Arcadia Power

Author Topic: Handplates to Freedom  (Read 436 times)

InterNutter

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Handplates to Freedom
« on: July 28, 2016, 02:51:14 am »
I also love the stuffing out of Zarla-S: http://zarla-s.tumblr.com and hir handplates au: http://zarla-s.tumblr.com/post/139516306171/okay-i-get-a-lot-of-questions-about-what-order-the and seeing those little baby skelebros going through all sorts of inexplicable torture for no reason beyond science... Well... I has teh feelz.

So I'm giving them a happier life.

This one's improvised whenever I have mood enough and time. Questions are welcomed. As are edit suggestions.

So without further ado...

====8<====

Disclaimer: Undertale belongs to Toby Fox, long may he write ground-breaking games with such lovable characters. The Handplates AU belongs to Zarla-S, long may ze draw. And finally, the whole concept of Toriel rescuing the tortured Skelebros belongs to LoyaltyKask, who sent in the ask in the first place. Peace, love, and serendipity to you all. All I own is this story. I hope it's enjoyable.

Twice Upon a Dream
InterNutter

Abduction Day 1
(WDG-2P)

Something had... changed. Usually, when Two woke up, there was pain. And he was on the soft platform, the one that He used whenever recovery from experiments was... difficult. But there was no pain. Two risked opening an eye. Then the other. Perfect bi nocular vision, as He would say. Everything seemed normal. But it wasn't.

Normal was pain. Normal was the small room with the electric barrier and the hard platform that he and his brother were allowed to sit or sleep on. Though they usually preferred the floor. Normal was Him and His experiments. Normal was trying again and again to understand Why... and an absence of answers.

But here was not normal. Here was soft and warm and... better than the hard platforms. Two sat up. The walls were not grey. They were not any of the bold colours of the colour cube, either. He knew those names. White, Green, Red, Blue, Yellow, and Orange. This was... strange. A colour he could not name. It was almost like Red... but it was also like the Green of their clothes. Weaker.

And another strangeness. One was across the other side of the room, barely visible under his heavy, thick sheet. Just like Two's, but it had different patterns. It, like the platform, was soft and warm and it squished.

One was scared, Two could tell by the glow of his eye. Two only knew one way to help him feel better, but he dared not risk it. They were on the soft platforms for a reason.

"Brother," he whispered. "Are you hurt?"

"...no," said One. "...that's what's got me on edge... it's all wrong."

"I'm scared, too," said Two. "I wish we could be scared together."

Everything was strange. The light. The colours. The things scattered around the room. The flat thing on the floor and the big filing cabinet against the wall with only one door and the... shorter, flatter filing cabinet with weird draws. And the enormous box full of unfamiliar shapes. And the flat, square shapes on the wall with... colours inside. Nothing made sense, and Two wanted to be scared at the top of his lungs, but he knew that would summon Him.

So he put both hands over his mouth and tried to be scared as quietly as possible.

It didn't work. That, at least, was normal. Two was more than used to his efforts not working. But what happened next... it was so far away from normal that he almost fainted from the shock.

The door in the wall opened. Softly and slowly. And by degrees, a giant appeared. They were not Him, but they were something... Other. Other was White. And wore Blue. And Other was much, much bigger than Him. Two was so scared that he forgot about lying quietly on the soft platform and stood up. Other was not going to hurt One!

"Children?" said the Other. "I heard sounds. Are you awake?"

Two pressed himself against the Not-Quite-Red wall despite himself. The world wavered and darkened around him, and he wasn't sure that Other was doing it. "You keep back! Don't touch us!"

(Toriel)

They had been hurt when she found them, taking a covert route through the Underground and towards the Ruins. Whoever had left them there (Toriel had her suspicions, but could not prove them) was lucky that he or she was not present. There would have been quite the battle. As it was, she had taken them and fled. And spent quite a lot of herself trying to heal them. Poor children. They had taken so many hurts.

Now she could hear one of them whimpering, so of course she came to check on them.

What welcomed her was not gratitude, but suspicion and fear. The taller one got up and stood on his bed. The shorter one was hunkered under his covers. She had thought that giving them a warm, comfortable room with their own clothing to choose from and their own toys to play with would have been a welcome thing to do. She was wrong. They were more scared than they had been scarred.

Backed up against the wall, scared out of his wits and about to faint, the taller one spoke. "Yoo keebak! Dun tush us!"

Evidently, their tormenter had not taught them to speak properly. Just enough to make themselves understood, and no more. Toriel fought to keep an angry expression off her face. Fought to be what they needed. And what they needed was an abundance of kindness. "I promise all will be well," she cooed. "You are safe now. I will not harm you."

The smaller one moved around under his covers so he could peek out from the foot of the bed. "...yeh whassa catch? yoo withim?"

"Absolutely not," she said. "I was only down there once, but I saw more than enough to hate what he had done to you. There is no catch, child. Only a home."

The unfamiliar word stuck in both their throats. She could hear them repeating it under their breaths.

"Yes. Home. A place you will always belong within." Though she ached to hold them close and kiss them and gift them with every sign of parental love, she knew that would only frighten them. "I am baking a pie."

Blank skeletal expression from the taller, and unadulterated suspicion and hostility from the other.

"That's a form of food," she added. "When you are ready, you may come out and have some. I will be waiting for you." She left, and left the door open. Soon, they would smell the pie. And if they were like any other monster children, hunger would soon overwhelm their trepidation.

She had the pie cooked to perfection. Butterscotch and Cinnamon, because nothing tempted a child like sweet things. And she had enough magic to heal them quickly if they had an allergy. Toriel cut slices and let the rich scent flood her new house. Set them out on the table and kept them warm with her fire magic. Sat and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Shuffling noises eventually made her look up from her book. Ah. There they came. Clinging to each other like they were all that they had in the world. That each of them was all that they could trust. She pretended to keep reading. They stopped when they spotted her.

"...itsa trik," said the smaller one.

"Smels _good_," said the larger one. "Hungry."

Both their bodies were rumbling. She could hear it. How long could they possibly resist the lure of sweet pie?

They edged around the doorway. Sidled along the wall. Made it all the way to the table.

Toriel remained still. She did whisper, "Yes. You may have some."

The taller of the two snatched a piece of pie off the table and split it into halves for the other. Both ate quickly and with their hands, while they hunkered on the floor. The smaller one never took his gaze off of Toriel.

(WDG-1S)

There had to be a trick. A catch. A trap. Something was very wrong with everything and One could not nail down what it was. This... other creature had to be something like Him. Had to be.

There just wasn't anything else.

But this... pi... tasted so _nice_. He was almost lost in the flavour of it. He was busy scraping crumbs out of his crevices when it finally happened. The Other stood up. He froze in place and reached for his brother. Too late to run. He hurried under the heavy chairs and hoped they were enough. The big white feet came closer. Closer and closer.

They had to be doomed!

But all that happened was another plate of pi. Resting just within their reach.

Unbelievable. And the Other just walked away. Back to the chair they had been sitting in earlier.

What kind of test was this?

One statched up the pi this time, splitting it in two for his brother. It made him feel good. It made them both feel good. Warm inside. And... better.

So very much better.

One would not sleep very well, that night. He had to keep watch. Because the only time when He was kind, was when He was setting up a newer, more painful experiment.

====8<====

Instalment one! What do you think? Keep going? Scrap it? Am I the epitome of evil? Say something!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 02:37:24 am by InterNutter »

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InterNutter

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2016, 02:02:39 am »
Well I guess I should at least tell Zarla-S that this exists. After I'm done doing this part:

====8<====

Abduction Day 2
(WDG-1S)

His fault. It was his fault for not paying attention. For being sleepy. Somehow, the Other got hold of them and took their clothes and put them in a tub of warm water with bubbles[1] that happened to be by the fire. There, she ruthlessly went over their entire skeletal system with a soft sponge and showed them how to play in the bubbles.

Okay. So it wasn't much like the way He did things, but it was frightening because One didn't know what was going on half the time.

And after the Other was satisfied, it was out of the tub and into thick, soft, fluffy towels and the big, soft chair while the Other busied themself with water disposal and mopping and putting away. Two clung to him and he clung to Two, not knowing what to expect out of the Other.

Something had to be wrong with being naked, they knew that much. And living in fear of Him had taught both brothers not to ask questions. And it had taught them to fear anything new.

