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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199. Settling In

You get a call from Frisk shortly after your conversation about the Anathema, asking you if it’s okay that they stay over at Asriel’s tonight. You tell them yes, of course, as long as it’s fine with Toriel, and you’re silently thankful that whatever had been going on between those two is resolved. After you hang up the phone you notice the disapproval written all over Morwenna’s face. She must not think it’s a good idea to leave the two of them alone. But keeping them apart is out of the question! Not only would it drive a wedge between you and the kids, it would be impossible to enforce. Not to mention more dangerous than just letting them go back to normal. Kids that were told not to see each other just came up with ways to do what they wanted anyway, behind their parents’ backs. You know that well enough firsthand.

Morwenna doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t look happy. Frankly, she looks a bit overwhelmed. Not that you can blame her, it’s a lot to take in.

Later, after Deacon and Morwenna each head home, you and Gaster explain the situation to Sans over dinner. He listens, his attention shifting between the two of you as you supplement each other’s recount of the conversation, until finally, when you’re done, he says simply, “huh. wouldn’t’ve expected that.”

“It was rather surprising,” Gaster says, prodding experimentally at his food. His fork skills are improving, at least. “The Anathema is not an easy creature to try and carry a conversation with, it took quite a long time to get it to speak with me. Many attempts were nearly met with disaster.”

“then why did you do it? if it was so dangerous,” Sans asks, arching a brow.

Gaster’s face pulls into a small frown, looking down at his plate. “Desperation. And an overabundance of time.”

There’s a short pause where you and Sans aren’t sure what to say. He glances over at you, you look at him, and you both share a helpless look.

“Did you talk to Alphys? About Gaster,” you say, trying to change the subject.

Sans gives a small shake of his head, looking uncomfortable. “not yet. i mean, there’s no rush. and it’s kinda a lot. for everyone.” His eyes flick over to where Gaster is sitting across from the two of you. “and it sounds like you had a pretty full day with morwenna giving you the third degree, anyway.”

That crease between Gaster’s brows deepens. “It has been some time since I last had to argue with someone. It’s as frustrating as I remember,” he says, sighing and shaking his head. “ You never gave me so much trouble. As stubborn as you are you always listened. To me, at least.”

You hide your amused smile behind your hand, glancing between the two of them as you reach for your drink. Sans’s eyes widen just a little, a hint of curiosity brightening his expression.

“did i?” Sans asks.

A smile curves Gaster’s mouth as he sets down his fork and threads his fingers together. “Yes. You were my best assistant at the lab. You and I would have made quite the team, had things gone differently.” There’s a pause where he grows flustered. “Not that Alphys hasn’t been doing an excellent job, and the two of you have done very well in maintaining the Core—”

“it’s fine,” Sans says, holding up a hand and wincing. “i got ya. but, uh, speaking of the core… we’ve got a bunch of blueprints and stuff we haven’t quite pieced together, i think they’re yours? maybe you could, well…”

“Of course,” he says, as Sans trails off. His smile is infectious as he beams at his son. “I would be happy to help. It’s been quite a while since I last worked on the Core, but I’m certain I can be of at least some assistance.”

Nodding, Sans gives him an unsteady smile in return. “good. that’s, uh, encoreaging.”

You roll your eyes, letting out a soft groan. But Gaster is delighted. He covers his mouth as he starts to laugh, and you can’t help it, you laugh too. You think this is the first time you’ve seen Gaster so happy, without any regret or sadness lurking just under the surface. He’s just here, with the two of you… enjoying time with his family. With his son.

Sans lets out an awkward chuckle, shrugging his shoulders. “s’not the greatest joke i could have done. i don’t really lava it.”

Gaster is laughing so hard that he’s hunched forward over his food, shoulders shaking and eyes shining. Or, are they shining or are those… You can swear that for a second you see tiny, reddish sparkles near the corners of his eyes, reminiscent of what you’ve seen Papyrus do when he’s happy or excited, and you glance over at Sans to see if he noticed them too. His eyes are fixed on Gaster, the corners of his smile are pulled a little too tight, and there’s something skittish about his expression. Like he’d just been spooked.

You rest your hand on his forearm and he glances over at you, his face relaxing as he meets your eyes. This can’t be easy on him. You know it’s not. You just wish there was something you could do to help him. To help both of them.

