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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133. The Way Forward

The next couple days are... okay.

Kim tries to call you the next day and you reject it, and she leaves two voicemails you ask Sans to delete for you. He's more than happy to, and you can see the grim satisfaction on his face as he does it. Then on Monday you receive a call in the middle of work from a soldier manning the checkpoint. Kim is trying to get through and while they had a note from when Deacon called them, they need to double check with you on if she was permitted entry. You tell them that no, under no circumstances is she to come into Ebott so long as you have any say in the matter. That was all the soldier needed, and you apologize to her for having to deal with your mother. After you hang up you have to excuse yourself to the bathroom so you can catch your breath and stop shaking.

When you tell Undyne what happened with Kim she tells you she knew as much, but thankfully refrains from rubbing it in your face. Maybe it's the look on your face that subdues her, but she hugs you, gives you a 'that's rough, buddy' and asks you if you want her to go beat her up. While the thought is tempting you have to politely decline.

Toriel is upset on your behalf that things happened the way that they did, but you can tell that she's happy Kim is gone for good. "That horrible woman does not deserve you or Frisk, my child. Do not give her a second thought. You have a family that loves you," she says, and you end up crying in her office at school. When you're done you feel better, like the more you let yourself feel what happened, the more you're finally letting go. 

You were worried about what affect this might have on Frisk, but honestly they seem happier now that this is all over. Ever since you agreed to do lunch with her they'd been a little... withdrawn. Apprehensive of this small change in their life after adjusting to a world without her. So it's good for them, and for you, to have things back to normal.

Well, as normal as you can expect.

When you wake up Tuesday morning, three days before Christmas, it's snowing. You don't even notice until you're in the kitchen. Sipping coffee and and sitting in peaceful silence with Sans at the bar, that silence is abruptly shattered as Papyrus marches into the room with a half-asleep Frisk perched on his shoulders.

"IT'S SNOWING!" he exclaims, and you barely manage not to splash hot coffee down the front of your robe. You've been a little jumpy since Saturday, and you catch the concerned look Sans gives you as he puts a hand on the small of your back.

"Mom, does this mean we get a snow day from school?" Frisk  asks, grinning down at you.

You glance out the window and see that, yes, in fact, it is definitely snowing. Not hard, but enough for you to notice. It never snowed down in the foothills where you grew up, just here in the mountains. "That's not how it works, sweetie. You've still got today and tomorrow and then you're off for winter break."

Frisk lets out a loud, disappointed noise as Papyrus sets them down and rushes over to the big picture window to open the blinds. It must have started snowing overnight because the trees and ground already have a light dusting of white.

"IF IT KEEPS SNOWING LIKE THIS IT'LL BE JUST LIKE BACK IN SNOWDIN IN TIME FOR MY BIRTHDAY! WE CAN MAKE SNOW SKELETONS LIKE WE DID LAST YEAR," Papyrus says, turning to look at his brother. His bright grin turns into a perturbed frown. "AND YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY TRY SANS. NO MAKING SNOW LUMPS AND WRITING YOUR NAME ON IT."

"snow problem, bro," Sans says, earning himself a frustrated groan from Papyrus. "i'm sure you'll have an ice birthday."

"SANS! IF YOU ARE GOING TO ANTAGONIZE ME WITH YOUR RIDICULOUS PUNS, THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS COME UP WITH SOMETHING MORE ORIGINAL." Papyrus taps his foot on the tile floor, arching a brow. "OR I'LL HAVE TO GIVE YOU THE... COLD SHOULDER! NYEH HEH HEH!"

Papyrus rushes back out of the room, probably to change out of his pajamas. Sans is chuckling, a fond look on his face as he watches his brother go, but as he trails off you watch his attention return to the window and the snow outside. His smile fades, and after a second he shakes his head and looks back down at his coffee.

"Hun, everything okay?" you ask quietly, glancing at Frisk as they get themselves some cereal and go to the living room to watch cartoons.

"s'nothing," he mumbles, tapping the tips of his phalanges on the handle of his mug.

"Sans." You take hold of his knee and use it to turn the seat of the barstool so he's facing you. He sighs and after a moment of hesitation he meets your eyes. His pupils are dim. "It's not nothing."

"it's stupid," he says, and as you're about to argue with him he takes your hand from his leg and holds it. "it's just the snow, and pap saying it'll be like snowdin... i don't..." Sans grimaces, turning your hand in a way so he can see your ring. He nudges it with his thumb, centering it on your finger. "i don't have a lot of good memories from there. if we never got out, and we'd stayed in snowdin together that woulda been ok. but now that we're up here, it just feels a little like going back, and i don't like it."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" you ask gently.

He shakes his head. "nah, i'll be ok. besides, papyrus is happy about it. and a white christmas is supposed to be a good thing, right?"

