Asriel’s ears perked up. The faintest echo was bouncing off the familiar cave walls of the Ruin’s outskirts.
He looked over his shoulder to his parents still talking with the mayor of the small town. Still knee-deep in some political matter that even his mother said would be “too boring” for him right now. Surely, they wouldn’t notice if he slipped out to investigate. They did raise him to help anyone, right?
He slowly tip-toed his way down the less-tread road. With how small the ruins are even compared to the rest of the underground, it was surprising that this area was so empty.
The cries got louder and more desperate. Whoever was crying sounded really hurt. Asriel picked up his pace, panic starting to set into his soul. What if he was too late? What if he couldn’t help? What if-
What kind of monster was that?
“H-hello?” Asriel hesitated. Whoever they were, this monster looked hurt and… wet. They were covered in some kind of red goop too. Wait-was it coming from inside of them?!
They weakly lifted their head to him. Tears were pouring from their eyes and mixing with the red dripping down their face.
“Please, don’t hurt me…” they whimpered hoarsely.
Why would they think he would hurt them? They looked plenty hurt already. Almost like they… fell.
Asriel looked up and saw light streaming down. They came from the surface… that was a long and bumpy fall they took! He was horrible at healing magic, but Mom could fix them up in a second!
“Don’t worry, I’m here to help!” Asriel kneeled down and gently lifted them up so they could lean against his side “I promise, I’ll take care of you. My name is Asriel…”
“I-I… I’m Chara…”
“Chara? Chara, please come out!” Asriel was banging on the bathroom door. This was the third time this month…
Panicked clattering and slammed drawers echoed from behind the door before Chara opened it. Their neutral face betrayed their hand nervously tugging down on their sleeve.
“Didn’t know you were in such a rush to use the toilet, Asriel.” Chara muttered as they passed him by, returning to their shared bedroom.
“You know that’s not what I meant!” Asriel hurried after them, biting back tears. The last thing he wanted was for Chara to distract him by calling him a crybaby. “You… You know I hate it when you do… that.”
Chara simply laid on their bed, hugging a pillow and turned away from him. Asriel hesitated a moment, trying to steel his courage. All he needed to do was talk and keep talking until he talked himself out. He sat down on Chara’s bed, his back turned to them like theirs to his.
“I do it so you don’t have to.” Chara cut him off in an instance. Asriel whipped his head around, starring at the back of Chara’s messy crop of hair.
“I’m so used to being punished. But now…” Their shoulders started to shake, but Chara didn’t turn to face him. “You’re all so nice and sweet, and I’m still the same walking talking fuck up. I’m so scared that I’m still ruining everything and you’re all too forgiving to even mention it!”
Their shaking only got worse. Asriel only wanted to reach out and hold them, but he knew that would only make them panic. So many people have hurt them in their short life. Too many. He felt so helpless, but all he could do was listen.
“O-one day your patience is going to run out, and all that punishment is going to come out all at once! So, I have to keep…” Chara curled in on themself even tighter, wrapping her arms around their head.
“I don’t know!!” Chara let out a sob and they finally broke. They rolled over to face Asriel and for the first time since he found them, Chara wrapped their arms around him in a tight hug, hiding their red and tear-stained face in his sweater. Asriel slowly eased their arms around them to not spook them further.
“We won’t hurt you, Chara. We love you. I love you. What those people did to you before was… wrong and you didn’t deserve it.” Asriel mumbled into their hair, hoping that they could hear him over their own sobs. He never had a good way with words like his mother did, but she was gone for the night with father, so he had to be brave for them. “I wish I was strong enough to find those people and beat them up for you! Then I could protect you and the whole Underground like a true God of Hyperdeath!”
Maybe not the best time to bring up their play-character names, but it was worth a shot to make Chara laugh.
Chara quivered a little. Oh no, were they crying more-
Oh, they were giggling.
“A-and I wish…” Chara sniffled and wiped their eyes on their sleeve. “I wish I was strong enough to be what you guys need me. L-like the demon who comes when people say its name!!”
Please, god no… Not this dream again!
