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A Different Circumstance

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"📬 📬 📬 ✋ ❄ ✋ 💧 ✈ 🕆 ✋ ❄ ☜ ✋ ☠ ❄ ☜ ☼ ☜ 💧 ❄ ✋ ☠ ☝ 📪 ✋ 💧 ✋ ❄ ☠ ⚐ ❄ ✍
👎 ☜ 💧 🏱 ✋ ❄ ☜ 💣 ⚐ ☠ 💧 ❄ ☜ ☼ 👌 ⚐ 👎 ✋ ☜ 💧 👌 ☜ ✋ ☠ ☝ 💣 ⚐ 💧 ❄ ☹ ✡ 👍 ⚐ 💣 🏱 ☼ ✋ 💧 ☜ 👎 ⚐ ☞ 💣 ✌ ☝ ✋ 👍 📬 📬 📬
❄ ☟ ☜ ✡ ❄ ☜ ☠ 👎 ❄ ⚐ ⚐ 🏱 ☜ ☼ ✌ ❄ ☜ 👍 ☹ ⚐ 💧 ☜ ☹ ✡ ❄ ⚐ 💣 ✌ 💣 💣 ✌ ☹ 👌 ✋ ⚐ ☹ ⚐ ☝ ✡ 📬 📬 📬
💧 🕆 👍 ☟ ✌ 💧 ❄ ☟ ☜ 💧 ❄ ✌ ☠ 👎 ✌ ☼ 👎 ✠ ✌ ☠ 👎 ✡ 👍 ☟ ☼ ⚐ 💣 ⚐ 💧 ⚐ 💣 ☜ 👍 ⚐ ☠ ☞ ✋ ☝ 🕆 ☼ ✌ ❄ ✋ ⚐ ☠ 💧 📬 📬 📬
⚐ ☠ ☜ 💧 💣 ✌ ☹ ☹ 👍 ☟ ✌ ☠ ☝ ☜ ✋ ☠ 💧 🕆 👍 ☟ ✌ 💧 ✋ 💣 🏱 ☹ ☜ 🏱 ✌ ❄ ❄ ☜ ☼ ☠ 📬 📬 📬
👍 ✌ ☠ 💣 ✌ 😐 ☜ ✌ ☹ ☹ ❄ ☟ ☜ 👎 ✋ ☞ ☞ ☜ ☼ ☜ ☠ 👍 ☜ ✋ ☠ ❄ ☟ ☜ 🕈 ⚐ ☼ ☹ 👎 📬 📬 📬
❄ ☟ ✋ 💧 ☠ ☜ ✠ ❄ ☜ ✠ 🏱 ☜ ☼ ✋ 💣 ☜ ☠ ❄ 💧 ☜ ☜ 💣 💧 ✞ ☜ ☼ ✡ 📬 📬 📬 ✞ ☜ ☼ ✡ 📬 📬 📬

 

✋ ☠ ❄ ☜ ☼ ☜ 💧 ❄ ✋ ☠ ☝ 📬 📬 📬"

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With a twist and a merciless shove, the rickety front door flew open. The metal doorknob struck the wall with a hard thud that reverberated through the surrounding trees. The doorknob seemed to only dig deeper an indentation in the wall that had accumulated size over the years through continuous ruthless slamming. A juvenile dragon monster with purple skin and long, greasy, brown hair by the name of Sam stepped out and scowled at the bright sun in the sky. As the disgruntled youth descended the heavily molded steps that creaked with every fluctuation of weight, the door was left ajar as if it was expected to close on its own.

Heavily weathered boots that surprisingly fit found themselves uncaringly stomping onto the heavily cracked driveway. A ratty old jacket with a broken zipper from years long past failed to protect Sam's susceptible skin from the elements. The ripped holes in his weathered blue jeans allowed for the crisp autumn air to flow freely onto his legs.

Besides the recent drop in temperature, several signs of winter's slow approach made themselves apparent to the residents of a sleepy rural town by the unoriginal name of Hometown. The days grew shorter, yet shorter with every rotation of the planet. The leaves themselves turned from a vibrant green to a modest yellow.

Due to the smaller size of the town itself, there was no need for any school buses to pick anyone up since the school was generally within walking distance for most students. However, this would only add onto the already sky-high pile of problems for the drake. He actually had to walk a shorter distance to the school than his classmates that lived in the apartments just north of the school, but it was still just as much of a slog considering Sam's current state.

Heavy bags yanked down on Sam's eyes, his entire body felt stiff and rigid, and his ever so loudly growling stomach felt emptier than usual. He had spent the previous night tossing and turning on an uncomfortable, sheet-less, blanket-less mattress propped up on a cheap metal bed frame. The lack of any decent meal in a good while clawed at the dragon from within, sapping his physical and mental energy.

A clawed hand clumsily shoved itself into a jacket pocket as it grasped at a nearly empty pack of cigarettes. Sam pulled it out and popped it open as spindly tendrils of smoke poured into the open air from his nostrils and the corners of his mouth. Sam mustered a puff of fire large enough to light the small stick of addictive chemicals and tar right before popping the yellow end of it into his mouth.

After taking the first puff of the day, a pillar of smoke and foggy breath was ejected from Sam's mouth and nostrils. At last, the dragon felt just a little more at ease as the small high from getting his nicotine fix soothed his mind, even if it was for just a short while. A quick glance at the cardboard container revealed that it was finally empty. Sam cast the carton aside with no regard for littering laws and kept moving forward.

The path, however, was still blocked by a traffic barrier that Undyne, the local lunatic in a police uniform, had erected recently. It consisted of two wooden hurdles that intruded on the sidewalk, and a strand of police tape stretching from tree to tree across the road. "Fuck's sake..." Sam groggily muttered, pinching his snout and clenching his eyes in irritation and disappointment. The sleep-deprived teen took another puff and flicked the cigarette in his hand while staring at the barrier in contempt. Thinking it was better to get it over with, he resorted to walking on the sidewalk, pushing the end of the wooden hurdles out of the way, and ducking underneath the police tape.

Sam didn't care if officer Undyne caught him 'trespassing' as she put it. The barrier blocked his only way in and out of the main part of town where the school was, so he felt as if she could 'go fuck herself' for all he cared. His rebellious thoughts were swiftly interrupted as soon as he saw a red van in the distance take a left turn towards the school.

"......FUCK!" he snapped, flicking the cigarette onto the ground just before stamping on the burning end with the heel of his boot. Sam stepped onto the sidewalk and tackled the edge of the hurdles and ripped through the police tape with a single claw swipe. As soon as the path was clear, the dragon made a mad dash towards the school while kicking up dust in his wake as he realized he was very likely going to be late if he didn't haul ass immediately. He didn't care much for school or even bothered to do much homework, but something primal in the back of his mind warned that expulsion could be disastrous.

"HEY!" an authoritarian female voice called to him from behind just as he passed the police station. Sam stopped himself and turned to see that damn fish cop with an annoyed scowl on her face. She appeared to have just stepped outside and had already connected the dots on who had trashed her barrier.

Before she could berate the dragon or give him a legal punishment, he quickly and angrily shouted "THAT BARRIER WAS BLOCKING MY ONLY WAY TO SCHOOL! FUCK OFF!" as he turned right back around and restarted his sprint eastwards. Undyne considered arresting him right then and there after such a display of attitude and rudeness, but her coffee hadn't even kicked in yet, and she wasn't quite in the mood to deal with anyone at the moment. "I'll just start showing up to work earlier so I can catch that little shit..." she grumbled.

If it weren't for the fish monster's rude interruption, Sam likely would have caught up to the red van, but he was now several seconds behind. By the time he had passed the 'librarby', the doors of the van were already opening to reveal a tall, fluffy church woman by the name of Toriel. A small tuft of brown hair with a slight curl was barely visible above the van's roof.

Toriel was rounding the corner to meet her adoptive child on the other side, but she stopped when she heard rapid, heavy footsteps coming her way. Her happy expression shifted into a look of bitter judgment the very moment she caught sight of what she perceived as a manifestation of everything she didn't want her children to become. That didn't go unnoticed by the quickly approaching dragon, but he didn't care enough to say anything.

Sam slowed to a snail's pace once he reached the red van, clutching chest and wheezing. He practically stumbled towards the front doors to the school, not paying any mind to the religious matriarch or his classmate. "...Were you smoking again, Samuel?" Toriel asked him in a sickeningly accusatory tone. He immediately wanted to flip her off, but he decided it wasn't worth the trouble and just kept walking.

Toriel's eyes followed the purple delinquent like a hawk. She considered waiting until Sam was far enough ahead to where she felt comfortable, but she remembered that her daughter sat right in front of him in class. Her fluffy hand sternly grasped the adopted human's yellow hand and dragged her along.

Sam felt the fluffy matriarch's burning gaze piercing into the back of his skull, but he didn't know that Toriel's daughter had also affixed her gaze upon him. Kris, the local human in a town of monsters, looked at him with intrigue and... something else she couldn't place her little yellow finger on. As usual, not a single word broke through her lips as she watched her gruff classmate shove the school building's front doors open.

The warmth of the school's air conditioning welcomed Sam, hugging his very being tightly in a pleasant embrace. For once all morning, he didn't feel like he was freezing his ass off. His throat was dry not just from his earlier use of his fire breath, but the mouth-drying cigarette and all his running, so he wasn't surprised when he found himself instinctively slamming his thumb on the small metal button on the water fountain in the hallway.

Sam didn't care if he had seen people putting their mouth on the water fountain before. All that truly mattered to him was quenching his thirst. Each gulp coincidentally seemed to follow the same beat as the footsteps approaching from behind. He heard Toriel say something about 'staying safe' just before Kris was finally allowed to leave for class. A single yellow eye caught the sight of Kris walking down the hallway towards the high school classroom as she walked. His gaze, thankfully hidden under his hair, was focused a bit... southwards due to the hormones surging within his body at his age. A smirk almost formed on his waterlogged lips, but he almost scowled when a purposefully attention-grabbing vocalization erupted from behind.

"Ahem."

Sam released his finger from the button as he quickly realized how intently he was eyeing Kris right in front of her mother, who was one of the biggest Angel worshipers in town besides Father Alvin. He turned his upper body to face the stern woman, internally hoping that she was going to scold him for smelling like cigarette smoke rather than for staring at her daughter in such a sinful way.

"...What?" Sam coldly responded. He turned his entire body to face the woman and defensively crossed his arms.
"You smell of smoke, Samuel," Toriel began, "You should not allow yourself to fall prey to addiction. Do you not know what such things do to your lungs?" she asked in a noticeable amount of earnest. Her eyes were disappointed, yet they carried a feeling of genuine concern.
"Why do you care?" he rudely shot back. He was immensely grateful that Toriel didn't seem to notice where his eye was transfixed moments prior, but he wanted to end this conversation as soon as possible regardless.
"I do not want to see anyone of your age littering their bodies with such filth. You are in a critical part of your development into an adult, and you must remember how important it is to take care of yourself."
"Uh huh. I'll keep that in mind," Sam replied. The draconic youth stepped to the side and walked down the hall.

Toriel considered stopping him by grabbing his arm and giving him a good talking to, but she decided it was better to let him go. After all, he was already close to running late, and she didn't want to cause him to be in any further trouble with his teacher. That didn't seem fair to her.

The door to the classroom was left ajar in Kris' wake, but Sam loudly shoved it wide open with little regard for anyone who might be in the way. A small chuckle crawled out his throat at a small yelp coming from a yellow, hunched over lizard monster. The monster in question happened to be his meek teacher, Alphys. "O-o-oh, g-good mo-morning, S-Sam! Y-you're not... l-late... That's.... good!" she squeaked. The purple teenager rolled his eyes under his hair and quietly walked to the back of the room where his seat awaited him.

Everyone except for Sam himself was already seated at their desks by the time he got there. Jockington was talking at Catti who was not even listening while typing away at her phone as usual. Berdly was snickering to himself while staring right at Sam like he thought he was somehow superior. Snowdrake was harassing a very unamused MK with lame puns that didn't even fit the conversation or current situational context. Temmie was vibrating in her seat while affectionately petting a boiled egg. Noelle was trying and failing miserably to seem like she wasn't looking Sam's way, and Kris was already doodling something in her notebook.

All of this, and Alphys, their teacher, did absolutely nothing to get anybody to pay attention. Instead, she was rummaging around her desk to look for worksheets she had printed off of the internet instead of getting anything approved by the school administration. 'Typical, just let everyone walk all over you as usual,' Sam thought.

Sam pulled his chair out from his desk and slumped into it. He looked to his right to see Snowdrake with a goofy grin spread across his beak, with MK in front him looking like he wish he had the hands to strangle the bird with. Sam secretly shared the perceived sentiment, but he was in no position to act on it.

"G-good morning, everyone! I hope you all had a w-wonderful weekend! I know I did!" Alphys exclaimed with clearly forced enthusiasm.
"That's wonderful, Ms. Alphys," a timid voice replied in the front of the class. Her words rang far less hollow in comparison.
"T-thank you, Noelle. I... uh... appreciate it." Alphys replied with a weak smile.

She grabbed the chalk that sat right underneath the blackboard and began writing down assignments. After writing down basic instructions related to the bootleg paperwork, the lizard woman took her freshly printed stack and started handing them out. "Man," Sam muttered under his breath, "Mondays suck ass..."

