, it must've been around this area. So, I just had to keep moving until another memory triggered.

What a fantastic plan, Frisk.

"hey." Another flinch. There he was, I expected to see him smirking, looking proud and smug of the fact that he made me jump, again. But he didn't. He looked worried and surprised with an expression that looked a little... hurt. "'sup?" He smiles, hiding the fact that he seemed hurt. I wasn't quite sure.

"Oh, sorry. The air got a bit... thick." That was my excuse. It just felt rather... unwelcoming, to be there with the pair. It felt like I should leave them alone. That kind of couple. "I just wanted to take a breather."

Sans came to my side, his hands going into his parka pockets. He looked up at me, I took a peak down at him. He stared. "liar." I was about to protest, I wasn't lying! "well, not entirely. i believe you about that. you were thinking of leaving, weren't you?" Well. Guilty. He wasn't wrong. "without me."

"What? Well, I was going to, but I was going to say goodbye before I did." I turned to face him, Shadow pushing to my side as he lay down at my side, panting. "You said so yourself, you only came because you wanted to keep an eye on me and make sure I didn't kill anyone. Chara is gone now. There's no need for you to tag along."

Sans didn't seem to react. Outwardly, but I noticed the little body gestures, the way his fist clenched ever so slightly, his lights for eyes dimming slightly, the quiet sound of rattling bones. He was upset. "oh. yeah. suppose. cuz, ya know, that's the only reason i tagged along. weren't like i cared about you or anything." Huh? Well, I mean, sure I knew he liked me, but to journey so far, when I was going to confront his king, away from his brother, his friends, as a fugitive. Why would you, when that was going against everything you value? "kay sure, i was wanting to make sure the demon stayed dead and you didn't kill my friends. but, that ain't it. i know it ain't it. cuz." He sighed, rubbing his bald head. "cuz, after the first few times when i tried to stop chara, i just let 'er kill everyone. except asgore, if she killed asgore then the timeline would be erased. s'was all i could do. never mattered. be RESET anyway. so, studied, tried befriending, then threaten, then researched on how to stop the RESETs, stepping in only to keep the timeline alive and stop her killing asgore and taking the children's souls."

"but." he continues, turning to look at me now after he was done explaining. "i'm still here. i still wanna keep going. at first, didn't know why, thought it was that old hope telling me to keep chara tight, that this timeline is a good one. it is a good one, but that ain't it either. it's... i feel... i feel better, when i'm with you. you give no shits, and that's amazing. you don't judge, you're pure, speak your mind, give others hope even when you got barely any and you love others with all your heart. gotta say, i'm a pretty jelly skelly." Sans grins a little, amused at his own joke, but it fell flat after everything he was telling me. "you take my jokes, we banter so well, we know what each other are thinking and... i agree with you. i think asgore needs to answer to killing those kids. i wanna help, but more than that, i just... i wanna be selfish, for once in my fucking miserable life." He laughs an empty humourless laugh. "like paps is always tellin' me. i'm sick of being a useless sack of bones. seeing undyne and alphys... fuck doing nothing. sick of it. fuck it all. i wanna finally do what i shoulda done timelines ago. so, don't break a skelly's heart and just let me be a prick and tag along. banter all day, dick around, do something. i dunno."

That. That was a lot to take in. I... wow. I feel like a bitch. I had no idea Sans relied on me so much. It was unhealthy, like horribly unhealthy, but at the same time, denying him what he wanted felt worse. I couldn't say no. He would be worse off if I left him and denied him coming with me. Even if I was pretty sure it could endanger him. But he was a grown monster, he knew the risks. Maybe seeing Undyne and Alphys dancing around each other painfully finally caused him to wake up for a minute, to break and rant and act finally, after hesitating for... timelines, I guess?

"I..." I hesitated, before sighing. "I'm sorry, Sans. I thought... after dying, because of me, I didn't think you'd want to tag along. So, I just thought you'd have been safer, maybe better off if I had gone alone." I rubbed the back of my neck, taking my police hat off in the process and ruffling my own hair. "Guess I should remember you're a grown monster, you can decide for yourself what you want to do."

"naw, doll. dying don't really bother me much. done it once before. heh. you know the feeling."

"Ha, yeah, I guess I do." This went dark pretty quickly. Sans didn't seem that bothered, though. He seemed more relieved that he was able to speak his mind more without seeming strange. Or, maybe it's more that finally someone understood him, maybe? As cliché as that sounded. Sans looked relieved. "I'm sorry, pal. Forgive me?" Putting my hat back on, I kept my arms apart for a hug gesture.

Sans took it, without hesitation. Pulling close and wrapping his arms around my waist. I pulled him close, his head tucking under my chin. "yeah, i forgive ya. just... don't leave without me, k?" I nodded silently, figuring that he needed a moment. This didn't surprise me, though it worried me. He told me about his depression, I had only read up on it briefly, but I remember that being supportive was the most important matter. To be aware that people suffering depression are often one of two things, they either pushed people away or they clung to people, desperate because it helped them. Sans, at first, pushed me away and ignored my help, now he couldn't stand to be without me. I wasn't a therapist though, I only knew how to be careful from the training I was given. Yeah, people threatening suicide was a very real thing for us in Ebott.

We stayed like that for a good minute. Until Sans ruined the moment. "Ow! Hey! What gives!?" As he bit down slightly on my right breast. It didn't hurt, but the fangs and sharp points took me by surprise. Not to mention, seriously, what the fuck?

Sans just grins, his eye sockets scrunching up to show he was very amused by my reaction. "sorry, couldn't help it. they were right there, ya know?" He hadn't done it because of sexual arousal or satiating anything, he was doing it to distract me away from the fact he wanted to break down. I was getting used to his flight responses, like most guys who avoid talking about their feelings. But, I didn't want to push him. He had been pushed enough, he had said plenty that I understood him better now than I had before.

So, I let him get away with it, rolling my eyes and flicking him on his forehead. The cuffs I had forgotten were still cuffed to my wrist swung in the air, hitting him in the head as well. I wasn't sorry. "Dickhead. I don't recall saying I was cool with that."

"sure ya are, you're my frisky, we've made out together, so really since we are the breast of friends, this ain't a problem." Sans winked. I glared down at him. He wasn't bothered. Of course he wasn't; arsehole. "and maybe to tell ya you don't hafta hide 'em. i like 'em and i like you as ya are." Ah, he was talking about the binder. Well, I had only gotten accustomed to wearing it because people ceased to take me seriously because they thought I was a woman. That's gonna be a hard habit to break.

"Well,  I guess first we have to hope we can break the barrier and return to the surface before I have to worry about that."

Sans looked more serious now, looking at me. "gotta ask. if we can't do it... would you do it? could you kill asgore and leave without us? or would you stay behind, live alongside us?"

Or, worse still, would I kill myself and try to prevent myself RESETTING and starting the timeline over, if I didn't have another choice? To let the monsters be free, use my soul and the children's to escape and live on the surface alongside other humans.

"I don't know. I don't know what I'd do. But, I'd like to think, if there was no other way, I'd stop RESETTING and let you guys have a happily ever after." I shrugged, smiling sadly. I looked out into the distance, remembering the cramped conditions the monsters were suffering in, the scare of the shortage of food, lack of space, lack of jobs, but everyone just kept smiling and going about their day. They did this, because they realise there was nothing else that they could do. If they didn't escape, if the barrier wasn't broken, they were going to die down here anyway. Better a slim chance than no chance. "After all, I'm a police officer. It's my job to save people and be a hero."

Sans didn't smile, he looked exhausted, upset at my answer. "yeah. kid, ya got a better heart than i do." His eyes looked to the right of him, back to the lab for a split second, before looking back at me. When I looked that way, I saw nothing that caught his eye. Huh. Strange. "c'mon, we better get going before alphys and undyne decide to drag us into their anime nights. their anime nights have some of the weirdest shit i've ever seen." I could only imagine what kind of anime they would be watching.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 17 Show Business

"How much further is it?"

"five minutes."

"You said that twenty minutes ago."

"it's all the same here."

The walk to the Core from Alphys' lab took a lot longer than I anticipated. We had to stop often to wash Shadow in water as he was in serious danger of suffering heat stroke. He panted heavily, that and his sweating paws being the only way to cool his body down. Dogs didn't sweat like we do, and I was soaking through my uniform too. It felt real gross, but I was still amazed none of us were coughing from any smoke fumes. Well. Sans didn't surprise me, he had no lungs, bastard could smoke many fags without having to worry about lung cancer. It was about the only thing that stopped me from taking up smoking myself.

At first, the journey wasn't so bad, as the steam from the pressure pads were actually cool air, somehow defying the laws of nature. I shouldn't be surprised, Sans can teleport, magic is real, there are lesbian lizards, the whole lot. This should be the least mystifying thing. Sans said he could explain it all, but once he tried I lost him quickly. He knew it, too, but he didn't seem disappointed. He promised, then, that he would try to get me to talk nerdy. That was the exact phrase he used. He seemed very excited about the idea that had me worried, but felt like maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. After all, nerd culture is becoming huge on the surface, I just never had the chance nor need to want to look into it.

The jumping puzzle was quite the trek to get Shadow to agree to go through it. Luckily, he was more scared of me being far from his protection than the steam, and so leapt across without the aid of the steam powered pads. Most of the monsters we found were sort of what I expected, a volcano that loves to be hugged (I informed them that I was allergic to lava and would send them a virtual hug through Undernet or whatever it was called), a humanoid shaped fire monster. Tsunderplane was... interesting, to say the least. I wasn't sure if it was me or Sans she was talking about when saying that she totally didn't like us, senpai. Whatever that meant. Many fire based monsters lived here happily, reptiles and all sorts that liked the hot weather.

After a long time, probably twenty minutes, the water was running low, since I had to bathe Shadow constantly from the heat of the lava nearby. I probably overdid it, but I was so worried for him suffering heat stroke. That was fatal to dogs.

"We're going to have to find somewhere to stop. I can't keep going like this." I told Sans, who probably didn't realise how much water we really required when in a very hot climate.

True to form, as I suspected, he looked at me quizzically. "huh? but we haven't walked far. heh. and they call me lazy bones."

"No, not that." I panted, the temperature was almost too much to bear for me. I was sweating buckets and felt pretty miserable. Probably looked it too. "It's too hot. I'm dehydrated, getting a little dizzy. I need to stop."

Sans understood then, nodding. "sorry, i keep forgetting. skeleton, don't really need it, ya know? 'kay. think there's a stop if we go through this door." There was a door Just at the back of this large room. There were a few kids playing around nearby, but that was about it. The room beyond was dark, I couldn't see a thing, but I trusted Sans. He knew what he was doing. I hoped.

Getting into the room, we are instantly blasted with air conditioning. Yes! Sweet relief! I never thought I'd welcome air con more than I did at this very moment! Shadow embraced it, shaking his body, tail wagging though his panting didn't abate in the least. I wasn't surprised. Just the feeling of cold air on my face was enough to revitalise me a little bit, but without water I knew I wasn't going to last too much longer. Even if there was a little bit of water here, I could make it. This room, however, was completely and utterly dark. By the sounds of my boots hitting the floor, Sans' hitting the floor and Shadow's claws clacking on the floor, we weren't on a dirt path anymore. We were on... tiled floors maybe? I had to wonder where the lights were. Stumbling around blindly, I managed to touch something on the walls that felt like a light switch. I gave it a click.

"WELCOME, LADIES AND GENTLEBOTS, TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF 'COOKING WITH A KILLER ROBOT'!" Suddenly bright lights shone, causing me to hiss as a robotic voice shouted and there were suddenly audiences clapping and shouting applause. What? When my eyes adjusted, I saw that we were standing in a kitchen, there were cameras pointed right at us in the distance hanging from banisters. We were in a house that had only one room, similar to buildings made for filming in. This one room is a kitchen, with ingredients laid out ready to bake with.

"FOR TONIGHT'S EPISODE, WE HAVE HERE A SPECIAL GUEST; SANS SERIF!" Again, the audience applauses. I take the time to see the robot announcing us. It looked like a giant calculator on a stand on a wheel, given arms. That was the best way I can describe him. He was holding a microphone, thrusting it at Sans' face. "SO, TELL US WHAT YOU WANT US TO COOK FOR YOU TODAY, SANS SERIF."

Sans looked dazed, confused, and pretty uncomfortable, shuffling a little on his feet and peaking a look at the microphone a couple of times. "what the f-"

"AH AH AH, THIS IS A FAMILY SHOW, WE CAN'T HAVE BAD WORDS ON OUR SHOW." The calculator tutted. "TODAY, SANS SERIF HAS BROUGHT HIS OWN INGREDIENT, WHAT A TERRIFIC SURPRISE!" The audience, I realise are set up and coming from a loudspeaker to give the illusion that people are actually watching this.

Wait, brought his own ingredient? "Are you hiding some snack in your pockets?" Sans looked at me, still very confused and somewhat troubled. He shrugged his shoulders, looking back at the microphone like it were a snake about to attack him.

Calculator pulls the microphone away from Sans' face and to his own again. "DO NOT FEAR, SANS, I KNOW IT IS TROUBLING TO BE IN MY VERY PRESCENCE. BUT I, METTATON, WILL MAKE YOUR COOKING DREAMS COME TRUE!" Again, loud applause and even screaming of fangirls. It is rather disturbing to hear. "WE WILL BRING YOUR DREAM TO FRUITION. WE WILL COOK THIS HUMAN DISH FOR YOU."

Wait what!? "Excuse me?! Human dish? You don't mean...?"

"BUT OF COURSE. I'LL ADMIT, I'VE NEVER COOKED A HUMAN BEFORE. IT'LL BE A LOVELY TREAT! DON'T WORRY, MY DEAR." Mettaton said, acting as if this were completely appropriate and acceptable, like slaughtering a cow on live T.V. "I WILL MAKE THIS QUICK AND PAINLESS FOR YOU. YOU WON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HIT YOU."

"Now hang the fuck on a minute!" I began to say, before a sudden rush of gravity hit me. The floor opened up underneath me, as I saw the ground rush past me, and I heard myself screaming over Sans's shout and Shadow's barks.

Then, everything went dark.

...

I screamed, shouted her name as she fell. There I was, standing, useless as usual, not able to stop her dying again. It never got easier, I never saw them coming and could never prepare. My hand reached out to grab her, but I wasn't quick enough. I don't know why I ever thought I could, I never was able, now wouldn't be any different. Again and again, she slipped through my fingers, only to die and RESET, like the whole thing never happened.

There's only so many times you can watch a person die before you wish you couldn't feel. When you actually feel envious of those that have no souls.

I hear Shads barking, snarling, furious, but it's all background noise. What does it matter what we do? It's all going to be RESET. At least we know Mettaton is here now. Maybe Frisk can figure a way out of this mess. She always was the smarter one, good at getting out of bad situations. Her mind was so fast, so down to earth and so... determined. It was a marvel to watch her soul shine bright when she figures out a puzzle, shining in a way I could never hope to see ever again. She was just... I loved her, with every fibre of my existence.

I also hated her. She was a marvellous being, powerful, determined, intelligent. But rash, self-depreciating and yet, she was selfish. She was so eager to throw her life away, because she knew that she would come back, she could try again. Heh. She hasn't had to see her loved one die. She hasn't watched friends or family die, over and over, knowing anything you did meant nothing. But, she did understand that death didn't mean much, death is old now. Maybe that's why she didn't care, it really was nothing to her. Heh. Wow. She is really something, isn't she?

