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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108. Fellowship

You hadn't known it was possible for Papyrus to be more energetic and happy than he already was on a day to day basis. Apparently all it took to reach a new peak of unbridled joy was Mettaton apologizing to him and agreeing to go on a 'date' on Sunday. You picture the word 'date' with finger-quotes, because the last time Papyrus went on a 'date' it was with Frisk.

As far as you can tell, the situation with Papyrus and Mettaton is in an ambiguous gray area. Not quite just friends, but you hesitate to ascribe anything romantic to their relationship. Whatever it is, Sans is conflicted. He's glad to see his brother happy, as expected, but you know that he'd prefer it wasn't with Mettaton. But, he also confided in you that he had been the one to get Papyrus over there to talk to him in the first place. Maybe reconciliation hadn't been his intended purpose, but if so he doesn't tell you. A resolution, one way or the other, had been needed.

But Papyrus's enthusiasm is infectious, and even Sans can't stay too moody about it for very long. Not that he doesn't reiterate to you, in private, that if Mettaton hurts his feelings again he's going to wind up with more than just a broken arm. Undyne may have gotten to him first this time, but Sans has no problem finishing what she started.

You've already resigned yourself to Mettaton's presence in your life. For the most part, you've let the fact that he tried to kill you and Frisk go. It doesn't do you any good to try and hang it over his head and, generally, he's treated you with a good deal of respect and consideration. Staying angry wouldn't help anyone, least of all you.

And so on Sunday, with Papyrus out for the day with Mettaton, and Frisk not coming home from Toriel's until later this afternoon, you and Sans have the house all to yourselves. It says something about the comfortable, relaxed stage of your relationship you've reached that instead of pawing at each other, Sans starts reading on the couch while you play a game on your phone. It's a dumb, free puzzle game, and currently it's frustrating you. There's some kind of match you need to make with the little, brightly colored pieces but you just don't see it.

Sans puts his arm around your shoulders and pulls you closer, then uses the same hand to point at your screen. "move the purple one to where the blue one is," he says, nuzzling into your hair.

"I thought you were reading," you grumble, annoyed that you didn't get to figure it out yourself. But you do as he says, and you watch the cascade of colors as new pieces slide down to refill the screen.

"i am reading." He holds up the book in his hands, flashing the pages at you as if to prove his innocence.

A few words stand out to you in the brief glance you get at the book. Most of them are not suitable for polite company, to say the least. Feeling heat creep across your cheeks, you set down your phone and wrap your hands around his so you can turn the cover towards you to confirm your fears. On the cover are a scantily clad man and woman in horribly inaccurate period wardrobe you think is meant to be medieval. Instead they look more like renfaire rejects.

"Oh my god, why are you reading this?" you blurt out without thinking, blushing in earnest now. Oh god, you could curl up in a hole right now.

Sans just gives you a confused look, glancing back at the book and up at you again. "should i not be? you never said there were any of your books you didn't want me to read."

Covering your face with your hand, you peek at him through your fingers. "I never thought you'd want to read the romance novels," you say.

Among your collections of sci-fi and fantasy, you'd amassed a small collection of cheap, trashy romance novels. The used book stores always seemed eager to get rid of them and, well, you were just as eager for new things to read. You'd always had a soft spot for a good romance, and sometimes, amidst the mediocre paperbacks full of 'heaving bosoms' and 'straining breeches' there were some gems. Ones you'd dog-eared to mark your favorite scenes, and read over and over again. Despite the horrible cover, Sans happens to be reading one of the good ones.

"i'm learning some new things," he says, raising a brow at you and giving you a wide, smug smile. Flipping back a few pages, he finds a spot you'd marked, including the fine line of pencil you have traced around a set of paragraphs. "including some things i'm wondering if you wanna try sometime."

Mortified, you groan and fall to the side, burying your face in the couch cushions as you fold your arms over your head. "No, oh my god this is so embarrassing!" you cry out, muffled.

