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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190. The Return

It’s a simple thing to step back to their world. Shouldn’t this be harder? Shouldn’t crossing dimensions be something earth-shattering and catastrophic and terrifying? They should be glad that it isn’t, they suppose.

Frisk turns to check on Asriel the moment their feet hit solid, visible ground. He’s rubbing his chest, casting a relieved glance up at the trees and the sky, an anxious smile tugging at his mouth. A soft sigh passes his lips before he turns to look at Frisk, and the silent look that they give one another says ‘we’re okay’.

But what about Gaster?

They both come to the same realization as their own palpable relief starts to fade, and they turn around to face the tear. The doctor is standing there on the other side, looking at the edges of the breach. One hand rests on Plato’s nose, drumming a nervous tattoo against bone.

“Our turn,” he mutters to himself, glancing down at the blaster. “Or, perhaps I should say, my turn my friend. I’ll need all my magic to hope to sever myself from the Font unscathed. Or, at the very least, intact. Time to rest.”

Frisk reminds themselves that blasters aren’t alive. They don’t have emotions or memories or recognition. They’re just weapons, magical constructs. Sans told them as much. But it doesn’t stop Gaster from looking at Plato with sadness plain on his face as the red circles fade from his eye sockets. When they vanish completely, so does the blaster. He stares, dark-eyed, at the now-empty space for a brief moment before blinking slowly and turning back towards the tear. He has two white pupils, small and bright and just like Sans’s.

“Well,” he says, meeting Frisk’s gaze and giving them a weak smile. “I suppose this is the moment of truth. Step back, if you will. I’m… not certain what will happen to me when I cross the threshold.”

Asriel tugs Frisk back as they hesitate, watching with apprehension building in their chest as Gaster regards the tear. He doesn’t look worried or scared. Curious maybe, and resigned. Determined to follow through. Then, with a slow exhale and a clench of his jaw, he takes that step.

A twig snaps beneath Gaster’s foot, a sharp, crisp sound that makes Frisk jump. The doctor looks down at it, tilting his head to the side. He seems curious, and for a brief moment delighted at the sight of it. The stick, the leaves, he nudges them with the toe of his shoe. Then, as a few seconds pass, he seems to remember himself and turns to face the tear. The tails of his coat sway behind him, heavier than the fabric it must have been once a long time ago.

“So far so good,” he breathes.

Raising his hands, they both begin to glow a bright, brilliant red as he reaches out and somehow seizes hold of the two sides of the breach. A grunt of pain escapes him and his arms tremble as he tries to force the two edges back together.

Frisk feels rooted to the spot, stunned and awed. They hadn’t thought he’d literally close it with just his hands! Well, his hands and whatever strange red magic he has. They’ve never seen a monster with red magic before, from what they’d heard it was impossible. But everything about Gaster just seems impossible, so why would this be any different?

Once the sides of the tear start to pull together, to finally budge from where they’re stuck hanging in midair, it’s as though it wants to be closed. The edges seal up, closing as the widest parts start to narrow, like a pair of zippers pulling in towards the center. Gaster lets it go as it gets too small to hold, yanking his hands back as it closes with a soft whumph of air and a thin tendril of iridescent mist that drifts towards the doctor’s hands. It touches him, glows and turns a faint red before being absorbed.

There’s a moment of silence as they all just stare at the spot where the tear once was. Then Frisk’s eyes dart back to Gaster, their fear for him no less than before. He’s cut off now, wholly and truly from all that magic that he said was keeping him alive. What now? Gaster must be wondering the same thing because as the magic dissipates from his fingers he looks down at them, turning them over.

“No change,” he says, then takes an experimental swipe at the air in front of him. “The breach is sealed, no sign of any lingering distortion… Any excess magic that must have been expelled into our world must have— Oh, that’s not—”

Gaster is cut off as his body shudders, a ripple traveling from his shoulders to his knees. He’s able to half-turn, enough that Frisk can see the shock in his face as he starts to… Oh no, he’s starting to melt. His eye sockets droop even further, the white once-bone of his skull running down one side. His arms are losing definition, his clothes sagging into an amorphous lump. His hands and face stand out in stark relief against the blackness of his body as it begins to collapse in on itself.

“Gaster!” Frisk cries out, taking a step forward, horrified and desperate for some way to help.

But Asriel holds them back, wrapping his other hand around their wrist and digging in his heels. “Don’t! Don’t touch him!”

“Let me go—!”

“Stop.” Gaster’s voice is warped and distorted, audible for almost a full second before he even opens his mouth (his lips are stuck together, dripping tendrils stretching and breaking) and continues after he closes it. “Wait, I can… Wait. Wait, wait, wait.”

