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.


115. Thanksgiving

You're elbow-deep in the abdominal cavity of a twenty-two pound turkey when you hear the shutter sound from Sans's camera. Pursing your lips, you look up to see him standing on the other side of Toriel's kitchen. He's looking through the pictures he's already taken and doesn't even notice you frowning at him.

You know that when today is over you'll be glad for the inevitable album, but you can't help but think about the set of photos he'll undoubtedly set aside to store in his machine. Just in case. If things somehow Reset, the thought of him sitting alone back in Snowdin sifting through months worth of photos just makes your heart ache. How would it make it better, seeing everything he's lost?

Then there's the other reason: so that he has this tangible, weighty record of his time since he met you. Proof of how far he's come since the last Reset. Evidence that time is moving forward undeniably. It's reassuring. On his bad days sometimes you can catch him looking through the albums or flipping through pictures on his phone.

As much as you love seeing your life through the lens of his camera, you can't help feeling a little melancholy. You think Thanksgiving is also partly to blame. This is your first major holiday with your new family, and you can't help the little nagging guilt in the back of your mind. No, you won't let thoughts of your mother tarnish your day. You won't.

"I'm sure that photo is really flattering," you say, fishing out the little packet of gizzards from inside the turkey and setting them aside.

Sans raises a brow, glancing up from his camera to look at you. "you've been picking up more sarcasm from deacon," he says flatly. "but you can see for yourself."

He comes over to stand next to you and turns so that you can see the photo on the screen. Resting your chin on his shoulder as you look, you're a little surprised that it, well, it's a good picture of you. Yes, your arm is shoved into the carcass of a dead bird, but the bright natural lighting from the kitchen skylight is catching the waves of your hair just right and your expression is tight and focused. He's good at capturing you in candid moments, you always feel weird in staged shots.

"I stand corrected," you say, kissing his cheekbone. He leans into the touch, giving you a brief, sideways hug. 

Toriel comes into the kitchen as Sans pulls away from you and you turn back to the turkey. She's smiling and shaking her head, and you can hear Asgore's deep bass laugh in the other room where he's with the kids and Papyrus. It's still early in the day, and only your two families are here yet. You had to get here with enough time to get the turkey started.

"What's going on in there?" you ask her, glancing towards the living room.

"Frisk is showing Asriel how to make 'hand turkeys'," she says, with a fond look on her face. "And I am afraid that we do not have paper big enough for Asgore to participate. The children are trying to tape sheets together for him."

"'hand turkeys'?" Sans gives you a confused look as you laugh.

"You'll see. It's a kid thing. Arts and crafts," you say, opening up the packet of gizzards and setting them up on a cutting board beside a bowl of stuffing. "That might be a cute picture of the kids; them working on their turkeys."

"Ah, before you go, Sans," Tori says as he's turning towards the other room. "I was hoping to speak with the two of you."

Oh, you were wondering when this was going to happen. That reporter's story about you and Sans (and Deacon and Bo, coincidentally) had gone live less than a week ago, the day after your impromptu interview. The article itself had been positive, much to your relief. Ashley had taken a romantic spin on it, including a cheesy line about love crossing the 'barrier' between the species. Reactions to the story, though, were... mixed at best. You had to remind yourself that the negative, rude, and downright racist comments tended to be the loudest, and that it's hard to get a good idea of the general opinion from just replies on a website. The article had also been reported on in the news, mostly with respectable neutrality. Though that didn't stop the conservative stations from making thinly veiled, bigoted comments to their co-anchors. But, for the most part, things had gone over without causing too much of a stir. At least from what you can tell.

The reactions that stung the worst tended to be online, in the comments section where the anonymity of the internet turns people into their worst selves. A handful of people questioned Frisk's safety and your poor judgment as their mother. You had to remind yourself that these are the same things they said before, when news got out that you and Frisk were living in Ebott instead of going 'home'. This isn't new. They're always going to question your choices.

You just wish you could go back to just being... nobody.

"did someone from the government talk to you or asgore about me and hope?" Sans says, and you know he was thinking the same thing as you.

Sans was upset that you were ambushed in the middle of lunch, and you know he wished he could have been there to help you. But he's glad. Glad that neither of you have to hide your relationship anymore. It doesn't stop him from worrying, though. About what this might mean for your future. What people with actual power might do or say.

Toriel looks between the two of you, a little taken aback. "Oh, that is not what I meant to say, but if you are concerned..." As she looks at you, you can tell she realizes that you are concerned, thank you. "We were... gently reminded that any kind of union or marriage that might be performed here on Ebott would not be upheld past the border of our territory. We are permitted a certain level of self-government, but until monsters are granted full citizenship, our rights are... limited at best past the Line."