The Other returned, eventually, with their sleeves rolled back down and colourful bundles. Clothing. But not like the weak Green things that He had tied to their bodies. These were strange shapes. And colours. Some were small. Some were not.

The Other had so many new words for them. Underclothes. Shirt. Pants. Coat. Scarf. Hat. They showed the brothers how they worked against their enormous body, but the things were clearly too small for the Other. The things were... brother-sized. It was clear that they weren't getting the weak Green clothes back. And He had made it clear that there was no point resisting.

Two went first. Learning how to put on the layers of clothings. He was ever more trusting and let the Other know about his preferences. Which were jarring to One's eyes, but he looked so... _happy_. He was even glowing green.

When was the last time that had happened?

Two being happy gave him the courage to stand up and let the Other assist in getting his clothings on. He consistently chose the darkest of Blue that the Other always had available. And of course One kept telling the Other to be careful, and that One only had one HP.

The Other made a show of healing him. Big, gentle hands and warm energy. It didn't do a thing, but One couldn't remember a single moment when any other being but Two had spent any care on him. He relaxed. Just for a moment. and stretched out his arms...

The Other was holding him! And Two! And Two was holding him, too. There was no squeezing on his soul, and the Other had a gentle enough grip that he could escape if he wanted... but it felt so wrong in all the right ways. He let himself be weak. Let himself lean into the warm, squishy softness of the Other. Let himself believe, just for a moment, that everything was going to be all right.

He closed his eyes.

And was right back into the cold, dark, grey and the hard floor of the cell he shared with Two. Sitting on the platform and watching as He had Two's arm and... snapped it.

One jolted away with a scream. This place was wrong! This place was a trick! This place was a trap! All he could say was "NO!" as he ran away from the Other. Wrestled open the door that neither of them had tried. Ran out and out and--

"NO!"

The black shape loomed before him. Frightened him into stillness. Made him cower on the ground and wait for death. He couldn't fight it. He was too weak.

(Toriel)

Too soon, damnit. For all that they needed comfort and love, it was too soon to expect them to accept it. But -oh- it felt so good to hold two children in her arms. Even if it was for a handful of seconds.

It hurt her heart when the smaller one started shrieking in fear. There was a book on this. The humans called it 'Shell Shock' amongst many other names[2]. But she knew it as Recurring Terrors. People who saw too many horrors, and saw them again and again, long after those terrors had finished. She let him run, and let the taller one follow.

She lagged behind, vision veiled behind her tears. They deserved more than she could give. They deserved far more than either of them would accept.

"Bruth'r," cooed the taller one. He hunkered near the smaller one, who was huddled at the base of the tree. The tree that never kept its leaves for long. She had seen it so often that she didn't think of it. It had to be frightening for them both.

"Bruth'r" the taller one repeated. "Issokay. I'm heer." Warm, comforting, orange light flared from his eyes and swarmed around them both.

The smaller one's ragged and dangerous breathing slowed. They both fell to embracing each other.

It had been wrong to give them separate beds. She could see that, now. What they needed the most was each other. One consistent thing amidst all these changes around them. Getting them to accept her was going to be a big step. Bigger, perhaps, than they would be prepared to take for... years...

And the loss of her own two children hit her like a hammer. It was an older wound, certainly, but having two children so close and yet out of her reach, seemed to rip it open anew. All she could do was her utmost to cry quietly.

(WDG-P2)

Something really weird happened. Just after he got One soothed out of his fear-cramp, he heard something strange. It sounded like... crying. But neither he nor One was doing it.

They both looked. Stared.

It was the Other. _They_ were the one doing all the crying.

"He never did that," said Two.

"...i know," said One. "...what if they grab us again?"

"Was it so bad the last time?"

One seemed to think about this. "...guess not." He shrugged and began a cautious approach. "...what's the worst that can happen?"

Two approached cautiously as well. They had been through a lot of the worst that could happen. And the Other was so much bigger than Him. Nobody could possibly hurt the Other. And yet... there they were. Weeping. Sitting on the ground and pushing their hands to their face and shedding real tears. They were huddled up like they were truly miserable.

One cautiously poked them. Then danced backwards as if expecting the Other to strike.

Sniff. Sob. Gulp, "I... I am sorry, little ones. I didn't mean to frighten you." Her voice fell to a whisper. "It has been... so _long_... since I held a child." They wiped their face with their sleeve. "Please do not be afraid. I would never harm you."

"...what?" said One.

"You said... 'sorry'," said Two. "He never said any such thing."

"...not without the word 'not' in front of it," rumbled One. "...what's the catch? ...why are you being... nice?"

The Other looked more than confused. Staring at the two brothers as if... well... He would call the Other 'stupid'. "It's the way people should be... especially to children. And... it's what you deserve."

Two turned to face his brother. "I think we should trust them."

====8<====

More... whenever.

[1] I'm assuming that, since these are _living_ skeletons, that soap and water will do no harm.
[2] Toriel is REALLY old. Or her source material is, since Monsterkind only has what humanity throws away.

InterNutter

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2016, 02:22:23 am »
Part the third

====8<====

Abduction Day 3
(Excerpt from Toriel's diary)

I visit the chamber of flowers whenever they sleep. These little skeletons need me, that much is true, but I dare not forsake any fallen child for their comfort. I fear what a young human might do to them. Yet I must not allow a fallen child to fall into Asgore's hands. Not after what I found out.

Nobody had fallen, today.

Following yesterday's... misadventure... neither of the brothers have wanted to venture beyond the house. This is good in the short term, as there are many dangers that could harm them or even... kill... the smaller one.

They need names. And I need to think about how to introduce them to the idea.

(WDG-2P)

It was very strange. But then, everything was very strange. The food. The Clothes. The things. And the Other.

They got up from the big chair so they could sit on the floor. "Hello children," they said. "I would like to talk with you, today." That was her word for the brothers when they were together. Children. If they wanted individual attention, they called each of them 'big brother' and 'little brother'.

"...yeah sure, let's talk," said One. "...what are you up to? ...really?"

"Well, today, I am up to names. My name is Toriel. You may call me that when you want me, or when you're talking about me. Can you say 'Toriel'?"[3]

"Toriel!" Two grinned. This being was a Toriel.

"Very good," Toriel cheered. "Little Brother? Can you say 'Toriel'?"

Nothing bad had happened to them for three days, so of course One wanted to see what happened when he was bad. "...no. ...don't wanna."

"That is quite all right. It is far too early for you to trust me. But I have been thinking of proper names for the two of you." The Other had papers in their robe. With letters on them. "These are the fonts you speak in. Papyrus, and Comic Sans."

It was as if the Other... the Toriel... had done _magic_. "I can read that," Two blurted. "I can _read_ that! It says 'Papyrus'! I can read it and it says 'Papyrus'! And the other one says 'Comic Sans'! I can tell! I can really tell!" He hopped up and down for the sheer joy of being able to read[4]. "I'm not stupid any more, brother! I can _READ_!"

"...knew you had it in you, bro."

"Would you like to keep it as a name, Big Brother?" asked Toriel. "Would you like to be named 'Papyrus'?"

He looked over to his brother, who was suspicious. All it took was a tiny shake of One's head.

Two deflated. Showed Toriel his plate. "This is my designation. We call each other One and Two when we are not Brother."

(WDG-1S)

This wasn't the first time that something he said had made him feel bad. Just watching all the happy bleed out of Two was enough to make a flat, greasy feeling happen somewhere near his ribs. He didn't like making Two feel bad, but it was better than anything He could do.

But He wasn't around to hurt them any more.

One watched Toriel, almost ready to try another attack, for all he knew that it would do little. If she showed the slightest hint of anger...

"As you wish," was all they said. "How about you, Little Brother?" They held up the paper that said 'Comic Sans'. "You are so unhappy all the time, we cannot exactly call you 'comic'. Even as a skeleton, you need to be more humerus... hahaha."

"...heh," he echoed. Okay. That was a little funny. He was starting to like this Toriel in spite of himself.

"So," the enormous being folded the paper between the 'Comic' and the 'Sans', leaving the second half visible. "What do you think?"

He showed them his handplate. Not as an offered arm, but as the back of a raised fist. "This is my designation. We call each other One and Two when we are not Brother."

They looked a little sad, and said, "As you wish." They took a breath. "I have a few books in these fonts. How would the two of you like to read with me? We can each read a page."