I think Mettaton was about to say something, when Shadow, in animalistic, pack fuelled fury, leapt at him with fangs gnashing. I stepped back, falling on my tailbone, as Shadow leapt without hesitation, blind to danger at the piece of shit hunk of metal. Even Shadow, who wasn't sentient, didn't hesitate in his loyalty to Frisk, leaping to her rescue, or defence, against something much bigger than he himself. Even a dog without sentience had more courage than I could hope. I wanted to tell him to stop, it wasn't worth it, it doesn't matter, she'll be back in a few minutes anyway. But I couldn't say it, couldn't tell him. Eh, isn't worth it anyway. She'll be back in a few minutes.

Mettaton must've been able to throw Shads off, as the dog leapt off the monster only to bite his arm and tug, pulling and snarling with all his might. He ran behind Mettaton, pulling his arm behind him trying to make him trip. Mettaton, being on wheels, followed him, so as Shadow was pulling him back, he was moving back and not falling over.

I watched this, all the while noticing that we hadn't RESET yet. Had Frisk not died? The world was still going, so the pitfall trap she had fallen down hadn't been fatal. So... where was she?

Shadow let go of Mettaton's arm, resulting the robot being thrown to the side as the dog had still been shaking his head like a rabid animal. Instead, he rushed to my side, barking and snarling and tail wagging very slightly. I knew what he was saying. Why aren't you helping!? I could only look at him for a moment before I had to look away. What good can I do to save her? I don't know where she is! Mettaton was entirely too conniving to just tell me and having 1hp was fuck and all use for anything.

Shadow didn't seem impressed by my answer, as he yowled, what I expected from a pup really, but I remember G.D made a noise very similar to this when Undyne told him he couldn't work with L.D that day. He was upset, constantly yowling like that until Undyne changed her mind, since she felt so bad from his yowling. After he yowled a couple of times, he moved, putting his body right next to mine and leaning heavily against my side. Like he was pushing me with his side. Like he was telling me; c'mon we gotta go get her! I stayed sat on the floor.

"I'M ONLY JOKING, DEAR VIEWERS!" Mettaton hunk of junk shouted, startling me back to reality. The words hit my skull, the meaning of his words not really hitting home at first. "THIS IS A COOKING SHOW. IT WOULDN'T DO FOR US TO COOK IT ALL LIVE. SO, I HAVE ALREADY GOT A DISH PREPARED AND DONE." Looking up, I saw that the calculator was holding up a dish that rivalled in messiness with my brother's dishes. It looked like a lasagne, only it didn't seem like it was made from meat. I wasn't sure what it was, pretty sure I didn't wanna know. "YOU CAN LOOK UP HOW TO COOK THE DISH ON MY WEBSITE, www.mettatoncooking.ug. BUT, I CAN SHOW YOU THE BEST WAY TO BUTCHER A HUMAN." From the ceiling, a giant TV dropped down and stopped as soon as it got to about head height of my brother.

The TV flickered to life, static growling and; there she was! Frisk! She was alive! She was groaning, rubbing her head and cursing. I knew it was her. My soul only recently began fluttering when I saw her, almost like I could begin to care again, to give a fuck as she would always put it. It was starting to again now, but there was another feeling on the back end of it. I wasn't sure what it was, but I didn't welcome it.

"Where the f*** am I?" The TV bleeped out her curse words, a reminder that Mettaton insisted that this was a family friendly show. The room she was in was pitch black, a single ceiling light trained down on her so she was able to be seen on the video camera. She clearly couldn't see the camera and probably had no idea she was being filmed right now. She struggled up to her feet, struggling a little and seeming to favour the left side of her body. Was her leg bothering her again? She looks around her, clearly unable to see anything beyond the light that was trained on her. Other than her favouring her left side, she seemed okay, her SOUL was still shining bright from what I could see from the TV screen. It was harder to see her SOUL from the TV screen as to her being by my side, but her SOUL was so bright, so filled with DETERMINATION that I found it shocking she couldn't see it herself. Compared to my little night light of a SOUL, hers was like a spotlight.

That was also the problem. The problem that got her stuck in this mess with the egotistical calculator that had her captured... somewhere. She couldn't be too far away, teleportation without consent by use of electronic means was an impossibility at this point, as far as I am aware.

"OH NO. IT LOOKS LIKE THE HUMAN IS IN A SPOT OF TROUBLE." By the flinch that Frisk showed, she could hear what Mettaton was saying. His voice was booming thanks to the microphone, but not loud enough to hear outside too far away. So, if I could figure out where she was, I could teleport to her... then what? "WHAT COULD SHE POSSIBLY DO TO GET OUT OF THIS SITUATION?" I had no idea what situation he was talking about, probably being dramatic, until suddenly; flames shot out to the right of us.

"OH JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!" I couldn't see her, but I knew she was there. Frisk was in that fire blaze! The flames were so thick that I couldn't even see her silhouette. "There's so many health and safety rules being broken here!" I didn't know what 'health and safety' was, but I felt now was not the time to ask about her silly human habits.

"OH NO. WHO CAN POSSIBLY SAVE THE DEAR HUMAN, BEFORE IT IS COOKED?" There was the sound of gasping audience. An audience I knew weren't here. I looked on, trying to find Frisk in the thick flames, moving forward to try to get a better view. Whilst Frisk could RESET, I was sure burning to death was not a nice way to go. And... what if she doesn't RESET?

That's when she burst through, ran through and leapt through the fire. She was coughing violently, smoke permeating from her body and clung to her, like dust. She fell forward, falling down on the floor, breathing deeply in gasps of breath. FRISK LV1 HP 75/90 It didn't stay stable, going down in number slowly. But she looked like she was hanging in.

"frisk!" My yell caught her attention, she lifted her head. It looked like it took a lot of effort to do that. Her expression seemed to brighten, though, as did her SOUL. Her HP remained the same. She seemed to struggle to her feet, groaning as she did so.

"LIKE TWO STAR STRUCK LOVERS, LIKE ROMEO AND JULIETTE, THESE TWO ARE DOOMED TO BE APART. TORN AWAY BY THE HARSHNESS OF SOCIETY. OH. THE DRAMA." Mettaton shouted, surprising us both. Frisk was watching him, as soon as she got to her feet again. "A HUMAN AND A MONSTER. OOOOH. I LOVE THE FORBIDDEN ROMANCE. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE LOVES MORE THAN A FORBIDDEN ROMANCE? A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR AND A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS." With that, the flames suddenly started spreading, racing towards Frisk on the bridge. She noticed, too, hearing the flames' roars. She made a startled noise, looking like she was debating on running, but then she looked towards me. With DETERMINATION. What was she-?

"Sorry if this RESETS, but at least I stand a chance!" She shouted to me, before she backed up. Oh... she was-!?

"wait!" But it was too late, she started running and at the very last second, she jumped with all the strength her legs could give her. Even with that, I could see straight away she wasn't going to make it. It was too far a leap. She wasn't going to make it! I didn't think about it, I just acted without thinking. A thing very unlike me, who was always calculating. As she leapt, making her descend, her arms flailing like a fish out of water as she fell past the bridge. I tried to grab her hand, but I was nowhere near close enough. She flew past, my arm not even close to touching her. I watched her plummet down, screaming. I couldn't let her fall. Not again. I felt the crackle of my magic, the burn in my left eye as my magic made to grab her out of the air. She stopped falling, she stopped screaming, I couldn't imagine her reaction to being caught in thin air. Her previous reactions were... not favourable. Argh, I fucked up.

I brought her back up, floating her up with my magic to my side. I then dropped her, my eye ceased burning up and I put my hand back into my pocket as I looked down to the ground. I didn't want to watch her freak out. I remember, last LOAD, when I used my powers, she freaked out. I didn't want to show them off this SAVE, not when she didn't remember anything. I didn't need her calling me a freak again. I don't blame her, she was scared, young, and every other monster had used their magic to kill her. It wasn't her fault. My blasters weren't exactly the most friendly, either.

"Wow, Sans, what was...?" Her voice drifted off. I knew what she was going to ask. I sighed, looking down further at the floor.

"s'nothing." I grumble. Here it comes, she's gonna freak out on me, be scared of me, remember those bad LOADS-

She makes a strange noise from the back of her throat and throws herself into hugging me. I stood there, confused. What? She didn't seem to notice, or didn't care more like, and squeezed more. "you... you're not mad? afraid?"

Frisk seemed to laugh, the kind of laugh she does when she almost dies, but somehow she doesn't. "Mad? Why would I be angry for that?"

Ah. Well, what do I tell her? That I forgot it's different now and she doesn't remember me using those powers to-

"Sans." That wasn't what startled me out of my haunted thoughts. No, she grabbed the sleeves of my parka on both my arms, pulling my hands out of my pocket and grasps my skeletal hands in her own warm squishy ones. It startled me enough to look at her, I could feel a bead of sweat roll down my skull, my teeth clench, tense. She was always able to catch me off guard, every RESET was different with her. I couldn't predict her at all, not like everyone else. "I... would say something pretty inspirational and uplifting. But there's still a killer robot floating above us."

Oh. A glance up saw that Mettaton was yapping this all up, my insecurity that probably only Frisk could tell was that rather than nonchalant and uninteresting. Spotlights were on the both of us (dunno how we missed that) our hands still holding each other as a slow melody began to play.

But before Mettaton could begin singing. "Hey, arsehole, what's the big idea?" She turned away from me, letting go of my hands, though they lingered for a while. She seemed to be the type that showed affection only in a very subtle way, rather than always telling the other person. "We've got places to be, why don't you piss off? And your fake audience as well."

"AH, DARLING. I KNOW." Mettaton spoke. "I KNOW WHAT THAT UNIFORM IS. I WATCH PLENTY OF HUMAN TV DOCUMENTARIES. YOU ARE HERE FOR THE SIX HUMAN SOULS. BRING ASGORE TO JUSTICE, MAKE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD. I LOVE IT. THE DRAMA! THE ROMANCE IN YOUR ADVENTURE! EVERYONE WILL LOVE IT AS A BLOCK BUSTER!" Oh boy. I had forgotten my distaste of Mettaton, I managed lately to get out of watching Mettaton's shows with Papyrus. I figure he would be watching the show right now, seeing us on TV. I'm happy to be on TV if it means Papyrus gets happy to know someone who knew a celebrity. "BUT I'LL BE REAL WITH YOU, DARLING. I'VE SEEN YOU FIGHT, ALPHYS LET ME WATCH YOU ON HER CONSOLE. YOU'RE WEAK. YOU'RE TOO KIND HEARTED. YOU COULD NEVER DEFEAT ASGORE. HE WILL DESTROY YOU AND TAKE YOUR SOUL."

"I'd like to see him try." Frisk grumbled, loud enough that the calculator could hear what she said.

"I'LL SAY, DARLING, YOU RAN AWAY FROM UNDYNE AND REFUSED TO FIGHT HER." He wasn't wrong, though Frisk seemed confused at his statement. Clearly, she was still not used to making sense of different timelines and understanding nobody else knows other timelines exist. She had been killed by Undyne many times, in different ways, but she forgets that, in this timeline, that never happened. She ran away from Undyne, avoided her and we ran together to the Core and met Undyne there on neutral ground. Hopefully, not too many RESETS will happen, so she doesn't need to get used to it. Not like I have.

"Well, yeah, I mean, have you seen her?"

"HATE TO SAY IT, DARLING, BUT ASGORE IS THE ONE THAT TRAINED HER. IF YOU COULDN'T FIGHT UNDYNE, THEN YOU STAND NO CHANCE AGAINST ASGORE." He... he wasn't wrong. I didn't have high hopes for Frisk beating him in a fight. But that's not how Frisk worked. "WELL. IT'S TIME FOR OUR COMMERCIAL BREAK. " Some of the lights behind turned off, the cameras pulling away. "DARLING, THIS WON'T BE REPEATED ON A CAMERA. I'LL GIVE YOU SOME ADVICE; JUST GIVE UP." I can't say it isn't bad advice he had there. It seemed rather appealing to me. But, this was Frisk. "IF ASGORE DEFEATS YOU, HE WILL TAKE YOUR SOUL AND OPEN THE BARRIER. HE WILL TAKE HIS WAR TO THE HUMANS AND USE THOSE SOULS TO BECOME A MONSTER AND DESTROY HUMANITY. WOULD YOU REALLY WANT THAT?" There... there was nothing I could say to that, honestly. It was entirely something Frisk had to decide on her own. Honestly, I probably shouldn't be with her right now, she should be doing this on her own but... I can't leave anymore. I despise the emptiness and loss of control I feel when I'm away from her. She's stable ground. The very least, if a RESET happens, I'll be prepared as I'll be by her side when she dies. Yeah, I'm a pretty selfish bastard.

"Not everything can be solved with violence. I'm sure I can talk Asgore down, get him to understand that what he is doing is wrong." She spoke calmly, as if the prospect of being killed and her people killed too didn't seem to bother her. But, the way her hand shook slightly in my grasp begged to differ. She was very unsettled, it seems, but she was holding a poker face. Ah. Ha. That was how she knew. She could see right through me, right through my poker face. Because she has a poker face of her own. "Despite what all the films say, police officers have to be pretty good at reading people and have to be charismatic and understanding. At least the ones on my team, how else are we able to interrogate people and get them to tell us what happened?" She did have a point. I didn't watch much human television. Honestly, I didn't watch much TV at all since I had been working most of the time I was awake. Unfortunately, electricity wasn't a thing I could take with me to watch TV whilst I was at my post, so I never was fully aware of what Frisk's job really entailed.

"NO OFFENCE, DARLING, YOU'RE GORGEOUS." Like it was meant to be a compliment, but Frisk's facial reaction didn't take it as one. I smirked, glad that I wasn't the only one who found the machine to be a massive annoyance. "BUT THERE'S NO WAY YOU COULD DO SUCH A THING. THE KING ALREADY PROMISED EVERYONE FREEDOM, DON'T SEE WHY SOME GIRL IS GOING TO MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE."

Let's just say, Frisk doesn't take well to being called 'some girl'. I could see it in her soul, her features turned annoyed, her brows scrunched, hands clench, she steps forward towards Mettaton. If I were on the other side, I'd have given up. But, this was Mettaton. I was fairly sure that 'give up' was not a thing that was programmed into him. "I could do it! In fact, no, fuck you, I will do it!" She let go of my hand, bringing it up to point at Mettaton in what I assumed was somewhat promising a threat. "I could talk Asgore down, I can explain to him what he is doing. If I talked Undyne down from killing human beings, I can convince Asgore of the same thing. In fact, I'm even friends with Undyne now," Her DETERMINATION was blinding me, I had to look to the side away from her soul, it was shining so bright. Being told that she could not be able to do anything apparently set her DETERMINATION metre off the scale. It was fascinating! But, I noticed, through the corner of my eye, a light. Oh.

"ah, frisky-" I tried, but it was too late.

