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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178. Doing What Must Be Done

There had been a time when Sans expected to die. Every time he faced down Frisk in that hallway back in the Underground, he wondered, ‘is this gonna be the time i finally fail?’ But he never did. He never failed, until now.

He’s falling apart, crumbling into nothing, and the last thing he’s going to see is Deacon losing his goddamn mind.

No… No, it’s not. Even as he feels his body start to drift away (he thought it might hurt, but no it just feels like he’s going numb) he sees… He sees you. He sees you and Frisk and Papyrus. His family. The family he never thought he’d get to have but did , even if it was just for a year, it was the best damn year he could have asked for. He got to see so much by your side.

He sees the ocean, can practically feel the salty air on his face (that’s what it has to be, right? not the fact that he’s turning to dust) and your hand in his. He sees your home. He hears you and Papyrus in the kitchen but he can’t make out the words, just knows your voices.

He sees the sun for the first time. He sees you in the sun for the first time.

He smells greasy burgers and fresh snow and the smell of your hair.

He sees you standing in the orange neon lights from Grillby’s, painting you in warm colors against the stark backdrop of black and white, waiting for him. He sees you smile as you turn your head just enough to look at him.

Then he sees nothing at all.

Jacobs bends over Chris, keeping the gun pointed at the back of his head as he reaches down to grab a fistful of his hair. Chris lets out a hiss of pain but doesn’t struggle, cringing and going still as he looks down at you. He’s got one of your arms pinned under his body, the one with the mace in its hand, and he’s half laying on you from your messy fall.

“Where’s the kid? Tell them to get over here or they’ll only have themselves to blame for this,” Jacobs says, jabbing Chris with the muzzle of the gun. Squeezing his eyes shut, he sucks in a shaky breath and bites back a whimper of fear.

You feel a rush of guilt. He’s only in this mess because of you. This isn’t his fight, and he was never one for bravery…

And Frisk. Why hasn’t Frisk Loaded? Why are they waiting? You open your mouth to tell them to do it, to give yourselves another chance to get this right. They’ll tell you what happened, help you do things better—

Wait.

Maybe it’s knowing that this isn’t permanent, knowing that whatever happens can be undone, but you can use this to your advantage. You can get answers, maybe, and you just pray that Frisk is paying attention.

“Frisk, come down the ladder,” you say carefully, trying not to feel outraged as Jacobs’s mouth curves into a smug smile. He can look like that all he wants, because soon enough you’ll be doing this again and with luck he won’t have the upper hand.

“Mom?” Frisk asks, sounding doubtful.

“Sweetie, just trust me,” you say.

You hear the shift of blankets, the scrape of bare feet against old wood, and you know that they’re doing as you ask. Jacobs tightens his grip on Chris’s hair and his eyes fly back open, pain and frustration and fear there clear for you to see. You try to give him a reassuring look, to tell him through your silence that everything will be okay. You’re scared too, but you’re pushing through it with bullheaded determination.

There’s no time to be afraid.

“Why are you doing this?” you demand, looking past Chris to Jacobs.

Jacobs regards you for a second. “For collateral,” he says simply.

Your stomach gives a lurch and you bite your lip. “Collateral for what?”

“For your stupid friends that decided they could screw with us,” he snaps, looking up as Frisk makes it to the ground. “Now no more questions. You, kid, come over here.”

So you were right. Whatever was going on with Sans and Deacon, they must be doing something. Something threatening enough that the Vigilum felt it was necessary to try and use you and Frisk against them. You can’t let that happen. “You’re not going to beat them by using me as a distraction! I won’t—”

Jacobs laughs, cutting you off abruptly. “Oh, we don’t need any help to beat them. Just to keep the survivors under control.”

“What…?” you breathe, before you can stop yourself.

“There's no way they can win. Not against us,” he says with a confidence you think is supposed to make you lose yours. But instead you read between the lines, pick up on the fact that he doesn't know if they've lost or not. It's not much, but it's something. Enough to hold onto hope.

At least for a moment before it feels like the world comes crashing down around you.

It’s not a physical feeling. It’s not a punch to the gut, or a shiver down your spine. It’s this sudden and overwhelming sense that something ismissing and wrong and it’s… No. No no no .

You couldn’t hear your Soul before you married Sans, before his song was added to yours. Now, for a reason you can’t accept, refuse to even think,his song is gone and all you can hear is his absence. It’s all you can feel. You’re irrevocably changed down to your Soul and it’s as though huge chunks have been torn out of you and you’re left with the tattered remains. The places where he’s meant to fit are empty and you can’t fill them yourself.

