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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187. Darker

The problem with twins (clutchmates, an annoyed voice in the back of Undyne’s mind corrects her, sounding distinctly like her wife) is that when one of them wakes up, so does the other. Varan starts to cry, which wakes up Lea, and then she starts to cry too. Undyne wonders, not for the first time, if they should just split the babies up. She’s certain that Lea would sleep through the night every night if it wasn’t for Varan, but Alphys and Toriel agreed that it would be better for them to stay together.

Not that they’re the ones that have to get up with them every night.

The thought isn’t a new one, bitter and sharp in the back of her mind, like a splinter. It’s not fair, or kind, but it’s there as she fumbles for the baby monitor and cranks down the volume so that it doesn’t disturb the lump under the blankets beside her that should be Alphys. Even as Undyne pushes back that budding resentment, she still wants the best for her wife. She’d agreed to take the night shift by herself over the summer since she didn’t have work in the morning, and it’s been weeks since she’d had an undisturbed night of sleep.

Teething hadn’t made Varan’s already patchy sleep any better. Undyne slips out of the bedroom as quietly as she can, closing the door behind her as she rubs blearily at her good eye with her knuckles. She’s not even sure what time it is —she hadn’t bothered to look. The nursery is at the end of the hall, and the second she opens the door Lea and Varan are on their feet in their cribs, reaching out for her and whining. They haven’t started walking independently (yet) but they can pull up on things so it’s only a matter of time. Then they’ll be even more of a handful than they already are…

She goes to Varan first, picking him up so that he can lay his head against her chest. He always does that, nuzzles right under her chin and plops his head down, and there’s that warm fuzzy feeling in her chest that —at least for a moment— lets her forget how frustrated and annoyed she is with his inability to just sleep for once.

Lea knows this routine. She’s been through it so many times, but she still clutches to the side of her crib and reaches out for her, asking wordlessly to be picked up too. But she doesn’t need it, not like her brother does. Undyne goes to her and strokes her head, letting her grasp at her nightshirt as she makes soft, soothing sounds for both of them. Her daughter fusses, pulls, shifts back and forth on her feet and all the while Undyne just runs her hand over the frill on the top of her head.

She could pick her up. She could pick up two kids ten times their weight, that isn’t the issue. It’s that she knows Lea better than that and so instead of giving in to her sleepy, grumpy whining (she can sympathize, she’s sleepy and grumpy too) Undyne turns and leaves the room with Varan cradled against her chest.

Her daughter cries for just a moment before she goes quiet, undoubtedly soothing herself the way that Varan just hasn’t figured out yet. She’ll be asleep by the time she sneaks back into the nursery with her son asleep in her arms to slip him back into his crib, praying that he doesn’t wake up during the transition.

For now she beats a familiar path through their dark house, swaying in her steps, patting Varan’s bottom to comfort him as she goes through their nightly ritual. She’d fall asleep on her feet if she could, it doesn’t take much effort to pick her way along the same route she takes every time. Down the hall, out into the living room, she slows her pace as she passes the huge floor to ceiling windows that look out over the lake. The moon is more than half-full, the sky cloudless, and silver light dances along the ripples on the water’s surface. For a moment she contemplates going out on the back deck, enjoying the night air and the sound of the crickets, but that would be a break in routine.

And a break in routine would just make this take longer.

...These aren’t the battles she was meant to fight. She wasn’t supposed to be fighting against whatever kept waking her son, or her own frustration, or whether or not it was okay to let the twins sleep in separate rooms. She shouldn’t be struggling with naptimes (almost as difficult as bedtime), or getting Lea to listen to the word ‘no’, or making sure they don’t hurt each other (Lea likes to pull, and Varan keeps putting everything, including his sister, into his mouth to chew on).

She was the captain of the royal guard! Asgore’s right hand, meant to hunt down any human intruders to the Underground and to kill if necessary. She’d trained to fight for as long as she can remember, had challenged the king himself when she was just a scabby-kneed brat of a kid. Asgore and Gerson had been her mentors, her idols. Monsters had been under her command, she was a leader!

She was a warrior! ...Is a warrior.

