It was a beautiful day.
Birds were singing, flowers were blooming.
On this day in particular, they had stepped into the flower-field beyond the throne room, dimly lit by phantom lights that filtered in from distant cracks in the cavern ceiling. It smelled of pollen and dust.
A large figure with white horns and a great, violet cape knelt in the field before them. He spoke with a soft voice, full of sorrow and regret, and wistfully wished he could ask them for tea...
Frisk awakens slowly, distantly aware of the news playing on the living room TV. They grumble. Coffee, first. Then news. Sure would be nice if their roommates would remember that. A glance at the clock on their nightstand informs them it’s nearly noon. Seems they’ve missed coffee, already. Shame.
As so many mornings before now, they turn to wave hello to the plant in their windowsill, only to remember it’s not the same one. That’s right. Flowey stayed home, with Mom. They’d made sure to get a completely different plant to avoid this exact situation - a stout little cactus, with a bright red blossom. Something about the little thing reminded them of someone they used to know, someone they still miss, in spite of everything.
A fresh tunic, some clean leggings, a cursory tousle of the thick, bedhead curls, and Frisk braves the apartment beyond their bedroom door. Their room is smaller than the one at their mom’s place had been, and the hallway is shorter, leading to a heightened sense of awareness as to what’s going on in the rest of the apartment. Frisk has learned a lot about their roommates during their college years - perhaps more than they’d hoped to ever know - just from the sounds alone.
They stumble down the stunted hallway, past two other bedroom doors, and knock on the living room wall to announce their arrival. Two faces turn to greet them from the couch - Rachel and Ricky.
“Frisk! You’re up!” Rachel cries, pointing wildly at the TV. Her hair is even shorter now, buzzed into a fierce undercut with lightning stripes on the sides. “You’re about to miss the big moment!”
“Yeah, you forget it was today, or something?” Ricky waves Frisk over to sit with the two of them. He remains tall and solid - like a ‘brick shithouse,’ according to Rachel’s brother - though he’s traded the whole letterman-jacket look for a more laid-back sweater-vest and button-up vibe; he’ll ditch the jeans when he’s dead, though. “C’mon, it’s about to start.”
The big moment! Today? Frisk hurries to sit on the floor between their friends, still short and compact enough to squeeze between the sofa and the coffee table with little issue. They drum their hands on the table, both from excitement and from nerves.
The news anchors drone on. “... Thank you, Terri, for a wonderful weather report. Now, for the big story of the week - Monsters. For nearly fifteen years, they’ve lived alongside us in relative peace, despite tensions between us and them. A local Monster-rights advocate group - fittingly called MONSTER - has been lobbying for years to further the integration of these supernatural beings into our society.”
“Lotta choice words out of ol’ Lou today, eh, guys?” Rachel scoffs.
“Eh, he’ll clam up sooner or later.” Ricky shrugs. “He’s all talk, anyhow.”
The news continues. “As things would have it, the local elections last week caused some deal of controversy, namely due to one issue on the ballot - the amendment to our local constitution that would allow Monsters the rights to vote as everyone else. Well, folks, we have the results in for you today, and as it stands, we have the numbers up on the screen for you… right now.”
The three humans collectively suck in a breath, eyes wide in anticipation. So many long years of their youths, so many countless days and hours of dedication, all culminating in this very moment.
Not for the first time, Frisk misses that bright pulse in their chest before moments like these.
In some ways, over the last few years, Toriel’s home has been quieter. In other ways entirely, it has been just as noisy. Either way, she can’t complain.
Gaster - or Pops, as the boys call him - has proved an interesting addition to the household. He’s usually awake before anyone else, and always has a pot of tea or coffee ready by the time Toriel gets out of bed. His reintroduction to… existence … had been tentative at first, but as time went on, Toriel found that she got along surprisingly well with him. She’s also found that she had increasingly more memories of him having existed before as time went on, until at present, she feels more like she’s catching up with an old friend than making a new one.
Papyrus has reinstated himself as the life of the household. When he’s not out with Mettaton or at work, he’s always insisting on helping in the kitchen, or regaling everyone who will listen with his tales of heroism for the common folk. Toriel is actually quite proud of him, lately - he’s begun taking a more active role in Frisk’s organization, MONSTER. He works as a liaison for cultural sensitivity, which he is almost surprisingly effective at.
