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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43. Regaining Control

Frisk must be made of tougher stuff than you, because as the three of you appear in the living room back home they just give you a concerned look, a quick hug, and announce they're going upstairs to get started on their homework. Maybe they know you need some time with Sans, or they're uncomfortable seeing you cry. They've always been good at picking up on emotions, but... You don't know, but they've been fine since Mettaton ran out of power. You're not sure how they manage, but they do.

Sans pulls you onto the couch, holding you as you cry into the fabric of his jacket and tell him what happened. He listens, one arm wrapped around you while his other hand rubs up and down your back. You leave out some of the parts with Alphys (the cameras and her abandoned plans) because you don't want him to be more angry with her than he already is. But you tell him about what happened with Mettaton and why you were in Hotland to begin with. When you apologize again for not listening to him, he shushes you and runs his hand through your hair, nuzzling the top of your head.

As you fall silent, finished with your story, you feel empty, like you've been wrung out. It's better; better than being scared and sorry and angry. Part of you just wants to burrow into Sans's jacket and fall asleep, but he hasn't said anything and slowly you start wondering why. He's tense against you, and as you start to pull back so you can look at his face his grip on you tightens, refusing to let go.

"Sans," you murmur, turning your head so that your nose brushes his cheekbone.

He's trembling, you realize. "i should have been there to protect you," he whispers, leaning into your touch.

"Hun..." You shift as much as he'll let you, cupping the back of his head so that you can hold him the only way you can. "You didn't know."

"that's the worst part," he says, shaking his head weakly and burying his face into your shoulder. "i don't know what i would do... if this all ended. i can't go back."

"I'm sorry," you say, because if you had listened he wouldn't be so shaken. "We're okay. We're still here."

"this was too close. way too close. how many times am i gonna almost lose you?" Sans's voice cracks and he shudders. 

You stroke the back of his head as he draws in a slow, deep breath, trying to steady himself. "I think two near-death experiences— no wait, three if you count falling down that hole. Um... I don't think that sounds any better," you mutter, giving a weak laugh. "I was trying to say that, I think I've had enough for one lifetime. I mean, an ordinary person doesn't normally deal with this much in the space of two months."

Sans's laugh is bitter and humorless. "well, babe, i always knew you were extraordinary." He sighs, and his grip on you relaxes a little. "but, can you do me a favor? can you promise not to leave snowdin without letting me know? and just... stay away from the hotland for now, unless i'm with you."

"But Undyne can—"

"babe, please. for me," he says, and there's no way you can argue against the desperation in his voice.

"Okay. I promise," you tell him, carefully brushing reassuring kisses along his cheekbone.

After a few moments of this he takes hold of your sides and eases you away from him. He studies your face, the white lights skimming over you, before he tenderly cups your injured cheek. He seems calmer, but something hard settles into his unreadable expression, tightening the line of his mouth. "is there anything i can do for you? for your lip, or..."

"Just stay here with me. Maybe we can watch a movie." You hesitate, wincing. "Something without Mettaton, and happy. I just... I'd rather not be alone."

Sans brushes a toothy kiss against your forehead with a tenderness that makes you feel warm and loved. "that can be arranged."

As it turns out, Sans and Papyrus have a small collection of animated children's movies (mostly Disney). While your boyfriend gets everything ready, you go upstairs to clean the dried blood off your face. You didn't notice before, but some of it had dripped down and stained your shirt. Your lip still stings and you can taste the faint coppery tang of blood when you swipe your tongue across the split skin. Your cheek is starting to bruise, the swollen flesh purpling. It's throbbing a little, but you think you look worse than you feel.

You take a moment to drag your brush through your hair, working through the tangles. It helps you feel a little more put-together as you pull it back into a ponytail. With it out of the way, you wet a washcloth and take careful dabs at the dried blood flaking down your chin. The water runs an unpleasant reddish-brown as you rinse it under the faucet. You also take a moment to try and blot at the bloodstains on your shirt, but it doesn't do much good. Unfortunately you don't have any peroxide to work with.

