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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32. After Midnight

"on days like these, kids like you..." 

"S h o u l d  b e  b u r n i n g  i n  h e l l."

Frisk's eyes fly open, fear making their skin prickle as they jolt awake. Blood is pounding in their ears as reality sharpens into harsh focus, acutely aware of the dark shadows in Papyrus's room. Uncurling themselves from the tight ball they were in, Frisk tries to slow their frantic breathing. The lanky skeleton next to them is still fast asleep.

Raising a small hand to their chest, Frisk can feel their heart pounding behind their ribs. A ghost of an ache echoes through their nerves, a half-remembered memory of their dream. No, their nightmare. Sitting up, the soft blue glow of a night light greets Frisk, and something about the color makes the skin on their back crawl. They squeeze their eyes shut, hands fisting into the blanket covering their legs.

Hollow eye sockets, bones flying at them, huge fangs, golden light...

Frisk's eyes shoot back open and they shake their head. The more they try to scrabble for pieces of the nightmare the more they seem to slip away, until all they can remember is fear and a stabbing pain all over their body. Despite the blankets and oversized pajamas, they feel cold. Frisk shivers and their muscles twitch until they finally give in to the nagging need to be on their feet.

Padding quietly towards the door, Frisk glances back at Papyrus. He's curled up on his side, a pillow crushed between his arms and shoved under his head. The soft creak of hinges goes unnoticed, as does Frisk's absence as they slip out of the room.

The house is dark, but there's just enough light filtering in through the windows for Frisk to see. With a deep breath, they walk down towards Sans's room. You told them that if they ever needed you that they could come get you. And after that nightmare, even though they can't remember it anymore, they need you. Yours was always the room they'd creep to in the middle of the night, even before they knew the truth. That you weren't 'Sissa' but instead, 'Mom'.

But it isn't just your room anymore. You aren't alone, and for some reason the thought of Sans makes them a little nervous. Frisk freezes outside the door, hesitating with their hand outstretched for the knob. Their toes clench and unclench the matted fibers of the carpet's piling.

Skeleton got your tongue?

Frisk flinches, lowering their hand and balling it into a fist.

Afraid you can't trust him? I would be too. But then again, I don't trust anyone. It's safer.

I'm sorry that you still feel like that. I'd hoped you might have changed your mind by now.

Don't be an idiot. You can't change my mind.

I don't believe that.

What you believe doesn't matter. 

The voice falls into frustrated silence when Frisk doesn't rise to their bait. Each passing week has left them with less and less to needle Frisk with, and now they go entire days without speaking. A month and a half ago the voice's promises of protection and power were tempting, the fears they latched onto were frightening. But now the voice is more of an annoyance; a niggling in the back of their mind. Almost a familiar companion.

Frisk wonders what it must be like to be trapped inside someone else's mind, with no control. They can only imagine it must be frustrating, and sometimes they feel bad for the voice. But those feelings just make the voice lash out, until it's hard for Frisk to be sorry for them anymore. They learned weeks ago that pity is something the voice hates the most.

Distracted by the discourse going on inside their own head, Frisk doesn't realize that there's movement going on behind Sans's door until it starts to open. They jump, startled, as a hollow-eyed skull peers out into the hall. Sans stutters to a halt, halfway through the door as he catches sight of Frisk. He's pale in the darkness, all white bone and a white shirt, interrupted only by his black shorts. There's a moment where they just stare at each other, unsure of what to say.

"what's up, kiddo? can't sleep?" Sans asks, blinking as the lights in his sockets brighten, trained on Frisk's face.

Frisk isn't sure why, but Sans's presence isn't as comforting as it should be. Standing in the hall with the skeleton peering down at them, they feel a little... anxious. They don't understand this feeling bubbling deep under the surface.

"kiddo?" Sans says, and when he reaches out with his left hand to touch their shoulder, Frisk flinches away. He lowers his arm, his movements a little stiff. Cautious, even. 

Tugging on the ends of their sleeves and pressing them to their mouth, Frisk looks off to the side, fidgeting. "...Had a nightmare," they mumble.

The tension seeps out of Sans's body, though Frisk doesn't see it. "do you want me to get your mom? she's still sleeping, but i can—"

The vigorous shaking of Frisk's head cuts him short. Biting their lip, they glance back at him. "Did you have a nightmare too?"