"Think of all the nice seasonal photographs you'll be able to take," you say, and that manages to get him to smile, at least a little.

"He's an early Christmas gift."

Sans isn't sure who said that to him, maybe his mother, but that's what he remembers when he got to hold Papyrus for the first time after he was born.

It's Christmas Eve and it's Papyrus's birthday, and it's been fucking years since he's been able to celebrate it. His own birthday came and went without him even noticing (granted, things had been a little hectic with adjusting to the surface) but he's been anticipating this day for months. He finally gets to see his little brother turn twenty-two.

It makes all this feel a little more real somehow. This passage of time, the evidence that things are still moving steadily onward from that day that Frisk fell into the Underground. That day —those days— that just wouldn't stop repeating. And through it all Papyrus had been his constant.

"He's an early Christmas gift."

He hadn't realized just how much he needed that gift until after the accident, and he was going to make damn sure that his brother knew how much he appreciated him.

Sans spends the entire morning building snow skeletons with Papyrus while you're inside baking with Frisk. He's not sure if he's more excited about the snow or the fact that Sans is actually putting some effort into his own sculpting, but it's enough to just see Papyrus happy. Even if part of what makes his brother happy is nagging him over the fact that he's spending more time just watching Papyrus than working. But he can't help it. It's not every day that he gets to see him this excited.

Some people would hate having their birthday on Christmas Eve. But not Papyrus. He's practically the living embodiment of Christmas cheer and has more than enough to share between the two days. Papyrus is many things but selfish is not one of them.

Everyone comes over to the house (even Deacon, since Papyrus didn't want to leave anyone out, not that Sans minds) and Asgore grills up hamburgers and hot dogs in the backyard. As though there wasn't a few inches of snow on the ground. There's music and party games that involve a lot of spear-throwing courtesy of Undyne. It takes a few minutes for Sans to get you to let Frisk play.

With everyone else here Sans can take more of a back seat for the festivities, especially with Mettaton fawning all over Papyrus. On one hand it appeals to his laziness, but on the other... this is the first time he's ever had to share his brother with so many people on his birthday before. It's... well a small, selfish part of him feels frustrated, but mostly he's happy. Happy that Papyrus finally has so many friends and people that care about him. It sets it apart from so many birthdays with just the two of them (at least that he can remember).

The cake you made turned out beautifully. When you bring it out, topped with twenty-two red candles (Papyrus is sure to count them all to make sure) Toriel lights the wicks with a snap of her fingers. But as everyone starts singing 'Happy Birthday' Sans catches sight of tears glistening in his brother's eye sockets. After he blows out his candles he swipes the back of his hand over his face as all his friends start clapping.

"Papy, what's wrong sweetheart?" Mettaton asks, and Sans has to catch himself before interjecting where it isn't his place. Those two are together now. Just like you're the person he goes to when he's upset, he has to expect Papyrus to go to his boyfriend. That's how these relationships work. It still doesn't stop him from feeling a little bitter about it, though he knows that isn't fair.

Papyrus is smiling, though, looking a little embarrassed. "NOTHING. I JUST CAUGHT SOMETHING IN MY EYE."

There's a soft chorus of laughter that echoes around the room, and Mettaton wraps an arm around Papyrus's shoulders. "Are you sure?"

"I'M JUST SO HAPPY TO SEE EVERYONE HERE, EVEN THOUGH WE'LL BE SEEING EVERYONE AGAIN TOMORROW FOR CHRISTMAS... BUT THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE BIRTHDAY SO FAR. BECAUSE..." He hesitates, seeking out Sans in the crowd around the table. "BECAUSE NOT ONLY DO I HAVE ALL THESE WONDERFUL FRIENDS, BUT I ALSO HAVE MORE FAMILY THAN I HAD BEFORE! AND I'M SO HAPPY TO SEE SANS SO HAPPY."

There's a beat of silence where everyone is smiling, and Sans feels you there next to him, slipping an arm around his shoulders as, before he realizes it, he feels his own eye sockets grow a little damp. Chuckling, he swipes his sleeve over his face and beams at his brother. "i'm glad to see you happy too, bro."

"Well, on that note maybe it is time for the presents?" Toriel says, a welcome interruption as Sans takes a second to gather himself again.

You lean in closer to him, and for a second you meet his eyes and yours are a little shiny and wet too. He nuzzles your cheek and you kiss his brow, and as he pulls away he catches sight of Papyrus and Mettaton talking quietly next to the cake. They're smiling at each other, holding hands, and after a moment they lean in for a kiss and Sans looks away. Not because of any particular dislike, but to give them their privacy.

His little brother is finally, finally, getting the chance to get a year older, and see what life has in store for him.

   
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