Frisk didn't want to turn around.
Although she knew that she had to.
With the most stone-cold face she could muster, the human faced the armored warrior. The metal plates upon her body glinted in the glow of her weapon, which shone a soft blue hue. Neither spoke, though for different reasons. Frisk had nothing to say, but Undyne was...confused.
All of a sudden the human crept forward, which only baffled her even more.
"Where's the kid?" she interrogated, attempting to shed light on at least something.
Frisk continued to walk. She didn't alter her sober gaze, and her tone of voice seemed to match it.
"Somewhere you'll never find him."
Undyne held her spear in front of herself as the human grew closer and closer. This wasn't right at all. Frisk should have been running away, unlike this scene before her.
Though before Undyne could become even the slightest bit scared of the uncanny amble, Frisk stopped. Just a few feet from where the monster stood the human stayed put. The expression she wore was barely afraid. It wasn't sad, nor was it angry; in fact, Undyne had no idea what it was. But she wasn't able to deduce what emotion had been portrayed, for immediately Frisk's head dropped down, chin to her chest.
And she knelt.
Undyne was completely at a loss. She scowled at the act. "What is this?" she questioned.
And when Frisk said nothing, only staring at her bent legs, the monster grew enraged. "I said, what is this?!" she yelled, pointing the tip of her blade at her head.
Still she said nothing, nor did she make movement of any kind. This was ridiculous! Frisk was supposed to be making a run for it, trying to escape her clutches, or at least defending herself. That was what anyone in a situation such as this would do. Yet she did none of that. She only dropped to her knees before her assassin, as if she had already accepted defeat. She had plenty of space to flee, but she didn't even try. She remained unbound, but she wouldn't move an inch. Undyne was able to poke and prod as much as she wished, and the human wouldn't so much as bat an eye.
Frisk had walked straight into her execution, and she wouldn't resist at all. As if she wanted to die.
"Well, go on then," Undyne muttered, pushing her uncertainty aside. "Why shouldn't I kill you right now?"
"There's no reason why you shouldn't."
Undyne froze. "What did you say?" she asked, sure she had heard wrong.
Frisk didn't look up to answer. "There is no reason why you shouldn't kill me now," she spoke, her voice as monotone as before. She paused to take a breath, before she commenced. "I won't ask for forgiveness, no matter how sorry I am. I won't beg for mercy, because I don't deserve it. I won't try to get away, because this is the only thing I deserve."
Undyne glowered at this, not buying the sincerity. "It sounded like you read it off a piece of paper," she insulted. "Why does it sound so rehearsed?"
"That's because it is," Frisk admitted, as Undyne's glower disappeared. "I've had nightmares ever since I returned, and every time you are there to kill me." This entire time her face stayed downcast, and it only continued to remain so. "They always end the same. You find me, and you ask if I have any last words."
Strange to see, she lifted her gaze to her hunter, who was fully immersed into what she was saying. "I've said that phrase every single time. And I've rehearsed it for when my nightmares came true." With that Frisk lowered her eyes, back to where they had stared before. "And they have. So I surrender; I'm done running. Do what you want with me."
As thrown as Undyne was by this, she intended to do just that. She was in the perfect position to carry out what she had wanted to do for years. She couldn't waste this opportunity.
The warrior raised her glowing weapon over her head, at the ready to thrust it forward.
Yet she didn't.
A period passed before the empress spoke.
"I...why can't I..."
Frisk sat bewildered, wondering why she was still alive. She glanced up at the armored monster, and saw what she had expected to see. Undyne merely held the blue spear in the air, with a strange mixture of rage and pain plastered upon her face. This is what Frisk believed would be the last thing she would ever see, the image in her mind as her life ended.
Though as she looked up at the scene, she was not dying.
"What is going on?" Undyne gasped, as if Frisk would have the slightest idea. Slowly her weapon descended to her side. "I can't do it. Why can't I do it?!"
Frisk found herself as befuddled as she. But even so, she was determined. "Please, just get it over with," she pleaded, returning her gaze to the ground.
Undyne had waited for this moment for ten years, and the moment was now. She wanted more than ever to "get it over with."
But something held her back. And she didn't know what.
"This isn't right," she spoke, the blade set at her side. "This is all wrong. I shouldn't feel like this." Her fists clenched as the statement escaped her throat. "No! You're a murderer! You killed so many people! You deserve to die!" Yet her weapon remained where it rested. Her voice was filled with anguish. "Why can't I kill you?!"
Frisk didn't like where this was going. She didn't know what had come over Undyne. She had been so intent on destroying her and everything she loved. But somehow that plan seemed to vanish, because as angry as the empress looked, Frisk was very much alive.
"I...I don't feel..." she spoke, her eye staring off into space, "...I don't feel relief."
