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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68. The Depths of His Despair

Sans is standing there in front of you, his face hidden behind the twisting fog. Hands shoved into his pockets and shoulders hunched, he looks like an enormous weight is pressing down upon him and he's sagging under the pressure. Frisk lets go of your hand and you go to him, reaching out to wrap your hands around his arm. He doesn't even seem to register your presence.

Now that you're touching him you can feel that he's trembling. "Sans, we're here for you," you say gently.

"it doesn't matter. none of this matters," he says, his voice ringing hollow. Emotionless. None of that warmth or even sadness.

"Of course it matters," you tell him, squeezing his arm as if you can get through to him with your touch. He doesn't react. "Everything we've been through, everything that we've built together, it all matters."

"why are you even trying? it's so much easier to just give up. it can't hurt you if you don't care. if you don't have anything it can't get taken away." He's shaking more now and his voice is cracking. You feel tears gather in your eyes and you fight the urge to wrap him up in your arms and hug him close. "just give up. i did."

"That's not true!" Frisk says, taking hold of his other arm and tugging sharply. "You were always there for me! You... helped me. No matter what, you made sure that... that things would be okay. And sometimes it was hard, really hard, but you did it."

"i could have done more. maybe if i did more, things wouldn't be so bad. if i had worked hard enough to stop the accident, people wouldn't have died. it's not enough. it's never enough," Sans says, and you can hear it in his voice that something inside him breaks. He's crying. "no matter what i do i'm always gonna lose them. i hold on as tight as i can and they slip through my fingers. happiness is temporary."

You're crying, too. Tugging on his arm, he doesn't fight you as you free his hand and wrap both of yours around his. His fingers twitch against your skin. "Happiness is important because it's temporary. You can't be afraid to be happy just because it might be gone someday. You need it to get you through the bad times." You pull his hand up to cup your cheek, holding it against your face. "Stop blaming yourself, Sans. None of this is your fault. You can't bear the weight of this forever."

"it's mine to bear. no one can understand how this feels. no one understands what it's been like, living this over and over again, remembering things no one else can. i can remember all of these timelines but i've forgotten so much. who am i anymore?" His fingers curl against your skin, pressing so hard it hurts but you refuse to let him go.

"You're the man I love. You're the person who despite everything telling you that you shouldn't, let yourself love me back. Even though you were so scared of losing us, you chose to accept me and Frisk as your family," you say, voice cracking. Trembling, it feels like a hand has reached into your chest and squeezed. It aches. "Don't let this undo all the work you've done. Let us help you. You don't have to be alone."

"i am alone. one day it's all going to be reset and you'll be gone. you'll never remember i even existed. i never should have let myself love you," he says, trying to pull his hand away.

You don't let him. You hold him fast but God his words sting, like a slap to the face. Blinking through your tears, frustration starts to bubble beneath the surface. "If you lose us right now it really is going to be your own damn fault! You're letting this happen. If you pull away from me you're just making your own worst fears come true. Fight this! Fight this and come back!"

"i can't..." he says but you can see through the gaps in the mist obscuring his face. For a moment your eyes meet and a surge of hope fills you. "b-babe it's too much."

He's almost there, he's so close that you can almost taste it but he needs something else. Something more than words. Your Soul lets out a bright pulse of red and you remember. When you couldn't bring yourself to believe that he loved you he showed you the truth. Linked his body, his magic, to your Soul and bared enough of himself for you to understand.

"I've got you," you tell him, and bring his hand down to where your cracked Soul is still hovering in front of your chest.

You have to reach out to steady yourself on Sans's chest because he's right; it's too much. His grief and fear, sadness and self-loathing threatens to drag you down and swallow you whole. The last time you had only felt a fraction of how deep this went. The full scope of it, the reality of just how helpless Sans must feel hits you square in the chest, knocking the air out of your lungs. You flounder under it all and he shudders, trying to pull away but you hold on tight. You can't let this stop you. You have to show him that you're here. Distantly, you're aware of Frisk grabbing at the side of your jacket, holding onto both of you as they watch with wide eyes.

"I'm here too," Frisk says, and you can feel a small surge of something swell inside of you, timed with a flare of red from their bright and radiant Soul.

It's enough. Just enough to remember yourself and focus on why you're doing this. That you love him and that you know it hurts. You might not be able to fix it but he doesn't have to feel this alone, because you're here. You'll always be here because this isn't like the other timelines. Frisk remembers and they promised and things are going to be different. They have to be because you're a family and nothing is going to take that away. Not with the three of you holding on tight to this future together.

"It's okay to be scared, and afraid, and worried," you tell him, fisting your hand in the front of his jacket, your grip like iron on his hand at your Soul. You can feel his hand in yours and at the same time feel the pressure of your fingers on his bones. The lines between the two of you are blurred and you squeeze your eyes shut because you're seeing through two sets of eyes at once. "Maybe that will never go away but I'm here. Whenever it's bad I'll be here. You're not alone because I've got you."

The coiling, writhing darkness inside of Sans's Soul recedes all at once, and you know the fog has lifted from his face. It's like being able to breathe again without realizing that you were even drowning. The relief is so sudden and welcome that you let out a sob, releasing Sans's hand. The connection between your Souls is gone and you take a moment to steady yourself before opening your eyes to look at him.

He's smiling through his tears, searching your face as you smile back at him, flinging your arms around his neck and hugging him as tight as you can. Frisk lets out a cry of joy and you feel them latch onto the two of you. Sans has an arm around you and another around Frisk, holding you both.

"you got me," he says, and you tuck your face in against his jaw, unwilling to let go.

"I'm gonna see you again soon, okay?" you tell him, knowing what's coming.

"what are you talking about?" he asks, his hand clutching tight to the back of your jacket.

