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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76. Venting Some Frustration

The walk to Grillby's takes you about twenty minutes, perfect for the kids to burn off some energy from their nap. It's nestled in the more crowded part of Mountainside, near the school and the eclectic shop run by the family of rabbits. Even the library (spelled correctly this time) made the move to Mountainside's little town center. Come winter, you think it'll be almost a spitting image of Snowdin.

Grillby's new place is nearly identical to the old one, just a bit more polished and a little nicer on the inside. Everything is brand new of course, from the bar to the benches. The only things brought up from the Underground are some of the decor and the glassware. It's still a little odd to you, walking into the bar and seeing the same, familiar layout with everything just slightly different. Same faces, same Grillby, same menu, new place.

Well, there's actually a newer face waiting the tables so that Grillby doesn't have to do it all himself anymore. A green fire elemental is flitting from table to table as you walk through the door, looking over as a little bell signals your arrival. She raises a hand and gives your group a cheerful wave, her green coloring flaring yellow for a moment around her face.

"hey, cindy," Sans says, raising his hand in reply. "usual table okay?"

"Of course! I'll let my uncle know you're here," she says, looking at the door leading to the kitchens. You realize that Grillby isn't in his usual place at the bar.

"no need to bother him if he's busy," he says with a shrug. He gives you a soft press on the small of your back to go follow Frisk and Asriel as they dart off towards the booth closest to the juke box.

"Sans you know you and your family are never a bother," she says, looking fondly over at the kids as they crawl onto the faux leather bench.

It's a bit busier than normal, which is a surprise. You figured a lot of them might be at the conference, but in retrospect you realize that only a fraction of Ebott's population actually showed up. Either out of fear of the humans or just casual disinterest, the humans had easily outnumbered the monsters. You catch a few snippets of conversation as you pass by other tables on the way to yours. Most of the other patrons are actually talking about the conference, from what you can tell. Not going didn't stop them from being curious or having their own thoughts on the matter.

Asriel is pushing Frisk away from him as you slip into the bench opposite them. He's got his hand on their shoulder, trying to keep them at arm's length as he looks over a small laminated menu. "Stoooooooop!" he whines, trying to turn to put his back towards Frisk.

But Frisk is having none of it, taking hold of his arm and pulling him back towards them so they can look over his shoulder. "C'mon, I wanna see it too!"

"You always get the same thing, why do you need to look?" Asriel says, frowning and hunching his shoulders to try and dislodge their friend.

"Because maybe I'll change my mind," Frisk says stubbornly. At first you think they're just horsing around, but you realize that they're both frowning.

"Frisk, stop bothering Asriel and wait your turn. You can look at it when he's done," you say, just as Sans slides into the seat next to you.

Frisk does as you ask but doesn't look too happy about it. They scoot away from Asriel and give him an annoyed look. That's unusual for them, normally they're always getting along. It's like they exist on the same wavelength, in touch with how the other is feeling in a way that isn't quite normal. But, you suspect, they're still just kids. And kids bug each other.

Sans slides another menu across the table to Frisk. "here kiddo, knock yourself out," he says with an amiable shrug. It defeats the purpose of you trying to get Frisk to be patient, but you understand that Sans is just trying to keep the peace. Frustrating but well-intentioned, you let it drop. It's been a long, trying day and bickering won't help anyone.

The kids sit in silence for a few minutes, wearing matching frowns and staring at their menus in what you think is exaggerated focus. You and Sans share a look and you shrug. "The usual?" you ask him, choosing to leave Frisk and Asriel alone for the time being.

"is there anything else worth getting?" Sans replies as he sits up a little straighter so he can slide his arm around your shoulders.

You lean into his side right as Cindy comes to the table and passes out your drinks. You're here often enough that she doesn't need to ask what you want. In retrospect you're not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but Grillby and his niece are always happy to see you which makes the trips here worthwhile.

"You two are always so cute. I hope I have that someday," Cindy says, pressing one hand to her cheek and smiling.

Sans hugs you closer, giving the fire elemental a grin. "y'hear that frisk? at least somebody thinks we're cute."

Frisk makes a face, not even bothering to look at you. "You don't have to see them kissing," they grumble.

