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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2. Ruins of Home

You don't trust Toriel.

Oh, she's perfectly nice to both of you, but you don't trust it. She's like a sitcom mom back before televisions had color. Too perfect, too kind. Maybe you're just jaded because your own mother is nothing like her. But it feels like she's hiding something.

She even baked a pie for the two of you. 

You're confident your mom didn't even know how to bake a pie. You taught yourself how to bake a couple years ago so you could make things for Frisk. Because that's what mothers were supposed to do. You are pretty proud of your chocolate chip cookies, thank you very much.

Once you try to go down into the basement, and Toriel is beside you before you have a chance to make it down the steps. She guides you back upstairs with a firm —but gentle— hand on your shoulder.

Frisk adores her. They follow Toriel around like a puppy before finally collapsing for a nap in your borrowed bed. You aren't tired, however. You smooth back the heavy bangs on Frisk's forehead and kiss their temple before leaving. The door closes with a soft click.

Toriel is in the living room where you left her, reading a book in her recliner. Her large, doe-like eyes look up as you enter, and she puts a finger between the pages as she shuts the book. "My child, I was hoping to speak with you," she says, her voice soft.

You don't know how to feel about the way she addresses you. There's a part of you —a part that's Frisk's age with skinned knees and a snotty nose— that wants to curl onto her lap and let her read to you. To call her Mom the way Frisk does. The urge to stay is palpable, an ache in your chest. A longing for the kind of mother you never had but always wanted. But the rest of you rebells against it. You're an adult now, with a child of your own to take care of. You have to be the mother now, after avoiding it for so long. You won't let her take this opportunity from you.

You're determined.

Pulling out a chair from the table, you sit down with your hands balled into fists in your lap. Toriel clears her throat softly.

"Frisk has asked me how to leave the Ruins," she says, her voice careful and measured.

It's hard to contain your surprise. You would have thought that Frisk would be eager to stay here and let Toriel take care of the two of you. 

"But you cannot do that," she says, looking down at the book in her hands. It's covered in old, worn brown leather. "It is too dangerous. He... It isn't safe. You must convince Frisk to stay, that it's for the best."

You shake your head. "We can't. We need to get back..." Home? Where was home now? "...to the surface." This place... it's no place for a child to grow up. Frisk has school, their entire life ahead of them. They can't stay down here with only you and Toriel for company.

"You will be safe here. We can be happy."

"Are you happy here?" you ask.

She opens her mouth to answer, but her brow furrows and she can't seem to find the words. Then her expression is sad. She looks up to meet your eyes and she's pleading with you. "You both will be safe here. I will take care of you."

"That's not enough."

 

Frisk makes a small, quiet groan when you climb into the small bed beside them. They roll over and press in close to your chest and you wrap your arms around them. Sometimes they used to crawl into your bed in the middle of the night, if they had a nightmare or there was a thunderstorm and they were scared. Your mother never let them sleep with her, and you'd never turned Frisk away.

"Sweetie, can I talk to you for a second?"

Frisk leans their head back, blinking up at you sleepily in the dark. You can see the faint light of the room shining in their eyes. "Hrm?"

"Toriel said you were asking how to leave," you say.

"I didn't think you wanted to stay," Frisk answers.

What? Are they trying to say that they did that because of you? "But what about you? I thought you liked Toriel."

Frisk smiles. "I do. She's nice, and makes good food, and cares about us. The monsters care a lot, don't they?"

They do, you realize. Every monster you'd met so far, down to each froggit and the skittish whimsuns. Even that shy ghost, Napstablook. They were passionate and emotional. Maybe that's what made them so fragile, too. It must be hard, wearing their emotions on their sleeves like that. It's an easy way to get yourself hurt.

Frisk's smile fades. "But we can't stay. I know we can't stay."

"What makes you say that, sweetie?"

They close their eyes and rock their head back and forth against your shoulder. They tuck in close under your chin, not speaking. It's quiet for a while, and you think the must have fallen asleep. You should too. It's been a long day, and even though you have no idea what time it is you're tired.