Two felt like testing them, too. "May I have a hug?"

"Of course. I am available for hugs at any time."

One watched in barely muted horror as his brother almost got lost within Toriel's arms.

(Toriel)

Well. The tall brother was the most open of the two of them. A minor miracle, considering where they spent the beginning of their lives. After story time and some lessons on pronouns (she was going to get them to call her 'she' or 'her' if it killed her!), she let them help her cook dinner. A simple stew tonight. Nothing that would upset the tastes of a child.

She showed the taller brother how to be careful with knives and peelers while the smaller one of the two hung back. He always had his back to the wall. She would never win him over by grabbing or forcing him to do things. Therefore, she offered him choices.

And always for activities where he could not hurt himself.

"Would you like to strip the herbs, or stir the dumpling mix?"

"Would you like to break up the breadcrumbs, or roll the dumplings?"

He wrote what he thought were bad words in the scattered flour. And threw small objects at her. He was testing his limits. She remembered when Chara... when Chara... A moment of melancholy washed over her. The final straw was a raw egg. Toriel stopped what she was doing and turned on the smaller skeleton.

"Oh my, that egg was going to be your brother's breakfast, tomorrow. I am afraid that was naughty, my child."

"...ain't yer chile," he mumbled. "...so whatchu gon' do?"

"What am I going to do? I am going to finish making dinner. _You_ are going to sit in the corner and think about nicer things to do than throwing about other people's food."

"...make me."

She hated to do it, but he had to know where the line was. She scooped him up and placed him gently on a cushion, facing into a corner. "Now you stay there and think of a nicer way to get what you want. You may come to the table when dinner is ready."

And she cleaned the egg off herself and went back to making dinner.

"...i wanna know what th' rules are... wh't happens t' me or m' brothur when either of us breaks 'em... w's gon' make ya hurt us?" He was clinging to the doorframe as if afraid to set foot in the kitchen. "When d' the 'speriments start again?"

"O, my child..." she breathed. Toriel dropped to her knees. Offered her open arms. "There are no more experiments. There is no more hurting. I only wish to give you and your brother the best home. The best education. I feel that you deserve it. And I promise you that I will not harm you or your brother."

"Whassa promise?" said the taller one.

"O my goodness..."

The questions had begun.

====8<====

[3] Of course she's coming over all Mr Rogers at this point. Their diction leaves something to be desired and One mumbles all the time. She only has suspicions about how smart they are.
[4] Because dyslexic Papyrus gives me life. He even wrote notes in Papyrus, in-game. Papyrus and Comic Sans are both fonts that dyslexics can read with less difficulty.[insert The More You Know GIF]
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 07:37:16 pm by InterNutter »

InterNutter

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2016, 08:37:20 pm »
MOR!

====8<====

Abduction Day 4
(WDG-1S)

"Breakfast is ready. Come sit at the table."

One knew that she was going to show her true colours, today. Today, Two was going to bear the brunt of One's actions. He clung tighter to his brother's hand on the walk down the hallway to the dining table. Somehow, it was longer, this morning.

But it was the same pretty place. Even he had to admit that it was pretty. Everything was... nice. The fire in the hearth warmed without being dangerous. He could put his whole self in and not be burned. Or... that was the theory. He would wait another day to test it. Today, he was testing Her, to see if she was anything like Him after all.

Three places. The blue placemat held a plate already full of bacon, beans, and fried tomatoes. That was his. Two's placemat was orange, and had exactly the same thing. Her mat was pink, and held the same food. Each of the brothers had a large glass of milk. Good for strong bones.

Toriel was not in the dining room. She was bustling about in the kitchen. One looked to his brother. He didn't know what was happening either.

She came out of the kitchen with three plates balanced on her arm. "And a special treat... a soft-boiled egg with toast sticks."

The little plate she added to One's placemat had buttered, toasted bread cut into long, thin strips. And an egg sitting and steaming in a cup. "One for you. And one for me." the same kind of little plate. The same kind of bread. And the same cup with her own steaming egg. "And one for... oh dear."

Two's plate had the bread. And the cup. But that cup was glaringly empty of egg.

"That is not right. You will miss out, Big Brother. That is _not_ right..."

One glared at his egg. Trying to calculate how he could cut it in half for his brother.

Toriel plucked her full egg cup off her plate and swapped it for Two's. "There. Now no brother will go hungry."

_What?_

One watched her as she sat, seemingly without a concern. Watched her place the empty egg cup beside her toast sticks. And then commenced her breakfast as if nothing at all was wrong.

(WDG-2P)

Two looked to his brother. One was looking at him. Both were trying to urge each other, with their minds, to say or do something.

_You talk to her. No *you* talk to her. I'm not going to do it, you do it._ And so on.

"It is not poison," said Toriel. "You may eat."

_No, YOU say something._

"If you doubt, you may swap your plate with mine. Any time you wish."

Two finally broke. "Won't _you_ go hungry, Miss Toriel Ma'am."

"...you're supposed t' pick one..." muttered One, under his breath.

"It is only one egg. And you brothers both need to eat more than I do. And since it's a treat, I thought you deserved it more."

Everything smelled so nice. It was all nice. Everything was nice. Even she was nice. "...why?" he said.

"You have been through a lot and I think you deserve a treat."

One picked up the egg in his cup. Got up and carried it over to Toriel's setting and swapped it for the empty one. "...i don't." he said, and he sat back down. "...i was mean to you... you didn't deserve it." He took a deep breath and said something he never thought he'd say to someone in charge ever again. "..i'msorry."

"Thank you," said Toriel. "Let us be sure that it never happens again."

(Toriel)

After they got dressed, she took them for a walk. They needed to see that some things in the ruins were harmless. Starting with the tree in her courtyard. Of course she packed a basket of snacks and drinks. These were hungry little skeletons, after all. And many of the things available in the ruins were... unpalatable.

And on the trip, her desire to be a teacher came to the fore. She had all sorts of guidance about them.

"That is a migosp. They much prefer to be left alone." Or, "There is Wimsun. They are afraid of everything." Or, "That is a vegetoid. They might feed you if you are hungry, but you must be able to dodge their attacks. Look for the green ones. They will restore you."

All the way to the golden flowers. She did not talk to them, this time. She did not tell the little skeletons that there was a child's body under that trove. But she did encourage them to sit and enjoy the sunshine that filtered down. Skeletons needed sunshine, after all.

Little Brother fell asleep in a sunbeam, and Big Brother asked her questions about the flowers. The smaller brother woke up for food, of course. And he made himself stay awake for the walk back, though he leaned on his brother more often on the way back to her home.

"I could carry you, if you like," offered Toriel. "I do not mind."

"...ic'n... (huff)... stillwalk..."

He was lying. She could tell. He would fall asleep during story time and remain asleep until dinner. She slowed down for him and, since she could not say 'I love you', she said, "As you wish."

====8<====

Moar whenever.

InterNutter

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2016, 09:35:15 pm »
MOAR!

====8<====

Abduction Day 5
(technically)
(WDG-1S)

Nightmares plagued him. Every time he closed his eyes, He was there. Either in the cell, in the experimental arenas, or, most worryingly, in places almost like Toriel's house. Only... nightmarishly twisted into hybrids of the house and the lab.

Two was out of it. Sleeping the sleep of the innocent by his side. He did not respond to One's clinging grip by squeezing in return. He didn't even wake when One slid from his arms altogether. One sidled away from his brother and surveyed the room they shared from the vantage of the bed they shared.

Toriel had placed both beds together, and rearranged the room around that.

One had no fears of monsters under the bed. He had had plenty of just one monster, coming for them whenever He liked. The dark shadows under the bed held nothing more threatening than dust bunnies and the occasional forgotten toy or misplaced slipper. What he feared was real. And it could be happening any time. One ran his phalanges over the plate on his right hand. Feeling the letters in the dark.

_Running for somewhere to hide. Desperate to find a place where He wouldn't find them. Suspecting, and then knowing, that it was the hand plates that allowed Him to find them._

Marked as a thing. Property. Experimental creations, with no more rights than lab mice. And tagged with tracking devices.

_I will always find you, no matter how far you run, and no matter where you hide._

One popped his right hand off, just to watch it fall limp. And popped it back on. He knew that wouldn't work.

_Watching in utter helplessness as He snapped Two's arm for no good reason. Hearing his brother scream the instant that the bone ****. Knowing in an instant that He could do that to any limb He found._

And he'd been having nightmares about watching Two's face as One turned to dust.

