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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157. My Trust In You

Frisk is laying with their legs across Asriel's lap, a notebook resting on their shins as their best friend draws under the midday sun. It's warm, warm enough that their sweater is balled up beneath their head for a pillow. Closing their eyes, they think they might fall asleep to the distant sound of the other kids playing and the soft scratch of pencil on paper. They can't move or they'll mess up Asriel's drawing, which sounds like a good excuse to doze off.

The rustling of grass catches Frisk's attention and they open their eyes in time to see Bonnet leaning over them, smiling as her ears fall on either side of her face. "Aren't you too old for naps, Frisk?" she asks, and Frisk sticks their tongue out at her.

"Dad says nobody's too old for naps," they answer.

Bonnet wrinkles her nose. "I guess," she says, unconvinced. "Well you should come play tag with us! You're always so good at it!"

Well, what ended up being years of dodging attacks and running away from Undyne and... Frisk pushes the thoughts aside, because it's not like they really feel like any of that was them. Remembering it all at once, when Chara unlocked their memories, it left it feeling disjointed. Like parts of their life that stood separate from the rest. This timeline, with you coming with them to the Underground. This feels real. Those other hundreds of short, hurried timelines feel like they belong to someone else. But they still remember, they still learned from all of that.

And in a very mundane way, it meant that they're really good at tag.

"I'm comfy here," Frisk says, and when they glance over at Asriel he gives them a weak smile. 

The rabbit lets out an annoyed sigh, resting her hands on her hips. "You know, just because Mr. Sans is lazy and stuff doesn't mean you have to pretend to be. It's not like he's your real dad, so you didn't 'get it' from him."

Sitting bolt upright, Asriel makes a startled noise as Frisk yanks their legs off of him and twists around to face Bonnet. She gives them a petulant look, scrunching up her face. Frisk glares at her. "He is my dad," they say, pushing up on their knees.

"Then why are all the human news channels wanting to know where your dad is, and talking about how your mom shouldn't be with Mr. Sans?"

Anger and embarrassment burns in Frisk's chest, and Asriel's fingers close around their hand. He's trying to calm them down but it just makes them more frustrated as they shake him off and stand up. "Who cares what they say? They're just stupid and mean," Frisk snaps, their cheeks burning. "Just like you're being stupid and mean."

"I was just telling you the truth, don't call me stupid!" Bonnet exclaims, taking a step forward and jabbing her hand into Frisk's chest.

"STUPID!" Frisk yells at her, and her eyes go wide and suddenly swim with tears.

Maybe they ought to feel bad but they don't.

"If you're going to be mean then just leave us alone!" Asriel chimes in, baring his small, pointed teeth as he takes his place at Frisk's side. 

"What's going on over here?" A familiar, stern voice rings out over the clearing as Ms. Leveretta crosses the grass in long strides, her ears twitching as she fixes the three kids with a firm look.

"Frisk called me stupid and m-mean!" Bonnet blurts out, sniffling.

"Only cuz you are!" Frisk snaps, balling their hands into fists at their sides. "My dad—"

"Hey!" Ms. Leveretta says, cutting them off. "We do not allow name-calling in my class, you know the rules."

The sheer unfairness of it feels like a slap to the face. Glowering, they stomp one foot in the grass. "She started it!"

"Ms. Leveretta, Frisk is telling the truth!" Asriel says, wrapping his hand around Frisk's fist.

Angry tears sting Frisk's eyes and all at once they don't want to be here, letting Bonnet get the better of them and tricking Ms. Leveretta onto her side. It's not fair, and they don't want to listen.

They don't have to listen.

And in a hurried fit of emotion, before they can tell themselves they know better, Frisk reaches back to that bright point locked in their memory, an hour ago, and pulls.

"We should play hide and seek!" Kid blurts out, spiked tail thumping against the ground in their enthusiasm. Bonnet lets out a loud squeal of agreement before they're both hushed by Leveretta.

"No, you are not going to go wandering off into the forest to play hide and seek. Why don't you go play tag instead?" she suggests with a weary smile.

