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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61. Make Sure

Things had been perfect, just for a little while. Yes, maybe what had ended up being a proposal had been a little rushed in hindsight, but Sans was just being honest. He loves you, and wants to spend his future with you and Frisk.

Now he's not so sure that's going to happen. And he can't even entirely blame Flowey.

Flowey.

Seeing those vines wrapped around you —around your Soul— had awakened something furious and frightening inside of him. It also reminded him of something he had forgotten. He has stacks of notebooks tucked away inside the remnants of an old machine, hidden in the back of the house. They're full of notes about the Resets and the timelines, things he was trying to keep track of until he finally just... gave up. But there's two stacks that he doesn't remember writing. Back then, before Frisk, he didn't know who had been manipulating time. He'd had suspicions, and there were mentions of a golden flower. In the last one, in the final entries before he somehow forgot, it seemed like he'd been onto something. Getting closer to figuring out just what was going on.

And then it all ended. He didn't even realize he'd forgotten until the Resets started again and he'd come up with the same idea to start keeping notes in the only physical place free from these manipulations in time. That's when he found out it had happened before, just without the kid. But that flower was nowhere to be seen, so he assumed that maybe it had vanished.

He suspected that the flower was behind the Resets, or that he was involved somehow. Now Sans knows for certain. Flowey is the thing that started all of this, the threat he'd nearly forgotten existed. That's a mistake he won't be making again. Whatever the flower wants, he'd decided to make you a target, and Sans isn't gonna let him get away with it.

Even if... God it kills him to even think it, but even if you decide you can't forgive him for his lies, he'll keep you and Frisk safe as best he can. He loves you, both of you, too much to just leave you at the mercy of the Underground. For Flowey or Asgore or any other number of things to find you.

He always expected to lose you, but he never thought it would be his fault.

"Dad?"

Sans realizes that he's staring at the entryway, stuck there in the middle of the kitchen unable to look away from the last place he saw you. Frisk is tugging at the side of his jacket, looking up at him with wide brown eyes. He looks down at them, searching the kid's face and finding more sympathy than he expects.

"yeah, kiddo?" he asks, giving a weak shrug. He feels exhausted all of a sudden, even though he just woke up a couple hours ago. He just wants to go to sleep. Maybe it would get rid of this horrible, hollow feeling in his Soul.

"How long have I been doing this? Resetting time?" Frisk's brow furrows, giving them a serious expression that Sans thinks doesn't suit them. They look better when they're smiling.

"a couple years, i think. two, maybe three. i sorta stopped keeping track after a while." Sans sighs, shaking his head.

"So... does that mean that I'm actually eight?" That frown of concentration is still on their face and despite everything Sans can't help but laugh.

"heh. nah it doesn't work quite like that. maybe you're a little older up here," he says, tapping the side of his skull, "but you're still a little kid down here." Sans reaches out to poke Frisk square in the chest, making the serious look melt off the kid's face.

Frisk lets out a weak laugh, but after a moment they sober again. "Are you and mom gonna be okay?"

He's wondering the same thing. "i hope so. but i dunno. she's... really mad at me and i can't say that i blame her all that much."

"But you love each other," they protest, yanking on Sans's jacket.

He nods. "yeah. but it's not always that simple."

Frisk falls silent, mulling this over. "...I'm sorry I can't remember. If I could, then maybe I could help make Mom understand."

"it wouldn't have made me lying to her any better. don't worry about it too much, it's not your fault," Sans says, resting his hand on top of their head.

Pushing Sans's arm out of the way, Frisk reaches up with both hands, the universal signal for a hug. Something inside of him, the thing keeping him from falling apart, starts to fracture. He wraps Frisk up in a tight embrace, kneeling as they throw their arms around his neck. Part of him wants to hold onto that numb feeling, the way he distanced himself from the pain. But he can't, it's slipping through his fingers just like he feels you pulling away from him and it kills him. Frisk squeezes him so tight, as hard as the kid's little arms can manage and Sans starts shaking, willing himself not to cry in front of them.

"I'm gonna help. I promise I'm gonna help and make things better, Dad," Frisk says, and it's just enough to push Sans over the edge.

Hugging Frisk close to his chest, Sans squeezes his eyes shut as tears threaten to spill down his cheekbones. "i'm just scared i'm gonna lose her. to this, or a reset..."

"I'll never Reset again. I'll make sure."

You wish you didn't know the truth. It would be so much easier to go back to how things were before, when you were happy and things were almost perfect. You feel adrift, tossed into open waters with nothing to hold onto. Let Sans have his lies if only it meant the two of you could be happy again...

But that wouldn't be right, would it? It wouldn't be fair to you, or to him. The thought of him reliving the same few days over and over again tears you apart, the realization of just how scared he must be sits like an iron weight in your stomach. He's been through so much, and you don't want to make that worse. You love him, so much that it hurts sometimes. It certainly hurts right now.

You just need... something. Time. Space to think. You have it right now, here in the shower but you can't stay in here forever. Hot water runs down your back, soothing some of the aches from your muscles but your throat still burns. It hurts to swallow and you're sore all over.

Sans isn't the person you thought he was. In retrospect it all makes sense; the half-truths, the deflecting, the reasons he avoided talking about his past. You should have urged more, tried to get him to talk to you instead of being afraid of pushing him away. Maybe if you had been more insistent, he would have opened up to you on his own instead of thrown in your face by a damn flower. Instead of the lazy sentry with a hot dog business on the side you thought you knew, you're left with an ex-scientist, traumatized by an accident he doesn't remember and haunted by the memories of repeated timelines.

How had it not driven him crazy?