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As Alphys was immersed within her sinful fantasies involving her favorite cartoon characters on her computer screen, Sam slapped his small stack of completed worksheets onto Alphys' desk. The reptilian woman immediately jolted upwards and frantically clicked off of several webpages and opened picture files scattered across her screen. With a voice shaken with adrenaline, Alphys looked past the desktop to see Sam awaiting an acknowledgment of his existence with exhausted eyes staring her down.

"O-oh, y-you're done! O-okay, j-just... staple them together a-and p-put them with the others," Alphys squeaked, pointing at a neat pile of papers stacked to her right. Sam blinked at his teacher and picked his assignments back up and lazily applied a staple to them with a satisfying *CHA-CHUNK*. The dragon placed his work on the top of the pile haphazardly, not caring if it fell onto the floor. The drake heard a nasal snicker taunting him from behind.

"Got somethin' to say?" he asked, turning his head to see a smirking Berdly. The eyes of the self-proclaimed 'first smartest student in class' gleamed with a sense of snide superiority.
"Oh, nothing..." Berdly sneered, "just that even the kid with no arms completed his work faster than you. What, are you not getting enough sleep? You... look... like... Uh... Heh..." Berdly chuckled, but his words trailed off into silence when the purple beast turned around and approached his desk with a menacing aura. Sam placed his bared claws on the bird's desk, leaving small marks in the wood.
"...Shit? I'll tell you who looks like shit," Sam growled. With his mind clouded with sleep deprivation and the need for another cigarette he wouldn't find any time soon, the drake acted purely out of instinct. Alphys scrambled to find the words to stop a fight from breaking out, but she could barely work up the nerve. "The bird who got chucked out the window, squirming in the DIRT twelve seconds from now looks like shit."
"S-Sam..." Alphys forced through her stiff lips, "T-that's enough! P-please, j-just... sit down, or.. I-I'll s-suspend you!"

The blue bird's smirk was long gone, replaced with a faux stoicism and bravery. Sam shifted his gaze upon the rest of the class to see fear and worry plastered on most of their faces. However, Kris and Catti seemingly had no reaction. The perpetually smiling, Tem-shaped anomaly to his left had not changed her expression, but she had noticeably ceased breathing. With a small huff through his nose, Sam stuffed his claws into his pockets and walked back to his seat.

Just as he was about to sit back down, the ear-piercing noise of the school bell ringing, signaling that it was lunchtime. "...Looks like I don't gotta sit down," Sam commented, but the shrill sound echoing throughout the school halls drowned him out. Everyone else stayed glued to their seat, not wanting to be the first one to break the awkward fog created by Sam and Berdly's back-to-back outbursts.

The delinquent, externally unfazed by such recent events, was the first to walk towards the door. Sam yanked the door open and slammed it behind him just as the ringing of the bell began to die and stormed down the hallway. He could hear the cheering and laughter coming from Ms. Toriel's kindergarten class directly in front of him, followed by the maternal teacher's muffled yet stern request for the children to calm down.

A small twang of guilt smacked the back of Sam's head like a stiff ruler when he saw the classroom door beginning to open. He felt as if such a strict authority figure like Toriel would immediately know the things he had said to Berdly mere moments prior, and consequentially bring her hammer down upon him. Sam bolted for the front doors and ripped them open to avoid such an imagined confrontation.

Sam slowed his roll by the time he was out on the street in front of the building, resigning himself to power-walking westwards. He had nowhere specific to be, he realized all too quickly. The uniquely tiny school had no cafeteria, and he was banned from a Free Ham Sandwich Day that wasn't due to come around for several days, meaning he had no way of getting any free or otherwise stolen food from the school. He could possibly steal someone's lunch, but he knew he would regret it not much long after.

The only other places he could think of was QC's Diner and the local 'pezza' joint, but he had no money on him. Instead, he would need to raid their dumpster for freshly tossed food. He hated the idea of eating like he was homeless, but he wasn't about to walk all the way home to find barely anything other than a certain person he wanted to avoid for as long as he could.

Sam shamefully lowered his head and steeled himself for the possibility of getting caught, being reported to the crazy fish cop, and having the school administration restrict everyone from leaving school grounds during lunchtime ever again. He wasn't ready for the burden of other people getting punished for his own actions, but he was famished. It was a risk he would need to take.

"Too hungry..." he thought. "I need to eat SOMETHING..."
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Chapter Text

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Sam choked down a foul tasting hunk of hamburger he had forced himself to bite into. As the chunk of tainted sandwich slithered down his throat, the dragon shivered as a small wave of nausea erupted up his throat. It had taken him several minutes to work up the nerve to eat garbage from the dumpster behind QC's Diner in the first place, and he already regretted it.

Sam tossed the tainted sandwich against the wall of the dumpster in frustration and dug around for something better. As he moved a heavy trash bag to the side, he spotted a container holding a half-eaten pancake coated in butter and drenched with syrup. Sam snatched the sticky plastic and hastily cracked it open. Finally, he had found something untouched by any of the rotting waste and grime.

The drake lifted the sugary slab and lowered it into his gaping maw. He clamped down onto it with a squelch, sending sticky juices into every nook and cranny of his mouth. The pancake tasted good, but every movement Sam made was slow and hesitant. His face carried a disgusted, shameful grimace.

This was what he was reduced to; eating trash like a feral animal. In his mind, he had no other choice. After all, the only real food he had back home was an assortment of incomplete ingredients that would lead to incomplete meals, and Sam didn't even know how to cook in the first place. It wasn't for a lack of trying, but nobody ever offered to help him with learning.

Sam picked up a nearly empty carton of orange juice and drowned the pieces of pancake stuck to his tongue and throat. He sharply exhaled with his last gulp and dropped the carton in a random spot in the sea of trash. Sam's stomach felt decently full for the first time in what felt like forever, but he couldn't help but question if it was worth it.

Sam looked down at himself and examined his clothes. He was covered in grime, wet coffee grounds, and several unidentifiable stains. He may have been nose blind to the stench of trash and rotting food, but there was no denying that he smelled awful. He would need to walk all the way home in such a filthy state, then take a shower and wash his clothes as soon as possible.

The guilt-ridden teenager shifted in his spot and pulled himself up with a pipe connected to the building. Just as he did, the back door suddenly cracked open, followed by the familiar sound of a clawed finger tapping away at a phone. Sam immediately ducked back into the dumpster and halted his breathing. Slowly, the door fully creaked open, and a figure he recognized as Catti stepped out.

Sam's heart raced with an intense feeling of fear, supplemented by a surge of adrenaline. As Catti's footsteps came closer towards the dumpster, Sam shut his eyes and waited for the worst. 'This is it', he thought. Catti was going to see him inside the dumpster, and she would know exactly why. She would report him to the authorities, and he would end up with a criminal record.

...Or so he thought. To Sam's surprise, Catti came to a halt and walked no closer to the dumpster. The faint sound of phone tapping could still be heard as she found herself extremely concentrated on multiple social media accounts at the same time. She occasionally chuckled at the contents of the various pages she visited, but she remained quiet for the most part. Knowing how hard it was to get her to look away for her phone, Sam allowed himself to breathe slightly easier..

For several awkward minutes, Catti continued with her online escapades, completely unmoving from her spot. This was beginning to be irritating for the filthy dragon, but there was little he could do other than to wait it out. Good things come to the patient, it seemed, as at the very moment Sam considered making a run for it, the back door opened a second time.

"Catti! Your break ended seven minutes ago! Get off of yer phone and finish yer shift! I don't pay ya for nothin'!" an angry female voice called. The familiar southern twang to her speech revealed her to be the nice rabbit monster working the cash register and serving the folks who sat up front on the stools. She was the one who ran the show, and she was known around town for being kind, but tough on lazy employees.

Catti barely suppressed a huff and followed her boss back inside. The very moment the back door swung closed, Sam practically jumped out of the dumpster and skittered away as fast as he could. He swung around the corner to his left and approached the traffic barrier to find that the hurdles had been moved back into place.

Sam had no time to carefully push the hurdles around and duck underneath the tape. A single swipe from his claws ripped it in half just before he tackled the hurdles out of the way. The sound of clattering wood echoed through the trees loud enough to be heard halfway across town.

As soon as he was out of sight from the police station, the dragon felt a weight press down onto his neck with enough force to lower his head to face the ground. He felt like such a spineless coward that ate trash out of the dumpster and ran away from fat girls he could easily overpower with one arm tied behind his back. He felt as if he was—as he had been told countless times—a failure.

In his current state of mind, anyone attempting to approach him would be ignored at best, and forcefully shoved to the ground at worst. He knew he smelled like the dumpster he rooted around in, his clothes were covered in grime and food stains, and there was always at least one bit of food he couldn't wipe from his maw without help from a mirror. If he brought himself to admit to anyone what he had been forced to do minutes prior, he would likely start crying.

He already felt ashamed enough, but the prospect of anyone seeing him cry at all was horrifying. Sam was a man, not to mention a dragon, and he was going to act like one. He would take everything in stride and deal with it by himself like he always did. He may have to leech off of other people's waste to survive, but he needed to ‘stop being such a pussy.’

'Go inside, take a shower, wash your shit, go to bed,' Sam thought as he approached a familiarly rusty mailbox. He snagged a tiny handle on the flap and jerked it down, finding it was empty. The drake closed the mailbox and walked up the driveway leading to his front porch.

Sam climbed the rickety old steps and opened the door with a twist and a yank. Almost immediately, the rank smell of marijuana hit his nostrils like a truck. Most of the lights within the house were off, but a TV in the living room illuminated the rough outline of a cloud of smoke just above the couch.

On couch itself lied Sam's mother, a female dragon monster wearing sweatpants and a white, sleeveless shirt covered in fresh stains. Her hair was moderately longer than Sam's, but it was frizzy and uncontrollable due to her neglecting to wash it in several days. Her purple, scaly skin took on a much bluer hue than her son's, and the bags underneath her yellow eyes were dragged downwards in a sleepy, drugged-up haze. Her filthy claws held a pretzel in the air just above her face in one hand as the other held an ancient bong. Her gaze was fixed upon a generic soap opera, paying no mind to the many empty bags of snacks strewn about the couch and coffee table.

Sam felt an odd feeling within his chest upon seeing such a display in front of him. It clenched his heart tightly with a feeling of bewilderment and rage that accelerated his heart rate. He had just rooted around a dumpster, gotten himself filthy, and power walked home to avoid anyone so that he wouldn't break down in public. And yet, here his mother was, filling her gullet with food he could have been eating instead of trash that had been touched with other people's unwashed hands and mouths.

Sam slammed the door behind him with enough force to rattle the entire house as he stomped over to his waste of a mother. He stopped at the couch and stared daggers at her, prompting an agonizingly slow, non-verbal response in the form of lazily turning her head and looking her furious son in the eyes. She looked at his stained clothes and angrily twitching snout, and smelled the aroma of trash emanating off of him.

"Did you really eat out of the garbage again?" she asked in a raspy voice, "that's just like y—"
"Don't you fucking start that shit with me," Sam snarled. "I was STARVING, and here you are, smoking weed and eating shit you bought with money we don't have! What the actual FUCK is wrong with you!?" he practically screamed as he slammed his fist on the couch's armrest.
"Hey! You don't get to speak to me like tha—" his mother attempted to say, but Sam wasn't having any of it.
"GO FUCK YOURSELF," Sam snapped. "STOP WASTING OUR MONEY ON USELESS SHIT!"

Sam stomped away, seething with anger. He moved past an old family photo of him, his mother, and one of his many step-fathers that barely clung to the sticky wall. The carpeted floors felt like concrete underneath his boots after several years of never being washed.

Sam swung his cracked bedroom door open and slammed it behind him, making sure to lock the door just before he pulled his jacket off and tossed it to the floor. He kicked his boots off and reached between a segmented part of his uncomfortable mattress. He groped around for only a moment before he found what he was looking for.

Sam pulled out an unopened bottle of expensive, high proof whiskey he had stolen from Grillby's grocery store the other day. He mercilessly twisted the cap off, tossed it onto his nightstand, pressed the bottle to his lips, and chugged. The burn stung his mouth, throat, and chest more and more with every gulp, but he needed to get drunk fast.

Sam had forgotten about the shower he planned to have in his fit of rage, no longer caring how he smelled or looked. All he needed was for the alcohol to cloud his mind and soothe his nerves.

Finally, Sam relented and set the bottle on his nightstand next to his alarm clock. The whelp greedily inhaled as much air as he could to keep up with his fast beating heart. He covered his face with both of his grimy hands to hide his face away from himself.

"God damn it..." he rasped. His deep breaths shook and shuddered as he struggled to keep the poison within his body from spilling out any further than it already did. Sam quickly grew impatient in waiting for the buzz to whisk his thoughts away from him, prompting him to grab the bottle again and chug.

Sam slammed it back down onto the nightstand and looked at it. It was just under half empty by now, and he had only been drinking for a few minutes. The monster looked longingly at the fiery, caramel colored liquid held within its glass container, but he decided against drinking any more.

Sam closed the bottle and stuffed it back in its hiding place within his mattress. The dragon snatched his blanket and wrapped it around his body as he slumped into bed. There was still an hour or two he could be spending doing something productive, like finding another packet of cigarettes, but he would sooner be arrested for breaking Undyne's barrier than being caught a drunken mess.

