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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146. Please Talk To Me

You were expecting a quiet Saturday, just you and Sans, but it seems that Papyrus has other plans. Which at first you think is going to annoy your husband, but you realize that you've been seeing so much less of his brother. You're sure he's more than happy to sacrifice some of your alone time for him. Besides, the two of you have been having a lot more alone time since Papyrus and Mettaton started dating.

Instead, you're 'treated' to a sneak peek of the movie that Mettaton has been working on. 'Treated' being the robot's word to describe the activity, not exactly your own. Because it's awful. Really awful. Not even so awful that it circles around to good again. Cringe-worthy awfulness. And, actually, it's not even Mettaton's fault. The writing is atrocious, the other actors are flat, and if you're being honest, Mettaton's performance is the only redeeming quality. Which is saying a lot, because the Underground's greatest star is, well, not that great.

"Well?" Mettaton asks expectantly, looking across the room at you and Sans with a rigid smile on his face. "What do you think?"

"It was..." you begin, scrambling to find something diplomatic to say.

"you're definitely the best actor on the cast," Sans says and you nod, agreeing enthusiastically as though clinging to a piece of driftwood in a turbulent sea.

"Absolutely. Your acting put the others to shame," you add, glancing over at Sans. Your eyes meet, and you get the distinct impression that you both feel as though you just dodged a bullet.

Mettaton's smile fades and he lets out a heavy sigh, wilting back against the couch. "It's horrid, I know," he says, pressing the back of one hand to his forehead. "Weeks of filming for an utterly abysmal finished product."

"WELL I LIKED IT!" Papyrus says, doing his best to comfort his boyfriend despite the anxious sweat dotting the side of his skull and the rigidity of his smile. "I LOVE ALL OF YOUR PERFORMANCES!"

"Sweetheart, you're precious but you and your family don't need to try and coddle me," Mettaton laments, taking his hand from his brow to cup Papyrus's cheek.

"well then why did you bother showing us if you know it's shit?" Sans says, grimacing. "that's an hour and a half i could have spent doing literally anything else."

"SANS!" Papyrus frowns at his brother, and your husband just shrugs his shoulders.

"I don't know, I thought that maybe it wouldn't seem quite so awful this time around," Mettaton says with another dramatic sigh.

As the guys continue to bicker, your phone starts to ring. Excusing yourself to the kitchen, you're surprised to see Deacon's name on your caller ID before answering.

"Hey Deacon, everything okay?" you ask, resting your elbows on the bar as you hold the phone to your ear.

"I need to ask you some questions. About something that's probably private but I need your take on it," he says, and there's that familiar anxiousness in his voice that you associate with him desperately needing your help. "Please."

"Aren't you at Bo's? Oh, is she at work for the day?" you ask, deciding to sate your curiosity before Deacon gets himself fully wrapped up in whatever's got him worried this time.

"Yes, to both questions. Which is why I need to talk to you now before she gets home later," he says. There's a pause. "It's, uh... About Soul sharing. And Bo."

"Oh!" you blurt out, smiling despite yourself. "Did you guys decide to do it?"

"No, no, I..." There's a small, strangled sound and you can almost picture him running his hand through his hair. "She hinted at it. Very strongly. Like, it wasn't even really hinting, if you understand. We started talking about something else before she just outright asked. How long did you and Sans wait to do it?"

"Um," you begin, feeling a little embarrassed all of a sudden. You're sure you're blushing. "About six weeks? I mean, I didn't know much about it in advance or anything. We... we did it right after Sans told me he loved me. Part of me didn't believe him at first so he... showed me."

"Oh." His tone is flat, making it difficult to gauge his reaction. You wish he were there in front of you, where you could read his expression.

"Deacon, what's wrong? What has you worried?" you ask, gently.

"And what's it like? Can you... I dunno, read each other's minds? How does it work exactly?" he asks, brushing away your questions with his own.

"No, nothing like that. It's emotions. How the other person feels, emotionally and physically. It's like... linking everything you are together."

"And that's just something that they do in relationships? They just... put it all out there like that?" His voice is getting tight, and you can hear him take a deep breath. "That's normal?"

You hesitate, in part because you're not completely sure, and also because you're trying to figure out what Deacon wants to hear. He keeps avoiding your questions about if he's all right or not. He sounds a little overwhelmed, and you're afraid that pushing him to talk to you might just make it worse. "...Do you want me to ask Sans? I've got three monsters at my disposal that could probably answer that question better than me."