There was nothing for it. He had to tell Miss Toriel.

One slid out of bed, shuffling into soft, plush slippers that had ridiculous googly eyes on them. He liked them because they made Two laugh. Pulled on a soft, oversized coat that Miss Toriel said were only for bedtimes and for when he wasn't feeling well. Well, he certainly wasn't feeling that great right now. One shuffled out of the bedroom and went looking for her.

She wasn't in her room. She wasn't in the hall. She wasn't in the room with the stairs that lead down into the cellar. She was in the dining room. Sitting at the table with a book weighed open and paper sheets under her immense hands. Her eyes were closed and she was sitting up, and there was a pen in one of her hands.

One climbed a chair to look. Miss Toriel had been copying from one of her books. Copying common script into the Papyrus font. So Two could read the books.

He gently slid the pen out of her fuzzy fingers...

And nearly died of fright when she snorted awake.

"Oh my goodness. Little Brother. Are you unwell?"

"...nightmares," he said, trying to imitate her precise way of speaking. He didn't much care how well either brother spoke. Just so long as He could understand them. Miss Toriel cared about everything they did or didn't do. So this time, he offered her his hand plate as if he were going to pet her lovely white fur. "...these... let _him_ track us... been scared he's gonna find us."

The rest, he left unsaid. He was pretty sure Miss Toriel knew most of what had happened down there. And if she didn't... she had some pretty good guesses.

Miss Toriel yawned. "My apologies, Little Brother. May I show you something? You may hold my hand if you wish."

He clung to it as if it were his last chance. As if it were Two's last chance. As if she could protect them both from Him and all His experiments.

Clinging tightly to her, One let Miss Toriel take him to the forbidden cellar, and down the long hall to... a purple door?

"This is the only door to the rest of the Underground. I have sealed it and warded it such that it will not open unless I will it to. Your tormenter may know that you are beyond this door, but he will not be able to move past it."

"...idunno... he's got some pretty big equipment... what if--?" he couldn't speak beyond those words. His head filled with pictures. And all of them with Him as the central player.

"Well, to be safe, I suppose we must have a closer look at those things. May I?"

He was eager to nod. So worn out from worry that he let her carry him back upstairs. She was kind and did not know how horrible He was. He shivered in Miss Toriel's arms, dreading the thought of her in His custody.

(Toriel)

She didn't want to tell Little Brother that she was only up because of similar nightmares. That scientist may have had good reason for doing what he did, but torturing children was not justifyable, no matter his imagined ends. Not even with the greater good argument. Yes, thousands of skeletons had perished when that child had come through, guns blazing... But that did not mean he had good reason for torturing innocent monsters.

And he would never be torturing these innocents if _she_ had any say in things.

Once upstairs, she had to find a magnifying glass and the right kind of lamp single-handedly. Abandoning Little Brother to a cushion or a soft chair would not help his terrors to ebb at all. So she held him against her hip as if he were any other scared child who needed comfort. Only once all her equipment was together did she sit him at the table so she could peer at the fixtures on his hand.

Rivets. He had used rivets to fasten the plates onto these children. "In order to remove these, I would have to drill--" she covered her mouth and shook her head. Hot tears filled her eyes. She'd have to hurt them in order to free them.

"...it's okay," said Little Brother. "...the drilling part don't hurt nearly as much as hot rivets."

(WDG-2P)

It was a very strange morning. Firstly, his brother was awake before him. Secondly, Miss Toriel Ma'am was tired and worried. And she had put on an extravaganza of a feast. There was barely room for the placemats, there was so much food.

"...it's bad news, bro," said One.

Miss Toriel Ma'am sat on the floor, and her face looked like it was only taking a brief break between cries. "I have looked at your brother's hand plate," she said. "The bad man fixed them on the both of you with riv--*" her voice **** and stopped. A few tears leaked down her fur. "In order to remove them, I would have to dri--*" she broke down into sobs.

Two tried petting her shoulder. He didn't know if he was allowed to hug her when she wasn't hugging him. "It will be all right, Miss Toriel Ma'am. I know you won't be _trying_ to hurt us."

That made it worse. Oh no. He'd broken her. And she was so kind and gentle and everything. And He would be coming and--

Two didn't remember going to the corner, but One was there with him and holding him and repeating, "...it's okay, it's okay... she's been like that all morning, it ain't your fault, it's okay..." over and over again.

It was a very bad morning. But not nearly so bad as the rest of the day.

====8<====

More later :) Toodles!

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2016, 02:00:59 am »
I can finally write some more! [NB for last post, this forum does not like the word c-r-a-c-k. Go figure]

====8<====

(WDG-1S)

The crying was done with, and he'd eaten slightly more than his fill. It was hard to remember that Toriel was not Him, and would not withhold food to see what happened next. With her around, there had never been a moment of hunger. And now, with a slightly unpleasant feeling just under his ribs, One would have much rather cuddled up in the pillow pile and slept it off.

No such luck. She insisted on going for another walk into the chamber of flowers.

Walking so far exhausted him. What he wouldn't give for a short cut. An easier way to get around.

Toriel stopped for rests, often. Let him get his breath back before they journeyed onwards. And maybe that was why...

He wanted to blame himself. Everything bad that had happened with Him seemed to happen because of something One had done. Blaming himself came as a reflex. If he hadn't made Toriel cry. If he had just tried to go back to sleep. If he had woken Two and let him help. If he had kept the function of the handplate to himself...

Then maybe...

(Toriel)

They met the human in the room with the long hallway and the single column. She was already dusty from murders. She wore some kind of fancy skirt that stuck out sideways and carried... a pair of shoes? She used them as a weapon. Swung them around.

"Fear not, my child," she began, but got no further. This child wanted to fight. And they were aiming at Little Brother. _NO!_ It barely took a thought. She dived between the human and the smaller skeleton. Shielding him from harm with her own body. "Run! Run and hide!" she urged. The skeletons fled.

Toriel blocked the human's way. All she had to do was stay in her way long enough and then flee. With luck, this child might not find her again. And Toriel had pockets loaded with treats. She could heal herself if necessary. But if this little girl found Little Brother again...

She used her showiest attacks, intending to frighten rather than harm. And it worked. After a long and arduous battle, the child fled. Toriel let her go, gave herself just long enough to recover her breath and then... went searching for the skeleton brothers. She dared not call out, very loud. Not at first. More time was needed to give the murderous child space.

She found their arms in a nook behind the column. Their right forearms. A misdirection that might have worked on their former tormentor. Toriel channeled her healing energy into the arms, knowing they would feel it. _ I am alive, dear ones. Have courage._ They could not hear her thoughts, but they would know she was still able to help them. She held their arms close to her heart and willed all of her protective magic at them.

And then she searched. Every room. The candy room. Wept at the rooms drifting with dust. Searched down every hole, in every linking corridor between hidden places.

She could feel the murderous child hammering at the door between the ruins and the rest of the underground. Toriel debated whether to let her through.

If the human child went on, she would kill more monsters. And Asgore would surely end her if nobody else did. If she remained... she would backtrack. Hunt down any living monster that had managed to avoid her. Two lives that were so very precious to her versus the whole of the underground. The life of a human child... who may not know any better.

Toriel increased her pace, not knowing what to do. Her imagination was quick to supply horrors. Both arms in her grasp, crumbling and turning into dust. One arm at a time doing the same. And worst of all, only one arm crumbling in her hands. And her, helpless to stop it.

She let the first door open. Felt the child slip through. Closed it again. Now the little murderess was trapped between two doors. Everyone was, however temporarily, safe.

But she could not find the brothers. She knew they were alive, yes, but she could not find them. They could be trapped. If they were hurt, they would not be hurt for long. What if they were allergic to something? Would healing magic work against allergies? What if they'd caught a sickness? What if some other creature of the underground was menacing them? What if they'd become lost?

Now her imagination pictured them somewhere dark and cold, lost and alone, separated in their flight. And each of them falling ill.

It was no surprise that she was nearly in a blind panic by the time she reached her little home. The fire had gone out. Half the food was missing. The cushion nest that Little Brother preferred to lounge in was knocked askew. She knew the murdering child could not reach them, at least. Only now did she dare call for them. "Little Brother! Big Brother! Where are you?"

"Miss Toriel Ma'am," came a distant voice. Big Brother! "Is it safe?"