"Your parents are sweet, one day you'll understand," Cindy says with a giggle. "So, the usuals for the two of you?"

Sans nods. "yup."

"And how about you two? I don't think you've quite worked your way through the entire menu yet, Prince Asriel, if you want something new." She fidgets with her vest a little, and doesn't notice when Asriel flinches at the title.

"Um, the usual for me too," Frisk says, giving their friend a timid look.

"See, you always get the same thing," Asriel says, frowning at them.

Frisk just rolls their eyes and crosses their arms over their chest. "Yeah because I like it."

Asriel pinches his ear between his fingers, rubbing and finally looking up at Cindy. "Um, just a burger and fries is fine for me too."

"No problem, i'll get that started for you guys!" she says, then heads off.

You and Sans distract the kids from their bickering with questions about school until Grillby himself arrives with your food. Sliding the plates across the table, he gives off a bright flare of heat and showers Frisk and Asriel with a light spray of sparks, making them laugh. You're glad that they're enjoying it —smiles are much more preferable to frowns— but every time Grillby does that you expect someone to catch fire. But, you suppose you can trust the fire elemental to know what he's  doing.

"place is bouncing tonight, grillby. looks like the conference was good for business at least," Sans says, gesturing at the crowded bar.

Grillby just gives a good-natured shrug, adjusting his glasses.

"things still going good?" He gives you a quick squeeze before pulling his arm back, letting you sit up so you can start eating.

Gesturing up at the lights, Grillby seesaws his hand in the universal sign for 'so-so'. Then he crosses his arms over his chest and raises a brow at Sans.

"yeah, we're still working on boosting the power from the core, should have it fixed up in the next week. hope the power outages haven't sparked any outrage in your customers," he finishes with a wink.

You snort and almost choke on your food. Even Frisk and Asriel start giggling, hiding their faces behind their dinner as they share a glance. Grillby just sighs, huffing more sparks as the glow of his eyes behind his glasses narrows to thin lines. Sans just smiles up at him, all innocence and amusement.

Sans glances over at you and you're trying to swallow, washing your food down with a gulp of your drink. Thankfully he waits until you're finished before continuing. "hope, you know i love you, but grillbz is the light of my life."

Grillby shakes his head and walks away as you snort again, resting your forehead in your hand as you can't stop laughing long enough to breathe. Pleased with himself, Sans rubs your back as you wipe away a few tears, wheezing.

Dinner is uneventful, aside from Asriel almost laughing hard enough to have soda go up his nose. The burning sensation from the bubbles is enough to put him back in a sour mood, though. He and Frisk end up bickering some more, even as they both get up from the table to go mess with the juke box. You and Sans exchange a look as you pick at your few remaining fries.

"are they ok?" Sans asks.

You're flattered that he thinks you'd know, but you realize that even your greater familiarity with Frisk and Asriel isn't helping you here. Sighing, you shrug your shoulders. "I dunno. Maybe it's just the stress from earlier."

"frisk was pretty mad with you about that whole 'dad' thing," he says, leaning back and slipping his arm behind you.

"And Asriel wasn't doing too well after all that attention," you add, nodding. "Add that to however their... Soul thing works..."

"i still don't get that. i don't think anybody does. no one has ever seen anything like it before." He traces a circular pattern against your side with his fingers, running his other hand along the side of his skull. "but usually it makes them more considerate of each other's feelings, doesn't it? not fight."

"They're still just kids. We can't expect things to be perfect all the time, even with... whatever is going on between them," you say, sighing again and resting your head on Sans's shoulder.

He readjusts to run his fingers through your hair. The feeling of his phalanges scraping over your scalp is relaxing, and after a moment your eyes close and you let out a contented hum. Sans is quiet for a moment before he speaks. "if you had known what it was gonna do to frisk, would you still have let them split their soul with asriel? hell, we still don't know if there's any long term effects from—"

"Hun, don't," you say gently, putting your hand on his leg. "Please, I don't want to think about that right now, just be here with me. 'What-ifs' aren't going to change anything."

"sorry, you're right, babe," he says, turning to nuzzle the side of your head.

"It's okay. It's just that analytical part of your head forgetting to take a breather once in a while." You tilt your face so you can kiss his jaw, then settle against his shoulder again. "I'll be here to gently remind it to shut up."

