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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135. Into the Wolf's Den

"And this must be Deacon," Rollo says, which snaps him back to reality, and he realizes that, shit shit shit he must have been staring.

As quick as he can, Deacon plasters on a friendly smile. "Hi! Merry Christmas!" he manages to say, giving Bo a quick look that he hopes doesn't seem too desperate. "I'm sorry, I'd, uh, shake your hand but I don't have any to spare."

The white wolf chuckles, putting his arm around his daughter's (his sheep daughter, what the hell is going on?) shoulders as she glances at him, her smile turning confused. Oh she's confused? If anyone is allowed to be confused right now it's him thank you very much. This has to be some kind of joke. Sans sure as hell thinks it's one, that much he's sure of.

That damn skeleton.

"Well come on in, your mother will have my hide if I keep the two of you out here much longer," Rollo says, still grinning and showing those glistening fangs. He turns to Bo, hunching over and giving her a cautious look. "Is she still looking?"

"Don't you start that now, I may not be able to hear you but I'm not blind," Ylva calls down the hall, shaking her head and pulling back into whatever room she poked out of. Rollo and Bo start laughing and Deacon takes the time to gather his wits.

Okay, he can do this. This is fine. Everything is fine. Who cares if Bo was... what? Adopted by wolves? Honestly it explains a lot. Her taste for meat maybe, and her spunky, in your face personality. Or perhaps it was just wrong of him to assume that she'd act like, well, a sheep when she's, in fact, a monster.

Deacon trails after his girlfriend and her father, going, uh, quite literally into the wolves' den. Okay, no, he can't think of it like that. Look, he went on a date with Muffet. He went back to her house. This can't be scarier than that, right? Well, no that doesn't help. He might have managed to go inside but that had ended with him screaming (just a little, dammit) and excusing himself for the evening. He can't do that here. This is Bo's family. His girlfriend's family. He has to make a good impression, he can't just run away!

Would she hold it against him if he just turned around and walked out and maybe hyperventilated a little on the front porch?

The living room is full of people and they're all talking at once, so when Bo says his name he doesn't hear her the first time. He's too busy trying to sort out the voices and just trying to take it all in. There's wolves on the couch and a monster covered in scales leaning against one wall. Something (no, Deacon, that's rude; someone) with four arms and bright orange skin is carrying a wolf pup in one set and a child with spikes and wings in the other. Okay so they're mostly wolves, but not all of them. That makes him feel slightly less like a slab of meat being brought to the table. And it's a little hard to feel threatened when almost all of them are wearing tacky Christmas sweaters.

"Deacon?" Bo says and he jumps a little as he feels her hand on his arm. A little crease forms between her eyebrows and she leans in close. "Daddy asked you a question."

He blinks and looks over at Rollo where he's polishing his glasses with the sleeve of his sweater. Feeling heat creep up the sides of his neck, Deacon clears his throat to try and stop making it feel so tight. "I'm sorry, I was just... I got distracted by all the noise and I didn't hear you. Could you please repeat the question?"

Rollo rests his glasses back on his muzzle, tugging on the chain fixed to the sides to make sure they're settled properly. He gives Deacon a wolfish grin. "It's fine. The Wolf clan tends to be a little... boisterous," he says with a chuckle. "I was just asking if you'd like me to take those presents off your hands."

"Oh! I, uh..." He's normally better at this! Why does it feel like he's constantly losing his footing and about to careen down the side of the mountain? "I can..." Deacon glances towards the big Christmas tree in the corner, where a mountain of presents dominates the space around it. That alone is intimidating in of itself. "Yeah. I mean. Yes. Please, if you don't mind. I don't want to... mess anything up."

Perhaps taking pity on him, Rollo doesn't say anything and takes the big bag of presents from Deacon's arms and turns to pick his way across the living room. Oh god he's sweating and is it hot in here? He thinks that maybe, just maybe he can ask Bo why she never told him her parents are wolves but then, right as he opens his mouth—

"Lamb chop!" A huge gray wolf appears from the kitchen behind him and Deacon has to fight back a startled squeak.

"Ice! It's so good to see you!" Bo exclaims, jumping up to wrap her arms around the wolf's neck and pull him down. After a second she pulls away, holding onto his shoulders to keep him at eye level. "Or do you go by Jimmy now? Mama said that Auntie Frost told her you were still thinking about changing your name."

He snorts. "Nah. It's still Ice."

"Deacon," she says, and for a second he wonders if he's giving them a weird look. Oh god he probably is, isn't he? But if she notices she doesn't say anything, still all smiles as she lets go of the wolf to touch Deacon's hand for a second. "This is my cousin."

