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Memory Machine

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Everyone was confused. Alphys had invited Sans, Papyrus, Toriel, Frisk, and Undyne to her new lab on the surface. Nobody knew why, she said it was a surprise. Alphys walked out of the back room with some kind of helmet that was wired to a big machine, a really big machine. One of those things that just makes you head hurt even trying to see how it works. “O-Okay so you all are p-probably wondering w-why i asked you here.” Everyone nodded. “Well y-you see i think i f-found a way to project a monsters memories by uh allowing t-this machine to converse with souls and i-i uh was wondering if you guys could uh help me test it.”. “That sounds so cool!” Undyne yelled out “The great papyrus would be honored to help”. Frisk seemed reluctant but nodded and Toriel agreed as well. Alphys seemed to get more excited with each yes. She turned to Sans “i-i don’t know”. His response earned him a chorus of groans. “Come on brother! It will be fun!” Papyrus picked Sans up looking him in the eye sockets. “Yeah Come on punk” Undyne added. “Okay, okay” Sans said and Papyrus put him down. Alphys brought them down to a white room with a big screen on one of the walls and quickly got to work fitting each of the monsters (and human) with a helmet including herself. Sans wiggled the helmet nervously as Alphys came over and tightened it “d-don’t worry it’s completely s-safe” Sans took a breath and nodded at Alphys who went over to the machine and pressed a button.

Sans felt that similar feeling that something wasn’t right before he felt like he was taking one of his shortcuts. He looked around worried that he had teleported but he saw the group around him. It seemed like they were in the same room except nobody had helmets on. “T-this is new” Alphys mumbled setting off a barrage of red flags in Sans’ mind. “The computer is gone, a-and the helmets how will we stop the test. A-are the memories even going to play” Just on time the screen came to life to see a two younger skeletons, One looked about 10 the other about 8, entering Snowdin from waterfall. “Are we watching Papyrus’ memories! Sweet!” Undyne exclaimed. “A-actually i think these are Sans’ memories look at how the picture is centered around him” Alphys corrected. Sans froze “Alphys pick someone else” “I-I’m sorry Sans but i didn’t pick and I can't change it” Sans turned to Alphys “Then Turn. It. Off”. “hey lay off man why you gotta be so secretive anyway” Undyne stepped between Alphys and Sans. “I can keep whatever secrets I want” Sans yelled. “Oh yeah then maybe-” “STOP” Frisk cut Undyne off mid yell.

Frisk gestured to Alphys. “T-Thank you Frisk. I-I Can’t turn it off” Sans’ face fell. “B-But maybe it we let the machine run its course then it will stop” the others nodded. Sans sat down blankly staring at the floor. Alphys walked to him “Sans...i-i’m sorry” Sans looked up at her “I u-understand wanting to have your secrets b-believe me, but n-nobody here will judge you” Sans smiled and nodded. “Yeah you’re right. Sorry for yelling at you.” Alphys waved it off and looked up at the memory. Frisk came over and sat next to Sans. “hey kiddo what up” Sans said raising an eyebrow (bone-brow?). “Papyrus is shorter than you” Frisk said giggling gesturing to the screen. Sans chuckled “That he is”. ‘Maybe this won't be so bad maybe I could enjoy watching Papyrus grow up again. Maybe it won’t show those memories’ Sans thought and turned his attention to the screen.

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A 10 year old Sans looked up in wonder. Snow was falling constantly around him. The whole village had an air of acceptance coupled with a homey atmosphere. He heard the gasps from his little brother, Papyrus. Looking down to him with a warm smile “Welcome home Pap” he said. Papyrus looked up to him with the brightest smile he had seen from him yet and it just made his smile a little bigger. Sans turned back to the scene in front of him and pulled his brother along by his hand. Realizing what was happening Papyrus jumped ahead soon pulling Sans through the winter wonderland. “Whoa slow down Papyrus!” he chuckled as he struggled to keep up. ‘Papyrus may be smaller but he has boundless energy’ Sans thought almost tripping as his feet were in the process of being left behind.

 

Undyne laughed as she watched the scene. “So even then This Bonehead never slowed down!” she said to Sans. “Of course not Undyne The Great Papyrus never slows down!”. Alphys turned to Sans a questioning look in her eyes “S-so if you weren't always uh- in Snowdin. Where d-did you live b-before?”. “down in new home” Sans said matter of factly. “don’t remember exactly why we moved, I think I just wanted to get out of the city, find some where homier ya know. Even if we didn’t have a home yet” he continued. Alphys seemed surprised “W-Where did you live in N-New Home?” She stuttered. “Uh not sure actually” Alphys nodded and turned her attention back to the scene as did everyone else. Frisk threw a questioning look back to Sans, he still seemed uncomfortable with his memories on display but was looking fondly at the young papyrus running and playing in the snow.

 

Sans watched his brother try to make a snowman. He was struggling to put the head on top since he couldn’t reach. Sans laughed causing Papyrus to whip his head around and pout. “Aww come on Pap don’t be like that, here i’ll help” Sans used his magic surrounding his brother in a warm blue glow. Papyrus giggled at the feeling of familiar magic and weightlessness. He picked up the snowman head as Sans lifted him so he could put it on. Once his feet touched the ground again the blue receded and Papyrus proudly smiled at his finished work. “See us tall guys gotta help the short ones” Sans said using his hand to compare their heights. Papyrus smacked his hand away “You’re not even that much taller than me! One day I'll be super tall and i’ll hold it over your head!” Papyrus exclaimed. Sans snorted and Papyrus looked at him in confusion before it dawned on him. “I did NOT mean to make a pun!” “i'm so proud” “Sans-” “i’m such a bad influence” Sans laughed. Papyrus huffed and sat cross legged back to his brother. Papyrus put his hand to his teeth concealing a small giggle.

 

“So how is being the ‘Tall Guy’ working out Sans” Toriel teased. “Come on Tori I was 10 and I had to relish those days” San grinned as he pulled out of bottle of relish. Groans echoed in the blank room the loudest of which was Papyrus’. “Come on bro i know you like my puns and that” Sans gestured the scene “just proved it”. “That proved nothing brother!” Papyrus said “admit it bro, you can’t get enough of my punny attitude” Sans added. “NOOO!” Papyrus yelled wanted nothing more than to stomp off but he settled for dramatically plopping down on the floor. The others giggled at the interaction before another memory took their attention.

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Sans picked up his 8 year old brother and put him on his shoulders. A group of older kids walked up to the brothers. They were bunnies one with light colored purple fur, the others a pure snow white. Sans immediately felt the atmosphere grow sour, a change Papyrus either didn’t detect or chose to ignore. “Hello friends! My name is Papyrus!” The kids laughed. “HeLlo FrIendS!” The white one mocked as the bunnies laughed behind him. He was obviously the leader.

 

The room fell into silence. Sans looked to Papyrus and saw his concerned gaze returned. Papyrus cleared his non-existent throat. All gazes looked to him, the noise also seemed to break Undyne out of her surprised silence. “Those- Those PUNKS” “Undyne please don’t-” Papyrus reasoned. “NO Not this time-” “UNDYNE” Papyrus yelled. Undyne stopped talking and Papyrus continued “This was in the past and there is no use being upset now”. Sans looked at his brother in awe “You never cease to amaze me bro”.

 

Sans placed his hand on his brothers shoulders trying to lead him away both eyes turning a light blue. Papyrus looked up to Sans confused. “Come on Pap they don’t deserve to be your friend” Sans turned to walk away when a rough hand pulled him back and away from his brother. Sans landed in the snow that was still falling around him. “We don’t deserve!” He sounded mad and warning bells filled his mind and Sans turned to face his offender. “You FREAK” Sans scrambled to his feet as the angry bunny walking toward him backed by his two friends. He swung at him the attack coming fast and Sans let his instincts control him. Time slowed, he heard his brothers concerned yell in the background but his attention was purely on the fist coming at him in slow motion. Sans dodged the hit as Time returned to its normal pace.

Sans was disoriented and but had no time to recover before the leader shook of his surprise at Sans’ dodge. He swung again but this time Sans was ready. Time slowed and he dodged like second nature moving to the side of the bully. Sans smiled and decked bunny in his face making the bully stumble and fall as he took one point of damage. The  growled seemingly no longer able to form words as his anger took over. He swung at Sans wildly. Sans only dodged twice more before he turned to retreat. A hit grazed his shoulder taking half of his one hit point. Sans scooped up his brother and ran faster than he had ever run in his life stumbling on his own feet. His body was working on pure adrenaline. “ COME BACK HERE!” Came a distant yell as he ran. Sans ran to a restaurant and stumbled through the door hoping the people here were nicer. He put his brother down and finally took in his concerned face. His mouth was moving but Sans head was ringing so loud he couldn’t make out any words. The room spun and he saw a warm red hand reaching for him as he passed-out. 

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Silence filled the empty room. All eyes where on Sans even Papyrus seemed taken aback. Sans squirmed under all the attention and only wished the memories would just move on but conveniently Alphys said the machine needs time to advance. So Sans was stuck with no shortcuts away from everyone. Papyrus was the first to notice Sans’ distress but instead of redirecting attention from him Papyrus silently walked up to Sans and hugged him tightly. Sans decided it was his turn to break the tension. “Hey pap i know that sucked but there’s no need to give me a bone-crushing hug” Sans said. “There is every need Brot-” Papyrus stopped mid sentence and held sans in front of him by his shoulders. “That was a pun wasn’t it” “yep”. Papyrus groaned but didn’t do a very good job at hiding his small smile. Sans decided not to comment. As Sans expected (more like hoped) the others started talking again after the interaction. Granted it was still about the scene that was just showed but talking was a lot better than silence. Most were concerned remarks about his lost hp from the fight especially from Frisk. Alphys asked if he actually slowed time down when he dodged. “Um- well that’s a difficult one Al. It feels that way to me but it’s hard to tell whether I slow time down or that's just how I see it.” “C-Can you dodge right now?” she asked. “Sorry, it's more of an instinct thing really” Sans said rubbing the back of his skull sheepishly. Alphys nodded understandingly.

“NYAAAA” Everyone jumped and turned Undyne “ Did you all forget that those PUNKS just ATTACKED A KID!”. “When we get outta i'm gonna find those kids and-” “hey” Undyne looked at Sans and once again all of the attention was back on him. Sans looked at his brother remembering his words from earlier. “Remember this was all in the past it's not gonna help to be upset about it now”. The next scene started but Undyne still didn’t seem calm so Sans said one more thing to calm her down. “plus if that didn’t happen I never would have learned I could dodge like a bad ass..it’s a really useful skill to have.” Undyne laughed obviously not catching the last part of the statement. Toriel glared at Sans for swearing in front of Frisk. Sans turned to Frisk to apologize and appease Toriel's ‘no swearing rage’ but was met with a concerned and guilty face. Sans realized Frisk must of heard what he mumbled talking to Undyne. Flashes of dodging a knife in a yellow lit room entered his mind but he pushed them aside. He sent Frisk a wink and thumbs up, telling Frisk not to worry about it.This seemed to make them feel better as she turned to the already playing memory.

 

Sans had woken up in a strange house on the couch. He had been sitting taking in his surroundings. Papyrus was cuddled up next to him arms wrapped around his torso. He felt better there was no more ringing, he was slightly dizzy which was he why he didn't stand up yet. He was tired but was trying to say alert in case they were still in danger. A man walked into the room coming over to him before noticing he was awake. The man was made of a red fire that emanated comfort and warmth which calmed his suspicions slightly. “How are you feeling” he crackled in a rough voice. “Um...good i guess” Sans said. Papyrus began to stir but woke up instantly once he noticed his brother was awake. “ Sans!” he yelled hugging him tightly. The man smiled at the two but chuckled as the younger lectured the other on ‘being safe’ and ‘never doing that again’. Sans laughed too as his brother was trying to keep a stern face. “And I can believe you were so lazy, sleeping for 2 days!”. Sans coughed and looked at the man incredulously. “Two days really!?” the man simply nodded.

Sans turned back to his brother “sorry pap didn’t realize i was such a lazy bones” Papyrus groaned. A small unfamiliar laugh sounded from the doorway of the house. Sans turned and saw another kid that looked to be about his age. He looked just like the man except his flame was more orange and he wore a pair of black glass. “Grillby, I thought I told you to say upstairs” The man scolded. “Sorry dad I just wanted to see if he was awake” their voice was quieter but still held a crackling undertone to it. The kid walked to Sans and he unconsciously held his brother tighter. The kid noticed and stopped just short of him and slowly put out his hand. “My names Grillby, um like dad said, I’m a flame elemental” Sans looked at the hand warily but soon smiled at Grillby and released his brother to hold out his own hand. “Sans, Sans the skeleton” He smiled. The two talked on the couch while Papyrus helped the man, named Coal as Sans soon learned, make dinner. They talked about anything and everything. Sans learned Grillby is only a month older than him, being born in may. Grillby learned about Sans’ love of jokes. The two became very close in a short amount of time. “Dinner’s ready” Coal said as Grillby hopped up from the couch to go to the dining room.

Sans went to get-up but his dizziness returned with a fury. Sans doubled over one hand clutching his stomach and the other on his head. Grillby ran and dragged his dad over. “Sans whats wrong?” Coal asked “dizzy” Sans replied simply not trusting his stomach enough to say anything more. He felt warm magic fill his bones and he felt better than ever. “Whoa” Sans said when the magic retreated. “It’s called healing magic” Grillby said. Sans was sure he had heard that before “oh yeah! There were some healers in new home but i heard it was a really rare type of magic to have” Grillby nodded proudly. He obviously looked up to his dad a lot. Papyrus ran in and pulled Sans on his feet. Sans clenched his eyes expecting a wave of dizziness that never came. “Come on brother it’s time to eat. I helped make the food so it’s going to be delicious!” Sans smiled and gave a thumbs up to the concerned elementals as he was pulled into the kitchen. 

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“That was ADORABLE” Undyne said and Alphys squealed. “You and Grillby were s-so cute” Alphys turned to Sans. “yeah became friends pretty quick and best friends in no time at all” sans said smiling. “Grillby and his dad were our first real friends in Snowdin” Sans finished. “I believe we lived with them didn’t we brother?” Papyrus asked. “Yeah you even wanted to share a room with Grillby at some point, I- uh- may have gotten a little jealous at that point.” San finished rubbing his head. Frisk laughed and Sans shot them a look but quickly dissolved into laughter. “I believe the next one is starting” Toriel said amused. “Come on more Sans and Grillby fluff!” Undyne said to the screen. Sans shook his head but silently wished for the same type of memory too.

“Table 3” Coal said from the kitchen as he put a plate on the counter. Sans and Grillby looked at each other before racing after the plate. Sans was behind Grillby but used his blue magic to move the plate towards him and pick it up before Grillby. Grillby glared at him, angry at his use of magic. Sans laughed as he brought the plate to the correct table and said the customary “enjoy your food”. Sans came back to the counter as Grillby still glared at him. “So that’s one more point for me” Sans said smugly but Grillby shook his head. “Nope you cheated” He said back. “I didn’t cheat I just-” Sans paused to think before continuing with a smile. “I just used my resources” he finished glowing his eyes blue quickly for effect. Grillby huffed and reluctantly put another tally under Sans'’ name. Every since the brothers moved in with Coal and Grillby Sans insisted that he would work for his place in the house. Coal said no but Sans didn’t give up and Coal eventually told Sans he could work in a restaurant as a waiter/busboy with Grillby. Today Sans bet he could serve more tables than Grillby during the shift and Grillby took him up on it.

Now here they were 15 minutes to closing time and Sans was 1 tally ahead while Grillby was trying to pull 2 customers in with his mind so he could win. Sans laughed as Grillby asked his dad to stay open later when he got up to flip the sign to closed and held his arm back when he said no. “Admit it Grillbz, you lost” Sans said laughing “No your not allowed to call me that” he said turning and pointing at Sans. The action caused him to lose his grip on his dad's arm who promptly flipped the sign effectively declaring Sans’ win.”Yes!” “Noo..”. Sans turned to Grillby as they walked out of the store grinning like the Cheshire cat. He had won nicknaming rights. They decided who ever one won could pick whatever nickname for the other person. Grillby chose ‘Sansy’, and Sans chose ‘Grillbz’. “So Grillbz-” Sans let the nickname sink in before continuing, chuckling at the weak groan of protest that followed. “What’s the bet on tomorrow” Sans grinned as Grillby smacked him on the arm playfully. The two joked the whole way home. Later Sans would try to convince Papyrus to use his nickname too, but Grillby said he hadn’t won the bet so only Sans’ was allowed to call him that.

 

This time there no major interruption just laughs from all sides. Undyne was clutching her side laughing as she kept repeating that her prayers were answered. Frisk laughed as the obviously faked of annoyance that had crossed Grillby’s face when Sans called him that on their first ‘date’ at Grillby’s crossed their mind. They remembered how confused they had been then but now it all made sense. Sans was chuckling at the memory as the next one started immediately he recognized the memory. Sans froze his sockets going black. Papyrus even mellowed down a sense of fear in his mind at the vaguely familiar scene. “Alphys” Sans said emotionless. She turn still smiling from the last memory but sobered up quickly noticing Sans'’ change in demeanor. “can we skip a memory” he asked turning toward her slightly. She shook her head “n-no sorry”. Sans heard the now 12 year old hims’ footprints in the background and tensed up. He snapped out of it when a hand was placed on his shoulder and a small hand slipped into his. Papyrus and Frisk. He took a deep breath and turned to the screen with determination knowing his friends were behind him. The other taken aback by Sans’ reaction hesitantly turned to the scene with him.

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Papyrus had been getting antsy in the house so Sans’ had offered to go grocery shopping. He planned to let Papyrus run off some energy on the way there. Papyrus was running circles around Sans’, literally, and Sans was laughing at his little brothers antics. It was a quiet afternoon not quite dark yet but it would be soon. Sans’ wanted to get back before dark so Coal wouldn’t worry. Sans tensed as a third set of footsteps came from behind, followed by a fourth and a fifth. Sans grabbed his brothers hand, something didn’t feel right. He turned around to see who was behind him but his greeting was stuck in his throat. “Well look who's out all by himself again with his puny brother too”. Sans recognized that voice he clutched Papyrus’ hand harder and noticed he was shaking. The leader walked toward the two as did his familiar companions. Papyrus hesitantly looked him in the eyes “P-Please leave my brother and I alone and we will be on our w-way” Papyrus stuttered. Papyrus stuttered. Sans felt his anger grow but kept it in check. Papyrus had the right idea, they need to avoid a fight if possible. “Hmm” He pretended to think about it “How about.. No ”.

Sans tried to pull his brother behind him but one of the bunnies grabbed Papyrus by the arm and pulled him back. The other held Sans back. He fought desperately against the paws holding his arms but it was no use. They were older and stronger than him.  “Sans!” Papyrus yelled in distress. Sans hoped someone would hear his yell. “It-it’s gonna be okay pap” Sans cursed his stuttering. “Aw the baby’s crying for his pathetic older brother” The purple bunny said reaching for his face. “Don’t you touch him” Sans’ growled out. “We’ve been watching you” the monster said “You care a lot about this pip squeak don’t you” Sans eyes widened. “N-No leave him alone!” He yelled the group just laughed “HELP-” Sans yelled in a last ditch effort. His cry was muffled by a furry paw covering his mouth.

But nobody came. 

The leader scowled looking around but seeming satisfied that nobody was around. It was dark now adding to the terrifying atmosphere. Sans was shaking now too not out of fear for himself but fear for his brother. Papyrus’ expression hardened and he sent a bone attack at the bunny holding Sans.

 Papyrus’ magic was improving. Coal had been helping Sans teach him and he was a much better teacher than the old brother. Although Coal did ask Sans’ help explaining the logistics of their particular type of magic. The precision Papyrus showed was amazing but he was slightly lacking in pure power. Sans was the opposite. His attacks could be unfocused but he had a lot of magic. Coal said he had a special type of magic that dealt more damage based on had bad a monster was. He didn’t understand it yet but he wanted to. 

