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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181. ACT Three: The Passage Of Time

He was distracted that day.

Sans didn’t agree with the plan, didn’t like it, didn’t trust it, but how could he tell the man he respected and admired the most, his father , to reconsider? He didn’t have the right arguments, the facts , to dissuade him. He knew that the brilliant Dr. Gaster wouldn’t back down from this —what he hoped to be his defining moment— just because of Sans’s feelings. No matter how much his instincts were telling him that none of this was right. That they weren’t meant to meddle with this… this place that they’d found on accident.

Let alone the thing that he’d discovered inside of it.

But his father knew what he was doing. (He didn’t.) If anyone could do this, it was him. (He couldn’t.) Everything would be fine. (It wasn’t .)

Dr. Gaster was standing there in front of him, a syringe in his hand as he watched his son patiently. Or at least he seemed patient. Sans couldn’t help but feel his nervous energy, knowing that he was eager to leave his small office in basement level of the lab. The space was small, with a television shoved in one corner and stacks of files piled up in another, the cabinets already full to bursting. He never knew how his dad kept it all straight, that ‘organized chaos’ he called it. Harsh fluorescent lights cast a sickly glow over the both of them, and as Sans looked at him he felt that ever-present sense of wrongness swell in his ribcage.

“dad… what’s wrong with your eyes?” he asked, his attention flicking from his father’s face down again to that syringe in his hand. It was filled with a glowing, red substance, something he’d said was ‘determination’. He’d taken it in small quantities from the human Souls Asgore had safely locked away.

Dr. Gaster let out a soft sigh, setting down the needle on his desk and taking Sans’s hand in his. The holes in his palms were familiar, even as the red lights in his eyes were foreign and haunting. They weren’t supposed to be that color. (What color did they used to be? He can’t remember.) The malleable, smooth bone of his face curves into a reassuring smile. “Nothing is wrong,” he said, patting the back of Sans’s hand. “Just a side effect of the injection, that’s all. It will fade in due time, as it runs its course.”

Sans grit his teeth, feeling sweat gathering on the side of his skull. When he spoke his voice sounded strained. “are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Is what a good idea, Sans?” he asked, arching a brow. “If you’re worried about the use of determination, I’m certain that it’s stable when used in a healthy subject. Breakdown of stability was only shown in weakened, or damaged—”

“no, i mean all of this,” he protested, gesturing with his free hand toward the direction of the test chamber, where he knew the machine was waiting. “it’s dangerous, isn’t it?”

“Of course it is,” Dr. Gaster said, squeezing his son’s hand before letting go and reaching for the syringe again. “But that’s why we’re using this as a precaution. Should anything happen —which I doubt— this will strengthen our magic. But, if you’re having second thoughts, you don’t have to participate. I have an entire team of assistants waiting for me, you don’t need to force yourself—”

 no , i don’t—” Sans cut himself off, his pride refusing to make himself look like a coward in front of his father. And if something did go wrong, maybe he could do something to help. And, even more so, if it all went right he wanted part of the credit. He wanted the entire Underground to know that Dr. Gaster and his son had done the impossible. “i want to be there with you, dad.”

His father’s face brightened, and the pride in his eyes was enough to make him squash down his doubts. He was always so proud of him, so encouraging, pushing him and willing him to be more, to do more, to follow in his footsteps as Royal Scientist. How could he let him down now, when he was about to do the unimaginable? (He should have argued with him. He should have done so much more to stop all of this from happening.)

Sans shoved the sleeve of his labcoat up to his elbow and held out his arm for his father. Dr. Gaster fixed him with a serious look. “Are you certain, Sans? I want you to be sure. After this the only way is forward, and there can be no turning back.”

With a wry grin to hide the fear he’s certain his father could see, Sans forced a laugh. “geez, dad. no need to be so dramatic. yeah, i’m sure. but you could stand to inject a little humor into the situation.”

Some of the tension eased out of his face, and Sans was glad to see him chuckle softly. “You’re always so humerus, Sans.”

Normally he’d call him out on the obvious joke, but right then it was more important to relieve some of the tension in the air. “you could say i tickle your funny bone. 

