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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123. The Beach, Pt 3

"I'm sorry," you blurt out, shaking your head and hugging yourself. "If I had any idea I wouldn't have suggested this place, Asgore I—"

Asgore gives you a kind, patient smile and reaches out to rest his hand on your shoulder. It's big enough to engulf most of your upper arm, but the weight is reassuring. "Please, do not apologize. It is... a very old pain, but not an unwelcome one. I had thought perhaps this place destroyed, or lost to time, but here it is." He lets you go and turns back to the glowing lines that make up the stylized image of his father's face. Whatever ancient magic that was used to create this memorial reminds you of the blue runes you saw briefly in Waterfall. Asgore rests a hand between the two flaming eyes, stroking the stone. "I suppose it is fitting, that this should be the first place we visited. The water was not so high before," he says with a gesture at the ocean.

"What happened here?" Undyne asks, and maybe it's just your imagination but you think she's avoiding your eyes as she follows Asgore to stand at his elbow. "What did the humans do to us?"

It stings a little, the bite in your friend's voice. You feel a hand on your back and you flinch away before realizing it's Toriel. Her expression is gentle, but guarded. "My child, perhaps you ought to give us a moment and go back to the others."

There's an uncomfortable lurch in your stomach at her dismissal. You feel all at once like an unwelcome intruder, an other in this group of monsters. But you are an outsider, how can you possibly grasp the enormity of what this place must mean for Toriel and Asgore, or even Undyne? And in the moment it takes you to recognize your frustration, now you feel shame for feeling it in the first place. You should respect their wishes.

As you give a curt nod, Asgore looks at Undyne, touching her back. "Go with her. We will join everyone shortly, and I will tell you more. I would prefer not to speak of it twice."

Undyne hesitates but does as her king tells her. She nods at him and then meets your eyes for a second before looking down at the sand and coming to you. It helps take some of the edge off your selfishly hurt feelings, to feel less excluded. The two of you head back towards the rest of your group in awkward silence.

It's four thirty in the afternoon. The sun is setting over the ocean, painting the sky with brilliant oranges over the water when Asgore and Toriel rejoin you and the others. The cliff face is dark once again, the magical fire snuffed out as all of you wait in solemn silence. Even the children, woken from their naps, are quiet and restrained, sorting through their collection of shells between them on the blanket.

At first the king and queen don't mention anything about what just happened. Instead it's decided that you need to get a bonfire started before it's dark. Everyone pitches in together to tidy up the space, to pull blankets and towels and coolers off to the side as Asgore digs a pit in the sand and Papyrus and Mettaton go to fetch firewood from the car. Undyne starts cleaning her fish from earlier, but she keeps casting anxious glances over at Asgore.

Once the wood is all set up in the pit, Toriel pulls Asriel into her lap. "Now, Flufftail, you should start the fire for us," she says, and her son looks up at her with wide, excited eyes. "I think it would please your grandfather to know that after all this time, we managed to come back here to this place. He would be proud of you and your magic."

As Asriel holds out his hands and fire licks over his palms, Frisk crawls over to sit in your lap at your place beside the pit. Sans puts his arm around your waist and rubs your side with his thumb, distracting you. He's been watching you since you came back to the group, but there's nothing you can say to explain the guilt you're feeling. Your attention is caught again as the wood bursts into flames, and an appreciative murmur passes through the group. Asriel looks up at his mother and she nuzzles his cheek.

Asgore looks at his son, a proud smile easing away his melancholy as everyone waits, patiently, for him to speak. The only sounds are the crackling of the fire and the scrape of Undyne's spear as she uses it to scale her fish. Then, as he rubs the pad of his thumb over Asriel's head, the king settles into his spot beside Toriel and clears his throat.

"This place, with our backs to this cliff, is where my father's army made its final stand. All of our families were with us, because any monsters left unguarded were captured, or killed. The old and frail, and the young and weak, it did not matter. Any monster found by the enemy was at risk," Asgore says, his voice a low, calm rumble. Toriel rests her hand on his knee and he covers it with his own, something old and familiar passing between the two of them. A gesture of support. She must have been there too, seen all this firsthand. "There were humans with us too. Loved ones. Husbands, wives, partners, parents... Friends. Most of our allies without a personal stake had long since fled. It was clear that we were losing. And when my father was cut down, we... I... was given a choice. We could continue this war, and face certain death, or we could surrender, and take our chances with an uncertain future. They gave us a day to mourn our losses, and that is when I left my father's mark on that cliff. In the place I had to leave his dust when I chose to let my people be locked beneath a mountain."