The bones weaved around Sans only hitting his attacker. They did small points of damage, even when being attacked Papyrus had no intent to hurt anyone. However, it was enough for Sans to wiggle free and run for his brother. “YOU BRAT” The leader yelled he threw Papyrus to the ground but his head hit a rock instead of soft snow. A sickening crack rang in Sans' head and his eye lights shrank until they were barely visible. Sans’ anger and fear caused him to lose control of his magic and himself. Both of his eye lights flamed a brilliant blue. “L-look dude we didn’t mean to- we just wanted to-to rough him up a bit” the leader stuttered his companions long gone. Sans’ felt a sharp pain in his left socket and heard another crack but it was all background noise to him. Animalistic skulls he had never seen appear on his sides. The leader yelled and ran away. “Sans!” the rough voice brought him out of his rage. Tears streamed down his face like waterfalls. His head pounded and he clutched his left eye socket. He tried to walk to Papyrus but Coal grabbed his shoulders. “No you can’t move you might aggravate your injury, i don’t know why you didn’t lose any points but-”. Sans wasn’t having any of it. He tried to pull Coals hands of his shoulders as he fully came back to reality. His Brother was hurt. “No NO I Have To Get To Him!” Sans said frantically trying to run to Papyrus. “To Who? Sans!” Coal seemed even more worried but Sans wasn’t paying attention to him. All he could see was papyrus lying motionless on the ground that sickening crack ringing in his head. “PAPYRUS!” Sans ran to his brother Coal just behind him as he saw the state he was in. Papyrus had a large crack on the side of his skull and some hairline cracks around his eyes, even more worrisome was that he was unconscious.

Sans kneeled next to Papyrus, one hand reaching out to him shaking as if he would dust from just one touch. The other was still clutching Sans eye. Coal didn’t see the full extent of the damage to Sans’ eye but he could see the big crack stretching out past where his hand could cover. Coal sent waves of healing magic into Papyrus, Sans refused to be healed until his brother was safe. Coal carried Papyrus back to the house, Sans’ running behind him the best he could. With each step pain shot through his head. His body screamed at him to rest, but his mind knew he couldn't until he was sure Papyrus was safe. Coal placed Papyrus on the couch and began to heal him, Grillby who had come down in all the commotion was recruited to heal Sans. He had shown signs of being a healer like his dad. Grillby was worried and sent as much magic as he could muster into healing Sans. “don’t overwork yourself grillbz ” Sans mumbled concerned. “You’re a numb-skull.” Grillby said matter of factly but anyone could hear the underlying worry. “I’ve always thought of myself as more of a bonehead” Sans laughed halfheartedly before looking at Papyrus on the other side of the room. “Is he-” “He’ll be fine” Grillby said determined. “How do-” “I Know because my dad’s the best healer in Snowdin” Grillby sent a small smile at Sans “and because he has a great older brother to come back to” San weakly smiled back at Grillby. Sans felt the healing magic take its toll on him. “There we go no more crack” Grillby said. Sans nodded and yawned. “Go ahead and sleep dad said the healing magic also makes the receiver really tired.” Sans nodded but instead he  stumbled over to the couch Coal was healing Papyrus on. The mix of healing magic and adrenaline were wearing off making it hard to walk or focus on much of anything. He leaned against the side of the couch one hand intertwined with his brothers before letting himself fall asleep.

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In the course of the memory Undyne and Alphys had gone from quiet reassurance to loudly crying against each other. Alphys said something about “it’s just like a really sad anime” at some point. Undyne was shaking with rage. Frisk had a death grip on the older skeleton as did a shaking Papyrus. Sans' eye sockets had gone dark. He knew what was going to happen starting the memory but reliving it opened the sealed wound. "They're dead, every last one of those Punks are dead" Undyne ground out through clenched teeth. Sans wanted to tell Undyne to forget about that it was fine, but he couldn't. Truth is Sans was mad at those kids all over again. Sans reached for his brother absentmindedly and Papyrus happily obliged most likely needing the comfort as well. Sans and Papyrus hugged as everyone else surrounded them. “If this keeps up I'm not gonna have any bones to hug” Sans said trying to lighten the mood. The others laughed and slowly released the brothers. Sans looked up at his brother but instead he saw the little skeleton with a crack down the side of his skull turn to dust. His eye sockets widened and turned to black voids and Sans turned away quickly and looked at screen praying for a good memory to play and skillfully avoiding the concerned glances of his Brother and Frisk.

 

Sans woke up slowly. “Morning Sleeping Beauty” Grillby said giving Sans a burger with a bottle of ketchup and a soda. The smell hit him and he realized just how hungry he was. He ate the burger quickly and Grillby laughed at his appetite. “That was the best burger I have ever eaten” Sans said stretching and leaning against the couch again. "Are you sure you even tasted it?" Grillby commented sitting next to his friend. Sans was staring longingly at his brother. He seemed so peaceful but that worried Sans even more. “Look who’s being a lazy bones now” Sans said to his motionless brother. Grillby place a reassuring hand on Sans shoulder. Sans smiled weakly at the elemental. Grillby hated that smile, the one he used to make everyone think he was okay when he definitely wasn't. The kind of smile you wear for others not yourself. Grillby's face lowered in a scolding manner and Sans dropped the fake smile. "Yeah I know Grillbz" Sans said rubbing his face "it's almost become a habit" Grillby was even more worried by his comment "Don't let it become one okay, promise?" Grillby looked to Sans but he turned away " at least promise you won't do that around me, I always know when you're faking it anyway" Sans chuckled " "yeah you can read me like a book" Grillby looked at Sans expectantly "okay Grillbz I promise" Sans said seriously "and you never break a promise" Grillby finished. Sans nodded determinedly and reached for his soda but wasn't paying attention and accidentally grabbed the bottle of ketchup. Grillby went to tell him but was too late. Sans sputtered not expecting the taste of pure ketchup instead of sprite. Grillby covered his mouth trying not to laugh but failing miserably.  Sans looked at the bottle in his hand with a blank expression. In the meantime Grillby was laughing so hard he fell on the ground. Grillby looked up a Sans who was still staring at the bottle blankly. “Sans? What’s wrong-” Sans took another sip from the ketchup bottle and Grillby stared at him incredulously. “Did you just- from the-” Grillby was at a loss of words. Sans just shrugged and winked at him with his right eye but instead of the one eyed view he had grown accustomed to there was just black. Startled Sans quickly opened his right eye again. He looked at Grillby and nervously covered his right eye and black greeted him again. “Sans?” Grillby asked worried. Sans looked terrified his hand shaking as his eye lights grew wide. “I can’t- I can’t see” Sans said. “Oh no hold on I'll be right back!!” Grillby panicked running into the office where Coal worked at home. Soon both elementals came out of the room Grillby running to sit next to his friend. “Is it just your left eye” Coal asked professionally and Sans nodded. "I'm sorry" Grillby mumbled and Sans looked at him questionably. What did he have to be sorry for? Coal kneeled down to Sans who was still sitting in front of the couch with Grillby. “Sans the damage to your eye was bad...After Grillby finished healing you I looked at it. Grillby did a great job healing but there are some injuries that even healing magic can’t fix” He said looking down and Sans nodded sadly filling in the blanks. His eye was permanently...broken. He realized Grillby must be guilty since he was the one who healed him, but from what Coal said no magic would have healed his eye any better. He looked up at Grillby who refused to meet his gaze. Sans pushed away his sadness and smiled at him “I guess I'm gonna hafta start winking with my other eye” He said laughing. Grillby looked up surprised and then laughed along with his best friend.

 

Sans didn’t wait for the question to come to he said the answer first. “No, I still can’t see out of my left eye, can’t light it either”. Frisk gasped and hugged Sans who groaned “Okay can we make a rule” Sans pulled Frisk off of him “No. More. Hugging.” Frisk looked reluctant but nodded at Sans. “Welcome to the one eye club dude!” Undyne yelled. "Technically I was in it before you" Sans teased "yeah but you didn't- you should have- NYAAH" Undyne finished eloquently before stomping off. “I have always wondered where your weird liking for ketchup came from brother" Papyrus said hand on his chin. Papyrus had known about Sans' eye for sometime even though he had tried to hide it. Papyrus remembered the days when Sans would wink with the wrong eye and jump. He would always brush it off but one day Papyrus cornered him and forced him to tell the truth. Granted he was still perturbed after seeing the events that lead to his disability. “Yep an accident became true love” Sans chuckled bringing Papyrus out of his thoughts.

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Sans was busing tables again. Grillby had begun working in the kitchen with his dad making the food. His burgers were beginning to rival his dads. Sans had started working for gold now that he was 16. Papyrus was old enough to work to but he decided he wanted to join the ‘Royal Guard’ it was his dream ever since he wandered away from Sans (and scared the marrow outta him doing so) and saw the guard training. Sans didn’t mind, he thought it was cute. He thought Papyrus might make it one day. His magic control is amazing, although sometimes he doesn’t know what to with it. Sans served his last customer and said he would close up and meet Grillby and Coal at home.

He sent Grillby a wink and Grillby gave him a thumbs up in return before leading his dad out the door. He did close up but the real reason he stayed behind is because of a house. Sans had thought it would be nice to have his own place with Papyrus. He's had his eye on an empty house in their price range and he asked to look around the inside. The monster couple that lived there was moving to waterfall and agreed. He walked to the lot shivering from the cold. He forgot to grab a coat from Coal before he left this morning. Luckily the house wasn't far from the restaurant. It was a detail that put the house on the top of his list. He had talked to Coal about moving out but to say he seemed reluctant about it was an understatement. Sans thought the short distance would be a good selling point. Grillby said he could try convince him after work, being the most understanding of Sans reasons to move. Mostly he felt cramped in a house made for 2 maybe 3 monsters. Sans and Papyrus had to share a room but now that Papyrus is 14, he yearned for his own. A wish Sans agreed with. Papyrus always got up early with Coal and brought Sans with him, but he would've loved to sleep in most of those days. That was mostly why he started drinking coffee too.

When Sans arrived he greeted the two monsters before they showed him around. It was a nice house everything Papyrus and him would need. It had 2 bedrooms (one of which had a treadmill the couple didn't need anymore), a large kitchen, and a living room with an ugly green couch Sans couldn't help but love. He sealed the deal and was given the key to his own house. He couldn’t help the big smile that came when seeing his very own house key to his very own house. The couple smiled at him and wished him well before leaving and Sans ran home and through the door at Grillby’s house excited to pack. Grillby and Coal where standing in the living room with one look at Sans’ demeanor Coal sighed and walked up stairs and Sans knew that expression. Coal had just lost the argument. Sans tried to calm down and looked to Grillby. “Grillbz, what did he say” Sans asked already knowing the answer he just wanted to hear it out loud. Grillby’s face fell and Sans thought he might have been wrong about the outcome before it perked back up just as fast “He Said Yes! Well it was more like a ‘fine’ but either way” Sans released a big sigh and punched Grillby in the arm “Grillbz come on i’m supposed to be prankster not you” Grillby laughed “I couldn’t help it”.

Just then Coal came down with an excited Papyrus and full box of something. “Brother can get my own room!” Papyrus was vibrating. Sans thought Papyrus would be reluctant to leave but he was excited just to live with his brother. If anything was going to keep him from moving it would have been Papyrus. Sans smiled almost vibrating himself. “Yep of course bro” “Nyeh he he” Sans laughed at the quirk his brother had picked up from the comic books Coal had gotten them from the Junkyard. He wanted to be a hero after reading those. Something that fit perfectly with his dream of being in the guard. “If you are going to leave I'm giving you these” he handed Sans the box “you’ll need them in this weather and you won’t be able to grab my spares anymore.”

 Sans looked in the box and pulled out a big blue jacket with gray fluff on the hood. It looked too had been white at some point but had gotten dirty due to use. The rest of the jacket was it almost perfect condition. While Sans was admiring the jacket Papyrus dug through the box and pulled out a pair of bright red gloves and scarf which he put on immediately. He made a superhero pose the the scarf flowing like a cape. He laughed his signature laugh and smiled brightly. Sans smiled at his brother, he looked...right in those. Sans slipped on the jacket and reveled in how comfy it was. It fit perfectly. “Thanks Coal” “THANK YOU” Coal smiled fondly and gave both of the brothers warm hugs. “Hey pap why don’t you go pack okay” Papyrus nodded and ran up the stairs.

Grillby brought a bag out for Sans. “I packed for you” “That eager for me leave already” Sans joked. “I’m gonna miss living with you” “me too but I just-” Sans didn’t know how to explain. “ I know, I get it, but you have to visit all the time” Grillby said. Sans chuckled “Duh I still work for your dad remember, the same place you do” “actually you work for me now” Grillby said matter of factly. “What?” Sans asked “Dad’s retiring so he gave me the keys” Grillby said proudly dangling a key chain in Sans face. “Really!” Grillby nodded “I just hope I can run it well” Grillby said rubbing his arm nervously. “Grillbz with you running the joint it’ll be more popular than ever” Grillby smiled and nodded. Sans wasn’t very good with goodbyes and he didn’t know what to do. On instinct he held out his hand “Welp uh bye i guess” He said awkwardly. Grillby rolled his eyes and pulled Sans in for a hug which he returned “Not goodbye, see you later” Grillby replied. Papyrus ran down the stairs and joined the hug. Sans waved and walked toward their new home with Papyrus happily skipping behind him. 

 

At the happy memory the group seemed to calm down. Papyrus was smiling proudly repeating the same pose as in the memory Frisk laughing and joining too. Papyrus would come and move an arm up or give other staging directions to Frisk. Toriel seemed to approve of Coal's fatherly attitude towards the brothers and kept sending glances at Frisk. Sans walked to his friend "what's up Tori" Sans asked seeing her nervous expression. "It is nothing, it's just I am nervous for Frisk to move out. I know it is inevitable but the house would be so quiet without them." Sans chuckled "Frisk's a smart kid and she's only 14. We moved out when I was 16 only cause we were 4 monsters in a house for 2. Plus do you really think that kid-" Sans gestures to Frisk who was now on Papyrus back playing chicken with Undyne who was mounted by Alphys. "Is gonna be able to stray too far. At least without visiting every week" Sans chuckled fondly as the round finished. It seemed to be a tie as all four fell laughing on the white floor. Toriel smiled at Frisk "You are right. Thank you my friend" Toriel turned to the next memory and Sans followed her lead. 

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As the brothers were unpacking Sans really noticed how tall Papyrus was getting. He was already as tall as him if not taller. Papyrus seemed to have noticed this as well placing stuff on the higher shelves whenever he was around Sans. This time Sans had brought some newly bought dishes to put in the cabinets when Papyrus came over. “Let me get that for you brother” he said promptly taking the dishes and putting them up in the cabinets for him. “Would you stop that!” Sans said “You’re not even that much taller than me!” A mischievous smile appeared on Papyrus’ face and Sans only just realized his mistake. Papyrus turned to his elder brother “us tall people have to help the short ones” Papyrus said in poor imitation of Sans' voice. Sans huffed as Papyrus laughed his now signature laugh. “Nyeh he I am sorry brother but I couldn’t help it” Papyrus said trying to contain his amusement. Sans chuckled “its fine i deserve it, and you did warn me”.

The next day all the boxes had been unpacked. To celebrate Sans and Papyrus decide to make a home cooked meal. Spaghetti. Papyrus had tried to recreate the fire magic Coal used to cook to no avail. Sans suggested using the stove but that resulted in Papyrus turning the heat ALL the way up to cook the sauce and nearly burning their brand new house down. The skeletons however, knew when to admit defeat so after 5 boxes of failed noodles, 8 cans of tomato sauce, and after every pan was chared the boys went to Grillby and Coal's house for help. Unfortunately Grillby had never used the stove either relying purely on his fire magic but they cooked together anyway using the time to catch up on current events. After a filling dinner they chatted around the dining room table. “He’s taller than you now” Grillby loudly whispered to Sans. Sans could almost hear the smirk. “Okay that's it” Sans said standing up and slamming his hands on the table for effect. Grillby covered his giggles knowing what caused the outburst, Papyrus however was thoroughly confused. “I am going to get some height back if it’s the last thing I do!” Sans proclaimed causing the remaining members of the table, Papyrus and Coal, to burst out laughing. When it was time to go home the boys waved goodbye not without a final remark about Sans’ height followed by a “Just you wait, next time you see me I’ll be the taller brother”.

 

When they got home Papyrus said he was going to bed so he could be in perfect shape for tomorrow. “What’s special about tomorrow bro?” “Who Knows! That's the best part” Papyrus shut his door happily and Sans decided to stay up a little longer wondering about his brothers antics. Papyrus was never a good liar so Sans knew something was up he just didn't know what. He went to the kitchen for a bottle of ketchup, a taste he’d recently acquired after what happened at Grillby’s House. He mostly continued drinking it for the comical effect but since learned he actually liked the taste. Sans looked out the kitchen window to the backyard seeing Papyrus’ newest creation. The couple that owned the house before them must have enjoyed puzzles because as they were cleaning out the rooms various types of puzzles were scattered about. Papyrus had taken an instant liking to them and they were all quickly moved to his room. Papyrus also has been putting his control over his attacks to use by making mazes and such out of bones in the backyard. Sans also found a box of books stuffed in the corner of his room and had been slowly reading each one. He found the books about science the math more interesting, so he also took an instant liking to sci-fi books like "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”. He was currently reading a book about quantum physics that he finally was beginning to understand. He turned to go to bed putting the ketchup back in the fridge and making a mental note to buy more tomorrow. He turned to leave before the tin cans that used to hold tomato sauce caught his eye. 

 

***

 

 Papyrus woke up early hoping to surprise Sans by making him breakfast for their first morning in their own house. He had been trying to keep it secret all last night. He chose spaghetti even though it wasn’t breakfast food cause he knew how to make it right...sorta. Meanwhile Sans had woken up early as well. He heard Papyrus get up and strapped his tin contraptions to his feet and wobbled down the stairs. “Good mornin pap” Sans said. Papyrus spun around plate of spaghetti in hand one already on the table for Sans. “Good Morn-” Papyrus cut off seeing Sans. Sans had grown half a foot and was now taller than Papyrus again. Papyrus looked down seeing his brother struggle to stand on top of tin cans strapped to his feet. “Brother” “ya bro” Sans replied leaning on the table for support. He was smiling weakly and attempting to hide is struggle. “Why do you have spaghetti sauce cans strapped to your feet”. “Cause now” Sans stood up taller almost losing his balance. “I’m the taller brother again” Sans finished just as he lost balance falling and pulling a plate of spaghetti off the table with him that proceeded to land on his skull. He huffed standing up tin cans left on the floor. “It seems you have shrunk brother” Papyrus laughed. “Shut up Papyrus” Sans said but was laughing just as hard wiping spaghetti sauce off his head. “Okay maybe that was a bad idea” he amended grabbing a new plate of spaghetti. “Thanks for breakfast spaghetti” Sans said “No problem brother”. Sans took a bite of the spaghetti and his face scrunched up reflexively, but he forced it to remain neutral. “How is it brother!” Papyrus asked bouncing in his seat. “Um it’s...indescribable” Sans said causing Papyrus light up taking it as a compliment.

Sans forced himself to eat every bite of burnt noodle and sour sauce for Papyrus. Sans walked out the door ready to go to his shift at Grillby’s, which was appropriately renamed when said monster took over. Surprisingly Sans was lifted off the ground onto a pair of shaking shoulders. “Whoa! Paps whatcha doing?” Sans asked quietly noting his brothers struggle. “See -huff- now you’re the taller brother again!” Papyrus said enthusiastic as ever "That way you will also never waste magnificent spaghetti falling off cans" Papyrus said matter of factly. He sounded concerned that the tin cans would become a regular occurence. Sans laughed “Thanks bro I appreciate it, but I don’t think you’re quite big enough for this yet”. Papyrus was barely taller than his older brother and realistically he wouldn’t be able to hold Sans for long. Sans realized this but he also knew Papyrus didn’t do ‘realistic’. “Nonsense brother I am perfectly-” Papyrus never got to finish his sentence before both brothers toppled down into a laughing pile of skeletons. Sans wiped a non-existent tear from his eye as he got up and extended a hand to his brother. After he got up Papyrus brushed the snow from his pants. A light bulb went off in Sans mind. Papyrus looked over to see a mischievous smirk on his brothers face. “ Ice try bro” Sans said Papyrus scooped up a bit of snow and went to throw it at Sans but he had started running towards Grillby. Papyrus began to chase after him but tripped and fell into the snow himself. Sans turned around and after making sure Papyrus was okay before he yelled “It’s snow use Pap, you’ll never catch me!” and quickly ran to Grillby’s the sound of his brother's angry yell spurring him on.

