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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73. The Dinner and Apprehension

"They're still not willing to talk about letting anyone over the Line?" you ask Asgore, disappointment settling heavy in your stomach. You try to ignore it as you take another bite of your dinner.

Asgore shakes his head, rubbing a hand across the bridge of his snout. He looks exhausted, more exhausted than the last time you saw him, about a week ago. You can see why Toriel's worried about him. Getting this conference set up on top of dealing with the government, it's weighing him down. You wish that there was more that you could do to help, but you know better. You'd just get in the way.

With a look that you can almost describe as tender, Toriel brushes his arm with her fingers and pushes a steaming cup of tea closer to his hand. He looks at her, a little surprised but pleased all the same as he picks it up. "I think that they wish to see how this conference goes, first. A test of sorts," he says, looking over at you again.

"we're not the ones who're at fault here," Sans says, squirting ketchup onto his mashed potatoes in lieu of gravy. Frisk takes the bottle and does the same, much to Asriel's clear disgust from their other side.

"Technically, neither are the humans. We cannot blame them for the behavior of those that came before them. They do not even have any records that we even existed, aside from wild myth," he says, nudging his food with his fork. Smoothing down the front of his oversized sweater, he leans forward to take a bite.

"I'M CERTAIN THAT ONCE THEY GET TO KNOW US BETTER, EVERYTHING WILL BE JUST FINE," Papyrus chimes in, between bites of pasta salad. ("COLD PASTA? PASTA ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE COLD!")

"In time, I am certain that may be true," Toriel says soothingly, giving Papyrus a kind smile. She looks over at Sans. "Right now it is crucial that we make the best impression that we can, show them the best we have to offer. Because no matter where blame may lie, the fact is that we need the human government. We require their cooperation."

Nodding your head, you tuck some hair behind your ear as you glance at Sans. He meets your eyes, that little furrow of frustration between his brows smoothing away. You reach under the table to give his leg a reassuring squeeze and he relaxes a little. He hates knowing that all of you are at the mercy of the government, only living this relatively peaceful life because they allow it. That it can change with little warning, despite all your efforts. It hits him a little too close to old hurts.

"They've already taken advantage of all of you, though," you say, frustration plain in your voice. "Look at what they did with the gold exchange. They basically got a load of free money from you just because they could!"

Asgore gives you a patient look, like he might give a child. It's irritating sometimes, just how calm he can be about all this. "Yes, we received less than the true value of the gold, but we all have more than enough money even so. They did not have to let us into the surface economy at all. Without it, bringing in contractors to work on our city would have been much more difficult."

"Sure, but why wouldn't they take all that gold off your hands? They had nothing to lose."

"We have all this land to call our own, and they are protecting us from those humans that might wish us ill," Toriel says, giving you that same, indulgent look she gave Papyrus. You feel what little fight is left in you getting buried under the surface, your frustration on their behalf unwanted.

"you mean keeping us trapped," Sans says, between bites.

"I know that your feelings are well-intended, both of you, but we can only do the best with what we have been given. Pushing back with demands of our own will not help our situation," Asgore says, a slight edge to his voice. "You are not the only ones wanting more freedom to see the surface, but with things the way they are now I fear for the safety of those that might cross the Line. Things are... calm now with the humans, but I worry."

His eyes are on Asriel, and you realize, with a tight squeeze in your chest, what he must be thinking. If it wasn't for those humans, long ago, Asriel wouldn't have died. Silence hangs heavy over the table as Sans finds your hand and gives you a quick look to check on you. Asgore reaches out to stroke his son's head and Toriel touches her husband's arm, and you feel like you're intruding on something private.

"But people are gonna be coming here, right? So that's good. They can see how nice everyone is," Frisk says, reaching over their plate for their drink. "And maybe some will stay and live here."

The tension lifts, with Toriel giving Frisk a pleased smile. "Exactly, my child. We want other humans to come live here in Ebott, just as you and your mother do. There are plenty of jobs, and there is still so much we can learn from them. I am hoping to get some new teachers for our schools to help fill in the gaps in our knowledge, so that our children can learn more than ever before."

"AND METTATON TOLD ME THAT HE WANTS TO HIRE HUMANS TO WORK AT HIS HOTEL. TO... UM..." Papyrus frowns, thinking. "OH! TO 'ENCOURAGE HUMAN TOURISM' HE SAID. I'M NOT SURE WHAT 'TOURISM' IS, BUT IT SOUNDS EXCITING!"

Sans sighs, frowning again. "it means he wants to exploit humans coming to gawk at us."

"YOU'RE BEING RUDE AGAIN, SANS! THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE METTATON AT ALL!"

That sounds exactly like Mettaton. But in this case you have to agree with his means, if not his motives. The more humans coming to Ebott to see how nice things are here the better, in the long run. At least you hope so. Not that Sans can see anything past his own lingering... 'dislike' is too weak and 'hatred' seems too strong. But he's never forgiven Mettaton for trying to kill you and Frisk, and to be honest you still haven't quite either. Sans is just better at holding a grudge than you are.

Speaking of grudges, he still follows you around whenever Asgore is over. But, considering that he did kill you, you can't really fault him for his caution, as misplaced as it might be at this point.

"Any way that we can get human visitors is worthwhile," Toriel says calmly, ever the peacekeeper. "The more people that see us in a positive light, the better. Even if the intentions behind coming to Ebott are less than ideal. They may wish to, well, gawk at first, but in time they should see us as people instead of..." Her expression falters, and she pushes one of her long ears over her shoulder. "Instead of animals."

"Mom, do I have to go tomorrow?" Asriel asks, looking over at her and toying with his ear with one hand while pushing his food around on his plate with the other.

