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We Are Home

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“You wish to know how to return “home” do you not?” Toriel would not look at her and Frisk stood behind this woman who had shown her only kindness, her hands clutched to her chest. Did she really want to go back? “Ahead of us lies the end of the Ruins…A one-way exit to the rest of  the Underground” Frisk didn’t know what to say – she didn’t know what Toriel wanted her to say. So she stayed silent, watching her, waiting for her to go on. “I am going to destroy it. No one will ever be able to leave again. Now be a good child and go upstairs”

She walked away, leaving Frisk standing there, watching her. She hurried after her. Why? Did she really wish to return to the surface? What waited for her up there? Toriel must have heard her footsteps for she stopped again, her shoulders shaking. Frisk wasn’t sure if it was with rage or grief.

“Every human that falls down here meets the same fate. I have seen it again and again” It was grief. Frisk could hear the sadness in her voice, the unshed tears. “They come. They leave. They die. You naïve child…if you leave the ruins…They…Asgore…will kill you. I am only protecting you, do you understand?” She paused and glanced back at Frisk and Frisk could see tears in her eyes; anger and sadness. She couldn't imagine what this kind woman had gone through - she didn't want to. “…go to your room” Her face went blank and the woman began walking down the hall once more.

Frisk trotted after her. Why? Why was she doing this? She couldn’t say. Frisk’s heart was racing, she was so scared. The rest of the Underground…scared her. She knew she could make it if she tried though. She had this feeling…A determination in her heart...but the look on Toriel's face was making her hesitate. Should she go? Would she die, just as Toriel feared?

“Do not try to stop me” Toriel’s voice was cold. “This is your final warning”

Frisk followed on until they came to the door. It was dark beyond it and Frisk hesitated before walking meekly up to Toriel. Flames were glowing in her hand and she turned slowly to look at Frisk, her eyes dark.

“You want to leave so badly?” Her voice was disappointed and even a little angry. Frisk couldn’t even move to shake her head no. “Hmph. You are just like the others. There is only one solution to this! Prove yourself…Prove to me that you are strong enough to survive”

She shook her head now, tears in her eyes. She didn’t want to prove herself, she didn’t want to see that look of disappointment in Toriel’s eyes. She had saved her from Flowey, she had baked her a pie and was so willing to try to give Frisk the best life she could have – in a childish and needy moment, Frisk had even managed to mutter the word “mother” to her.

The flames burned brighter and began flowing towards Frisk and she flinched away with a yell. She saw them lessen and Toriel’s eyes soften just the slightest bit. She didn’t hesitate with another flame attack though, even though Frisk stumbled back from them, swatting at them with her stick. She was so scared – she didn’t want to fight. She didn’t want to leave!

She began to sob, tears running freely down her cheeks. She saw Toriel hesitate, the flames beginning to die in her hands. Frisk reached up, wanting to be picked up, held close, comforted. The flames died in Toriel’s hands completely and she reached down, pulling Frisk into her arms, cuddling her close.

“I am…sorry, my child. You must be terribly frightened.” She muttered gently, in a soothing way. “But…to  leave would be dangerous. Please…rethink your plan”

She nodded her head, burying it in Toriel’s shoulder.

“You will stay?”

She nodded again, hiccuping.

“…You will not be able to return home if you stay here. The Ruins can be…very small when you get used to them.” She sounded hesitant. Frisk shrugged, clinging to Toriel. “…Alright, small one. Let’s go home”

The two of them returned upstairs, the door forgotten about – it wasn’t like Frisk had anything to go “home” to anyway.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t easy to adjusting to life in the Ruins. Toriel was there with her every step of the way though. One of the biggest obstacles was the fact that Frisk spoke very little…and she had almost no memory of her life above ground. Toriel figured that when she fell, she had hit her head and lost her memory. She reassured Frisk that it was perfectly alright and that she may remember someday…or perhaps she would not. It hardly mattered to Frisk, as she had Toriel and she was happy.

One thing that did bother Toriel about Frisk having no memory though was Frisk’s nightmares. She had them every night her first two weeks in her new home. She always woke up screaming and Toriel would rush into the room to comfort her. More often than not, it would end with Frisk curled up in Toriel’s bed with her.

But as her third week in the Underground wore on, her nightmares began to decrease. She only seemed to have them every other night…and even then she wouldn’t always wake up screaming. She had learned not to, as she didn’t want to wake Toriel up. She felt bad for it; though Toriel would claim she didn’t mind in the least.

It was one such night that Frisk woke up. She bolted up in bed, shivering and shaking, tears running down her face. The dream itself was already quickly retreating into the shadows of her mind, but the lingering fear made her heart hammer.  She pulled herself out of bed and stumbled across the darkened room to turn on the light. There was no sun here in the Underground so it was hard to tell if it were day or night. Toriel seemed to have it figured out and Frisk just followed her lead.

She checked the clock Toriel had got for her nightstand and it read ‘6:11’. It was very early in the morning and while Frisk was tired, that fear still had her heart beating too fast. She wanted Toriel – she wanted her mother.

She left her room and hurried down to Toriel’s, only to find it empty. She searched the house and peeked into the yard. She wouldn’t leave Frisk alone at such an early hour…would she? She paced around the house one last time and realized, as she was heading towards the bedrooms once more, that there was one place she had not checked. The basement. She would not go to the door…would she?

Frisk found herself creeping down the steps and shuffling down the hall. She had just reached the corner when she heard her mother laugh. She peeked around the corner and saw her mother…talking to the door?

“Okay, okay…” She was catching her breath after laughing. “I’ve got one for you – Why did the scarecrow win an award?” She paused a moment “Because he was outstanding in his field!” And then she howled with laughter again. She turned, lifting a hand to wipe a tear from her eye and then she must have caught sight of Frisk. “Oh! My child, what are you…Did you have a nightmare?”

She walked towards Frisk and Frisk lifted her arms up so Toriel would pick her up. She always felt safe in the woman’s arms. Toriel cuddled her close and stroked her messy hair, muttering comforting words to her.

“Oh…Small one, there is someone I wish you to meet” She walked back towards the door and Frisk flinched away from it. “No, no…listen”

“Hey kid” A voice called from the other side. “Why did the can-crusher quit his job?”

Frisk stared blankly at the door.

“Because it was soda-pressing!” Toriel laughed and Frisk felt her mouth turn up a little. A giggle left her mouth. “And what do you call cheese that isn’t yours?”

“Nacho cheese!” Toriel finished and Frisk laughed along with both of them. She stayed silent in Toriel’s arms and listened to them tell their jokes. She had nearly fallen asleep to the sound of their laughter when Toriel adjusted Frisk in her arms. She didn’t bother opening up her eyes, instead settling deeper into the soft, warm fur of her mother’s arms. “I do believe I have told you about the child who has come to me, did I not?” Toriel was saying.

“Yeah, kinda shy aren’t they?” The voice commented.

“She is very young yet, but in time I do believe she will grow comfortable here” She paused. “I do wish there were more friends for her here though…” Her mother paused. “If…she wanted to, do you think you could keep her company if she came to this door?”

“And tell her some more of my hilarious jokes?” Toriel let out a gentle chuckle.  They spoke some more but Frisk fell asleep long before their conversation had finished.


 

“Are you really going to stay here? Are you some kind of wimp?” Frisk looked over at the flower and she jumped back in surprise. It was the same flower that had attacked her those weeks ago. She had not seen it since, but here it was again. “Oh don’t even bother screaming, you idiot. I won’t attack you here”

She was in the yard. Toriel didn’t like her wandering further than the yard without her. She had some toys for Frisk to play with and Toriel was at the store right now. She had not taken Frisk with her into the town where she shopped for groceries. Frisk was okay with that.

“I know she’s not home, but I’m still not stupid” She stared hard at the flower – what did it call itself? Flowey the flower? “You’re not going to leave the Ruins, are you? Are some kind of idiot?”

She frowned hard at the flower and turned back to her toys.  She felt something hit her in the back of the head and realized he had spat a seed at her. She frowned angrily at him now but got up, shuffling away from him to play in a different section of the yard. Much to her annoyance, he just popped out of the ground next to her.

“Listen, you idi- I mean, listen kid.” She gave him a glare but she listened. “You’re never gonna get home if you stay here. The only way out of the Underground is through Asgore’s castle” She shrugged. This was her new home now. She had no desire to leave. “Didn’t you hear me? It’s kill or be killed here in the Underground! Don’t you think that lady is being a little too nice to you?”

She shook her head.

“Yes she is. Why would anyone be so nice to an idiot like you?” She stood up, stomping her foot angrily. “Oooh, did I make you mad? Are you gonna cry like a baby?” She picked up a stone and threw it as hard as she could at him. It smacked him in the face and he fell back a moment. His head swung back up, his expression terrifying. “Now you’ve done it, you little-” He grew silent as they heard footsteps coming.

“Small one, I’m home and I’m making something special for dinner!” Toriel called, walking into the yard. Frisk looked up at her and by the time she looked at the flower again, they were gone. She frowned but hurried to Toriel’s side. Sometimes if she helped put away groceries, Toriel would let her have a cookie before diner and Toriel’s cookies were the best.


 

Another nightmare.

Frisk had been in Toriel’s care almost a year now, according to the calendar at least. She still had her nightmares every once in a while however. They were lessening though, but they still work her up when she had them. She turned on the light, as she always did. She glanced at the time – 4:43 in the morning. She was going to be seven soon – she couldn’t keep running to Toriel every time that she had a nightmare. She had to be a big girl, but the fear had her trembling and kept sleep at bay.

She grabbed her blanket, wrapping it around her and quickly left her room, wandering down the stairs and to the door. Toriel didn’t like her here alone, but…

She knocked on the door, as she had seen Toriel do when she was checking for the voice on the other side. He always told bad jokes and was so kind when Frisk was with Toriel. He was comforting, clearly a friend of Toriel’s…and Frisk saw him as a friend of her’s. There weren’t many friends here, no one to really talk to, not that Frisk did a lot of talking. It was still very lonely.

The door was silent and she thought that perhaps the voice was not there tonight. It was very early in the morning so she didn’t know why she expected…

“Who’s there?” His voice suddenly asked. She clapped her hands together a smile on her lips. They paused a moment, she could hear him shuffling on the other side, perhaps pressing their ear to the door? “Hello? Lady?”

She knocked again. There was a long pause. She thought perhaps they had left.

“Ah…The Lady isn’t there is she?” She was silent. “Well…I guess you’re not one for telling jokes, huh, kid? What brought you down here? …did you have a nightmare?” She knocked once. “One for yes, two for no?” She knocked once again. “Glad we got a system, kiddo. Listen. I dunno if you should be down here without your…mom? Whatever you call her. She might not like it.”

