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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67. Hopes and Dreams

You can't move. You're not sure why, there's nothing you can see or feel restraining you but... your body isn't listening. All you can do is watch as the shifting, colored light from before coalesces into a pair of massive wings. Asriel's body is twisted into something horrible, a monstrous head perched atop black, pointed shoulders. He flexes his fingers (each nearly as long as you are tall) like he's testing them before looking down at the three of you.

"This is my true power," he says, his voice resonating through the blackness all around you. "I'm going to kill you, as many times as it takes to strip the determination from your Soul so I can Reset it all. And this is where you're going to die, here where no one will ever remember you."

"Asriel, stop being such a selfish crybaby! How many times are we going to keep doing this over and over again?!" Whatever's holding you in place doesn't seem to be affecting Chara. They put themselves between the two of you and Asriel, squaring their shoulders and staring up at the creature with the prince's face. "How many timelines are we going to fight each other?"

Asriel lets out a howl of rage, lunging forward and digging his hands into the blackness on either side of your group. Wings pulsing with every color flare out at his sides, filling your vision as he bares enormous fangs. "You have no idea what this is like! To live without a Soul! I tried so many things but nothing ever worked!"

"Then tell me! Stop sitting there feeling sorry for yourself." Chara brings one hand under their Soul, the other balling into a fist. "Because I might understand better than you think."

Growling, he digs his fingers deeper into the ground before shoving himself away, raising his hands as swarms of multicolored fireballs swirl between his fingers. His black eyes narrow down at the three of you. "No! NO!"

You try to cry out but you can't even open your mouth. All you can manage is a strangled yelp as Chara takes the brunt of Asriel's assault. The bright red of their Soul starts to dim, and they cross their arms over their chest as they heave out a shuddering breath. The glass-like fragments tremble, fighting to hold their heart shape as the color loses some of its intensity, paling.

Frisk shudders beside you, eyes wide as their hand twitches in your grip. "I can't..." Their voice is tight, forced from between their lips. "I can't reach my Save. I can't Load back."

Asriel snarls and repeats his attack, peppering the three of you with magic. Chara still takes the worst of it but you and Frisk are hit too, the bright, searing pain making your Soul shudder. You have no idea how much more of this you can take. Pain is lancing through your body, radiating from your chest and you still can't move. You're caught there, at the mercy of this creature looming over you. The color of Chara's Soul is even paler, more pink than red. They're trembling, sinking down to one knee.

Frisk takes a few shuddering steps, pulling their hand free from yours and going to Chara's side. With great difficulty, they reach out and thread their fingers through Chara's, squeezing and giving the other child a bright smile. "I need your help. You can feel them, can't you? Help me reach them."

They look at Frisk, bright red eyes meeting brown as their pained grimace smooths away. With a look of pure determination, Chara gives them a sharp nod. Together, they raised their joined hands and something white begins to glow from the pulsing heart in Asriel's chest.

Asriel stares down at the light, then lifts his head to glare at the two children. He pounds his fists into the ground hard enough that you can feel it resonate through your body. "What are you doing? Stop this!" he shouts, baring his teeth.

The light gets brighter and suddenly you can move again. You step forward to rest your hands on Frisk and Chara's shoulders, the latter child flinching at the touch. They give you a sharp glance, something strange in their eyes as they look from your face down to your Soul. Then they return their attention to Asriel.

"Mom and Dad first," Chara snaps, a crease forming between their eyes.

"I want my dad," Frisk argues back, frowning.

"I'm not asking." They jerk their joined hands a little and you have squint and turn your head as the light increases in intensity.

You're not sure what's going on but something about the space around you seems to shift. Your grip on the two children tightens and you feel Chara try to shrug away but you hold fast. As the light starts to fade enough for you to risk a glance, you realize that Asriel is nowhere to be seen. Instead, in his place, are two familiar figures.

Toriel and Asgore are standing there, faces obscured by something like fog. The white mist swirls and twists, curling in on itself and refusing to dissipate. Frisk drops Chara's hand and runs to Toriel, reaching out to take her hand. You can't hear what they're saying. Chara tries to stand but their knees wobble and they collapse back to the ground, letting out a frustrated growl.

You squeeze their shoulder and their eyes dart up to look at you. They can only meet your gaze for a second before looking away, one hand going to their Soul reflexively as if to hide it from view. You reach down and wrap your arm around their middle to pull them to their feet. "Let me help you," you say, and you're surprised to see that their eyes are a little glassy. "I'm not sure what's going on, but it seems like you and Frisk know something."

"We need to get Asriel to listen," Chara mutters, shaking their head. They seem to resent your assistance, but aren't saying anything as the two of you approach Asgore. "But he's hiding behind your friends. We need to save them first, to get through to him."

"What were you doing inside of Frisk?" you ask. "Are you the reason they can alter time?"

