Dedicated to Toby Fox’s Undertale. This is the sequel to Opposite of a Dog. Warning: there be Spoilers here. Reader’s discretion is advised.
Even now, you are not entirely sure why you did it. After you welcomed the human and the others inside of you, you’ve seen all the alternate realities. Sometimes you died. Other times you made friends with the human and they left. In a few more timelines you got to even fight the sun with them. But now you know that these different places and times are all the same: in you.
They remind you of the tangled three-dimensional model pasta experiment that once stuck inside your rib cage.
“eh.” your brother says as he reaches towards the human’s floating Soul. “just how much can i still afford to care.”
Your gloved hand closes over the red heart first. “LAZY BONES. YOU’LL FIND THAT, WITH PRACTICE, MY DEAR BROTHER, YOUR CAPACITY TO CARE WILL ONLY INCREASE TEN-FOLD.”
Sans’ eye-sockets widen. “pap … what are you … no …”
“NYEH HEH HEHHH …” You tell Sans and the Soul of the Human in your hands. “DON’T WORRY. I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SHALL SAVE THE DAY.”
Poor Sans is distressed. The human has come back and fallen down. They wanted Sans to help them, but you know better. Sans has, dare you think it to yourself, worked himself to the bone … (wowie, puns still make you wince even after everything) so far. It is a good thing you got sick of him missing a spaghetti dinner again and couldn’t find him at Grillby’s. It’s also fortunate that you can smell the scent of his magic and that he wasn’t far away from Lesser Dog’s old sentry point: a place you’ve made a point of still patrolling just in case any new humans came through … or the old one, your friend and former date, returned.
The Soul in your hands quivers, as though trying to get away from you. But you understand. This is a scary mission from what you’ve heard: one to save the timelines and Monsterkind. To save the human. But you can do it.
*You shouldn’t have done it, Papyrus.
It’s your friend’s voice. Even as you sail through the rainbow-coloured wave of infinity to your next destination (you are in no hurry, as you really don’t feel like rushing infinity: it will do its job anyway), they still sound old and sad.
You’ve tried. One of the first things you did when you rescued their Soul was take the two of you, or yourself, for a Nice Cream: just to cheer you up.
“NONSENSE, HUMAN.” You tell them cheerfully. “I COULDN’T ABANDON MY BROTHER AND MY FRIEND IN NEED. YOU KNOW THAT. I HAVE A REPUTATION TO UPHOLD.”
*Papyrus … you took an awful risk. After everything I did … I didn’t want …
“bro.” Sans’ eye is actually glowing blue now. “don’t … don’t do this …”
“NO SANS. YOU AND THE HUMAN SHOULD’VE INVITED ME TO THIS SECRET SAVE THE WORLD MEETING. ESPECIALLY SINCE THE HUMAN’S FALLEN DOWN. I CAN HELP YOU. I’M GOING TO HELP YOU.”
“no …” Sans reaches for you. In retrospect you wonder why he didn’t just use his pranking abilities in space and time to just take the human’s Soul from you, but really, he was probably too shocked by your daring and deductive reasoning to even think about doing something so cheap and unfair.
“AND THEY’RE COLD.” You say, feeling the Soul shivering violently in your hands, as though trying to get away from you. “DON’T WORRY, HUMAN.” You say as tenderly as you can. “YOU WILL BE WARM IN MY RIB CAGE UNTIL WE GET THIS ALL SORTED OUT.”
“PAPYRUS! NO …”
But it’s too late. You eased the trembling heart between your ribs. You recall hoping that it doesn’t fall out of them like all of your pasta.
That is when it happens. You’ve never really felt the cold before, what with being a skeleton and all. But suddenly … you can feel it. At the same time you feel a raging warmth inside of your rib cage that makes you aware of the cold, but utterly immune to it. Something is beating, not unpleasantly, in your skull. Sans is in front of you still, but you can now see an afterimage. It’s white and shining. You blink and memories and thoughts that aren’t your own, and are, fill the deep cavern of your brain.
Textures, colours, sounds, and sensations fill your bones. You recall something spoken not too long ago.
“WOWIE, HUMAN.” You tell them, drawing on the vast reservoir of culinary knowledge now at your disposal. “WE REALLY DON’T TASTE LIKE KETCHUP.”
*Papyrus. Please. It’s not too late. Just put me down … and give me to Sans.