She pressed her hand against the door, knowing he might be right. There was another pause and she wondered if he had left this time, to encourage her to go back to her own room. She took a step back, thinking it just might be a good idea when he spoke again.

“Hey kid?” she paused, wrapping her blanket more firmly around her. “Wanna hear a joke about paper? …Never mind, it’s tearble.”  She giggled. “Heh, I guess it wasn’t awful if you laughed.” He laughed too. He began telling other jokes through the door and soon her nightmare was forgotten.

“Frisk?” Toriel suddenly appeared around the corner. Frisk was curled on the ground, her blanket around her, content as could be. She didn’t know how long she had been there, listening to the voice’s jokes, but considering Toriel was looking for her, it must have been a while. She could even see the worry in Toriel’s eyes, she had probably been calling for Frisk for a while. Frisk felt bad, she should have been more attentive, she should have…maybe she should have woken Toriel up after all.

“Uh-oh” She heard the voice add.

“Have…you been down here the whole time?” She sighed. “You must leave a note or something if you’re going to be down here. I was very worried”

“Sorry lady” The voice said. “I think she had a nightmare, I was telling her jokes to make her feel better.

“That is…perfectly alright. It’s just…I did not know where my child was and panicked.”  She walked over to Frisk and stroked her blanket off her head. “Are you hungry, young one?”

She nodded vigorously.

“Alright, let’s get you some breakfast.” Frisk stood, taking Toriel’s hand. She hesitated and knocked on the door once more.

“Yeah kid?”

“I think she wants to come back later.” Frisk nodded at Toriel’s correct translation. Toriel smiled as well, patting Frisk’s head.

“Is that it? Well…I’ll be around. I have some things to do, but I’ll check back okay?” She patted the door. She opened her mouth, she wanted to say…Say what? “Have a good day, kid”

She looked up at Toriel and smiled. Toriel smiled as well, swinging their hands as they walked up the stairs. “I am so happy that you have made a friend, my child” Frisk nodded, agreeing with her.  It was…nice to feel like there was someone else for her to talk to.

There was always that flower, but the flower was mean to her – he called her names. He didn’t seem to actually like her.  He was only around when Toriel wasn’t anyway and that wasn’t much of a friend. She sighed to herself, glancing back down the stairs.

Maybe someday…she would meet him – that voice.  Someday….maybe, she would go through that door.

Chapter Text

“Happy birthday, kiddo” The voice said and Frisk lifted her head. “What are you now? Like fifty?”

She puffed out her cheek and put her hands on her hip. Her robe swayed around her as she turned around. She had long out grown the clothes she had fallen in, so now she wore robes that Toriel had for her. They had the same symbol on the chest that Toriel’s did and were the same light purple color.

For the record, she wasn’t fifty, she was eleven. She had been in the Underground for five years now and it had been…enjoyable. The Ruins were her home.

“Ugh, she might as well be a hundred” Flowey hissed from her shoulder.

“Why’s that?” The voice asked.

“She never does anything, just like that old lady!” He pressed his face against the door, the anger clear on his face. He was with Frisk more often than not anymore. Toriel didn’t question it. She didn’t like Flowey’s attitude though and often gave him disapproving looks.

“That’s not very nice” The voice didn’t like Flowey very much either. He never said why though, but…Frisk got the feeling he didn’t want to scare her was why.

“Go to hell, you smiling trashbag” Flowey hissed against the door. She tugged him away with a gentle touch. He snapped at her, his vines winding tighter against her body. She let out a squeak of protest. The vines began to loosen a little, but she could see the anger on his face.

“You hurt her and you’re the one who’s going to see what hell looks like” the voice snarled. She sighed and rolled her eyes. This was normal between them. She pounded on the door three times. “Sorry, kiddo. I know, its your birthday. We’ll be nice…won’t we?”

Flowey growled under his breath but he was nice or as nice as Flowey ever was.  Frisk never understood why he was so mean. He claimed that the world was kill or be killed and yet…Here Frisk was, safe and protected. She had her mother – Toriel – and the voice on the other side of the door.

“Hey kiddo. You better get going, I’m sure your mom is looking for you” The voice said suddenly. She frowned at the door she patted it gently. She head his knuckles rap gently against it in return. “Come back later, I’ll have some special birthday jokes for you” She smiled and knocked once more before turning head heading down the hall.

She ran, her feet bare. She had shoes, but she hated to wear them.  Her mother would scold her again when she found Frisk running bare foot, but what could be done?  Frisk just loved the feeling of the ground under her feet. It felt good, it felt amazing…it was the feeling of freedom.

Upon arriving upstairs, she heard her mother in the kitchen. She was humming a melody she had used to sing to Frisk when she first came to the Underground and her nightmares were bad. They hardly bothered her anymore. Her mother stepped out of the kitchen, carrying a cake. She was smiling and she sat the cake down on the table before pausing to give Frisk a kiss on the head.

“How was your visit with your friend?” She asked.

“Boring” Hissed Flowey.

Fun. Frisk signed. Toriel had been teaching her since she was a little girl. She began to tell her mother about what they had talked about. His mother watched intently and commented a few times here and there between Frisk’s sentences.

“I’m glad you had a good time, my child. Are you ready for your cake?” She clapped her hand excitedly and waited as her mother cut the cake and then finally placed it before her.  A piece was left before Flowey as well, though it was smaller. Finally she sat down with her own piece.  Between bites, Frisk signed more to her mother and Toriel signed back, carrying on a silent conversation to help Frisk with learning her signs.

It helped…being able to speak with her hands. She knew  how to speak – but she…she remembered only pain. Every time she tried to speak, she just…felt she shouldn’t, she remembered pain. So she didn’t. She kind of hated that she didn’t because the voice…Well she’d like to speak to him someday.

What are you going to wish for this year, Frisk? Her mother signed to her.

She only smiled, bowing her head slightly. She couldn’t tell her mom. Her mother…wouldn’t understand. She wished, as she had every year, to meet the voice. To be brave enough to open the door and step on the other side, to…to leave the ruins. Maybe forever.

But she never would. At the end of the day, she was just a coward, too afraid to leave what she knew was safe.


 

“Hey kiddo” The voice greeted her, his usual chipperness just slightly off. Frisk pressed her hand to the door. “How are you today?”

She tapped on it. Good. They had a system of talking, since she still didn’t talk. She was seventeen and still afraid to use her voice. She feared she was pathetic – she feared she was a coward.

“I…My brother got accepted into the Royal Guard today and I…I don’t know how I feel about that” She stared hard at the door and leaned against it, pressing her forehead to it, wishing she could comforts her der friend. “I mean…if we get one more human soul, Asgore is going to go to war with humans so my brother will…”

She swallowed hard, feeling like trash because she could not comfort her best friend.

“She says, it’ll be okay” Flowey said suddenly from his glum spot on her shoulder. She looked at him in shock. “That your brother will be fine. Who knows when a human will fall down here next?”

“Heh, yeah, I guess you’re right” The voice said softly.

“And maybe the next one won’t be such a coward” Flowey hissed at her directly.  She felt her face flush at that comment. A coward, that was what she hated to be called because it had become true over the years. She wouldn’t leave the ruins, she wouldn’t speak.

“My child?” Toriel suddenly called. “You will be late for your lessons.”

“We have to go” Flowey said for her.

“Alright. Take care kid…and…thanks. Thanks to your friend too for translating. I just wish….Nah, never mind. Don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to you later. I’ll have some new jokes for you by then, okay?”  She tapped on the door, wishing she could say…Say what?

He tapped back and she hurried up the stairs, finding her mother in the yard. The tree out front was beginning to sprout leaves, just slightly, but she knew that when the leaves grew in, within a day or two, they would die and fall off again. It was really weird, but Toriel could never do anything about it.

She stood there, her hands brimming with the magical fire that she had. She smiled as Frisk walked up to her. The fire flooded from her hands and towards Frisk. Frisk lifted her own hands and concentrated. Fire spilled from her own hands, routing the fire that came from Toriel’s. It was Toriel’s way of testing her now.

They both moved, the fire not burning anything in the yard, it really wouldn’t burn them if it touched them. They danced through the fire, smiles working their way onto their faces. Frisk lifted her hands and ended the magic that flowed through them, stopping suddenly.  Toriel let out a gentle laugh.

“Very good, young one. You have gotten very good with magic since I began teaching you” It had been an idea of Toriel’s some years ago. Toriel could only teach her fire magic, but Frisk had become very good with it in no time at all. It was like living with Toriel had heightened her ability to learn it. Of course, it was purely defensive; she’d never dream of actually using it on anyone who wasn’t trying to hurt her.

She smiled at her mother’s praise though. She felt flowey sigh from her shoulder. She shrugged her shoulder, making him bobble up and down. He sent a glare her way and she gave him a look, asking him what was wrong. His face just wrinkled and he didn’t say anything.

The lesson moved inside and Toriel began going over human history – or what she knew of it – and monster history. There were other lessons as well; math, reading and writing, science and snail facts. It was a good life she lived down here and yet…

It was like Flowey could sense the restlessness inside her. He moved, wrapping around the bun on her head. Her hair was very long now, she had not cut it since she had come down here and usually she just left it in a bun on the top of her head. It was rare for her to take it down anymore.  Flowey seemed to like to use it as a perch sometimes. He leaned down by her ear though and she knew, she knew that he sensed her restlessness. That need to move on in her heart.

“Imagine your friend’s joy to see you face to face” Flowey whispered. She flicked her pencil at his face, bopping him in the face with the eraser. “You little-”

“If you are going to be a distraction, you will be put outside” Toriel’s voice was strict.

Flowey settled back in her hair and made no more comments. She could feel him seething though. He was right though – he always was. She imagined meeting the voice so many times. She imagined…speaking to him. Holding his hand maybe? She pushed her daydream aside. She couldn’t…she couldn’t think of such things. It was just a crush – a child’s crush – and she needed to forget about it.  She needed…she had to think of her mother, of what it would do to her if Frisk left. It would destroy her. Toriel was so happy and she always told Frisk how happy she was that she was here and…

To leave would destroy the woman that had become her mother.

Could she do that? Could she turn her back on this loving woman?


 

“I don’t know what to do” His voice was so torn. “Maybe…Maybe I can…”

His brother, the one who was accepted into the Royal Guard would be reporting to the Capital – New Home – in one week’s time. The King had a new idea to break out of the Underground and it was one that the voice disagreed with. It would be putting his brother on the front line.

