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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66. Troubled Children

"No!" Frisk shouts, yanking their hand free from yours and taking a step towards Flowey. The flower just laughs as you dart out to grab their shoulders, pulling them back against you. "You're not supposed to be here this time! This time is different!"

You look up around you at the monsters held suspended in the air. Some, like Undyne and Asgore are struggling. Alphys looks terrified, her eyes fixed on Undyne. Papyrus is saying something to Sans but his brother doesn't seem to hear him. Sans watching you and Frisk, his sockets dark and unreadable.

Flowey gives a little shake of his leaves, swaying on his stem. The massive vines swell and rise higher around you, closing you in even further. You have nowhere to go, no way to run, and everyone you care about is caught in this trap.

"So you remember now, do you? It must have something to do with that little trick you pulled earlier." Flowey's smile turns sweet, hiding his fangs. "And you're right, things are different this time! Instead of just the human Souls, I'll have all of your friends' Souls too!" He giggles, sneering. "And you know what the best part is? It's all your fault. It's all because you made them love you. Without that, they wouldn't have come here. Just one word to Papyrus that you were in danger and he couldn't run fast enough to go get Undyne and Alphys."

"We're going to get out of this, Alphys!" Undyne shouts, struggling to flex her arms and try to rip through the vines. But she's held fast. "Don't panic!"

"SANS, I DON'T UNDERSTAND. IS THIS MY FAULT?" Papyrus is shaking his head, hands clenching and unclenching uselessly at his sides.

Flowey's face twists into a thin smile, eyes glittering with malice. "They don't even realize how pointless their fighting is. Because with all of these Souls, I'll finally achieve my true form."

"Why are you doing this?" Frisk demands, trying to step forward again but you hold them back. "Why won't you just leave me alone?"

The flower fixes them with an impatient look. "Don't you get it? This is all just a game. We've been playing it over and over again, but if you leave the Underground satisfied you'll 'win' and you'll never come back. You won't be here to play with me anymore! What would I do then?"

"This isn't a game! These are people's lives!" you snap.

"You're really good at messing up the way things happen around here, aren't you?" Flowey glares at you, petals bristling. "You made friends, played house, and had the nerve to just sit around and stop playing the game. I may not have been able to kill you before, but that doesn't matter. Because now, thanks to you, I have all these Souls. I wonder how strong I'll be with two more?"

A ring of white pellets forms a halo around the two of you, and you feel the familiar tug of your Soul free itself from your chest. The brighter, purer red of Frisk's Soul is there too and you fight the urge to hide it somehow. There's no denying Flowey's intentions as he starts to laugh. "I'll kill you a million times if I have to! You're never going to leave this place happy!"

Your grip on Frisk tightens, one arm circling their chest in some futile effort to protect them. But the pellets are coming from all sides, there's no way to stop their approach. Flowey cackles even louder over the frustrated cries of your friends, but then, just as you're squeezing your eyes shut in the face of the inevitable, the laughing cuts off abruptly. Hot air buffets your face.

"What?" Flowey says.

You open your eyes to find yourself surrounded by a messy tangle of magic. Fire and bones and spears, shades of blue and orange and green all twisted together to form a barrier around you and Frisk.

"we've got you," Sans says and you look up to see him giving you a strained smile, the familiar ring of blue flickering in his eye.

"Do not be afraid, my children," Toriel says. "No matter what happens, we will always be there to protect you!"

Another ring of pellets forms, this time trying to come at you from above but the web of magic shifts to absorb the blow. Flowey is glaring, the thorns all around you growing and sharpening.

"THAT'S RIGHT, HUMANS!" Papyrus shouts, anxious sweat dotting the side of his skull despite his enthusiasm. "YOU CAN WIN! JUST DO WHAT I WOULD DO! BELIEVE IN YOU!"

"How can we win?" you cry out, shaking. "You've always... you've always saved me..."