"Keep calling," shouted Toriel. "I am coming for you. Is Little Brother with you?"

"Yes, Miss Toriel Ma'am. We hid good! And we stayed hid no matter what that creature did. What was that creature, Miss Toriel Ma'am?"

They were in her bedroom! Of all the sights that made her soul feel its best, it was the sight of four little glowing eyes staring up at her from under that bed. "It is safe, my children. It is safe..." She all but fell to the floor, arms open wide and hands offering the brothers their arms back. "The bad one is... contained... for now."

They emerged at last. Big Brother went straight for a hug, and Little Brother hung back as he reattached his arm. "...uh... why's there red comin' outta you?"

She hadn't even realised she'd been injured. "Oh dear. That child must have hurt me..."

Big Brother lit up like a city, healing magic flooding his body so hard that it flared out of him like a bonfire. The sheer power of it made Toriel gasp. He healed her in less than a minute and would not relax his power until she said, "Enough. Enough. I am well. All is well. We are all fine, are we not?" She felt her grip on the Greater Underground door slip, just for a moment, and the human child slid through.

_I am sorry. I am so, so sorry..._

(WDG-2P)

Two let himself relax against Miss Toriel Ma'am. Safe. Well. They were good words. Warm words. Happy words. Healing made him feel sleepy and weak. And out of breath. "We are," he panted. "Thank you, Miss Toriel Ma'am."

And then, a small miracle. One slunk into her lap (another warm and happy word) and murmured, "...i don't mind bein' called sans no more." He must have caught Two's expression because he added, "...yeah, bro... you can be papyrus if you like, too."

Papyrus had been waiting for a chance to say it. "My brother, Sans," he cheered. "You are amazing!"

He laughed. "...maybe... i'm kind'a glad all that healing stopped, though... your magic gets toasty after a while, Toriel."

She squeezed them against her and laid her lips against each of their skulls with a little squeaky noise. "I am so glad that you are well. I am so glad that you are safe."

He had so many questions that they couldn't come out. Papyrus didn't know which one to ask first. Why couldn't she heal herself? What was that bad creature? Where did all the dust come from? Why had the bad creature made red come out of Miss Toriel Ma'am? Why was it called a child? And what did Miss Toriel mean by 'contained for now'?

Questions for another day. Hugs and healing were too important.

====8<====

More whenever I can.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2016, 01:22:28 am »

====8<====

Abduction Day 6Adoption Day 1

Papyrus could feel the tension in the air. All those un-asked questions filled him up with an unpleasant tickly sensation. And Miss Toriel Ma'am was upset. He could see it. All her smiles had gone away and there was a slump to her shoulders. And she moved slowly. Like his brother did when... when He had hurt them.

Papyrus knew from rough experience that not all hurts went away with healing.

But those prickly, tickly questions kept bothering him.

Sans was being a lot nicer to Miss Toriel Ma'am. Helping out, where she let him, or trying a few weak jokes. None of his usual... anger... was coming out. And it was good to see him being like that for someone, but...

One of the questions escaped. "What _was_ that thing?"

"...half-past breakfast," murmured Sans. "...didn't think you'd last this long."

"Brother," Papyrus chided. "This is important. I can feel it."

Miss Toriel Ma'am put her fork down. She'd only been poking her food around, anyway. "That... creature... was a human. They... They are the species that put monsters like us underground. They are the species that put up the barrier. And the barrier keeps us down here."

"...so we'd all be better off if humans didn't exist, right?" said Sans.

Miss Toriel Ma'am shut her eyes and got very, very still. He could almost see a halo of sadness around her. "I loved a human child as if they were my own, once."

"...aaah," Sans growled to himself. "...failure... stupid..."

"They were not a child of my body and soul, but a child of my heart," said Miss Toriel Ma'am. She hadn't heard Sans. "My husband and I... loved them. Just as we loved the child who did come from our souls[5]. They grew together as siblings. And for a little time, everything seemed... better."

It was not a happy story. Stories about happenings in the Underground never seemed to end happily. The human fell sick. Dangerously sick. No magic could help them. No amount of medicines or spells or potions worked. The human was fading away, and they only had one request. To see the flowers from their village one final time.

Miss Toriel Ma'am's monster-child took the human's soul. And then the humans body. Together, they crossed the barrier and Miss Toriel Ma'am's son tried to fulfil their sibling's last wish. It didn't end well. The monster child had just enough time to tell their story before they fell down and turned into dust.

"...sorry," said Sans. "...didn't know."

"Humans have choices," said Miss Toriel Ma'am. "The one that you saw chose to be a murderer. And I... I chose to contain them behind the door in the cellar. Unfortunately... when you healed me, Papyrus, I... I accidentally let them go on to the greater Underground." She hurried to soothe him. "It was not your fault, my child. It was mine. I should have... I should have..."

"...hey, it's okay," said Sans, reaching out to comfort her. "...maybe that thing an' _him_ will get together... they deserve each other, don'cha think?"

*

Welp. That went over like... something designed to sink. He dropped the subject and let Papyrus ask all the questions and say all the things.

"Why was that one so mean?"

"How did they make the barrier?"

"Why did they make the barrier?"

"How can we be ready?"

Sans surfaced from his self-blame for that one. Already, Paps was thinking ahead for the next time. Paps was real clever about that sort of thing and He never figured it out. Paps planned. He didn't always plan all the way, because some things just didn't work out all the way. But he always had some really good ideas. Lots of them very nearly worked.

"I can... teach some methods," Toriel allowed. "And I have some books. It has become clear that you will need to defend yourselves. It is usually a long time between the days when children fall. We will have time."

*

(Excerpts from Toriel's journal)

It is regrettable, but I must teach these children how to fight. The smaller of the two, Sans, will not benefit from traditional armour, so I have taken the liberty of adding speed spells to his clothing. He will have to dodge, and dodge quickly, if he has any hope for survival.

Papyrus is far more able to withstand hurt, but I will do what I can for him to allow his clothing to protect him from harm.

Their first lesson is how to use their magic to deflect an attack from another. The hallway of my cellar seems to be the best place to practice. Not even ghosts come there. But I cannot help but feel a terrible foreboding. Am I training more innocents to die? Am I training more murderers?

I know not which action is for the best. I can only protect what lives I can.

[5] Ask me about my whack theories on Monster reproduction!

====8<====

I figure in this timeline, Gaster becomes a boss monster who's out to capture Pap and Sans before anyone in authority finds out. Pacifist runs convince both him and Alphys to come clean about their abominations of science.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 04:59:25 am »
More at last!

====8<====

Adoption Day 7

Sans had got used to Toriel carrying him back to their cosy little home. Training was tiring for him, and whether they trained in the long hall with the column or the long hall that was their cellar, he finished every day absolutely exhausted.

It didn't matter if he got hit. Tori threw healing magic for them to train with. He learned to block and dodge really quickly. And it was a good thing that most battles didn't last for very long before a monster didn't want to fight. Showing mercy was important. Tremendously important.

And after they got to know everyone in the ruins, it wasn't as if they got into many fights.

He relaxed in her arms. Carried around like a baby. Like he had never been carried.

_Dim memories from the edge of consciousness. A lot of pain. A green light, and Him swearing and yelling the word 'no' over and over again. Feeling his body being hoisted up into a grip very similar to the one Tori was using now..._

Sans didn't want to run away. For a start, he was way too tired. But he would have given anything to be in his bed and hiding under the covers from that memory.

{POP}

He dropped about an inch onto the surface of the big bed he shared with Paps. So worn out that he was getting tunnel vision. He could hear Tori and Paps screaming. And he could barely keep his eyes open.

_I'm okay. I'm sorry. I'm okay. Just... come... find..._ and sleep swallowed him whole.

*

Two of the scariest things had happened. First and foremost was that Sans vanished from her arms. Not a trace. Not a shower of ash (that nightmare still woke her up in the wee small hours). Not a wisp of smoke. Nothing but a brief 'pop' like a balloon meeting something sharp.

Of course she screamed. Which made Papyrus scream. She ran back to the cellar hall where they had started. She tried to hear him through the door.

And then Papyrus announced. "We'll find him in our room."

The eeriest thing was how he said it with complete calm. He had one eye closed and the other was... squinting. Toriel got the feeling that he wasn't looking into the here and now.

