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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8. Cooking Something Edible

"So, this is random but I need to know: why is there shampoo and conditioner in your bathroom?" 

Sans chuckles at your side as you make the short walk back towards his house, both of you in far better spirits than when you left. "heh, fair question. it's cuz of undyne. she's over here sometimes to hang out with papyrus. occasionally she spends the night and she got tired of carrying the bottles back and forth."

That's a surprisingly boring answer, you think. You were honestly expecting something different. You don't know what, exactly, but just something weird. "Will she be mad that I used them? She's... what did Papyrus say? The captain of the Royal Guard?"

"yeah... but if she finds out about you guys, her shampoo is going to be the last thing on her mind." He sighs, and when you glance over at him you're surprised to see him looking serious. Catching you looking at him, he gives you crooked smile. "but don't worry, buddy. papyrus hasn't said anything to her about you guys being here. and she hates the cold so she doesn't come to snowdin unless she has no choice."

You suppose that's reassuring. But, you get the feeling that this Undyne is going to be a problem sooner or later, whether you stay with the skeleton brothers or not. At least for the time being, you don't have to worry about it. No need to rush headlong into more trouble until absolutely necessary. "Speaking of Papyrus," you say, pointedly changing the subject, "do you think he'd be offended if I make dinner tomorrow?"

"you really don't have to keep helping out."

"I do if I want something edible," you grumble.

Sans laughs. "okay, fair enough. i don't think he'll mind."

"Cool. Then I'll go to the store in the morning."

"remind me to give you some money before you go."

"I—" you're about to argue when you catch yourself. You and Frisk had picked up a few gold coins along your way to Snowdin, but you're hesitant to spend them. "...okay. Thanks, Sans."

The living room is dark as you follow Sans through the front door, lit by the glow of their television. A cooking show hosted by a robot is playing, the sound turned down low enough that you can't make out what's going on. When you catch sight of the couch you smile, warmth swelling in your chest.

Papyrus and Frisk are both asleep. The skeleton is sitting upright, one elbow on the armrest and his gloved hand cradling his head. A fluffy pillow with a flamed pillowcase is in his lap, which Frisk is snuggled into. Their hair fans out around their head like a dark halo. Laying lengthwise along the rest of the couch, Frisk is wrapped up in a thick red blanket, expression peaceful. Papyrus's hand is resting on their side.

You and Sans exchange a look, and you can see the fondness in his expression. He made no secret of how he feels about his brother, but right now you can see it plain on his face. 

"I don't really want to move them," you admit, whispering.

"got to, unless you want to sleep on the floor," he says. "i'll get my bro if you can pick up frisk."

You nod. You don't really want to sleep on the floor.

Frisk mumbles a little in their sleep as you scoop them up, still wrapped in their blanket. They're getting a bit heavy for you now, but you manage to lift them and shift them to the other end of the couch. Somehow, they don't wake up. Something about kids just lets them sleep deep like that.

As you take care of Frisk, Sans is pulling a groggy Papyrus to his feet. "c'mon bro, lets get you to bed."

"Sans?" he says, and you realize you've never heard his voice so quiet. Apparently Papyrus is capable of toning himself down a bit. "Ah, you're back."

"yep."

Papyrus glances over at you, and for a moment he seems confused, like he doesn't recognize you. He takes a slow, deliberate blink and the look is gone. "Ah, human, I hope my brother was not poor company. If he was, I will take you for a walk myself instead next time," he says, stifling a yawn. With a quick peek at Frisk, he lets Sans guide him up the stairs.

You really ought to get ready for bed yourself. You take off Sans's jacket and drape it over the armrest of the couch, pulling the elastic band out of your hair. You shake it out. The deepest layers are still damp, which is no surprise. Some tangles catch on your fingers as they comb through.

Catching yourself yawning, you grab the discarded pillow and shift Frisk onto it, closer to the back of the couch. You feel better taking the outside, knowing Frisk can't roll off and onto the floor in the middle of the night. Right as you're about to lay down next to them, you hear a familiar voice.

"hey," Sans whispers, getting your attention without startling you like he normally does. He's at your side before you even notice him approach, and you're starting to wonder how exactly he does that. Monster magic, you decide. Your go-to answer for the unexplainable down here. He has a blanket and pillow in his hands and he's holding them out to you. "thought you might need these. kiddo hogs the blankets."

You take them, glancing down at Frisk and back at Sans. "Yeah, they do. Good guess."

Sans's chuckle sounds a little forced. "right, yeah. pap was like that as a kid too, liked to wrap himself up like a burrito with every blanket he could get his hands on." You laugh softly and Sans shrugs. "actually, he still does that sometimes. some things never change."

"Thanks," you say, gesturing with the pillow and blanket in your hands.

He nods, picking up his jacket and slipping it on. "sleep good." He turns off the television on his way out.

