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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140. Share the Load

The first week after the wedding is the most difficult for you. When you're apart from Sans you find yourself trying to listen for a sound that isn't there, reaching out for a Soul that can't answer. It's almost more distracting than being around him, and by the end of the week Leveretta pulls you aside to... well, to put it impolitely, to 'get your shit together'. Embarrassed and chastised, you spend the following weekend working with Sans on better adapting.

It takes until the end of January for you to feel fully adjusted, but you get there.

In the meantime, you have plenty of other things going on to consume your attention. Inspired by seeing your rite with Sans, Undyne and Alphys pick out a date for early summer. Undyne wants to have it at the beach, which will require a certain amount of planning in advance to get all the guests she wants out there. And there will be no shortage of guests, if she gets her way. There's the entirety of the old royal guard, your group of friends of course, people she knew from her duties back and forth throughout the Underground... You can already see the nervousness building in Alphys's head, but when you talk to her about it she insists that can't let her own anxiety ruin the day for Undyne. What's one day compared to the rest of their lives together?

Frisk's birthday is on the 20th of January, and you throw a huge party after school, taking advantage of the classroom and all their classmates. Sans and Alphys even leave work at the lab early to come celebrate. Among all their presents, the highlight is a brand new bicycle (their first one ever), which Sans promises to teach them how to ride once it gets warmer.

Papyrus and Mettaton are still doing well. In fact, bolstered by Papyrus's support, the robot manages to land a role in a small independent film. It... honestly it sounds terrible, but he hopes that it might be the jump start he needs for his big film career. He's excited, your brother-in-law is excited and, well, how can you not be happy for him? But that means a lot of trips back and forth across the Line, and Sans isn't happy with this new routine.

Not that he says anything to his brother about it, but between the lingering snow and Papyrus accompanying Mettaton on a weekly basis, he could be doing better. It's during a quiet weekend alone —with Frisk at Toriel's and Papyrus with Mettaton— that you discover another benefit of your harmonized Souls. You'll never be able to fix your husband's depression, but at the very least you can ease it for a little while. Sharing your Soul, taking some of his bad days upon yourself, helps pull him out of the worst of it. It's... exhausting for you, to be honest, but if you can help then shouldn't you?

But soon enough he realizes what he's doing to you, and starts to outright refuse, which just makes the cycle that much worse. Finally, when you catch him sitting in his workshop alone in the middle of the night, staring at the machine for god knows how long, you force him into a compromise. That when he is at his worst, when he feels hopeless, he'll let you be what you vowed to be: his hope.

It helps him get through the rest of winter. Once the snow melts, at the end of February, you notice the gradual shift in his moods. Fewer sleepless nights, bigger gaps between his nightmare-driven panic attacks that still haven't stopped (might never stop). You're glad for the signs that spring is getting closer.

Things across the Line are getting more strained for monsters, not that it's stopping them from leaving. You hear word that more businesses are starting to refuse to serve them, going so far as to post signs on their front doors. Deacon tells you about an instance where he and Bo had to bring a whimsun back with them after a date. It had been inconsolable and in a near-panic after bumping into some anti-monster protesters outside a movie theater and running away.

Monsters have also taken to traveling in bigger groups when leaving Ebott after an influx of monster-targeted muggings. It was getting bad enough that it was being reported on in the news. They tried to spin it that it was because monsters tend to carry cash on them instead of cards (the banking situation for monsters right now is limited at best) but you suspect that anti-monster sentiment is also to blame. 

Despite all this, Toriel decides on a series of field trips for the students at Mountainside School. So, after the first few for the older children go well, you, Sans, Deacon, and Leveretta find yourself chaperoning your class on a trip to the zoo the first week of March.

The Busperson is in charge of transportation. Turns out that the old bus used to be a school bus before they got a hold of it months ago. Deacon is sitting in the seat in front of you and Sans, turned around with his arm draped over the backrest. Like everyone else, he's dressed in a garish, safety orange t-shirt to identify your group. He rests his chin on his forearm, right on top of the raven tattooed there, and yawns.

"Late night?" you ask him, arching a brow. You hear Sans huff under his breath beside you.

"Yeah, was up with Bo. And no not for the reason you think," he says, squinting. "We had an... argument."

"What? Why?" Alarmed, you sit up straighter in your seat, taking your hand out of your husband's to cover Deacon's. "Is everything okay?"

"she finally get tired of you?" Sans adds, which makes your friend grit his teeth.

"No, she didn't get tired of me," Deacon bites out, a little more defensive than you think he intends. Swallowing, he turns his attention back to you. "No, she..." He rolls his eyes. "She got mad at me because I... 'need to tell her when I don't want to do something she wants to do'. I don't get it. If she wants to go hiking almost every weekend, we can go hiking. If she wants to watch boring travel shows, we can watch boring travel shows. Why would she be upset that I do what she wants?"