He's starting to lose his substance. You pull away so that you can look at him, holding his gaze as his edges start to blur. "I love you."

Sans opens his mouth to reply but he's faded, gone, a lone white Soul hovering in front of you for just a moment before it vanishes. Taking in a shuddering breath, you wipe at your cheeks to dry your tears. You and Frisk are alone in the darkness.

No, that's not true. You turn, remembering Chara. They're watching you with an expression that's unreadable, eyes flicking between you and Frisk. Frisk lets you go, walking over to where the other child is standing, waiting for you. You follow.

Chara is cupping their Soul in their hands. It's not shivering anymore, but the color hasn't come back. It's still pinkish, the color of blood diluted in water. "He's waiting," they say. "It's time to save Asriel."

You feel the space around you shift and Asriel is there, staring down at the three of you with his teeth bared. He looks confused, one hand raised to shield the bright light pouring out of his chest. Chara pushes their way in front of you and you try to catch their shoulder to stop them but they shake you off, glaring back at you.

"W-what are you doing?" Asriel cries out, and there's a waver of uncertainty in his voice. He sounds raw and exposed, more like the child he should be. "W-what...?"

"This isn't you, Asriel," Chara says, shaking their head and fixing him with a stubborn look. "This isn't the person that saved me after I fell. Who held me up as you took me to meet your parents. This isn't my friend! My... my brother! My brother's a huge crybaby, that never wanted to hurt anyone."

The light in Asriel's chest flares red and his eyes widen. He recoils, shaking his head. "What did you do? What is this feeling...?" His huge, black eyes well with tears. "What's happening to me?"

"We're trying to save you, Asriel! Let us help you," Frisk says, resting a hand on Chara's shoulder. They flinch but don't pull away.

"No. No! I don't need anyone!" Asriel howls, wrenching his hands away from his chest as multicolored flames spring to life in his palm.

He lashes out, a barrage of magic that strikes uselessly at the ground around you. Except for what hits Chara head on. You reach out for their other shoulder, helping Frisk steady them but they jerk away again, snarling as they take a step forward. You should stop them, do something to help but... You can't. All you can do is watch numbly as this broken child stands against their equally broken sibling.

Chara walks towards Asriel, trembling as they hold the fragments of their even-paler Soul between their hands. "You don't need to do this. You don't need to be like this anymore. You don't need to be angry like me."

"Stop it! Get away from me!" he sobs, tears streaming down his cheeks. More fire from his hands streaks towards Chara but this time none of them find their target. "Do you hear me?! I'll... I'll tear you apart!"

Asriel digs his huge claws into the darkness on either side of Chara but they keep approaching, staring up at him. They reach out with one hand to rest it on his arm, fingers trailing up it as they walk closer. He flinches away, dragging backwards away from the touch as the rage drains from his face.

"Chara, don't you see why I'm doing this? Why I keep fighting to keep you here?" Asriel hangs his head, covering the light coming from his chest. Trying to hide it. "I'm doing it because you're special, Chara. You're... you're the only one who understands me, now. You're the only one who's any fun to play with anymore."

Fire flickers over his hands but falls feebly to the ground, raining down like tears. You realize that you're crying. The sheer hopelessness and pain in Asriel's voice cuts you deep, straight to bone. No child should feel this way. No children should ever have to go through what Asriel and Chara have been through.

That huge head tilts back up, black eyes peering through tears to watch Chara as they keep moving forward. "No, that's not just it. I... I... I'm doing this because I care about you, Chara! I care about you more than anybody else!" He shudders and lets out a gut-wrenching sob, tossing his head violently from side to side. "I'm not ready for this to end. I'm not ready for you to leave me again. I won't... I won't let you!"

"Asriel!" Chara calls out, spreading their hands out to either side of them, baring their shattered Soul. "Don't do this!"

"So, please... stop fighting me... Just listen for one... I'm not... I'm not an idiot!" Asriel begs, covering his face with his hands and dragging down his snout. Pulsing light starts to gather in his palms, bright and swirling with color like his wings. "Please just let me win!"

The light pours from his hands in a concentrated beam, it's path set down a line that should consume all three of you. You seize hold of Frisk's hand and pull them to your side, but the magic never comes. Instead, it stops at Chara. They're taking the full force of it by themselves, and you cry out in dismay. How can they possibly withstand it?

The magic swells as Asriel roars, the sharp sound of the beam and his cry mingling together and filling the air around you, deafening you. "STOP IT! JUST GIVE UP!"

All at once the magic is gone. Silence overtakes you so suddenly you wonder if you really have gone deaf but you hear Frisk's sharp intake of breath next to you. Chara is still standing, shuddering with deep, heaving breaths as Asriel slumps to the ground. Laying there, his head on the floor, his arms are starting to blur at the edges. His body is fading as he cries.

"Chara," he says, his voice thick and weak. "I'm so alone, Chara... I'm so afraid..."

Darkness is creeping in closer, swallowing the light from the wings you can barely see anymore. The space is narrowing down to just you and the three children, Asriel's head towering over you, even as he's collapsed on the ground. You don't know what to do, or even say, but you don't think there's anything you can do. You're a just a spectator to their despair.

Chara reaches him and rests their hands on his muzzle, pressing their face into his fur. "I'm here."

"I..." Asriel whispers, and a soft, bright white glow emanates from what's left of him. He shrinks and shifts and when the light is gone, all that's left behind is that small, scared child clad in a green and yellow sweater. "I'm so sorry."

Chara's legs give out beneath them, collapsing to their knees. You and Frisk rush forward to steady them, and they're so weak they can't even muster up the strength to shrug away or even look at you. Their hands lay useless in their lap.

The color has drained from their Soul, all that's left is gray. The color of ashes.

   
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