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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193. Come Inside

The dining room is quiet. You and Deacon share a glance as you both eat, and Sans gets the impression neither of you are sure what to say. To be honest, he’s not sure what to say either. Gaster dropped a lot of information on him before excusing himself to the back porch to give them some privacy.

What Gaster told him about the accident, the injection of determination and being grabbed by the Anathema and pulled partially into the Font… It makes a crazy kind of sense as to why he can remember the timelines. He’d been drained of his magic, which triggered a reaction in the determination in his body, and then he’d been immediately replenished by direct contact with the source of magic. It had been enough to keep him from losing his stability, like what had happened with the amalgamates. When Sans mentioned the comparison to Alphys’s unfortunate experiments, Gaster’s eyes lit up with interest, and had almost derailed the entire conversation. Not that Sans let him.

The last thing he remembered for himself about the experiments at the lab was research on timelines. The anomalies they’d seen in the readings with time stopping and starting and ending. He hadn’t remembered that in looking further into those endings they’d discovered the Font. He’d suspected for the longest time that the broken device in his workshop was a time machine, but no. Instead it was a gateway, a door into another dimension. Somehow that seems even more unbelievable.

But he’s not sure how to feel about any of this. Shouldn’t he be happy to have this mystery solved? To have his... father back? Why instead does he just feel more burdened? More confused and very much like he’s had a rug pulled out from beneath him.

“So is anyone else going to say anything about the creepy Soul-absorbing monster your dad was trapped with?” Deacon says suddenly, breaking the silence. He gestures with his fork before stabbing at a potato. “Because while the rest of what he told us is certainly enlightening, I’m a little more worried about the creature that seems to enjoy eating mage Souls and magic.”

“Gaster didn’t seem to think it was much of a threat anymore, stuck in the Font,” you say, meeting Deacon’s eyes for a moment before looking over at Sans. “He said that the tear the kids made was too small for it to pass through. And speaking of that tear” —the look you cast Frisk is a stern one, making them wince and drop their eyes down to their empty plate— “don’t think you’re not in trouble for what you did. But… we’ll talk about that later.”

Frisk doesn’t say anything, opting to keep quiet. Probably for the best, Sans thinks. He can’t even dwell on how incredibly foolish what the kids did was, his focus firmly elsewhere.

“Okay, but that means that we still get to live with the knowledge that there’s a huge goopy monster just chilling in the source of all magic, preying on the Souls of mages who have the misfortune of burning themselves out with their power and dying. And, speaking as a mage, that’s a little concerning,” Deacon continues, glancing between you and Sans. “I don’t exactly want to get eaten.”

“well, then don’t overdo it and kill yourself,” Sans says flatly.

“Thanks Sans, I never would have thought of that on my own,” Deacon retorts, and Sans sees the moment you decide to intervene.

“Enough, both of you,” you say, resting a hand on Sans’s forearm and casting Deacon a weary look. Then you turn to him, your eyes searching his face. Your expression turns concerned, and he knows you’re worried about him. “Sans… do you believe Gaster?”

“you don’t?” he asks you, surprised.

“I didn’t say that. I think I believe him, but… I trust you more when it comes to these sorts of things than I trust myself,” you murmur, brow furrowing as your gaze drops for just a moment before flicking back up to his face. “I want to know what you think.”

“i believe him,” he says, covering your hand with his. He hesitates, thinks back to that strange feeling he had when he first saw Gaster. His Soul had lurched, a sudden swell of something close to joy bubbling up inside him for a fraction of a second before vanishing. It was like getting a frustratingly fleeting glimpse of something he could recognize but not quite place, as if just another look might help him remember. But he wasn’t allowed that second look. The feeling was gone as quickly as it came, and it was frustrating to the point of anger. An anger he had turned on Gaster. An anger that turned into blame. Sans lets out a heavy sigh. “i don’t have a good reason why, but i do. it’s just… a feeling.”

Deacon lets out a quiet, indignant sound. It doesn’t take much for Sans to understand why. He hadn’t exactly received the warmest reception thanks to one of Sans’s ‘feelings’.

