At the Fancy-Dress Ball

"ugh, do i have to wear this silly thing?" Sans whined, trying to pull his dark blue dress a little higher around his ankles. 

"IT'S NOT A SILLY THING, SANS, THAT'S A FANCY SKIRT!" 

"i look ridiculous." 

"YOU ONLY LOOK RIDICULOUS IF YOU FEEL RIDICULOUS, BROTHER!" With those words of wisdom, Papyrus knelt down to help Sans with his gown and ribbon, a long red dress already fitted around himself elegantly and a feathery headpiece cellotaped onto his skull. It had taken Papyrus a whole three hours to convince Sans to get ready for the ball, another hour to chase their dog to get his bonnet back, and one more to get Sans off the ketchup. Luckily, the great Papyrus was never tardy and always knew to prepare at least seven hours early! 

"There!" he beamed as he finished with Sans' headpiece, a string of pearls draped elegantly around his neck, and proudly showed his brother how he looked in the mirror. They both looked quite the pair, skeletons all decked out in fine dresses. Especially when Sans was still wearing his fuzzy pink slippers. "DON'T WE BOTH LOOK AMAZING?" 

Sans, by that point, had given up on preserving his dignity and just went along with whatever his brother wanted. But he had to admit, they both looked really good. And Papyrus' enthusiasm was very contagious. 

"yeah... i think so. thanks, bro," he grinned up at his brother, a sincere smile. 

"GOOD! NOW, FIVE MORE MINUTES UNTIL COUSIN LEXI ARRIVES! THEN WE'LL TAKE OUR RENTED CAR TO ARIANA'S PLACE, AND THEN IT'S OFF TO THE BALL WE GO!" Papyrus rattled his bones in excitement. They were going to be so popular at the party! Everyone was going to love them!

    • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
      A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

      Four minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Lexi Calandrina had swept her raven hair up into a partial bun with a couple of loose tendrils framing her face. She fidgeted with the shimmery black crocheted shawl that kept falling off her thin shoulders while she waited for her cousins to greet her. She beamed when the door opened and started to say hello when she took in the tall skeleton’s costume...

      ”Uh... Wow, Papyrus. You...look...amazing!” She grinned awkwardly. “I didn’t realize it was an event where everyone wears dresses.” 

      Good thing she had gotten a dress. She hoped the shimmery holographic lily pad design on navy silk wasn’t too flashy. Maybe she should have worn a more basic cocktail dress? Or what if this was like the Red Hat Soceity where everyone wears something that is the same color? Oh dear... But this was for charity, right? Although how she was supposed to contribute to charity when she did not have a job, she had yet to figure out. 

       

      • Sans the Skeleduck
        Sans the Skeleduck

        "COUSIN LEXI!! THERE YOU ARE!" Papyrus beamed, sweeping the witch into a hug. "YOU LOOK AMAZING TOO! AND OF COURSE EVERYONE'S WEARING DRESSES! IT IS A FANCY-DRESS PARTY AFTER ALL!" 

        "you do look gorgeous, lex," Sans smiled as he stepped out to join his brother. "so... are we ready?" 

        "LET'S DO THIS!" Papyrus grinned, holding out his hands for Lexi and Sans to hold. Once they had joined hands, Papyrus teleported them to the front door of Ariana's home. 

        "HELLO? ARIANA? ARE YOU HOME?" he called out cheerfully. 

        • DarkwingPsycho
          DarkwingPsycho

          The blonde in question was just putting the last bobby-pin into her hair when she suddenly heard a familiar voice outside of the front door.  Grinning, she leaned out of the window of her bedroom and waved down at them.  "I'll be right there!"

          She smoothed the black dress over her figure anxiously, and made sure the curls piled high on her head looked all right before she opened the front door.

          "Hello!" she beamed.  When her silver eyes passed over Sans and Lexi, she looked less certain of herself.  "Oh, I...I apologize, I know I met you both at the housewarming party a few weeks ago, but...I've forgotten your names."

          • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
            A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

            “Heehee, careful. Pap. My shawl might get hooked on your humerus.” Lexi giggled from the twirling hug. She thanked Sans and held hands, brightening when she recognized the voice and aura of the lady they were picking up. 

            “It’s alright. I’m Lexi. This is Sans,” She stepped forward to shake hands. “Thank you for coming with us.” 

            • Sans the Skeleduck
              Sans the Skeleduck

              "OH WOW, ARIANA!" Papyrus' eyes lit up. "YOU LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL! AND YOU EVEN DID YOUR HAIR! I WISH I HAD HAIR SOMETIMES," he chattered happily as he proferred his hand. 

