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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196. We're In This Together

Asriel had insisted on going to Frisk’s first day of training with Morwenna. Not that it took much to convince them, they were already nervous about it and the weird, tense looks that you and Sans kept sharing only made it worse. They knew you had been worried about what might happen, and Sans had been torn between scientific curiosity and that protective, paternal streak that didn’t want to mess around with time more than necessary (which was to say almost never). But Deacon had convinced the two of you and Frisk wanted to try, but once the day had finally arrived they found themselves with cold feet.

Asriel was nervous too. That didn’t help.

When the four of you (you, Sans, Asriel, and Frisk) walked into the Woodside Community Center’s training room, Morwenna was waiting. She arched a brow and rested her hands on her hips, giving the group an appraising look. “I was only expecting one student today,” she said, her attention settling on Asriel.

Asriel didn’t say anything. Instead he stood a little straighter, raising his chin and meeting Morwenna’s eyes. Frisk had dubbed that look his ‘prince face’, and for a moment he looked a lot less like a gangly teenager fighting the urge to scratch his budding horns. Instead he looked like someone that should be respected.

Morwenna didn’t seem impressed. “I can’t imagine this will be much fun, but maybe I’ll find some use for you,” she said, then turned her attention to you and Sans. “We won’t be doing much today, just some basics. If you want to come back in an hour we should—”

“Come back?” you interrupted, sounding concerned. Frisk cringed, silently begging you not to embarrass them. “I thought we were going to stay?”

“I find that students perform better when they’re not worried about their parents watching them.”

“But—”

“babe, she’s trained mages before,” Sans said quietly. “she knows what she’s doing.”

“But they’re not—”

Not a mage. Not normal. Not the same.

Frisk wasn’t sure what you were going to say, but it made them clench their jaw, shoving their hands into their pockets. “Mom, I’ll be fine. You don’t need to stay. This is just like school, I don’t need you watching over me.”

They didn’t see the hurt on your face, or the way that Sans rubbed your back and said something soft and reassuring to you. They just heard the two of you agree to leave and wish them good luck before turning and heading out the door. Frisk was just relieved that you weren’t there to make a scene.

Once the three of them were alone, Morwenna returned her attention to Frisk, dropping her hands to her sides and adopting a more relaxed stance. She closed the distance between them with long, easy strides. “Our goal for today is just to get a feel for your magic. I want to see what you’re capable of and your level of control. Don’t worry if it doesn’t go well right away. Like I told your parents, normally we don’t start training this young. You’re a special case.”

Frisk frowned at that, scuffing the floor with their shoe. They knew they weren’t normal, that doing things the normal way just wasn’t going to work for them. They’d made a point to make that clear to anyone who would listen for the longest time. But sometimes, most times now, they wished things were more ‘normal’. A ‘normal’ mage, a ‘normal’ kid… It felt like they had more setting them apart from everyone than in common.

They glanced over at Asriel and he looked back at them, turning his head at the same time they did. No doubt he could feel the tangled mess of emotions scrabbling inside their chest and in their head. At least they’ve always got Asriel. He, out of everyone understands them the best.

“Anyone who’s used their magic early is trained once that’s happened,” Morwenna continued, glancing between the two of them. “It’s what happened with Deacon. We try to encourage young mages to wait, but…” She sighed, shaking her head and pursing her lips. “He didn’t. So whatever you’re thinking, this isn’t that out of the ordinary.”

Oh. Well that wasn’t too bad.

Morwenna glanced down at Frisk’s chest, squinting a little as if she were looking at something. She couldn’t see their Soul, not really, but they got the impression she was studying it somehow. After a moment her attention returned to Frisk’s face, right as they were starting to feel a little uncomfortable. “I did some research. On Chara,” she said slowly. Frisk and Asriel exchanged a look, attention piqued. “The Literatum may have been a small group, but it’s old and we’ve carried records for generations. I assumed that if there was a mage child in this area, near Mt. Ebott, we might have had record of them. There wasn’t much, but I did find them.”

