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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191. A Homecoming

“I should get dinner started,” you say out loud, to no one in particular.

“Huh?” Deacon looks away from the television, pausing the game he’s playing. Frisk had shown him some new fantasy game they’d gotten while he was gone, something involving dragons, and he’s been playing it since he came over a couple hours ago. After he’d gone to talk to Morwenna. You’ve been half-watching, half reading a book, curled up on the couch with your feet tucked behind Deacon’s back. “What time is it?”

You arch a brow, giving him an indulgent smile before glancing at the clock. “Dinner-making time,” you say, sighing. “At least if I want it done when Sans gets home. Are you staying? Bo has to work tonight, right?”

“Yeah, she won’t be home until late,” he says, following your gaze towards the time. “What are you making?”

“I’ve got a few options, do you have any—”

“Meatloaf,” he says immediately, a twinkle in his eye.

“Why do I even bother asking,” you laugh, giving him a wry look. “You only ever suggest the one thing.”

“Because it’s my favorite thing.” His face cracks into his most winning smile, and you already know you can’t deny your horrible best friend anything. You can’t resist making the dork happy. “It’s been over a month ,” he says, as if it’s the worst thing he’s ever endured.

“What if I don’t have the ingredients to make meatloaf?” You slip your bookmark between the pages you’re reading, setting the book aside. He just scoffs in disbelief. “Fine, fine,” you mutter, fighting against a grin but losing. You nudge him with your toes. “Come keep me company. Tell me more about your trip while you peel the potatoes.”

Deacon follows you as you get up to walk towards the kitchen, leaving the game paused in the living room. He knows his way around your house almost as well as his own, so he doesn’t need your help to step into the pantry and pull out things you need. You pass him the peeler as he sets a handful of potatoes down on the cutting board beside you. Side by side, you start preparing dinner.

“I’ve already told you most of the interesting stuff,” Deacon admits as he drags the peeler over the first potato. The soft metallic sound of the blade fills the air between you. His brow furrows as he thinks, emphasising just for a moment the lines in the corners of his eyes. They’re not noticeable enough for you to consider them wrinkles —he’s only thirty after all— but they’re a small hint that you’re both getting older. You wonder, vaguely, if Sans will ever show any obvious signs of aging as you grow old together. His eyebrows jump up as he says, “Oh! Did I tell you about the little girl we met in Albuquerque?”

“No?” you say, curious.

He grins brightly, glancing over at you before returning his attention to the task at hand. “So this little girl, we were getting some food, right? She’s watching the two of us as we get up to the counter to order, and I’m pretty sure her mom was really embarrassed that she was staring. Probably waiting for her to say something inappropriate, on accident. So we put in our order and Bo sees that this girl has been watching us, so she goes right over to her and her mom so we can wait for our food. And I follow her, because what else can I do?” Deacon shrugs, making a helpless gesture even as he’s smiling. He sets the first potato aside and starts working on the second as you finish crushing a sleeve of saltines. “The girl keeps glancing over at her, this sort of worried look on her face, and looks like she’s about to explode. She obviously has something to say. And finallyshe just blurts out: ‘Why didn’t they finish shearing you, aren’t you hot?’”

Deacon tries to smother his laughter as you start to giggle, covering your mouth with the back of your hand. “Oh my god,” you manage to say.

“And her mom just looks scandalized, right? And Bo and I just start laughing our asses off and she isn’t sure if she should be mad at her daughter or what…” He shakes his head, chuckling. “So Bo just gives her a pretty smile and says, ‘Don’t worry sweetie, I grew up in a volcano, this is nothing.’ You should have seen the look on her face, she was so impressed. We ended up eating with the two of them. She had so many questions.”

“I’m sure you made that little girl’s whole year,” you tell him. “That’s something she won’t ever forget.”

He blinks at you. “Oh, do you… think so? I mean, we were just being nice. Her mom thanked us for being patient with her and answering her questions, but I mean… it wasn’t anything special.”

“Not to you, maybe,” you say, giving him a knowing look as you start kneading together the ingredients for the meatloaf. The squelch of raw meat between your fingers is disgusting and oddly satisfying at the same time. “But it was for her. You have to know that was probably the first time she’d ever met a monster before.”

“True…”

“That’s going to be something that changes how she sees the world, Deacon. You guys did a good job.”