              Sans waved as Lexi introduced him. "hey. s'okay, ma'am. i don't usually make an impression on people," he grinned. 

              "SANS, DON'T BE SILLY. YOU ARE THE MOST IMPRESSIONISTICEST PERSON I KNOW!" 

              "thanks, bro." 

              After making sure they were ready, Papyrus teleported once more, poofing them right at the front door of the ballroom, leaving some sparkling orange dust in their departure and entrance. A few people were startled, but once they realised there was no danger, they just stared, as the tall skeleton showed the invites and walked right in. 

              After all, it wasn't everyday people got to see... odd skinny ducks? - whatever those were - in the fanciest dresses there were. 

              The thing is, though, it wasn't a fancy dress ball. It was a fancy dress ball. Everyone was dressed in costumes from movies, series, different ages, some were even inspired by superheroes. It was a little... awkward. The onlookers started to murmur among themselves. 

              Oblivious to what the people thought of them, Papyrus grinned and waved. "HELLO, EVERYONE! IT IS I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, AND HIS VERY GREAT FRIENDS, COME TO JOIN THE PARTY!" 

              A ferret, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit with a gas mask pushed up on his head, cleared his throat and rushed over to greet them. 

              "Mr. Papyrus! I'm glad you and your brother could come. Welcome to you too, ladies! I am Mike Heist, your host for tonight!" he grinned. "We will have refreshments served up soon. For now, I hope you enjoy the party!" 

              He seemed friendly and amicable enough. But if Lexi was still sensing auras, she would find he was giving off... quite a sleazy vibe. 

              • DarkwingPsycho
                DarkwingPsycho

                Ariana took the other woman's hand with a grateful smile.  "I'm just grateful Papyrus invited me...he even got me this dress."  Her smile was blushing, and deepened even more so when Papyrus made a big deal about her appearance.  Gingerly she took his hand and when they found themselves at the entrance, the blonde blinked for a moment - disoriented.  "Oh!  Gosh, I haven't teleported like that in...ages."

                When they entered and Ariana noticed the stares, she immediately thought I was because of her.  She fidgeted and tried to hide behind her date, feeling ashamed.  It shocked her when Papyrus announced them without a care in the world, and she peeked out curiously when she heard a new voice.  "Oh, um...th-thank you..."

                • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                  A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                  “Sorry,” Lexi mouthed silently to Ariana, blushing just as brightly as the other woman at suddenly becoming the unwonted center of attention. 

                  “Pap-? What kind of ball was this ag- Oh!”

                  She stepped back, possibly stepping on Ariana’s foot or Sans’ or both of them, when a stranger in a gasmask and a strange suit made his presence known. She was too taken aback by his appearance and apparent friendliness, plus the vibes she was getting from everyone else in the room, to pay close attention to the emotional aura of Mr. Heist. 

                  Forced smile and deep breath. Much better.

                  “Thank you. It’s a lovely party. What charity are you donating to? I, er, forgot to read the invitation”

                  Because she never saw it. Oh well. No big deal, right?

                  • Sans the Skeleduck
                    Sans the Skeleduck

                    Heist spread his arms with a smile. "Why, orphans! Everyone in this ball had been generous in giving donations to the city's poor, lovely orphans, and this ball is thrown to show that we are very grateful!" 

                    Sans stared at the man for a moment, the light in his eyes so dim that they looked like empty sockets for a bit. But then that look was gone, and he smiled amicably. 

                    "that so? well, i'm glad we could be... surpartyve." 

                    "SANS! YOU'RE EMBARRASSING US!" 

                    Snickering and giving his taller but not older brother a wink, he pulled Lexi into a dance. 

                    Papyrus tsked, then gave Ariana's hand a squeeze of encouragement, noticing she was a little shy. "WOULD YOU LIKE TO DANCE TOO?" he offered with a smile. 

                    • DarkwingPsycho
                      DarkwingPsycho

                      Ariana gasped at being stepped on, but passed a reassuring look to Lexi.  "Oh - the orphans, really?  Have you invited Quiverwing Duck?  You know, he loves reading to the orphans..." The blonde piped up brightly, her earlier shy demeanor pushed aside at the chance to talk up her boyfriend.

                      Her attention was then diverted to her skeleton friend.  A year ago, Ariana might have declined, worrying about a traumatic previous encounter she'd had, but the time she had spent with Gladstone and Drake had effectively lessened the effect of that particular memory.  She smiled, particularly at the hand squeeze, and nodded.  "Yes - very much thank you!"  She stepped toward him eagerly.