Chara chews the inside of their lip and it reminds you so strongly of Frisk that you take a quick glance at where your child is speaking with Toriel. She's turning away from them, bowing her obscured head and clutching her hands to her chest.

"I was surviving. And yes," they say petulantly.

If you had more time you'd say something about their tone. But Asgore is looming over the two of you, hanging his head as his hands ball into fists at his sides. Chara stares up at him, looking more worried about facing him than they were of Asriel. They push your hand away and step forward, legs wobbling a little.

"Asgore," Chara says in a weak voice, hesitating. "...Dad it's me, Chara."

"Chara is dead," he says in a low, mournful voice. "Asriel is dead. My beloved has left me. I once had a family full of love, and all that remains is a bed of golden flowers where my children sowed the seeds with their blood and ashes. Do not tell me that you are my child."

Your heart aches at the deep, ancient sorrow in his voice. Chara's hands are shaking as they start to reach out to touch his hand but then recoil, shaking their head. "I am dead. But that doesn't mean I'm not... You always told me that I was welcome! That you would take care of me like I was yours too!"

"I am alone. I have been alone for so long," Asgore murmurs, rocking his head from side to side. "I cannot afford to care for you, child. We only need one more Soul. Forgive me for what I must do for my people."

Asgore raises his left hand and Chara takes a shaky step back. You're not sure how you know he's reaching for some kind of weapon but somewhere deep inside you know that he is. Darting forward, you cover his hand with your own, grasping at his huge fingers. Asgore stills at your touch.

"We're going to save everyone without killing," you tell him, staring up at him through the mist covering his face. "You don't have to hurt anyone ever again, Asgore."

His hand tenses but he doesn't move. You glance back at Chara but they're walking away to stand by themselves, their back towards you and Frisk both. Their shoulders are shaking.

You turn back to Asgore and you think you catch a glimpse of his eyes for just a moment. "We have a plan, remember? A way to get the last Soul so then the Barrier can be broken. I need you to remember." You squeeze his fingers. After a long moment of silence, he brings his other hand to cover yours.

When you look up at him the mist is gone and he's smiling at you. "I remember. You and your child are the future of humans and monsters."

With a sigh of relief, you smile up at him. "That's right. But I think there's someone who wants to see you."

Asgore follows your hand as you point, and you can tell the moment he sees Chara. His eyes go wide and his hands fall away from yours. "Chara?"

They turn and you can see the trail of tears wetting their cheeks, staring in disbelief. "Dad?" There's another cry of joy and you look for the sound to see Toriel cover her mouth with both hands. Chara seeks her out too, eyes sweeping over her almost hungrily. "...Mom?"

Both of them start to go for Chara but before they can make it their bodies start to fade. They turn to something like smoke that swirls together to form solid, pearlescent white hearts, upended in the air with their points facing upwards. They hang there for a moment before vanishing. Chara turns away again, sinking down to their knees and burying their face in their hands.

You start to go to them but Frisk comes to meet you, taking hold of your hand. "We have to help the others," Frisk says, and there's a pulse in their Soul that echoes in yours. You can feel it, resonating between the two of you. "Help me reach out for Dad."

"What do I do?" you ask, squeezing their fingers between your own.

"Um..." Frisk mumbles, biting their lip. They reach out towards the blackness with their free hand, splaying out their fingers and wiggling them. "You just... reach out. With your Soul."

"I'll do my best, sweetie," you say, because you don't know what they mean.

Bringing you free hand to your chest, you close your eyes but before you can even try to do anything Frisk lets out a gasp. Your eyes fly back open and instead of Sans you're greeted with Papyrus, all by himself. His face his obscured just like Asgore and Toriel's were.

"I MUST CAPTURE A HUMAN!" he exclaims, taking a quick step towards the two of you as he rests a hand on his hip, pointing at you with the other. "BECAUSE THEN... THEN I'LL FINALLY..." His voice wavers, his hand dropping to his side. "THEN I'LL FINALLY BE IN THE ROYAL GUARD, AND MAYBE SANS WON'T HAVE TO WORRY SO MUCH."

"Papyrus," you breathe, and the way his voice is shaking tears at your heart.

"AND I'LL BE POPULAR, AND HAVE FRIENDS. BECAUSE I WANT SANS TO KNOW THAT I'M HAPPY. AND MAYBE, IT'LL MAKE HIM HAPPIER TOO." Papyrus puffs out his chest again, and you can see the tail end of his scarf give a weak flutter, even here in this place. "SO I MUST CAPTURE YOU!"

"You already have friends!" Frisk exclaims, giving the skeleton a bright smile. "And family! We never got the chance to tell you, but Sans agreed to be my dad, which means you're my uncle now!"

Papyrus flinches away, shaking his head. "BUT I HAVEN'T... I NEED TO CAPTURE YOU! IT'S THE ONLY WAY... THE ONLY WAY I CAN PROVE TO SANS THAT I'M NOT... THAT I'M NOT A BURDEN. THAT HE DOESN'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ME."