Making a quick detour to change shirts (one of Sans's, the baggy black t-shirt is comforting) you go check on Frisk. They're sitting in the middle of the floor, carefully filling out a worksheet. They glance up as you stand in the doorway.

"Wanna come watch some movies with Sans and me?" you ask them. "Happy stuff only, no scary allowed, I promise."

Frisk leaps to their feet, abandoning their homework on the ground. Normally you'd say something about them putting it away, but... after everything you just don't care. And so, a few moments later, Sans wraps the three of you up in a big blue blanket to snuggle on the couch. You're caught in the center, laying against Sans with your knees folded up under you. Frisk is using your hip as a pillow, one arm tucked under their head while the other drapes over your calf.

You don't actually remember the middle part of the movie because you think you fall asleep, then wake up somewhere during the climax of the story. You glance up at Sans but much to your surprise he's still awake. His eyes are fixed on the screen, but he seems to be looking past it as his thumb rubs slow circles against your ribs.

About halfway through the second movie you hear the rattle of keys in the door and Papyrus lets himself inside. "HUMANS, I AM HOME! UNDYNE WENT TO GO SEE ALPHYS EARLIER, SO I DO NOT KNOW WHEN SHE WILL BE— OH, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HOME ALREADY SANS?"

Papyrus frowns at his brother, glances at you and Frisk, then back at Sans, and then, finally, with a loud gasp, looks back at you. "WHAT HAPPENED? ARE YOU INJURED? I DON'T THINK YOUR FACE IS SUPPOSED TO BE THAT COLOR! UNDYNE'S FACE DOES THAT SOMETIMES AFTER SHE GETS HIT VERY HARD. HAVE YOU BEEN FIGHTING SOMEONE?"

The tall skeleton falls to his knees in front of the couch, leaning in close to inspect your face. You take hold of his hands, letting him help you sit up straight. "I'll be fine, Pap. It hurts a little—" this is an understatement, but you don't want to worry him, "—but in a few days I'll be back to normal."

"BUT WHAT HAPPENED?" he asks again, looking from you to Sans.

"it was mettaton," Sans says flatly. "he hit her."

"HE H-HIT YOU? B-BUT I DON'T... I'M SURE THERE MUST BE SOME KIND OF MISUNDERSTANDING." Papyrus searches your face, as if he can find the answer in your expression. You feel bad for him, and while you don't want to lie, you don't really want to tell him the truth either. You wonder if Sans is as conflicted as you are.

"bro, i don't think she wants to talk about it right now," Sans says, shrugging and deflecting the question. He slides off the couch and stands up. "but for now i'd appreciate it if, if you see mettaton, you keep him away from them."

"SANS, THAT SOUNDS A LITTLE—"

"papyrus," Sans snaps, cutting him off. As his brother goes silent and snaps his mouth closed with a click, Sans winces. "please just do that for me, ok?"

"ALL RIGHT..." he says, wringing his hands.

Sans puts his hand on Papyrus's shoulder, jerking his head towards the couch. "why don't you take my spot and watch the movie? i need to go check on something since i had to leave my post early."

Something about Sans's words ring false, and you think you see a small frown crease Papyrus's brow, but neither of you say anything. Instead, the tall skeleton just does as his brother suggests and takes the spot next to you, wrapping you up in a careful hug. You hug him back.

"I'M SORRY THAT YOU ARE HURT," he says.

"Thanks, I'll be okay," you tell him again.

As you pull away, Sans is waiting in front of you. He reaches out and takes hold of your hand, looking down at your fingers instead of your face. "i won't be gone long. you want me to pick up some food from grillby's on my way back so you don't have to cook? i'm sure i can get him to bag it up for me."

Papyrus scoffs before you can even answer. "NONSENSE, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL COOK DINNER! WHAT YOU NEED MOST, HUMAN, IS A BIG, COMFORTING PLATE OF SPAGHETTI! IT'S LIKE A WARM, NOODLY HUG INSIDE YOUR STOMACH!" He clears his throat. "AND I PROMISE TO MAKE IT THE WAY YOU SHOWED ME."

"Ooh, I want spaghetti!" Frisk says.