You glance over at Deacon, maybe anticipating some snarky comment that doesn’t come. As the moment passes your attention shifts over his shoulder, past him towards the window. It’s getting dark outside now, the visible sky an inky blue. “You should go check on him,” you say, your voice soft with concern. “He’s been out there for over an hour, and the only thing he’s had since he got here is half a glass of water. He should eat.”

“maybe he’s not hungry,” Sans says, uncertain.

“Sans.” You squeeze his arm, leaning towards him just a little to let him know you’re not going to let this go. That you’re serious. “He said he hadn’t had water in at least thirteen years. Go bring him inside so he can have some food.”

“And here I was hoping to take home some leftovers,” Deacon sighs, the corner of his mouth twitching as you give him a long-suffering look. “What?”

 You can help me in the kitchen. Sans, I’ll fix him a plate, okay? Just go talk to him.”

You’re right, of course. And once you’ve got that stubborn look on your face there’s really no arguing with you so he pushes away from the table and gets up. As he heads out of the room, towards the living room and the door to the backyard, you enlist Frisk to join you and Deacon in cleaning up. Frisk and Asriel… that’s an entirely separate issue the two of you will need to address. That uniting the two parts of Chara’s Soul and tapping into their magic had punched a hole through dimensions and caused this whole mess to begin with… Shit. How is he even supposed to deal with that?

Later. He’ll worry about it later.

Gaster is a shadow on the porch, standing with his back to the glass door and his head tipped back to look up at the sky. Sans hesitates, watching him for a moment, his hand halfway to the doorknob. This man had dropped literally out of nowhere, bringing with him everything Sans had wanted to know for the longest time. Things he’d finally given up trying to figure out. Things he’d accepted he’d never know. He’s not even sure if he wants this. He’s happy with his life; with you and Frisk and with the family he has now. He feels selfish for thinking it, in light of what this man —Gaster, his father — had been through to give him this opportunity, but part of him wishes he didn’t have to deal with this. This upheaval of his life is the last thing he expected, and now there’s no going back.

His dad is on his back porch and he needs to talk to him.

Sans finishes his reach for the door and turns the knob, barely even noticing the familiar creak of the hinges as he pushes it open. But Gaster does. He jumps at the sound, and before Sans even has a second to think, to wonder why he’s doing it, a flare of bright red surrounds Gaster’s hands as he whirls around blurringly fast and a long, thin, red-eyed blaster appears in the space at his side.

“fucking hell!” Sans yelps, teleporting about five feet to Gaster’s other side, magic crackling in his bones as his left eye flashes and he waits, ready to defend himself but waiting to see if he really needs to.

“Oh! Plato, no!” Gaster’s eyes go wide, the bright red glow in his sockets making Sans uneasy. It isn’t right, seeing a monster with red magic. It would make his skin crawl, if only he had skin. Distressed and a little panicked, Gaster turns to the blaster with a look of dismay before he waves his hands and dismisses it. The red magic in his eyes and around his fingers vanish. “Sans, I’m sorry. You startled me, I—”

“s’ok,” Sans says, gritting his teeth and forcing his left hand down to his side. He blinks, hard, and shoves his magic back down. “guess that makes us even.”

“It’s just…” He trails off, his brow furrowing, tugging on the jagged crack over his right, drooping eye socket. “It’s a bit much, out here. In this world, I mean,” he admits. “It’s so loud, and there’s just… I find it impossible to relax.”

It seems quiet out here to Sans, but as he takes a second to listen he hears what Gaster must be hearing. The soft drone of insects, the rustle of leaves as a gentle night breeze sweeps through the trees surrounding the backyard. The whir of the air conditioner on the other side of the house. If he wasn’t focusing on it, it would all just blend into the background. “so it was pretty quiet then, in that place.”

“Yes,” Gaster says, some of the tension easing off of his face. But he still looks anxious, his eyes darting towards the trees. “The only disturbances I had were from the Anathema, which I hope explains my… violent reaction just now.”

“i’d say it does,” he says. He forces himself to relax a bit more, adopting a more casual stance. Hooking his thumbs on the waist of his pants, Sans takes a couple lazy steps closer to bridge the gap he’d put between them. But he’s not sure what to say.

