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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69. Shattered

You kneel next to Chara, wrapping one arm around their shoulders as they slump to the side, leaning against you. Their breaths are shallow but they're still alive... But, is that even right? This child has been inside of Frisk, clinging to whatever it is they are now. Is it possible to die twice? What's happening to them?

"Chara! No!" Asriel cries out, wide-eyed and staring. He's frozen in place, his arms still raised to wipe his face.

"You're... you're pretty tough with all those Souls," Chara says, letting out a weak laugh. "Even if... you're still a big crybaby."

The prince whimpers, tugging on his long ears. He takes a small step forward but seems afraid to get any closer. "Chara, I didn't... I didn't mean for this to happen!"

They let out an exhausted sigh and they feel even heavier against you. Dead weight, you think with an ache in your chest. Your Soul gives a small pulse of red and Chara's shudders in response but it isn't glowing. The shattered gray heart reminds you of a lightbulb that's burned out. It twitches in Frisk's direction but Chara makes a frustrated grunt of effort and it stays in place.

"Don't be so stupid," Chara says. "I was already going to fade. I'm all out of Determination and anger and with those gone, there isn't that much left of me, is there?"

"This is all my fault!" Asriel says, shaking his head while holding onto his ears and crying.

"It's not your fault. None of this would have happened if I hadn't..." They trail off, hands balling into weak fists. "I'm... I'm sorry, Asriel. I did this to us."

"I could have told you no. I could have stopped you," he says.

"You always tried so hard to make me happy. You always gave in, to whatever I wanted. I'm sorry for that too, for taking advantage of you." Chara groans, shuddering. "You deserved to be happy, too."

Fresh tears well up in your eyes and you wrap your other arm around Chara's body and pull them into your lap. They go rigid at your touch, grumbling in protest but they don't have the strength to fight. "I should have done something. You shouldn't have been the one to protect us, I should have protected both of you," you say, fighting back a sob. "You're all just children."

"You should hate me. Don't... don't feel sorry for me, I don't deserve it," Chara says, shaking their head against your shoulder. "Besides, you already helped me."

"I'm sorry I can't do more," you say, and you mean it. You don't understand what Chara has done, to Frisk or Asriel or why you should hate them. But they're a child. How can you hate a child? Hugging Chara closer, you're surprised to feel their arms slip around your waist and hug you back.

They're trembling, crying silently into your shoulder. "Thank you," they whisper. "It was nice to meet you in person."

Chara's body is becoming lighter. You relax your hold on them in time to watch their edges blur, crumbling away like dust as they let out one final, long sigh. There's nothing left of them but the colorless remnant of their Soul. It hangs there for a moment, but instead of shattering all the way, or disappearing, it floats back over to Frisk and slips inside their Soul. Back where it came from. The vibrant red starts to shift, gray veining the surface like marble.

Frisk's hands are shaking as they cup their hands beneath their Soul, tears slipping down their cheeks as they look at you. Sniffling, they give you a weak attempt at a smile. "I should be happy that they're gone. But I didn't think it would happen like this," they say. You reach out to pull them too you but Frisk shies away, shaking their head. "There's still more to do. We're not done."

You turn to Asriel, where he's sniffling and rubbing at his face. The white fur on his cheeks is wet and mussed. You try to stand but your legs shake and you fall back down, weak and exhausted. Frisk goes to Asriel in your stead, reaching out and taking hold of his hand. Startled, his watery green eyes open wide and he stares at them, chin wobbling.

"Frisk, I did such terrible things to you, when I was a flower. To everyone," he says, a pleading note to his voice as he tries to explain. "I couldn't feel love anymore, I don't... I don't have a Soul of my own. It's been so long since I've felt this way."

Frisk squeezes his hand and Asriel manages a weak smile. Nodding, Frisk encourages him to continue.

With his free hand, the prince covers his chest, right over his heart. "With all these Souls inside me, I have my own compassion back. But, I can feel everyone else's too. Everyone cares about each other so much, and... they care about you too, Frisk." Asriel looks over their shoulder at you. "And you, um..." His face scrunches up, cocking his head like he's trying to hear something. You can see it dawn on him when his expression relaxes into a small smile. "Hope. That's... that's funny, isn't it? That's a really nice name." Wiping his face, he turns his attention back to Frisk. "I wish I could tell you just how much everyone cares about you, but... I think you kinda know already. They've had so many chances to show you."