As you start to drift off, you think you hear a quiet voice mumble: "She'll get hurt if I stay."

 

You're alone in the small, twin-sized bed when you wake up. The rational part of your brain thinks that maybe Frisk just got up to use the bathroom, but nothing about this day has been rational so far. You wait for a few minutes, which creep by at a snail's pace, before you get out of bed. Sleeping in your clothes isn't the most comfortable —you tug a bit on your bra to stop it from digging— but you had little choice.

Your jeans rode up a bit while you were asleep so you pull them back down before slipping on your sneakers. They're your work shoes, designed to reduce slips on wet or greasy surfaces. After all this walking around the Underground, you're sure they'll be ruined by the time you get back. But hey, at least they're comfortable.

There's no sign of Frisk in the hallway. The bathroom is empty. So is the kitchen and living room. You hesitate for a moment before knocking on Toriel's bedroom, but there's no answer. You peek inside and it's empty too.

You woke up the morning after your mother struck Frisk and they were gone. Their bed was empty, not even a note left for either of you. For the first few hours you hoped they would come back when they got hungry.

But nobody came.

You realized that the last time they looked at you was with fear in their eyes. 

A chill runs down your spine and you have to swallow past a lump in your throat. Something isn't right. You felt it when you woke up and now it's only more obvious. Where is Frisk? And where is Toriel?

There's only one place in the house you haven't checked. The basement.

You take the steps two at a time, and you're greeted by a long hallway. Walking as quick as you can without breaking into a jog, you follow it until you round a corner. There's a familiar red glow up ahead, and you can hear the low hiss of flames. You can hear Toriel's voice but you can't make out the words.

You're running now.

The hallway opens up into a large room, at the back of which is a tall, arched door. In front of that door is Toriel, kneeling on the ground with her arms around Frisk. A quick glance around the room doesn't reveal the fire you heard earlier, but at the moment you don't care.

Your footfalls slow to a walk, and you come to a stop a few paces away from them. Toriel releases Frisk and stands, looking at you as she does. Her eyes are sad, glistening with unshed tears. You step forward and place your hand on Frisk's shoulder. They don't look back at you, but they reach up to cover your hand with their own. 

"Goodbye, my children," she says to you both, and as she walks around you, you can see that the door is cracked open. It must be the way forward.

You turn back, gripping Frisk's shoulder tighter as you pivot your feet. Toriel is hesitating, looking at you both as her tears slip into the soft white fur of her cheeks. Guilt hangs heavy in your chest. For a brief moment you want to scoop up Frisk and carry them upstairs. You want to eat cinnamon butterscotch pie in front of a magical fireplace and have Toriel tell you about all the uses for snails. You want to watch Frisk grow up with froggits for playmates and a large, gentle monster for a mother.

But the moment is gone. You're their mother. You can't keep letting yourself be replaced.

Toriel turns to leave. You don't say anything to stop her.

Now that you've found Frisk and you know they're safe, the fear from earlier warps in your chest and turns sour. You turn them around to face you, crouching so that you're eye-to-eye. They can tell they've done something wrong; Frisk immediately glances away the moment your eyes narrow.

"Why did you come down here alone, what happened?" you ask, and you realize that the tone of your voice is hurt. Frisk hurt you by running off alone. By not trusting you. But, what reason had you given them to trust you? How much had you really taken care of them since they were born? "Were you going to leave without me?"

Frisk shook their head so vigorously that their hair whipped around their face. "No! Sissa, I just needed to make Toriel understand. And you were sleeping so good, I didn't want to wake you. I was going to come get you, I promise!"

Their eyes are wide as they look up at you, and you can't help but believe them. Frisk had always done things their own way, by themselves. When they were two years old they would fight with anyone who tried to help them do anything, from getting dressed to brushing their teeth. It was a miracle it had taken this long for your mother to reach the end of her patience with Frisk.

"Okay. Okay, sweetie, I believe you," you say, hugging them. You let out a shaky breath.

They hug you back. "We should go, Sissa. I don't want to make Toriel sadder."

You don't either. You wish you could stay in this peaceful home forever, but you can't.

   
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