Sans was just cleaning up after lunch a second ago, packing away leftovers with Deacon. And now he's back here, gathered around with the group right before the kids scattered to go play in the clearing next to camp. His eyes dart over to Frisk and Asriel, where he sees them with their arms around each other with the former looking a little dizzy and the latter looking... angry and worried all at once. Shit, what the hell just caused them to Load? Whatever it was, it must not have been an actual emergency because Frisk is clearly avoiding his gaze as Leveretta continues talking.

Well, if they think—

Deacon is staring at Frisk. Sans almost doesn't notice, because he's too caught up in his own frustration with the kid's cavalier attitude about fucking with time, but he's definitely staring. He watches as the human's eyes narrow just a little, his body tense in concentration. Then, after a moment, he relaxes and looks away as Leveretta dismisses the kids to go play.

Did he... notice the Load? No, that can't be right, can it? When they were at the zoo and Frisk Loaded, he didn't give any hint that he'd—

Deacon had asked him at the hospital if he knew what might have caused Frisk to pass out. He specifically asked if Frisk had done anything. But that's... no he's just being paranoid. There's no way that a human like Deacon could know that anything happened. He probably just noticed the kids acting strange. Right?

Sans watches him for a moment as Deacon rubs the back of his neck and looks down at the ground, seemingly lost in thought. Should he talk to Deacon? How would that even go? No, he can't think of any way off the top of his head to bring it up without making him suspicious. He'll just have to wait and see if something else happens. Besides, there's a kid in a heap of trouble that needs his attention.

Frisk knows what's coming. He can see it in the kid's face when he catches their eye and then they quickly look down at the ground. As the rest of the group scatters, Frisk and Asriel stay rooted to their spot. Sans walks over to them, hands shoved in the pockets of his jacket.

"You shouldn't have done that," Asriel says, before Sans can even get a word in. He's angrier at Frisk than Sans could have anticipated, angrier than he is. He's more frustrated than anything, but Asriel... Asriel's snout is wrinkled and his teeth are bared. "You could have hurt yourself again!"

"I'm fine," Frisk says, wide-eyed as the prince pulls away from them and leaves them a bit wobbly on their feet for a second. They catch themselves, startled. "Asriel—"

"You're the stupid one!" he blurts out, eyes shining with tears, as he turns on his heel and storms off towards the tents.

"I didn't— This isn't fair!" Frisk exclaims, angry tears of their own springing to their eyes.

"hey. hey!" Sans says, catching Frisk's arm as they try to turn and walk away. "what the hell happened?"

"I don't wanna talk about it!" they say, voice raised and their hands balled into fists. They try to pull away from him.

"tough," he says firmly, his grip on their wrist tightening. He lowers his voice. "because we're talking about this. if you don't wanna talk about asriel that's fine, but you're gonna tell me why you loaded."

They glare down at the ground, body tense but unresisting as they stand there. Sans lets go of their arm and they hug themselves. "Bonnet."

"what, again? did she—"

"No," Frisk snaps, and Sans resists the urge to tell them to watch their tone. "She was mean to me, told me that you aren't my real dad and talked about all those dumb things on the news. And I yelled at her."

He isn't quite sure what to say to that. He understands why they're upset, but that doesn't mean they can just abuse their power for, arguably, trivial things! Sighing, he reaches out and rests a hand on Frisk's head, which makes them jerk their face up to look at him. Their expression softens, then crumples as tears spill down their cheeks.

"c'mere, kiddo," he says gently. They fling their arms around his middle and bury their face into his jacket as Sans wraps them up in a hug. "you gotta do your best to let that stuff go. and i know it's hard, believe me. i don't like hearing that crap on the news, people wanting to separate me from you and your mom. but there's nothing anybody can do. it's just talk."

"It's not fair..." they say, muffled by his jacket.

"i know. things would be a lot easier if they were fair." He drags his fingers through their hair, holding them close. 

"I scared Asriel, and now he's angry with me."

"yeah, he is. you just gotta give him some time to cool off. we both know he can't stay mad at you for long."

As it turns out, that isn't entirely true.

