Determination Cubed: Chapter Three
Posted January 16th, 2018 by Gracithe1andonly
in wardly searching
chapter three: i need to help this guy before he destroys my sanity
Boredom was not simply ever-present to Asriel, Sans noticed. It was dangerous.
At least once every day, Asriel murmured or groaned or shrieked something to the effect of "I'm bored." The less he had said it in a given hour, however, the more likely he was to react in a mischievous way rather than a malicious.
Mischief was never more than inconvenient-a grumble and a groan at a hated pun, a "made-you-look," or stealing Sans's red notebook with a vine (powerful things, those) while the skeleton's back was turned, watching him flail, then giving it back immediately upon request with wild, wanton laughter.
Malice, though, hurt. The difference was nuanced objectively, but subjectively it was clear as glass. A malicious reaction to a pun was like to leave Sans's ears ringing, malice would crush a pen and dribble the ink all over the Core notes Alphys had passed along, malice would take the book and watch as Sans began to believe that Asriel didn't actually know where it was and that was my only hope of getting back I've lost it what sort of garbage am I that I lost it, that I need it in the first place, no no no no-
Sans found it very reassuring that every single time, Asriel had seen fit to give the book back before eight o'clock.
He also found it very worrying that each time the book vanished, it took longer for Asriel to return it to him.
Each day the book vanished was a day Asriel had had nothing whatsoever to do, a day nothing had happened, a boring day.
In the aftermath of one of those days, Sans was reading through his book to ensure all was in place and wondering how to alleviate boredom. What on earth could help him? It was the way life was to follow routine, to be boring every now and then, or else there wouldn't be any such thing as excitement. What on earth broke routine by following it, was very interesting without being a bad example, and could possibly help Asriel somehow?
Just as Sans was reflecting on the impossibility of these necessities, the obvious answer came to him.
It was a quarter to eight in the morning on a Friday, and Alphys was complaining about Sans' tardiness. Despite complaining about every aspect of his conduct possible, she never said a word about firing him, and Asriel wondered. For his part, Sans seemed to have as much respect and affection for her as he had for anyone, if becoming a little melancholy whenever Asriel brought up Alphys's complaints.
Now, the door slid open with a noise, and Asriel was instantly intrigued-a new, very loud, very boisterous voice was speaking.
"Oh, you know me!" cried someone emphatically, "I won't upset anything. I know very well what volatile chemicals look like!!"
Alphys seemed caught between a huff and a smile, and ran to the door where Sans and another, taller skeleton were waiting.
If it were not for the odd armor the tall skeleton wore and the obvious difference in demeanor, Asriel would have thought that Doctor Gaster stood before him, alive and unharmed after all. But where Doctor Gaster had crossed his arms and spoke sharply, clearly, this younger person stood in a neutral posture and exuberantly yelled. He did not wear glasses, either, and his pupils were small but bright. He was the very picture of cheerfulness.
"What, is it b-bring your f-family to work day?" Alphys asked irritably.
"Well, no," said Sans's familiar murmuring baritone, "but do you really object to him being here?"
Alphys sighed, "No," and, grinning, shook the tall skeleton's hand. "I'm glad you're here."
The younger, happier version of Doctor Gaster laughed a deep and joyous laugh-just as loud and wild as one of Asriel's, but without any of his wantonness, with a gravity the flower did not possess. "I am very glad to be here, too!"
He noticed Asriel and sped forward. "This must be your friend you told me about, Sans!"
Asriel frowned. He did not really mind Sans referring to him as his friend, but he doubted he was capable of real friendship. He said as much to Sans later, and was sternly told to not think like that. Friendship was more than feelings, or it wouldn't be so powerful.
"I guess," Asriel frowned, then put on a grin. "Who might you be?"
The newcomer struck a pose. "I am the Great Papyrus, future royal Guardsman, and brother of the terrific scientist Sans! And I have heard you are a Flower of much mischief and cleverness, but are determined to do the right thing in the end!"
Determined, yes, Asriel mused, to do the right thing? I am not so certain. Out loud, he said, "Yeah, but were you told my name?"
Papyrus shook his head, eyes wide and interested. Asriel felt a wide grin split his face. "I'm Flowey," he said as naturally as he could contrive, "Flowey the Flower." He inwardly cringed as the last sentence was voiced. Apparently, he did inherit his father's talent for naming, after all. He could hear Sans desperately trying not to laugh and failing behind him.
Asriel suspected that bringing in his brother was a plan of Sans's to try to distract him from his boredom. It worked; Asriel was intrigued by this new piece on the board, and said piece seemed to revel in Asriel's riveted attention.
Alphys and Sans worked quietly on something to do with the CORE together as Flowey and Papyrus shouted at each other gleefully.
"So, bro," Sans asked once everyone had said farewell and gone home, leaving Asriel alone in the lab, "what did you think?"
Papyrus smiled as he strode along, and Sans had to jog a little to keep up. "I liked him! He is very clever and funny. But..." the smile became just a little strained, the stride became slower, “I see why you said he might need help."
Sans stopped. "There are a few things. What did you see that...scared you?"
Papyrus's eyes were laced with concern. "I saw things I didn't understand," he said, looking inward instead of intrepidly outward, "a sort of mischief that's fine right now, but if left unchecked..."
Sans nodded. "He has trouble...caring about anything."
"Mm," Papyrus murmured, beginning to walk again. "When your eye is acting up, you have trouble too."
Sans had not considered this. "Dog slobber, you're right. What helps me then is you." Papyrus lit up, and Sans continued. "You're very bright, you know. It's grating, kind of, if I'm feeling dark. But it's also really helpful."
"Do you think I could help Flowey, too?" Papyrus's eyes were bright with hope, innocent, but informed.
"I'm counting on it," Sans hummed, and Papyrus's eyes lit up with ideas, energy, and joy.
"Alright, there's got to be something we can do!! Give me half a moment, brother..."
Half a moment morphed into the entire walk home. Papyrus had a look of deliberation that rather worried Sans. As he was slowly solving the door puzzle and turning the key in the keyhole (the puzzle had been Papyrus's idea, the keyhole was Sans's, and while one of them was home the puzzle was left solved) Sans asked. "Any ideas?"
"Just one," Papyrus said, suddenly relaxing out of deliberation, and grinning, “and it’s absolutely genius! You’d never have even thought of it.”
Sans's brows involuntarily raised, and he prepared himself for something completely outlandish. "What's this idea?"
Papyrus grinned conspiratorially. "A fanclub. The Flowey Fanclub."
Sans thought as he searched for words to explain why that was a bad idea, then stopped entirely with a quiet “huh.” It just went to show that he shouldn’t debunk Papyrus’s ideas without thinking through them-oftentimes, they sounded idiotic, then ended up being perfect, like the pet rock to help Sans with his sense of responsibility. What it ended up doing was teaching him that there were things at which he could not fail, and Sans decided that the project in the red book, though it might take some time, was one of those things.
That realization had brought him out of a terrible depression.
This fan club would tell Asriel that he was already worth praise, and while the prince would probably have some degree of resistance to the idea, it would also make changing for the worse less desirable. It was hard to know what needs and emotions Asriel still had in his deprived state, but Sans was willing to bet that company and people were still important. It would also give Asriel some time with unadulterated Papyrus, which Sans had already decided was a great idea.
“That sounds really helpful, bro,” Sans said honestly, raising his left hand for a fist bump. Papyrus gently knocked his hand, then opened the door and swept inside with a “Nyeheheh!” Sans grinned after him, hope for the future filling his chest.
See more stories by *Snow*