Sans is looking at you, at the two of you, in shock. “kid …” He looks at you and the human’s body on the ground. You realize, belatedly, that the human just spoke through your mouth. That’s ok. It’s only fair since you are roomies now. “pap. listen to the human. you … you don’t know what this power will do to you. i … i can take it from here.”
He is afraid. And you realize he is afraid for you.
“SANS …” you say, and your voice sounds simultaneously large and quiet. “DO YOU … KNOW WHAT THIS FEELS LIKE?”
“pap … c’mon, bro.” Sans is pleading now, tears coming out of his eye-sockets.
You go up to him and lean down. You put a hand on his face and wipe the tears away. “I CAN … FEEL YOUR TEARS, BROTHER. FEAR, HORROR, SORROW, REGRET, EXHAUSTION, DARKNESS, AND LIGHT … HUMAN?” You ask the presence, feeling awe, now inside of you, “IS THIS WHAT YOU FEEL ALL THE TIME? IS THIS WHAT YOU SEE?”
There is a pause. *Papyrus, this is what we … both see. I’ve never done this before, not in this timeline but I can see so many others now … No, Papyrus. Let me go. Please. I can’t do this to you. Not you. Of all people, not you.
You realize it now. “YOU DON’T THINK I CAN HELP YOU.”
“bro, it’s not like that. this is … too dangerous.”
“NO.” You look at Sans and the human’s body on the ground and you understand. “YOU’VE BEEN PROTECTING ME. BOTH OF YOU. BUT, DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?” You grin at them. “I AM THE GREAT PAPYRUS! IT IS MY JOB, MY DUTY AS A PROSPECTIVE MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GUARD TO FIND A HUMAN AND TO SAVE ALL OF MONSTERKIND! I FOUND YOU HUMAN. AND AS PART OF MONSTERKIND I NEED TO PROTECT YOU, SANS!”
“… bro.” Sans is openly weeping now. “please. i can’t lose you. not again. not like this.”
There are many rifts in the rainbow coloured expanse that you ride: opening to more strands of reality than there are strings of angel-hair pasta. You now understand that this is similar to how Sans would take his short-cuts, the lazy bones. It’s also close to how he was able to view different timelines.
But you also understand, with some sadness, just what he has been going through. There is a difference though.
“HUMAN,” you tell them, “HEROISM IS A RISKY BUSINESS. BUT WE HAVE SAVES AND LOADS. IT REALLY SAVED MY BATTLE BODY THE LAST TIME.”
*Papyrus, you really shouldn’t have put your costume in a washer with our Soul power.
‘NYEH HEH HEHEHHH!” You pat the human, or really just yourself on the back. “BUT LOOK AT HOW IT TURNED OUT THE SEVENTIETH TIME. THE HUMANS IN THAT PARADE ON THE SURFACE REALLY LIKED HOW IT TURNED OUT.”
The human sighs. *We agreed to use that power to just make your scarf … match your eyes. Even the others thought the … The human sighs again. *The Rainbow Shell Battle Body was a little too … derivative.
“BUT WE NEED TO ANNOUNCE OUR INTENTIONS LOUDLY. THAT IS WHAT A TRUE HERO SHOULD DO. BESIDES, WE CAN ALWAYS RESET –”
“YES YES I KNOW.” You shake your head. “LOADS AND SAVES ARE FINE. RESETTING IS BAD. TRUE RESETTING IS EVEN WORSE.” You sigh, suddenly a little melancholy. “IF MY BROTHER COULD ONLY SEE THIS, HUMAN. I MEAN, HE CAN. BUT I KNOW JUST HOW MUCH HE LOOKED FOR THIS POWER. IT’S AS EASY AS JUMPING THROUGH UNDYNE’S GLASS PLATE WINDOW TO USE THE WASHROOM. IT COULD HAVE SAVED HIM SO MUCH PAIN …”
*Trust me, Papyrus. It would have only caused him more, in the long run …
“OH LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE DONE, HUMAN. YOU’RE CAUSING ANOTHER NARRATIVE FLASHBACK –”
“IF THIS POWER IS SO DANGEROUS, AS YOU SAY BROTHER.” You confront Sans, with your hands on your hips just so he knows you mean business now. “THEN WHY IS IT OK FOR YOU TO HAVE IT? AND YOU TOO HUMAN, WHY IS IT OK FOR SANS TO HAVE IT?”
