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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88. Royal Child

It's Friday, just three days before Ebott is scheduled to open for human visitors and Frisk and Asriel are with Toriel, doing their homework. They'd rather be outside playing, but it's cloudy and cold outside. Toriel insisted they stay indoors, despite their protests.

She's been distracted all afternoon, flitting from one room to the next. Frisk thinks she's worried about Monday. Asriel won't stop watching her and they can feel his anxiousness every time she comes into the room only to leave again. While he's distracted, Frisk puts their pencil under their nose and curls their top lip underneath it to hold it in place. Then, going cross-eyed, they nudge Asriel's shoulder. He turns to look at them and then erupts into giggles. There, that's much better. At least for now.

Toriel sweeps back into the room and slows to a halt, pausing whatever she's working on to look at the two of them. Frisk looks at her and there's something tender in her expression. They recognize it from you, when they catch you watching them sometimes. It's this weird mix of happy and sad that Frisk doesn't understand. How can you be happy and sad at the same time?

She comes up behind Asriel and ruffles the fur on his head. "I hope that the two of you are also finishing up your schoolwork," she says, but her attempt at a reprimand carries little weight. "You and I are going to be busy this weekend Flufftail, so it will be best for you to finish this tonight. Especially since you will be missing school on Monday."

Asriel's smile fades as he looks up at his mother. "Mom I thought you said I wasn't going to have to miss school?"

"I said that I would think about it, and your father and I agree that it would be best for you to attend," she says, folding her hands over her stomach. "This is a good opportunity for you to handle your duties as prince."

"But no one else is going to be missing school," he protests weakly. When Toriel's expression refuses to waver, he hunches his shoulders and looks back down at his worksheet, tapping it with his pencil. "And I'm just going to be standing there while everyone stares at me. I'd rather be at school."

"Asriel," Toriel says, her voice growing stern. "It is just one day. You never used to have a problem with attending these sorts of formal events back in the Underground."

"Back then I had Chara with me. And I hadn't become a Soulless flower," Asriel mumbles under his breath, his brow furrowing.

Toriel's eyes widen, and she seems to be unsure of what to say. Frisk knows that she hasn't spoken much to Asriel about what happened. With Chara or Flowey, or his death. There was a night that Asriel called them because his parents were arguing about it. Asgore wanted to ask him more about his time as Flowey but Toriel forbade it. She didn't want to dig up the past. It reminds Frisk of how Sans never brings up Chara either, or what they did to him. Tried to do to him.

It's a bruise that Toriel refuses to touch. An old hurt she's trying to ignore until it mends, but Frisk knows that for Asriel it won't ever go away. He's always going to have that scar. He's never going to be the Asriel she remembers because that Soul is gone and he has a new one, a patchwork of two humans that care about him.

Frisk isn't sure they've ever heard Toriel talk about Chara. They don't think it's because she doesn't care, but because she doesn't want to make Asriel sad.

"I know that many things have happened..." she says carefully. "But Asriel none of that changes who you are. You are still our son, no matter what. We love you and just want to do our best to prepare you for what is to come."

Asriel's frustration guts out as quickly as it came, and he gives his mother a weak smile. "I know. I'm sorry Mom, I'm just nervous," he says. He looks back down at the table and fidgets with his ear.

She lets out a soft sigh, her brow furrowing a little. Then, after a moment, she bends down to kiss the top of his head. "You know what? I think there will be plenty of other opportunities for you to learn these things. Perhaps you should go to school instead. Besides, your education is important, is it not?"

Relief floods Asriel's face and Frisk smiles.

"Forgive your stubborn mother, my child. Sometimes she forgets that it is also important for you to be a child as well as a prince." Toriel's eyes are a little glassy as she pulls away and smiles down at her son, and Frisk looks down at their homework. They feel a little out of place, like when you and Sans are kissing but not nearly as gross.

There's a knock at the door and she hurries off to go answer it, leaving Frisk and Asriel alone for a moment. They share a look and they're both smiling, glad for this small concession. She's been so serious lately, sometimes it's hard for Frisk to remember the kind, gentle monster they remember from when they first fell into the Underground. But, then again, everyone has seemed serious. This stuff with the other humans is making everyone nervous, even Frisk can tell that much. It seems complicated, and a little scary, and there's things about why it's scary that they don't understand, but they know this is important.

"—wonderful, thank you for bringing this over, Deacon. There was no reason to rush, but I admit it is one less thing for me to worry about," Toriel says as she walks back into the room, carrying a small stack of papers.

