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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166. The Literatum

Getting out of the house to go to Deacon's is tricker than he thought it would be. Papyrus is still hovering, plying him with a hot breakfast and rambling on about plans for the day. Sans has to bite back a sigh of relief when you call him around midmorning and he can escape to the other room just to talk.

The conversation is brief, and he wishes he could talk to you about what he and Deacon have planned, but at the same time he's worried you wouldn't approve. As angry and frustrated as you sound on the phone with the whole situation, he thinks you'd tell him he was being too risky. Well, he is, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't do it. Someone has to do something, and right now... he doesn't have much else to lose.

Glancing at the clock, Sans grimaces. "babe, i gotta let you go here in a sec," he says, and he feels guilty for the disappointed sound that elicits from you. "i know. but you said you had some shopping to do, and i, uh, told deacon i'd see him today."

"Oh," you say, sounding surprised and a little wary. "I... that's good, right? Are you two getting along?"

"you could say that," he says, rubbing the back of his skull. "s'better than ignoring each other, right?"

"Did you apologize to him yet?"

He hesitates. "no... not yet."

You make a disapproving noise and he lets out a harried sigh. "Well I guess I'll let you do that, then," you say. "I love you, hun. I'll talk to you later."

"i love you too, babe. be safe, ok?"

"You too."

After he gets off the phone he goes to tell Papyrus that he's going out for a while, and instead of the worried fretting he expects, his brother surprises him by responding with enthusiasm. (In retrospect this shouldn't have been that surprising.) So long as he's not moping around the house, Papyrus seems pleased. He catches fragments of a conversation between him and Mettaton, and gets the impression that while he's gone they'll be going to the hotel to help out. Hopefully that means that they won't notice however long he's gone.

He teleports over to Deacon's front porch and raps on the door. Sans can only assume he was waiting, because it only takes a second for it to open and your friend lets him inside. There's a paper map spread out on the coffee table, but he barely gets a look at it before Deacon holds out his hand.

He curls his fingers in a beckoning gesture. "Give me your phone," he says.

Sans arches a brow. "why?" he asks, even as he reaches into his pocket.

Deacon takes the phone from his hand and sets it on the table by the door, then leads him over to the map. "GPS. We can't take our phones with us, in case they're able to use them to track us. So as far as the military is concerned, we're just... hanging out."

"hm," Sans grunts, shoving his hands in his jacket pockets and walking over towards the table. "so what's the plan?"

He takes another look at Sans, scanning him quickly from head to toe. "At least you listened and wore pants. And shoes," he says, frowning a little. "But couldn't you wear something nicer than sweatpants?"

"no."

"You're going to meet a group of mages, who have no idea you're coming because I couldn't exactly tell them... and you're fine with their first impression being sweatpants," Deacon says flatly.

"yep," he says, his grin widening almost imperceptibly.

Deacon lets out a frustrated groan, shaking his head and sitting down on the couch. He hunches over the map, ready to get on to business. "Fine. Whatever. We're meeting at a house here," he says, pointing to a small neighborhood. He meets Sans's eyes again. "It belongs to Morwenna, our leader. So just... try to be respectful."

"so long as she does the same."

"Can you teleport to a place you've never been before?"

"yeah. i can manage. it'll take a couple hops though, can't exactly go in one jump. s'too far," he says, crouching down to get a better look at the map.

"Then we'll need to figure out pit stops within your range," Deacon grumbles, running a hand through his hair. "Just... keep your hood up while we're traveling. If anybody sees us they'll just think you're some weird, fat kid."

"'scuse me?" he says, resisting the urge to grit his teeth.

The look on Deacon's face is borderline smug as he looks up at him. "In case you hadn't noticed, you're a little short for a stormtrooper."

Sans snorts despite himself. "jackass. didn't know you liked star wars," he mutters.

"Everyone likes Star Wars," he says, and that smug look has softened into something almost friendly. "Now come on, we have to figure this crap out in the next half-hour. We've got a small window of opportunity where most of the Literatum in the area will be available. I don't want to miss it."

It takes the entire half-hour to decide on the route to take, because Sans isn't familiar with the area and Deacon has trouble remembering which places have alleys with good cover. And he doesn't want to just use the internet to check interactive maps online just in case anyone is monitoring that too.  Once they've finally agreed on where they're going, Deacon stands up and circles the coffee table to go stand next to Sans.

There's an awkward moment where they just look at each other.

"So... for this whole teleporting thing," Deacon says, drawing out the words as he fishes for some kind of answer.

Sans rolls his eyes, then reaches out and grabs his wrist. "this'll probably feel weird. but deal with it. you don't have much of a choice."

His brow furrows, he opens his mouth to protest or maybe ask a question, but Sans doesn't give him the chance. He tightens his grip on Deacon's arm and pulls them both into the space between.

