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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49. My Fault

Frisk joins you and Sans on the couch after they finish their homework, squeezing themselves between the two of you.  Sans has his arm around your shoulders and he catches your eye as Frisk settles in and leans their head against your chest. You think you can see a hint of blue on his cheekbones and you feel a warm flutter in your chest. You share a tender smile over Frisks's head, then go back to watching the TV.

The scrape of keys in the door draws your attention and you glance over to see Papyrus poke his head inside. He glances behind him, then steps in and quickly shuts the door. Standing there in the entryway, Papyrus looks at the front door, over at you and Sans, and then clears his throat.

"HELLO SANS! AND HUMANS!" he says, but he looks like he's rooted to the floor.

Sans pulls his arm off of your shoulders, leaning forward to give his brother a quizzical look. "what's up, bro?"

Papyrus looks at the door again and hesitates, raising a fist up to his mouth as he frowns. He looks more serious than you've seen him in a while, and you give Sans a confused and slightly worried look. Your boyfriend just gives you a small shake of his head, just as lost as you are. Then, seemingly resolved to his course of action, Papyrus lowers his fist to press it to his hip.

"I HAVE SOMEONE HERE TO SEE YOU!" he says, his expression determined but nervous sweat dots the side of his skull. "I KNOW THAT YOU SAID YOU WANTED ME TO KEEP HIM AWAY, BUT—"

"what?"

You feel a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and Sans rocks forward onto his feet, shoving his hands in his pockets as his eyes narrow slightly. Frisk gives you a confused look and tries to follow you as you stand, but you push back against their chest to keep them seated. They frown and look at Papyrus but stay there.

"I RAN INTO HIM ON MY WAY HOME, AND WE WERE TALKING, AND I THINK HE DESERVES THE CHANCE TO APOLOGIZE!" Papyrus blurts out, looking between the two of you anxiously.

"he doesn't deserve anything," Sans says, fighting to keep his tone even and failing.

"BROTHER!"

"Are you saying that you brought Mettaton to the house?" you blurt out, drawing both sets of eye sockets over to you. "And that he wants to apologize?"

"YES, HE DOES," Papyrus says, nodding and smiling at you. Bless him, he's so earnest it's hard to be mad at him. But Sans seems to be losing a bit of patience.

You feel a gentle tug on the back of your shirt. You don't have to look to know that it's Frisk. "Mom, that's good."

Sans shakes his head, gritting his teeth. "papyrus, this isn't as simple as an apology. i know you mean well—"

"I want to hear what he has to say." The room goes silent, both skeletons looking at you. Sans's brow furrows in confusion, searching your face. Papyrus's smile widens. "Both Alphys and Napstablook said he's been acting different," you add, glancing towards the door and feeling a little uncertain now that all attention is on you. "I want to see for myself."

"babe, you don't have to do this. i know you're not..." Sans trails off, shoulders hunched.

He doesn't want to say it in front of Papyrus and Frisk, but you know he's talking about the nightmares. About how you still refuse to watch any shows with Mettaton (which pretty much limits you to the brothers' collection of battered DVDs).

"I know I don't have to," you say, sounding more confident than you feel. "But maybe this will make things easier for me, and everyone. Besides..." You offer him a small smile. "You're here with me this time. You'll keep me safe."

His expression is unreadable, a passive mask with a hollow smile. "i'm trying to."

"OF COURSE YOU'LL BE SAFE! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, AM HERE TO PROTECT YOU!" Papyrus's body relaxes a little now that the initial fallout is through. Sans looks back over at his brother, shifting to stand closer to you as the taller skeleton turns to the door. "NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. HE'S HERE TO APOLOGIZE AFTER ALL."

You look for Frisk. They've moved from one side to the other, standing behind and between you and Sans. "You stay behind us, sweetie. Okay?" you say.

Frisk nods, taking hold of your pocket. The small weight of their hand on your clothes is reassuring.