“Hope, it’s gonna be okay,” Chris murmurs, and it snaps you back to your senses. You’re crying and he’s looking down at you, wincing in pain as Jacobs jerks his head back.

You ignore him, because he has no idea. He has no idea how much this hurts. “Frisk,” you say, twisting your head to look for them. They’re standing on the other side of Jacobs, watching and waiting. “You need to Load. Something happened to Sans, you need to—”

Frisk is sitting next to you on Chris’s bed. There was just a knock on the door and you woke up and told them to Save. They closed their eyes and—

“Mom!” Frisk blurts out, eyes flying open as they latch onto your arm and give you a wild, desperate look. “We can’t let him in!”

Sans hits the wall and tumbles to the floor, and the sudden, jarring pain is enough to let him know that he’s alive. Alive and… oh fuck. He’s back in the middle of the fight. Deacon is wrestling Avery into a headlock (he realizes now that it was Deacon that freed him from the blue magic) and Grant is unharmed and still fighting that green mage.

He was dead and Deacon was dying and they’d lost and now he’s got the chance to do things right. To fix all the glaring mistakes they’d made the first time. But there had been a Load somehow, and while he should be marvelling at the sheer dumb luck of it, he can’t help the swell of panic that chases his moment of realization.

There had been a Load in the middle of the night when you and Frisk should be asleep, which could only mean that something had happened. And it can’t be a coincidence that it was while he and the Literatum where here fighting. They’d done something to the two of you.

But he can’t do anything about that if he dies here, so he buries his fear and knows what he needs to do.

Avery is yanking him and Deacon into the air and sending them both crashing to the ground, which is fine. That wasn’t the problem. He needs to help Grant. As the older man blasts his way through the green mage’s shield, Sans catches up the boy as soon as he appears in a flash of cyan, wrenching his Soul from his chest and holding him up in the air. This one’s Soul is cracked too, the color dark and muted like the other initiates he’s seen so far. He kicks his legs, gripping the knife tight in his hand before flinging it in Sans’s direction with a cry of rage. Blinking to the side, he crouches down to wrench the blade out of the floor, turning to look at Grant as he looks, startled, at the knife.

“help deacon, avery’s got a gun,” Sans says, tensing his fingers as he gives the boy in the air a little shake for good measure.

“How do you—”

 help deacon ,” he snaps. “and watch for another sneaky one. there’s two.”

Grant only hesitates for a second before he nods and turns away.

“where’s your friend?” Sans demands, looking up at the young man again.

“I’m not telling you anything!” he spits, but that furious look on his face slips away the second Sans hangs him upside-down and lets out an undignified yelp.

“how ‘bout now?” he says. “i suggest you hurry, i’m not in the mood to play games with you.”

“Fuck you!”

Sans sighs and rights the boy in the air again, indignant and red-faced as he glares down at him. “fine,” he says, his eye flaring bright in his socket. He feels for one of his blasters, finds it in the space between and urges it forward. It starts to coalesce barely a foot away from the cyan mage, and he watches with a degree of satisfaction as he pales and tries to squirm away as it becomes more and more solid. “we can do this the hard way.”

“Wait!”

There’s another flash of cyan right below the boy’s feet, and now there’s a girl standing there with her hands up and a wide-eyed, terrified expression on her face. “Please, don’t hurt him!” she pleads.

“What are you doing, Fatima?” the young man yells, his voice cracking as he’s caught between fear and frustration. “ Hide !”

“Shut up, Rashid!” she snaps, keeping her eyes fixed on Sans. He glances between the two of them, notices how similar they look, how close in age they must be. Twins? “Please, don’t hurt my brother. I’m right here.”

Sans shoves away the harsh sting of guilt that lashes out at him from the horrified look on Fatima’s face. He’d killed her brother. That’s why she… Fuck, that’s why she’d killed him. “are there any more of you sneaking around?”

“Yeah, a whole bunch—”

“No,” Fatima interjects, shooting her brother a sharp look.

“She’s telling the truth.” Vanessa comes up beside him, her expression tense and focused. Her eyes are glassy but that’s the only thing that could be considered a crack in her composure, barely noticeable behind the faint purple glow.

“you sure? your magic wasn’t much help to us earlier,” he says.

She flinches a little, but nods. “I’m sure. They’re weakened now, the training they got from the Vigilum to block their minds from me isn’t enough to keep me out anymore.”