 

Undyne was laughing so hard at the mental image of Sans walking on tin cans. Undyne was determined to never forget the sight. “I can’t believe you did that!” she gasped out between laughs. Sans was thoroughly embarrassed hiding his face with his hood. “It was quite amusing up until the puns” Papyrus added laughing along with Undyne. Frisk said something about Papyrus being sweet but seemed to holding their laughter in for Sans’ sake along with Alphys. Head still hidden he turned to them “just let it out those two are already having a fit”. As if they were waiting for permission both of them burst out laughing even Toriel, who had been doing well, lost it. She came over and placed a paw on the skeletons shoulder. “My friend there is no need to be embarrassed we all have done something like that”. Frisk bounded over “yeah like the time I flirted with mom, and moldsmall, and Papyrus, and-” Sans pulled his hood down and chuckled as Frisk continued to list all the monsters she had flirted with in the underground. Everyone full blown laughed when Frisk ran out fingers to count them on.

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Today I posted the ninth Chapter of Memory Machine.
I honestly never thought I'd make it that far. A lot of the stories I've written are incomplete even years after I started them. You guys are the reason I have the motivation to complete this one. I've been having a lot of fun writing this story. Bringing my own theories I've developed, and ideas I thought of before bed to life.

Today I looked at the story to proof a chapter and was amazed to see 30 Kudos and 256 Hits! It's honestly beyond words for me to tell how amazing this is. You guys are amazing, everyone who has given this story and by default me a chance. So to everyone who reads this:

Thank you!

Thank you for motivating me to keep writing, Thank you for giving me confidence in not only my writing but myself, and Thank you for leaving all of the supportive and kind comments on the chapters.

It's awesome to see you guys get the same things out of a good chapter as I do, so here's to many good chapters ahead!

- WildCard4505

Chapter Text

Sans was now 17 and had been working at the restaurant for a long time. He found an opening at a science lab in Hotland but it was pretty much full time. He had taken a liking for the subject and the position was as an assistant to the royal scientist. It was his dream come true. The only issue would be that he couldn't work at Grillby"s anymore. Sans didn't know how he could leave a job run by his best friend. Deep down, Sans knew that it wouldn’t affect their friendship but still it would be incredibly awkward to quit. Sans grimaced imagining the encounter. He wished he had more time to prepare but the due date for applications was today and he had already been postponing the inevitable encounter until now. So here he was, standing in front of Grillby's. Hand raised in front of the door in the same position it had been for the last 5 minutes preparing to knock. He was clutching the filled application for the lab.

Sans was finally going to knock when the door swung open revealing a very amused Grillby. "I was gonna wait for you to knock but it seems like we'll both be retired before that happens" He said. Sans cheeks began to glow a light blue as he shoved his hands in the pocket of his blue jacket along with the application. "Uh yeah sorry um" Sans stumbled embarrassed at being caught standing by the door. Grillby laughed "are you going to come in?" Grillby added amused. Sans face glowed even brighter and walked in the familiar room. "So I assume this isn't just a visit" Grillby prompted. "Uh yeah, I mean no" Sans rubbed the back of his skull and Grillby was chuckling at his friends attitude. "Okay, here we go. So I-" Sans began but was quickly cut off by Grillby holding up his hand. "You are quitting" Grillby said plainly. "It's not like I don't-" Grillby cut him off again. "You don't have to explain Sans." Grillby laughed. "So do you have another job in mind?" Sans lit up and began talking about the assistant-ship and soon enough the two were no longer talking as employee and employer, but as friends.

***

“The Doctor is supposed to be really smart!” Sans said in wonder “And guess what field he focuses in” Sans paused for Grillby who merely shrugged a faint smile on his face. “Theoretical Physics! Well specifically quantum mechanics” Grillby chuckled. “What?” Sans asked. “You sound like Papyrus” Grillby said laughing. Sans faked annoyance “and is that such a bad thing” Sans said trying to keep a straight face. In truth it was hard to lecture his friend. “No, Papyrus is very cool” Grillby said. “The coolest” Sans agreed. “I expect you to be a regular” Grillby stated as Sans was getting up to leave. “I will” Sans said surely with a smile “Promise?” Grillby smirked. Sans hesitated “Ya I promise Grillbz” Grillby smiled knowing Sans never breaks promises. "Well good luck then Sans" Grillby said as Sans left. "Yeah thanks Grillbz" and Sans began his trek to Hotland.

Sometime later Sans was staring at a large metal door. He glanced at the sign above the door that read 'Lab' in big red letters. Trying to avoid another repeat if what happened at Grillby's, Sans took a deep breath and released his self doubts. And he knocked. The sound vibrated through the door and echoed in his head. He heard the whoosh if the door sliding open and Sans gathered his confidence. "Hello, what can I do for you" a deep voice asked. Sans smiled "hey my name is Sans, Sans the skeleton" he started, earning a chuckle from the man. He smirked “you forgot to say who's there by the way” Sans added. The man laughed and Sans’ confidence grew. His smile grew more genuine as well and he continued. "Tibia honest I'm here because of the assistant-ship" Sans completed holding out his completed form trying to hold in his own laugh. “A little close to deadline are we” The man stated. It only took Sans a second to register the pun. Sans laughed and his nervous washed away. 

 

"Is that why you always insist on going to Grillby's" Sans laughed "yep I made a promise bro" Frisk laughed too "You were so nervous" Frisk commented. "Well yeah, he's my best friend and anyone else could have been offended" Sans explained "had no reason to be nervous with Grillby though, he's a great friend and on a completely unrelated note: he can read me like a book" Sans chuckled. Alphys looked at Sans astonished. "do I got something on my face Alph?" Sans laughed. "N-No it's just. Y-you were nervous." Sans raised a bone brow. "And…" Sans prompted "well i-it's just I turned in my f-form right before y-you and I h-heard you talking and y-you sounded so c-confident. I didn't think I had a chance." Alphys finished sheepishly. Sans laughed "Alph if he had to choose between us he would have picked you for sure. I was just a kid who read some books at that point. You already had inventions out there." Sans left no room for argument and they turned to the screen.

 

Sans soon learned he had been accepted along with another monster named Alphys who was a little older than him. The day he got the letter he and Papyrus celebrated by getting a meal at Grillby's. Grillby gave Sans a complimentary bottle of ketchup and Sans drank it much to the displeasure of Papyrus. "When did you even start drinking that...stuff?" Papyrus said disgusted. He glared at the bottle like it had personally offended him. "I'm afraid that's my fault Papyrus. I didn't warn him in time" Grillby said acting guilty. In truth Grillby had been grossed out but has come to accept the weird taste in drinks as just another quirk his friend has. "Yeah but that was a while ago Papyrus, you better 'ketchup' " Sans took another satisfied sip of ketchup as Papyrus groaned and dropped his skull against the counter-top. The brothers left after saying goodbye and Sans went to bed early since he started working tomorrow. He was so excited and his mind wouldn't stop working. By morning Sans had thought through every scenario that could happen on his first day at the lab. Sans grabbed a handful of ice to take and stuck it in his pocket to use later in case things didn’t go well. He really wanted to get off on the right foot with the new monster.

Papyrus got up to make him lunch they ate breakfast and Sans began to walk to Hotlands. "Ugh if I'm gonna keep working here I gotta find some kind of shortcut!". Sans groaned and took his off jacket to tie around his waist but immediately put it back on. Sans felt weird without it on. Having worn it for so long it felt like a part of him and decided to just keep it and deal with the heat. Sans knocked at the door the clank echoing around him. The Man opened the door. “You have quite the unique knock Sans” He said. “Bone against metal” Sans said simply wiggling his phalanges. “Ah I see. Come in” The man said gesturing inside. Sans walked in a was in awe. The lab was completely organized. Every tool had a place and every machine had a piece of paper with what looked like instructions taped to it. “I must confess the lab does not often look this nice. I cleaned up to show you too around” He admitted quietly chuckling. Sans looked around for the other monster and saw a yellow lizard in the corner. They seemed to be trying to make themselves as small as possible. Sans debated walking over and saying hi, but his decision was made for him. “Alphys come over and say hi to your partner” The Doctor said.

Alphys came over to Sans looking at her feet. She seemed nervous but, Sans intended to fix that. “Heya i’m Sans” he said holding-out his hand. He turned it slightly to conceal a small pink object in his palm. “A-Alphys, b-but you a-already knew that i-i guess” neither made a move and the awkward atmosphere grew. The doctor almost jumped in but, Sans rubbed the back of his skull and unknowingly used the wrong hand. The cushion went off and the first laugh came for the doctor himself. Sans’ face turned blue and he quickly took his hand off his head and looked at the traitorous whoopie cushion. “W-Was that-” “a whoopie cushion” Sans said resigned. Alphys started laughing quietly though. “N-Nice one” She said looking him in the eye sockets for the first time since they had met. “I try” Sans said smiling and he went to stick the cushion in his jacket pocket. Sans felt water in his pocket and looked to see the corner was entirely a darker shade of blue. “Aww dang it” Sans groaned “w-what’s wrong?” Alphys seemed concerned. Sans turned out his pocket over a sink. Water dripped for the pocket as he wrung it out. The entire corner was soaked. “I uh had an ice -breaker idea, but it kinda melted in my pocket” Sans said laughing at his own stupidity.

This morning he had been in such a rush he had just the cubes in his pocket, of course they would melt in Hotland. Alphys laughed “Here, I-I’ll hang it up outside. I-If there’s anything H-Hotland’s good for its drying out wet c-clothes” Alphys joked. Sans reluctantly handed over his jacket to Alphys. He immediately felt naked without the added weight on his shoulders. “That was quite the show Sans” The doctor came over. “Thanks Doctor” Sans said laughing, it didn’t go exactly as he planned but it was successful anyway. Alphys seemed to be at least a little more comfortable around him. Jokes always seemed to loosen himself up too. “Call me Gaster” He said “if we are going to be working together there no need for such formalities” Gaster finished. Sans smiled and nodded “Couldn’t agree more” Sans said. “Well-” Gaster shrugged on a lab coat “I’ll let you and Alphys get more acquainted with each other. When you’re done head down the elevator and I’ll begin a tour of some sort.” He walked into the elevator and the door shut behind him leaving Sans by himself in the lab. The whole room seemed to echo when nobody was in it.

Sans knew Alphys was outside so walked through the metal doors. They swung open when Sans got near them. Alphys was out front checking to see if the pocket of his jacket was dry. “Hey Alphys is my jacket dry” he asked nervously. Logically Sans knew it wouldn’t be but he never knew how much he was used to the jacket until he stopped wearing it. “Almost” Alphys said turning towards Sans “Sorry” she added when she saw how Sans glanced at the blue fabric hanging on the wall. “It’s fine, oh and the doc said when we’re ready to head down the elevator.” Alphys nodded “He’s n-not what I-I expected” Alphys said laughing “no kidding! I kinda figured it would be a ‘all work no fun’ kinda thing” Sans said laughing “I-I’m glad It’s n-not” she sat down and leaned against the wall of the lab. Sans checked the jacket and felt that it was pretty much dry before shrugging and putting it back on. He almost sighed in relief at the comfort it gave him. “Aren’t y-you hot” Alphys asked absentmindedly. “Not really, too bad those ice cubes couldn’t take the heat .” He used the pun to conceal his lie. He was boiling but he didn’t want to take the jacket off again. Sans sunk down next to Alphys. “I-I Can’t believe you didn’t r-realize they would melt” Alphys laughed.

“Hey it was a busy morning and back in Snowdin they were fine” Sans faked offense but laughed ruining the act. “Y-You came all t-the way from S-Snowdin!” Alphys jumped in surprised. “Yep, it’s quite the walk”. “Y-you Walked!” Alphys jumped up and pulled Sans into the lab. “Did you drink anything in waterfall!” Alphys' stuttering stopped abruptly. She was in full doctor mode. “Well no but-” Alphys cut him off by shoving a cup of water in his hands from the cooler in the corner. “Dehydration is no laughing matter, you could get heat stroke especially since you insist on wearing that jacket” Alphys rambled on about side effects. Sans laughed “well there’s really not anywhere to get water in Hotland before I get here.” Sans said drinking from his cup. Alphys froze “w-well i guess not, b-but still” Alphys refused to give up her point.

“I’ll drink a bunch of water before I head out tomorrow okay?” Sans compromised “Okay. W-We should go d-down stairs for the tour” Alphys relented. He nodded and they both rode the elevator to begin the tour. Gaster explained how the equipment upstairs was for his smaller projects. Alphys and Sans were both given permission to use the equipment as they wish. Downstairs however is where his main project lied. “As of now, monsters have no clue how the barrier was made. We can’t destroy it if don’t even know what it is. No monster saw the barrier being made so it seems like a lost cause. And the minimal information we have about it now is not enough to create a solid hypothesis.” Gaster explained pausing to make sure the two assistants were following. They nodded so he continued. “If we could go back in time and watch the barrier be created we could know exactly what it is and have a foundation for our research” He concluded. “If we go back in time, why not stop the war entirely though?” Sans asked. “Good question, but we don’t know the repercussions of such a drastic change or even if it would be possible. If we were to try and stop the war one day it might happen another.” Sans nodded, satisfied at the explanation. After the tour Sans began his walk home. 

 The next day Sans drank a bottle of water before heading off. He wanted to keep his promise to Alphys. He took the river boat to the entrance of Hotland and mentally kicked himself for forgetting about that option the previous day. As he was walking the rest of the way he noticed a water cooler sitting out of place. He laughed noticing it was the same cooler that used to be inside the lab. He grabbed a cup and walked the little he had left. As he walked through the door he greeted Alphys and held up the cup for her to see. “Thanks Alph” He said laughing.

Chapter Text

Sans, Alphys, and Gaster became quite the trio when it came to their work. They had been working together for a little over a year. Sans was now 18. As time went by Gaster explained more of the details of the project. Sans quickly realized that the three of them were all very different. Gaster was calculated and when he was fully immersed in his work he detached himself from everything. It was normally Alphys or Sans who would bring him out of it in case he got out of hand. He was a jack of trades, a trait Sans admired, meaning he excelled in all fields of science. Alphys was nervous around new people, she had a fear of messing up. Sans figured this out after she panicked when she broke a vial. A different side showed however as time went on. Sans learned she loved his jokes, she could be sarcastic if she wanted to, and she was always ready to learn more. Alphys was also incredibly smart but seemed to gravitate towards soul studies. Sans had taken it upon himself to be the comic relief, he made sure everyone ate and took breaks. He dug for his part in the ‘team’ they had basically created but it was hard to find a specialty he excelled at. One day Sans had expressed his concerns to Gaster. 

 

“Listen Doc, I don’t think I’m a good fit for all this. I mean I love working here, but I don’t really bring anything new to the table ya’ know.” Sans acted like it didn’t bother him. Gaster saw through his mask almost immediately and his expression softened. It took all his will power not to cringe. Sans realized the only people who could see through his smugness every time were Grillby, Papyrus, and now apparently Gaster. He normally wasn’t nervous around Gaster, in fact he felt at home in the lab. He was going to miss coming here, but it didn’t feel right pretending like he fit. Gaster looked at Sans blankly and shook his head “Do you really think you don’t contribute here?” Gaster looked concerned and shocked. Sans didn’t expect that look to come from him. Suddenly less confident in his view Sans shrugged and glanced away. Gaster pulled down a hand that Sans didn’t realize had begun rubbing the back of his skull and forced him to look directly at his eyes. “Sans the amount of times you’ve pulled me out of that lab when I needed it, when if I had stayed something surely would have been broken and we would be behind another week” He trailed of chuckling slightly but quickly got back on track. “You’ve kept all of us from exploding at each other so many times it's a wonder you haven’t exploded yourself. And I’m beginning to question how I got along on my own.” Sans interrupted him “but that’s not enough, any monster could do that” Sans didn’t understand why Gaster couldn’t see it. “Sans-” he sighed “you remind me of myself” Gaster said looking distant. Sans didn’t understand where he was going with this but stayed quiet. “You look at the world like a pile of questions to be solved, I see that same spark I had when your working on the machine, you belong here, I could tell the second you looked at the lab down stairs.” Gaster stated, Sans looked away.

 

He sighed “You’re brilliant but you refuse to acknowledge your own talents, but I would not hesitate to say that you have built half the machine already” Gaster wouldn’t budge on his point. He proceeded to remind Sans of every piece of input he had on the blueprints. How in their brainstorming sessions Sans thought about the machine in a way Gaster never looked at. Alphys focused on the determination aspect of the project rather than the mechanical part so Sans brought an alternative outlook that Gaster valued. Sans sighed, these were facts and he can’t argue with that. Then something clicked for him, this was his dream job. 

This was his dream job and he had spent the last 20 minutes or so trying to get himself fired. Sans laughed “God I am such an idiot” he held his skull in his hands as he laughed. Gaster’s strict face melted and he chuckled too “You are, but I suppose that is another trait we share. We are both brilliant idiots” Gaster smiled softly. “Now then I think it’s time we get back to work right Sans?” Gaster added. Sans knew what he was getting at. Gaster wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything else Sans wanted to bring up before leaving. He was waiting for Sans to make his choice. Sans smiled at his mentors attentiveness “Yep I can’t be a lazy bones for forever” He smiled genuinely and walked ahead. Gaster's tense posture relaxed. He obviously felt more at home in the realm of science rather than emotions. 

 

That was three days ago. Today they were closer than ever to finishing the time machine. All three of them were behind glass flipping switches and turning dials to the correct settings. “Okay doc all set” Sans said. Alphys hand was hovering over the power switch. She seemed as antsy as Sans was to begin the test. It was a simple stage one test. They would merely try and open a rift and close it. Simple. Not like this simple task had been giving them grief 24/7. Gaster smiled brightly “begin the test Alphys” he was practically beaming. His enthusiasm was contagious and soon all three of them were smiling. Sans got this feeling that maybe this time it would work. “O-Okay” Alphys flipped the switch and the machine whirled to life electricity crackling around the edges. Power began feeding through the tubes. The lights in the lab flickered and went out. They need so much power to get it running they were using power from anything nonessential in the lab, that included lights. Sans past out flashlights using his magic, not once looking away from the machine. It had to work this time, they had no other options. All too soon the power ran out. The metal rattled and Sans recognized the sound of the machine sputtering and dying he sagged and sat down against the wall, Alphys slumped in her chair. Sans pinched the ridge between his eye sockets. “ Still not enough” he sighed. They were out of power, they used up every last drop they could in the lab. 

 

A bang brought Sans out of his thoughts. He looked up at the Doctor. His head was down but his fist had left a sizable dent in the metal walls of the safety room. His eyes glowed purple “DAMMIT” he yelled and his hand began to glow the same shade of violet. Suddenly Sans didn’t feel so safe in the Safety room. Alphys must have felt it too and she quickly made her escape “I-I should w-work on g-getting the lights b-back on” She stuttered and practically ran out of the room. He didn’t blame her, a mad Gaster was one thing. A mad Gaster and a Sans who really didn’t want to deal with this was a complete other universe. Sans decided to lose himself in his thoughts about possible fixes mumbling to himself with his eyes closed. He had always been able to think better this way. “SANS” Sans jumped and looked up. Sans had chosen not to tell anyone here about his one hp so they wouldn’t baby him but he was beginning to regret that decision since Gaster looked like he was about to hit him and definitely with intent enough to knock down his lone point. “This is not the time to SLEEP Sans! We have to get working again” Sans bristled, Gaster knew full well he wasn’t sleeping. Sans had always thought clearer with his eyes closed, he figured it had something to do with blocking out the extra info. He would always picture the machine clearly in his head dissecting it. However Sans knew that Gaster was mad and lashing-out at whatever was there and Sans was directly next to him. Sans tried to calm down knowing this. ‘You don’t fight anger with anger’ he repeated in his head. 