He's chuckling softly, and you feel him wrap his arms around your middle and pull you back upright. You hide your face in his shoulder as he settles you onto his lap, holding you. "why are you embarrassed, babe?"

"Because it's...! I dunno, sex stuff. From before I met you," you say, trying to put into words why you feel this way but struggling.

"ok, but we do 'sex stuff' all the time," he teases, resting his chin on top of your head. "i like seeing the things you liked from before. the books, the movies..." He trails off, chuckling to himself. "'sex stuff'," he repeats again, like he can't help himself.

You let out a distressed whine, a wordless sound of protest. This is horrible. As if to save you from your misery, your phone starts to ring. Scrambling out of Sans's lap to snatch your phone off the couch beside you, you cast your fiancé a mildly scathing look as he settles back into the cushions and makes a show of reading more of the offending novel. You're so flustered you don't have time to wonder why Deacon would be calling you just before noon on a Sunday.

"Hello?" you say, trying to sound composed as you answer the phone, walking across the room because you feel the need to be standing right now.

"Hey!" Deacon answers, sounding energetic and downright perky. "You at home?"

"Yeah, what's up?" you ask, rubbing your cheeks as if you can remove the lingering blush through sheer willpower.

"You doing anything?"

"No, not at the moment. Do you need me?" You glance over at the couch and see Sans watching you. "It's Deacon," you tell him. Understanding flickers over his face and he returns his attention to the book.

"I was wondering if I could come over. I'm leaving Grillby's right now," he says, punctuated by the familiar sound of Deacon starting up his car's engine. It's a loud, low rumble, unhindered by insulation.

"Grillby's opens late on Sundays," you say, confused for a second before he starts to laugh. You quickly catch on to his meaning at that point, pressing your hand to your forehead. "Oh. Right." You peek at Sans and he's watching you again. "Would you be okay with Deacon coming over?"

Sans shrugs.

"Yeah, you can come over. Have you eaten yet?"

"Not food, but—"

"Deacon, I swear to god," you hiss into the phone, earning yourself a loud laugh from your friend.

"No, I haven't had lunch. Did you want me to pick anything up?"

"Doesn't he normally feed you? Isn't that your arrangement now?"

"Is that what you think of me? Prostituting myself for food?" He feigns offense, and you can just imagine the look on his face. It makes you smile. Then he clears his throat. "No, I just didn't want to sit there trying to fill the awkward, post-coital silence."

"Is he still not talking to you?" you ask, frowning a little.

"Hey, it's surprisingly tricky trying to drive a stick while also juggling a cell phone so let me focus on this, okay? I'll be over in a few," he says, not answering your question.

"Yeah, okay. Be safe."

"I think I'll somehow manage on these busy Ebott streets," he says, dripping with sarcasm. "Later, Hope."

"Later," you say, and hang up the call.

"trouble in paradise?" Sans asks, marking his place in the book and setting it on the end table beside him, face-down.

"Sounds like Grillby isn't talking to him," you say, pocketing your phone. "I mean, it's only been what, five days? And this is the third time he's seen him, at least. But... I dunno."

Sans mulls this over for a bit, folding his hands over his chest as he looks at you from his spot on the couch. You run your hand through your hair, sighing and glancing towards the front door. "it's not gonna work out. grillbz isn't gonna just change," he says. "but didn't deacon already tell you that?"

"I know, but..." You trail off, brow furrowing. "I dunno, I just kinda hoped maybe it would? He seems lonely."

He huffs a little at that. "isn't that why he's coming over here? to hang out with you?"

"Yeah, I guess."

Sitting up, Sans holds his hand out to you, beckoning you over. After a moment of hesitation you go to him, letting him tangle his fingers with yours. His other hand comes to rest on your hip as he looks up at you. "it's not your job to fix him, hope."

"I know it's not. But I want to help if I can," you say, willing him to understand. "He's my friend."

"i know you do, that's part of what i love about you. you care about people. but—"

You cup his jaw with your free hand, giving him a wry smile. "No buts. Just let me worry about him. I'm allowed to do that, and you don't need to try and solve this. It's not a problem."