Mere minutes later, the effects of the whiskey began to take hold. Sam's thoughts were muddied and blurred, his eyelids felt heavy, and he felt soothed, yet very dizzy. With a yawn, he attempted to get out of bed and stretch his joints, but he accidentally tripped over himself and landed on the cold, hard floor.

"Augh, what the f—*hic*... Ugh..."

If there's one thing he still managed to remember in his drunken stupor, it was that he needed to drink some water to ward off a hangover. Sam shakily pushed himself up and stumbled to his feet and attempted to pull his door open, but the doorknob wouldn't budge. "Oh... r-right..." he mumbled. He unlocked his door and opened it properly on his second attempt.

Sam held onto the wall and slowly stumbled down the hallway. The bathroom held a faucet that would suit his needs, and it was closer than the kitchen. All he needed to do was to drink some water and avoid conversation with his mother at all costs. She certainly didn't need to know he was drunk, even if she was stoned at the moment.

Sam passed his mother, who still lay lazily on the couch. Sam's uncoordinated, clumsy footsteps, along with hearing his arm slide against the wall at an uneven pace, alerted Sam's mother to her son's drunken state. She didn't say anything though; she was too baked to care.

Sam lumbered into the bathroom and slammed his hands onto the bathroom counter, which had always been surprisingly clean. The drake looked himself in the eyes within the mirror and noticed how one of his eyes was a tad more closed than the other. He slowly corrected this, along with wiping away a piece of food he noticed on his snout. Sam turned the cold water on and haphazardly dunked his face right in, taking in several gulps.

Sam stopped drinking from the faucet when his stomach began to feel bloated and full. The whelp yanked his head out of the sink and looked at himself once more. He slowly began to hate what he saw in the mirror. He didn't know why, but he felt awful from just looking at the grime and sweat that had accumulated on his face.

Sam couldn't help but feel this way whenever he thought about himself while he was drunk. He saw every little imperfection his sober self would rather ignore. Every error in his monstrous appearance, his rude personality, the way he talked, his nicotine addiction, his ever-encroaching spiral into alcoholism; everything.

Sam raised his fist in the air, aiming it at the mirror. He stopped himself before he sent his fist rocketing into the pane of glass. His house was already in shambles as it was, and he would only end up making as ass of himself and hurt his hand in the process. Instead, he shifted his gaze from the mirror and backed away as he began to breathe faster as if he was out of breath.

'I need... I... I g-gotta sleep this shit off,' he told himself. The dragon bumbled his way back to his room without giving his mother a second glance, again using the wall to keep his balance. Sam shoved his bedroom door wide open, then slammed it behind him. He neglected to lock it again due to his drunken, self-deprecating state.

Sam flopped onto his bed and ignored the uncomfortable hardness he felt from the bottle still hidden within the mattress. His breathing slowed, and the raging storm in his mind stilled until it was as calm as a frozen pond. With one last yawn, Sam's world suddenly went dark.

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...

...

...

...

 

A soft, warm entity wrapped its arms around Sam's torso and squeezed him in a tight embrace. His own arms gently hugged it back as his fingers caressed its impossibly soft jacket. He opened his eyes that he had not realized were closed, revealing fiery orange hair attached to a gray, familiarly feminine face.

Sam's breathing moved in sync with the monster in his arms, creating a smooth and comforting rhythm. The thought of observing his surroundings entered his mind, yet he could not will himself to pry his eyes off of the girl. All he could make out was a bright, orange light surrounding him.

A name he had spoken at least a thousand times teased the tip of his tongue, but he couldn't remember what it was. A name that held so much meaning a long time ago taunted him for letting the memory slip. He felt a world's weight in guilt over somehow forgetting something so important.

"I-I d-don't wanna l-l-leave," Sam suddenly spoke against his will. His voice sounded younger and much less hoarse, but his words came out forced and awkward in his intense hesitation and confusion. A warm wetness he hadn't noticed before soaked his eyes and cheeks. Was he crying?

The girl's grip on Sam's body softened, but she still held him close. She finally opened her eyes and stepped back to get a good look at him. Her confident eyes were a bright blue that rivaled the sky itself.

"It's gonna be okay, Sammy," she spoke. Her voice was loud and awkward, and yet the voice itself was muddied. He couldn't make out any other distinct characteristic, and a part of him mourned that he couldn't hear her voice any more clearly. "It's gonna be okay..." she repeated.

"B-but..." Sam began, "I-I'm gonna m-... miss y-you..." Sam strengthened his grip on the girl.
"You wouldn't ever leave me, would you?" she asked, ignoring Sam’s words.
"N—" Sam tried to deny such an accusation, but he couldn't bring himself to lie to her. The reason eluded him, but he knew he was going to leave her behind. Permanently.

The girl giggled. "You're funny, Sammy."

The orange light around the two monsters sluggishly flickered at an uneven pace, and yet Sam could still clearly see the monster in front of him. "Saaaammyyyy..." she said in a teasing, sing-songy voice. The flickering grew quicker as did Sam's heart rate.

The flickering light increased in intensity until it was nearly blinding. Sam felt dizzy and disoriented, and his grip unwillingly loosed from the girl. He felt as if he would topple over and fall into an infinite abyss, and that grabbing her would do nothing to stop it.

"Sammy..." she said as the light around them finally died, leaving them within a pitch black void. "Do you wanna go over to my house to play video games together?" the girl asked.

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"Yes."
Sam opened his eyes to find that his eyes were caked in crust, his heart beat quickly, and the mattress he lay his head upon was soaked with tears. His heavy breath shook and shuddered as if he had been sobbing.

Sam shifted his hand and felt something plastic trapped between his claws. It felt like a bag of chips, but he couldn't be too sure due to the lack of light. Sam looked over to his nightstand and glanced at the clock, which read 4:48 AM. It was too late to go back to sleep, prompting the dragon to climb out of bed and stumble towards the light switch.

Sam fumbled his fingers around the switch and flipped it up, but the light didn't turn on. Confused and irritated, Sam mumbled something about 'the damn bulb blowing out again' and attempted to unlock his door. To his surprise, the door was unlocked. It was only now that he remembered that he had forgotten to lock it when he returned from his trip to the bathroom.

The dragon chastised himself for his forgetfulness and pulled his door open, only to be greeted with a wall of smoke that nearly choked him. Suppressing a cough, Sam lumbered down the hall to see an even bigger, thicker cloud of smoke lingering over the couch. The groggy teen entered the bathroom, mysterious bag still in hand, and flicked the light on.

Almost immediately, he noticed that the bag had a note hastily taped onto it; 'eat if you're so damn hungry' in sloppy cursive. The bag was a cheap, store brand bag of BBQ chips. Sam walked out of the bathroom, pushed through the dense fog of smoke, and stepped out onto the front porch.

"Great," Sam mumbled under his breath, "Now I smell like shit AND weed. Fuck, I should have taken that shower." The dragon lamented his poor decision-making skills as he tore the bag open and retrieved a small clump of chips from its plastic wrapper. The taste of the chips tasted quite decent by Sam's standards, but he’s had better.

Within seconds, the bag was emptied into Sam's gaping maw, crumpled into a ball, and shoved into his pocket. It wasn't much, but the snack sized 'meal' was more than he got on most mornings. He wanted more, but he had learned long ago to take what he could get.

Sam shuffled back into the house and quietly shut the door behind him. The cloud hanging over the couch had partially cleared up, but it was still there as it was when he walked outside. The stench still lingered as heavily as ever, much to his annoyance.

The whelp dragged his feet towards the couch to see his mother seemingly sound asleep. He barely managed not to make a rude quip targeted at someone who couldn't retaliate and headed back to his room. The moment he entered his room again, he clumsily flopped onto his bed and shut his eyes.

A moment of silence passed. Then a minute, and another. Sam squirmed and turned in his bed and tried to get just a few more minutes of sleep, but to no avail. For reasons beyond his understanding, he would stay awake no matter what.

With a groan, Sam picked himself up off of the bed and trudged back into the hallway. However, the bathroom door was closed, and the light was on. The sound of pressurized liquid colliding with porcelain was enough information to tell what was going on.

Sam retreated back into his room and snatched his blanket for use as an impromptu mask to shield his nose from the smell of pot. After he had wrapped it around his face and over his neck and shoulders, the whelp plopped down on the cleanest part of the couch and snagged the remote resting on the coffee table next to a recently used bong.

Sam kicked his feet up and turned the volume high. The broadcast on TV was an old re-run of a sitcom from decades ago, complete with cheesy laugh tracks and dumb one-liners from the characters. He felt no real interest, but he needed something to occupy his mind until it was time to leave for school.

The bathroom door slowly opened, bleeding light throughout the house just before being flicked off. Heavy footsteps approached from behind. "You're up early," his mother rasped as if she hadn't spoken in years.
"Mm-hmm..." Sam grunted underneath his blanket.
"...You got drunk again last night," she coldly stated.
"You're one to talk," Sam shot back. "There's a reason you have that restraining orde—"
"I don't wanna hear it," his mother interrupted.
After a moment of awkward silence between the two dragons, Sam spoke up again. "Why do you care, anyway?"
"Because I don't want to pay your bail when you get arrested for theft," she replied. Sam lifted his head and looked at the woman, who had her arms crossed in disapproval. Sensing that he had no response, she continued. "What if you go to school smelling like booze? Hmm? What if... you went to school all drunk? That would all come back to me, Sam."
"Is it all just about you? I'd deal with that shit, too," Sam countered. He internally realized she had a point, but he'd be caught dead before directly admitting that.

Sam's mother stepped around the couch and took a seat next to him. Her weight compared to his own on the couch was jarring, but he ignored it the best he could. They stayed silent as their attention was glued to the TV, but the moment it cut to commercial, she had a question for her son.

"What are you doing up so early?" she asked.
"I went to bed early yesterday," he half-truthed.
"...You mean you drank yourself to sleep after your tantrum?" she grumbled.
With a sigh, Sam half-heartedly deflected the question. "Whatever..."
"...So are you just going to sit here and watch TV until it's time to go to school?"
"Yep," Sam affirmed. He had no other plans, even if he still needed a shower.

Silence returned between the dragons on the couch, but the sitcom resuming its broadcast gave them both an excuse to keep that silence. Sam had nothing he wanted to say and personally wanted to keep conversation to a minimum until it was time to leave. Yet, the moment the commercials returned, Sam's mother had even more questions.

"What... What are you going to do... When you leave, anyway?" she sputtered.
"...Go to school, hang out around town, come back home, and go to sleep. Same as every other day," Sam replied.
"No... not... not when you leave TODAY. I mean, when you become an adult and leave me," she corrected.
Sam looked at his mother again and was surprised at the sincerity in her voice and eyes. He then realized that he had no plans for when he finally moved out. He hadn't known all this time, and he never bothered to think about it.
"You don't even know," the older dragon smugly stated.

The commercial break couldn't end fast enough for Sam. He began to resent his mother's pestering and prodding when she normally let him keep to himself. Before the sitcom could return, Sam's mother continued.

"Are you gonna get a girl?" she abruptly asked, "You'll need SOME reason to leave so that I don't have to worry about you stealing shit," she said with venom in her voice.
Sam took a breath through his blanket and truthfully told her "I don't know. Again, why do you ca—"
"You need something to keep your hands busy so that your hands aren't taking things without paying," she interrupted. "You don't even gotta love her as long as she fucks good and can keep you occupied." At those words, Sam could not help but feel offended on the behalf of a girl that didn't even exist. Sam rolled his eyes and watched as the sitcom came back on.
Still, his mother had more to say. "Actually, I can show you how to drop some panties, now that I think about it..." she said.
"...What?" Sam questioned. He turned to look his mother in the eye to see an unnatural grin on her face. The teenaged whelp grew nervous, yet curious as to what she meant by that.

The draconic matriarch stood up out of her seat and extended a hand towards her son. Sam flinched at her gesture, unsure as to what his mother's intent was. His mother always acted strangely under the influence of drugs, so he didn’t know what to expect.

"Come on, Sam, stand up… And take that blanket off! You look retarded like that!" she ordered. Sam nervously swallowed the saliva accumulating in his stiff mouth, removed the blanket from his head, and took his mother's hand. She pulled him up to her level and took a moment to look at him. She eyed his posture, face, his hair, judging his worth.

"...U-uh..." Sam mumbled, "W-what are you...?"
"Sam... I'm going to teach you how to slow dance," she revealed much to Sam's surprise.
"Y-you're gonna...... w-wait, what?" Sam sputtered.
"Come on, don't 'what' me. Everyone who isn't socially retarded knows what slow dancing is! Here..." She gently grabbed Sam's wrists. "Put your left hand on my hip, then hold my hand with your other, and I will hold your shoulder."

Sam reluctantly did as he was instructed and grabbed onto his mother. However, due to inexperience and hesitation, the teenager stood there, unmoving. His eyes shifted from one thing to another within the living room as to avoid eye contact for as long as possible.

"...Sam..." she said to grab his attention, "Are you gonna start moving, or what?"
The drake was extremely confused. Even if his mother was being her usual rude self, she was strangely showing a small bit of... Sam didn't actually know what to call it, but it seemed like she almost cared about him for a moment.

