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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189. Yet Darker

Their Soul feels wrong.

That’s the first sensation that Frisk registers as they regain consciousness, the strange pulling that reminds them of fighting a monster. But it’s not the same, it feels like it’s inside their Soul, not like it’s trying to come out of their chest. Disoriented and a little weak, they roll onto their side where they’re sprawled out on the ground.

Or at least, they think it’s the ground. As they open their eyes they realize they’re surrounded by odd, shimmering mist that obscures most of the space around them. It’s all they can see, just white iridescence. Sucking in a deep breath, the air smells like ozone, charged and sharp, clean and almost sterile.

What is this place?

A soft, anguished whimper nearly scares Frisk out of their skin, and as their heart leaps to their throat they whirl towards the sound. Asriel, half-hidden in the fog, is curled forward on his knees, his head parallel to the ground as he presses both his hands to his chest. Mouth hanging open, he’s panting and squeezing his eyes shut. It looks like he’s in pain.

“Asriel!” Frisk exclaims, rolling onto their hands and knees and scurrying over to him as quick as they can. They put one hand on his back, the other over his own hands on his chest, leaning in close and searching his face.

He cracks his eyes open, turning his head to look at them. But he’s unfocused, his fingers digging into the front of his shirt.

“What’s wrong?” they ask, confused and afraid. They focus inward, trying to feel for any hint of what he’s feeling, but they— Why can’t they feel him? Their connection is still there, they know that much, but it’s as though something is interfering. All they can feel is… fuzzy static. It’s like having a mouth full of cotton.

“It… Frisk, it hurts, ” he sobs, screwing his eyes shut and closing his mouth. He clenches his jaw, then leans his head against theirs. Every muscle in his body is tense.

“What does?” they ask, voice tight as a sharp lance of dread wends its way down their spine.

“My Soul! It feels like it’s trying to…” He whimpers again, leaning forward even further, pressing his brow hard to their chest. Frisk wraps their arms around him, unsure of what else they can do. “It feels like it’s going to break apart,” he whispers.

“I’m not gonna let that happen,” Frisk tells him, knowing full well they have no idea how to make good on that promise. They’ll figure something out, they’ve got to! This is all their fault, them and their broken magic! Asriel isn’t going to… Nothing is going to happen to him. Not so long as they’re here. Hugging him close, they lift their head to look around them. “We’ve got to get out of here. It’s… it’s got to be this place, doing something to us. I feel weird too.”

But all they can see is mist. There’s no sign of the dark tear that brought them here, there’s nothing except for this damn fog!

Wait.

No, that’s not true.

There are two red lights, barely visible, slowly getting bigger and brighter. Like a pair of giant eyes coming closer. Frisk lets out a sharp gasp and Asriel jerks his head up, brushing against their face and gripping their side as he follows their gaze.

“What is that?” Asriel blurts out.

“I…” Frisk can only stare, a strange feeling of deja vu nagging them in the back of their mind. “I can’t remember— I mean, I don’t know.”

“Should we run?” he asks, his voice going reedy as his throat tightens.

“Can you stand?” They clutch at his back pushing up on their knees as Asriel does the same. He wobbles and one knee buckles, dragging Frisk back down.

“Shit,” Asriel breathes, gritting his teeth and baring his fangs. A low, frustrated growl rumbles in the back of his throat. “No…”

Fisting their hand in his shirt, Frisk clenches their jaw, returning their gaze to the ever-growing pair of eyes approaching them. “Then I guess we’ll find out if it’s friendly,” they say stubbornly.

“You… Frisk, you should—”

“Shut up,” they snap, casting him a sharp look. “Don’t even think it. I won’t ever leave you behind.”

He doesn’t say anything after that. Which is good, because now they’re pissed that he’d even try to suggest something like that! They know that’s what he must have been about to say because he doesn’t even try to deny it. It’s too late now anyway, those eyes are now the size of dinner plates, and the shadow of whatever they belong to is coming into view.

It’s a long, thin skull— a blaster! It’s a blaster like Sans and Papyrus’s, what can that possibly mean? But something about it isn’t right; the eye sockets are drooping and it looks… wet. It seems to sag, dripping as its jaw opens and closes, exposing long fangs. Asriel sucks in a quick, scared breath, tensing as it moves closer. But instead of seeming threatening, or even dangerous, it just hovers there, a few feet away, regarding them.

