Would That Make You Happy?

Frisk is your child, the result of a teen pregnancy, but they've always been told that you're their older sister. In an effort to get away from your own abusive mother, the two of you end up falling into the Underground, where Sans is startled by this abrupt change in what had become a predictable pattern of events. Maybe your presence is what is needed to stop the endless cycle of Resets.

After many struggles, both internal and external, you and your found family reach the surface, only to face even more difficulties from the society you weren't sure you'd ever see again. You meet new friends and encounter people from your past, though for good or ill, you're not sure. Sometimes it's difficult to tell kindness from cunning.

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155. A Birthday

"Frisk is still mad at me."

You see Sans's head turn sharply out of the corner of your eye but you don't look at him, instead focusing on the road. He's in the passenger seat of your car, balancing a plastic cake carrier in his lap as the two of you head to Undyne and Alphys's house. They offered to host Deacon's birthday party, and out of your few options they really had the best place for it. Built right along the lake's shore, it was the favorite hangout spot last year before the weather started turning cold. 

"frisk isn't mad at you," Sans says, drumming his fingers on the cake carrier.

"They've been ignoring me all week. Sans, you had to remind them to kiss me goodbye before taking them to Toriel's," you say, wincing and hunching your shoulders.

"well... i, uh..."

"See!"

"babe, c'mon," he says with a sigh. "it's not like they're gonna stay mad at you forever. remember that two weeks last year when they pretended i didn't exist? all cuz i snapped at asriel?"

"And I remember spending most of that two weeks trying to convince them not to be mad at you," you say with no small amount of bitterness. "I'm not exactly seeing you trying anything similar."

"let the kid be upset. they're allowed."

"I'm not saying Frisk isn't allowed to be upset!" you snap, letting out a frustrated sound. "Not that you seem too worried about it, now that you're the favorite."

"'the favorite'? hope..." He trails off, an agitated sigh hissing through his teeth. "they're just upset about the whole chris thing. y'know, dad stuff?"

You don't say anything. Yes, sure, maybe the reason they'd been preferring Sans all week was to reassure themselves of his place as their dad. But it didn't make their neglect of you any less painful. You know, deep down, that getting frustrated at Sans —or even with Frisk— is unfair, but you can't help it. This whole situation just feels unfair.

"it'll blow over. they're seven, you think they have the attention span to hold a grudge?" he says carefully, reaching over and touching your arm.

You ignore it, resisting his efforts to placate you. "Forget it. I shouldn't have brought it up."

"babe—"

"Forget it. You're right, I'm just overreacting."

"i never said you were overreacting," he says, and you can hear the frustration buried in his tone.

"You didn't need to," you mutter under your breath.

Sans starts to say something but he falls silent as you both catch sight of a military jeep headed your direction up ahead. You watch, apprehension twisting in your already tight chest, as it approaches and then passes you without incident. What used to be a familiar, almost comforting sight now fills you with anxiety, and suddenly this squabble over Frisk feels petty and insignificant. So far there hadn't been any incidents with the new soldiers, but from what you'd heard the past couple days, things are much more tense.

"been seeing these new guys around a lot more, especially in the residential areas," Sans says quietly, as if someone might overhear him.

"Did you hear from Papyrus last night? Did he and Mettaton get back okay?" you ask, pushing aside your frustration to focus on this instead.

He senses it too, reaching for your hand. You give it to him, a silent apology as you squeeze one another. "yeah. checked in with him around curfew, let me know the two of them got back safe."

"They keep cutting it close."

"i know. believe me, i talked to him about it."

"Good. I just... the fact that Asgore's worried..." you trail off, biting your lip.

"yeah. me too," he says, rubbing his thumb over your skin. "but, hey, we're gonna have fun today, right? nothing the soldiers can do about that."

"Yeah... Yeah, you're right," you say, giving Sans a hesitant smile.

Sans was wrong.

Well, sort of.

"Absolutely outrageous!" Mettaton exclaims, resting a hand on his chest with his nose in the air as he talks to Alphys. The moment he and Papyrus arrived he was ready to complain, and unfortunately for the doctor, her fiancée was too busy with the grill to protect her. Which left Alphys defenseless, clutching her drink in both hands as she just looks up at him and gives a feeble nod. "We were back with a full fifteen minutes to spare, and those horrid excuses for soldiers harassed us! Tried to insinuate that we were imposing on them! As if we were the ones that decided on this idiotic curfew!"

Papyrus is sweating nervously, avoiding Sans's gaze as his brother watches him. This is... not the story that he'd been given, you're sure. You look at your husband and you can see the tightness in the corners of his smile.

"My director is already frustrated that I can't stay any later, and now I have to tell her that I have to leave earlier?" Mettaton scoffs, tossing his hair out of his face and pursing his lips. "Outrageous," he says again with an elegant frown.

"A-Asgore already spoke with Undyne too," Alphys says quietly, her expression faltering. She takes a quick glance over at the fish monster and back up at Mettaton. "About our w-wedding. He's worried that they won't let us get m-married at the beach like we wanted."

"What?" you blurt out, brow furrowing. "That's bullshit! We have every right to go past the Line within curfew! They can't just stop you."

"Darling I'm so sorry," Mettaton says, clasping her hands between his as he bends over to look her in the eye, claiming her attention. You grumble and look down at your drink, but Sans touches your back. At least your anger on her behalf wasn't completely unnoticed. "That's awful. As I said before, if you need a venue, I'm more than happy to host everyone at the hotel."

"We're already th-thinking about just having it here at the lake instead. So we can still do an outdoor ceremony, and still by the water. J-just... different water," she says weakly, looking away.

"Whatever you want," he insists. "I'll do everything I can to make sure your special day is just that! Special."

