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“I want to stay with you.” It wasn’t a lie, but it still was a shock to come from their hands. Because if they knew anything, it was that they were better on their own.

But they were the new ambassador and they had work to do. Public opinion had to be influenced, they had a family to protect.

Family. The word had a bitter aftertaste as they mouthed it in the mirror with purple lips. Only a week and they were pretty sure that Toriel was going to give up on them any day now. They were going to be alone again.

The first time they had come out of the shower with purple lips, teeth chattering, Toriel had been a force to be reckoned with. She had bought the lie that the hot water didn’t work, wrapping them in fluffy layers and ruffling their hair, promises of hot tea on her lips. And then she turned on the water and it was warm. And she had been confused. And the confusion turned to sadness.

Frisk didn’t know how to explain. It had been a fact of life. Gravity is real, the monsters were free, and failures don’t get hot showers. Toriel had just looked more confused the more that Frisk said though.

There were other times too, even though Frisk lived with her for only a week, that worried Toriel. Times where there were scratches from nails on Frisk’s arm that had not been there an hour ago. Or times where Frisk stared at food like it was going to disappear, and only ate the food that they made, dark, in the middle of the night, silent. Or the time that Toriel went to check on Frisk in the middle of the night to find Frisk dozing against the back of their bedroom door.

The pieces took a while to fit into place, and Frisk knew that the end was near. That it was only a matter of time until this safety was snatched away from them and they were back to the old reality. Back to the hell they came from.

But it never happened. Flowey shared a room with them, but never made fun of them when they woke up crying. On nights where Frisk curled up against the bedroom door, listening to make sure that nobody crept up on them, Flowey quietly told them stories of their childhood, of a different time with a different child, but much the same. Too much the same.

The attacks became less frequent, but nobody treated them like a freak when they happened. Even the child in their head reminded them to breathe, being encouraging. There was no more animosity, only understanding.

The pantry was always stocked and unlocked. The fridge was new, silent, as opposed to the last one that creaked noisily when it opened. There were no rules against taking what they wanted, when they wanted. Little bags of food disappeared, but more appeared and that was ok.

Undyne came over during the hard times and asked if they wanted to cook, if they could teach her how to make human food. Toriel asked if they wanted to make butterscotch cinnamon pie with her. Nobody minded when they would watch what was cooked, even offering packaging to the eagle-eyed child.

The times became fewer when Frisk was afraid that it would be ripped away but nobody called them crazy. They had an attack in the middle of class and Asgore picked them up. They sat in silence as Asgore tended to his flowers, and that was ok. Sometimes Papyrus came over and asked if they wanted to do some puzzles with him. And it was nice.

When the shower was on for far too long and Frisk came out looking a little too much like a statue, nobody hated them. Undyne wrapped them into a burrito and sat them down between her and Alphys as they watched hours of anime. Nobody asked and Frisk slowly started to realize that nobody was going to rip this away.

Sans took them to Grillby’s. Grillby took to making Frisk’s food in front of them, and was not offended if they didn’t eat it. He knew that if he and Sans kept talking, the fries would slowly disappear. So that’s what happened. Sometimes Frisk would giggle at the puns, sometimes they wouldn’t. And that was okay.

It was ok when Frisk flinched from touch or didn’t move from their bed all day. Flowey never mentioned it, but asked if they could water him and maybe they could use a little bit of water too. Sometimes it happened, but other days Toriel came and watered him, leaving an extra glass by Frisk’s side.

Sometimes Frisk couldn’t sleep, and that was ok. Flowey sometimes asked if they could watch cartoons and eat food in the middle of the night. Sometimes they did, grabbing stuff from the pantry, (since when was the light on at night?) and watching cartoons until the sun came up. Sometimes they didn’t, and Flowey told them stories of pranks with a long dead sibling while said sibling offered silent support from a point of understanding.

There were days that Frisk wasn’t ok. And that was ok. Their family wasn’t going anywhere.