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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29. Words of Advice

Hesitating, Sans looks up at the massive stone doors, erected long ago to seal off the Ruins. He's watched these doors open hundreds of times by now, but he's never seen the woman he knows is waiting on the other side. There are few places his magic can't reach, like through the Barrier, and something about the Ruins just sets his bones on edge. He thinks it has something to do with the dark, purple stones.

Sans sighs, turning his back to the door and leaning against it. He feels nervous, more nervous than he ought to. His head thunks back against the stone and he thinks he hears something shift on the other side. No sense in delaying the inevitable. He knocks twice.

Knock, knock.

"Who's there?" The woman's voice is muffled like it always is, but he can hear the smile in her voice. She always sounds happy to hear him, and it helps settle the nervous buzzing in his chest.

"dozen," Sans says, turning his head to the side so his voice will carry through the door easier.

"Dozen who?"

"dozen anybody want to let me in?"

There's a beat of silence, and her laugh sounds a little weak. One of those days then. Probably should have started off with something a little less on the nose.

Knock, knock.

"who's there?" Sans asks obediently.

"Cash."

He knows this one. She's told this to him before, in some of the timelines that lasted longer than the others. "cash who?"

"I did not realize you were some kind of nut!" she says, and he can hear her trying not to laugh at the end of her own joke.

He laughs along with her, because her sincerity never fails to make him smile. There was a time —damn it feels like ages ago— that he thought he might have had a crush on her. Just a little one. But as he got to know her better he realized that she was more like a mother. Matronly, in the best kind of way. He still feels a little swell of affection when he talks to her, but it's nothing like what he feels towards you.

What he feels towards you... that's part of the reason he wants to talk to his mysterious friend behind the door. Because if there's anyone he thinks might be able to help him sort out whatever is going on inside his skull, it's her.

There's another beat of silence. It stretches on because Sans can't think of any more good jokes, and he really isn't feeling up to it. She's a great audience, but that's not what he's after right now.

"You seem distracted, my friend," she says, and he can hear something brushing against the door. He pictures a hand, reaching out towards him but blocked by stone.

"the kiddo started school since the last time i talked to you," Sans says, avoiding her unspoken question. Besides, he knows she wants to hear all about the two of you.

"Oh," she says, and he thinks she sounds a little sad. "So they really are going to stay with you."

"seems like it. hey, if you'd rather not—"

"Oh, no! Do not mind me, I am just feeling a little selfish. I had only hoped to be able to teach them myself."

"you know, if you'd only come out of there..." They've talked about this before, but she's never budged. He's certain she won't now, but he says it anyway.

"Please, I would rather hear about how Frisk is doing at school," she says. Her tone brooks no argument.

"they're doing good. it's only been a few days, but they already knew a bunch of their classmates so friends aren't a problem. and i'm sure you remember how frisk is, so everyone loves 'em." Sans chuckles to himself, fishing his phone out of his pocket. He'd barely been able to keep the kid still long enough to take that picture for you before they ran off into the school. Frisk was just as excited at the end of the day, too.

"I am glad to hear it. Though, no one knows that Frisk is human?" She sounds worried. He doesn't really blame her.

"nope. not many folks still around that know what they look like, after all. i mean, maybe if it was the capital we'd be in a bit more trouble, but... so far so good."

"I suppose it has been quite some time since the last time a human was here." She pauses, and Sans can't help but wonder how long she's been in those Ruins. How many humans she's seen fall down. Maybe all of them. "And what about Frisk's sister? How is she?"

He hasn't corrected her. Maybe one day, when her regret at letting you go isn't so fresh he might. "she's good, she..." he trails off, thumbing through the pictures on his phone. He has a few of you, taken when you weren't looking. In the kitchen cooking, or on the couch with Frisk. There's one of you sitting on his bed, head tilted down as you look at your hands against the mattress, smiling. He pauses on that one, then flicks to the next. "she's happy," he says, and he can't keep the tenderness out of his voice.

"Thank you," she says. "Thank you for keeping your promise and protecting them for me when I could not."