Oh. You didn't expect any different, not until everything gets settled. But hearing it directly from Toriel feels so much more final. Sans rests his hand on the small of your back and you lean into his side. The queen does her best to give you a wide smile, taking a step forward and clasping her hands in front of her chest.

"But, what I wanted to speak to you about has to do with your marriage," she says brightly. "Asgore and I were wondering, now that your engagement is official, when the two of you were going to complete your harmony. And if you knew who you wanted to perform the rite."

You and Sans look at each other, and his arm leaves your back to circle your waist. "i didn't know if we could," Sans says, eyes widening. "are you saying it's possible?"

Toriel's smile grows, losing some of its forced tightness. Your worries about the government are quickly forgotten at this new information. "Of course! Hope, your Soul has a song just as monster Souls do. It has been generations since there has been an opportunity such as this, but this was not uncommon before."

You're grinning, looping your arm around Sans's shoulders (careful not to touch him with your hand because you were just touching raw turkey) to hug him. "That's great! Sans, I'm so glad we can do this for you. I just wish I could hear it too."

"Oh, you will," Toriel says, and you gape at her. She lets out a soft laugh. "The harmony will let you sense his Soul as we do. It may take a little while for you to adjust to it, but..." She trails off as Sans turns to face you, cupping your face in his hands. His eyes are bright and he looks so happy, you lean down to kiss him. The queen lets out a pleased sound, and you're too caught up in Sans to feel embarrassed that she's standing right there. "I think that you will do just fine, my child."

"you'll be able to feel both of us," Sans says to you, tracing your hairline. You know he wants to run his hands through it but you have it pulled back while you're getting the turkey ready. "babe, i had no idea or i would have talked to you about this sooner."

"I should have mentioned this before now," Toriel says, apologetic. "Sometimes I forget how much knowledge has faded from our people over the generations. But the two of you have had more than the customary waiting period of engagement before the rite. And I believe you have shared your Souls before?"

You and Sans look at her, pulling away from each other enough to be polite. He nods and you can't help but notice the motherly way she's regarding you both. It makes you feel a little shy. "yeah, a couple times," Sans says, and you realize he sounds apprehensive. "tori, about that... her soul's a lot stronger than mine, is that gonna affect the harmony?"

"No, they will find their balance. In fact, you will find that the process will come easier to you afterwards," she says. You can feel some of the tension leave Sans's body. When Toriel speaks again, her voice is gentle. "Asgore and I were hoping that we might perform the rite for you."

"I don't know what that involves, but... I can't think of anyone else I'd want involved," you say, then look at Sans. He's gazing up at you, grinning. "If you're okay with that, hun."

"yeah, absolutely. who else would know what to expect with a human soul in the mix. and you mean a lot to us, tori," Sans says, and you realize he didn't say anything about Asgore.

"The rite is not complicated, and the choice to have a full wedding ceremony is entirely up to you. You do not even have to have guests, if you wish."

"We were going to wait until everything was legal to have a wedding," you say, hesitating. "But maybe we could do something small, just friends?"

"babe, we can always wait and do this all at once," he says, though he sounds reluctant. "just because we know it's possible—"

"I want to. I want to do this for you. And for me. Who knows how long it's going to take for you to get your citizenship," you say, hugging his shoulders. "It may not be recognized outside of Ebott but... as far as everyone here where we live are concerned... I can be your wife."

"ok. yeah." He's grinning. "whenever you want to."

You're smiling, too. "Soon."

Everyone else shows up shortly after noon. Mettaton arrives with Undyne and Alphys and makes a quick beeline over to Papyrus to wrap him up in a hug and kiss him. Those two have been a lot more affectionate in the past week, and your soon to be brother-in-law was ecstatic to inform you and Sans that he and Mettaton are officially a couple. Sans has taken this all in stride, much to your relief. He's been making an effort to be a little kinder to him, you think.

Deacon is alone, and he's the only one that didn't bring any food. He admits to you that he couldn't think of anything that could possibly stand alongside your or Toriel's cooking, and he just sort of panicked and came over empty handed. You gently remind him that no one expected him to bring anything, but he doesn't seem comforted. 

Frisk and Asriel rope the newcomers into making hand turkeys before they're allowed to do anything else. Soon you have a whole flock of colorful turkeys of varying size and shape spread out across the floor.

The living room is full of people, laughing and talking, waiting patiently for dinner. You and Sans decide to tell everyone that you're planning on having your small ceremony for your monster-style marriage (Sans calls it the rite of harmony when he announces it to the room) sometime soon. The whole room bursts into excited congratulations and your friends take turns hugging you both.