"You just wait, I can figure something out, talk to Asgore and get everyone out of the Underground! Just you see! If all it takes is seven human souls to break the barrier, I could do it easily. Humans die all the time on the other side, naturally or through disease, either way. In ways we can't stop, so there are plenty of human souls up on the surface. If I can't break the barrier on this side, I sure as hell can break it on the other side!" Something that I had realised. I didn't tell anyone that could've been possible. Asgore could've taken the soul of the first human, passed through the barrier and gotten human souls on that end and broken the barrier open. There was a reason. I didn't want to cause a riot. A literal riot, as we could've been free from the Underground a long time ago. I realised, after many RESETS, that not all humans were nice, if we were to leave the Underground, we'd probably be killed on sight. I agreed with Gerson, and Asgore to a point, that we would be killed if we left the Underground. However, Asgore couldn't tell all monsters that. Well, he could, but I was sure the Underground would never be the same. I felt that giving them false hope was cruel, more cruel than telling them there was no hope. But, it wasn't my kingdom to run. Besides, that was too much effort for me to bother with.

I wanted to stop Frisk, knowing she was going to say it. I don't think she realised how long we had been stuck Underground, or perhaps she forgot that a monster and a human soul was the only thing that could pass the barrier.

I don't think she realised that Mettaton had recorded the entire thing she said.

Mettaton was glad. "THAT'S THE SPIRIT, DARLING. I'M SURE YOU CAN DO IT. THE WHOLE OF THE UNDERGROUNDI'M SURE IS ROOTING FOR YOU."

For a moment, her reaction was blank. She seemed confused, like she didn't realise why he suddenly changed. I gave her a nudge with my elbow, she looked at me still confused. I nodded my skull towards the camera. She turned, and her face seemed to change colour. Well, actually, it seemed to lose colour, turning a colour I was sure resembled almost a ghost, her eyes wide and her mouth open in shock. "You... everyone..." She seemed to realise. "That's... that's live?"

"BUT OF COURSE, DARLING. SEE, AS I SAID, I LOVE HUMANS. I DON'T WANT ASGORE TO DESTROY HUMANITY. NOT WHEN YOU HAVE PROVEN THAT WE COULD BE FRIENDS! WE AREN'T SO DIFFERENT. I KNEW ABOUT THE STORY OF ASRIEL, HOW HE PASSED THE BARRIER AND DIED. I KNEW ASGORE COULD'VE GONE THROUGH THE BARRIER WITH THE ONE HUMAN SOUL HE HAD TAKEN. HE COULD'VE GOTTEN US FREE A LONG TIME AGO. HE LEFT US TO SUFFER DOWN HERE, I'M NOT SURE WHY. WHAT GOOD IS MY OPINION? I'M JUST A STAR, I JUST ENTERTAIN! BUT I CAN'T LET ASGORE DESTROY HUMANITY, I LIVE TO ENTERTAIN THEM AS WELL! MAYBE NOW, YOU CAN CONVINCE MONSTER KIND THAT THERE IS NO REASON TO FEAR HUMANS. YOU CAN CONVINCE ASGORE. I'M SURE YOU CAN, DARLING."

I think, at that point, she realised what had happened. I realised it too. I was angry at Mettaton for using her like that for a pawn in his games, making her an unwilling leader of a rebellion, but at the same time we would be having less trouble with monsters. I don't think the monsters will do anything too irrational, Asgore is still our king, regardless of his lies. Undyne will probably still think the world of him, though. "I didn't mean to... I didn't want to cause this much trouble, not with your people!"

"IT WAS ONLY GOING TO HAPPEN ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, DARLING. YOU'RE JUST THE LUCKY ONE." Mettaton announced, as if it really was lucky for her that she was chosen. "WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE CENTRE OF ATTENTION?"

Frisk and I looked at each other, confirming that neither of us enjoyed the spotlight, her for the past experience (I knew all about human paparazzi) and my loathe for any attention put onto myself. "DON'T THANK ME FOR THE HELP. I'LL MAKE SURE ALL MONSTERS KNOW OF YOUR HEROIC DEEDS, HUMAN!" I wasn't sure what heroic deed we had truly done, putting a split between society didn't exactly scream 'heroic'. "WELL, TOODLES~!" Frisk quickly tried to protest he do such a thing, but it was too late as his arms disappeared into his body and he blasted away from the engine he had where his wheel had once been.

Frisk sighed. "How did I get into this big mess?" Shadow whined, pushing his nose into Frisk's hand as if to comfort her. I wasn't sure what to say. What could I possibly say that would make what happened alright? 'hey, at least you're alive, right?' She was usually the one cheering me up, rather than the other way around. This would be something Papyrus would be good at. He always saw the good in any situation, even if it seemed utterly futile.

Frisk smiled, patting Shadow on the head. "Thanks bud." She ruffles his head, Shadow wagging his tail in a pleased motion. At least someone seemed to be happy in this stuck situation. She looks at me. "Sorry, I didn't mean... you know I didn't mean for this to happen, right?"

I was pretty sure she hadn't. "don't worry, pal. shit all you can do when a paparazzi decides it's going to insert itself into your story. like he said, it was bound to happen, you just happened to be the ammo he used. he coulda used anything else." I'm pretty sure that this wasn't helping her at all, but I wasn't sure what else I could possibly say.

"You don't think... they'll ask me to kill the king?"

That startled me slightly, that seemed rather a fast judgement. But, she had a point. The monsters wouldn't ask her to kill the king, that much was true, but... we all knew, the only thing that could cross that barrier was a human soul and a monster soul. The only thing that could break it that we knew of was seven human souls, or power equivalent. Nothing a monster could build could possibly be stronger than seven human souls. Either way, it seemed inevitable. "nah, i'm sure they won't."

"Liar." I flinched. There was no hiding from her prying eyes. "I can tell when you're lying. You really think they'll ask me to murder the king!?"

"no, of course not!" I reply quickly. "no, that ain't my issue. just, nothing else can break the barrier and the only thing that can pass through the barrier is a human soul and a monster soul. sorry, you already tried in a previous timeline, even some bad timelines and you could never get through the barrier." I remembered that clearly. I allowed her to pass, despite her having some EXP, she had gained only a single LV. I allowed her to pass to see Asgore. Only, Asgore wasn't in when she appeared, Asgore was out and I had no idea. So, she was able to roam straight towards the barrier. I remember watching her as she pushed her hand on the barrier and it refused to move, like a glass window you could see through but the glass so thick you'd break a fist if you tried to punch it. The monster souls she had on her were gone, turned to EXP, so she had no monster soul to break the barrier with along with herself. Her face turned to a scowl, I remember, when she realised she could not pass through the barrier without Asgore. Instead of waiting, she instead RESET the timeline. I never found out why, but we started all over again.

"Oh, I see. So, every monster knows this, why would they ask Asgore to use one soul then and pass through the barrier if they know he can do this now?" That was her question.

"he didn't before, what makes you think he would now?"

"I dunno, my guidance maybe reassure him or something? Give him advice, write out a map on where to go?" She shrugged her shoulders. "I'm just trying to see the best way out of this horrible situation. I never wanted to hurt anyone, I just wanted to bring justice. I wanted to help those children out. I don't see how I can do that now."

I wasn't sure either. "c'mon, i'm sure we can figure it out on the way. we still got plenty of distance to go before we reach the capital."

We only walked a short distance, just before we leave the air-conditioned room, before she stopped. "Sans?" I stopped and looked back to her, hoping she was alright. "Thanks."

I blinked. "for what?"

"For trying to cheer me up. I know you aren't very good at it." Ah well, she wasn't lying. "And you don't really know me too well, and it's my fault we're stuck in this shit storm to begin with. If I hadn't have bothered with trying to catch the murderer and getting stuck down here in the Underground-"

"then we'd still be stuck down here." I had to interject. "sure, there'd be no RESETS, but well..." I guess... she did make me feel things that I've never felt before. Some positive, some negative. A feeling of change, fear, love, hate, boredom and a sense of something new happening. Despite all of that, I feel thankful that I was able to feel anything else at all. I had been worried that one day, I would grow soulless, just like the flower Frisk and I had fought earlier in Alphys' lab. I remember spending days on end in my room, telling Papyrus that sure I had been going to work, but I hadn't been. I didn't know which day was which, what time it ever was and often didn't eat for days. When the good days of Frisk appearing happened, I felt a little better, like I had a purpose. Then the RESETS happened. The bad times were the ones that sent me into that same soulless spiral again. When Frisk was good, we did something different every time. It wasn't much, the goal for her was still the same, but it felt better. The bad times still traumatised me, I refused to sleep when I could and just nap. Smoking dog treats helped forget the worst of it, though.

"You're not that hopeful that you can be free, are you?" There was no fooling her.

"nah, that ain't exactly it. just, i think we could be, but i dunno if we should be."

Frisk hummed. "Yeah, humanity is kind of shit. I expect most of them to react in a similar way to how Undyne acted but... there are people out there who would love you guys. I can see plenty of people fighting for your rights and wellbeing, to the same point where they would try to assassinate their leaders. That's why I thought... that's why I was worried about Asgore." She shook her head. "How about this? I promise, cross my heart and hope to die, that I will give my full support and die trying to let you guys have full rights just as human beings with us. To live in harmony among us." She held out her hand, smiling as she did so.

"why would you hope to die?" I questioned.

"Oh. it's just a silly human thing. An old saying, I think? I dunno, honestly. It's just something we say when we promise something." She shrugged her shoulders, moving her hand again, urging me to shake it. "You happy with that?"

I didn't expect anything less, honestly. Grinning, I took her hand. pffffftttt. "hehe. happier now with that out."

"You're such a child! Jesus!"

"you love me really."

"Fuck you."

"yes please."

"Get lost, arsehole."

"lost in your eyes, baby."

"You're the worst!"

"bad to the bone."

Chapter Text

Chapter 18 It's Showtime, Baby!

Mettaton's actions shook me a little, I'm not gonna lie. I dreaded it. I knew what the media could do to other people, the media could change people's outlook entirely. Sans didn't seem to see the big deal in it, though. Maybe he didn't understand, or perhaps he was just very good at hiding it this time around. I doubted it, I'd like to think I was getting very good at reading him.

Needless to say, the result was not exactly what I had expected. Sans stops, after we had been walking for half an hour. He seemed troubled. "What's up, Sans?"

He stops, doesn't reply for a while. Then, quietly, "ain't it a bit... quiet?"

I listen. The only thing I could hear was the lava bubbling, the sound of mechanics from the Core that we were getting close to now and Shadow's panting. That was all I could hear. "A little bit. Anything wrong with that?"

Sans looks to me. "usually 'round here there are some monsters, a tsundere plane or pyrope but nobody is here. they all clear out?"

I looked around, worried. Was Mettaton that influential in the Underground? "Do you think it had anything to do with Mettaton and the King?"

By Sans' face, I'd say probably, yes. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, I suppose we were yet to find out. Because there were no monsters around, all the puzzles normally needed to get through to the Core were already completed. There wasn't a single monster on the way there, no pyropes, no tsundere planes nothing. It was like the entire place had been completely deserted.

It was... creepy. It was silent. Dead silent. Sans began sweating, something I noticed he only did when he was nervous, rather than actually feeling hot, though he was trying to act cool about it. I'd ask him what got him so nervous, but I didn't want to upset him even more than he already appeared to be. I was creeped out, it was like everyone had just evacuated, abandoned this place and locked everything behind them.

Getting to a building, a hotel Sans told me, it only got worse. It got too real. Entering the building, there was nobody here. Nobody. This hotel looked huge, like it could easily hold several hundred people, a shop nearby, a lift that seemed to go... somewhere and a nice fancy restaurant. Yet, all the buildings were empty, vacated entirely, belongings left behind as if given a code red to get out before it was too late. Shadow became excited, sniffing, tail wagging and he trots into the restaurant. I call him back, but he ignores me, so I follow.

Even inside, it seemed far too fancy for something I could hope to eat inside, never enough money nor time. But it was entirely empty. Plates of food left, some eaten and some not, just left to cool. Every table had been used, it was a busy day today, but everyone just... left. Knives and forks abandoned, food twirled on there, bite marks to show some had been eating. How long ago did everyone leave?

I turn to Sans, about to ask something, but I falter, seeing him frozen on the spot by the doors. He... he didn't look so good. He looked fucking awful. The bags he had under his eyes suddenly became more profound, his eye lights wide, yet fainter, sweat dripping off him in pools, his parka soaked, hands deep into his pockets as they could go and he was shaking. No, shaking was an understatement, he was trembling. His chest moved up and down rapidly. I knew those signs, I knew them to be bad news.

"Sans, listen to me." I tried to stay calm. I had been shown, briefly, how to help someone who suffered a panic attack, though it wasn't exactly a common occurrence. I crept to him, slowly, but made my presence clear, last thing we needed was him to be surprised. "Sans, can you hear me?" I put a hand on his shoulder. That was my big mistake.

Out of nowhere, from Sans himself, he let out a feral snarl, sharp canines on show, he suddenly looked like the monster he was told he always was. Pain, soundless pain right in my chest, so quick I didn't even realise what had happened. The pain took a while to hit me, it didn't register for a long time what Sans had done, let alone the sound he made. I had been pushed back, or maybe Sans teleported, I wasn't quite sure. Suddenly, he was far from myself, a single eye showing from his left socket, bright and yellow, twitching blue every so often, grin wide and feral, his right hand out like he had pushed someone back, or thrown something. Then, he blinked. His eyes were back, his hands moved to his mouth in horror, eyes wide once again. His shaking got worse.

"oh my god. oh my god. i'm so sorry- shit." I didn't know what he was apologising for. It was a bit of a blur. I blink several times, before looking down. I was sure this wasn't mine, but there was suddenly a bone, human looking, sticking out of my chest, punctured my lung, barely missing my heart, but this was a fatal hit no matter how I look at it. How... where...? I wanted to ask, but the moment I opened my mouth, blood pooled, like a waterfall, out of my mouth onto the floor. I felt myself double down, falling to my side, god forbid I fall forward to drive that bone further. "no! frisk, shit, i didn't mean it!" He was suddenly there, lifting my head up, cradling it on his lap. Ha, if I weren't dying there would be so many dick jokes. "fuck, there's so much blood. what do i do? shitting hell."

There was so much I wanted to tell him; don't worry, it was an accident, it was my fault not yours. But the blood refused to let me speak words, gurgling like a dying fish on land. "don't give up on me frisk, please. i didn't... it wasn't..." It's okay, I wanted to tell him. It can't be helped, not right now. Something must've triggered him, I just wasn't sure what had caused it. Never mind, I was sure to find out.

...

Sans was shaking, sweat pouring off him in big pools of sweat. Then, he stops. Blinks. He looks up at me, he lets out a breath. "oh, thank fuck for-" He didn't get a chance to finish what he said as I slapped him across his face.

"MOTHERFUCKER!" Turns out, bone is really durable. Luckily, my hand didn't break, I didn't aim to hit him that hard, but it still hurt like a bitch.

"ow. oh, okay. i deserve that." I felt a swell of pride for having even hurt him, honestly. even if I didn't really hurt him. He still reacted enough to rub the area where I had struck him.

"What gives? I may be okay now, but I still remember it. What happened?"

