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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78. Change Isn't Always Good

Sans only manages two hours of sleep before the nightmares wake him up. Trembling, he rolls away from where he's curled against your back, rubbing his hands down his face. You shift a little in your sleep but don't wake. That's good at least. As long as one of you gets some decent sleep. After a steadying breath, he uncovers his eyes and takes a look at the clock. It's a little after midnight, not too late. Once he winds back down he might be able to get a few more hours. He's careful not to disturb you as he slides out of bed, grabs his phone from the nightstand, and closes the door behind him.

The first thing he notices is that Papyrus's bedroom door is still open, down at the other end of the hall. He checks his phone for any messages but there aren't any. Frowning, Sans resists the urge to call his brother, reminding himself that he said he'd be back late. He just hadn't realized that it would be this late.

He makes his way down to the kitchen, hoisting himself up onto a plush barstool and grabbing the laptop that's sitting on the counter, charging. There's a nagging feeling in the back of his mind, a little paranoid voice that won't let him rest until he does some checking. The internet here on the surface is incredible compared to the undernet. It's easy enough to pull up what he's looking for with just a few searches. He sifts through news articles about the conference, watches videos of interviews. Most of the focus is on Asgore and Toriel, and there's a few fluff pieces featuring some random monsters and humans. Most of the articles mention you and Frisk at least in passing, but that's to be expected. Some of the videos have short clips of your various interviews, and so far everything has been fairly positive. There's no sign of Gloria or her rude questions anywhere that he can find. He hopes that's a good thing, but he can't help but worry. If it had been released then the two of you could deal with it, move past it. As it stands, all he can do is wonder.

He tries to focus on the good. That the media representation of the conference should help paint a better picture of Ebott and the monsters to the humans. That's exactly what Asgore was hoping for, and it seems like it's paying off. Maybe it means changes are on the way. He just hopes that they're good ones.

Closing out the tabs in the web browser, Sans checks the instant messenger on a whim and notices Alphys is online. Watching anime, knowing her. He thinks about messaging her but stops as he hears the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. It has to be Papyrus getting home, there's only a few cars on Ebott and unless it's the military... No, it's got to be Papyrus.

He teleports over to one of the front windows, the black and pink monstrosity outside confirming his suspicions. Peeking through the curtains, he watches as Papyrus and Mettaton get out of the car, meeting beside the driver's side door before starting up the path to the house. Mettaton threads their arms together and gives Papyrus a winning smile. Sans can see the bright flush of orange all the way in the house. Frowning, he grumbles to himself. Of all the people Papyrus had to have a... crush? Is it really a crush? Fine, whatever, of all the people he had to have a crush on, it had to be Mettaton.

Sure the overgrown calculator has been doing a lot of work to help the monsters look good, but surely that's all been selfish on his part. It's not like he can become a celebrity while monsters are still trapped behind the Line. So it would be in his best interests to help long enough to get himself out, right?

Sans presses closer to the window as the two of them get nearer, trying to listen to their conversation. Maybe he shouldn't be snooping, but he can't help himself.

"—know that you were expecting something a little more fun," Mettaton says, his smile wilting dramatically. "But I just want to thank you for always listening, Papy."

"OF COURSE, METTATON. I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL ALWAYS BE HERE TO HELP YOU. YOU'RE..." Papyrus hesitates, glancing down at Mettaton's arm entwined with his own. "YOU'RE MY FRIEND. AND THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR."

"You're such a sweetheart, listening to me whine like this. It's just..." He pulls away, and to Sans's surprise he crosses his arms over his chest and hugs himself. Is that... is Mettaton actually upset about something? "This isn't what I expected at all, up here. On the surface," he says, with a small wave of his hand. Shrugging, he gives Papyrus a weak smile. "I thought I'd be a star by now."

"METTATON, YOU'RE ALREADY A STAR TO ME! AND I'M SURE THAT THE HUMANS WILL SEE THAT TOO ONCE YOU HAVE THE CHANCE." Papyrus strikes a confident pose, hands poised on his hips as that old scarf gives a dramatic flutter. Sans sighs but can't help smiling. Papyrus really is the coolest person he knows, he just hopes that Mettaton realizes it too. He'd say that the robot doesn't deserve his brother's attention, but that's part of Papyrus's charm. He honestly believes that everyone deserves this kind of care and support. He's not sure how it doesn't wear him out.