 

Sans looked at the clock. It read 2am and Sans sighed got up and naturally slipped his hands in his pockets. “Doc, I think if we all get a good night's sleep we can all come back with fresh heads. Or in my case a fresh skull.” Sans gauged his reaction when there wasn’t one Sans realized just how frustrated the Doctor was. “I see my joke didn’t tickle your funny bone ” Still no reaction, meant he was bad, like code red angry. For once his puns made The Doctor angrier. “You SERIOUSLY think this is a time for joking” His voice raised. Sans narrow his eye sockets. “No but it's late and were obviously not gonna get anymore work down tonight” Sans said bluntly. His patience was running thin. “We’re SO close Sans I’m not gonna stop just like that!” He quieted down some but Gaster was focusing on the machine now. The lights flickered on and he noticed Alphys in the background, she was sitting in the door frame not knowing what to do. Sans covertly flashed her a thumbs ups. Gaster was blowing-up at the machine which was a thousand times better than yelling at him. His mouthed a quick “going home” to Alphys and she nodded and mouthed good luck back at him. He hid a small smile and flinched at another loud bang. “Come on Doc you can decorate the wall in the morning” Sans tried once more to lighten the mood. “Sans if you’re so ready to abandon the project then just go home” Gaster growled lowly. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. “You Think That's What This Is All About!” Sans’ voice rose in volume. “I’m JUST As Frustrated as You are! Or did you FORGET that you’re not the only one to put over a year into this DAMN thing! I’m Just asking for you to See Some REASON so you don’t run Yourself to the Ground and Drag ALL Our Work with you!” Sans stopped himself before he said anything he would regret. Gaster was wide-eyed staring at Sans. He doesn’t yell often anymore and this was the first time Sans had yelled in front of Gaster. “Doc...think of this logically, we’re tired, frustrated, and burnt-out. We can’t get anything done like this and if we try to push without taking a break tomorrow is gonna be just as counter productive” Sans’ voice was normal almost pleading for his mentor to give in. 

 

Gaster sobered up and Sans mentally sighed. “Yes I suppose you’re right, you head home I am fully capable of walking myself up to my room” Sans nodded and walked out the door. He slouched once he was fully out of view and let out a long sigh. He took the river boat back to Snowdin. Sans checked on Papyrus in his room poking his head through the door. He smiled at his snoring brother some of his residual frustration melting off at the sight. He made his way back to his room and didn’t even get a chance to pull the covers-up before falling asleep.

 

Sans woke up to a very loud knock on the door. It sounded like someone was trying to knock it down completely. He groggily pulled himself out of bed and resigned to stare at the wall for a minute or so. He grabbed his watch of the table and barley processed that it was 7 o’clock and he needed to be at the lab in a little over an hour. At said realization he was quickly awake and scrambled on a pair of sweatpants, a plain shirt, and his favorite jacket. He stumbled down the stairs and greeted by his brother talking animatedly to a tall blue fish. He looked over and discovered that in fact the door was knocked down. It was weakly tapped up by duct tape crookedly. He shook his head and made a B-line directly at the coffee maker. “BROTHER!” Papyrus said loudly. “How was work, did you break through anything this time!” Sans chuckled at his brother. Sans and the others had made some major progress one day and he had come home beaming. He tried explaining everything to Papyrus saying that “they had a breakthrough”. Sans has yet to correct him on their miscommunication. “Not this time Pap” he sighed but decided it is time he meet the stranger in their house. “And who might you be” Sans said already not liking that they were the same height as Papyrus and therefore he might as well be sitting with the height difference. Not to mention he had a sneaking suspicion they were the one who broke the door. “Undyne captain of the royal guard! And you must be Sans, you are not at all what I expected you to be” Sans raised a bone brow “Thought Gerson was captain” Sans said only being slightly overprotective. “Brother! How did you miss the news!” Papyrus honestly looked surprised and Sans felt less like he caught someone in a lie. “Ya the old geezer retire handed the position off to me!” They, Undyne he supposed, let out a loud triumphant cry. Sans ‘hmmed’ and noted to to start paying attention to current events. 

 

Sans sees Papyrus give a look that definitely translates to ‘play nice’ and Sans decides his interrogation can wait.  The two loudly conversed about a variety of subjects, Sans noticed how alike the two were the more they talked. Papyrus was totally caught up in a conversation about battle strategies that it almost seemed like he forgot Sans was in the room. Sans took advantage of this however to zone out thinking about their power problem. He started listing through the solutions they already tried in his head. “Brother you’ve been quiet this morning, is there something wrong?” Sans jumped from hearing his name. “Sorry bro, just thinking” He said lamely and Papyrus nodded. The conversation stunted and Sans felt responsible so he joined in momentarily. “So, Undyne, how’d you meet my brother?” Papyrus’ face lit-up as did Undyne’s and he knew he asked the right question. “Found the dork peeking through the bushes by the sentry station after I called off training” Undyne smiles widely and hits Papyrus in the shoulder. Sans nods only partially paying attention from here on out. He knows at this point that while Undyne is a tad...aggressive...she honestly means no harm. He leans on the corner and his mind starts to drift to their power issue again. “Hey Papyrus your nerdy brother is sorta spacing out a bit...again” Undyne adds awkwardly “I see that” Papyrus sighed “Sans!” no response, Papyrus walks closer to his brother. “SANS” Papyrus looks satisfied as Sans jumped and quickly looked at his watch. 

 

“Shoot I’m gonna be late” he said groaning. “And I still have no clue what to do about the power issue” Sans threw his hands up. Papyrus had heard bits and pieces about what he was doing in rants and his monologuing. He had pieced together that whatever machine thing needed power they didn’t have. To be honest most of the science lingo he used went over Papyrus’ head. “I’m you can get power somewhere underground” Papyrus tried to comfort but not fully knowing what the issue is makes it more of a challenge. Something must have worked because Sans sockets lit up and Sans yelled a quick “That's It!” before dashing out the door. Papyrus turned back to Undyne opening his mouth to start another conversation before Sans burst through the door again, stopping just in front of Undyne. “Just so you know if you hurt my brother” Sans let his sockets go black and continued. “ Your not gonna like what happens next ” Sans lets it sink in before he winks “but I betta get going I’m already late” Sans leaves a gaping fish behind and runs to the river person excited to get to Hotland and share his idea.

Chapter Text

 Undyne was laughing. “ I-I remember that” Undyne said between laughs. “I was confused about it all night and THIS NERD” Undyne head-locked Papyrus who squirmed but gave up after Undyne began to noogie him. “Didn’t Help at all!” She finished laughing loudly, dropping Papyrus as he mumbled something about ‘can’t nookie a skeleton’. “I do wish you would stop threatening my friends though Sans” Papyrus grumbled looking away from Sans. In truth he was hiding the loving smile brought on by his older brother. Sans knew it too “but Pap it’s my duty as a sworn member of the big brother society to threaten anyone who gets near you” Sans said it seriously and held up two fingers. Just like the ritual Frisk had taught him when they first arrived on the surface.

It took about five seconds for Frisk to start laughing followed by Sans. The others except Papyrus (who groaned in mild annoyance with a soft smile on his face) chuckled. The next scene hadn’t started yet so Sans sat on the floor watching the Papyrus, Undyne, and Frisk all play with their endless amounts of energy. He sighed and looked-up at the screen with distaste. Sans had a hunch as to what was coming next. It was a memory he had wanted to forget about a person he sincerely wanted to remember. He had stopped talking about his days with Doctor Gaster, simply saying they were days long past. However, he had almost forgotten just how close the three were. Over time they were partners, friends even, they even watched anime together on days off before the project got too crazy. He felt more than saw Alphys sit next to him. “I-I think I k-know what’s coming n-next” Alphys said resigned. “Me too” Sans said simply “Are you okay” Alphys added placing a hand on Sans shoulder. Life returned to the screen and Sans looked to it ignoring the question. Quietly he mourned the loss of his life line as the hand slipped off.

 

Sans thanked the river person and quickly went to the lab. He didn’t bother with his daily water glass. He was too excited to share his idea he didn’t want to stop until he got there. 

 

“I’ve never seen Sans move so fast” Papyrus said amazed as younger Sans ran. “Why Can’t You Move That Fast Normally!!” Papyrus yelled at Sans who halfheartedly chuckled. Both were quickly shushed by a small human and told to pay attention. 

 

Sans skidded to a stop when he saw Alphys pounding on the door. “Uh Alph… why are you poundin’ on the door, they’re automatic” Sans questioned. Alphys stopped and slid to the ground, her back against the wall. “T-They’re only automatic if t-the powers working” She said simply the meaning behind the sentence clear. The only thing that drew power from the upper level of the lab was the machine. Sans sighed and slumped next to her leaning against the metal doors “so whatcha think...up all night or early start?” Alphys rolled her eyes, “Do I really h-have to answer that” She said sarcastically. Sans’ laugh sounded hollow even to him. She was right Sans knew the answer, he had one job. He should have walked the Doctor up himself. “It’s n-not your j-job to take care of h-him Sans” Alphys said softly knowing that Sans’ was blaming himself. Sans mentally added another person on the list of monsters he couldn’t fool.

The two waited in silence until the power came back. Alphys stood-up and brushed off the red dirt. Sans was still leaning against the door stuck in his own head. The door opened unexpectedly and Sans fell onto his back looking up at the ceiling. Alphys laughed and helped him up. “guess I still don’t have a handle on these doors yet” Sans laughed “t-that was bad e-even for y-you” Alphys smiled. “Really I thought it was a- door -able” Sans grinned. They both froze when a tired sounding laugh came from behind them. Alphys stopped laughed and marched past Sans. Alphys was full doctor mode, really mother mode at this point. She had a scolding face on and looked like she was ready to give the lecture of her life. At this point Sans was willing to join in. “Are you insane!” Alphys actually yelled. This would be amusing if it wasn’t such a bad situation. Alphys never yelled, even in doctor mode, but Sans supposed that wasn’t true anymore. “Have you been working all night?” Alphys asked knowing the true answer.

The Doctor was quiet he turned to Sans hoping to find some assistance but Sans sighed stepping forward. “Why would you risk doing the tests alone, what if something went wrong and no one was here to help.” Sans continued for Alphys “We’re your Assistants, Your Partners Doctor” Alphys picked up. They were totally double teaming him but neither cared. If this is what it took to get it through Gaster's skull then this is what they’ll do. “We’re playing with dangerous stuff here, it’s why you always have at Least one person with you and you Don’t. Work. Sleep Deprived. One mistake and the whole machine could meltdown” Gaster was wide eyed by the time the two were finished. “I had to make Some progress, we still can’t power it!” Gaster sent back throwing his hands up in frustration. “It’s n-not worth the r-risk of working alone” Alphys countered. “Fine, you’re right” Gaster grumbled, Sans raised a bone-brow. That was far too easy he thought. Alphys simply sighed in relief and Sans mentally shrugged thinking he was over analyzing again. Sans decided now was a better time than any to talk about his new idea. 

 

“Listen now that that’s over, I got an idea about the power” Both heads snapped towards him. “It’s risky but I think it just might be crazy enough to work” Sans continued “Well…” Gaster spit out impatiently. Sans saw that both monsters were looking at him impatiently. Sans smirked and decidedly ignore the Doctors comment. “We would of course have to rework a lot of the conduits and change the outlet shapes” Alphys almost glared at Sans. “Sans!” Gaster yelled but was smirking slightly too. “Okay, Okay” Sans relented holding his hands in front of him to placate the two doctors.  Sans took a breath “What about The Core…” He left the statement open ended. When he saw no one responded Sans quickly began to ramble. “I mean, I know it’s a stretch, but the thing powers the whole underground. And the lead designer is in the room with us! The worst possible outcome would be a short circuit but-” ''How did I not think of that” A formal voice interrupted his word vomit. “S-Sans that's brilliant! We would h-have to find a safe and e-efficient way to transport i-it” The three talked animatedly about the tweaks they would make Gaster chimed in often about the basics behind the core and the ways to integrate it. Sans felt his excitement returning. The three worked on blueprints mostly, rather than messing with the actual machine. Mostly so it would be a smoother work day tomorrow but also due to Gaster's sluggish movements. Sans and Alphys both knew he needed a good rest so they elected to cut off a little earlier so he could get some rest. 

 

“See ya Alph!” Sans yelled as Alphys hung up her coat and walked out the door. She waved back indicating he was heard. “Goodbye Sans” The Doctor said dismissing him. He was hunched over the blueprint still.  “Oh no, not this time” Sans said and he walked The Doctor to the upper level himself. “Don’t let us find you doing that again or I’ll start locking the lab when I leave” Sans’ tone suggested he was joking but Gaster had no doubt that it could happen. 

 

Sans took the river boat home. The river person took a little longer to get to Snowdin. It gave Sans time to take in the view of waterfall. He ran his fingers through the luminescent water and leaned back hands behind his head. He felt the temperature change and prepared to get off the boat. Sans was grinning widely still. He was ecstatic his idea was being used. His excitement drowned out his worry for the doctor. Sans thought it was a one time deal, that tomorrow he would be well rested and they would work together like they used to. Sans was supposed to think about the battery in the machine and the connections. He brought some blueprints back with him.

 

Sans dramatically pushed open the door to their house and yelled for his brother. Unsurprising Papyrus’ head poked out for the kitchen. “Sans! You’re home! Early! In the living room!” Papyrus yelled punctuating each word. Sans heard a crash in the kitchen. Sans raised a brow “So, whatcha making in there” Sans walked up to his brother and tried to walk into the kitchen. “Spaghetti!” Papyrus proclaimed loudly stepping in front of the kitchen door blocking Sans view. A few more loud crashes sounded. Sans could almost see the sweat rolling down Papyrus’ skull. Needless to say Sans was extremely suspicious. “Papyrus what's going on?” Papyrus flinched at the use of his full name. “Ah well you see The great Papyrus decided to make you some wonderful spaghetti.” Papyrus still effectively was blocking the door. “That's it?” Sans questioned knowing for sure that what was said wasn’t the full truth. “Well I also decided to invite a friend” Sans sighed knowing it was going to take forever to get the truth this way. “Okay well I’m going to go into the kitchen then” Sans tried to duck under one of Papyrus’ outstretched arms. “YOU CAN’T” Papyrus yelled dropping his arm to stop the shorter skeleton. “Um I mean it will ruin the surprise” He amended in a normal volume (for Papyrus).

Sans face palmed, Papyrus was good at many things. Secret keeping, and lying, however where not one of his talents. “Okay well then I guess I’ll just sit on the couch like a lazy bones” Sans said and started to turn around. Papyrus sighed and dropped his arm, but at that moment Sans turned on a dime and ran past his brother into the kitchen. Well, what used to be the kitchen. The walls were covered with burn marks, black pots and pans littered the floor. A small fire was even still going on the stove. Sans turned to get a towel when a blue fish burst through the back door with a fire extinguisher and dosed the whole including Sans. Sans wiped the foam off his jacket with distaste. “Papyrus” Sans said in a level voice pinching the bridge between his eye sockets. Papyrus hesitantly walked in the room. After seeing the foam everywhere he pointedly shot Undyne a glare who just shrugged in return. “Well um I’m gonna return this to Alphys!” Undyne ran out of the house. “Alphys huh” Sans thought out loud. Sans turned to Papyrus “Okay here’s the deal, I am going down to the basement to work. You are going to clean this up” Sans said sternly. Papyrus nodded and Sans turned around but not before calling back. “And from now on all cooking with Undyne will be done at her house”.

Chapter Text

Sans walked down the stairs into the dusty room. The brothers had no need for the room when they first moved to the house so they left it alone where it collected dust. Sans shoved the bronze key into his pocket. He was surprised he could find it in the first place, it ended up being in one of the drawers in his room. He flipped the light switch and the one overhead light flickered to life. A large counter sat on the side of the wall. Sans cringed at the ugly blue tiles. Other than that the room was open space. Sans dusted off the table with his hands and spread the blueprints out. He began tinkering with the plugs and wires.

 

***

 

Sans awoke with paper stuck to his forehead. He pulled it off and scanned through his chicken scratch before searching for the sound that pulled him out of his slumber. He saw his phone vibrate and picked it up. “Hey bro what’s up” Sans yawned. “What’s up! It’s 2 in the morning!” Sans quickly checked the time on his phone. “Wow, I guess it is, sorry bro I’ll be up in a bit” Sans said hanging up when his brother agreed. He sent his finished blueprints to the lab by Undernet and decided to leave the originals on the table as a backup copy. San began packing up and walked back up the stairs, turning the light off when he passed the switch. He turned and locked the door behind him. Sans actually rather liked working down there. A lot more room then the kitchen table. Sans walked into the main room of the house.

Papyrus seemed to be talking to himself, pacing back and forth. “Please tell me you didn’t burn down another room while I was down there” Sans laughed throwing his jacket on the side of the couch. “No! Come on brother have a little more faith in me than that” Papyrus grabbed his jacket and hung it on the coat rack. It took a tremendous amount of self control to keep from laughing after Papyrus wondered out loud “Why do they even have a coat rack?”. “Alright so I’m heading to bed, you probably should too” Sans was already halfway up the stairs. “Brother don’t be silly I already slept” Papyrus proclaimed proudly. Sans froze going into his room. “Wow, apparently the Doc ain't the only one who needs a sleep schedule.” Sans mumbled to himself. Sans pulled the door shut, leaving a crack open for when Papyrus decides to burst in. 

 

Sans fully expected Papyrus to burst through his room yelling about being ‘a lazybones’ or how Sans would be late for work even though he had 2 hours to spare. Because of this he didn’t set an alarm for the morning. So when he woke up naturally, light filling his room, Sans panicked. He ran around his room like a chicken with their head cut off, throwing on clothes and sliding down the stairs phone in hand. Dialing the first name on his contacts list. He heard the phone ring and grabbed a bagel of the counter which he stuck between his teeth. A voice came through “H-Hey Sans! What’s up?” Sans stopped mid-word on the note he was writing for Papyrus. Sans expected his greeting to be anything but this cheerful and passive. “Um, Well I was going to say that I’m on my way to the lab, cause y'know, I’m late.” Sans said not bothering to hide his confusion. “O-oh! Papyrus d-didn’t tell y-you?” Sans looked around the kitchen for a note that could have been left for him. “Um, no?” Sans replied walking up to his room to look. “Oh well Doctor Gaster c-called today off” Sans froze, his full attention now turned to the conversation. “Wait what? Seriously?” Sans had never heard of the Doctor calling a day off. He seemed so desperate to keep working the other day. “Y-yeah he said he w-wasn’t feeling well, that we c-could all use a b-break! I think we f-finally got through t-to him!” Alphys sounded excited and, even though part of Sans doubted his intentions, Sans was happy too. “Wow, well I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then”. “Y-yeah” Sans hung-up and stared at his phone screen for bit and set it on the table where he finally noticed a bright yellow sticky not, followed by 2 more hanging from the bottom. He face-palmed, Sans must have missed them in his panic when he got-up. He read the notes chuckling at his brother's antics.

 

Sans! Due to you working very hard last night The Great Papyrus has decided to let you be lazy for a little longer. (Don’t expect this to be an every morning thing!)

 

-The Great Papyrus

 

He switched notes. 

 

P.S. Your wonderful friend called to inform you of your day-off. I am very sorry you don’t get to go to work today.

 

Sans laughed and flipped to last one.

 

P.P.S. your friend seemed rather surprised when I picked-up the phone. As anyone would be if they randomly got to talk to the Great Papyrus, however I believe you should call her to make sure she wasn’t startled.

 

Sans chuckled picturing the conversation between the eccentric skeleton and the quiet lizard. It could see it being quite a surprise to Alphys. Sans and Papyrus maybe brothers but in some ways they are exact opposites. Sans heard a door slam and cringed. The hinges still weren't in top shape since the last time Undyne came over. He came out of his room. And saw Papyrus nervously fussing over the door. Obviously already aware of his mistake. “Don’t slam the door pap” Sans said without any hint of scolding in his tone, walking into the kitchen nonchalantly. “Sorry Brother! Did you see my note” Papyrus skipped into the kitchen to meet Sans who was already leaning against the counter. “Yep, the doc is sick so I get to be even lazier than usual” Sans waited for Papyrus to protest, counting down in his head. “Sick! Sans how could you even think of being lazy at a time like this!” Sans smiled as Papyrus flung the fridge door open and practically throw the ingredients onto the counter Sans narrowly ducking and dodging the barrage of food. “We have to make him some get better food!” Papyrus said closing the fridge door. Sans thought about it. Making him food wouldn’t be a bad idea. Not only was it just a nice thing to do, it could also give him an opportunity to check up on Gaster. “Good Idea bro” Sans said joining his brother at the stove.