"That wasn't a CHOICE," Undyne snaps, gritting her teeth. Alphys settles in closer to her and strokes her back and some of the tension leaves Undyne's body as she shakes her head. "You couldn't choose to let everyone die."

You glance around your ring of friends and family, hugging Frisk close to your chest. Mettaton is holding Papyrus's hand, both of their expressions solemn. Not even Papyrus has anything to say to lighten the mood, and he seems afraid to interrupt. Sans catches your eye squeezes you before focusing again on Asgore. You glance to your other side and see Deacon, his hands balled into fists in his lap and his shoulders rigid. Bo is rolling the hem of her sweater between her fingers.

"No," Asgore sighs, shaking his head. "I could not. Instead I watched as we were herded like beasts into a prison the mages fashioned for us. I could do nothing while families were torn apart, as children were taken from their parents. It was later that I realized why they did not let the humans stay underground with us, no matter how much they begged. Because it took humans to break the Barrier."

Sans's grip on you tightens. He hugs you close, reaching with his free hand to stroke Frisk's hair and leaning down to nuzzle the top of their head. They wrap their arms around Sans's neck and pull themselves into his lap, their legs still across you so they can touch you. Tucking their head beneath his chin, Frisk meets your eyes and you give them a tender smile. They press closer to Sans's chest and he holds you both.

He would have lost you both, if the three of you were in that situation. Forced apart, locked away underground, with no way of ever seeing each other again. You can't imagine how horrible it must have been, to be so utterly helpless in the face of that fate. Tears sting your eyes but you blink them back.

"But we survived. That was all we could hope to achieve." A weak smile spreads across his face. "Now we are here again. On the surface, where we belong," he says, his eyes meeting yours. Your lips twitch in an attempt at a smile.

Deacon clears his throat and you look over at him. He opens his mouth to speak and then stops, giving you a helpless look and then meeting Asgore's inquisitive eyes. Running his hand through his hair, he clears his throat again. "I'm sorry," he says, unable to hold Asgore's gaze. "I was just curious. Do you know why they chose to lock you away?"

"No. Perhaps it was out of guilt that they let any of us live, but I was not in a position to ask," Asgore says, his tone neutral. "And there are no mages left that I might ask them. Which I suppose is some sort of justice in of itself, that our jailers and their kind are long gone, while we yet live."

Swallowing, Deacon seems uncomfortable under the king's gaze. You can't blame him. Even though the monsters had human allies, human families, you can't help but feel somehow guilty. "And these children taken from their parents, was it like Sans and Frisk? Or can humans and monsters...?"

Toriel lets out a soft laugh, stroking Asriel's ears. "Both. Monster children are made from a union of Souls and magic. So, a human mage and a monster could create a monster child, if they so chose. And back then, many did," she says, her smile turning wistful. She seems to notice the surprise on your face, as more than one pair of eyes turns to you and Sans. "We never said anything because once it became clear that the mages were gone, we did not want you to feel as though an opportunity had been snatched away from you. There are very few who even know that it used to be possible."

You shake your head with a quiet, nervous laugh. "Oh, no, I'm perfectly happy with just Frisk. Between them and Asriel... I don't think I could handle a baby."

Laughter ripples through the group and the tension in the air is starting to dissipate.

"Dad," Asriel says quietly, leaning forward to reach for his father's hand. Asgore gives it to him, smiling. "Can I go light the fires for my grandfather? I... I didn't get to see him before."

The king scoops up his son in his arms, nuzzling the top of his head. "Of course you can. I will help you," he says, pushing himself to his feet.

"U-um. A-Asgore...?" Alphys stutters, adjusting her glasses as nervous sweat dots her temple. He pauses to look at her. "Do you m-mind if I join you? I'm c-curious about the old m-magic you used..."

"I do not mind," Asgore answers, and the doctor hurries after him.

Toriel watches them go, and in the firelight her eyes seem shiny with tears. After a pause she clears her throat and catches your eye, forcing a smile. "Well, perhaps we should start cooking all these fish Undyne caught for us!" she says, clapping her hands together.