Ice holds out one enormous hand and when Deacon goes to shake it the gray-furred fingers nearly swallow up to his wrist. He fights the urge to yank it back. "So you're the human everybody's been talking about." What? They were talking about him? Ice gives him a scrutinizing look, tightening his grip on his hand as Deacon feels his forced smile start to falter. "Watch yourself. If you hurt Bo... let's just say that Ebott's an awfully big place for someone to go missing."

There's a moment where Deacon reconsiders that idea of hyperventilating on the front porch again.

"Ice!" Bo exclaims, smacking his chest and giving him a playful glare. "Stop trying to scare him!"

Try? Oh no, he was succeeding. With flying colors.

Ice starts laughing and finally lets go of Deacon's hand. As the big wolf turns to head into the living room, he looks back at him and makes a V with his fingers, pointing to his eyes and then at Deacon. A universal sign for 'I'm watching you'. 

"Where's the bathroom?" Deacon says, his voice a little higher than strictly dignified.

Bo gives him an odd look. "Baby we just got here."

"I'll just be a second," he says, and after a moment Bo points him towards an open door down the hall.

The second he has the door shut and locked behind him Deacon yanks his phone out of his pocket. Maybe he ought to say something to Bo, to tell her that he's more than a little freaked out so she can... he doesn't know, just try to make this a little easier on him. But she shouldn't be spending her Christmas worrying about him. She should be enjoying time with her family. (A family that just threatened to murder him, joking or not.)

Letting out a frustrated sound, something to just force the tension out of his body, he pulls up Sans's number. For a second he thinks he's just going to text him, but no. No, that won't do. He starts a call.

After two rings he picks up. "hel—"

"You son of a bitch," Deacon hisses, walking to the far side of the bathroom and sitting down on the edge of the tub. He holds his head in his hands. "You asshole you knew this would happen!"

There's a chuckle on the other end of the line. In the background he can hear voices. He must be at that big family Christmas at Toriel's house. God, at least if he was there he wouldn't feel quite so lost. "calm down, buddy. it can't be that bad."

"Her cousin Ice just threatened to kill me! They're wolves, Sans! You could have said something!" His voice squeaks from his effort to keep himself from shouting at the smug skeleton.

"ice wolf? nah, he's harmless. if there's anybody you should watch out for it's ylva. that's her baby girl you're boning."

"For fuck's sake, Sans."

"Hun, who's that on the phone?" He hears your voice and for a brief, insane moment he has this gut-wrenching desire for you to just come save him from this disaster he's found himself in the middle of.

"deacon. you wanna talk to him?"

"Yes," Deacon snaps. "Please put Hope on the phone."

There's a pause where he can hear the phone exchanging hands. "Deacon, what's wrong?"

"Hope, help," he whispers, shoving the heels of his hands into his eyes. "Everything is awful."

"Why are you whispering? Where are you?" you ask him. "Sans why are you laughing? He sounds upset."

"I'm hiding in Bo's parents' bathroom. We just got here and it's already awful." You're about to ask him why, so he just blurts it out all over again. "They're wolves. She was raised by wolves and Sans didn't tell me and he knew. What do I do?"

"Deacon, you're..." A pause. "Sans go away, I can't believe you right now," you grumble, but if Deacon knows you (and he thinks he does) he can tell you're not really angry with him. Ugh, the world just isn't fair. "Why are you hiding in the bathroom? Go spend time with your girlfriend on Christmas!"

"They're wolves."

"They're monsters. Just like Sans, and Papyrus, and Undyne, and everyone else you know," you tell him, calm and placating and oh god you're right, he's being so stupid. "Take a breath, and get out of that bathroom."

"Okay, this is me, taking a breath. I'm breathing," he says, and sucks in a steadying lungful before exhaling loudly into the phone for your benefit. "I'm a mess."

"You'll be fine. Deacon?"

"...Hope?"

"You're nervous because you care. It's a good thing, don't let it scare you," you say gently, and he can hear the smile in your voice.

He barks out a laugh, shaking his head. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

"Hang up the phone. Sister's orders."

Sister. That sobers him a little, gets him to take another deep breath and ground himself. It still feels too strange to think of seriously. Sure, he could joke about being your brother, do the protective shtick for laughs, but... He doesn't know the first thing about having a family.

"Okay, okay," he says, letting out a weak laugh. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. Call us if you need us."

He waits in silence for a second until you hang up the phone. 

As it turns out, Bo isn't adopted. Her grandmother on her father's side is a sweet old sheep named Mary, who he finds tucked away in a corner with a litter of grandchildren. He shouldn't be surprised that she's the one who taught her how to knit (and also to spin her own wool into yarn, which answers a whole handful of other questions he has).