The eyes are lifeless, there’s no sign of intelligence or personality… but why does it seem like it recognizes them? It just keeps staring at Frisk, unblinking. It’s a little unsettling.

They’re so focused on those bright red eyes, the huge floating skull, that they don’t even notice the other figure until a thin, white hand reaches out to rest on the blaster’s brow. It strokes it fondly. There, standing beside it, is a man. He looks like he might have been a skeleton once, but instead he’s soft and malleable. Oozing around the edges, even his clothes. The black coat and pants, the high, white turtleneck, they look like they’re part of his body.

Two circles of red light look down at them from within two mismatched eye sockets. They crinkle a little as he smiles, his thin mouth pulling on the crack that runs from the bottom of one eye to his upper lip. Another crack intersects his other eye, up through his brow to the crown of his skull. A shiver runs down Frisk’s spine, even as that feeling of deja vu refuses to go away.

"Ah, Plato, here they are. As expected." The voice is smooth, deliberate, but it echoes. Frisk can hear it for a moment before he opens his mouth and again after it closes, like it’s… stretched over too much time. “Oh. No, this isn’t… Wait! Yes it is! Marvelous!” He plucks his hand away from the blaster —Plato? Why do they feel like they’ve heard that before?— and takes two long strides towards where Frisk and Asriel are huddled on the ground, folding his hands over his middle. There are holes straight through his palms. “Frisk. You are a miraculous accident, the product of so many implausible things, and I have never been happier to see you. You and Asriel have done what should be impossible.”

Frisk can only stare, wide-eyed as this strange man smiles down at them. It takes them a moment to find their voice. “W-who are you? Where are we?”

His mouth twitches, head tilting just a fraction to the side. “As I suspected, you don’t remember the last time we met. I told you before that explaining this to you was an exercise in futility, but now…” The man reaches down towards them with both hands, beckoning them. Frisk and Asriel share a look and a silent question before they each free one arm so they can take his hands. With only a little difficulty, they both manage to get to their feet. But he doesn’t let go, instead holding them tighter. Not painfully so, just firmly. “This time is different. This time I’m not sure what’s going to happen!”

“Who are you?” Asriel asks, repeating Frisk’s unanswered question. He tugs his arm sharply away from the strange man, clutching it to his chest and wincing. Plato inches closer, a faint whine building in its mouth as its jaw part slightly.

The man’s smile fades and he holds up a hand towards the blaster without taking his eyes off them. His attention shifts to Frisk, flicking down at their hands for a moment as he seems to come to some realization. He lets their hand go, threading his fingers together over his chest. “My apologies, I seem to have gotten ahead of myself,” he says, apologetic. “A side-effect of my… condition, I’m afraid.” Unfolding his hands again, he gestures to himself. “I am Doctor W.D. Gaster. For ease’s sake, please feel free to just call me Gaster. Though…”

He trails off, studying Frisk. His eyes sweep over them quickly, from head to toe, and something fond softens the, well, already soft lines of his face. Frisk isn’t sure what to do with this, they aren’t uncomfortable, but it’s just… strange.

“You have grown so much since our last visit,” Gaster says, meeting Frisk’s eyes again. They kind of wish that he’d stop talking about things they can’t remember. “It feels like eons ago.”

They have so many questions. About this ‘last visit’, and what this place is, and who he is to them. But none of that is important right now. “We need to get out of here,” they say, pressing in close to Asriel’s side as he sags against them. He’s still breathing hard, but trying not to look like he’s in pain. “This place is doing something to Asriel. It’s hurting him.”

Gaster’s attention shifts to Asriel, his brow furrowing. “Yes, I suppose it would… That child’s Soul, Chara, it’s drawn to this place because it belongs here.” He shifts closer and Frisk pushes between them, making Gaster come to a halt, eyes widening slightly.

“It belongs right where it is!” they snap, glaring. “I gave him that Soul, and it’s what Chara would have wanted. How do you even know about them?”

Taken aback, Gaster looks down at them with an unreadable expression. After a moment he spreads his long, delicate fingers in a helpless gesture. “I only meant that it’s only natural for their Soul to be drawn here. It’s what brought you here in the first place,” he says, eyes flicking back and forth between the two of them. “When a mage dies due to an over expenditure of magic, they come here, back to the Font. Right to the source to be replenished. At least… when things go as they should.”

Frisk isn’t sure that they understand, but this isn’t important! They can’t stay here, not if this place is trying to take back Chara’s Soul.