 

* * *

 

Sans walked to the river person, Tupperware of steaming soup in hand. Papyrus had insisted they make his famous spaghetti, but Sans thought that Gaster might not be ready to taste something that amazing yet. Yeah, he was both proud and ashamed in himself with that one. Together the brothers made Chicken noodle soup, it was bland but still edible. He greeted the river person who didn’t seem the least bit surprised when Sans came later than usual. Sans figured that's where the rumors that the river person could see the future came from. Towards the ride however the boat slowed slightly and they turned to Sans. “none will remember the lights going-out. flickering as an existence flickers out with them.“ Sans froze “W-what” Sans said startled. He had never heard the river person say more than a few sentences at a time. They simply began humming a familiar tune ignoring Sans’ constant questioning “You can’t just say something like that and stop” Sans said raising his voice slightly. Sans talked and they hummed until the boat stopped at Hotland. Sans finally gave-up and left the boat hesitantly walking towards the lab taking a cup from the water fountain to quench his thirst. Balancing the soup and his cup. He continued to walk towards the lab paying no attention to shut down conveyors.

 

As he walked up to the door there were no lights streaming from the crack under it this time. “Maybe he’s still sleeping” Sans thought nervously. He knocked on the door, no answer. He tried again with the same out come. Sans sighed and pulled-out his key-card to let himself in. The light on the scanner turned green but quickly flicked off. Sans knocked on the scanner, but it seemed like the power was off. 

 

The Power Was Off. 

 

Sans looked around and saw every light nearby flash. “No, That idiot!” Sans dropped the soup and summoned a bone to try and pry the door open to no use. More lights were flickering out. Sans remembered it takes about 10 minutes for power to fully transfer. He created another bone but the door barely budged. A light exploded from the second floor of the lab which startled him. Lights aren’t supposed to break. Sans desperately pulled to no avail. Each light around him flickered on and Sans dared to hope but the door still wouldn’t budge.

He stepped back and called on the strongest of his magic to help him. To his surprise one skull appeared next to him seemingly waiting for permission. Sans only had a second to jump back and stare in awe. Only seconds to process the magical creation he hadn’t seen since he was young. Before it blew a blinding white beam into the door, leaving a hole instead. Lights were flickering and exploding as Sans entered the lab, magical construct forgotten in favor of his friend. When the elevator wouldn’t work he took the stairs 2 at a time, lights bursting before he even passed them. When he finally made it to the lab he was greeted by the most terrifying sight he’d ever seen. Gaster was desperately trying to turn the machine off from inside the testing room. The controls in the safety room were fried and smoking. Excess energy sparked and shot out in all directions. The only thing preventing it from reaching him was the radiation glass they installed. Gaster didn’t have that privilege as he weaved through the beams but not avoiding all of them. “DR. GASTER!” Sans yelled but he was too absorbed to hear or comprehend Sans.

He could hear the high pitched whine from the machine telling him it was still being fed with power. He ran through the door narrowly dodging a few beams and running to the safety room trying to get any of the controls to work. He had to turn the power off or the machine could explode taking Gaster with it. The dull humming in the background grew louder as more and more power fed into the machine. The lights flickered on and off like strobe lights. Sans was frantically trying anything and everything he could think of. The Doctor finally saw Sans, a panicked face closely resembling Sans’ own looked back. He mouthed instructions, ideas, to Sans for him to try. Sans did what he could. But thats all they were working with. Ideas, theories, nothing meant to be put into practice in a crisis situation.

Finally after what seemed like a random combination of buttons and levers the ringing slowed and stopped. Sans looked at the doctor a question in his face ‘is it over’ Sans wondered. The doctor sighed and Sans ran down to testing room. He looked over Gaster for injuries, Just burns from electricity, he looked extremely sleep deprived. He must have worked all night. But Sans wasn’t in the mood to scold, he’d let Alphys know what happened and they’d talk later. For now he simply looked at the Doctor face full of relief. They stood in the testing room. The machine still sparked in the background, the walls were still charred, but they were alive. Sans laughed, a laugh only used after the craziest, most stressful situations, a laugh you use when you escape the impossible. Gaster laughed as well both hands on the shoulders of the short skeleton.

A pop echoed in the room and Gaster's eyes widened in terror. He pushed Sans out the door slamming it shut engaging the auto lock procedure they implemented to protect themselves. Sans almost seemed to process in slow motion. Radiation and Bullet proof glass separated them along with a locked door. The machine seemed to curl into itself imploding into bright colors. Sans banged on the door in desperation. Gaster was stuck in a room with an exploding machine. Tears had begun appearing in his eyes but they weren't noticed all he thought about was that his mentor, his friend was in that room and he wasn’t. A wave of colors exploded from the machine, Sans was yelling but he couldn’t even hear himself. His ears felt blocked and his senses where dulled as he threw his shoulder against the door. The wave hit him knocked him off his feet. Then everything went white, and it all ended in black. 

 

You can’t escape destiny

Chapter Text

Alphys was frozen. Out of all the things she heard, everything she was told. She couldn’t imagine actually being there. Alphys stared at the now empty screen. She wasn’t sure she could even call it that. She didn’t know what it was, what any of this was. ‘Mark it just another one of her ideas gone wrong’ She thought dejectedly. It took Alphys so long to be able to come out with her secrets. So long to work up the courage for her to tell the truth behind the stacks of unopened letters and the basement that only bad things seem to happen in. Yet her they were, diving into Sans’ secrets, his thoughts, everything he had tried to forget and stirring it up again. Maybe he was okay with Gaster being just a memory for them. Not even that for others, but what if he had tried to forget. Like Alphys had. What if he was trying to live in ignorance like how everyone else did. Treating that period like just another bad dream. It took Alphys so long to prepare, to practice each word she would say until it was memorized. But Sans didn’t have time to prepare. He was thrown in this situation with no way out. In a room with no distractions, and with almost everyone he had tried to keep his secrets from.

She looked at Sans concerned. To anyone who didn’t know him he looked fine. Sans was chuckling as the rest of their crew tried to cheer him up after the latest memory. Alphys cringed, Sans desperate teary face as he pounded on that door was stained in her mind. Alphys decided to do her part and walked over and stood next to her friend. He glanced at her but went back to watching the commotion in front of them. Alphys giggled as her girlfriend supplexed Frisk. Papyrus was watching her and looked like he had stars in his eyes. Toriel looked concerned watching Undyne carefully. Sans laughed but Alphys knew it wasn’t truthful. “S-Sans?” Sans hummed to let her know he was listening. “A-Are you okay?” Alphys questioned and he hesitated. “Papyrus and all of them. They know that...well that a monster just died but...” Sans sighed and cut himself off.  and looked at Alphys “The still don’t remember him you know…” Alphys put a hand on his shoulder. “Y-Yeah I know” Sans chuckled quietly. “You’re the only one who knows…” Sans said. Alphys noticed he looked like he wanted to say something else. “A-And…” Alphys prompted.

She knew she shouldn’t push. That anything else was his choice whether he wanted to say it or not. But if Sans didn’t stop trying to bear the weight of the world alone, it would break him. Alphys’ troubles didn’t matter right now. Right now all that matters is that the skeleton in front of her learned that's it’s okay to ask for help. Like she had to learn. Sans seemed to be debating with himself to continue. “How...” He started, his normal smile downcast and gloomy. “How do you grieve for someone...who doesn’t exist?” Sans put his skull in his hands. “He was my mentor, our friend. How am I supposed to accept that he’s just gone. Just gone and we never had a funeral, or got to spread his dust, and nobody but us even noticed that the royal scientist disappeared…” Sans was rambling now. Alphys did the only thing she could think of. Nerves forgotten Alphys hugged Sans. Said skeleton jolted not expecting the sudden movement. “I can’t just...move on like I’m supposed to” Sans finished defeated collapsing in the embrace. “I-I think that this is the b-best we can do. We d-don’t have to move on u-until we’re r-ready. T-There’s no “supposed to” i-in a situation l-like this.” Alphys sighed, she was about to say the most hypocritical thing she's ever said in her life. “A-And there’s n-no ignoring it e-either…” Alphys said, she felt her sleeve getting damp and few tears sliding down her face as well.

The two sat taking comfort from the only other person who truly understood. Alphys thought she was being selfish, Sans was there, he had it so much worse, so she shouldn’t be crying too. Sans thought he was being a bother, making his friend deal with the emotional mess he was after that memory dragged up old feelings. But right now they ignored their heads. Sans let himself be comforted, because he knew he needed it. And Alphys let herself cry because they both lost a friend that day. Because the underground lost the most brilliant mind it never knew it had.

Chapter Text

Everything was dark and unfocused. Some type of yelling was in the background. They sounded upset. He wanted to reach out and comfort them but his body wasn't responding to his commands. The world slowly came further into focus. His mind seemed to clear as well. He noticed the room was moving. Or maybe he was, 'that would make more sense' he thought. He managed to tilt his head towards the voice. They were talking to themselves. Both hands gripping their head. She seemed familiar, 'what was her name?' He thought. She must have noticed he was awake cause she came rushing next to him. Her voice was crystal clear now. "Sans! Sans are you okay!!" She yelled frantically. 'Sans is my name right?' He thought. Apparently his thoughts went as internal as he meant them to be. The Lady jumped back as if she was hit. Her voice wavered. "O-of course t-that's your name. D-do you know...w-who...who I am?". Sans searched through his head. She was so familiar, he had to know her from somewhere. Each second he took to think seem to agitate her more. She sighed defeated, but Sans didn't give up. Finally a name clicked "Alphys" he said out loud. She, Alphys, flipped her head around and rushed to hug him. An idea clicked in place too. "Sorry I had to really rattle my brain for that one" Sans said. It felt natural, right even to be making jokes. Alphys laughed and cried at the same time, relieved that her friend was okay.

 

Slowly Sans remembered more and more. His brother, whom he called to reassure he was okay. Sans was mad at himself for forgetting his ray of sunshine. He told him that he might not be back tonight. They had a lot to work through. He was remembering much quicker than most amnesia patients. It had only been a couple hours since he woke up and Sans had remembered most of his book knowledge by now. Things he learned from reading the old textbooks in his house and from his experience at the lab. His time at the lab was still fuzzy. Apparently he wasn’t the only one that was an issue for though. Papyrus had mentioned how he went to the Lab to check on a friend. Neither skeletons could remember who that friend was though. Maybe it was Alphys. But Alphys assured him that she came to the lab after the disaster. It almost seemed like something was missing. He remembered some of the incident that caused his temporary amnesia. Some is still a stretch though. No matter how hard he thinks he can remember what he was so frantically trying to save. Maybe it was their research or the machine, but that didn’t fit into place. If it was just that he wouldn’t have stayed in danger, he would have ran for cover. "How did you find me?" Sans asked. Alphys froze "I-I wanted to c-check up on...on...someone" she froze thinking looking to fill the blank in her mind just as Sans had moments ago. She waved it aside in order to finish her story. "B-but when I went d-down to the L-Lab everything was wrecked except the machine and y-you w-were unconscious a-and I checked y-you" She was speaking and breathing much faster now. Sans reached out a hand on her shoulder to stop the incoming panic attack. "I'm okay Alph, I promise" She took a few deep breaths but then shot an angry look at Sans. "Why didn't you tell anyone you only had one hp!" Sans looked at her surprised.

 

He sighed "I just didn’t want you guys treating me like a porcelain doll, I've lived with it all my life." Alphys was staring at him, unblinking. "What?" Sans asked self consciously. "Y-you guys…" Alphys said and gripped her head. "Who…" she looked lost, reaching for information that was miles away. Sans' eyes widened. He racked his brain. There was three of them, friends, partners. Why couldn’t they remember their name. Alphys walked towards the elevator door gesturing for Sans to follow. "I'm, w-we're forgetting something- someone. M-maybe they’re d-down there too. W-what if they got hurt too" Alphys opened the door and Sans joined her in the elevator. As they went down level after level Sans couldn't shake the feeling he kept missing something. Like the answer was just out of reach and he could brush it with his fingertips. The door opened and Sans finally saw the sight Alphys was greeted with when she came down. The lights were off, giving the lab an eerie feeling. Papers managed to littler every inch of the floor. The sounds of their footsteps echoed off the wall. Both scientists walked to the testing room without thinking. As they got closer the destruction got worse. “You walked this by yourself?” Sans whispered. He felt like he shouldn’t be here. “Y-Yeah i w-was worried b-but i-it’s…” Alphys pulled on her lab coat. “Freaky” Sans finished for her. Alphys responded with a timid nod. Sans froze when he saw the door to the testing chamber. The walls were blackened in some areas, any previously whole glass was long shattered. Even more concerning considering it was shatter proof. He could see parts and pieces on the ground past the barrier. "T-this was w-where I- Sans?" Alphys froze. Sans was staring straight ahead at the carnage. "He's why I survived" Sans said quietly. "W-what?" Sans looked at Alphys, eye lights small and wavering. "I was gonna check up on him. But it went haywire and right when we thought it was over, when we thought we were okay" Sans sucked in a harsh breath. He brought both hands up to his head shaking "he pushed me out. he saved me. He...he" Sans was so close to grasping the answer. Fingers brushing the truth. "Sans c-calm down" Alphys pleaded but in truth she was no less confused than Sans was. She felt it too, the echo of something lost. A presence that was watching them. Sans walked into the Safety room. Controls were broken beyond repair. He looked out the only remaining window into the Testing room. "Sans?" Alphys was visibly concerned but Sans paid to no mind. He remembers it. The whirling lights, the electricity flashing, the panic. 'DR. GASTER!'

It came to him in a thought. A flash back maybe. All the sudden he felt a wave of the same panic he felt during the catastrophe. It was enough to set his eye ablaze. He stumbled backwards into the wall. This wasn't just his magic. "Sans!" Alphys yell was muted. Sans was staring in awe. He could feel the familiar blue magic he was born with but there was also an outside source. As he looked around the room he could see yellow rips in thin air. In the corners floating there. "Sans!!" Sans looked at Alphys. Her voice finally breaking through. "Sans y-your eye!" Sans reach a hand up subconsciously. "I-its yellow, I-I mean n-not only yellow it's your normal blue t-too" Alphys stumbled over her words. Sans had used his magic a few times before, moving heavy things, stuff like that. Sans looked around the room once again taking in the flashes of yellow. "Can you see that?" Sans asked pointing at a rip in far corner of the room. Alphys looked up at him curiously. Sans could still see the hint of concern behind her gaze. "That yellow tear, in the wall, or air I guess" Sans continued. Alphys stared at wall. She squinted her eyes but obviously saw nothing. "I- no?" Alphys ended unsure. Sans nodded slowly. "C-can you see something?" Another nod. Alphys walked over the wall and touched where the rip would be but saw nothing. "T-that's weird… I wonder if the residual energy from the explosion messed with your eyes" Sans' eye stopped glowing and the rips slowly faded. Sans didn't want to stay down in the lab anymore. Not to mention It was a lot to process at once. Now he might have messed up the only normally functioning eye he had left. He had a name now. Dr. Gaster. He repeated in his head so he didn't forget again. Sans asked to go up and Alphys agreed, but not before taking on last look. "Do you think he.." "Dr. Gaster." Sans interrupted. “His name is-was Dr. Gaster” Alphys’ widened "o-of course! H-how could I-" Suddenly she gasped and Alphys ran up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Sans chased after her half out of curiosity and half not wanting to be left alone the creepy lab. Before all of this ‘creepy’ was the last word he would use to describe this place. They place where they became friends and partners not just assistants to their mentor. 

Sans was out of breath by the time he ran up the stairs. If Alphys was tired, however, she didn’t show it. Alphys flew straight to the bunch of blueprints scattered on the table by the door. Sans looked over her shoulder at them. They were blueprints of the machine, old and new. Some neither of them had seen. Alphys dug through finding the newest one. “The machine b-basically messed with the f-fabric of time space. We w-were going back in time to s-see how the barrier was created t-to rebuild it. The way Gaster t-talked he seemed to believe time was linear. Meaning t-there wasn’t any p-point to trying to stop the war. B-But when sent h-himself through he wanted to s-stay out of sight just in case that wasn’t true.” Alphys wasn’t talking to him, just talking. Sans nodded along anyway, this is all the stuff he knew, stuff that was explained to him when he signed up for his assistantship. Everything about then was fuzzy, but clear too. Once in a while a memory would be perfectly clear, but sometimes it was like grasping for straws.

“W-what if when the machine exploded, since Gaster was already trying to get it to run, the residual energy from the blast-” Sans joined in now “Entered my eye” he said astonished but had one more idea “So those yellow rips I was seeing” “T-they’re exactly that, t-tears in time space” “Caused by the machine exploding as it was trying to tear it’s own rip” Alphys nodded. But answering those questions just brought more to mind. He wondered if each of those rips went to a different time. He lit up his eye. The reflective surface of the table gave him a look at what Alphys saw. His eye now flashed a brilliant yellow along with his normal blue. “C-can you s-see them still?” Alphys wondered, Sans looked around. “Yeah, but there’s only two. One there-” Sans pointed to the far end of the lab from where they were by the door. “And one by the monitor” Alphys nodded walking to the monitor. She reached for the rip “h-here?” Sans nodded “You’re pretty much touchin’ it” Alphys looked frustrated but her eyes lit up. A clear sign she had an idea. “C-can you try t-touching it?” Sans looked at her surprised. “Alph that’s crazy! We don’t even know what these are exactly, what if takes me back like 5 years!” Alphys’ smile curled up “Then think about not going back 5 years” Sans sighed. When did his partner get so crazy. To be honest though, Sans was kinda curious too. He walked up and moved his hand forward. All the while he repeated ‘Stay in the lab, don’t go back in time.’ In his head. He knew it was silly, if this thing was gonna do anything it wouldn’t be by his terms. He waved his hand through but nothing happened. “Welp that was anticlimactic” Sans chuckled quietly.

He walked into it sure nothing was going to happen but everything went black. Sans tried to look around but he couldn’t even see his own hands. Sans almost panicked but started repeating his phrase again. When the world got light again, Sans was at the other side of the lab. He lost his footing catching himself with his hands and breathing heavily. Sans looked around, his eye no longer glowing. “Sans a-are you okay!” He nodded getting back up brushing off the nonexistent dust on his clothes. “That was... interesting” Sans said. “You a-almost instantly t-traveled to the other side of the room” Alphys was mumbling to herself. Sans started thinking, it didn’t feel that way to him. He must have been in that...black...for maybe 30 seconds. Enough time for some to notice he was gone. But maybe time doesn’t pass wherever he was in there. Maybe they can still go back in time, what if Gasters work isn’t lost. Sans jumped up and lit his eye up again. “S-sans?” “I’m gonna try to go back in time five minutes” He said plainly. Alphys nodded following his line of thought. “ Sans walked back through the rift and world went dark again. He tried thinking about going back in time but it wasn’t working. He tried repeating it over and over in his head but nothing changed. He couldn’t leave the dark, at least not leave it the way he wanted to. He felt like he was sinking in the black. The longer he was in here the more the darkness seemed to swallow him. He swore he heard a voice call his name it sounded familiar but Sans didn’t pay any attention. ‘Gotta get out of here!’ He thought. He felt like he was drowning, his thoughts too frantic to get out. He felt a presence pull him the inky darkness and he grasped the first coherent thought he had. He thought about returning to the lab, and finally the lights turned back on. He fell to the floor gasping. That place felt like it was suffocating you. “O-okay no g-going back in- in time” Sans got out through choppy breaths as Alphys comforted him. 

