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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145. Serious

By Friday everything feels just about back to normal as far as Frisk is concerned. There's no sign that there's anything wrong with them after what happened at the zoo, so when Toriel comes to check with you to make sure it's still okay for her to take them for the weekend, you don't have any reason to disagree. Besides, you and Sans have plans: Sunday marks one year since he asked you out on your first date.

It almost seems a little silly, to celebrate your dating anniversary now that you're married, but Sans insists. Well, considering how much your lives have changed (especially his; what must it be like for him to pass a year since the last Reset?) since the two of you first met, you can't blame him. And who are you to pass up a chance for your husband to plan something nice for the two of you?

So Frisk is off to spend the weekend with Toriel and Asriel, and you head home.

Walking through the front door, keys still clutched in your hand, you check your phone out of habit and notice that you missed a text message. It's from Deacon. Shouldn't he be headed to Bo's for the weekend? The two of you spent your whole lunch talking about your separate plans with your significant others.

'Grant's car is in my driveway. Help.' The text is from ten minutes ago.

You turn right back around and head back out the front door, shoving your keys and your phone into your pockets. Passing your car and opting to walk, you're not sure how much help you'll be —maybe just a deterring presence— but you know that whatever you can do for Deacon you'll do it. Just the thought of Grant at his house, antagonizing him or... you're not sure what he might be doing. Being an asshole. The thought of anyone distressing your best friend the way that Grant does, it brings out a fierce protectiveness. 

After a couple minutes at a brisk walk down the road you're turning up Deacon's driveway. There, parked next to Sylvie, is the silver sedan you recognize from before. Does he just make a habit of showing up out of the blue, or was Deacon ignoring his calls again? Either way, you don't care. You just want this man gone

"...making a foolish mistake! What the hell do you think you're doing?"

You freeze on your way up the path, hearing Grant's raised voice through a window you realize is open. The sound of yelling elicits a sudden and unwanted reaction, the urge to turn back around and flee. But you can't, you're here for a reason!

"This is none of your business," Deacon says, loud and firm.

"None of my business? Oh, now you being here in Ebott is none of my business?" Grant demands, and through the cracked blinds you can see the two of them standing in the living room, facing one another. "This isn't just about me, Deacon. You've disappointed a lot of people by getting serious with one of them."

Should you be interrupting this? Should you even be listening? But doesn't he need this chance to stand up to Grant?

"It isn't—!" There's a pause, where Deacon falters. "It isn't serious. You know me."

"Yes, I do know you," Grant says, then walks over towards the stairwell. The spot where you know Deacon has pictures of him and Bo, of him and you. "Don't try to play coy with me, son. I know you better than that, and you care about her. I told you this wasn't wise."

"I'm not playing coy."

"You're making too many connections, letting your emotions get the better of you—"

"I'm not a heartless son of a bitch like you!" Deacon shouts, and you can't help but flinch at the vehemence in his voice. "I have been happier here in Ebott in just five months than I ever was with you!"

"And you're letting it blind you. Making you biased," he says, infuriatingly calm in the face of Deacon's anger. "And then you're going to screw this up. Do you need to come back home and clear your head?"

You can't make out Deacon's response, but you can hear the low, restrained growl of his voice. Okay, enough is enough. Rushing the last few steps up to the front door, you knock loudly.

"Expecting company?" Grant says, agitation plain in his voice.

"I told you I had plans this afternoon," Deacon grates out, his voice getting louder as he crosses the room.

When the door opens you can see the relief on his face. You're torn between hugging him and pulling him outside and just leaving until Grant goes away. But you don't do either. "Hey," you say, giving him a tense smile. "I got your text," you add in an undertone.

He gives a sharp nod. "Hey. Good timing."

"That's one way to put it," Grant says, and when you glance over by the stairs where he's standing, he's got his arms crossed over his wide chest. His beard a little shorter than the last time you saw him, and his heavy brow is set into a frown. "No, don't bother shutting the door. I might as well see myself out. I can tell you aren't going to listen to me right now."

Deacon doesn't say anything, just watches the older man as he passes you on his way out the door. You and Grant look at one another and you resist the urge to wither under his cold, scrutinizing gaze. Why is he looking at you like that? Why does it seem like Grant can't stand the people in Deacon's life?

Shutting the door behind his adopted father, Deacon lets out a heavy sigh, scrubbing his face with his hands. "Drives two goddamn hours just to give me a lecture face to face. Fucking asshole."

"Can't you just... I don't know, tell the checkpoint not to let him in? Cut him out of your life?" you ask, resting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing.

He shakes his head, still covering his face. "No, it's... complicated."

"What, more complicated that the situation with Kim?" you ask, huffing a humorless laugh.

"Yeah," he says, dropping his hands back to his sides. He hangs his head, weary-looking and drained.

"Deacon, I heard what he was saying—"

"What?" he blurts out, head jerking back up to meet your eyes. For a second he looks scared, but you can't imagine why.

"Your window is open," you say meekly, gesturing towards it. "And Grant is just a racist jerk. Don't let him talk you out of your relationship with Bo."

Deacon relaxes, turning away from you and walking over towards the stairs. Hanging there, on the wall, are two frames. The one with the picture of the two of you from Thanksgiving, and then the collage that Bo gave him. Only two of the spots in that big frame have pictures so far. "I... understand where he's coming from, but he's wrong and worried for all the wrong reasons. And I'm not going to let him make me leave Ebott."

"How could he make you do anything?" you ask, following him across the room.

He doesn't answer. After a moment he glances over at you, giving you a weak smile. "Thanks for bailing me out."

"Of course. What're friends for?" You lean against him and he gives you a one-armed hug.

"Apparently they're for getting shitty parents to leave," he says with a humorless laugh.