Well, except for Deacon. He waits until everything dies back down and asks you what that means. You explain, and once comprehension dawns on his face he gives you a big smile and a friendly pat on the shoulder. He's happy for you, you know he is, but maybe it's because he's still a little uncomfortable being caught in the middle of this huge family gathering that he seems less enthusiastic than the others. Or because he doesn't completely understand it. Honestly, sometimes you struggle to understand some of these monster-specific things too.

Later, after you check on the turkey and help Toriel put together some of the side dishes that still need to cook, you find Deacon sitting off to the side on the couch. He's looking at his phone while the others are talking, squinting a little to try and avoid using his reading glasses. You cross the room and flop down next to him, leaning in close to try and snoop. You catch sight of a string of text messages before he turns off his screen.

"Excuse me, ma'am, this is a private conversation," he says, pocketing his phone and nudging you away with his shoulder.

You nudge him back. "With whooo?" you say, smiling.

The tips of his ears turn pink and you know exactly who it must be. He rolls his eyes but can't stop himself from smiling. "Bo. We've, uh, been texting a lot since Saturday," he says.

"When are you guys going out on your first date? Sunday, right?"

"Yeah. She's been busy with work, and her free time tends to be in the mornings when I'm at school..." He lets out a wistful sigh, running his fingers through his hair then rubs his mouth with the back of his hand. "I, uh... I'm actually really looking forward to seeing her again. She's... really something else."

You're grinning, and you give him another playful shove with your shoulder. "Look at you. I like Deacon with a crush. He's kind of adorable."

Deacon lets out an embarrassed laugh, giving you a sideways look. "Shut up."

"I hope everything goes well. I'm sure it will. I want you guys to start dating because you need more than just..." You trail off, lowering your voice because Frisk and Asriel aren't too far away. "Than just a fling. I want you to be happy."

"You're such a sap. If anyone's adorable it's you," he says, poking you in the cheek.

Grinning, you bat his hand away. "I'll accept that."

You catch the sound of Sans's camera and you and Deacon turn to see your fiancé facing the two of you. You wave and Sans smiles and waves back, then focuses his attention on Alphys, Undyne, Frisk, and Asriel where they're sitting in a circle on the floor. When you look at Deacon again he's giving you an odd look.

"What?" you ask, raising an eyebrow.

"He's really okay, with the two of us being this close? I mean, he's barely glowered at me all day, it's starting to weird me out," he says, and you can't help but laugh.

"Sans is having a good day. And yes he's fine," you say, smiling. "Really. I know you guys aren't friends, but he doesn't hate you."

Deacon makes a noncommittal noise, but lets it drop.

Dinner is wonderful. The turkey turned out perfectly golden-brown and the table is piled with dishes. From green bean casserole and stuffing, to slightly more non-traditional fare such as spaghetti and snail pie. Everyone is happy and smiling, and you're just so glad to be here with all of these people you care about. Even Deacon seems to be finally relaxing a bit, talking animatedly with Undyne and Alphys. It's good to see him like this.

Sans reaches under the table and squeezes your hand, an affectionate smile warming his face when you turn to meet his eyes. He's leaning back in his chair, content. "this is a good holiday. i like this one," he says. "it's good to see everyone together. we've all been getting pulled in different directions lately."

"Yeah," you say, threading your fingers through his. "I like it too."

"hey," he says gently, tracing the side of your thumb.

"Hey," you answer, smiling.

"i love you."

You lean over and kiss his cheekbone, ignoring the loud whooping sound from Undyne as she catches you in the act. "I love you too."

Once everyone is done eating, all of you work together to get the table cleared. In the loud hustle and bustle of everyone getting in each other's way, your phone starts to vibrate in your pocket. Without thinking you excuse yourself out the back door, out into the fading light of evening. It's quiet on the porch, away from a kitchen full of people all trying to take care of dishes and leftovers with no coordination whatsoever. The shadows from the almost-bare trees and spindly evergreens are long, and the sky is washed with orange.

You answer the call. "Hello?"

"Where are you?" The familiar voice sends an icy feeling of dread into the pit of your stomach. For a single frantic moment you think about hanging up, but you can't bring yourself to do it. "What could you possibly be doing on Thanksgiving that's more important than seeing your only family?"

"Mother, I'm with my family," you protest, your voice weaker than you'd like. You weren't expecting this. You should have! But you aren't prepared to deal with her, not like the last time you spoke.