Deacon follows close behind her, his hands in his back pockets. He's still dressed in his nice clothes from school, and Frisk feels a little strange about having one of their teachers in Toriel's house. Seeing a teacher outside of school is always weird, but it's easier when they're not still dressed up. They feel like he's going to ask them a question, or like they need to raise their hand before speaking.

"Exactly, and I didn't want to worry about it any more either. Every time I passed by my desk I could hear it taunting me," Deacon says, chuckling. "Nothing like filling out a bunch of complicated employment paperwork to file with the government to start off the weekend. How else am I going to get into the partying mood?"

"Oh, are you attending a party this weekend?" Toriel asks, turning to look back at him.

"Ah, no," he says, shrugging awkwardly. He looks over at Frisk and Asriel. "You two working hard, I see?"

Frisk bobs their head. "Sooner we get done the sooner we can play."

"That's the spirit. Sorry about the homework, but rules are rules. I have to give you guys homework or I'll lose my teaching license," he says with a wink.

"Really?" Asriel asks, wide-eyed.

Toriel laughs and Deacon raises his brows and shrugs. "Maybe. I wouldn't doubt it. When you grow up and become a teacher you let me know, okay?"

He frowns, making his snout wrinkle a little. "But what if I don't want to be a teacher?"

"Then I guess you'll never find out."

"Mooom, is that true?"

Shaking her head, Toriel smiles at her son. "No, that is not true. He is only teasing. Now, Deacon, you were saying something about a human holiday earlier? Something that would be fun for the children?"

Deacon snaps to attention, turning back to Toriel. "Oh! Right, yes. Halloween. It's on the 31st. I talked about it a bit with Hope and between the two of us I think we could put together a little something for the kids. Do you have a computer that can get online? I'll pull up some pictures to give you an idea."

Toriel and Deacon wander off into another room and Asriel gives Frisk a confused look. "What's Halloween?"

Asgore's house on the surface is a small, quaint thing with a manicured lawn and a vibrant flowerbed under a large picture window. Well, small is relative, but it's no sprawling estate. It's not something that might come to mind when thinking of the title 'King of All Monsters' but to Undyne this house is unmistakably Asgore.

Picking her way up the cobblestone path, she isn't surprised when the door opens before she can even knock. He called her the moment she got off work and asked her to come over, after all. He's expecting her. Even though she's anxious to get home for the weekend, there's no way she can deny the big fluffy pushover anything. (Except two particular human Souls but that had turned out for the best, right? That hardly counts.)

He's dressed in a big, pastel, floral-print shirt and it suits him and she hates it at the same time. She gives it a pointed look and he just chuckles and ushers her inside. There's a teapot steaming on the coffee table and two delicate porcelain cups waiting. As she sits down she sees that hers already has the right amount of sugar inside and he fills it with tea before she can even get comfortable. He's such a big, kindhearted softy that it just makes her angry when she sees how tired he is. There are dark circles under his eyes, almost hidden under the fine layer of white fur but not enough that she doesn't see.

"You look terrible," she says, which makes him laugh. She wishes he wouldn't laugh because she's telling him the truth.

"It is good to see you as well, Undyne. I am sorry that it is more difficult for me to see you as often as I would like," he says, lowering himself carefully into his huge armchair and picking up his tea. Asgore blows on the surface and gives her a kind smile. "How are you and our Doctor Alphys doing? Well, I hope."

Undyne gives him a crooked attempt at a smile, more of a grimace, she thinks. She's not good at these false pleasantries, she just wishes he'd get to the point. But he taught her better than that. Insisted on better than that when she was just a brat with scraped knees, frustrated and angry with the world and determined to take it out on the king. What had she ever done to deserve his patience? "We're good, yeah. About as well as anybody right now, waiting to see how this whole thing with the humans goes." She leans forward to rest her elbows on her knees, picking up her teacup. Staring down into the amber liquid, she raises a brow and looks back at Asgore. "Is... that what this is about?"

He sighs, and after a moment of hesitation he nods. "Yes. That and... something else that I wish to make you aware of. But first, I would consider it a personal favor if you might get in touch with the old Royal Guard and ask them to keep an eye on our new human visitors. We will have the Army watching out for us, but I would feel more comfortable knowing that some of our own are also on alert. I could ask them each personally, however—"

"Of course! Asgore, leave it to me, I'll call them," she blurts out, leaning towards him in her enthusiasm and then blushing purple under her scales when she realizes she cut him off. Undyne leans back again, not quite managing to relax against the couch cushions. "Is there anything in particular you want me to tell them?"

