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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122. The Beach, Pt 2

Everyone agreed to wait until the entire group arrives before leaving the parking lot at the beach. Obscured by huge sand dunes, you won't be able to see the ocean until you cross a wooden footbridge. The kids are impatient as you wait for the others arrive, but so are the adults, you think. Papyrus keeps trying to steal peeks through a small gap near the footbridge and even Sans is glancing at the dunes. The crash of waves seems to be taunting you.

"Sh-should we unpack the cars? While we're waiting for D-Deacon and Bo?" Alphys asks, wringing her hands and casting an anxious look at her girlfriend.

Undyne is pacing, the frills on the sides of her head twitching. You've never seen her this impatient before, not even when the Barrier was broken. Maybe it's the ocean air or the sound of the water calling out to her. Alphys must want to give her something to do to distract her.

You hear a familiar rumble and look across the empty parking lot as that old, beat up Civic pulls in. This early, it's just you and the others at this particular lot, and you hope things stay relatively quiet. It's one thing to have humans come willingly to Ebott to see monsters, but quite another to have the monsters come to them. But, with winter just around the corner, the beach isn't exactly a prime destination for most people. You're betting on this to work in your favor.

"No, let's not worry about all the stuff until after we take a look," you say, giving Alphys an excited grin. All that tension during the drive here, the anticipation, it's all getting shoved to the background as you watch Deacon pull up alongside your car.

Everyone is here. You look over your friends and family, gathered together in their warm clothes, looking more suited for a day in the mountains than a day at the beach. But they're finally here, past the Line, and they're all waiting for some kind of signal. Sans squeezes your hand, Frisk is watching you with their arm threaded through Asriel's, and you realize that they're all looking at you.

You let out a nervous laugh, waving your arm towards the footbridge. "Well, let's go!"

Frisk and Asriel take off at a run at the head of the group, trailed by Papyrus. Everyone, including you and Sans, hurry along after them, not wanting to get left behind. Besides, you want to see the looks on their faces when they finally see—

"Wow! It's so big!" Asriel cries out, and as your motley group filters out onto the sand, you can hear the others express similar sentiments to each other.

"WOWIE, LOOK AT ALL THAT WATER!" Papyrus says, taking Mettaton's hand and tugging him down towards the shore. He's the only one not dressed in pants and a jacket, instead insisting on wearing bright, tropical swim trunks, a neon tank top, and a pair of sunglasses. "I CAN'T WAIT TO GO SWIMMING!" He also seems to have forgotten your request for no swimming. Again.

"Sweetheart be careful, I can't get too wet," Mettaton says, but doesn't seem to be fighting the forward momentum.

The kids run after them, and you can't find it in your heart to call them back. Though, to your relief, they stop at the waterline and opt to watch the waves roll in and out. Toriel and Asgore are content to watch the children, though you notice the king cast a glance towards the huge, rocky outcropping to your left that cuts through the beach and into the ocean, like a wall. You chose this spot because of the natural landmark. To make it easier to remember where you parked the cars in case you got separated, or chose to spend some time apart from each other. The rocky shore is also less popular with swimmers, so you figured it would help keep the day quieter than going elsewhere.

Undyne is suspiciously quiet you think. You glance over towards where her and Alphys are standing and you're surprised to see that the fish monster seems rooted to the ground. Her eye is wide, hands fisted in front of her stomach as she just stares at the ocean. Alphys strokes her arm, looking from her girlfriend to the water and then back again, and right as you're starting to get worried Undyne leaps into action. She's tugging off her boots and shrugging out of her jacket, and oh, you shouldn't be surprised she's wearing a sleek, black swimsuit underneath. You thought that was a tank top tucked into her jeans! Tripping over her pants before catching herself, she abandons her pile of clothes, runs halfway down the beach, doubles back to kiss Alphys, and then bolts headlong into the water with a whoop.

"S-sweetie it's cold!" Alphys cries out uselessly, reaching after her and then dropping her hand to her side with an amused shake of her head.

"I DON'T CARE!" Undyne yells, then yelps as her legs hit the water. "Ahhh, it's COLD! No, NO, I'm not going to let it stop me!" She grits her teeth and slogs through the waves until she's waist deep, gasping and then vanishing under the water.

You hear a soft chuckle and turn to look at Sans. He's watching everyone, just like you are, running his thumb over yours as he holds your hand. His eyes are big and bright and he doesn't seem to notice you looking. Happiness swells up in your chest and you lean in close to his side, freeing your hand so you can slide your arm around his back. He hugs you close as you lean over to cup his cheek and kiss him.

"We made it," you say and he nods, catching your hand and holding it to his chest.

"yep. we sure did," he says, glancing up at you and back out over the water. His smile weakens, replaced with something akin to awe. "this is... we can see the ocean from ebott but this is something else. there's so much sky, so much water, looks like it goes on forever."

