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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200. A Helping Hand

Ty starts his third day working as a waiter at the MTT Resort hotel by being introduced to his manager. She’d come back from vacation with her husband, so his hiring process had been handled by her assistant manager. He’d only heard good things about Bo, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous. After all, first impressions are everything and he wants to make a good one.

He’s certain he doesn’t.

She goes to shake his hand and he doesn’t even think about it, he just does it and he can’t help but see the involuntary flinch and the way she tries to wipe her hand off on her apron without him noticing. He notices. He always notices. The worst thing (well, one of the worst things) about being a water elemental is that most people just don’t like feeling damp all the time. Ty tries not to take offense and doesn’t acknowledge her reaction. She tells him it was nice to meet him and sends him off to work.

Fire elementals have it easy. People can snuggle up with a nice, warm fire elemental. The only time people wanted to snuggle up with him was in the middle of summer. And only if they didn’t mind having to dry off later. He even had to get a special uniform for work, fabric treated with that stuff that made it waterproof so he didn’t perpetually look like he’d been caught in a downpour.

It’s a hell of a way to start his first day waiting tables solo. He spends the first hour worrying about what Bo must think of him, feeling self-conscious of every damp spot he leaves on a tablecloth or the droplets of water on the rim of a plate. Thinking solid thoughts, he does everything he can to try and keep himself from dripping on the place settings. It works, for the most part.

Unfortunately, all that focus on himself means that he’s neglecting attention elsewhere. He realizes that he’s accidentally skipped one of his new tables, so he hurries over to them, cursing himself under his breath.

“I’m sorry for the wait,” he says, looking at the blended party of humans and monsters. His voice is slick and slippery, with an odd, bubbling undulation. “What can I get you to drink?”

One of the humans, a young woman, squints in the vicinity of the garish, pink name tag pinned to his crisp dress shirt. “Tide?” she asks, looking up at him with a sly smile. “Like the detergent?”

The rest of her party laughs and he grips his small notepad a little tighter in his hand, grateful for his lack of a persistent mouth so he doesn’t have to force a smile. Of course not like the detergent! Like the ocean! The ocean his parents had hoped he’d one day get the chance to see, even though they never got to.

He makes a mental note to ask Bo if there’s any way he can get a new nametag. “Please, just ‘Ty’ is fine,” he says smoothly. “Now what can I get for you today?”

The woman pouts a little when she realizes he didn’t appreciate her attempt at a joke, but doesn’t say anything else. That’s a relief. Once he’s done getting their drink orders he hurries off to make sure one of his other tables is enjoying their food and then heads towards the bar.

When is his break? He hopes it’s soon. But those hopes are dashed when he sees he’s still got another hour until he can hide in the back for fifteen minutes and try to get his shit together.

Ty rattles off a drink order to one of the bartenders, mixing up two of them before correcting himself, then pivots on the heel of his stiff, shiny black shoes. There’s the familiar pressure of his wings brushing against something, and the soft gasp right behind him tells him that he screwed up.

Of course it’s Bo. How could his day get any worse? She’s doing her best not to look upset, he thinks, smoothing her hand over the now-damp splotch across half her pinstripe vest.

Opening his mouth to apologize, Bo cuts him off. “It’s fine,” she insists, giving him a reassuring smile. “Honey, don’t worry about it. I was about to leave anyway, I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay.”

“I’m so sorry!” he blurts out anyway.

She fixes him with a steady look with her big blue eyes, clasping his hands in hers. She doesn’t flinch or make a face this time, just gives him a comforting squeeze. “Sweetheart, you didn’t do anything wrong, I should have been more careful. Do you need to take a minute? Which section is yours, if you want to go to the back and calm down I can make sure everybody’s doing okay.”

He’s tempted. He’s so tempted. “No, you don’t need to do that!” he says, shaking his head. “I’m okay. I just…” He just can’t let himself look like even more of a mess in front of his new boss!

“You’re still new, and I remember what it was like when I first got hired,” Bo says, a wry smile curving her mouth. She gives his hands one last squeeze and lets him go. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, Ty. People are here for you if you need it.”

Oh. He hadn’t expected that. It must show on his face because her smile turns sympathetic. “I will,” he says, tucking his wet, watery wings extra close against his back. He reaches back absently to check they’re not sticking out where they can hit anyone else.

Bo sure is nice, and pretty, and… Oh. And married. He notices it the second he gives in to his curiosity and listens to her Soul, the two songs mingled together into a full harmony. But why is it getting louder?

“Bo, you ready to go?”

A blonde human walks up beside her, and there’s a sharp spike in the intensity of her Soul as she turns to look at him, eyes lighting up. Oh, is this…? She’s married to a human. Ty tries not to stare, turning his attention away from her Soul abruptly, very much disinterested in hearing or feeling any more. The human seems to finally realize that he’s there, glancing up at him as he rests a hand on Bo’s shoulder. It’s an odd, sort of defensive gesture that leaves Ty feeling confused. What could he have to feel defensive about? They’re married. Harmonized. There’s nothing that can threaten that.

“Oh, sorry, were you two talking?” he asks, eyes flicking towards Bo again as she reaches up to cover his hand with her own.

“You’re fine, baby,” Bo says affectionately. Then she looks at Ty again. “Are you going to be okay?”