"We care about them too. We just want everyone to be safe again," Frisk says.

"I'm sorry," Asriel says again, and for a moment you feel a lurch of fear in your stomach. That he's apologizing because he can't bring everyone back. "I understand if you can't forgive me. I wouldn't blame you for hating me. I acted so strange and horrible. But there's no excuse for what I've done."

It was easy to hate Flowey. He had been a monster in the truest sense of the word, cruel and manipulative, reveling in the pain of you, Frisk, and your friends. But Asriel is different. Maybe it's the Souls inside of him, the return of his capacity to love. But you can't see them as the same person. They're not the same person. This is a hurt child, desperate for help.

"I forgive you," Frisk says, without even thinking. "I forgive you and Chara."

"W-what?" Asriel gives a nervous laugh, looking away. He sniffs loudly, rubbing his snout. "Frisk, come on. You're gonna make me cry again. But, even if you do forgive me... I can't keep these Souls. I owe it to everyone to return them."

A guilty swell of happiness rises up inside of you, knowing that Sans and the others are going to be okay. That Asriel can let them go. "But what happens to you?" you ask him.

He looks up at you, giving you a wistful smile. "It doesn't matter. There's something I have to do first. Everyone's hearts inside of me, they're all beating as one, and they all want one thing. To finally shatter the Barrier."

Asriel tugs his hand free from Frisk's and closes his eyes. The blackness all around you shifts until suddenly you're at the Barrier. You're right there in front of it, and with a quick glance over your shoulder you can see the shattered remnants of the Soul containers. Your friends are nowhere to be seen. When you look back at Asriel he's rising up into the air, arms outstretched. Light pours from his chest, white shot through with the colors of the human Souls inside of him. It swirls, so bright that you have to shield your eyes and you can feel the rush of air all around you. Tension is building, thick and heavy until all at once it snaps, and that uncomfortable press of the Barrier's magic is lifted. Then, everything goes still and quiet.

Lowering your hands, you watch as Asriel sinks back down to the ground, wobbling a little before steadying himself. He glances behind him at the unobscured path out of the mountain, smiling to himself and then at Frisk. "I... I did it! Now everyone..." His smile falters, looking down at the ground. "Everyone can go free. But I... I need to go. It'll be better if the others don't see me. I can't keep maintaining this form without the Souls. I'll... go back to being a flower again. So, maybe it's best if you just forget about me, ok?"

"No," Frisk tells him stubbornly, reaching out and wrapping Asriel up in a fierce hug. "Because together, Chara and I can still save you."

"W-what? Frisk, Chara's gone, there's nothing they can—"

Letting him go, Frisk takes a step backwards with a huge grin on their face. They bring their hands around their Soul, looking down at it and curling their fingers. "Chara wanted to save you, more than anything. They might not have been a very nice person, and for... a long time they were angry. But deep down, I know they cared about you, Asriel," Frisk says, their face scrunching into a look of concentration. Their arms are trembling as they're trying to pull. The marbling of gray on the red surface starts to shift, pulling to the left.

You force yourself to your feet, your muscles spasming in protest but you manage. "Frisk, what are you doing?" you ask them, worry tightening your voice. They don't acknowledge your hand on their shoulder as you squeeze, fighting the urge to pull their arms down. "What are you doing to your Soul?"

With a gasp, Frisk's hands pull apart and instead of just one Soul between their hands, now there's two. Two, solid Souls. The one on the right, the one you can only assume is Frisk's, is that same familiar red. Only now, there's a gray streak slashed across the center, like a scar. The other is what was left of Chara's, but all the cracks and chips are filled in with bright crimson, leaving it whole again. They pulse together and your own Soul beats in response, filled with awe.

Asriel can only stare, dumbfounded at the two Souls, then past them to where Frisk is grinning at him. Frisk laughs. "Go on. Take it," they say, somehow nudging the gray and red Soul towards him.