"You're simply a delight, I'm not sure what I'd do without you, darling," Mettaton croons, smiling again as he relaxes his hold on himself. They're almost at the front door, and Sans has to shift his angle to keep an eye on them.

"WELL, LUCKILY FOR YOU, YOU'LL NEVER HAVE TO FIND OUT," Papyrus says, blushing again as he grins.

"Lucky for me," he agrees, resting his hand on the skeleton's shoulder.

There's a moment where they look at each other and Sans is torn between going back to the kitchen to give them some privacy or staying right here. Before he can decide, Papyrus wraps Mettaton up in a huge hug, and Sans can see the startled expression on the robot's face. Was he really not expecting that? Wasn't this some kind of date? After a moment, Mettaton hugs him back, his face softening. Relaxing. Sans feels suddenly like he's intruding on something very private.

"DON'T GIVE UP, METTATON. I KNOW YOU'LL GET YOUR CHANCE. I BELIEVE IN YOU!" he says before he lets him go, beaming.

Looking embarrassed of all things, Mettaton smooths his hair and gives an awkward little laugh. "Papy, I just don't know what to do with you," he says. Then, after a moment, he leans forward and plants a kiss on his cheek. Papyrus is practically glowing when Mettaton pulls away and waggles his fingers at him. "I need to get going, if I don't get back home soon I'm going to run out of power. Thank you again for humoring me, darling."

Papyrus just watches, a little dazed as Mettaton hurries away to his car. Well, that sure was something. As his brother comes back to himself and starts fumbling in his pocket for his keys, Sans realizes that he's just standing there by the window, waiting to get caught eavesdropping. He teleports back to his seat at the bar, making a show of messing with the laptop as Papyrus opens the door.

Sans glances over his shoulder like he just noticed him, waiting for his brother to come into view. When he does he raises a hand in greeting. "'sup, bro?"

"WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING UP?" Papyrus asks, fixing Sans with a concerned look. He comes into the kitchen to stand beside him, resting his hands on his hips. "YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO WAIT FOR ME. YOU SHOULD TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOURSELF, SANS."

Shrugging, Sans closes the laptop, pushing it away so he can rest his elbows on the bar. "yeah, you're right," he says.

"WAIT, BUT YOU'RE IN YOUR PAJAMAS ALREADY. WERE YOU NOT ABLE TO SLEEP AGAIN?" he takes hold of his shoulder, leaning in close to take a look at his brother's face.

"i got a little. had a nightmare," Sans admits. "but what about you, how was your night?"

"DO NOT CHANGE THE SUBJECT!" Papyrus scolds, making Sans smile. "IF YOU WON'T TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, AND YOU AREN'T LETTING HOPE DO IT EITHER, THEN IT'LL JUST HAVE TO FALL TO ME."

The taller skeleton turns and plucks the kettle from the stovetop, filling it at the sink and turning on a burner. Sans can only sit and watch as he hurries over to the cabinets and starts pulling things out onto the countertop. He recognizes the canister of hot chocolate mix and a bag of marshmallows.

"bro, c'mon you don't have to do all that," Sans says, feeling a little embarrassed but pleased.

"I DO! YOU USED TO DO THIS FOR ME AND NOW I CAN DO IT FOR YOU," he says, ignoring his weak protest.

"yeah, back when you were just a baby bones. c'mon pap, you had a long night, i'm sure you're tired." He rubs the back of his skull.

"I'M NEVER TOO TIRED TO TEND TO MY BROTHER," he says, giving Sans a stern look over his shoulder.

Chuckling, Sans holds his hands up in mock surrender until Papyrus turns back around. He leans forward against the bar, his grin widening. "well if you insist. then why don't you tell me how your night went?"