The older dragon sighed. "You have no idea what you're doing, do you?"
After a brief period of utter silence, Sam slowly shook his head as he continued to avoid her gaze.
"...You have to lead me with your right foot. Just think of... I dunno, any old song, and dance to it. Move with the rhythm while you pull and push me along with your hands," she explained.
"Uh... a-alright," Sam finally spoke.

Sam shifted his legs and tugged against his mother's weight as he shuffled to the right. She followed in his clumsy footsteps in perfect unison. Sam took another step to the left back to his original position, and she followed. "You're already getting the hang of it, Sam," she playfully said, "But... You're stiffer than a gay man with viagra. Move your hips! Get loose! You're dancing, for Angel's sake!"

Not wanting to disappoint someone who could easily shove him out the door to fend for himself for the rest of his life, Sam continued awkwardly stepping around with his mother in tow, only now he reluctantly moved his hips and moved his mother's hand around. He glanced at her face to see a look of satisfaction, assuring him that he was doing well.

Sam grew more accustomed to the rhythmic movements, building newfound confidence that allowed him to take things a tad further. He stepped around with much more grace and vigor, twirled himself and his mother around in circles. He almost felt a smile unconsciously creep onto his face.

"Better," his mother said with pride in her voice, "but now I'm gonna teach you a few more... complicated things."
"H-huh? Like what...?" Sam inquired. The hesitation and nervousness he felt before suddenly shot through him once more, filling him with dread.
"I... I am going to teach you how to twirl me," she explained. "It's actually very easy if you're as competent as you seem. Let go of my hip, and move my hand in a small circle above my head clockwise, then spin me back the other way."

Wordlessly, Sam followed her instructions. He released his grip on his mother's waist and spun her around with his hand over her head. His mother spun around with a surprising amount of grace and professionalism as if she had done this many times before. The way her disheveled hair moved in perfect sync with her head, the confidence she carried with the speed at which she spun, the way she lifted one foot off the ground, and the courageous look in her eyes told the story of a woman who had danced for much of her life.

And yet, it had only been a mere two seconds, which were enough to leave Sam surprised. Before he found himself nervously locked up again, the whelp twirled his mother counter clockwise and brought his hand back to her hip. "Perfect," she said in an assuring tone. "Now! Release my hip again and pull away, but don't let go of my hand!" she exclaimed excitedly.

Sam followed his command and did as he was told. His mother released his shoulder as he parted his hand from her hip, and flung himself back. His mother did the same, posing for a camera that didn't exist as she tilted her head back and reached her arm back to receive an imaginary rose. Without the need for another word, the two dragons softly walked back into each other and softly collided, placing their hands back into their original positions. "Now, Sam, I'll let you take charge. Use what I've taught you," she said with immense confidence in her voice.

The song playing within his brain was a lyric-less melody at the beginning, but now every sound, instrument, and word spoken in the song he could possibly remember came back to him as he repeated the moves he had been taught. He spun his mother around and collided with her countlessly, landing each technique with more and more grace each time. When his mother abruptly flung her leg up and leaned back, he instinctively knew to lean in with her while keeping a steady hold to the ground with his foot as their faces grew uncomfortably close.

Though it felt like mere moments, they spent several minutes silently dancing without a tune to guide them. To Sam, dancing in such a way felt cathartic, letting him release tensions in ways he might have otherwise done so more destructively. However, the sound of Sam's harsh morning alarm snapped them both out of their trance.

“...You should start getting ready for school,” Sam’s mother said to the teen’s surprising disappointment. He actually felt as if he was having fun for once in a long time, and it was over so soon. Just as Sam lowered his head and let go of his mother, a horrifically awful sensation churned within his stomach.

His eyes widened, and a rumbly, nauseous groan erupted from his torso. Feeling warm saliva coating his entire mouth, Sam immediately bolted for the bathroom. He barged in and crashed to his knees in front of the toilet.

Sam’s jaw flew open as a hot mixture of stomach acid, unidentifiable sludge, and chunks of food poured into the ceramic bowl. The horrid retching and gagging coming from the sickly dragon whelp were disgusting enough to make anyone within a five-mile radius cringe.

Sam raised his head from the bowl thinking it was over, but just before he accidentally spewed another payload of vomit into the raised toilet seat, he dipped his face back in and continued throwing up.

Amid Sam’s coughing, pained moaning, gagging, and questions as to ‘why the fuck she didn’t flush when she took a piss,’ his mother pulled her phone out of her pocket and barely managed to find the school’s number in her contacts. She sighed in frustration as she thought of how to tell Ms. Alphys that Sam would be taking a sick day off.

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Chapter Text

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Amid the soaked road and muddied grass just outside of Hometown’s school, there lay a cigarette in a rain puddle, hopelessly soaked beyond the point of kindling. Above it was an infuriated Sam, clenching his fists. “God…. DAMN IT! SHI- *cough cough* shit!” he shouted through gritting teeth. That was his last cigarette, and he had clumsily dropped it just as the fire from his throat made contact with it.

A powerful headache nearly pounded his brain out of his skull. He had a small cough that he mostly managed to keep down. Sudden cravings made his stomach feel emptier than usual, even after chugging an entire bowl of his mother’s leftover soup earlier that morning. Not only that, but he found decent sleep to be much rarer than usual in the past few days. It was official; withdrawal was coming out in full force to torment Sam as much as possible.

Now conscious of his eruption of anger, the dragon whipped his head around, searching for any that may have heard him. There was not a soul in sight, save for an occasional passing car. He hadn’t exactly screamed at the top of his lungs, so there was a good chance that he was in the clear of yet another instance of self induced public embarrassment.

This was odd. Today was the 31st of October right after school had gotten out just half an hour ago, and yet the town felt so lifeless on this particular day. The Halloween decorations that usually covered the entire town in a blanket of cheap, faux horror were scarce as if it were only the first day of the month. As disconcerting as it was, the main thing dominating his mind was to find a way to remove the moisture from his solitary source of nicotine.

Sam fished the cigarette out of the puddle and carefully placed it into his jacket pocket. Until he could find a hair dryer or something similar, he would let most of the water soak into his jacket’s fabric. A good idea, Sam thought, though there was a risk of the cigarette’s paper deteriorating.

Cursing himself under his breath, Sam walked eastwards away from the school and began his boring trek back to his near-crack den of a home. Maybe he’d try to take a nap to make up for lost sleep during the night, or he might finally try to see what his mom found so great about weed. Either way, it was going to be a long day.

Just as Sam passed the Library, he heard the sound of idle car engines and commotion to his right. Poking out from the edge of visibility was a large cargo truck, jostling around as several people walked in and out of the truck’s trailer. The coloring of the truck looked to be that of a moving truck, but he couldn’t be too sure.

The dragon’s interest was piqued almost instantly at the prospect of something, anything new happening in Hometown. It wasn’t like he was in a rush to get back home, anyway. Besides, he needed something to get his mind off of his headache.

Sam approached the corner to find several large monsters loading several boxes into the container, along with a seemingly different team removing parts of the sign on the roof of the grocery store. One of the local fire elementals and owner of the store, Grillby, sat on the curb next to an oddly pudgy skeleton Sam didn’t recognize. Grillby may have had no visible face to speak of, but his body language was clearly stressed. He clearly had no intention of working today, seeing as he was wearing casual, yet flame retardant clothes.

The skeleton, however, seemed completely relaxed and even jovial, sporting a wide, unwavering grin. He wore a blue jacket, black shorts, and white slippers, beyond what Sam considered a casual getup. His eyes betrayed his smile, however, holding a hint of sadness and understanding.

As Sam watched them talk, he noticed something shiny on the ground. He looked to his right to see a small, black object of unknown material molded into the shape of a horse head, glistening in the sunlight. Sam looked around as if to look for its owner, yet he found nothing that could point him in the right direction. Sam bent down and grabbed it before holding it up close to his eyes.

The object itself seemed to be immaculate. No scratches, pieces of dirt, stains, nothing. This strange object looked… valuable. If he could pawn it off somewhere, he could eat like a king for at least a week. Sam shoved the black object into his pockets before anyone could have seen it.

Sam looked around once more. No eyes in the surrounding area were focused anywhere near him, thankfully. His ears turned their attention to the conversation between the skeleton and the fire elemental from before. As far as Sam could tell, the conversation was reaching its conclusion.

As expected, Grillby slowly pushed himself to his feet and waved goodbye to his boney friend. He entered his car next to the sidewalk, started the engine, and stepped on the gas. As he drove past Sam, he didn’t so much as look at him.

‘The hell is going on, is Grillby moving out?’ Sam pondered. The skeleton from before suddenly made eye contact with the dragon, and gave a beckoning wave. Seeing as he had nothing better to do, and knowing that the skeleton likely didn’t already have any bias against him, Sam approached the bony monster on the curb.

“hey there, bud. you live in this town, right?” the skeleton asked.
“*cough* Yeah, I do. What, *ahem* you a friend of the local fire hazard?” Sam responded with a chuckle.
“who, Grillby? yeah, me and him are good friends. we’ve known each other for a pretty long time, actually,” the skeleton explained, “but it seems like the one time I see ‘em again, he’s already gone.”
“Gone?” Sam asked with raised eyebrows, “Wait, really?”
“yep. here, come sit down with me, and i’ll explain what’s going down,” the skeleton said, patting the spot next to him.

Sam wasn’t one to get too close to strangers, or even people he knew at all. He stood there silently; he felt much too hesitant to break a habit he’s kept up for years. Seeing as the dragon before him wasn’t taking up his offer, the skeleton rolled his eyes and spoke again.

“uh… alright, guess you’re not much of a friendly type. i get it. this place does seem pretty tight-knit, and you don’t even know my name,” the skeleton admitted, “so why don’t we get to know each other? the name’s Sans. Sans the skeleton.”
“...THE skeleton?” Sam sarcastically asked.
“Oh, i know that there’s a skele-TON of us running around and all, it’s just fun to say,” Sans chuckled.
“Uh huh… Anyway, is someone else gonna pick up Grillby’s old job? I don’t think this town’s going to survive without a grocery store,” Sam informed him.

“You’re looking at em, pal,” Sans revealed, “y’see, ol’ Grillby found a better paying job out in the big city, and i’m the only one he trusts to look after the store for him. he’s looking to become a bartender at a HOTspot where a lot of people tend to hang around.”
“A fire elemental? A bartender? Yeah, alright, one misplaced drink or wet towel on the floor later…” Sam said, failing to hide a hint of concern in his voice.
“eh, i think he’ll be fine. he’s spent a lot of time WARMING up to the service industry, so i think he’s got enough experience to avoid any… unfortunate mishaps,” Sans assured.
“Was… was that another pun?” Sam asked, showing signs of growing irritation. There was something about puns that just poked at him like a kid throwing rocks at an alligator.

“from what i’ve heard, humor isn’t much of a commodity around these parts other than a local human pulling pranks, and not everyone finds those very funny. i think if i brought something to the table that didn’t provoke so much, then i could sell em like HOTcakes for the low low price of a few chuckles,” Sans explained with smiling eyes.
“Yeah, sorry *cough* pal, I’m not much for paying with that kind of currency,” Sam responded, feeling around the cigarette in his pocket to see how dry it was, only to find that it was still quite unsmokable.

“heh, alright then. Say, once i get everything settled, maybe you should come around for a FIRE sale i’m planning. like i said earlier, this town seems held together pretty tight, so i think some discounts might get the townsfolk to give me a WARM welcome,” Sans said with a wink.
“...Same pun again?” Sam said, his tone conveying just how unimpressed he was.
“sheesh, tough crowd…” Sans responded, sounding slightly dejected. Something told Sam that this skeleton usually gets much different reactions.

“Alright, well… I think I’m gonna go now. I got shit to do,” Sam lied. He actually had nothing planned at all, but he needed an excuse to end this conversation.
“alright, but before you go…” Sans said, now standing up.
“Hm?”
“want a hotdog?” Sans asked as he rummaged around in one of his pockets, “i’m selling it for the low, low price of one hundred dollars.”
“Uh… What?” Sam asked, perplexed.

Sans produced a hotdog from his pocket, encased in a clear, plastic container. It looked untouched, and was surrounded by small ketchup packets. The sight of meat switched on Sam’s instincts, prompting anger at such a ludicrous price.

“A hundred dollars!? For a HOTDOG!?” Sam nearly yelled.
“oh, did i say one hundred dollars? i meant one thousand,” Sans said, barely hiding his laughter.
“...You’re fucking with me, right?” Sam inquired, realizing that this may just be another joke.
“Yeah, i’m just pulling your leg. It actually costs a hundred thousand,” Sans revealed with a smile in his eyes.
“...How much do you actually want for it? I’m actually kinda hungry…” Sam said with a slightly deflated tone, knowing full well that he didn’t even have a penny.
“hmm… how about that chess piece in your pocket?” Sans asked, pointing towards said pocket.
“W-What? How the hell-”
“i saw you pick it up before you walked over,” Sans explained, shrugging, “but for real, i will really give you this hotdog in exchange for that piece you got.”
“Uh… Arright, sure, I’ll take it. You got a deal,” Sam said, sporting a thankful yet cocky grin. He subconsciously wanted to wait and sell it at some pawn shop somewhere for a small fortune, but hunger has a way of messing with Sam’s mind.

Sam pulled the little black chess piece from his pocket and placed it into an awaiting mitt. As Sans handed his product over, Sam nearly snatched the small plastic box and could barely stop himself from ripping it open on the spot. “Uh… Thanks…” Sam said.
“No prob, bud. You probably have places to be, right? I won’t keep ya,” Sans said, but just as we about to turn around and head inside the grocery store, he recalled something Grillby had told him before.