"I'm at home, alone, on Thanksgiving because my only child won't bring my grandchild to come see me," Kim says, and you cross your arm over your stomach, holding yourself. You can hear her breathing, the slight rasp in her voice. It sounds like she's been crying. Guilt stirs unbidden in your chest. "I thought you might come for the holidays. You should be here at home."

You resist the urge to be petulant, to say that you are home. "The Line isn't open yet. And there's no way I'd leave Sans behind," you say, shoulders hunched, curled in on yourself.

"Oh yes, your fiancé. I can't believe I had to find out from the news that my daughter is engaged. We can talk about that later, but it doesn't change the fact that you and Frisk are human. You could come home if you wanted to. What you're telling me is that you didn't want to see me for Thanksgiving. That you'd rather let me sit here—" Her voice cracks and you feel your eyes swim with tears. You hate this. You hate how guilty and awful she can make you feel. How easy it is for her to heap the blame onto your shoulders and you can't even deny it. "Alone. On Thanksgiving. I even made turkey. I guess I shouldn't have bothered."

"Mother, you never even—" The call disconnects. She hung up on you. She didn't even give you a chance to try and explain, or apologize. She just had to have the last word, to make you feel like utter shit and then leave you to wallow in it. This is just like her! "You never even asked me to come!" you snap at the phone, glaring at it through your tears.

Looking up at the trees, you try to will yourself not to cry but you can't. Instead, you cross the porch to sit on the steps, shoving your phone in your pocket before burying your face in your hands and just let yourself fall apart.

Even here, months since the last time you saw her, she has this awful power over you. This ability to make you feel guilty for whatever she decides. She is your family, and as much as you wish you could feel otherwise you still, in some distant part of you, care about her. It would be easier to hate her. To believe that she hates you too and only wants the worst. That she's cruel because she wants to be cruel. But you can't.

You're so stupid. You're just a stupid, worthless kid who hasn't done anything with her life but stumble upon these people who just gave you everything you have. You didn't earn any of this. You're just a fraud. You've never been worth any—

The back door opens and you jump, cringing as you try to dry your face with the sleeves of your cardigan. Sniffling, you glance over your shoulder, expecting Sans, or maybe Toriel.

Deacon is there, one hand in his pocket as he catches sight of you, his smile faltering. "Hope? I came to find you because I didn't know where you went, are you okay?" He takes a step closer, brow furrowing.

Your eyes well with fresh tears and you shake your head. Burying your fingers into your hair, you squeeze your eyes shut and hunch forward over your knees. Maybe he'll just go get Sans. You can't imagine he'd want to deal with you like this. You feel embarrassed and disgusting, a mess of tears and—

Deacon sits down beside you and wraps his arms around you, hugging you close and tucking your head under his chin. It just makes you cry harder. This is the first time he's ever done anything like this before, and you're just so glad that he's here. You circle your arms around his chest, burying your face in his shirt as he strokes your hair and your back, making soft shushing sounds to try and comfort you.

Fighting to catch your breath, your tears finally stop. It leaves you feeling wrung out and a little numb, and you pull away to wipe your face. Deacon keeps one hand on your back, pushing your hair gently to the side so he can rub soothing circles between your shoulders. You give him a watery smile, shaking your head and letting out a shuddering sigh.

"I'm sorry," you say.

He ignores your apology. He's watching you, searching your face. "Talk to me."

"I got your shirt all wet," you say, reaching out to touch the spot on his chest that's darkened with tears.

"Good thing I'm waterproof," he says, his mouth twitching with a weak smile. "What happened?"

"My mom called me," you say, biting your lip and looking away. You scan the trees, like they might show you what to say.

"You've never talked about your mom before. I'm guessing it wasn't a friendly chat," he says grimly.

You let out a sharp huff. "She was mad I didn't go home for Thanksgiving. With Frisk."

"How come?"

You look at him, wondering if he really understands just what he's asking. An innocent question, but with an answer you don't think he's expecting. But he's sitting out here, with you, because he cares. Deacon is your best friend and he cares about you.

So you tell him.

You tell him that she used to hit you. To tear you down and abuse you. That the reason you went to Mt. Ebott was because of her, to protect Frisk. That the rumors that apparently circulated while you were missing were all true. And you tell him that for the first six years of Frisk's life, Kim was their mother.

You keep it brief, and by the end of it your cheeks are dry and your chest aches. Deacon listens to it all with a solemn, attentive expression, and when you're finished he hugs you again. "I'm sorry. Is that why you always seem anxious when there's a loud noise? Like when you first rode in Sylvie and I slammed the door?"

"I didn't think you noticed," you say, surprised and a little touched.

"I didn't want to nag you about it. I figured if you wanted to tell me you would," he says, sighing. "I mean, I figured you had your reasons not to talk about your parents."

