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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168. Stop Telling Me To Wait

Deacon is quiet when they get back to his house. Sans lets go of his arm the second they appear in the living room, shoving his hands back in his pockets and lowering his hood. He was hoping to come back to Ebott with answers, with a plan. Instead he's empty-handed, the only revelations being Jacobs's ties to the Vigilium and the fact that the Literatum are one huge disappointment.

He's not content to just sit and wait. Not anymore. But it seems he's stuck doing just that, for now at least.

What was the Literatum like before? They must have been at least a little more proactive if they'd had some kind of conflict with the Vigilum. At least one bad enough to lose people... Sans can tell that Grant and Morwenna have some kind of history, and he wonders what happened there.

Sans and Deacon look at each other, something uncertain hanging in the air between them on the other side of this little adventure. He wonders if this would be a good time to apologize. He was wrong. It's obvious that he was wrong. Deacon had stood up for him to people he'd known a hell of a lot longer than him, had every reason to like more than him. He'd almost punched Grant for refusing to back down to get the help they needed to bring you and Frisk home. He'd alienated himself from these other mages because he'd made a place for himself on Ebott, with you and Bo. Maybe they couldn't see it yet, but Sans could; Deacon didn't see himself as one of them anymore.

(He'd tried to ruin that for him. He'd been so quick to cast judgment, and he was wrong .)

But the words catch between his ribs. Some stubborn part of him still clings to the fact that he lied to him, to everyone. That part doesn't care that he had a good reason, that it wasn't personal. All the bitterness and annoyance and frustration, his lack of patience... How much of it is really him, and how much is the dissonance fucking with his head? He'd been able to ignore it before. He should be able to do it again. Having a name for it should make it easier .

Is it defeatist of him to just accept that they're not meant to be friends? That their Souls just aren't content to share the same space?

...Hadn't he stopped letting the universe try to boss him around?

“hey, i—”

“About that kid—”

They both stop, letting silence reclaim the room.

Sans watches Deacon’s jaw work, and whatever sudden resolve he might have had to just blurt out the apology has left him. “go ahead,” he says. “what were you gonna say?”

Deacon’s pale eyes fall to the floor as he rubs the back of his neck, shrugging his shoulders and looking ashamed all of a sudden. He lets out a haggard sigh. “That kid, the little boy Grant…” His hand clenches into a fist at his side. “The one he brought up. I assumed you were going to ask about what happened.”

He’d actually forgotten, in the mess of everything else. Sans had been more concerned with his letter to you and wondering about the Literatum. But he can see that it’s weighing heavy on Deacon. So instead of denying it, he just nods.

“It was… Look , I was young, I was scared, and I didn’t…” He shakes his head. “I did as I was told. And that son of a bitch has the gall to tell me I had a choice ? I never had a choice with him. I was—”

Deacon cuts himself off, forcing himself to relax and take in a slow breath. Sans counts five seconds.

“you don’t have to—”

“This would be easier if Hope was here,” he says, and the rawness of his words silences Sans. Because, yes, a lot of things would be easier of you were here. “I keep expecting you to jump down my throat.”

“just say what you gotta say.”

Deacon nods and crosses his arms over his chest. “Yeah. Okay. Sure. Long story short, this kid in our neighborhood got run over by a car. This lady was backing out of her garage and couldn’t see him on his bike. You hear stories like that every once in awhile, big tragedy, stuff like that. The two of us —me and Grant— we heard a commotion outside, some lady yelling to call an ambulance.” He hesitates. “I should have stayed inside like Grant suggested, but he didn’t stop me so I went.”

Sans can only watch Deacon as he talks, sees the moment his attention isn’t quite here in the room anymore. His eyes are off in the middle distance, and the muscles in his shoulders tense.

“There’s a few people standing in this lady’s driveway, and on the ground is this kid. This little boy I recognized from down the road. It’s… it’s fucking awful, what a car can do to a body that small, it’s…” He blinks, shakes his head, rubs his eyes but still doesn’t look at Sans. “He was still breathing when Grant and I got there. I could have healed him. At least enough to buy him some time, for the ambulance to get there. But he told me I couldn’t. I’d always been told that I couldn’t use my magic in front of anyone because it was too dangerous. And I was young and scared and didn’t think I could disobey him. So I just sat and watched as this kid died right in front of me, knowing I could have done something to help.”