When they reemerge a moment later in the forest near the Line, Deacon stumbles a little and lets out a sharp gasp. "What the fuck!" he hisses, rounding on Sans, wide-eyed. "Give a guy some goddamn warning!"

"you done whining? we got like, four more trips," Sans says, grinning a little wider than strictly necessary.

Deacon glares at him, taking a steadying breath and shifting on his feet. He rubs his stomach with his free hand, swallowing.

"you better not throw up. hope and frisk never threw up."

"I'm not going to throw up," he snaps, grimacing. 

"ok. then lets keep moving."

Deacon is silent for the next three jumps, clenching his jaw and going a little rigid, but he doesn't complain. Sans had started out small with you, short teleports within line of sight at first. Hell, he doesn't even think you'd even really noticed the first few times. But these long trips are a lot more jarring, even to him. As they appear in the middle of a dark alleyway behind a big warehouse store Sans takes a second to take stock of Deacon.

He looks a little pale against the dark fabric of his shirt, eyes darting to take in their surroundings. So far they'd been lucky; the only person they'd seen so far was a homeless man who was asleep in the shadow of a dumpster. But he can't blame Deacon for being jumpy. Between the fear of getting caught, the nerves of bringing Sans to meet his fellow mages, and the disorientation of teleporting, he'd be surprised if Deacon wasn't on edge.

"you ok?" Sans asks.

Deacon twitches a little at the question, looking at him. "Peachy," he mutters. "One more?"

"yeah. right into the house."

"Not my ideal choice for first impressions, but what the hell. It's not like this can be much worse," he says with a sigh. "Once more unto the breach."

"huh?"

Deacon blinks, giving him an incredulous look. "Shakespeare? I mean, I know you literally lived under a rock, but come on."

"ok, i know who shakespeare is, no need to get all shaken up," he says, chuckling at the annoyed look on Deacon's face.

"Let's do this, we shouldn't just sit here," he says, rolling his eyes.

"ok. last one."

Sans pulls them through again, and when they reappear they're in the middle of a living room. For a split second he's aware of a handful of humans crying out in surprise, then there's a yell and a faint orange glow as someone lunges forward.

"Shit!" Deacon hisses, jerking his arm free of Sans's grip and holding up his hands. A green shield springs to life in front of them, and that orange streak crashes into it and rebounds off. "Maria, what the hell?"

"Deacon?" There's a woman there, dressed in a button-up blouse and a pencil skirt with heels. Wide, dark eyes peer through the translucent green, and as Deacon's magic fades she shakes the wisps of orange off her hands and relaxes her fists. She eases out of her fighter's crouch.

"Yes, Deacon," he retorts. "Jesus, you scared the shit out of me."

"We've talked about this, Jesús is my brother," she says, and now that she's talking more Sans can hear the slight accent to her words. He pushes his hood back down and the movement seems to catch her attention. Her eyes go wide again, shock plain on her face as she brings her hands in front of her. "Mierda. You brought—"

"What have you done?"

A loud, stern voice cuts through the room, and everyone's attention goes to the speaker. He's the biggest person there, arms crossed over a barrel chest as a heavy frown settles over his brow. He's older, with deep lines that disappear into his beard, which is graying almost as much as his dark hair. 

"Grant, he already knows," Deacon says, wincing as he shifts himself to stand almost defensively in front of Sans.

"I knew you weren't cut out for this," the man says, his frown twisting with disgust. Oh, so this is the asshole that adopted Deacon. The one you both seem to hate so much. He can see why. "I should have forced you back home the second we found out about all your frivolous attachments. This is—"

"Bailey." Next to Grant is a severe-looking woman with short orange hair, and to Sans's amusement she's wearing a pair of loose exercise pants and a tank top. Maybe his sweatpants aren't so unusual after all. She casts a grim look at the man twice her size, resting her hands on her hips. "Now is not the time."

Grant presses his mouth into a stern line, but doesn't protest. At least not verbally. His gaze is hard as he watches the woman approach Sans and Deacon.

She gives them an appraising look, catching Sans's eye and holding it with a steady resolve that he can't help but respect. It's almost a little familiar, which is strange.

"'sup?" Sans says, and he sees a glint of amusement in her eye.

Deacon groans. "Sans, this is Morwenna. Morwenna, this is Sans."

Morwenna nods, holding out her hand. Oh, that's a pleasant surprise. Sans pulls a hand out of his pocket to shake hers, giving her a friendly smile. "so this is the big, fancy mage clubhouse?" he asks, casting a glance around the room. Maria has settled into a chair at a table, legs crossed at the knee, foot bouncing with nervous energy. There's one other man, a police officer, quietly observing from his spot leaning against a bare patch of wall near the door. The name badge on his chest says 'Min'. "neat."

