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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107. What Do You Want?

Alphys is starting to think that maybe this isn't a good idea after all. Mettaton is in a foul mood; he's barely speaking to her, which is unlike him. She can't imagine that Papyrus showing up unannounced will help him any.

They're sitting at the dinner table, her chair turned to face him as he rests his good arm on the tabletop with his chin in his hand. She has her tools and supplies spread out beside her. She really ought to see about getting a proper workshop on the surface, like the one Sans had built for himself. Especially since Mettaton's body seems to be in a constant state of maintenance (no thanks to her overzealous girlfriend).

The tense silence between them is almost unbearable. She feels responsible for Undyne's behavior, which is silly but she can't help it. Maybe she could have said more to try and calm her down, done something but instead she just froze and watched the argument escalate to the point of violence. Yes, Mettaton's body is easily —sort of— repairable, but that doesn't excuse what she did. Not that a small part of her doesn't think that in some small part he deserved it. At least a little.

"H-how have you been doing?" she manages to say, her voice tight and too quiet.

But he hears her. Mettaton rolls his eyes, jerking his head to the side to flip his hair out of his face. It slides back to where it was a moment later. "Well darling, I've got a broken arm, I should be back at the hotel making sure that my new human employees are adjusting well, and right now I think you're the only person who I don't pay that's willing to speak to me. How are you?"

Normally Alphys would pull away at his tone, fall silent and just get back to work. It would be easier. But he's just so wrong that she can't help but protest. "What are you talking about? P-Papyrus keeps trying to talk to you. He's been upset that you've been brushing him off."

He turns his head away from her, and she thinks that if she wasn't in the middle of repairing the split wires and crushed metal in his arm he'd get up and walk off. "That's fine," he says coldly. "What's one more person that's mad at me?"

This isn't right. This isn't like him at all! Her fingers tense on his arm and she looks up at him, trying to see his face. But he's hidden behind his hair. "Mettaton, you can always t-talk to me. What's bothering you?"

His nose scrunches up and he casts her a disapproving look. "No, because then I'd just be using you. Just like I use everyone," he says, baring his teeth with a curl of his lip. "That's what Undyne said, isn't it?"

"I'm o-offering you my help. There's a difference," she mumbles, going silent for a second as she yanks out some frayed wires so she can replace them with new ones. "You're my friend, even if you're a-ah bad one s-sometimes."

He flinches a little at that. If she looked up at his face she'd see the slight widening of his eyes and the way his mouth twitches. Instead of protesting, the way she expects, he lets out a small sigh. "Friend," he says simply.

Alphys pushes her glasses up her nose, frowning up at him and tugging on his arm. "Yes, f-friend!" she says, raising her voice by a fraction. "Mettaton I s-sent Undyne away just so you'd b-be more comfortable! Undyne! The woman I l-love more than anything, for you. You make it s-so frustrating and hard sometimes, but I c-care about you too, you know."

His expression softens, meeting her eyes before he hangs his head and stares down at the table. Shoulders sagging, he buries his hand in his hair and searches the woodgrain, like it might help him find the right words to say. It's strange, seeing him like this. Vulnerable. "You're right, I am a bad friend," he says quietly. 

"Only s-sometimes," she protests, returning her attention to her work. "Mettaton, what's going on with you and Papyrus?"

"Nothing," he says, too quickly. His face crumples.

"You've been avoiding him," she presses.

"I've been busy."

"You've been avoiding him," she repeats, tugging on his arm again.

"Yes, because it's easier to avoid him than try to figure out what he wants from me! Or what I want from him," Mettaton blurts out, jerking his head up and twisting to look at her, wide-eyed and desperate. He tears his good hand from his hair, slapping his palm against the table as he grimaces. "I don't even think that I should want anything from him. I don't deserve him, Alphys."

Her grip on him relaxes but she doesn't let go, too stunned for a second to say anything. But after a moment she finds herself. "What do you m-mean?"

"I mean that I tried to kill half his family. Every time I go over to the house Sans watches me like he thinks I'm going to do something, and I can tell Hope still isn't comfortable either. Oh she hides it better than Sans does, but she hasn't forgiven me," he says, searching her face. "Not that I blame them, I suppose. And then there's Papyrus. How can he possibly not hold that against me?"

Alphys can't help it. She smiles at him, a patient smile that she follows up with a small sigh as she pats his shoulder. He gives her a confused look, the apertures in his eyes tightening as he focuses. "Because he's Papyrus. He sees the b-best in everyone. Maybe you should let him show you what he sees in you."

He doesn't seem to know what to say to that. Tears well up in his eyes before he blinks them away, catching himself and looking up at the light fixture hanging over the table. Alphys lets her hand rest on his shoulder, and to his credit he actually leans a little into her touch. He covers her hand with his, squeezing gently.

"You don't have to know w-what you want from your relationship right now," she says, after a moment. "And, trust me, avoiding him isn't going to help either of you. J-just spend time with him. You'll figure it out."

"Thank you, Alphys," he says quietly, glancing over at her and giving her a weak smile. "You're a good friend. Much better than I deserve."

"You're r-right," she says, letting him go and getting back to work on his arm as he watches her. "But you've got me anyway. S-so maybe you should remember that once in a while and visit, instead of only coming to me when you need things."

Chastised, he purses his lips and flicks his hair out of his face. "I suppose that can be arranged, if that's really what you want."

