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.


70. Full Circle

You don't realize just how much you missed the surface until it's staring you in the face, bearing down on your skin, and shining down on you from the sky. Ebott's forest spreads out beneath you from the ledge you and the others are perched on, faintly lit by the pre-dawn light. The sky is still inky, the crescent moon hanging low in the sky and the brightest stars are still shining. The moist air of the summer morning makes you feel sticky but it's so welcome you don't even mind.

Even the air is crisper, fresher than in the Underground. The smell of earth and trees fills your lungs as you take in another deep breath, staring up at the sky. The hum of insects feels louder than you remember.

"THE STARS SEEM SO SMALL! BUT THERE ARE SO MANY!" Papyrus exclaims, breaking the silence and making you jump.

"There's actually even more than this," you say, glancing over Sans's head to look at where his brother is standing beside him. "You can't see them all because the sun is going to be coming up soon."

"WOWIE, YOU MEAN WE GET TO SEE THE SUN SOON?" He's still staring up at the sky, transfixed.

You chuckle, and Sans's arm tightens around your middle, pulling you closer to his side. Papyrus falls silent again and you glance over to where Asriel and his parents are gathered together, speaking in soft voices and looking up at the stars. What must it be like for them, to see the surface again after hundreds of years? And on top of that, to have their son back and be able to show all of this to him. You pull Frisk against you with one arm wrapped around their shoulders, feeling them tilt their head back to rest against your stomach.

"i'm not sure what i imagined it'd be like," Sans murmurs. Turning to look at him, you're happy to see him smiling. "but so far, so good."

With a weak laugh, you lean over to kiss his cheekbone. "Just wait until the sun comes up," you say.

"It needs to hurry up!" Undyne snaps, pacing impatiently. "This is taking too long!"

"I-it shouldn't be too much longer. Look the sky is already starting to get b-brighter," Alphys says, pointing to where, yes, the darkness is starting to bleed away on the horizon.

"So what do we do now, Mom?" Frisk asks, tipping their head back to look at you.

You open your mouth to answer but Toriel turns to look at the two of you, glancing from Frisk to you with a startled look on her face. You catch her eye, then give her a sheepish smile. "Oh. Um, yeah. I'm actually Frisk's mom, not their sister," you explain, glancing away and then back again. "Though, at the time, Frisk didn't know either. I... don't know if that makes it any better, actually."

Toriel just gives you a warm smile, looking down at Asriel and stroking his ears. She meets your eyes again. "I am sure you had your reasons, my child. So long as you both are happy."

"But, if you're okay with it... Maybe you can be Frisk's grandmother instead?" Suddenly embarrassed, you chew the inside of your lip and look back up at the stars.

Nudging her son over to Asgore, she walks up to you and Frisk, holding her arms out. Meeting her eyes again, she's smiling brightly. "That would make me very happy, my child, to include you both in my family."

Sans lets you go and you and Frisk are wrapped up in Toriel's embrace. She's warm and soft, bowing her head over you and for a moment you feel a little like a child again. Protected and cherished by someone who cares about you. She reminds you of better times, back when your own mother used to smile.

"Thank you both, so much, for everything," she whispers, giving you one last, tight squeeze before she eases away. She looks at Sans, something mischievous sparkling in her eye. "Please continue to keep them safe and loved, as you have been. I am glad that my advice helped."

Turning to Sans and raising a brow, you're surprised to see his cheekbones darken as he scratches the back of his skull. "yeah, thanks tori."

Toriel makes a pleased sound, glancing over at Asgore. He's watching all of you, one hand resting on Asriel's shoulder. When he notices that you're looking, he clears his throat. "There will be much work to be done in the future on behalf of both humans and monsters," he says. "I would extend to you and Frisk the opportunity to serve as our ambassadors. But I will understand if you decide to refuse."

You blink, glancing over at Sans. He just gives you an equally confused look back, shrugging his shoulders. So much for that. Frisk looks from you to Asgore, waiting. Biting your lip as your mind turns the idea over, after a moment you have to shake your head. "I don't think that we'd be very good ambassadors, your majesty. I don't know the first thing about politics, or anything like that. And I don't think that the government would listen to me, to be honest."

Toriel hesitates, frowning. "Why is that?"

"I'm too young. Not to mention that I became a mother at fourteen, it just doesn't look good on a resume," you say, giving her a wry smile. "And to be honest, I'm just not cut out for it. I'd be in way over my head. Not that I won't help out!"