“Uh, alright. I guess I’ll be going no-” Sam said as he started backing away, but Sans cut him off.

“one last thing…” Sans started, sounding much more serious than before, “y’seem like a good kid, so i hope i can trust you on this. i dunno much about the people here, but i’ve heard word from Grillby that there’s a thief going around, stealing his food and cigarettes, as well as taking alcohol from the store AND the church down south. you wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would ya? are there any suspicious characters i should look out for?” Sans asked, sounding much more serious than before.

Sam immediately felt a cold sweat beginning to form. “I only know just as much as you do. Sorry,” Sam coldly lied through his teeth… mostly. He regularly stole from Grillby, but he didn’t even know that the church had anything other than that gross non-alcoholic wine they’re legally forced to serve instead of the real thing during service. Although, it did comfort Sam to know that he wasn’t alone in his bad habits.

“hmm, alright. well, thanks anyway. you should come to the sale in a couple days, i’ll have good prices for ya,” Sans said, now seeming much more relaxed and casual as he was before.
“I’ll consider it,” Sam responded as he slowly walked away, hotdog in hand, finally freeing the himself from being forced to listen to dumb fire puns.
Sam turned back around the corner he had travelled in his bout of curiosity and pawed at the cigarette in his pocket again. Still wet and unusable. He didn’t trust himself not to destroy the cigarette if he were to attempt to dry it off by breathing fire on it, so the next best thing was his mother’s old hairdryer, provided that it even worked anymore. ‘Oh well,’ he still had food at least.

Sam cracked the hotdog’s plastic casing open, and was immediately greeted with a delectable aroma that the dragon happily huffed from the air. He grabbed one of the ketchup packets, cut it open with one of his teeth, and squirted the salty, red substance all over his soon to be devoured log of combined meat.

Sam raised the hotdog to his mouth, and devoured half of it in a single bite. It was surprisingly good, and even a little spicy. Maybe it was infused with peppers, but it wasn’t like the whelp knew much about what goes into hotdogs. All he knew in the current moment was bliss.

Sam’s mind returned to his meeting with the new skeleton in town as he chewed, though. Sure, he made a lot of irritating puns, but something just felt oddly comforting about his presence now that Sam thought about it. Hell, he even gave Sam food, which he had just taken a massive bite out of. Maybe, Sam thought, if he stopped wearing his mind on his sleeve so much, he might actually have someone in this town he could legitimately call a friend.

Or, more ambitiously, an employer. A lightbulb nearly blew itself out from the sheer intensity of its light inside of Sam’s mind, causing him to nearly choke on the mushy mixture of bread, ketchup, and meat in his mouth. As he coughed and hacked with tears forming in his eyes, his train of thought didn’t escape him.

If he could befriend this skeleton, get used to the puns, and get to know the guy, he just might offer Sam a part-time job. Sure, he hated school work, but that was because of how absolutely pointless it seemed. He didn’t get paid in grocery money or food stamps to study his ass off about things he couldn’t give less of a damn about.

It was settled. Sam would get that job, and he would get it soon. For once, he might actually have a chance at having a steady source of food that wasn’t so unreliable and spontaneous.

Sam ate the other half of the hotdog just as he did with the other. He savored the taste as much as he could, but as ravenous as he was, he couldn’t help but swallow it too soon before he truly got to enjoy it. To compensate, Sam sucked out all of the ketchup from the rest of the unused packets, and tossed them back into the small plastic container.

The container, though… Where would he throw it away? Even if he didn’t care about this world much, he still didn’t just want to throw it on the ground and leave it like some sort of douche. He already hated how dirty his own house was, so why bring that to the streets where he goes to escape it?

He didn’t want to go and throw it away at the grocery store since he had just talked to Sans only mere minutes ago. He didn’t want to go to school to throw it away there, considering that Sam didn’t consider throwing a piece of trash away to be a good enough reason to return there. The only other place he could think of to dispose of the waste was his own house.

He certainly didn’t want to go back home just to throw something away, but then it occurred to Sam that he didn’t have much else to do other than to maybe catch a buzz and fall asleep until the next dreadful day reared its ugly head.

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Sam stood at the foot of the stairs leading to his hovel’s front door, working up the courage to enter his own house. It wasn’t out of fear of the house itself or its questionable structural integrity, or even his deadbeat pothead of a mother he was afraid of. In fact, it wasn’t fear at all. Sam just felt as if he didn’t have enough emotional willpower to deal with all of the aforementioned things all at once.

Yet, he was here for a reason. He firmly held the hotdog container within his grasp to the point where his claws made dents in the plastic. His reason for coming back home so soon, however, felt oddly contrived and pointless to him.

Regardless, Sam took one step upwar-*CRACK*

“FUCK!”

The moldy wood beneath Sam’s foot finally caved in to the pressure, sending his leg into the dark abyss below the stairs where unknown things were left to fester in the dark. It was several moments before Sam realized that his eyes were clenched tight, prompting him to open them and take a look at where his foot had gone.

Sam’s eyes widened. There was an extremely sharp, worryingly moist, rusty nail mere inches away from his now exposed shin. He just narrowly avoided tetanus, and he was only trying to walk up his house’s stairs.

Sam carefully guided his leg out of the splintered deathtrap he found himself in and nearly fell over backwards trying to get his bearings. Now Sam had a real reason for going inside. Sooner or later, his mother would need to hear about the stairs being fragile and dangerous, not to mention heavily damaged.

The dragon whelp reached up and opened the front door from ground level and climbed through the doorway. Sam recoiled at having his face so close to the floor as he pulled himself to his feet. He never truly realized how filthy his floors were until now. The floor was covered in uncountable levels of small stains, tiny shards of broken glass, bits of hair, and a musky stench that made his nostrils feel scratchy. A torrent of memories involving the ‘5 second rule’ suddenly hit Sam like a truck, filling him with disgust.

Surprise and apprehension immediately replaced his revulsion at the sight of his mother staring at him. She stood to the right of the couch with her arms crossed, wobbling and struggling to keep her balance. The aftermath of a whiskey bottle being harshly thrown at the wall lay near the TV that left a crack and a massive brown stain on the already filthy wall and a pile of wet glass on the floor.

Cans of beer were strewn about, with the massive holes in the sides being evidence of Sam’s mother shotgunning every last one to get drunk as quickly as possible, a half empty wine glass sitting neatly on the table in front of the TV next to a completely empty wine bottle, and a mason jar of what Sam liked to call ‘fire water’ had a third of its contents depleted.

Sam’s mother had found Sam’s prized alcohol stash and pilfered every last drop, save for the mason jar. Sam looked at the intoxicated dragon before him, completely dumbfounded yet increasingly angry and uneasy. She had stolen what he considered his, leaving him angry, but what made him uneasy was the pure infuriation and hatred within her glare that threatened to pierce right through his soul.

Something else was wrong, and she placed every single ounce of blame onto her son for it. Her nostrils flared in tune with her heavy and deep breathing, and her fingers were tense as if they yearned to squeeze the life out of anything they could grasp. The bridge of her snout twitched with fury and anticipation.

What was truly bewildering was what Sam saw just past his mother’s face. His door leaned away from its frame by a thread, threatening to completely fall off of its hinges. Within his room itself, there were several piles of clothing scattered along the floor, along with his dresser’s drawers pulled out and placed on his bed.

Yet, through the deafening silence between the two dragons, it was clear that Sam was supposed to say something first. The whelp knew something would need to be said eventually, leading him to choose the first thing on his mind. “The stairs outside are broken,” Sam said, his pubescent voice nearly cracking.

“Mmm hmm…” his mother grunted, now disapprovingly tapping a finger on her arm, “just like a lot of thiinnnggsss…”
“...You drank all my booze,” Sam coldly stated as a scowl began to take shape on his face.
“*It wasn’t yours,” Sam’s mother slurred, slowly shaking her head.
“*cough* Oh, so it was YOURS, then?” Sam asked with a growing hint of anger in his voice.
“My house, my booze…” she replied smugly, yet angrily. Her arms crossed more tightly together.
“It’s not your booze,” Sam declared, “and you know you’re not supposed to drink. Remember what happened with Vict-?”
“THA-a-AT’S not… the point…” she interrupted through a crack in her voice, “you’re not only a booze thief…”
“...What?” Sam asked. Sam was a thief of alcohol for sure, but he didn’t remember stealing much else recently.
“Our- MY money… Where is it!?” she snarled, now angrily scrunching her snout.
“The fuck are you talking abo- you know what? You’re drunk off your ass,” Sam said, throwing his arms up, “I’ll talk to you when you’re sober.”

Sam turned on his heel and tossed the plastic hotdog casing towards a small trash can in the kitchen, not caring if he hit his target or not. The dragon whelp pushed the door open to leave, but was suddenly snatched by the shoulder and thrown back inside. Sam crashed to the flattened carpet floor with a dull, painful thud.

“Augh, what the fuck!” Sam yelled as he attempted to get back up, but he was met with a foot stomping him back down to the ground and forcing a pained wheeze out of his chest. He looked up to his mother holding the hotdog casing within her claws. The hatred in her eyes visibly grew stronger as she crushed the casing within her cold grip.

“Where the FUCK did you ge-?” she hissed, but a fist to the side of her knee caught her off guard and sent her spiraling towards the floor. Sam scrambled to his feet and struggled to catch his breath. He nearly bolted for the door, but stopped dead in his tracks when his mother blocked his path as she too stood back up.

“Sssssaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmm!” she hoarsely screamed.
“Get the hell away from me!” Sam snarled. He slowly backed away, baring his teeth.

Sam’s mother stood back up, baring her unwashed teeth and claws back at her son. The whelp himself stood his ground, cautiously gazing at the danger in front of him but attempting to seem strong. She dropped the destroyed plastic to the floor with a clatter as she seemingly prepared to charge at a moment’s notice.

Sam did his best to keep a cool head, yet felt as if he was failing. He felt no fear for a monster that he knew didn’t have the balls to *really* hurt him. Rather, it was anger. He clenched his fists until his knuckles were white, and he grit his yellow teeth. The amount of accumulated poison he wanted to vocally spew at this abomination of a person at this very instant could kill any living thing within a five mile radius.

“Don’t you DARE touch your mother that way!” she snarled, ejecting small, hot globs of saliva towards the floor beneath her. The heat rising from her throat turned her rancid spit into steam that filled the immediate area with a horrid stench.
“I was defending myself against a violent cunt!” Sam spewed back without even thinking of the consequences. The heat within his own throat was there, but it had yet to reach his mouth.
“You just fucking punched me YOU STUPID ASSHOLE!” she screeched, clenching her eyes tight in an attempt to shield her throat from being shredded by the sheer force she put behind her voice.
“And YOU fucking stomped on me,” Sam yelled back as he continued to stand his ground, “and I wanna know what the fuck I did to deserve that shit! What the fuck is your problem!?”
“What is my problem? What is my fucking problem!?” she bellowed in response with a slight slur, “It’s YOU, you stupid, worthless sack of shit!”
“What the fuck did I even do!?” Sam snapped, angrily waving his arms with his words.

Sam’s mother suddenly calmed her body language and snarled expression, replacing it with a disingenuous grin. She laughed loudly, rocking her head back and covering her eyes with one hand. This sudden change was betrayed by her other hand still twisted and strained in intense fury, looking ready to lacerate anything within its path.

Sam steeled himself and didn’t so much as drop his shoulders to lower his guard, though his withdrawal made it difficult to hold back a torrent of coughs and wheezes. His body gradually grew tired from his muscles being so tense for as long as they have been, but he kept himself physically ready. His eyes focused on her angry hand as if it were about to strike.

“You really… *really* wanna know… what you did!?” she growled as she reinstated eye contact with her son, “You... ruined… everything…”
“...What?” Sam asked, cocking his head to the side.
“It’s all your fault that we have no money… No food… Yooouuuuuuu….. You eat all of our food you fucking hole!” she growled.
“I eat stale, dry ass cereal and cold soup because you can't get a fucking job!” Sam screamed, infuriated his mother’s ironic accusations.
“I-”
“YOU waste our money on pot and expensive snack shit! YOU could be working and, I dunno, cooking for us or at least picking something up from the diner or something. Or, maybe, just maybe, just ordering a goddamn pizza!” Sam said as he pointed an accusatory claw at his mother.
“We don’t have the money for pizza you stupid fuck!” she retorted, taking an aggressive step towards Sam.
Sam flinched, but he kept going. “You’re not even fucking listening! We don’t have money because you don’t HAVE A FUCKING JO-”

*SMACK!*

Sam’s mother struck him across the face with enough force to send him reeling and holding his face. Sam let out an aggravated scream and clenched his fists to the point that his knuckles were white. He looked at her with a mix of confusion and burning hatred.