Looking out at the ocean, you get that feeling too. Every time you come to the beach there's that moment as you look out at it all that you feel that enormity, the way it dwarfs you. It's like staring up at the stars. "Makes you feel small, doesn't it?" you say, not sure why you're speaking so quietly.

He nods. "there's so much out here. i can't believe how much we were missing."

There's a dull ache in your chest and you hug him closer, tucking your forehead into his shoulder. "I love you," you say, with as much tenderness as you can muster. Because you want to show him everything you can think of, and then some. Places you've been, and places you've never been or had the chance to go to. Even your own limited life before the Underground feels like so much more in comparison to what he and the rest of them had. A trip to the beach could be done on a whim and only now, after months of waiting and generations of entrapment have the monsters been given anything close to that freedom. "I'm so glad we're finally here."

"i love you too, babe," he says, pressing your hand firmly to his chest. "a year ago if someone had told me where i'd be right now... i'd laugh in their face. guess the joke's on me. not that i'm complaining."

The sound of someone sniffling catches your attention as you and Sans fall silent. Lifting your head, you turn towards the noise and see Bo wiping her cheeks with the backs of her hands, letting out an embarrassed laugh as Deacon pulls her close to his side. He's looking at her with a tender smile, cupping her cheek and kissing between her eyes.

"Sorry, I feel so silly for crying," she's saying to him, nuzzling under his chin.

"It's okay, I know being around me can be pretty overwhelming," Deacon says, grinning as she laughs. "I'm sorry I'm preventing you from fully appreciating the ocean, though. Come on, maybe it'll be easier if we get closer."

With his arm still around her shoulders, he leads her to the water. For a second he catches your eye and the two of you smile at each other. This was a good plan. You give him a little wave and he nods, and as you look out over the beach and your friends and you listen to the crash of water, laughter and mingled voices, you feel content. The protesters are long forgotten.

By lunchtime the sun is beating down on all of you, and you're able to shed your outer layers. The mix of cold ocean air and the heat from the sun is relaxing, and as you sit on a blanket, leaning up against Sans, you're half tempted to drift off. Your fiancé already has, his jacket balled up like a pillow under his head.

Mettaton is sprawled out on a towel, laying as if he were sunbathing. You suppose he sort of is, hooked up to a small solar panel wedged into the sand next to him. Papyrus is busy at his boyfriend's side, talking to him as he works on sculpting a sand-skeleton. He's inexplicably good at it, and you're reminded of some of the snow sculptures you remember from Snowdin.

Covered in sand after refusing to lay on a towel or blanket, Undyne is probably the happiest and most content you've ever seen her. She's basking in the sun, laying next to Alphys and playing with the doctor's tail. Alphys is sitting on a blanket next to her, blushing and smiling down at her as she feeds her girlfriend torn off sections of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

"There's so many fish down there! I'm going to go back, I'm sure I can catch a bunch," Undyne says, grinning.

"We brought plenty of food though," Alphys says, her tail twitching against Undyne's hands. "You d-don't have to do that."

Shifting a little in your spot, your hand brushes up against a pile of shells. Frisk has been adding to this new, growing collection all morning as they and Asriel have been exploring up and down the shoreline within sight. The kids, after having scarfed down a pair of sandwiches only after repeated requests from you and Toriel that they needed to eat, thank you, are now hard at work shaping a lump of wet sand you think is supposed to be a castle.

Looking at the shells, you pick up a big, mostly intact scallop shell, about the size of Sans's eye sockets. Turning it over in your hand, you glance over at your sleeping skeleton and, with a wry smile, set it on his face, right over his eye. His mouth twitches a little but he keeps sleeping. Sifting through the collection again, you try to find a second one, but before you can—

"huh...? hey!" Sans jerks upright and the shell falls into his skull with a clatter. You clap your hand over your mouth as he covers his socket with a hand and shakes his head. You can hear the shell rattle around inside.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" you blurt out, trying not to laugh as he opens his mouth and pulls the shell out from between his teeth.

"s'ok," he says, chuckling and reaching over you to put it back with the others. "if you wanted me to wake up you coulda just said so. waking up like that... it's kinda a beach."

You roll your eyes and sit up a little straighter, letting Sans claim your left hand and toy with your ring. On a blanket to your right Deacon is sitting with Bo's head in his lap, one arm behind him to hold himself up as his other hand is trapped under hers on her stomach. They've been like that for a while, after walking off alone earlier to follow the beach. Everyone but the kids is taking it easy, recovering from that early burst of excitement and relaxing after lunch. Bo is watching the ocean, and Deacon is watching her, and you can't help but smile at the soft, unguarded expression on his face.