“welp, i’ll bring some of that stuff home then,” Sans says, doing a very good job of sounding casual. He was always good at that, even if you can usually see right through him now. “we can take a look sometime.”

“Of course,” Gaster says, still smiling.

Dinner continues peacefully, and Gaster helps you carry the dishes to the kitchen once you’re done. There’s a moment where Sans looks a little put-out, like he’s wondering if he should be helping too, even though he usually doesn’t (most nights it’s Frisk’s job). He ends up following the two of you and you catch yourself before telling him he doesn’t need to worry. You’re sure he doesn’t want to hear that.

When he starts emptying the dishwasher you wonder if you need to start digging up missing family members more often to get him to help around the house.

As you get started on washing dishes, Gaster clears his throat and goes to try and help Sans put the dishes away. “oh, y’don’t gotta worry about this,” Sans says, trying to wave him away.

But Gaster is unperturbed by Sans’s refusal. “Please, it’s the least I can do. And it will help me learn where everything goes.”

You glance over at Sans at that, right as he looks towards you. You know, logically, that it makes sense. That Gaster has nowhere else to go and wants to help out and know more about the household. But you’re not surprised by that tenseness in your husband’s jaw or even your own knee-jerk, territorial response. This is your home, and he is just a guest.

A guest with no departure date.

You give Sans a look that says, ‘just let him help, it’ll be easier’ and he seems to pick up on your message. He passes Gaster a short stack of bowls and directs him over to a cabinet. Thankfully he seems oblivious to what passed between you and Sans and just seems glad to help. Was his social awareness was always this bad or is it just a byproduct of his time completely split off from any real interaction with people?

Maybe it’s why he chooses now to bring up something —well, someone — that you know Sans has been trying to avoid.

“Sans, you mentioned that you speak with Papyrus on an almost daily basis,” he says, sounding a little nervous. Your muscles tense as you scrub too-hard at a plate locked in your grip. “I was hoping that I could talk to him as well.”

“no,” Sans says immediately, making you wince. When you glance over at Gaster out of the corner of your eye he’s caught mid-step on his way back to the dishwasher, frozen with a startled look on his face. “look, it’s one thing to just drop into my life outta nowhere, it’s not the first time something crazy has happened to me. but i’m not gonna let you do that to papyrus, not right now.”

“Hun…” you say, trailing off because you’re not sure what to actually say to him. Because there’s no right answer. There’s no right thing to do. But you know that Sans is being harsh, because that’s what he does when he feels threatened, when his family is threatened. He throws up those walls and digs in his heels and waits.

Gaster folds his hands over his stomach, tapping his fingers against his wrist and glancing down at the floor. His brow furrows, smooths, and he works his mouth for a few seconds before looking back up again. “...May I ask why?”

Whatever Sans was expecting you don’t think that was it. He studies Gaster, then bends over to start stacking plates on the counter. “he’s off in hawaii with mettaton filming a movie. he’s doing what makes him happy, but what do you think he’d do if he suddenly found out that you’re here? that he’s got a dad he never knew existed?” He shoots Gaster a frustrated look, not giving him time to answer. “he’d drop everything to come home to see you. but doing that would piss off the wrong people, probably hurt his career. so you don’t get to mess with that. you can wait a little longer to drop that bomb.”

Gaster seems to mull this over before finally giving a small nod. “I understand. I hadn’t considered the implications—Sans, you always looked out for your brother, even when you were little.” His smile is sad and bittersweet and somehow proud all at once. “I’m just sorry that I’m making it more difficult for you to do so.”

Cringing, Sans has to look away, rising up on his toes to slide the stack of plates where they’re supposed to go. “look, we can… i’ll call pap. i can put it on speaker so you can listen in, but just promise me you won’t say anything.”

You’re surprised by this quick concession, and so it seems is Gaster. He fumbles for a moment before managing to say, “Of course.”

Later, when Sans tries to call Papyrus, it goes to voicemail. Sans reassures him it’s probably because they’re still shooting, but you can tell that Gaster is disappointed. He fidgets with the lapel of his coat and shifts uneasily on his feet, and as you’re watching him you come to a realization.

“Hey, while we’re waiting for them to finish why don’t I find you a change of clothes? You’ve been wearing that labcoat for over a decade,” you say, doing your best to sound light-hearted. “If you want I can wash what you have on.”