She scooped him up and ran all the way to their room and, indeed, he was right there on top of the quilt. And out cold.

Toriel didn't put Papyrus down. There was plenty of room for them both in her arms.

*

Sans was okay. Sans was fine. He'd just found a brand new ability and it had knocked him sideways.

Papyrus held his brother until he, too, fell asleep.

And woke up sometime in the early morning. Facing Sans, who was also awake. Miss Toriel Ma'am had not let either of them go.

"...she copies the books into your font so you can read them," said Sans. "...don't think she sleeps much."

"Sometimes I wake in the night," said Papyrus, trying to whisper. "And she's feeding you healing magic. I know she doesn't sleep much."

That seemed to decide it. "...we gotta do something nice for her."

But what?

====8<====

more when inspiration strikes.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2016, 11:03:24 pm »

Let's see what I can do

====8<====

Toriel had always been worried for the skeleton brothers, but their behaviour was getting a little strange. Well, strange even for them. Their tormenter had no interest in teaching them how to be children, so they never really learned. They had had a tendency to stop and look to her whenever they felt they were enjoying themselves for too long. And they flinched whenever she made to caress their heads.

But now...

Ever since Sans had teleported for the first time, and she had fallen asleep cuddling them, they had become even stranger. They were secretive to begin with, but now they were purposely trying to hide something from her. Books came and went from her shelves. She could sometimes hear Sans reading in the night, but not hear _what_ he was reading.

And whenever she announced she was going out, one or the other would announce that they would both be fine at home for the _exact_ time that she would be gone. And when she came back, one or the other would be cleaning.

They were certainly a lot more affectionate. If there was an hour at home where she did not have one or more brother embracing her, then she couldn't remember any more. Reading time moved onto her comfy chair, with both brothers snuggled into her lap and making attempts at reading. Papyrus had to use a ruler, sometimes, to 'make the letters behave'. A method he or the both of them had invented, they said, to help her sleep.

They knew she was staying up in the nights to make things for their benefit.

And as their covert behaviour progressed... they started talking in hands. She could no longer deny that they were the creations and victims of Doctor Gaster. He was the only skeleton she knew who spoke in symbols. Though neither of the brothers knew how to, or bothered with, manifesting magical hands that spoke in sign language. Toriel could tell they knew she didn't understand when they did it. It was always when she came to check on them, and one of them was always squinting. She would catch a word, maybe two, in Common, and then the one who was talking would seamlessly switch to the symbol font of Gaster's.

Sometimes, they would emerge from under their beds and smile in a guilty way.

And even more worrying, two days after she started crying to herself, Papyrus and Sans came to confess.

"We never wanted you to feel bad, Miss Toriel Ma'am," said Papyrus. He was holding Sans' hand very tightly. Possibly for courage. "We just... um..."

"...wanted to surprise you," murmured Sans. "...we're sorry."

"Can we show you?"

They had gifts under their beds. Things they had made. Things they were still making. Things they had yet to make.

Papyrus proudly showed a 'reading lens' he had made out of bits of wire and yellow cellophane. It helped him focus on the letters a great deal better than the ruler. He'd been using it at night to help with their research.

Sans showed how he and his brother had been working on making her a feast. So far, they had figured out spaghetti, hot dogs, and something that could charitably be called a quiche. "...we're still working on pie," Sans confessed. "...wanted t' make a day when we did everything for you... f'r a change."

Toriel couldn't stand it any longer. She scooped them up in her arms and wept into their shoulders.

"Brother! It didn't work. She's still crying."

"...just wait."

"Oh, I am so relieved," she sighed. "I had thought you were becoming hostile. I had worried that you did not trust me..."

"You... can't See the pictures?" said Papyrus.

A long question and answer session followed, with all of them huddled into a sheet fort made out of the table, and picnicking on the brothers' cooking efforts. Gaster had done hideous things to them, that was true. He had also given them peculiar gifts. Both brothers could see into the timelines. They could change the way things went by what they said or what they did. Or didn't do.

"There's a time coming where everything is muddled up," said Papyrus. "It's a long way from now and... we can't sort it out."

"...'s like looking into mud," said Sans. "...but we know it's after the seventh kid falls."

That was like a shot to her heart. Was Asgore going to go through with his awful plan? Was he doing it even now?

"We can't See what we aren't there for," said Papyrus, answering a question she hadn't framed into words. "Sorry, Miss Toriel Ma'am."

She sighed. "I still worry about that little girl. She was so scared. I wish I could have saved her. I wish we could have calmed her."

Sans was squinting. "...sorry, Tori... i see a weird jar... and a human soul inside it... and it's next to a big man who looks a lot like you."

*

Starving. Out of breath. Wishing she could go home. Lost. Lonely. And scared out of her wits. She had thought that the cave under the waterfall was a great place to hide. They had said that going through water threw off dogs.

They were wrong.

She woke to see four dogs holding her arms and legs down. A fifth had her shoes!

"Take it off her," said one. "Leave it here."

"Murderer," said another.

"You're going straight to the king," said a third.

"Er," said the one with her shoes. It was holding them as if they were a dead rat. "What do I do with this?"

"Take it into the marshes. Hide it where it won't hurt anyone else."

No. This was wrong. The flower had promised... it had promised she would go home... She started to cry. Too late. Far, far too late.

====8<====

more when inspiration strikes.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2016, 02:38:31 am »

Adoption Day 10

Sans couldn't remember the last time he actually slept. Not the cat-napping he usually did when weariness caught up with him and bludgeoned watchful wariness with a sneak attack. Not the kind of sleep he got back in the bad place, where he fell unconscious from pain, or when he had his senses open for any sign of His approach. But this time... right after Toriel tucked them both in to their shared bed, he fell deep down into sleep so pure that he actually felt... rested.

Something had unlocked. Not anywhere physical, just... within himself.

Sans opened his eyes. Same friendly ceiling. Same soft bed. Same collection of toys and... same best brother ever, waiting for him and practicing his blue magic on a particularly light teddy bear.

"Finally," said Papyrus. "I thought you would be napping forever, brother. Miss Toriel Ma'am has been keeping breakfast warm for hours."

Sans dragged himself out of bed. He felt a lot better than he had since... since he couldn't remember. How was it that getting a full night's sleep was exhausting? He shuffled into the googly-eye slippers and made his way to the dining room. "...thanks for waiting for me," he mumbled. "...dunno why i'm so tired, i actually got to sleep."

Toriel was impressed by something. Scooped him up in a hug and danced with him. Laughing all the time and congratulating him.

It took four tries at understanding her before she spelled it out:

A good sleep can raise someone's HP above their usual limits.

And now all he wanted to do was sleep. That, and eat. He was starving.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2016, 06:30:36 am »

Adoption Day 12

Papyrus loved to help in the kitchen. Possibly more than he loved training. Miss Toriel Ma'am was so gentle and kind about unlocking his abilities. She even made him feel better about things he was jealous of, like the blaster skulls. They were keyed, she said, to intense rage. And Papyrus had no reasons to feel angry.

There were other things Sans was good at, like Karma magic. In fact, he was brilliant at it. Karma could amplify effects over time, depending on how good or... otherwise... a soul was. Someone as innocent and trusting as Papyrus could be revived from near death with a Karma beam. And someone like Him... would find his HP ebbing according to his misdeeds.

He could never understand why learning about it made Sans grumpy for an entire day. But then, there were lots of things that seemingly sailed right over his head.

And there was one day when Miss Toriel Ma'am kept trying to explain fractions and maths with fractions to him. She wore herself out trying to show him how they worked, even to the point of chopping an apple into halves and quarters and eighths... until they were both crying from frustration. He was much happier in the kitchen, where the halves and thirds and whatnot were clearly labeled and not threatening to multiply or divide each other.

Sans was only interested in the eating part. He slept a lot more, now that he had unlocked a secret to getting higher HP. It was a cheat, in a way, but it was better than living in constant fear of accidental death.

He woke up at the smell of fresh cookies, of course. Miss Toriel Ma'am cooled them in her hands before allowing the brothers to take one each.

"I have been meaning to ask, my children. When is your birthday? There is a recipe I want to try that would be perfect for such an occasion..."

"...what's a birthday?" murmured Sans.

"That is the day you were born."

"What's a day?" said Papyrus. He'd heard Miss Toriel Ma'am use terms like 'morning' and 'evening' and 'good night'. And of course, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Back in the bad place, there was lights on and lights out, which came without reason.