                      • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                        A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                        “Sorry, Ariana.” Lexi apologized for stepping on the other witch’s foot. Her nervousness faded when Ariana brought up someone she knew. “You know Quiverwing?”

                        She noticed the way Sans was looking at Mr. Heist, and she started to wonder why until he made a silly pun. She smiled and started to relax until he yoinked her into his arms. ”Meep! Sans!” 

                        She stepped on her own toes twice until she got the hang of the movement and rhythm. Getting her balance back, she awkwardly followed the skeleduck’s lead. 

                        “Were we supposed to make a donation to join the party?” She asked Sans. 

                        • Sans the Skeleduck
                          Sans the Skeleduck

                          Papyrus rattled his bones in excitement and led Ariana in a ballroom dance. Despite his loud and hyper attitude, he seemed really good at it, and it was almost magical how his dress shimmered and swayed with every move. 

                          "WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEAD LATER?" he asked cheerfully. "YOU DANCE REALLY WELL! ALTHOUGH EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T, WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE, WE COULD ALWAYS DO SOMETHING ELSE FUN! MY DAD TAUGHT US BOTH SINCE WE WERE KIDS. WHERE DID YOU LEARN DANCING FROM?" 

                          Sans shook his head at Lexi's question. "nah, my bro took care of it. you know my dad, he still has like heaps of cosuns in the treasury, even after splitting half with both of us. papyrus was, uh, very generous with his share. i'm tryin' to teach him how to spend wisely but... it's hard." 

                          He glanced over at his brother fondly. "he's a good guy." 

                          Then his eye fell on Mr. Heist, chatting up some guests, and his eyes frowned. 

                          "is it just me or do you have a bad feeling abou-" 

                          "PARTNER SWITCH!" Papyrus announced happily and suddenly, he was holding Ariana's hands as the taller skeleton whisked Lexi away. Sans blinked, then waved. 

                          "hey," he said, with a genuine smile. "thanks for making my brother happy. he's always had a difficult time making friends." 

                          • DarkwingPsycho
                            DarkwingPsycho

                            She flushed a bit at Papyrus' enthusiastic compliments.  "Oh no...I couldn't possibly lead.  But thank you...  I learned to dance at Webminster - my second year there."

                            Ariana barely registered what had happened before she was flung at Sans.  She smiled shyly and did a little wave, too.  "Hi...  Oh - you're welcome!  He's really wonderful.  I...I have a hard time making friends, too.  It's hard being new...and different.  You seem to be doing well, though!"

                            • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                              A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                              “I haven’t really had a chance to analyze an- Yah!” Lexi ended up bumping her bill against the taller skeleduck’s ribcage. “Hi.”

                              She smiled awkwardly and attempted to be less awkward in her movements. She’d been taught some basic ballroom waltzes back home for her debutante recital (which she’d skipped because she was too nervous to be around anyone), but she wasn’t the most graceful of ducks. Her fitted dress did not allow much knee movement either. 

                              “About the cosuns... I think you should take what’s left to the bank or a museum curator, or even someone like Scrooge McDuck and ask to have the cosuns exchanged for American currency. You might be cheating yourself and Sans out of a lot of money.”  

                              Maybe Papyrus would listen to her? Probably not. There were too many distractions here. 

                              “Maybe we can go together tomorrow?”

                              • Sans the Skeleduck
                                Sans the Skeleduck

                                Papyrus did not mind his less experienced partner. He was leading, anyway, and did his best to make sure Lexi had fun too. 

                                "I'M NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN BY EXCHANGING CURRENCY! AND I ALWAYS COUNT MY MONEY TO MAKE SURE I GIVE OUT AN EXACT AMOUNT! ALTHOUGH... SOME PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TELLING ME I PAY TOO MUCH..." he said, tilting his head to the side. "IF YOU THINK IT'D HELP, I'D BE HAPPY TO TRY IT!" 

                                Sans smiled and shrugged modestly at the compliment. He only had his jokes and pranks, but somehow that made him very likeable. "what can i say? i have quite the sansational personality. oh, and... any friend of my brother is a friend of mine. so if you ever need any help, you can give me a call. i'll get'cha my number later. heh, reminds me. what do skeletons use to call someone? a skelophone!" 

                                He was a little slower in his dancing, but he seemed to be able to do relatively well as he chatted. Soon, refreshments were brought out, and something caught Sans' attention immediately. 

                                "whoa. is that a chocolate fountain?" he grinned. "i'll be back." 