Silence settles between them, thick with tension. Sans can feel it, he’s sure that Gaster feels it, and for a little while they just stare out at the backyard. After a moment Gaster looks back up at the sky again, and when Sans follows his gaze he sees that the stars are starting to come out. It’s a clear summer night and though there’s still a hint of orange off towards the ocean it’s dark enough now to see them. The bright ones, at least.

After a few minutes pass, Gaster lets out a slow exhale. Sans looks over at him, what’s meant to be a quick glance but turns into a stare. Gaster’s eyes are wide and bright, even the one that’s sort of damaged is open as much as he thinks it can, taking in the night sky. That’s when he realizes it. “this is the first time you’ve seen the stars, huh?”

Flinching at the sudden interruption, Gaster glances over at him. His mouth curves into a hesitant smile. “With my own eyes, yes. I’ve seen them when I would watch over you and your brother, but… I never had the chance to see the surface before I was trapped in the Font. I suppose I’m a bit late to the party, so to speak.”

“better late than never,” Sans says, without thinking. As Gaster’s smile widens at Sans’s words, he reaches for a way to change the subject. He’s not ready to have some sort of moment out here in the dark. He’s not glad Gaster’s here, he doesn’t even know him. (And deep down he feels like an asshole for feeling this way.) “hope wanted me to get you to come inside. she thinks you should eat something.”

Gaster hesitates, studying Sans’s face as his expression sobers. His eyes flick towards the back door and then up at the stars again. “That will take some getting used to. Eating, that is. But I’d like to stay out here a bit longer. It’s very… overwhelming, inside.” He gives him an apologetic look. “Forgive me, I was starved for company for so long, now I find myself drowning in it and it’s taking some adjustment.”

“i think starving is what hope’s worried about,” he says with a shrug. “hey, can i ask you a question?”

“Of course, Sans,” he says, turning to him with a sudden eagerness. “Anything you’d like.”

“what’s the ‘w.d.’ in your name stand for? gaster’s gotta be your… uh, our? last name.” He stumbles a bit over his words, still trying to adjust to the idea of this man as family.

“Ah,” Gaster says, looking a bit uncomfortable. “Yes, that’s right. It stands for Wing Dings.”

He pauses. “oh. do you go by ‘wing’ or ‘dings’ or…?”

He cringes, shaking his head as a faint red flush paints across his cheekbones. “No. And I’d rather you not call me by my first name. Only one person ever called me Dings, and that was your mother. Everyone else just called me Gaster, or Doctor Gaster. I don’t expect any different from you.” Something sad passes over his face, his mouth twitching with an attempt at a smile. He quickly looks away, his once-wide eyes now heavy as his shoulders sag. “It is lovely out here. You always were fascinated by the stars. I’m glad you still have that old telescope.”

Sans can’t help the creep of guilt up his spine at the abrupt change of topic, and the way that Gaster had not-so-subtly implied that he didn’t expect him to call him ‘dad’. He ought to, shouldn’t he? He owed the guy that much, didn’t he? But it just doesn’t feel right. Not yet. “did you buy it for me?” he asks, his eyes flicking up towards the balcony overhead where he knows the telescope is set up.

“I found it, in the garbage back in Waterfall. I fixed it up for you for your birthday,” he says, fidgeting with the lapel of his coat. “You get that from your mother. While I was busy with thermal energy and designing the Core, trying to make the Underground a better place for us to live, she was dreaming of the surface. Of the sky and the stars and…” Gaster trails off, and Sans is very much aware in that moment of the missing notes in the sound of his father’s Soul. The places where his mother used to be. It makes something in his own Soul ache, and he feels uncomfortable. “I’m just sorry that she isn’t here to see this for herself.”

“yeah,” is all Sans can think to say. A meaningless word of agreement, of sympathy. What else is he supposed to say to a father he doesn’t remember about a mother he hardly does? “welp. i guess i’ll leave you to it then. hope’s got some food set aside for you whenever you’re ready.”

Gaster doesn’t look at him, twisting his fingers together in front of his chest. “Thank you, Sans. I’ll try not to be too much longer.”