His expression relaxes, squeezing your hand. "right. sorry. just venting?"

"Just venting," you confirm, nodding your head.

He tugs you down towards him, and you lean down so he can press a toothy kiss to your cheek. "so what are you guys gonna do?"

"Maybe watch a movie?"

Watching a movie was a bad idea. Deacon found out that Sans hadn't seen the movies for Lord of the Rings and insisted that they start watching Fellowship (extended edition, of course). Well, it turns out that Sans hadn't just read the books, he'd nearly memorized them. You don't have the heart to tell him that you couldn't get out of the Shire the first time you tried to read it.

You have to escape the quasi-friendly bitching back and forth between the two guys, and retreat to the kitchen to make sandwiches. When you get back with a trio of plates, Deacon is sprawled across half the couch, grimacing at Sans. Sans is sitting on the far end, leaning forward in his seat and in the middle of a frustrated tirade.

"there's no reason they should have left out tom bombadil."

"There was every reason to leave him out. What did he even do? Gave the hobbits some daggers and sang some songs." Deacon doesn't even notice you as you enter the room, shaking his head and resting his jaw in his hand.

"and why did they add arwen into these scenes? she wasn't here," Sans presses, demanding answers as though Deacon were solely responsible for the changes.

"Well, without her the only female character we’d have in the whole movie is fucking Galadriel so pipe down," Deacon retorts in a clipped tone.

"He's got a point," you say, and both of them look over at you as you pass out plates. "Eowyn doesn't show up until the second movie, and that's still only like, three named female characters out of how many men?"

Sans and Deacon thank you for making lunch, returning their attention to the movie. You eye Deacon's legs, stretched out over your spot between the two of them, and when he doesn't move them you just sit down and lean back against them. He doesn't seem to mind, poking you in the side with his toes. Sans grumbles and puts an arm around your shoulders, pulling you closer to him. Neither of them say anything.

You're halfway through Two Towers by the time Toriel and Asgore show up with the kids. You'd almost forgotten they were even coming, wrapped up as you are listening to Deacon and Sans snipe back and forth about the pros and cons of the books versus the movies. Frisk hurries over to where you and Sans are, climbing up into his lap and leaning forward to wrap their arms around your neck. Asriel follows soon after, greeting you with a hug before glancing over at Deacon. The kids haven't gotten quite used to seeing one of their teachers routinely hanging out over at your house. You imagine it would be weird for you too, in their position. Deacon, suddenly self-conscious, sits up on his side of the couch and casts an apprehensive look at the king and queen. He stands when Toriel greets him, walking over to meet her.

You and Sans talk with the kids for a little bit, asking about their weekend before the two of them disappear upstairs.

Toriel is still talking to Deacon while Asgore inspects the pictures in the stairwell. He looks a little out of place, unsure of what to do with himself. You're actually surprised he's here, you didn't expect him to show up with Tori. But you know that he tries to spend time with Asriel when he can.

"Oh, so Hope already spoke to you of our plans for Thanksgiving?" Toriel asks, giving Deacon a bright smile.

He's got his hands shoved in his pockets, nodding and smiling back. "Yeah, I let her talk me into it. I don't have any other plans, anyway," he says, shrugging.

"The more the merrier! It will be so nice to have everyone together for dinner." It's nice to see her so happy. If there's any holiday that seems right up her alley, it's Thanksgiving. Or Christmas. Oh gosh you haven't even thought about what Christmas will be like with everyone. You're... actually a little excited.

You walk past the two of them, towards the foyer and Asgore. He glances over his shoulder as he hears you approach, giving you a kind smile. "Ah, Hope. I was actually hoping to speak with you, if you have a moment."

Sans is at your side where he wasn't a moment before, touching your elbow. You glance at him, and even though he's smiling, you can tell it's forced. "what's going on?" he asks, his tone casual.