Hesitating, Sans steps fully into the hall and eases the door shut behind him. "not this time," Sans admits, shrugging. After a pause, he gives Frisk a kind smile. "but i think i know something that might help. c'mon, let's go to the kitchen."

Not bothering to wait for a reply, he skirts around them, heading for the stairs. Confused but curious, Frisk follows obediently behind him. They want to ask what he's doing, but as they pass through the living room the sound of Undyne's soft snoring reminds them to be quiet. Soon, Sans is flicking on the stove's overhead light and filling the teakettle from the sink. There's just enough light to see each other clearly without disturbing Undyne.

"sit down, kiddo," Sans murmurs, waving a hand towards the kitchen table. Frisk doesn't flinch at the movement this time. "this'll only take a minute."

Doing as they're told, they sit down with their back to the kitchen's doorway, watching intently as Sans rummages in one of the cupboards. He pulls out a big blue canister and sets it on the counter. Then, with a faint blue glow, the skeleton points his left hand at a pair of mugs on a high shelf and whisks them down with his magic.

"What are you making?" Frisk asks, tapping their heels together as their legs dangle above the kitchen floor.

"you'll see," Sans says, looking over his shoulder and winking. 

He pulls open another cupboard and Frisk hears the rustling of a plastic bag. They try to see around Sans's body to get a peek at what he's doing, but he's keeping the view blocked on purpose. Frisk plunks their elbows down on the table and cups their hands under their chin, watching.

Putting the bag away, Sans turns to face Frisk, leaning back against the counter. Two mugs sit beside him, spoon handles poking up out of them. One mug has the words "WORLD'S GREATEST BROTHER" written on it in familiar, slanted handwriting. The other has a slightly worn-off image of an orange cartoon cat biting into a broken, yellow smiley face. Written in bold letters, it says "Have A Nice Day".

"How come you couldn't sleep if you didn't have a nightmare?" Frisk asks, giving Sans a curious look.

Sans raises a brow, like he wasn't expecting the question. "that's uh... that's a lot more complicated than you think, kiddo."

"Does Mom know?" They fidget, dropping their hands to the table and picking at their nails, looking down.

"she knows more than most."

"Does it help?"

Sans lets out a soft chuckle, shaking his head. Not in disagreement, but like he can't believe what he's being asked. "yeah, it does, frisk. having someone who understands me, at least a little bit. it helps."

Frisk looks up, peering through a curtain of heavy bangs. They bite their lip. "Then wouldn't it help more if you told more people?"

Blinking, Sans almost doesn't notice as the kettle starts pluming steam. He turns and yanks it off the stove before it starts to whistle. With his back to Frisk, he pours boiling water into the mugs and the clinking of metal against ceramic fills the silence. Then, carefully, Sans picks up the mugs and brings them to the table, setting the one with the cat in front of Frisk.

They don't press Sans for an answer, taking the warm mug between their hands with a bright smile. There's a thick layer of melting marshmallows on top and the sweet smell of sugar and chocolate wafts up. The skeleton takes the a seat at an angle to Frisk, rolling his own drink between his hands and grinning.

"hot chocolate is the best remedy for nightmares," Sans says, leaning back in his chair. "i used to make it for papyrus all the time when we were kids. always cheered him right up."

Frisk doesn't say anything. They just watch Sans through the thin curls of steam from their mugs, waiting for him to continue.

Sans seems to realize this, so he sighs and shrugs his shoulders. "i don't really remember too much about our childhoods, but i think he was getting bullied at school. something about our..." he frowns, trying to remember, but he gives up with a sigh. He shakes his head. "i dunno. doesn't matter. anyway, he used to get real upset, worried he'd never make any friends. got himself so worked up he'd have these awful nightmares. so i'd take him downstairs in the middle of the night, just the two of us, and i'd make him hot chocolate and just sit with him until he told me what was wrong."

Frisk looks down at their mug and breaks the layer of marshmallows with their spoon, then picks it up and takes a sip. It's rich and sweet, still a little too hot but they don't care. They take another drink anyway. 

Sans chuckles, pointing a finger at Frisk's mouth. "i mustache you a question kiddo. do you know you've got a bit of marshstache goin' on?"

