Papyrus gave his brother another look. He was almost certain that this unexpected "check in" was a result of Sans' nightmare last night. Sans tended to be a lot more clingy after that kind. "Well! I appreciate the compliment, but really, Sans! You should be back at your station, and the human is going to be this way soon! I have to capture them, and I can't do that if you're standing right in front of me!"

Sans didn't move, though, instead looking up at Papyrus, his brow furrowing thoughtfully. "yeah, you know, i was thinking about that. shouldn't you, y'know, go get undyne or something?"

Papyrus frowned at his brother. "Sans! I am perfectly capable of capturing one human! I don't need Undyne's help for that!"

Sans' eyesockets widened, and he gestured a little. "no, no, that's not what i meant! what if... what if she were here to watch you capture the human? i mean, sure, if you caught them, everyone would finally recognize your greatness, but whaddabout if the captain of the royal guard was right there to witness it? think about it, pap. she'd probably resign right there, and give you her position. papyrus, captain of the royal guard! doesn't that have a nice ring to it?"

"Sans, I can't help but feel that you have an ulterior motive in this and you're not telling me everything. However!! That does sound very nice, and I think it's a good idea! I'll go get Undyne!"

If Papyrus hadn't known Sans as well as he did, he probably would've missed the slight touch of relief that graced Sans' face.

And then, "But wait!"

The relaxed look slipped away.

"What if while I'm getting Undyne, the human comes and I lose them? I can't let them get away, I must capture them!"

"oh, well that's easy to fix! let me take care of that; while you're getting undyne, i'll slow the kid down."

"Really, Sans?"

"sure. my brother's big day, the least i could do is do my job for once. you go on and get undyne, and i'll battle them here. when you get back, we can swap out, take 'em down tag team style." Then Sans smiled a little, something like encouragement in his grin. "'course, i won't actually do that much, i'll make sure to leave the hard battle for you, so you can show undyne."

That seemed like a good plan to Papyrus. But then, "...I don't know, Sans. I have a bad feeling about this human... What if they decide they want to hurt you?"

Sans' grin came easily. "oh, that's easy. y'know how i always do that thing where i'm always at my station when undyne comes to check, but never when i need to be doin' work? i'll just do that thing." Sans glanced away. "'cuz, you know, dying seems like it might be an awful lot'a work, too much for a lazybones like me."

Papyrus hesitated for a minute. "You're... you're sure you'll be okay?"

"sure. when haven't i been?"

Papyrus wanted to say "all the time" or at least "pretty frequently," but Sans had that sort of easygoing, calm look on his face, a sort of relaxed look that said he was okay. At least, Papyrus thought so. Sometimes, it was hard to tell with Sans.

"Well... okay. If you're sure."

"i am. now get going! the human'll be here soon, and you don't want me to get too worn out to slow 'em down, do ya?"

"Right! I've got to hurry!"

And with that, Papyrus took off running for Undyne's house.

~o0o~

"Come on, Undyne! We've got to hurry!"

Papyrus was sprinting through Waterfall, dragging his friend by the hand. The captain of the Royal Guard was actually having a hard time keeping up.

Papyrus couldn't slow down, though. Sans was holding off the human, and Papyrus didn't know for how long he could do that. So despite Undyne's protests, Papyrus just picked up the speed, pulling her along all the faster.

And then he slid to a halt right by Sans' Waterfall sentry station, right by the entrance to Snowdin.

Because there was the human. The dust on their hands was just a touch thicker. And there was no Sans.

Papyrus just stood for a long moment, staring. Then, "Wh-where's Sans?"

The human just gave that blank smile.

"Where's Sans? Where's my brother?" Hands rising to his scarf, Papyrus took a step back. Undyne shifted into a ready position beside him, but Papyrus could only feel an empty terror in his chest. "Where's Sans?"

The human started forward, still smiling that blank smile, and for a second, Papyrus could see them in Snowdin instead, lunging through the blizzard, arm moving in a wide arc-

And then-

...

. . .

. . .

Papyrus sat up in bed, instantly awake.

§

A/N

Here we are, caught up to where it was in the short stories book! Yay!

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! Comments and votes are my Favorite Things and biggest motivators, and every notification I get makes my day!

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