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.


143. Tests

Frisk doesn't wake slowly. It's all at once, a sudden gasp that makes you jump as they sit bolt upright on the hospital bed, wide-eyed with fear. They're clutching at their chest, and it takes them a moment to calm down as you hug them close and stroke their hair. When you try to ask them what had them so scared, they say they're not sure.

You're so relieved that they're okay that you can't bring yourself to be mad about the Load. Though you suspect that they won't be so lucky with Sans.

The doctor offers to keep Frisk for observation, because despite the tests they run they can't figure out what could have caused them to pass out. Not that you expect them to. They're even more put off by the fact that as soon as Frisk wakes up, it's like they're back to normal. No dizziness, no trouble walking, or speaking, or focusing. Just a little tired. But right now you just want to get them home, so you decline having them admitted. Instead you take their suggestion to follow up with their primary care physician with a polite smile, knowing full well you'll do no such thing. There's nothing these people can do to help Frisk.

Sans is nearly beside himself by the time you meet him in the waiting room, two hours after you texted him about Frisk waking up. He hugs you both so tightly, letting out a deep sigh of relief that you echo as you let the sound of his Soul wash over you, comfort you. 

"Dad, I'm sorry," Frisk says, muffled between the two of you.

"s'ok kiddo, right now i'm just glad you're ok," he says, hugging them close and nuzzling the top of their head.

"Frisk!" Asriel's cry of joy alerts you to his presence, and as you look up in time to see him darting for the three of you, you see Toriel is here too.

You and Sans let Frisk go so Asriel can have his turn, tucking his snout under Frisk's chin and apologizing over and over as they hug one another. Toriel comes to you and rests her hand on your shoulder, searching your face as concern paints across her features.

"Are you all right, my child?" she asks you softly, then glances over at the children. "And did the humans say what might have happened to Frisk?"

"I'm better, now that Frisk's okay," you admit, giving her a weak smile. "And they're not sure. They think maybe they were dehydrated; we did a lot of walking today." It's not a complete lie, that is what the doctor said, but you still hate having to keep these secrets. Though you know why it's necessary.

You talk with her for a moment, with Sans at your side as the kids speak to one another. She and Asriel have been here for the last hour; Sans called her to tell her what was going on, and as soon as all the kids got safely back to school she came so she could bring you all home. You're certain that Asriel's fear might have had something to do with it as well. It's hard to imagine that, if the situation were reversed, Frisk would accept staying away.

Deacon is standing off to the side, quiet and patient, but he gives you a smile when you catch his eye. Why does he still do this? Keep himself separate as if he's not included? Breaking away to the group to go to him, he holds his arms out to you the moment he realizes you're going for a hug.

"Thank you for being here with Sans," you tell him quietly, squeezing him tight before pulling away to look up at him. He lets you take his hand. "I can't imagine him sitting out here by himself... It was bad enough getting separated in the first place."

"Don't mention it. I'm glad I could help, even if it was just to help you worry a little less," he says, shrugging his shoulders.

"Really, I..." You hesitate, biting your lip before dropping your voice. "I'm sure Sans appreciates it too. Not being alone."

It takes him a second, but he drops his chin in a small nod, quirking the corner of his mouth with a wry smile. "I'm just glad I didn't have to stop him from doing anything stupid."

You open your mouth to say that you're sure Sans wouldn't have done anything, but the words catch in your throat. Deacon sees you falter, looking away as you realize that you're not so certain of how much your husband could take before he felt forced to act. "Yeah," you finally say. "Me too."

You have to tell Deacon he can leave four times before he finally does. You know he's got a stack of tests needing to be graded at home, and that he has to have them done by tomorrow. It's only Tuesday, and if he gets behind the whole rest of his week will be thrown off schedule. Toriel insists on staying and making dinner so that you can relax, and while you know that Sans is anxious for her to go so he can talk to Frisk, you're grateful for the help. She's being especially doting this evening, going so far as agreeing to let Asriel stay the night on a school night.

But with one look at how Asriel has been following Frisk around the house, refusing to let them out of his sight since you all got home, you can't blame her. You'd have done the same thing.

Frisk has completely bounced back, and if you didn't know any better you wouldn't even suspect they'd been in the hospital. The only evidence of that is the bandage on their forearm from where they'd put the IV port (standard procedure, they said). But then Toriel has to leave, showering both the children in kisses before embracing you and Sans. She tells you to call her if anything happens, no matter the hour. You don't think anything will, but you promise anyway.

The moment that Toriel is gone, the mood in the house shifts.

Sans lets out a breath, as if he's been holding it all day, sagging back into the couch. You look at him, taking his hand as he rubs his brow with the back of the other, then looks at where the kids are sitting in front of the television. Frisk glances back at him, sees him watching, and immediately looks down at the floor. He doesn't even have to say anything. The two of them turn off the TV and shift so that they're sitting facing you.

"I'm sorry," Frisk blurts out, wincing. "Dad, I know I should have asked you first."

"i already said it was ok," Sans says. He looks tired. As you notice it you realize just how tired you are too. It's been a hell of a day.

"So what happened? You still haven't told me," you say, looking at the three of them. It's frustrating, being the only one in on this secret that can't remember the Loads. 

"bonnet went missing, 'bout two hours into the trip. and we couldn't find her," Sans answers, turning his attention to Frisk. "kiddo... why did you load when you did? why didn't you talk to me?"

Frisk ducks their head, hiding their mouth behind their hands. Asriel fidgets beside them, rubbing his ear between his fingers. They both look like they're being scolded, which in a way, they are. Looking up through their bangs, Frisk shoves their hands in their lap. "Everybody was so worried," they say quietly. "And Bonnet's such a good hider; she's always the last one to get found in hide and seek! And... and if she got lost and scared, she probably hid..."