When you glance over at him, his expression is uncertain. Conflicted. You thought you were being reassuring, but you must have hit some sort of nerve. It has to be the kid thing again. You want to talk to him about it, to figure out what’s got him so spooked at the idea. It would be simple if he’d just flat out said he didn’t want kids, but he hadn’t. But this is something the he needs to bring up on his own. That’s between him and Bo, and if he wants to get your insight, you’ll give it to him. But their choices on how they want to handle their family is private.

Sometimes staying silently supportive is harder than getting involved.

“So how many of those weird novelty spoons did Bo end up getting this time?” you ask, changing the subject.

That snaps him out of his head, giving you a lopsided smile. “Well she has most of the states already, but she got about five new ones I think? You know, for a collection that started out as a joke, this sure has gotten serious,” he says with a fond laugh. “We made sure to stop somewhere in Wisconsin that had that touristy junk, and she got one at the House on the Rock. Oh, speaking of which, that place is an absolute disaster.” Deacon’s expression turns bewildered, shaking his head as he gets started on the last potato. “It’s like a bad acid trip, covered in wall-to-wall red carpet. Each section of the place was like descending into a new circle of macabre hell. I couldn’t tell if Bo loved it or hated it. You know what, I’m not sure if loved it or hated it. It was just… We scared like ten people because they thought Bo was an attraction at first. That’s how messed up that place is.”

He goes into exhaustive detail over just how bizarre that particular leg of the trip was, keeping you both entertained as you finish up dinner and get it into the oven. You think you read about that place in a book before, the description of the room with the gigantic, monstrous whale and the merry-go-round surrounded by mannequin angels sounds familiar but you’re not sure why.

You’re washing your hands, wondering if you should ask Deacon if he knows, when you hear the front door open.

“Mom?” comes Frisk’s voice, hesitant and a little worried. Oh, what’s going on now?

“In the kitchen, sweetie,” you call back, shutting off the faucet and drying your hands on a dishtowel.

“Can you come here?” they ask, and that has you glancing over at Deacon just as he looks at you.

A silent understanding passes between the two of you, knowing that whatever this is can’t be good. He’s been part of this family long enough to know that Frisk never sounds like that unless something happened. Bracing yourself, you circle the kitchen island with Deacon at your heels.

Frisk and Asriel are standing in the foyer, and with them is a monster you’ve never seen before. He’s vaguely skeletal in a way that seems sort of familiar, dressed in a long black coat. The lights in his eye sockets, ones that look just like your husband’s, brighten at the sight of you, his mouth curving into a smile. You look from him to the children, at their guilty, timid expressions.

Biting back an exasperated sigh, you give the man an apologetic look. “I’m sorry, what did they do this time?” you ask, tucking your hair behind your ear. Your mind immediately goes to the handful of incidents that have happened over the past few years. That time that Asriel accidentally set some shrubs on fire, when they’d come home soaking wet and fully clothed because they’d found a new hot spring about a mile from their clubhouse, or that ordeal with the bees… “Whatever it is, I’m sorry. They’re good kids, I—”

He holds up his hands in a placating gesture. You’re surprised to see he has holes through his palms, and you catch yourself staring. “Please, there’s no need to apologize on their behalf,” he says, and there’s something off about his voice. Something echoey. Then something catches his eye and his attention flits away, over towards the stairwell. And then after a second he looks at you again, briefly glancing at Deacon. “You have a lovely home, and I didn’t realize that I’d be disturbing you and your friend.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” you say reflexively. “Is there something I can help you with? Are you new in the area? I don’t think we’ve met before, I’m Hope.”

It’s not often that you encounter a monster you’re not at least passingly familiar with on Mountainside. Most of them had set down roots the second everyone moved to the surface, and not many had moved after taking residence in their new homes. Had he moved from downtown, maybe? Or even Lakeside?

“I’m Doctor W.D. Gaster, though just Gaster is perfectly fine. In fact I prefer it,” he says, fidgeting with his hands as he watches you. It’s a little strange, the intensity of his gaze as he speaks to you. “It is a pleasure to meet you. I wish we could have met sooner, this is… Ah, I apologize that this is so sudden and unexpected, but perhaps it is for the best to just make this plain. I’m Sans and Papyrus’s father.”

You can only stare at the man —Gaster— with what must be a ridiculous look on your face, silent.

“I’m sorry, what?” Deacon blurts out, having no trouble finding his voice.