“It’s a demon! Run!”
The humans were scurrying around them in a panic. Chara had prepared Asriel for such a reaction while the two of them were still in planning.
It was jarring to say the least. So many people, so like Chara yet… not. He thought that maybe bringing Chara’s body to the flowers would have at least shown they were… He didn’t really understand why, but it was Chara’s idea.
(“There they are!)” Chara turned their shared head towards the small garden in the town center. The beautiful golden flowers they were always speaking so fondly of were swaying gently in the spring breeze.
Together, they all but charged to the flower patch and knelt down, gently resting Chara’s body amoung the flowers. Asriel reached down and plucked a flower up to their face, twirling it in his fingers and sniffing it. It was amazing-
And arrow whizzed passed their face, barely grazing their nose and ripping the head off the flower they held. Asriel and Chara stood in a panic, still clinging to Chara’s old body close as they stared down the encroaching mob of armed humans.
(“It’s… it’s them!”) Chara tensed and Asriel felt a combination of fear and rage emanating from their part of their shared consciousness. Their vision tunneled towards three specific humans in the crowd. (“This is our chance!”)
(“Asriel, we talked about this! They’re no match against us the way we are now, anyway.”) Chara lifted their arm up and Asriel felt a sickeningly wide grin split their face.
(“N-no!”) Asriel pulled their arm up at the last moment, sending a stream of pure destruction magic into the sky and scaring the villagers further. (“Chara, I can’t do this! I’m sorry-”)
(“Asriel, this isn’t a debate! We have to-”)
An arrow pierced into their shoulder and Chara screamed out in pain in their mind. Over and over, the humans barraged and pummeled them.
“P-please! They hurt me once! They’re hurting me again! They deserve to die! PLEASE ASRIEL, PLEASE! I DON’T WANT TO DIE AGAIN!
“I DON’T WANT TO LOSE YOU TOO!
Flowey’s eyes shot open and his stem shot his straight up, friendliness pellets at the ready for… the dark, empty, safe room. Right. This was what was real now.
Flowey looked back down as Frisk groaned uncomfortably. His vines were gripped tight around their arm and their hand was red and swollen from the pressure.
“Oh. Whoops.” Flowey unwound himself entirely from Frisk’s wrist.
He started snaking his way from under the blankets and up onto the window shelf above the bed as Frisk sat upright and rubbed the blood flow back into their hand. He tried ignoring the look they were giving him.
“I’ll listen…” Frisk whispered sleepily. Oh, of course they would want to hear his life this late at night when they were both exhausted! They are so nice it was sickening sometimes.
Flowey glared and pushed their forehead back down towards their pillow with a vine. “Go back to sleep, idiot.”
Frisk whined in protest, weakly pushing back up against his vine. But not even the power of determination can defeat 4am! They collapsed back down and were asleep before they hit their pillow.
With a satisfied smirk, Flowey ducked under the curtains and looked out at the sea of stairs blanketing the sky. Shining more magnificently than any wishing room in Waterfall. He could never get bored of looking at this.
Finally, now Flowey can brood in peace!
Think! He meant THINK in peace. Nothing angsty about his current situation at all. He’s just the soul-less incarnation of a lonely heart-broken prince trapped within a flower doomed to forever-
Yeah, okay, it’s really angsty. But at least with good reason. And Frisk at least helps him feel less-so. But that’s part of the problem. Even with that feeling-
Okay, no! He is naming that stupid half-feeling right now so he doesn’t have to feel like an idiot every time he starts thinking about it.
Uhhh, how about Pulse? Sure, why not?
Even with his Pulse making him satisfied with just being around Frisk, he hasn’t felt anything at all around the rest of the family. Not even his parents! He can’t just spend his entire life clinging to Frisk’s arm, right?
Well, to be fair, they do need him. Who else would bother giving quick and easy sign translations 23/7? Frisk doesn’t seem to mind either, so long as he doesn’t coil too tightly. He might have to work on that part though.
Maybe, even though everyone is free from the monotony of the Barrier, they’re all still too predictable. He knows everyone too well and he can easily predict how they’ll react, even in this limitless world.