“Yes ma’am,” he blurts out, maybe too fast.

Bo gives him one last, long look before taking her husband’s hand and threading their fingers together. “Okay, honey. Just remember what I said and I’ll see you tomorrow. If you have any problems let me know.”

Ty just bobs in head in agreement.

As Bo and her husband turn to go, he hears the human say, “So who was that? And why are you wet?” He doesn’t get to hear her response.

The rest of his shift isn’t much better. He’s never been good at asking for help, and that isn’t about to change any time soon. Working until close is great for tips, but by the time he’s able to leave Ty feels like he’s been chewed up and spat back out. And it’s the middle of the week! Not even a peak restaurant day! He hopes that with a few more days under his belt that the weekend won’t be quite so scary.

Loosening the top button of his shirt and rubbing the side of his neck, the night air is cool as he stands at the bus stop in front of the MTT Resort to wait for his ride. With September around the corner, more than just the nights will be cool. Some of the other waiters were talking about business settling down in the fall, too, with less people traveling. Just his luck that he’d start in the middle of tourist season.

But he’d needed the job. When things didn’t work out at the grocery store, or the clothing shop, or the healer’s clinic, or… anyplace else, he’d applied at the resort. There’d been a time where he swore he’d never work for Mettaton, not after seeing how obnoxious he’d been back in the Underground (why did so many people love the guy?). But he was more owner than manager now, off of Mt. Ebott more often than he was on it, and the people he’d put in charge seem nice enough. He definitely likes Bo.

The bus rolls up after a few minutes. Ty never has to wait long; whatever natural inclination the Busperson (and all their family) has for public transportation it seems to gift them with a sixth sense for a person in need. He’s had the displeasure of experiencing the human transit system and there’s just no comparison. The door opens and the hooded figure inside gives him a polite nod as he takes his usual seat.

The rest of the bus is empty this late, nearly midnight. He wonders if he should talk with the Busperson but he just doesn’t have it in him. Too many hours of too many forced friendly conversations have left him mentally drained and very ready to just crawl in bed and get some sleep. He leans his head against the window and stares out at the woods on the side of the road, watching the trees whip past and fade back into the dark. The vibration of the bus and the soft sound of the Busperson humming to themselves is oddly soothing.

Ty thinks he must have drifted off for a few minutes because before he realizes it the bus is pulling to a stop on the outskirts of Lakeside. He lurches to his feet and makes his way to the front. But the doors aren’t open.

“Mind your feet,” the Busperson says, turning to look at him. He wonders, not for the first time, what they look like under that hood. An odd shiver runs up his back. “You wouldn’t want to trip and fall.”

“Okay,” Ty says, fidgeting with the collar of his shirt. “Uh, thanks.”

For a moment the Busperson just stares, not moving, until they give him a nod and reach over to push the lever that opens the door. Ty doesn’t waste any time hurrying down the steps and off the bus.

As the bus rolls away he’s left alone on the sidewalk on the wooded road. His house is a short walk away, past a stand of trees and a small playground. He starts heading that way. It would be nice if, as the only passenger, the Busperson could have dropped him off just a bit further down the road, but they had rules about that sort of thing. They have set stops and don’t diverge from them.

A breeze ruffles the leaves overhead and Ty shoves his hands in his pockets, fanning out the watery span of his wings for the first time in hours. The quiet and the solitude is a welcome respite after everything. If he doesn’t think about it too hard, the sound of the wind through the trees sounds almost like rushing water. He should go to the beach again sometime, it’s been a while…

Ty tips his head back to look up at the moon, thinking fondly of his bed, when something strikes hard against his ankles and sends him sprawling forward face-first to the pavement. Pain shoots up his arms as he catches himself with his hands and he bites back a sharp yelp. There’s a moment —a brief, naive moment he desperately wants back— where he thinks he just tripped over something. But when he rolls to his side and cranes himself to look for what he hit, there’s a blur of eerie, ghostly-pale flesh and a huge hand closes around his legs and hoists him, upside-down, into the air.

He has a second of clarity as he stares into seven different colored eyes set into a featureless face, and opens his mouth to try and scream for help.

A second hand engulfs his head and shoulders. Ty claws at the thick fingers, trying to pry them off even as he knows there’s no way he can be stronger than it. He needs to escape, he needs to—

Ty wills his body to lose its form, to run like the water he’s supposed to be, but the thing cups its hands and catches him as he’s about to slip away. It’s carrying him off into the woods.

“Magic,” it mutters to itself with too many voices than one creature should ever have, all speaking at once. “Need more. No! We need answers. We need magic.”

Ty starts to reform himself again, lashing out against the fingers all around him, keeping him caged in.

“Too empty. Too quiet. Too loud. Too much,” it says, and Ty is starting to feel strange. A faint white glow of magic —his magic— illuminates the cramped, dark space and he realizes that he’s losing it. It’s being siphoned out of him. “Magic is gone, need more. 

Panic and fear sends him driving against the hands still, trying to press into the gaps, desperately doing everything he can to try and escape. But it’s not enough. He’s getting weaker and weaker and he thinks…

“This is better,” the creature says, closing the space between its hands. “This is enough, for now.”

Ty thinks he’s dying.

Then he sifts away into dust.

   
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