"Frisk, how did you...?" Asriel reaches out timidly for the Soul but hesitates, mouth hanging open.

"I dunno. I just knew I had... more than I should. So I'm giving it to you. It's what Chara would want," they say.

Gently, Asriel's hands close around the Soul, like he's handling something precious. Tears well up in his eyes and he starts to cry, clutching it close to his chest but not letting it go.

"Asriel," you say, reaching out to touch his arm.

"Sorry," he mumbles through his tears, looking up at you. "I just... thought it might still feel like them but... They're gone. Chara's really gone."

Lowering yourself back down to your knees, you put your arm around his shoulders and pull him close, your own tears slipping silently down your cheeks. Frisk scoots in close to you and you put your other arm around them too, hugging them both as tight as you can. Asriel presses the mended Soul into his chest and shudders, drawing in a deep breath. As if sensing that this is all finally, finally, over, your and Frisk's Souls disappear too. All the tension, all the fear, all the grief, it washes away as you feel whole again and then everything goes dark.

"hope, c'mon babe, wake up. we're not doing this again."

Your eyes flutter open, groaning as you reach for the bony hand pressing uncomfortably on your throat. Sans lets out a sigh of relief as he wraps his arms around your chest, lifting you partway off the ground in a crushing hug. Grabbing at his jacket, you bury your face into the fluff of his hood, taking in a deep breath. That familiar, musky smell grounds you, lets you know that everything is okay. You're not sure where you are but...

It all comes rushing back. Your eyes snap open and you scramble into a sitting position, leaning back enough so that you can try to look around. "Where's Frisk, and Asriel?" you ask him, craning your neck.

Sans pulls away so that you can see, studying your face as he reaches out to push some wild strands of hair out of your face. He sits back on his heels, squashing his slippers as he stays there on the ground with you. "everyone's fine, though they don't really remember what happened," he says, trailing his hand down your cheek and then taking hold of your hand.

Toriel is holding her son on her hip, stroking his face and running her fingers down the length of his ear, smiling brighter than you've ever seen her. Asgore hovers nearby, and as he steps closer she looks at him, not even hesitating to hand Asriel to him. He cradles him close to his chest, laughing with shining eyes when Asriel hooks his arm around one of his horns to pull himself up to Asgore's shoulder. Toriel watches them both fondly, wiping tears from her eyes.

Frisk is sitting on Undyne's shoulders, flexing their arms and laughing. She tries to make a grab for Papyrus's legs and he shies away, trying to wave her off but finally going to duck behind Alphys for cover. Alphys lets out an alarmed squeak and tries to twist around and look at him but Undyne snatches her up and lifts her off her feet, laughing. 

You let out a weak chuckle. "Looks like you're the only one worried about me," you say, returning your attention to Sans.

He hasn't taken his eyes off you. The white lights in his eye sockets are taking you in, hungry for every last detail. You can tell he's trying to calm himself down, hiding as best he can behind a smile. "everyone said you were fine, that you just needed a little more time to recover than the kids cuz your soul's a little more fragile."

"I don't think anyone has a Soul tougher than Frisk's. And, now..." You frown, thinking. "Have you seen Asriel's Soul? Or can you sense it?"

Sans tears his eyes away from you to look over at the Dreemurrs, a small frown settling between his brows. "frisk sorta told me what they did. cobbling a soul together from a broken one and sheer determination... that's something. but it feels fine. whatever they did, it's working. i think i'm more surprised that flowey turned out to be the king's dead kid."

"Yeah," you murmur, leaning forward to rest your head on Sans's shoulder. He puts his arm around you, hugging you close as you watch the others. "You said that the others don't really remember, but... what about you?"

Sans gives a weak shrug. "not really. i mean, i remember flowey, which is more than can be said for the others. and then i remember your voice, calling out to me. did you..." He sighs. "forget it. i'd rather worry about the here and now. and the fact that somehow you guys broke the barrier."

You jerk back with the realization, staring up at him. "Has no one gone outside yet? Why are you all just sitting here when you can finally go out and see the surface?"

He laughs, his expression so full of love and affection that you feel yourself start to blush. "because we were waiting for you."

 
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