Asgore chuckles, nodding. "I understand. Do not fret over it any further."

Toriel turns her frown on Asgore. "You should not have put her on the spot like that, expecting so much from them. They have been through enough," she says sharply.

Asgore shies away, looking out over the trees instead of meeting her stern look. He doesn't notice the confused look that passes over Asriel's face. "Of course, Tori."

She gives an agitated sigh but doesn't correct him, and you wonder if it's because of the way that Asriel is watching them. You hope that the two of them can come to some kind of agreement, for their son's sake, at least. She walks back over to join her family, leaning down as Asriel tugs on the front of her robes to say something. They're too quiet for you to hear, so you turn to give them some privacy.

"Mom, you didn't answer my question," Frisk says.

What do you do now? Monsters are on the surface and you can't imagine that's going to go perfectly. You've seen enough movies to know the worst possible outcome and now that you're here, facing the reality of it, it's making you nervous. You're struggling for some kind of answer when Sans wraps his arm back around your waist and hugs you close. With his other hand, he ruffles Frisk's hair, receiving a frustrated grumble in response as they comb their fingers through it and try not to smile.

"right now, kiddo, we're gonna watch the sunrise. we've got plenty of time to worry about what comes after," Sans says, and there's a certain weight to his words. 'After'. How long has he been waiting for an after?

Putting an arm around his shoulders, you lean against Sans and look out over the forest. The sky is starting to turn orange, chasing away the stars. You've seen hundreds of sunrises, more than you can count and you hardly paid them any attention. So when the sun starts to peek over the horizon, you don't bother to watch. You watch Sans instead. The way the lights in his eyes get brighter, the way his jaw goes a little slack. You watch the light paint across his face and you engrave this moment in your memory. The first time you see him in the sunlight.

His grip on you tightens but he can't tear his eyes away, transfixed. You're smiling and all of this, everything that's happened, feels so worth it. To bring him here where he can see the sun. You cup his jaw with your free hand and press another kiss to his cheek. "What do you think of the view?" you ask him, remembering your first date on another ledge, overlooking Snowdin's forest.

Sans's mouth twitches. You can almost see the realization on his face as he begins to turn to look at you. "very beautiful. the forest— oh." The white lights in his eyes search your face, follow the waves of your hair. He reaches out to run his hand through it before cupping your cheek, his smile going tender. "oh, hope. you're even more beautiful in the sunlight. look at you."

Blushing and happy, you give an embarrassed laugh, turning your head away. "Hun, come on," you mumble.

"i'm serious. babe, c'mon don't turn away," he says, laughing now too as he pulls your face back towards him.

Frisk lets out an exaggerated gagging noise and you give them a weak glare as they walk over to go stand with Papyrus instead. Rolling your eyes, you and Sans share a lingering, affectionate look.

"we're on the surface," he murmurs, turning to nuzzle into your cheek.

You press a trio of kisses to his jaw, giving a long, contented sigh. "Yeah, we are."

After an exhausting night with very little sleep for all of you, you end up napping in the midday sun, warm and content. Because heaven knows you'll need your rest for the coming days.

It's two days before a park ranger stumbles upon you and your little group. Another two before some men from the military hike out to meet with Asgore and Toriel (and you, at their insistence). They're nervous at the sight of the king and queen but you think that being there yourself really does help. How can they bear not to be braver than a young woman and a six year-old?

Things are tense for a few weeks. The government sets up a perimeter around the mountain and the surrounding forest, refusing to let any of the monsters leave the area. There's talk of putting up some kind of permanent wall or fence but Asgore manages to convince them not to. They compromise on an armed patrol instead. The monsters are willing enough to cooperate, much to your relief. A checkpoint is set up on the only road leading in and out.

Magic, old-fashioned brute strength, and (to your surprise) help from some of the soldiers gets the rough beginnings of a settlement started on the surface. Many monsters opt to stay in the Underground until things are more stable, not that you blame them. Alphys regularly travels back and forth with Undyne to check on the lab and the Core, and there's talk of running energy from the Core up to the surface.

For the most part, there isn't much that you can do. During the days you help with construction where you can, or sit in on Asgore and Toriel's meetings with the government. You don't really understand everything that's going on, but there seems to be talks of giving the monsters the already sectioned-off part of the forest as some kind of gesture of goodwill. You suspect it's also to keep them from scattering into the nearby cities. There's no talk of removing the checkpoint.

