Sans loved his shortcuts because he did not need to move to get where he wanted to be and the endless possibilities of pranks and easy laughs he was able to achieve with them, just added to his lazy persona he had crafted over the last years. But deep down within his SOUL he always had an uneasy feeling about it.
Sans awoke from a nice mid-morning nap. He had had a really relaxing dream about a wishing star that delivered fries and burgers to his couch so that he did not even need to shortcut to Grillby’s for a tasty, greasy meal.
“SANS! I AM NEARLY FINISHED WITH PREPARING LUNCH. THE SPAGHETTI SHOULD BE DONE ANY MINUTE NOW.” Papyrus called from the kitchen.
Groaning, Sans rolled from his mattress to the floor. He did not feel it in his bones to move after having such a wonderfully relaxing dream. So without really thinking about it he used a shortcut to move to the kitchen.
Papyrus was holding the pot in the sink to strain the noodles from the boiling hot water. The water vapour curled in the air as Sans appeared instantly and plopped down in his chair. “ r.i.p. boiled water. you will be mist.”
Papyrus, however, had been quite concentrated on holding the lid at the right angle to prevent any noodles from joining the hot water going down the drain. So, he was startled at his brother’s sudden appearance and the stupid pun. Out of instinct he turned towards Sans abruptly, which led to the hot pot slipping from his boney hands and falling down onto Papyrus toe.
“OWIEE! SANS, WHERE DID YOU… DO NOT TELL ME THAT YOU USED A SHORTCUT AGAIN TO SKIP THE STAIRS?” Papyrus yelled as he hopped on one foot to his chair to sit down.
Sans, on the other hand, was nearly flying out of his seat and crouched next to his brother to see the damage. “sorry, bro. hold still and let me see your toe.”
“IT IS ALRIGHT. THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS NOT HINDERED BY SUCH A MEASLY INJURY AS A STUBBED TOE. BROTHER, YOU, HOWEVER, SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL! NOW THE NOODLES ARE RUINED AND I WILL HAVE TO COOK NEW ONES AGAIN. WE TALKED ABOUT THIS: NO SUDDEN SHORTCUTS IN THE HOUSE. YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR BONES MOVING AT LEAST SOMETIMES, LEST YOUR BONES START CREAKING WHEN YOU DO MOVE. IT IS REALLY A SHAME THAT YOU USE YOUR POWER FOR SUCH MEANINGLESS TASKS AS GOING DOWN THE STAIRS… -“
Sans, however did not hear his brother’s words, as he was staring at the little fractures in his brothers toe. His mind was pulled back to a place, he had started to forget. He remembered the time when he used a shortcut for the first time, his sockets never leaving the sight of his brother’s broken bone.
Bright lights shine in front of a ceiling, made out of cheap styrofoam tiles. He is S-01. He lies on a table. His wrists are strapped to the table. His ankles are strapped to the table. A fuzzy shadow above has just secured his head to the table and is now applying wires to his eye socket forcing it open.
The shadowy mass, that holds no definite form, speaks out loud for a recording device and explains what kind of experiment he is about to perform. “S-01 has been prepared for the injection procedure. Injection point: left eye socket. First dose of .7 DT will be injected directly. Due to antergic properties of DT for monster physiology… mild… discomfort for subject is to be expected. With regards to the frail nature of S-01, green magic is used to stabilize HP while DT integrates with subject during the whole process by ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎.”
The shadow is not really a shadow. Sans, no S-01, can just not remember his true form or name. His mind draws blank on the monster’s identity. From the corner of his eye socket he sees that the shadow moves to a metal table with a syringe filled with red liquid, which glows dimly. “Experiment DT-o-21 is being performed by ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ with the goal to strengthen subject to resist further exposure to RESET energy. Injection will be administered at 11.32 in 3,…”
The shadow picks up the syringe and approaches the table with the subject strapped to it. “…, 2, …”
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ holds the tip of the syringe up to the ceiling while tapping gently against the glass to eliminate any air bubbles trapped inside of the DT fluid. “…, 1, …”
The syringe fills up his whole field of vision as ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ aligns the tip carefully with the center if his eye socket. “Administering DT fluid now.”
S-01 feels a light pressure inside his skull before his world catches fire.
He is filled with determination
… and it burns in his head, in his spine, in his bones.
As his whole being is engulfed in pain, time becomes a weird concept of eternal flashes. The burning seems endless while he is only aware of fractions of it.