She tapped on the door, wishing she could do more to comfort him. She ran her fingers across the door, wishing for nothing more than to open the door, to embrace her friend of all these years. Fifteen years he had talked to her through this door, he had joked with her, given her advice, encouraged her to learn magic and all she could. He had been good to her and she…Well, it didn’t matter how she felt. It only mattered that he was hurting now and she couldn’t comfort him.

Apparently the Underground was losing hope – it had been a very, very long time since a human had come through and they were convinced that another one would not come, ever. That there was no more hope. This had become crowded and people were desperate. They wanted their King to do something and he was going to. And the voice’s brother would be in danger because of it.

She was a human. She could fix this. She could save his brother.

“What can I do?” She felt his fist slam against the door and she jumped. She touched the door again, pressing her fingers against the door where she thought his hand might be. Flowey wasn’t with her today for once. He had other things to do…or so the flower had said.

She had no voice…but her own.

“It…it will b-be okay” She said.  There was silence on the other side of the door. “It…It will be…ok-okay.”

“Kid?” His voice was soft, light, unbelieving.

“I…I’ll fix this. I-I…c-can.” Her throat hurt. Those few words, seemed to strain her unused vocal cords. Her fear of speaking was overrode by the need to comfort him. “I’ll….I….I’ll fix i-it. I…” She coughed. She slapped her hand against the door, hard. “I’ll come.”

“Kid?!” The voice called, but she was already heading around the corner, determination burning in her heart.  She was going to go through that door. “Kid? What are you planning?” She heard the voice shout. She was planning to do something she should have a long time ago.

She was going to leave the ruins.

Chapter Text

“My child…?” Toriel was reading in her chair when Frisk came running upstairs.

“I…I’m leaving” Her throat hurt so badly from talking. She had to keep talking. She had to…She had to explain but“My child…?” Toriel was reading in her chair when Frisk came running upstairs.

“I…I’m leaving” Her throat hurt so badly from talking. She had to keep talking. She had to…She had to explain but would Toriel ever understand? “I have t-to go”

“Frisk? Y-you’re speaking, but…I…I don’t understand. Go? Go where?”

She didn’t answer again, turning around and heading towards her room, her robe flaring around her.  The robe with the same symbol that Toriel wore on her chest, the same sort of robe she had worn since she had outgrown the clothes she had fallen in. She wasn’t sure if she should wear it out of the Ruins – but what else could she do? She didn’t have anything else to wear. She ran to her room and grabbed a satchel, stuffing some of her things into it.  Clothes mostly, but she also took objects she wouldn’t want to be without.  She slipped on her shoes quickly too, black ballerina flats that Toriel had picked up somewhere a year or so ago. She packed quickly and by the time her mother burst into the room, she was slinging the satchel over her shoulder.

“Frisk? What are you doing?” She could see the tears in her mother’s eyes. “What…what’s going on? I don’t understand”

She looked at Toriel, feeling tears in her own eyes. She had to go though, she had to leave. Toriel stood, blocking the doorway of her room. It reminded her of when she was a child and had tried to leave the ruins, the flames spilling from Toriel’s hands as she tried to convince Frisk to stay. Toriel, the woman who became her mother; comforted her when she had nightmares, raised her as her own. She loved Toriel so much – but she had to go. She had to be brave.

“Frisk, my child…” Her voice soft and sad now “Where are you going?”

She lifted her hands, ready to sign what was going on but dropped them. “He needs me.”

“Who?” She gave her mother a look and Toriel sighed, closing her eyes. She opened them again and began to speak, softly but firmly, as if she were a child to be scolded. “Child, you…Its dangerous…Asgore…”

“I know” She wheezed. She grew up always hearing about what a monster Asgore was – but she had to go. I have to, mother. He needs me. I have to help him.

Toriel’s face was pained. “Young one…my child…I…” Tears dripped slowly down her face.

“Please” She gasped.

“…my sweet child, I will put aside my fears for you. I can see the determination burning in your eyes. If I try to stop you, it will only put a rift between us.” She closed the gap between them and hugged Frisk tightly. Frisk hugged her mother tightly, feeling tears on her own cheeks. She loved Toriel very much, she didn’t want to leave but she had to, she had to go.

Toriel pulled away and kissed Frisk’s forehead. Frisk looked up at her, a frown on her face. She felt awful about this. She forced a smile on her face though. The last thing to do was to gather Flowey so they could be off.

“I love you, Frisk. Please…Please be safe.”

“I love you too mom” She said in her hoarse voice. Toriel gave her one last hug and Frisk hurried out of the room before she could change her mind, before she could be a coward again. She found Flowey outside in the garden, seemingly just sitting there. She grabbed him and without a word he took his usual place at her shoulder.

“What are you doing, you idiot?”

She didn’t answer, just headed back inside the house, down the stairs, down the hall and to the door. She knocked on it as she had so many times. It was silent on the other side. She took a deep breath. So he wasn’t waiting for her…or he didn’t realize she was coming so soon.

She pushed on the door. It groaned. She pushed a little harder, straining, and it opened slowly, just enough for her to slip out. It slammed shut behind her and she step forward, towards the blinding light and…

Into the snow?

She looked down at her feet to see the ground covered in snow and then up to see she was in a forest with huge trees that reached towards the sky. Though there was no blue beyond them, since they were still in the Underground. She looked around, amazed by it nonetheless.

Then she realized how cold it was. Even with the long sleeves of her robes, it was still a thin outfit and she shivered. She had to get moving and to find…the voice. She knew it by heart and though she had no idea what he looked like…

She was happy she had worn this particular robe today. It had a hood on it and she pulled it up so her face was shadowed. She had no idea if monsters would know if she was a human or not.  She brushed a few stray pieces of hair out of her face, taking another deep breath. Here she was and she was going to help him.

Somehow.

She walked through the woods, keeping her head down. It was quiet, there were no animals making noise, nothing. Only the sound of her breath, Flowey’s breath and the snow crunching beneath her feet…it made Frisk tense. Where…where was he?

She walked on, wishing she had worn different shoes. Her feet felt wet and cold but…but he was here somewhere. She just had to find him, though she wished he had waited for her at the door. Suddenly she heard what sounded like footsteps behind her. She stopped, spinning around to see nothing behind her. Flowey peered around as well, a frown on his face.

“What trash…” She heard him mutter. She glanced at him and then back at the pathway behind her. Only her foot prints were there so…

She turned and saw a bridge with what almost looked to be a gate in front of it. In front of that bridge was a hooded figure, standing, as if waiting for her.  Was this…?

She walked forward, cautious, but curious. The figure was wearing a blue hoodie, the fluffy hood of it pulled up over their face. Their hands were stuff in the pockets of the hoodie. They stood, in a tense way, as if waiting. She began to slow as she got closer to the figure. She was scared but…if this was him – if this were her friend, the one she had never met, whose name she didn’t even know…

She stopped, still a couple feet away from him. She brought her hands up to her chest and just stared at him for a very long moment. The head lifted slowly, though their face was still cast in shadow. She felt herself tremble.

“Don’t you know how to greet a pal, kid?” He asked and he held out a hand. She looked at it, noticing that it was…skeletal. She couldn’t move a moment. “What’s amatter kid?” His hand dropped ever so slightly and then he lifted that hand, pulling off his hood. “No bones about it, I guess seeing me for the first time can give you chills”

That voice. It was…him. And he was a skeleton. There was a white glow in his sockets, his eyes she supposed, a grin on his face. He looked at ease, from his face to his posture. She reached out, wanting to touch his face. She stopped though, dropping her hand back to her side.

“Nice to meet you kid, finally” She smiled. “And nice to see you, weed” His eyes had drifted to Flowey on her shoulder.

“Smiley trashbag” Flowey snarled.

“Is that any way to greet an old friend?” The way he said it was almost creepy. Frisk put a hand up, blocking his view of Flowey. The skeleton’s eyes went to her face. “It’s okay, kid. I won’t hurt him.”

She crossed her arms and gave him a look. It felt like she had always been giving him that scolding look – like they had always known each other and she realized that just because they had never seen each other before this moment…their friendship had been real.  Just because he had only been a voice on the other side, it didn’t make their friendship any less real.

He held his hand out again and she took it, shaking it firmly.

Pfffffffffffffftttttttttt

She stared at him for a long moment, almost not understanding the sound. Suddenly the skeleton before her began laughing. She couldn’t help it and began laughing as well.

“Ah, the old whoopee cushion in the hand trick. It never gets old” He let go of her hand and stuck his hands back into his pockets. “I’m Sans. Sans the Skeleton.” She lifted her hand to her throat, wishing it didn’t hurt so badly so she could speak. He tilted his head and seemed to get what she was saying. He nodded his head slightly, easily getting what she was saying without a word. She supposed motions were easier to decipher than someone banging on a door.

He looked like he was about to say something else when a voice suddenly called “Sans!”

“Ah jee, that’s my brother. The one I told you about.” He took in a deep breath. “C’mon, but keep your head down, he’s part of the Royal Guard, okay?”

The two of them crossed the bridge and came to stand before a sentry station. They didn’t get the chance to walk much farther because another skeleton burst from the woods. He was taller than Sans, dressed in a black armor that covered most of his body. He wasn’t wearing a helmet however, so she could see the easy-going grin on his face. Despite his grim attire, he seemed entirely too cheerful.

“Sans! Are you over here slacking off, again? …Who is your friend?” She felt the other skeleton fix a curious gaze on her. She kept her head down, though she knew a few strands of her dark brown hair were peeking from under her hood.

“Them? They’re visiting from the ruins”

“The ruins have been sealed, Sans. Is this another one of your jokes? I don’t have time for jokes, for I, the Great and Powerful Papyrus, am a member of the Royal Guard!” He pressed his hand against his chest, looking so proud of himself.  “And I have some very important things to take care of. Though, Undyne was looking for you Sans. She wanted to speak to you about-”

“The answer is still going to be no, Papyrus” His tone was flat. Almost angry.

“Sans…” She could see sadness in his eyes.

“Papyrus…Snow time to talk about this now. We have a guest whose not used to the cold” Sans motioned to her. “This is my brother Papyrus. Papyrus this is my friend”

“Does your friend have a name?”

She lifted her hand to her throat and swallowed hard. “Frisk” She wheezed and then she coughed, covering her mouth. Her throat hurt from the little bit of talking she had done, so used to being unused.

“Well, if you truly are a visitor from the Ruins, welcome to Snowdin, Frisk! …Sans it appears your guest has a cough. I suggest you get her back to town and actually be a good host” He paused for a moment. “I did recalibrate my traps today…so if she truly is as tourist, I hope you enjoy finding your way though them! And Sans! Do not tell her the answer to any of them!”0

“Okay” Sans agreed, seemingly easy going once more.