Frisk was—still is—new to him. Unpredictable in some ways. They were a new and unprecedented factor in the equation that was the Underground. Now the experiment isn’t contained at all, and the unknown factors outnumber the known a bazillion fold. Maybe all he needed was to (ugh) makes some new friends… like Frisk wanted in the first place.
Dammit! He’s playing right into their adorable and soft hands once again!
“GOOD MORNING HUMAN AND FLOWER! IT IS I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HERE WITH YOUR WAKE-UP CALL TO START THIS GLORIOUS DAY!”
Flowey would have throttled Papyrus every morning if he didn’t share a room with Frisk. He was not a morning plant in the slightest, and Papyrus screaming them awake was making him seriously consider adopting his “kill or be killed” philosophy. Their skeleton friend was going to be the death of him sooner or later from how exhausting he could be anyway.
It didn’t help that Papyrus didn’t understand that not all humans scream themselves awake at the slightest loud noise. While Frisk liked to play it off like a funny quirk, Flowey was still unconvinced.
Whatever, they’re both awake, Frisk is on the floor, he’s hungry, might as well get on with the day.
“HONESTLY, WHAT IS IT WITH YOU AND MY BROTHER AND SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR?” Papyrus scolded while he plucked Frisk off the floor and onto his shoulder. Flowey just groaned as he slowly snaked his way off the mattress and up the offered boney arm and up to his usual host. “IT IS A GOOD THING I AM SO ACCUSTOMED TO CARRYING PEOPLE TO THE BREAKFAST TABLE OR ELSE YOUR MORNINGS WOULD BEGIN WITH SUCH LANGUITY! NYEH HEH!”
“Yeah, lucky us…” Flowey grumbled under his breath. Frisk gave him a small tired shrug and ran their fingers over his petals.
Were… were their hands shaking?
Flowey was about to mention it when Papyrus started his gentlest stomping towards their bedroom door and Frisk pulled their shirt collar up over their nose and mouth. Oh, right, the construction smells might not have died down in the night.
Flowey took a few deep sniffs as the two of them were carried through the house and down the stairs. All he could smell was Asgore’s tea steeping and Alphys and Undyne’s breakfast miso soup. The weirdoes. Who eats soup for breakfast?!
“All clear for smells.” Flowey cooed with a not-so-subtle condescending pat on Frisk’s head. Frisk only quirked an eyebrow back at him. “Yes, I’m sure! It’s not like I want you smelling my head again. God…”
Frisk giggled and pulled their sweater back down, only to stick their tongue out at him. He returned in full force before Papyrus plonked the two of them down at the kitchen table.
“NOW TO GO SEE IF I CAN PERSUADE SANS OUT OF BED. THE WORK OF THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS NEVER OVER!” Papyrus pirouetted out of the room and back up the stairs towards his brother’s room.
Toriel was seated across from them, but she was slumped over asleep on yet another book and a wall of crumpled up pages of paperwork was off to one side, and a cold mug of Asgore’s tea to the other. She looked like she was up all night trying to come up with proposals to the schoolboard.
Frisk lifted a hesitant hand towards her, but Flowey took a more direct approach and jabbed her head with a vine before they could stop him. Toriel jolted awake, papers flying around in her slight panic.
“Oh, good morning my children…” Toriel yawned wide into her paw.
“Geez lady, you look terrible.” Flowey snickered when Frisk gave a disapproving grunt, but that was all the concern he could manage to show.
“I suppose I do…” Toriel took a sip from the lukewarm tea with a tired smile “But we have quite a lot work ahead of us if we want to obtain lasting peace and prosperity. That alone is worth the sleepless nights.”
“Yeah yeah, your dream school isn’t going to build itself.” Flowey reached over and grabbed a couple muffins from a Muffet’s bakery box “But no matter how many all-nighters you pull, it’s not going to spring up overnight either. Learn to pace yourself better.”
Frisk drummed their hands on the table and cooed to Flowey “worried?”