You watch him climb back up the stairs before shaking out your blanket and laying down. As you settle in, Frisk shifts beside you, scooching closer. You roll to your side and pull them to you. Frisk's face burrows under your chin, and a warm, contented feeling fills your chest as you breathe in the familiar scent of their hair. For a moment it doesn't even matter that you're borrowing a skeleton's couch for your bed. Here with Frisk you feel at home.

"Sissa?" Frisk mumbles into your chest, rubbing their face against your shirt.

You smooth back their hair, stroking the side of their face. "I'm here, sweetie. Go back to sleep."

"Mmmm." Frisk's body relaxes, and soon you can tell by their breathing that they're sleeping again.

 

Sans hesitates as he reaches the door to his bedroom, and turns to look down over the railing to the living room below. He can just make out the shape of you and Frisk through the darkness.

His jacket smells like you —well, you and Undyne's shampoo. He's afraid to admit to himself that he kind of likes it.

It's been so long that he barely remembers what hope feels like. But looking down at you, he can feel it stirring like buried embers in his chest.

After going through the same motions over and over again, he finds himself at a loss. He doesn't know what to say to you, what to expect when he talks to you. Frisk is a little different each time he meets them, but fundamentally, their path is almost always the same. Usually they're kind. Sometimes, the worst times, they're not. Those times, they've never made it past him. They try and try until they give up and restart again. When Frisk comes back after those times, it takes them longer to warm up to him, as if deep down a part of them remembers. But they don't, not really. 

But this time...

This has never happened before. You have never happened before.

This changes everything.

 

Sans isn't home when you get back from the store with Frisk. 

"HE IS WORKING. AS HE SHOULD BE, THE LAZYBONES," Papyrus tells you, following you into the kitchen and eyeing your bags of groceries with curiosity. "THOUGH HE IS PROBABLY JUST SLEEPING AT HIS STATION."

"Oh, okay," you say, trying to hide your disappointment. Papyrus doesn't seem to notice.

"WHAT DID YOU GET FROM THE STORE? THOSE DON'T LOOK LIKE THE INGREDIENTS FOR SPAGHETTI."

Definitely not. You line up an assortment of vegetables on the counter and hand a bundle of meat (it looks like beef, you try not to think about it) wrapped in butcher's paper to Frisk, pointing at the fridge. Considering a fair portion of Snowdin's population is rabbits, you weren't too surprised at the selection of vegetables at the store. Carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, an onion, and some of the largest white mushrooms you've seen will make for a delicious stir-fry. They even had soy sauce and rice. Again, you just accepted it and moved on.

"I'm making veggie and beef stir-fry," you tell him.

"It's really good! Sissa makes it all the time at home!" Frisk adds, smiling.

Your boss used to let you take home food that was about to turn, things that were still edible but not quite good enough to serve to customers. A lot of the time it included a variety of vegetables, and stir-frying was a quick and easy way to make a meal from them.

Papyrus eyes your selection, looking doubtful. But he can't help but smile back at Frisk. "I SEE! WELL, SINCE YOU LOVE MY SPAGHETTI, I KNOW YOU HAVE GOOD TASTE! I WILL TRY IT."

"I'll try not to let you down, Papyrus," you say, biting back sarcasm.

"DON'T WORRY. IF YOU DO, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL HELP LIFT US BOTH UP. I WILL ELEVATE YOUR CULINARY PROWESS TO MATCH MY OWN." He hesitates, resting his hands on his hipbones. "WELL, PERHAPS NOT MATCH BUT I WILL GET YOU CLOSE!"

You can't help but smile. Papyrus's enthusiasm is infectious, and even as he seems to doubt you cooking skills he manages to encourage you as well. Sans is right, his brother is pretty cool. "Thanks. You're a great friend," you say in all sincerity.

"WOWIE, I UH..." He blushes a little, dropping his hands away from his hips and looking a little flustered. "I MEAN, I AM! THE GREAT PAPYRUS. BUT YOU, HUMAN. YOU ARE ALSO PRETTY GREAT! PLEASE NEVER FORGET THAT!"

His eyes widen when you take hold of his hand. Part of you wants to hug him, but you're not quite sure how he'd react to that. Something about the way Papyrus talks to you, his unbridled enthusiasm and reassurances, they go straight to your heart. How do these two skeletons keep doing this to you? How do they seem to bypass the layers of hurt and fill you with warmth? For the longest time, only Frisk could do that.

"Sissa? Are you okay?" Frisk is looking up at you with concern, and you realize your vision is blurry with tears.

Papyrus looks puzzled as you let him go, feeling embarrassed. You keep letting your feelings get the better of you. "Sorry, I'm fine," you say, rubbing your eyes.

Two long, bony arms wrap around you as Papyrus gently hugs you. "MY KINDNESS HAS OVERWHELMED YOU! I'M SORRY HUMAN, I UNDERESTIMATED THE POWER OF MY FRIENDSHIP. PLEASE DON'T CRY."

You start laughing, because even though he makes it sounds ridiculous, in a way it's true. You hug him back, and when you both pull away he's smiling again, reassured that you're okay.