“I’m going to go whip up some of my famous spaghetti for her! So don’t ruin her pallet with the greasy food you like at Grillby’s! I look forward to having you over for dinner, Frisk! Good luck with the traps! Nyheh heh!” And then he was off – and boy was he fast. Even with that heavy looking armor, he was gone in a few minutes.

“Isn’t my brother so cool?” Sans commented, a smile on his face. “He’s too…he’s not a good match for the Royal Guard though…as I’m sure you can tell…But boy does he like setting traps. It’s his favorite thing in the world really.” She lifted her head slightly, letting her hood begin to slide back. “I’d keep your hood on until you get back to the house”

She dropped her hand. She felt Flowey stir on her shoulder. She hadn’t realized that he had hid himself behind her head while Papyrus had been with them. She gave him a questioning look and he frowned.

“Can you put me down?” he asked.

But you’ll get cold…the snow… She signed.

“I’ll be fine, you idiot!” He began to squirm.

Are…are you going to come back? Or… Despite how Flowey was, he was still her friend, sort of. She had brought him for comfort mostly.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been on this side of the door. I want…to check on some things” His voice was gruff and annoyed. “I’ll come back, stupid. Where else do I have to go?”

Reassured, she put him down and watched him root himself in the dirt beneath the snow. Please be careful, okay? He gave her a slight glare. I mean it.

“Idiot” He muttered and then turned away from her. She watched as he disappeared into the ground, a frown on her face.

Iris my case with that guy – he’s a major jerk. Never understood why you were friends with him in the first place.” Sans shrugged and she watched as he began to pull his hoodie off. He held it out to her and she shook he head. “You’re looking pretty blue kid – it’s alright. The cold doesn’t really get under my skin.”

She let out a giggle and accepted the coat, pulling it over her robes and zipping it up. It was strangely warm and she felt safe wearing it. Thank you. She signed without thinking about it.

“Heh, no problem. Your mom always asked me to keep an eye socket out for you.”

You can understand me?

He paused, looking surprised himself. “I…guess I can, Frisk. C’mon. Lemme show you the way to town. It’s pretty chilly out here.” Then he started walking the way Papyrus had gone. She followed after, shoving her hands into the pockets of his hoodie to keep them warm. Oddly enough, she found an empty bottle of ketchup there…but decided not to question it now. It was quiet cold out…and besides, Papyrus had said he would make her something to eat.

As she walked though, she could only think of the fact that to protect Sans’ brother, she would have to reveal she was human sooner or later – the sooner the better. It was the only way to stop the King’s plan. She watched Sans walk and she felt a frown on her face. Surely he knew what she planned to do…didn’t he?

“Are you coming, kid?” He had stopped a few feet before her and looked back at her. She nodded and trotted forward until she was at his side. He glanced at her, trying to catch her eye but she looked away.

She was so happy to meet him – and that was only going to make saying goodbye even harder.

Chapter Text

Frisk was pretty sure she hated the snow after only a couple minutes of walking through it, but she was determined to walk the whole way there.  There was a path and the snow wasn’t anywhere as deep on the path so she tried to stick to it. Sans just seemed to go whatever way was easiest. They walked in relative silence, her trying to think of something to say to him. They had known each other for years and there was so much she wanted to say!

But every time she thought she might open her mouth, the thought of him telling her that his brother was on the front lines would come back and she would shut her mouth. She couldn’t bear the thought of his brother being hurt. She had only just met him for a couple of minutes and she knew that he was an innocent soul.

They came across a second sentry station – similar to the one that they had left behind when she had met Papyrus but this one looked…homemade. She pointed it out to Sans and he grinned.

“Yeah, Papyrus made that. Ice that he’s made some more improvements to it.” He pointed and beside it was a small cage that looked to be made of icicles. It appeared to be frozen to the ground. “Very to the point, isn’t it?”

It reminded her that this wasn’t a game and Papyrus might – might – be dangerous. If he had realized she were human back there, would he have locked her up? There was no way to tell, but Sans grabbed her elbow, gave her a gentle tug and they were moving on once more. Not far from Papyrus’ station was another. Frisk walked towards it, curious as ever, but Sans grabbed her arm, stopping her.

“Wait” He warned her. She gave him a look and looked at the station again. “…I don’t think he’s here. We’re safe.”

Who?

“…He’s part of the royal guard. His name is Doggo. He’s not…dangerous. He’s a little too nearsighted for that” Sans seemed to be joking about something, but Frisk didn’t understand. They swept past Doggo’s station and moved onward down the path. They were still walking when Frisk suddenly began to slide. She wind milled her arms in a desperate attempt to keep her balance but ended up falling bottom first onto the hard ice and sliding until her back collided with a pole of some sort. She gave a short yelp of pain but Sans was already pulling her to her feet.

“Nice one, kiddo” Sans let out a gentle chuckle. He kept ahold of both of her hands, helping her stay steady and on her feet. He seemed just fine on the ice while she felt as if her legs might go out from under her at any time. She took a wobbly step closer towards him and flailed as she almost fell again. He pulled her closer to him, another chuckle shaking his shoulders. “Its okay, I got you.”

She would have replied, but now she was clinging to him. He laughed harder and she sent a glare up at him, which only served to prompt him to laugh again.

“S-Sans?” A voice called out. “Is that you?”

She lifted her head to glance up, but he shoved her behind his back. She almost fell, but grabbed onto his shoulders last minute. Her legs bowed a little as she fought to keep the balance she had. She peeked carefully over Sans’ shoulder to see a dog-like monster wearing a pink muscle shirt. There appeared to be a picture of a dog on the front and Frisk couldn’t decide if that was ironic or cute.

“Hey Doggo, yeah it’s me. What are you doing out of your station?”

“I saw something moving. I thought it might be a human! …but it a tree falling down” He seemed disappointed, his ears lowering ever so slightly.

“I guess you were barking up the wrong tree then.” Doggo gave a short, barking laugh. “Anyway, I gotta get going. I’m supposed to meet my brother at Grillby’s.”  He began gently moving on the ice, towards Doggo. She had to just glide behind him, hoping she wouldn’t fall on her face.

She let him pull her along, keeping as still as possible as they passed by Doggo. It was a tense moment. She saw him beginning to turn as they reached the edge of the ice. Sans turned quick and she stepped back into the snow, ducking behind Sans.

“If you see Dogi, tell them I’ll be to poker tonight” Doggo barked and then he turned and seemed to be heading back to his station. Frisk sighed in relief. Sans held still until the dog was out of sight and then turned back to her and let out a light chuckle.

“That was pretty ruff, wasn’t it Frisk?” She gave him a look before sighing. “C’mon, that pun wasn’t awfur was it?”

Stop! She signed, but she was laughing. They began walking again, Sans assaulting her with all sorts of bad dog-related puns as they went.

They walked and walked, through the snow and along paths. They met the two dogs that Doggo had mentioned. The pair had waved at Sans and given her an odd look. He assured her that it was because she smelt like him because of his jacket. Otherwise they might have attacked…Though as she looked back to see them nuzzling noses affectionately…she wondered how dangerous the pair really could be.  They encountered another dog – a member of the “Snowdin Pack” as Sans called it – who was called Lesser Dog. He didn’t really threaten them much and Frisk even got to pet him a little. He was completely okay with their passing after that and even followed them a little, barking for a couple more pets.

There were some puzzles to be solved. One included skating across the ice. Sans made her do that, giggling like a child and skating circles around her, strangely graceful for his casual appearance. He helped her along though and eventually they moved on, her knees feeling like they were going to be bruised for the rest of her life. It was worth it though – it was actually…rather fun to solve the puzzles with Sans by her side. He clearly knew the answers to them all, but he let her do the work. He would watch with amused eyes and if she appeared stuck, he would give her hints but all and all it was fun.

It reminded her how much time she had lost with him. If she had exited the Ruins sooner, they could have…well maybe they wouldn’t have. There was no telling what would have happened had she been braver. All she knew was that she was enjoying the time she had with him now. This…This was worth it. These smiles, hearing him laugh.

And she realized that she…Well she supposed it didn’t matter anymore.

They walked on, laughing about the snowmen that she had found. There were two – one of Papyrus looking strong and heroic and another, just a pile in the snow with the name ‘Sans’ written on it in ketchup. Silly, childish and yet Frisk had added a third one. A small mound with a stick in their “hand”. She had cut off a piece of her sleeve and tied it carefully around the neck of the mound and Sans had written ‘Frisk’ at its base with yet more ketchup. Thus they had laughed the rest of the way to town.

And what a cute little town it was!

The cheery looking sign read Welcome to Snowdin! Sans and Frisk stopped right before town. Her feet were cold and she was shivering again, despite the jacket. They had taken such a long time to get here, it had to be getting late. Besides that, she had never seen snow before and of course, had never walked in it. The Ruins didn’t have snow, occasionally rain would fall from the opening she had fallen from. She remembered Toriel and her dancing in the rain, laughing as they did. She already missed her mother dearly. She wished she had talked the woman into coming with her. She would have loved the puzzles and skating on the ice. Frisk imagined her mother would be ten times more graceful than she ever was.

Sans walked into town, her following after, and he stopped in front of the first building. The sign above the door said Shop. There was another door nearby that said Inn. She looked at Sans questionably. Why were they here? Weren’t they going to his house? They had taken an awful long time to get here…Papyrus surely had to be worried. He didn’t say anything, just entered the shop. She followed after him and was relieved to step into the warm building. She rubbed her arms and brushed some snow off the hood of her robes. Their adventures in the snow had left her covered in the stuff.

“Oh? Sans, how are you?”  She glanced up to see the shopkeeper, a rabbit-looking woman with a lovely hat on. Her face was kind and she offered a small smile to Frisk when they caught sight of her. “Who is this? A friend of yours? I’ve never seen them around before, are they visiting from the Capital?”

“Yeah, she hopped down to visit us in Snowdin.” He said.  She saw the ghost of a smile on the woman’s lips…but as Frisk looked at her, she looked worn down.  Tired. Hopeless. She remembered what Sans had said a frown crossed her own face. “She’s feeling a little blue though and could use something a little warmer to wear”

“Sure thing” The woman turned away. “I have just the thing in the back” She walked to the back of her shop, disappearing behind a curtain and Frisk wrapped her arms around herself, enjoying the warmth of the shop. She wiggled her toes, happy to have feeling back in them again. Then again, it was her own fault. She had walked through the snow more than the path, but she had been following Sans after all. It was worth it and she felt a small smile on her lips just thinking of Papyrus finding the snow mound she had added between his and Sans’.