Sans kept his hand on his cheek where I had slapped him, looking rather ashamed of himself. Ah, I backtrack in my head. I realise how harsh I was to him. He did kill you! If you couldn't RESET, you'd be dead! Well, being a freak that I am, I'm still alright. Chara didn't seem to understand, but she was still a child. "sorry. I just... it was only ever this quiet on certain RESETS. those RESETS were the worst. that's when it was empty for... other reasons. you remember that angel prophecy?" I nod, I do remember. That there would be an angel who falls to the Underground and with it, the Underground shall become empty. "welp. it can mean one of two things, either we all get out or... well, i'm sure ya know." Oh. A flash of a memory that wasn't mine, I don't remember, but it felt like myself. A dying monster turn to dust, the grey substance covering the knife in the hand of the body I was stuck inside. He meant... everyone.

"Jesus... and you remember seeing the Underground exactly like this?" Empty, devoid, like everyone ran away; or killed.

"i remembered that demon. i always stopped it before it got to asgore. sorry, i know it wasn't you but... i couldn't snap myself outta it. i uh... i really fucked up, didn't i?"

When he looked down at the ground, hand rubbing the back of his neck, hiding away in his hood despite it being down, I felt heartbroken. He clearly had issues, PTSD maybe, I wouldn't be surprised if he had since he had seen his own people being murdered. "No, well, yes, but it's not your fault!" I tried quickly to recover myself, before I became the worst person ever. Worst girlfriend ever, too. That'll take some getting used to. "See, that's... well, it's not normal, but it's an expected reaction. I can't tell you too much because I'm not a nerd," Sans snorts at that, "but we humans discovered that this is how people react when they have seen horrors like you have. People who had gone to war had similar problems to you. We can get help for it back on the surface. It's not too late."

Sans didn't look confident. "eh, wouldn't count on it."

I walked to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Trust me, if you want we can just look into it, research it first before you go to see anyone about it."

Sans looks up at me questioningly. "see someone?"

"Therapy, is what we call it. The process of healing your mind. Or some shit like that." Sans didn't seem keen on the idea. "We'll look into it first, the processes and everything, I'll let you loose on my computer when we make it to the surface."

"you have a computer?"

"Babe, I got a lot of tech at home, comes with the territory of being a cop."

"i'm probably going to borrow them. for a long while."

"Sure thing, if they even work for you. Touch screen, I figure they work with heat so..."

Sans then winks. "babe, i can heat anything up with a wink and a smile."

"Don't even."

Through this conversation, I didn't even notice that Shadow had jumped up on a seat, having sniffed around the entire dining room, he picked out his favourite dish, jumped on the chair and began eating the dish on the table. "Shadow! Down! Not for you!" He did stop, looked at me. He whined, wondering why I told him off considering it wasn't being eaten and had been left. Ah, well... I guess the crowd of people weren't going to be returning anytime soon, were they? Would it hurt to let him loose on the food?

Speaking of which, my stomach made its announcement clear, apparently I hadn't eaten in hours.

Sans laughed. "aw, hungry babe? i got just the-"

"Shut the fuck up. Pick a plate and eat."

I only allowed Sans and Shadow to eat as much as they thought they should eat. Shadow would eat everything if I let him, and Sans had to be forced to eat. Couldn't have middle ground in this group, both sides of the hunger spectrum.

It was hard to believe that behind this hotel was where the Core was. By Core, I mean their power supply, this is where all the power for their electricity and their Undernet came from. The building was massive, pipes going everywhere, the ceiling nowhere to be seen. The whole place was immense! It was hard to believe any living creature created such a massive building that seemed like it had been morphed into the Underground cavern which we were stuck inside. It felt like I could forget that we were trapped underground this entire time. The place was unnerving, like I could get lost in it without any trouble at all.

Sans reaffirms this, they had been expecting humans to maybe break the barrier on their side, to still remember monsters as a race of beings and slaughter them all. So, the Core was the main gateway to get to the Capital and anywhere populated, and so it was built as a maze to confuse the humans and give them time to evacuate should they need to. Wow, they really thought of everything. It was unsettling, to see that this place would have been used as a trap, to stop humans in their tracks, their final line of defence before they expect to be slaughtered entirely.

It was just too bad the one being that did slaughter them all came from the other end of the Underground.

I shiver. Whilst I was still stronger and in control over Chara, every so often it seemed like she could get through, to talk to me, or make me think things I wouldn't normally. I'm not sure if it's something she's trying, or if she's just so used to doing it she doesn't notice it happening, but it worried me. For Sans' sake, he didn't need another meltdown.

Sans didn't seem comfortable in this area, though he was looking around it with slight fascination, even if he tried to hide it with a cool look. I understood why he was hesitant and uncomfortable around this area. It just seemed... oppressive. I couldn't understand it, couldn't put it into words, but it's like something was lingering here. Something that you couldn't see with your eyes or soul. A bad omen, perhaps?

The feeling went away as we got through the Core and to the lift. Sans began bouncing on his feet, nervous. He looks at me, smiling nervously. "we're almost at the king's throne." He tells me. "there will be a lot of monsters here."

I nod, I had expected as much. "Sans?" He hums. "Can I tell you something?" He blinks, doing a double take, before nodding. "I'm... honestly, I'm scared."

Sans doesn't reply for a while. "me too, bud. asgore ain't a push over. just... never stop being determined, k?"

"I... I can't kill Asgore. I know that much. I can't do it." It wasn't a matter of if I could face him in battle and defeat him. It was the fact that I couldn't bring myself to hurt him, to fight against him. How could I? What would I prove by killing Asgore? I'd be proving his point. I'd prove that he was right to remain Underground, everyone would be safer down here instead of getting murdered by the humans up top on the surface. I couldn't do it. Even after he killed many children, lied to his whole kingdom and got Alphys to perform horrific experiments with SOUL power to try to break the barrier without real souls and having that nightmare happen to her, he still deserved a second chance. Chances are, he was just a really nice guy, with the worst ideas ever, I might add. I was dreading it, every monster was going to see what I was going to decide, what I would do. What could I do? I couldn't kill him. Arresting him was a waste of time, what could I possibly do here? Forgive him? That didn't seem likely, and I doubted monster-kind would be too happy seeing me just forgive him like that, for what he did to me, the children and monster kind. "What do I do?"

"well..." Sans begins, "if i were you, i'd have given up, run home, pretend it never happened. but that ain't like you. you always come up with something. sure you'll think of something." I'm not sure whether that was a compliment or not, but it didn't exactly help my dilemma. But, the support, or him trying was appreciated nonetheless. "i ain't meant to do this, but i'll walk with ya. think ya'll need it." He looks down at Shadow, grinning. "plus, we can't let ya pooch get too excited about the crowd, can we?" He strokes his hand on Shadow's head, ruffling his fur up. Shadow pants, wagging his tail and looks up at Sans adoringly. It made me realise how far we had come. All in just several days, too. Shadow had attacked Sans, I had thought because he was trying to eat the skeleton, but... funnily enough, Shadow was the one that brought us together. Somewhat. He kept Sans from attacking me, but then began listening to him, as if he knew we were just going to be together for this adventure entirely. He treated Sans like he treats me, like part of a pack. Maybe, he just knew it all along.

Here we were, in the lift, about to finally face Asgore, the monster who had kept everyone trapped when they could've been freed a long time ago, the monster who had six children killed unnecessarily. I was about to meet him face to face. I had no idea what he looked like, had no idea what kind of monster he would be, kind or horrible. I had been given no information at all. Yet, here I was, standing with my partner Shadow and my other newly gained partner Sans. Whatever I pick, whatever I choose, however I go about meeting with Asgore, I only hope that it can only go well.

Soon as the door opened, however, I was blown back. Not literally, just... I realised that Sans wasn't kidding. The road to Asgore, the long road I was told to get to the palace was crowded with monsters. I would go as far as to say that every single monster that lived in the Underground, every single monster that could make it, had turned up to see what would be happening between Asgore and I. I had to take a step back, suddenly feeling stage fright I had never had before in my life. I was used to dealing with crowds, you often had to get into the thick of the crowd when it came to being a police officer, K9 officer or not, but this was too much! Normally, I was just another person in the crowd, a slightly intimidating one with the uniform and the meaning behind the uniform, but still a human being. Here, though. Every monster seemed to be looking at me, as if I were the answer to their problems, their prayers. Like I was the guardian angel who had come to save them from the Underground. It was a bit... a bit too much.

Sans seemed to realise I was faltering, he didn't seem to have any trouble seeing all the monsters just outside the room waiting for us. Then again, those monsters weren't waiting to see him, they wanted to see me. "it's okay. they won't do shit with me here. i got ya." It was probably the most supportive I've seen him be, well besides with Papyrus, he'd do literally anything for his brother. But that wasn't the thing that I was worried about happening. That wasn't what had me on edge. Shadow remained at my side, he nudged me with his head, not in a shy fashion, but an encouraging one.

I took a few deep breaths. Okay. I could do this. I just gotta walk, walk through a path to the king. Walk forward, I didn't need to do anything else. Taking a final deep breath, I steeled myself up, determined and began to walk forward out of the lift. Shadow followed, obediently right beside my side, step by step. Sans followed nearby also on my other side. We must've looked like some weird group, a female cop, a police dog and a skeleton. What a group!

Nevertheless, I could hear the monsters talking, gossiping. I was able to pick some specific gossips.

"Is that what a human looks like? Doesn't look so threatening to me. It's so small!"

"What do you think it will do? Think it'll hurt Asgore?"

"Mettaton said the human hasn't fought anything, so maybe it just can't fight?"

"I wonder what Sans is doing with that human?"

I felt rather weirded out, like I were some freak or animal being starred at by the crowd surrounding me. All gossips went on like that, wondering what I was, who I was, how dangerous, did all of us humans look like this, what was with my uniform, questioning about the monsters beside me (I believe they were referring to Sans and perhaps Shadow?) and the list went on. It felt surreal, like I was the strange one here and not the monsters themselves. There were dogs on two legs, flying pixies, magical frogs, an aeroplane that blushed and huffed when I looked at it and so many more strange, yet wondrous monsters. And yet, they were looking at me as if I were the mysterious creature.

As I was still walking, trying to appear much more confident than I actually felt, I came to realise that there were a lot more monsters living Underground than I had thought. I never thought there would be too many, despite what Sans had told me. He could tell me how many monsters there were in numbers, but it's an entirely different matter when you actually see for yourself all the monsters that live in the Underground.

Every so often, there would be a short monster standing by. Shorter than I was, even shorter than Sans. I could see behind those monsters a city, tall buildings that all looked the same as far as I could see. Those buildings were only built to house the monsters that lived down here in the Underground. They were probably made on short notice, to try to accommodate the overcrowding problem. It reminded me of their desperation, of how hopeless they must be feeling, to be trapped underground and not having seen the sun, the sky, the stars. It amazed me that they built their main city right beside the barrier, built their palace right beside it, as if hoping that maybe one day, the barrier may disappear. Or most monsters were not able to make the journey deeper into the Underground, or never wanted to leave when they were building it bigger. I had entered from the other end, where Toriel now lived with Spot, travelled through Snowdin, Waterfall and Hotland to get to this point. It felt like I had travelled through countries, rather than areas. What a long, strange trip it has been.

I finally stopped when we arrived at the door. There were two soldiers standing by the doors, like guards. The one on the left kept glancing at the other guard, as if to check that he was still here or if he was doing the right thing. They didn't speak, or at least the guard on the right didn't. He seemed  imposing, he was just intimidating without trying.

"Like, bro, we let the human through? S'what we got told?" The left guard asked his partner. The right guard grunted, moving to the side slightly as his answer. The left guard moved also, but not without warning me. "Like, human dude, you don't go and make us regret this, right? Cuz like, that'd be mega embarrassing."

"Uh...I'll try not to disappoint." I wasn't sure what else to say, tipping my hat politely as they let me through.

The next room was certainly royalty, imposing. Shadow whined, he didn't like this corridor. It was long, with lights over each arch down the corridor to make it seem almost like the sunlight was coming from the windows. There was a carpet, not a red one though, going down the corridor where to walk. I felt chills go down my spine. Something terrible happened down this corridor. This place... it had seen a lot of horror in the past. I walked down there, slowly, cautiously, like I was expecting to get attacked from somewhere. Like there was an invisible enemy somewhere in here. It felt like I had gone down this corridor a thousand times, getting slowly more and more tired as I kept trying, and dying to get past this point. My opponent never got tired, killing me over and over, stopping my progression.

No. Not my progression. I stopped. This corridor.

Sans was in front of me, facing me, hands in his pockets. I don't remember him walking past me, he probably teleported in front of me whilst I was remembering. No, I wasn't remembering, this was Chara remembering. He stood here, every time. This was his last line of defence. This time, however, he wasn't smirking, or smiling like he usually was. He looked worried, upset, he was smiling sorrowfully.

"well. here we are." He says, scratching the back of his neck nervously. "i'm supposed to judge you, for every action you've done, everything you've said. but uh... like every job i do, i'm pretty bad at it. whatever i say now is biased, of course i'd say you're a good person at heart." He puts his hand back into his jacket packet and looked at me seriously. "but, ya'll forgot that i can see your soul. i always look here, have to. you've still got the demon on you."

Busted.

"i don't know what you did. you've been in control this entire time, despite the many RESETS. i thought you had broken free. how come you didn't tell me?"

Shit. It wasn't that I was hiding it from him, I just never... told him. At first, I had thought Chara had left, had disappeared, but slowly I realised she hadn't. She'd hung back, still watching through my eyes. And talking to you, hehe! "I'm sorry, Sans. I... I struck a deal, it's a lot more complicated than that. This demon... I don't know if you'll believe me, but this demon is Chara. Chara Daemon."

Sans eyes widen, he blinks several times. "chara daemon? you mean... the child of hope? toriel and asgore's human?" Chara huffed in my mind, clearly not liking my decision to tell Sans but making no effort to stop me. "you talked to it?"

"What other choice did I have? Every RESET I felt like I was growing weaker, her grip on me was too much. I thought quickly, talked to her. I was trying to appeal to her humanity," Sans snorted at that, but I didn't react to him acting that way. "In the end, she shouted at me, telling me why she was doing this and why she kept a hold of me. She's doing it for her friend. But... I don't know how I could help her. I was hoping we'd get an answer on the journey."

"what friend? didn't think a daemon had a friend."

I ignored his joke, now was not the time. "She says she's looking for Asriel."

Sans tilts his head, a hand on his chin as he thinks hard on this. "asriel? tori and gory's son? i thought the both of them died?"

"So had I. Guess we were both wrong." I sigh."Then again, I should be long dead and buried. Who knows. Chara is still a child, still a person, I have to help her and her friend. I just don't know how to go about it at all."

"i don't know either, kid. i don't know what happens beyond this point. it's been so long since it's been a good run." He looks up at me. "i will let you see the king, you gotta do what you gotta do, darlin'. just know... i can't join you." What? Sans looks away. "i'm not allowed into the king's house. this is as far as i can go with you. but i wanna let you know and wanna say thanks. for letting a piece of lazy shit like me come along. it's... it's been fun. if a RESET happens, this will be the best run i've ever had."

He was trying to keep it cool, I could see on his face. He was fighting back from showing any emotions on his face. He didn't want me to see that he was touched, feeling emotions he probably hadn't felt for months, if not years. I walked up to him and pulled him to me, hugging him tightly. He sniffs, hugging back just as hard, burying his head into my chest and I felt the front of my uniform become crumpled under his snuggling his head into my chest. "If anything happens, if I can't be determined, just know that without you, I'd be utterly screwed in the Underground. I'm sure I would be dead and buried. You guys could be free though, but then humanity would be dead. I don't know, it's a mess dude." Sans chuckles, though he doesn't move from my chest, remaining happy and safe there. Shadow sits, watching the exchange quietly. He realises how hard this is for me.

