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.


93. While You Were Gone

Deacon texts you in the morning to let you know that he's alive. Specifically: 'I know you stayed up all night worrying about me but I'm fine. No need to send out a search party.'

'I'll call off the hounds. So how did it go???'

'I'll talk to you at lunch. Getting ready.'

You spend the first half of your Monday wondering how his night went. Did he stay over? Are they going to go out on a second date? You admit that a small part of you is just relieved at the idea of there being another interspecies relationship going on in Ebott aside from your own. Maybe it's the first step in making these things seem more normal to outsiders.

Things won't ever be perfect, you know that. There are still people who side-eye interracial couples, or gay couples. No matter how normal society as a whole regards something, there will always be those who refuse to accept it. Being of a mixed race yourself, you've faced this closed-mindedness before. You'd think it should make it easier to face the thought of people judging you for your relationship with Sans, but it's not the case. You wish you had a thicker skin.

Deacon seems like the type of person who would face that kind of thing head-on. If anyone tried to question his relationship with Muffet, or any monster, he'd push back. You'd seen him do it first hand, and he wasn't even dating her yet. If push comes to shove you like to think that you'd be the same way, that you could stand up for yourself and for Sans, but just the idea makes you nervous. It's easier for now to just not draw any extra attention to yourself.

Well, at least you hope this means you might have another human on your side when it finally does happen.

Lunch rolls around and when you get to the break room Deacon is already there, standing beside the microwave. You take quick stock of his appearance before he notices you: unwrinkled pants, smooth sleeves on his dress shirt, an argyle sweater-vest, and his hair is at the proper level of disheveled for being halfway through the school day. All in all a normal, everyday Deacon with no signs of having to rush to work after waking up at someone else's house. You're not sure if that's a good thing or not.

He glances behind him as you shut the break room door. Recognition smooths out the slight frown between his eyebrows and he gives you a half smile as you head to the fridge to retrieve your lunchbag. You take your usual spot at a table in the corner and, hearing the microwave beep, wait for Deacon to join you. As he sets down his lunch and pulls out his chair, you're pleased to note that he is not in fact eating ramen. Instead it's a frozen burrito. The kind you can get from the grocery store for less than a buck and you think is just a tortilla and questionable refried beans.

"Do I need to start packing lunches for you to get you to eat something healthy?" you ask him, arching a brow.

"I make up for it with dinner," he says, turning the burrito over on it's little plastic sleeve and then shaking his hand, wincing. "Okay that's hot."

"Ramen with an egg in it is not a healthy dinner." You peel open a cup of applesauce, stirring it with your spoon before taking a bite. "How do you look so good while living off garbage?"

Deacon grins at that, waggling his eyebrows at you. "So I look good, do I?"

You roll your eyes. "You know you do, and that's not what I meant." Gesturing at him while waving your hand up and down, you punctuate the motion with a shove at his toned arm. "Muscles take a lot of calories to maintain, don't they?"

"Contrary to what you might think, I really don't just eat ramen, Hope. Do I need to invite you over for dinner so I can cook for you?" he asks, picking at his burrito again. It must be at a more manageable temperature because he lifts it to take a bite. "Also, beans have a good amount of protein."

You give him a scrutinizing look as you scrape at the bottom of your applesauce. Considering you're eating a lunch identical to an elementary school kid (namely your own) you wonder if you should be criticizing. Then, with a sigh, you shake your head. "Sorry, I'm coming on a little strong, aren't I? I'm not your mother."

"I sure hope not. Number one, you're younger than me by three years. Number two, I wouldn't want to tell my mother about my date with a spider-woman," he says, winking.

"Yes! Tell me about your date!" you say, grinning as you free your sandwich from a plastic bag. Settling back in your chair, you give him your full attention.

"So, in retrospect, that whole winking thing implies a lot more than what actually happened. So, uh, let me just say that I didn't end up staying the night and there won't be a second date," he says, shifting in his seat. He shrugs and takes another bite of his burrito.

"Oh," you say, and can't help but feel disappointed. So much for another interspecies relationship right now. He raises a brow in response to the tone in your voice as he chews. "What happened?"

