It turns out that strangling a ghost isn’t something that's even remotely plausible, no matter how much Sam wanted to try.
Sam looked at Ghostbur, and Ghostbur blinked back. He’d come in with his trademark yellow sweatshirt and a bright smile spread across his face, contrasting the muted colors and dark frowns in Sam’s base.
“Hello! I’m Ghostbur! Who are you?” He tilted his head slightly to the right and watched as Sam shifted in place.
“...I’m Awesamdude, but you can call me Sam. What’re you doing in my base?” Sam said evenly, not wanting to get frustrated. He had heard of Alivebur and Ghostbur, of course, but he’d never met Wilbur’s dead form. He seemed… happy, which was surprising, considering how the angry and resentful Wilbur had ended his life. He zoned back in when he noticed that Ghostbur was talking to him.
“-and then Friend led me to this place, which is really pretty! I was just walking around and I saw the beacon on the mountain, and I pressed a button and got in here!” He finished, beaming at Sam.
The creeper hybrid smiled tiredly, amused by the ghost’s energy. He wondered for a second who “Friend” was before noticing a bright blue sheep wandering around his floor. He laid down next to the fireplace and promptly fell asleep.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you Ghostbur,” He said, grinning back at him before turning around and noticing Techno, who was still standing awkwardly at the table. He was looking straight at Ghostbur and looked away, before noticing Sam’s gaze on him.
“I-I should really be going-” he began before he was cut off by an excited shriek. They both winced and watched as Ghostbur floated over lazily towards him, hands outstretched.
“Techno! I haven’t seen you in so long!” he said excitedly, twisting around Techno’s form. “Last time I came, Dream told me to go out in the snow for a while, but I started melting, and-”
Sam cut in shortly. “He told you to do what ?” he asked incredulously. “Basically everyone on the server knows that you melt because of water, why-,” Techno winced at the statement before whispering, “We’re talking about Dream here, what did you expect?”
Sam grimaced again. No matter how much he despised Dream for what he had done, he couldn't help but remember what he’d been like before everything had gone to shit. He was kind and caring, and there were days when it was just the two of them and the world seemed right. He remembers the community house being built, excited shouts from all around him, and soft smiles as the server had been built up in the early days.
Now they were gone, replaced with harsh glares and swords driven through hearts. There was a pang in Sam’s chest as he thought about how Dream looked at him now, with maniacal grins and a deep-seated resentment rooted in his eyes.
He looked back to Ghostbur, who was happily inspecting Sam’s kitchen, picking up spices to read the labels. Techno was still standing as if he was in a daze, eyes focused on the fireplace.
Sam cleared his throat slightly, causing both figures in the room to look at him with expectant eyes.
“Either or both of you are welcome to stay the night, but we really should be getting to sleep.” He said softly, eyes darting between the two of them.
Ghostbur looked delighted and nodded quickly, floating into one of the rooms, while Techno looked unsure.
“You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to, alright? It was just an offer. If you want to get back to Phil, you should probably be getting home.” Sam tried. The other man sighed while muttering something under his breath, along the lines of, ‘ If I stay, will you guys stop screaming at me?’
Sam was slightly concerned but didn’t press, smiling gently at Techno when he agreed to stay. He led him to one of the rooms, ‘ Sapnap’s!’ his mind helpfully supplied. After quickly checking around the house to ensure everyone was settled, Sam collapsed onto the couch, a hand pressed against his forehead.
He heard something moving behind him, and glanced back, surprised to see Ghostbur floating there, looking at him with a curious expression.
“Hey Ghostbur, did you… need anything? I can get you something if you’d like-,” The translucent figure interrupted him with a sigh and drifted over to sit on the couch.
“This… This isn’t Ghostbur, it’s me.” He whispered. Sam raised an eyebrow at him. What?
“I uh- I mean, it’s me. Alivebur, or whatever you call me now. Not the ghost.” He said, glancing at Sam, before looking away, suddenly looking very interested in the rug that decorated the floor.
“I’m not a hundred percent sure what I’m supposed to say to this but… hello? It’s nice to meet the infamous Wilbur Soot in person.” Sam smiled, resting his head on one hand. Wilbur let out a surprised laugh at that, his lips curving into a grin.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s nice to meet you too,” He replied, rolling his eyes. “You’re the one that’s been taking care of Tommy, right? He talks to Ghostbur a lot about you.”