“You didn’t answer Frisk’s other question,” Asriel says, nudging them out of the way so he can look at Gaster properly. Frisk shifts back to his side, helping support him better. “How do you know about Chara?”

“Asriel, we can talk about that later, we need to find a way out of here,” Frisk says. They watch him, the way he’s still clutching at his chest, the sweat dampening his fur, the pain tightening his face. He can’t stay in the Font, no questions can possibly be more important than keeping him safe.

“The short answer, to perhaps sate your curiosity, is that I have been able to observe the outside world from this place. Everything since my… displacement, up until this moment, has been made available to me.” He looks at Frisk, solemn. “Including all of the fragmented timelines from your time in the Underground.” Then his eyes move to Asriel. “And your experiments as Flowey.”

Frisk’s thoughts go to the worst timelines, the ones where they relinquished control to Chara. They can only imagine that Asriel is doing something similar. They had both, while arguably not themselves, done horrible things. But Gaster just regards them placidly before tilting his head and letting out a soft sigh.

“Now that you understand, I believe it is time for us to go. My grandchild is correct, we should not stay here longer than necessary. For your sake, Asriel,” he says, his expression turning kind.

Frisk blinks. “Grandchild?”

Gaster’s brows raise, eyes widening, and for a moment he looks a little sheepish. “Ah, yes, I told you before, but… Well, no matter. You see, your mother is married to my son, Sans.” He glances over at Plato, where the blaster is still hovering at his side, turned away and watching behind him. Sobering, he straightens a bit before looking at the two of them again. “But, Frisk, with any good fortune we will have all the time in the world to speak of that. Right now, our priority is to leave before we attract any unwanted attention. The Anathema has been suspiciously quiet, and I don’t know how long it will remain as such.”

Frisk’s head is spinning. Grandchild? Sans’s dad? Sans said he couldn’t remember his father, that his memories had been in shambles since some kind of accident almost ten years ago now. Did that have something to do with him? And what is the Anathema? Just the name sends a shiver down their spine, and they feel like they should know something.

Asriel lets out a frustrated noise. “Everything you say just makes me more and more confused,” he mutters. “What the hell is an Anathema?”

“Something incredibly dangerous, especially for the two of you,” Gaster says, taking a step back and flicking his wrist, gesturing for Plato. The blaster immediately swivels around, floating in close towards the three of them. “Asriel, take hold of Plato’s horn, if you will. He’ll help you walk. For now we need to get moving. It won’t take us long to get to the breach, but every moment we spend here is another that the Anathema might become alerted to your presence.”

Asriel gives the blaster a wary look, but Frisk helps support him as he reaches out to hook his elbow around the curve of its horn. It looks solid, but it gives slightly as he leans his weight against the side of Plato’s skull. His face twists into a look of restrained disgust.

“It feels like play-doh,” Asriel says, his snout wrinkling.

Gaster bursts into sudden, sharp laughter, startling Frisk and making them jump. When they turn to look at him, he holds up his hands in apology. “Oh, I’m sorry, that was funny,” he says, smiling. “Play-doh, Plato, you see the words…” He trails off as the two of them just stare, and after an awkward pause he clears his throat, gesturing off to his right. “This way.”

Gaster takes the lead, followed by Plato and Asriel. Frisk falls into step alongside their friend, and when he reaches for their hand they rush to take it. He gives them a small, tense smile, squeezing their fingers.

“Thanks… I feel a little better when we’re touching,” he says quietly.

Frisk nods. “Me too.”

“That’s because the separated pieces of your shared Souls are more stable when you’re in contact,” Gaster says, glancing back at them over his shoulder. “The more stable, the less likely that the attraction of the Font will cause your Soul to fracture apart… Or, oh, were you speaking of perhaps emotional reassurance?”

Asriel casts a bemused look over at Frisk, who mirrors it back at him.

But they don’t want to be rude, not when Gaster is helping them. He’s… weird, but they feel like they can trust him. And if he is Sans’s dad, that makes him family. “How do you know where the tear is?” they ask him.

“After so long spent in this unchanging place, any disturbance is like a beacon,” Gaster says, twirling his fingers through the iridescent mist, sending it curling over his hand and drifting away. “I can feel it like a ripple through the magic.”

“Oh,” Frisk says. “I guess that makes sense.”

Gaster chuckles. “With only a Soul-devouring creature for company —apart from Plato of course— one does become sensitive to any changes. Vigilance is key to survival.”

“This thing eats Souls?” Asriel asks, clutching tighter to Frisk’s hand.