"I'll try my best to get the barrier down. I want you guys to be free, but I can't promise I can do it. I can only try." I had to bring my arm over to wipe my eyes, finding tears in them. This could be the last time I see Sans. If I die and Asgore is able to grab my soul, it wouldn't matter if I could RESET. It would be too late.

We stood there for a little while longer, before Sans finally shook his head, pulling away. "you should probably go. don't wanna keep your crowd waitin'." He smiled, but I knew he was heartbroken inside. "give 'em a show, will ya sweetheart?"

I smile, nodding. I take my police hat off, putting it on Sans' head before I kiss him on his teeth. He hadn't expected it, and his face went bright blue. Adorable! "Remember me, okay?" He just nods, frozen. With one last smile, I walk on, Shadow following beside me. He looks back towards Sans, wags his tail, whines, but he turns and follows me past the corridor. Leaving Sans alone in the corridor.

...

I had gone past the king's throne room. I knew it was to the right, but Shadow was growling, leading me past the room. I was glad that he had. Past the king's throne room, down the corridor, around a corner, my blood froze. There lay seven coffins. Each one had a heart on the front, a different colour for each coffin, I was guessing representing a soul. The one that I could reach, right next to me, had a clear name on the coffin. Chara Daemon. I imagined that every single coffin had the children's bodies in there. I didn't want to disturb them, but maybe... could Chara be returned to her original body? Live as her own person again?

My body isn't there.

Opening the coffin. She wasn't wrong, the coffin was empty. Where was her body? Mum buried it. In the bed of golden flowers in the Ruins. The bed of flowers, the ones I had landed on when I fell? So, she got her final wish, Tori burying her in the bed of golden flowers she had always wanted. It may not have been passed the barrier, but she did her best. Bless her.

Chara didn't comment.

I turn back.

When I turned for the King's Throne, I didn't expect to see Tori's house. It wasn't Tori's house, but it looked exactly the same. I had to blink, thinking that this was actually her house. It looked homey, comfortable. Ah, Tori, hoped Spot was treating you well. Heading inside, however, it unnerved me more. It was very much like Tori's house. There were some differences, the house was shaped the same, same wallpaper, same rails, but some of the pictures were different. Tori didn't have pictures hanging in her house, Asgore on the other hand had them everywhere. The most prominent was one on a desk near the stairs that had a picture of Toriel and Asgore together, or at least I assumed it was Asgore. He looked like Toriel, with a big beard, a crown on his head and horns. He looked happy with Toriel in his arms, like a loving couple.

"How did things come to this, boy?" I ask Shadow. He whines, doesn't seem like he knows either. The basement was in the same place as Tori's basement, leading down and the only way to progress in this house. There was a chain across the rails, preventing anyone going any further and a lock. There was a note on the chain.

Howdy! I am in the garden. If you need me for anything, the keys are in the kitchen and the guest room. Good day! Asgore.

I put the note back. The problem was, I didn't really want to go snooping in the house of the king. it reminded me too much of Tori's house, a house I had spent a month in with my broken leg. Fortunately, Asgore or whoever had put the chain on the railing had been expecting someone small to come through. I raise my legs over the chain, Shadow hops over the chain, being careful to not fall down the stairs and we continued down. Down the basement corridor.

Stay determined! Even Chara seemed to be worried how this will go down.

I will try my best. For monster kind, for human kind, for Sans, Papyrus, Tori, everyone I've met. Surely, I can end the war between humans and monsters. I just had to convince Asgore of the same thing.

The corridor opened up into a garden, it was bright with false sunlight, a mockery of the real thing. There were golden flowers everywhere, the same golden flowers that had cushioned my fall. There was a single throne past the flowers, a second throne against the palace building covered with a white sheet. That was Tori's throne. The most prominent thing in this room, however, was the monster, whistling and watering the flowers.

Shadow barked. "Oh! Just a minute!" The monster called back. "I'm just watering the flowers." He whistles a tune I had heard before, a tune I remember in Waterfall. Maybe it was a monster children's song? "Ah, there we go!" The monster turns, and there he was. Asgore Dreemurr. He stood taller than Toriel even, horns large and sharp on his head, his cloak dragging across the flowers, carrying a staff in one hand, a watering can in the other. His beard was pure white and longer than I remember seeing in the picture with Tori. His eyes were shadowed, as if he were haunted by something, or extremely tired.

"How can I-?" He stops the moment he laid eyes on me, his face changing expression from one to welcoming, to horror. "Oh." He turns away, troubled. A few seconds later, he turns back, a sad smile on his face. "I would love to ask if you would like a cup of tea, but you know how it is."

I took a deep breath. "Asgore Dreemurr, I'm Inspector Frisk Fanshaw. I've come to arrest you for the murders of five children, William Prince, Godfrey Walters, Bruce Walters, Allan Baker, Oliver Sanders and Beatrice Maxwell. You do not have to say anything, you have the right to remain silence, but anything you do say will be given in as evidence. How do you plea?" Shadow growled, coming closer to my side, ready to protect me at a moment's noticed.

Asgore sighs, suddenly looking much older than he actually was. "Guilty. But, if only it were that simple, my child. I wish, I truly wish, you could lock me up and throw away the keys, so I may pay for my sins. But that cannot happen." This isn't at all how I expected it to go. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, honestly. I was expecting the king to fight for his freedom, but here he was, telling me he wish he could just serve jail time and be done with it. It were as if he wasn't a king, like he were a puppet. "Where could I go? How could you punish me? More importantly, I have disappointed my people enough, I need to make it right, or you need to make it right. That is how it is. Are you ready?"

No. No I wasn't. I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know what to do. I've lost control, how was I to gain it back?

"Don't worry. Neither am I. But, come, we can't discuss things here. I will take you to the barrier. That is where we decide. That is where it will be decided, whether humans or monsters win this war." He turns around and walks away, through a door into the palace.

What else could I do but follow, with a sinking heart and a sense of impending doom?

Stay determined!

Chapter Text

Chapter 19 Hopes and Dreams

You know those moments, like in the pokemon game where you are walking towards the champion and you know you are going to come back either a victor or a loser? This is nothing like that. Sure, I could RESET, but I doubted it would make a difference if Asgore was able to grab my soul before I was able to activate it. The best I could hope was to outlast him, tire his large hulking body out before trying to reason with him. He was huge, and as a king I guessed maybe he was un-fit, compared to me? It was a guess, it was the best thing I had going for me. It was the best thing I could think of. Any advantage I would take.

Asgore took me through rooms I had a vague feeling of remembering. It wasn't too familiar to me though, a slight nagging feeling of deja vu for one reason or another. My leg begins to ache, a reminder of when I previously met a goat monster. One that saved me, and now I'm facing one that will kill me.

Asgore spoke as he lead me through the corridors. "This is tense, isn't it? Think of it like... a trip to the dentist." I wasn't too sure how to answer, nor how to take him talking like this. Shadow seemed to have very little idea what was really going on, as he seemed to not care, walking calmly by my side. Maybe he didn't understand why I was so tense, not when Asgore was not being hostile.

We stopped when we reached a doorway. Asgore went through, I followed slowly behind. There was a roaring sound in this room, it felt surreal. It started as a cave, behind the palace, and then it almost seemed like the rest of the cave had been ripped out of this world. Beyond that, it looked like what people thought portals would look like in 1960s TV. There was a roaring sound I couldn't really describe very well, sounding like a plane engine about to take off I think is the closest analogy I could come up with.

"This is the Barrier keeping us all trapped down here." Asgore announced, turning to face me. He looked forlor, much smaller than he actually was. "With seven human souls, one of each trait in my possession, I can break down the barrier. With the power of the souls, I can defeat humankind, bring monsterkind to the surface and finally live a peaceful, happy life." He smiles, and yet he didn't seem proud of what he had to do.

I shook my head. "Why are you doing this? Surely, there must be a better way!" Was he that desperate? Would he not even try to mingle with man-kind? Times had changed since they had been sealed away. Nobody even remembered monsters had ever existed, not to mention mankind is being a lot more forgiving and understanding. Compared to when they were sealed away, at least. It was still tough, many people still judged unfairly because of their interests or their looks, but it was getting better. Monsters could stand a chance.

Asgore shook his head. "No. I'm sorry, human. It's what my people want, it's what is best for my people too. There has been too much pain, I've lost two children to the humans. My wife didn't agree with me either, she left, never to be seen again. I don't want to hurt anyone, I didn't want those children to die, but there was no other way. My people need this."

"Are you sure it's your people you're fighting for? Cuz most of the people there seemed pretty pissed you didn't just use that one soul you had first to go through the barrier and break it on the other side." I crossed my arms defiantly. "What gives? Your people seem pretty pissed about it."

Asgore flinched. "I... yes. I am a coward. In actuality, it is best for my people to stay here, trapped down here forever. But, I can't tell that to the people, to tell them that there is no hope. We've already lost so much hope, after Asriel was killed and Chara taken from us too early. You have no idea what it was like, a city, an entire populace without a single piece of hope." No, he was right that I didn't know what an entire population of people without hope looked like. I knew many people without hope, but never an entire population, and never my own people. "I had to do something. I knew, even if giving them a slim chance of hope of getting to the surface would help, give them the tiniest of hope, it was better than nothing." He sighed, tired and sounding hundreds of years older. "I delayed as long as I could. If we were to reach the surface, the humans would kill us on sight. I knew that, it's why I delayed it for so long like this. But I couldn't tell anyone, Tori didn't agree with my methods either. Now. I'm faced with dealing with my own mistakes." He looks down, his fur covering his face entirely so I could no longer see his eyes. "I'm sorry about this, human. I really didn't want to do this. I wish we could have done something different, I wish it hadn't have come to this. But, there's nothing I can do."

I tried to think fast, come up with any kind of excuse or idea for this to not happen. Why should it happen? Surely, there could be another way, any way of getting around this? Surely! Surely, Asgore could take a soul, break the barrier from the other side without being seen by a single human and I would follow, try to reason with any ambassadors or leaders we had that monsters aren't truly to their name. But, Asgore had already explained that he was a coward. I deemed it unlikely that yes, he had thought about this before, he was just too afraid to die, was the bottom line here. He wasn't ready to take his own life for his people. I had to wonder if that made him a horrible king.

"Well, I hope you know I'm not just going to give you my soul. I don't care what you say, what you believe. I know there is another way to break down that barrier." I forced out, determined. I knew I wasn't going to change his mind, not like this. Maybe, if he were tired out, he could maybe listen to reason. Shadow began snarling, realising the tense atmosphere in the air. Perhaps he was feeling Asgore's magic, an unfriendly spark in the air hung, leaving the hair on my arms on ends.

"I figured as much. I didn't expect you to. Nobody likes to die lying down, they want to go down with a fight. Especially someone as DETERMINED as you." He opens his arms out, a spark went off in the air and then, seven pillars rose from the ground. Or, actually, seven containers rose from the ground. There, in those containers were the beings I was searching for this entire time.

William Prince, Godfrey Walters, Bruce Walters, Allan Baker, Oliver Sanders and Beatrice Maxwell. All of them. At least, their souls were here. A dark blue one, light blue, purple, orange, yellow and green floating little heart that I recognised as their souls. Trapped, probably seeing and feeling everything, enclosed in those little cages, hostages for years until the time was right. And Asgore thought that humans are horrible creatures. I would hope that most human kind would not imprison a soul for years, fully aware that they can see and hear everything happening just for a single purpose.

"Now. I only need one more, the soul of DETERMINATION." Asgore announced. "Are you ready? I'm sorry about this, it was a pleasure to meet you, human." He looks down, covering his eyes, any friendliness gone from his pose. Shadow snarled, barking several times in warning. "Goodbye." With that, my soul was pulled out of my chest, without my consent, as par the course. Asgore drew a hand out from under his cloak, a massive fucking trident thing appearing from behind that (how the fuck did that fit and how the fuck was he hiding it?) and I was pulled into a BATTLE.

The problem with being able to talk my way out of every FIGHT I've come across is that... well, what would I do if there was a FIGHT I was not able to talk my way out of, how was I to exit the FIGHT? I backed away, now suddenly frightened about how this battle will go. The answer is, on my side; badly.

That was, until I saw another soul. None of the children's, as Asgore left them in the containers, but a white one. A white, pure soul, not empty necessarily, but one that is outstanding and untainted. A smaller soul, white heart that almost could resemble a monster's soul. Having no particular trait. It wasn't Asgore's soul. It was Shadow's. He stood at my side, entering the battle, not caring that his soul was floating, in pure sight of the enemy. He snarled, hackles raised, fur on ends and teeth bared, glaring at Asgore further back.

"Your companion is loyal to no fault." Asgore spoke. "He is willing to put his life on the line to save you. He will fight by your side. It is a shame, I had hoped he would understand. I have no doubt he will not take kindly should I take your soul." Well, no shit Sherlock, that was a given! "Please, don't make this any harder than need be." That was easy for him to say. He had no qualms about killing me, taking my soul and destroying humankind. I wasn't exactly thrilled to give him that chance.

He acted first, well, he attempted to is the correct phrase. He moved his free hand, waving in a motion I knew meant magic. But Shadow was an animal of instinct, as well as being taught on how to disarm an enemy quickly. When he saw Asgore moving, he took it as an attack. He leapt at Asgore, teeth gnarling and snarling. His burst of fire still appeared, right beside me. I reacted fast enough to dodge to the side, as Shadow gripped Asgore's arm with strength enough to break a human arm. It seemed to hurt Asgore, a lot, given that his HP meter went down. Asgore didn't take it lying down, letting a fireball form into his free hand and, to my horror, he grabbed Shadow's top jaw. He yelped loudly, bursting any ear drums we had, letting go of Asgore's arm instantly as he threw his head away. Thank goodness, he only had embers on his snout, his quick acting putting out any fire that could've potentially started. He rushes away, rubbing his head into the floor in pain, his soul slightly less bright.

"Hey! Get the fuck off my dog!" I shouted at Asgore, surprising him as I rushed forward to push him away from Shadow. I tried to be quick, to disable him the same way you could disable a human, tripping him over and such. He was ready for anything like that, moving his feet out of the way, then pulling on my arm to use my own momentum against me. I fell forward, landing with a winded gasp as I hadn't expected it. Quickly, I tried to get back to my feet, only to yell out as a stabbing pain hit me. Looking to my left side, I saw the edge of Asgore's bright red trident. He had stabbed me, through the shoulder. Hurt like a motherfucker. He chose my left side, not incapacitating me as I was right handed like the majority of people. Unless, he figured I wasn't going to be able to do anything stuck to the floor. He was right about that.

Then, as I was getting ready to call it a day, to attempt a RESET or be prepared for one, there was a scuffle behind me and I heard Asgore shout in pain. I had no idea what was happening, but suddenly someone pulled the trident out of my shoulder. I almost blacked out, not gonna lie. After a minute or  two, it felt that long, I was helped up to my feet when I finally got my bearings.