Giggling, they lick away the sticky, melted marshmallows caught on their upper lip. Sans gives them an exaggerated wink and raises his own drink to his mouth, carefully pouring since it's hard to sip with no lips. As he sets the mug back down Frisk's giggles get louder, covering their mouth with a sleeve-covered hand. He's got marshmallows stuck to his teeth. Frisk points.

"huh? have i got something, too?" Sans asks, eyes widening. Grabbing a napkin, he dabs at the corner of his mouth. "did i get it?"

Frisk shakes their head, pointing again. "Right there!"

He wipes the wrong place again. "here?"

"Nooo!" Frisk squeals, thankfully muffled by their hand. They realize their mistake, looking abashed as they glance towards the living room. When they look back at Sans the marshmallows on his teeth are gone.

Still smiling and feeling a lot better, Frisk sucks in a mouthful of melted marshmallow off the top of their mug and then washes it down with a gulp of cocoa.

"you know you can talk to me, kiddo. do you wanna tell me what's eating you?" Sans is watching them, and Frisk can almost feel the way those pinpricks of white light are studying their face. He looks concerned.

Frisk ducks behind their mug, taking a long, slow sip. 

 You know he doesn't actually care about you? He only cares about her. He knows that being nice to you will make her happy.

That's not true.

Are you sure about that? Really sure? 

I can tell when you're just trying to be mean. You don't believe it either.

Petulant silence fills Frisk's mind.

Can they tell Sans the truth? Would he believe them if they told him about the voice that they've heard since falling into the Underground? Magic and monsters is one thing, but hearing voices? Frisk thinks the truth would just make everyone worry, and they know that Sans would tell you.

"kiddo, you can trust me," Sans presses gently. "everyone here: me, your mom, papyrus, undyne... we all care about you."

Frisk doesn't even need to hear the voice in their head to know what they'd say. They can feel them listening, digging into the doubt in their mind.

Eyes dropping to the mug clutched tight in their hands, Frisk can't do it. "I know. But it's no big deal. I can't even remember the nightmare anymore."

Sans lets out a small, disappointed sigh and Frisk feels guilt twist their insides. They wonder if Sans can tell that they're hiding something. "don't worry about it. did the hot chocolate help at least?"

When they look up, Sans is smiling like nothing's wrong. Relief floods through Frisk, and they smile back. "Yeah, a lot! Thanks, Sans."

He nods, winking. "any time kiddo. glad you're feeling better. do you—" Sans looks away towards the living room, his expression brightening. "hey babe, we were just... is everything okay?"

Frisk pivots in their chair and sees you standing in the doorway, an unreadable expression on your face. Your arms are crossed over your chest, hugging yourself, as you look in at Sans and Frisk. You bite your lip, and Frisk thinks you look a little upset.

"Oh," you mumble, giving Sans a weak smile. "I just wanted to check on you, hun. I didn't expect to see Frisk down here with you." Your eyes shift to Frisk. "Is everything okay, sweetie? What are you two doing up so late?"

"kiddo had a nightmare and i happened to catch them in the hall when i got up," Sans tells you, but your gaze never leaves Frisk. They start to feel a little nervous, but they aren't sure why.

"Why didn't you come get me? Are you okay?" you ask, coming into the kitchen and crouching beside Frisks's chair. Reaching up, you brush their bangs from their face and stroke their cheek.

Frisk nods, glancing over at Sans. He's just watching the two of you. "You were sleeping, and Sans helped. He made me hot chocolate!" They smile at you, wishing that you would smile back. You don't.

You look over at Sans, something silent passing between the two of you that Frisk doesn't understand. They're not sure that Sans understands either, judging by the puzzled look on his face.

"Well," you say, looking back at Frisk. "If you're feeling better then why don't you try to get some more sleep? Do you wanna come back and sleep with me?"

Frisk nods at you, and is relieved at the smile that finally softens your face. They throw their arms around your shoulders and you pull them into your arms, standing and picking them up. You let out a soft sigh.

"Are you coming back to bed?" you ask Sans.

There's a pause, then the soft scrape of the chair against tile. "sure, if you want me to," he says.

Frisk feels your arms tense as you hold them. They hug you tighter, unsure why everything feels so uncomfortable.

"Of course I do. I just... Sorry, let's just all go to bed."

 
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