It's not until the military sets up a small signal tower that your cellphone reconnects to the surface network. The moment it happens your phone lets out an overwhelming series of chirps and chimes, nearly four months of notification backlog. You barely know where to start. There's text messages from old coworkers wondering where you are, a slew of emails (most of them are spam), and a handful of voicemails. 

There's five voicemails from your mother. You wait until you have a moment alone with Sans to go through them. He sits with you on the cot you've been sharing, one arm around your shoulders as you swallow past the lump in your throat and enter the password for your mailbox. The first three are of her screaming at you. You delete them as quick as you can but you can tell she blames you for running off with Frisk. She accuses you of 'stealing' them from her. You grit your teeth and move on to the next.

Your finger is poised over the number to delete the next message but you're caught off-guard by the sound of sobbing. You turn to look at Sans and he meets your eyes, giving you a reassuring squeeze before raising the phone to your ear.

"I'm so sorry," she says, and it's been so long since you've heard your mother cry you don't know what to do but just listen. "This is my fault. I drove you away. They... they found the car at the base of Mt. Ebott and all I can think about is those horrible stories they tell about that place. All the kids that've gone missing." She pauses, taking in a shaky breath. "Sweetheart, why did you go there? I can only hope that maybe you did it to throw everyone off. That maybe you and Frisk are safe somewhere where no one will find you. I just... If you are safe you probably won't tell me, so I just keep praying that you're all right. I love you. Both of you."

There's a click and the message ends. You squeeze your eyes shut to try and stop the tears that have gathered in your eyes. The next message starts to play.

Silence stretches on for a few moments before you hear your mother let out a long sigh. "I miss you," she says, and then it ends. The robotic voice notifies you that you have no more unheard messages.

You end the call and Sans strokes your back as you cling to him, trembling.

A week later you have clearance to leave Mt. Ebott. All of your friends want to go with you, especially after you explain the situation with your mother. Undyne in particular wants to make sure she doesn't try to touch you, but it takes a bit of back and forth for them to agree to just one monster going with you and Frisk. Of course it's Sans.

You only call your mother the morning before your scheduled trip, just to let her know that the two of you are coming to see her and to get some of your things to take back with you. It's hard to get a read on how she's feeling. Her voice is a little flat but you think it's because of shock. She mentions seeing you and Frisk on the news and she tries to ask you about the monsters. You cut her off and tell her when you'll be arriving and hang up the call. She tries to call you back and you don't answer.

A pair of soldiers take you, Frisk, and Sans through the checkpoint in an unmarked, tinted SUV. It's your first time off the mountain and you're surprised to see a small crowd of press gathered outside what the monsters have started calling the Line. (The fact that they've gone from being behind the Barrier to the Line is not lost on you.) The woman sitting in the passenger seat tells you that it was a lot worse in the first two weeks, but a lot of them have given up. The monsters stay too far inside the forest for anyone to get any pictures or video.

Sans looks nervous. The soldiers don't seem to notice, but you do. But after four months together you think you can read his expressions pretty well, despite the smile he uses to hide his discomfort. He has a hand clutched tight to the seatbelt across his chest and he keeps casting anxious glances out the window. Reaching over, you take his hand and squeeze his fingers. You realize this is the first time he's ever ridden in a car before.

"i'm fine," he mutters under his breath, glancing over at you.

"I know you are. It's just new. There's been a lot of new stuff this past month, huh?" you ask, running your thumb across his bones.

"and plenty more coming." He looks down at your hands, squeezing you. "it's just taking some getting used to, after..."

He doesn't need to finish his sentence. You nod.

It takes about thirty minutes for you to get... no, not home. It's not home anymore. Your mother's house is in a small, cheap suburb in the foothills, about an hour outside the city. It's the house your father bought before you were born, paid off by his life insurance after he died. That's the only reason your mother never lost it. She'd never be able to afford it on her own. It's slowly deteriorated over the years, and as the SUV pulls into the driveway next to the car you'd abandoned on Mt. Ebott the first thing you notice is that the bushes are overgrown. The second is that there aren't any news vans. You're thankful for that.

The soldiers wait in the SUV as the three of you get out. Your heart is hammering in your chest and your hands shake as you reach into your pocket for the keys you haven't had to use in months. You still don't have to use them. She still has her bad habit of leaving the door unlocked. You used to have to check the doors after she went to bed because it made you nervous.