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ says … his spine arches … a hoarse scream … second syringe is floating … go away … bones fracture against restraints … eyes burn with tears … stop … ceiling blurs … ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎‘s hands are glowing green … black creeps at the edges of his vision … I want … a gentle prick in his eye socket … fire is stoked … he burns … please … his teeth click together … gentle hands press on his ribcage … breathing stops … brother … bones rattle … tears are liquid fire on his skull … red syringe floats into his vision … no … he sobs … feet pull agains belts … escape … the determination burns brightly … magic gathers … i want off … magic bursts … room tilts … cold floor … angry scream … full syringe clatters on the empty table … he clutches his burning eye socket while tears spill forth unhindered and his whole body trembles uncontrollably.
Time makes sense again.
His sense of space, however, does not. He knows where he should be be: On that empty metal table. Right now, he lies on the tiled floor roughly 10 feet next to it.
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ is telling words to his recording device, but S-01 is too exhausted to care. The fire is rippling though his bones in waves. He curls up into a tiny ball and sobs hysterically. He is not sure how breathing works. His skull is pounding with inner shockwaves, he is sure that it will explode any minute now.
He hears well-polished shoes approaching. His eye sockets widen in panic and his breathing quickens. Huh, so he was breathing the whole time?
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ **is coming closer and S-01 begs: “Please. Can we stop?”
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎‘s shoes come to rest in front of his blurry vision. “S-01, stand up and get back on the examination table.”
That tone in the shadows voice tells S-01 that he does not have much time to gather his energy and do as he says. Trembling, he tries to figure out how femur, partella, tibia and fibia work again, when suddenly his magic bursts again.
He is tumbling to the ground as his awareness fills him in that ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ is now 10 feet to the left of him while he crashes into a small table with tools. Everything clutters to the ground loudly. Something breaks.
S-01 is sitting stunned among the broken and scattered tools. Out of instinct he cries: “ I am sorry!”
He knows that ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ had been impatient before. Now ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ is getting angry, which is dangerous. When ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ is angry, there are consequences for him and his brother. S-01 also knows, that he should just carry out the instructions he was given, but as he gets to his feet while blue tears splatter on the ground, he finds himself even further away from the table and the shadow.
His back is pressed against a file cabinet, as his panicked breaths double in frequency.
“S-01, you would better stop this non-sense and do as I say. Otherwise, you will have to bear the consequences.” While ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ was angry before, S-01 was sure he was furious now. “Come here. Now.”
S-01 feels ashamed of the small relief that he was not ordered back to the table for now. However, he still was unable to work out how he should move his bones to get to the shadow, who still holds the syringe…
S-01 blinks impressions of fire away as the room shifts again. ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ grumbles under his breath as he stomps towards S-01. “You should know better, S-01”
And he does know better. He tries to force his bones to stay still, but every time the shadow comes within reach, S-01 glitches to another part of the room. “I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry.” He sobs while he desperately tries to control the space around him.
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎, at this point, is livid. He screams at S-01 to stop playing games with him and threatens to involve P-02, while S-01 keeps repeating his apology.
Every glitch takes off a chunk of his magical reserves and he hopes that they run empty soon before the shadow becomes too angry, because he did not have the energy to fight against the blinks anymore. A voice in his head argues that he should be unconscious by now as the pain of the last experiment was something he had never experienced before. But the fire kept him awake. Unable to stop and bend to the will of the shadow.
Suddenly he is engulfed by a dark blue aura, absent-minded S-01 recognises this as the magic that ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ uses to make tools float and sometimes move the brothers, when they do not want to come with him. S-01 relaxes in the hold with hopes that this would stop his blinks and as a result stop the increase of punishment he and his brother will receive for his inability to control his movement.
Until the glitch activates. While his SOUL is forced to a standstill, every bone in his skeleton burns and wants to move. Somewhere else. Just not here. The fire is seething hot again. His SOUL starts to rip out of his rip cage and he screams and cries and just wants it to stop. Suddenly his vision becomes black and S-01 clatters to the ground in a heap of unmoving bones.
As S-01 regains consciousness he finds himself in an empty room, in which ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ usually makes them try out their magical attacks. He is not alone. At the other end of the room he sees the shadowy figure next to his younger brother who is looking scared and worried for S-01. Also, P-02 is floating in the dark blue magical aura of ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎.
In the blink of an eye he glitches towards his bro and the shadow uses that moment to break a phalanges of P-02. Shocked by the sudden cry of pain, Sans teleports further back and the shadow breaks another finger. “I would suggest you stop with this teleporting right now, S-01. Or P-02 will carry the consequences of your failure.”