"Papyrus, your brother loves you. He's going to worry about you no matter what," you tell him, swallowing past a lump in your throat. How can he think of himself that way? How can he even consider for a moment that Sans thinks like that? "Because that's what you do with family. You worry and you care so much that it hurts. And you worry about him too, don't you? Do you think that he's a burden?"

He hesitates and some of the fog starts to lift away. "...NO. NO, I..."

You cut him off with a fierce hug, flinging your arms up around his neck to pull him down to you. He wraps you and Frisk up and squeezes you tight. "Papyrus, you know that we love you, right?"

"I... YES!" You steal a glance and you can see that the fog is gone. He's grinning. "YES OF COURSE, HUMAN!" he says, and right now his odd nickname for you just feels wrong.

"I told you before, to call me Hope," you tell him, hugging him tighter. You know that in a moment he's going to vanish just like Toriel and Asgore did.

"HOPE. I ALSO LOVE BOTH OF YOU! PLATONICALLY, OF COURSE," he adds as an afterthought.

"Of course," you agree, laughing a little as you give him one last squeeze. The second you pull away his body starts to wisp off into the air, before solidifying into a white heart and then vanishing.

Frisk takes hold of your hand, and you feel that odd pulsing in your Soul again. You look down at them and meet their eyes, a stubbornness there that you're so affectionately familiar with. They raise an eyebrow in silent question and you can't help but laugh. It's so much like something Sans would do that you think they must have picked it up from him. You give them a nod.

"There's still the others, right?" you ask.

They nod back. "We have to save all our friends."

"What about... your dad?" The title feels a little strange on your tongue but Frisk's eyes brighten at the sound of it. You'll need to get used to this.

Frisk looks back out into the darkness and their eyes go distant. Seeing something that isn't there, or feeling for something. "I can't reach him yet. He's there but... The others are in the way."

"Then let's help them," you say, squeezing their hand.

Frisk nods again.

You blink and Undyne and Alphys are standing in front of you. Undyne clenches her hands into fists and you can catch the flash of teeth even through the mist obscuring her face. Alphys cringes away, wringing her hands in front of her.

"Humans! I'll kill you to free us all!" Undyne snarls, widening her stance. "You're our real enemy!"

"We're not, Undyne, we're your friends!" you snap at her, lashing out like you did when you were starting to know her. Back when things were still difficult between you. You have to show her that fighting spirit she seemed to admire. "Are you telling me you don't remember all the time we spent together? The times you fought for me?"

"Undyne, do you remember the time you taught me how to play piano?" Frisk chimes in. "And then you and Papyrus burned the house down?"

She hesitates, arms tensing but waiting. Alphys trembles at her side, shaking her head.

"You... y-you all hate me, don't you?" Alphys mumbles. "I have to keep lying... if they learn the t-truth everyone will hate me."

"Alphys, you made mistakes but you've taken responsibility for them. We know that you tried to do the right thing," you tell her, watching Undyne as she flinches a little.

"I just wanted to impress Asgore. E-everything is my fault. All I do is h-hurt people," she says, covering her face with her hands.

"The amalgamates are happy and back with their families. They'd be dead if not for you." You watch as Alphys's shaking starts to ebb, her hands pulling tentatively away from where her eyes are hidden behind the fog.

"We care about you Alphys! We like you," Frisk says, smiling.

Alphys is silent, hesitating at Undyne's side. They're both standing there, waiting for something.

You look from one to the other, giving Frisk's hand a squeeze to steady yourself. "Both of you are our friends. Undyne you helped me when I argued with Sans, and were there for me when I was scared. You showed me how to be stronger when all I could think about was how weak I was. Alphys, without you I don't know if Frisk would have come back from that fever. Your brilliance saved their life. I am so grateful to know and be close to both of you."

The fog lifts from both of them at the same time, leaving them blinking at you in unison.

Undyne flushes purple, glancing away. "Oh come on, I didn't do all that. You've always been strong, you punk," she says, but you can tell she's secretly pleased.

Alphys is blushing too, hiding behind her hands. "I-I only did what I could. It's the least I could do after all the s-support you've given me too!"

They turn at the sound of each other's voices and Undyne scoops Alphys up in her arms, grinning. Their relief is palpable and you can't help but smile as Alphys gives a nervous giggle. As they check on each other to make sure they're okay, their edges start to blur and they too fade away until there's nothing but two white Souls hovering there, resonating together, before they vanish.

"Can you feel him?" Frisk asks you, their voice a soft murmur.

You close your eyes, raising your free hand to cup underneath where your Soul is hovering. You can feel that familiar prickle of his magic, his Soul, across your skin. The way his voice makes your whole body hum, the warm feeling of love that swells in your chest when he's looking at you or when he's spending time with Frisk. It's intimate and warm and tender, and everything is undeniably him it's like he's standing there with you.

Then you open your eyes, and he is.

   
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