They tell him that Sans has had experience with Resets and other Timelines. They tell you that you have a different duty and destiny. But you know that, what they’re really saying, what even Undyne had been thinking with all of your private training, is that they see you as just too … innocent.
But this is the point where you need to tell them what is what.
“SANS. YOU HAVE 1 HP.”
“1 HP. 1 DEFENSE. 1 ATTACK. SANS, HUMAN, I CAN SEE THE TIMELINES A LITTLE MORE NOW. UNDYNE HAD DETERMINATION. ALL THOSE OTHERS. THEY MELTED. AND YOU HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN TRAINING. REALLY, IT SHOULD BE HIS MAJESTY AND MAYBE HIS … CLONE? HUH, THAT’S NEW. AS BOSS MONSTERS THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS. BUT I CAN’T RISK THE ROYAL FAMILY, OR YOU.”
“pap. listen to me. t h i s i s n o t a g a m e.”
“D O N ‘ T Y O U T H I N K I K N OW T H A T ?”
“stop it bro.”
“NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR PUNS.”
For the first time this entire evening, Sans actually smiles a bit. You smile too.
“THERE. THAT’S THE FIRST REAL SMILE I’VE SEEN YOU HAVE IN A WHILE BROTHER.”
“pap … even with all that power. you’re still the same skele-ton of a brother.”
“SANS!” You scream at his bad pun and a nearby mountain threatens to explode from the power you just unwittingly unleashed. “OH. OH I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT THE POWER.” You put your hands on his shoulders. “BROTHER, I SEE NOW HOW YOU’VE PROTECTED ME. BUT JUST FOR ONCE, JUST IN THIS RUN, LET ME BE THE ONE TO TAKE CARE OF YOU.”
“bro …” The two of you hug. Even without the power of the Soul, you know that you’ve won this argument. The only other issue now will be to talk to the human, and then His Majesty. But one thing bothers you.
“SANS. AM I … REALLY THE SAME NOW?”
“well …” Sans looks away from you.
“all right all right already.” He stares you with an expressionless look on his face. “pap.” He reaches up to put his hands on both sides of your ribs. “your eyes.”
“they look … like alphys’ rainbow brite …”
You feel a powerful sensation course through your chest. It doesn’t take you long to realize it is complete and total joy. ‘THAT’S SO … BEAUTIFUL.”
“it’s a nice look on you, bro.” Sans looks at your chest. “hey, kid. i know you’re in there. please … take care of the big lug here for me. stay Determined, for him.” You don’t miss his eye-sockets turning dark. “or else.”
“SANS THERE IS NO NEED FOR …”
*I understand Sans. I-I’m so sorry …
“forget about it.” Sans waves it off, the lights back in his eyes. “you believe in me, kid. and i believe in my bro. time i put my money where my mouth is, stuff it in my ribs, and let him be a hero.” He hugs you, the both of you, again. “and pap. take care of the kid too. they’re good people.”
“I PROMISE SANS.”
“and … don’t turn the world into spaghetti …”
“OF COURSE I WON’T.” You say as you dash to a short-cut. “AFTER ALL, IT ALREADY IS, SANS. IT ALREADY IS …”
The flashbacks are almost done now. Well, that’s not true. Ever since you walked into the Palace and asked a flabbergasted Mr. Dremurr for the location of the other six human Souls over a nice cup of Golden Flower Tea, you can see the flashbacks and the code still being written as you continue on your journey as a unified being affecting multiple universes.
The first thing you did after getting a human Soul was bury the human’s body. The human told you not to: that you both have great work to do, but you know you have time. They told you that it is just a shell and that once you’ve finished your Quest, it won’t matter anymore as this timeline will be negated anyway. But you did it in any case. You told them to do it.
You control your body fifty-fifty, or whatever number since then after the funeral and getting your six other human Soul friends on board the Papyrus Express (you promised the human never to use that terminology again in reference to your unique situation and arrangement). You made the hole and encouraged the human to take their body and place it down. They looked so old and fragile. Tears coursed down your face, though the human claims they were only yours.
Maybe it was your imagination, but you can feel some of their guilt and regret lighten a bit. Sans was also helpful. He even placed one of his favourite whoopie cushions into the hole to keep the human’s body company.