As if it were some kind of signal, the last of the tension fades away with the last of the sunlight. Soon there are fish roasting on sticks over the fire, while the less adventurous members of your group eat the sandwiches you packed earlier. The night air is cold but the heat from the fire is comforting. With your feet near the flames, Sans sits behind you and wraps you up in the open flaps of his jacket, holding it shut around you. Leaning back against him, he nuzzles into the side of your neck and you smile.

Deacon has been quiet since Asgore's talk. He's holding a fish over the fire, twisting the stick in his hands. Bo leans against him and slips her arms around his waist which seems to pull him out of his thoughts. He smiles at her and puts one arm around her shoulders as she tilts her head up for a kiss. She digs her hooves into the sand near the fire.

After everyone has eaten dinner you extricate yourself from Sans's arms to go fishing through one of the bags for some very special supplies. Graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, and some long skewers. Right now, especially now that things are happier around the bonfire, everyone needs to experience the perfection that is a s'more. You make your way around the group with skewers and marshmallows, and watch them all as they start to roast. 

"OH NO, MINE CAUGHT FIRE! HOPE WHAT DO I DO?" Papyrus yelps, yanking his arm back as the outside of his marshmallow starts to char.

"Some people like them burnt. Blow it out," you say, grinning as you start breaking apart chocolate bars and crackers to get them ready.

Undyne is purposefully setting hers on fire, not even bothering to wait before blowing hers out and popping it into her mouth. Asgore and Toriel are speaking softly to one another and the kids are trying to poke each other with their sticks. Sans is holding his marshmallow close to the fire but not too close, slowly turning it as it starts to brown. As you start to wonder how he knew to do that, you catch him watching Deacon as he shows Bo that exact same trick.

As you're about to say something Sans turns to you and holds out his marshmallow. Sandwiching it with the chocolate and graham crackers, you pull it off the stick and go to hand the s'more to him but he shakes his head. "that one's for you. i can break apart crackers and chocolate for people, you eat," he says, giving you an affectionate smile.

You lean in and kiss his cheek before taking a big bite of your s'more, letting out an appreciative groan as you lick the sticky marshmallow off your lips. Sans chuckles and waggles his eyebrows at you and you snort, giggling at the look on his face. "Stop it, that's rude," you say, shoving his shoulder.

"you're the one making funny noises," he counters, grinning.

"H-hey, Undyne? C-can I talk to you for a m-minute?" Alphys says from her spot across the fire, handing her completely untoasted marshmallow and stick to Asriel.

Undyne is licking marshmallow off her fingers, and gives her girlfriend a confused look. "Yeah. What's up?"

"U-um, come on," she urges, standing and reaching for Undyne's wrist. The fish monster looks even more confused but doesn't argue, following her away from the fire.

Curious, you glance over at Sans. He's grinning, the lights in his eyes bright. "What, do you know something?" you ask him, leaning against his shoulder as he helps Frisk make their s'more. 

"i have an idea," he says evasively.

Frisk wanders back around to the other side of the fire to sit with Asriel, and for a moment you have a small bit of relative privacy. Sort of. "Well if you're not gonna tell me that," you whisper, poking him in the ribs. He grunts. "What were you and Bo talking about?"

He chuckles, low in his chest before turning to speak into your ear. "what do you think I might know about humans that nobody else here would?"

You blink, puzzling over his words for a second before letting out a loud gasp. Sans starts laughing, pulling away before you yank him back so you can hiss at the spot where his ear should be. "You didn't!"

"i did."

"She could have asked me."

"you're the human in this equation. she wanted a monster's perspective." 

You pull back and give him an exasperated look as he shakes with laughter. "I hope you were nice."

"i was!" He says, and he gives you a reassuring smile, leaning back towards your ear again. "look, they're good together. even i can see that. i'm sure they'll be good together too."

You snort and push him away, shaking your head and refusing to dignify that with a response. It's good timing because now Asriel wants help with his s'more and you and Sans have all the supplies. As the two of you get Asriel taken care of, a loud whoop of triumph cuts through the soft chatter around the campfire.

"YES of course I will!" Undyne shouts, and as you turn to look she sweeps Alphys up into her arms and spins her around. "We're going to get MARRIED!"

   
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