Papyrus hesitates, fidgeting with the mug in his hands. Oh that's new, normally he'd be more than happy to run through every little detail. He's not sure if he likes this change in behavior. "IT WAS VERY PLEASANT. I HAD A GOOD TIME WITH METTATON. HE DOESN'T NEED TO EAT BUT HE TOOK ME OUT ANYWAY WHICH WAS KIND OF HIM." He goes quiet, like he wants to say more but isn't sure if he should. "WHAT ABOUT YOU? HOW IS EVERYONE?"

"fine. they're fine," Sans says. It's not a lie, but... Papyrus really doesn't need to worry himself with all that stuff. But he must seem to sense that Sans isn't saying something because he looks back at him with a skeptical raise of his brow. "hey, bro?"

Papyrus blinks. "YES, BROTHER?"

"i'm glad you had a good time. and thanks for this."

Taken aback, it takes him a second to nod and give Sans a smile. Whatever he might have been about to say is gone. "ME TOO. AND YOU'RE WELCOME."

The sound of your phone going off wakes you and Sans. He grumbles and wraps his arms tight around your middle, pressing his face between your shoulders as you reach out and fumble for your phone. It's nine, late enough that you'd normally be awake so you can't get too mad when you see Toriel's name on the caller ID. You're frustrated anyway, but you feel a little guilty about it.

Answering the call, you hold the phone up to your ear. "G'morning Tori," you say, clearing your throat when you realize how sleepy you sound.

"Oh, my child, did I wake you?" Toriel asks, apologetic.

"No, I mean, yes but it's fine," you mumble, rubbing your eyes and settling back against Sans.

"what time is it?" he asks, muffled by your back.

"It's nine," you tell him quickly, before returning your attention to Toriel. "Is everything okay? No one's come to wake us up so I'm guessing the kids are with Papyrus."

"probably," Sans says.

"Everything is fine, I am just calling because I wanted to let you know that we will be getting a new neighbor! You know the vacant house near yours?" She sounds excited. That in addition to the promise of someone new has your attention piqued, waking you a bit more. After you make an affirmative noise, she continues. "Well, I found someone to start working at our school to teach human history. His name is Mr. Stuart and he was very keen to begin as soon as possible. I thought it might be best for him to live nearby, since you are the only other human here in Ebott right now so I offered him that vacant house."

She blurts out everything in a pleased rush, leaving you a little lost by the time she's finished. It's too early for this. "Wait, okay, hold on. I just woke up, remember? So you hired a new teacher, a mister..."

"Stuart," she supplies quickly, and you can hear the smile in her voice.

"And you just gave him the vacant house?"

"No, I sold it to him. Cheaply, I must say, but no I did not just give him the house."

Sans shifts so his chin is resting on your arm, looking down at you and listening. You're sure he can hear Toriel's side of the conversation because you tend to keep your speaker louder than necessary. "when did she meet this guy? yesterday at the conference?"

"Yes, precisely," she says. "And good morning Sans, I apologize for disturbing you."

"s'ok," he says, hugging you closer.

"He seems like a very nice young man. I was hoping that you might take some time to meet with him, help him adjust to living here and get to know Ebott," she says, in a tone that implies that you could refuse if necessary, but she doesn't expect you to.

This isn't what you were expecting to be hearing first thing in the morning, but you're glad to hear Toriel so happy. This was part of the goal of the conference after all, to encourage humans to come to Ebott. "Sure, of course I can. When is he moving in and starting work?"

"Today, and as I said, he was happy to start as soon as possible..." She actually sounds a little embarrassed.

"So he's starting on Monday. I mean, tomorrow?" You cover your face with your hand, doing your best not to let your mild frustration color your voice.

Toriel gives a polite laugh. "Yes, I suppose so."

"I guess I should talk to him today then, huh?" you say, seeing where this is going.

"If you could. I can bring him over after he arrives, maybe the boys can help him move in?" she asks hopefully.

Sans tucks his head into your side, using the softness of your waist to muffle his protests. You try not to laugh. "I think that can be arranged," you say, draping your arm over his shoulders and stroking his skull.

"Thank you, Hope. It means so much that you are so willing to help," she says with enough gratitude to make you blush. "He is supposed to be here around noon, but I will call you to let you know."