"Are you okay?" you ask, putting your arm around his back to return his hug. Looking up, you try to search his face but his expression is unreadable.

"I'll be fine."

"But you're not fine now. Is there anything I can do?"

"Nah, you did exactly what I needed you to," he says, smiling weakly. "I ought to get ready for the weekend. Need to take care of some things and pack up."

"Do you want me to stay and keep you company?"

"No, I've got to take a shower and stuff. But thanks for offering." He lets you go and you give him one last, concerned look before pulling away.

Deacon walks you back to the door and, after he closes it behind you, you hear the scrape of him shutting the window.

With an old backpack slung over his shoulder with clothes and essentials for the weekend inside, Deacon gives a polite knock on Bo's door before turning the knob and letting himself in. She always unlocks it when she knows he's coming over. It's almost six, right when she wanted him to arrive. He's been wondering why she wanted him to wait until then, though it gave him plenty of time to finish some stuff before leaving the house.

It also gave him the opportunity to muddle his way through the shitty, pessimistic thoughts that had refused to leave him alone since Grant left.

Is his relationship with Bo 'serious'? He knows that it's a hell of a lot more serious than anything else he's been involved in, but what does that mean exactly? What does it mean that Grant was able to pick him apart so easily to get right to the truth of it before he'd even realized it himself? Sure, he and Bo aren't exactly planning on breaking up any time soon, or dating other people, or... anything that hints at them being together ending at all. He doesn't want it to end! But calling it 'serious'... Well, that puts a whole new spin on whatever this is that he's gotten himself involved in.

'Serious' sounds like a step towards 'committed' and 'long-term' and... and a whole bunch of labels that make his chest feel tight and unpleasant. What's wrong with things how they are right now? Just being happy in the moment. Why does 'serious' have to hold so many implications for the future?

The apartment is dim, with the curtains and windows open to let in the lingering light and the pleasant spring air. As he shuts the door behind him he realizes there's soft, classical music playing and candles lit on the kitchen bar. Bo's tiny dining room table has a single candle placed in the center, and dinner is ready and waiting.

And Bo—

Bo is standing beside the table in a black, silky dress that falls just above the knee. The cross strap neckline draws his attention right to her cleavage, pale cream framed in inky fabric and it takes him a second to realize that the collar of pink wool around her neck is gone. Gold clips shaped like flowers hold her hair out of her face, and she gives him a pleased smile as she watches him stare.

Deacon is suddenly aware that he's standing there in jeans and a raglan t-shirt, with a ratty old backpack over one shoulder.

"I'm sorry, did I get the wrong apartment?" he asks, jerking his thumb back towards the door. Heat creeps up his neck. "Because I don't remember seeing anything about a dress code."

She comes to him, easing his bag out of his hand and setting it on the floor. He lets her kiss him, but he's still feeling a bit disoriented.

"I might have at least stayed in my work clothes, since you like them so much," he mumbles, and the dress draped over her hips feels just as silky as it looks beneath his hands.

"You're fine," she says, giggling.

"No, you're fine," he blurts out, pushing her gently away so he can look her over again. "Look at you."

Bo laughs harder, cupping his cheek. "Always so articulate. A regular poet."

"You know it," he says, and he breathes out a weak chuckle, pulling her back to him as he lets the tension, surprise, and embarrassment out of his muscles. He kisses her properly this time, fumbling a little when he goes to put a hand on the back of her neck and finding short fur instead of wool. That will take some getting used to. "What's all this for? Not that I'm complaining, I'm just confused."

"This," she says, leading him over to the table, "is me doing something nice for you. Because we'll have been dating for three months on Monday, and I'm not going to see you since we both have work, so I thought we could celebrate tonight."

Deacon sits after he pushes in her chair for her, feeling a fleeting moment of panic as he looks at her across the table. It must be plain on his face because she just gives him a placating smile.

"Don't worry, I wasn't expecting you to do anything," she says, picking up her fork and looking down at her plate. 

"But should I? I, uh, kind of need you to help me with these dating milestones," he says, trying to ignore the unpleasant twisting feeling in his stomach. "You know I don't exactly have the best track record."

"I know," she says, nodding. "Don't worry about it, baby. I'll be sure to tell you."

"Okay, thanks," he says, rubbing the back of his neck. "Oh, this looks delicious!"

They share small talk over dinner, discussing work and reminiscing over the last three months. That seems appropriate, he thinks, considering the occasion. Does it count as an occasion? Maybe. But, what he doesn't tell her, is about Grant showing up today. He doesn't want to put a damper on her good mood, or remind himself about what he had to say about their relationship (their nearly three-month relationship). Grant doesn't understand, can't understand, what this has been like for him. Any of it.

Near the tail end of dinner, Bo gets this contemplative look on her face that Deacon might have ignored if it wasn't for the way she's watching him. Like she's trying to figure out how to word something. It makes him a little anxious. "About milestones," she says, hesitating. Then she glances away, letting out a nervous laugh. That's not normal, she's almost never nervous. "One of my cousins has been nagging me. It's silly, but she keeps asking when you and I are going to... share our Souls with one another."

"That's kind of serious, isn't it?" he blurts out, his voice a little high. "I mean, that's like... serious."

"Yeah," she says slowly, looking over at him again. "I mean, I told her that it's different with humans, that you can't even share Souls with each other at all! She was just wondering why we hadn't done it yet, since it's already been three months."

Already? Not only? Because that sounds like something that should be prefaced with an 'only'!

"How long do monsters normally wait to do that?" he asks, trying his best to sound casual instead of panicked.

"A month or two, usually," she says, shrugging her shoulders. Pushing the last bits of her dinner around her plate, Deacon is grateful that she isn't watching him as he rearranges his expression into something neutral. "I mean, if you can't trust your Soul with someone, then what's the point in staying with them?"

   
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