Bo turns her head to look at you, and smiles as she catches your eye. "Sansy still asleep over there?" she asks you.

"yes," Sans says, making the two of you laugh.

She rolls out of Deacon's lap and pushes herself up to her knees, pushing her hair out of her face. "I was hoping I could steal you for a minute, if your fiancée doesn't mind."

"What if I mind?" Deacon says, and Bo gives him a sweet smile and leans in for a kiss.

"That depends on what you plan on doing with him," you tease, smirking.

"Oh, just talk," she says, brushing off her leggings and standing up. She gives you a playful smile and an arched brow and you free your hand from Sans's grip.

"i s'pose," Sans says, following her to his feet. He leaves his jacket behind.

As you watch the two of them walk off together, you realize that, months ago, this might have bothered you. But now you're just curious. Glancing over at Deacon, he sits up and crosses his legs, resting his chin in his hand. Oh, it looks like it is bothering him though. You get up and go to sit next to your friend, nudging him in the side with your elbow.

"What do you think they're talking about?" Deacon asks, watching the two monsters as they walk towards the wall of dark, jagged rock at the end of the beach.

"Dunno. I wouldn't worry about it," you say, giving him a reassuring look.

He frowns, then sighs and glances over at you. "They seem kind of... familiar. Did they ever...?"

"No, they just worked together. Back in the Underground." You bump against him with your shoulder, tucking hair behind your ear. "What are you worried about? She's been all over you all day, Deacon."

"It's nothing," he says, shaking his head. "I just thought maybe it was weird that the two monsters currently involved with humans just wandered off to go talk. But if you don't think that's weird..."

Maybe not weird, but now you're even more curious than you already were. From where you're sitting, you can't quite make out their expressions, but Sans is talking animatedly and Bo is nodding her head.

"Mr. Stuart! Mr. Stuart can you come help us?" Frisk is yelling from down near the water, waving their arm. Their sleeves are pushed up to their elbows and their hands are covered in wet sand. "We found something weird and I dunno what it is."

You and Deacon look at each other and after a second he gives you a wry smile. "Five dollars on jellyfish. Though do I need to remind them that I'm a history teacher and not a science teacher?"

"You're a teacher, that's good enough for them," you say. "Just hope it's not a used condom. I used to find those on the beach under the pier all the time."

"If it's a condom I'm passing the buck to you. I'm definitely not a sex-ed teacher," he retorts, standing and brushing sand off his jeans.

"It's a sea urchin. Just don't step on it and it won't hurt you."

Frisk and Asriel are crouched over a small pool tucked into the rocks. In it are a few urchins, and even a crab and a handful of tiny fish. Mr. Stuart reaches into the water and plucks out the smallest ball of spikes, holding it out between them. Curious, Frisk leans in closer.

"Is it moving?" Frisk asks, squinting as they think they see the individual spines shift, but it's hard to tell.

"Yes, they use those spikes like hundreds of little legs to move across the ocean floor. I think. I'm pretty sure, at least," he says, frowning to himself. "I didn't take marine biology in college, kids, you'll have to cut me some slack."

"Can I hold it?" Asriel asks, holding out his hands, the pads on his palms facing upwards.

Carefully, Mr. Stuart picks the urchin up and sets it in Asriel's hands. "Now just don't squeeze it or you'll get poked."

Frisk leans in close to their best friend's side, putting an arm around his back and resting their chin on his shoulder. Asriel glances at them and back down at the urchin, a huge smile on his face. After a second he starts laughing, his hands twitching a little as he struggles not to drop it. "It tickles! I can feel it moving!"

"Okay, okay, be careful," Mr. Stuart says, cupping one hand under Asriel's and retrieving the urchin from him. "How about we put this little guy back in the water. You can just look at them."

"Frisk! Asriel!"

Frisk cranes their neck around Asriel at the sound of a familiar voice, and they're pleasantly surprised to see a familiar blue rabbit bounding towards them. Long ears draped down her back, Bonnet's furry feet are coated in sand as she reaches them, dressed in a pair of white, floral overalls. She's smiling at them, and comes a little short when she catches sight of who they're with.

"Oh, Mr. Stuart! Hi!" she says, surprised.

"Bonnet, mom told you not to run off!" A second blue rabbit makes his way up towards them, smoothing back a tuft of fur between his long ears as he fixes his sister with a stern look. "You can't just go running up to random humans. Hey, I'm sorry about—"

"Bell, he's my teacher!" Bonnet argues as he picks her up and sets her on his shoulders. She wraps her hands around his ears and tugs them to the sides, out of her way. "Frisk, this is my stupid big brother." She glances behind her and sighs. "And his boyfriend Tom is trying to catch up."