"Oh dear," sighed Miss Toriel Ma'am. "I need a little time. Excuse me." The instant she was out of sight, Papyrus could hear her running. There was some distant cursing[6] as some things overturned, and then she came running back. "This, my children, is a calendar. Each square represents a day. And a day is twenty-four hours long."

Aha. He knew hours. That came in handy with cooking times. Twenty-four of them was a really long time.

Miss Toriel Ma'am explained weeks and months and years (a year was three hundred and sixty-five days long three times out of four, and on the fourth year, February got an extra day! So _much_ time...) "And here is the day I found the both of you." It was almost a month gone.

"Oh. I see," Papyrus said. "So... can that be our birthday, then?" He did his best not to flinch, but it was still hard not to cower when asking for things. Miss Toriel Ma'am's seemingly unending kindness was still a jarring change from the bad place.

"Yes, of course," she cooed, and patted him on the head (he still jumped a tiny bit at the contact, much to his regret) "Although, I think that means you are both overdue for a celebration."

That was a word they had to look up while Miss Toriel Ma'am was busy in the kitchen. Something really amazing was coming. And they were not disappointed.

The cake dominated half of the table. It was as tall as Papyrus, and was made out of three parts. And there were... colours on it. And shiny lights. There were so many new words there. Sparklers. Icing. Sugar flowers. It seemed a shame to cut into it and eat it but-- the _flavours_ that cake could be. Both brothers ate themselves silly.

This was the best of anything ever! Better than being rescued. Better than having a home. Better than his fabulous red scarf, which was his favourite thing in the world right next to Sans. And when it was their real birthday (eleven months to go! He could hardly wait!) there would be presents! And singing! And _more cake_!

He dozed in between his turns at reading, that night. Too much cake settling into his body and making him drowsy. Sans was naturally drowsy, though. And he was better at waking up on time...

Sleep... dragged him away...

[6] Toriel doesn't use very strong words, so imagine 'darn' or 'bother' or 'drat' used with as much impetus as possible.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2016, 05:34:47 am »

Adoption Day 25

He opened his eyes in the darkness. The bed by his side was empty and cold. And there was a shadowy figure standing in the open doorway. A terrifyingly familiar figure. Clipboard and all. Just standing, and taking notes.

He wanted to shout, "How did you find us? Where is my brother?" but no sound came out. He tried to move, and couldn't. He could feel the straps. The pins. No.

Papyrus had never left the lab. It had all been a dream. And the device in front of him was building up power...

He opened his eyes in the darkness. No pain. No cold. Sans safe and sleeping soundly by his side, lit by the glow from Papyrus' eyes. Everything was okay. Relieved, he rolled over to wrap his brother in his arms and hold him tight...

...only to feel him crumble to dust the instant he touched him.

Papyrus could not scream. He heard Miss Toriel Ma'am at the door. She sounded... sad. "Ah," she said. "It is over, then. I am sorry."

And then He appeared in the portal. Cold and blank as always.

"It is time for you to go back," she said.

Papyrus could feel His grip on his soul, taking him away from all that remained of his brother. He was crying and screaming, demanding to know why Miss Toriel Ma'am had done this. He had loved her! They had both trusted her! Why? WHY?

He opened his eyes in the darkness. Stabbing fear gripping his chest. Papyrus had never been happier to hear his brother's snoring. But he dared not touch him. Papyrus huddled up into a ball and cried a little. But not for long. Miss Toriel Ma'am opened the door. "Are you all right, my child?"

"I don't know," he said. "This is the third time I've woken up and I don't know what's real..."

"Oh my," said Miss Toriel Ma'am. She sat by him and hugged him close. "Tell me everything."

He started with the waking up and finding Sans gone, and Him watching over him... and being in the bad place again. And never having been here with her.

Whenever he stopped to breathe or sob, there was a scratching sound. Distracted by it, he peeked past Miss Toriel Ma'am's shoulder and... there He was. Scribbling things down onto his clipboard...

He opened his eyes in the darkness. Jumped out of bed and summoned some bones as he went. "Come on out," he called. "I dare you! I know how to fight, now!"

Movement behind him! He whirled and set his attacks flying...

Only to see Miss Toriel Ma'am's face in an expression of utter betrayal before her form crumbled away into dust.

He opened his eyes in the darkness. Papyrus covered his eyes and screamed, and screamed, and screamed.

"...bro... bro, wake up."

Papyrus opened his eyes to see Sans' one true eye glowing blue in the gloom.

"You were having a nightmare," Sans said.

"Please don't die," begged Papyrus. "Please tell me that He isn't here?"

"...sshhh... you need t' stay quiet."

And the human came through their door. Covered in dust and looking monstrous. "There you are," it said.

He opened his eyes in the darkness. Papyrus gibbered a little and curled himself up tight. His glow was so bright that it filled the entire room. He didn't know where to go or who to talk to or what to do, because a frightening monster kept turning up and he'd wake up again. A vision stood in the doorway. Another human. It was wearing pink and blue in stripes, and a gross bandage. All it had with it was a stick.

But it was a _human_! Another frightening monster.

"Go away! Go away! I don't wanna wake up any more! Go away... I don't want any more nightmares..."

The lights turned on. And Miss Toriel Ma'am was there. "What is all this noise?"

"Please don't let Him get us? Please don't let the humans come? Please don't die? Please don't let Sans die? Please be re-he-heal..." a shuddering gasp of a sob. "Please be real this time..."

Miss Toriel Ma'am scooped him up in her arms, cradling his whole body and feeling his skull with tender care. "Oh dear. You have a fever. I am not very good with fevers." She took him out to the dining room and sat him on the big soft chair. She let him have a pillow to hug and made up a bag full of ice  to press wherever he felt uncomfortable.

Which was everywhere. His joints felt scratchy and he couldn't really get comfortable. And everything was really, really miserable.

And he kept Seeing the human. More than one of them. Sometimes, five at once. And not one of them listened to him telling them to go away. He complained to Miss Toriel Ma'am, but he only got her to respond once in a while. And sometimes, he would pick the wrong one to talk to. He could tell when she was touching him, and the world was slightly more comfortable in her arms.

But it was still a very bad morning.

*

Sans opened his eyes in the darkness. Aware that something was wrong. The space by his side was cool and empty. He turned on the light and gave the sheets a panicked examination for dust. And then he fled the bed to see what had happened to him. Someone was humming, in the dining room. Tori. He raced to find her and found Papyrus as well.

He wasn't looking too great. Sans couldn't remember the last time he had seen Papyrus this... floppy. Wait. No. He could. Every time he had a nightmare. Papyrus, skull nearly broken and broken limbs bound, flopping on the floor and unable to speak because He had hurt him so bad. Sans could feel his eye flare. "PAP! BRO!"

Papyrus reached out. "...are you real this time? Come'n hold my hand... can't tell 'less y'r touching me..."

Sans didn't need to be told twice. Clinging to his hand as if he could hold his soul onto living for one more minute. "...right here, bro... it's okay."

Tori was looking tear-streaked and weary. Worried and scared. "I am afraid your brother has caught an illness."

Flashback to the bad place. Feeling horrible despite being healed. Feeling his brother flooding him with healing magic and not feeling it working. Feeling the pull of Him lifting him around by his soul. Cruel prodding. A cold announcement. "Sick," He had said. "Useless." And then He hauled him away from his frantic brother and put him in one of the tubes.

Sans knew that Tori didn't have any such thing. "...so what'cha gonna do with him?"

Papyrus moaned and shifted the placement of a large-ish bag against his body. Letting it rest on his rib cage.

Tori sighed. "I will do all I can," she said. "There are medicines that work for everyone. I may have to find a library that has books on skeleton medicine... But I can keep him comfortable and soothe his woes, for now. I fear he is sicker than I think. He is... hallucinating, perhaps?"

"...go 'way," Papyrus mumbled. "...darn humans..."

Humans? Plural? Sans opened up his Sight and Looked. Oh. So many humans coming through this house. All at different times... "...no, tori... his _sight_ is going haywire," he explained. "...he's _seeing_ everything at once."

Tori breathed easier. "Oh, thank goodness. I was so worried it was a grave illness." She hugged Papyrus briefly, and only relaxed her grip when he loosed a complaining whimper. "I still think it might be wise to find those books. I do not like not knowing how to help you."