"Of course, Tori. Anytime."

"Then I will see you later. Give my love to Asriel."

"Always. See you later."

You hang up the phone and plunk it back down on the nightstand before rolling over to wrap yourself up in Sans and tuck your head under his jaw. "I thought I was done doing the social thing for the weekend," you complain, groaning as he runs a hand through your hair.

"you coulda told her no," he says.

"You know I couldn't," you retort, grumbling. "No more than you could have if she asked you. She's got us wrapped around her fingers."

He makes a noise but doesn't disagree. "so, what do you think about all this?" he asks, his tone measured.

"About what? A human moving in next door?" You trail your fingers along his ribs, close to his spine. He shivers. "I mean, we see the soldiers on a regular basis, it's not like I'm a stranger to dealing with... my own kind."

"this is a bit more permanent though, don't you think? i mean, the soldiers are hopefully gonna go away."

"Sans, I'm fine. This is what we want, mingling of the species," you say, sighing.

One of his hands trails down your side, getting suspiciously low. He gives a lewd chuckle. "i can think of some species mingling i want..."

Giggling, you give him a weak shove. "C'mon, be serious. What about you, how do you feel about this?"

He brings his hand up to a more respectable spot on your side, rubbing your hipbone with his thumb. "like you said, this was always part of the goal. i'm glad it's working out so far, i just worry about if something goes wrong. and i don't wanna be walking on eggshells around this guy, worrying that he's gonna run off and go... i dunno, sell all our secrets to the highest bidder."

You can't help but laugh at that. "Our secrets? Like what?"

"like us. look, i know you've been keeping our relationship quiet, and i understand why, but i'm not gonna be your dirty little secret, hope. not in our own neighborhood."

Pulling back enough so that you can look at his face, you can't help but feel hurt. "I never... Sans I never meant to keep you secret. You're not—" You bite your lip, shaking your head as Sans tries to pull you back against his chest. Pulling the sheets up to cover yourself, you sit up and wrap your arms around your knees. "Is that how I made you feel?"

"shit, babe i didn't mean it like that," Sans says, sitting up beside you.

"Then what did you mean?" you ask, looking at his hand, the contrast of white against the brown of your skin as he strokes your arm.

"i don't want either of us to have to put on some kind of show for this guy. i just want to be us. yeah, maybe we don't need to flaunt it in front of the reporters, but here at home? this is where we get to be ourselves," he says, leaning in close to kiss your cheek. You let him.

"I'm sorry," you mumble, still feeling terrible. "Sans I never wanted any of this to make you feel bad, that's the last thing I meant to do. I hate that."

"it's fine. like i said, i understand why. just promise me it's not gonna start happening here, okay? if this guy is gonna be our neighbor, then he's just gonna have to get to know the real us." He gives you a reassuring smile.

"I promise. This Mr. Stuart isn't going to change anything."

It's a quarter to one when Toriel shows up at the house, a little later than you were expecting but not so much that you'd consider them not on time. She knocks politely on the door and waits for you to answer instead of just coming inside like normal. Sans is on your heels as you open it, greeted by her smiling face.

"I am sorry that we are a little later than I expected. I know the soldiers are just doing their jobs but they gave Mr. Stuart a little trouble at the checkpoint," she says, frowning a little. "But everything is all taken care of. They were just not expecting anyone with a trailer."

"It's fine, Tori, really. It gave me some extra time to finish some laundry," you say, smiling.

"so where's the new guy?" Sans asks, resting a hand on the small of your back.

"Oh goodness, of course!" Toriel turns, stepping out of the way to reveal the person behind her. "Mr. Stuart, this is Hope and Sans, two of your new neighbors!"

Standing there behind her is your mysterious blonde rescuer from yesterday. His polite smile widens with amusement as recognition dawns on your face, running a hand through his hair before hooking his thumbs on the beltloops of his jeans.

"you," Sans says, his tone rougher than you'd expect. You give him a confused glance and are surprised to see a smile you recognize as forced.

"Me," the man says, winking at you. He offers you a hand, shaking as you offer yours. "We weren't properly introduced before. My name's Deacon."

   
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