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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37. I Want To Show You

You're standing outside of Grillby's, waiting for Sans and watching your breath leave your mouth in puffs of white. Part of you would rather wait inside where it's warm. Most of you, really. Especially the cold bits. But you've caught Sans looking at a particular picture of you on his phone, outside Grillby's and lit by orange neon just like this. Usually you hate having your picture taken, and if you had known he was taking it you probably would have fussed. But even you have to admit it's a lovely shot of you, and if you can recreate that image for him, you'll do it. You've even got on that green, waterproof army surplus jacket that you're wearing in it. You picked it up from Snowdin's shop a few weeks ago when you realized you'd be staying.

"hey beautiful, come here often?" 

Turning at the sound of Sans's deep voice, you can't help but smile, flushed from the cold and his compliment. He gives you a charming wink the second he sees you looking, grinning wide. You think he must have slept at his station because he seems a lot more rested than he did earlier. Hopefully Papyrus never caught on.

You make a noncommittal noise as Sans comes closer, shrugging and trying to tamp down your smile. "Yeah, but only because my boyfriend doesn't know anyplace better."

"oh, then he must have excellent taste. everyone knows that grillby's is the best place in town."

"It's the only place in town," you say, trying not to laugh.

"keep talking like that and i'm gonna tell grillby you don't like his cooking. and trust me, you don't want to see him all fired up." Sans is at your side now, pulling his hands out of his pockets to reach out and take hold of your jacket. He tugs you close, then pulls you down so he can graze toothy kisses along your jaw.

You're giggling from the joke and his ministrations, tucking in close against him and wrapping your hands around his wrists. "I'd hate to ignite any arguments," you murmur against his skull, pressing your cold nose against warm bone.

"i'm sure i could douse him before he gets too hot under the collar," Sans says, eliciting a snort from you that makes him chuckle. He releases your jacket and pulls away, brushing a bit of hair from your face. "c'mon, lets get you inside. you didn't have to wait out here in the cold."

You take his hand and let him lead you to the door. "Well, I wanted to."

The rush of warm air inside the bar is welcome against your skin. You let out a sigh of relief as you step in, glancing around to take in the familiar surroundings. Dogamy and Dogaressa are both missing, but you give Doggo a vigorous wave, making sure he can see you. He tips his head and raises a paw in greeting. Greater Dog gives you puppy eyes and scoots in his chair to lean towards you until you walk over to pet him. His tongue lolls out of his mouth and he tilts into your fingers. After a few moments of this you give him one last pat and go to join Sans at the bar in your usual place.

"yeah, yeah, no need to give me that look," Sans is saying to Grillby as you take your seat.

Grillby's expression is decidedly smug, one hint of an eyebrow arched above his glasses. It lowers as he glances over at you, giving you a welcoming nod. Though he doesn't have a mouth that you can see, something about his face seems to crinkle into a smile. 

You smile in return. "Hey Grillby. Hope you're doing well?"

He nods again, then glances over at Sans again before disappearing back into the kitchen.

"i ordered the usual, hope that's okay with you," Sans says, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the bar.

"Sure, that's fine," you say. You gesture at the door Grillby went through. "What was all that about? With Grillby?"

Sans shakes his head, smiling. "nothing, just a little bit of gloating on his part."

"Gloating? From Grillby?" You give him an incredulous look. "What could he possibly be gloating about?"

"helping me out last night. i came here," he says, tentatively. He makes a sound like he's clearing his throat, shifting a little bit on the barstool.

"Oh." You hadn't really given much thought to where Sans went when he stormed off last night, but... "Well, at least now I know where to come looking if you're upset," you say, trying to sound casual.

"i told you i wouldn't do that again, and i meant it," he says, holding your gaze as he searches your face. You give him an affectionate smile and he seems to relax.

"Duly noted," you say, brushing aside the topic. There are other things you'd rather talk about. "So, where are you taking me after dinner?" You arch a brow, giving him him a playful look.

Sans leans towards you, sliding his elbows across the bar and grinning. "if i wanted you to know, i would have told you this morning," he says. The lights in his eyes are bright with amusement.

"You're no fun."

"you'll see soon enough, babe." Sans leans back in his seat as Grillby returns with your food, setting the plates down in front of you. He puts down a fresh bottle of ketchup on the bar and leaves the two of you to your —relative— privacy. Sans picks up a crisp French fry and points at you with it. "i wouldn't want to spoil the surfries."

You try your hardest to resist the urge to smile, but you don't think you quite manage. San's grin widens to shit-eating levels. "And what would you have said if Grillby didn't just so happen to bring our food out right at that moment?"

He gives the counter in front of him a pat with his hand, his bones giving a soft clatter against wood. "i hope the wait isn't too unbarable." You think you can hear his bones rattling with how hard he's trying not to laugh at the look on your face.

"I'm torn between laughing and crying, I don't even know what to say to that," you say, shaking your head.

Sans finally splutters out a laugh, and you can't resist any longer; you're laughing too.

You should have expected this, since you've been mentioning wanting to come here since Frisk told you about it over a month ago. Sure, you could have taken it upon yourself to make the walk, but it feels much more special coming here with Sans. Waterfall really is beautiful.