(That was the last time he ever heard his father laugh, and he can’t even remember it. He can’t remember any of it…)

Sans wakes up trembling, though he’s not sure why.

He feels unsettled, like he should be remembering something but can’t. This isn’t like waking up from a nightmare (which have been fewer and farther between). No, instead it’s like… for the briefest moment he feels like he’s in the wrong place, the wrong time, and he jerks upright to look around the room.

Your shared bedroom hasn’t changed much in the past five years. It’s a little messier, the bedding clutched tight between his fingers was replaced a few months ago, and the squashy lounge chair tucked away in the corner is broken in and lumpy-looking. Sunlight filters in through the blinds in front of the balcony door, and it’s enough to ground him. To soothe away that anxious feeling needling through his bones.

He’s at home, where he should be, and everything is just fine.

“Hun, you okay?”

Glancing towards the sound of your voice, he sees you standing there in the doorway to the bathroom in your underwear, combing your fingers through damp hair. You must have just gotten out of the shower.

“yeah,” he says, after a second. Concern forms a crease between your brows and he shakes his head. “s’nothing, just a dream.”

“What was it about?” you ask, moving closer to the edge of the bed. Your fingers are wet from your hair when you cup his cheek, and he’s surrounded by the scent of your shampoo.

“dunno,” he admits. “can’t remember. what’s got you up so early?”

You tilt your head to the side as your thumb traces just below his eye socket. “We’re watching the twins today, remember?”

Sans groans, falling back against the pillows as you let out an exasperated noise. “oh. yeah.”

“Don’t be like that,” you say, leaning down to press a kiss to the corner of his mouth. He catches you before you can pull away, humming contentedly as he earns himself a startled giggle when he nips your throat. “Don’t be like this either! We need to head out soon, they’ll be waiting for us.”

“changed my mind. i think we should just stay home. dealing with the twins is exhausting,” he says, letting you pull away but taking hold of your hand before you can get too far. He threads your fingers together, enjoying that contented look on your face as you squeeze his hand.

“Come on, you old bag of bones,” you tease, tugging him gently. “We promised.”

“i told you i don’t like to make promises. cuz then you gotta keep ‘em.”

You tug again, harder this time. “Exactly. Now come on. 

Sans knows he’s pushing a little close to the limit of your tolerance for his teasing, so he lets you pull him out of bed so you can both get dressed. He steals glances at you as you shimmy into a pair of snug, denim shorts, but he’s not sneaky enough —he isn’t trying to be— to not get caught. But you just roll your eyes and turn back to your dresser with a smile tugging at your lips. He knows you appreciate the way he still looks at you, just like he appreciates when you sneak up behind him and slip your hands under his clothes. It’s those little reminders that you’re both still very much enamored with one another, that you still have those moments where you’re in awe of this person you’ve found yourself with for the rest of your lives.

As you tug the hem of your tank top into place, Sans can’t help himself. He goes up behind you, wrapping his arms around your stomach and nudging damp hair out of his way as he grazes the bare part of your shoulder with his teeth. A surprised squeak escapes you, which melts into a contented hum as he pulls you back against his ribcage. You cover his hands with your own, soft fingers threading between bony ones, your wedding rings scraping against one another. He nuzzles into the crook of your neck as you turn your head, and the soft laugh that passes your lips sends a swell of love bubbling up between his ribs.

He needs this. He needs to just hold you for a moment, to chase away whatever lingering ghosts are haunting him from the dream he can’t remember. And he doesn’t want to remember it, not if it’s going to upset the joyful balance of his life. Things are good, they have been for a while, and he doesn’t need to dwell on the past. His life here with you and his kid are all he needs to be happy.

“hey,” he says, closing his eyes and resting his chin on your shoulder.

“Hey,” you answer, like you always do. You know what he’s going to say, but you let him say it anyway.

“i love you.”

A soft, happy hum escapes you. “I love you too, Sans. Do you feel better?”

“yeah. guess we should go eat, huh?”

“Mhm.” You tilt your head just enough to plant a quick kiss to his temple, then squeeze his hands and let go. He doesn’t stop you as you pull away to reach for your necklace on top of the dresser, that locket that he gave you for Christmas right before your wedding. It’s a little scuffed —you’ve worn it almost every day since he gave it to you— but it catches the light as you turn to face him, freeing your hair from beneath the chain. You tug it into place, right over your heart, and your thumb brushes experimentally over the raised infinity symbol, like you need to make sure it’s still there.

