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.
“We moved in packs together bounded by our oldest brothers The night was ours for taking, rolling cigarettes and sneaking out We sung our songs of youth and promised that we’d never lose it.”
— Hippo Campus
"I'm sorry" Langst Fic(Trigger Warning plz be safe) PT-2
Allura hadn’t got that much sleep that night.
She was aware that she had hurt Lance, and realized he was offering her comfort, as a good teammate- and friend- ought to have done.
But Allura, she had only responded with hate. She had insulted him. She had told him he was useless, and that he didn’t deserve to be the blue paladin.
But now that she had cleared her head, she realized just how wrong she was for saying such a thing to him.
Not only did he deserve to be the blue paladin- he had been made to be the blue paladin of Voltron. He had proven himself time and time again, over and over, that he deserved to be here with the team, just as much as anyone else did.
In her desperation to find an acceptable apology for Lance, she had marched straight up to Shiro’s room, knocked on the door, and waited.
The door slid open within two ticks, and Shiro cocked a questioning eyebrow at Allura.
“I need to talk to you. May I come in?” Shiro didn’t know what about, but he let Allura in either way, nodding, and watching from the still open door as she sat down on the edge of his bed, holding her head in her hands.
“Princess? What’s wrong?” Shiro asked hurriedly, closing the door and walking over to where she sat, crouching down to her level. He tensed when he saw that her cheeks were tear stained.
“Allura?” He questioned, concern littered across his expression. Allura shook her head in response, and inhaled shakily.
“Shiro, I… I hurt him.” Allura managed to choke the words out, and her voice threatened to crack. Shiro was confused, but comforted her either way, stroking her hair and rocking her slightly.
“Allura, who did you hurt?” Shiro asked calmly, squeezing her shoulder comfortingly, patiently awaiting an answer.
She sighed sadly, a pitiful expression the only insight to what might’ve happened.
“Lance. Last night. I told him that I was a fool for making him the blue paladin. He was just trying to help me with my own pain and I had to go and take my anger out on him instead of saying thank you. Like a normal person would.” Allura gestured outwards in exasperation, as if illustrating her point further.
A picture of Lance’s stuffy nose, pink tinged, and tear stained face popped up into Shiro’s train of thought, and tingles of anxiety bloomed in his stomach. Without thinking, Shiro mumbled to himself.
“That’s why he looked so bad.” Shiro looked to the floor, and before he realized it, Allura was tensing, and turned to face him.
“You saw him last night? After I yelled at him?” Allura took Shiro by the shoulders, shaking him lightly. Her voice was laced with panic. He nodded stiffly.
“How am I going to apologize to Lance?! I hurt him so badly, Shiro- you won’t be able to form Voltron if Lance is in pain- and even if you didn’t need to form Voltron anytime soon, Lance is still a member of this team, and he deserves to be happy.” Her hands found their way to her hair, and she stared at the floor with wide, panicked eyes. Shiro was slightly taken aback by her ranting, but smiled warmly as he processed her words.
“Tell him exactly how you feel. Apologize sincerely.” Shiro responded, rubbing circles on her back.
Allura thought quietly for a moment, before rising calmly and nodding her head briefly.
She turned to Shiro, who now was looking at her proudly, and a little shocked. Her emotions were a little erratic at the moment, he concluded, but went along with whatever she had planned.
"This will need to be a group effort. I am not going to be the only one on this team treating him kindly from now on. We all include him, compliment him, praise him, and bond with him. I refuse to have one of my paladins consistently unhappy. Shiro, I am going to need your help talking to the others- especially Hunk. I don’t know what he’ll do to me when he finds out what I told Lance.” Shiro and Allura collectively shivered.
“Understood, princess.” Shiro nodded, and rose from the bed.
“Thank you for helping me, Shiro. I really do appreciate it.” Allura smiled fondly, which Shiro mistakenly assumed was gratitude, and took her leave.
“I’ll see you in the control room soon!” Allura called behind her shoulder, leaving Shiro to his own thoughts.
Shiro had a lot of apologizing to do as well. He had brushed off Lance’s own feelings and problems, and he felt like shit for it.
Allura was determined to set things right between her and Lance, and marched her ass down to the control room. Once there, she pulled up a transparent screen, and clicked a few buttons, dragged a few knobs down, and there was the sound of a soft alarm.
It wasn’t blaring, but it wasn’t loud enough to where you could ignore it. She played it in every room except for Lance’s. She needed to talk to every paladin except for him. She needed to discuss the issues they were making when they came into contact with Lance.
She needed to fix this.
And she was going to fix it right. Now.