I finally got to see my saviour. "Toriel!" She had arrived, with Spot close in toe as well. He was by Shadow's side, recognising his former canine friend.

Tori smiled, keeping a hand on my arm. She was the only reason I was able to stand up, I'd probably slowly fall down if I tried to stand on my own. "I couldn't let you become what you had set out to stop, my child." She then glared, absolutely glared at Asgore.

Asgore, however, looked entirely shocked, yet at the same time, there was a hint of hope in his eyes. that quickly got extinguished as Toriel glared at him. "Tori..."

"Don't you 'Tori' me, Dreemurr." Ouch. Tori spoke with ice in her voice, completely unlike the lovely monster mother I had come to know. "You coward, trying to take the soul of my friend, because you cannot hope to go out into the human world and get souls from beyond and break the barrier from the other end. The lives of five children could have been spared if you had just used one soul to pass through the barrier."

Asgore flinched, like the words she had spoken had stabbed him like physical daggers. Good. I didn't feel bad for him for the moment, I was in too much pain to necessarily care. Shadow whined, coming to my side and pushing his nose into my side. It was lower than where I had been stabbed, but the movement caused me to hiss. He pushed his nose into my hand, trying to reassure me. The last of my energy sapped, I felt myself collapse, Tori distracted with keeping an eye on Asgore.

"whoa there, bud." A smooth voice spoke by my left ear. "easy, girl, easy." That was Sans. He must've followed Toriel in to stop the fight.

Only... the fight hadn't really stopped. My soul remained in the air, in front of my chest, refusing to hide away. HP 55/90. It had been worse, but the pain still felt very real. The adrenaline had dissipated, it was probably the reason I felt much weaker than I actually was, my body begging for a rest and giving in sensing the battle was done.

"your soul ain't calming down, sweetheart." Sans sounded worried, somewhat. He grabs my bag, shuffling through until he found some monster food. "here, try this, for the shoulder. soul might calm down after that." I breathed out a thanks, barely; grabbing the monster food, a hot dog to no surprise. Taking a single bite out of the hot dog, reminding me that I was actually starving still, I felt the familiar tingle of the monster magic working it's... well, magic. I felt better quickly, well enough that I wasn't going to vomit right away. However, my soul still refused to calm down, to hide back away in my chest. It remained suspended in the air, showing off its red glow and my healthiness. HP 85/90.

Tori spoke then, not to me, however. "Excuse me, but your voice..."

Sans blinked, as if he had only just noticed Tori was even in  the room. He kept his grin on his face, which was basically his neutral face. "heya. you're the monster that saved frisky here when she fell?" Sans held out a hand in front of me, one that wasn't supporting me towards Tori. "name's sans, thanks for helping my girl out."

Toriel smiled, holding out her own hand to shake Sans' in front of me. "I'm Toriel, it is a pleasure to meet you, Sans the skeleton. I couldn't very well leave a broken human on her own, I just had to help her."

"The broken human is still only here, guys." I grumbled, struggling to finally stand up on my own, now that the wound had healed.

"YEAH! You tell 'em, dude!" A punch in the shoulder welcomed me to that war cry. Grunting, I turned to glare at Undyne, who had suddenly appeared with Alphys and Papyrus in tow.

"What're you all doing here?" I came to notice the whole gang was here, Undyne, Alphys, Papyrus, Toriel, Mettaton in the back there and Sans by my side.

"WE CAME TO RESCUE YOU!" Papyrus bellowed, taking his usual stance of heroism, his cape swishing in the non-existent air somehow. "WE KNEW YOU WOULDN'T KILL ASGORE, YOU'RE TOO WEAK FOR THAT." He ignored my sarcastic mutter of "gee, thanks Papyrus," and continued on; "BUT WE COULDN'T LET FLUFFYBUNS MURDER OUR DEAR FRIEND, EITHER! SO, HERE WE ARE, RESCUING YOU."

"Well, what he means really, punk, is that uh. We kinda like having you around, so we'd prefer if ya stuck around a bit." Undyne clarified.

"Y-yeah! You helped me with the a-amalgamates. Like you said before, there's got to be a b-better way. I'm sure w-with your help, we could f-find it!" Alphys added in, nervously.

I knew why Tori had come back, she couldn't leave me to die at the hands of Asgore, but wouldn't allow Asgore to be killed either. Sans... well. "eh, after the queen just rushed on through, i figured it was okay to help ya out. kinda want you to stay as well." Then, there were all the monsters, just outside that I remember had gathered around to witness the battle between a human and the king of all monsters. They couldn't be far away, ready to step in, I'd imagine. Or what the end will be.

Asgore, finally, spoke. "Human." Then he coughed, as we all turned to attention to him. "Er, Frisk. It seems like you've made a lot of friends here. I had no idea. I'm sorry I acted in haste, you are the first adult human we have had in the Underground. When children are powerful enough to hurt and even kill monsters, I thought an adult would..." He doesn't continue, instead he smiles, shaking his head. "I am glad, however. I will not kill you, human. Your soul can remain with you. One day, maybe, there will be an evil human who shall fall down, or one who shall perish in the fall, we could hopefully make use of their SOUL to break the barrier, should we not succeed in breaking the barrier any other way." It wasn't the best thing I was hoping for, but it was probably the best I was going to get.

I smile. "Thank you, Asgore. I guess you aren't such a bad guy after all. Though, you're still not off the hook, I don't think I will ever be able to trust you, you still caused the murder of five children needlessly. But, from here in the Underground, I don't think there's much I can punish you for it. Besides, it seems like you are punishing yourself enough. Don't let them be forgotten, please?" Asgore could only reply to that with a nod, I'm sure he was feeling great guilt and shame. But, it was true, there was nothing really I could do. What, charge him for murder and cuff him? For what? What would that accomplish? Maybe losing his family, his wife, is enough.

I sigh, calming down, realising I wasn't going to die today.

Only, my soul remained out. Defiant.

Glowing brightly red.

Determined.

This... this wasn't me.

Out of nowhere, vines threw out, like some Jumanji crap. Huge vines, like pythons constricting against my body the moment they hit me. I was thrown against a wall I wasn't aware was there, a gasp of breath escaped my mouth and something much more wet than merely a breath. The horrid copper taste in my mouth only confirmed it fully, even though the pain in my chest told me enough.

There was echoed laughter through the cavern, the kind of laugh you expect a cartoon gremlin or something to have, small, a little high pitched but still somehow unnerving at the same time. After all, the size isn't all that counts. These vines were telling me whatever this was wasn't fucking around.

"You are all so stupid." Who else could it have possibly been? The little flowery prick had been putting a dent into my journey ever since I found him outside of Tori's house. "Whilst you were all too busy prattling away, talking to each other, making up, being friends, I quickly grabbed the SOULs." I couldn't see where he was, all I could see as I looked around were my friends, all of them, trapped in vines up in the air. All of them struggling, barely able to move due to how tight he was constricting them. They were focusing more on keeping alive, to keep breathing and their struggles seemed like instinct. I wanted to call to them, to try to reassure them, but what could I say? I could barely talk, having trouble breathing, let alone try to shout to them.

Then, a giant static screen game to life in front of us, a giant screen the size of the ones they have in New York and Tokyo in every film. A second later, a maniacal face showed up on screen, a massive grin filled with horrific decaying teeth and red glaring eyes staring down at me. The rest of the room seemed to light up, enough for me to see what truly happens to a monster that takes a human soul. Or, in this case, six human souls.

The TV screen for a face wasn't the worst thing. He was colossal in size, easily ten meters if not more, a man eating that probably came from the Amazon rainforest for a mouth like a Venus flytrap or something. He seemed to have two massive arms, keeping his entire body lifted so that he could even move, he probably weighed about a couple of elephants at the very least. I couldn't see below him, what was really keeping him up, whether it'd be two large legs or a thousand tiny legs like insect legs, I had no clue. I was probably better off not knowing. The giant petals that  surrounded his TV face either had the patterns of eyes, or were his extra eyes, staring at me, I couldn't tell which. They didn't seem to move, but then again he wasn't moving me. I didn't want to find out. Then, the SOULs. There they lay suspended, caught between circles of strange tubes that were possibly flower related, but fucked if I knew. Each of them stuck inside the tubing, and at the top, a tubing that was left empty. Where my SOUL was probably meant to go.

A quick glance at my SOUL. HP 5/90.

And yet... my SOUL appeared blurred.

"And now..." Flowey continued, after I took in all of his features an realised how utterly fucked I was. "I have the power of a god!" He laughs, like he had already won. He was biding his time, he wanted me to savour this moment, where he won the battle utterly. Then, he stops, his face seemed bothered by something. "Oooh~ It feels so nice to have a SOUL again. Not only one, but six! I can feel them, wriggling inside of me. Oh, how I have missed that feeling~" His TV face grinned. "Aw, you seem to feel left out, hm~? Don't worry. You see, I don't quite have the powers of a god. I'm still missing one more SOUL. Yours fits the bill. I just need a DETERMINED SOUL, and then I can become a god!" He shifts me upwards, the G Force of being flung upwards almost making me want to vomit. He pulled me up right to his TV face, burning my eyes, I had to close them as the burning hurt too much for me to see anything. "So, why don't you be a good girl and just lay over and die!" His voice was louder, now that my eyes were closed.

Let's face it, this is the end of the road. Been a fun one.

Even Chara, who seemed about as determined as me had given up hope. She had a point, all my friends were dying, suspended in the air, and here I was stuck in the grips of a giant flower monster. My canine companion nowhere to be seen, there was nothing I could do. This was...

"Frisk!" I was ripped away from my dark thoughts, an almost abyss as Tori's voice shouted near me. As she shouted, flames were thrown from her direction towards the TV screen, Flowey screaming almost like Godzilla, as some of his vines and petals flared up in flames. "Don't listen to him! You can do this! You have DETERMINATION!"

"YEAH PUNK!" That was Undyne, she conjured up some spears and threw them towards the plant monstrosity that held us all hostage. She hit one of his eyes on his petals, green slime spewing out of it like blood. "You can take this guy down, we all can together!"

"Y-yeah!" Alphys too, even! Lasers were thrown at Flowey, hitting his TV screen from where I heard Alphys' voice come from. "That's what you taught me, we can do it together better than we can alone!"

"I AGREE WITH ALPHYS!" Papyrus threw bones at Flowey, hitting his mouth below the TV screen that had been getting closer to me whilst I had almost... "WE CAN DO IT!"

"i'm not one for speeches," Even Sans managed to join in, whom I knew hated conflict at the best of times. He, too, summoned many bones just as Papyrus had, aiming instead for Flowey's TV screen, cracking it successfully. That didn't stop the face from showing up, though it seemed a lot more static. "but fuck this guy. take him down, frisky. use your DETERMINATION."

More flames flared up on Flowey's face, finally bringing him down and he drops all of us to the ground. "I won't allow any monster in my kingdom abuse the power of human SOULs." Asgore, finally, the one to bring the giant monster down.

Did they...?

Wow.

We did it! Or, rather, they did it. HP 90/90. Yes! My wounds, broken ribs, cough, all forgotten. Recovered, because we did it! Or, if Flowey isn't down yet, we can do it. We can all beat him, if he gets the upper hand, I can RESET, remember what he did, how he beat us, learn from it, and try to beat him again. Unlimited tries, there was no way we could lose! It didn't matter that he had six human souls. He wasn't as DETERMINED as I was, he couldn't RESET like I could. Fuck this guy, we had this in the bag!

Heh, someone is getting cocky.

I wasn't sure why Chara was behaving the way she was, but she wasn't going to deter me, we could do this! My friends and I, with their magic and my determination.

Flowey got back up to his feet, thousands of vines moving like legs to support his humongous size. It was pretty surreal, I faltered slightly. No, I can't. If I do, the whole of the Underground goes! Every monster, every SOUL that lives here would be taken by this thing. Not just the Underground, not just monsters, but humans too! My home town, my friends, my family, my colleagues... everyone. I couldn't give up. I won't give up.

He shouts out in annoyance. "YOU...! YOU ALL DARE!?" His TV screen was black, white eyes staring at our small little group. "YOU'RE ALL JUST A BUNCH OF IDIOTS!" He laughs, like he hadn't been burned, stabbed, hit and... lasered. "IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE. I AM A GOD. THE LAST SOUL HAS ALREADY COME TO ME. I WILL HAVE THAT SOUL. I'LL DESTROY EVERYTHING. I HAVE ALREADY WON, AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!"

We have already won.

Stop.

What?

Chara.

I freeze, my body not mine suddenly. Not again! My body! I look down, my SOUL... what was wrong with it? Blurry, but I could see... behind my usual red heart of DETERMINATION, there lies...

Blood red.

Unable to move out of the way, as Flowey's deadly vines all aimed their shots at me, my friends doing their best, throwing their bones, lasers and flames at the vines reaching to my SOUL, it was no use. It all took just one vine, just the one, to fly towards my SOUL. The single vine, got to my SOUL, and like a surgeon's scalpel, cut my SOUL in half.

BLACK.

RESET.

...

LOADING.

PREVIOUS SAVE STATE CORRUPTED.

LOAD TO NEW LOCATION.

LOCATION. VOID.

I woke up. There was the sound of howling wind, like I were in an empty chasm. There was no light, no other sounds, I couldn't see my own hands as I looked down to see them. But... my SOUL. I could see that, clear as day, hanging out in front of me. Bright, red, untouched, no longer blurred and it seemed a whole lot brighter than I remember seeing it in confrontations. In fact, my whole body. It felt a lot lighter than it had done... ever. My head felt like it was my own, there was no small naggings at the back of my head, there wasn't any small insistences. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me, like finding out the best news I could ever hear. Like my life had changed. HP 100/100. That's what my SOUL told me. In fact, my SOUL wasn't even... I tell a lie. My SOUL wasn't hanging in front of me, it was right in my chest, right where it belongs. But I could see it!

Then, there, in front of me, in the darkness. I could see something. A white speck, far into the darkness, floating through minding its own business. What was that? I could tell, at the very least, the thing was alive. Concentrating... it was a floating white heart. A monster soul?

"Hey!" I called, startling the speck. It was so far away, yet I was able to see that I had startled whatever the monster was. I couldn't see what it was, just a floating white heart. Like most monster souls. I was surprised at how loud my voice was, it carried and echoed a long time. But, I supposed, the air being filled with nothing, sound travels a lot faster. Well, no noise pollution, at any rate, besides the roaring wind. Then, it quickly ran away, disappearing into the darkness.

"Oh, sorry! I didn't meant to startle you!" But it was too late, the speck had already gone, disappeared.

"Hello." I heard from behind me. Dreading the worst, hoping it wasn't the monster who had come back for revenge for startling him, I turned around. Seven. Seven human souls; dark blue, light blue, purple, orange, yellow, green and red. A deep, almost becoming black red, oozing with darkness deep within; CHARA HP 100/100 LV 20 greeted me as I looked to the centre SOUL, Chara's SOUL. That's when I saw Chara herself... only, it wasn't. I saw the body of a young goat monster, wearing a striped purple shirt, tiny horns on his head and a wide loving smile on his face. "It's so good to have a body again. I was sick of being stuck." He looked utterly adorable, smiling wide, loving eyes... he looked a lot like Toriel... a young Toriel. This was-!

