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Nothing Exciting Here

A 1-post collection

One Thing We Got

[AN: Don't have very much to talk about this morning, so... have a finished fanfic I have just laying around.]

Disclaimer: Undertale and all characters therein belong to Toby Fox, who is frankly awesome. You did so good that I had to write fic. Also the Responsibility Arc belongs to http://askbabybones.tumblr.com and I fell in love with it.

AN: This story diverges after part three of said arc.

                                One Thing We've Got

InterNutter

Sans remembered how the world changed. For a start, there used to be a father in the picture. He'd been the royal scientist. But now the lab had this dinosaur lady living there. She was nice enough, and let Sans have instant noodles and actually went out to fetch Pap some milk because he was too young for noodles.

He ran away while she was calling the royal guard.

Sans clung tight to Papyrus. Just a little baby bones. All he had left, but a photograph of people who didn't exist any more.

The entire skeleton village was gone. It had never been there at all.

Sans learned quick to keep moving. To avoid the teenagers in the woods near Snowdin. The innkeeper would let them sleep for free when there weren't any other customers. And there was a nice bunny lady who sometimes let them crash in her spare room.

The people of Waterfall were okay. If he couldn't find someone willing to let them stay overnight, he could always find comfort and safety amongst the reeds.

Papyrus wouldn't go to sleep without a story. Sans did his best to sound like the father only he could remember.

And sometimes, it all seemed like that other reality was just a dream. This one seemed like a waking nightmare.

The Temmies would buy literally anything he could find. They were good for making it seem like he actually had a home to go to. He could buy a bottle here, some milk there. That and shoplifting and wandering between Hotland, Waterfall and Snowdin kept them going.

King Asgore picked them up, once, and let them stay for a few days. Poor guy seemed desperate for kids to love. Sans had been tempted to stay forever. Let him and Pap grow up as the King's wards.

Then the King started talking about sending the royal guard out to look for their father.

That was the story he told. He was trying to find their father after an accident. But their father didn't exist. He'd never existed. The thought of that trusting, fuzzy face twisted in disbelief and grief hurt him more than he could have imagined.

He ran again.

He hid in the dark paths. Kept moving. Never stopping unless he was certain he and Pap were safe.

And then the worst thing that could have happened - did happen.

His skeleton magic started kicking in.

It took a lot out of him when he was starving already. He ate water sausages and snow so that Pap could have milk. Searched the dump again and again for anything the Temmies would buy.

It wasn't enough. It was never enough. Hunger gnawed at him for every waking moment. People were getting suspicious. The guards were everywhere.

Pap needed more than he could give, and it broke his non-existent heart.

The final straw came when his baby brother got sick. There was no medicine that Sans could steal that Pap would take. No-one to teach Sans how to heal. He tried to chew up a stolen crab apple or two for Pap. He'd read about it in the library. But he was so hungry, he just ate them and cried.

He told one last story to Pap. A made-up fairy tale about a special little boy who was too special for his brother. About how he'd have to find a new home all on his own.

Sans choked on those words. Poor little baby bones couldn't even crawl.

But it worked anyway. Pap whimpered his way into a sound sleep.

He was such a good baby. Someone was bound to love him. Someone was going to be better for him than Sans could ever be.

Pap was going to be fine.

He had to believe that.

As he ran way, the echo flower Sans had left Pap by began to repeat his words.

Choked with tears. "I'm sorry, bro..."

*

Gerson spotted the skeleton kid a mile off. That sloppy hooded coat, three sizes too big for him, marked him better than a glowing mushroom. His blue and black outfit could have blended in with Waterfall's general tones, but the guilty way he moved made him stand out to everyone and their kid brother's pet cockroach.

He pretended to be paying his full attention to the fish people complaining about yet another urchin in the area. Undyne. Pesky little brat, she was. Never shied away from war stories. Paraded around like she was going to save the monsters all by herself.

Good luck to her.

Yeah. There he went. Filching crab apples. Something had to be done.

Gerson crept up on the little fellow, blocking the only exit, and cleared his throat.

"If it isn't my best customer."

The kid whirled, one eye glowing bright blue. Crab apples flew wildly around in a tornado of misses. Then he fell to his knees, clutching his middle and out of breath.