You read the notebook that the human left Sans, but you realized you knew most of this stuff anyway. Then you said your farewells to everyone else. Then your hellos to new friends and places. Then you said farewells and more hellos. You even met Fun Values and took care of Gaster (you still have no idea why no one can generally remember him, his name isn’t that hard). And now, you have a plan. It’s something even the human doesn’t know about. Yet.
*Some of the others don’t understand. The human tells you. *We had already traveled to the time of the War. We explored the days before that. We even came to the very beginning of Asgore and Toriel’s reign Underground. At any point, we could have changed it. We could have destroyed the Barrier, or made sure it never existed to begin with.
“AND WHAT DO YOU THINK, HUMAN?”
You hear a pause. And it is a sound. Even before the power of the Seven Souls, you’ve always known that silence has a sound of its own. It actually sounds like thinking: which is exactly what the human is doing inside of you before they respond.
*I think that disrupting history might complicate matters. It could endanger whether or not some of you even exist, or possibly make it worse in the process. And … some of you are so … angry. There is another moment of loud thinking. *And rightfully so. We imprisoned you down there and letting you out so quickly, after all that, without explanation, would be too dangerous for both humans and Monsters. Good intentions, don’t always go to good places, Papyrus.
“NO HUMAN.” You tell them. “THAT KIND OF CYNICISM IS A BAD ATTITUDE TO HAVE. GOOD INTENTIONS ARE, WELL, GOOD. BUT I THINK THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE SOME GOOD ACTIONS TO GO WITH THEM, YOU KNOW? LIKE A FINE RED JAM WITH SPAGHETTI.”
*It’s good to know godlike power hasn’t changed your lack of taste buds, the human’s voice can’t help but chuckle, for which you are glad.
“ALL RIGHT. LET ME EXPLAIN IT ANOTHER WAY.” You tell them, you tell all of them. “I TEND TO THINK OF EVERYTHING IN TERMS OF PASTA … AND PUZZLES.”
*We couldn’t have guessed.
“WELL YOU WERE PREOCCUPIED IN EVERY TIMELINE WE MET, SO YOU ARE FORGIVEN HUMAN. NO. JUST AS I HAVE ALWAYS ENDEAVOURED TO CREATE THE GREATEST OF CULINARY FEATS OF PASTA, SO TOO HAVE WE SOUGHT TO MAKE THE MOST CHALLENGING OF PUZZLES. IT IS OUR KIND’S TRADITION. PUZZLES PROTECT US, BUT THEY ALSO CHALLENGE US. THEY MAKE US TRAIN, AND THINK, AND GROW. AFTER ALL WE, BY NATURE, ARE THE ULTIMATE GAMERS!” You chuckle. “YOU SEE, HUMAN, THERE IS NOTHING FUN OR REWARDING ABOUT HAVING AN ANSWER HANDED TO YOU. PUZZLES CAN BE TOUGH, MUCH LIKE PASTA, BUT WHEN YOU GET TO THE SOFT CORE OF IT ON YOUR OWN MERIT, THAT IS WHERE THE REAL JOY LIES. BUT I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SEEK TO DO SOMETHING … DIFFERENT NOW.”
The human’s presence is slow and hesitant. *Does this have to do with the surprise that you’re planning, Papyrus.
“NYEH HEH HEHHH … HUMAN, YOU ARE MOST ASTUTE!” You have gained enough power and discipline, along with promises of personal privacy and common decency from the other Souls to pick up their soul-socks without having to write too many mental notes that you can keep some element of surprise in play for them. It’s more entertaining than being stuck in glass jars for years on end watching dust, or bashing your head against a temporal paradox one too many times.
“YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN EXCELLENT AT FOILING THE MOST DIABOLICAL OF MY PUZZLES, HUMAN. LET’S SEE IF YOU CAN SOLVE THIS ONE, THIS GREATEST MOST WORTHY MYSTERY, BEFORE I DO.”
*Papyrus. We should really do what we set out to. We don’t know how … long your body will …
Before it turns into a mass of ooze. You were already aware of that. As you’ve already stated in your internal monologues beforehand, it seemed most likely that only Boss Monsters or Vessels like your lost flower friend could safely hold this much power before liquidating like one of Sans’ failed quiches. You don’t like to think about Undyne in so many of the timelines who, on her own merit, managed to find Determination: or the poor people that Alphys tried to help out.