Isn’t she?

Undyne grimaces and turns away from the window, continuing her path around the couch as she listens to Varan’s breathing. It’s quieter, heavier… He’s drifting off, she can tell by the soft snuffling he does as he sucks on his thumb.

And that’s another thing… Toriel keeps ‘gently’ reminding her that she ought to break him of that habit sooner rather than later, but right now… right now Undyne just wants him to sleep. He only does it when he’s stressed or tired, that’s not that bad, right?

She keeps telling herself she’ll try to work on it, keeps telling Toriel that too. Those sympathetic, almost pitying looks from the queen are nearly more than she can stand, and she just feels like… like she’s going to screw this up. She’s not sure what, but something. Every good parent wants what’s best for their kids, and Undyne is no exception. She’s got to do better to listen to Toriel’s advice…

Even if it means second-guessing her own instincts.

Lost in thought with a now-sleeping Varan on her chest (she loves that feeling, that soft, heavy weight of her son asleep in her arms, and not just because he’s finally asleep), Undyne almost misses the light on under the door to Alphys’s office. Had she woken up when she did and she hadn’t seen? Maybe, but now that she thinks about it she’s not certain her wife ever came to bed. Lately she’s been passing out early in anticipation of these nightly wakeups, leaving Alphys alone to watch anime or spend time on the computer. Maybe she’d… lost track of time?

What time is it?

She walks over to the kitchen, where the clock on the stove reads just past two in the morning. That wouldn’t be unusual, if this were a year ago, but with two babies to take care of and work in the morning, Alphys doesn’t have any business being up this late.

First things first, however. Undyne takes the very unconscious Varan back to the nursery and puts him to bed, curiosity and a little frustration sharpening her senses. Both of the kids are safely in their cribs as she slips back out of the room and closes the door.

Alphys doesn’t even hear her when she opens the door to her office, sifting through boxes of papers and blueprints, huge sheets spread out over her desk, the filing cabinet, on the chair and even on the floor. Undyne catches herself on the threshold, afraid that she’d disturb this… chaos just by entering. Standing there, blinking in the bright light as she struggles to adjust, her wife is completely oblivious to her presence.

“Are these…? This looks familiar, I just can’t…” Alphys mutters to herself, leaning forward over a tattered sheet of dark blue paper, crisp white lines showing some sort of rectangular object from what Undyne can see. She’s still dressed in the same clothes she was wearing earlier.

“Babe, did you never come to bed?” Undyne asks, trying to keep her voice down so as not to startle her.

Not that it helps. Alphys jumps, crinkling the blueprint under her claws as she whirls around to face Undyne. Recognition dawns quickly on her face, replaced by a mix of guilt and confusion. Opening and closing her mouth, she glances around for the clock on the wall. “I d-didn’t even… Oh, oh no I had no idea it was so late!” she blurts out, her jaw dropping. “Did the babies wake you up?”

Undyne nods, frowning down at the papers spread on the floor in her way. She’d just walk over them, getting to Alphys to bring her to bed to get some sleep feels more important, but… But she’s been better about being considerate of what Alphys considers important. And she can’t imagine all this crap is set aside for no reason.

But whatever the reason is, it can wait until morning.

“I just put Varan back to bed, so why don’t you come with me and we can get some sleep,” Undyne says, arching a brow and beckoning her with one hand.

Alphys casts an apprehensive look around her. “I r-really shouldn’t leave all this everywhere—”

“Leave it,” Undyne cuts in, satisfied when her wife finally nods and starts to pick her way across the room. As she’s doing that, she takes another look at the papers and diagrams. The handwriting is small and cramped, in a hand that Undyne doesn’t recognize. It’s not Alphys’s, and not Sans’s; maybe it’s from someone who worked at the lab before them? That must have been a long time ago though, before she’d joined the royal guard. She doesn’t remember a royal scientist before Alphys. “...What is it about this stuff that got you so distracted?”

