If there was anything Sans was absolutely sure of about his boyfriend, it was that Edge’s pride was going to be his downfall.
Now, he wasn’t the pompous kind of prideful that left people in his wake staring in disgust and wishing he would stumble a bit as he sauntered away.
Instead, he was full of a noble pride that let him carry himself like a goddamn superhero, even including the cape sometimes, and it was sexy as all fucking hell. Edge didn’t know what a leisurely walk was; he always walked like he was on a mission, headed out to save the world.
That wasn’t the point, though. Even if Sans had daydreams and wet dreams about the way his boyfriend’s hips moved in his bone-tight pants.
No, not the point.
Sans sighed and looked down at his hands on his desk. He was facing an obstacle course here, and he wasn’t sure how to proceed. When he made a decision, would he end up finding the right path, or would he run into another dead end?
Edge was in trouble, and Sans didn’t know how to help.
Edge’d been working two jobs for the past year and a half and still barely made enough to survive. He’d just gotten another one because his brother’d had to move back in with him and couldn’t find work to help with rent or food. Red was an asshole, but he was a good asshole and did what he could to help make things easier on his brother. It sure didn’t make the money situation any easier.
To Sans, the answer was simple: Let him help. He could pay a couple months of Edge’s rent to let him catch back up, ease the stress a bit. He had more money that he could reasonably use; he didn’t need it all. He gave to charities as often as he could, which was all the damn time, and still had an abundance.
Having several patents on rare and expensive technology was pretty damn awesome sometimes.
But Edge would never accept it. His pride kicked in when money matters came up, and talking to him would often become harder than talking to a wall. He barely managed to accept Sans buying their dinner when they went on dates, but only because he absolutely insisted that he pay for some nights as well.
Usually, it never bothered Sans. Edge was a big boy and could handle himself just fine. He’d managed for years before he met Sans, and he’d continue to manage for however long they stayed together (hopefully a very long time) and even after that.
But he knew without a doubt that if he offered to pay even a half of a month’s rent, Edge would take it as an insult.
Sans sucked in a deep breath and turned back to his computer to finish the day’s work. He was going to see Edge tonight, and he really couldn’t wait. He just really hoped that making and keeping dates wasn’t adding to his boyfriend’s stress. The monster never took a single minute to himself, and Sans was worried it was going to come back and bite him in his bony ass.
Dinner was almost done when Sans checked the time. He frowned to himself; Edge wasn’t late yet, but he’d made it a point to be fashionably early nearly every other time they had a date in at Sans’ place.
He took a breath and let it out slowly. Just because Edge wasn’t early didn’t mean he was in any kind of trouble. It was just a single break in the pattern, and Edge was fine.
But then a half an hour passed, dinner was done, and Sans had nothing left to do to occupy his thoughts or his hands. He walked over to one of his shelves that held some prototypes and failed tests and genty flicked the blade of a tiny fan. It whirred quietly in the silence of the room.
Headlights passing outside the front room window made Sans hurry over to look outside, expecting to see Edge pulling into the driveway.
Instead, his neighbor had only pulled out of theirs.
With another sigh, he checked his phone for the hundredth time. No messages, no missed calls, no nothing. He’d texted Edge three times already, asking if he was still going to be able to make it, and the lack of response wasn’t doing anything to calm Sans’ rising anxiety.
Another half hour passed, and Sans was about ready to call his brother over for some sad dinner and to take leftovers, because Sans had made plenty for the express purpose of leftovers. He might not be able to buy Edge groceries, but he could damn well make him take food by pouting about it potentially going to waste at his own home.
Just before he pressed the call button next to his brother’s name, a frantic knock was at his front door.
Fearing bad news about his boyfriend, Sans teleported right to the door and flung it open.
Edge pushed his way in and shut the door before pulling Sans into a tight hug.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, his voice muffled against the collar of Sans’ shirt. He’d made an attempt at dressing up, and that was enough. “I’m sorry, Sans.”
Sans let himself hug back, so grateful that Edge was here and he was okay, not obviously hurt. He smelled like a mix of french fry grease and charred hamburger patty, and Sans never thought he’d live to see a day when that smell was anything but glorious. But on Edge, it was wrong. It smelled awful.
“what happened?” Sans asked, tightening his arms around Edge’s shoulders.