An echoing, empty snarl. Something that could have been mistaken for a beast from hell if Gerson didn't already know that it came from a hungry skeleton lad just beginning to come into his powers.

The worst time in the world for a skeleton kid to be going hungry.

"...guess i've been rumbled," he quavered. "...heh..."

"Come on into the kitchen. I have some pie. It's crab apple and snail."

Poor kid wolfed down slice after slice. Gulped at sea tea like he'd never had a drink before.

Gerson kept supplying him with food and lectured while he had the kid's attention. "Now I know your parents raised you right. I know you know stealing is wrong. Hell, I could tell just by watching you steal that you ain't used to it. Do you have someone, any more? A home? I know skeleton folk have been a little thin on the ground since the war, but... there has to be someone for you."

Silence. A hangdog expression.

"I'm not going to call the guard. I promise you're not in trouble, son."

Palpable relief. The eye flickered on again to bring a string of crab apples to his hand.

"How many times is it this month, son? Six? Eight?"

No answer. Just sipping his sea tea. Filling up the empty corners. He knew that if he ate too much, it'd just come up again.

"Somewhere north of ten, at least." Gerson sighed. "But. You never took very much. An I'll admit I've got a soft sport for--" he was about to say 'little ones'.

That was when he realised.

The red-wrapped baby, always in his arms before, was not here now.

"Say, son. That little one you're always carrying around. Where are--"

The kid hid himself inside his oversized hoodie.

"Son...?" Abject terror. Did something happen to the baby? "Son, I know you've been trying your best..."

Sobs. "I gave him away! I left him in the echo flowers f'r someone better! He's sick an' I dunno what to do and he can't take any medicine and he keeps crying and he wasn't even taking milk and I'm the worst big brother ever..."

Well, crap.

*

Undyne had finished washing her wounds on her way to Gerson's. If she wanted to be the absolute best, she had to learn how to fight from a real fighter. Which meant trying to talk Gerson the Great into giving her a few pointers.

She almost ignored the echo flowers' perpetual babble, except a new one stood out. Someone crying. The words, "I'm sorry, bro..."

There was something red under this flower. Something bright and wriggling.

Undyne held it up. It was not the regular kind of mushroom. It squirmed in her arms.

"...nnnnyeh..." it complained.

"What kind of mushroom are you s'posed to be?" she wondered out loud.

"...nnnyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh..." it wailed. then it set up a really awful shriek. It wasn't happy.

Undyne tried putting it back where it was, but it kept on shrieking. Then the echo flower shrieked along. And a whole bunch of other echo flowers too up the cry. She picked it up again and held it close. Which slowed down the shrieking to a low complaint. Whatever it was, it didn't look like it was feeling very well.

There was only one person she could trust.

"Don't worry, li'l mushroom," she told the squirming thing in her arms as she carried it away. "I know just who can help."

*

Gerson had let the kid fill his pockets with food. Food that he was now consuming in an absent-minded way. Eating like he didn't know when he was going to get his next meal. Keeping himself feeling full. Every now and again, he'd point the way.

He broke into a run when he heard crying.

Gerson hurried to keep up. His old legs weren't what they used to be. But he still found the kid kneeling by an echo flower.

Which now spoke with Undyne's voice.

"Don't worry, li'l mushroom," said the echo flower. The rest was lost under echoing wails of a baby skeleton.

The kid was hyperventilating. "Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit... Not her. Not her. Anyone but her."

"It's okay," Gerson tried.

"It's not okay! I left my baby brother to get picked up by the worst bully in the caverns! I'M A TRASHPILE! I'M A DIRTY, STINKING, SLIMY SON OF A TRASHPILE!"

The echo flowers did not help. At all.

Gerson carried him out of there, towards Snowdin. There were two places Undyne would go with someone who needed help. And he wasn't at home. Which meant that she was headed to Grillby's. Sooner or later, she would turn up there.

*

Gerson the Great wasn't home. And the mushroom thing in her arms was continuing to be unhappy. She took a shortcut by duck over to the other side of the swamp and hurried to the only other place where there were lots of people. Grillby's.

People were there all the time. One of them had to know what to do with a whiny weak little mushroom thing.

She'd never admit it out loud, but she was getting scared for the mushroom. It's wails were getting softer and softer. Like it didn't have the strength to complain. The echo flowers around her were picking up garble from someone who must have shouted near some of them. All she could pick out was the word 'trashpile' and incoherent sobs.