“I don’t want to go toe-to-toe with you or anything Frisk, but why didn’t you tell me sooner that you were cold? Your lips are actually blue” Sans had slid up beside her and she glanced at him and shrugged. “Skeleton got your tongue?” She gave him a funny look. “You haven’t spoken again since you said your name. I was wondering…” But whatever he was wondering would have to wait because the woman returned, a bundle of clothes in her hand.

“I have a few pairs of boots, I’m going to go get a few. You’ll have to try them on to see what fits. Come with me, you can change in the back.” Frisk lifted up her hands to sign a thank you, but the woman stared at her blankly.

“She said ‘thanks’” Sans offered and the woman smiled again and Frisk followed her to the back. To her surprise, Sans came as well. The woman let her step into a small, empty room to try on the clothes she had picked out.

It was layered and Frisk had to say she liked the style of it, just looking at it. There was a pair of charcoal gray leggings for her to wear and a nice pair of thick socks too. There was also a long-sleeve charcoal grey shirt for her to slip on as well. She realized that both the top and pants were insulated and were warm and cozy.

There was what her mother would have referred to as a ‘tunic’ to pull over the undershirt and leggings. To Frisk, it looked like a short dress. The front of it reached nearly to her knees while the back of it was longer, brushing gently against her calves. The sleeves were long and swallow-tailed so that her undershirt could be seen clearly from about her elbows down. The tunic itself was a deep purple and – lucky for her – had a hood. The edges of the sleeves were white and there was also a sash for her to tie about her waist that was white as well.

There was no mirror but she knew she’d have to fix her hair. She took it down from its usual place as a bun on the back of her head. It fell in long waves around her. She knew she should cut it, but Toriel had always loved it long. She carefully put it back up in practiced motions that she’d been doing for years. With her hair tied back up, she pulled the hood of the tunic up and over her face so that way it’d be harder to tell she was human.

She walked back into the main room where Sans and the woman were talking in quiet voices. When they noticed Frisk the woman handed her a pair of boots. Those didn’t fit, but she had a couple other pairs to try on until they found ones that fit her well. They were warm and cozy and she felt she could walk a long way with them on. Perhaps all the way to the city to face Asgore…

Thank you so much She signed and Sans translated.  But…I don’t have any money…

“Not a big deal kid. I’ll take care of it” Sans didn’t bother translating that time. The woman gave him a questioning look but he just waved her look off. “We all set, Bun?”

“Um…yes. Enjoy your stay in Snowdin.” The woman gave her a warm smile and a wave, watching as Sans herded Frisk out of the shop. She stopped outside, her hands on her hips. Her feet were warm, her old clothes and shoes were in a bag on her arm. The cold didn’t bother her so much now. In fact she felt pleasantly warm yet, even outside the shop.

Did you pay?

“She put it on my tab”

You didn’t have to do that for me.

“Heh, I didn’t have the guts to let you walk all the way back to me and Pap’s house freezing like that either. Your mom asked me to keep an eye socket out for you and I don’t make promises lightly. Actually, I usually don’t make them at all”

She didn’t know what to say so instead she stood next to him in the snow. Finally he shrugged, moving his returned jack back onto his shoulders, and motioned for her to follow him. There was something sad about him. Just the way he walked….Had he given up hope just like everyone else?

That thought was like a needle in her heart. She couldn’t stand to think that her best friend of fifteen years would be hopeless in this world. Truly, her staying in the ruins was not a cowardly act – it was a selfish one. If she had just gone all those years ago, gone to Asgore and met her death with a sort of bravery…well they’d be free. His brother wouldn’t be a part of the Royal Guard, wouldn’t be standing on the edge of the front lines.

This was her fault. All her fault.

“You okay kid?” His voice stirred her. She couldn’t look at him. “Hey…uh, we’re here anyway.” She hadn’t even realized they had stopped walking. She looked up at the lovely house they had stopped in front of.

He opened the door and they stepped into cozy little space. It was also…strangely empty. Sans walked into what she could see was the kitchen but no one was there.

“Papyrus? Where…?” His cellphone suddenly rang and he answered it without looking. “…Oh. Well, next time leave a note, bro. Heh, I just worry about you. We’ll ketchup later then. ….Yeah, I know.  …Uh-huh. Don’t lie, you love my puns, bro. …Heh, well…. Okay, okay. You better spag-getti out of here before your boss catches you. Talk to you later, bro” Sans turned back to her. “Looks like some meeting was called for the Royal Guard. Paps said there was leftovers…but why don’t we just go to Grillby’s instead. We passed it on the way here. You can leave your stuff here”

Is that okay? Will your brother be mad? She asked after setting her bag and satchel down by the door.

“Nah.” Without really waiting, he turned and headed back into the snow. She followed him and soon found herself standing in front of a warm looking building. Sans walked right in and she saw a snug little bar. It was filled with people who she had to assume were locals. At the bar stood a monster who was on fire – literally. He was cleaning the counter and most of the light in the bar seemed to come from him alone. It gave the place a soft, warm tone.

“Sansy!” “H-Hey Sans!” “Sans, what’s up?” “How’s things, Sansy?” “Sans! Hey!”

A chorus of people calling their greetings to Sans started up. Frisk stood nearby, watching curiously. She noticed that Doggo, the Dogi, Lesser Dog and Greater Dog were there, all playing Poker together. They looked up at her and seemed to be smiling – but they could be snarls. With their snouts it was a little a hard to tell. Sans stopped at each table on his way to the bar, greeting everyone. She lingered by the door, unsure and a little nervous. Sans and her mother were the only monsters she had real experience with. This was a room full of them and if they found out she was human…well how would they take that news?

“You comin?” Sans called to her and she trotted through the bar, her head down, her face flushed. Everyone was looking at her now. She felt…exposed. She wondered if the dogs would sniff her and think something was wrong with her…but when she glanced back at them, they appeared focused on their game.

“Whose your friend Sans?” Asked a monster at a nearby table as she took a seat next to him at the bar.

“She’s visiting from the Ruins” He told them. A few laughed and a few gave her curious looks. “Hey Grillby, I’ll have my regular” Sans glanced at her “What do you want kid?”

The same? She had no idea what to order.

“Two orders of the burg, then” Grillby, the flame monster, nodded his head and walked towards the back. She and Sans sat in silence, she didn’t know what to say to him. Assure him that she was going to fix this mess? Talk to him as she always had? Not that she had really “talked” to him before…She realized how little experience she had with other people – even Sans made her a little nervous.

Sans rubbed the back of his head and then he gave her a sideways glance.

“Hey, kid. Knock, knock” He knocked on the counter they were sitting at as he said that. She gave him a look, a smile creeping on the edge of her lips.

Who’s there?

“Cows go”

Cows go who?

“No, silly, cows go moo” And he snorted, laughing at his joke. She laughed along with him. He told her a few more jokes and it was probably odd to the other patrons, since she used her hands to talk and he didn’t bother translating out loud for them, but she was laughing so hard she didn’t care.  Soon enough their food was brought out to them and they ate in mostly silence.

Mostly, because Sans talked sometimes, telling her about the town and different people who lived there. Eventually others joined in, adding their voices to Sans’, adding stories and their own view on things. Frisk was surprised at how friendly everyone was. They didn’t know her and she didn’t speak, but they took to her, as if they had known her for years instead of moments. She had never laughed so hard or smiled so much. She could see the content look on Sans face and she gave him a look. He simply shrugged and began to chug his bottle of ketchup. His second bottle, mind you. Frisk wasn’t really a fan of ketchup and yet…Sans was treating it like a beverage instead of a condiment.

It was weird and a lot about Sans was weird but…He was the friend she had always had. She knew him and she knew him well. Not as well as she thought she had – but well enough that she was…content. She was happy and she was happy she was here, sitting next to him, listening to stories in the bar. It was the most normal thing in the world and for a moment, she felt like she belonged there.

She and Sans finished their food and sat around a little while longer, talking to the other monsters. Slowly the bar began to clear out and Frisk began to feel drowsy. Was it late already? She checked her cellphone and realized that yes, it was very late actually. Sans glanced at the time displayed on her cellphone and stood.

“Welp, we better get back.” He didn’t seem in a particular hurry however. “Paps gets grumpy without his bedtime story. Hey kid, you’re staying the night aren’t you? It’s a little late to be heading out anyway. C’mon, we’ll take a short cut back to the house”

His fingers laced through her’s and she was a little startled at how warm his hand was. He led her out the door and…Next thing she knew they were standing right before his house. She felt a little dizzy, her stomach cramping uncomfortably. She looked around, not understanding how they got here that quickly. What…? She swallowed hard, trying not to throw up. Sans didn’t appear to notice her discomfort…but then again, he probably wasn’t bothered by whatever he had just done. Skeletons didn’t have stomachs. “Pretty good shortcut, huh?”

He didn’t wait for her to answer, he just opened to door to his house and the two of them walked in, kicking off the snow on their shoes. He kicked off his slippers and headed straight for the couch, claiming a corner for his own.

What about your brother? Is he home yet?

“I don’t think he’s home yet…We would have heard him by now. That’s not unusual since he joined the Guard.” He didn’t sound worried but she could see in his eyes…It was hard to see well with her hood flopping in her face. Her hair was starting to give her a headache from being up so long too.

She slipped the hood off her head and took her hair down, shaking it out and then combing it down with her fingers. She had left her satchel here and there was a brush in there somewhere…But she didn’t feel like getting up to get it quite yet. She glanced at Sans to realize he was staring at her. She felt her face flush.

Sans?  He wasn’t looking at her hands though. His fingers reached out and touched a lock of her hair, seeming almost…bemused. Her face felt hotter.  He seemed to realize what he was doing and quickly let go of her, pulling his hand away.

“So uh…that’s what you look like, huh…k-kid?” He seemed to struggle on the last word, as if he hadn’t really wanted to call her kid, but hadn’t known what other word to use. “I gotta say, tibia honest, I don’t know what I was expecting…I haven’t seen a human in a long time.”

You’ve seen a human before? She was a little surprised.

He didn’t answer. She was about to ask another question when the door slammed open. Papyrus entered the room, a dark, spiked helmet on his head. Around his neck she could see a tattered red scarf. He looked…scary like this. Intimidating. Nothing like the joyful skeleton she had seen just a few short hours ago. He removed the helmet though and the smile he wore was the same, simple and joyful.

