Hypothetical Handplates scenario in which Sans realizes he can teach himself Common.
(Ugh, tumblr is making them blurry for some reason so I guess full-view if you want the not-blurry version??)
Convoluted explanation incoming. Handplates is an Undertale fancomic by @zarla-s and if you like Papyrus and Sans, go read it, is good stuff. So I guess this is an AU fancomic of an AU fancomic? I dunno, the idea wouldn’t leave my brain until I did something with it. So. Zarla did a Christmas doodle where Gaster gave the boys a box of ginger cookies that had the word COOKIES on the side in big letters, and because my job gives me way too much time to think about random stuff, I realized something.
In Handplates, Gaster taught the bros to read and write Wingdings but deliberately did not teach them monster Common (ie: English) so they can’t read his nametag or anything. Thing is, Wingdings is a 1:1 substitution cipher for English. Every Wingdings symbol exactly equals an English letter; it’s not a different language, just a different set of pictures. As somebody who has taught herself a fair number of substitution ciphers, there are a few things you look for when you’re trying to translate a code and you don’t have a key in front of you. Most notably, single-letter words (in English they will usually be A or I) or double letters next to each other. Like the OO in “COOKIES”.
Sans is smart. Gaster has fed them junk food before and odds are good Sans knows how to spell “COOKIES”. The word is on the box in huge letters and Gaster just said it out loud, so it is fresh in Sans’ mind. That double-O is a huge tip-off. He would put it together that the word on the front of the box matches what’s inside. Once you figure out a few of the letters, it becomes steadily easier to decode the rest.
I feel like Gaster exposes the boys to enough Common (the nametag, food wrappers, computer monitors, the books Sans sits on) that Sans could pick it up with a proper starting point. Papyrus probably not, because he had a hard enough time with Wingdings, but Sans is eager for any opportunity to undermine Gaster and I’m sure he’d jump at the chance. In this comic he elects not to tell Papyrus, though. He doesn’t know Gaster has cameras in the cell (or even what a camera is) but he’s figured out that Gaster can spy on them somehow, and the last time Gaster caught them learning something he didn’t like, Papyrus got the ever-loving hell beat out of him. So Sans keeps quiet about it for now. And thus starts the long-standing tradition of keeping important secrets from his brother.
On the technical side, it took me a freakin’ week to sketch and outline this whole thing. Coloring and shading only took me like a day. In the meantime Zarla actually kinda addressed the cookie comic, but this was almost done by then so oh well. I’m finding my poses and proportions turn out a LOT better when I’m doodling skeletons, like what, drawing basic anatomy will make you better at anatomy, you don’t say?? A lot of this was a self-challenge to see if I could imitate Zarla’s art style, and I referenced previous Handplates comics a lot for the backgrounds and Sans’ face. Full disclosure: Gaster’s pose up there is basically copied from Zarla’s original comic because I was rushing through to get on to the actual meat of the story. He’s just here for setup. I had fun trying to figure out how to do his Lost Soul head though. Also, I hate Papyrus’ face from the front. Also also, it was tricky trying to convey “mentally translating an unknown alphabet into a known one” when pretty much everyone who sees this comic is already familiar with the “unknown” one and not the “known” one, but I think I pulled it off.
TL;DR- I imitated somebody else’s style to do an AU of an AU; I am not Zarla; Zarla is the creator of Handplates and also Gaster’s pose in the first panel; I like ciphers too much and also I gave the cookies icing because that is the only kind of ginger cookie I know.
Tbh kinda want there to be some langst in the form of Matt suddenly showing up and seeming like a the team wanting him to pilot blue lion
Lance didn’t mean to spy on them, okay, nor did he mean overhearing what they were saying. It’s just, he was going for some leftover goo after a well needed shower, and as he was rounding the corner, Shiro’s voice, laced with amusement, reached him and made him stop in his tracks.
“We’re gonna train you like a true paladin of Voltron,” he was chuckling, followed by a oh so familiar ‘oof’, meaning he had just patted the shit out of someone’s shoulder. The someone replied back, a little wheezy “Sure, because that’s exactly what I need” and- of course it was Matt.
Matt Holt, Shiro’s long time friend and companion, Pidge’s brother, miraculously back safe from the failure of the Kerberos mission. Everyone was overjoyed with having him on the ship, rightfully so, and he was a cool guy, with an acquired knowledge of Galra machinery that even the Alteans lacked. Had a smile for everyone, a biting humor that made even Keith laugh, and was also great with technical stuff. Basically, the perfect paladin.
And Lance was happy to have him back, of course, because he had never seen Pidge look so joyful, and Shiro looked less like he was contemplating leaving again to fistfight enemies in the astral plane. It was awesome, even.
But- lately his chest had inexplicably started to feel hollow. He was so happy, except for the constant pressure in the back of his eyes, and an annoying knot in his stomach. And sure, he could feel his control slipping with Blue, like their bond was just an echo of what it had been, like the connection was disturbed by a shitty cable plan, but it was going great. Zarkon was no more, Shiro was back with Matt, and the Galra army was still reorganizing itself, scattered and weak. They would be able to get it over with, finally, and go back home, leave all this shitshow behind and save the universe, whatever.
It only made sense to use every resource they had. And while Lance thought he had hidden his shortcomings well, what if he hadn’t? It didn’t matter. Of course they wanted Matt to pilot Blue in his place, because he was a shitty paladin anyway and wouldn’t it be better for everyone? He just wanted to go home, and him backing down was the faster solution.
So why couldn’t he bring himself to say it? To say, hey, Matt, I’m leaving Blue to you, treat her well, she’s a mighty lady. And why couldn’t his heart stop rabbiting in his chest, growing fangs to bite into his lungs and steal his breath? Why the fuck did he feel so empty?
He was surprised too, when a thud ringed clearly in the silence, and it was him hitting the floor, his legs suddenly giving out.
Confused, he watched two figures approach and- Shiro and Matt were looking at him weirdly, as he scrambled upright again, using the wall as a prop.
“Lance,” Shiro called, and he was frowning “Everything okay? We heard a noise.”
Lance laughed, although humorlessly. “Just tripped!” he lied, and now Matt was smiling, and he couldn’t bear it any longer, could he?
“No case of human slipperies, I hope,” Matt joked, and Shiro gave him a tight lipped, amused stare.
Lance winced. “Naah, I just took my shower a little too hot, I guess.”
Shiro looked relieved at that, but still suspicious, his eyes narrowed. “Good job out there, by the way,” he praised, slowly, clearly trying to make him feel better, and it hurt. Why did it hurt so much?
“A-Ah, of course! You, too,” he tried to hide the grimace behind a bright grin and a wink. An uncomfortable silence fell upon them. Huh. “Well!” he trilled “Now, if you’ll excuse me, my beauty sleep is calling me!” They laughed.
“Sure it is! Get some rest, Lance,” Shiro said, raising his hand to give him what would probably have been a reassuring pat, but Lance practically sprinted away, missing the troubled look Shiro and Matt shared.
Only when the door of his room was firmly closed behind his shoulders he let his legs fail him again, sliding down into a crouched position.
“Fuck,” he managed, low and broken, staring at his feet, as hot tears started streaming down his cheeks, “Fuck.”
Mitjo because they were trying to take a couple selfie with a Polaroid camera but Mitch doesn’t love having pics taken of him so he just directs Jonas into a kiss instead but the camera still takes a shot. *eternal screaming because I cannot handle these two in love and all touchy-feely but I need it*
Characters belong to: @smokeplanet