"Sans, I swear to god..." Deacon mutters.

Morwenna's mouth twitches, and she takes her hand back before turning to face Deacon. "We weren't sure how you were going to get here. I suppose I shouldn't have discredited the idea of other magical means. This situation with the Line closing is... troubling, to say the least."

"Whoever is behind it —the Vigilum or the military, or both— I think they did it specifically to keep Hope and Frisk out." Deacon balls his hand into a fist at his side. "There was no warning, no explanation—"

"Supposedly there's a quarantine." Min, the police officer, is soft-spoken but everyone turns when he speaks. He looks at Sans, then at Deacon, his hand going to the walkie talkie on his shoulder as he pushes away from the wall to join the others. "That's what we were told down at the station, anyway. We were just talking about it before you got here."

"a quarantine for what?" Sans asks, eyes narrowing.

"You may have helped sneak Deacon here, but I don't see why we need to involve any outsiders in this matter," Grant cuts in. He casts a sideways look at Morwenna, who meets his eyes for a second in silence.

"He's not an outsider." Deacon's voice is clipped. Tense. Everything about his stance is defensive. "And like it or not, he is involved. All of the monsters are involved!"

Grant rolls his eyes. "This again."

"Yes, this again!" he snaps. "We suspected that the Vigilum were behind the shift with the news and we did nothing. You ignored the fact that it was just making the harassment of monsters worse, because it 'wasn't our problem'."

"You're too much of a bleeding heart."

"Now the monsters are trapped in Ebott like prisoners, again. They're having their freedom stripped away, and you're just... sitting here! I mean, this isn't even everyone. This is just whoever wasn't at work." Deacon's lip curls with disgust and frustration. He points at Maria, who's stealing a glance at her cell phone. "She's probably on her lunch break, Howard is working... Morwenna's dressed for classes later. We're the only ones outside of the Vigilum that have any idea what might be going on, and we're not doing anything to help."

"Our duty isn't to help. You knew that when we sent you to Ebott in the first place," Grant says. No one else is speaking. This struggle feels strictly between the two of them.

"You sent me there to observe. To gather intel to decide if we needed to act," he says, squaring his shoulders. "Well I'm telling you we need to act and all you want to do is just do what you've always done! Sit on your asses and just hope for the best! They need our help! Not later. Now!"

"Is that how you fumbled our biggest secret? By acting?" Grant snaps, and Deacon flinches, just barely. But it's enough that the other man can see. His smile is grim. "How many of them know? Did you just tell them, or did you do something foolish?"

"I couldn't just stand there and watch two kids die when I could help," he snarls.

Grant arches a brow. "That's strange, you didn't have a problem doing that before."

The room was already silent, save for the two of them, but it feels deathly still now. Sans bites back the obvious question, eyes narrowing as he watches Deacon pale and swallow, the tendons in his neck tensing in sharp relief from his throat. 

"You never gave me a choice," Deacon says, his voice canted low.

"You always had a choice. But if you had acted against my orders you would have placed all our lives at risk," Grant says, still insufferably calm. His eyes narrow as he regards Deacon. "Just like you're doing now."

"You bastard!" Deacon pulls back his fist, takes a step forward—

There's a red blur and Morwenna is standing between them, muted crimson magic ghosting off her skin for just a moment before it fades. A red mage? Sans's curiosity is piqued by the apparent self-applied time magic, making herself speed up from what he can guess. It was so localized that he didn't even feel any difference in time.

"Stuart, stand down," she says calmly. When he tries to duck around her she snatches up his arm and twists it behind his back in a move reminiscent of the training he did with Undyne. Deacon lets out a soft grunt of pain, refusing to take his eyes off of Grant. "Deacon Isaac Stuart, you will stand down and let me handle this."

"Just do as she says, man," Howard says. When Sans glances over at him he's got his thumbs hooked into the laden belt around his waist.

"What's gotten into you, Deacon?" Maria asks, surprised.

"Min, Mendez, no commentary necessary from the peanut gallery," Morwenna says, fixing them both with a stern look. Maria shrugs her shoulders and slumps back in her chair, picking up her cell phone again. Howard shakes his head and shifts uncomfortably on his feet.

"I told you he was too young for this," Grant says, looking at Morwenna. "He let himself get attached, his entire outlook on the situation is compromised—"

"Grant, shut up," she snaps, letting go of Deacon's arm. The blonde gives her an appreciative look, rubbing his shoulder as she turns to face Grant. "Deacon's right, we do need to do something. Because the Vigilum are behind the situation with the Line. This Captain Jacobs you told us about last week?"

Morwenna looks at Deacon again, who nods in acknowledgment.

"He's part of the Vigilum."

   
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