Sam chuckled, his smile widening. “Taking care of Tommy is about all I do these days. I cannot believe anyone gets into as much trouble as this one does. The title ‘gremlin child’ is certainly one that he lives up to. He’s a good kid though, I’m not complaining.”
Wilbur had a fond look on his face at the words. “He’s a handful, but I’m glad he finally has someone that cares about him as much as you do. That’s uh, why I took the body in the first place, actually, to thank you. I’m so grateful for everything that you’re doing, it means a lot to me. To be honest with myself, I was never… a great figure in Tommy’s life since I had to raise him all by myself and then immediately dragged him into the government scheme that I wanted to do. It was a shitty thing to do and I wish that I could do it all over again to change how I acted, but alas, that isn’t a thing I can do,” Wilbur said sadly. “But now he has you and I can never thank you enough-,”
“Wilbur, look at me,” Sam said seriously. Wilbur straightened himself and stared into his eyes. “You don’t have to thank me for common human decency, okay? All I did was recognize that Tommy is a child , no matter how many times he denies it, and I treated him as such. And yes, you shouldn’t have put him in your government, but you were young and reckless, and you didn’t know what you were doing. Oh, and it is definitely not your fault that you had to raise Tommy on your own, alright? That is not on you, and you did wonderfully with what you had to work with.” He stopped when he noticed tears rolling down Wilbur’s face, leaving wet tracks that sizzled slightly.
Sam was in distress. Why was everyone crying within 30 minutes of meeting him recently?
Wilbur sniffled, wiping his face on the edges of his sweater. There was a long silence between the two before Wilbur spoke again after composing himself.
“No one’s ever said that to me before,” he mumbled, staring at the wall. “It’s always been ‘ Why didn’t you take care of him better, Wilbur?’ and ‘ This is all your fault!’ , y’know? And I-I know that it’s not all my fault but it… it still hurts. I really did do my best to give him a normal childhood and it all went down the drain when the whole government thing started.” The curly-haired man’s face was dry now, thin tear tracks visible from when it had burned his skin.
“And that’s okay! I’m serious, don’t beat yourself up too much over his childhood, it wasn’t just you. I’m uh… not going to say anything about the whole “blowing up L’manburg” thing because I am not 100% sure what happened there.” Sam said, laughing sheepishly. “The big problem with wanting to stay neutral is that you don’t know anything unless you find out for yourself.” He glanced back at Wilbur -- Ghostbur? He wasn’t quite sure how to refer to the man.
“Ah yes, L’manburg.” He said, smiling fondly. “It’s not really something that you can explain in one sitting, hm?” Sam hummed in agreement, leaning back in his seat. He was so, so tired. There was so much information being thrown his way and he had no time to process it. Wilbur seemed to notice and he drifted up slowly.
“You should probably be getting some sleep, yeah? I need to return to the void, I can hear Ghostbur wailing about how much he hates it there.” He chuckled, drifting up off the couch.
Sam smiled tiredly, nodding along with Wilbur’s statement. He watched as the ghost seemed to fall out of his own body, slouching forward before suddenly raising to full height again. He turned around with an excited smile and faced the other man.
“Did you talk to him? Did it work, did you talk to Alivebur?” Sam grinned and nodded, the other’s energy affecting him.
“Yeah, it worked! That was… an experience!” He exclaimed, chuckling. Ghostbur spun around in a little circle, swinging his arms around.
“I’m glad! It’s great that you got to talk to him, but the void was dark and scary so I hope we never do that again!” He giggled, clapping his hands together. “There was this other guy with ram horns! He was really nice, but he looked pretty confused to see me. Oh, and this guy that looked a lot like D- I mean uh, the… guy, yeah! He was a lot cooler though, I think he said he was Mexican or something? He was really loud, I think Tommy would like him!” Ghostbur continued to ramble about his time in the void while Sam began to feel the beginnings of sleep overtake him. His eyes slowly fell shut and his head leaned back on his couch.
“Sam? Sam, are you- Oh, he’s asleep! Ah well, I’ll just go to my room, then.” He heard Ghostbur mumble distantly, voice fading as he dissipated.
Slowly, Sam let sleep overtake him and fell into a deep slumber.
- - - -
...And was promptly woken up by a loud banging at his door.