“Hello Sans and Frisk! Did you enjoy the leftovers I had in the fridge for you?” He asked. He set his helmet down on a table by the door. “Whew. Running with that armor is hard work, but not too hard for the Great Papyrus!”

He seemed to finally look at her and his head tilted ever so slightly. He seemed to be trying to figure out what type of monster she was or something of the sort. He stepped closer and she glanced at Sans. He was tense and she noticed the whites of his eyes had disappeared. He looked a little nervous.

“You are…a strange monster, Frisk. I’ve never seen one like you. You almost look…like…you could be a human” Papyrus seemed to be thinking out loud. Frisk glanced at Sans again and then stood, turning to Papyrus.

That’s because I am a human, Papyrus.

He seemed startled a moment. She wondered what he was going to do. As a part of the Royal Guard…what would he have to do? There was a tense silence in the home. She could sense that Sans wanted to say something or perhaps slap her for just simply stating the truth.

“Wowie, you know how to talk with your hands!” Papyrus finally said. She stared at him, silent and dumbfounded.

Yes, well, aren’t you concerned that I’m a human?

“That’s right! I have to capture humans!” He was only a few feet away and he was so tall, two steps cleared that distance and he grabbed her arm, though he was not being rough or unkind. “Nyheh! I have captured you, human!”

Frisk stood there and looked at him. He looked at her and he seemed to be waiting for her to tell him what to do next. Sans got up from the couch to stand next to her. Then it was the three of them standing there, almost confused and unsure.

“So…” Papyrus started. “…I captured you and now I’m going to…Keep you here overnight I suppose? Tomorrow morning I’ll call Undyne and have her come over”  He began to tug her by the door but suddenly Sans was in the way.

“Its pretty cold out, bro. No need to be heartless. Let her sleep on the couch”

“But its not secure!”

Where am I going to go? She asked with her hands. Amusingly enough Papyrus let her raise her hand, though he kept ahold of her arm.

“Good question…But I’m sure theres somewhere you could go if you wanted to.”

“Now you’re just being cold-hearted Paps”

“Sans!” Papyrus gave his brother a sour look. “Urgh…Well…It is very cold out for those who have skin or so I have heard and you have very little fur to keep you warm, human” He patted her head firmly with his other free hand. “You will stay in here tonight, human.”

Sans seemed to relax at that. Thank you? Was that something you thanked someone for?

“No problem human!” Papyrus seemed honestly prod of himself. “Now, Sans! It’s far past time for my bedtime story!”

“’Course, Paps” Sans seemed amused. Papyrus ran up the stairs, disappearing into what Frisk could only guess was his room. She turned back to Sans to see a terrifying look on his face. “What did you think you were doing, telling him like you did?” He asked. His voice was dark.

She didn’t have an answer. He took a few steps and he was in her face, she was staring into empty eye sockets and she had never been more terrified of a person. She wanted to shrink back, but his hand was on her arm and it was as if he had locked her into place. Then just like that, his eyes were back to how they had been, his white irises glowing slightly in his eye sockets.

“My brother is harmless…but Undyne is not. She’s a reel-y dangerous” She stared at him, trying to shake off that fear, that sudden darkness that had crept into her heart. Even his clear joke, the lightness in his eyes wasn’t enough to comfort her.

“Sans!” Papyrus called from upstairs.

“No more stupid moves like that kid. That old lady is depending on me and if anything happened to you…I’m sure she’d be devastated” With that he let go of her and walked up the stairs without another word.

She sat heavily on the couch, rubbing her wrist. He was right – he was right. But she was right too. Couldn’t he see she was doing this for him? Or…perhaps it was better that he didn’t. It was clear he had no idea her true plan yet or else he might…he might try and stop her or…Or what? Could he really stop her if that was what her heart was set on? No. No he couldn’t. She couldn’t let him.

She slowly began to unlace the boots he had kindly gotten for her, wondering if she was doing the right thing. It had only been one day – only six more until that day. She had six days to reach New Home and stop this from happening. She put her boots next to the couch and lay back, warm in her clothes, though not completely comfortable.

This Undyne…this dangerous woman, well, Frisk supposed she’d have to leave before Papyrus could go and get her. She’d feel bad for fleeing and perhaps getting him in trouble, but her mission was more important. She had to get to New Home and she had to ensure the monsters of the Unground had hope again.

Chapter Text

NO!

Frisk sat up fast, swinging her leg by instinct and tumbled onto the floor, tangled in her sheets, struggling to get free. She managed to kick them off herself and she turned toward the couch, burying her face against it. She tried to bite down on the sobs, but they clawed their way out of chest and throat, burning her face with tears. Her shoulders shook and she felt her whole body just rejecting the dream. She couldn’t even remember it anymore, but the darkness rooted itself in her soul and just seemed to suck every bit of hope from her. She could do nothing but cry, each tear like acid on her face, each sob breaking her ribs.

A hand touched her should and she spun, on her knees, flailing at her sudden attacker. Sans stumbled back from her, his eyes wide and his one eye glowing ever so slightly. She leaned back on her arms, her eyes wide and startled, the sobs quieted for a moment in her fear. A small, ironic smile worked its way to her lips and laughter bubbled up. Terrible laughter, broken laughter that quickly dissolved into more sobs while Sans watched.

Before she knew it, he had sat on the floor next to her and pulled her into his arms. He was boney and sharp, his ribs prodded her skin. But he was warm, oh was he warm and his arms held her tightly, filling her slowly with hope again. He held her until the sobs dissolved into gentle hiccups and until the hiccups fell into silence. He wiped at her face and muttered reassuring words. He didn’t make promises, no ‘it’s going to be okays’ or ‘it was only a nightmare’. His words were ‘you are stronger than this’. His words gave her the strength to remember that it was a nightmare and that she was past that darkness of her past. The darkness she could no longer recall.

He held her after the night had returned to silence. In the dark house, his eye was the only light, glowing brightly, washing them in the gentle blue light.  She looked up at him her cheeks still wet, a small smile on her face.

“Feel a little better?” he asked. She hesitated a little. “Its been a while since you had a nightmare. You used to have them a lot as a child.”

Her shoulders slumped and she lowered her head.

“There’s nothing wrong with it…Everyone has nightmares.” She looked pointedly at him. “Yeah even me” He let out a gentle chuckle and he pulled her closer again. She rested her head against his shoulder.

“Stay with me” She whispered.

What?” He seemed shocked that she had spoken. “What…?” He leaned his head closer.

“Please…stay with me” Her hands held onto his arms. She already felt sleepy, warm and safe with him. He didn’t say anything, just groped behind them for the blanket. He bundled them both up and leaned against the couch. She smiled at him, at the comforting glow of his eye. She didn’t remember falling asleep, but she didn’t have any dreams.


Sans shook her awake gently. “Time to go”

“Go?” Frisk muttered, still half asleep. He was already up and dressed. She had slept in her clothes, only taking off her boots. He helped her up and handed her the boots to slip back on.

“My brother went out for his morning jog. When he comes back, Undyne will be with him. We have to go”

We? She was still a little sleepy but managed to remember to sign so that her throat didn’t hurt as badly later on. She slipped her boots on, lacing them up as quickly as her clumsy fingers could manage.

“Well, I’ll get you to Waterfall more than likely. Then after that…you’re on your own for a while kid. I gotta make sure Papyrus doesn’t get into too much trouble here” As soon as her shoes were on, he pulled her to her feet and pulled her hood up over her head and eyes. Last he handed her a scarf. “Cover your mouth and nose if you can. It’ll make you look more like a monster.”

She quickly did as he said, grabbing her satchel. She looked at the bag with the clothes she took from home. She stuff the clothes in her satchel and turned to Sans, ready to go. He led her out into the snow, his hood up as well. Since his house was on the edge of town, no one saw them slip out, heading towards…Waterfall he had called it? They headed out into the snow, not speaking for a time.

“Hey kid, what’s your plan anyway? Why leave the ruins?”

She hesitated, knowing Sans would not like her plan. I want to talk to the King on behalf of my mother.

“Your mom? She have something the King needed to hear? Why not leave herself?”

She doesn’t like leaving the house for too long. Someone needs to water the garden. The excuse felt flimsy even to her, but he just made a humming sound and didn’t ask anymore. The air around them became colder. The wind began to pick up and she could barely see in front of her.

Sans took her hand and led her. He walked before her but she was still thankful that he had given her that scarf. She pulled it up before it was just below her eyes. It made it hard to breathe but it kept her warm so therefore she was thankful. Sans kept a tight hold on her too so even if she closed her eyes, she did not have to fear being lost.

Eventually the miniature blizzard seemed to calm down and the air cleared. Beside them was a stream carrying giant ice cubes…somewhere. She wanted to ask Sans, but he was not looking at her so she was silent. The snow faded and the ground became a dark blue. She hesitated and he stopped, looking back at her.

“Welcome to Waterfall, kid” He smiled at her. “Now listen, I want you to wait for me just up ahead. I have a sentry station. Wait there for me. I won’t be too long with Papyrus” She watched him with warry eyes. “Whats with that expression? It’ll be okay! Just wait!” He began backing towards the storm again. She nodded slightly.

Be careful she signed. He didn’t answer, just turned around and headed back the way they came. He had only gone a few feet when he disappeared. She sighed to herself and turned back towards Waterfall. She walked on passing two waterfalls as she did. She stopped to admire the second one. She stuck her hand out into the water and found it was pleasantly warm.

Well at least this place wasn’t as cold as Snowdin. While it had been a cute little town, she preferred warmer areas, she’d have to say.

She walked a little further along when suddenly a yellow flower appeared in her path. She smiled brightly at the sight of Flowey. She had missed him, even if he was temperamental at best. She knelt down and picked him up gently, careful of his roots. He wrapped himself around her arm so he could balance on her shoulder.

Where have you been? She asked him.

“None of your business” He grumbled. He seemed…upset? She wondered what could have upset him.

Are you okay?

“I’m fine! I just…hate the cold. I’m glad you’re finally out of that trash heap. Took you long enough, sheesh” She pouted a moment before walking on. There wasn’t much farther to go until she happened upon the Sentry Station that Sans had promised her that she would find.  There was a weird, large blue flower by the stand. The flower was about waist high and emitting a soft blue light.

Standing next to the flower was a strange monster that looked like he had a fish tail for legs and fins upon his head, almost in a Mohawk like style. He gave her a smile when she walked by and she felt herself tremble a little, but she kept moving. The monster was occupied with the flower, seeming to be smelling it…or something. She went to the Sentry Station and stood, leaning against it. She felt her eyes drawn to the strange flower again.

