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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60. His Truth

Papyrus and Frisk are both expecting you when you get home. Sans called ahead to let them know, and they're both waiting in the living room when you go inside. The taller skeleton gasps at the sight of you, no doubt you look like hell and you can only imagine what your neck must look like. You hadn't bothered looking in a mirror. He moves to wrap you up in a hug but Sans cuts him off and for that you're grateful. Everything hurts and a pair of hard, bony arms is the last thing you want pressing into your myriad of bruises.

"HUMAN, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?" Papyrus says, eye sockets wide.

"Mom, are you okay?" Frisk asks in a small voice, carefully slipping their hand into yours and giving a weak squeeze you can barely feel.

"I'll be okay, sweetie," you say, your voice a little hushed because your throat is still aching.

You look down at them and give them what you hope is a reassuring smile, but all that's spinning through your head is 'time travel'. Something that sounds like the plot of a movie or book, caught in a loop repeating over and over —and according to Flowey and Sans— because of Frisk. Your child, at the center of it all. You don't understand. You're not sure you can.

"pap, i need you to go to hotland, get some more of that medicine that alphys made for frisk. it's got healing magic in it so it'll help with her injuries," Sans says, and God his deflecting just makes you want to scream. But you let him have this with Papyrus. He had to beg you while you were still in the hotel not to tell his brother, and he was so desperate you just relented.

"I..." Papyrus looks uncertain, his eyes darting from you to Sans and then back again. Then, he nods. "I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, CAN DO THAT! HUMAN, SOON YOU'LL BE FEELING MUCH BETTER, I PROMISE!"

"Thanks Papyrus," you say, giving him a watery smile as he reaches out to carefully pat you on the shoulder. Then he rushes out the door, in true Papyrus fashion. At least you can count on him to be nearly transparent.

As soon as the door closes Sans has his phone out of his pocket, heading for the kitchen. You watch him from the entryway as he pulls open the fridge, digging through the contents. Oh, right, he wants you to eat. Your stomach twists, hungry to the point of discomfort but you're so anxious and upset that you feel nauseated. But, you know you should eat something. It'll make the throbbing ache in your chest —your Soul— go away.

"undyne— no the date was good, listen— undyne please!" Sans snaps, and you feel Frisk's hand tighten on yours. You're not used to hearing him raise his voice either. "we're home, i can't go into details right now but i need you to stall papyrus. i just sent him to alphys to get more of that medicine she used on frisk. no, frisk is fine... i just said i can't go into details right now, just please do this for me, okay? i need him out of the house for a little while... ok. ok thanks. if anyone can keep him busy it's you. yeah. everyone's ok. i will. ok."

He hangs up his phone and pulls out a plastic container of spaghetti, shoving it into the microwave. You and Frisk make your way into the kitchen. Frisk pulls a chair right up beside yours and the two of you sit down. You can tell that they want to be sitting in your lap but they're afraid to hurt you. You wrap your arm around their shoulders and pull them close, ignoring the dull ache throughout your body.

"What happened?" Frisk asks, looking between the two of you with wide, worried eyes.

"flowey," Sans says, resting his hands on the counter and hunching forward, his back to the two of you.

You feel Frisk go rigid against you. "...What?"

"babe, are you sure you wanna do this with frisk here?" he asks you, glancing over his shoulder.

"This involves both of us. Frisk needs to know what's going on," you say, pulling them closer.

The microwave beeps and he pulls the container out, getting a fork and giving the spaghetti a stir before sliding it across the table to you. You look up at him, studying his closed-off expression and you're torn between calling it all off or crying. But you can't do either. All you can do is wait. You look down at your food, stomach growling despite yourself so you decide to just eat.

"ok then," Sans sighs, running a hand over his skull. He looks at the chair across from you but then seems to decide to stay standing, shoving his hands in his pockets. "you know flowey, don't you frisk? you've met him before?"

"...When we first landed in the Underground. He tried to hurt me," Frisk says.