“WE HAVE BEEN GOOD SO FAR. EVEN UNDYNE, AT HER WORST, LASTED A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TIME. AND THAT WAS WITHOUT A HUMAN SOUL. I HAVE ALL SEVEN OF YOU NOW. AND I FEEL … GREAT. AS IS MY NAME OF COURSE. BESIDES, THIS IS GOING TO BE OUR LAST STOP.”
*Papyrus, I made a promise to Sans. I won’t let you sacrifice yourself.
“AND I MADE A PROMISE TO SANS TOO, HUMAN. AND TO YOU.” You say. There is that loud quiet again inside of your merged Souls as you come to the closest rift: the one that you’ve been looking for. You marvel at this, one of your last journeys. Sans’ short-cuts are generally good, but limited to specific spaces and times and storage spaces for sleeping Gaster Blasters (while you only used them in the past to store your bones) whereas the Human’s Resets are linear in experience. Together, your journeys are winding and tangential. You make a good team. ‘AND HERE WE ARE. NEXT STOP FOR THE PAPYRUS EXPR –”
The collective groaning of your co-travelers is cut off by the sudden appearance of your current destination. It’s familiar to you, even though they aren’t necessarily your memories.
You are in the Underground again. Vast, ancient rumbling pillars surround you. You look up and see the hole of the mountain where humans can enter, but never leave. Somehow, though you don’t have lungs, you can feel the rest of your passengers holding their collective breaths: especially the human that was your first friend.
Where golden flowers should be growing are, instead, patches of hearty grass and dried dirt. Someone is lying on the ground.
They are wearing a green stripped sweater. Somehow, you know you have time before anyone else finds them.
Suddenly, one of your bones flies out from the short cut space where you keep them between training and duels. It’s your largest bone. Somehow the multi-coloured glow surrounding it is far less friendly than usual. The human lying on the ground looks up at you. They have paler skin and rosy cheeks. Long bangs of brown hair are plastered to their smudged face.
It’s like looking into a mirror, but it’s not you that’s looking — filled with rage and grief — and preparing to release your Special Attack.
“HUMAN.” You tell them. “PLEASE DESIST.”
Your human friend, controlling your Attack, does nothing. They aren’t listening. The human child opens their mouth. They scramble back, trying to find something: anything to defend themselves. But when all they find is dirt and grass, they lower their head. Then they look up at you again.
“Huh.” They say. Their eyes are distant and cold. “I didn’t know they had rainbow demons in hell.”
You don’t move. Neither does your Attack. But you find that you can still speak. “I AM AFRAID THAT YOU ARE NOT DECEASED. YOU ARE VERY MUCH ALIVE.”
*Not if I have anything to say about it!
“HUMAN, THAT’S ENOUGH.”
The human child in front of you looks up with some puzzlement. “What is …” They look up at the hovering bone. Then their face becomes expressionless again. “I see.”
You feel the other Souls wriggling inside of you. You realize that they are trying to stop your friend. But your friend was always so Determined. And now they are angry. They are screaming at them. At the child. At you in particular.
*Papyrus. Let me end this now.
You shake your head. “NO HUMAN.”
*Papyrus. All of you. This is their fault. You are all here because of them. Let me kill them.
You shake your head again. Meanwhile, the child in front of you laughs. It is a cold, mirthless, dead sound. Even with the Seven Souls inside of you, even knowing how helpless they are, you can’t help but be disturbed by that sound.
“So that’s how it is.” The child says. “Well, I was going to do it anyway. Go on, Monster.”
*Let me kill them. They barely have enough LOVE yet. Hardly any EXP. If I kill them, I can end this.
“HUMAN …” You love the human, but you are not pleased with this development, even if if you should have expected it. This is their last chance.
“This world is cruel and vicious.” The child says. “It’s meaningless. I knew it was going to get me one day.”
*They made me kill Shyren while she sang. They made me kill my Mother after she made me pie. The Snowman kept screaming as they took him apart … as they laughed. And everyone … And Sans and … you. I’ll never forgive them. I’ll never …
The child sighs, as though bored of their incoming death. “It’s kill or be killed.”
That does it. “HUMAN, I AM DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY TO ME WHAT THIS CHILD HERE DID TO ASRIEL.”
Suddenly, there is a surge of horror inside of you and your bone disappears.
*Oh … oh god. Papyrus I’m … oh no. It’s … it’s me.
“IT’S ALL RIGHT HUMAN.” You tell them, relaxing again, sending out some calming vibes to your friend inside of you. “DESPITE EVERYTHING, IT’S YOU.”
