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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52. The Final Straw

You're woken up by the loud, blippy music of your phone ringing and the vibrations in your back pocket.  Papyrus jerks awake under you, nearly tossing you out of his lap as he tries and fails to stand up from the couch. Shoving against the pillow in his lap to sit up, you fumble for your phone, heart leaping into your throat.

"WHO IS THAT?" Papyrus asks, taking hold of your shoulders and helping you right yourself. He leans forward over you to get a look at your screen as you answer the call.

It's Alphys. "H-hey!"

"OH IT'S ALPHYS! I HOPE SHE HAS GOOD NEWS!" he says, squeezing your shoulders and bouncing on the cushion behind you.

"Do you have something?" you blurt out, pushing hair out of your mouth and clenching your fingers tight against your scalp.

"I do! I mean, I think so!" she says, and you can hear the hopeful smile in her voice. You swallow hard, tamping down a swell of optimism but still smiling a little despite your best efforts. It won't do you any good to get your hopes up but... "Undyne and I are on our way! The Riverperson is m-making good time, so we should be there in the next half-hour."

You close your eyes, freeing your hand from your hair to cover your face. "Alphys, I can't thank you enough for doing this," you say, voice thick. Papyrus wraps his arms around you and hugs you. You tip your head against his.

"Of c-course! I just hope that this w-works," she says, going quiet. She sighs and you rub your eyes. "We'll be there soon."

You hang up the call and start to cry, hoping despite knowing that you shouldn't. Because there's no guarantee, but at least now there's something. A chance.

Papyrus stands at the foot of the bed, next to the door as he watches you tell his brother the news. He can tell Sans has been crying at some point and he thinks you notice it too. You sit on the chair beside him and tenderly take his hand in yours, smiling through the tears in your eyes as you speak to him. Whatever blame you held against Sans is gone in this moment of hope. He's glad. Maybe everything will be okay.

Sans doesn't smile back. He squeezes your hand and pulls you into his arms, but Sans doesn't smile. He doesn't even try to fake it. The brothers look at each other from over your shoulder and Papyrus gives him a disappointed look. A look that says, 'You should be happy right now. Why aren't you?'

Sans just looks away and lets you go.

Alphys sits on the edge of Papyrus's racecar bed while you cradle Frisk's head and shoulders in your lap, stroking hair away from their eyes. Sans stands at your side, one hand on your back, the other clenched into a tight fist in his pocket. He's watching you; the way you're biting your lip as you scour Frisk's face for some kind of sign, the way your fingers brush delicately over the kid's forehead, how you're leaning ever so slightly in his direction.

Sans can't be happy until the furrow in your brow smooths away. Until the worry that shadows your face is gone. You and Papyrus might be clinging to optimism, but that's never been his strong suit. The last few years have soured him.

Undyne hands the doctor a small, rectangular bag then steps back to stand with Papyrus. From in the bag, Alphys withdraws a large syringe and a small bottle filled halfway with a bright green, glowing liquid. Her hands are steady as she fills the needle.

This had better work. If all this just serves to get your hopes up, raising you so that the fall is that much harsher... Sans pushes the thought away. Alphys is doing her best. Everyone is just doing what they can to help.

"What's in that?" you ask, eyes darting up in alarm.

"It's a mixture of human medicine and healing magic. Normally healing magic only t-targets physical wounds but infused with the medicine it should, ah, work to fight whatever is making Frisk sick." Alphys says, taken aback. She presses on the plunger to expel any extra air until a bead of green liquid appears at the tip, then looks at you, a question in her eyes.

"Oh," you say, tipping your chin towards your chest. "Sorry, I wasn't expecting it to, um, glow. I didn't mean to sound ungrateful. Please, go ahead."

The doctor nods, setting the bottle and bag aside so she can take hold of Frisk's arm. Inserting the needle into the kid's bicep, she presses the plunger.

Sans makes a silent plea to the universe for this to work.

You wait.

You adjust the cold compress on Frisk's forehead for what must be the fiftieth time, watching the tiny movements of their eyes beneath closed lids. Your other hand smooths away damp hair from their temples. They started sweating about fifteen minutes after Alphys gave them the injection, and it's been almost an hour now. You think the sweat is a good thing. You don't know enough to be sure one way or the other.

Sans is sitting on the chair closest to you, his arms folded under his head with one hand resting on your leg. Your eyes flick over to him to see if he's fallen asleep but he hasn't. He's watching Frisk, his expression closed off.