“Get out of my house!” she screamed, furiously pointing towards the ajar front door.
Sam fought back the urge to physically retaliate, continuing to stand his ground. “You won’t get a job, you constantly insult me and make me feel like shit, you blame me for what is YOUR fault, you waste our money, and you slap me when I say something that hurts your fra-!” Another swing came towards Sam’s face, but he dipped his upper body away from the blow and took a step back.
“Get out!” she screamed, taking another missed swing at Sam.
“And you slap me when I say something that hurts your fragile ego!” he finished.
“You’re a stupid piece of shit that I should have wrangled out with a fucking coat hanger… Nobody wants me! Nobody in this HICK, PIECE OF SHIT town wants me because of you!” she yelled, avoiding what Sam had accused her of.
“Nobody gives a shit about me you dumb cunt! You won’t even go outside unless you absolutely have to and you smell like shit! Take a goddamn shower and go outside and you might just find another dick to leech off of!”
“I should have FUCKING ABORTED Y- *cough cough cough*” she screeched before forcing herself into a painful coughing fit.
“Why didn’t you? Would have saved me a lot of trouble!” Sam retorted, slamming his palm against his chest.
“I-..... *cough* get out… get out!” she repeated, continuing to point at the door.
“I’m frankly surprised that you haven’t at least abandoned me at some adoption center. If you hate me so fucking much, then why am I even here? Can you tell me that, you worthless cunt?”
“Get the fuck out of my house… NOW… or I might just accidentally murder you...” she hissed.

Sam angrily sighed and groaned, walked over to his mason jar of ‘fire water’. He grabbed it and walked towards his room, ignoring his mother who was now asking him where he thought he was going. Sam entered his room and stripped one of his pillows of its case and used it to hold his mason jar.

The fed-up whelp snatched a blanket and his other pillow and proceeded back towards the living room. As he walked past his mother, he felt a harsh shove from the right, nearly toppling him over. “FUCK YOU!” Sam screamed as loud as he could as he walked out into the steps.

In his anger, Sam nearly stepped back into the hole he had accidentally created earlier but caught himself before he could suffer any poorly timed injuries. The resentful dragon made it to the driveway and rolled his blanket into a ball for easier carrying. He clenched the pillow case that held his alcohol tight while he held his pillow between his arm and his waist.

“Oh, and one more thing! I don’t even have a fucking tail because I don’t eat enough! I am MAL-FUCKING-NOURISHED because you can’t even feed your own son!” he yelled back before stomping away from his decrepit hovel.

“I’m not coming back you useless fucking cunt… Useless fucking cunt...” he whispered under his breath. He needed somewhere to sleep tonight, and had a destination just south of the church in mind. Nobody went there for any reason, and that old bunker or whatever it was had been taken over by overgrowth, so it wasn’t like anybody cared about it. Sam found it strange how he could feel pity for something inanimate.

 


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Sam wrapped his blanket around himself and gently lay his head onto his pillow. The sky had turned to a grayish dark blue, and the sound of insects broadcasting their mating calls had just begun to signify the end of another day. The low hum emanating from the red doors to the dragon’s right provided ample white noise for lulling him to sleep.

The mason jar lay next to his head, now with half of its contents depleted. Sam smacked his lips in an attempt to feel the subtle fruity aftertaste of his beverage as he let the alcohol’s burn pool in his stomach. He held his cigarette in one of his hands, considering whether or not to light it up.

He could smoke it now, but he might end up needing it to soothe his nerves later. He could smoke it tomorrow, but Toriel might smell it on him and finally do something about his private habits that he mainly carried out away from school grounds and which he believed was absolutely none of her business. Then again, tomorrow could be stressful, considering that he had resigned himself to homelessness earlier that day.

Only now did Sam consider the things he had said and the decisions he had made. He knew his words were vile and awful, but he meant every single word. It had been building up for quite some time, and seeing his drunken mother fling accusation after accusation at him was the sledgehammer that broke the camel’s back.

His biggest regret however, was making himself completely unwelcome back to his house, even promising himself that he would never return. It was a filthy place that was falling apart by the minute, but it was still a roof over his head that he no longer had. From now on, if it rained, he would get wet and there would be little he could do about it.

Sam briefly considered the possibility of someone being sent to look for him, but he swiftly shot it down. Besides, he was just a stupid asshole that did nothing but make his mother’s life hell, right? Why would she put in a sliver of effort to get him back? As far as Sam was concerned, there was no way she cared enough.

Sam placed his cigarette on top of the mason jar and snuggled up tight. The ground beneath him was bumpy and extremely uncomfortable, but it wasn’t much worse than his old bed. He closed his eyes and thought about dropping an anvil over Berdly’s head just as he left his house for school. It was a funny thought that got his mind off of his current predicament and brought him some comfort.

Sam didn’t even register the moment he fell asleep.

 

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The sound of birds chirping woke the purple dragon from his slumber. The moment he took a breath, Sam caught himself in a coughing fit. This one proved worse than usual, nearly making Sam puke on his sheets from the sheer intensity of his hacking and choking.

Sam barely recovered as he desperately gulped down as much air as he could while pounding his chest. The dragon stood to his feet and brushed away bits of grass and dead leaves out of his hair to the best of his ability. Surprisingly, Sam didn’t feel hungover as he had expected, although he was quite thirsty.

The whelp twisted his back, cracked his knuckles, and cracked his neck from side to side to jumpstart his body’s wake-up process. He walked around the overgrown double doors of the abandoned bunker and headed north. Just as he made it to the church, he saw Ms. Toriel’s red van passing by and heading eastwards. “Urgh… Looks like I still got time for Ms. Alphys’s spineless funhouse…” he grumbled as he began to follow the van’s path.

He checked to see if his cigarette was still too wet to be lit, and found it just dry enough to smoke. “Finally...” he thought. He planned to smoke it right before class, but he needed water from the fountain first.

After waiting a few moments for Kris and Toriel to finish their routine, Sam pushed the doors open and headed straight for the water fountain. He slammed his palm against the button on the fountain and quenched his thirst. As he did so, he retrieved his cigarette in preparation to smoke it outside.

Sam brought his head back up and attempted to place the cigarette in his mouth, but his fingers slipped, sending it into the small puddle of water that had still yet to make it all the way down the drain. The dragon’s eyes widened as he suppressed an infuriated roar at his continued misfortune.

The whelp plucked his cigarette from the fountain and gently tried to dry it on his jacket. Sam walked back outside, making sure that nobody was looking. Seeing that the coast was clear, Sam blew a small puff of fire onto the tip of the cigarette, but the moisture prevented it from lighting.

“Come on, come oooonnnnnn…..!” he whined. Sam breathed fire onto the now burnt tip again, and yet it still refused to light. “God damn it…” he mumbled as he placed it back into his pocket, “Really fucking figures…”

The tall purple monster bumbled back into the halls of the school and took a left turn towards his classroom. Just beyond the door, Sam could hear a conversation happening between Alphys, Berdly, and Noelle. Sam formulated a simple plan to get in, sit down, and not attract too much attention.

Sam twisted the knob and gave it a shove, yet he was still in a stage in his life where he did not truly realize his own strength, which caused the door to fly open and slam against the wall. An uncomfortable silence replaced the chatter in the room. The dragon kept a blank face, but he was internally embarrassed and nervous as he realized that all eyes were on him. “H-... Hi Sam…” Alphys squeaked.

Sam scanned the room to see everyone either intimidated, or unphased in Catti and Temmie’s case. Kris, who was standing next to Noelle’s desk, kept her usual blank expression with no hint of emotion. “...Am I late?” he asked.

“Ohh, n-no! You’re fine! W-We were just… uh… Ch-choosing partners for the next group project, and… Umm… Sam, you’re with Kris!” Alphys anxiously sputtered.
“......Alright…” Sam replied.
“...” Alphys put on her best attempt at a confident smile, only to fail miserably and look absolutely terrified instead. Sam felt oddly insulted.
“...*cough*...”
“N-Now that everyone’s here, I’ll write the next assignment!” Alphys declared, now much more confidently.

The pudgy yellow lizard snatched the chalk off of the desk and began to write down the assignments for the day, as well as the details of the group project. Sam slowly walked towards the space in between Alphys and Temmie’s desks, but his elbow accidentally knocked something over in the process. Sam looked to his right to see a coffee cup knocked over, as well as all of its contents spilled all over the desk.

“Shit!” Sam exclaimed. He took a step back and saw Alphys, looking at his with a startled yet disappointed expression. Sam looked to the class again to see everyone else blankly staring at him. “...Uh…”
“Oh, t-that’s okay! We have paper towels for that… I think… Umm…” Alphys sputtered.
“Hey, there might be a roll in the supply closet…” Noelle chimed in, her crossed arms resting on the desk, “Miss Alphys, why don’t Sam and I-”
“G-Good idea, Noelle! S-Sam, since you came in last… Why don’t you go get it for me…?” Alphys meekly asked. Sam noticed Noelle’s expression immediately begin to sour.
“...Uh huh…” Sam replied as he turned around and walked back out into the hallway. He closed the door behind him with much less force than when he opened it.

“...Does that reindeer like me...?” Sam asked himself under his breath. The dragon looked back at the door as he thought about how Noelle acted mere moments prior. He had seen her looking at him before, and he had his suspicions, but this confirmed there was some interest towards him. At this realization, Sam felt an odd weight in his chest he couldn’t quite describe.

He barely knew her at all and had scarcely exchanged words with her since the fifth grade, but the mere thought of a girl having any interest in him at all made him feel weird, but not necessarily in a bad way. Maybe, he thought, he could talk to her after class and… ‘catch up’. His thoughts were interrupted by a severe itch in his throat coming back to haunt him.

“That reminds me…” he said under his breath, pulling out his cigarette again and checking the moisture. It surprisingly felt dry enough to light at this point, prompting the dragon to head towards the school’s doors. He could easily make an excuse about the paper towels being hard to find if he took too long.

Sam pushed the double doors open and stepped back outside as he readied the cigarette in his hand. Sam blew a puff of fire at the tip, properly lighting it this time around. “Yes!” he cheered as he popped it between his lips and took a long, satisfying drag.

Sam sighed as he blew the smoke out of his mouth and nostrils. “Now *that’s* what I needed…” he happily hissed. He took another drag and exhaled again. The chemicals washed over his brain and soothed his nerves. He took one long, final drag and snuffed the cigarette against the wall.

Sam turned around as he stuffed the cigarette back into his pocket, but his exhale was interrupted with a startled gasp and a string of coughs at the sight of Kris staring at him from the halls. The dragon suddenly felt his world fall completely still. He was already on bad terms with the school administration, so Kris reporting his smoking habits on school grounds could land him in more trouble than he was ready to deal with, leaving him unsure of what to do.

What made him truly nervous and angry at the same time was that he could barely read Kris’s apathetic face. There was no telling what was going through her head at this very moment, leaving Sam to come up with a reaction to her mere presence rather than any body language or words. The whelp furrowed his brow and pushed the doors open one last time as he stepped back inside.

‘Today is gonna be real fuckin’ interesting…’ he thought as he approached the human in the hallway.

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Sans pulled out what he thought was the black knight piece he had exchanged yesterday. “that was too close,” Sans thought, now looking at a fractured, white pawn in his mittened hand, “that crazy old weirdo needs to stop leaving his junk around… i can’t just keep sweeping his messes under the rug like this forever...”

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Chapter Text

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Sam and Kris stood opposite each other in the hallway. The silence was deafening; unbroken even by the children in the younger class until Sam began to speak. “Kris… Just how long have you been standing there?” he growled. Kris stayed infuriatingly silent.

Sam began to slowly advance towards Kris as he continued. The bridge of his snout twitched with anger. “Hey, I’m talking to you. You like just fuckin’ staring at people with their backs turned?” he spat with venom in his voice. Kris began to back away from the approaching dragon. Sam stopped when he saw this. “Oh… I get it now. You’re too scared to even say...”

Sam looked to the side before speaking again. “You know, I WOULD say that quiet people piss me off, but I think it’d be good for both of us if you kept your goddamn mouth shut. Your mom already gives me enough shit as it is,” he said, beginning to raise his voice whilst pointing a claw at the human in front of him.

“...Alphys sent you after me, right? Of course she did. I can’t do something as simple as grabbing a roll of paper towels without needing a goddamn chaperone...” Sam grumbled. Kris stayed completely static as he rambled. He narrowed his eyes at the human before him, now beginning to feel more and more offended by her very presence.

“I’ll tell you what, Kris…” he said, “Fuck off back to class and let me do my thing. Tell Alphys to get off my ass, and that I’m not just some incompetent dumbass!” he snarled, nearly yelling. He didn’t realize it at the time, but his teeth were bared. His hands were clenched into angry fists with nails that threatened to pierce his palms.

Kris remained where she stood, not making a sound or movement other than breathing. Sam’s headache, the merciless itch in his throat, his skull-cracking headache, and Kris’s defiance were all mounting up and fueling Sam’s fury. He was about to punch a hole in the wall to his left to get the point across, but he did something else instead.

“GAH, fine, I don’t have time for this shit! Tag along, but stay out of the way. If you tell anyone, and I mean ANYONE, that I was smoking on school grounds, I will personally bury you alive. Got it!?” he snapped, roughly pushing past Kris and power walking towards before she could possibly answer.

He turned his head as he walked to ensure that Kris was within his sight. He groaned and pinched his temple when he saw Kris drinking from the water fountain. “Hey, Kris! I put my mouth on that earlier, so you might not wanna do that,” he said in a hushed voice that was loud enough to be audible from where Kris was standing.