"Hey, Hope! If you were able to stand your ground against ME, you can take out this overgrown weed!" Undyne says, giving you a big, pointy smile. "And don't worry! We're still with you all the way!"

"frisk, you've had everyone here to protect you this time, even your mom, but you remember before. you fought all your battles yourself, don't forget how tough you are!" Sans says, smiling wider.

There's another barrage of pellets and Flowey is writhing in anger. Again his attacks are deflected away, and you feel something stir in your chest. Frisk lets out a cheer and pumps their fist in a way that they must have picked up from Undyne.

"I know it seems impossible, b-but I know you can do it!" Alphys says.

"Human," Asgore's voice fills air, and you catch Flowey cringing at the sound. "For the future of humans and monsters, you have to stay determined!"

Flowey lets out an impotent cry of rage, shaking his leaves as he glares up at the two of you through your messy shield of magic. "No! Unbelievable! This can't be happening! You... You...!" His expression makes a sudden, startling shift into a maniacal grin, splitting his face so wide that you take a step backwards. "I can't believe you're all so stupid! You can't stop me! All of your Souls are mine!"

Flowey's horrible laughter fills the air as your friends all cry out in pain. The vines twist and writhe all around you, tightening around their bodies as a harsh, bright light starts to fill the room. It's blinding in intensity and you have to squeeze your eyes shut, leaning over Frisk to try and shield them from whatever might be coming. You feel their hands grip your arm and they cry out in pain.

Your chest feels too light. Something inside you shudders and shivers and for a moment you think you might faint. You feel like something is trying to pull you apart through your Soul.

Even through your eyelids everything is just too bright.

Then you're plunged into darkness.

Silence.

Where once you were warm from the magical fire that helped protect you, now you're... nothing. You're not hot or cold, just there. But Frisk's hands are warm on your skin and you know that they're here with you. You can hear their breathing, now that it feels like your senses are slowly returning to you. Straightening your back but not letting go of your child, you blink and look around.

Blackness. Nothing. You can see Frisk as though lit somehow though there's no source of discernible light. They blink up at you, equally confused. There's a floor beneath you —you can feel it under your feet— but you can't see it. Or, you can, but it's the exact same color as everything else around you. There's no shadows to give it any sense of dimension.

Frisk gasps and you look up. There's a child standing there in the darkness with you. A monster child in a green and yellow striped sweater, facing away. White fur covers his head and his long ears that remind you of Toriel and Asgore. His small hands move just a little, curling and uncurling his fingers like he's not used to the movement. He turns his head from side to side, slowly as he rocks forward onto his padded toes and back down to his heels. 

The child's shoulders shudder as he lets out a humorless, relieved laugh. "Finally," he breathes in a voice you've never heard before. It's soft and sweet and for a moment you forget the danger because he's just a child and where did he come from? You unwrap your arm from around Frisk and step out from behind them so you're side-by-side. "I was so tired of being a flower."

This child is Flowey? What the hell is going on?

He turns around to face you, blinking large green eyes as he focuses all his attention on Frisk. He doesn't even glance at you. "Howdy! Chara, are you there? It's me, your best friend."

"Asriel," Frisk whispers, eyes going wide as their hand flies up to their neck, clutching something through their sweater. It's then that you spot the glint of a gold chain, and you wonder where it came from.

"Asriel? Asgore's son—?" A bright flash of light blinds you, cutting you off as you cover your eyes and let out a surprised yelp.

When you can see again Asriel is still standing in front of you, but he's different. He's taller, bigger. Horns have sprouted from his head and though you see some of Asgore and Toriel in him he's nothing like them. He makes a chill run down your spine. Eyes the color of pitch stare down at Frisk as he bares his teeth in a wicked smile.

"Once I defeat you, I'll regain total control of the timeline," Asriel says, rising slowly off the ground. He hangs there in the air, looking down at both of you, raising his hands as magical fire fills his palms. It shifts colors, refusing to settle on any single hue as it swirls between his fingers. "For a while I wanted to destroy everything, but... I'd rather just Reset it all."