Edge moved to sit on the couch, cradling Sans against him. Sans let himself be held. He was comfortable right here with his skull against Edge’s sternum, listening to his voice as he explained.
“My shift was supposed to end at five o’clock. I would have had plenty of time to go home and shower and be here on time. A large group came in at a quarter to five, and my replacement wasn’t in by the time their order was placed. I wanted to leave. I almost told my manager that he could cook it himself if he was that worried, but he beat me to it by saying I’d be fired if I left. I can’t lose this job, Sans. I had to stay until Greg showed up, which he finally did a half an hour ago.”
Oh, Sans hated this so much. He didn’t mind listening to Edge complain, and he would be there for his boyfriend no matter what, but he hated that Edge was struggling so much when he could help out so easily.
Instead of saying any of that, he only hugged Edge tighter. “i’m not mad,” he said honestly. “i was worried about you, but i get that you couldn’t call or text me.”
Once upon a time, Sans would have said that dating a chef at a cheap diner was the best dream he could have. Edge had only recently gotten the job, but knowing how much he hated greasy food and also knowing how hard his boss was on him made the idea far less appealing. But Edge had to find another job that would be flexible around the first two jobs he had and still pay well enough to make it worth his while.
Sand didn’t think the cook job met that second standard, but he supposed Edge’s options were limited and he’d gone with the most reasonable choice.
“are you hungry at all?”
Edge sighed. “No. I’m sorry, I know whatever you made would be delicious, but I just can’t think of food right now.”
Sans nodded against Edge’s chest. “that’s okay.”
“It really isn’t. If I’d known this job was going to be like this, I would have--"
Sans reached up and slapped a hand over Edge’s mouth. “none of that. you didn’t know the job would be like this, plain and simple. you can’t go back and change the past, so let’s think about what you can do to help yourself in the future.”
Edge glowered at him. Sans only grinned. He hadn’t come up with those words on his own, no he had not. Edge had said them to him toward the beginning of their relationship, almost three years ago, and he had reminded Sans of them often over time.
Shifting a little, Edge gently took Sans’ hand and kissed his palm before pulling it away so he could speak.
“There’s not much of anything I can do at this point, Sans.” His voice was far more subdued than Sans had expected, and he wondered if Edge was worried about more than the job.
Edge was looking down at Sans’ hand in his, his long, slender fingers curling protectively over Sans’ smaller ones.
“I can’t quit. Not until Red finds a job. He is trying, I know he is, but his experience is limited to a very specific field. Not many people are looking for a surveillance expert nowadays, at least not outside the military. His PTSD limits his options even further; he can’t work around a lot of people or in a loud environment. He needs me, Sans, and if I quit or get fired from this job, then I’ll just have to find another and I was lucky to find this one.”
Sans knew only very basic information about Edge’s brother: general height, age, he was a veteran that the military had all but abandoned because he was a monster, and he’d worked in a field of science different from Sans’. Edge had said that Red didn’t like it when people talked about him, so he just didn’t. It was testament to how stressed he really was that he’d said so much.
And yet, maybe that was a good thing. If he’d known that Red had a background in surveillance or that he needed a quiet environment, he may have been able to help sooner. He gently squeezed Edge’s hand and leaned in to press a soft kiss to his cheekbone.
“What if I could help?” he asked, bracing himself for Edge’s prickles.
But he just sighed and rested back against the couch. This was not normal.
“I don’t expect you to help me, Sans,” he said softly, his voice dejected. “I didn’t… I’m not… Fuck.”
And then Edge did something Sans never expected, something he didn’t even know Edge was capable of.
His chest heaved once before a red tear meandered down his right cheekbone. His eyes were closed, but it wasn’t hard to see that the dam had broken and he was struggling to contain the fallout. His arms loosened around Sans, no longer holding him, but he didn’t push him away either.
“edge?” Sans didn’t move away, only snuggled closer and rested his head on Edge’s shoulder. “i know you don’t expect me to help. i know you don’t ever complain to me with the hope of getting something out of me, but i’m serious here; what if i can help?”