Sans, no longer bound by PTA duty, spends a considerable amount of time working odd jobs around town. There are days where he comes home smelling of hot dog grease and stale ketchup, and days where he comes home in the dead of the night - but he always pays his portion of rent on time, and even makes time to take her out on the town when he has extra.
Even Flowey, who - for some reason - insisted on staying behind when Frisk moved out, has become a more welcome member of the household. When he’s not taking pot-shots at Sans or trash talking Gaster unprovoked (which is rarely), Toriel often finds him doing the strangest things. She caught him putting away the silverware one day, unprompted, and has since witnessed other small miracles, like him tending the other plants around the house, with the help of his vines - which have decidedly grown stronger over the years. Toriel knows he would be insufferable if she said anything about it, so she lets him have his secret.
There are some nights, when she’s had a hard time getting to sleep, or when she wakes up from a bad dream, where she finds a glass of water on the nightstand, filled nearly to the brim and fit to spill. She always chalks it up to having forgotten about it earlier. Every time she sees it, however, she finds herself simultaneously comforted and heartsick.
All in all, however, Toriel can’t complain about her homelife. Her family is strange, but it’s hers all the same.
Across town, a rugged SUV pulls into the parking lot of a fine restaurant. There’s mud on the tires and splattered over the doors. A passing human couple observe the vehicle with poorly-veiled disdain; when the drivers-side door flies open with a mighty kick, they yelp and rush inside in a hurry.
Undyne steps out of the driver’s seat, adjusting her studded leather jackets and tossing her hair from her face. Her good eye quickly scans the scene, as if for any imminent threats, before she jogs to the other side of the car to open the door.
“C’mon out, babe!” she calls sweetly.
“I…” Alphys’s strangled voice squeaks from within the vehicle, “I d-d-d-don’t think this is all so n-necessary…”
“Alph, hon,” Undyne blinks, looking concerned. “If… you’re worried about the place, we can cancel, I-”
“NO!” Alphys squawks, startling her companion. “N-no, you went to all this trouble, it’s f-fine! I…. I can do this!”
“You sure?” Undyne sounds hopeful, but hesitant.
“Y-yeah! Its, what, a bunch of humans in there?” There’s the sound of ruffling skirts. “I… I’ve seen humans! Plenty! Yeah, babe, I got this!”
Undyne beams. “Damn RIGHT you do!” She stands outside the door and offers an arm.
Alphys steps out and takes Undyne’s arm. She’s wearing a mermaid-style sleeveless black dress, with silvery glitter around the bottom ruffle, and a black-sequin handbag to match. She adjusts herself as she stands, face blaring crimson. “I… uh, I look okay, right?”
Undyne beams at her. “Alphys… you are single handedly the sexiest monster I have ever laid eyes on.”
Alphys raises a cheeky grin at the taller monster. “S-sexier than Aaron?”
“Aaron? Gross.” Undyne pulls a face. “Ugh. Don’t. No, just. No. Ugh.”
“Haha!” Alphys beams in turn, snapping a photo on her phone. “Gotcha!”
“ How did you-” Undyne starts, but begins to laugh instead. “Damn. Gotta stay on my toes, with you. Keepin me SHARP!” She guffaws.
The two of them head in, after locking up Undyne’s massive vehicle. It takes only a moment to get seated - the couple from before seem surprised that Undyne and Alphys already had a reservation. Alphys waves meekly to them as she and her date walk off to have a seat.
They are seated at a table that is perhaps too small for them, but, unfortunately, remains the only one available. So, they sit, in tiny chairs at a tiny table, separated by a tiny candle. Alphys buries her face in the menu, very clearly using it to hide. Surprisingly, Undyne has herself similarly hidden behind her menu.
A few moments pass in tense quiet as they attempt to select their meals. The server returns after awhile, and they place their orders, as if trying to do so as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, this leaves the both of them without the security of their menus. A minute or so of having little else to distract them from each other seems to ease them back into it.
“God damn , this table sucks,” Undyne chuckles, adjusting her seat. “How do humans deal with this?”
“None of them r-really have legs like you do,” Alphys offers, fidgeting with her claws. “M-maybe it's not a problem?”