"to be honest, i haven't been doing this for you. at least, not anymore. i've been doing it for her... and i guess for me, too." Sans grits his teeth, looking up from his phone to stare out over the snowy path. "i never really mentioned it, but... she and i are sorta... involved. romantically."

"Oh! My friend, I am happy for you! I never took you for the romantic type, but I am glad that I was mistaken," she exclaims, and her enthusiasm gives him a little courage. 

Sans thumbs to the next picture. It's his favorite one of you. You're standing outside Grillby's and it's snowing, the snowflakes caught up in your wild brown hair. The orange neon paints across you, making you glow against a backdrop of black and white, the warmest, brightest thing he's ever seen. You're looking up, searching for stars you won't find down here. He wonders if you'll ever lose that habit, but part of him hopes you don't. You were waiting for him, meeting him for dinner and he caught sight of you before you saw him. He almost missed his chance to take the picture because he was so caught up in just looking at you. Something familiar stirs in his chest. He feels fuller as he looks at you. "lady... have you ever been in love?"

He expects her to hesitate, or maybe not answer at all. He doesn't know that much about her, but for her to want to stay in the Ruins alone... he can't imagine her story is a happy one. But her answer is immediate. "Once. A long time ago," she says, and she doesn't sound sad so much as melancholy.

"how did you know?" He's never felt like this before. Scared, and happy, and like he can never get enough of you. Sometimes he wakes up and just stares, part of him wondering what he ever did to deserve you.

Sans wishes he could see her, to try and pick apart the look on her face as she thinks of what to say. Instead, all he has is silence until she speaks. "Love is different for everyone. For me it was... realizing that every moment we were apart, I was waiting to see him again. I measured time by the days we were together." She laughs softly, and Sans can hear the memories in her voice. "He told me, once, that he used to spend hours picking out the perfect flowers to bring me. Only the most perfect blooms were considered worthy..." A pause. "Forgive me, I know that is not very helpful. But, I think that you must know the answer, if you have thought enough to ask the question."

"but how am i supposed to know for sure? i've never done this before, and it just feels like... so much." Sans's grip on his phone tightens, and he nudges the screen to keep it from turning off. Nervous energy makes him clench and unclench the fist in his pocket. "she's beautiful, and i want to keep her happy, and she makes me happy. and then there's times where i just look at her, and i can't believe that she's real."

Sans realizes he's starting to ramble as he hears the woman on the other side of the door start to laugh. A flush rises to his cheeks as he falls silent, shoving his phone and his hand into his pocket.

"My friend, it sounds like you are most certainly in love. Do you agree?"

Closing his eyes, he leans his head back against the door with an audible thunk. He sighs. "yeah. i think you're right, lady. i do love her."

Somewhere in Hotland, inside of a lab, a certain someone lets out an audible gasp followed by a high-pitched squeal.

This is followed by a digitized sigh.

Papyrus is busy rearranging one of his switch puzzles, deep in Snowdin's forest, when he hears a familiar voice.

"Howdy!"

With one final shove at a hunk of ice, Papyrus dusts off his hands and turns towards the speaker with a bright smile. There, in the shade of a tree, is a smiling yellow flower waving a leaf at him. He crosses the distance between them in a few long strides, crouching down and resting his hands on his knees.

"FLOWEY! I'M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU! I WAS GETTING WORRIED THAT IT HAD BEEN SO LONG SINCE YOUR LAST VISIT!" Papyrus says, beaming at his friend.

"Oh gosh, Papyrus! I'm so sorry that I scared you," Flowey says, his smile falling into a sad frown. "I didn't mean to, I hope you can forgive me."

He chuckles. "OF COURSE! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WOULD NEVER HOLD A GRUDGE AGAINST A FRIEND! I'M JUST HAPPY THAT I WAS WORRIED FOR NOTHING."

The flower heaves a sigh of relief, smiling up at the skeleton and giving a little shake of his leaves. "It means a lot that you were thinking about me. You're such a great friend."

Papyrus flushes with pride, clapping a hand to his chest and pushing his shoulders back. "WHY THANK YOU! I AM PRETTY GREAT, AREN'T I?"