                                There was a soft pop and he disappeared, reappearing right at the front of the line, and returned just as quickly with a plateful of fruit and marshmallows swimming in chocolate. And... ketchup. "want some? the chocolate here is amazing!" 

                                Papyrus happened to glance over at the plate and his eye twitched slightly, but he turned away with a huff. 

                                "I'LL GET YOU SOMETHING BETTER TO EAT," he proclaimed to Ariana and marched over to the queue. 

                                Just then, Mr. Heist ran up. "Oh, no, Mr. Papyrus, you don't have to wait in the queue. VIP pass. Here, let me take you to the front of the line!" 

                                "BUT THAT DOESN'T SEEM FAIR TO OTHER PEOPLE!" 

                                "Nonsense, they don't mind!" 

                                Papyrus lifted a brow. The people seemed... miffled, but on the other hand, he did want to impress his friends and get some proper food before Sans poisoned them with his disgusting concoctions. 

                                "I WON'T BE LONG!" he grinned and waved at the queue, and hurriedly got a little bit from each plate and a bowl of chocolate before returning to his friends. 

                                "May I interest you in some champagne?" Heist asked them politely, holding up a tray of flutes. 

                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                  Ariana giggled at Sans' bad joke and was very patient with his slower movements.  She was in no hurry and was enjoying herself already.  "A wha-?"  Suddenly she had no partner anymore and blinked in the middle of the dance floor.  She barely had time to register what had happened when Sans was back again with food.  She grinned.  "Wow!  You certainly are good at that!"  Her eyes widened excitedly when she noticed strawberries among the fruit.  "Oh!  These are my favorite!"

                                  She was just plucking one up when Papyrus bustled by.  "You don't have to!  This is fine!" she called after him, but he didn't seem to hear thanks to the music.  When the taller skeleton returned, the blonde flashed him a grateful smile.  The champagne she reached for almost as eagerly as the strawberries, and now she really found herself wishing that Drake was here.

                                  • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                                    A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                                    “You’re giving out the Wrong amount, Pap,” Lexi corrected gently. “Cosuns do not equal American dollars and coins. They’re each worth a gold bar. That’s hundreds of dollars worth per cosun. Um. A dollar would buy... One can of soda or one pack of gum. A single cosun by comparison would buy enough snacks for everyone here tonight. That’s why you need to get dollars instead. You’ll run out of cosuns if you keep spending them like dollars.” 

                                    She wasn’t sure if her economics lesson sank in or not since Papyrus soon ignored her to show up Sans in the appetizers department. She saw Ariana was alone as well so she shuffled over to stand closer to her. She need not have worried about Ariana feeling alone and awkward for long, though. Sans returned with his plate before Lexi reached her. She stood aside and waited, fidgeting with a string on her glove. Her thoughts drifted back to Sans’ question and she started to take off her black opal necklace to let her senses reach full power when Heist distracted her.  She shook her head and politely declined on the champagne.  She’d never acquired a taste for sour/bitter beverages.  She was a little thirsty though.  Maybe there was some regular fruit punch or lemonade? She headed for the queue to find something to drink. 

                                    • Sans the Skeleduck
                                      Sans the Skeleduck

                                      Papyrus blinked at Lexi in confusion, but he made a note to ask Lexi again later what she meant, as he moved them towards a table. 

                                      Of course, Lexi would have to wait at the queue, or disrupt the line again to get the fruit punch, didn't she? Fortunately, the great and powerful Papyrus thought of everything! He then proceeded to slide her several glasses of a variety of fruit and fizzy drinks he'd picked up from the beverage counter. "THE BUBBLY ONES ARE INTERESTING! THEY REALLY TICKLE YOUR BONES!" 

                                      Sans eventually got bored and wandered off on his own with his share of... ketchup-chocolate treats to look around the ball they were in, trying to shake off the bad gut feeling, but soon amassed a group of people who were intrigued with his appearance and jokes. 

                                      Papyrus glanced towards his brother almost enviously. What did his brother do to always get so many friends? But then he remembered he had Ariana and his very cool cousin Lexi, and quickly cheered up, chatting about some recent shenanigans he'd gotten into. 

                                      "...AND THEN HE TRIED TO GIVE ME AN ACID SHOWER, BUT THEN SANS SHOWED UP AND DIRECTED THE ACID TO HIM INSTEAD! HE FOUND MY BATTLE BODY AND CARRIED IT ALL THE WAY TO ME HERE, AND AFTER I WAS REASSEMBLED, WE HAD A FUN SPARRING MATCH, AND I COOKED THEM ALL SPAGHETTI AND READ THEM A BEDTIME STORY! HE WAS A REALLY NICE MAN, EVEN IF HE FOUND IT HARD TO REFORM. I THINK HIS NAME WAS... NEGARLY? NEGATIVE?" 