“How?” Edge asked, raising his hand that wasn’t still clasped over Sans’. “How could you help me without it destroying our relationship? I’m not with you for your money, but if I take it… I couldn’t…” He suddenly grabbed Sans up in a tight hug and pressed his face into Sans’ shoulder. “I love you, Sans. But I’m scared. I’m scared because how many times is something like tonight going to happen, and I’m going to be late for our dates? Eventually you’ll get sick of it. I could never ask you to put up with that for me.”
Sans hugged him back just as tightly. “i never doubted that you weren’t with me for money. do you believe that i’m not just with you for someone to pamper and dote on?”
If that were the case, Sans would have fled the relationship three years ago, before it even started. Doting on or pampering Edge was about as safe as wearing a raw meat suit around a hungry lion. You were bound to walk away with more than a few scratches. He didn’t allow it, plain and simple.
And that was fine because there were other ways of loving him, ways that he’d accept.
Edge looked at him with watery sockets. “That’s an absurd question.”
Sans just shrugged and grinned up at him. “might be, but i want you to answer it anyway.”
With a sigh, Edge nodded. “Yes, I believe that you’re not with me just to dote on me.”
“good.” He reached up and kissed Edge gently. “because i’m not asking you to take any money for any reason. i wanna ask you some questions about red. you don’t have to answer, but it’ll help me figure out if the company that makes my tech might hire him.”
Edge was quiet for a long moment, staring down at Sans with an unreadable expression.
When he finally nodded, Sans sat up and shifted a bit so he was straddling Edge’s lap. Edge’s hands went to his hips just to hold him, his expression still strangely blank.
“would he be able to work in a small team? i’ve seen the whole facility, including the surveillance room, and it’s small and quiet. he’d have one person in the room with him at all times, just for safety reasons, and he’d have to go to a few meetings each month with the rest of the team, but arrangements could be made where he wouldn’t have to be in the big group.”
“When you say ‘small team’, how small are you meaning?”
Sans had to think back to what he’d been told. “five or six, max. there’s someone on the team already with an aversion to touch and the rest of the team is real good about it, so i know they’d have no problem adjusting to someone with ptsd. he’d just have to be clear about how he stays safe.”
Edge nodded. “If he’s good at anything, it’s making everyone aware of things that upset him.”
“he could work full time or part time. they have great benefits, even for monsters.” He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Edge’s mouth. “please let me help? if red can get a job, that’ll be less stress on you and you know it.”
A heavy sigh was his only answer for a few long minutes. Finally, Edge looked at him. “Don’t hire him just because we’re dating,” he said sternly.
“nope,” Sans responded. “i’m just the patent holder; i don’t make hiring decisions. i can put in a good word, though, and not just because we’re dating. if you tell me your brother is a surveillance expert, then i’m going to trust you. i don’t know him, but i know you, and you wouldn’t make something like that up.”
Edge nodded. “Let me talk with him first before I do anything, but think he might be interested.”
“sounds fair. you hungry yet?”
His answer was another sigh, this one sounding too guilty for his liking. “No. I’m sorry.”
Sans waved a hand. “eh, don’t worry about it, edgelord. i’m sure we can cook up other plans for the evening.”
“How original,” Edge said, deadpan.
“don’t gotta be original so long as i get a reaction. what if we put dinner up and then go take a shower? ‘cause i hate to say it, baby, but you stink.”
Finally, Edge smirked, a sign that he was starting to feel more comfortable. “I thought you’d enjoy eau d’greasy cafe.”
Sans chuckled. “surprisingly, it’s not so great when it’s on you. i prefer your actual scent, the natural eau d’edge.”
Edge snorted. “A shower sounds wonderful.”
Before Sans could climb off his boyfriend’s lap, Edge pulled him in close and kissed him deeply, eagerly exploring his mouth.
He pulled back with a lovely flush on his cheekbones, his chest rising and falling with heavy breaths.
“I love you, Sans,” he said sincerely. “I truly do.”
Sans leaned in and kissed him again, less needy this time. “i love you, too,” he said against Edge’s teeth. “you’re still staying the night, right?”
Edge’s grin was feral. “Of course.”
His attempt at getting off Edge’s lap was successful this time. They put dinner away quickly, then Sans took Edge’s hand and led him up the stairs toward the large, luxurious bathroom on the second floor.
Even if Edge didn’t let him pamper him the way Edge deserved to be pampered, he could still show how much he cared by getting Edge to relax for the night. Hopefully soon, the worst of his worries would be taken care of.