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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12. The Soul of the Matter

"SANS, GET UP YOU LAZYBONES!"

Sans jerks awake, Papyrus's shrill voice and the pounding on his door jolting him out of sleep. An overwhelming sense of deja vu fills him with dread. How many times has he heard Papyrus say those words? A new recurring nightmare haunts the fringes of his consciousness, the feeling of losing you a sharp ache in his chest.

He knew this would happen! He'd let his guard down, he let himself get attached, and now it's all being torn away from him. But why? Why now? Sans drags his hands down his face, biting back a growl of anger.

Damn it, damn it, damn it... No!

Shaking and disoriented, he stumbles out of bed towards his makeshift light, bumping against his treadmill in the dark. His hand fumbles with the lamp, and the familiar sight of his messy room does little to ease his fears.

It must have reset. He's certain of it. Papyrus always wakes him up in the exact same way, the day before Frisk emerges from the Ruins. He has to wait a day to see if you'll be there again, and all at once he's not sure he can bear it.

Feeling the surge of magic welling throughout his body, throughout his Soul, the lamp begins to glow with a blue haze. With a gesture it lifts into the air, and as he turns, snarling, to fling it across the room, he sees something that makes him freeze in place.

Your jacket is still draped across the treadmill.

The light drops back onto the top of his dresser with a clatter, relief surging through him as the magic drains away. For a moment he almost collapses. His knees feel so weak. He picks up your jacket and sits on the edge of his bed, hands trembling as he stares down at it. A short, manic laugh escapes him and then he curls in on himself, burying his face in the fabric clutched tight in his fingers.

Everything is fine. Everything is fine.

You are his touchstone to this reality, and for the moment he feels grounded again.

You're in the kitchen, sitting and eating breakfast with Frisk when you feel Sans wrap his arms around you from behind and hug you. He presses his forehead into the crook of your neck, and you think you hear him let out a sigh. Frisk rolls their eyes from across the table and keeps eating.

You clear your throat, feeling your cheeks warm at the undisguised show of affection. "Um, good morning," you say, reaching up to touch his arms.

"morning," Sans answers, tone casual. He relaxes his hold on you a little bit, lifting his head and resting his chin on your shoulder. You can feel his voice vibrating through his bones. "pap and i have sentry work today. did you two want to come?"

"I promised Frisk I'd spend the day with them today," you tell him, an apology in your voice. "We're going shopping before lunch, is there anything you want me to pick up?"

"nah, babe, i'm good." Sans unwinds his arms from around you, giving your shoulders an affectionate squeeze.

Frisk looks over at the two of you, eyes narrowing. "Sissa," they say, accusingly. "Is Sans your boyfriend now?"

Nearly choking on your oatmeal, you let your spoon drop into your bowl as you swallow and pat your chest. Sans is standing beside you now, and the two of you share a look. Is he? If it hadn't been for the interruption, you're confident the two of you would have slept together last night...

You're sure you're beet red at this point, unsure of what to say. Sans gives you a little smirk, then turns to Frisk. Your child is fidgeting with their breakfast as they watch you, scooping and dumping their oatmeal back into the bowl with a plop.

"hey kiddo, what's this feel like to you?" Sans asks, holding out the sleeve of his jacket.

Frisk looks at him like he's grown a second head. You admit that you have no idea what he's getting at, either.

Sans nudges his sleeve closer. Frisk looks over at you, and finding no answer in your own confused expression, looks back at the skeleton again. They reach out and rub his jacket between their fingers.

"Feels like your jacket," they say, shrugging as they stare up at him from under thick bangs.

"you sure it doesn't feel like boyfriend material?" Sans winks at you.

You hide your face behind a hand, shoulders shaking as a snort escapes you, followed by a stream of laughter. How did you not realize that was coming?

"I don't know what boyfriend material feels like," Frisk says, giggling.

"Good, you've got another ten years until you need to know," you say, any force in your tone weakened as you try to catch your breath.

"well, then we should ask your sissa," Sans says, holding out his arm to you. He waggles his brows. "what do you think?"

You reach out and take his arm, rubbing slowly with the pad of your thumb. Pursing your lips, you pretend to think. "Hmm..." Beneath the teasing, you can see affection in Sans's face. You can't help but smile. "I think so..."

Frisk makes a loud gagging noise as Sans leans over to kiss your cheek. "Kissing is gross."

You turn your head and give the skeleton a quick peck on the mouth. "Definitely gross. Are you disgusted? I'm disgusted."

"awful."

"Stoooooop," Frisk whines. "Or I'm not going to be okay with this anymore!"

You nudge Sans away with a laugh, his fingers trailing across your shoulder before he leans away. You can't help but notice that he keeps touching you, and he seems hesitant to leave the kitchen. But right now your focus is on Frisk, who is hanging their head dramatically over the back of the chair, making choking noises.

"So you are okay with it, sweetie?" you ask. Maybe you should have talked to Frisk about this earlier... but everything had moved so quickly.

Frisk rights themselves, glancing at Sans. He's looking a little awkward, waiting for the verdict with his hands shoved in his pockets. They look back down at their breakfast, picking their spoon back up to push their oatmeal around the bowl. "Yeah," they say in a quiet voice, looking a little embarrassed. "I like Sans."