“What did you find?” Asriel blurted out, clenching his hand into a fist and raising it to his chest.

“Chara was the sibling of one of my ancestors. About four or five generations back.” She paused. “There wasn’t much else written about them, other than that they went missing. The records are very… dry, so there wasn’t any information about what might have caused—”

“They were being hurt,” Asriel snapped, and Frisk could feel his anger bubbling beneath the surface. Held in check, but building. “They hated humans when they fell. They didn’t… They couldn’t stand it, up here.”

Frisk stared at Morwenna. They hadn’t thought anything of her similarities to Chara; the red hair (more orange than Chara’s auburn), fair freckled skin, red Souls, red magic. Her eyes were nothing like theirs though. Hers were hazel; bluish and gold. She wasn’t like Chara, she wasn’t. “Did you have a lot of mages in your family?” Frisk asked, speaking through the tightness in their throat.

“Yes,” she said, her eyes darting between the two of them. “Nearly every generation had at least one. Mine was lucky enough to have two. Not that it did us much good, in the end.”

“Your family drove Chara away,” Asriel accused, that anger only growing.

“That’s not Morwenna’s fault,” Frisk said, touching his arm. Asriel turned to them, a deep frown etched into his face before he forced himself to calm down. Frisk could feel it, the way he shoved that anger deep enough that they could barely tell (but it was still there).

“Whatever,” he muttered under his breath, dropping his gaze to the floor.

As they trained with Morwenna, they could sense that anger. It wouldn’t leave, it just lurked beneath the surface, buzzing around Frisk’s head like a fly. It was distracting, worrying, and when Morwenna tried to explain things to them they kept missing bits and pieces. But they didn’t want Asriel to go. Even though he was just standing there, brooding and watching as he got angrier and angrier.

It was starting to tick Frisk off. Why was Asriel dwelling on that Chara thing? Why was he just sitting there letting it get him more and more worked up? His anger was seeping into Frisk’s consciousness, messing with their focus. Morwenna was starting to come at them with some basic aikido moves and they were expected to use their magic, but they could barely pay attention because all they could hear and feel and sense was just that buzzing, nagging, prickling anger in their gut. They just wish he would—

“Stop!” Frisk snapped, whirling on Asriel, and for just a moment that’s what everything did. It all stopped.

Then things crept backwards, just for a few seconds, and then it all started again. Morwenna made a confused noise, then as realization dawned on her face she clapped Frisk on the shoulder. “Good work! We’ll try to replicate that! Do you know what you did to do it?”

Asriel looked startled, and later when they talked to him about it he couldn’t remember Frisk doing anything strange. He didn’t even know that they’d yelled at him. He’d noticed a flare of their red magic, and a weird, out-of-sync feeling for just a moment, but that was all. But for the rest of training they didn’t have any luck getting it to happen again. They were guilty over getting angry with Asriel, but at least he was snapped out of his brooding by Frisk’s display of magic.

That one moment had felt promising. But that promise had been empty.

Toriel answers the door when they knock, and she seems surprised to see them. “Oh, Frisk! You never knock, I was not certain who could have been at the door,” she says, giving them a kind smile. She’s wearing a purple patterned apron dusted with flour. She must be baking something.

Fidgeting with the hem of their loose shirt, Frisk goes inside as she steps back to let them through. They feel uncomfortable, nervous under her gaze despite the fact that all she’s done is welcome them into the house. Did she know that Asriel was upset with them? Was she upset at them too? It wouldn’t be the first time, and Toriel was scary when she was mad. She always did her best to try to hide it, but they could tell anyway when it happened.

“Asriel is in his room,” she says, wiping her hands on her apron. “Did you want anything? Are you hungry? Thirsty? If you are fine waiting I have a pie in the oven.”

“I’m okay,” they say, forcing a smile. “Thank you.”