"Baby why didn't you tell me?" you ask, trying to keep the accusation out of your voice. But everything is so raw inside of you, it's difficult.

"I didn't want you to worry," Frisk mumbles, tucking their face into your side. You don't say anything, just going back to eating.

"frisk, you've been down here before. probably hundreds of times by now. you fall, by yourself, make your way through the underground, and usually you leave. but for some reason, at the end, or even sometimes in the middle, you reset. you start time back over from right before you fall. i've tried asking you before but you never remember. i'm sure you don't remember any of these things, even now." Sans's eyes flick between the two of you, but mostly linger on Frisk.

Frisk doesn't say anything.

"you've met all of us before. you've made friends with me and papyrus, alphys and undyne. hell, you've been there to see undyne's house burn down god knows how many times. you've gone on that silly date with papyrus..." He looks at you and he trails off, the weak, reminiscent smile slipping away as quickly as it came. "it's how i knew mettaton was gonna try to hurt you guys, babe. he's tried to take frisk's soul before. so has undyne. so will asgore. frisk, do you remember anything? anything at all?"

You expect Frisk to say no. Maybe there's still a chance that this outrageous scenario isn't true. But Frisk bites their lip, pressing the knuckles of their hand to their mouth. "...Sometimes," they say, in a small voice. "Sometimes I know things are gonna turn out okay. Or it feels like something is supposed to happen, but then it doesn't." They wince a little, turning their head as though something loud startled them but there's nothing there.

Sans nods, like he's expecting this. You're reeling, but you force yourself to keep eating. At the very least, some of the hollow feeling in your stomach and Soul is starting to fade. "but this time is different. because your mom is here with you."

Frisk nods. "I... think so."

Sans's expression turns pained, looking down at the ground before back up to meet your eyes. There's something desperate there. "i didn't tell you because i thought that this would all finally be over. that because you're here frisk wouldn't have a reason to reset anymore. how was i supposed to explain that time was resetting over and over again and that i don't understand why frisk is doing it? frisk doesn't even remember, why would you believe me?"

"You could have tried. Sans, I... I trust you," you murmur, but even with Frisk agreeing that they've noticed things, it's still hard for you to believe. Monsters and magic are one thing but time travel? You shake your head. "I don't know. I don't know what to believe anymore."

"believe that i thought i was doing the right thing," he begs, taking a step closer to the table. "i didn't— i don't want to hurt you. how could knowing this do anything but hurt you? i live with the fear of everything resetting every day and it kills me. that's the reason being with you scares the shit outta me, babe. because when i say that i'm afraid i'm gonna lose you and i won't have a way to stop it, it's because i know it might happen. i could lose you and you'd..." He chokes up for a moment, shaking his head and taking in a steadying breath. "you'd never even remember me."

The weight of the realization is heavy in your chest. This is why. This is why he needs you there when he wakes up in the morning. Why he keeps looking through all those photos of you on his phone. Why he clings so tightly sometimes and why he was so scared when you found him crying in the kitchen months ago. And you told him that you weren't going anywhere... how hollow your reassurances must have sounded to him. You don't notice how quiet Frisk is, how still they are. You're caught between wanting to get up and comfort Sans and the lingering sting of his deception.

"Were you ever going to tell me the truth?" you ask, even though you're sure you know the answer. And it hurts.

Sans hangs his head, pressing a hand to his forehead and turning away, just a little. "no. if nothing ever changed... no. i would have just left it all alone. hoped for the best."

"You were just going to keep hiding behind these half-truths? Forever? When I asked you about your nightmares, you'd just keep this up?" Your chest feels tight, anger and bitterness writhing behind your ribs, making you feel sick. You push the half-eaten spaghetti away, sated enough for now.

Sans nods and you bite the inside of your lip as your eyes swim with tears.

Flowey's words come unbidden to the back of your mind. They spill out before you can even think. "Do you even love me? Or is it just because I'm the one unique thing that's happened after all this time?"

His head jerks up and his eyes widen, startled. "i love you. you know i love you. you felt it in my soul, you have to know that."