Alphys is in the other chair, reading something on her phone. Her other hand is resting on the back of Undyne's neck. The fish monster is sitting on the ground next to her girlfriend, her head resting against the doctor's thigh. A small, quiet snore lets you know that she's fallen asleep. You can't blame her. There's not much to do right now but wait.

Papyrus is sitting cross-legged on the floor near the head of the bed, between Sans and the wall. He's been staring at his action figure collection for the last ten minutes.

"Mmm..."

Your stomach twists and your heart leaps in your chest as you stare down at Frisk, hands seeking their shoulders. Their face scrunches a little and their head turns to one side and then the other, before their eyes finally flutter open. They blink up at you owlishly, reaching up to rub their eyes.

"Mom?" they ask in a tiny, raspy voice.

"Hey sweetie," you say, your eyes swimming with tears, grinning from ear to ear.

Sans's grip tightens on your leg and he lifts his head up. Papyrus whips around to look at Frisk and Alphys puts her phone away and gives Undyne a gentle shake. But no one says anything. The room is quiet save for your sharp inhalations of breath as you try to quiet your crying, and Frisk's voice.

"Why are you crying?" they ask you, reaching up to wrap their arms around your neck.

You cradle Frisk's head in your hands, letting them pull you down to press your foreheads together. Laughing because you can't help it, because you're so giddy with relief, you say, "Because I'm so happy."

"Mooooom I feel fine now!" Frisk complains, frowning at you from their spot on Papyrus's bed. They lean back against a pile of pillows, crossing their arms in a magnificent pout.

"You are going to humor me and stay in bed at least until dinner. I don't want you exerting yourself and relapsing," you say, holding out a steaming mug of tea. Frisk just gives it a dirty look, like it's offended them somehow. "I want you to drink this, Alphys says you need plenty of fluids because you got a little dehydrated while you were unconscious."

Alphys and Undyne left shortly after Frisk woke up and declared that their fever was gone. It was the middle of the night, Alphys in particular was nearly falling asleep on her feet. It's midday now, a little bit after lunchtime. Frisk obediently ate a huge bowl of chicken noodle soup, and after decided that they were feeling back to normal and wanted to get up.

You're having none of that.

"If I drink it all, then can I get up?" Frisk asks.

"This is not up for debate," you say, digging in your heels. "I just said, you are staying in that bed until dinner, and then if I decide you can, you can get up. And you are drinking this tea."

Frisk lets out a long-suffering groan, throwing their head back. You fix them with a stern look, hoping that you look more like a loving but concerned mom and less like your own mother. "Fiiiiiine," Frisk says dramatically, and you wonder if six is old enough for them to be acting like a pre-teen already. They take the mug from you and give it a careful sip.

Sans appears in the doorway, leaning against the frame and raising a brow at you. You just give him an exasperated look and shake your head. His smile widens and you can't help but smile back even though you try not to. Frisk slurps their tea loudly and gives you a wide-eyed look.

"you giving your mom a hard time?" Sans asks, entering the room and sinking into the chair beside you. He slips one arm behind you and his fingers slide underneath the hem of your shirt, finding the small of your back. The touch is familiar and reassuring. Normal. Like the last two days never happened.

"No," Frisk says petulantly, taking another loud sip to hide their face.

"i think you're telling me a fibula. i can feel it in my bones," Sans says, leaning forward for emphasis. 

Frisk giggles and nearly chokes on their tea, earning Sans a frown from you.

"whoa there kiddo, no need to go breathing in the tea. unless humans can do that. it's a mysteary to me," he says, glancing over at you and winking. "or maybe it's a mystertea."

Yeah. Things are definitely getting back to normal. You crack a smile despite your best efforts, hiding your face and laughing. "Well, if this is what you're gonna do, I might as well take my leaf," you say, earning yourself a grin and a chuckle from Sans.

Frisk's eyes narrow as they look up at you, pursing their lips. "I don't get it."

"Tea comes from leaves. They're dried, and—"

"Eew!" they blurt out, holding the mug away from their face. "Leaves?"

"right? it's hard to beleaf."

"Frisk, please. A lot of things are—"

You're interrupted by a loud knock at the door. You and Sans look at each other, sharing twin expressions of confusion.

"Did Papyrus forget his keys when he left?" you ask.