Sans and Frisk follow you inside, holding hands. You feel his other hand on the small of your back, a gesture of support. It helps.

"Hope? Sweetheart is that you?"

Steeling yourself, you follow the sound of her voice to the living room. She's pushing herself up from her recliner, turning off the TV. Rounding the couch quicker than you'd expect, you freeze up as she throws her arms around you and pulls you into a tight hug.

"Oh, God when I got your call this morning I couldn't believe it! Are you okay?" she says. She sounds so... relieved. Happy, even. It makes your eyes water, even though you told yourself you weren't going to let her do this to you.

"I'm fine," you say, because it's all you can manage while keeping your composure.

She pulls away before you even have a chance to think about hugging her back, ducking around you to try and get to Frisk. "Frisk, my baby—" She freezes and jerks backwards. You turn to shift out of her way and see that Frisk ducked behind Sans. Oh, she must have finally noticed him. "I thought those things weren't allowed off the mountain!"

Sans raises a brow. "s'cuse me, pal?"

"Mother," you snap, harsh enough to make her jerk her head to look at you. It makes a small part of you want to step back out of fear but you force yourself to stand your ground. "This is Sans. And you won't refer to him or any of the others as things. Sans, this is my mother, Kimberly."

Sans makes a noncommittal, unimpressed noise.

"Kim," she corrects you, giving Sans only half a glance as she looks down at you. "And don't take that tone with me, young lady."

Kim is bigger than you. Heavier set with pale, blotchy skin. She's taller by a couple inches, but she's no Undyne. Your mother is smaller than you remember. After spending so much time around Toriel and Asgore, with their impressive height and gentle strength, she doesn't seem nearly as intimidating as before. You've faced down death. You've died, and suddenly this woman is tiny. Right now, at least, you feel stronger than her.

"I wouldn't have to take this tone if you could show some basic human decency towards the people I care about," you snap, seething. "Frisk and I didn't need to come here today. I thought that maybe I owed this to you, but now I'm not so sure."

She stares at you, clearly taken aback. You've never stood up to her like this before. Clenching your hands into fists at your side, you feel Sans's hand on your shoulder. Kim's eyes flick to it and back to your face, her surprise melting away into confusion, and then finally frustration. "Frisk, sweetheart, you haven't even said hi to your mommy yet."

"You're not my mommy," Frisk says, without hesitation. You think you hear Sans make a satisfied noise.

It takes a moment for the words to register in her mind. Now she's glaring at you, her red cheeks getting blotchier by the second. "So you finally told them, did you? Finally decided to step up to the plate and take responsibility for what you did?"

Your hand twitches as you fight back the urge to slap her across the face. No. You're not her. You'll never be her and you won't resort to that. Not with her at least. She'll never see you sink to her level. "Don't you dare act like I was the one who gave up Frisk. You took them from me when I was scared and alone. You should have been there to support me! To help me!" Full of righteous fury, you have to restrain yourself to keep from screaming at her. "I am their mother, not you, and I will never let you hurt them again, you hateful bitch."

"I don't have to listen to this!" she bites out, gritting her teeth. 

Sans steps up to stand beside you, shoulder to shoulder as you feel a hint of magic prickle over your skin. His sockets are dark as he glares up her. "how about you back off, kim? this doesn't need to get any worse than you've already made it," he says, his voice low and bordering on threatening.

You're not sure if it's his tone or the look on his face, but she blanches and takes a step back, eyes flicking between the two of you. Then she looks at Frisk and you see her expression change to something panicked. "Wait, you're... you're not coming home, are you?" she asks, and you think she's finally realized the power that you have over her right now. You're not ashamed to admit that it feels good.

"No, I'm not. This isn't my home anymore," you tell her, fighting to keep yourself steady. "It's on Ebott, with Sans and the others. The people who love me."

"That's no place for a child—"

"This is no place for a child! And it's not for you to decide anymore," you say. You glance over at Frisk. "C'mon, sweetie. Let's get our things and get out of here. Make sure that this trip wasn't just a huge waste of time."

"Hope, wait—"

"No. I'm done waiting. When you're ready to treat me with the respect I deserve, let me know," you say, turning on your heel.

The look on Sans's face is so insufferably smug, so proud of you that you can't help but smile.

You're pretty proud of yourself too. 

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