Kris stopped drinking at the fountain and made eye contact with the dragon for the first time all day. After a moment of awkward staring, Kris shrugged and went right back to drinking from the fountain. Sam’s face scrunched up in a mix of confusion, disgust, and near-laughter before he turned around and kept walking. “That… That wasn’t encouragement, Kris… Ugh, just meet me at the closet you damn freak…” he mumbled.

Sam walked through the rest of the hall and approached the closet. Two wooden doors coated in purple paint greeted him on the wall. He looked back to see Kris approaching from behind, signifying that she was done drinking saliva-tainted water. “You stay out here. I’m gonna go in, get the paper towels, and we’ll both go back to class,” he declared as he reached for the handle.

With a small turn, the doors suddenly swung open by themselves. The two classmates were met with an unnatural absence of light, unpierced by the fluorescent lights of the school ceiling. The darkness within the confines of the closet seemed to pour out and blacken everything around it. The aforementioned lights seemed to dim as if relying on a failing generator.

Sam was almost immediately gripped with a sickening weight in his chest and a frigid chill racing up his spine. His heart began rapidly cycling adrenaline through his body, and he found his hands shaking uncontrollably. He stood for several seconds, completely frozen in place. He couldn’t explain why, but something about the closet deeply unnerved him. Something was very wrong and he could feel it.

Sam broke out of his trance for a moment to take a look at Kris. As usual, it was incredibly difficult to read her. The one thing that indicated any form of fear was her quivering, near frowning lips. Sam hadn’t noticed before now, but Kris had taken a few steps back from the door.

“Hey… Kris? I don’t think it’s supposed to be THAT dark in there…” Sam said, keeping his gaze focused on the inky black void in front of him. He looked back at Kris again and noticed just how far she had stepped away. “What, you’re not… scared, are you? Why don’t you go on in?” he prodded.

Kris slowly shook her head and stayed right where she was. “...Alright, if you’re gonna puss out, then I’ll…” Sam began, yet he stopped when he looked into the darkness once again. “...Uh… How about we both go in at the same time?” he asked, taking another glance back at Kris.

After a moment of hesitation, Kris slowly nodded. Sam took a breath, and walked towards the closet. Hearing Kris’s footsteps following him, he felt a tad safer knowing that she was right there behind him. If something bad were to happen, she could easily run to go get help.

Sam crossed the barrier that separated the hall from the closet. Suddenly, he was able to see what looked like old papers from a bygone era from before he even moved to town. He found this incredibly strange. Had he not noticed in all his fear from before?

“Uh… All I see here is just a bunch of old papers. Nothing to be scared of…” Sam said as he slowly inched his way deeper inside the closet. “...Say, uh, there oughta be a light switch in here. Help me find it.”

Sam outstretched his arms and felt around. He began to slightly pick up the pace, becoming more and more confused and apprehensive. He stopped at one spot and heard Kris right behind him. He turned and saw a dim silhouette in the darkness. “You find a switch yet? I’m not finding a damn thing,” he said before turning back around and continuing his search.

Sam walked even further into the closet, now breaking into a nervous sweat. His breathing grew shallow. He stopped mid-walk, causing Kris to nearly bump into him from behind. He quickly spun around, fists tightly clenched. “Alright, fuck this. If Alphys needs something to clean her coffee up with, she can just use her own shirt for all I care. Let’s just get back and tell her we couldn’t find any paper towels,” he said rather quickly.

Kris turned around just as quickly and began to nearly jog towards the door. Sam followed closely behind, relieved to finally have an excuse to leave. Just as Kris was about to make it to the doors, however, they suddenly slammed shut with a loud bang.

“W-What the hell!?” Sam yelped. He rudely pushed past Kris once more and lunged his hand towards the handle, only to find nothing but a black wall. Sam’s eyes widened as panic began to set in. He pounded furiously on what was supposed to be a door. “Hey, what the fuck! Let us out! LET US THE FU-”

The floor began to violently shake. The papers on the floor shuffled and shuddered. The floor began to crumble beneath Sam’s feet, starting at his toes. He backed away quickly and accidentally crashed into Kris, nearly knocking her over.

“KRIS, THE FLOOR IS-!” is all he could say before the ground completely gave way beneath the two classmates. Sam sharply gasped as he felt the wind rush past him. His arms and legs thrashed wildly. He frantically clawed at the air, desperately trying to get back onto solid ground.

He wanted to scream, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so. Something inside him gripped his voice tight and smothered anything that otherwise would have slipped out. He clenched his eyes shut and waited for the pain to start. He waited for his entire lower body to hit the ground and shatter his bones.

He violently crashed against an invisible floor, yet he felt no pain. He slipped into unconsciousness, and his panic and fear subsided. All was quiet…

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Sam opened his eyes. He was sitting on the stairs leading up to his front door. He felt a warm presence to his right, but his ears were assaulted by a cacophony of noise. The sound of fireworks bursting in the air echoed in the distance. Muffled yet loud, hoarse crying came from behind his house’s walls. There was an opened 24-pack box of beer on the step just below where he was sitting.

He looked to his right and locked eyes with a very familiar man. A simian monster with reptilian, yet horizontal pupils in his eyes. He wore a heavily stained, wine stenched tuxedo. He had been staring at Sam with a look of sorrow and pity.

Sam looked back down at the ground as a question formed within his mind. “W-Why is m-mommy crying so bad, M-Mr. Victor?” he asked with a quavering voice.
The monkey sighed, smacked his lips, and mentally prepared himself to answer. “Your mother… She is different woman when she drink, Samuel,” he explained, trying his best to push through a passable yet stiff language barrier.
“D-Different…?” Sam asked, now looking back at Victor.
“Mean. Cruel. Your mother is cruel woman when she drink. She not understand… that… other people have feelings that she don’t have when she drink,” he continued, “and she think when she drink that other people out to get her and cause her harm.”
“W-Why would she think that?” Sam asked, now looking down at his woefully undersized sneakers.
“Some people are like that when they drink, Samuel. Some people, when they drink, get very cruel. But, do not fear alcohol, because not people all are like your mother. Some people are nice and even fun to party with when drunk. Just... not her,” he said, placing a hand on Sam’s shoulder.

Sam looked out to the sky. He tried his best to see a single firework, yet the treeline got in the way. It blocked out the sky and surrounded it in darkness, leaving only a pocket of stars for him to observe. He felt disappointed. In this time he took to gaze skywards, Sam connected the dots in his little head and made a realization.

“...B-But Mr. Victor, m-mommy drinks a lot, s-s-so that would mean that she is m-mean a lot. W-Why do you love mommy if s-she’s always mean?” Sam asked, now looking back at Victor.
Victor broke eye contact with Sam and retracted his arm. He thought for a moment the best way he could put his thoughts into words that a child would understand on a basic level, and that an adult would understand the full meaning of later on in life. He turned back to Sam and slowly worked through his thoughts regarding the boy’s mother.

“Your mother,” he began, “when she not drink, she is actually… She is good person inside, yes? Victor loves that woman when she not drink, and…”
“And what?”
“And… Victor is not proudest monkey in jungle to say this, but Victor likes dragons… more than he likes other monkeys like himself...” he said, looking away from Sam.
“Y-You like dragons more than monkeys? But Mr. V-Victor, you’re a monkey… Dragons are s-super cool… and can… and c-can breathe fire and all, but monkeys are supposed t-to really like themselves, r-right? Monkeys climb trees better than d-dragons and I think that’s cool, but I s-still like dragon stuff a lot because I am one!” Sam innocently retorted.

Victor laughed, holding his chest with his palm. After several moments of Sam waiting for Victor to calm down, the simian took a deep breath and began thinking of the best way to elaborate while not going into too much detail.

“Hah… No no no, you misunderstand me, boy. You see, Samuel... I… I like dragons more than monkeys… Er... like that of how a boy likes a girl on playground more than other girl,” he explained.
“...What? That’s weird. Why?”
“Well, you may find girl that is not dragon that *you* really like one day and you will maybe know why when that time comes,” he delicately elaborated. “Anyway... You ask many questions, little Samuel, never lose that! Too many people in mother country never ask questions, and that is ending bad for them, which is why I am even here in America in first place. But for now, that is all I want to say about all that,” he said, reaching into the box below him.

Victor pulled out two cans of beer and handed one over to Sam. “Today is great American holiday, Samuel. Is okay for boy to drink a little. One beer will not harm you. You ask about many complicated things, but little Samuel is still young child. Victor suggests that you live simple for now, while you yourself are still simple, yes?”

Sam took the can in his hand and held it for a few short moments. Although his mother’s heavy sobs could wake the dead, they seemed to filter out as Sam looked into the brownish, yellow liquid in the can, anticipating the calm and woozy feeling that would be soon to come. Finally, after breaking through his hesitation, he cracked it open and put the can up to his mouth.

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Sam’s eyes shot open. He took a massive gulp of air into his lungs, then suddenly jerked his body upwards as he began to cough uncontrollably. His hacks and wheezes forced his eyes shut once more as his body fought to expel some foreign substance clogging his throat. He focused on what he had seen when he first opened his eyes while he waited to recover. It was a blur, but he thought he had seen blue and black all around him.

Sam gagged several times between coughs, nearly puking all over the cold, hard ground beneath him. Tears formed in his eyes, and his face would have turned red if he had blood running through his veins. When he wasn’t coughing, he was breathing in as he could and often accidentally swallowing air.

Eventually, Sam gathered his bearings and caught his breath. He managed to burp out all of the swallowed air that had built up in his throat. He wiped away the tears from his eyes and opened them to get a good look at his surroundings for once.

Sam was greatly unnerved by what he saw. He was on a small plateau above a larger stone landmass among a seemingly infinite abyss. He saw pitch black holes in the walls, some oozing a thick black tar. He saw what looked like eye symbols etched into the walls and cliff faces.

He walked over and tried to scan the area for solid ground to jump down to, but he noticed something else entirely. He looked… different. Sam took a good long look at himself the best he could, finding himself both incredibly confused and somewhat elated by how badass his new appearance was.

Sam’s skin had turned from his familiar mauve to a hot pink. From his hands to elbow, his arms were wrapped up in a tough, dark purple fabric. Both biceps carried a gold studded armband. He was wearing a dark grey, button-up vest with a light blue patch on the right pec with a Delta Rune symbol stitched into it.

A large gold chain wrapped from his right hip to a large shoulder pad on his left shoulder. Above his baggy, grayish purple pants was a tightly bound belt with a golden, heart shaped buckle. There was a kneepad for each knee, made seemingly of the same material as the shoulder pad. On his feet, he wore heavy, black boots with light purple laces and a metal toe guard on each boot.

Sam didn’t know what to make of it. A more instinctual part of his brain freaked out at the sudden change of his skin, yet his new digs were something to behold. The only thing he didn’t like about it was that his belt buckle was shaped like a heart of all things, but it wasn’t like he chose his own new clothes.

After getting acquainted with his odd new appearance, Sam started trying to put the pieces together in his head and figure out how he ended up in such a dismal place. He tried to remember the last thing that happened before he went unconscious. He remembered spilling coffee, smoking a cigarette, walking in the hall, having a splitting headache that still annoyingly lingered, and Kris. Sam suddenly felt a ball of poisonous guilt bouncing around inside of him when he remembered how he treated her.

She hadn’t done a single thing to him, and he acted like a piece of shit, just like he always does. All because he *thought* she *might* have snitched on him. Sam grimaced and groaned while covering his eyes with his hands. He felt immobilized, not wanting to go any further until this self-inflicted pain subsided.

A sound ripped him out of his despair, however. He heard metal clanking against stone in the distance, sounding like footsteps. The dragon wasn’t alone here. Now fueled by curiosity and longing to not be alone in an unfamiliar place, Sam approached the edge of the plateau to see what looked like a stone slope that lead down to a much more comfortable amount of ground to walk on.

Sam sat down on the edge of the plateau and looked at where he would land. He took a deep breath and steeled himself before going down. The slide down was surprisingly smooth, yet provided just enough friction to keep him from sliding at a dangerous speed. He hit the bottom safely, though the impact nearly sent his rear end into the ground.

Sam found that the only path he could take went towards the footsteps. Otherwise, the other direction stopped at a cliff above the void below. After taking another deep breath, Sam began to walk.

The heavy thuds from his boots and the jingle of the chain on his torso didn’t make him feel any better. If anything, they gave his position away. Thinking it would be more difficult and tedious to try to sneak around with this heavy gear on, he kept his pace.

Sam was beginning to feel a bit more at ease, though apprehension still gripped his heart. Just as he felt a tad more relaxed, he heard an extremely loud chirping noise to his left, startling him and making him nearly jump out of his skin. He sharply twisted his head at the source of the sound to find something odd.

A fleshy, joystick shaped object or creature was wildly wiggling and thrashing around atop a plateau nearly three times as tall as the dragon next to it. He saw another one to its right, yet it stood completely still as if it were a statue. Sam slowly backed away from the wiggling thing above.

Sam looked at the still object whilst he created as much distance between him and the moving one. Once his position was aligned with the still object, however, it too began loudly chirping and thrashing about. Sam broke into a power walk to get as far away from them as possible.

Sam came to a right turn at a wall with an oozing black hole in the center of it. Sam sidestepped the wall and turned the corner, not wanting to know what the black liquid even was. The wall stretched out beyond the corner, with more oozing holes and the weird eye symbols he had seen before.