Now that's he's calmed himself down, everyone seems a lot less frightening. Yes, Ice Wolf keeps pointing at him and making threatening gestures while laughing, and maybe Bo's mother makes him a little jumpy (though he thinks part of that is Sans's fault), but they're nice people. That's what he forgot: to regard them as people. He thought he'd been getting better at that, but he was already on the defensive when they got there and he'd just... it had been a bit much all at once. He'll do better.

Opening gifts takes over an hour with the number of people in attendance, most of which he spends just watching Bo. She's so loved by her family, he can see it in the gifts they got her, in the way that they talk to her and how they've welcomed him. Her happiness is precious to them. What can he possibly bring to the table? What does he have to offer her that she doesn't already have? Here, surrounded by the entirety of the Wolf family, he feels like all he's doing is taking. Her companionship, their hospitality... Bo's parents even got him a gift and like an ass he didn't have anything in return. Not even a crappy gift; they got him a set of nice ties for work.

Sitting next to Bo, clutching his ties in his hand, he feels more like a fraud than he usually does with her. Here she is, with her loving family, happy and well adjusted and just... good. She's so good and how can he compare?

Well, he'll just keep doing what he's been doing: pretending he's just as happy and well adjusted as she is.

"Oh, this one's from you!" Bo says, looking over at him and nudging him with her shoulder. She has his gift in her lap. He smiles at her, a little ball of worry rolling around in the pit of his stomach. 

Tearing at the paper, and thankfully keeping her opinion of his terrible wrapping job to herself, Bo flips over the hardcover book to find the title. Her expression is curious; she doesn't have a whole lot of books in her apartment because she's not a habitual reader, but he hopes she'll like this one anyway. In big bold letters, the title is '100 Places in the 50 States: Sights to See in the USA!'.

She stares at it, runs her fingers over the cover, and then looks at him, a question in her eyes.

"Uh, open it. Inside cover," he says, pointing at the book.

There, in his tidy print, it reads: 'I hope someday soon you can see every single one. -Deacon'. He'd spent almost an hour deciding on what to write. Twice he'd nearly given up on writing anything at all. He didn't want to say anything about them seeing the sights together, even though, secretly, that's what he's hoping. But it hasn't even been a month since they started dating, and that kind of commitment... no, he's not ready to assume anything right now. But he knows that, even if he's not the one with her, he sincerely wishes that she gets to see the world one day. But for now, maybe just the US will suffice.

Deacon clears his throat. "One of those places is actually just an hour or two South of here, if you wanted, we could—"

"Yes," Bo says, giving him the biggest, brightest smile. "Yes, I'd love to. Deacon, this is perfect, thank you so much. I love... I love it."

Something in his chest squeezes as though grabbed by a giant fist, even as he lets out a relieved laugh. "Yeah? Good! I'm glad."

She leans over and kisses him, and he forgets that there are other people in the room, watching the two of them, until the (literal) wolf whistles start. Blushing and embarrassed, he tries to pull away. But Bo holds him in place, kissing him thoroughly until she's satisfied, and when they finally part she casts a smug look at her family. They just laugh and the opening of presents continues unabated.

"You're shameless," Deacon murmurs, rubbing the back of his neck and giving her an affectionate smile.

"I've got nothing to be ashamed of," she says primly, then grins. "Okay, now you've got to open mine."

He watches, doing his best not to openly stare, as she goes to all fours to reach for a present tucked away under the tree with what's still remaining. Settling back beside him again, she pushes the gift into his lap. It's big and flat and rectangular, and for a second he thinks maybe it's a book. Bo wraps her arms around his waist, resting her chin on his shoulder as he opens it.

Sitting on top of a box is a glossy leather wallet. "You kept complaining about needing a new one," Bo says as he picks it up. Tooled into the corner is an ornate letter 'D' in a flowing script. Flipping it open, and inspecting the pockets, he finds a dollar bill in the billfold. "Apparently it's bad luck to give an empty wallet. And this way you'll always have something from me wherever you go."

"I can't believe you listened to my whining, thank you," he says, smiling at her. She kisses his cheek and settles her chin back on his shoulder.

That just leaves the box. Pushing the wrapping paper further off the corners, he pries off the white lid. Inside is a collage style picture frame. It's empty.

"I talked with Hope, and we both thought you could use some pictures in your house. But you and I haven't taken any, so I thought maybe this might give us some incentive," she says, hugging him close. "Maybe we can use this book as our guide, start ticking off the list—"

Deacon doesn't let her finish. Doesn't need to let her finish to know what she wants and he's too busy kissing her to listen. Because he wants the same thing, even though he doesn't say it. When the wolf whistles start this time he doesn't care, because he's got nothing to be ashamed of.

   
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