Undyne looked down at the human. "I'm not content. After all the trouble I've been through...after everything I've done...I finally have you in my grasp!" She glanced away, seeming to reminisce on something. "I feel no satisfaction having you here. I could destroy you now, and I should! You should be dead right now!" She tightened her grip on her spear, though it stayed at her side. "You deserve a criminal's execution! No, you deserve even less than that!"
Undyne shoved her blade to Frisk's face, barely grazing her forehead at the tip. She held it there for a while, moving it neither one way nor the other. Her breath came in long huffs through teeth gritted, as her mind was clearly conflicted.
Suddenly her extended arm vibrated slightly, and the light blue weapon once again reclined. Even with her lone eye, it shone a deep agony unlike anything Frisk had seen in a long time. "Why?" she asked, her voice barely wavering. "Why is this so hard?"
Frisk understood. She knew it now. What was going on in Undyne's head, whether she knew herself or not. She had waited so long to exact her revenge, that this moment had been built into an expectation that was much too high. And when the moment had come, she was only to find that the presumption was far more exaggerated than she had thought. So now, as she was where she had worked so hard to be, with the enemy at her fingertips, she found scarcely a glimmer of relief.
Though many in her situation would see this as a blessing, Frisk only grew desperate. This wasn't going how she had expected it either. She had assumed that she would be gone by now, lying motionless on the forest floor. She had thought that she would finally get what she deserved, the lowly death of a criminal. She had hoped that she would finally be free of this bondage of the past, and escape into the unknown, where no shame could haunt her ever again.
But this was certainly not the case, as she was alive and well where she knelt. She found herself still tormented by memories, which held her down to the ground. She had voluntarily placed herself before her assassin, aware of what doing so would mean. But that awareness was the very reason she had done it.
For so long Frisk had been tortured by the guilt of what she had done, and even as a child she knew that the only way out was through death. However before she could have put that knowledge into action she had met Edmund. The mere remembrance of him brought a tear to her eye. Edmund was gone because of what she had done. She had caused the death of her husband, and nothing could ever cover up that shame. Because of this Frisk had no other reason for living, for only Edmund had been such.
Clement did not deserve to be raised by the likes of her, and she didn't deserve to be loved by the likes of him. That was the reason she had sent him away, the real reason. Even if she and him had survived together, how could she tell him that she was cause for humanity's downfall, including the death of his own father? The answer was: she wouldn't. She was saving him from this shame, and herself from further hatred. And Frisk admitted it; she was a coward. Though she made herself not care. This was how things were supposed to be. Clement needed to be safe from the world, and Frisk needed to pay for what she had done.
So in order for this to be so, she knew that she would need to change Undyne's mind.
"I killed them."
Undyne's gaze shot up at her. "W—what?" she sputtered.
Frisk knew there was no going back now. "I murdered so many of your people," she said. "Any monster that I encountered I destroyed. They turned into dust at my hand. I showed none of them any mercy. I would have killed Papyrus if I had needed to."
Her latter statement seemed to hook Undyne, and her eyebrows furrowed down farther than anyone would think possible.
"I'm a murderer. I shouldn't be let to live on this earth. I may cause even more harm if I'm spared; you know that. I don't deserve mercy. This world has no room for people like me. It would be better off without me. So why don't just get it ov—"
Frisk grunted, as she experienced a sudden sting. Before her Undyne had leaned forward, her face a portrait of rage. Her arm extended father than it had before, meaning that Frisk had succeeded.
She felt her chest grow warm, yet she felt strangely cold. Slowly the warrior's gaze softened, for she soon realized exactly what she had done. The human's shirt shone a deep crimson, all around the area of her chest where Undyne's weapon rested. Frisk was certainly in insurmountable pain, but with the relief that it was finally over, the throbbing was worth it.
She brought her eyes up to Undyne, the life draining from her face. The monster looked on in horror.
"Th—thank you," the human spoke, as her body lurched forward.
The glowing spear was in the way of her fall, so she lay atop the rod. She was indeed thankful, for it was all finished now. Where she would go, wherever that was, there would be no more of this. Strangely she felt no fear, only comfort.
And with that, she allowed life to depart. She wouldn't fight the affair, nor would she ever return.
She didn't have the determination to live anymore.
Undyne released the spear from her grasp, and the lifeless body slumped to the ground.
She stood still for quite a while. Thinking over what she had done, and whether she had actually done it.
But the static human before her was proof enough. She had killed her. She had rid the world of this murderer. The human had gotten what she deserved.
And yet, Undyne cried.
She knelt beside the corpse of her enemy and put her hand to its face. Its eyes were half-open, which she carefully closed at her fingertips. Undyne looked away, not bothering to hide her tears. The human was finally gone. Her nemesis had been vanquished at her hand. She would be remembered for this; her act of valor would be rewarded.