You wear your family and friends in the pieces of your jewelry. When he met you, you didn’t have anything you liked to wear, but now… Now you have your wedding rings, the locket with the picture of the three of you, a ring on your right hand with Frisk’s birthstone they gave you for Mother’s Day, and that red and green bracelet that matches one on Deacon’s wrist. (It’s probably the sixth or seventh one you’ve made, over the years.)

Sans has his own friendship bracelet, at Deacon’s insistence and your encouragement. Finally, between the two of you, he’d just given in to shut him up. The blue and green stripes are a familiar sight now on his wrist, sometimes he doesn’t even notice that it’s there. Sort of like how he barely noticed how easy their friendship has become. It’s strange, thinking back on how rocky their start was, and how close all of you are now. Not even that ever-present, nagging sensation of the dissonance between their Souls really bothers him anymore. It’s just… normal.

A few things he never thought he’d adjust to are normal now, not least of which is the fact that Papyrus moved out almost four years ago. As he follows you out of the bedroom, his eyes are drawn to the open door of what used to be his brother’s room. It’s just another guest room now, decorated with impersonal furnishings. No more race car bed, no more flame-patterned rug, no more collection of robot figures. In reality, that room has been vacant longer now than it had ever been filled.

Now Papyrus is living with Mettaton in his luxury apartment at the hotel (whose business has been booming, much to the robot’s pleasure). At least, that’s where they live when they’re not off on location for a film shoot. After some coaxing from Mettaton’s directors, Papyrus found his big break in movies alongside his now-husband, and in all honesty, Sans couldn’t be prouder. He’d always wanted to be a member of the Royal Guard, and now he’s being cast as action-movie heroes (which is arguably safer) and is making quite a name for himself. (More of a name than Mettaton, in certain circles, which Sans can’t help feel a bit smug about.) The two of them are doing well, and he’s happy for them. Even though it means they’re away from Ebott for weeks at a time, like right now.

Not that it spares him from his brother’s affectionate nagging. He calls nightly whenever he’s away to make sure he’s not being too lazy, and is he helping Frisk with their homework, and has he given you enough hugs for today. In a way, Papyrus is still a constant facet of his life, just like he always was, and for that he’s grateful.

“Mom?” comes Frisk’s voice from downstairs, and you hurry down the last few steps ahead of Sans.

“Yeah, sweetie?” you answer, rounding the corner into the kitchen and ducking out of sight.

“I thought you got more frozen waffles, I can’t find them,” Frisk says, and when Sans walks into the kitchen he spots them digging through the freezer, bent at the waist as they dig through colorful boxes and sealed bags of frozen meat.

“Did you check behind the veggies?” you supply, coming up alongside them. They straighten and move out of the way so that you can take a look, and it still catches Sans a little off-guard that they’re the same height as you now. It didn’t take long for them to get taller than him, but soon enough Frisk will be surpassing you too. He shouldn’t be surprised, considering Chris is over six feet tall, but they didn’t need to take after himthat much.

Even worse, though, is Asriel. He’s standing over by the counter, the tallest one in the room by a few inches, but he’s got that pubescent look of getting stretched too quickly —he’s all arms and legs, gangly and awkward looking in his own body. He’s watching the two of you (no, that’s not true, he’s got his eyes on Frisk like he always does) quietly, scratching the top of his head, and he doesn’t even notice when Sans comes up beside him and clears his throat.

Asriel jumps, letting out a startled bleat that cracks halfway through, and the miserable expression on his face is almost enough to make him feel bad. Almost. “What?” he blurts out guiltily as he jerks his hand down to his side.

“your mom said to leave them alone,” he says, arching a brow.

“They itch ,” he complains, and he really does sound miserable.

“You’re going to scratch yourself,” Frisk says, walking over to them and putting themselves between him and Sans while you’re still busy digging around in the freezer, muttering to yourself. They push their bangs out of their eyes and reach up with both hands to cover the top of Asriel’s head, massaging the spots close to his ears where his horns are starting to bud.