Someone else must be having a really bad day.

"Stay with me, li'l mushroom," she singsonged. She dimly recalled that the really little ones liked to be singsonged at. "I'm gonna get help..."

Li'l Mushroom mewled pathetically in her arms. It wasn't wriggling any more.

If this didn't work, she was going to have nightmares about it for the rest of her life.

"Hold on, Li'l Mushroom," she singsonged. "Just a little bit further."

An echo flower took up her words.

Undyne ran like she'd never run before. Ran until her legs didn't want to. Until her feet burned holes in the snow. Until she slammed elbow-first through the door of Grilby's and into its comforting heat.

"HEY!" She held Li'l Mushroom up above her head. "Who knows what to do with one'a these?"

"NNNNYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHH," wailed Li'l Mushroom.

Crap! Li'l Mushroom didn't like heights. Undyne quickly returned to hugging it. "It's okay," she singsonged. "We're here. Someone's gonna help..."

Fish people and bird people and dog people clustered around. Someone undid some of the wrappings.

There were united cooes of, "Aaaaawww... baby bones..."

One of the dog people took Li'l Mushroom into their arms. There was a bottle and more wailing and solutions by committee. Which included licking Li'l Mushroom.

And then, for reasons completely unknown to Undyne until hours after the fact, all hell broke loose.

*

The kid was losing it. Gerson could tell. His eye sparked on and off like it was at a disco. Random things flew up, out at crazy angles, and crashed into the ground.

"Deep breaths, kid. We're gonna find him."

An echo flower said, "Hold on, Li'l Mushroom. Just a little bit further." There were weak cries underneath Undyne's words.

"PAP!" {Poph!} The kid vanished.

Crap.

Gerson hurried as fast as his old bones would allow, straight towards Snowdin.

*

Ow. That was a bad one. It was still a bad one. Sans crammed the last of his crab apples into his mouth to combat the new, gnawing hunger. Bunny-folk all around were staring at him. Even the bear-folk were acting scared.

"Tell me you saw a fish girl taking a baby somewhere," he demanded. Wow. His voice went really deep for that. It sounded ominous as hell.

The townsfolk thought so too. Everyone pointed directly to the local bar and grill. He used to be able to get good pickings from the tables because there were no busboys. Until Grillby and some of the other patrons started throwing him out.

Pap was in there!

Despite the growing hunger, despite the weakness in his legs, he ran straight for the door.

He was already freaking out. He did not need to see what he saw.

A bunch of dog-folk.

Tasting.

His.

BROTHER!

Dogs liked to chew on bones.

"You... get away FROM HIM!"

His magic flared again.

They were gonna eat Pap!

Ghostly hands knocked every single dog-folk in the room on their tails. An envelope of blue light covered Pap over and bought the baby bones straight to Sans' arms.

He was still crying.

"It's okay, bro," he said. "It's gonna be okay. I got you. I got you back..." Things were still flying around. Light things. If he could just keep up enough objects in the way...

Too late. Undyne had already grabbed a weapon. A Greater Dog's spear. She could barely lift it, but she was still trying. "They were helping, you idiot!"

"NOBODY EATS MY BROTHER!" Sans screamed. Something else was coming out. Not blue fire. Bone magic. Giant, menacing skulls began to appear in midair. Each with glowing eye sockets. "I WON'T LET YOU HURT HIM! I'D RATHER DIE!"

Undyne struggled with the spear. "I won't let you hurt them," she snarled.

Sans could barely stand. Pap was getting heavy. And he wouldn't stop crying.

Sans couldn't stop crying, either.

All he could find to say was, "...not my bro... not my bro..." over and over.

Needed to stay awake. Needed to keep the magic going.

So hungry.

Needed to protect Pap...

Spots danced in his vision. He let his legs give out, but he wouldn't let go of Pap. Not again. Not now. Not ever.

Couldn't let the dogs get him.

His magic faded. The menacing skulls vanished. Things fell down, one by one.

The spots turned into shadows. Clouding over his vision.

"...not my bro..." He whispered. The last thing he remembered was holding tight to Pap. Who was still crying.

Don't cry, li'l bro. I got you, now.