"he shouldn't have. did undyne or alphys say they were coming?" he asks in return, his grin fading.

"No. Neither of them have—"

You're interrupted again by another loud knock, this time followed by a muffled voice calling from the other side of the front door. "Howdy! Anyone home?"

You don't know the voice but Sans's eye sockets go dark and he goes stiff beside you. You start to ask him what's wrong but he bolts up from the chair, turning to the door but then back to you. "stay in here and don't open the door. if anything happens i swear i'll come get you before he can find you."

The hairs on the back of your neck prickle and raise and you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. "Sans, what—?"

"it's asgore. of all the f—" He bites off the curse with a quick glance at Frisk. "trust me, and stay here."

Sans closes the door behind him before you can say anything else.

"Mom?" Frisk asks, their voice making you jump.

Shushing them, you reach out to put your hand on their leg and give a reassuring squeeze. "Sweetie I need you to be quiet okay?" you whisper. "We can't let Asgore find out that we're here."

Frisk nods and you squeeze them again. Then, heart hammering in your chest, you get up to press your ear to the bedroom door.

"—children were saying that one of the other students was out sick! I thought I would pop by to say hello and perhaps offer them a cup of tea." Asgore's voice is a low rumble, deep and warm. You vaguely remember illustrations of him in the few history books you read. What stuck out most —literally you suppose— were his gigantic horns.

"that's really kind of you, but they're sleeping right now." You look over at Frisk as they watch you, wide-eyed with their mug clutched in their hands.

"Ah, I see. By the way Sans, I had no idea that you and Papyrus were taking care of a child! I am happy for you, children certainly do brighten up a home." He sounds a little wistful. You might feel sorry for him if you weren't so worried.

"yeah, they sure do. the kid and their mom have been staying with us. it's been real nice. it's too bad the kiddo's feeling sick right now. they'll have to be sure to catch you around next time."

"Oh, I do not mind waiting." You grit your teeth, resisting the urge to hit the door.

"oh, you don't have to do that. really, they just fell asleep a little bit ago so it'll probably be a while. i'm sure you've got, uh, important king stuff to do."

"Yes, well, I suppose that I do," Asgore says, chuckling. "But truly, lifting the spirits of a sick child is something I hold in high regard."

"well, your highness, i just can't bear the thought of you going so far out of your way for us. you're just too kind, i know that the kid will be okay waiting until your next visit. or, ah, maybe we can visit new home sometime, yeah?"

"That sounds like a wonderful idea!" You breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe now he'll go. You give Sans your silent thanks. "Perhaps when they are feeling better?"

"sure. absolutely."

"Give my well wishes to the child, if you could."

"of course."

"Oh and their mother as well."

"no problem."

"Have a good day, Sans."

"you too, asgore."

There's a moment of silence and then the sound of the front door closing. You reach for the doorhandle when—

A loud knock, followed by, "Oh! Sans, I almost forgot!"

There's a beat where you squeeze your eyes shut and clench your hands into fists, grimacing. Why won't he leave?! You hear the door open again.

"yeah?"

"The other day, I found this pair of teacups in the shape of skulls. I should have brought them with me, because they reminded me of you and your brother. I want you to have them."

"i can't wait to see them, that sound really great," Sans says, and you can tell without even seeing him that his casual tone is forced.

"Please, remind me when I see you when you visit so I can give them to you."

"absolutely. i'm sure papyrus will get a real kick out of 'em. it'll be a teareat."

Asgore laughs, a deep rumble that makes the hair on your arms raise. In any other set of circumstances, maybe you'd appreciate the sound more, but right now it just feels you with unease. "Always making jokes, Sans. I hope you have a pleasant day."

"you too, pal."

Silence. The sound of the door closing. You don't bother reaching for the handle. A few moments pass and then you feel and hear a small rap on the bedroom door. You jump to the side, opening it just enough to peek out and see Sans. He's grimacing, nervous sweat dotting the side of his face as he lets out a haggard sigh.

Sans pushes his way through the door and shuts it behind him, hooking his fingers in the pockets of your jeans and tugging you close. You cup the side of his face as he rests his forehead against your sternum, pillowing his head on your chest. He lets out a long, frustrated groan and tenses against you.

"I need a break," you agree. "This has been the most exhausting two days. This is just..."

"we're gonna go to the resort this weekend. that's it. text alphys to tell mettaton."

   
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