 

The rest of the night was uneventful. Alphys gave him time to work himself out before they started talking again. He didn’t tell her exactly what happened. Neither slept, they looked through old notes. They even went down to the testing room again to look for Gaster, He was nowhere to be found. His old research projects were now uncredited. It was like he didn’t exist anymore. Or like he never existed in the first place. Sans didn’t test the rifts anymore more focused on finding his friend. At some point Alphys ran outside yelling at anyone who was awake at that hour about Dr. Gaster. Sans had to drag her back as she sobbed. Sans felt empty as he looked through more evidence of his friends disappearance. “He’s just gone, so easily, it happened so fast” He clutched his head, his voice sounded hollow. Alphys placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. To anyone but them, Dr. Gaster never existed. Sans suggested that because they knew him best is why they still have some memories. Eventually, exhausted, they both went home. Sans walked with his eye ablaze looking at all the rips as he passed them. He arrived at Snowdin and snuck into his room, careful not to wake Papyrus. Sans collapsed in his bed staring at the ceiling. He left his sheets pushed to the back. He was too tired to pull them up. So much had changed in one day. Too much to keep track of. What if he woke-up tomorrow and he didn’t remember Gaster either. Sans shot up in his bed, what he woke-up just like everyone else and Gaster just seemed like a dream. He dug through drawers grabbing a piece of paper and a black pen. He drew a picture of himself, Alphys, and Gaster. It wasn’t perfect, he was never much of an artist, but it wasn’t meant to be in an art museum either. Finally he a message on the top of sheet and set it next to his bed. “Don’t forget” Sans said out loud as he drifted off to sleep repeating the name of his friend over and over. 

Chapter Text

Nobody spoke. In all honesty the stunned silence drove everyone insane. And unsurprisingly, Undyne was the first to break it. She yelled and fired punches into the air. "Why. Can't. You. Have. Normal. Problems." she yelled each word punctuated by a breath and punches. "U-Undyne…" Alphys tried to comfort her, she knew Undyne wasn't mad at them. She was mad at the situation. Undyne isn't a 'touchy feely' kinda monster. Emotion gave way to anger in her mind. Sans watched the encounter with curiosity. Undyne looked frustrated. He sighed and turned only to see Papyrus staring blanking at the empty screen. Noticing that his brother had been uncharacteristically quiet, Sans walked over. "Hey bro?" Papyrus turned to him, frustration painted clearly on his face. "Pap what's wrong?". He turned and faced the screen again. "It's all so familiar" he said almost too quiet to hear. "what?" Sans looked up at him. Papyrus continued, grasping for the right words "I mean I… remember you coming home.. And working… you tried explaining it to me so many times" Sans froze. He felt like Papyrus had more to say. Low and behold Papyrus started speaking again, quieter so Sans had to strain to hear. "But it feels like just as quickly as those memories come to me, they leave" Sans was speechless. How was he supposed to comfort someone who had the same frustrations as him. Sans had spent hours cursing the world that they didn’t remember, Now Papyrus was frustrated about the same thing. “I HATE FEELING HELPLESS!” The shout came from the other side of the room. It made the brothers jump. Undyne looked like she was trying to throw a spear. Papyrus giggled at the display. “Heh, that’s right. no magic in here.” Sans said lazily. He slipped his hands naturally in his pockets. He knew from trying to shortcut away so many times earlier on. Alphys finally managed to explain to Undyne why her spears weren’t manifesting, unfortunately everyone had been thoroughly amused by that point. Frisk was giggling along with Toriel. Sans wondered how they were holding up but they wouldn’t have and ‘missing’ memories to search for. Even so, Sans searched their faces for any signs of being upset. Toriel seemed fine all except for a sad look that seemed more sympathetic than anything. Frisk however, behind their giggles, was a hint of recognition. Haunted eyes stared through the facade. But maybe it was everything piling-up. There’s no way they could have known Gaster, and now they never will know him. But now the next memory begins. 

 


 

Sans woke up to the loud ringing of his alarm. He groaned and nearly broke the clock smashing snooze. “Morning” Sans said to himself hand resting on a piece of paper on his desk. He stared at the ceiling, the mere thought of getting up making him sink further into the mattress. He knew he should go to work. Any other day he would be throwing on clothes and rushing downstairs. Any other day he would grab a bagel and walk to the river person beginning his trip to the lab. Instead Sans laid on his back in his bed, his blanket crumpled up at the bottom. He picked up the paper under his hand and held it in front of him. He analyzed every curve of the marker, every dot. He stared at the words written on the page until he didn’t recognize them as letters anymore. After that it had been ten minutes. Right now he would probably be arriving at the lab. He would greet Alphys showing off his cup of water from the cooler. Gaster would be giving him a smug look because he knew why Sans always waited to throw the cup away until after Alphys saw he had it. Because he knew that despite his nonchalant attitude, he loved to make anyone smile or laugh. Sans pressed his hands to his face, paper left to flutter onto his shirt. Right now they would all be gathered around the table heads bumping into each other as they all reached with their pens to fix the same mistake on the blueprints. Gaster would laugh his deep contagious laugh and Alphys would join quietly at first before the room was filled with laughter. But if Sans was going to be realistic, that hasn’t happened in a long time. Because that Gaster was gone before the ‘incident’ even happened. A heaviness settled on his chest as the paper dropped to the floor. Gaster had started becoming obsessed with the project long before, and he had noticed the signs. Sans couldn’t help but think that maybe if he had pushed a little harder, Gaster we still be here. That maybe if he had been a little stricter they could have pulled him back from the borderline. Sans heard the telltale clanging of pots and pans that signified his brother being awake. He was officially late for work. Sans reached for his lamp hoping the light would wake him up and give more motivation to move. But instead he knocked the lamp off his table. It landed with a loud crash which he assumed was the bulb breaking. Sans cringed at the noise and soon realized the kitchen had grown quiet. His door creaked open slightly “Brother? Are you okay?” Papyrus seemed reluctant to come in but Sans waved him in. The door opened the rest of the way as Papyrus stood tall on the frame. “Yeah Pap I’m fine, just knocked the lamp off” Sans replied, his voice sounded exhausted even to his own ears. Papyrus gave him a concerned look as Sans forced himself up to wipe the glass off the drawing forgotten on the floor. “Who is that brother? He seems familiar..” Papyrus peered at the paper. Sans didn’t have to question who he was asking about, his whole body seemed to double in weight as the question truly hit him though. “Just...a friend” Sans said wanting nothing more than to crawl under the covers.

Papyrus either didn’t notice or didn’t acknowledge his change in demeanor. “Anyway why aren’t you at work” Papyrus pulled a dustpan out of mid air and began cleaning up the glass on the floor as he talked. Sans dropped the paper earning himself a disapproving look. ‘Seriously who’s the big brother here?’ Sans thought playfully before turning serious thinking through Papyrus’ comment. Sans contemplated if he even was needed there in the first place. Alphys was probably smart enough to run the whole place by herself. He turned to his brother “Just not feeling up to it right now, I should probably go check in though” Papyrus nodded focused on his task of cleaning the room. He looked especially perturbed at his wad of blankets. Sans chuckled, it almost felt unnatural, and walked down to the kitchen. He checked the kitchen and noticed what looked at what seemed to be the ingredients for pancakes...plus spaghetti noodles. That would have been an interesting breakfast, suddenly Sans wondered if he needed to start hiding the spaghetti noodles, but decided against it. He just needed to learn something else to cook and spaghetti would be forgotten. Now that he thought about it he thought the bunny at the inn knew a pretty good quiche recipe he could try with him. Maybe another day though, Sans continued to walk to the river persons dock. The thought of doing anything else today weighed on him. 

 

When he arrived he wasn't surprised to see the river person almost waiting for him. He had gotten used to the fact he was always there when people needed to be picked up. He started to walk up but hesitated. He remembered the talk he had with river person on that day. It was chilling how he talked, his tone void of emotion.

“none will remember the lights going-out. flickering as an existence flickers out with them.“ 

Perfectly calm talking about a life that was going to be lost. The worst part is that it was catered to him, about Gaster… Sans didn't want to hear anything else he might have to say. That means walking, Sans starred in the direction he would have to go. The thought of walking almost sent him back to his house in defeat. He knew he’s made the walk many times but today he didn’t have the energy. That left one option, ‘I really am being lazy today’ he thought. He lit up his eye taking note of a rip on the tree behind him. Sans breathed out and walked through it picturing the lab in his mind. Picturing Alphys at her desk, picturing the main room where everything had a place that it never got brought back too. Picturing the small elevator that somehow fit three people, granted two of them were tiny compared to the third. Picturing the stairs to use when the elevator went out. He felt the atmosphere change and he opened his eyes to the corners of the lab. 

 

Alphys was mumbling and staring at the work on the desk. She seemed to have shut out anything around her, completely focusing on her work. ‘Is this what Gaster looked like, what he did when nobody was around’ He cringed and guilt filled his system. Sans walked up behind her “Heya Alph” He said forcing a nonchalant tone and Alphys jumped sky high. “Sans!” She spun around hand clutching her coat. He cringed, maybe coming up behind her wasn’t the best idea. “I-I didn’t see y-you come i-in” She said turning back to her papers. The desk was filled with blueprints, past works of Gasters. Just how they had left it last night. “I didn’t, well not through a door” He said noticing a blueprint of the machine on her table. He saw his messy handwriting in the corner complimented by Gasters neat words. Alphys looked surprised “You’re a-already getting g-good at i-it” Not that he wanted to. It was unfair, he should have died in that explosion too. He should have gotten there sooner. He should have done so many things. “Yeah…” Sans said simply but his mind was elsewhere. Alphys looked at him concerned. They were fine yesterday, experimenting with his new powers, working until they passed-out. It wasn’t healthy but it wasn’t this . Maybe it took until now for it to hit. “S-stop” Sans snapped-out of his thoughts and looked at Alphys. “What?” “I-i can see you t-thinking, blaming yourself.” Sans cursed, here Alphys was working on a solution and all while he was having his own personal pity party. “Sorry Alph, do you need help?” “Sans...” Sans was desperate not to continue the conversation, he stuck his head into one of Gasters works on the table pretending to be completely immersed. “I-it’s not your f-fault” Alphys said simply but sighed when Sans didn’t respond. He was gripping the binder hard. He glanced at the cover page. The place where should say ‘Written by: Dr. Gaster’ looked like someone typed over it multiple times with different names. Like the work couldn’t decide who wrote it. 

 

They went on like this for about an hour, Alphys discreetly trying to help sending him worried looks, and Sans refusing to give her what she was looking for. He kept a mask on tight barely making eye contact in hopes of fooling her. This just raised her suspicions more, Sans made occasional jokes that they both knew were to try to keep the atmosphere light. Alphys never realized how much she relied on Sans to hold a conversation until he stopped starting another one. She could tell he was tired but he refused to admit it, ‘I bet he could have gotten him to say something’ Alphys thought and turned back to her work. 

Sans read another line of work trying to focus on the words, he read another scribbled name that was clear two days ago. ‘It can’t have only been two days’ He thought and sighed. He reread the same line again. ‘What's the purpose of this? It’s not going to bring him back’ Sans shut the binder and stood up, walking to blueprints. Alphys looked up seeing his movement and watched him silently. Sans threw the binder on the table and looked at the old blueprints but his mind wouldn’t make sense of the information in front of him. “Sans?” he turned to Alphys who looked conflicted. She was almost out of her chair ready to go to Sans if he needed her. “I- I think I just need new surroundings” His face had slowly turned to the desk as he talked. Hiding his cracking mask, he stared at the blueprints. “Can I just take some of the blueprints with me to study at home” Sans rubbed the back of his neck and looked at his friend. “U-uh sure?” Alphys gestured freely at the blueprints “g-go ahead”. He nodded gratefully and picked a few to take home. “Sans?” Sans hummed to show he was listening. “I-If you need to t-talk to someone I-I can, I-I mean, I’ll always be there” Sans froze. He needed to talk to someone. About how his chest has felt has felt heavier and heavier as the day went on. How he should have helped, saved him. He wanted to yell about how the world isn’t fair, that he got new ‘magic’ and Gaster… He needed to say sorry to Alphys for letting her down, he needed to say sorry to him for letting him down. He needed to save him because it’s his fault in the first place. His fault he was too slow to do anything. 

 

Sans couldn’t look her in the eye “Alph… I-”. Sans started when a knock sounded from the door, shocking Sans from his sentence. Sans shook his head and walked to the door and opened it. Unbeknownst to him Alphys was glaring at the door for interrupting. “Howdy, I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” Sans and Alphys’ eyes widened as they took in their visitor. “Uh...no… um... come in?” Sans looked to Alphys for confirmation. Starstruck, Alphys nodded and so Sans stepped aside to let him in. He walked past him and took in the lab. Sans took him in at the same time. A regal purple cloak flowed behind him. Golden shoulder caps and and a modest gold crown topped the look. Everything about him screamed royalty. Sans cringed at the state of the lab. Papers were strewn about every corner of every desk. The tools were crudely organized since neither Alphys nor Sans could remember Gaster’s system exactly. Alphys must have noticed the same thing. She jumped to action clearing off a table and chairs for them to sit at. “Uh s-sorry about t-the m-mess. We...uh...weren't e-expecting anyone l-let alone you y-your highness” Alphys stuttered. “There is nothing wrong with a messy work space, It just means it’s getting used. And Asgore is fine”. Alphys nodded obviously shaken up. Sans took the moment to step in and relive some of the attention sent to her. “So uh… Asgore… what can we do for you” Despite feeling awkward using the kings first name he put on his most collected face and went with it. “Well you see…” His smile turned more contemplative “I can’t seem to recall the last time we’ve had an official royal scientist here and I had heard a number of people say how often you two are here-” Sans tried very hard not to let his smile dip at the development. Asgore seemed unsure of his own statement. His look mimicked his own when he was grasping for straws. Alphys had more trouble keeping her face neutral though. “- I was wondering if either of you would like to take on the role” Sans replayed his wording. “Just one of us?” Sans said questioningly. “Unfortunately yes, just one” Asgore said sadly. “W-well Sans i-is the s-smartest so-” “Alphys should do it” Sans said resolutely.

Alphys looked at him in shock and looked back and forth between her company and Sans. “W-will you g-give us a m-moment” She said pulling Sans away. “You s-should take it Sans” Alphys argued. “No I shouldn’t, You’re smarter-” Alphys tried to argue but Sans just continued. “You work so hard on everything-” This time Alphys forced her way in “Y-You do too! You worked just as hard as Dr. Gaster” Sans cringed at the name, it felt weird hearing out loud. Both of them had avoided his name, at least out loud, preferring pronouns instead. “A-and I’m not as good at q-quantum physics as y-you” Sans scoffed. “Maybe, but even so, I think it’s time someone takes a different approach to break us out of here.” Sans smiled reassuringly. “Sans…” She was losing the argument. Sans sighed “You’re brilliant but you refuse to acknowledge your own talents” He said not knowing where it came from. Alphys looked up at him surprised. “You have different talents so use them, find a better solution” Alphys nodded meekly and they walked back to Asgore who was studying blueprints on the table. They were blueprints Sans didn’t recognize and definitely not Gasters. “I-I… would like to t-take the j-job” Alphys said looking down. Asgore looked up and to Sans. He nodded and Asgore smiled. They talked and Sans watched with his hands in his sweatshirt pockets. Asgore got around to asking about the blueprints, Alphys just stuttered and said it’s something for a show she watched. In all honestly Sans wanted to be royal scientist, who wouldn’t, but ‘This is for the best’ he thought. ‘I could never take his title, never live up to what he did, but she can’ Sans looked at Alphys stutter and almost intervened but Asgore laughed a hearty laugh and she loosened-up. ‘She’ll do great, better than I could’ He had melancholy smile on his face. ‘She’ll do better without me holding her down…” Sans smile turned downcast. He carefully interrupted the conversation. “Welp I should go, my bro’s probably waitin’ for me” He said nonchalantly. “Of course, but may I have your name?” Sans smiled “Sans the skeleton” He laughed “Well I hope we will meet again Sans” San nodded and turned to Alphys “See you later Alph” She waved back shyly. She had a smile on her face that Sans couldn’t help but copy. He gathered blueprints and walked out of the lab before looking for a rip. He walked through to his house and sighed as he entered the living room. “Handy shortcut” He said to no one and flopped on the couch blueprints abandoned on the floor. He closed his eyes and tried to relax, but at that moment the room was too quiet and his thoughts too loud. He eventually drifted off to sleep, doubts and guilt swirling in his mind. 

 


 

It was too dark. That was his first thought. He looked at his hands and saw nothing but inky black. He felt himself sinking into the dark like quicksand. The room seemed to go on forever. A world of pitch black with no walls, nothing for eyes to grasp onto. His breathing quickened as he tried to pull himself out of the ink noticing he was to his waist. The large room suddenly felt suffocating like the walls he couldn’t see were pressed up against his sides. The world was unbearably quiet the only sounds being his own struggling. He tried to yell for help but his voice was quiet, swallowed-up by the dark. He felt helpless in his fight. With helplessness came the realization he was stuck. He felt a weight pressing down on him, almost pushing him under faster. He was almost too his shoulders and breathing was hard. The ink pushed against the movement of his chest, forcing him to breathe small shallow breaths. He suddenly saw a shape standing on top of the black resembling a monster. Not caring if it was his own imagination, he tried to yell but his voice was still gone. The figure turned anyway and moved closer whispers following it. His struggling resumed with new hope that the figure could save him. ‘Help!’ He tried to yell again. It echoed in his mind not coming out. The figure came up to him smiling. The whispers got louder with him. ‘What?’ The smile looked creepy and crazed. The figure almost resembled “gaster?” He crooked voice raw even though he just now was able to speak. He smiled wider at the name. “Please help me” He said weakly ink up to his neck, breathing nearly impossible. “HeLp YoU? LiKe YoU HeLpEd mE?” Sans stared with wide eyes. The whispers got louder, the words now recognizable. He almost wished they weren't though. The whispers were insults coming from all directions. “UsEleSS” “LaZy” “HoPeLeSs” “hELpLess”. He wanted to cover his ears but his arms were trapped under. “I’ll HeLp YoU” His smile creeped up and he now struggled against him as the goopy arms pushed him down faster. Soon he was completely encased, he held his breath to no avail. 

 


 

Sans gasped hands pulling at his chest. He looked around seeing the surroundings of his room. His covers had been thrown on the floor in his panic. Sans could almost feel the ink in his non-existent lungs, the hands that practically radiated evil intent. He felt his stomach heave and ran to the bathroom. He bent over the toilet and threw-up. Finally, Sans leaned against the wall sitting on the floor.

 

Sans didn’t know how long it took him to calm down. He knew it was late or early, whichever. The look of that place was engraved in his head. The complete absence of everything, the void he was in. Sans suddenly realized the place he went between the rips looked the same. He sighed not in the mood to check his theory. He shut his eyes but the whispers replayed in his head. “I tried to save you, I-I promise I tried” Sans felt his throat constricting but he pushed back tears. “I promise I’ll get you back” He said resolved and went back into his room. He smiled at the note Papyrus left him. He figured that was how he got to his room. But he mostly focused on the blueprints neatly leaning against his bedside table. He grabbed the blueprints and his key and started walking out but stepped on a piece of paper. He picked it up seeing his crude drawing. As a last thought he brought it with him. 

 

Sans entered his workroom and began pasting blueprints on his wall, he laid the newer ones on his desk. He dragged an old tool box out from under his desk and looked through it. Satisfied with the tools he had he began drawing a new blueprint. “I’ll bring you back, I have to.” He said and began drawing. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Sans took great care not to meet anyone else’s eyes. The memory began to fast forward. He cringed watching himself fall deeper and deeper into his work. He didn’t realize it then, but he was becoming just as obsessed with a project as Gaster was. He watched the blueprints that were crumpled-up and discarded pile-up at his feet. It hit even harder as the memory almost time-lapsed like a camera. He saw metal appear and become the dreaded box he was so captivated with. Every so often a knock would sound at his door, then the memory would slow-down just enough for them to hear his exhausted voice called back another excuse for missing dinner. Sans was almost grateful for what it didn’t show. His visits to the junkyard picking-up metal, scouting around each corner to avoid Alphys. The break-downs he had the few times he went upstairs. Sans felt surrounded once again by the constant scratching of graphite on paper and the turning of pages. He saw the memory stop and cursed silently. He could almost feel the motherly glare Toriel was sending into his back and internally thanked her for trying to keep some sense of normality. He looked up knowing the memory to come would not be a happy one, and hoped that soon he could see good times. Sans sighed unhappily drawing the attention of Frisk who glanced at him worriedly. 