Undyne snorts lightly. “Hah! Yeah, gams like these tend to cause trouble, huh?”
Alphys waggles her eyebrows, in a moment of boldness. “Certainly do for me.”
“Alph!” Undyne laughs, blushing a bit. “The nerve on you!”
“Ha!” Alphys laughs a bit as well, though the sudden blush on her face is far stronger. “Sorry! Those l-leather pants are great on you, is all.”
“Glad you think so.” Undyne flashes her a toothy grin, and offers her hand across the table.
Alphys takes it, and the two sit for a minute in more companionable silence.
Eventually, Alphys breaks it. “Y-y’know, no matter what happens with you-know-what today--”
“Hey,” Undyne warns her, “No heavy stuff, we promised!”
“I-I know! I’m not, just.” She takes Undyne’s hand in both of hers, effectively silencing her. “I just wanted to say, no matter what happens, I’m… really happy. With you. With everything, right now. These last few years have made me feel so… unbelievably happy.”
“If I didn’t know better,” Undyne grins wolfishly, “I’d say this is starting to sound like a proposal.”
Alphys blinks. “Undyne… we’ve been married for three years.”
“I know!!” Undyne beams. “I was just remembering how you popped the question. It was so cold out, rain just pouring, and you got locked out of the apartment.”
“Oh god,” Alphys buries her scarlet face behind her claws.
“Nobody else was home in the whole building, and you were stuck out there for almost an hour before I got home, with your phone out of battery and no way to contact me. I pulled up just in time to see you huddled up by the door.” Undyne grins all the more. “And then you just - launched yourself at me! I think I still got a scar on my leg from your cold little claws.”
“S-sorry,” Alphys mumbles, but her apology is lost in Undyne’s recollection.
“You were bawling, just… so relieved. You said - Undyne -” her impression of Alphys isn’t great; it’s just making her own raspy voice even raspier, “- Undyne, god, please marry me! ” She laughs. “The rest, well. You know the rest.”
Alphys, in spite of her embarrassment, is smiling brightly through her claws. “Thanks for waiting till summer for the big day.”
“You kidding? I wanted to see your scales in the sunlight, you nerd.” Undyne flashes a winning smile at her wife. “It’s the most beautiful sight in the world.”
“Aw, you!” Alphys laughs.
The duo share a lovely meal at the fanciest restaurant in town, oblivious to the stares they attract from the humans around them. For tonight, at least, they’re the only things that matter to each other.
The door closes, and Linda watches from the window as her son, Billy, hops on his bike and heads off down the street, back to his apartment. The ache in her chest is a familiar one, but one that’s lost its bitter edge over time. A warmth on her back consoles her gently.
“How does the saying go,” Asgore hums, “parting is such sweet sorrow?”
“That’s for romantics, dear, but yes.” Linda chuckles in spite of herself. “It’s nice of him to visit so often. If Rachel weren’t so busy, I’m sure she would, too.”
“I have to say, I wish he would bring Frisk along more,” Asgore sighs. “But that is not to say I am not happy to see him. Golly, he sure talked up a storm about that gymnastics tournament, didn’t he?”
“He did.” Linda smiles all the more, and turns to face Asgore. “I’m so happy he’s decided to keep going with it.” Her smile falters after a moment. “I just… wish I would have supported him more when he was younger. He and his sister, both.”
“Now, now,” Asgore tucks his paw under her chin, lightly nudging her to lift her gaze to his. “None of that. You cannot live your life in regrets. All we can do as parents - as people - is to learn from our mistakes, and better ourselves.”
Linda considers his words for a moment, and then smiles again. “... You know, sometimes I forget you were a politician.”
Asgore winces, ears tucking back. “Sometimes, I would like to forget.”
“Sorry, dear.” Linda stands on her tiptoes to peck a kiss to his muzzle. He blushes lightly in response. “If it means anything, you might be referring to yourself as a small business owner, instead.”
His ears perk up. “I take it negotiations with the… ah, real-taurs went well?”
“Realtors, honey. And yes!” Linda steps around him, to retrieve her phone. “I’m just waiting on their email, at this point.”
“Oh, golly,” Asgore gently claps his massive paws together. “I have always wanted to sell flowers! I just hope folks will not be too afraid of me to come shopping…”
“Nonsense, darling. You’re a big fluffy pushover.”