None of you ever told Asgore that he'd killed you. To you it still doesn't seem real, but the way that Sans watches him when he's around you, you can't doubt the truth of it. Where Frisk was able to look past it, to forgive him, Sans can't relinquish his hold. You hesitate to say that he hates, or even really dislikes Asgore, but there's a tension there that you don't think will ever go away.

"We're just going to talk about something. It'll just be a minute," you say, glancing over at Asgore to see what he'll say.

Asgore just nods, smiling. "Forgive me, I promise I will bring her back to you safely."

You notice the slight clench of his fist, but he doesn't protest. He looks at you, waiting for your reassuring nod, before heading back to the living room. Asgore's expression is solemn, and he lets out a little sigh.

"He does not trust me with you, I think," he says, turning towards the kitchen and meeting your eyes as you walk with him. "I cannot blame him, considering how our first meeting went."

You feel a shiver of apprehension before you realize he's talking about the encounter you both remember. When Sans put himself between you and Asgore, did his best to talk him down before getting interrupted by Toriel. He hadn't needed to spell it out in so many words for you to realize he'd meant to kill either your or Frisk to free his people. And he'd tried to convince Sans to let him.

"Well, I trust you," you say, and you mean it. How can you not, when he'd worked so hard to protect you and Frisk when first coming to the surface? He'd supported you, encouraged you to speak up for yourself and the monsters to the soldiers. You'd spent a lot of time with him and Toriel, listening in on talks with the government. You know that he truly just wants what's best. "It's just harder for Sans."

He bows his head, and gives you a weak smile as you lean back against the counter next to the fridge. "I appreciate you saying so. Taking that into consideration, I hope you understand that what I am about to say, I do not say lightly."

You curl your fingers around the lip of the granite counter, resting your weight back on your palms. He's regarding you, waiting. You nod.

Asgore lets out a heavy sigh, folding his hands over his stomach. "I believe that it would be in everyone's best interests if you take the time to correct the human media in regards to your relationship with Mr. Stuart," he says, and whatever you were expecting to hear, that isn't it.

You blink, an uncomfortable twist of your stomach making you wince. "I... If I do that, then I'll have to go public about my relationship with Sans," you say carefully, swallowing.

He nods. "Yes, that is right. I have been in talks with Captain Prasad again, and she leads me to believe that the government is planning on finally opening the Line for monsters. With restrictions, of course, but we might finally be let out past Ebott," he says, eyes shining with optimism.

"That's fantastic!" you say, his previous words momentarily forgotten. "Asgore, that's wonderful news!"

"It is. And it is with that in mind that I think we should not approach this possibility with the very real risk that the truth might be discovered about you and Sans. I fear what they might think if they believe you were trying to cover this up using Mr. Stuart." His expression is apologetic, and you get the impression he wishes he didn't have to speak to you about this at all.

But that doesn't make you feel any better. Frustrated and nervous, your brow furrows. "I'm not the one that told them Deacon and I have been spending a lot of time together. I never asked them to get the wrong idea!"

"I know, and I understand why you have been... discreet about your relationship—"

"To protect my family from what they might say about us!" you hiss, keeping your voice low as anger bubbles up inside of you. You're not ready for this, it isn't fair! "Because people will jump to conclusions and assume I'm using him, or worse that he's using me! And what about Frisk?"

"Opinions about monsters have been improving, according to the Captain. I am not saying that there will not be talk, we both know there will be. I am only asking that you consider this. I cannot force you to make this decision," he says, holding his hands out in a helpless gesture. "But do you not wish to stop hiding? To not have to worry about keeping these secrets?"

"I'm never going to be free from all these lies, Asgore!" You grit your teeth, trying to be quiet. How can he talk to you about honesty, when he has the lives of six children on his conscience? "You know that better than anyone."

"Hope, this is your decision to make, I just wished to impress upon you my thoughts on the matter," Asgore says softly, an apology in his voice and regret on his face.

Forcing yourself to relax, easing the tension out of your arms and shoulders, you shake your head and look down at the tile floor beneath your feet. You sigh. "I'll think about it. That's all I can promise."

"That is all I can ask."

   
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