Sans isn’t sure what to say. What can he say?

Deacon shrugs his shoulders, like he’s trying to shake off the memories. He gives Sans a weary smile. “So yeah. Now you know my other deep dark secret I guess. I watched a little kid die when I could have stopped it.” How many times had Sans watched Frisk die? How many times had he just not cared enough to help them? He’d been too far gone, too lost to muster up the effort. Because nothing he did ever changed the outcome. He’d carry that guilt for the rest of his life, but Frisk is still here. Deacon’s pain is permanent. “Maybe. I mean, I might have just made it worse, but—”

“how old were you?”

His expression falters, like he wasn’t expecting the question. “What’s it matter? Old enough to know better.”

“just tell me,” he says, gritting his teeth.

“...Sixteen,” he admits.

Sans bristles. “grant’s a fucking asshole, putting all that responsibility on your shoulders like that. you were a kid. s’not your fault.”

“It’s complicated. The whole thing with Grant is… it’s complicated,” he sighs.

“once this is over, once we deal with this mage bullshit, i wouldn’t blame you if you just cut ties with them,” he says, indignant on Deacon’s behalf despite himself.

“The others aren’t so bad,” Deacon says, which is a weak defense. “They’re just... People. With their own lives. Morwenna and Grant take it a lot more seriously. And Vanessa. Vanessa Ingram, Morwenna mentioned her. She’s our ‘spy’. They actually wanted to send her here to Ebott, but she didn’t have the best way in. And she’s better at the really covert stuff. But Howard and Maria are just people. They had lives before Morwenna and Grant found them, unlike me.”

Deacon shakes his head, laughing weakly. “God, you don’t care about this shit,” he says, fixing Sans with an amused look. “You don’t care that I’m just as disappointed with the Literatum as you are. That when Grant came to me, when I was twelve and had read way too many books, and told me that I was special … That shit , maybe the stories I’d been reading were right. That I could be something .” His expression sours. “But he never let me be anything. He wasn’t even going to let me get a degree in teaching, I had to convince him to let me do that. Had to reason with him that it would make it easier for me to find magic in the kids so we could keep an eye on them until they were older.”

“deacon.”

“You should probably just go,” he says, running his hand through his hair. “Sorry, I just dumped all this shit on you. I’m not… I’m not your friend. Hope’s my friend and she’s not here.”

“does bo know about all this?” he asks gently.

Deacon gives him an odd look, taken aback. “I… no. It never came up.”

“you should talk to her. tell her everything you told me.”

“Look, I get that you didn’t really want to hear all of that, but just brushing me off is a little rude, don’t you think?” he grumbles, frowning.

Sans rolls his eyes, frustration bubbling beneath the surface. “i’m not brushing you off, you ass. i’m saying that you should go talk to your goddamn girlfriend, because she wants to be there for you. and we both know that you don’t want me doing the listening. you want hope, and you’re stuck with me, and you should be going to bo. you need someone to help you feel better, and no matter what i say it’s not gonna help. so go to someone who can .”

Deacon’s ears go a little pink and he swallows. “Oh. Yeah.” After a second he walks past Sans, over to the side table where they left their phones. Picking them both up, he passes one to Sans. “Well, then I guess I should do that. I’ll, uh, keep you updated if and when Morwenna or Grant gets in touch.”

 oh ,” Sans blurts out, catching himself right before he checks his phone. “uh, so i’m curious. what’s the story there?”

He arches a brow. “Morwenna and Grant? They, uh, were a thing I guess. A few years before I got adopted. Look, I mean, this is all just gossip that one of the old Literatum told me, before he stopped showing up at the…” He lets out a weak laugh. “‘’Super secret mage meetings’ I think is what you said?”

Sans rolls his eyes.

