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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195. When The Past Becomes Present

When you go downstairs in the morning, Gaster is watching TV in the living room. From the sound of it the local news is on, some fluff piece about the influx of friendly intermingling between the citizens of Ebott and the cities in the foothills. You see him before he sees you, his attention fixed and a vacant look on his face. Is he… asleep? With his eyes open? Tucking still-damp hair behind your ear, you step further into the room to see if he notices you. He doesn’t.

“Gaster?” you say, giving a small wave of your hand. When he doesn’t respond you wave your whole arm in a wide sweep. “Gaster?”

A few seconds pass where you wonder if there’s something wrong with him, and you debate going to go get Sans from your room, but then Gaster’s head turns towards you and his eyes flick up to yours. “Oh, Hope, is it…” He glances around, towards the glass door leading out to the back patio. It’s a bright, clear summer day. “It’s morning already.”

“Yeah, it is,” you say, unable to keep the worry out of your voice. “Did you sleep at all? You know you’re welcome to the guest room upstairs.”

For a moment it seems like he doesn’t hear you, but then he looks at you again and gives you an apologetic look. “It’s a lovely room. I must have lost track of time.”

Time seems to be his problem. You shift a little to the side, watching as he continues to look at the space you just occupied for a few seconds too long. “You didn’t sleep at all?”

The delay in his response seems a little shorter this time. Maybe he’s catching back up. “Not exactly,” he admits, twiddling his thumbs.

You bite back a reprimand, reminding yourself that this man is, you assume, at least twenty years your elder. He doesn’t need you speaking to him like you do to Frisk. Even if he does seem to be horrible at taking care of himself. But, you suppose you should give him some allowances in that regard; he hadn’t needed to sleep in over a decade. Hoping he can’t see the exasperation in your expression, you glance behind you towards the kitchen and at him again. “Can I make you some breakfast?”

There’s a pause, but you’re fairly sure it’s because he’s thinking this time. He cocks his head to the side, looking contemplative. “I… Yes, that would be lovely. I think… I think I am hungry, now that you mention it.”

“I’ll make oatmeal,” you decide, doing your best to sound reassuring. “Do you think you’d prefer cinnamon and brown sugar or something with fruit?”

“Whichever you and Sans prefer,” he says, smiling weakly. He looks downright haggard, with dark shadows under his eyes and drooping sockets. Heneeds some sleep!

“You don’t want what Sans prefers.” You make a face in an attempt to inject some humor and you’re rewarded with a small chuckle. “Unless he gets his bad taste from you.”

“Oh, certainly his taste isn’t all bad,” Gaster says, his smile widening fondly.

It takes you a moment to catch his meaning and you blush, looking away as you hide your smile behind your hand. “Well it looks like I can see where he gets his way with words,” you say with a wry grin.

“Undeserved praise, I assure you.”

“Sans and Frisk should be downstairs soon, if you need me I’ll be in the kitchen,” you tell him, then turn to leave the room.

The weird way he was out of sync with time notwithstanding, that conversation was pleasantly normal you have to admit. For the most part. It’s strange, having anyone stay at your house, but as long as you don’t think too hard on it, this could almost seem ordinary. But what’s going to happen to Gaster now?

It’s not like he has anywhere else to go, and you’d never even consider telling him to leave, but where does he… fit in? He’d been the Royal Scientist, a job that had been essentially dissolved despite Alphys’s continued work at the lab and on the Core (the Core that Gaster himself had apparently designed). Would he want to go back to what he’d been doing before? Now that he was free to live his life again, what would he want to do with it? He might not even know, and it would be unfair to expect him to.

“whatcha makin’?”

You jump at the sound of Sans’s voice, turning as he comes up alongside you to glance down into the pot on the stove. He’s dressed and ready for work, in slacks and a nice collared shirt.

“Oatmeal,” you tell him, biting your lip as he rests a hand on your side, looking up at you and searching your face.

“sorry, didn’t mean to scare you, babe,” he says, edging in closer and leaning up to nuzzle your cheek. You turn into his touch, closing your eyes for just a second to savor the brief moment of affection.

“I know, I was just lost in thought,” you tell him, kissing his cheekbone before he gets too far.