Yet even with this all in mind—the praise, the honor, the recognition—she felt nothing. After all this time, after all she had done, after all the trouble she had been through! Undyne had avenged her people! She had done it, her and her alone.
But just as before...
She felt no satisfaction.
The human had tricked her. She had made her do this. She had practically duped her into killing her. Undyne had been right: she had wanted to die. So she put the burden upon the empress.
Undyne was aware that the human wouldn't hear; she knew it full well.
"How could you do this to me?!" she yelled regardless. "You made me do this!"
The warrior propped her hands upon her knees and hung her head, allowing the teardrops to water the ground. As she remained there, an uproar took over her mind. Though through the chaos and conflict, Undyne had come to know one thing for sure. Something she hadn't exactly been aware of before, and perhaps knowing that very thing could have prevented such strife.
There was certainly no pride in killing.
"No no. Pa-PY-rus."
The hopeless skeleton buried his face in his hands. "No, Clement. That's not how you say it."
The child only mischievously smiled, and pointed his tiny finger. "Piyus!"
"Sorry, bro," a voice sounded from the kitchen. "The kid can't say your name. It's too long."
Papyrus removed his hands from his head. "I'll have you know that babies are much more intelligent than people give them credit for!" he declared. "I'm sure he can say it!"
A figure came across the living room, a mug in hand. "It's not that big of a deal," he spoke, pausing to take a sip of his beverage. "He's only, what? Like, two years?"
Papyrus crossed his arms, eyeing the toddler's attempt to climb upon the couch. "Easy for you to say," he snarked. "He can say your name perfectly!"
"Well, duh," the figure said. "It's only four letters."
As if confirming their discussion, Clement turned his body around to look at the jacketed monster, and pointed once again.
The figure took another sip before he shrugged. "Well, he's close, I guess."
The brother walked over to the green sofa and sat at the opposite end. The struggling Clement had tried with no avail to scale the furniture, which both brothers noticed. As Papyrus finally gave in and lifted the child upon the cushion, he mentioned, "Sans, when do you think humans start education?"
Sans turned to his brother. "Uh, I think at least after they learn to talk..."
"Ah, yes," the skeleton responded. "That sounds right."
The two sat in silence, a quite uncanny silence to say the least.
No one really said anything, because...there wasn't really anything to say.
"Is this..." Papyrus started, "...what it's like to be parents?"
Sans stared at the television, although the screen was black. "I guess so," he said.
The room became quiet again, but it didn't last long. "Again," the younger brother spoke, "I'm really thankful that you're helping me out."
For some reason Sans found that television fascinating, although nothing was on. Nothing had been on for quite a long time.
"It's no problem, bro," he recited.
"It's just that I know after what happened," Papyrus said faster than usual, as if he were afraid of a backlash. "I know this may be a little out of your comfort zone, it being the human's child—"
"Please, Papyrus," Sans interrupted, causing his sibling to freeze. "I'd prefer not to talk about that."
Papyrus looked down at his hands, obviously ashamed. "Sorry..."
But immediately he whipped his head around, noticing Clement. "Um, Sans," he spoke. "Should the human child be drinking that?"
Sans looked at his brother, and then down at Clement. The toddler had gotten hold of his mug, and had placed his mouth on the rim.
However, Sans only shrugged. "I don't see why not," he said. "It's not poison or anything."
Papyrus was clearly not as calm about this as he. "To us it's not!" he exclaimed. "But what if human children can't drink that?!"
Though immediately the child pulled his lips away from the cup, his face contorting. Once his eyes opened, he pointed at the cursed mug. "Ucky!" he screamed, which only made Sans laugh.
"I don't think he likes coffee anyway," he stated. He looked up at his brother. "You know, it's kinda cute how you worry about him."
Papyrus looked back at him. "What?"
"C'mon, bro," Sans said. "You know how much you agonize over that kid. He can barely do anything without you hovering over him."
Papyrus became flustered. "Well, I—I just don't want him to get hurt, that's all," he assured, yet still keeping an eye on Clement. "Fris—er, I mean, the human entrusted him to me. And I don't think I could ever live with myself if anything happened to him."
Sans looked away, bringing the mug to his mouth. "I know, bro," he said, before taking a sip of his coffee. "But didn't she ask you to give him to someone else?"
The skeleton turned to his brother, disbelief in his gaze. "Sans! You know as well as I do that the Surface is basically a war-zone! How could we risk Clement's safety up there when it's completely fine down here?"
Sans nodded, as his brother had a point.
"And besides," Papyrus continued, inspecting his hands again, "we can tell him everything that happened when he gets older. Without all the rumors and such that are going around."