His smile then disappeared, opening his eyes, his eyes were no longer a nice sky blue. Instead, they shone a horrid red, bright. His smile turned to a grin, numerous sharp teeth and his snout scrunched in a snarl. He hunched down, as if to pounce on me, fur wild and stuck up in all directions. "Beats being stuck in your fucking useless walking corpse of a body." The voice changed, from the sweet lovely child-like voice of innocence, to demonic echoing voice of power. The SOULs came together, merging as one, a bright light blinded me momentarily, before they formed together and came out as a singular bright and powerful white soul, with the hints of other colours around the rim of the heart, signalling the collection of human SOULs fused together.

When the bright light calmed down. There. There was the monster, the one that was seen all those years ago that showed the world that monsters truly existed. The monster that was thought to have killed Chara, the first human child that had gone missing in the town. Only, funny enough, after all of that. It turns out, in the end, that the giant monster would soon BECOME Chara Daemon. Reborn again, a vengeful SOUL, a haunted spirit out for revenge for those that had wronged her entirely.

"All along, I knew Flowey was Asriel. You have your scientist reptile friend to thank for bringing Asriel to life. That wasn't part of the plan, Asriel was not meant to die." Chara spoke to me.

Plan? "Plan? What do you mean?" How far back was she talking about? Ever since I had landed on those flowers and became possessed by some she-devil? A child I felt sympathy for, a child I felt needed to be helped. Got stabbed right in the back for that one, SOUL rippingly so.

Chara laughed, her voice seemed both male and female, but all horrid. It was like hearing all the children talk at once, her voice an amalgamation of all the children that were killed and used to create this... thing. "You didn't figure it out? Oh boy. You see, you were just a good pawn for my games. Back when I was alive, I accidently poisoned my dad. My bad. But that gave me a great idea! He wants monsters to live back on the surface, he wants things to go back to the way they were, be out of this death hole. He says he doesn't want anyone going to the surface, because he knows that if we do, the humans will just throw us back down here. Or, worse, kill us all."

"So! I had to come up with a plan." Chara continued, as they now floated in the air using what I assumed would've been what Asriel would've looked like if he had grown to an adult, like he had meant to. "With Asriel's help, I poisoned myself, with buttercups. I knew that Asriel will be able to absorb my SOUL and become a monster with incredible power, strong enough to take down humans themselves! It was the only way to become strong enough against humans." Chara clenched their fist; I wasn't sure what it was at this point, floating further away from me, but keeping their eyes on me, constantly. "Only Asriel didn't follow through with the plan. He took my SOUL, like promised, but when we got to the humans, the village... when the humans attacked, he didn't fight back! He didn't let me fight back! We lost! He took the beating and ran away, then died. He killed us both. We both died. The humans beat us."

Chara shook their head, smiling and grinning, eyes pulled in delight. "Then, you came along! The first timeline, you didn't even notice me, I was barely able to cling to you. But, good thing you were pathetic, Flowey killed you instantly the moment he saw you. The second time, I had a stronger grip, but you died to Toriel accidently when she refused to let you go. Then a third time, a fourth, fifth, endless RESETs. Every time you RESET, I grew stronger over you. Every time you RESET, your grip on this world gets less and less. Then, I finally had enough power to overcome you instantly, it was slow at first. But then I had you every time. I killed some at first, then next RESETs I killed more and more. I killed everyone I came across. Nobody stayed alive. But I could never beat that fucking skeleton. That pun loving shit for bones."

They were talking about Sans. Somehow, with very little power I could see, Sans defeated her, every time. "Wow, must suck to lose to some guy that has teleporting and telekinesis. I could beat him up pretty easily if I tried, honestly."

Chara hissed, and out of the sky out of fucking nowhere, a giant beam of whatever the fuck fell down from the sky. I barely managed to dodge, but it wasn't just a dodge. It was like... I knew it was coming, slowed it down and moved out of the way, before it finally hit the ground with a loud deafening thunder. How did I-? "You've got no fucking clue, have you? I pity your ignorance. I tried, over and over, dying over and over, thousands of times! Still, the bag of useless shit wouldn't give up. What was the point? The world is shit anyway, I can just annihilate man-kind, create the perfect world for monsters if I just RESET everything, start all over again, like the war never happened! None of it could happen, humans and monsters being together forever, that split between them would never happen and the Underground never existing!" THAT was their plan! RESET everything, before the war, before the split and hate between humans and monsters. Like the Underground, and everything in it had never existed.

But... that would mean... "But that's undoing everything... a lot of monsters would never exist if you did that. Not to mention, to what point? What damage would it do?" I mean, I wasn't an expert or anything... "You say if we RESET too often, our grip on this world grows weaker and weaker? What the fuck do you think would happen if you RESET the entire planet!?" Nothing good, I can imagine. Like, the planet not existing anymore, for example? Or dinosaurs never dying out because that comet just happened to miss the planet very slightly? Or whatever time-travelling movie could say would happen.

"Collateral. Who gives a fuck anyway? If the planet dies because I tried to make it right, then maybe it deserves to die! I'm the only one giving a fuck, trying to make it right! Why are you trying to stop me? Don't you want humans and monsters to live together? It can't be done now, humans would kill us all, that much was clear with me and Asriel! It can't be done!"

There was no reasoning with her, she was out of control, too powerful, too stubborn. Yet, I pitied her. She was trying to make right. But she was a child, at the end of the day. She had no idea what time travel would do. It could kill us all!

I remember... "our reports showed a massive anomaly in the timespace continuum. timelines jumping left and right. stopping and starting...until suddenly, everything ends. heh heh heh. that's your fault, isn't it?" A memory of Chara's, one of many I remember without telling Sans. One that only confirmed my thoughts. Sans wasn't stopping Chara from RESETTING the entire planet, to save himself and his friends. He was stopping her from destroying everything.

"Chara, if you do this, everything gets DELETED. You can't RESET that far back, not without the whole world, monsters and humans, dying with it!"

Chara snarled, a pair of swords suddenly appearing in both their hands. They lunged forward, intending on stabbing me before I could think. I saw it coming, my magic I was slowly coming accustomed to, telling me, slowing down everything so I could dodge the swords that slammed down onto the ground I had previously occupied. "You can't stop me! I have to try! It's our only hope! We already tried to mix with humans, it did fuck all. It's time we went back. Back to the past. Before the war, before the hatred. Back to the start, and redo everything!"

My SOUL was pulled out of my body, a FIGHT engaged. Against Chara.

SIGH.

I suppose we are gonna have to do it the hard way, huh?

Chapter Text

Chapter 20 FIN

The first thing Chara did was smirk, her eyes shining red in the body of the adult Asriel Dreemurr. She held her arms out wide, her hands held up high as rainbow shots of magic grew out of her hands. Their flew directly towards me, and my SOUL. With ease, getting used to my newfound powers, I was able to dodge out of the way of the magical projectiles. I didn't feel like I needed the time to get used to it, it's like I was just born with it. I wondered if I had this when I was younger, in the first set of RESETs. I doubted it, if so I was sure then no matter how good Sans was, he would've been killed by Chara if she had full control over my body. Perhaps it was something I had finally gained, now that my SOUL was my own.

Chara seemed just as capable somewhat with her new found powers she had gotten from becoming the ultimate monster. A God, as she had claimed she would be if she managed to get each type of different human soul. She didn't seem to have the powers of a God, however. If she did, then, surely I'd have been dead by now? She was throwing missiles, tossing stars and firing her guns she could just create from her arms haphazardly. She didn't know how to aim her weapons very well, clearly she had never reached this stage in a RESET before. Every time I must've gotten close in any RESET, something must've happened, I died or Chara managed to take control over me. That power of hers is now gone, now that Flowey had torn her away from my SOUL.

Every time, I just knew that the shots were going to land there, pass through here, duck to avoid this middle, it felt natural. I didn't question the new powers, because they felt like something I had always been missing, something that, up until now, had been blocked from me. It felt like I was finally myself, I felt relief, any doubts or worries from my mind evaporated now to a mere nuisance. I felt like I could win. I could defeat Chara. I wasn't quite sure how, she wasn't listening to anything I had to say and I was stuck in a dimension alone with her.

Only. It wasn't just her, was it? She was comprised of seven human SOULs and a monster SOUL. Six of those human SOULs didn't want to be there. Surely, I could reach them? If I could try, maybe. I remember this...

"William! Godfrey! Bruce! Allan! Oliver! Beatrice! Asriel! You can fight it!" I called to them, seeing their SOULs flutter slightly inside of Chara's chest. "You don't have to be trapped inside the body of that monster!"

"Wait." Chara looks alarmed, "What are you doing?"

I smile, "You're right, Chara. You can't die, I can't die. Well, you're already dead for a start." I don't ask how that seems so normal, she's a child's spirit angry and out for revenge and I take it in my stride. "I can't stop you, we're just going to be stuck here forever."

Chara laughed. "Ha! All I need to do is kill you enough times, then everyone will forget about you." I wasn't sure how she was going to manage that, as I hadn't been hit once by her. It would take several hits for me to go down, I wasn't sure how she was going to accomplish that. Unless she had a trick up her sleeve she hadn't used though.

"It doesn't matter, you can't hit me, I can't damage you. But all those powers you are using are not your own. You got those powers from the SOULs you have taken. Those SOULs that are still inside you. Very much alive." It seemed like it slowly dawned on her, what I was saying, what could happen. What would happen. "I can't defeat you. But you told me the only reason you didn't go on a killing spree was because Asriel stopped you. Guess what, he's going to stop you again. Him and the six human SOULs you have as well. That's more powerful than any magic I know."

Chara gasped, grasping her chest suddenly, like she had a pain in her chest. I could see the SOULs that didn't belong to her shine, vibrating as they responded to my voice. They could still hear from stuck inside there. They couldn't rip themselves away from Chara, but they could influence her.

"You hate humanity, couldn't wait to destroy it. You were angry when Asriel didn't go along with your plan. You  must've felt pretty betrayed by that." Chara looked up, glaring at me with her bright red eyes. I shrugged, smiling sadly. "I'm not sure what makes you hate humanity so much. I'm not the most fond of people either, but I don't want to destroy humanity. It's why I became a police officer. I want to save humanity, to save it from themselves."

She continued to glare at me, her eyes twitching in anger. And, yet, her ears twitched, like she was hearing something I wasn't. Her eyes not quite strained on me entirely. She wasn't seeing only me anymore. She was getting a taste of her own medicine.

"I'm sure Asriel had the same idea. It's not too late to ever save anyone. They just need a little push in the right direction." Chara closed her eyes, growling like she was frustrated.

"Shut up!"

"Even you, who hates the world, who has died horrifically when it wasn't your fault," Well, that was a bit of a fib. It was entirely her fault, she had killed herself as a plan. But I understood her intentions. "I don't think you're too late to be saved either. Do you think Godfrey or Allan deserved to be killed by Undyne? Do you think Beatrice was asking to be killed by Dogamy?" I walked slowly towards her, pretty confident now that she couldn't attack. I remember the way I was held, helpless when Chara was showing herself to me. "What if Undyne and Dogamy were human? Godfrey, Allan and Beatrice were monsters. If the roles were flipped, would they deserve it then?"

Chara wasn't looking at me. She was looking away, looking down at the floor. She didn't seem to be crying, but I could hear her heavy breathing.

"Humans and monsters, they aren't really all that different. I'm sure there are terrible monsters out there as well, just as there are terrible humans out there. We just see the bad a lot more because there are a lot more humans than monsters." I stopped, right in front of her. She was stuck on her knees, the goat monster down on her or his or its whatever knees. It was the spirit of a little girl possessing the body of a goat monster prince who will never grow up to be what his parents hoped him to be. I got down on one knee, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Just give the humans a chance. After all, you used to be one, didn't you?"

She was trembling under my hand, she wiped her eyes with her paw, before finally lifting her head to look at me. Her red eyes were glistening with unshed tears, tears she desperately wanted to cry out but couldn't. "I didn't mean for Asriel to die. Honest! If he just fought back, he'd still be alive!"

"Fighting isn't always the answer, Chara." I explain, because it's true. A lot of the time, fighting could make the situation all the more worse for yourself and the other person in question. "The people only hurt Asriel because they thought he killed you. They were frightened for their lives. I thought the same thing too, when I heard the story. It's only now that I am stuck down here that I know any differently." I sigh, a smile coming to my face. "You want to know how I reacted when I first saw Toriel?" Chara blinked, her ears twitching. Asriel was probably listening in here too, somewhere in there. And all the children spirits too, I imagined. "Well, funny thing is, I thought she was actually Asriel, the monster from our story. I panicked, thinking I was going to die, threatened if she came close to me Shadow, my dog, would attack her. I pointed my taser at her, warning her back. She never actually managed to calm me down, I freaked out so much the pain of my broken leg made me pass out." Now that I knew Toriel, that was a ridiculous reaction. But, honestly, I had thought her to be Asriel. Thinking back, I'm not sure I would've reacted any better otherwise. "Now, it's kind of funny. Toriel is the most lovely person I know, she healed me right back up. Your mum's pretty amazing." I smile, happy to see that Chara was actually smiling as well, though she was shedding tears. That was a good thing, people always need a good cry now and then. Bottling it up always would make you feel worse.

"What Undyne did, it's very much like the humans who killed Asriel did. They were both scared, both shot before they asked questions. It's why I'm thinking... maybe humans and monsters together... it could be good, or it could be bad. But it's what the monsters want. They want a chance to mingle with humans. Why don't we let them?" Chara looked at me in wonder, I could see the other SOULs hovering nearby, including Asriel's, listening to my proposal. "If it all goes wrong, I'm sure I could figure a way to fix things. I promise, I'll do my best for monster kind. After all, kinda dating one now." I rubbed the back of my head, nervously. Even if it hadn't ever been official, I didn't do any of that advertising my relationship crap, it was what I considered Sans now. We worked too well together. I just wondered how well that would go when we moved in together.

Chara put on a thoughtful face, thinking for a long time. "Do you promise? Promise me, and Asriel, and all the children, promise us that you'll do everything you can for monster and human peace?"

I smile, nodding in affirmative. "I bet my life on it, I'll do my best to keep the peace between both human and monster. I promise you that, Chara Daemon. After all, I am a police officer." I held my hand out, ready for her to shake.

She smiled, even through her tears and sniffling, she took my hand in her paws and shook. They felt a lot like Toriel's hands, but I shouldn't be surprised. This was a goat monster, after all. Chara sighed then. "Okay. The children all want the same thing, they believe you. And Asriel, he thinks we can all do this. All of us, together. If you help as well, Frisk. We can do it." She stands up, bringing me up with her as she smiles with DETERMINATION. "We can bring down the barrier, together!"

I wasn't sure how we were going to do it, I don't know what it could do to me. "Uh, how?"

Chara smiled, one that was meant to be reassuring. It somewhat worked. "Don't worry, we'll do most of the work. We'll use our SOULs, bring our SOULs out, and use them to break the barrier. The children are only happy to do so. You... you're support. We want to make sure someone sees what we do. That someone sees... I'm redeeming myself." She smiles, one she actually means this time. "It's time, it's finally time for monsters to go free." I could see, with my newfound powers of being able to see SOULs, that what she was telling me was genuine. She was telling the truth.

She was really going to do this.