“It’s an Echo Flower” The monster told her, looking up at her curious eyes. “It repeats the last thing it heard. C’mere. Listen” Nervously she approached the flower.

“It repeats the last thing it heard. C’mere. Listen” The flower whispered in the monster’s voice, though it was much softer. She smiled at the monster, amazed by the flower. She looked at Flowey who rolled his eyes.

“So it’s a talking flower? You already have one of those”

“You already have one of those” The flower whispered in reply. She giggled, delighted at the simplicity of the flower. The flower mimicked her giggle. The monster beside the flower seemed smug. She returned to the stand to wait for Sans. The monster tended to the flower a little more before retreating further into Waterfall.

Frisk sat down before the stand, feeling warm. It was much warmer here than in Snowdin, that was for sure. Since she was alone, she lowered her hood and took off the scarf. That was a little better, but those warm socks she loved were making her feet sweat. She began unlacing her boots as well and walked to the water so she could place her feet in the cool water. She sighed in content and laid back.

She wondered if Sans was coming soon…And just then she heard the sound of stomping feet. It sounded like someone wearing armor and running…Almost like the sound Papyrus had made in his armor but this was…louder.

And it was coming from deeper within Waterfall. She turned her head and she felt Flowey stiffen.

“Don’t be an idiot! Get up! Hide!” He snapped, but she was too slow and an armored figure came rushing right by the Sentry Station. She froze where she was, half standing up, still crouched on the ground by the water.

The masked figure looked at her a long moment and then a bright blue spear appeared in their hand. Frisk felt her breath catch in her throat. She could see one of their eyes gleaming from underneath the mask. They looked…determined.

Wait she began to sign, but they took a step towards her and then another. They charged and she dodged, barely, landing hard on her knees. She scrambled to her feet and to the Sentry Station, pressing her back against it. Wait!

This time they charged and she felt the spear impale her through the stomach. She felt blood dripping from the corner of her mouth. The last thing she heard before she blacked out was Flowey growling; “You idiot”


No!

Frisk sat up fast, swinging her leg by instinct and tumbled onto the floor, tangled in her sheets, struggling to get free. She managed to kick them off herself and she turned toward the couch, burying her face against it. It was all out of reflex…because she had lived this night before. The tears began to roll down her cheeks, hot and wet, and she choked on her sobs.

This time she heard the door upstairs open and the gentle footfalls that was Sans walking down the stairs and to where she curled up against the couch. She expected him to comfort her again but instead he stood there a long moment. She looked up at him, trying to control the sobs coming from her chest. His eye was glowing slightly, giving off a eerie blue light, and he sighed loudly.

“I’m sorry” He sat down next to her, pulled her into his arms, wrapped a blanket around them and leaned into the couch. He didn't say anything for a long time. This was different, why was he acting different? Her head hurt and she could feel the spear still in her stomach. She felt the blood on her lips. “I’m sorry. Next time we’ll do better okay?” She could only nod her head gently, hoping that next time, they would do better.


She was up and ready by the time Sans came to wake her. She stood softly and took the scarf he offered her. He turned to go outside but she stopped just as he opened the door. He looked back at her, eyes impatient.

You remember

It wasn’t a question. It was a statement, one she knew was correct from his actions the night before. He looked at her a long moment and then narrowed his eyes and looked down. A sigh left his mouth and he looked back at her, his eyes steely. 

“Not really. But I can guess.”

The walk through the blizzard was quiet. They arrived on the other side after a time. It felt quick and slow at the same time. They got to the edge of Waterfall. He didn’t let go of her hand and kept pulling her forward.

She stopped, pulling her hand away. Go back and make sure Papyrus is okay. He looked like he wanted to argue but stuffed his hands in his pocket.

“Fine.” He didn’t sound happy. Instead of walking away this time he just disappeared. She sighed and turned back to the path. Just as last time Flowey popped up not far from the second waterfall. This time he was scowling though, looking completely annoyed.

“You idiot” He growled. “Can’t you do anything right?” She flinched back from him, surprised at the anger in his voice. “I told you to hide and you just sat there like an idiot!”

You remember?

“Urggh! You. Are. So. STUPID!” He was seething. “Of course I do – you took that power from me! I used to be able to Reset whenever I wanted but you! You! The moment you fell down here I lost those powers. You took them! You…You…I hate you! I should kill you!” His vines uprooted themselves and lifted as if they were going to attack her. She took a step back.

Wait, please…

His glare never lessened, but his vines did lower and he looked away from her. “What good would that do though? You’d just come back…again and again and again. I’d never win. You…” He focused his eyes on her again. For a second they seemed red. “You just better focus on not dying again.”

I’ll do my best she promised.

“Then we better hurry” She picked him up and this time he burrowed himself into her satchel. She hoped he wasn’t getting her clothes all dirty. By the time they got to the station, the strange fish-like monster was gone.

“I guess I’ll be alone today too” The Echo flower whispered solemnly as she passed. She ducked down behind the station this time. She waited and it didn’t take long for the monster who killed her to pass. This time they did not stop, they just kept going, heading into Snowdin. As soon as their footfalls faded, Frisk stood.

She knew she should wait for Sans, but there was no telling when they’d be back and she really didn’t want to die again. It had been scary. Dying once was enough for her. Besides…this was the sort of journey that she should do alone. She had chosen this path and no one else should suffer for it.

Chapter Text

Frisk grimaced, moving forward, ever determined. The waist deep water was cold. She held her satchel and Flowey above her head, to keep them safe. She had to be careful though, as there were rocks falling from above. Flowey would warn her if she was getting too close to being hit by one. He seemed determined himself – to not let her die again at least.

The feeling of the spear twisting in her stomach, the taste of the blood that flooded her mouth, the fear that had clouded her brain, the panic that had seized her limbs. She remembered it all so vividly and she was in agreements with Flowey; dying again would be a bad idea. She didn’t think Sans would approve either. Of course, he wouldn’t approve of her staking out on her own either. That solider – Undyne she supposed – could come back at any time and if they did…They would kill her. They would kill her again without hesitation.

She pushed the thought aside and waded slowly across the water, the scarf around her mouth and nose making every breath uncomfortably hot. It was much warmer here than in Snowdin, pleasantly so and her outfit was making her sweat. She could feel her bangs were already stuck to her forehead underneath her hood. She kept moving though and was soon climbing out of the water. She shook as much water as she could out of her boots and readjusted her satchel on her side. From her waist down, she was soaked, but there was little she could do about that. She just chose to keep moving. She did remove her hood and the scarf around her mouth though, stuffing the scarf into her bag.

It was a straight hallway for a while and then….She heard footsteps. She turned and saw dark armor coming towards her. She felt instant fear and without waiting, she ran. She ran forward, Flowey urging her onward. She ran and found a large…well, it looked like huge bushel of tall grass. She dove into it, ducking down and stilling herself deep within the bushel of tall grass. She tried to quiet her breathing as well so that way they could not hear her.

“Human!” A familiar voice called, muffled slightly by a helmet. She heard the person scrambling to get the helmet off their face and this time when they spoke, it was much clearer. “Please come out wherever you are! I am not mad you left to explore! In fact, I understand!”

She moved to crawl out of the bushes, but Flowey wrapped his vines around her, holding her still. She struggled a little, but he wouldn’t let her move. She was getting tired of his crap – he was such a bully sometimes.

“Undyne is not happy with you…and neither is my brother…but I – the Great Papyrus – am not mad at you! And I would like you to come out to speak with me! Please!” He seemed worried more than anything. She grabbed at Flowey’s vines and managed to shrug her satchel off. Flower spilled onto the ground with a yelp and she crawled out of the bushel of grass. She brushed herself off and looked up at Papyrus, whose usual smile was turned into a frown and his eyes were worried. She swallowed hard, approaching him.

You’re not mad at me?

“No human! I was just worried when you weren’t downstairs when I got back! Something terrible could have happened to you!” The memory of the solider killing her hit her again. The pain in her stomach, the blood in her mouth. She grimaced. “Did…something happen to you?”

I saw someone really scary…a person in armor…with red hair.

“That was Undyne…” Papyrus seemed a little upset. “Di-did she hurt you, human?”

Frisk was silent. Undyne had not hurt her…yet. But she would if she found her. She couldn’t meet Papyrus’ eyes for a long moment. She felt a tear run down her cheek.

“H-human!” Papyrus seemed alarmed by the tear. He had stepped closer and seemed to be unsure of how to comfort her.

I’m scared, Papyrus. If she catches me, she might kill me!

“I don’t think she would kill you…” But even Papyrus did not seem convinced. He frowned. “You are my brother’s friend – which means you are also my friend! But…If Undyne catches you and takes you to the King…” He turned away from her. “We cannot be friends though…I am a part of the Royal Guard and I must capture all humans!”

She tapped on Papyrus’ shoulder until he turned to look at her. I’m already going to the King! I just want to do it myself. Please, Papyrus…I just need to get there myself.

“You are already going to the King?”

Yes

“Oh! You can be my friend then! That is good because I have already grown fond of you human! You don’t tell disgusting puns like my brother…and you love my pasta! My brother also reassured me how much you loved my puzzles! And I…I feel like I knew you once, a long time ago…But do not fear, Frisk! I will escort you to the Capital by myself then!”

What if Undyne meets us?

“Well, I will tell her not to worry about you! Nyeh heh!” He seemed so proud of himself in that moment, like everything was going to be alright. But she could not let Papyrus come with her. He might figure out her plan somehow and tell his brother. If he did that…all of her hard work would be for nothing. She sighed, closing her eyes. She opened them a moment later, giving Papyrus the most determined look she could muster.

Papyrus, I want to do this journey on my own. I have to

“But…human…if Undyne finds you…she might not be as…kind as I” Papyrus frowned. “She doesn’t like humans very much. Actually…I don’t think Sans has ever liked a human either”

Sans has met a human before?

“I-I don’t really know…I mean…maybe.” He seemed to be thinking hard. “I-I…I guess you’ll have to ask him”

I did. He never answered me. She chewed on her lip. Listen Papyrus, can you distract Undyne for me? Please, just so I can get to the Capital. I’ll try to be quick.

“I don’t know…If she finds out she’ll be quite mad at me”

Please…will you do it for me? I’m your friend right? This felt like using him, but she needed him to do this. It would probably also keep Sans distracted. Hopefully this would keep them all busy and she could slip away without anyone knowing anything.

“Your friend? Do you mean…like your best friend?”

Yeah.

That was a little bit of a lie. Sans was always going to be her best friend, but she could see in another lifetime, in one where she wasn’t so cowardly, she had been best friends with Papyrus instead. He was so kind and funny, sweet and so, so innocent….Of course, who couldn’t have two best friends at once? Papyrus was a good…skeleton. He was a good friend already. Just as he said, she felt as if she had known him well, once upon a time.  