Alphys smiles at him, a twinkle in her eye as she double checks her work on the wires and inner workings of his arm. It's looking good, she thinks she'll be able to replace the broken pieces of the outer shell here in a moment. "There's this new anime I think you'll like. It's been g-giving me ideas for some upgrades to your body!"

His eyes widen and he looks scandalized, pressing his hand to his chest. "You keep your grubby little hands off my fabulous chassis," he protests, fixing to launch into a full-blown tirade before he notices that she's giggling. True to form, he arranges his face into a magnificent pout. "Oh, I see. You're just trying to tease me now, aren't you?"

Nodding, Alphys gives him a quick glance up from her work and smirks at him. But before she can say anything there's a loud knock at the door, followed by a loud, friendly greeting. Her eyes widen and she and Mettaton share a similar, shocked expression. She completely forgot that Papyrus was coming over!

"What is he doing here?" Mettaton hisses, gripping the edge of the table. "Undyne is at his house."

Sweating, her expression turns guilty. "S-Sans sent him over so that m-maybe you two could sort things out," she admits carefully.

"HELLO? DOCTOR ALPHYS?" Papyrus calls out to the house, and she can hear him getting closer.

"When you said I should spend time with him I didn't think you meant right now!" He casts an anxious look over his shoulder, towards the direction the skeleton's voice is coming from.

"Y-you can do this Mettaton. He didn't even know you were going to b-be here," she says.

He doesn't have time to say anything else —though he looks like he'd like to— because Papyrus walks into view. The skeleton catches sight of her, opens his mouth to say something, and then promptly snaps his mouth shut again with an audible click of teeth the moment he sees Mettaton. There's a moment where the two of them look at each other, unsure of what to say. Alphys pretends to busy herself with the complex wiring, but mostly she's just listening. Waiting for one of them to speak. She desperately wants the two of them to just be happy together, be it as friends or maybe something else.

"Why hello there, darling!" Mettaton says, flashing him a bright smile. "Fancy seeing you here."

Papyrus frowns a little, hooking his fingers on the collar of his v-neck shirt. He glances down at the floor. "YOU DON'T HAVE TO PRETEND TO BE HAPPY TO SEE ME. IN FACT, I WOULD PREFER IT IF YOU DIDN'T PUT ON THAT ACT, SINCE WE'RE IN PRIVATE," he says, and Alphys can feel Mettaton flinch beneath her hands. 

Mettaton's smile is gone. Instead he looks as though he was slapped across the face. "Papy I just wasn't expecting to see you, but I'm not unhappy," he says softly, twisting around in his seat so that he can look at him better.

Papyrus tugs on his shirt, glancing back towards the front door. "IF YOU DON'T WANT ME HERE, I CAN LEAVE." He takes a step backwards, and before anyone can say anything, he turns on his heel and heads back the way he came.

Alphys lets out a startled squeak as Mettaton rushes to his feet, chasing after him. "Papyrus wait!" he calls out, his broken arm dangling uselessly at his side as he hurries down the hall.

Hesitating for a second, torn between wanting to give them some privacy and dying to know what's going to happen, Alphys gets up from her chair and peeks around the corner. Mettaton has his good hand wrapped around Papyrus's wrist, stopping him before he can reach the door. The skeleton isn't struggling, but he isn't looking back at him.

"MAYBE SANS IS RIGHT ABOUT YOU. I HOPED THAT ONCE HALLOWEEN WAS OVER YOU MIGHT COME TALK TO ME ON YOUR OWN BUT YOU HAVEN'T. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE... FRIENDS... THEN JUST SAY SO!" He hesitates, shaking his head as his shoulders sag. 

"What did Sans say about me?" Mettaton asks, his tone icy.

"THAT YOU ONLY WANTED TO TALK TO ME WHEN THINGS WERE BAD FOR YOU. AND NOW THAT THINGS ARE GOING WELL, YOU DON'T... NEED ME ANYMORE," he says. His hands clench into fists. "BUT I... I THOUGHT THAT MAYBE YOU STILL WANTED TO SPEND TIME WITH ME. I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE UNHAPPY."

"I don't want you to feel obligated to cheer me up." He lets him go, shaking his head. "You, out of everyone, don't owe me anything, least of all your time. What do you want?"

Papyrus finally turns, just enough so he can look at Mettaton. If he sees Alphys watching them, he doesn't make any sign. He relaxes his hands, bringing them up in front of his chest. "I DON'T UNDERSTAND..."

"What do you want? What would make you happy? Not me, not Sans, not anyone else on this damn mountain. You, sweetheart," Mettaton says softly, spreading his fingers and holding out his hand to Papyrus.

The skeleton's jaw goes a little slack, looking down at Mettaton's hand and then back up at his face. He's silent for a moment before his mouth shuts with a small click of teeth. Then, with more hesitation than Alphys is used to seeing from Papyrus, he reaches out and takes Mettaton's hand. Even from here she can tell the grip is tight, solid as he curls his fingers around the robot's palm.

"I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU AGAIN. LIKE WE DID BEFORE," Papyrus says, straightening his shoulders.

Mettaton lets out a small sigh of relief, smiling as some of the tension seeps out of his body. There's a small whirring noise as he relaxes, and he looks embarrassed for a second. "Papy I'm so sorry. I am, I swear it darling."

It's as though Mettaton said the magic words. Papyrus's face breaks out into a big grin, and he wraps him up into a big hug. Mettaton barely even hesitates; his good arm circles the skeleton's chest twice over as he hugs him back, resting his brow on his shoulder.

"I FORGIVE YOU."

   
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