I nod, grabbing a hold of Chara's hands in my own hands, giving her my full support. I knew, deep in my SOUL, that she wasn't lying. "Do it. You'll be doing monsters a great favour. I'll make sure things go well."

Chara smiles. "Okay." She said it more to herself than to me, taking a deep breath before she took a few steps back. She closed her eyes, hands put together, as if she were meditating or in deep concentration. As she does, her body and the SOULs begin to lift, like they were ascending to heaven. Her arms outstretched as she floated up. The SOULs she had, the children's SOULs, floated out of her body, swirling together in harmony, the seven different colours. Chara was included in that, her SOUL leaving Asriel's body. They swirled around for a little while, before flying away. I thought, for a moment, they had flown off and away, free to live as spirits in the world, until there was an almost SMASH. Like glass shattering. The faint static that could always be felt in the area, one I hadn't really taken much notice of suddenly disappeared. It was only now noticeable now that it was gone. The barrier... it was finally broken.

The body that now belonged to Asriel floated down, his hands falling down. His body had changed, now that the human spirits had gone. He looked the age he used to be, a kid, fur fluffed up and wearing a striped shirt. He was smiling at me, but he looked forlorn. "I have to go now Frisk. Thank you for helping Chara." He tugged the arms of his jumper. "Now that the SOULs have gone, I'll soon turn back into a flower." My face must've said it all, he smiled. "Don't worry about me, Frisk. There's nothing you can do for me, not without hurting others. I don't want that. I'm sorry for all the things I did." He looks down, ears drooping.

I walk to him, putting a hand on his shoulders. This poor kid. I wished I could do more for him. But I knew he was right. There was nothing I could do for him right now, nothing that won't harm anybody else. "Don't worry about it, I know it wasn't you. It's just... Flowey's fault." I smile, uneasy. I wasn't sure how much Asriel remembered doing, as he was technically Flowey, just a fragment of his soul. It was weird, trying to think about it, giving me a headache if I tried to even be half as smart as Sans. I gave up quickly.

Asriel, however, smiled. He didn't really seem to believe me, but he wasn't willing to argue either. "Right." He turned away, looking through the blackness of nothing. There was nothing, no light, and yet we were able to see each other perfectly fine. Don't question it, Frisk. Logic never applied in the Underground anyway. "I better go, Frisk. Take care of mum and dad for me, will you?"

He didn't need to leave, not like this. I couldn't help myself, I turned him around and gave him a strong hug, knowing this would be the last time he would remember a person being nice to him. Before he was stuck in the body of a soulless flower again. Asriel laughed, though you could hear him tearing up, trying not to cry. "Thank you. Hopefully, you don't have to see me again." He pat my back, as if it were him comforting me. I'll be honest, I found it hard to not cry for the poor guy. He died way too young, far too young for this world. "Goodbye." And he suddenly disappeared, right in my arms. He faded away, like he had never been there to begin with, my arms suddenly falling down to their sides as there was nothing to grasp hold of. Then, I was left alone in the darkness.

Only to realise, I had no idea how to get back. I had been dragged here by Chara. Now she's left me on my own.

Fuck.

I looked around, frantic. There was nothing, the howling of a non-existent wind, darkness all around. What the fuck do I do!?

Ah! There! Lights! I didn't know who or what it was, but I began to wave, calling out to the lights. They seemed to have noticed me, dancing in a weird way towards me, getting closer. Yes! Saved at last! I didn't have to be trapped down in-

I stopped waving when the figure got closer, realising this thing wasn't human when it finally got close enough. The white lights turned blue, a pair of lit up blue eyes belonging to... a giant Satanic canine skull with horns. It looked like something from a demon or something, a canine skull with long sharp teeth, curled large thick horns and is just... floating. It was about the size of Sans, a little smaller than me, coming right to me and stopping in front of me.

It's SOUL though... it didn't seem to want to harm me, but it's SOUL told me that it very well could. It didn't seem aggressive, however.

"Uh... hello?" I had no idea if this thing could speak English. If it could even talk or understand a word I was saying. Apparently, it felt rather pleased to have found me, rubbing its snout suddenly on my chest and began purring. Okay, okay. This thing is a little cute, if still something I'd see on Dooms Day.

Without warning, suddenly, a bright light ripped open besides us, blinding me. I covered my eyes quickly, flinching away at the sudden brightness. Satanic Skull, on the other hand, clamped his jaws down on my arm, not painfully, but forcefully, and began pulling me towards the light. I didn't fight back, honestly anything was better than this void. Maybe this was Hell, and that portal is Heaven? How fitting! With a sudden feeling of gravity hitting me hard, I went through the bright light.

...

"frisk? babe, can you hear me?"

I pondered for a moment if I had been hit by a truck, and this was me waking up having unfortunately not passed onto the afterlife. I had to open my eyes slowly, they were burning with fatigue. At first, the world was blurry, I couldn't see anything clearly. After blinking a few times, things clear up a little bit. I'm able to spot the worried pinpricks of Sans' eyes, his grin widening when he realises I'm waking up.

"Oh, Frisk! We got so worried when you didn't wake up!" Tori had knelt down nearby, an arm around my shoulders. Everyone else seemed to hover nearby, trying not to make me feel overcrowded, I imagine.

"Wake up?" From what I thought, I thought Chara had taken me away. Somewhere not in this world, that much I knew. But, from what Tori is letting me know, it seems like I hadn't left after all. I had been asleep? Maybe my SOUL had wondered? Or maybe it was some weird happening in my conscious sort of shit? I don't know, trying to think like that was giving me a headache, I didn't want to try to figure it out.

"You were stuck on the floor, out like a light for, like, ages dude." Undyne told me. "Skull bones here freaked out when he couldn't wake ya."

Sans ducked his head into his hoodie, not liking to be centre of attention. He huffed, his grin faltering only the slightest bit. "it's a good thing i did too. if she was stuck in the void for much longer..." The void? It sounded about right, where I was. The emptiness and the howling of a wind that didn't exist, a little like a void.

"How did you know where I was? Or how to find me?" I question him, sure that it had something to do with Satanic Goat Head.

Sans didn't look guilty nor embarrassed, whatever he had done wasn't exactly something he was hiding then. "a friend of mine told me where you were. managed to get you back thanks to him."

"You mean, like a Satanic Goat Head?"

"... what's a Satanic Goat Head?" Undyne asked, confused when Sans didn't reply for a moment.

Alphys coughed, "U-um. F-from what I have researched, h-humans believed that when you d-die, their s-souls go to places called heaven or hell. H-heaven being a lovely place if you lived a good life, h-hell if you lived a h-horrible one. The creature in c-charge of hell was called S-satan, I believe?" Well, Alphys wasn't wrong, it was an over simplification but it worked. One day, I could explain everything.

"That sounds cool as hell! I'd love to go to heaven! Though, I'd want to go to hell too and teach those losers who end up there how to live a good life!" Undyne grabbed Papyrus around the shoulders, pulling him close. "Waddya say, Paps?"

Papyrus grinned wide, making a pose somehow whilst still trapped in Undyne's grasp. "THAT SOUNDS AMAZING, UNDYNE! WE COULD GO TO HELL TO TEACH THOSE LOSERS HOW TO LIVE LIFE, REMIND THEM NOT ALL IS BAD!"

"That's the spirit!" She then began to give Papyrus a noogie.

"PLEASE, UNDYNE, DON'T NOOGIE THE SKELETON!"

We left them to it, there was no sense in trying to break up the pair. "anyway, yes, i guess? it's called a gaster blaster, creatures from the void. was a science experiment that actually worked back when i did that shit. got friendly with them, now they help me out. they told me they had seen someone in the void, knew it had to be you, so i asked 'em to bring ya here. that's how i found ya." He winks, but I knew deep down that he was just relieved to have me back.

Asgore spoke up, for the first time. He had been hanging around behind me, out of sight. I had almost forgotten about him. "My child, I'm not sure what you were doing whilst your SOUL was in the void, but whilst you were gone, the Barrier shattered." So Chara hadn't been lying! The Barrier had finally disappeared! "I need to tell the Underground, before they get too excited and rush out into the human world. Frisk, you're the only one who has been outside, I trust you to be able to lead us out there safely?" The promise that I had made Chara, from the very moment the barrier broke, I would take care of the monsters and do my best to reintroduce them to society. I knew this was going to be a tough one, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep all the monsters safe, humans could lash out quickly and dangerously for no reasons sometimes. But, as I remember assuring Chara, I would do my best.

It wasn't just for Chara, but for myself. These monsters... they were my friends, I had been through a lot together with them, broke the barrier, helped all of us escape finally. How my life had changed. I was used to it being just Shadow and I, doing our jobs and nothing else, living for our jobs. Now, I had something else to consider, my monster friends.

I smile to Asgore, "Leave it to me, I might need you to hang back and remain hidden for a little while, but I'll get there." I pushed myself up, trying to get back onto my feet. Shadow, who had sat down quietly besides me the entire time, came to my side, allowing me to push myself up against him to stand up. I was weak, like I had run a marathon and hadn't done any stretches, so it fucking ached like hell to be standing up on my two legs on my own. Sans hurried to my side as well, throwing my arm around his shoulders so I had support. I smiled to him in thanks.

"Why don't you go on ahead? I'll get the Underground gathered, ready to go on your command." Asgore told us, before he turned around and headed back into his throne room. Tori looked back, watching him go, but didn't follow him. She looked better about him than before, however. She wasn't scowling at the very sight of him anymore, at the very least. It'll take a long time, but I was sure Tori and Gori would be a thing again. A very long time.

"Well! Lead the way then, nerd!" Undyne was the first to break the silence. "Ya gotta introduce us to this whole new world! I can't wait to see all the flashy armour, giant swords and lasers!"

Well. Be prepared to be disappointed, Undyne. Struggling to remain on my feet, having to rely on Sans to stay standing, Shadow close to my side, we begin the trek forward. The monsters begin talking to themselves, wondering what the outside world would look like. Most are a little ridiculous, like some ponder if knights in shining armour were a thing, if pokemon were real, what kind of tech we would have like Back to the Future level of technology. I refused to answer the questions, telling them they would soon find out for themselves what the world out there was like. I didn't want to ruin the surprise, but I did somewhat want them to be prepared for what the humans would offer them. I let them know the basic rules, it's the same as the Underground just dear God, do not pull anyone's SOULs out of their body, don't fight, PLEASE control yourselves. Anything common sense to get them prepared for how humans would react.

You explained that you couldn't foresee if humans would love them or hate them. They weren't human, which was a good point and a bad point. Other people hate people, most of the time. They'd judge you for a skin colour, what you like, what party you support (politics was something you didn't explain, maybe in the future when you were ready for the questions) and all sorts. Because monsters were different, it could be that they'd be loved, or hated. You hoped for the former, prepared for the latter.

The end of the cave was appearing, by the lack of light, you had to assume that it was currently night time on the surface. It was odd, being stuck underground for so long that you had no idea what time it was anymore, day or night. How many days had you been stuck Underground? You couldn't think, couldn't imagine how long it had been.

It felt like years, when you finally got through the mouth of the Underground, and spotted the clear sky for the first time in days. The sky was perfectly clear, there wasn't any wind, the place was calm, the stars were out and bright and a full moon was shining up in the sky like the sun. The monsters must've thought it was the sun. The lights were on bright at the village of Ebott. It couldn't have been too late, lights were still on in the town so it couldn't have been the middle of the night quite yet. The monsters were speechless, for a long moment. They were taking in the sights of a world that was much bigger than they probably imagined it could be. It was the first time, or one of, that Papyrus and Undyne had been stunned into silence.

Sans reaction was the best out of them all. His lights for eyes were wide, almost blown open as he was staring up at the sky. He was a star nut, loved astronomy and looking at the stars and such. So, to see them for the very first time, something that I had always taken for granted and saw most nights when I was out working, it was rather magical. To sound like a Disney princess. He must've forgotten about me, forgotten about the things around him, as I heard him breathe a quite, "whoaaa." Something I didn't think he would ever do in front of any other people.

"That's the moon, not a planet, but probably pretty close. A big round rock that circles our planet Earth and shines bright on nights like this." I explained, knowing that he was listening when he flinched a little bit. I only felt it because he was still holding onto me. "The sun is being reflected off the Moon, that's how we can see it late at night." That was the basics anyway, you only remembered vague things from school, maybe not even correctly. Again, you took these things for granted, something you've learnt now you probably should be thankful for even the little things in your life. You were always thankful you had a house, money for food and always having Shadow to turn to. Now, you were thankful to see the moon and the stars and you had forgotten what the clear air felt like, to breathe in clear air and see the stars in the sky. It felt good to be back home.

The monsters cheered, celebrating that they finally managed to break out from the surface. Tori hugged me tight, Sans not letting go as she did. Undyne and Papyrus giving me each a noogie, again Sans never letting go. If he did, I'd fall over onto the floor. Undyne and Papyrus began chasing each other around the edge of the mountain.

"Jesus Christ, just don't go too far! We don't know if anyone is out there!" I told them, before they made utter fools of themselves. I didn't want them to see a running laughing skeleton running away from a terrifying armour wearing fish monster to be the first thing they see when they are introduced to monsters finally. How would I explain that? "Hey, have you seen uni students? They do basically the same thing, trust me, I'm a cop, I know my shit." Way to go!

Alphys stutters what I had told them, following behind them, as if she could do anything to stop them from fucking things up.

Sans chuckles, shaking my body; "don't worry 'bout 'em. paps can only make the best impression on humans when we see 'em." I somehow doubted Sans was trying to be reassuring, but like he was trying to warn me that the first showing of monsters was something I won't be prepared for, ever. Tori was the easy one, she was sensible, smiling as she watched the others play with each other on the mountain.

"This place is so beautiful. Is it always like this, Frisk?" She looks to me, smiling like she was remembering something from a long time ago.

"Nah, think we got pretty lucky tonight." I smile, looking up at the sky. "In the summer, where it becomes warm here, the nights are usually so clear and beautiful to look at. I forgot what it was like to see the moon almost. I can't wait to see what the sun looks like again."

"is it gonna be... sunsational?"

"Oh my God, that's it, magic moment ruined."

Tori laughed, laughed so much I almost thought she was going to revert to a goat like from Pinocchio. "I'd say, it'll be rather... starggering."

"I hate the both of you right now."

Sans laughed, pulling me close and rubbing his teeth against my teeth as a kiss to my cheek. I melted, no pun intended, into his side as he became more affectionate. "thanks so much for getting us outta that hell, babe."

I smiled, looking at him. Tori made a small goat like sound and rushed off somewhere. I paid it no mind. "Hey, no problem babe. We got the whole world to explore soon as I can get the others to like ya just as much."

Sans grinned, a spark in his eye. "naw, baby girl, i ain't gonna like anyone like i like ya. but, i'd love ta see the world with ya."

I nuzzled my head against his, chuckling as I watched Undyne finally catch Papyrus and noogie him almost so much I feared his head would fall off his body. "I'm just glad I got everyone to see the surface. Finally, right back where you all belong. Just hope it's a smooth ride from here on out."

Sans probably didn't hold much hope on it being an easy ride, neither did I, but I saw nothing wrong with hoping. We sat there, watching the group playing together under the moonlight and staring out at the stars, taking in the view of this brand new world I had introduced to them. We would tackle the next barrier soon enough, but for now, I wanted them to drink in this entire new world.