Author's note: The following is the result of my unhealthy fixation with the Sans boss fight and the concept of time.

The story as a whole has undergone some light editing, and I can confidently claim this to be the final version. I hope you enjoy. :)

Part 1

Sans clutched the pocket watch deep in his jacket, and drew it out every few seconds to check it. It was an ugly, gunmetal thing, with screws and rivets protruding from it at odd angles. It wasn't digital, and had no hands or face numbers. A numerical value, like a car's odometer, was displayed on the front. 0005.

one for each finger, he thought.

Gaster had given him the watch centuries ago. From that moment forward, Sans had kept it on his person at all times. He'd been warned by Gaster to always trust the watch above everything. "When all else fails, the facts will be the only friends you have left." Gaster's words rang in Sans' head truer than they ever had before.

Sans waited alone in the golden hallway for the child to make his supposed sixth appearance.

Eventually, the child rounded the corner and began lurching down the hall. Sans had seen this all before from the sidelines. The child moved with a mechanical drive, like one of Alphys' bot prototypes. He was caked with dust and gripped a cooking knife so tightly that his knuckles were as white as Sans'.

Sans suppressed a shiver. He checked his watch one last time before stepping out of the shadows to block the child's path.

"hey buddy. looks like you've been pretty busy."

The pinpricks of red in the child's eyes flared.

"you look a little frustrated." Sans pretended to study the child's face. "i'd say you have the expression of someone who's died five times in a row." He counted to five on his skeletal digits and rolled them into a fist. "one for each finger. huh, fancy that."

The child's face grew livid, and he took a step forward. He leveled the knife at Sans and bared his teeth. "Shut up."

Sans took a grim satisfaction that the watch didn't need tuning. "you sure about this, champ? last time i checked i was five and oh. i'm not a gambler, but the odds seem to be against you."

"Shut up!" The child screeched and lunged, knife leading.

Sans checked his pocket watch and thought about Gaster. 0023. Sans' porcelain smile grew genuine for a moment.

i must be better at this fighting thing than i first gave myself credit.

He glanced down the hallway and quickly stamped out his growing hope that the child wouldn't show. Now was not a time for hope. Only determination remained: his versus the kid's.

The child appeared and stormed past the golden pillars, straight towards Sans' hiding place. Sans liked to think he felt a sense of déjà vu from it all, but he never could lie to himself. He emerged and adopted a defensive posture.

"let's just get to the—"

The kid hurled a rock at Sans' skull and shadowed the attack to stab at his chest.

Sans dodged the one-two and teleported back a few feet. Exhilaration made him talkative.

"well, that didn't go according to plan. guess that means it never will, then?" He donned his most intimidating face. "say hi to sans number twenty-five for me."

Sans looked down at his pocket watch. A shaft of light from the stained glass windows caught the edge of the casing and reflected into his eyes. He blinked several times, and then several more when he saw the number. His eyes weren't lying. 0078.

A trio of conflicting emotions clashed in his head. The first was an old friend: crushing, cosmic futility. He wondered how many more times this would go on. Seventy-eight was a respectable win streak, but the kid had to be picking up on his moves by now. He only had so many, and eternity was a long time to take notes. The second thought was of himself. Silly pride lightened his spirits by a single feather's worth. He was crafting his own legacy in a loop in time. He didn't want to be the one to break the chain and disappoint himself. The third was a muddy mixture of hatred and respect. The kid was damn persistent. Maybe even to the point of lunacy.

The rhythmic clop of sneakers on tile drew Sans out of his brooding. The child approached him with a casual step. He took slow, sweeping views of the hallway and seemed to drink in the sights with relish. He feigned surprise when Sans revealed himself. "Hello Sans. I'm glad to see you're okay after the last few rounds."

The child offered a sharp, toothy smile.

Sans' bones grew cold and he tried to keep the quake out of his voice. "that expression you're wearing… you're really kind of a freak, huh?"

"Freak?" The child slowly cocked his head to an angle and Sans heard his neck pop. "If you were in my shoes, you'd take a few victory laps too, wouldn't you? It's only fair. It's still seventy-five to three, anyways.

Sans summoned his defenses and fell back.

The child held his arms out wide and strode forward.

Sans rolled the watch in his jacket pocket and stared at the prophetic sigils that decorated the windows.

at least we figured out what kind of "freedom" the angel was selling.

He checked the watch and his mind caught in place, as if the gears of his thoughts had been jammed by a crowbar. He closed his eyes for ten long seconds then opened them again. 0287.


Author's Note: There you have it, chapter one. If you liked it/hated it then feel free to leave a comment. Reviews are the author's carrot on a stick.