Flowey responded by shoving a muffin into Frisk’s mouth to stifle their giggling.
“Yes, I must admit the school is a rather large priority if only for selfish reason, but it is hardly our only major goal for the near future.” Toriel leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes while she gathered her sleepy thoughts. “It may have been a stroke of good luck that Ebotton was such a small community that our sudden appearance didn’t cause a large-scale shock in the human population, but the town is still lacking key pieces of infrastructure. With the school aside, we still need to establish health care facilities with the capacity to care for monsters, a public transit system for the growing population centers, and Alphys has mentioned issues with the existing telecommunications system. Add onto that the fact that the entire monster population does not have citizenship and we have quite a lot on our hands…”
Flowey’s demeanor shifted from bored to furious at a dangerous speed. His stem shot up straight and awake at Toriel’s last comment.
“How are we not considered citizens of a land we have lived in—hell, BEEN TRAPPED IN—for thousands of years before this stupid country was even established?!” Flowey spat “They should be asking US for citizenship to begin with!”
Frisk held up the other muffin to his face in a vain attempt to distract him. Pastries will not quell his fury this time!
“While I don’t condone your language, Flowey,” Toriel gave an unimpressed glare from over her mug of tea to the symbiote on Frisk’s shoulder “I do appreciate your passion in this instance. Your knowledge of history and monster law has been a great asset so far.”
Flowey glanced back in his mind at the timelines wherein he read every book in the Underground. It was one of his more benign timelines until he started setting all those fires.
“Hey, a flower’s got to remain knowledgeable in this world!” he chirped with a cheeky wink.
“Well, I am grateful for it either way.” Toriel surprisingly enough reached over to pat Flowey’s head in gratitude. He pulled his head back at the last moment, but it was a nice sentiment at least. “It is only because of the good first impressions you, Frisk, and Papyrus have given to the officials we have met that we have been able to establish the population as we have…”
And the fact that monsters’ currency was pure gold didn’t hurt. Typical greedy humans were more interested in lining their coffers than making amends for the centuries of imprisonment that monsters had faced.
“I know you have already done so much this week, but I have arranged a meeting with the local schoolboard tonight to see if I could fast track the establishment of my school, and it would help considerably if the ambassador was there with me.” Toriel gave a small pleading look over to the tiny human across the table. Frisk merely puffed out their chest in determination and pride.
“[I will spend the whole day studying so I can help better!]” Frisk signed out eagerly.
Flowey was considerably less eager. Another day spent in front of books, then paperwork, then old people in suits that look at them all like freaks. Some of which have guns! Oh joy…
Frisk’s fingers ran over his petals gently. “[You want to take today off? You probably already know everything I’m going to be reading up on anyway.]”
He took an honest minute to mull over the option. On the one leaf, he did know everything Toriel’s books would be teaching them and re-reading that stale garbage didn’t appeal to him at all. But on the other leaf, he wasn’t sure what he would do without Frisk, and he didn’t like the idea of leaving them alone at the meeting with a bunch of stuffy schoolboard members and Toriel. Then again, the meeting wasn’t until later…
“As long as I don’t have to hang out with Sans all day and you pick me up before the meeting starts. I still have a job to do as Frisk’s official translator!” Even he found it odd that he was demanded to keep a responsibility, but one thing he could feel even without the Pulse was pride and he took pride in his fluency in sign as it was one of the first things he taught himself.
“Well, bud, it just so happens that I can’t look after you anyway.” And here comes the smiling sentient garbage bag, tucked neatly under his brother’s arm and dragged around like a teddy bear with no sense of self awareness. “I have plans for the day. And to petal you the truth, I wouldn’t want to spend the day with you either.”
Papyrus unceremoniously dropped him into a seat at the table (to which Sans immediately fell asleep in) and cheered “BUT THAT JUST MEANS YOU CAN SPEND THE DAY WITH YOUR BESTEST SKELETON FRIEND, FLOWEY! OH, WE WILL HAVE SO MUCH FUN!”
If Flowey had shoulders, he would shrug.
“…Eh, why not?”