 


 

Sans felt exhausted, his sleep schedule had been completely flipped-upside down this past week. He knew how bad his eating habits have gotten, how much more sleep he should be getting, but he had work to do. Work that he believed was more important than him. He looked at his waning pile of materials. He would have to make another trip to dumpster soon. He had been procrastinating in case Alphys would be there. The one day they ran into each other Alphys began fretting over him like the doctor she was. Sans knew he could ask her for help. Alphys would be more than happy to, in more ways than one. That was the issue though, he caused this so he had to fix it. Sans wasn’t stupid either, he knew Alphys would spend more time trying to fix his mental state rather than the machine. Because at this point Sans knew he was falling down a black hole. He knew that if he dropped the masks and the smiles people would be concerned but he couldn’t bring himself to care. It was easy enough to play it off with the others but a select few knew when his jokes were meant to deflect concerns or when he was pushing a conversation elsewhere on purpose. Alphys was one of those few, and he doesn’t have time to take a “mental health break” right now. Sans stared at one component for a few minutes, growing more and more frustrated with his lack of progress. Days ago Sans realized just what he was dealing with. Science that didn't exist, a place that didn’t exist. He sighed, a monster that didn’t exist. Not anymore, but there wasn’t any dust, no evidence he died. Sans had to keep hoping he was alive, dragged into the theoretical 4th dimension. No matter how hard hoping was becoming. 

Sans heard a quiet knock on his door and broke out of his thoughts. “Brother-” There was a small pause like they were contemplating asking the question, or contemplating whether it was even worth it. “Dinner is ready” A statement and a question at the same time. Sans sighed ‘already?’ He checked his clock. Sans didn’t want to leave he felt so close to a break through. That if he stayed for one more hour than it would happen, he would crack the code to the void. But he’s felt that way for a few days, hasn’t he? He send a forlorned glance at the component. He knew staying here wasn’t going to do anymore good right now. Logically he knew he needed food and a break. Maybe it would be good for him to eat with Papyrus tonight? The thought of stopping made his stomach churn. Even if he didn’t technically have one. He rubbed his skull with his hands “ya okay” He said plainly. Nothing special but the voice jumped several octaves at his response. “Really! You’re coming” Sans smiled. He nodded but chuckled at himself when he realized Papyrus couldn’t see him. “Yep, just let me clean-up” He said standing. There was a pause “okay, I’ll see you up there!” Sans froze. The tone had a slight question to it. Like a kid giving someone an incentive. Papyrus wasn’t saying he was excited, he was saying he’d be disappointed if he didn’t come. Like he didn’t believe Sans would come up, it was a statement. He was going up to eat. Sans rubbed his head again, ‘has it really been that long since I’ve eaten with him? He got so excited’ Sans looked at the door where that they spoke through. It seemed more like a wall than a door these days. Him not leaving, Papyrus not walking in. He shook his head and found one of his ‘shortcuts’ to his room from the lab. He’d finally settled on ‘Shortcut’ as his term for what he did. ‘Rips’ sounded awkward and he decided it was too hard to explain jumping through rips of the time space continuum, because with a term like ‘rips’ comes the inevitable question of ‘rips through what?’. He’d decided he could pick whatever term he wanted since he was basically the first to have this new power. With new people, he could brush it off as some type of rare of new magic.  

Sans took one look in the mirror and was grateful he didn’t just walk through the front door. His shirt was rumpled and covered with splotches of grease and oil. His shorts were in about the same state. His face even had smudges and the bags under his sockets had bags. Papyrus would have flipped if he saw him like this. His brother had always been a clean freak not to mention a worry wart. He didn’t want Papyrus to worry more than he already, it’s supposed to be his job to worry. He was the older brother, but with the dynamic they have now any outsider might not even know they were brother let alone him being the eldest. He sighed thinking about their relationship as Sans washed off and threw on a new pair of clothes. Unfortunately, nothing could be done about his tired eyes. He looked in the mirror smoothing-out his T-shirt and practiced a lazy smile. He forced his eye-lights to burn brighter so he didn’t give anything away. Feeling like he wouldn’t give his brother a heart attack he started downstairs. His smile felt wrong but he knew from experience it didn’t look that way. Either way nothing would give it away more than if he tweaked it in plain sight.

“Hey bro” He greeted casually and Papyrus’ head jerked towards him. “Hello Brother! Guess what I made for dinner!” Sans chuckled at his brother's enthusiasm. “No clue bro” Sans lied. He knew exactly what Papyrus made, he just wondered if it was edible this time. “No Sans! You have to guess!” Sans chuckled “Fine um… you made greasy burgers and fries” Sans plopped down into his usual chair. Usual when he ate upstairs. Papyrus gave him disgusted but knowing look “of course not! I don’t how you can eat so much greasy food” Sans barked a laugh. “Hey don’t forget Coal used to make burgers all the time for us” Papyrus had been on a ‘health kick’ lately and if he told Coal about it Papyrus would be the one getting kicked. Sans chuckled at his own mental joke. He wanted to get fit so he could join the royal guard, apparently that meant no Grillby’s. Sans didn’t know if Papyrus had said anything to Undyne about his dream. In most cases, it’d be a good idea to take advantage of a relationship like that. On the other hand, Sans would understand if he hadn’t, besides the obviously nerve racking part of it, Undyne was his friend and Papyrus was too kind hearted to take advantage of someone like that and would do anything to make sure he didn’t give off that impression. Sans realized he could either, he could think about it, but if the opportunity came he wouldn’t be able to do it. “I swear you avoid Grillby’s like it’s on fire” He left his sentence open ended, enjoying the show of Papyrus slowly comprehending his words. “Oh my god your getting worse” He sighed dropping 2 plates of steaming spaghetti in front of them both as he sat down. “Bon appetit” Papyrus said and Sans smirked mischievously. Just as he began to speak Papyrus’ head jerked up at the joke he unconsciously set up. “Don’t you mean bone appetit ” Papyrus scowled “Sans I didn’t invite you up here to bombard me with. PUNS” He yelled and Sans felt himself laugh. A sense of peace settled over him as he ate with his brother and he marveled briefly how much Papyrus could loosen him up. Maybe their relationship wasn’t as lost as he’d thought. As the dinner progressed Sans felt his fake smile ease and realized just how much he missed his brother. 

The Spaghetti was edible. The noodles were over cooked and there was a weird taste to the pasta sauce but Sans ate every bite much to his stomachs contempt. They chatted away and Sans started to feel normal again, even though he felt a weight in his chest when the conversation would dull for a moment. Even though the guilt of not working to bring Gaster back every second pulled him down. But, The guilt of letting down his family was almost as bad. He let himself have some time with his brother and pretend nothing ever happened. A sense of normalcy settled and Sans ignored the feeling in his gut telling him this would have to end eventually. 

 

All to soon Dinner was done, plates were washed, and there was no more reason for him to stay upstairs. “Welp guess I should get back to work” Sans sighed and chuckled but his heart wasn’t in it. He turned to the door “Do you have to?” Papyrus asked quietly. Maybe he wasn’t meant to hear it, either way he did and Sans didn’t think far enough ahead not to reply. “Well yeah, course I do” Sans replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Papyrus paused “Why?” He asked louder. Sans didn’t have an answer off the bat. Telling him about Gaster would confuse him and he really didn’t want to get into a conversation about all ‘that’. “It’s my job” Sans said, not a complete lie. Sans wanted to leave the conversation, how could he possibly explain to someone the guilt, the need to keep working. He can’t explain it to Alphys and she remembers him but Papyrus…. It wasn’t something he needed to have in his head. Nothing he needed to worry about. “But it’s not!” Papyrus yelled and Sans flinched. “You don’t even go to the lab anymore! Alphys called me saying she was worried and I am too!” Papyrus took a step forward not wanting to give up his point “You shouldn’t worry about me I’m fine. This is something I have to do” Sans said emotionlessly. The energy felt zapped from the room and Papyrus stared at him and lowered his volume. Papyrus gave Sans a look that made Sans’ stomach flip on itself. It accentuated his height, Papyrus now a good foot or so taller than Sans. “If I- started not eating, not talking, only working on my puzzles. Could you just ‘stop’ worrying about me” Papyrus said and looked at him. Looked through Sans as his words shot him like bullets.

Sans knew the trap he was in. “I’m your big brother…. It’s different” A peaty excuse and both knew it. Sans didn’t make eye contact as he talked. Papyrus didn’t understand, It was Sans’ job to make it so that never happened. In the end, Papyrus lost the will to fight and Sans felt more defeated then ever before. Nobody won that argument and that was most serious fight they’ve ever had. Often the two brothers would ‘play’ fight, like Papyrus and Sans’ puns. Even the ‘Lazybones’ argument was in good fun. They both knew that, but those fights often left off with an air of playful chaos. This fight left the air stagnant and stuffy, concern filled every corner of the room. Papyrus muttered an okay, his voice quieter than it had ever been. He sent one more pained look before retreating to the kitchen. Sans stood in place though, staring at the place Papyrus stood moments ago. He felt like the world was crashing down on him. ‘Big Brother’ He thought the word with distaste. ‘He deserves better’ an apology lingered on his teeth but he never made a move to the kitchen. He walked out the door and headed to his workshop on auto pilot. Sans didn’t notice himself sit on the chair until he was knee deep in blueprints again. He dropped his head in hands. “What do I do?” He mumbled. His voice was muffled by his palms, he felt his eye sockets grow heavy with tears that he refused to shed. “PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” Sans yelled. He didn’t know who he was yelling at, maybe Gaster. But to anyone listening, each word rolled with waves of desperation, guilt, and heartbreak. The sentence rang with sadness. Even a hint at anger to the friend that left him behind with no direction. Sans choked down a sob, feeling more confused than ever before.

Feeling like every choice he made was the wrong one. He tried to push everything down but his emotions overwhelmed him. He tried burying himself in his work. To lose himself in the numbers and algorithms. Normally, science is where he felt at home. A world of concrete laws in a mess of unpredictable emotions. Today, however, he’d never felt more estranged. No matter what he did waves of guilt crashed into him. Guilt for working and not being a good brother. Being the brother Papyrus deserved. A brother Sans could never be. When he stopped the guilt of not doing everything in power to help, burdened him. Because the thoughts were ingrained in his head. That it’s his fault and the only reason he’s alive right now was to bring Gaster back. Everything left him exhausted and incapable of doing anything. Giving up, he left the room and shut and locked the door. He didn’t want to go inside and face the failures he had made as a brother, but the workshop felt just as sickening. Now, even the emptiness of the void began to sound enticing. Complete sensory deprivation. Sans found a rip and walked in no destination in mind, but unknowingly his soul called out for comfort and warmth. He appeared in the snow next to a brick building, Sans didn’t bother to check which one. He looked to be in an alley but that’s all he saw before his head dropped to his knees and he lost his will to hold his emotions back. Even though he was out of the void, he felt the dark consume him as he leaned against the cold wall and felt the snow under him. Before he was completely lost, Sans saw a comforting familiar face peek through. He felt warm arms surround him and he gave in clutching them like a lifeline as he was drowning. 

Chapter Text

Time passed and Sans slowly began to regain his composure and gathered himself enough to look to his savior. He was met with the soft glow of Grillby’s face, concerned and unsure. Sans mumbled an apology and Grillby looked horrified. Before he even knew what was happening he was being dragged into Grillby’s restaurant and sat on a stool up front. Grillby disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a bottle of ketchup and hot burger. Soon he felt the warmth of his friend settle next to him. “Do you want to talk?” Grillby asked but Sans focused on the burger, his appetite was completely gone. “Only if you want to” Grillby added. Sans looked up at him skull somehow stained with the streams of tears, he had stopped crying but still felt the pressure in his throat. “The burger?” Sans said knowing full well that wasn’t what he was referring to. “That's not- I mean that too, don’t force yourself to eat it” Grillby apparently decided not to push the subject. Little did he know that was exactly what he needed to do. They sat in silence as Sans tried desperately to piece his mask together and Grillby piecing together his next sentence. “I’m fine Grillbz” Sans finished first, a tired but lazy smile in place perfectly. Almost hiding how he broke down in Grillby’s arms. Grillby was shaking from both anger and fear for his friend. Grillby reached over and hugged him. Sans stiffened and Grillby felt it, not dropping the hug. “C’mon Grillbz I’m fine” This time Grillby heard it when Sans’ voice cracked slightly. Sans was torn between asking for help or pushing it away. He felt the tears before they came and he closed his eyes, hoping to block them out. “You’re not okay Sans, please don’t hide it from me” That perfectly placed smile saddened Grillby almost as much as the actual event. It was practiced, and put on so easily. In all honestly Grillby was terrified. 

He had found Sans outside hiccuping and curled into a ball, his back was pressed against the wall of the restaurant. Only he didn’t know it was Sans at first. To Grillby, Sans had been an ever smiling monster. A rock for Papyrus, a determined friend, someone who turning negatives into positives was as easy as breathing. Maybe that’s why the monster crying, looking so defeated, didn’t register to him as Sans. He went to check on them, not able to ignore someone like that, but the blue jacket tipped him off and sent him running. Grillby ran to his friend who looked so lost. So broken and ... hopeless . And in that alley, Grillby thought he was going to see a monster fall down. Top that feeling with knowledge that monster was his friend…. Yeah, Grillby was terrified. He did everything hoping to bring Sans back from whatever corner of his mind he was trapped in. Sans shook with sobs and Grillby’s words fell on deaf ears. Finally Sans started to come around and become more aware. Grillby didn’t know what to do at that moment, the only other time he’d seen Sans’ break-down was when Papyrus got hurt. He wasn’t even phased about his eye. Grillby couldn’t help but think that what caused this had been a long time coming. A long time of whittling down one of the strongest monsters he knew. When Sans’ first words were “sorry” Grillby was even more worried and immediately dragged him into the restaurant. 

Now Grillby focus on the feeling of Sans pressed up against him. He was weakly pushing away, but Sans was obviously physically and emotionally drained. Sans began shaking from the effort of holding tears in “please Grillby” Sans insisted, because staying in this hug was breaking him down, and breaking his walls down. The walls he so carefully constructed. Grillby only hugged harder hearing the tears in his friend's voice. Soon Sans relented falling into the hug and a few tears leaked slowly, not the uncontrollable flood from before but only small drops that trickled down his face. Only then did Grillby let go “Talk to me” He said. ‘Please’ He added mentally not saying it out loud but letting the word display clearly on his face. Sans looked at him conflicted. “You can’t understand, It barely makes sense to me” Sans laughed humorlessly. It scared Grillby even more, it was broken laugh he’d never heard before, but he stayed determined. “Try me” Grillby brought himself a can of soda and pushed the ketchup bottle closer to Sans. An unspoken sentence ‘I’m prepared to stay here until you do, and your not leaving either’. Sans heard it loud and clear.

Sans wiped his eyes and took a deep breath. “Do you… Do you remember me getting that internship at the lab?” Grillby nodded slightly. “Vaguely” Grillby said never putting much thought into the event. Sans looked up at him surprised before continuing. “I-I worked there for a while, it became more than an internship to me.” Grillby listened carefully. It seemed like a story that was hard to tell and Grillby realized that if whatever problem that caused this started back then…. He’d be far out of his element. Sans realized as he started his tale that he has never told it before, besides to Alphys. That was directly after what happened when nothing had really seemed real yet. “We all become friends and Gaster was my mentor too” Sans froze when he noticed he said his name. He hesitantly looked to the elemental next to him, but Grillby never really knew Gaster in the first place. There would be no ‘empty’ memories. His name felt foreign, it was something that almost felt wrong to say. Sans continued, his voice breaking at the hardest part, the part he hadn’t even told to Alphys because with her he never needed to. Alphys saw the destruction and pieced it together. She didn’t understand it all, Sans had never been able to vocalize all that happened. Until now he figured. “The project we worked on though, he-he tried to do it on his own” Sans felt tears and he was sick of crying. “It exploded…” Grillby gasped involuntarily. “I was next to him- I was right there-” Sans choked. “He pushed me out and- stars it’s all my fault” Grillby hugged Sans again who had his skull in his hand covering his tears. “It’s not your fault Sans-” Grillby started but Sans cut him off. “It is! I should have stopped him. I should have done something, noticed him getting obsessed sooner. And I’m trying to bring him back but now- now I’m failing Papyrus and I don’t know what to do.” Sans was yelling into his hands and Grillby was at a loss.

He knew very little of the events he was being told about, like why Sans believed he could bring a dead monster back, but he didn’t want to push for more information. That and he had the distinct feeling he already knew more than anyone else. “You aren’t failing Papyrus” He said matter of factly. Sans scoffed and sniffed “sure” he replied sarcastically his voice watery. “Sans you can’t fail him. You still worry about him right, and care about him?” Sans looked up “Of course” Sans said it was absurd for the answer to be anything else. In all honesty, it was. Papyrus was Sans’ sunshine, the only family he had left, but it was more than that. Grillby smiled “Then you aren't failing him. But...Sans, how long do you work on bringing your friend back?”. Sans looked confused but soon caught on, he looked down not wanting to admit it. Grillby cringed, that was enough of an answer for him. “You talked about not noticing the signs of him getting obsessed but look at yourself for a second” Grillby sounded genuinely concerned and he let it bleed into voice. “Your working constantly and knowing you, you aren't eating or drinking or taking care of yourself at all” Grillby tried to push his point. “I have to Grillbz, I’m the only one who can bring him back!” Sans yelled frustrated at nothing but his situation.

Grillby sighed and looked down contemplating with himself “Sometimes- sometimes you have to accept that- that their gone Sans.” Grillby looked up with shiny eyes, he was hoping that Sans would understand. His eyes pleaded to him, so he would stop doing this to himself. Grillby couldn’t bare to see Sans broken down like this, it wasn’t healthy for him to continue. Grillby found himself frustrated that Sans couldn’t see how it was affecting the monsters around him. Hell, he only saw him for half a day and it was heartbreaking. He couldn't imagine how Papyrus was handling it. Sans finally looked at Grillby, He looked so understanding that caught Sans off guard. He saw a hint of recognition and experience in his eyes as he talked. The entire time Sans had known Grillby, he never knew of anything that would awaken such a look from him. Sans thought of before he’d met him and had the sudden realization he never asked about Grillby’s mom. It always seemed like a topic off boundaries and it never seemed odd his mom wasn’t ever around. Sans listened to his words, sifting through and finding them coated with Grillby’s own grief. “And then you move on, take care of what's left and treasure it” Sans knew what he had to do but tears still hadn’t stopped. “I can’t leave him…” Sans’ posture dipped. All his work, he knew it was hurting him but, he had to be close, he just had to be. “You aren’t going to. But, would he want you to leave Papyrus?” Sans sobbed one last time. He couldn’t accept he was gone but Grillby opened a door that logic could finally break through to him. He had no proof Gaster was even still alive, he felt his resolve crumble and he tried to apologize before being engulfed in a warm hug once again. And if Sans felt tears on his back he said nothing, and if Grillby felt his friend tremble he wouldn’t comment on it. 

 


 

The two sat eating late at night. Talking about little things trying to no avail to disperse the sad atmosphere hanging above them both. Briefly Sans wondered if he should ask about Grillby’s mom but decided today was not the day. If there would ever be a day to ask about it, After all Sans had a basic idea about what happened. It was never easy for older monsters to suddenly never get to see the sun or the stars again. The mood never completely left but Sans felt good reconnecting with his friend, Papyrus wasn’t the only one he’d been neglecting as he worked. 

Sans checked his phone and saw a missed call from Papyrus. He jumped up suddenly. “Oh jeez Papyrus called me, he’s probably worried, I should to go” Grillby chuckled as Sans panicked to leave. “Hey hold up a sec” Grillby walked into the back and came out with a take-out box. He laughed seeing Sans literally jumping from foot to foot anxious to leave. He saw the box and sent a questioning look to the fire elemental. “Extra food, make sure you eat it” He said sternly and handed him the box and Sans felt the warmth sink into his finger tips. He stared at the box and then looked to his friend “Thanks Grillbz” He said smiling lightly. “No problem we’ve got plenty of extra back there” Grillby waved it off. Sans shook his head “No... thanks” Sans said said again sincerely. Grillby’s face softened and he nodded “I’m always here Sans, And don’t forget your promise.” He smiled warmly and Sans returned it “Keep making food like this and it won’t be hard to keep” He quipped before heading out the door like normal before using the alley to shortcut into the living room. He came to the realization he’d never seen that rip before yet he ended up there. ‘Good it happened i guess’ Sans commented. “Pap!” He yelled walking to the fridge and putting the leftovers in the fridge. He felt the floor leave him and without warning he was brought into a hug. “ Bone-crushing welcome home isn’t it” Sans joked almost naturally. “Not now” Papyrus mumbled into the back of his jacket and Sans’ smile dimmed. “Hey it’s okay bro” Sans turned around with some struggle, Papyrus had an iron grip on him, and hugged back. “I thought you- you were- and I couldn’t-” Papyrus couldn’t get as sentence out in his distress. “I’m okay. It’s okay” Sans repeated. He sat comforting Papyrus and cursed his scatterbrained skull for not thinking of leaving a note. Especially after how things ending before they left. At that moment he decided Papyrus’ happiness was what was important. He tucked Papyrus in for the first time in weeks and then went down to his workshop.