She looks surprised by the question, and maybe a little taken aback. As Undyne backs up to let her out of the room, Alphys hesitates in the doorway, hand going still as she reaches for the lightswitch. Her eyes sweep over the room, stopping to pause on that blueprint that had her attention when Undyne came in. “I just… wasn’t tired, and I had this weird impulse to look through some of this old paperwork I took out of the lab a couple years ago. I meant to throw it away, but I never did,” she says, her brow furrowing. “I think I should show some of this to Sans, but I don’t… I-I can’t really make heads or tails of this stuff.”

Undyne reaches around her, flipping off the light and shutting the door. Letting out a soft sigh, Alphys shakes her head, barely visible in the dark. “You can worry about it later,” Undyne mutters, yawning. “You should have been in bed hours ago.”

“I know,” she says, chastised. As Undyne starts to turn away to head towards their bedroom, a hand on her hip stops her. Alphys wraps her arms around her waist, pulling her into a hug, stretching up on her toes to nuzzle under Undyne’s chin. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stay up so late. Thank you, for coming to get me.”

She’s still tired, and still frustrated with her family for not sleeping, but she drapes her arms around Alphys’s shoulders and leans down to kiss her. That makes this all a little better, at least. “I’ll always come get you, you big NERD,” she teases, her hug turning into a quick and rather weak headlock as she gives her wife a gentle noogie before letting her go. “You’d be working yourself to death if I wasn’t here to watch out for you.”

Alphys’s laugh is a little too tight, ducking her head in what might be embarrassment or guilt. “Yeah, probably…”

Then she’s looking at the door to her office again, frowning ever so slightly, mulling over something before following Undyne to bed.

Sans pressed a button next to the machine’s monitor. It was such a tiny thing, just a small, circular red button, narrower than the thumb he used to press it, and it gave a small, satisfying click. Something so insignificant shouldn’t have been the trigger for hell itself to rip open and tear his family apart.

As the machine began to whir, that humming that filled the room growing louder and louder, Sans stepped back to stand beside his father. All eyes were on the darkness through the open door, which somehow, inexplicably, only seemed to grow darker. It didn’t make any sense, but it’s the only way Sans’s mind could make sense of what he was seeing, the way that it seemed to stretch and fill the space within the machine more than should have been possible. Then, as if from far away, deep inside that eerie blackness, a point of white began to grow. Bigger and bigger, and Sans couldn’t tear his eyes away, not even to look at Dr. Gaster as he let out a soft gasp of what sounded like delight.

There,” Dr. Gaster breathed, and Sans could swear that he’d felt his father literally buzzing with excitement. “Our first glimpse of the wellspring. Soon we’ll be—”

He cut himself off as the soft white light filled the space in the machine, edging out all traces of the darkness. Curls of iridescent mist, delicate tendrils of something like fog, began to waft out of the machine. Despite his fear, the dread in the pit of his stomach, Sans found himself intrigued. It glowed, faintly, and pearlescent and every color even as it was white. Dr. Gaster was right; pure, raw magic was just like the light spectrum. He just never thought he’d ever get to see it for himself.

The other assistants were having the same revelation, inching closer to the open door to get a better look. Dr. Gaster himself was doing the same, and so Sans followed him.

“Oh my, you can feel it, look!” one of the assistants said, reaching their hand towards the mist. It pulled towards their fingers, glowing brighter for just a moment before being drawn inside them.

They’re the first one to die.

A hand unlike anything he’d ever seen before, long and spindly fingers covered with dripping, oozing flesh darted out of the machine from inside the thick mist, engulfing the assistant’s arm up to the elbow and pulling him inside. They didn’t even have time to make a sound, just a soft gasp as they prepared to scream but couldn’t quite manage. They’re gone, and there’s a moment where the only sound was the loud rumble of the machine before everything dissolved into chaos.

“Get back, get back!” Dr. Gaster yelled, his magic —brilliant red— swirled in his eye sockets, flaring bright from his hands.

The other assistants aren’t fast enough. Two arms lashed out this time, and as Sans charged after his father to try and help, his magic screaming inside of him as he urged it forward, two more monsters were pulled inside. They managed to scream before abruptly silenced. How, Sans wasn’t sure. He’s certain he didn’t want to know.