Gaster blinks at you, glancing down at his clothes. “Oh, I… I hadn’t even considered… I suppose that’s a good idea.”

You take him upstairs, and with a quick glance to gauge Gaster’s size, lead him to Papyrus’s old room. When you open the door you’re greeted by a slightly stale smell. It’s been awhile since the last time you came in here. Flipping on the light, the room has been converted mostly to storage over the past few years. The racecar bed is still here, but the mattress is bare and there’s a stack of boxes pushed against the wall and headboard. Things you’ve been meaning to donate or just haven’t had the heart to get rid of are tucked away under a thin veneer of dust.

“Sorry,” you mutter, pushing a bag out of your way so you can get to the closet. “We don’t really use this room anymore. But Papyrus left some of his stuff when he moved out and I know there’s some clothes that should fit you.”

Gaster doesn’t answer. When you glance back at him he’s looking at the old bed, the ratty table where Papyrus used to keep his robot figures, his ancient computer you’re not even sure would still turn on. Guilt twists in your stomach, as if it were your fault this was so hard.

“Last I heard they were wrapping up this movie soon,” you offer gently. “He and Mettaton should be back home before the end of the month.”

His attention shifts to you and he gives you a weak, reassuring smile. “It’s just harder to wait, now that I’m here. But that’s what I’ve been doing all along, so at least it’s something I’m familiar with.”

Biting the inside of your lip, you shake your head. “I’m sorry about Sans, I wish—”

“Hope,” he says, holding up a hand. “Please, you don’t need to apologize for him. There’s nothing you could have done to change this.”

“Was he like this before?”

“Was he suspicious and distrustful? Or withdrawn?” Gaster watches you as you give a helpless nod. He sighs. “No. No he wasn’t.”

Silence fills the space between you and you turn away to pick through the closet again. This isn’t why you’re up here. You already suspected that Sans hadn’t been the same person before the accident, and there’s no sense in the questions plaguing you now that you know for sure. Wondering if the old Sans would even like you, let alone love you. “Well, um, I don’t really have anything here I’d consider nice. Papyrus’s fashion sense was always… different. But this is just while I clean your clothes.”

At least, that’s what you originally thought. A few minutes later, when Gaster emerges from the guest room —his room for the time being— dressed in a mint green, appliqué cat sweater and turquoise harem pants that pool over his feet, you notice a severe lack of his black lab coat and trousers.

Years of living with Papyrus has rendered you mostly immune to outfits such as this, but on Gaster it looks even more ridiculous than it ever would have on your brother-in-law. You do your best not to laugh out loud as you glance behind him to check for his old clothes.

“Um, where are your clothes?” you ask, your voice going all squeaky as you fight to contain yourself.

Gaster looks uncomfortable and more than a little embarrassed as he says, “Ah, you see, it turns out that their hold on reality was as tenuous as my own after our stay in the Font.”

You blink. “...Um?”

“They disintegrated.”

“Oh,” you say, biting down on your lip, hard. “We’ll go shopping tomorrow. Because to be honest, the rest of the clothes aren’t any better than… this…”

“Thank you,” he breathes, looking down at himself and wincing.

All of your careful restraint goes right out the window the moment you lead Gaster downstairs. Sans takes one look at him and explodes into laughter. You shoot him a weak glare as you try your best to not dissolve into a fit of giggles yourself.

“babe,” he says, after a few failed attempts to find his voice. “the cat sweater? you couldn’t find anything better?”

“There isn’t anything better!” you blurt out defensively, crossing your arms over your chest. “Mettaton helped him pack, so of course all the worst stuff got left behind. It was this or a crop top with with the words ‘Greatest Man’ in rhinestones across the chest. The one from Undyne’s bachelorette party.”

“that woulda been hilarious.”

“Sans—”

You forget what you were about to say when Sans’s phone starts to ring. It’s that familiar, peppy ringtone he has set for Papyrus. The wide grin is wiped off of Sans’s face as he looks over at Gaster.

“don’t forget to stay quiet,” Sans says.

Gaster wrings his hands. “I know.”

As Sans answers his phone you rest a hand on Gaster’s arm, giving him a reassuring smile. He twitches at your touch, looking at you with a bewildered expression before his eyes flick down to your hand and he covers it with his own. He does his best to return your smile.