“In a way, yes.”

“And it’s been trying to take yours?” Frisk asks.

“Since I came to this place,” Gaster says, sounding weary.

Frisk balks. “How did you sleep?”

“I didn’t,” he says. “I never needed to. The Font is the source of magic, it has kept me alive.”

“...That sounds horrible,” they say, casting an anxious look to either side of them.

“My time here has been… not without its challenges,” he admits, his voice somber. “I am very ready to go home.”

Frisk falls quiet, and Asriel shifts his arm around Plato’s horn. Trying to get a better hold. After a moment he opens his mouth, closes it, then finally speaks. “If the Font has been keeping you alive, are you going to be okay if you leave it with us?”

Gaster is silent for a long moment, and Frisk starts to worry that Asriel upset him. Finally, with a soft sigh, he heaves his shoulders in an enormous shrug. “I don’t know,” he admits. “My awareness ends here. It could be because I leave the Font and so my sight is once again limited by a normal existence. Or… it means that I die. I have no way of knowing which is the truth, but knowing that my time here in the Font reaches an end, either way… It’s the only thing that has kept me going. Forgive my grimness, but either outcome is preferable to what has been a miserable existence. Seeing the world, my sons, move forward without me, as if I was never even there…”

“I’m sorry,” Asriel says, looking down at the ground. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“That’s quite alright,” Gaster says kindly, though he doesn’t look back at them. His fingers drum against his leg, patting at the tail of his coat. “Do not feel guilty on my behalf, young prince. You have not said anything that I was not previously aware of.”

He falls quiet, and neither Frisk or Asriel know what else to say. They have plenty of questions, but now doesn’t feel like the right time to ask them. Knowing that Gaster is willingly moving towards either his freedom or his death —and would accept either gladly— hangs heavy over Frisk’s head.

As they continue in silence, it doesn’t take long for Frisk to start to feel the change in the air. It feels thinner somehow, less oppressive. They hadn’t even noticed how heavy this place feels until it starts to lift. Asriel’s breathing eases a little, and the pained look on his face isn’t quite so harsh anymore. It hadn’t been very strong to begin with, but that pulling feeling in Frisk’s Soul is hardly noticeable now. It must be a huge relief for Asriel.

“How are you feeling?” Frisk asks him quietly.

“Better,” he says, giving Frisk a weak smile. “A lot better.”

“We’re almost there. Soon we should be able to see the breach.” Gaster sounds distracted, looking to either side of him and Frisk thinks he might be frowning. Plato lets out a soft whine, and for a moment the mist gathered inside its mouth glows before it snaps its teeth shut again. The charged mist rushes out of its mouth, then dissipates.

“Is something wrong?” Frisk asks, squeezing Asriel’s hand and looking from the blaster to Gaster. He seems on edge, and it’s making them nervous.

“No, quite the opposite,” Gaster says, reaching out to touch Plato’s snout. “I was expecting some sort of opposition. But this is… Perhaps my paranoia is getting the better of me. Who am I to doubt such good fortune? Besides, there it is.”

And he’s right; the tear is right in front of them, hanging there in space. The mist seems drawn to it, leaking out through the rift. On the edges is that dark, impossible blackness, and in the center is the place they left. They can see the trees, and in the distance is a glimpse of their clubhouse. It’s a ragged hole, big enough for them to walk through. They only have to step over the bottom edge and they’ll be home.

Gaster halts a few feet away, turning towards them. “You two go first. I’ll follow behind. If I… If I start to destabilize, I’ll have to be quick to close the breach. I cannot leave it open. I should have energy enough to do that before… Well, let’s hope for the best, shall we?”

Frisk hesitates as Asriel lets go of Plato, strong enough now to stand on his own. But their attention is fixed on Gaster, the strange man who says he’s their grandfather. They only just met him and now there’s a chance he might die? “G-Gaster,” they say, stumbling over ‘grandfather’ for a moment before it feels too strange in their mouth. “Are you sure—?”

Gaster circles around them, pushing them gently with his hands. “Go, go! Do not waste this opportunity. No matter what happens to me, I want to see you both safely through. I will follow right behind you.”

Frisk looks back at him, torn between worrying for Gaster and being anxious to get Asriel out of this place. Gaster’s urging grows more insistent, and finally Asriel too tugs on their hand.

“Come on. We should do as he says,” Asriel says.

And so, hand in hand, Frisk and Asriel step through the tear.

   
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