"She, uh..." Deacon runs his hand through his hair, then rests his elbow on the table and cradles the side of his head on his palm. He sighs. "Sorry, it's kind of funny. I'm not used to anyone asking me about my dates. Well, she invited me over to her place, like I told you, and I just wasn't expecting there to be so many spiders. Did you know that she has this pet spider that sort of looks like a muffin? A muffin spider. With teeth. Probably the size of a great dane."

You nod, eating your sandwich.

"So I was already a little uncomfortable at this point. We're sitting on the couch and she starts getting a little handsy— I know, stop laughing. Note to self: six hands is at least two too many. Stick to four hands or less. And she wouldn't stop giggling. I wasn't sure if she was enjoying herself or laughing at me. Or both. Don't get me wrong, Muffet is a sweet lady. And you should have seen the dress she wore to dinner," he says, picking his head up off his hand and staring off into the distance for a second. Remembering himself, he clears his throat and looks back at you. "But, uh, she's got my shirt mostly off and I have no idea what to do with myself because she's distracting me by whispering in my ear and then there's hands everywhere..."

Deacon trails off as the break room door opens and one of the other teachers nods at the two of you and heads to the fridge. You give them a little wave and your friend is leaning in closer to you, ears pink and eyes wide. Lowering his voice, he continues. "I would have gone with it, if she hadn't bitten me."

"She bit you?" you hiss under your breath, eyebrows shooting up. "Are you okay? I mean, I know she's a spider, so..."

"I'm fine, she just scared the shit out of me. I, uh..." Deacon shakes his head, letting out a distressed sound and pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes. He slumps a little in his chair. "I might have screamed a little and left."

"Oh no."

"I texted her when I was sitting in my driveway, apologizing for freaking out and bolting. She apologized for scaring me but... Nope, I can't do it. I thought I could get past the spider thing but I couldn't. Nope." Deacon shakes his head again, and when he lifts his head from his hands he gives you a haunted look.

You reach out and pat his shoulder, giving him a sympathetic smile. "Hey, you gave it a shot. It just didn't work out," you say, trying your best to be placating. "And I'm sure she won't hold it against you with the Halloween thing."

He makes another distressed noise, leaning back in his chair. "Oh god I didn't even think about that..." Scowling, he reaches up to rub his neck. Then, his expression suddenly shifts as he exclaims, "Oh! Now that we're talking about that, let me latch onto that change of subject and never speak of this again. So let me show you what Mettaton's been doing downtown. He works fast, let me tell you."

With a feeling of apprehension, you watch Deacon pull out his cell phone and flip through his pictures. Then, he hands it to you so you can look at what appears to be a poster taped to a window. It's a huge, colorful advertisement for the Halloween Festival, complete with pumpkins, fall leaves, candy, and a big picture of Mettaton's face right in the center.

"They're all over the place, especially around the hotel," Deacon says, taking his phone back. "I think we've got our work cut out for us, but you've got to admit, he knows how to draw attention. I mean, we want people from outside of Ebott to show up too, right? He's definitely working that angle."

Mettaton had swooped in and already started making the festival his own, so honestly you shouldn't be surprised. This had turned from a small, school event into a city-wide spectacle, and you're not sure you're happy about it. But your own feelings aren't the most important thing here. You should be using this to encourage more humans to come visit. This is an excellent opportunity to put on a fun, joint experience for humans and monsters and Mettaton jumped on that. Though you're certain at least part, if not most, of his motivation is more self-serving than Deacon seems to realize.

"Well, I guess we better get some more work done this week, shouldn't we? We don't want to fall behind," you say, hoping that the two weeks you have left is going to be enough time.

Sans gets home early on Friday, and picks up a pleasantly surprised Frisk and Asriel from Toriel's house. You've been working late at school with Deacon for the past week and he has to take comfort in the fact that there's only one more week of this left to go. Then things can go back to normal.

You, Frisk, and Deacon went shopping in the foothills past the Line yesterday, which was thankfully uneventful. The thought of you leaving Ebott without him made him nervous. What if something happened? What if you couldn't get back? But his worries were unwarranted. The three of you returned with shopping bags (one of which you hid in the closet and ordered him not to look at) and now Sans can get to work on putting together costumes.

His new workshop is much nicer than the one hidden in the back of the house back in Snowdin. It's a separate building in the backyard, with tinted windows and lots of workspace. Opening the door, he flicks on the overhead lights as the kids push past him to get inside. They make a beeline for the broken machine in the corner.