“Kidding, Gorey.” Linda crosses the room to him, and hugs him. Her arms can just barely wrap around his massive torso. His fur is so warm as he returns her hug, she could fall asleep in his arms.
His voice is lost to her swirling dreams. The last conscious thought she has is that she feels like she’s floating as he carries her off to nap.
Kid - in no small terms - isn’t a kid anymore. Striped shirts and bows on their spines have left them behind years ago, but one thing they never quite outgrew is their extravagant fashion sense. Clawed toes can’t keep them from enjoying lime green leg warmers (that match their magic hands perfectly), and they find that a sky-blue sundress pairs brilliantly with their white hotpants. Their tail swings gently behind them as they walk home from the corner store down the street, carrying a big plastic tub of freshly-purchased Nice Cream in one of their conjured hands.
The Nice Cream is multipurpose, they figure; if things go their way with the recent election, they and the others can celebrate with it. Otherwise…
They don’t want to think about what happens, otherwise.
A cursory glance at their phone - pulled from their pocket by another conjured hand - informs them it’s a little after noon.
“Dang it,” they mutter. They missed the announcement.
Regardless, they put on a burst of speed, jogging to the apartment building. They dodge around a rabbit monster out walking her little brother - “Sorry, yo!” - and make a dash for the elevator.
Waiting on the elevator is painstaking. Times like these, they wish they had Sans’ knack for shortcuts.
Word spreads like wildfire in a small town like Ebott. The effect of the news was like a shockwave, rolling through the city from each household who witnessed it live.
Grillby’s diner was practically destroyed from the riotous celebrations. Monsters cried and hugged each other, human friends and companions sharing the moment with smiles to match the occasion. Muffet sent her spiders all over town, carrying cakes and cider to anyone who wanted some, forgoing the usual prices. Linda’s phone blows up on the nightstand with texts from Helen, sending some good-natured if poorly-worded congratulations toward their kids. Undyne upends the table she and Alphys are sitting at in their fancy restaurant and hugs her wife fiercely. Mettaton kicks open the door to Toriel’s apartment (quickly promising to pay for any damages) and sweeps up Papyrus in a frenzied embrace. Sans turns to Toriel, for once, at a total loss for words. They, too, embrace. Gaster watches from the dining room, his wobbly smile threatening to melt all over again. Asgore calls Toriel’s phone, and for once, she answers without a hint of animosity.
Flowey watches all this go down, and gazes out the window.
“Guess… one of you could keep your word, huh?” He smiles in spite of himself, all soft eyes and fanged snout.
Frisk stands in the middle of their shared apartment, with their friends all around, holding a bowl of Nice Cream. Ricky and Billy are doing some kind of dance around each other, while Rachel has Kid in an absolute monster of a bearhug. Frisk can only stand and smile as tears pool in the corners of their eyes.
Five years. It took them five years of grueling work to get the amendment passed, but they did it. Monsters in Ebott can now vote in local elections, and be counted as proper citizens. Deep down, they know this is only the tip of the iceberg - there’s so much more work to do, so many more battles to win… but for now, it’s a victory well worth celebrating.
Thirteen years ago, Frisk broke the cycle of pain that kept an entire nation of people sealed away in the dark. Even then, as is the case now, Frisk didn’t do it alone. They had friends - folks they met all along the way, enemies turned allies, lost souls given a second chance - who helped them carve the path forward for a new era, even as small as it is.
Seeing their peers gathered together, dancing and cheering in their living room… thinking of all the others gathered in their homes and on the streets, dancing and singing and celebrating this one push forward…
Seeing it all start to come together fills them with Determination.
A lost whisper breaks through the din, almost too quiet to hear.
Hey, pal. I hope you didn’t miss me too much.
Easy, easy, you big softie! I know, I know. I’ve been here the whole time.That whole deal with Gramps just… took a lot out of me, y’know?
… What, like I’d just let you have all the fun without me? As if.
… all jokes aside…
I’m… proud of you. Of the person you’ve become. Certainly put me to shame in any light, yeah?
Not a bad thing. Don’t start on me.
… Thanks, Frisk. For doing what I couldn’t. You’re gonna keep being amazing, I know it.
After all… it’s you, isn’t it?