Frisk winces, walking over to you and resting their hand on your arm. “Mom—”

“Sans’s father is de—” You catch yourself as you’re about to say ‘dead’. You’d assumed, you both had, that whatever had happened to his father, he was gone. That was something you’d had in common; you’d both lost your fathers. And now, this man is standing here in front of you saying that it isn’t true. “How? How is it possible? Where have you been? And why can’t they remember you? Assuming you’re telling the truth.”

It’s then that you notice the look on Asriel’s face, the frown wrinkling his snout. He’s watching Gaster, shifting closer to you and Deacon as he does so. Frisk, by comparison, is giving you that familiar look. That look that says ‘give him a chance, listen to what he has to say’. You recognize it from your time in the Underground, when they’d convinced you to let them ‘fight’ Papyrus, and befriend Undyne. It’s that ability to see the best in people that you hope they never lose.

Gaster doesn’t notice. His attention is on you, his expression solemn as he nods in understanding. “I cannot blame you for your skepticism, I know my claim is… unbelieveable in the current circumstances. But my son told you about the lab accident, the one that fragmented his memories and involved that machine he keeps in his workshop?”

How can he know that? How can he know about the accident, or that Sans told you, or about that damn machine? He must be able to see the recognition on your face, but he tips his head to the side, waiting for your answer. You nod stiffly.

“That incident resulted in me being pulled out of reality, into a place called the Font. Well, call it the Font, we hadn’t previously known about it until we discovered it by accident. It’s the source of all magic, an incredible place of power,” he says, gesturing with his hands as he speaks. He hesitates, catching himself as he realizes he’s going off on a tangent. “My removal from the natural order caused my existence to be erased from everyone’s memories. The only things left behind were some of my inventions, blueprints… But I’ve been trapped there.”

“And what, you just walked back out?” Deacon interjects, and as you give him a surprised glance you see that he’s frowning. “That doesn’t explain how you got free.”

“Oh!” Gaster says, eyes widening and looking towards Frisk. Their grip tightens on you and they wince. “Frisk and Asriel saved me, however inadvertently. You see, they breached the gap between this world and the Font—”

“They what?” you interject, looking from Asriel to Frisk, each of them wearing matching expressions of guilt and apprehension. Oh, so that’s why they looked so worried.

“It was an accident,” Frisk says immediately, letting you go and taking a step back.

“We didn’t mean to,” Asriel adds.

“Yes, that’s generally the definition of an accident,” you say in a clipped tone. “How did you… What did you do? 

The kids look at each other. For solidarity, maybe. There’s a moment of hesitation where you feel yourself growing frustrated until finally Frisk starts to explain.

“I wanted to try to use my magic with Asriel nearby,” they admit, eyes shifting towards Deacon and back to you.

“Frisk, you promised,” you say, disappointed, and their gaze falls to the ground.

“That was incredibly dangerous,” Deacon says. Unlike you, he sounds a little angry. “Your magic is unpredictable, to mess around with it unsupervised… Frisk you could have seriously hurt yourself. I told you about what happened to me. I almost killed myself because I didn’t know any better when I was a kid.”

“I know,” they mumble, digging the toe of their shoe into the floor.

“It’s my fault,” Asriel says. Frisk’s head jerks up in surprise. “It was my suggestion first, and it was my idea to share our Souls to try and get Frisk’s magic to work right.”

“You…” You and Deacon glance at each other. You both know what it’s like to share your Souls with your monster spouses, how intimate and personal a thing like that is. Frisk and Asriel had always been different, but this… Is this inappropriate? Neither of you seem to know. “And that’s what somehow… what, opened a door to this ‘Font’ place?”

“I can explain the details of the process to you if you’d like,” Gaster says, drawing your attention. “But if it’s any reassurance, it wasn’t just the act of sharing Souls that caused it. Though certainly they will need to be cautious of it in the future. And I mended the tear, it won’t cause any more problems.”

“Well, at least someone knows how to fix holes in the fabric of reality,” Deacon mutters, dragging his fingers through his hair and looking… distinctly overwhelmed. You’re feeling much the same at the moment. “That’s awesome. Wonderful. Hope, this is…” He gives you a desperate look, fisting his hand in his hair. “This is weird. This is the weirdest damn thing and this is taking into consideration all the other weird shit that keeps happening to our family. Frisk especially.”