You urge the other Souls to comfort your friend as you turn your attention back to the child in front of you. They are completely still. If you didn’t know any better they might as well have been carved from the rock around you. You’ve chosen your words carefully. You are, after all now, a skeleton of great elocution.
“I AM THE GREAT PAPYRUS.” You tell them, towering over them. “I AM AFRAID THAT YOU WON’T REMEMBER ME BY THE TIME WE ARE DONE HERE. A LONG TIME AGO, YEARS FROM NOW, IN ANOTHER PLACE, IN ANOTHER LIFETIME, WHEN YOU BECAME SOMEONE ELSE, MY BROTHER ASKED YOU A QUESTION.
“DO YOU THINK EVEN THE WORST PERSON CAN CHANGE?”
The child stares up at you: completely and utterly dumbfounded. “What …”
You sigh and begin to pace, moving your hands around in a way reminiscent of Gaster. “THE HUMAN INSIDE OF ME TOLD ME ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS OF LIFE AND IN PARTICULAR TIME TRAVEL. I ACTUALLY COMPARED IT TO PASTA AND PUZZLES. BUT MAYBE WHAT WE ARE REALLY DEALING WITH HERE, IS COOKING.
“YOU SEE, IF I DEALT WITH THIS THE WAY THE HUMAN WANTED TO, IT’D BE LIKE MY SPECIAL LESSONS WITH UNDYNE: MESSY, DESTRUCTIVE, AND ONLY FIRE WOULD LIVE HERE. UNDYNE IS A GREAT TEACHER, BUT THE STUDENT MUST EVENTUALLY SURPASS THE MASTER.
“BUT SPAGHETTI, YOU SEE, HAS TO BE AGED IN AN OAKEN CASKET. YOU HAVE TO TAKE TIME AND EXPERIMENT WITH IT. YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT. YOU HAVE TO, IN THE WORDS OF MY BROTHER, SHOW IT LOVE INSTEAD OF LOVE. YOU ARE IN LUCK. MY BROTHER. HE LIKES JOKES. BUT ME. I LOVE RIDDLES.”
“AND THIS IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP.”
The human gets to their feet. You wait until they get themselves composed. Those dead eyes flicker with something you’ve not seen before: a shimmer of uncertainty.
“YOU SEE, I PROMISED MY FRIEND HERE.” You point to your chest where your friend is now watching, tense, sad, but incredibly observant. “I PROMISED THEM TODAY THAT I WAS GOING TO SOLVE A MYSTERY INSTEAD OF CREATING ONE. I WAS PLANNING ON GIVING THEM A SURPRISE.
“AND I WILL GIVE YOU SOMETHING AS WELL.”
You loom over the child and open up your arms. The human inside of you starts screaming again, but the other Souls are gently holding them back, and reminding them that they trust you.
You walk up to the child. They actually flinch back, but they stop themselves as you are both at eye-level now. Before they can react, you stretch out your arms and wrap them around the child. The human inside you grows as silent as the child you are holding.
The child themselves stiffens in your arms. “What are you …”
You close your eyes and draw on the power of your friends inside you. You imagine using this power to break the Barrier in two. You take that power and you imagine a series of hard, brittle noodles. In this state, they cut the insides of people’s mouths. They could damage their stomachs going down. And when you squeezed them, they could so easily break.
But you know that when you put them in boiling water, something will happen. The noodles will grow. They will expand and soften. They will settle into the bottom of the pot and lengthen to the point of becoming completely and utterly expansive … and inclusive.
That is the armour around the child’s heart. You feel their eyes widen. But now you need to release them out of the pot. Out of the boiling water that coursing, unabated now, through their Soul.
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE OUTSIDE WORLD DID TO YOU, HUMAN. TO MAKE YOU FEEL THE WAY YOU DO, BUT I’M SORRY. I’M SO SORRY.”
You are burning with power now. It is coursing into the child’s mind and Soul: into their very being. The other Souls join in — including and especially your friend’s — and they soften the hard bits that are the child’s heart and conscience. They start to feel what you feel, what they feel. They get all of your friend’s memories. They feel the emotions and the pain of everyone they have touched: and everyone they haven’t even met yet. The child begins to shake violently: as hard as your friend’s Soul did that day above their aged body at Lesser Dog’s outpost.