There's silence on the other end of the line, followed by a frustrated noise. "Shit, I'm sitting here nodding to myself like you can see me. Yes, yes, I could use a little more detail."

"Okay," you tell him, pushing away from the kitchen bar and heading back to the living room.

"Even bad publicity is still publicity," Mettaton is saying, on his feet now with his hand pressed to his chest.

"the whole worlds knows we exist at this point, you think that's not enough publicity?" Sans counters from his seat on the couch, arms folded behind his head.

"That's not the right angle, they need to know— Oh! Hope, darling, maybe you can help with this little dispute," he says smoothly, striding across the room towards you with a charming smile. He makes a frustrated sound when you walk right past him to go sit next to Sans.

"wassup babe? who's that on the phone?" Sans asks.

"Deacon, do you want me to put you on speaker?" you ask, watching as understanding and subsequent confusion dawns on your husband's face.

"Uh, yeah. Sure," Deacon says.

Pulling the phone away from your ear, you hit the speaker button and get settled into a cross-legged position on the couch. "Okay, I've got Sans, Papyrus, and Mettaton here with me," you say, glancing up as Papyrus and Mettaton come over to stand beside the couch, curious. "Deacon wants to know a little bit more about how Soul sharing works for monsters. Like, how normal it is in relationships. Bo brought it up to him."

There's a pause. Mettaton takes Papyrus's hand, and Sans looks contemplative, sitting up straighter and freeing his arms from behind his head so he can rest a hand on your knee. 

"Guys?" Deacon says sounding anxious.

"Darling, are you saying that the two of you haven't done it yet?" Mettaton says slowly, meeting your eyes. He looks... concerned.

"No, I... Humans can't do this stuff!"

"ok, buddy, calm down," Sans says, leaning a little towards the phone. "this is a good thing, right? means that she cares about you a lot, to suggest it. we don't just offer to share our souls with anybody."

Deacon hesitates. "It's only been three months," he says weakly.

"METTATON AND I SHARED OUR SOULS TWO MONTHS AGO," Papyrus says, which you didn't realize. You glance over at Sans and he doesn't look surprised at all. Maybe a little resigned. "HOW ELSE DO YOU SHOW SOMEONE HOW YOU REALLY FEEL?"

"I'm actually surprised she waited this long to bring it up," Mettaton says, tapping a finger against his leg.

"Okay, but what does it mean? What does it mean for the two of us?" Deacon asks, his voice tense.

"it means she thinks your relationship might have what it takes to be the real deal," Sans says, giving you a small smile as you meet his eyes. "i didn't share my soul with anybody until i met hope."

Deacon is silent for a moment. "...Hope can I speak to you in private again please?"

You share a look with the three monsters, taking the phone off speaker and bringing it back up to your ear. They look confused as you get back up and walk to the kitchen again.

"I'm here," you say. "It's just me. Talk to me."

"The Soul sharing," he says, taking in a deep breath. "You said it's emotions. Feelings. Is it just surface stuff? What you're feeling in the moment?"

"Kind of. But, it's easy to go deeper. It's... a very personal experience," you say, remembering what it felt like the first time Sans shared his Soul with you. That swell of love right there on the surface, but beneath it all that fear and sadness he kept hidden from you. When you'd brushed up against it he'd pulled away. "Deacon, if you're worried about it, just talk to her. I'm sure she'll understand. You saw how easy it is for them to forget that we don't have the same expectations as they do."

"This is a lot to try and wrap my head around," he admits, and you let out a weak laugh.

"Yeah, welcome to the club."

"Are there t-shirts? What's our slogan?" he says, and you can feel him forcibly changing the direction of the conversation as if grabbing it by the shoulders and shoving. Should you try to steer it back?

Maybe not. Maybe what he needs right now is a good laugh instead. "I'm sure we can get some made, now that I'm not the only member. And I'm leaning towards: 'What the hell have I gotten myself into?' It's still a work in progress."

Deacon chuckles, which makes you smile. "It's a start. Well, I'm going to let you get back to your family. Uh... tell them thanks, I guess."

"Do you want me to say the 'I guess' part?"

"Hope."

You snicker. "I'll tell them. And Deacon, just talk to her. I'm sure she'll listen."

Talk to her.

Right.

That's easy for you to say, when you have no idea what he hasn't said. Just how much of his fear and desperation he's kept tucked away, hidden from both of you. You've seen some of it, more than Bo, but nowhere near the reality. Just how close he's come to leaving her to protect himself, how scared he is to risk what they have right now.