Papyrus spends the rest of the day with you, keeping you company. The three of you take a walk around Snowdin, made much more entertaining by the skeleton's colorful commentary. You realize, gradually, that none of the other monsters seem to understand that you and Frisk are human. Considering that few monsters seem to look alike, you sort of understand their confusion. To them, the two of you must just be another kind of monster. Papyrus doesn't correct any of them.

Later, Frisk and Papyrus have a snowball fight with some of the local children. You make sure to keep to the sidelines, in no hurry to get your clothes (your own, familiar clothes) soaked again. Happy enough just to watch, an unfamiliar sense of contentment settles over you. Frisk squeals with laughter as they get hit in the side of the face with a snowball, rosy-cheeked from the cold. You can already tell the'll need a change of clothes as soon as you get back home. And a hot shower wouldn't hurt.

You wish every day could be like this. But with that hope comes the fear of this happiness ending. Everything is so uncertain. The Royal Guard wants to capture humans, though you're not sure why. Toriel seemed confident that leaving the Ruins would put you both in danger, and you can only guess it's because of that.

Frisk interrupts your thoughts, running to you and flinging their arms around your middle. "I won!" You smile down at them and push damp hair out of their eyes as they grin up at you, breathing heavily.

"NO, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WON!" Papyrus is shaking snow out of his skull, tilting his head forward to let it fall out of his eye sockets. If Sans were here, you're sure he'd make some kind of joke about brain freeze.

"How do you win a snowball fight?" you ask them both, gently prying Frisk off of you in an attempt to keep yourself dry.

"You hit everyone else more than they hit you," Frisk says as you put a hand on the back of their neck and start steering them back towards the house.

Papyrus falls into step beside you. "THEN CLEARLY I AM THE VICTOR!"

They argue all the way back, right up until you force Frisk into the shower.

 

The rice is cooking on the stove top as you gather up what you'll need to prepare the rest of dinner. Digging through the drawers and cabinets (one of which is filled with bones) you thankfully find everything you need.

"Sissa, do you need help?" Frisk asks as you untie the bag of snow peas and set a bowl on the table to put them in as you clean them.

Frisk is dressed in a pair of cotton shorts borrowed from Papyrus, the drawstring pulled tight to keep them around their small hips. On them, though, they're more like pants. A wide-necked t-shirt is falling off one shoulder. The shirt says 'BEST' written in what looks like permanent marker.

You decide not to comment. "Wanna help me by cleaning these peas?"

Frisk makes a face. "That's boring."

It really is. Snapping off the stems is tedious, but someone has to do it. "Fine, how about chopping up those vegetables? I already peeled the carrots if you want to start on those."

"Okay!"

You sit down at the kitchen table to get to work on the snow peas, keeping an eye on Frisk as they carefully start chopping the carrots. You started teaching Frisk how to cook a year ago, and it had been a couple months since you started letting them use knives. You trusted them to be safe. They were a quick learner and took your directions and warnings to heart.

About a third of the way through the peas, Frisk is scraping the carrots off the cutting board into another bowl you had set aside. "Do you remember how to clean bell peppers?" you ask as they look over the remaining vegetables.

"You do it better," Frisk says, sounding doubtful.

"Well then how about slicing up those mushrooms. They're too big to leave whole. They don't need to be pretty, and rinse them first!"

Frisk does as you ask as you keep bending the ends off the peas with a satisfying snap. You're halfway done with the bag when you glance up to check on Frisk's progress, and you see Sans standing in the doorway.

Sans is frozen in place, the white lights of his eyes focused on the knife in Frisk's hand. He looks... frightened. Sweat is beading on the side of his skull.

"Sans?" you say.

He flinches but doesn't look at you. Frisk is too busy carefully slicing mushrooms to notice.

"Sans?" you say again, and this time he turns his head.

For a second he looks lost, but as he focuses on you, you can see him visibly relax. Glancing at Frisk and back at you, he wipes at his skull with a handkerchief pulled from his pocket. "aren't... aren't they a little young to be using knives?" he asks, and you can't help but notice the slight tremor in his voice.

"They need to learn sometime," you say, shrugging. Frisk always wanted to help you, with cooking especially. 

"hey kiddo, why don't you let me help your sister, i think papyrus could use some company." Sans holds out his hand for the knife.

Frisk looks up at him, and for a second you think you see a glare flash across their face. But the moment you try to comprehend it the look is gone, and they're handing the knife to Sans, handle-first like you taught them. That was strange.

If Sans saw anything out of the ordinary he doesn't say anything. Instead he just picks up where Frisk left off.

"Hey, come here," you say as Frisk goes to leave the room.

They turn and come to you obediently, a question in their bright eyes. You can't see any traces of anger in their face, just the same sweet Frisk you've always known. "What is it?"

You shake your head, smiling at them. You catch hold of the back of their neck with one hand and pull them down to you so you can kiss their forehead. Frisk gives a loud protest and squirms away, leaving you chuckling as they escape the kitchen.

 

It takes a few minutes for Sans's hands to stop shaking.

 
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