The word repeats over and over, like a needle catching on a chipped record, looping as his body starts to shiver. Frisk stops fighting Asriel’s grip as he shudders and the surface of him ripples, once, twice, and then a third time, slower. It starts from the ground, pushing the bulk of him upwards like clay being drawn on a wheel. His body is reforming, his limbs stretching and separating, his clothes redefined and lighter-looking than before. He’s more solid than he was even in the Font. Not quite bone and not quite the oozing flesh-like substance from before, his head and face lack the definition of Sans and Papyrus, but still look vaguely skeletal.

Eyes screwed shut and his brow furrowed with deep creases, Gaster lets out a trembling breath as his knees buckle and he falls back onto the forest floor. Asriel is too stunned to stop them this time as Frisk yanks themselves free and rushes to their grandfather’s side. As they drop down to their knees next to him, ignoring the brown, brittle pine needles poking into exposed skin, they’re relieved to see his mismatched eye sockets slowly blink open.

Two white pinpricks of light waver, flicking back and forth as he takes in the scenery above him. His face goes slack, one hand drifting lightly over the leaves and needles and he closes his fingers around one half of the broken stick from his first step out of the Font. He traces the sharp, jagged end with his thumb, then raises his other hand towards Frisk. Without thinking, they take it and he clutches them tightly. Their eyes dart down and back to his face again, and they’re surprised to see his pupils start to blur, bright and shining as they start to brim with tears.

“I made it,” he says softly, and that faint stretch of his voice is nearly gone. There’s still a faint echo, a hint of distortion, but it’s almost normal. (Almost normal is probably as good as Gaster is ever going to get.) “I’m back, I— I’m on the surface. Frisk.”

Gaster tears his eyes away from the flecks of sky visible through the trees, blinking hard as he composes himself. Grunting with effort, he pushes himself up into a sitting position with Frisk’s help. He turns the piece of stick over in his hand before setting it carefully back down on the ground, meeting Frisk’s gaze. “Frisk, thank you,” he says, covering their hands with his own. His thin mouth curves into a smile, head tipping just a little to the side. “For freeing me.”

His intensity makes Frisk blush, glancing away. “It was an accident. It wasn’t like we knew you were there…” they mumble, suddenly self-conscious. The only reason any of this had happened was because of their foolish attempt at messing with their Souls and their magic.

“And not just for freeing me,” he continues, as if they hadn’t said anything. “For everything you’ve done for monsterkind, for breaking the Barrier. For making this moment ” —he looks up at the sky again, something like awe on his face— “possible. You’ve given everyone so much. You’ve given my sons—”

Gaster catches himself, dropping his gaze back down to Frisk. They’re biting their lip, unsure of what to say in the face of all his praise. That all felt so long ago now. Six years had passed since they helped shatter the Barrier, and it wasn’t often that monsters stopped to just thank them anymore. They’re glad for it; all the attention was starting to make them uncomfortable. But Gaster doesn’t notice any of that.

“I need to see them,” he says, his eyes snapping back into sharp focus. Then he winces, shaking his head. “They won’t remember, it’s not that simple. And Papyrus isn’t even here…”

“He’s in Hawaii,” Asriel says from behind Frisk. They glance over their shoulder to look at him, but he’s still a few paces away. Watching them uncertainly. When Frisk takes the time to really focus on him, they feel a hazy sensation of doubt and confusion rise to the surface.

“I’m sure he’ll come home as soon as he hears,” Frisk says, refusing to dwell on Asriel’s feelings. They don’t like how they conflict with their own.

“I’ll speak with Sans… If he believes me. Well, I suppose that is a bridge we shall have to cross when we get there,” Gaster says, sighing.

“I have a question,” Asriel says, taking a step closer. “Something that doesn’t make sense. How come we woke up so far from the tear that we opened? Shouldn’t we have been closer to it?”

Gaster looks at him, blinking as he considers the question. Giving the back of Frisk’s hand a gentle pat, he releases them and begins the process of picking himself up to his feet. He’s a little wobbly and unstable, but he manages. Just barely. “I don’t know,” he says, making a helpless gesture with his hands.

“You mean you didn’t see it?” he demands, a little harsher than Frisk likes. They stand, turning to face him. “You could see Chara and all the timelines and all our mistakes but you couldn’t see what happened to us when we came into the Font?”

“No. My vision is —was— limited when it came to the Anathema. Perhaps it kept me from seeing in the hopes of delaying my getting to you somehow,” he says. He brushes off the back of his coat, twisting this way and that to get a better look at his surroundings. “Whatever happened, the important thing is that the three of us made it safely here. Isn’t it?”

He doesn’t wait for Asriel to answer, instead looking down at Frisk again and threading his fingers together. “I believe that Sans is at work in the lab, so in the meantime… I’d very much like to meet your mother.”

Oh no. Frisk winces and presses the back of their hand to their mouth, glancing away. This is one conversation that they realize they’re dreading. You and Sans aren’t going to be happy to hear about what they did...

   
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