Papyrus opens the door and you feel tension coiling in your chest. Anxiety makes your skin tingle and your heart is beating fast. Not pounding, but near enough as your body braces for fight or flight. You can see the gray corner of Mettaton's rectangular body through the door, and in the back of your mind you think that Alphys must still be working on his more humanoid one after what Endogeny did to it. In a way, this makes it a little easier. Not much, but it's something.

Mettaton doesn't move. "Papyrus, I really think I should just go..."

"NONSENSE! METTATON, YOU SAID YOU WANTED TO APOLOGIZE AND NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!" Papyrus reaches out and takes hold of Mettaton's arm, dragging him inside. You're starting to wonder if this was really Mettaton's idea in the first place... "YOU CAME ALL THIS WAY."

The robot mumbles something that sounds like, "Yes, because you pulled me the entire way." He rolls a bit closer to Papyrus, putting the skeleton between himself and you. Or maybe it's himself and Sans. You look over at your boyfriend and his eye sockets are narrow, his hands still shoved deep into his pockets.

"so. pap says you wanna apologize, huh?" Sans says slowly, rocking forward onto the toes of his slippers and back down to the heels. He sounds casual on the surface, but there's something threatening underneath.

 "I did, I do! I, ah..." Mettaton's display changes from a large 'M' into a blocky frowny face. You actually have to fight the urge to laugh. "Sans, please stop looking at me like that I'm trying."

"i still haven't heard an apology." Sans raises a brow as you watch the two of them, surprised at the way that Mettaton seems scared of Sans.

The display goes red with a yellow exclamation point. His arms go wide, but he doesn't move from behind Papyrus as he focuses his attention on you. "I'm sorry! Darlings, really, like I said before it was nothing personal, I was just—"

"too wrapped up in your own bloated ego to think that maybe your own fame wasn't worth two lives?" Sans isn't rocking back and forth anymore. He seems to be enjoying watching the robot squirm. You're not sure you blame him after everything that's happened.

Papyrus wrings his heads, looking a little uncertain. You can't imagine this is how he thought this would play out.

Mettaton flinches and his screen goes dark. "Yes, and—"

"your selfishness only hurts the people around you?"

"Yes, that's fair, and—"

"you don't deserve what friends you do have, let alone forgiveness for what you've done?" Sans is gritting his teeth now and you feel Frisk tug on your pocket, making an anxious noise.

"Sans, please!" Mettaton blurts out, his screen lights up again, blinking between red and yellow in agitation.

"Hun," you say, reaching next to you to slip your hand into the crook of Sans's arm. He glances over at you, some of the tension in his face easing away. "As much as Mettaton deserves every word..." Without thinking, you reach up to rub your cheek where the robot hit you, now completely healed for almost a week. "You're not letting him speak."

"Thank you!" the robot says, sighing and throwing his hands up in the air.

"Oh no, don't thank me," you say, frowning and dropping your hand from your face. "You owe me a damn apology. And Frisk. Do you realize what you did?"

Mettaton's arms go limp at his sides as he rocks back and forth on his wheel. You can only compare it to nervous shuffling. He makes a noise like he's clearing his throat and goes still, clasping his hands in front of his dials. "I do, and for that I am sorry. For someone who admires and loves humans, I certainly haven't treated you that way. I think it goes without saying that trying to kill both of you was selfish on my part, and that despite my insistence that I was doing it to protect the humans on the surface... I know that I wasn't being entirely truthful with myself."

He twists his hands and his screen goes dark. "And to make matters worse I tried to use our... confrontation as another means to an end to boost my own ratings. I'd like to let you know that all the footage I took down in the True Lab was destroyed, in part from Alphys's insistence. You've done a lot for her and as her... as her friend I'm grateful. I'm trying to do better because of everything that's happened. Especially with my friends and... family." Mettaton trails off, sounding genuinely remorseful.