That quantum physics book in the living room and the odd scraps of paper with what you think are formulas balled up in his pockets suddenly make a lot more sense. God, too many things just make a lot more sense. You try to tell yourself that this is still the same Sans that you love, just more. All of these extra pieces have been fitted into empty spaces you hadn't even noticed, and in a way you understand his behavior so much better.

Besides, would you really have believed him if he had told you the truth? If he came to you and told you that your six year-old could manipulate time itself, would you really have listened? You'd like to think you would have but...

And what about Frisk? Had something happened to them down here for them to get this power? Had they always had it and you just never knew? They said that they don't remember, not really, but did some part of them remember all the times —oh God, hundreds of times— that you drove them away? You cover your face with your hands and let out a choked sob, imagining Frisk coming down here into the Underground alone. Had Sans taken care of them? He'd seemed familiar with Frisk even at the start, but you had assumed that was just his friendly nature. But in reality, he knew. No wonder he'd asked you if things had been rough for Frisk at home, back when you told him about your mother. He'd wanted to know why they were here.

And how do you fit into all this? It had been the memory of the previous timelines that had triggered your change in behavior, you know that now. Some kind of fortunate deja vu. Flowey said you were ruining everything, how, by making it so that Frisk had no reason to Reset? Because they were happy? 

You realize that you've somehow accepted everything that Sans told you about the timelines. A part of you still trusts him, though you can't help but wonder what else he might possibly be hiding from you. So far it seems like it just has to do with these Resets and manipulations of time, but is that where he draws the line? He said he's never outright lied to you and you desperately want to believe that.

The water is starting to run cold and you're not sure how long you've been in here. You shut it off and step out of the shower, not even bothering to grab your towel as you stand in front of the mirror. You need to finally do this. To let yourself look. Rubbing at the fogged up glass, you push dripping hair out of your face to survey your bruises. Layered over the marks left on your neck by Sans's teeth are distinct, angry, purpling lines circling your throat. There's more of them around your forearms, even your legs where Flowey held you rooted to the ground. Had it been less than twelve hours since you had looked at your bruises from Sans with such fondness? The flower had taken them and turned them ugly, twisted them into something cruel. You hate him for it.

When you finally get out of the bathroom Papyrus is back. Sans is the one to take care of injecting you with the blend of medicine and healing magic. He's careful as he touches you, his eyes searching your face for some hint of your thoughts but you can't think of anything to say to him. Realizing that his familiarity with needles must have come from his time working the lab —something else he hid from you— sours whatever affection you were feeling for the tender way he's treating you.

But he's trying. And much to your frustration so is Frisk. They keep trying to force you together and eventually, after dinner they loudly suggest to Papyrus that they should go upstairs to play. But you're just not ready yet. You don't know what to say. The most you can do is sit beside him on the couch and when he rests his hand timidly on your leg you don't pull away. You cover it with your own and Sans makes a small sound like he's letting out a sigh, a little bit of tension leaving his shoulders. It's not much, but... it's something.

After a few hours the medicine seems to have done its job. Most of the pain is gone and as you get ready for bed and check yourself in the bathroom the bruises are almost completely faded. You'd be more impressed if you weren't so exhausted. You make a mental note to tell Alphys the next time you talk to her.

Frisk and Papyrus are still awake when you stop to knock on the doorframe. But right as you raise your knuckles to tap on the wood you catch yourself. Sans is sitting beside the bed with a book in his hands, feet propped up on the mattress as Frisk and Papyrus lay there with the comforter up to their chins. Some nights he reads them both a bedtime story, and apparently this is one of those nights. You linger there in the door, leaning against it as you watch them. So far none of them have noticed you. Sans is focused on the book and the other two are too focused on Sans and the story.

For a moment you can almost forget everything that happened. This is just a normal night, the sound of Sans reading aloud is familiar and comforting. Any other time you would go to sit on the edge of the bed and stroke Frisk's hair while you and Sans stole glances at each other, patiently waiting for your chance to retreat to your bedroom. It's while you're caught up in this thought that he looks up from his book to see you standing in the doorway and gives you a small, timid smile. Your mouth gives a small twitch in response but soon you're looking away.

Frisk notices your exchange, turning towards the door. "Mom you should come and listen to the story too."

You shake your head. "Actually I wanted to ask you to come sleep with me tonight, sweetie. I'd really appreciate it."

Don't look at Sans, you tell yourself.

"With you and Da—" Frisk's eyes flicker over to Sans, for just a fraction of a second. Your heart gives an uncomfortable lurch. "—Sans?"

"No, downstairs on the couch. I could really use some company," you say, ignoring the two sets of eye sockets you feel staring at you.

Frisk hesitates, looking like they want to refuse. Chewing on their lip, they watch you for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, okay Mom."

"I'll be downstairs whenever your story is done," you say, and then careful not to look at Sans or Papyrus, you walk away.

You wake up in the middle of the night, alone on the couch. Your hand gropes for the small body you know is supposed to be with you but you only feel the couch cushions. Maybe they went back upstairs to sleep with Papyrus, or went to the bathroom. As you start to sit up to look blearily around you, your hand crinkles against a sheet of paper. It's too dark to read so, with a sudden thrill of dread, you grope blindly for your phone and turn it on so you can use it as a flashlight.

Mom,

I'm going to make sure that I can't ever Reset again. I don't know what made me do it before, but I'm scared I might do it without meaning to. So I'm going to see King Asgore

No. No no no.

so that he can use my Soul to open the Barrier. Then you and Dad and the other monsters can go to the surface and Dad won't have to be scared any more. Please don't be sad.

I love you,

Frisk

Your shoes aren't laced and you're still tugging on your jacket as you run out the front door.

   
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