“...are you ok?”

She swallows. “Just perfect. Maria’s just unconscious, so it could be worse. What the hell is that skull?”

Sans looks back up at the blaster hovering in the air, waiting for him. He takes another look at the siblings, the defeat in their eyes, and lets it slip back out of reality. The moment he lets it go it’s like a tension has been lifted from his shoulders, freeing a huge portion of his magic. “s’nothing,” he mutters.

“That’s one hell of a ‘nothing’,” she says, giving him a look with that purple glow still in her eyes that tells him that if she really wanted to pry she very well could. Whatever. “You can let him down. He doesn’t have enough magic to disappear again. He and his sister are both willing to cooperate.”

“i’m just supposed to believe that?” he demands, glaring up at the boy again as he refuses to release his magic. “what are you gonna do if they just try to run?”

“I can handle two kids,” Morwenna says, coming up from behind Fatima. She’s got a cut over one eye and what looks like is gonna be a hell of a bruise along her jaw, but a quick look verifies that the other red mage is in much worse shape. He’s unconscious (or worse) over behind the couch. “Leave these two to us. Go to Deacon.”

Morwenna’s confidence is enough for him to relinquish the siblings. He cuts off his magic from the boy and lets him fall to the floor with an undignified cry of alarm and turns to quickly scan the rest of the room. The Vigilum are defeated, all out of commission save for the cyan kids and Avery. And Avery… Well, Avery currently has two guns trained on him. One in Grant’s hand and the other in Howard’s. The two of them are speaking to each other while the blue mage watches them with disdain, blood trickling from a split lip and a purpling bruise.

Deacon is away from them, kneeling next to Maria. His expression is tight and closed-off, grim as he cups her cheek in one glowing green hand and sweat trickles down the side of his face. Whatever is going on with Avery, he doesn’t want any part of it. That much is clear. And, well, Sans is certain that whatever happens to Avery Fletcher, Grant will be sure to handle it.

Sans is relieved to see Deacon unharmed, more relieved than he realizes at first. For a second he thinks it’s just him coming down from the rush of dismantling the Vigilum’s plan, or hell, coming back from the dead. But no, it’s just plain, honest relief for the man’s well-being. For his friend.

Because after seeing the horror and grief on Deacon’s face when he was dying, how could he ever doubt that Deacon is his friend?

“hey,” Sans says, his voice a bit thicker than he’d like. “deacon, you ok?”

His blue eyes flick up at his approach, arching a brow as he shoves sweat-damp hair from his forehead with the back of his hand. “Wonderful. You know, saved the day and all that. Nobody died, so that’s always nice.”

“not this time,” he mutters, gritting his teeth.

Deacon hesitates, studying his face. “So something did happen,” he breathes, paling more than he already was. “Did I…” His hand goes to his side, where the gunshot wound was. You told him once that you had a strange, phantom pain after Frisk brought you back with a Load. That you hadn’t known it at the time, but you’d felt some kind of remnant of being stabbed in the chest. Deacon must have experienced it too. “Did something happen to me?”

“avery shot you,” he says quietly.

“That’s how Grant knew about the gun. You told him.”

“yeah.”

Deacon’s expression softens, nodding his head and giving him a weak, lopsided smile. “Thanks, Sans. I mean, I'm sure you just did what you had to, but—”

“what're friends for if not to stop each other from getting shot?” Sans says, cutting off that train of thought. Yeah, he wanted to make sure they won, but he didn’t want Deacon to get hurt either. He reaches out and rests his hand on his shoulder, giving him an amiable pat. He looks a little confused, but pleased all the same. “honestly that, uh… that load couldn’t have come at a better time.”

“Wait, if there was a… a Load or whatever, that means…” Deacon's eyes widen, his smile slipping. “Did someone tell them, or…”

Sans shakes his head. “no. something must've happened. we need to get in touch with them as soon—”

A gunshot rings out and both of them jump, whirling towards the sound as Sans puts himself in front of Deacon, grip on his shoulder tightening as though he could teleport them faster than a bullet could travel. But he needn’t worry, that shot wasn’t meant for either of them.

Avery Fletcher is lying on the floor with a rapidly growing pool of blood spreading out from his head, close to where Deacon had been less than ten minutes before. (God, had it really been less than ten minutes?)

Grant is standing over his body with a thin wisp of smoke trailing from the barrel of the gun in his hand and a grimly satisfied look on his face. It looks like this part, at least, is over.

   
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