“But that fight with the Vigilum they kept talking about? I guess Morwenna had a brother who was a mage, too. He and another guy died, and Morwenna blamed Grant for not saving him. Something about him putting his feelings for her ahead of the good of the group. She broke up with him.”

“this is the same grant that was giving you shit about ‘frivolous attachments’?”

“Yeah.”

“shit.”

“Uh huh.”

“well morwenna deserves someone better than that jackass anyway,” Sans says with a shrug.

“Oh, you would be a huge sucker for her, wouldn’t you?” Deacon says, resting his hands on his hips.

“what makes you say that?”

“Red Soul. Maybe you’ve got a type.” He winks at him.

“i’m leaving,” he grumbles, narrowing his eyes. He glances down at the phone in his hand.

“Yeah, you say that because I’m right—”

 fuck !” Sans grits his teeth as he’s greeted by the sight of about ten missed calls, one of which is from Asgore, and two from Undyne. The rest are from Papyrus. There’s four voicemails and fifteen texts.

“What, what’s wrong?” Deacon asks, alarmed.

Sans doesn’t immediately answer, checking the text messages first. ‘SANS WHY AREN’T YOU ANSWERING YOUR PHONE??? I’M STARTING TO WORRY!!!’ ‘BROTHER, I HOPE YOU AREN’T DOING SOMETHING DANGEROUS OR FOOLISH. OR BOTH!!!’ They’re all pretty similar, with varying abuses of punctuation.

“Did something happen? Is Hope okay?” Deacon asks, pressing closer to try and look at his phone. He checks his own, but his frown just lingers. “I didn’t get any calls.”

“what? yeah, no, she’s fine, i… i gotta get home. pap is freaking out about me being gone and not answering my phone.”

“Oh, oh, okay. Yeah, just—”

He doesn’t let Deacon finish. He teleports home.

Papyrus, Asgore, and Undyne are all waiting for him when he arrives.

He’s wrapped up in a pair of long, bony arms before he can even get a word out, crushed to his brother’s ribcage as he starts to chastise him loudly and thoroughly. “BROTHER WHERE WERE YOU? I WAS WORRIED SICK AND WHEN YOU DIDN’T ANSWER YOUR PHONE I THOUGHT YOU WERE OFF DOING SOMETHING FOOLISH AND DANGEROUS . UNDYNE SAID YOU WERE TOO LAZY FOR THAT, BUT I TOLD HER I THOUGHT IT WAS STRANGE THAT YOU DIDN’T JUST STAY HOME, AND THEN SHE SAID WE SHOULD CALL ASGORE, AND—”

“bro, s’ok. everything’s fine,” he says, patting his brother’s back.

“Well, then I suppose this whole arrangement seems rather silly, in hindsight,” Asgore says soothingly, giving them all a placating smile.

“You got us all worked up over NOTHING,” Undyne blurts out, letting out a frustrated sigh. “LAME.”

“Undyne, it is just as well that everything is fine,” Asgore says. “It is preferable to the alternative.”

“Yeah, but you were busy talking to that Jacobs asshole, and we interrupted you for no damn reason.”

Sans bristles at the sound of Jacobs’s name, pulling away from Papyrus so he can see Asgore. “you met with jacobs?”

Asgore nods, a solemn look on his face. “Yes, though I fear it did us little good. He is still refusing to give me an explanation for this change in procedure. The human news is reporting something about a ‘quarantine’ and when I asked him for clarification he gave me none. So you can be reassured that this interruption hurt no one.”

Sans wants to tell Asgore what he learned, but if he does that then he’ll have to explain how he knows. And he’s not ready to let any of the others in on what he and Deacon are up to. They’ll want to be involved and… he can’t put them at risk. Not to mention that he’s not sure he can trust their subtlety.

“If anyone is going to get HURT, it’s Jacobs!” Undyne growls, immediately proving his point.

Yeah, there’s no way that he could involve Undyne.

Asgore makes a noncommittal rumble deep in his chest. “I do not think antagonizing the Captain will do us any favors. Unfortunately, for the moment, there is nothing that we can do but wait and see if anything changes.”

Sans knows that feeling all too well.

   
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