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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127. A Chance

It's just you and Sans tonight for dinner. Frisk is with Toriel and Asriel, and Papyrus is with Mettaton, so your fiancé said he'd stop by Grillby's on his way home from the lab to get food. So without even cooking to distract you, all you can do is wait.

Normally you'd be savoring this quiet time alone in the house, but right now, with only your thoughts for company, you can't stand it. You debate turning on the TV but you can't think of anything you'd want to watch. You look at the row of bookshelves and there's nothing you want to read. Instead, you just sit there on the couch, your eyes drawn to your phone as it sits silently on the coffee table.

Deacon offered to listen to the voicemail for you, to tell you if there was anything in it you needed to hear. But as much as you care about and trust Deacon, it didn't feel right that he be the one to do that for you. You promised that you would have Sans listen to it instead. The only problem with that plan is this horrible waiting.

Twice you come close to listening to the message yourself. You have your phone to your ear, the automated recording for your mailbox is playing, listing off your options before you catch yourself and hang up. Setting it back down on the table, you flip it over so your screen is face down, hiding the blinking notification light. What does she want? To demand you see her for Christmas? To yell at you for keeping her grandchild away from her? To make you feel even worse than you already do, because that guilt from Thanksgiving still hasn't left. She's your mother, and as much as you wish it wasn't true, that you could just tear yourself away from her, you feel this... obligation. A responsibility to be available, just in case.

Just in case of what? An emergency? If something happened, if you got a call because she was sick and needed you, or if she was in danger, would you go? Would you help her? You would, you know that you would. She doesn't have anyone else. She was an only child, and your grandparents died before you were born. After your dad died, she was alone. Alone with a five year old that people didn't believe was hers.

You remember the rude comments, asking if you were adopted. Or wondering if your father ran out on the two of you. It wasn't until you were older that you understood why people thought it was appropriate to ask this white woman about her brown daughter. That you'd been confronted with racism since before you ever knew what the word meant.

Kim had protected you, defended you as best she could. You'll never forget the times she had turned her barbed tongue on people who doubted your father's presence in your life just because of his race. You remember the times when she used to be strong for you. But then time went on and the world wore her down and her cruel words turned on you and she wasn't strong anymore. She started to drink and her words were joined by raised hands.

You just can't forget the woman she was because of the woman she became. It's why you can't bring yourself to change her name in your phone, why she's still listed under 'Mom'. Because the person who used to love you is still in her somewhere, and you just miss her so much.

The front door opens and you jump, dropping your phone back on the coffee table. When had you picked it up again? And why do you feel like you almost got caught doing something wrong?

"babe?" Sans calls out to the house, and you hear him shuffling in the foyer.

"I'm in the living room," you answer. You force yourself to sit back and relax into the couch, crossing your legs and folding your hands in your lap.

He appears in the doorway, in his track shorts and black t-shirt, having left his jacket in the hall. He's got a plastic bag in one hand, inside which are a pair of familiar takeout boxes. Smiling, he crosses the room and leans down to nuzzle your cheek before flopping down onto the couch next to you.

"talked to grillby about coming to our rite on the first. told him that deacon'll be there but he doesn't mind. said he'd come. i was probably worried for nothing," Sans says, handing you your dinner. He seems preoccupied, which explains why he doesn't immediately sense there's something bothering you. Normally he catches these things a lot faster.

"I can't imagine Grillby would let Deacon get in the way of being there for you," you say. Your mother can wait. For now you just want to enjoy your dinner and some time with Sans. "He's your friend."

"yeah, that's what he said, too." He grins and takes a big bite of his burger. "have you talked to mettaton about clothes yet? as much as i hate to admit it, he did a damn good job dressing us up before."

You shake your head as you chew and hurry to swallow. "Not yet. I've been meaning to."

Talk of your upcoming wedding keeps you distracted as you eat. There isn't much to plan, considering that you're keeping it a small affair and Toriel insists on handling much of the preparations. At this point it seems like you're just expected to dress nice and show up. Which is fine by you, big events were never exactly your thing anyway.

As you finish up dinner, you know you can't put it off any longer. "So..." you begin, hesitating as you wait for Sans to meet your eyes. He leans back against the couch and drapes his arm around your shoulders. "My mom called me at lunch today."

His reaction is immediate and visceral. The lights in his eyes search your face and he reaches for your hand, his jaw and his whole body going tense beside you. "what did she want? are you ok?"

You swallow, but his concern makes you feel a little better. Because no matter what at least you have him here with you. "I don't know what she wants. I didn't answer. She left a voicemail but I haven't listened to it. I thought you might check it for me."

"why don't you just delete it?" he asks gently, rubbing your fingers with his thumb.

"What if it's something serious? I can't... I just want to know," you mumble, looking away.

There's a pause and then Sans squeezes your hand before letting you go to reach for your phone. He gives you a small, resigned sigh before keying in to your voicemail and standing up from the couch. You watch as he crosses his arm over his chest, frowning as he listens. He's far enough away that you can't hear the call, so all you have to go by is the changes in his expression. The way his frown deepens, and how his mouth shifts as if he were curling a lip into something like a sneer. Your stomach twists into knots and you chew on the inside of your lip, waiting.

Finally, after about a minute, he lowers the phone and ends the call, shaking his head. "she tried to apologize for what she did to you on thanksgiving," he says, walking back over to you and handing you your phone. Sans sits down and scoffs. "and said she wanted to talk to you. she actually thinks that now that the line is open both ways you'd be willing to go see her. now that i can go with you."

You look down at the dark screen in your hands, unsure of what to think or how to feel. Sans seems certain that you don't care about what she has to say, but...

There's a warm, smooth hand on your cheek and with gentle pressure he tilts your head to look at him. "she doesn't deserve your forgiveness," he says, stroking his thumb beneath your eye.