“what about?”

“What do you think?” you mutter, arching a brow.

“oh, i dunno, maybe how much you love your husband?” he says, winking at you.

You can’t help but smile at that, giving him a playful shove. He chuckles and you roll your eyes. “I guess. Did you talk to Frisk already?”

His expression falters a bit, his grin tensing as he makes a soft, agitated sound. “yeah, we got to have our conversation about what they did.”

“And?”

“they’re not gonna be doing any messing around with their magic any time soon,” he says, sounding grim and certain. “between gaster’s talk of the anathema, what happened to them firsthand, and whatever the hell is going on with asriel bailing on them yesterday, they’re not in any place to want to make a repeat performance.”

Your eyebrows shoot up in alarm. “Haven’t they talked to Asriel since then?”

Sans runs his hand over the top of his skull, shaking his head. “nope.”

“Oh boy…” you sigh, gaze dropping to the now-bubbling pot of oatmeal. “Do you think this is going to be a repeat of the thing with Kid?”

“god i hope not,” he groans. “the moment those two stop talking it’s like the whole mountain suffers. nobody’s safe.”

“Nobody’s safe from what?”

You and Sans both look guiltily at each other before your attention darts to where Frisk’s standing in the doorway, arms crossed over their chest in what can only be described as pre-teen gloom.

“from your mom’s oatmeal,” Sans says quickly, earning himself a frown from Frisk.

“Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not good,” Frisk retorts, walking past him so they can sidle up next to you. They lean over to rest their head on your shoulder for just a second as they look down into the pot. It’s enough to cause a swell of affection in your chest. They’re older, and with the steady (and sometimes not-so-steady) shifts in their attitude they’ve been less and less casually affectionate. It’s expected, it’s normal, but it’s times like these that you’re reminded of what you’ve started to miss.

It seems like you get to be the favorite of the hour because you weren’t the one who had to carry out the lecture this time. “Thank you, sweetie,” you say, kissing the top of their head while you can.

Frisk grunts in acknowledgement but doesn’t say anything else. They walk over to the cabinet to grab a stack of bowls.

“Four,” you remind them. “Your, er… Well, Gaster is going to have breakfast too.”

“Are you sure? He’s asleep on the couch.”

And asleep he is. As you peek into the living room to confirm what Frisk said, you see Gaster with his head tipped back and his eyes closed, slouched to the side against an oversized decorative pillow. Making sure not to disturb him, you slip back to the kitchen where Sans and Frisk are sitting at the bar with their breakfast.

“I think he was up all night,” you tell Sans, sitting down next to him. He pushes your own bowl towards you, already fixed the way he knows you like it. You give him a fleeting smile. “I’m glad he’s finally getting some sleep.”

“...nights are usually harder. especially when you’re alone,” he says, pushing his oatmeal around with his spoon. “you gonna be okay here with him, babe?”

“I…” You trail off, those stirrings of sympathy for what Gaster must be going through throwing you off kilter. You do you best to push them aside for now. “I’m sure we’ll be fine. You have work to do. I know you and Alphys have been working hard on those upgrades to the Core.”

Sans doesn’t answer. He just makes a quiet sound and taps his finger against the countertop. “maybe… i mean, he built the core. maybe he’d have some better insight on how to improve it.”

“Are you going to talk to Alphys about him?”

He sighs. “i dunno. i’ll think about it.”

“Hun, it’s not like he’s a secret, you know? People are going to find out he’s here. They’ll want to know. I mean, getting your father back… Sans, that’s a good thing,” you say, putting down your spoon and looking at him. His eyes flick over to yours and something guilty passes over his face.

“...i know,” he says.

“Hope, this whole thing… It’s not so good.”

Deacon leans forward in his chair, the old wood creaking as he does so. You’re both out on the back porch, doing your best not to disturb Gaster. He’s still asleep in the living room and had been for the last four hours. At this rate he’s going to set up an entirely backwards sleep schedule, but at the moment that’s the least of your concerns.

You’d called Deacon after Frisk left about an hour ago, riding their bike down to Toriel’s to try and talk to Asriel. You hope that they can get everything sorted out peacefully.