“You are always welcome, my child,” she says fondly. “I will be in the kitchen if you need me. I am sure that Asriel will be happy to see you, he did not tell me you were coming!”

Frisk just does their best not to look awkward as she pads back towards the kitchen and out of sight. Alone in the living room, they take a moment to collect themselves. Not much has changed in the last few years. Toriel had set up her home the way she wanted it and hadn’t had the desire to change it. After all, was five years really that long for her? She’s hundreds of years old, what was five? No, the couch is still up against the same wall, the chair in just the right place near the fire, and the same rug is spread on the floor. The only thing that has grown and changed is the assortment of pictures on the mantelpiece.

Most of them are of Asriel, over half of them with Frisk included, and all at varying ages. They cringe a little at a picture of the two of them when they were nine, making stupid faces at the camera. Sans took that one, they think. At their birthday party; they can see a corner of the cake behind them. Off to the side, at the end of the mantel, is the only picture that includes Asgore. It’s more recent, from after Asriel’s big growth spurt. They’re all smiling, both of Asriel’s parents resting a hand on one of his shoulders.

When they were little they had tried to get Toriel and Asgore back together. For a while it seemed like it might work, just like in the movies. But it didn’t. Toriel had picked up on their scheme and put an end to it calmly and firmly. But they hadn’t wanted to give up! They tried spending more time with Asgore, doing their best to work things from his side of the equation. But then even he figured out what they were doing and sat them down for another awkward conversation. They’d stopped trying two years ago.

...They didn’t come here to stare at pictures.

Frisk turns away to head down the hall towards the bedrooms before they can lose their nerve, pushing down the uncomfortable twist in their stomach. They aren’t even sure what they’d done to upset Asriel, and when they texted him that morning he’d never answered. It was enough to set them on edge, to have them cycling through all of the things that they could have messed up. And the more they think about it the more frustrated they feel because as far as they know they didn’t actually do anything! He’s been acting strange ever since they got out of the Font and they freed Gaster.

Frisk is tired of guessing what might be wrong. They just need to ask him.

Asriel’s bedroom door is closed. They stare at it for just a moment before making themselves knock.

“Come in,” he says, loud enough to be heard.

So Frisk does.

It’s bright and sunny in Asriel’s room in direct juxtaposition to the way that the room’s owner is currently hunched over his desk, head in one hand, pencil in the other as he works on a drawing. It’s messy, like normal. His bed is unmade, there’s a few articles of discarded clothing around his hamper instead of inside it (they recognize some of their own clothes; they’d never quite gotten out of the habit of swapping things, especially when staying at each other’s houses), and his cell phone is sitting on the nightstand. The little notification light is blinking on and off. Even his laptop is shut and shoved over to the side of his desk. He’d isolated himself from the easiest ways to get in touch with him.

Well, he couldn’t stop them from just coming over, which is precisely why they did it.

Asriel leans further over his drawing, hunching his shoulders. “Mom, I told you I’m fine,” he grumbles, his words punctuated by the harsh scratch of his pencil.

“Well, as far as I can tell she believes you,” Frisk says.

He jumps, whirling around in his chair and catching the side of his desk with his hand before he accidentally topples himself over. Green eyes widening in disbelief, Asriel stares at them for half a second, too surprised to remember he’s unhappy with them. Then that realization hits him and a frown settles over his features. And then he must remember that he’s trying to be aloof instead and just sort of gives them this weird, airy look. Like he’s trying to do his ‘prince face’ but failing.

“I didn’t know you were coming over,” he says, fidgeting with his pencil as he looks at them.

Frisk points at his cell phone where it’s still sitting across the room from him. “Probably because you haven’t bothered to check your phone. Or get online. Or, I don’t know, give me any way to try to tell you?”

“I was drawing,” he mutters, glancing over at his sketchbook. When Frisk takes a step closer to try and get a look he shuts it quickly. Oh, that’s irritating. They know it’s not technically any of their business, but to them it feels like he’s just being petty.