You and Sans share a glance, and you drop your hands into your lap. "Do the two of you ever do things that you want to do? Like... I dunno, watch fantasy movies? I know you were talking about showing her Lord of the Rings."

"She fell asleep before Moria, I don't think epic fantasies are really her thing," he says, sighing. "And we do things I like, when she wants to."

"So she can tell you no, and that's not a big deal?"

"Of course. I mean, I don't want her to do anything that would bore her."

You pause, waiting to see if he's going to pick up on it. You raise your eyebrows. He gives you a confused look back. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, you spell it out for him. "Deacon, she wants you to be more honest with her. You can't just cater to her whims all the time, she wants you to be happy too. It goes both ways."

"if i spent all my time only worrying about hope's interests, i'd just end up resenting her," Sans chimes in, resting his hand on your leg. "i have time for my stuff, and she has time for hers."

"Okay, but you guys are together all the time. Bo and I work opposite schedules."

"Then find a compromise. Alternate weekends or something. Do stuff you both enjoy," you press, fixing him with a serious look.

"I guess?" Deacon says, glancing away, out the window.

"So how did you resolve this argument? What did you tell her?" you ask.

"What she wanted to hear," he admits, and you let out a frustrated sound. He frowns at you. "Come on, I didn't want her to be mad at me."

"Deacon, you need to talk to her!" you say, shoving his arm. "Seriously, you're not doing her any favors by just making sure she's happy all the time. What about you?"

"What about me? I'm fine," he says defensively.

"Are you?"

"Yes."

"he'll figure it out eventually," Sans says with a sigh. "one way or the other."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Deacon grumbles, but he doesn't have time to get the answer. You've arrived at the zoo.

The kids are excited, filing off the bus after you four adults and gathering around you as Leveretta and Deacon talk them through what's expected of their behavior. To stay with the group, no yelling or running. Leveretta handles most of that, since this is her class after all, but Deacon helps lend a sense of 'human authority'. Anything past the Line still feels like foreign territory, so when in doubt they tend to gravitate to him or you.

"Okay, does everyone have a buddy?" Leveretta asks, scanning over the group.

As the kids all raise their joined hands, Sans reaches over and takes yours. "how 'bout it, buddy," he murmurs, making you laugh.

"Shh," you hiss, lacing your fingers through his.

"Miss Leveretta?" A small, familiar blue hand bounces up and down, alone in the middle of the group. "Miss Leveretta I don't have a buddy!"

"That's okay Bonnet, just make sure to stay together. Why don't you tag along with Kid and their buddy?" she says, looking down at a clipboard. "All right, unless there are any other questions?"

There aren't. You and Sans take up the rear as the teachers lead the kids towards the entrance. Frisk and Asriel are just a little ahead of you, their voices lost in the crowd as all of them start talking at the same time. For a second you see Frisk lag behind, slowing their steps, but right before you have time to wonder why they hurry again to keep up.

"This'll be fun. Thanks for taking time away from the lab to come with us," you say, smiling over at Sans.

"no problem, babe. we oughta do more family outings anyway," he says, squeezing your hand.

And you're right, it is fun. At least, until you start catching some of the looks the humans are giving all of you. Thankfully the kids don't seem to notice, but you do. People are giving you all a wide berth, shifting away from the monsters on the footpaths and walkways. At one point you think you catch someone making a snide comment about the kids being the ones that belong on exhibit. When you spin to look for the speaker there's too many people nearby, pointedly not looking in your direction.

Angry and offended, Sans grits his teeth and soothes you, though beneath his strained smile he looks just as angry. You don't want to cause a scene. The last thing anyone needs is to draw more attention.

But then you also draw the curious. A tiny, gray-haired woman actually comes up to you and Sans while the kids are lined up in front of the elephant enclosure, just to say hello. You're so on the defensive, so ready for her to say something rude, that it takes until Sans laughs and smiles at the old woman before you realize she's being perfectly pleasant. You just can't help it; the bad experiences stand out so much starker in your mind than the good ones.

A little bit later, about two hours into your trip, you stop at the bathroom so that the kids can rotate in and out to prevent extra potty breaks. While you're waiting outside a young family, maybe a little older than you and Deacon, approaches with their young son. He's probably four or five, and questioning his parents while barely pausing for breath. The father, with the harried look of anyone with a small child, comes up to Sans.

"Hey, I'm sorry to bother you," he says, glancing from your husband to you with an embarrassed look on his face. "Uh, would it be okay if my son talked to you for a second? He just wants to say hi, he hasn't been able to stop talking about 'the skeleton' since we passed you guys like half an hour ago."

You and Sans look at each other, and you can't help but smile. Sans chuckles, nodding. "yeah, sure pal. no problem. what's his name?"