Frisk can only watch as Mr. Stuart and Bell look at each other, a hint of recognition spreading across the rabbit's face. The blonde just gives a polite smile and holds out his hand. "Hey, it's no problem. I think she was actually trying to say hi to these two," he says, nodding at Frisk and Asriel.

After a moment of hesitation Bell shakes Mr. Stuart's hand and quickly lets go. He opens his mouth to speak when a familiar orange cat-like monster comes up alongside him. "Tom, there you are, sorry I had to bolt after Bonnet," he says, jostling his shoulders and earning himself a squeak of protest from his sister. "I didn't want her getting too far."

"I thought your name was Burgerpants?" Frisk asks, looking up at him.

Burgerpants's —Tom's?— eye twitches, and Bell takes his hand. "That's just a nickname, little buddy," he says between his teeth. He looks over at Mr. Stuart and his eyes widen a little. "Oh, uh, hey there again."

As the three adults make awkward small talk, Asriel tugs on Frisk's hand. "Why are they acting so weird?" he asks in an undertone.

"I dunno. But Bonnet's brother looks kinda annoyed," Frisk says, watching the way the big rabbit's nose is twitching. 

"Well, we should probably get going. We didn't mean to interrupt," Bell says, and he turns to head back the way they came.

Bonnet twists around on his shoulders and waves. "Bye Frisk! Bye Asriel! I'll see you tomorrow! And you too Mr. Stuart!"

"Bye!" Frisk and Asriel yell after her, then look at each other. "We didn't even—"

"—get to talk to her," Asriel finishes, and the two of them laugh.

Mr. Stuart gives the two of them an odd, confused look that quickly disappears into an amused smile. "If I didn't know any better I'd say you two were almost like twins. You're really close, aren't you?"

Asriel wraps his arms around Frisk, making them giggle as he presses his nose into their cheek.

It's mid afternoon, and the sun is starting its steady decline towards the ocean. There's talk of a bonfire, and Undyne already brought back at least ten fish she wants to cook. They're laid out on one of her towels, because there was no way in hell she was going to use anything you brought to hold a bunch of dead fish. This is why you packed sandwiches...

You've asked Sans twice now what he talked to Bo about but the only thing he'll say is that he'll 'tell you later' and he starts chuckling. You get the distinct impression it has something to do with you and Deacon.

The kids are napping on the centermost blanket, right in the middle of the group. Toriel is watching them sleep, but Asgore seems distracted by something. He keeps glancing over at the rocky outcropping, his brow furrowed.

"Asgore, is something wrong?" you finally ask him.

"Yeah, you've been looking at that cliff all day," Undyne chimes in, and you're not surprised that she noticed it too.

The king makes a soft grumble deep in his chest, tearing his eyes away from the rocks. He looks at you and then at Deacon, where he's sitting nearby, watching. "Do you know anything about it? Does it have a name?"

"Uh, when I was a kid I heard people call it Dead End Rock, but I don't know why. I mean, other than the fact that this end of the beach is sort of a dead end," you say, uncertain. "Deacon, do you know anything?"

The blonde shakes his head. "No, I'm not from here. I used to live three hours north."

Asgore looks unsatisfied with your answers. He pushes himself to his feet and crosses the beach, heading towards the rocks. You share a look with Sans and he shrugs at you. But you want to know what's bothering him. Toriel and Undyne seem worried as well, and so the three of you follow him.

"Asgore," Toriel says softly, hurrying up to his side. She touches his elbow and he glances at her. "What is it?"

"Do you not recognize this place?" He waits, and when Toriel just shakes her head, he continues. "I thought perhaps I was just imagining things, but the longer we are here... I do not think I am mistaken."

"What is he talking about?" you whisper to Undyne.

She gives you a baffled look. "I don't know. Something from before the war, maybe?"

Asgore stops right at the foot of the cliff, reaching out and resting a big hand upon the dark stones. He looks to his left, and then to his right, and runs his hand along the rock as he follows the edge towards the water. He doesn't stop until he reaches two worn hollows about and arm's length apart and as big as the king's fist, level with his head. Another low rumble echoes in his chest and he hangs his head, placing his hands inside each of the holes.

"Oh," Toriel gasps softly, covering her mouth with her hand. "Asgore, this is...?"

He nods, flames suddenly springing to life from his hands. Then, dropping his arms to his sides and leaving the fire blazing inside the stone, he backs away. As you watch, confused and worried about Asgore, the fire turns blue, and from them lines begin to etch their way across the worn, jagged surface of the cliff. As they curve and spiral, you realize that the two holes are eyes. Eyes for the massive face that the magic is painting over the rock. But it's when the lines come to an end at the tips of two huge horns that you realize that you're seeing the likeness of another boss monster. One that looks a lot like Asgore.

The king turns to look at you, sadness in those old, ancient eyes. "This is where my father died, and where we lost the war."

   
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