Pidge, Keith, Hunk, Coran, and Shiro all made their way to the control room, their thoughts seemingly somewhere else.
Pidge was looking down at the ground, timing their steps.
Keith was looking forward solemnly, lost in thought.
Shiro was focused on the task at hand.
Coran was fiddling with the end of his mustache.
Hunk’s stomach was aching for some food.
They entered the control room as a collective unit, the team taking notice that Lance was not in the room with them.
Coran sighed, and made his way to the exit.
“I’ll go wake the boy up.” Coran sighed sleepily, and Allura stopped him before he could physically leave.
“Coran, I purposely did not wake him up. I called you here specifically to talk about Lance.” The team, excluding Shiro, tensed, and anxiety blossomed in their guts.
“What about Lance?” Hunk was the first to speak, anxiety evident in his voice.
The aura of the room was cold… Too cold.
“There is no need for alarm Hunk- I checked on Lance earlier. Physically speaking, he is unharmed.” Allura lied, images of Lance’s crimson stained floor coming to mind, memories of her crying in the doorway.
‘Thank god he’s a deep sleeper.’ Allura thought to herself, images of the now cleaned and properly bandaged cuts across Lance’s forearms flashing across her train of thought.
She had scrubbed the quiznak out of his floor, and rummaged through a majority of his things(which she argued over doing for who knows how many minutes), and confiscated all sharp items he might have been able to harm himself with.
She had found him earlier that morning, wanting to apologize, but after finding him in such terrible shape, her confidence shattered, and she didn’t know how to approach the situation.
But now she did.
“We need to talk about the manner in which we treat Lance.” Allura sighed, looking at the ground in disappointment.
“Princess, I can assure you we-” Coran began, but Allura smiled at him reassuringly, showing that she was not upset with any of them.
She turned back to the rest of the group, smiling sadly.
“I have noticed that our attitudes towards him are less than acceptable. In fact, our tendencies to snap at him and reprimand him mercilessly make me angry. Not only that- they damage him and his well being.” Pidge made an act to protest, but Allura raised her hand to silence them.
“I am no exception to this. I made a particularly rude multitude of comments to Lance last night, and I believe I caused him to second guess his position on this team and his usefulness to the rest of us.” Allura’s voice cracked on the last sentence, and the room was eerily silent.
“Oh my god…” Hunk whispered, and a shiver ran up Allura’s spine.
She inhaled shakily, gathering as much courage as possible to get through the next sentences.
“He had suggested that I try talking about Altea. He told me it might’ve eased some of the pain that came with losing it. I told him that I didn’t want to talk about a planet that no longer existed.” Allura sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Hesitantly, she continued.
“When he had tried to apologize… I…”
That’s when the tears began to flow.
They were unrelenting, and they were an endless testament to her guilt.
“I told him that I was a fool to make him the blue paladin. I told him he did more harm than good. That I didn’t want his help. I called him useless! I messed up so badly- I let my quiznaking emotions get the better of me and I took out all my pent up anger out on him- and now he’s upset and doubting himself, and it’s all my fault.” Allura finished off with a sob, and collapsed to the ground.
The team watched as the princess clasped her hands over her face in shame.
None of them knew what to do- but they had a pretty good idea.
Hunk was the first to move towards her, and crouched down to look her in the eye.
“I will never forgive you for hurting my best friend. Especially Lance.” Hunk whispered, lifting her chin up to look her in the eyes.
Allura’s lip quivered.
“But, I love him enough to where I will help him forgive you.” Hunk smiled, and pulled Allura into a tight hug.
She helplessly sobbed into his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his torso. She hadn’t been hugged in such a way since she had needed to delete her father’s AI.
But in a good way.
Pidge burst into tears, and rushed to Hunk and Allura, joining in on the cuddle fest, sobbing uncontrollably. They were upset that Allura was the reason that Lance was unhappy last night, but yelling at her wasn’t going to resolve anything for the voltron team, so instead, they joined in.
Coran joined in afterwards, walking forwards and comforting Pidge and Allura.
Before long, Keith and Shiro were tugged into the bunch(much to their discomfort, but they went with it anyway), and they stayed like that for a few ticks, until finally pulling apart.
Allura was the first to speak.
“I think we all know what we have to do.” Allura looked up at the rest of the team, determination dripping off her tone.
Shiro grinned, Coran nodded, Pidge smirked, and Hunk gave her a thumbs up.
They turned to Keith, who had his eyes on a particularly interesting crack in the floor.
“I think I need to do more than that. I need to confess to him.” Keith mumbled, a blush creeping across his cheeks.