You glance over at Sans. You were expecting something worse, something more proportionate to the fear you felt, the anger and frustration of having your husband kept from you. An ugly, selfish thought creeps into your head. No one else's child is more important to you than your own, and you have to choke back the words before you admit to it out loud. You know that if it were up to you, you'd never have Frisk risk their safety for anyone. But, that isn't fair, is it? They've already shown that they'd risk themselves for Asriel —split their Soul with him like sharing a cookie. (They can't keep doing that. They can't keep hurting themselves to make other people safe.)

"but why didn't you talk to me or your mom first?" Sans asks, firm but gentle. 

"Because I could make it better. I knew I could just go back to when I Saved, right when we got there and Bonnet was still with us. Then no one would have to worry." They bite their lip, hunching their shoulders and dropping their eyes. "But I made you worry instead," they mumble.

"Yes, you did," you say, leaning forward to rest your arms on your knees. Hair spills over your shoulder, tickling your skin. "You should have waited for one of us to tell you if it was okay."

"actually..." Sans looks apologetic as your eyes dart to his, surprised. "i think if they'd waited, and something had gone wrong with bonnet... it would have been too late. i think it woulda been too much for frisk to handle."

The thought makes your stomach twist. "We don't know if it was the length of the Load. It would have been any Loading, we don't know anything about this ability."

"Last time I was fine," Frisk insists, looking up at you again. "I was just a little dizzy."

"well, there's one way to find out. if you do a short load, like five minutes—"

"What?" you blurt out, staring at your husband. "Absolutely not!"

"babe, i don't like it either—"

"Then why suggest it?"

"—but we gotta know."

"No," you say, clenching your jaw, balling your hands into fists in your lap. "Frisk can just stop."

"and what if there's an emergency, what if something happens and frisk can fix it?" Sans says, holding your gaze. You wish you could look away, but you can't.

"We can live our lives without screwing around with time!" You're glaring at him, desperate for him to understand. "Isn't that what you want? For all of this to just stop?"

"not if it means the difference between watching you die and seeing you live!" he snaps, fingers closing tight around your wrist.

There's a short, tense moment of silence as the two of you stare at each other, his words hanging heavy in the air. Asriel and Frisk look at each other, shifting uncomfortably on the floor.

"That's not fair," you say quietly, swallowing past a lump in your throat. "Sans, you can't keep holding that over my head. And you can't keep letting that hold you back."

"if we have a way of protecting each other, of keeping our family safe, don't you want to know?" He turns to Frisk. "make a save, in a few minutes, we can..."

"It's not Frisk's responsibility to keep us safe," you say, but as you're about to say more, you notice Frisk and Asriel's eyes lose focus for just a moment, then blink a few times before they glance at each other. You look at Sans. "It's our responsibility as the adults to protect Frisk, not the other way around, and... Oh my god, you just told them to Load, didn't you?"

Sans grits his teeth, looking over at Frisk as they give him a sheepish look. "you couldn't've made a new save? not gone back to when your mom was still upset?"

"You didn't tell me to make a new Save!" they blurt out, looking away.

"you agreed," he says to you, fixing you with an apologetic look. "we talked about—"

"Forget it, I believe you," you say, with no small amount of bitterness. Downright petulant, if you're being wholly honest with yourself. "I'd hate for you to have to repeat yourself."


You kneel on the ground and reach out for Frisk, shoving your frustration to the back of your mind. They let you pull them close as you run your hand over their forehead, as if checking for a fever, and feel for their pulse. They don't argue, are pliant under your hands as you check them over. "How do you feel? How long was the Load?"

"I'm fine, I promise," Frisk says, giving you a reassuring smile. "And, uh... ten minutes?"

"eight." When you look at Sans he's looking over at the clock. "eight and a half. and you're not dizzy?"

"No, Dad, I'm fine," they insist.

Asriel leans in close, focused on their chest. "Your Soul still feels fine. Maybe, um, just a little bit quieter."

"Mom, I'm fine," Frisk says again, and you realize you're absently stroking their hair. "You said it would be okay for me to try, because I said I wanted to help. That it would be safer to do it here than letting me get into trouble on my own later."

You can't help the small smile that curves your lips, because yes, that sounds like you. Kissing them between the eyes, you wrap them up in your arms, and then glance over at Sans. He's hunched forward with his arms on his knees, one hand behind his head. He's not looking at you.

"we can assume that it's not the act of loading itself that's the problem, it's gotta be the length of time. we know that thirty minutes causes dizziness, and two and a half hours causes loss of consciousness, but where is the line drawn?" He's talking to himself, thinking out loud. You don't like where this train of thought is taking him. "it's not very good science to claim results are accurate with just one test, but—"

"Stop," you say, and Sans's eyes dart up to yours from the ground. "Fine, we know that just Loading a short time won't hurt Frisk, as far as we know, but just drop it for now. Though it's not like I can stop you. If you really wanted to keep testing it it's not like I would know."

"hope, i promised you that i'd always tell you if something happened," Sans says, holding out his hand to you.

He did promise. But a small voice reminds you that he's lied to you before, in the name of keeping you safe. Would he lie about this? You like to think that he wouldn't. You look at his hand, the proverbial olive branch, and know that no matter how you might feel right now, you can't keep arguing in front of the kids. It's not right. They shouldn't have to see this. So you shove down your frustration and your fear, the resentment over the Loads, how left out you feel because you can't remember like they can. Because you're being petty and selfish and you know it. You know it and you have to make the active choice to push past it.

You take his hand. 

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