There's a beat of silence as you soak everything in. You've been tricked by Mettaton already, but he seems sincere. He's not posturing, or being grandiose. It didn't even seem like Mettaton even wanted to be here at all, like he knew he wasn't welcome. Maybe this is a peek at the Mettaton at his core; the ghost inside the robot body. You glance over at Sans and he seems unimpressed. You wonder if you should be feeling that way too, but you can't help but feel the smallest bit touched by it all.

Papyrus's eyes widened about halfway through Mettaton's apology. He turns on his heel to face the robot, hands clenched into fists at his sides. "YOU TRIED TO KILL THEM?!" He lets out a dramatic, frustrated sigh.

Three red dots flicker to life across Mettaton's screen. "Yes darling. You... never gave me much of a chance to explain that little detail." Mettaton gives a nervous little laugh and you cover your mouth in an attempt not to smile.

"THIS IS THE SECOND TIME SOMEONE HAS TRIED TO KILL THEM, AND FRANKLY IT'S GETTING QUITE TIRESOME!" Papyrus shoots Mettaton a stern look and the robot's screen goes dark again. A high-pitched whining sound comes from deep inside his rectangular body. "BUT I'M GLAD THAT YOU HAVE APOLOGIZED, AND THAT THIS HAS BEEN RESOLVED PEACEFULLY!"

You and Sans exchange a look, eyebrows raised. Frisk giggles behind you.

"Well, yes, about that," Mettaton says, making a throat-clearing sound again. "I would just like to repeat that I am sorry for everything that happened. And to try and make it up to you I have something of a gift!" The robot raises his hands, familiar enthusiasm returning to his voice as an exclamation point glows on his display. "There's a resort near the Core that I own, the two of you could come stay there, free of charge! The room, food, amenities, everything! All taken care of. Just let me know when and I'll make it happen."

"Two of us?" you ask, frowning slightly. "There's three of us. Four if you count Papyrus."

"You're more than welcome to bring the whole family, but I assumed that you and Sans would prefer a romantic getaway," Mettaton says, his display turning into a question mark. "Whatever you decide, it will be taken care of, if you're interested."

You expect Sans to refuse immediately, but instead there's silence. Glancing over at him, you see Sans looking up at you, a calm, steady expression on his face. "well babe, how do you feel about the calculator's apology?"

Mettaton seems to bristle at the remark, but doesn't say anything. You chew your lip, squeezing Sans's arm and looking back at the robot. "I accept your apology... but I can't forgive what you did, and especially not what you tried to do. But... I appreciate that you apologized. It puts my mind a little more at ease." Your eyes flick back to Sans and he gives you a small nod.

"well, then i'll be the one to accept your offer mettaton. we'll let you know when we wanna take you up on that." San's smile turns into a grin, but it doesn't reach his eyes and there's something predatory about it. "we'll be sure to take full advantage of you covering the bill."

"Yes, I expect nothing less," Mettaton says flatly.

Frisk takes a few minutes to ask about Napstablook and you can hear the affection in the robot's voice as they speak. Mettaton leaves shortly after, now that things are as resolved as they're going to be. After Mettaton is gone Papyrus gushes over how happy he is that everything has been cleared up, and neither your or Sans has the heart to tell him that things aren't exactly perfect. But, you're certain that they're better. Frisk is also all smiles, beaming up at you.

As things settle back down, Sans starts chuckling. "you know what's funny? the resort is where that restaurant i was telling you about is. the one for the hot date i wanted to take you on. looks like it'll finally happen."

Frisk doesn't seem very interested in a trip to a fancy hotel and Papyrus agrees that whenever you two decide to take advantage of Mettaton's offer, he'll stay home to take care of them. For now you're in no hurry, so the two of you keep it in mind for later. Besides, you still have Asgore's visit to Snowdin's school to worry about.