“no problem. take your time,” he says, and goes back inside.

Right after Sans heads outside, you take Deacon and Frisk with you into the kitchen to clean up. As you’re putting together a plate for Gaster and Deacon carries the heavy baking dish over to the sink, Frisk’s cell phone goes off. The sudden sound of electric guitar makes you jump, and they hurry to answer the call. You know that ringtone is only assigned to one person.

Why is Chris calling?

“Hey,” Frisk says, sounding harried. “What’s up?”

Deacon doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even look at you, but you glance over at him reflexively. Even after five years he hasn’t relented much in his dislike of Chris, even when Sans had. You can see the crease between his brows as he works on the dishes but whatever he might be thinking he keeps to himself.

“Oh,” Frisk says, pushing their bangs out of their face as they wince. “Sorry, something came up. I know we said we’d do dungeons tonight. I… Is Asriel on? He isn’t either? No, I wasn’t sure. Look, I don’t think I can—”

“Just go on,” you tell them, circling around them to pick up the stack of dirty plates they set on the counter. Then, in an undertone, you add, “But don’t tell him anything about what happened yet.”

Frisk’s eyes light up and they nod quickly, giving you a fleeting smile as they hurry off towards the stairs. Before you can change your mind. “Nevermind, I’m going to the computer now! I’ll be on in a second.”

Deacon is looking at you now, taking the plates from you and setting them into the sink. “You’re just going to let them play games after what happened?”

You try not to feel annoyed at that, like he’s questioning your choices as Frisk’s mother. You know that’s not what he’s doing, even though it’s what it sounds like. Pushing the irritation away, you lean your hip against the counter, crossing your arms over your chest. “It’s better that Chris doesn’t think anything’s wrong. And right now I’m more concerned about Sans and Gaster than what Frisk did…” You sigh, shaking your head and tipping your chin down to your chest. “I get the feeling that they’re not going to try that again anytime soon.”

“This is one hell of a shitshow right now,” he says, pushing his hair away from his forehead with the back of his wrist. “Sans’s dad just popping out of another dimension… That’s not exactly something you plan for. I mean, if one of my parents decided to make a sudden appearance, that would be surprising but not exactly implausible, you know? But Gaster might as well have not even existed. How do you think Papyrus is going to take the news?”

“Oh god,” you breathe, turning to sag against the countertop, resting your weight on your elbows as you bury your face in your hands. “I hadn’t even thought about Papyrus. I mean, I’m sure he’ll take it well, right? He takes everything well.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s true. What about you?” Deacon looks at you, shifting to the side so he can give you a gentle nudge with his shoulder. “You hanging in there?”

With a weak smile, you give a feeble shrug of your shoulders. “I guess. I think I’m still in, like… damage control mode. This is just… weird, Deacon. Just one more freaking weird thing to happen to us.”

“Speaking of weird,” he says, starting the process of loading up the dishwasher. “Gaster watching you guys.”

You wince. “Yeah, that’s a little weird. But I mean, he must have been worried about Sans and Papyrus. I can’t really blame him for keeping an eye on them.”

“Okay, but you can’t tell me that there’s no chance he hasn’t seen you guys doing it,” he insists, arching a brow as he fights to keep an amused smile off his face. “Even on accident.”

“Oh my god,” you say, groaning in dismay. “Why. Deacon, why did you have to say that?”

“Because it was the first thing that popped into my head when he said he’d watched you guys, and I needed to share that horror with you.”

“He’s… he’s my father-in-law, Deacon no. God, now I’m going to keep thinking about that.” Your face twists with disgust and subdued horror, and Deacon at least has the decency to look apologetic.

“Sorry,” he says. “But, uh, I guess I should probably head out soon. I mean, you didn’t really need me here at all, Gaster seems pretty harmless.”

Despite the embarrassed flush on your cheeks and the desire to shove Deacon for causing it, you can’t help but put your arm around him and give him a one-armed hug. “I needed you here,” you tell him, which is true. “I would have felt a lot more uncomfortable if you hadn’t been here when he showed up with the kids. I know that you would have kept us safe.”