"That's why I never asked about yours," you say softly, reaching for his hand. He turns his over on his knee and lets you take it, clasping each other.

Deacon's expression shifts and he looks down at your hands. His fair skin and your warm brown, a contrast almost as stark as you and Sans. He lets out a soft sigh. "Do you want me to tell you why?" he asks, tilting his head to look at you through his bangs.

"Only if you want to. Deacon, you don't owe me anything," you say, tucking your own hair behind your ear as you lean against his side.

A small smile tugs at his mouth, but it's enough to reach his eyes. "You know, when we first met I wouldn't have believed you if you said that to me. I wondered why you were being so nice to me, what you must have wanted in return. But you've never expected anything. You're just... Hope, you're such a kind person."

You let out a tiny, embarrassed laugh, blushing for sure as you look away. "You give me too much credit."

"I don't. You don't give yourself enough," he says, squeezing your hand for emphasis. "I want to tell you. I haven't told anyone about this in... a long time, and I want you to know."

Your smile fades and you nod, curious.

"I don't talk about my parents because I don't have any. No, Hope don't apologize, just let me tell you," he says, holding up his free hand as your brow furrows and you open your mouth. "I was told that my mom was sixteen when she had me. I was a month premature and she was discharged from the hospital without me. And never came back." He looks away from you, up at the trees. It's getting darker. "She never told anyone who my father was. The only thing she gave me was my name." Deacon shifts on the steps, his shoes scraping loudly against the wood.

"She just... she left you?" you ask, and you can't help but think of Frisk. How terrified you were in the hospital, and when you were sent home with them. With this baby you had no idea how to take care of. You can't imagine ever leaving your baby behind.

He nods. "Yeah. I mean, she was young and scared, I guess."

"So was I! But that's no excuse—"

"I know," he says, giving you a weak smile. "I appreciate your anger, but I don't know her. I never will. And maybe when I was younger I would have liked to go up to her and demand to know why she abandoned me..." His smile falters, and you wonder if he's actually as okay with what happened as he's letting on. "I spent... way too much time imagining what I might say, if I ever met her. But it doesn't matter. She made her choice and keeping me wasn't part of it."

You bite your lip, unsure of what to say.

"So I was raised in the system. Going from foster home to foster home. Some of them were okay. There was one family that wanted to adopt me, when I was five I think. But something fell through or they changed their minds, I'm not sure," he shakes his head, rubbing the back of his neck. You watch the muscles in his jaw tense. "But for the most part I was just a check from the state to these people. They weren't my parents, I wasn't their kid. No family photos on the walls, no big family dinners. I learned early on that there wasn't any point in getting attached. Any time I tried to get close they'd push me away or I'd get moved to a new house. It was... um..." Deacon sighs and he turns his head to meet your eyes. "It was easier not to get emotionally invested. Because then they couldn't reject me."


He blinks hard, his eyes a little glassy in the fading light. "You broke my streak," he teases, forcing a laugh. "It's all your fault, that I realized what I've been missing out on this whole time. It's why I felt so shitty with Grillby..."

"I'm not sorry," you say, blinking back your own tears as he barks out a laugh.

"Don't be. I don't regret it. It's hard to realize you're lonely when you don't know what it's like to feel any other way," he says, and the casual way he just seems to brush it off makes your chest ache. He lets go of your hand and puts his arm around your shoulders. You slip yours around his waist and he gives you a gentle shake. "C'mon, I bet everyone is wondering where we ran off to. And I don't need Sans assuming the worst and coming after me."

You let him pull you to your feet, and as you step up onto the deck he gives a little sigh as your eyes meet. He wraps you up in another hug and you throw your arms around his neck, squeezing him tight just as he does the same to you. Deacon presses his face into your shoulder, taking in a deep breath and then sighing as you feel some of the tension leave his body.

"Sorry, I figured you needed another hug," he says, voice muffled.

"Are you sure you aren't the one that needed the hug?" you tease gently.

"No way. I'm making this sacrifice for you. Hugs are gross."

You pull away, grinning as you give him a weak shove. Your smile fades as you glance towards the back door, realizing that you're going to have to tell Sans about your mother's phone call. And how guilty you still feel. "Do you want me to not tell Sans anything about what you told me?"

Deacon shrugs. "It's not exactly a secret, I just don't go around broadcasting, 'Oh, I'm an orphan, please feel sorry for me.' If you want to tell him that's fine. I trust you."

"Yeah, I know what you mean."

"About not throwing your tragic past in people's faces, or trusting me?"

You let out a small huff of laughter. "Both."

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