The contrast of dark stone and grass against the glowing water is ethereal and otherworldly. Bright faceted crystals sparkle far above your head, and you can see how the monsters might pretend that they're stars. Between them and the glow from the water there's just enough light for you to make out your surroundings. Up ahead, tucked along the dark, winding path are tall, large-petaled blue flowers.

It's damp and a little humid here in Waterfall. Definitely warmer than in Snowdin; you had to strip off your outermost layer and tie the sleeves around your middle before you started to sweat. You're much more comfortable with just your light cotton jacket.

Sans has his arm around your waist as you walk, your own curled around his back. Tucked under his other arm he has a telescope that he picked up from the passageway you just exited. It had been tucked behind a few rocks for safekeeping. When you asked him what it was for, he just smiled and evaded your question. You're sure you'll find out soon enough.

"if you're quiet, you'll be able to hear voices from those blue flowers up ahead," he tells you, giving you a small squeeze. "they're called echo flowers. they repeat the last thing that they hear."

As you approach the first one Sans lets you go, nudging you forward. You hesitate, unsure of what to do, but go up to it and lean down to press your ear close to the blossom. You can hear a quiet, tinny voice. "I hope I find something cool at the garbage dump today!"

"What, that's it?" you blurt out, frowning at the flower. It echoes your own words back to you in that same high voice.

"what were you expecting? they just echo anything," Sans says, speaking just above a whisper. He shrugs at you as you return to his side.

You continue walking, passing by mushrooms glowing the same shade as the water. The lily pads and water sausages growing in the slow-moving streams are so dark in contrast they're nearly black. Finally, picking a spot near the water, Sans pulls the telescope from under his arm and gets to work positioning the legs. You crouch down next to the bank, staring down into the liquid. Cupping some of it in your hand, you tilt your palm and watch the glowing water shift along your skin. There must be something in it that makes it glow like that. It must be bioluminescent or something. When you empty your hand back into the stream, a few bright blue droplets cling to your skin. Without thinking you wipe your palm against your jeans, leaving a wet streak that glows for a few moments before starting to fade.

Sans is just about done tightening the now-extended legs of the telescope when you stand back up. He wiggles the body of it experimentally to make sure it's stable, then stands back, satisfied. "do you wanna get a closer look at some of those crystals?" he asks you, gesturing to the eyepiece.

As you lean over to take hold of the telescope Sans makes a startled noise and stops you, pulling out a handkerchief. He wipes down the eyepiece and the lens at the end, checking and double-checking before finally offering it back to you.

"sorry, almost forgot. woulda been a bit of an eyesore if i hadn't remembered. red ink on the telescope is pretty classic," Sans says, looking a little embarrassed.

You rub your finger around the edge, and when it comes away clean you let yourself finally look. The view is a little fuzzy. With a vague idea of how it works, you twist a knob one way and then the other, until it starts coming into focus. Crystals of all colors are embedded into the stone, large and small, casting light down into the caverns of Waterfall. You wonder how something so strange can exist down here without anyone on the surface knowing. But then again, the monsters have been down here so long that humans don't even remember that they exist. How much of the world have humans just forgotten? Well, magic, for starters, you suppose.

The crystals are beautiful, but... the telescope just reminds you that what you're seeing aren't stars. Layers of rock separate you from the real stars, and all at once you feel their loss heavy in your chest. Not even for yourself, but for Sans and Papyrus, for Alphys and Undyne and even Mettaton. For Frisk.

Leaning back, you straighten and look back up unassisted, and you think you prefer the illusion.

"this is probably the prettiest place in the underground. snowdin's nice and peaceful, and the capital has some interesting architecture if that's your thing. but there's something special about waterfall. there's actually a room further in where water drips down, like it's raining," Sans says, and he sounds pleased. You feel his hands on your waist as he comes up behind you, resting his chin on your shoulder.

"It's beautiful here," you agree, threading your fingers between his and pulling his arms to enfold you completely. You lean back into the sturdy weight of him behind you, tilting your head to touch his. "But I wish you could see the real stars. And real rain. I wish there was an easier way to get everyone to the surface. Something that doesn't involve... killing one of us."

Sans's grip on you tightens. "i'm more than happy to stay down here if it means having you and frisk with me, safe. that's not a trade i'd ever be willing to make."

"I wouldn't ask you to. I just want to show you so much. I want to take you to the beach and show you the ocean, and into the city where we have skyscrapers that literally reach the clouds. And clouds you've never seen clouds!" You squeeze your eyes shut, sighing. "Rain, and thunderstorms that make the windows rattle they're so loud. And sunlight, and rainbows. The moon! You have pretend stars, but you don't have a pretend moon down here..."

Sans is quiet as you trail off. You squeeze his fingers between yours. He makes a quiet hum before speaking, his voice hesitant. "do you miss it? being on the surface?"

Releasing his hands you twist around in his embrace to face him. His eyes are a little dim as he looks up at you, and his smile seems forced. "Of course I miss it," you tell him, catching the side of his face as he tries to look away. "But I'd never give this up to go back there. Not without you. I..." You push through the hesitation; it's still hard to say the words. You feel an unwarranted thrill of fear that this will be the time he doesn't say them back. "I love you."

"i love you too," he says, and his smile turns genuine. You smile back as he leans forward to nuzzle into your neck with a sigh. "let me show you more of waterfall. maybe our rain down here will remind you of home."

"Of course it will. Because this is my home."

   
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