*

Undyne dropped the spear when Gerson came in. "I didn't do anything wrong," she said out of pure reflex.

Gerson looked down at her. Four years old. And she was viewed as a threat by a teenager. Well. Young teenager. A kid just beginning to experience his adult abilities. And one with an adult responsibility thrust upon him.

The kid was still holding onto his baby brother. Even after he'd passed out.

"Go fetch the inkeeper," said Gerson. "And the store bunny. This kid needs a place to rest and this baby needs some healing magic."

Undyne practically flew.

Gerson cooed for the kid. Unconscious, apparently in quasi-command of some really strong magic. The last thing that needed to happen was sleep-spelling. Especially in a combative frame of mind. "There now, son. I got you. I'm gonna hold Pap safe for a while. He's a good baby bones, yes he is. And he's safe with me. It's all right..." And on like that until he finally extracted the poor little tyke.

Weakly mewling. Feverish. Didn't want to take the bottle someone handed over. Gerson unwrapped the baby. Let it cool off a little. Washed it over with cool water. Now it took the bottle. Good. A good feed and some decent comfort for a few days, along with an innkeeper's healing, and this little baby bones should be right as rain.

Undyne was back, watching Gerson as if he were a magician breaking the barrier itself.

"See, kid?" he said. "It's not always about fighting. You have to watch out for anyone weaker than you."

"C'n I pet him?" asked Undyne.

The innkeeper worked some healing magic on the infant. Pap. That had to be short for something.

Undyne gently ran a finger along Pap's arm. "You see, Li'l Mushroom? Tole you I'd get help."

*

Soft bed. Comfortable. Nice and warm. And kind'a tingly.

Sans was surprised that Pap wasn't giggling about that. Pap had the absolute best baby giggles.

He reached around for the familiar bundle, and found nothing.

Fear had him up and out of bed before he could register that there was a bunny lady holding Pap just across the room from him.

She was busy burping him.

"Gerson said you'd be protective. It's okay. You're baby brother is doing fine. It's you we were worried about. I've never heard of anyone having such intense nightmares. Or doing magic in their sleep."

Sans automatically searched his pockets. Nothing.

"You ate in your sleep too. Mighty handy."

Pap belched the biggest burp a little bitty baby bones could muster, which caused the surrounding cluster of baby bunnies to laugh.

"All we had to do was prop you up and shove food under your face. The kids thought it was hilarious."

Sans found himself magnetically attracted to Pap. But daren't touch him. Not yet. "Where's his wrap?"

"In the laundry. The stains that thing had on it. It's a wonder you didn't both get sick. You'll have it back soon."

"It's important," said Sans. "It belonged to my dad."

Patient eyes locked with his. Gentle hands returned Pap to his arms. "The same dad you've been looking for?"

Pap was wearing a carrot-print onesie. He took one look at Sans and did his baby giggle.

Maybe it was time for the truth to come out. Well. Enough truth that they could handle. "I don't think I'm gonna find him," he said. He held Papyrus close and snuggled with his baby brother. He was okay. He was going to be okay. "We don't have a home, any more." It took almost all of his strength to say it. "Do you know anyone... who'd take us in?"

Laughter. "Sweetie, all of Snowdin wants to take you in. Just about the entire village has adopted your little brother."

"His name's Papyrus. I'm Sans."

*

Something had happened to Undyne. She was still a scary little hellion, but she was a scary little hellion towards anyone who would menace a smaller kid than herself. The teenagers in the forest learned to give most kids a wide berth if they ever went wandering.

And she stopped trying to take on Sans in a fight. Like, entirely. When she looked at him, she looked like he had made some kind of lasting impression in Grillby's. He didn't mind. It gave him less to worry about. And since he never tried to start a fight, he never had to worry about Undyne taking him on at all. He had a precious chance to relax.

They gave him a job as a busboy at Grilby's. Ten gold a week and all the leftovers he could eat. Every plate came back to the kitchen pre-cleaned.

And there was always an adult waiting to take him home with them. Not everyone could handle a hungry teenage skeleton for more than one night in a row. And definitely not one whose night terrors about protecting his brother could turn into alarming, magical... events.

They always said it like that. Sans had an... event, last night. Make sure he doesn't get spicy food for dinner. You're less likely to have an... event. he felt guilty enough about it, and a few of his nightmares-turned-reality involved hurting someone with one of his... events.