Standing at the top of the stairs Sans felt the stuffy atmosphere of the room, it was unsettling. He’d never noticed how cramped the room felt until now. The lights were bright but the room definitely wasn’t. He walked down and with some difficulty put the blueprints in a neat pile in a drawer. He threw away the crumpled paper on the ground, finally Sans brought a tarp over to the machine he had relentlessly worked on. “I’m sorry…” He said hoping Gaster could hear him before he dropped the tarp over the machine. He left the room before he could change his mind and took a shortcut to his room.

He flopped onto the bed and hissed at the false empty feeling in his chest. “Now what?” he said out loud and Grillby’s words rang in his head 

“And then you move on, take care of what's left and treasure it”

Sans sighed. “I’m gonna be the brother you deserve Papyrus” Sans said but part of his mind still doubted he could ever get there. Said he was still too lazy, that he would never be enough. Bad habits can’t be broken in one night after all. 

 

But Sans would try anyway because what else can he do.

Chapter Text

“Sans! Wake up!” Sans blinked his eyes open slowly, wincing slightly at the light coming in. Papyrus was jumping up and down on the couch trying to shake Sans awake. It’s been some time since the bullies attacked them. Papyrus had been growing increasingly restless. Coal ordered Papyrus to rest, when that didn’t work Sans was put in charge of watching him. “Let's do something!” Papyrus shook Sans by his shoulders like a rag doll. “I’m fine being a lazy bones” Sans replied lazily “You’ve already used that one!” The smaller skeleton groaned. Sans smiled stood up sitting at eye level with his younger brother who was standing on the couch. “Fine what are we doing” Sans smiled at his brother. Papyrus was beaming, the incident looked to be forgotten as he smiled. Because of Grillby’s healing magic, there weren't any marks on his skull. You’d never know it happened in the first place. But Sans would never forget, he couldn’t forget the crack as his brothers skull hit hard rock. The panic that washed over him seeing his energetic brother lying lifeless on the ground. Papyrus was too positive to focus on it though, to excited to move on and see what life had in store for him. So Sans was moving past it too.

Papyrus was finally off of house arrest. “We should go shopping!” Papyrus’ eyes sparkled, excited to be productive and moving. It should have been a logical request, it was almost Giftmas after all, but the words sent a shiver up Sans’ spine. The entire fight started when they went shopping. Sans couldn’t but wonder if they were waiting for them. Waiting to take revenge for Sans’ attacks. His reaction must have been visible, Papyrus looked at him concerned and called his but Sans was stuck in his own head. Thinking about all the bad things that could happen to them, to him, if they went. Soon enough Grillby was in his face yelling at him “Sans! Sans look at me!”. Fire like tears welled up in his eyes barely visible against his burning skin. “What’s-” Sans could barely finish before Grillby and Papyrus hit him with a hug. “Geez what’s up” Sans laughed nervously. Grillby was the first to respond “For a second your eye lights… they- they were gone and I thought-” Grillby took a deep breath and continued “I thought that both your eyes were-” Sans realized the rest of the sentence and ran a hand up the front of his skull. “I’m sorry for the scare but it’s kinda a normal thing for us… i think” It was always normal for him anyway. Almost like a surprise factor. “That and you being totally clocked-out didn’t help at all!” Grillby hit him in the arm but Sans saw the relief behind the fake anger.

Grillby might have taken his lost eye harder than Sans himself. He thought it was because his magic wasn’t good enough or that he did a bad job healing. Even though Sans tried hard to convince him otherwise it never seemed to work. Another scare wasn’t what he needed right now. Papyrus interrupted the quiet “So can we go shopping now!” Sans cringed and Grillby’s head flipped to Sans so fast he should have gotten whiplash. A look of realization crossed his face “I-I don’t know Papyrus maybe…” Grillby discreetly put a hand on Sans shoulder “If you do go I’ll come with.” He said resolutely and Sans breathed a little more. It didn’t quench his fear completely but it eased it knowing his friend would come too. Not to mention that they couldn’t live the rest of their lives without having to go shopping at some point. Papyrus’ face was a forced neutral, trying not to get excited or disappointed yet. Sans nodded and breathed an okay. Papyrus jumped up in excitement and began listing off the things they needed to get ranging from food to presents.

Not long after the two twelve year olds were walking through Snowdin to the store, a nine year old Papyrus running ahead. Grillby noticed how Sans’ eye lights flashed from side to side and how he unconsciously reached for Papyrus when he got a little farther ahead then Sans would have liked. Grillby did what he could and it was easy to see Sans was grateful for it. They shopped for food and ingredients for the perfect Giftmas dinner according to Papyrus, and a mix of cinnamon bunnies and veggies for Santa. Eventually all that was left was Giftmas presents. Sans had calmed down enough that he was fully enjoying the outing, they searched for a Giftmas present for Coal each discreetly looking at presents for the others in the group. When Sans found a bright pair of red boots Papyrus would adore he signaled Grillby to watch Papyrus and snuck off to buy them, not without a surprised look for Grillby first. Sans checked the price of the boots and was pleased to see he had enough money for them. He walked up to the counter and bought them from the lady. She went on about her boys and how sweet he was to buy a present for his brother. Sans didn’t see anything abnormal about it though. He walked a little bit and tried to hide the boots in the bag completely. He frowned realizing he would need another bag to put on top of the boots in order to cover them. He turned to go back in the store when he saw them. They were checking out at the same desk, he tried to convince himself it wasn’t the case. What were the chances all three of them were shopping at the same store? But Sans recognized the leaders purple fur and the boots he wore, the other snow white bunnies behind him. He remembered what their fur looked like stained with dirt from a battle.

Sans froze in place staring, he urged his reflexes to pop-up like in the fight, make him move or run. But Sans stayed frozen shaking hand gripping Papyrus’ present. The boys turned around and saw him almost immediately, the two behind quickly ran farther into the store while the purple bunny and Sans stood in place. The bunny moved forward and Sans suddenly got his wits about him to step back, he turned to run but... “Wait!”. Sans followed the request, something about the desperation in his voice hit him, Sans turned around and saw his foes face light with surprise. It was a legitimate response, Sans was surprised at his own actions. “Listen I- I’m sorry. We never meant to- to hurt him, we just…” He trailed off and Sans felt rage come but he pushed it down. “Can you forgive me?” He asked hopefully and Sans held his breath. Something about the action of asking for forgiveness made Sans feel obligated to forgive him, to shake hands and say it was all in the past. It’s what Papyrus would have done, in a heartbeat he would have said yes. Sans though, he didn’t think he was at that point and it made his heart twinge. He wondered if it made him a bad person, that he wasn’t ready to forgive. “I’m sorry but..” Sans turned to walk away but stopped his sentence.

He realized he shouldn’t be sorry. He wasn’t the one who made fun of his brother, who hurt him, who made him sit in a bed for a week from an injury to his skull. He felt his rage boil up again. “You know what forget that.” Sans said and turned around, the bunny jumped at his change of mood. “Forgiveness has to be earned and all of three times I’ve seen you you’ve done nothing to earn it” Sans didn’t know where his sudden rush of confidence came from but all he knew was that at that moment he felt untouchable. “We didn’t mean to hurt him I swear!” Sans scowled “them what did you mean to do” Sans’ question was met with silence. “Maybe one day in the future we could talk but right now I don’t want to see you near me or my brother again and if I do, I won’t hesitate to protect him” Referring to his mystery attack he summoned. The bunny had the sense to look down, ashamed, and Sans began to walk away present in hand. “Is he- okay?” Asked the small voice. Sans almost punched him then and there but he knew Papyrus wouldn’t approve. How dare he ask him that when he’s the reason he was hurt in the first place! Instead Sans let his words do the job for him, “He will be without you around” Sans said simply resisting the urge to look at his face as Sans walked away. He had a brief thought of being mean but it was quickly washed away by a sense of justice that finally he was put in his place.

He met up with Grillby and Papyrus both sending him questions about what took him so long. Along the way he’d found another bag to cover the boots. Papyrus asked once or twice where he went eyeing the bag in hand tied shut in order to keep him from peeking. He quietly told Grillby that he wanted to talk later and they continued on with the day.

At night, after Papyrus was asleep Sans and Grillby wrapped the presents they could in each others company. “So he just apologized?” Grillby asked having been mostly caught up about the situation. “Yep” Sans said setting another gift in the pile to be delivered to the Snowdin Giftmas tree tomorrow. Grillby sat back after he finished the last gift. “Wow… sounds like you told him off good” Grillby smiled. “If anything, maybe this’ll all keep him from doing it to other kids” Grillby continued. “No big brother needs to hear that” Sans winced but shook his head. “It’s all over now though. Papyrus is happy and safe. We should focus on Giftmas” Sans said enthusiastically. Grillby shook his head fondly “It’s in these moments you can really tell you’re brothers” Sans grinned mischievously “What’s that supposed to mean!” Sans lightly punched his friend and before long they were both laughing. Coal walked in the room “Boys quiet! You’ll wake up Papyrus!” Hiding their giggles both boys apologized and continued their night.

Chapter Text

Sans watched his younger self try to fall asleep. Watched himself toss and turn bundling the sheets up even more as a result. The others took this as an intermission of some sort. Alphys and Undyne talked with Toriel and Frisk. Alphys shot looks at Sans who continued to watch the repetitive fight. Sans briefly thought that Alphys knew the mindset he was in. Papyrus was jumping in and out of the conversation. Switching between keeping up appearances and his own concerned looks. Looks that were slowly losing their meaning. It seemed like any memory brought them and Sans had started to build up an immunity. He sighed almost feeling the frustration his past self had in this moment. Eventually that him gave up, staring at the ceiling left with nothing more than sounds of night in the underground. That and his thoughts. Sans laid back the same way staring at the empty top of the room. He tried looking into the white that was too white, but started to get a headache and sat back up. Eventually his past self started to fall asleep, not peacefully but still, it was sleep. 

Sans turned to the others and smiled at Frisk who was watching him. They walked over as Sans got up and brushed his shorts straight. “Are you okay?” They asked sincerely, Sans sighed “yeah, just getting kinda tired of that question” Frisk looked down “sorry” they said quietly. “Not your fault it’s just, this is why I didn’t want my memories shown in the first place. Don’t need you guys looking at me differently. Not to mention its digging up old memory I barely managed to bury.” Sans looked back at the screen but Frisk forced his attention back to them. “No one will think any less of you!” Frisk said determined. “Maybe not less but, definitely not the same. “ Frisk looked at him trying to keep the concern off their face for his sake. Sans shook his skull like it would shake the ideas and thoughts out of it. “Nothin’ we need to be thinking about now, and don’t you start making sad faces...” Frisk hid a smile, they were familiar with his tone of voice. “... I marrowly escaped the last group hug we don’t need to trigger another one” Frisk barked a laugh and Sans smiled before walking back to the group. He walked back to the group sending glances to the memory. He was dreading the memories to come. If the last ones had proven anything it’s that no subject was left untouched, not it if left some effect on him. Sans sighed and motioned Frisk to follow him.

 


 

Sans heard his alarm go off in the morning, something he'd forgotten about. It took time before Sans put together what happened last night. For him it seemed like that short time lasted days. The hours of emotional talks left him drained mentally. He sat staring at his white ceiling that was too bright at the moment as he heard a shuffle from the room next door. His alarm clock droned behind him, a background to the war in his head. Sans had promised himself he'd be a better brother. That meant getting up, maybe surprising Papyrus and telling him he was done with the project. Maybe with science altogether, now they were a constant reminder of how he was just to slow, how he’ll never live up to him. Sans closed his eyes holding on to his last moments of peace. Even so, Another part of him dreaded the day. Dreaded having to get up and face his brother, his friend. Once Sans started contemplating whether he had a purpose, he realized his moment of peace had past. Closing his eyes may block out the world but it can't block out your mind. Sans heard a quiet gasp and noted that the alarm clock had been turned off. Sans pretended to just be waking up, he opened his eyes and saw his younger brother next to the bed. "hey bro what's up?" Sans said his voice still groggy from sleep even though he'd woken up a while ago. "It's just you're here, I mean in bed! And not in the basement!" Papyrus said struggling to convey his true meaning but Sans understood. His head screamed guilty sentences at him. This never shouldn't have to be a surprise. Sans plastered on a lazy smile and blew off the comment on the outside. He vaguely remarked about breakfast causing Papyrus to rush down stairs and cook "a feast". Sans hung back, his insides churning at the conversation. His alarm clock was turned off by Papyrus no doubt. It begged the question why it was active in the first place. It was set to go off every morning so why hadn't Papyrus unplugged it? Why go to his room every morning to shut off an alarm you could turn off for good? The answer slapped him in the face not 5 seconds later. Papyrus missed him. His eye sockets started watering at the thought but he pushed it back and walked downstairs.


Sans plopped onto his chair both arms on the table. A pose that conveyed nothing more than laziness and apathy. “Are you okay brother?” Papyrus asked, flipping a pancake that looked suspiciously like noodles squished together. “Ya I’m fine bro. Just got a lotta sleep to catch-up on” Sans yawned proving his point to himself. Papyrus paused “Does that mean?” Papyrus left the question opened-ending afraid of getting an answer. “Yeah it does, I’m hanging-up my lab coat” Sans said and Papyrus beamed “Really! I- I mean you don’t have to give up science but this is great!” Papyrus failed to control his excitement and picked Sans up twirling him. Sans squeaked in surprise at the movement before something clicked in his mind. “Papyrus what the hell!” Papyrus stopped spinning and looked at his older brother, confused and slightly guilty. “What's wrong?” Sans huffed at the question “Process Pap, You're holding me straight in front of you” Sans paused and continued when Papyrus still didn’t understand. “You’re holding me Straight In Front of You and My Feet Can’t Touch the Ground!” Sans said exasperated. Papyrus giggled when he caught on “I have been training with Undyne” He put Sans down as he grumbled about “how that wasn’t the issue” and smiled proudly. Sans caught a laugh seeing the younger skeletons pose. Hands on his hips and Red scarf blowing in the wind… that shouldn’t exist. Sans briefly looked for a source of wind before he noticed the scarf had a faint blue tip to it. Clever way to use magic, funny, but clever nonetheless. Sans turned around to the ‘pancakes’ and made sure they weren't burning. “Like more than just cooking?” Sans noticed the coffee maker was full and filled a mug sighing gratefully at the taste of caffeine and took the food off the heat. Papyrus smiled “Yeah, she says I have potential Sans! Your welcome by the way” Papyrus added in reference to the coffee. Sans hummed in a thank you. “Shes gonna train me to join the royal guard!” Sans briefly choked on his coffee at the line. It was so sudden and not at all what he expected. “That’s... cool” he said after his coughing was under control. Papyrus was too excited to notice his response. Sans smiled pushing back a grimace. “Speaking of Undyne I should head over for training today! I’m almost late for being early! Bye brother!” Papyrus raced out the door leaving Sans dumbfounded.

“Royal Guard huh” Sans said his voice wobbly. There was nothing he wanted more than for Papyrus to achieve his childhood dream but… “P-Please leave my brother and I alone and we will be on our w-way” ... Sans shuttered at the memory. The fight, the moment he thought he’d lost him. Sans set the coffee down not trusting his hands to hold the cup. The royal guard was dangerous, ruthless. Papyrus would need to be okay with hurting, even killing, another living thing to survive there. Sans walked backwards into the chair behind him, forcing himself to sit down. Sans knew his brother and if there’s one thing he’s proved it’s that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Not if he doesn’t have to.  His attacks have no intent even in the worst of situations. Papyrus would rather die than kill . Sans phone rang breaking him out of his thoughts. He shook his head as he picked it up ‘whats the chances a human would even fall down. One hasn’t come for years’ He thought looking at the number attempting to rid his brain of those thoughts. He picked up the phone and noted that it’s been a few minutes. Time flies when you're stuck in your head.

“Hey bro what’s up? You at Undyne’s already?” Sans asked but was surprised to hear a different, but still familiar, voice on the other end. “Sans?” “Undyne? Why do you have Papyrus’ phone?” when she didn’t answer right away Sans panicked. “Is he okay?!” Undyne rushed to answer after his comment “No he’s fine. it’s just-” There was mumbling on the other end. Sans calmed “What? I couldn’t hear.” more mumbling. “Undyne speak-up” Sans said plainly. “I Need Help Okay! I Can’t say no to him! He’s just too...Urgg!” Sans sat silently for a second. He assumed she was talking about his brother. “Papyrus? What do you need to say no to?” “The Guard! He wants to join it and I got a letter about a sentry position opening-up and he saw and he asked me if he could do it and” She trailed off and Sans’ blood ran cold. “Undyne you didn’t” “I did” Sans was angry and panicking at the same time. “You know him right! He won’t hurt a fly let alone a- a human!” Suddenly all reassurances about the likelihood of a human coming flew out the window. This was happening and now. “Yes I know WHY ELSE WOULD I CALL YOU. He’s gonna get eaten alive!” Sans tried to calm down, having both of them freak-out wasn’t going to help. If only this had been farther off, if only he had more time. “When does he start?” Sans asked forcing the emotion and panic from his voice. “Tomorrow” Undyne said uncharacteristically quiet. Sans was quiet for a long time thinking of a solution. Finally, one came to mind. ‘For Papyrus’ he thought as he spoke. “Give me a sentry position” he said with finality. His voice was serious almost grave as he spoke.

Undyne was taken aback “What?”. Sans knew what he was doing. He was a one hit kill, barely a pebble in the face of any human. At least if they were anything like they’d been told. A soul the strength of 10 monsters, a mind as sharp as any knife. Which means he would have to be faster and stronger. ‘Something I can’t do’ a thought drilled into head over the past few days. “Give me a sentry position...One closer to the door to the ruins… then I’ll see the humans first and I’ll send Pap to inform everyone.” Sans elaborated. “Sans I can’t-” The older skeleton cut her off, his emotionless voice swelling with anger. “You have to! Because you just put my brother on the front lines and I’ll be damned if he’s there alone and first” Sans felt his magic crackle, begging to be released, at his anger. “Either that or you tell him the truth, cause I’m not telling him his hero and friend lied and wants to go back on her word!” Undyne growled in response. “Why do you even want him out there! Isn’t it better for him to have a crushed heart than being dusted!” Undyne seemed to be trying to keep her voice level to no avail. Maybe Papyrus was around somewhere. She was using his phone.

“Undyne you know just as well as I do that's it’s his dream…” Sans voice become somber with nostalgia. “Every since he was a baby bones, I can’t take it away knowing that he finally has a chance. Not without giving him an opportunity to prove himself first.” Sans sighed “Keep training him, please, Once I’m confident he can hold his own I’ll resign. But Only Then.” He said with finality. Undyne sighed “and if a human comes before then?” Sans chuckled darkly. “Then I’ll have my work cut out for me, such a shame I was beginning to enjoy being lazy” “This isn’t a joke” She spit out the four letter word with such venom. “I know but, Hey! What are the chances of a human actually coming anyway” Sans said doubling back on the argument he’d used against himself. Undyne sighed, knowing she had no more counter arguments. ‘Glad she doesn’t know about my HP or this would be a different story’ Sans thought. He heard yelling from the other end of the line. “7:00am at Snowdin Forest. Bring a jacket” She said and hung-up giving no room for reply. “Way ahead of ya” Sans said referring to the blue jacket he almost always had on. He plopped down on the worn green couch. “Welp better enjoy free time while it lasts.” He settled into his jacket planning to take a nap and make up for lost sleep.

“I’ve got work tomorrow”.