“Wh-what I …” You gently let go of them. The child looks around. Then looks at you. Tears are streaming down their rosy cheeks. They put their shaking hands up to their face. “What is this?” they blubber. “What … what have I done? No … oh … oh god.”
The child wails. They fall onto their knees and puke. You rub their back gently as they scream. Years of pain and anguish experienced and inflicted rip out of them. The Souls inside of you are quiet as they realize what you have done. But then you hear the approach of footsteps from the Ruins and know that there isn’t much time left.
You whisper to the sobbing, convulsing child in front of you. “Remember. You can still be a better person.”
With that, you get up and walk behind a pillar. You watch as a young Boss Monster finds a crying, injured human child. You wait until the Monster takes the child and calls out for his parents.
Then you step into a corner … and go into another shortcut.
You find yourselves back outside Snowdin: just out of Lesser Dog’s sentry post again. This time, however, the place seems more lived in: complete with even more sculptures than before. Your friend’s grave mound is no longer there.
*It’s funny. Your friend’s voice says through your head. *In some ways, I think what you did to them was far more cruel than simply killing them. Changing is painful. I remember that day, in the Ruins when you met me …
You walk towards the sentry house as you begin to release the other Souls out of your body: letting them dissipate out of you like a rainbow mist.
*That day I met my parents and my brother. I lived with what I did and tried to help them. When I died, the first time, I left. I told them I would come back one day.
The other Souls leave into the timeless space where all human and Monster Souls go when they are done. The world seems a little less vibrant now, but it’s replaced by a pleasant sort of tiredness.
*And I was told the story of the six other humans that found their way down here. Each one brought something new to New Home and Monsterkind. They were the children of the King and Queen, just as I was … Each generation would come until the Ambassador.
*The other six would leave their Souls with our parents and brother after showing Monsters that not all humans are bad. And one with a strong Soul … will pass through the Barrier and help Monsters communicate with humanity and get a final voluntary Soul to free them. It’s amazing, Papyrus.
You feel your friend’s Soul relax and begin to rise out of your rib cage, out of your being.
*Even as a Soul, I can feel time expanding out, changing, like a noodle. My past is my future, and vice versa. I was the first. I remember being told about myself. I am also the last. I am not really here, am I? I … you are the real hero here Papyrus. Thank you … goodbye …
“I DON’T ALLOW GOODBYES IN MY TOWN, HUMAN,” You say as a red light shines brilliantly and disappears. “SEE YOU LATER, MY FRIEND.”
Then you rest against the sentry post and go to sleep.
A little while later, someone nudges Papyrus.
Papyrus sighs, knowing there is no way around this. “WHO’S THERE?”
“DOCTOR W — GAH! SANS! STOP WITH THE FREAKING PUNS!”
“well, someone had to wake you. seriously, bro.” Sans looks down at Papyrus with some concern. “i’m the one who sleeps around these here parts.”
“THAT’S FUNNY SANS. HEY. WHERE IS EVERYONE?”
“well … i don’t want to interrupt your rest six feet under, but …”
“ok, well you know those humans you’re always looking for? well, prince asriel: he was in the ruins, at his sibling’s grave. and he found one.”
Papyrus folds his hands behind his head. “OH REALLY?”
“um. yeah. says they look just like the first kid. like his sibling. i … guess i see the resemblance. hey, what gives, pap?” Sans looks down at Papyrus quizzically. “i mean, uh, you’ve been looking forward to seeing a human for a while now. and what’s with the rainbow scarf getup?”
“WELL, PERHAPS THAT IS A MYSTERY FOR ANOTHER DAY. TO GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. AFTER ALL,” Papyrus winks, as he gets to his feet, dusting off the snow that accumulated on his knees. “NOT ALL OF US CAN BE THE LEGENDARY FARTMASTER.”
Sans looks at Papyrus. Papyrus grins back at Sans. Suddenly, they both begin to laugh.
“what did you do, pap?”
“MYSTERY, SANS.” The taller skeleton says, putting an arm around his brother’s shoulders. “AND I WANT TO GO SEE THE HUMAN. AFTER I MAKE US SOME EGGS.”
Papyrus shrugs. “YES. FOR SOME REASON I WANT SOME SCRAMBLED EGGS. AND SOME CLOVER. AND … WELL, I GUESS THAT NOT EVEN I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, CAN EXPLAIN EVERYTHING.”