Asriel avoids Frisk for the rest of the day and, seemingly out of spite, Frisk spends the afternoon playing tag with the other kids. Sans wonders if he ought to talk to Asriel, but he thinks he just needs some time to himself. Sometimes he worries about how close the two of them are, because of situations just like this one. It's so easy for them to hurt each other, with or without that strange connection between their Souls.

Later, during dinner, Sans catches Deacon watching Frisk again. He tries to shake the suspicion, wants to believe that he's just falling into old habits. He probably just saw that Frisk got dizzy again and was worried that they might pass out. That's what logic tells him. But Sans is starting to wonder if there's more to it.

To what though? Deacon worrying about Frisk? He's being ridiculous. He's spent too much time choosing to put his trust in this guy to let this spoil that. It's nothing.

...It's not nothing.

Late that night, after all the kids are in their tents, Sans still can't sleep. He's keeping watch from the shadows of one of the granite boulders as Asriel pushes the flap of his tent open, takes a quick glance to see if anyone is looking, and slips off towards the trees. Debating for a moment if he should follow him, Sans isn't surprised to see Frisk follow after a moment later. Well, he knows that the kids need some time to hash out their differences, but he really ought to—

Deacon pokes his head out from his tent, looks around, and climbs out to follow Frisk and Asriel.

No amount of convincing is going to get him to think that's not suspicious. If he was really worried about Frisk, then why didn't he say anything to Sans? Why would he take it upon himself to follow two kids into the woods in the middle of the night?

Sans follows him.

Anger starts to bubble up deep in his chest as a million questions keep bouncing around inside his skull, and beneath it all is a tiny voice that sounds like yours, asking him to give Deacon the benefit of the doubt. He's been doing it for months, can't he do it just a little longer? Don't jump to conclusions...

He's not even sure what conclusions to jump to. What could Deacon possibly know about Frisk?

"Asriel, just talk to me!"

Frisk's voice is clear in the night air, and as Sans comes to a halt, hidden in the shadows of the trees a short distance away from Deacon, he realizes that the kids are standing at the foot of Mt. Ebott's cliff face. It echoes their words, bounces them back into the forest. Deacon crouches behind one of the tree trunks, peeking around to watch Frisk and Asriel. What is he doing? Why is he spying on them?

"I came here to be alone!" Asriel snaps, and Sans is distracted from Deacon as the telltale flicker of fire glows around the prince's fingers. "Just leave me alone."

"I won't! You say you want to be alone but I know you don't," Frisk says, closing the distance between them and reaching for Asriel's hands. He jerks away, his magic flaring brighter. "I know you're mad at me, but—"

"You could have hurt yourself! You could have—"

"But I didn't! Asriel, I'm fine!" They press a hand to their chest, shaking their head. "Please, I'm sorry!"

"I can't lose you too!" he yells, and the fire in his hands swell even larger. With a sudden, sorrowful shout, he swings around and flings his magic high at the cliff face, where it smashes against the rocks and sputters out. The kids are plunged back into darkness. "Please, Frisk, I can't—"

The low, grating sound of stone grinding against stone cuts off whatever Asriel was about to say. It takes Sans a moment to realize what's going on, a moment longer than Deacon because the human is already bolting out from behind the tree, running headlong for the kids. Sans follows after, looking up in horror as rocks, broken free, start tumbling down. He reaches out with his magic, eye flaring bright blue as he snatches up the biggest of them, flinging it to the side, but he can only grab so much, can only—

The kids cry out in alarm and as the rocks come tumbling down and Deacon throws himself right in their midst. Then, as he raises his hands in a futile gesture to somehow protect them, a soft green glow envelops his hands, and from them a translucent, arc of light forms over their heads, down to their feet like a dome. The stones pelt against it but bounce off harmlessly, falling to the sides.

Deacon lets out a soft grunt of effort as he shifts the dome with his hands. It's a shield. No... not a shield. Sans grits his teeth, his left hand tensing as he watches the magic dissipate, watching the... the goddamn mage stand there with the kids. It's not a shield. It's a barrier.

   
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