He looked back up at his older brother. "We can tell him that his mother was a changed woman. How she sacrificed her life for him."
Sans took another drink of his coffee. "Well, you'll have to be the one to tell him that," he said, as he found the powerless television interesting once again.
Papyrus sighed, but made no retort. He spotted Clement cuddling up against his side. "Alright," he said, patting the child on the head.
The skeleton chuckled. Truly, he loved this child. Almost as if he were his own. It was official; he was this boy's guardian. There would be no denial of that. He would do anything to keep this child safe, no matter how much he would have to lie or hide. But even so, even with all of that...
He just wished that he had his mother.
"Um, hey there."
She stood over the raised ground and looked at it, as if it were a person.
"Ugh, this is stupid. I know you can't hear me."
The monster turned her head away, a scowl plastered upon her face. She crossed her arms in defiance.
"Yet for some reason I'm here," she huffed, as she peered back at the lifted floor. "Don't get me wrong; I still hate you..."
She squeezed her eye shut. "Look, I don't care if you can't hear me, okay? I'm gonna just say what I want!"
For a moment there was no sound, only the rustle of trees. When she found that the bump of dirt didn't argue, the monster opened her eye.
"I...I just feel like you should know about some stuff. You know, like the world and...um, you know..."
She winced at her clumsiness. She hadn't thought of exactly what she was going to say. Though she knew obviously nobody would hear her.
"First of all," the monster began, "you'll be happy to know that we never found your kid." She scratched her head. "We searched the entire forest and we couldn't find it." Her head bore no itch; her hand just needed something to do. "So as I'm sure you didn't just drop it in a tree or something," she let out a small chuckle, "wherever you left it, it's probably fine." She looked away for an instant, but only for that. "So I thought you'd wanna know that first."
She took a deep breath before commencing. "So, uh, your people are doing alright," she said, pulling her rose-red hair over her shoulder. "We kinda had a little...skirmish...okay, it was a big skirmish. A lot of people died. Both monsters and humans. It carried on for a few years, but...some of my soldiers and I kinda wrote a treaty. It was...actually really good."
She gazed down at the lump of ground, which naturally didn't respond. "It was enough to end the war," she continued. "I mean, there was a lot of conflict about it, but it all worked out in the end. Now we all kinda live together. Although, most humans are afraid of us." The monster shook her head. "But, that makes sense. We attacked them, you know? Which..." she paused, "...I realize that it wasn't the smartest course of action on my part."
Her hands stroked her ponytail, as they again needed something to do. "Speaking of me...um, I'm not empress anymore. That's something good." She gazed down at her feet. "I don't think I make for the best ruler honestly. Now that I think about it, I wasn't very good at all. I just got really angry at everything, and mainly focused on killing the humans."
Her hands stayed still. "...but mostly you."
She looked at the raised ground again, her brow furrowed. "I still hate you for what you did," she cleared. "And I really hate you for what you made me do."
The monster laid her arms at her sides. "You knew I was hesitating, and that I might not kill you. But using me as a tool like that was just sick. Like, really sick."
She turned her head to the side, refusing to look at the lump of dirt. "Though, I've had a lot of time to think," she spoke. "And I'm starting to realize why you did it." Her hand grasped her opposite arm, as she examined the forest floor. "You really were sorry, weren't you? You.....you actually felt guilty." Her inspection moved back to the lifted ground. "And you really wanted to die. But I get it. I understand now."
The monster knelt down on the dirt, her eye fixated on the grave. "You killed so many monsters," she said. "Not just a few, but a lot. That kind of guilt could drive anyone to do drastic things." She laid her cobalt hand atop the raise. "I get what you were doing. In fact, I feel a little bad for you."
She looked away for a moment. "But I'm not making up excuses for you. You should have been punished." She eyed the site before her. "But not like this."
She rose from the soil, still staring at the tomb she had dug all those years ago. Her hand fingered the carved image upon the bark of a tree, one that loomed over the raised earth. The etching of a heart, which she herself had placed there as well. She hadn't known the name of the human, nor did she know her date of birth, or even her date of death. The one thing she did know, however, was that the human had possessed a soul unlike any other. One that could bring about incredible things, carry out the impossible, even cheat the laws of death.
Which is perhaps what saddened Undyne the most.
For as she stood over the grave of her enemy, the memorial of a soul of wonders, the human wasn't alive.
Which meant that she had chosen to die, and to make it permanent.
Undyne, as melancholy as she was, peaked a smile. "Well," she said, "wherever you are, you little punk, I hope you're happy."
And she walked away, leaving the human's body, the very being that she would never fully understand, at peace.
The tree towered over the tomb as it always had, never failing to mark her place of rest.