“dad, we have to turn it off!” Sans yelled, teleporting the short distance between himself and the controls, putting himself closer to the door. It was dangerous, he knew that, but he had to get there. He had to stop it!

“No!” Dr. Gaster said, and as Sans whirled to look at him he was shocked to see his father look angry. “We need that creature to destroy the Barrier! If we stop now this will all have been in vain!”

“it’s destroying us!”

“We don’t know that the others are dead, we might be able to—”

Long, emaciated, dripping and iridescent like the mist, those arms thrusted their way back out of the machine, scrabbling at the edges as it started to force its way through. A face —it must be a face, what else could it be— finally appeared, mouthless, noseless, studded with a row of seven vertical eyes in each of the colors of magic. The eyes blinked out of sync, taking in the room as the head swept from side to side, hunched shoulders pushing out of the machine.

Sans could only stare and watch in horror as the creature fixed its attention on the last remaining assistant who had backed himself against the wall. It’s biggest, central eye shifted from orange to blue, and it reached out and wrenched the cowering monster to it with a bright flare of magic. Held tight in the creature’s hand, they did their best to struggle, screaming as it pulled them close to its blackened underbelly of ribs and oozing flesh.

Remembering himself, Sans tried to reach out with his own blue magic, tried to brute force the creature into letting go, but it was stronger than him. Of course it was, it was standing in the goddamn source of magic! Bones pelted the creature in the face and arm, and he could hear his father yell something, but their attempts to help were futile. The assistant clutched tight in its grip let out a faint glow of white light, of magic, which was quickly absorbed by the creature before the monster’s body crumbled away into dust.

There wasn’t any doubt anymore. The others were dead.

All he could do now was try to shut the machine down before this thing came all the way through. Sans’s fingers darted over the switches and knobs, wishing that it was as simple as just pressing that damn button again.

“Free, free!” the creature cried out, a cacophony of voices all speaking at once, yelling and whispering and sobbing. “Too long, too long in that pit, that cage! You will not stop us, monster!”

Sans was barely able to finish the shutoff sequence before he felt himself wrenched off his feet, fingers twisted in his lab coat, grabbing at his arm. The only satisfaction he could glean was in knowing that the loud clattering sound coming from the machine was sign enough that it was starting to sever the connection to that damn place it came from.

“Sans!” His father’s scream shook something loose inside of Sans’s skull, let his fear break free. That thing had him, he was being pulled towards its body, he could feel the magic being siphoned out of him. He was being pulled over the threshold of the machine, and for a moment, even as he was being drained, he could feel himself being filled with power. Something inside of him, the place where the determination had changed his magic, felt… different. Altered. “You won’t take my son!”

Then everything turned red. He was ripped from the creature’s grip, flung across the room. Before Sans struck the wall, for a moment it was as if time slowed. He could see his father turn to look at him, red magic flaring so bright from his eye sockets that the strain had cracked his skull. One socket had split up towards the crown of his head, the other down to his mouth. Then, with his back turned, the creature lashed out and grabbed for him, wrapping both hands around his middle and yanking him back off his feet. Sans could see the deep, horrible darkness creeping in on the edges of the doorway, and together the creature and Dr. Gaster were being sucked backwards.

The creature howled, letting go of Dr. Gaster with one hand as it clawed at the door, holding on as tight as it could. As Sans finally hit the far wall, there was the loud, awful sound of twisting metal and the scream of hinges snapping. The door had given way, and as he tried to look, dazed and drained of magic and overwhelmed with pain, he saw the darkness fill the void within the machine, taking the creature and his father with it.

“dad!” he tried to scream, but it came out as a ragged gasp, his arms buckling as he tried to push himself up.

Blackness began to creep into the edges of his vision, and he was vaguely aware of his mind going fuzzy, something awful happening to his memories. He tried to hold onto them, then felt his panic and fear and grief for his father start to blur and bleed away, even as his eye sockets swam with tears.

“no,” he breathed, but as he collapsed to the floor, head swimming as the darkness came to claim him, he wasn’t sure what he was saying ‘no’ to.

When Sans wakes up in the morning he doesn’t even realize he’d even dreamed.

   
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