"You're really determined, aren't you?" Sans hissed mockingly, his shoulders bouncing with a low chuckle as he loomed above Frisk, his crimson eye glowing maliciously. A smug grin was spread across his features, and he let out a snort as Frisk heaved themselves to their feet, biting down on their lip to swallow a whimper.
Their face was damp with tears, bruises littering their skin- but the fierce persistence in their dark eyes never faded. Clenching their jaw against the tightness in their chest, they shuddered against the cold and curled their fingers into fists. The frigid wind blew on, and the seemingly never ending expanse of gelid white was only broken by Sans' stark, blood red aura and the jagged shadows of the skeletal trees behind them.
The silence was only broken by Frisk's shallow, ragged breathing. They could feel their own pulse in their head, behind their eyes, tainting their vision and making it fuzzy- but they had to keep standing. No matter how much it hurt, no matter how much their knees shook with the desire to curl up and admit defeat. Frisk was going to do this if it killed them. Kindness, compassion- it had to be down here. Buried, somewhere- they just had to find it.
Flowey had taught them that, and so had Papyrus in the end, before Sans had gotten rid of him for being too soft. It had to be here, somewhere.. Why were they so blind?
"Tell me, human," Sans drawled, inspecting his fingers and giving them a nonchalant wiggle before looking back up at them. "What keeps you going? Hm? I mean.. look at you."
With a flick of the wrist, he suddenly lifted Frisk into the air, causing them to cry out in panic, tears burning at their eyes once more as they dangled helplessly, turned this way and that as Sans inspected them critically.
"You're small, obviously weak, you got no powers," he listed, almost bored as he lifted them higher and higher, tilting his head. "And for crying out loud, you can't even talk right. What makes you think that a mere human child could be a match for someone like Toriel? Someone like Papyrus? Someone like me?"
Frisk was quiet, their lips quivering, stomach clenching with terrified nausea as they continued to climb the sky. Their hair was cruelly whipped out of their face by the snowy gusts of wind, and their teeth chattered. They couldn't answer him. Why were they on this clearly impossible quest? To prove a point? To have a chance at glory?
To be a hero?
"Honestly, it's past the point of annoying, or even laughable," Sans concluded, giving them a spine chilling grin, eyes widening in mock innocence as he made their chilly ascent come to a stop. "It's pitiful, that's what it is. You know what I think? I think you can't answer me because you secretly think this is just as pointless as I do. But see, it's all a matter of pride in the end- no way you'd say that out loud, right? No way you'd just up and throw the towel in on your own, hm? What you need is someone to put you out of your misery."
With a muffled grunt, Frisk shook their head frantically, trying to wriggle out of Sans' magical grip- but the fight left them feeble, and they frustratedly went limp not long after. This earned them another laugh, and Sans let out a slow sigh, his breath fading into the unforgiving air. He gave them one last look, ignoring the pleading expression on their face and the soft whine that warbled out of their chapped lips.
"Consider this a favor," he snarled at last, lifting his arm and rearing it back. Frisk couldn't even scream. Sheer horror kept them speechless, adrenaline streaking through their veins as they waited for the soul twisting impact that would-
A black and red blur shot out from the shadows and tackled the shorter skeleton, making him lose concentration. Letting out a strangled cry, Frisk fell- but not for long.
Papyrus untangled himself from Sans' baffled form and dove to catch them, giving a dazed grunt as he landed with another painful thud. He held Frisk close, bony fingers digging tightly into the fabric of their thin sweater as he let the heat of his magical core seep into their clammy skin. Stunned, they buried their face in his chest, trembling.
I'm not dead, I'm not dead, I'm not dead, I'm alive, I'm alive...Papyrus is alive..!
"Papyrus!" Sans shrieked, clutching at his skull, practically melting the snow at his feet with his seething rage. "What's the meaning of this? I thought I took care of you!"
"You thought wrong," the taller skeleton spat back at him stepping forward and fixing his sibling with a menacing glare that would make Hades think twice. "Enough is enough."