Frisk snatches up your hand and drags you to the side just in time to dodge a hail of tiny fireballs. The all-too-familiar red glow of both your Souls fills the space around you in response to Asriel's assault. You remember what Sans said to Frisk, that they've been through fights with monsters before. Their speed is incredible, reflexes faster than you could ever imagine. Are you just holding them back? After hundreds of timelines of practice, how can you ever keep up?

Asriel laughs, materializing a pair of sabers from the air around him. The darkness is starting to shift, twisting and surrounding you with ever-changing color. "I'm going to undo all the work you've done. All the friendships you've made. You won't remember anything. None of you will, not even Sans. I've done it to him before, and I'll do it again."

He lunges forward and lashes out at you with both swords, eyes flashing in the glow of the light all around you. You manage to stumble backwards just in time to avoid the conjured blade, but a flurry of small sparks travel in the wake of it and they pepper you across the chest. They burn, a sharp pain like staring into the sun and you cry out and bring your hand up to feel for wounds that aren't there. The magic went straight for your Soul.

"Mom!" Frisk yelps, whirling around to check on you.

"I'm fine," you say, gritting your teeth.

"Asriel, stop!" Frisk shouts at him, tugging at the chain around their neck. Their fingers close around something glittering as they whirl around to face down the hovering monster.

"You can't stop me, Chara! I'm going to Reset and we're going to do this all over again," he snarls, twirling one of the blades in his hand before giving a half-hearted slash for emphasis. "And the best part about all this is that you'll do it. You won't remember and we'll get to do this again and again!"

A halo of stars, bright facets of light, forms around Asriel in a pattern that reminds you of Flowey's pellets. Frisk yanks on your hand and you follow them to the side but the stars follow you, too fast to get out of the way. You wonder how many of these attacks you can take before you—

It happens so fast you almost can't comprehend it. Someone steps out of Frisk. For a moment they're like a blurry afterimage but the colors are all wrong. Instead of blue and purple they're green and yellow, pale skin, auburn hair. In the light of your Souls their eyes seem red. They dart between you and the stars and fling their arms out wide, taking the full brunt of the attack.

They stagger back as Asriel stares, wide-eyed at this new child. A new Soul adds its light to the space around the three of you, red like Frisk's but... It's cracked like yours but so much worse. It's split almost entirely down the middle with fractures branching into both halves. Entire chips are missing and you don't know how the Soul is even staying together at all. And what were they doing inside of Frisk?

"Chara!" Asriel cries out, his face breaking out into a huge smile. "I knew you were here, I knew it!"

"Asriel, you idiot, this is all your fault!" the child shouts, balling their hands into fists.

Asriel's smile falters, the sabers fading back into nothingness as his arms go slack. "...What? I... I've been calling for you. I've missed you!"

"If you had listened to me in the first place we wouldn't be here like this! You... you betrayed me! You betrayed our plan and we died for nothing!"

Frisk is standing beside you and all the two of you can do is watch. You're faintly aware that your three red Souls have started pulsing in the same rhythm.

Asriel shakes his head, balling his hands into fists. "No, we... I didn't want to hurt those people..."

"So now it's okay? What happened to the stupid crybaby I remember?" Chara says, shaking their head and making a derisive noise.

Staring, the monster's expression is blank as he struggles with something to say. You don't understand what's going on. Is this child, Chara, the human that Asgore and Toriel adopted? The child that died with Asriel?

He bares his fangs, snarling down at Chara. "I started seeing the world the way you always said it was. I listened to you and now you don't want me to?"

"You didn't listen soon enough! It's too late now!" Chara snaps.

"It's not too late! I'll show you! I'll purge this timeline and next time you'll see," Asriel snarls.

His body starts to warp in front of you, and you're blinded by a bright flash of light before everything is plunged back into darkness.

   
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