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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101. Ghosts of the Past

Bathed and ready for bed, Frisk and Asriel sit on Toriel's lap as she rocks back and forth in her chair, reading them both a story. She has her arms around them both, holding them close and pausing between pages to nuzzle the tops of their heads or squeeze them close. Once she has to set the book down on Asriel's legs so she can wipe her eyes. Her voice is a little shaky as she continues to read.

Frisk watches Asriel, their head pillowed on Toriel's chest and not paying much attention to the story. Their best friend is holding their hand between his, running the soft pads of his thumbs along the lines in their skin. Tracing them, rubbing their palm like it's a worry stone. He's calmer now, but Frisk is worried about him. He almost did something horrible and they're not sure he feels bad about it. What troubles Frisk more is that they're not sure if they feel bad about it either.

It's late, Frisk and Asriel are tired, but Toriel doesn't seem to notice. Or if she does she doesn't care. She seems content to hold them the entire night, rocking them in her chair and warmed by a magical fire. Frisk squeezes Asriel's fingers and he looks up to meet their eyes, blinking as confusion spreads over his face and then promptly disappears. He squeezes his eyes shut and buries his face in his mother's chest.

There's a soft knock at the door which makes the three of them jump, Toriel's hold on them tightening. She tenses as they hear it open, the flames in the fireplace flaring for a moment. Then, the low, deep sound of Asgore's voice makes her relax, but the wary look on her face remains as she watches the doorway to the sitting room. He's still dressed in his costume, but the yarn mane is gone. Visibly exhausted, the frown smooths away from his brow as he spots them.

"It is late, Asgore," Toriel says, an unspoken warning in her voice.

"I wished to be here sooner, but I had to be certain things back at the festival were handled with care," he says. He bows his head, stooping down over them to cradle his son's head in one hand and Frisk's in the other. "I am not sure that it will be enough."

Asriel lets go of Frisk so he can reach up to his father, grabbing at his broad shoulders. Asgore picks him up, holding him against his chest. "Dad, I'm sorry. I made things worse," he says, tucking his head under Asgore's chin.

Toriel sets aside her book, sliding Frisk off her lap as she stands and rests her hand on the small of Asriel's back. "Of course not, Flufftail. Everything will be fine," she soothes.

"Tori that is not true," Asgore says, and Frisk sees her bristle, but if it's from the nickname or his disagreement, they're not sure. "What happened tonight—"

"What happened tonight was unfortunate but it is over," Toriel says. Frisk tries to step away, uncomfortable with the way they're speaking to each other but she scoops them up and rests them on her hip. "Can we not be content with the fact that the children are safe?"

Frisk meets Asriel's eyes, watches his fingers tense in his father's shirt. They don't need their connection to know that he's distraught. Why can't his parents see it?

"Because what Asriel almost did cannot be allowed to happen again," he says, shifting his son out from under his head so he can look down at him. "I know that you care for Frisk, and you were trying to protect them, but threatening humans with magic will only make them fear us more than they already do."

He withers under his father's stare, blinking back tears that well up in his eyes. "I'm sorry," he mumbles.

Toriel makes a frustrated sound in the back of her throat, reaching out for her son with the arm that isn't holding Frisk. Asriel hesitates, but lets his mother take him from Asgore. The children look at each other again, wishing that they were in bed instead of caught in the middle between the king and queen.

"Asriel, you do not need to apologize. Asgore, you cannot blame him for this!" Toriel says, hugging them close to her sides.

"I am not. But he must know that what he did was dangerous," Asgore presses, brow furrowed.

"He is just a child. How can they blame him for being scared?"

"He is not just a child. He is our son, the prince of monsters—"

"He is seven years old and those humans threatened them," Toriel hisses, baring her teeth. Frisk and Asriel both flinch. "Who knows what might have happened if he did not do as he did? Hope and I would not have known they were in trouble and we might not have—"

She lets out a soft, strangled noise and bows her head, holding the children closer to her body and sinking to the floor. Frisk clutches tight to the front of her shirt, pressing their cheek to her shoulder. Tears spill down her face, wetting her soft white fur as she trembles. She had been trying not to cry all night, Frisk could tell that much, and now she can't hold it back any more.

"Mom, it's okay," Asriel says softly, tucking his head under her chin and nuzzling her.

"I cannot lose him again! I will not!" Toriel blurts out through her tears. "Asgore, I do not think I can bear it."

Asgore crouches down on the ground with them, wrapping one arm around her back and pulling her to him. He rests his chin on top of her head, stroking her back as she cries. "Do you think I do not feel the same as you do? When I heard what happened, it took much of my strength to remain calm. I did not wish to stay there at the school to speak to the soldiers, I wanted to be here with you and the children." He hesitates, his free hand cupping the back of Asriel's neck. "But the humans, most of them, will always place the blame on our shoulders. We are monsters, and as such will always be seen as the aggressors. We all have to be careful. Every single person, every single child. Our fate rests on how the world sees us, and lashing out will only bring their ire down upon us."