"Focus on the residential areas. Some humans may get lost and wander where they are not supposed to be. I do not want anyone getting frightened, on either side," he says, sipping at his tea. "Human or monster, one does not behave to their utmost when afraid..."

"No problem! It'll be great to get the Royal Guard back together, I can't WAIT to—" Undyne cuts herself short and sits back down on the couch, realizing that in her enthusiasm she had risen to her feet. Asgore is holding up his hand, a patient smile on his face.

"I should add that this is entirely unofficial and should be handled with discretion. I do not want the military thinking that we are mobilizing any sort of organized combat force of our own. It would go against our current anti-hostility agreement," he says, watching her carefully. Asgore reaches up to stroke his beard. "With that in mind, those that you approach should be given the chance to decline, and this is for volunteers only. I do not wish anyone to feel beholden to me in this regard."

Undyne looks down at her tea, finally taking a sip. It's sweet, just right like he always makes it. "I understand. I'll make sure everyone else does too. No violence, I take it?"

He nods. "Yes. Unless, heaven forbid, it comes to a life-threatening situation, please do your best to make sure that the humans are handled peacefully. No matter how they might behave."

Wincing, she looks up at him. "You really are expecting the worst, aren't you?"

"No, not the worst. We would be... well, things would be much bleaker for us if things were at their worst. No, I simply expect that not all humans will be as kind or polite as Hope."

"Yeah I guess we can't expect all the humans to be that ridiculously nice. I don't think many of them would forgive us as easily as she did after trying to kill her," Undyne says, laughing until she sees the grim look on his face. That was tactless. Could she have said anything worse? She knows he still feels the guilt of those other Souls, like weights around his neck. "Hey, uh, you said there was something else you wanted to talk to me about?"

Asgore slumps a little in his chair, heaving a weary sigh. Oh, she's not used to seeing him like this at all. She straightens her back and sets down her tea, reaching over the corner of the table to wrap her hands (they look so small compared to his, he's always made her feel small) around one of his. She squeezes and he forces a smile for her, though that's not what she wants. She doesn't need his reassurance, she wants to help.

"Forgive me, I hate to see you fret over me, but I need you to know this. We have talked of it before, but Captain Prasad has approached me once again about allowing monsters to serve alongside the military—"

Undyne's expression hardens, baring her teeth. "You already told her no! Do I need to go have a TALK with her to get her to listen to you?"

"My child, please," Asgore says, sitting up and setting down his tea so he can reach out and hold her shoulder. It doesn't make her feel any better. "I know that it is not the Captain's wish to keep pressuring me in this way, but I fear that her superiors are growing more insistent. That is my concern, not with her."

"Fine, then just let ME go join. I'm sure I could beat up any of their soldiers anyway!" she says, her snarl turning into an arrogant grin. 

"No, never," he says, with an ache so deep that Undyne is caught wholly off-guard.

It takes her a second to recover, shaking her head. "Come on you big loser, it'll make them happy and I can start fighting again. I trained my whole life with you and Gerson to be a warrior! I became the Captain of YOUR Royal Guard! To serve YOU! To..." She grimaces, looking away. "To make you PROUD, and what am I now? A stinking GYM TEACHER! This isn't the person I thought I'd be when you were teaching me how to fight, Asgore! This isn't ME."

She's glaring at him, suddenly angry because this is his fault. He brought them to the surface and then she wasn't allowed to be herself anymore. Sparring with Deacon had been the closest thing she'd had to a real test in months and no wonder she went overboard. Undyne is almost ready to come up with more to say when he rises from his chair and pulls her to her feet, wrapping her up in an enveloping hug.

"I am proud of you. Of the strong, courageous woman that you have become. I could not ask for a fiercer Captain or a nobler ally. But you cannot keep holding onto that anger, Undyne. You have to let some of that go, so that we can move forward in peace. The humans are not our enemy," he says, stroking her hair like he used to when she was a child.

"Some of them are, or you wouldn't be so worried," she grumbles, but hugs him back anyway.

"I cannot bear the thought of sending you to them, alone. No, they will not have any of us, least of all you. Perhaps it is unbecoming of a king, to care about some of his subjects more than others, but I cannot help it. Not when you are like my own daughter." She hears him sniff loudly, and she wonders if he's on the verge of tears. Oh this big fluffy idiot is overworked and exhausted, to be getting all emotional on her like this.

"Okay you giant mushy wimp." Undyne's voice is weak, and comes out more affectionate than she expects. "You win, DAD."

He chuckles, and squeezes her tighter. "You only ever call me that to tease me."

"Yeah, well, WHATEVER," she yells into the front of his chest, doing her best to hide her smile.

   
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