Frisk says their schoolmates won't stop talking about it. Apparently he's visited before and makes it a regular habit to make the rounds throughout the Underground. If it wasn't for the fact that he would likely kill you or Frisk on sight, he sounds like a nice guy. All the residents of Snowdin seem to think so. Even Sans and Papyrus have nothing but decent things to say about him.

You wonder, one day while mulling over the upcoming visit, if visiting schools is difficult for him. After losing two children, what must it be like to surround himself with them? Is it comforting? Is it hard? Maybe it's both.

It's two days before Asgore's visit and you're home alone with Papyrus, helping him clean when Sans comes home with a sopping wet and freezing Frisk. You can literally hear their teeth chattering as they come into the house and you shove the broom into Papyrus's hands in your rush to reach the two of them.

"Sweetie what happened?" you ask, looking from Frisk to Sans and then taking your child by their ice cold hand to lead them upstairs. "Come on you're going to take a hot bath right now."

"W-we were p-playing in W-Waterfall and I s-slipped into a p-pond and then e-everyone else j-jumped in t-too and we had f-fun!" Frisk blurts out, shivering so violently they're having trouble speaking.

"What were you doing in Waterfall? I thought I told you to stay here in Snowdin," you say, frowning. Sans clears his throat and you look back at him as you flick on the light for the bathroom.

Sans pulls the door closed save for a crack to give you and Frisk some privacy as you turn the knobs to run a bath. You have to help Frisk get undressed because they're shaking so much. "i was at my station on the border, i told frisk and the kids it was okay," he says, his voice slightly muffled by the door between you.

"And you didn't stop them from getting soaked to the bone?" you ask, wrapping Frisk up in a towel as you wait for the bathtub to fill, rubbing your hands up and down their arms and sides to try and warm them up.

"was that supposed to be a joke?"

"No, Sans, it wasn't," you snap, gathering Frisk's wet clothes and shoving the dripping wad of them into Sans's chest. He gives you a wide-eyed look, grabbing the clothes as you let them go. "I know we're having Frisk take some sick days from school, but I didn't want them to actually get sick."

You don't give Sans a chance to reply before shutting the door most of the way again and checking on the bathtub. It's not full enough yet.

"sick?"

"Yes, sick."

"they were just playing around in the water, i didn't think it would be a problem. they were having fun." Sans sounds confused.

You sigh. "It's the freezing cold after getting soaking wet that's the problem. Okay sweetie I think that's full enough to get you in the tub come on."

Unwrapping Frisk from the towel, you help them step into the tub. They flinch away, yanking their foot out. "It's too hot!"

Reaching your hand in, it feels pleasantly warm to you. "No it's not, it just feels that way because you're cold. Come on, you need to warm back up."

With some gentle coaxing you get Frisk submerged, letting the tub continue to fill until it's nearly to the top. Sighing, you make sure they're situated before turning to go peek out into the hall. Sans is standing there with his hands shoved in his pockets, rubbing the toe of his slipper into the carpet. Frisk's clothes are nowhere to be seen so he must have taken them to the laundry and come back.

He looks up as you open the door just enough to lean out of the bathroom. "i'm sorry, i didn't realize stuff like that can get humans sick. you didn't get sick after our trip to waterfall."

"I'm older and my immune system is better," you say, sighing and shaking your head. "But I could have."

Frisk sneezes and you turn away from Sans to go check on them. Sniffling, they look up at you, rubbing their nose. You go to check their forehead but then realize the futility of your attempt between the hot water and the fact that they were ice cold moments ago. There's no way to tell if they have a temperature until later.

"How do you feel?" you ask, pushing wet hair out of their face.

"Warmer," Frisk says, letting themselves slip lower into the water, up to their chin. "My throat feels a little itchy."

Wonderful. At least now you know how to make chicken noodle soup from scratch.

"babe? is frisk okay?" Sans asks from his spot outside the bathroom.

You sigh again. "If anything I'm sure it's just a cold. They'll be okay."

 
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