He lets out a quiet, pleased sound. “Yeah, well, what kind of brother would I be if I didn’t watch out for you? But seriously, this is probably something you want to take care of with just, you know, real family. I’m sure you and Sans have a lot to deal with right now.”

“You are real family,” you insist, frowning.

“I know,” he says, giving you a warm smile as he dries his hands off on a dishtowel. When he’s done he puts an arm around your shoulders, pulling you closer. “But let’s be honest, this has a lot more to do with you guys than it does with me. Besides, I got my meatloaf. That’s the real reason I stuck around.”

Laughing, you give in to the urge to shove him. He grins at you as you free yourself from his hold. “Well, I’m not saying you have to stay, but don’t feel like you need to leave.”

“Okay,” he says, giving in. “But I do think I should head home.”

“you leaving?” comes Sans’s voice from behind you.

When you both turn to look at your husband, you’re surprised to see that he’s alone. You look behind him, wondering if Gaster is trailing behind, but no. It’s just Sans.

“Yeah, thought I’d give you guys some space,” Deacon says.

“Where’s Gaster?” you ask, crossing the kitchen to meet Sans halfway. You reach for his hand and he gives it to you, squeezing your fingers as you look again towards the living room.

“said he wanted to stay outside a bit longer,” Sans says, indifferent. You’re not sure you like that tone in his voice. You know that it’s been a lot to take in, but shouldn’t he care a little more?

“I’m going to go talk to him,” you decide. “Deacon, I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow?”

“Of course,” he says. “Call me if you need anything.”

“I will.”

“babe, i think gaster just wants some time alone,” Sans says, frowning.

“He’s been alone for too long. I’m just going to check on him myself.” If Sans has any other words of protest you don’t hear them, walking past him towards the back door. He doesn’t follow you to try and stop you.

You can see Gaster out on the patio, and you don’t hesitate. You open the door and step outside.

“Sans, you don’t need to trouble yourself over me, I just—” Gaster glances behind him as you shut the door, his eyes widening in surprise. “Oh. Hope, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was you. Is there anything I can do for you?”

He looks exhausted. His eyes are heavy, his shoulders are sagging, and something in his expression makes him look lost. Uncertain. How could Sans not see it? Any words of reprimand you had for him to try and get him inside die before they can pass your lips. Your brow furrows in concern. “Gaster, are you okay?”

He blinks, taken aback, like he’s surprised by your question. His mouth opens, he hesitates, and whatever reassurances he might have given you never come. Instead he tilts his head just a fraction to the side and glances away. “I don’t know,” he admits, and after a pause he looks back up at the stars. “I haven’t quite stopped to think about it.”

You feel a pang of sympathy. “This is a lot, for everyone. Especially you.”

“I will adapt,” he says, and you’re not sure if he’s trying to reassure you or himself more. “Anything is better than that place.”

“Well,” you say, gently, “if anyone knows what it’s like to have to adapt to an unfamiliar place, it’s me.”

He turns to you again, that surprised look back on his face. Then, after a moment, he smiles at you and inclines his head. “Of course. I hadn’t considered… well, I will keep that in mind.”

“It’s overwhelming, and it’s confusing, but you’re not alone,” you say. You look at him, study the way he’s watching you, and after a moment of indecision you reach out to rest your hand on his arm. “Not anymore.”

He looks down at your hand, that smile fading into something sad and lonely. “That will… also take some getting used to,” he says, and you can’t help it. You just feel so sorry for him.

You hug Gaster, because damn it, someone needs to, and you don’t think it’s going to be Sans anytime soon. He freezes for a moment, startled, before he relents, reciprocating hesitantly. It takes a few more seconds, but he relaxes, hugging you back with a fierceness that surprises you.

“Hope,” he says, and his voice sounds thick. “You are so incredibly kind. It pains me to think about what would have happened to Sans without you. You have done, and continue to do so much for this family.”

“Come inside,” you say, unsure what to do with his praise. “You have to be exhausted, and you should eat something.”

“I do feel a bit weak,” he admits. “I suppose you’re right.”

   
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