"Thanks M-Mettaton," she says, giving him a wobbly smile.

The sliding glass door leading from the house to the back deck scrapes open, drawing everyone's attention. Deacon and Bo step out to join the rest of you, the former with a pleased but embarrassed smile on his face as he takes everyone in. His eyes meet yours and you greet him with a big grin.

"Uh, hey everybody," Deacon says, glancing over at Bo with something like uncertainty. Like he's not sure what to do with all this attention. She gives him an encouraging look, filled with affection as she nudges him further outside.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Papyrus exclaims, beaming and probably glad for the shift in focus away from talk of the soldiers. "NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE WE CAN STOP TALKING ABOUT UPSETTING THINGS AND CELEBRATE YOU TURNING ONE YEAR OLDER INSTEAD!"

Everyone gathers around to welcome and and wish him a happy birthday. Mettaton is warm and friendly, Alphys stutters but gives him a big smile as she points out the table covered in food and presents. Bo has to step in as Undyne puts him into a headlock to give him a 'birthday noogie', and Papyrus commiserates with Deacon after the fact about all of the 'just because' noogies that he's had to endure. Undyne tackles him and gives him a 'for whining about noogies' noogie in retaliation.

After everyone else has their turn, Deacon gives you a slightly desperate look and you can't help but laugh, wrapping him up in a hug and then pulling him aside to the food table. There, front and center, is his cake. You'd never been especially skilled at cake decorating, but with the right frosting tips you'd managed a nice swirled trim in green over pink, strawberry icing. The words 'Happy 25th Birthday Deacon!' are a little wobbly, but legible.

"Oh man, that looks delicious," he says, grinning from ear to ear. "Hope, you're the best."

"There's sliced strawberry filling inside between the layers," you say, a little smug.

"I could kiss you," he says, then puts his arm around your shoulders. "Screw it, I will kiss you."

As you let out an embarrassed laugh, he holds you as you try weakly to squirm away and plants a kiss on your temple. Giggling, you push him away. "Being around Bo is rubbing off on you. You never would have done that when we first met," you say.

"There's a lot of things I wouldn't have done when we first met," he says, his smile sobering just a little. "And it's not just Bo. It's you, and everybody... even Sans." He rolls his eyes but it's just for show. "Thank you. For the cake, and everything."

"You're welcome. You deserve a nice birthday," you say, nudging him with your shoulder.

He doesn't answer, just smiles.

Talk stays away from the soldiers and the Line, and with the shift in mood everyone has a good time. Undyne handles the grill, which results in some... seriously charred hot dogs that you have to scrape off with a knife before they're edible. After that Mettaton takes over to make sure that the burgers don't meet the same fate. Once everyone has eaten you gather around to sing 'Happy Birthday', which leaves Deacon pink-faced and embarrassed as he blows out the big candles shaped like a 2 and a 5. (Papyrus is not pleased with the candle situation, but lets it go quickly enough.)

As Mettaton is cutting the cake (after having to wrestle the knife away from Undyne) Deacon opens his presents. Most of it is simple things that everyone knows he likes, like books and movies. The little box from you seems almost out of place as he picks it up and looks over at you with a question in his eyes.

"It's something you've wanted for a while," you tell him, grinning.

He rips the paper and opens the little box, eyes darting back up to yours. "Oh my god, I can't believe you."

"What? What is it?" Undyne asks, craning her neck.

Deacon pulls out the thick, braided friendship bracelet woven in greens and burgundys to match your Soul colors. As he looks back at you again, you fish a thinner, matching one out of your pocket and slip it on.

"There, now you can stop bitching about it," you tease, and he starts laughing.

"Next thing you know we'll be having slumber parties and talking about boys," he says but you can tell he's pleased. He takes a moment to tie it around his left wrist and give you a smile before moving to the rest of his gifts.

Later, after cake, everyone is gathered around talking. You suspect the party is going to be over soon; you can already see Mettaton getting a little fidgety and Bo has sneaked a peek at her phone twice already when she thinks no one is looking. You can't blame her for wanting to have Deacon to herself for the rest of the day.

"Hey, so are you ready for the camping trip next weekend?" Deacon asks Sans, taking advantage of a break in conversation to change the subject.

"oh, yeah, that's coming up isn't it? almost forgot," Sans says with a shrug.

Sans had agreed to help Deacon and Leveretta chaperone a camping trip for Frisk's class to make up for the botched zoo trip last month. Normally you'd be going in Sans's place, but Frisk insisted on wanting their dad to go instead so he could bring his telescope. The decision had been made before the incident with Chris, but you still can't help but feel a little annoyed and left out. Again. But you keep it to yourself.

Besides, you have a weekend with Undyne, Alphys, and Bo planned. Bo had even managed to get the days off (thanks to some finagling from Alphys with Mettaton, you suspect). You've been meaning to spend more time with them, and this is your opportunity. As strange as it'll be to be separated from your husband, you're looking forward to it.

"No need to sound so excited," Deacon says with a laugh.

"I KNOW THAT SOMETIMES IT'S HARD TO TELL, BUT I'M FAIRLY CERTAIN THAT WAS NOT SANS'S EXCITED VOICE," Papyrus says, and you cover your mouth to hide your smile. 

"i'm sure i'll have a good time with frisk and the kids," Sans says evenly, his expression passive.

"Well YOU may be acting like a wet blanket," Undyne cuts in, rolling her eye. "But that doesn't mean you get to change your mind. Hope is OURS for the weekend! GIRL'S NIGHT! For two nights!"

"You're not fooling anyone Sans. We're friends now, just accept it." Deacon gives Sans his biggest, brightest grin and your husband rolls his eyes.

"only by association," he says, but you can tell he's trying not to smile.

"I finally wore you down. This is the best birthday present ever."

   
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