Sans peeked into the immediate possibilities. "...you can go now... i'll be fine lookin' after my bro while you're gone." It was not the first time he had spent some time cradling his brother. But it was the first one where he _knew_ that help would be coming. That made everything else a lot easier.

When Tori returned, she came with great armloads of things. Three thick and heavy volumes about medicine. Container after container of things that could help. None of them looked like anything He had used at all. Sans watched in fascination as Tori read passages from the books and mixed up things to try to get Paps to ingest. Only to wait for a time, watching the clock, and start again with something else.

Finally, after hours of this, Paps' hot bones began to cool. Tori announced that his fever had broken and the best thing for him was sleep. Sans wasn't even sure how it happened that way, but that night, they all snuggled together in one shared bed. Holding each other safe against the terrors of the night.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2016, 09:17:29 pm »
Adoption Day 26

Toriel eased herself slowly out of the bed. Sans allowed her out without rousing, but Papyrus opened one eye and murmured, "Nyeh?"

"Go back to sleep," she whispered. "All is well. I just need to stretch." A bed made for two skeletons was not meant for a sound sleep for someone of Toriel's dimensions. Besides, she could catch a few hours' sleep in her own bed before resuming her daily duties.

Well. That was the plan.

She hadn't gone three steps towards her own room before the icy grip of terrors past threatened to shatter her breastbone. She could feel her heart racing like it wanted to get out. Tears flooded her eyes and there was not enough air. There was never enough air! She fell to her knees, clutching at her chest. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw Chara dying slowly and horribly[7]. Saw Asriel falling into dust at her feet. Saw the nightmares she had been having about these children dying, too.

Toriel tried her utmost to keep her noise to a minimum, gulping back ugly sobs that would have woken them. They both needed their sleep. She would recover from this in time. All she had to do was get through it _silently_. And the problem with that is that she had a vivid imagination and had already read about everything that could possibly go wrong.

And the worst thing, the most hideous thing, was the newest of her books was by Doctor Gaster. His most advanced chapters frequently referenced 'experiments with cloned material'. Experiments that the brothers had been subject to. It made her sick to use that book, but... there were things in there that could save lives. _Had_, in fact, saved Papyrus' life.

But that small mercy didn't change the fact that she wanted to throw up everything she had ever eaten until the evil inside her was purged as well. And all that would come out of her was tears and silent howls of abject misery.

Toriel never heard their door open. The first she knew about it was a strong, golden glow and two sets of skeletal hands trying to comfort her. Sans had fetched a slice of cake. Papyrus had a glass of milk with him. Two things that they thought could possibly help. Giggles and sobs fought and came out in an ugly mess of sound, but the tearing panic faded away from her. She took them gently into her arms.

"Oh, my children..." she managed. "You are far too good, and I am glad you are well."

They did insist on plying her with cake and milk. And they tucked her into bed. They promised they would check for humans who had fallen down, and they would keep each other safe.

She believed them, and believed in them. Their abilities were beyond phenomenal. They would be fine.

But that would never stop her worrying when one of them fell ill.

[7] Apparently, poisoning by buttercups leads to some really gross side-effects. Look them up only if you're brave.

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2016, 11:30:33 pm »

Adoption Day 27

"There is a way to tell nightmares from reality," said Miss Toriel Ma'am. "Forget that nonsense about looking into mirrors or trying to read something[8]. Monsters like us have one guaranteed method to tell."

Both brothers sat and waited. Papyrus's mouth was agape.

"It is called Soul Calling. Almost everyone does it unconsciously, but there are times when they can be deliberate. But the reply is always automatic. Watch." Miss Toriel Ma'am closed her eyes and appeared to be concentrating. Her soul glowed brightly inside her and... {pwm}... sent out a wave of pure light. As it washed through the brothers, they felt their own souls twitch in response.

It felt... like love.

"Wowie," Papyrus whispered. "And we can do that too?"

"Oh yes," Miss Toriel Ma'am had her eyes open again. "You will have to let go of your brother, though."

Papyrus reluctantly did so, just as Sans reluctantly let go of him. As an extra measure, they scooted away from each other. One of the very few times they let themselves stay out of easy hugging range.

"Now. Papyrus. Close your eyes and think about how much you love your brother and how much you want to hold him. If you wish, you can pre--"

{PWM!}

The light even reached through his closed eyes. And he felt a response. An echo. It felt like Sans. Papyrus opened his eyes to see his brother laughing at him.

"...that almost knocked me over, bro."

"Soul calling is usually not a physical force," Miss Toriel Ma'am allowed. "You have an extraordinary amount of love in you, Papyrus."

"Of course," he said. "There is lots to love about my brother."

*

"Your turn, Sans."

Ah crap. "...can i try tomorrow?" he managed. "...i -uh- need some recovery time from paps..."

Tori looked sad. He didn't like it when she was sad. "Please try," she said. "It is not difficult."

"I believe in you, brother," said Paps. "You can do it. You're strong."

He knew he was going to fail. He always failed at the raw magic stuff. Without KR, he couldn't do _anything_. But to make them both happy, he had to give it a shot. He closed his eyes. Took a deep breath. And gave it everything he had.

...he could feel it go, and the echo from his brother... and then it all went black...

Sans opened his eyes and found the ceiling. There was a feeling that some time had passed. "...d'd i knock m'self out tryin' too hard?" he mumbled.

"Brother! You are well! I told you that you could do it! You _did_ knock me over! Your love is so strong that there is a dent in the wall!" Pap pointed out the Papyrus-shaped silhouette of a dent in the wall near the table. "I told you that you are magnificent!" Pap had nothing but hugs for him.

And now that he was aware of what it was, he could feel tiny pings between their souls. It meant that his brother was real. That this wasn't a dream.

"...didn't hurt'cha did i?"

"Of course not. Love is never hurtful. Even if it is a bit forceful."

Tori gave him one of her potions. She made it taste like hot dogs. Just for him. "Next time," she said. "Do not give _everything_ to your call. You could reach all of the Undergound, and half of the whole world with that much power."

That... just didn't make sense. "...but... i'm weak... i'm disappointing..."

She gently caressed his skull. "Don't you believe a _word_ that man said," she instructed. "He is a liar. A base and despicable liar."

Sans made a note to look up 'despicable' in the house dictionary. Later. Lots and lots of time later. He had some important resting to do.

[8] This humble author has seen reflections _and_ the written word in dreams :D

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Re: Handplates to Freedom
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2016, 05:49:15 am »
Adoption day 34

3AM.

Control. They really needed to learn control. This was the sixth night in a row that they had pushed her out of bed with their Calls. Toriel picked herself up and stumbled to their room, turning on lights as she went.

"I am here, my children," she yawned.

Papyrus was in full, panicked, babble mode. "TherewasahumanandtheyhadaknifeandtheykilledyouandSansandtheyweregonnakilleveryoneand--"

"All is well. It was just a dream, was it not?"

Sans, always the quieter of the two, rubbed at his eye sockets. "...paps and i were facing him down with everything we had," he said. "...it didn't go well."

Toriel sat on their bed and held them in her arms. "Name five things you can see."

"You, my brother, the bed, the lamp, and... the door."

"Good. Now four things you can hear."

"Your heart. Sans breathing. The fire in the dining room. The froggit down the hall... he's snoring."

That earned a laugh. "Very good. Three things you can touch."

"You. Sans. The bed."

"Two things you can smell."

"Cinnamon butterscotch pie. And Sans needs a bath."

"...nightmares make sweat, bro."

"And now... one thing you can taste."

Papyrus smacked his jaws. "Sleep funk," he said. "Euw."

It worked. He was calm and headed back to his usual cheerful demeanor. "Those things are real. Dreams are just dreams."

He eased back into sleep, but his brother was still wide awake. "...i know why you're lying to us," he said.

"You are both still very young," Toriel soothed her paw over his skull. "You need to feel safe. You need to be happy."

"...that's pretty hard when we know what's going to happen."

"Now, Sans. You can not be certain that the things you see are certainties. I am sure that--"

"...you die, tori... you take in a human kid and you love them and you die... and then we die."

Toriel reflexively held him tighter, as if that could help drive away the evil he had seen. "You said yourself that the seventh child made things... vague."

"...yeah... i did... but that's one of the things i keep seeing."

There was no magic to stop that kind of nightmare. No potion that would give him ease. Toriel just held him close and loved him as hard as she could.