You and Sans share a look, and he seems about to say something when Papyrus's loud voice echoes through the house.

"SANS! WE NEED TO GO OR WE'RE GOING TO BE LATE!"

Sans sighs and gives you another quick kiss on the cheek. You start laughing as he leans in to do the same to Frisk. "c'mon, one for you too, kiddo."

Frisk protests and tries to duck away, but as Sans ruffles their hair on the way out the door you see the pleased look on Frisk's face. They look up, see you smiling, then try to frown and go back to eating their breakfast.

Warmth spreads throughout your chest, and you wonder when this all started feeling so normal. Everything feels perfect.

Sans has his head pillowed on his arms at his sentry station, watching the few snowflakes twirl through the air on their way to the ground. He just woke from a pleasant nap, sometime around midday according to his phone. He thinks about texting you, but decides not to. Frisk tends to hang onto your phone most of the time, and he can't really think of anything to say.

Leaving the house that morning was difficult, but he didn't want to worry you or Papyrus. He must have put on a convincing act, because neither of you noticed anything was wrong. Though, after his conversation with you and Frisk, it wasn't much of an act anymore. Seeing you, reassuring himself that nothing had been reset... it all helped.

He's still worried that he's making a huge mistake, but he can't help but let himself get wrapped up in you. Everything with you is new, and as scared as he is, he feels rejuvenated. Even Frisk is different. They're happier, more content.

Maybe things really can be good this time. Part of him —most of him— doesn't believe it, but it's nice to think about.

The crunch of familiar footsteps through the snow snaps Sans out of his thoughts. Looking up, he sees Papyrus coming his way. So much for his hope for another nap. Sans sits up a little as his brother approaches, cradling his chin in one hand.

"'sup bro?"

Papyrus huffs out a long-suffering sigh, shaking his head. "I SEE YOU ARE SITTING HERE DOING NOTHING, AS USUAL, BROTHER. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOWER OUR DEFENSES, THERE IS STILL THE CHANCE THAT ANOTHER, NOT-SO-NICE HUMAN MAY REACH THE UNDERGROUND! IF THAT HAPPENS, WE MUST BE READY!"

"yeah, you're right."

"OF COURSE I'M RIGHT! IF I CAPTURE A DIFFERENT HUMAN, THEN MAYBE UNDYNE CAN OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT I'VE BEEN LYING TO HER..." Papyrus grimaces as nervous sweat dots the side of his skull. "I CAN'T KEEP DOING THIS FOREVER, SANS, I CAN'T STAND LYING TO ONE FRIEND TO KEEP MY OTHER FRIENDS SAFE."

If only it could be that simple. Though, Sans suspected that if Papyrus knew the truth about why Undyne and Asgore wanted humans, his brother wouldn't be so keen on catching them. He'd never knowingly usher anyone to their death, no matter how noble-sounding the cause. Sans just doesn't have it in him to tell him the truth.

"we're gonna have to tell her something sooner or later. i don't think the humans are going to be leaving any time soon."

Papyrus lets out another sigh, looking discouraged. After a moment he leans forward, resting his elbows on the counter of the sentry station as he gives Sans a scrutinizing look. Suddenly, Sans feels a little nervous. "SPEAKING OF THE HUMANS... WHAT WERE YOU TWO DOING IN YOUR ROOM LAST NIGHT?"

Sans gives a weak laugh, looking away. "i dunno what you're talking about bro."

"OH, YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, SANS." Papyrus has a twinkle in his eye as he starts poking his brother in the shoulder over and over. "FIRST YOU GO ON A DATE, THEN YOU'RE BACK IN YOUR ROOM, CANOODLING."

Sans's eyes widen, and he knows that the look on his face is definitely giving him away. "h-how did you know we went on a date?"

Papyrus's expression is positively triumphant. "NYEH HEH HEH! I KNOW YOU, BROTHER, AND I CAN SEE THE WAY YOU KEEP LOOKING AT HER. YOU LIIIIIIKE HER!"

Sans buries his face in his arms as Papyrus cackles, trying his best to ignore the incessant prodding of his brother's gloved hand. "AND HERE I THOUGHT YOU'D BE TOO LAZY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!"

"bro."

"NO WONDER YOU'VE BEEN SEEMING SO CHEERFUL."

"papyrus."

"I'M EVEN HAPPIER THAT I FAILED TO CAPTURE THE HUMANS."

"bro."

"WHAT, SANS?"

"now that you know, you gotta help me get the kid outta the house so we can have some time alone."

"HMM, THAT SOUNDS MORE LIKE AN EXCUSE FOR YOU TO BE LAZY. BUT! I WILL DO WHAT I CAN TO HELP. BECAUSE I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR HAPPINESS!"

Sans can't help but smile up at his brother, chuckling. "you're the best, bro."

"I KNOW."

"you're making my wishbone come true."

"SANS."

"hey, don't sound so sternum."

"SANS!"