"That's not fair," Asriel says, wrapping his hand around his father's finger.

"They're the ones who were picking on Kid!" Frisk continues Asriel's thought.

"The humans started it!"

"No, it is not fair," Asgore agrees, stroking his son's cheek with his thumb. "It is a harsh lesson for you children, but Asriel you must know. The world is not fair. I wish it were, then your mother and I would not fear so much for your safety. But you must not do anything like that again. It could be more dangerous for all of us if you do."

"But they were the ones who were wrong," Frisk protests, frustration building in their chest.

"Let them be wrong. Say whatever you must to appease them so long as you come home safe to your mothers. One day, perhaps, things will be better for us. But until that day comes, your safety is more important than being right."

"He's wrong," Asriel murmurs, staring up at the ceiling as he lays in bed beside Frisk. His hands ball into fists around the edge of the comforter, resting on his chest. "If someone tries to hurt us, we can't just sit there and let it happen."

Frisk is on their side, studying Asriel's face in the dark room. There's enough light from the crack under the door that they can see his eyes searching the air above him, the way his muzzle is wrinkling and his fangs peek out from behind his lips. They touch one of his hands, try to ease it away from the covers but he won't budge. "He's not saying we should let anyone hurt us."

"He's saying we shouldn't fight back! Defend ourselves, defend you!" he snaps, eyes darting over to Frisk's. "It doesn't work like that. I've seen what happens when you don't fight back."

Frisk feels a twist of fear in their chest that they know isn't their own. They watch their best friend lets go of the comforter to reach to his neck for something that isn't there, fingers closing around air. Rolling out of bed, Frisk goes to the dresser and gropes blindly for something buried down at the bottom. After a moment, they climb back into bed, pulling Asriel into a sitting position and pressing Chara's locket into his hand. Sitting facing one another, he leans forward to press his forehead to Frisk's, looking down at the dim glint of gold.

They gave it back to Asriel after they got to the surface. It was never meant for Frisk, not really. They just borrowed it for a little while. Once Chara was gone for good, it was Asriel who needed it the most. He wore it until his new home on the surface was built and there was a safe place to keep it. He doesn't like to talk much about Chara, knowing what they mean to Frisk. A reminder of all the horrible things that happened. Chara and Flowey both seem to haunt their steps.

"Chara may not have been completely right about humanity," Asriel says, turning the locket over in his hands. "But they weren't wrong. If those are the types of people they knew before, I can't blame them for being so angry."

"Chara didn't know any other way to be but angry," Frisk says, cupping their hands under Asriel's. "But you do."

"Maybe. Maybe I should have listened to them more. If I had, then maybe I wouldn't have gotten us both killed."

They're not sure what to say to that.

There's a moment of heavy silence, and Frisk feels that twist of Asriel's fear again, his fingers closing over the locket. "They yelled at me, fought me, called me an idiot as those humans pelted me with rocks. At the time I didn't know what hurt more, my wounds or Chara's words. But I knew I couldn't let them hurt anyone. It was... the right thing to do, wasn't it?"

"I don't know. I know that Chara didn't want you to be like them, though. Remember? Chara apologized to you," Frisk says, gripping Asriel's hands.

"When I saw them hurt you, when you were in pain, I couldn't feel it but... It was like being back there again. In that village where the humans attacked me. But instead of just being afraid, or wanting to not hurt anybody, I was just... so angry. I wanted to make them stop." Asriel closes his eyes, shifting his forehead from Frisk's down to their shoulder. His back shudders. "I'm not going to let myself get hurt again. I won't ever kill... but I'm not going to be killed either."

"We'll protect each other, Asriel. I'm here with you."

Asriel wraps his arms around Frisk, scooting closer on the bed so he can hug them tight. "We promised to be together forever, so I'm not going to let anything happen. I won't. I can't lose another best friend."

He sounds angry and... determined. Is this because of Frisk's Soul? The fragment of themselves inside of Asriel, keeping Chara's Soul together for him? If it is, there's nothing they can do about it now. That Soul is the only thing keeping him from turning back into Flowey. Better to have Asriel this way than not at all.

"Don't worry," Asriel says, like he can feel what they're thinking. Maybe he can. "I'm fine, it's just... I'm not sure if it's me, or you, or some part of Chara that's left inside of me but I'll be careful. I don't want mom or dad to ever be sad like that again. Or you, Frisk. I don't want to make you sad either."

"Then try not to let them make you mad. Let me help you. Don't ignore me when I tell you to stop," Frisk says, taking hold of one of Asriel's ears and giving a sharp tug.

He lets out a startled sound, almost a bleat but not quite. "I just wanted to protect you. To do what... what I couldn't do before."

Before? Does he mean for Chara? The way that Frisk can feel the locket being pressed into their back, they think that's what he means.

"This isn't like before. You aren't on the surface alone, and the humans are mean but they're not trying to kill anybody."

Asriel doesn't answer.

   
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