He closes his eyes and leans forward, resting his chin on top of Frisk’s head. Frisk lets out an affectionately annoyed sound that sounds almost exactly like you, but just stands there and rubs the prince’s head while they cast Sans a bemused look.

“you coming with us to go see the twins, az?” Sans asks, undeterred by the lack of boundaries between the two of them. After the past six years of this, he doesn’t even really notice it anymore. They don’t have ‘personal space’, just each other.

“Um, no, I can’t,” he says, cracking an eye open and looking at him. His snout wrinkles as he lets out an annoyed huff through his nose, exposing the tips of his fangs. “Mom wants me to help her go through her office at work.”

“She still has weeks until school starts,” you say, and with a triumphant flourish set down the box of frozen waffles on the counter. You don’t even bat an eye as the two pre-teens (well, twelve and thirteen-year-old) split apart and make a grab for the box. Frisk ends up winning; they always were faster than Asriel. “Why does she want to do it now?”

“No idea,” he says, crossing his arms over his chest as he watches Frisk load the toaster up with breakfast. “You know Mom, she’s just like this.”

“Mom, can you braid my hair for me?” Frisk blurts out as you’re reaching to get started on some coffee.

Your eyes dart over to him where he’s standing there, doing a whole lot of nothing, and he waves you off and steps in to take care of it. You give him a thankful smile and go to tend to Frisk’s hair. As he’s getting the coffee pot set up and Asriel steps in to take care of the waffles that just popped up out of the toaster, the familiar sound of your cell phone catches his attention.

“Hun, can you check that?” you ask, your hands still twisting diligently through the braiding motions. You jerk your chin towards the kitchen island where your phone is sitting.

It’s a text. It’s… oh. Well, you’re not going to be happy about this. “uh, it’s from deacon,” he tells you, and you brighten visibly at the sound of your best friend’s name. Sans winces. “they’re gonna be a few days late getting home. taking them longer to make the drive back than they thought.”

Your smile fades. “Oh,” is all you manage.

“sorry, babe. i know you were looking forward to them getting back,” he says, giving you an apologetic look.

“It’s fine,” you insist, shaking your head and returning your attention to Frisk’s hair. You’re almost done. “I’m sure they’re having a great time, and I think they were planning on taking Route 66 back, so Deacon probably got distracted with all the old sights. It’s not like taking the freeway, it’s not a straight shot.”

“i know you wanted us to go with them, especially after he invited us.”

“Yes, well, we needed to stay here with Frisk,” you say, and your tone is growing clipped.

“i said you could go without me. alphys needed me to stay to help with the core anyway,” he says, which he realizes he shouldn’t have. He just should have dropped it, judging by the tightness in your jaw.

“I wasn’t going to go clear across the country right when they started to train with Morwenna. We had no idea how it was going to go, and—”

“Well so far it’s not going anywhere ,” Frisk blurts out, pulling away from you the second you fasten their braid. “My stupid magic is useless unless I’m Saving or Loading. She’s got all these cool tricks, and I can’t do anything.”

There’s a beat where you and Sans look at each other, unsure of what to say. Right on the cusp of hormonal upheaval, Frisk’s moods have been at worst explosive, and regularly unpredictable. Asriel, honestly, isn’t much better, and with the two of them in the same room it’s only worse. The link between their Souls is a double-edged sword with which you’re both all too familiar.

But the moment passes and Frisk lets out a heavy sigh, their shoulders going slack. Sans can see his own relief mirrored on your face. “I just need to keep trying,” Frisk says.

“Exactly, sweetie,” you say, smoothing their braid down their back and smiling when they glance over their shoulder to look at you. “I’m sure that you’ll figure it out soon, with Morwenna helping you.”

They look so much older for just a moment as they smile back at you, their eyes crinkling just the same way that yours do. Sure, on the surface they might take a lot after Chris, but there’s so many subtle ways that it’s plain for anyone who’s paying attention to see that Frisk is yours. “Thanks, Mom,” they say, and then Asriel steals their attention as he puts a plateful of prepared waffles under their nose.

And just like that, you and Sans are seemingly forgotten, left behind as the two of them dart off into the living room with their food. And that’s normal, too.

   
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