Sam kept traveling onwards until the path stopped at a small gap. A wall stood to the left, now with another eye symbol etched into it, but it seemed to be crying the strange black tar. The gap was small enough to easily jump across, but one wrong move could send him falling to Angel knows where. He stared at the gap, thinking of what to do before deciding the only way to move forward was by jumping across.

The dragon took several steps backwards. “Here we go,” he muttered under his breath. Sam sprinted towards the gap and leapt across it. He successfully made it to the other side, though his hands were shaking. He stood upright and looked back at the gap, chuckling from the endorphins that rushed through him.

He had been internally congratulating himself as he continued walking, but he heard more shrill chirping to his left. Feeling startled, he spun his head around only for something large to slam into his snout. Sam grunted and cursed several obscenities while holding his nose. He backed away from the source of the pain, only to nearly fall off the cliff.

He opened his eyes and saw another wriggling, fleshy, joy-stick shaped object, yet this one was different. It was nearly as black as the void all around him, yet it glowed with an evil, hostile red. Sam saw two more of the same objects in a row on platforms separated from the ground he walked on, but they were standing still.

Still holding his nose, Sam carefully walked by the next object. As soon as he was aligned with it, it chirped and wiggled again, only this time it materialized three spherical, white, basketball-sized projectiles that quickly flew at him. The now panicking dragon sidestepped the one on the middle, only to get hit in the shoulder by one on the left.

“Ow, damn it!” he grunted. Strangely, the projectile seemingly disappeared upon impact, leaving a scraped up bruise in its wake. Sam decided not to question it, and began another sprint, hoping to outrun the projectiles this time. As he ran by, the chirping sounded again as the projectiles came barreling towards him.

He felt the air whoosh by as a projectile nearly slammed into the side of his head. He slowed down and looked back at the object to see it wiggling as well as the two others. He had successfully dodged the last one, though his snout and shoulder still hurt.

In all his panic and confusion, he didn’t pay any mind to the footsteps until now. Strangely, he was actually ahead of them this time. Sam rushed over to another slope leading down to another large patch of ground beneath him. He noticed two of those wiggling objects, yet they didn’t move when he rushed by. ‘Maybe they only started moving when you approached from a specific angle,’ he mused.

He quickly slid down the slope and landed much more gracefully than the last time. In front of him were several giant, white, chalky piles of dust. They all moved in a rhythm that reminded him of breathing, and there was what looked like a mouth in the center of each one.

Before Sam could approach one and examine it further, he heard the source of the footsteps slide down a slope just as he had done a moment prior. He ducked down behind one of the piles of dust and did his best to get a good look at it. His racing heart felt heavy in his chest.

From behind the dust pile, he saw a short, shadowy figure walking around and carefully examining everything around it like a curious child. It approached a dust pile and touched it, causing it to violently explode and violently scatter dust in the air. Sam retreated a step back, heavily considering just making a run for it and not looking back.

His eyes widened when the figure began to quickly and systematically touch and explode each dust pile, one by one as if it were popping bubble wrap. Seeing the figure closing in fast, he forgoed all sleath and ran back to hide behind another dust pile. There was no doubt in his mind that the thing saw him, or at the very least heard his obnoxiously loud chain or thunderous footfalls.

Sam was eventually pushed back to one last dust pile where the ground slimmed into a one-way lane. There was nowhere to sidestep and outmaneuver whatever was coming after him. He closed his left hand into a fist and bared his claws on his right hand. He planned to open with a slash at its face, then follow up with a punch to the gut. From there, he would improvise.

The figure reached his dust pile and touched it. Sam shot up from his crouched stance, instinctively taking a deep breath. He was about to attack, but he didn’t account for something very important. His mouth was now filled with chalky dust, completely throwing him off guard. Instead of following through with his attack, he fell backwards onto the ground whilst he gagged and spat out the dust in his mouth.

He took one look at the figure from before to see… a blue, female human. Not just any human, but Kris. Her face and visible biceps were a bright, neon blue while her hair was much darker in comparison. He couldn’t make out her eyes in the dark, though the rest of her face was just visible enough to make out simple details.

She wore a fabric bodysuit underneath a silver breastplate and a torn red cape wrapped around her neck. Her metal boots were comprised of the same material as the armor on her torso. Her arms, save for her upper arms, were shielded by silver gauntlets, each with a Delta Rune symbol faintly visible on the back of her hands.

“K-Kris!?” he exclaimed as he finished getting as much dust out of his mouth as he could, “Jeeze, don’t fucking scare me like that! I nearly clawed your damn throat out!”

Kris had a small smirk on her face. “...Oh, that’s funny, huh? I JUST NEARLY KILLED YOU, DUMBASS!” he said, pointing a claw at her. “Ugh, anyway, you have any idea where the hell we are?” he asked, pulling himself back up to his feet. Kris gave a small shrug.

“...You know, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s still possible to, you know, feel pain, I would have assumed we were dead… Unless this is hell or something…” he pondered, caressing his bruised shoulder. “You come across any of those weird, black and red things? The ones that shot those… er… circle… things?”

Kris nodded her head, seemingly now taking notice of the bruises on Sam’s nose and shoulder. “Right… So, uh… You look… different?” he said, cocking his head to the side and furrowing his brow. Kris shrugged again. “...Anyway, I think we should, y’know, get the hell out of here? This place gives me the fuckin’ creeps, man…”

Kris gave a small nod and carefully stepped around Sam, walking ahead of him. He saw a single pillar near a dead end, past what he assumed was another slope heading down to another cliff. For all he knew, the dead end could have a slope safely leading down to the bottom of the abyss.

He followed closely behind, carefully looking around for any other threats. Considering that he was already with Kris, he would likely repeat the same fear he felt earlier. Next time, however, he wouldn’t end up gagging on dust.

As he examined the area, he found himself looking somewhere extremely specific without even realizing it. Once he realized exactly where he was looking, he shot his eyes up to look at the back of Kris’s head to see if she had caught him inappropriately eyeing her. Seeing that she was completely focused on putting one foot in front of the other, Sam’s eyes slowly went back down.

He had never truly noticed before, but Kris had some pretty nice legs. The bodysuit looked tight as if made for agility during combat, yet this tightness was a tad revealing. Sam felt his heart start racing again, along with a sudden… stiffness.

Kris suddenly stopped. If Sam hadn’t been paying enough attention, he would have crashed into her and made a fool out of himself. Seeing that she hadn’t even noticed, he felt extremely relieved.

It was the slope he spotted. Kris carefully slid down and hit the ground with a surprising amount of finesse. She stepped to the side and looked up at Sam as she waited for him to follow. Sam squatted and slid down just the same as Kris, yet he nearly hit the ground with his behind again.

After Sam got his bearings, Kris began to walk again. Sam followed as close as he did last time. His eyes traveled around for a few moments, occasionally glancing at the darkness that surrounded them. Now that he thought about it, this void was actually quite terrifying. It was as if they were inside a halfway point between dimensions.

Just before his eyes could wander back downwards again, Kris suddenly stopped again. “Hey, what’d we stop for?” he asked. He noticed that Kris was looking upwards, then saw that they had already made it to the pillar he had spotted before. He was about to ask what the hell Kris was looking at, but then he saw what had her so transfixed.

There was a small, plump figure with a spade shaped head waving at them. “The hell? There’s someone else here?” he asked, squinting his eyes to see it better. “...What do you think they want?”

In the very next moment, the figure raised its hand, causing two spade shaped objects to appear. Recognizing them as projectiles, he immediately dodged out of the way. The spades came hurtling down and nearly hit him in the chest. They both fell into the abyss, never to be seen again.

Sam looked back up with a mix of rage and bewilderment in his eyes. “Hey, what the fuck! We’re friendly! Stop throwing shit at us!” he shouted. Kris slowly backed away from the pillar as the figure atop the pillar began to softly giggle, before summoning a second pair of spades… Then a third.

...Then a fourth. Sam’s eyes widened as he realized what was happening. The sky began to fill with projectiles aimed at both of them. His heart sank as a spine chilling, gut wrenching dread filled his soul. He felt like a deer in headlights.

Sam heard one of Kris’s footsteps as she continued to back away. The sound of metal clanking against stone snapped him out of his fearful stupor. Had time been on his side, Sam would have thought of a plan. Instead, he was forced to go with his gut and act fast.

Kris’s mouth was agape, and her hands were shaking. Seeing that Kris was just as frozen in fear as he was, he rushed towards her and scooped her up off the ground. He made a mad dash towards the cliff at the end, carrying Kris over his right shoulder. “Shit shit shit shit shit SHIT!” he mumbled then gradually began to scream. A spade collided with the ground in front of him and kicked up a significant amount of dust.

The dragon closed his eyes and his mouth, learning his lesson from before. He felt the dust cake his face and get in his hair, yet survival was much more important that staying clean at the moment. Spades flung by all around them, nearly hitting them. If the blunt projectiles from before hurt, then something of the same caliber but sharp would likely hurt much worse.

His legs slowly began to burn, seeing as he was carrying an entire person and running faster than he had ever ran in his entire life. A spade flew by and hit his arm. “OW, FUCK!” he screamed. The spade was surprisingly dull, yet sharp enough to cause some damage at the sheer speed they flew at. Another spade caught him on his side, sending pain throughout his torso.

He growled and shouted like a cornered, feral animal. He could take it like a champ, but the pain was mounting quickly. If a spade were to catch him in the leg, he would most certainly fall flat on his face. He looked at Kris to see that she was unharmed, then turned his attention back to his desperate fight for their lives.

In this moment, he didn’t even question why he was even doing this; why he was saving Kris. He had no connection to her whatsoever. They never talked, and they barely even looked at eachother, save for a few hormonal glances from Sam that he had given to other girls several times before. Whatever the reason, he knew he didn’t want so much as a scratch on any part of her body, and he was willing to endure agony to protect her in this instant.

He finally got close to the ledge at the end of the cliff. He came to a stop and looked down. Thankfully, there was a slope leading down somewhere. He could see something bright and blue glowing from below.

He put Kris down for a moment before hugging her tightly to his chest and sliding down the slope. "Make yourself small! My body is bigger than yours, and I can take it! I’ll block all the shit coming at us!” he yelled as they slid. Kris gave no answer, though she did what she was told and made herself as small as possible whilst Sam protected her body with his arms and legs.

Sam looked around frantically to see several platforms on each side of the slope, each carrying a frantically wiggling, fleshy object from before. More projectiles came at him from the side. His eyes clenched shut as one nearly pierced his elbow, nearly missing but grazing the skin of his arm. He grit his teeth and growled at the pain, trying to keep it together as a dusty substance flew out of his wounds.

Spades impacted the giant pillar he slid down in a rhythmic mess of crumbling rock and violently ejected dust combined with the sound of air whooshing with every missed projectile. “Come on, come on, come ON!” he hissed. A space nicked his nose, extending his right nostril by a centimeter.

Sam and Kris got closer, yet closer to the bottom. Seeing where he was in relation to the ground beneath, he released Kris and dug his claws into the slope to slow himself down. “HANG ONTO ME, KRIS!” he shouted. The vibrations from his claws scraping the cold stone rattled his arms to a painful degree, yet he did his best to ignore it.

Sam’s boots slammed against the ground. He accidentally fell forwards, still holding onto Kris for dear life. His face hit the ground, harshly scraping it, but protecting Kris from being crushed under the dragon’s weight. “Gaaauuuuuugh, FUCK!” he groaned.

He collapsed in a heap to the side, finally letting the human go. She spent a moment, still pressed up against his torso before she crawled her way back to her feet. She looked upwards and found that the spades had stopped coming.

Sam continued to lay on the ground, holding his face. His cheek felt like it was on fire, his legs burned, the places where the spades impacted him were sore, and his chest felt like it had been hit with a sledgehammer. There was sweat running down his face as he desperately struggled to catch his breath.

He closed his eyes tighter than a vice grip until he felt something tapping on his bruised shoulder. Wincing at the tapping on his bruise, he rolled his head over to see Kris holding her hand out to help him back up. Sam took her hand, though he did most of the work in getting back on his feet.

“Kris, you okay?” he said, closely looking at her for any injuries. She nodded her head, but she herself took a close look at his wounds. “...I’ll be fine, Kris. This ain’t shit…” he said with a smirk. He looked upwards to make sure that more spades weren’t coming at them. He sighed a breath of relief when all he was was the black sky above him.

He looked back down to see Kris looking directly at him. She had a burning question on her lips, but he could easily guess what it was. “...Hey, don’t be getting any weird ideas!” he spat, replacing his smirk with a scowl. Kris kept looking at him.

“...Kris, imagine if two people, one being a scary dragon everyone’s afraid of, and a human girl, go missing for a while without a trace. THEN, the dragon is the ONLY one to come back to town, and he doesn’t have a believable explanation as to what happened to the human. That would look REALLY fucking bad, now wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t have a second to even blink before they dump my dust in the river,” he explained with an annoyed growl in his voice.

Sam walked around his blue classmate and took a good look at what was in front of him. There was what seemed to be a castle gate, lined with candles carrying a blue flame. The material composing the walls on the gate was as pitch black as the sky, leading Sam to speculate if all the darkness was just really dark stone in some sort of giant cave under the school.

He walked towards the gate and peered inside, finding a deathly quiet town filled with warped, arrow shaped buildings. He turned back and gestured for Kris to follow him. “Come on, you. Let’s look around and see if we can find anything here,” he said.

He walked onwards, and Kris followed.

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