"heh. thanks."

Sans's phone buzzes and chimes in his pocket. Wondering if maybe you missed something from Toriel, you check your own phone but don't see anything. As you put yours away, you glance over in time to see a text from Papyrus. 'GOING OUT WITH METTATON FOR DINNER. WILL BE BACK LATE.'

"i knew we shouldn't've left him there," Sans grumbles, staring down at his phone.

"Sans, he loves spending time with Mettaton," you say cautiously.

Frowning, Sans types out a simple message: 'ok. have fun.' Well that was better than you expected, and you know that there's plenty more he'd like to have said. But he's been careful not to say anything to Papyrus about Mettaton, choosing to vent to you about him instead. "i know he does."

"They're just going out as friends, I'm sure," you say, immediately regretting your choice of words as Sans tenses beneath you. Sitting up, you give him a a worried look.

"of course," he says, shaking his head and pocketing his phone.

"Sans..."

"pap is an adult, he can make... friends with whoever he wants."

"Do you want to talk about this?" you ask him, resting a hand on his shoulder.

He looks at you then shakes his head again. "it's fine. papyrus sees the best in everybody, i just worry about it getting him hurt."

"He's tough, I know—" You cut yourself off as you hear someone say Asgore's name in the booth behind you.

"This is just getting out of hand, the Line should be gone by now!" a high-pitched voice says, followed by a loud sigh. "He should be doing a lot more. How many times is he going to let the humans trap us?"

"I'm not even so sure this is just the humans' doing. I think he's keeping us all here on purpose because he's afraid. Maybe the humans are ready to start talking about compromise but he's the one holding everything back?" The second, deeper voice makes a frustrated sound.

You and Sans exchange a look, talk of Mettaton forgotten.

"Do you really think Asgore would do something like that? But why?" the first voice asks.

"He just got his son back, do you think he's really above doing whatever it takes to keep him safe, even if it's at everyone else's expense?"

Asriel can't hear this. You flick your hand, gesturing for Sans to let you out of the booth. He slides out quickly, standing aside as you get to your feet. With a quick glance to make sure the kids are still messing with the juke box, you go to stand next to the other booth. You recognize the two monsters. The higher voice belongs to a member of the extended rabbit family, the deeper one to a green-scaled monster covered in spines. They both look over at you and have the good sense to look a little embarrassed. It's no secret that you're close with the Dreemurrs, and most of the monsters recognize you on sight nowadays.

"Oh, Hope! We didn't know you were here," the rabbit says nervously, eyeing her companion.

The spiny monster gives you a weak, toothy grin. "Y-you aren't at the conference?"

"If you're so worried about what King Asgore has been doing about our situation, why aren't you at the conference?" you ask, shoving your hands in your pants pockets to avoid crossing your arms over your chest.

"'Our' situation? You can get over the Line any time you want," the spiny monster says, scoffing.

"Alone, maybe," you return, pressing your lips into a thin line. "Or with Frisk. But I can't take Sans, or Papyrus, or any of my friends with me unless they get special clearance from Captain Prasad."

"But you're not stuck here. You can leave," the rabbit chimes in, nodding.

"The people I love are here, you think I'd just leave them all behind?" you snap, glancing over at Sans as he sidles up next to you. "Look, Asgore is doing everything he can and he's working his ass off. If you're so worried, why don't you go downtown on Monday and offer him some help. I know he can use it right now."

The rabbit looks away but the other one keeps their eyes on you. "You're a human, why don't you talk to them?" they ask.

"I'm one human out of billions," you say, frowning. "I've helped where I can but I can't just magically change everyone's minds. No matter how much I'd love to."

"Hope, we're just frustrated, that's all," the rabbit interjects, giving her companion a warning look. "We don't mean to talk bad about the king."

"i'm sure," Sans says, raising a brow. "c'mon babe, let's go get frisk and asriel and get outta here."

Both monsters seem a little surprised when San mentions the prince, looking behind you as though he might appear out of thin air. You hope that means they'll watch their mouths in the future, or be more careful of who might be listening. The last thing Asriel needs to worry about right now is people doubting his father.

 
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