"hey, c'mon we're not here for that. come back over here," he says, dumping a few bags on top of one of the worktables.

Instead of the dingy purple and blue and cracked tile floor he became intimately familiar with after years of Resets, this space is much more welcoming. Everything from the floors to the walls and the tables are made from the smooth, warm wood of the trees cleared to build the house. He can't imagine bringing that cold, sterile lab feeling up here now that things are different.

The only thing in here that reminds him of before is the machine. It nearly reaches the ceiling, a hulking mass of metal lurking under a huge, faded purple tarp. It's the only physical object he knows of that can resist the Resets, at least for inanimate objects. He can't remember what it was supposed to do, he lost those memories in the accident that broke it in the first place. He spent almost a year before moving to Snowdin trying to pick the damn thing apart and fix it, but he doesn't think he was the one that built it. The blueprints he found never made any sense to him. Every time he thought he might have figured out some piece of the puzzle the thought would slide between his fingers like sand. Like... dust. The thought comes unbidden and he shoves it aside. Just like he told the kids, this isn't why they're here.

Frisk and Asriel give the machine one last look and do as they're told, wandering back over to Sans. "Dad?" Frisk asks, tugging on his sleeve.

"what is it, kiddo?" Sans says, sifting through the contents of the bags. Some of it is the supplies he was able to find around the house, the rest is the new stuff you bought. He pulls out what he needs for Asriel's costume first.

"Do you have any extra tarps? Like what you put over the machine?" When Sans looks over at Frisk, they're looking down at their hands and toying with their sleeves.

"what do you need a tarp for?" he asks, raising a curious brow.

"Stuff," they say, shrugging their shoulders.

"'stuff' isn't an answer," Sans says, hunching down under the table to pull out a hard plastic case. It's been a while since he's had to use this beat up old sewing machine.

"We're building something secret," Asriel says, still evasive but better than Frisk at least.

"It's not gonna be a secret if you tell him," Frisk says, grumbling. "And it's nothing bad."

"i never thought it was anything bad. just curious." Sans shrugs. What's the harm in giving them a plastic sheet, anyway? "there's a spare one over there in the corner, bottom drawer. knock yourselves out."

The kids rush over to find their prize as Sans gets to work fashioning a t-shirt into a tunic for Asriel's hero costume. He tried to figure out if Asriel meant a knight instead, but he was adamant that it was a 'hero' costume. Like from the video games. Well, that covered a lot of territory, so for now he's going with vaguely medieval in style and hoping it works.

Frisk and Asriel watch Sans as he works, badgering him with questions (as kids do) that he takes in stride. It's nice to have company. Keeps him from getting lost inside his own head as he measures, cuts, and sews. But after about half an hour of this they start to get bored.

"Dad I wanna look through the pictures," Frisk says, edging closer to the machine in the corner.

"we've got albums in the house," he says, and points at another worktable behind him. "and there's another one i'm working on right there."

"No, not those pictures. What about the ones from before this timeline? I remember you taking some, did you save them?"

He did, but he didn't realize that Frisk remembered. They'd talked about some of the past Resets, the things they'd done together and the good times. They didn't talk about the bad ones, not unless they had to. Sans looks over at Frisk, then at the machine.

"yeah, i saved them. what do you wanna see them for?" he asks, sitting up a little straighter on his stool.

"I thought maybe Mom might want to look at them."

"have you been talking to her about the other timelines? you know she doesn't like thinking about all those times you ran away," Sans says, frowning a little.

Asriel is quiet, toying with the handle of the plastic sword you bought to go with his costume. It's not like he has any happy memories of those times.

"No, but I was thinking she might like to see that it wasn't all bad. That even though she wasn't there, you were." They're toying with their sleeves, looking away and shrugging.

He's not sure that you'd like that very much. You're still a bit sensitive to the fact that there were hundreds of instances where you let Frisk down, drove them away into coming to Mt. Ebott on their own. Knowing that any of those happy memories began with such a bad one, how would that make you feel? But the kid's heart is in the right place, and he's not sure how to explain his reservations to them.

With a small sigh, Sans slides off his stool and drags his knuckles across his forehead. "i guess i could use a break. let's look through them together."

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