S-01 gasps and raises a frightened gaze to his bother, who is sobbing quietly. This is my fault. He tries his best to stay just where he is and closes his eye sockets in concentration.
He hears a bone breaking. This time the sound is much louder. Terrified he opens his sockets again and notices that the room had shifted to the left. On top of that, his brother was crying openly now as his left ulna sported a nasty break right in the middle.
He lets out a rattling breath and his shoulders are shaking as he whispers in an unusually high pitch. “I am sorry. I can’t...”
Blink. The room has shifted again and he is facing the other way now. As he whirls around another bone cracks and his brother’s screams grow louder
“... control it. Please stop!” He shouts desperately. S-01 sinks to his knees and looks at ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ pleadingly.
“Then try harder. S-02 has only so many bones that can be broken before I have to turn to more dire consequences for your weakness.”
He really tries his best as the room shifts again and another bone breaks. He really does, but the more bones are broken and the louder his brother screams for ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ to stop.
Blink. Break. Blink. Break.
S-01 does not know how his brother does it, but even though so many of his bones are broken, P-02 still finds the strength to reassure his beloved brother: “It’s okay, brother.”
At this point S-01 completely breaks down, tears and snot are running down his skull, as the skeleton is at too many places at once. “I...” Blink. Break. “... can ...” Blink. Break. “... not ...” Blink. Break. “... stop.”
During one of his too many glitches his brother’s screams had died down and he was limply hanging in the air. ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ sighs: “While your failure is not unexpected, S-01, I thought P-02’s pain would motivate you to achieve better results. I see now, that it is up to me again to help you regain control of yourself.” He throws a collar at Sans feet. “Put it on. I infused it with blue magic which should help you stay where you are.”
Sans unconsciously blinks closer to the collar, which results in a broken rip for his brothers whose HP is dangerously low already. “PUT IT ON!” ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ shouts angrily.
Quickly before he glitches again, he throws himself towards the contraction and clamps the collar around his vertebrae with trembling hands. Fearfully we waits for the next glitch. When his magic starts pulling him in one direction, the blue magic of the collar keeps his SOUL in place, he sighs in relief. It still hurt a lot and he is sure that his SOUL will be torn out of his rib cage soon, but it does not happen and S-01 is left panting heavily on the floor. The room stays as it was before and he is so relieved to not hear the next bone of his brother breaking.
This tearing pain - this is something he deserves for putting his brother in so much pain. This does not hurt as much as seeing his brother hurt.
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ nods and sighs disappointed. He floats Papyrus behind himself and walks out of the room. Sans follows him shakily while grinding his teeth together when another pulse tries to put his body somewhere he does not want it to be.
When ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ drops papyrus on the cot in their room he does not even look at S-01 when he gives him the advice to do better next time.
Carefully, S-01 climbs the cot next to his brother and does everything he can to make sure his brother can get as comfortable as he possibly can. Which is not much he has to admit. He is whispering soft apologies towards his brother, when ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ drops some medical supplies and some food without any words.
The pulses of energy still have not stopped but his SOUL is still blue, so he just has to deal with the tearing pain that accompanies each pulse while treating the fourteen fractures across his brother’s skeleton that were his fault. At least the frequency of the the glitches has diminished somewhat and he has begun to feel the energy building up, so is able to prepare himself when the pain comes.
After three naps and four instances where ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ left more food and medicine, his brother wakes up again.
“Bro, I am so glad that you are getting better.” S-01 sobs as his brother groggily starts to sit up slowly.
Exhausted he leans against S-01 and asks in a whisper: “Do not worry, brother. I will always be fine. He does not really want to hurt us.”
S-01 at first is just silent at his brother’s never-ending optimism. “Sure, looked like it to me.”
“I think he is just afraid, that you will vanish somehow and leave us all alone. Which I, of course, know will not happen because you promised that we will always stay together. Also, he stopped, when you did as he was asking. He is not a bad person.” His brother stated innocently. “By the way, I knew you you could do it.”
Sobs wrack his body when he hears these words. Shamefully, he hides his face behind his hands. “I am sorry, bro. I couldn’t do it.”
“That is also okay, brother. It just means you need more practice.” His brother smiles though his pain and gently pulls his hands away from his face. “You will do it, just you see. Because, you have a brother as great as me believing in you.”
“You are so cool, bro. I bet you would have no problems with controlling these stupid glitches.” He gave his brother a small proud smile.