You do. You remember. You remember all of that love and happiness, and how underneath there was that pain and fear and sadness that he wouldn't let you see or feel. Biting your lip, you nod. You can't deny that. But it makes this hurt so much more.

"How do you know? How do you remember when no one else does?" you ask. Frisk's head lifts up.

Sans's expression darkens and his hands go back into his pockets. He glances away and back to you. But his vision is distant, like he's looking through you. "there was an accident. at the lab. we were running an experiment, studying timelines—"

"The lab?" you blurt out, your free hand balling into a fist. "You used to work at the lab? Alphys's lab?"

Sans nods. "yeah, we... we worked together a few years ago. um, real years not, repeated years. if that makes sense."

"So when you said you only knew her from your station in Hotland, you lied." With a frustrated sigh you shake your head. How much do you really know about Sans? How much is he hiding from you? "Fine. Whatever. There was an accident."

He hesitates, then continues. "we lost a lot of people that day. including someone... close to me. i don't..." He shakes his head, gritting his teeth. "i was the only one that survived."

"What happened?" you press.

Sans shakes his head again, frowning. "an accident. something i think i could have prevented but i don't..."

"And this accident lets you remember, what, the different timelines?"

He nods, but the furrow in his brow is still there. "i just wake up here at home, no matter what was happening before. and i remember," he says in a clipped tone.

"But how did you survive the accident? What happened to you?"

"i just woke up."

"Don't keep hiding things now. Why can't you just tell me the truth, Sans?" you snap, making Frisk flinch.

"because i can't remember!" he snaps back, startling you.

Your surprise quickly twists into more anger, snowballing the tension in the air. "You can remember all these repeated timelines but you can't remember the one thing that makes it all possible?" you ask, sharper than you intend.

"i barely remember anything from before the accident," he retorts, echoing your frustration back at you. "i don't remember who it was that i lost at the lab but i feel like i should! i barely remember my own mother and i can't remember my father at all! you want to know why i never tell you about my childhood? it's because it's a patchwork quilt with half the patches ripped out. i can remember things with papyrus because he's still here. but other things? i lost them." You can only stare, taken aback as he shakes his head and gives you a humorless smile. "you know what's funny? i used to wear a tie for work at the lab. every damn day. and then i try to get dressed up for our date and i'm just standing there, holding it in my hands, staring. and i know i should know how to do it. but my hands just, won't work right."

What can you even say to all that? You just shake your head, guilt settling inside you. There's too much to wrap your mind around, too much to try and absorb. Your anger is dulled but the pain isn't. You feel like you barely know Sans. You know his heart and how he feels for you, but... you barely knew anything about him and now it's all laid bare at your feet and you don't know what to do with it. Silence fills the room.

You told him everything. You've always trusted him with all of the awful things that happened with your mother, the reasons you're the person you are. But Sans didn't do that with you. You opened up while he stayed locked up tight, giving you just enough scraps to keep you from looking for more. 

"Mom," Frisk murmurs, pulling away from your side to look up at you. "Are you okay?"

You shake your head again, wiping your eyes and face with both hands as you pull in a shaky breath. "I should be asking you that question, sweetie. How are you doing? This must be a lot for you to understand."

They shrug, looking away. You find yourself envying their childish acceptance. "I dunno. I mean, I don't know how I did those things before." Frisk looks over at Sans, their mouth set into a stern line. Something about their expression is so much older than them, and it's a little startling. "But I'm not gonna do it again. I promise."

Sans nods, all of his frustration seeping out of him and leaving him looking wrung out. "i appreciate it, kiddo."

You push up from the table, Frisk and Sans both turning to look at you. "I'm going to take a shower," you say, because right now you just need to get away from this. You need to think. You're feeling too much and you need to sort your way through it, and you don't know how long it's going to take. 

"babe, can you talk to me, please?" he asks, and the pain in his voice makes your heart ache.

"Sans for right now, just... please leave me alone."

 
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