“hey pap,” Sans says, pressing the speaker button on the phone and holding it out in front of him. He’s watching Gaster. “how’s it going?”

“HELLO SANS!” Papyrus says brightly. Gaster pulls away from you, sinking down to sit on the loveseat. He covers his mouth with one hand, eyes fixed on the phone. “I SAW THAT YOU CALLED ME, BUT I WAS BUSY AND NOW I’M NOT!”

“heh, that’s good. how was your day? do any cool scenes?”

“YES! THOUGH THE DIRECTOR DID NOT APPRECIATE MY SUGGESTION THAT WE SHOULD ADD SOME SORT OF MAZE TO THE FINAL FIGHT BETWEEN MYSELF AND THE EVIL VILLAIN. METTATON SAYS HE MUST HAVE BEEN INTIMIDATED BY MY KNOWLEDGE OF PUZZLES,” he says. You see the small hint of a smile twitch across Sans’s face. Mettaton has done a good job of keeping Papyrus’s spirits up in his brother’s stead, you think. “IT ALSO COULD HAVE BEEN BECAUSE WE FINISHED FILMING TODAY AND HE DIDN’T WANT TO GO BACK AND RE-SHOOT…”

“Oh, you’re wrapping up already?” you blurt out, leaning closer to the phone.

“HOPE! I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE HERE ALSO, IT’S GOOD TO SPEAK TO YOU! I THINK YOU WOULD LIKE HAWAII, IT’S VERY PRETTY HERE,” he says, and you can’t help the big grin on your face. “AND YES, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HAVE FINISHED WITH ALL OF MY SCENES! SO HAS METTATON.” There’s a pause, and his voice lowers by a fraction. “ACTUALLY HE FINISHED HIS SCENES A WEEK AGO, HE DIDN’T HAVE VERY MANY. BUT THEY WERE GOOD SCENES! GREAT EVEN!”

You feel a twinge of sympathy for Mettaton. It can’t be easy, being overshadowed by his husband in a career that had been his dream. But last you saw the two of them they were still ridiculously happy, so it couldn’t be bothering him that much. “If you’re done, then when are you coming home?” you ask.

“THREE DAYS,” he says. When you look at Gaster he has his eyes squeezed shut, cradling his chin in his hand. Is he happy? “OUR MANAGER ALREADY HAS THE PLANE TICKETS! I’M EXCITED TO COME HOME.”

“can’t wait to see you, bro. i’m sure you got a sick tan,” Sans says, smirking.

“I TRIED, BUT I DON’T LOOK ANY TANNER,” he laments, and you try not to laugh. “IF ANYTHING I JUST LOOK PALER THAN BEFORE!”

“maybe you did it wrong.”

“MAYBE THE SUN WORKS DIFFERENT IN HAWAII. THAT SHOULD GET CHECKED.”

“i’ll keep that in mind,” he says with a chuckle. The sound trails off as he looks up and over at Gaster. His expression sobers. “hey, bro, so when you get home… i got a surprise for you.”

“OH, HOW EXCITING! NOW, YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT IT IS OR THAT WILL RUIN THE SURPRISE! YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I GET HOME.”

“oh, shoot, you’re right. well, i guess i’ll keep it to myself for now. thanks for warning me.”

“YOU’RE WELCOME, SANS. NOW I THINK I SHOULD GO TO HELP YOU RESIST THE TEMPTATION OF WANTING TO SPOIL THE SURPRISE. TELL FRISK THAT THEIR UNCLES LOVE THEM AND TO BE GOOD AND ALSO TELL ASRIEL TO BE GOOD TOO. AND WE LOVE HIM TOO. AND YOU AND HOPE. GOODBYE SANS! GOODBYE HOPE!”

“love you too, bro,” Sans says.

“Give Mettaton our love, too,” you add. “Enjoy Hawaii before you come home.”

“I WILL!” Papyrus says, and then hangs up the phone.

You and Sans look at one another before you both turn to Gaster. Slowly he pulls his hand away from his mouth, and you can see that it’s stretched into a wide smile.

“Three days,” Gaster says.

“three days,” Sans echoes back with a sigh of resignation. “welp, time to figure out how we’re gonna explain this to papyrus.”

 
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