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.


22. Stalling for Time

You know that if you want to, you can rejoin everyone in the living room. Dinner is simmering, and will be for another twenty minutes, but you're just not ready. Sans will just be avoiding the one thing you want to talk to him about, and you're feeling conflicted about Undyne. Now that she's not chucking spears in your direction, you sort of understand how Papyrus is friends with her... But you don't like this.

A loud squeal of laughter you instantly recognize as Frisk's reminds you why you agreed to this at all. Did you really have a choice? Everyone you care about was telling you to reconsider, so didn't you owe it to them to listen? Your only real option would have been to leave, and that thought terrifies you. Where would you go? This home has been the first place you've felt safe in... far too long.

And Frisk likes Undyne. Not that you set your life choices by the whims of a six-year-old, but Frisk has been so happy here with these people... How can you be the one to put that at risk?

It doesn't take much for you to start second-guessing yourself. ("Just listen to me! You may think you know what's best, but you don't. Look at where your choices have gotten you so far, clearly you need someone to make sure you don't mess it all up even more.")

You bite your lip, digging your nails into the meat of your palms. You're not sure what to think anymore.

"if you glare any harder at the stove, it's gonna catch fire. and then between the lot of us we'll be down two houses in one day."

Gasping, you nearly jump out of your skin when Sans seems to appear out of nowhere on the counter nearby. Heart hammering in your chest and panic singing under your skin, you clutch a hand over your sternum and grab the edge of the stove to keep yourself steady.

"God damn it," you snap, a sudden rush of shame making tears spring to the corners of your eyes. "Don't do that," you choke out, squeezing your eyes shut.

"babe, shit, i'm sorry," Sans says, and you can feel him standing in front of you, taking your hands in his. He slowly rubs your knuckles to try and get you to relax your fingers. "i thought we were getting better with that. i'm just screwing up a lot today, huh?"

You give him a weak glare, blinking back tears and drawing in a shaky breath. "Was that a joke? 'Screwing'? Really?"

Sans stares blankly up at you for a second before making a face. "oh, no! that was an accident," he blurts out, anxious.

You can't help the weak laugh that escapes you, and Sans gives you an equally pathetic smile in return. It takes a moment, but you're starting to feel okay again.

"better?" he asks, still rubbing your hands.

You nod. "Did you want something? I know you're not here to talk about earlier," you say, sounding more bitter than you intend. He lets go of your fingers as you pull them back.

"i wanted to thank you for not saying anything to papyrus, and for agreeing to let undyne stay. i know that wasn't easy, and i really don't know what my bro was thinking... actually, i do know, but still," Sans shrugs, looking a little uncomfortable. "he can be a bit of a bonehead."

You give a humorless chuckle. "It's not like I had a choice, Sans."

"what? of course you did," he says, brow bones raising.

You shake your head. You really don't want to argue about this. It's not like you can waltz into the living room announce that you've changed your mind, and tell Undyne to leave.

"hey," he says gently, and after a moment of hesitation you let him wrap you up in a hug. You pillow your head against your arm, resting on his bony shoulder. This feels good, but you feel guilty for letting him comfort you when you should be the one comforting him. "if you're really not okay with this, i can talk to undyne. she has other friends she can stay with."

"No," you blurt out in an anxious rush, tensing. At this point it just feels like that would make everything worse. You just want everything to be okay again. "I'll deal with it. She's... not as bad as I thought. Not entirely."

"pap and i won't let anything happen."

"I know."

"and i know it doesn't make it better, but what she did wasn't personal."

"I know."

"...i'm sorry."

You hesitate, pulling back  enough so that you can see his face. He looks distant, withdrawn. "For what?"

"today was supposed to be a good day," he says.

You hug him again, tighter this time. "Talk to me," you whisper, and you feel him tense against you. "I'm worried about you."

"later. i promise. now isn't the time," he says, and there's a note of desperation to his voice. "and i hate making promises, so i hope you appreciate that."

"I'll hold you to it," you tell him, with an extra squeeze for emphasis.

"right now i think you're just holding me to yourself."

You give a quiet laugh, and he brushes a toothy kiss against your cheek.

"c'mon, get out of the kitchen and join the rest of us. enough skullking in here all alone," he says, pinching your side and making you give an undignified squeak.

Your squeak dissolves into a mess of giggles despite yourself, thanks to Sans's well-placed joke. You catch sight of him grinning at you as you pull away, covering your face. How does he do this? He's not faking this smile, you can feel the happiness in him. How can he be so happy? What is he afraid of? You just have to trust him to keep his promise.

It's Sans's idea to start playing card games. At first you're so caught up in teaching Frisk how to play gin rummy that you don't see it for what it is. He's stalling. Everyone has already had dinner, sat around watching television, and now it's getting late and he's trying to buy himself more time.

But the cards are already dealt so you might as well play a few rounds. Besides, Frisk seems excited to play.

The table isn't big enough for all of you, so you're sitting in a ring on the floor in the living room, between Frisk and Sans. Papyrus is on Frisk's other side, and Undyne is between the brothers... almost directly across from you.

Frisk leans over close to you, tilting their cards so you can see them. "Mom, are these good?" they ask.

"Hey!" Undyne yells, making you both jump. She leans forward into the center of your human-and-monster circle. "No cheating, squirt!"

"Is there a reason you're shouting at Frisk?" you snap back, eyes narrowing. 

"take it easy on the kiddo," Sans says. "they're not quite the card shark that you are, undyne."

A groan travels around the circle, and Sans just grins and shrugs his shoulders. But it has the effect you're sure he was hoping to achieve; the mood lightens and you start playing the game. Between hands he makes a point to touch you. A nudge with his shoulder or a light touch on your leg when he talks to you. Whenever he tells a joke he glances over at you to gage your reaction. Every time he does it you give him the same 'I know what you're up to' look.

Eventually, about an hour later, he finally starts to get the point. It helps that Papyrus has started yawning, Frisk is about to nod off with their cheek smooshed against your arm, and Undyne has a sort of faraway look in her eye. You're finding it hard to fight back your own yawns, too.

"Okay sweetie, it's time for bed," you say to Frisk, who looks up at you with bleary eyes.

Frisk wraps their arms around you, letting you press a series of kisses along their cheeks and forehead without too much complaint. "Night. Love you," they mumble.

"Love you too. You gonna be okay sleeping in Papyrus's room?" you ask.


Everyone around you is slowly climbing to their feet. Undyne gives a particularly loud groan as she stretches her arms over her head and flexes her legs.

"If you need me, don't hesitate to come knock on Sans's door. I'm right down the hall," you tell them, fussing over them as they try to pull away.

"Mom, I'll be okay," they say, sounding insulted.

"I'm just making sure."

"I slept in my own room by myself for six years. I'll be fine." Frisk uses your shoulder to push themself to their feet, rolling their eyes.

That's not true, you want to say, but you're afraid of sounding too smothering. Frisk is already rolling their eyes at you, acting too 'grown up' for your affection. They don't want to hear about how they slept in a bassinet at the side of your bed for the first four months of their life, getting up with them in the middle of the night when they cried. Your mother was more than happy to take care of all the responsibilities that didn't involve interrupted sleep. You were the one that fed them at two in the morning, before they started sleeping through the night. You rocked them back to sleep, and held your breath when you set them down, afraid of waking them. When they got colicky, you were the one who slept in the rocking chair with them on your chest, because it was the only way they'd sleep.

You remember your baby, as you watch your child walk up the steps with Papyrus to go to bed.

Sans touches your shoulder, and you take his hand as he helps you to your feet.

"c'mon, let's go talk."

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