It goes without saying that he means their ability to manipulate time, he just doesn’t want to say it plainly in front of Gaster.

“Well, one cannot exist without the other,” Gaster says calmly. “This wouldn’t have happened without Frisk’s other abilities. Their red magic, the alterations in time—”

“How do you know about that?” you ask him, reaching out a protective hand for Frisk’s wrist. They slide their palm into yours, holding your hand.

“I’ve been able to watch this world from the Font since I became trapped there. That ability is no longer available to me, but while it was… I was able to watch over my sons.” He pauses, regarding you with a look bordering on fondness. Threading his fingers together, he taps his thumbs against one another. “I’ve been wanting to thank you, Hope, for everything that you’ve done for them. For Sans especially.”

You open your mouth to respond, though you’re not sure of what to say, but Deacon beats you to it.

“Nope. It got weirder,” he says, making a sweeping gesture towards Gaster. “You’re saying that you’ve been watching them this whole time?”

“Deacon,” Gaster says quietly, and you don’t remember ever telling him your friend’s name. “Your skepticism, your concern, your unerring defense of my daughter-in-law are some of my favorite things about you. But please, I’ve been waiting to speak to her for many years now. Allow me this.”

“I’m not leaving them,” he says, stubborn as he rests a hand on your shoulder. You give him a weak smile.

“I didn’t ask you to leave, but I would appreciate it if you didn’t interrupt.”

Deacon is looking at you, a silent question in his eyes. ‘What do you want me to do?’ You quirk your mouth up to the side, just as bewildered as he is, but you give him a small nod. His jaw tenses, but he gives you a nod back.

“I don’t need you to thank me for what I’ve done,” you say to Gaster, biting your lip. “Sans helped me just as much as I helped him. And he…” You hesitate, looking at Gaster. The similarities are obvious now. Their eyes, his skeletal appearance —though not the same as the brothers, it’s not hard to make the comparison. You’re about to continue, but—

“I don’t know,” Gaster says, but you’re not sure what he’s responding to.

“What?” you ask, brow furrowing. He doesn’t seem to hear you. “Well, I was going to ask you if Sans will remember you now that you’re back.”

There’s another pause.

“Gaster, I just—”

“Didn’t I just answer your question?” he asks, sounding confused. He blinks, his eyes focusing on you as he seems to snap back to himself. “I’m sorry, I… That was odd. Let me repeat myself, for clarity’s sake. I don’t know if Sans will remember me.”

“Are you okay?” Frisk asks him, concerned. “You answered mom’s question before she even asked it.”

Is that what that was?

Gaster frowns, hunching forward and tracing the fingers of one hand along the side of his skull. “A side effect,” he says. He gives Frisk a weak smile. “Inconvenient, perhaps, but no cause for concern.”

This is… more, a lot more, than you’re prepared to deal with. “I should call Sans,” you say, squeezing Frisk’s hand. “He should be here to talk to you.”

Gaster fidgets with his hands, glancing towards the stairwell. Towards all the pictures of you and your family. If —as you’re starting to believe— he’s telling the truth, his family, too. That’s something you’re not ready to wrap your mind around yet. But he looks… nervous. “There’s no need to interrupt him,” he says weakly.

“He should be here,” you repeat, firmer this time. He’ll know the right questions to ask to make some sense of all this. And if this is his father… If anyone should be talking to him, it’s Sans.

“...Yes, you’re right of course,” he says, nodding.

You feel your back pocket for your phone, fishing it out. As you stand there, holding it in your hand, you realize you’re all just loitering there in the foyer, stiff and uncomfortable. Gaster is nearly backed up against the front door, standing there like he’s not sure what to do with himself. He keeps stealing little glances around the room, like he shouldn’t but can’t help himself. Asriel is fidgeting with his ear, and Deacon and Frisk are standing on either side of you.

This won’t do.

“Come on, come inside,” you say, moving from where you’ve been rooted to the same spot, nudging Deacon with your shoulder to try and ease away some of the tension. He gives you a bemused look. “Gaster, would you… Do you want something to drink while I call Sans?”

Gaster looks at you like you just asked him the question in another language. One he doesn’t understand. He blinks, glances towards the kitchen, opening his mouth and closing it again. “Yes,” he finally says, giving you a warm smile. “Just water would be wonderful, if you please.”

 
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