"Well, who am I to argue," you concede, shrugging and giving Sans a weak smile.

Sans glances up from your joined hands, meeting your eyes for a moment. Then he leans forward to nuzzle your temple, cupping your jaw with his free hand. "i love you, i'll be back in a little while."

"I love you too. Is everything okay?" you ask, squeezing his fingers as he pulls away.

He gives you a squeeze in response before letting go of your hand. "yeah. don't worry about it."

With a short little wave, he vanishes before you can say anything else.

Sans arrives inside the lab and —greeted by the sight of Alphys and Undyne kissing on that ratty old couch— promptly teleports back outside so he can knock first. Shoving away the sudden rush of embarrassment, he gives three hard raps on the metal door and then pushes the button to let himself inside. It's enough of a warning because both the monsters are on their feet, though they look a little dazed and flushed. Even if he hadn't seen them in action, he would have had a good guess just from their familiar expressions. But as much as he'd like to congratulate them for finally mucking through the quagmire of their feelings, he has more important business to attend to.

"alphys, i need to talk to you," Sans says, shoving his hands into his pockets and striding up to the two of them. He glances at Undyne. "in private."

Undyne frowns, looking from Sans to Alphys. "If this is about what happened earlier, that wasn't Alphys's fault. And I'm not going to let you—"

"oh, i'm gonna have words with that pile of scrap here in a moment, but no. i want to talk to alphys about something else," Sans cuts in, frowning but doing his best to remain calm. His anger isn't for them. He's not angry at Undyne being protective of her new relationship with Alphys. If anything, he understands that strong urge to protect very intimately.

Alphys is just watching him for a moment, studying his expression before turning to Undyne. "I-it's okay. Just let me talk to him alone, p-please?"

Undyne hesitates, looking between the two of them for a moment before giving a curt nod. "Okay, I'll just be over there in the, ah, kitchen," she says, gesturing at Alphys's fridge. It's a little banged up on the bottom, but as far as he can tell it's still running.

With the fish monster out of earshot, Alphys rings her hands, sweat dotting her face. She glances away, like she can't bring herself to look him in the eye. "H-how are they doing?" she asks.

"they're fine," he says curtly. "she told me what you were up to down in the old lab."

Alphys flinches, pulling off her glasses and wiping them with her sleeve. It's a nervous habit, one she hasn't lost over the years. "I had to do something to try and break the b-barrier."

"but experimenting on people, alphys? you never would have done that before," he says, eyes narrowing and balling his hands into fists in his pockets.

"You l-left, Sans. You left and wouldn't answer my calls so I did the only thing I could think to t-try," she says, defensive. "And soon I'm going to make it up to them and take them home to their families... Undyne said she would h-help me."

Sans is more than a little surprised to hear that, but pleasantly so. But from the way you described the amalgamates, he's a little uncertain. "are they safe enough to be let out?"

"Y-yes! They can get a little confused sometimes, b-but they're still them." Alphys sighs, finally replacing her glasses on her face and looking at Sans. She looks... not confident but maybe more resigned. At least it's something. "I just want this to be over. I want to stop l-lying and stop hiding. At least... at least I know I won't lose all my friends. N-not that I have very many..."

He hesitates, frustrated with himself and the sudden wave of guilt that he feels. "you know that it's not your fault we stopped talking, right? it was just too much of a reminder..." Sans grimaces and looks away, shaking his head. He doesn't want to talk about this. This isn't why he's here.

"I-I still wish you would have stayed here. If we had worked together on a solution, even after the a-accident—"

No. "look, i need to talk to mettaton," Sans says, cutting her off.

Alphys withers under his cold stare. "I-I don't think that's a good idea, Sans..."

"what kinda monster do you take me for? i'm not gonna hurt him." He forces himself to grin, shrugging his shoulders. "i just need to impress upon him the gravity—" his eye flashes blue for a moment, "—of the situation."

"He's still incredibly damaged, I haven't even t-turned him back on yet!" she protests, wringing her hands.