“I don’t think it’s bad, Deacon,” you say, glancing over at him. He’s in shorts and a tank top, and you hope that he doesn’t get burned sitting out here like that. He probably will, and then he’ll whine about it later.

“Maybe not the Gaster part, but this whole Anathema thing? Not good,” he says. He runs his hand through his hair.

“As far as we know it’s always been there. Nothing has really changed, has it?” you say timidly. That doesn’t really help much, you’re sure, but you just wish he wouldn’t worry about it.

“I want to ask him if he knows more about it, and I think Morwenna should talk to him. This stuff is important for mages to know,” he says, letting out a frustrated sound and pushing up to his feet.

There had been a time when Deacon had all but rejected his place among the Literatum. Back when he’d been forced to live as a mage in secret, sent to spy on you and the others in the name of information. He’d been pulled in two different directions, caught between you and the people he’d come to care about, and his sense of obligation to the other mages who had taught him. If it wasn’t for the fact that he’d needed them to help you and Frisk, you’re sure he would have burned that bridge and never looked back. Now those two groups are connected, no longer at odds and both striving towards a common goal. All of Ebott was united under this ideal of monsters and magic. And of all the Literatum, Deacon was practically the poster child for mage and monster unity. He was married to Bo, arguably a part of your already mixed family, and had deeply ingrained himself into Ebott’s society. He belongs here.

Here just also includes a hell of a lot of mages now, compared to how the Literatum started, and how can you blame him for having their best interests at heart?

“She probably should,” you agree after a moment. “I’m sorry, I haven’t really been thinking about what this all must mean for you…”

Deacon’s expression instantly softens. “Oh, no, I mean… Shit, you’ve had enough to deal with trying to get this whole situation to work here. I don’t blame you at all for focusing on, you know, the guy that just showed up at your house.”

You give him a weak smile, grateful for his understanding. “Did you want to call Morwenna and see if she can come over later?”

He arches a brow. “Are you sure? I mean, if you guys want more time to settle in…”

Shaking your head, you fidget with the locket hanging around your neck. “This is important to you. If Gaster decides he’s not ready then we can do it another day, but it wouldn’t hurt to check with her.”

Deacon hesitates, then glances away, then finally nods. He pulls out his phone, does a few presses, and raises it to his ear. You watch him, idly curious of what he’s going to say to her, when his expression sours.

“Why are you answering her phone?” he demands, and the iciness in his voice has you taken aback. Who could that— Oh. Oh, no. “No, I don’t care. Just give Morwenna the phone.”

He claps his hand to the back of his neck, turning his back towards you. Uncomfortable and worried, you push up out of your chair and circle around him, trying to catch his eye. He’s staring at the porch beneath his feet.

“Are you serious?” Deacon blurts out, gritting his teeth. “Morwenna, what the hell? Yes I’m upset, why— No, he did that on purpose! My goddamn name shows up when I call, he knew what he was doing!”

There’s a pause where he lets out a ragged sigh, his shoulders sagging.

“I know. Yes, I’m sorry. Yes, it’s your business, but— Okay. Okay, fine. I just don’t— Okay. I was calling to see if you’d come over to Hope and Sans’s place later.” He hesitates, his eyes finally rising to meet yours. He squints, then looks out at the backyard. “It’s… not exactly about Frisk. It’ll be easier if you just come over. I hate to interrupt your quality time, but— I’m allowed to be spiteful. I’m not going to be happy for you. I’m not the one that made it my business, he’s the one—! Fine. We’ll see you in a few hours.”

Deacon hangs up the phone and shoves it into his pocket, clenching his hands into fists.

“Deacon…?” you say, reaching out to touch his arm.

He flinches away, which you try not to take personally. He always gets so worked up over Grant, and when he’s like this he just seems to pull away from everyone. But you still make that small gesture of comfort anyway, to let him know that you’re here. “I can’t believe they’re doing this again.What the fuck does she see in Grant?” he demands, looking at you.

“Familiarity? History?” you offer, cringing.

He shakes his head, letting out a frustrated sound.

“The point of history is to learn from your mistakes,” he says, glaring at the trees and hunching his shoulders. “Not to repeat them.”

   
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