The man looks a little surprised, and after a second he composes himself and returns the smile. "Oh, it's Trevor. And thanks, really, I'm sorry if this is sort of odd..."

"it's better than what we normally deal with," he says, shrugging.

"Right, I'm sure," the man says, turning to look at his wife and son. "Okay, come on over honey. Trev, you want to say hi to— oh, shoot, I didn't even get your name."

As Sans talks to this family, a little flattered you think by the attention, you realize that Leveretta is taking inventory of the kids on her clipboard. She's also frowning. But before you can ask her, Deacon is at your side, looking tense.

"What's wrong?" you ask him quietly, glancing between him and the hare monster.

"Have you seen Bonnet?" he says, and that sends an icy sting of dread right into the pit of your stomach.

Your mouth falls open as you try to wrack your brain. You saw her earlier right? You don't remember anyone getting away from the group, and you should have seen her with that bright orange shirt! Or... oh no was she wearing a jacket? It's still chilly out, she might have been wearing a jacket.

"Who's Bonnet's buddy?" Leveretta calls out to the assembled children, trying not to sound as worried as she must be.

Frisk's hand shoots up and as soon as they have her attention they drop it again. "She didn't have one! You told her to stick with Kid and their buddy."

"Kid, when did you last see Bonnet?" she asks, pushing her way through the group to crouch beside the armless, yellow monster.

The last time anyone can remember seeing her is at the tiger enclosure, which is enough to make your heart start pounding. That was at least twenty minutes ago. When you tell Sans what's going on, he tells you to stay with the kids, and disappears.

Bonnet isn't back near the tigers, like Sans hoped she might be. He's not surprised, but he'd hoped... 

Now that he's not with the group the strange looks he's getting are more clear, more directed, but he doesn't have time for that right now. He needs to find that little girl before something happens to her. For about fifteen minutes he's retracing the group's steps, trying to ask people for help, but most of the humans ignore him or hurry past.

Don't these people care? Who cares if she's a monster, she's just a child!

"hey," Sans says to a pair of young women, who thankfully stop instead of just brushing him off. "have you seen a little monster girl, looks like a blue rabbit?"

The women exchange a look. "I don't think they have a rabbit cage here," one of them blurts out, laughing. The other gives her friend an odd look, not joining in on her joke.

He grits his teeth. "please, that's somebody's kid you're talking about. we're with a school group and we wanna make sure she gets home to her parents."

The friend, the one that didn't laugh, tucks her hair behind her ear and crosses one arm over her stomach, looking uncomfortable. "I think I might have seen her over by the gardens. With the flamingos? I'm sorry, I hope you find her."

"thanks, that's more than i had before," Sans says in all sincerity, shooting the first woman a frustrated look. She has the gall to look offended as he hurries off towards the gardens.

He pulls his phone out as he teleports the short distance down the main path through the zoo, closer to where he hopes Bonnet might be. Calling you, you pick up on the first ring. "babe, someone said they think they saw her by the flamingos, i'm headed there now."

"Okay. We still haven't seen her either. I'll stay on the call, tell me as soon as you see her," you say, and he can hear the fear in your voice. He wonders if you've been imagining what this would feel like if it was Frisk that went missing. He knows that's what he keeps doing, whether he wants to or not.

But Bonnet isn't in the gardens. If she ever was in the first place. He has no way of knowing.

"shit," he breathes, and he hears your sharp intake of breath.

"Did he find her?" Deacon asks, his voice coming through in the background.

"No. No, not yet," you say. "Hun, just keep looking. Hey, Frisk, what are you—?"

His phone is back in his pocket. He's not in the garden anymore.

"This'll be fun. Thanks for taking time away from the lab to come with us," you say, smiling over at Sans.

He looks at you, brow furrowing as it dawns on him what just happened. A goddamn Load. This wasn't an emergency, if he'd had more time—

"SANS! HELP!"

Asriel is shouting, and all at once the kids break away from their orderly rows, crying out in surprise. Frisk is limp in Asriel's arms as he holds them up, looking through the scattered group back at Sans, and fear smacks him full in the chest.

"Frisk!" you cry out, tearing your hand free from his as you run forward to take them from Asriel.

But he doesn't let go, still staring at Sans as he rushes after you. "I tried to stop them," he blurts out, eyes swimming with tears. "I tried, I promise!"

"What happened?" you demand, looking from Asriel to Sans, finally taking hold of Frisk's body and cradling them in your lap as you sink to your knees. You're pale with fear.

"a load," he whispers to you, pushing Asriel out of the way as he circles to kneel in front of you.

Asriel is crying now, a hand on Frisk's leg and the other over his chest. "It doesn't feel right. Their Soul is too quiet."

He's right. Frisk is unconscious, pale, and Sans can barely feel their Soul. How could a Load have done this to them?

   
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