                                      Meanwhile, Heist had mysteriously disappeared from the party. 

                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                        Ariana had been thoroughly enjoying Papyrus' tale and sipping her champagne until his trip up on a familiar name.  She paled.  "Negaduck?"

                                        Placing her hand on his skeletal arm, she said worriedly, "Oh Papyrus...h-he didn't hurt you, did he?"

                                        • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                                          A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                                          “Oh! Um, thank you, Papyrus.”

                                          Lexi tried to balance the glasses suddenly thrust at her. She handed some to other patrons waiting in line to keep from dropping a couple. She tried one glass and discreetly hid her gagging reflex. Ugh. The tannins were strong in this one. So sour and bitter. Bleck. She teleported that glass to the kitchen and quickly tried another.  A little better, but not enough to get rid of the awful taste. Was that how bitter apple repellant tasted to dogs and cats? She owed her familiar an apology for putting that on Flurry’s paw to keep her from licking and aggravating a sore.  Thankfully the third glass Papyrus had given Lexi was fruit punch. Much better. 

                                          Like Ariana, she blanched at the story. “I hope someone rinsed the acid away. I don’t understand why anyone would be want to be that way.” 

                                           

                                          • Sans the Skeleduck
                                            Sans the Skeleduck

                                            "AH, NEGADUCK, THAT WAS HIM!" Papyrys snapped his fingers, then was both surprised and gratified to have his friends worry about him. "OH, HE WASN'T BAD, I MEAN, HE HIT ME AND SCATTERED MY BONES WITH A CONCRETE EASTER EGG AND I WAS NEARLY DOUSED IN ACID BUT I'M SURE HE DIDN'T MEAN IT!" Papyrus smiled the smile of an innocent child. "HE WANTED TO CHANGE HIS WAYS, HE TOLD ME AS HE STUCK MY HEAD TO HIS COOL MOTORBIKE AND GAVE ME RIDE AROUND THE CITY! AND DON'T WORRY, I MOPPED UP THE ACID! I COULD INTRODUCE HIM TO YOU BOTH SOMETIME AND WE COULD TAG-TEAM-REFORM HIM!" 

                                            Yeeeeah they probably would rather sit that one out. 

                                            • DarkwingPsycho
                                              DarkwingPsycho

                                              "Oh...I've met him before, unfortunately," Ariana said mildly, trying hard to keep her disdain from her face and tone.  "He doesn't want to change...he tried to tell me that before, but...but it was a lie.  Papyrus, please...you must stay away from him.  He's dangerous..."

                                              • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                                                A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                                                “I’d... Rather leave the reforming to psychiatrists.” Lexi admitted uneasily. She looked around the crowd, half expecting to see a familiar face. 

                                                • Sans the Skeleduck
                                                  Sans the Skeleduck

                                                  Papyrus was very confused. Surely they must have met different people! Negaduck had been nothing but sweet! And terrible at changing, but he was well meaning! 

                                                  But the look on Ariana' face... and even Lexi's. Maybe they were right, or they really wanted him to be safe. They really cared about him! That was sweet... 

                                                  "OOH! NOW THAT'S AN IDEA! I'LL REFER HIM TO A PSYCHIATRIST!" he beamed. "DON'T WORRY, I HAVE REALISED THAT, EVEN IF I AM THE BEST, PERHAPS THIS IS OUTSIDE OF MY CAPABILITIES. DO YOU THINK HE SHOULD SEE ONE AT SHUSH OR A MONSTER THERAPIST?" 

                                                  Then he blinked. "HEY, WHERE'S SANS?" 

                                                  • DarkwingPsycho
                                                    DarkwingPsycho

                                                    Ariana was taken aback by Papyrus' idea.  "W-what?  Oh...dear, I'm not sure that even a doctor of the mind could --"

                                                    She cut herself off when the tall skeleton noticed his shorter brother was missing.  Brow furrowed, she turned in her black evening dress as best she could to scan the room for Sans.  "I don't see him...do you?" she asked Lexi.

                                                    • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
                                                      A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

                                                      “Monster, maybe?” Lexi had no clue on what to suggest, or why Sans had left them. “Um. Just a second.” 

                                                      She closed her eyes and tuned out the music, voices, and glowing auras around her to seek out Sans’ aura. “Sans? Papyrus is looking for you.” She tried telepathically communicating with him.