You bite your lip, glancing away. "If she wants to apologize, shouldn't I hear her out?"

"hope," he says, a hint of exasperation in his voice. "she tried to apologize. we've done this already. we went to see her five months ago and she showed you she wasn't worth it."

"I know..."

His hand on your face tenses. "you need to cut her out of your life, block her number—"

"I can't," you say. There's an ache in your chest you just wish would go away. If only it was that easy, to just rip out the parts that hurt. "Sans, she's still my mother."

"what she did was bad enough to have you take frisk and run. you went up a mountain where people disappear. she's the reason you came to ebott, and the reason frisk ever fell into the underground in the first place!" He's gritting his teeth, frustration with you and anger at Kim rising beneath the surface. Dropping his hand from your face, he balls it into a fist as his pupils turn small and sharp.

"Which means that she's the reason I met you. The reason you even made it to the surface at all."

"don't. don't try to turn what she did into something good," he bites out, leaning back and giving you an anguished look.

"It's the only thing I can do, Sans," you mumble, sighing.

"babe, i don't want you to give her the chance to hurt you again, please." 

It's tempting. So tempting to just listen to Sans, to let him protect you and keep you safe like he wants. But it's not that simple. It's never been that simple. Your eyes swim with tears and you watch his expression soften. "But what if that means giving up the chance to get my mother back? I can't spend the rest of my life wondering if I made the right choice. I need to take that risk, but—" Your voice catches and you wipe at your face as you start to cry. "But I need you to help me. Sans, I need you on my side."

He searches your face and for a second you're scared he's going to refuse. To tell you that you're being an idiot and that you should just do as he says. But he sighs and gathers you up into his arms, holding you close. "i'm always gonna be on your side, babe. i've got you."

It takes you almost half an hour to gather your courage, to compose yourself to listen to your mother's voicemail. She sounds so sincere, so honestly remorseful you hope you're making the right choice. That maybe, if you just talk to her on your terms that maybe you can salvage some kind of relationship with this woman. You can let her back into your life. Into Frisk's life.

Sans has his arm around your shoulders, holding you, supporting you as you stare at her number in your contacts list. You know he wants you to change your mind but isn't pushing one way or the other. Whatever you decide, he'll be there. It helps you when you finally hit the call button and raise your phone to your ear, looking at this wonderful man who loves you as he gives you a small squeeze. He might think you're making the wrong decision, but he's still letting you make it yourself. He won't take that away from you.

Your heart is pounding in your chest and you swallow through the tightness in your throat as the phone rings. For a moment you think you'll be spared this conversation for now, even as you dread the idea of having to try again later. But on the fourth ring the call connects.

"Hello?" Kim says, and you think you hear the television in the background.

"Hey, it's me," you say, your voice strained. Sans is rubbing between your shoulders. "I... got your message."

"Oh, sweetheart!" she says, and the actual, real happiness in her voice makes your heart ache. She must turn the TV off because all of a sudden it sounds quieter on her end. "I wasn't sure if you would call me back, but I thought I should try... Hope I just—"

"Mother," you cut in, scrambling for some kind of control of this conversation. You can't let her take it from you, not right now. "Before I agree to anything, to seeing you or... or forgiving you, I just need to know. Why did you even call me on Thanksgiving? Just to... make me feel guilty?" Clenching your jaw, you take in a steadying breath. "Because you never even—"

"Hope—"

"No! You're going to let me finish!" you snap, and Sans tightens his hold on you. He gives you a little nod and a weak smile, encouraging you. "You never even asked me to come see you on Thanksgiving. Or gave me any sign you wanted to come see me. You don't get to just call me out of the blue to try and ruin my holiday with my family out of spite!"

There's a beat of silence where you think she's gathering the strength to yell at you. Or she's going to hang up. It goes on long enough that you start to feel worried, or that maybe she didn't hear you.

"...I know," Kim says quietly, and you think that's the last thing you were really expecting. "There's nothing I can say that'll make what I did right. I've got no excuse aside from being lonely, and having one too many drinks because of it. You know what that stuff does to me."

You rub your cheek, bowing your head and cradling it in your hand. "When's the last time you drank?"

"Thanksgiving. I've been trying to be better. Sweetheart I just want to see you and Frisk so bad, I miss you both so much. You're all I have." You're trembling, trying your hardest not to let her know how much she's affecting you. How hard you're hoping that she's actually wanting to change. "Please. We can meet somewhere for lunch, anywhere you want. Out in public if that's easier for you. You can bring your fiancé, in fact I hope you do. I'd like to meet him properly, this time."

Looking up at Sans, he's just watching you. Waiting for your decision. You lean forward against him, resting your forehead on his clavicle. He wraps his arms around you and you feel his chin rest on top of you.

"Are you working on Saturday?" you ask, a twist of anticipation making you squirm.

"I can get the time off," Kim says, and you can hear the excitement in her voice. You almost smile. Almost.

"I want to go to Irene's for lunch," you say. Irene's is the restaurant you used to work at, a small family-owned place run by an acquaintance of Kim's. "I still haven't gone by to say hi since I got back."

"I'm sure they'll be excited to see you. I am too."

"Okay. I have to go, so we'll see you on Saturday."

"All right. I'll see you then. I love you."

You swallow, your eyes stinging. "I love you, too," you manage to say, then hang up the phone before drawing in a shuddering breath.

Sans pulls you closer to him, into his lap as you wrap your arms around his chest and fight back the tears threatening to spill over. You're still shaking, even as he tries to soothe you with one hand rubbing up and down your spine. "you did great, babe. you said what you needed to say and you're meeting on your terms. you did great."

"Why is this so hard?" you blurt out, hugging him tight.

He lets out a soft sigh, but doesn't answer.

   
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