"Of course you do, Flufftail," she says, making Asriel grimace. You think the pet name is adorable, but her son doesn't seem to think so. "You are the prince, your father's heir. It is expected of you."

"But I'm not a prince anymore. Not really," he grumbles, shoving a forkful of his dinner in his mouth.

"And what makes you think that?" she asks, raising a brow.

"Ebott isn't a kingdom. It's just a city," he says, shrugging.

"Our people still look to me, just as they will to you when you are older," Asgore says, giving his son a patient smile. "It is part of our duty to lead them. Perhaps by the time that it is your turn to take up my mantle it will be called something different." He chuckles. "Would you rather be the 'president' of all monsters?"

Asriel pulls a face. "Presidents are elected, not kings."

"This is all beside the point," Toriel says, giving Asgore and her son both a stern, silencing look. "People will want to meet you. We are all going to be at the conference tomorrow."

"I don't wanna go," you whine, pulling the covers over your head and rolling yourself face-first into your pillow.

Sans leans over you and shuts off the alarm on your phone, then tries to pull the comforter out of your hands. "i know you don't babe, but you gotta," he says, reaching beneath the sheets to run a hand up and down your back. That feels nice, but he's just trying to make you let go. You're not going to fall for that.

"No," you say petulantly, rubbing your face back and forth. "You can't make me."

"we've only got an hour to get ready and you need to eat breakfast." He ducks under the covers and you feel his warm hand grab at your thigh, squeezing as he nips the curve in your waist.

Yelping, you giggle and squirm to the side, dragging the comforter with you as you try to escape to the far side of your new, much bigger bed. He drags you back towards him, rolling you over onto your back and unwrapping you from the tangle of sheets. Straddling you, he gives you a self-satisfied grin from his seat on your legs.

"Well how am I supposed to get ready with you on top of me?" you ask him, pushing hair out of your eyes and giving him a wry smile.

"maybe i've changed my mind. we can stay here in bed instead," he says, lowering himself to trace a path down your ribs with his teeth, holding your gaze the entire time.

It stirs something low in your belly but you wiggle beneath him, pushing half-heartedly at his shoulders. "We can't, Asgore and Toriel want me there to help make a good impression," you say with a sigh.

"yep, exactly," he agrees, sitting back up. Oh that tricky skeleton. Sliding off of you, he helps you sit up and presses a quick kiss to your cheek. "trust me, i don't wanna go either."

"You're not the one that's gonna get ambushed by reporters the second you turn your back," you mutter, swinging your legs off the side of the bed. "Getting asked god knows what about... I dunno, stuff in the Underground." This is going to be your first time speaking with anyone that isn't strictly military or government. You have your 'official' story of what happened thoroughly memorized, leaving out, essentially, all of the violent bits, but you don't know what kinds of questions to expect. What are these people going to want from you? From Frisk?

"i'll be there with you. you don't have to answer anything you don't want to," he says, but his reassurances ring a little hollow.

"And how will that look? Avoiding the tricky questions? They must already think that you and the others are feeding me lines," you say, letting him pull you to him as he sits there on the edge of the bed.

He slides his arms around your waist, pressing little nipping kisses along your collarbone. "are we swapping roles today? i thought i was the one with the defeatist attitude."

You give a huff, resting your chin on the top of his skull. "Does this mean you have to be the one trying to motivate me instead? That I'd like to see."

"don't get your hopes up," he says, chuckling at your annoyed grunt.

"My name is not supposed to be fuel for your puns," you grumble.

"i held out for months on hope puns. seemed too obvious, but i couldn't resist any longer. it was hopeless."

"Ugh!" You pull away and he lets you go, chuckling as he follows you into your adjoining bathroom.

The bathroom is probably your second favorite room in the house (the first is the living room with its floor to ceiling bookshelves). With a garden tub, a big stall shower, and huge double vanity, Sans had let you pick out everything yourself when planning out the house with the contractors. Because, really, you're the one that uses it the most out of the two of you. You're just happy not to have to share a single bathroom between four (and for a little while five) people anymore.

Your playful agitation with Sans beginning to fade, you reach into the shower and turn the knob. The bathroom fills with the sound of spraying water. As you start to take off your underwear your fiancé beats you to it, sliding his hands down the outsides of your thighs. Kicking them away, you feel his thick, warm arms slide around your middle, pulling you back against his broad ribcage. You trace your fingers in the gap between his radius and ulna as you wait for the water to warm up.

"you're gonna do just fine," Sans says, nuzzling the side of your neck.

"But what if I don't? What if I screw everything up?" you ask softly, as though speaking out loud will alert the universe to your fear and make it reality.

"everything? how are you gonna screw up everything?" His hands drift higher, his fingers tracing the lines of your ribs. You shiver a little.

"I don't know," you sigh, tipping your head back to rest against his shoulder.

"i can see it now. you, single-handedly undoing everything that asgore and tori have done. you answer one question wrong and they'll take away all the land, tear down all the houses..."

"Sans, I'm being serious," you say, wrapping your hands around his forearms and trying not to smile.

"oh, so am i. i just didn't realize you had so much influence," he teases and you twist around in his arms, fixing him with a stern look that's threatening to crack. He's grinning, holding back a laugh. "you alone, destroying everyone's hopes."

"Augh, I hate you!" you blurt out, shoving his shoulders and laughing.

"no you don't," he says, hugging you close and tucking his head into the crook of your neck.

Fighting him for a moment, you give in to his strong hold on you and wrap your arms around his shoulders. "Fine, I don't," you admit, kissing his cheek.

   
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