It took him two weeks to build up the courage to run away. Into the forest with all the other bad teens. Where he spent hours each day honing his powers to the point where he was in control, at last.

More or less.

They frightened him. His Gaster Blasters. His telekinesis. Even his teleportation put the wind up his bones. He had to be better. He had to get it under continual control.

Of course he came back for work. Gave the money straight to whomever was looking after Pap that week. Never let Pap think he was abandoned.

And let himself believe that it was working.

Until he met Undyne again.

*

The Royal Guard let her be an honorary member. Honorary! She was just as good as any of them! Too young. Ha! She was plenty old enough to fight. And she was going to prove it.

Lately, there'd been a lot of reports from Snowdrakes and Icecaps about a hooded figure throwing stuff around like they were bags of feathers.

The teens were coming in from the forest and causing trouble in both Snowdin and Waterfall. Running the Royal Guard ragged. Undyne heard about it all and decided to investigate the cause.

She used her best stealth to sneak up on them. The armour she had kept her warm in the chill of Snowdin's forests.

There. A hooded figure. Speaking in a font that Undyne couldn't understand. Concentrating blue magic. Using it against... snow?

He was making snowmen?

Why?

Undyne watched in confusion as one snowball and then another came to be from this magic.

"Heh. Nearly," muttered the stranger. "One more..."

Wait. She knew that voice. Undyne came out of hiding. "Sans?"

The snowball narrowly missed her head. Sans looked terrified that it had happened. His glowing eye returned to normal.

When she looked back, he wasn't there any more.

Sans... was a special case. Gerson the Great had explained it. There weren't any other skeletons to teach him how his magic worked. He had to work things out for himself. He was scared of it, which made it worse. And his nightmares could easily become reality.

He needed a way to understand.

He needed some way to learn.

Undyne knew what she had to do.

*

Someone had left another present under the tree for him. This was not the 'little something' that Snowdin chipped in for to try and help him feel comfortable with staying. They knew something was up with him, and they were letting him sort it out. None of them knew about skeletons. Nothing useful, anyway. They knew he came back for Papyrus and that was enough.

They knew he cared.And they knew his comedy masked something big.

People were waiting.

Smiling.

Encouraging.

"Hey, look. I didn't think Santa thought I was that good. Look, Pap. I got two..."

"Doo," said Pap. He was working on words. He was growing up so fast.

"Ain't fair you only got one. You can help me open it."

Pap got to help lots of people open their presents, this year. He loved shredding the pretty paper. And chewing on the ribbons.

At least with skeletons, people could see when teeth were coming in.

It was a book.

Everything You Need to Know About Skeleton Magic But Were Afraid to Ask. By G. Gerson. Parts of it were a comic book. Other parts involved math.

He was crying again.

Undyne laughed at him. She was younger than he was. Still growing into her hands and feet. Yet she always made him feel vulnerable and stupid. "Guess Santa must've known you needed some help."

"Yeah," he picked up a few pointers just leafing through it. Whoah. He could do that? "How did you find it?"

"Who says I found it?" scoffed Undyne. "Gerson the Great gave it to me. He's got stuff on everything."

For the first time in his life, Sans opened himself to the power openly. Calmly. Caught up Undyne in it and brought her in for a hug.

It was his power, now. It wasn't controlling him.

Undyne landed with a clang. Knocked him flat.

"You're heavier in person."

"Stupid bag of bones," she said with a vague hint of affection. "You gotta practice from chapter one."

"Guess your generosity really bowled me over," he grinned.

Undyne cursed at his jokes. But she was smiling.

Sans kept his head down over the following years. Everything he did, he did for Pap. Two, three jobs. Five, one time. Making sure the wrong sort of human didn't get through to hurt his baby bro. He could read them, he found. Check out their EXP and their LV.

Every gold piece he earned went to Papyrus. His education. His house. His food. Pap never went hungry when he went through his emergence. And wound up growing to twice Sans' height.

Those years were tough. Keeping him in clothes. Guiding his powers. Pap learned how to restrain his skeleton powers and seemed content with just spawning bones all over the place. He never needed the Gaster Blasters. Never reached for them.

Never got angry enough to do it.

With luck... maybe he'd never have to.

END!