“Well, of course, I would never have any problems with something like that. Unlike you, I have always been great at staying where I ought to be. I might even give you some tips!” His brother gives him a blinding smile and strikes a small pose that does not pull at his bones too much. “Anyhow! I believe in you, brother. And if someone as great as myself believes in you, you should do so, too.”
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ gives P-02 some time to recuperate and the time is passed by the brothers with made-up stories, hugs and a lecture by P-02 on the art of staying where you were supposed to. Some days later, however, the three skeletons are standing in the dreaded test room again.
Both, S-01 and P-02, are anxious and Sans is shaking a lot when ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ orders him to put the collar away.
At first no teleport occurs and S-01 is letting out a big relieved sigh. His brother is giving him a small thumbs up behind the shadows back. “It seems like you learned from your past mistakes, S-01.” ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ says as he takes an unexpected step towards Sans. Something - fear - shortcuts in his head he just glitches again.
Exasperated ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ breaks his brother’s femur and just like that S-01 confidence plummets. He feels the energy building up again and he starts panicking. He could not let his brother down again.
This time, however, when the pulse pulls his bones away, he grabs his own SOUL with blue magic. He nearly looses his grip as the tearing pain runs through his body again but he stays determined as he remembers his brother’s words, I believe in you, brother.
He stays where he is.
☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ furrows his brows. “Very well. This is a start. I will heal P-02’s leg and afterwards we will have to look further into your newfound ability, S-01. Since DT was a key factor, another dose might give you the necessary determination to fully make use of this ability. But for now, we will see its limits.”
Sans has to turn his SOUL blue again, when ☝︎✌︎💧︎❄︎☜︎☼︎ mentions the DT, but he just nods silently though the pain while his brother gives him a proud but also worried smile.
“-... YOU ARE NOT EVEN USING YOUR SHORTCUTS FOR SOMETHING HELPFUL. IF YOU WOULD AT LEAST USE YOUR SHORTCUTS TO VISIT THE GROCERY STORE AND BRING HOME SOME CARROTS FOR THE SPAGHETTI, JUST AS I WROTE ON THE SHOPPING LIST THIS MORNING, I WOULD NOT HAVE NEEDED TO SUBSTITUTE THEM WITH CHILIS. ALTHOUGH I AM SURE, THAT THIS MEAL WILL TURN OUT QUITE GREAT ANYWAYS (WHEN I COOK SOME MORE SPAGHETTI). WHY, BECAUSE I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, AM GREAT LIKE THAT! … SANS? ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO WHAT I AM SAYING? SANS? BROTHER?”
Papyrus stopped in his rant and watched his brother, who had not stopped staring at the little fracture on his toe, with concern.
“BROTHER? ARE YOU QUITE ALRIGHT?” Papyrus laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder.
At the contact, Sans startled out of his thoughts and shifted his gaze to the loving sockets of his brothers. He huffed. “sorry! seems like I just spaced out of it for a moment there.”
“AARGH. SANS, YOU AND YOUR TERRIBLE PUNS AGAIN. THIS IS SERIOUS. YOU COULD AT LEAST USE THE STAIRS FOR ONCE.”
“meh. sorry, bro, this is just me being a lazybones.” Sans shrugged and winked at his brother. “but… i guess you are right. i shouldn‘t let my laziness get the better out of me and i won‘t use my shortcuts just because it’s easy. i will control myself better… i… let me get some bandages and then i will cook the spaghetti, while you get off your feet. i will be back pasta than you think.”
And with Papyrus grumbling over terrible jokes, Sans ran out of the kitchen to get the first aid kit. When he was about to shortcut back into the kitchen he stopped himself with blue magic at the last second. He hissed quietly and held onto the bookshelf as the familiar tearing pain coarsed through him. After giving himself some moments he returned quickly by using his slippered feet to tend to Papyrus broken bone. As he wrapped the bandage around his brother’s foot, he however could not stop his hands from shaking.
“SANS.” Papyrus was worried and put his hands on his brother‘s. “TELL ME. WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU? IT DOES NOT EVEN HURT.”
Sans just shook his head and forced his hands to hold still. “aw, bro. I guess that walk had me rattled. seems like you were right, i do need the exercise if i want to keep up with my great bro.”
“WELL, I AM GREAT OF COURSE. AND THAT IS ALSO WHY YOU NEED NOT WORRY OVER A BROKEN TOE, BROTHER.”
With that Sans finished bandaging the toe and stood up. “yeah. you are right, bro. let’s just spaghett-it.”