Their eyes narrow. “Why won’t you let me see it?”

“It’s not done yet.”

“You know I like seeing your work in progress stuff, it just feels like you’re hiding something from me,” Frisk says, closing more of the gap between them.

Asriel presses his hand over the top of the sketchbook, keeping it pinned like he’s worried Frisk might snatch it up without his permission. “I don’t have to show you everything. Just like all your stuff doesn’t always have to do with me, all my stuff doesn’t have to do with you either.”

“What are you talking about!” they exclaim, thrusting their arms out to their sides, leaving themselves exposed.

“Just forget about it,” he says, his snout wrinkling as he lets out a frustrated snort. “You won’t really listen anyway.”

It feels like a punch to the gut. His hurt and frustration compounds with their own, making their heart hammer in their ears. “Do you think I came over here to not listen to you? Are you that big of an—” They catch themselves before they say ‘idiot’, knowing, knowing, that would be too far. But Asriel senses it anyway, they can see it in his face, in that wounded look that burns out the worst of their anger.

“Just say it, I know you want to,” he says, putting his pencil down —too carefully— on his desk.

“No,” Frisk says, trying not to sound petulant but they don’t think they manage. It’s this damn feedback loop, this endless cycle of anger and pain feeding on itself inside their Souls. “Asriel, I don’t mean it. You know what’s happening, we need to stop. We’re making this worse.”

“Because you always know what’s right for both of us.” Asriel shakes his head, pushing up to his feet. He suddenly feels tall compared to them. “It’s always how you want things to go, how you feel. My opinions get ignored.”

“I’m not trying to ignore you,” they insist, trying not to make it sound like they’re being defensive, doing their best to try and diffuse the situation. It had all gone so wrong. “I came over because I want to talk. I want to know why you’re upset.”

His anger is fizzling out. Frisk can feel the sudden shift, when it gives way to hurt and to… He’s afraid. Underneath all of that anger and pain is so much fear. Asriel balls his hands into fists to try and stop them from shaking and he’s blinking hard, trying not to let Frisk see the tears gathering in his eyes. “I don’t…”

“Asriel,” Frisk says, taking a chance, moving in closer and taking hold of his hands. He doesn’t pull away, and his eyes get wider. “Whatever it is, I’m sorry. I just want us to be okay again. I don’t like this.”

“I…” He screws his eyes shut, grabbing at Frisk’s hands and bowing his head. “We shared our Souls. For the first time, and we tore a hole in reality. I just wanted to… to help you, and to…” Stumbling over his words, his brow furrows. “It was supposed to be something good and it almost ripped my Soul apart, Frisk. Because of Chara, because of that place. And now I don’t know if we can ever do it again.”

Frisk presses their forehead to his, unsure of what to say. He bites back a choked sound, his voice thick.

“And then all you cared about was Gaster,” he blurts out, turning his head away, trying to pull back. “I almost died… again, and I… I couldn’t say anything about it because—”

They’re the idiot. They’re the biggest idiot in the world. Frisk grabs him before he can get away, throwing their arms around his neck and hugging him tight. Asriel lets out an ugly, muffled sound, something caught between a whimper and a sob as he starts to cry. “I’m sorry, Asriel I’m so sorry. I care, I promise I care, I promise,” they say, feeling their own eyes swim with tears. If it’s because of their own sadness or Asriel’s it doesn’t matter. They’re here for him, when they should have been here sooner.

“I couldn’t even tell my mom.” His voice is faint as he buries his face in Frisk’s shoulder, hugging them back just as tightly. “I had to pretend everything was okay and nothing was okay.”

“I should have known. I should have known something was wrong. Tell me how I can help.”

“Just…” Asriel hesitates, taking in a shaky breath. He’s heavy against them. “I just want you to stay here and listen. I want to talk about it.”

“Okay,” they say, squeezing him tight. “I’m not going anywhere.”

   
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