Before Sans can work his way into his next joke, Papyrus's phone starts to ring. The taller skeleton fishes his hand into a concealed pocket in his clothes and retrieves it. Sans raises an eyebrow as Papyrus's face lights up.

"OH, IT'S THE HUMANS!" He pushes a button, holding the phone up to his skull. "HELLO HUMAN!"

Sans can hear the other end of the conversation clearly, because Frisk is shouting. Papyrus's jaw goes slack and if he had flesh and blood his face would have drained of color. "Papyrus you have to help—!"

Papyrus nearly drops the phone as he pulls it away from his head, panicked as he stares at the screen. The call disconnected.

"papyrus—"

Sans is pushing himself over the counter, reaching for his brother's arm. Nervous energy buzzes through his bones, fear needling his spine. Papyrus tries to call the humans back, but it just rings until it goes to voicemail.

Clenching his jaw, Papyrus looks down at his brother and pulls him out of the sentry station, setting him on his feet. "I THINK NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME FOR ONE OF YOUR SHORTCUTS, SANS."

You and Frisk are returning home from getting groceries for the next few days. Your hands are full and even Frisk is carrying a few bags. With no foreseeable end to your stay with the skeleton brothers in sight, you're feeling encouraged to make good on your promise to cook for everyone. Aside from dried pasta and ingredients for tomato sauce, the kitchen is lacking in essentials. You've made it a point to remedy that.

A pair of young monsters darts past you, shouting to each other and laughing. As you start to wonder what's going on, you see most of Frisk's new friends gathered around the house. At their center is a tall woman —taller than you but shorter than Papyrus— with a shockingly-red ponytail and blue-green scales. A pair of kids are holding on to her biceps as she lifts them, a toothy grin taking up most of her face.

"C'mon you little punks, I can lift ALL of you at once!" she shouts, laughing.

Two more kids seize hold of her leather jacket and she flexes her arms, lifting them into the air. Who could this be, and why is she in front of the house? Sans and Papyrus never mentioned any other friends, except... Oh no...

You halt in your tracks, but it's too late. The woman and the children have caught sight of you and Frisk. The kids call out for Frisk to come play, and in stark contrast the woman's face begins to twist into a grimace. You drop your bags and snatch Frisk's arm, pulling them to a halt.

"Sissa—?"

"What the hell is this?" the woman snaps, and all at once the children fall silent. She shakes off the ones clinging to her arms, pushing her way past them and towards the two of you. You pull Frisk to your side, putting yourself in front of them. "Humans, in Snowdin?!"

The kids scatter at the pure fury in her voice, and a few of them cast worried glances your way. You don't expect any of their families to be much help. Of course this would happen when Sans and Papyrus are away!

"ARGH! I should have known Papyrus was hiding something from me, but I never expected THIS." She holds out her hand and a glowing, pale blue spear appears against her palm.

"We're Papyrus's friends!" Frisk tries to circle around you, and a shiver of fear trails up your spine as you see the telltale red glow of their Soul in front of their chest.

"No!" you shout, pulling Frisk back behind you. This isn't like 'fighting' Papyrus. This woman —Undyne, it has to be— is glaring at you with the intent to kill. 

"We don't have to fight!" Frisk insists, yanking on the back of your jacket.

Undyne sneers, her one yellow eye narrowing. "Oh I'm sure it won't be much of a fight. We only need one more Soul, but I'm sure King Asgore won't mind a spare." She points the tip of her spear at you. "Humans, with your Souls our King will finally free us from this prison! Your lives are all that stand between us and our freedom! Everyone's been waiting our whole lives for this moment!"

She really does intend to kill you. This is the woman Papyrus is so eager to impress? Killing humans is the true purpose of the Royal Guard? Papyrus had just wanted to capture you for her... there's no way he could possibly know this. You take a step backward, one hand still gripped like a vice around Frisk's wrist.

"Now, human! Let's end this, right here, right now!" Undyne steps forward into a fighting stance, and you feel something stir in your chest.

Ever since seeing Frisk's Soul, you wondered if yours would look the same. Now you know the answer. It doesn't. It's red, but darker and dimmer, the color of wine (part of you recoils at the comparison, even in the middle of this situation your mother's face springs to mind). Your Soul is... cracked down the center. Not completely, but the fracture runs nearly to the middle. You recoil, but it follows you, leashed intangibly to your chest.

Undyne seems to hesitate at the sight of it, just for a moment. Then, with a snarl, she makes a slashing motion with her spear. "Your Soul doesn't matter! The other one looks perfectly fine to me."

"I won't let you touch them!" Releasing your hold on Frisk, you throw your arms out wide, glaring as anger pounds in your chest. Maybe it's just the blood rushing in your ears, but it seems like the wind is howling. The idea, the mere thought of Undyne hurting your child...

It fills you with determination.

"Fine, then FACE ME!" Undyne roars, leaping forward.

There's a flash of green light and as you bring your hands in front of you in a futile attempt to protect yourself, a transparent shield springs to life. Your cracked Soul has turned green, and your feet feel rooted to the ground. Undyne's spear glances off the surface, and you hear her laughing.

"Good, good! Let's see what else you're capable of!"

   
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