"you do realize what he tried to do? he was going to take their souls and leave. he doesn't care about anyone but himself. why are you protecting him?" he says, gritting his teeth.

"Because he's my friend," she says weakly.

"he's been using you for your talent. you have to know that."

"At least he needed me to help him!"

There's a moment of stunned silence, and Sans isn't sure what to say. He never thought that he and Alphys were that close before, but... is it possible that she had considered them more than colleagues? Had she considered him her friend? She was always so awkward, he'd never been sure, and if he's entirely honest he was a little bit full of himself back then. The only thing greater than his intelligence had been his own inflated ego, which made the accident that much more devastating. He's not proud of the person he used to be.

"alphys..." Sans starts, but the words die between his teeth as she shakes her head.

"He's u-upstairs on my worktable. There's a small switch next to his charger that will boot up his system," she says, crossing her arms over her chest and hugging herself. "Just leave him there when you're done. I should probably t-talk to him too."

"thanks," he says, and after a brief hesitation Sans blinks himself upstairs.

All this teleporting is starting to tire him out a little, but he knows he has enough in him to get home. He takes in a steadying breath, reminding himself that this is the real reason that he's here. Because Mettaton almost killed you and Frisk and took away everything good he's had over the past two months. He's never made it this far in a timeline before. Each one of Frisk's visits lasted at most a little over a week, and that was only if they really took their time. Others it was as little as two days. Two months... two months is long enough that he's almost getting used to actually living his life. Long enough to start feeling real hope that this might be real.

And he was this close to losing everything, all because of this stupid robot and his selfish aspirations. The worst part, the part that scares him, is the fact that if it had happened, he would have never known why. He would have been at his sentry station, and then he would have woken up back in his bed with no trace of you and no clue why it all reset.

His renewed anger is enough motivation to approach the workbench where what's left of Mettaton's EX body is propped up. He's hooked up to an outlet on the wall by a thick cable, and with a quick glance Sans is able to find the small toggle switch. He flicks it and takes a step back.

Mettaton's speaker crackles for a second as his head lolls from one side to the other. He groans, the sound cutting in and out for a moment before stabilizing.

"hate to interrupt your beauty sleep," Sans says, shifting from one foot to the other. His grin is icy. "though, uh, damn it sure looks like you could use it."

The robot tries to toss his black hair out of his eyes as best he can without hands. He manages to clear his left eye enough to give Sans a scathing look. "What is it you want, Sans? Are you looking for some kind of petty revenge? We both know you're not going to hurt me."

Sans raises a brow. "oh? buddy, you really don't know me that well. but, lucky for you i'm mostly just here to talk."

Mettaton rolls his eyes, letting his head fall back against the wall. "Spare me the idle threats, you're not intimidating anyone. Everyone knows you're just a lazy comedian."

Magic surges to his left eye socket and Sans yanks his left hand out of his jacket pocket. With a curl of his fingers he has his power wrapped around Mettaton's Soul, blue magic forming a faint aura around his body. He increases the weight of gravity pulling down on him, and Sans hears the whine of metal starting to warp. That seems to wipe the bored expression off his face, replacing it with something close to fear. Good. He should be afraid.

"let me make one thing clear, mettaton. if you ever come near either of my humans again, i won't hesitate to turn you into a pile of scrap metal. there won't be enough of you left for alphys to fix." Sans pulls his hand slowly downward, and he can hear the creaking of the thick wooden table holding him up.

"Okay, okay!" Mettaton cries out, glancing frantically around the room as if someone might come help him. "For goodness' sake, Sans, you've made your point!"

"but i don't think i have." Sans flicks his fingers upwards, raising the robot up into the air. He bobs up and down as he reaches the end of his cable, like a balloon. "you have made a dangerous enemy today, pal." Twirling his finger, Mettaton spins until he's hanging upside down. "and if you ever even think about putting one finger on either one of them..."

Sans twists him back so that he's right-side up and lets his magic dissipate. Mettaton crashes back down to the table, teetering for a moment before rocking back to steady himself against the wall. He's staring at Sans with wide eyes as the skeleton's sockets go dark.

"you're gonna have a bad time."

 
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