"Of course!" he agrees with a laugh of delight. As his laughter fades his expression sobers, worry etched into his face. "But Papyrus, I'm a little worried! Are those humans still living with you?"

"YES, THEY ARE. BUT FLOWEY, YOU DON'T NEED TO CONCERN YOURSELF! THE HUMANS ARE VERY NICE. IN FACT, MY BROTHER IS ACTUALLY DATING THE OLDER ONE. I HAVEN'T SEEN HIM SO HAPPY IN A LONG TIME." Papyus reaches out and gives the flower a reassuring pat. He doesn't seem to notice the grimace that flickers over his features.

"But what if Undyne finds out? Isn't she going to be disappointed?"

"OH, UNDYNE ALREADY KNOWS! AND, WELL, SHE WAS A BIT UPSET AT FIRST, BUT NOW SHE'S STAYING AT THE HOUSE WITH US TOO! SHE AND THE HUMANS ARE FRIENDS NOW!"

"Wow, that's great, Papyrus!" Flowey says, his smile seeming a little forced. "So does that mean that Undyne let you into the Royal Guard? I mean, she must have, since you found those humans!"

Papyrus's smile fades a little and he stands up, reaching up to adjust his trailing, red scarf. "NOT YET, BUT I'M CERTAIN SHE WILL WHEN I'M READY! THESE THINGS TAKE TIME."

Flowey gives the skeleton an indulgent look, swaying back and forth where he's rooted to the ground. "Maybe, but... you did fail to capture the humans, like she wanted you to." The flower sighs, a little crease forming between his eyes. After a moment, he gasps. "Oh! But what if you went straight to Asgore with the humans? I'm sure he'd let you into the Royal Guard if you went right to the king!"

"THAT'S A GOOD IDEA, FLOWEY, BUT I CAN'T DO THAT! THEY'RE MY FRIENDS, AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE THEM GO." He paces a little back and forth, shaking his head. "THERE ARE... MORE IMPORTANT THINGS THAN GETTING INTO THE ROYAL GUARD. AND I'M SURE THAT UNDYNE KNOWS WHAT'S BEST."

With a noncommittal sound, Flowey gives a shrug with his leaves. "If you think so."

"I KNOW SO! I HAVE FAITH IN UNDYNE, SHE'S BEEN TRAINING ME AFTER ALL!" Papyrus is grinning again, resting his hands on his hips. "BUT YOU'RE A WONDERFUL FRIEND, FLOWEY, FOR TRYING TO HELP!"

"Of course, Papyrus. You know me, I just want to see you do well," Flowey says. There's a pause, and the flower lets out a small gasp. "Oh gosh, but what about that friend of Undyne's you told me about! If Undyne is staying with you guys, have they been able to see each other?"

Papyrus looks a little puzzled at the sudden change in topic, but takes it in stride. "OH, YOU MEAN DOCTOR ALPHYS? UH, I DON'T THINK SO. WOWIE, NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT, THAT SURE IS BAD. UNDYNE IS SUCH A GOOD FRIEND THAT SHE MUST HAVE BEEN TOO WORRIED TO IMPOSE ON US BY INVITING HER OVER! I'LL HAVE TO TELL HER THAT IT'S OKAY!"

"Maybe she could even bring that friend of hers, the robot! I'm sure they'd all get along great!" the flower says, swaying excitedly. "You have such a great group of friends, I bet they'd all love to meet!"

A tiny, orange-tinted blush spreads across Papyrus's cheekbones as he wrings his hands. "OH, YOU MEAN METTATON? WELL, MAYBE, I SUPPOSE... SHE DID MAKE HIM AFTER ALL, SO I'M SURE THEY'RE CLOSE. BUT, UH, I KNOW THAT UNDYNE DOESN'T LIKE HIM VERY MUCH..."

"But wouldn't the humans be so excited to meet him? A real live robot! It doesn't hurt to ask."

Papyrus brightens. "YES, THAT'S TRUE! YOU HAVE A VERY GOOD POINT! I'LL DO MY BEST, FLOWEY, TO BRING ALL MY FRIENDS AND MY FRIENDS' FRIENDS TOGETHER!"

   
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