He's already experienced so much more being with her. He's happy, so happy that's it's almost overwhelming, just how much he cares about her. Part of him wants to just give in, to share his Soul with her like she wants, but that loud, terrified voice that's been hurt too many times cries out in protest. He can't. It would leave him too vulnerable. Exposed. He's kept those walls up too long just to tear them down in one fell swoop.

And Sans's words keep ringing in his ears. The idea that Bo wants to see if the two of them are... something more maybe? More than just casually dating.

Were they ever just casually dating? Was this always leading up to this point? She took him to meet her entire family. He brought her with him to your wedding. He knows that he doesn't want to imagine the next few months without her, but...

But he doesn't make a habit of thinking about the future at all. With or without her.

Why can't things just stay like this?

When Bo gets home from work that night, he doesn't give her time to talk. He doesn't want to talk, about Souls or feelings, or any of the things that keep making his stomach wind into knots and his chest feel tight. Instead he kisses her the second she walks in the door, pins her against the wall and enjoys the satisfied noise that she makes into his mouth. Once she's suitably flustered, and he's worked up enough that he can't even bother to think much any more, he carries her off to the bedroom.

He needs her. He just needs to be here with her to be happy. To hear her moans and gasps, the way she grabs at his arms and wraps her legs around his waist, holding him like a lifeline, clinging to him like she can't bear to let go. He doesn't want her to let go, even as this feeling in his chest, this sense of more than just affection, something like... He can't even think it. Shies away from it. It threatens to swallow him up, and in this moment right here with her he lets himself get dangerously close, skirting the line between safety and the unfamiliar. 

It would be so easy to lose himself, here with her. Would that really be so bad? The way she whispers his name into his ear as he crests his peak, holding him close; for that moment, scattered and witless, he wonders why he's so scared.

She looks up at him, cupping his cheek and smiling with so much warmth in her eyes. He could just watch her forever, if she keeps looking at him like that. "I want to share my Soul with you," she murmurs, still catching her breath. There's something desperate in her voice. "Please, Deacon. I love you."

And then it feels like the carefully crafted bubble, the safety net of trying to just enjoy the here and now, comes crashing down all around him.

He can't do this.

He can't do this. Why did he think he could? How could he think this would be different?

How can she say that she loves him?

It's too much. She's giving him too much and he has nothing to give her in return except wide-eyed terror and grief and insecurity. He knows, with absolute certainty, that if she touches his Soul, she'll finally see all that ugliness inside of him and she'll leave him. She'll reject him, just like everyone else.

He can't let that happen.

"No," he blurts out, pulling away, sitting back on his heels and pressing a hand to his face. He shakes his head, trembling as his heart hammers in his throat. "Bo..."

She's staring at him, hurt in those big blue eyes as she pushes herself up to sit. Tucking her legs beneath her, she crosses her arms over her chest, holding her shoulders. Protecting herself. "What...?"

"I can't," he says, shaking his head again.

"You can't, what?" she asks, frowning. No, he doesn't want this. Why did it have to happen like this?

"I can't share my Soul with you," he says, unable to watch as her expression crumbles, as her eyes fill with tears. "Please, you don't understand—"

"Don't you trust me?" she says, her voice thick. "Deacon, I love you. I thought... I thought we were happy. I thought you were happy."

Because that's all he ever showed her. All he ever let her know. Fuck

All he can do is look at her, any words to defend himself, to comfort her, to do anything catch in his throat. Choking him. He watches as tears spill down her cheeks.

"Talk to me," she begs, her voice harsh and thick with emotion. "For once, just fucking talk to me."

He can't. God, he can't. If he says anything now the dam will break and she'll reject him anyway. He's not the person she deserves. He's not the person she thinks he is. He's too broken, and fragile, and weak to be that person.

This is him. Sitting here, letting the woman he... The woman he cares about cry over him, because he's held up this false image of himself over all the ugliness. And he's too scared to let it go.

He swallows, and she lets out a soft sob as she shakes her head.

"If you won't talk to me," she says, pleading with him with her eyes. "Then just go." He thinks, for a second, she can't be serious. But no, no she is. She means it. "And don't bother coming back unless you're willing to tell me what's going on."

For a moment he's frozen, scrambling for some way to fix this that's within his power. Some way to placate her without pulling down his armor. But there is none. There's no way to salvage this. What she wants he just can't bear to give.

So, with a hollow feeling in his chest, he goes.

   
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