“Wowie! Though you’ll have to compete with Undyne for that role! Nyeh! But yes! I, the Great and Friendly Papyrus, will distract Undyne for you so you can get to Hotland. Once you get there, I doubt Undyne will follow after you! She hates Hotland. I could never understand why…”

Frisk felt so relieved at that moment, she hugged Papyrus tightly. He was startled by the sudden ‘attack’ but he soon wrapped his arms around her as well. She pulled back, smiling up at the skeleton. Thank you so much!

“Wowie! Humans are so warm! Can I hug you again human?” She consented to one more hug, amused by his bemusement. Once he had let go of her again. “Alright Frisk! I shall go and be a distraction! Please hurry onto Hotlands with no worry! Nyheh heh heh!” And with that Papyrus darted off once more.

She went back into the grass to retrieve Flowey, a smug smile on her face. She could get by on her own when she wanted to. He was giving her a glare and he muttered a little bit about how stupid she really was. She gave his head a little pat and then worked on settling her satchel on her side once more. Her clothing was still quite damp and that was uncomfortable. She needed to change her clothes…but to go back to Snowdin with wet clothing…Well that would probably only make her sick. So she kept going.

There were more puzzles, but she was getting used to the sight of them by now. She was getting even better at solving them as well. She met other monsters as she walked and none of them seemed to mind her very much. A few of them would sometimes follow and talk to her, not even seeming to notices that she was a human. She had to figure that most monsters didn’t know what a human looked like. She enjoyed listening to their stories though and enjoyed seeing them. Some were shy and would hide as she passed…it didn’t help that Flowey was probably making faces at them.

She soon came to a room with several Echo Flowers in it, along with a sign that simply said ‘Wishing Room’. The flower next to the sign sighed, in a feminine voice “A long time ago, monsters would whisper their wishes to the starts in the sky…If you hoped with all your heart, your wish would come true. Now all we have are these sparkling stones on the ceiling”

Frisk looked up and sure enough, there were stones on the ceiling that sparkled like the stars in the sky. She stood there a long moment, just staring at the star-like stones. She didn’t remember what real stars looked like, but she remembered Toriel telling her about them. She wandered down the hall, looking at the “stars”, wondering if her mother knew about this place and if she had ever made any wishes while in this room. She hesitated near the end of it, biting at her lip.

I wish I could see Sans again, before I reach the capital she thought but knew that it would be a bad idea. Still…she wished he could be here with her, standing in this room. She wondered what his wish would be.

“Are we gonna keep moving or what?” Flowey snapped at her and she gave the flower a look. He wrinkled his lip but said nothing more. She let out a sigh and began walking again. They found themselves on a pier with water sausages growing out of the water. It sort of reminded her of the swamps she read about in her mother’s books. Against the wall though were plaques. They looked ancient and Frisk approached the first one timidly.

The War of Humans and Monsters

She blinked at the words. She had learned a little bit on the war from her mother, but she had never liked to go into detail and Frisk had never pushed it. Flowey looked at the words and then glanced at her. He didn’t seem moved by them. Maybe he knew more about the war than she did, she wouldn’t doubt it. Most monsters probably knew more about the war than she did. She moved on to the next plaque.

Why did the humans attack? Indeed, it seemed that they had nothing to fear. Humans are unbelievably strong. It would take the Soul of nearly every monster just to equal the power of a single human Soul.

But humans have one weakness. Ironically, it is the strength of their Soul. Its power allows it to persist outside the human body, even after death.

If a monster defeats a human, they can take its Soul. A monster with a human Soul…A horrible beast with unfathomable power.

The last one was just a picture that went from the floor to near the ceiling. The creature was very unsettling and furthermore, it soul was red with a white outline. A monster that had taken a human soul and become a horrible beast…She stared at the picture longer than she needed to. Flowey wouldn’t look at it and he seemed…disturbed. She shook her head, snapping herself out of the trance she was in and hurried away.

“It doesn’t look like that” Muttered Flowey as they hurried away.

It doesn’t look like what? Frisk questioned.

“It doesn’t look like that when a monster takes a human soul.” He said simply. She didn’t know what to say. She wanted to ask but she had a feeling that Flowey didn’t want to talk about it. She touched one of his leaves with her fingers but he recoiled from her touch. She frowned. Despite everything, he was still her friend and she wanted to comfort him…but didn’t know how. So she walked on, knowing she couldn’t stop.

They did stop, however, to take a break next to an Echo Flower that only had squeak to say. It would whisper it every time she brushed her fingers against its petals. She looked down and noticed the mouse hole next to the flower and smiled. It was nice to know there were normal things underground as well, such as mice 

She took some food out that she had packed away. Just little biscuits. They were pretty good, though a little dry. Flowey ate one as well, but he didn’t seem to like food as much as other monsters. She gave him a drink of the water she had with her as well. He appreciated that more than the biscuit she thought. They didn’t talk and when they left, the Echo Flower let out one more squeak as if to bid them goodbye.

It had to be early afternoon she guessed. She was surprised she had gotten this far without anyone finding her, especially with her hood down. Her clothes were mostly dry, but she was still much to warm. She had rolled up her sleeves but she was still sweating in the mild temperature of Waterfall.

“Hey!” A voice suddenly called and she stopped, turning. The figure was dressed in familiar black armor. She froze and scrambled for her hood, but it was too late. She looked up at them; they were a tall yellow monster with spikes on his back and on his head. He seemed rather cheerful. “Hey! Dude! Have you seen a human around here? My boss – Undnye, she’s super cool have you met her? No? Anyway, she’s lookin for a human! Said that Papyrus captured one but they got away. Can you believe it? Papyrus is way too cool to lose a human. They must have tricked him!” He was practically dancing in place and despite the danger this monster probably presented, a small smile worked its way onto Frisk’s face. “So have you seen one?”

She shook her head, wondering if he’d fall for it or not.

“Aw man! Well, they’ve gotta be around here somewhere. Say, where are you going? Are you gonna be okay with a human wandering about. I heard they’re super dangerous!” But he didn’t seem worried about himself, in fact he seemed more excited than anything.

She shrugged. He nodded, as if he understood.

“Well, cool dude. If you need any help, there are a bunch of Royal Guards like…everywhere dude! So just yell out if a human comes! I’m gonna keep looking. Catch you later!” And then they were off. She watched, bemused.

“He’s so stupid” Flowey rolled his eyes and she smacked him. That guy seemed perfectly nice. Flowey didn’t have to be a jerk about it. He snapped at her fingers with his teeth and that only ended with her switching her satchel from her side to resting on her back. He complained but silenced himself after a while. He knew it didn’t do well to complain with her. She would just ignore him.

She came to a more swamp-like area where the water was a beautiful, deep blue. She walked to the edge and watched as light seemed to be rising off the water. Upon closer inspection, these seemed to be some sort of bugs. She was so distracted by the light and the critters that she never saw the person behind her, but she did scream when they grabbed her and pulled her back away from the water.

She fought, but they had a hold of her…and she knew that there was no escape.

Chapter Text

It was a good thing in her struggle, she moved Flowey to her side, because Frisk ended up falling onto her butt. A familiar chuckle startled her and she looked up and behind her to see it was none other than Sans who had startled her so. She climbed her feet, an annoyed look coming over her face and she gave Sans a good smack for scaring the crap out of her. He was still smiling though but after a moment, that smile faded. She could see the worry in his eyes and she knew that she was in a bit of trouble with him. 

“Why’d you run off? I thought I told you to wait” He didn’t sound angry or annoyed strangely and she tittered on the spot, wondering what to say to him to convince him why she had decided to keep moving.

“If we stayed where we were, we would have been found. Are you really that stupid to believe that hiding behind your little stand was enough to protect us?” Flowey snapped at him. She gave him a look but he was giving a simmering glare to Sans instead. Sans’ one eye started to glow slightly. Great, just what she needed, these two fighting again. She wanted to ask why they never got along, but calming their little fights always made her forget to ask.

“Didn’t really ask you, now did I weed?”

“Smiley trashbag!”

Stop! Frisk signed and she shook a finger in Sans’ face. His eyes widened and then became amused. She wondered if anyone had shaken their finger in his face before. Probably not. Flowey was right. It wasn’t safe at your station so I kept moving. I couldn’t wait, so I didn’t.

He looked at her a long moment and then shook his head. “Well I was worried about ya kid. Why don’t we keep moving, huh?” He suggested. They turned back towards the water and then he motioned to the path they had to take. He let her take the lead, following after her, his hands in the pockets of his hoodie. He seemed relaxed, but she sensed a certain tension and a urge to move radiating from him. Was Undyne nearby? Or maybe his brother? She doubted Papyrus could keep Undyne busy forever. They had a small window to get out of Waterfall and she wondered how much further they had to go before reaching Hotland. 

They walked across a bridge and the water around them seemed to be glowing now, those tiny insects floating up, brushing past her and Sans. She reached up and let one land on her finger. It flashed its little light at her before gently flying off towards a cluster of the little flashing insects. Echo Flowers were everywhere here and she could hear so many conversations as they passed. Wishes, hopes, dreams…despair, hopelessness, fear.

“I wish to see the sun” “Haha, really? That’s my wish too!” “I wish to be able to count the stars” “I wish to see the surface for the first time” “I want her to love me” “This room makes me feel hopeful again.”

“We’re never going to escape” “The King was wrong” “No other human will ever fall down here” “There’s nothing to live for anymore.” “We’re lost, aren’t we?” “I’ll never see him again now.” “We’ve been forgotten”

She glanced at Sans and he gave a grim smile. They walked past waterfalls, past more Echo Flowers, more wishes, more hopelessness. She found herself stopping to stroke every flower that she saw, to get the words out of the petals. They whispered their wishes to her and she had to stop to listen to everyone. She knew Flowey was impatient with her progress, but Sans waited, letting her listen, as if he knew it were important to her. She wanted to hear what the monsters of the Underground had to say. She knew so few of them, she had been locked in the Ruins so long, she felt she was out of touch. Since she had to hurry to the Capital, this was a good way to hear their voices, to know their wishes. 

They walked onward and she stopped by another cluster of Echo Flowers, brushing her fingers against their petals. They sighed their messages around her. But there was one…

“I don’t know what to do…I can’t let him go up there…He can’t….” and the whisper faded. She glanced at the flower and then back at Sans. She was sure it was his voice, full of agony, full of tears. He was several paces away now though and probably hadn’t heard.

“I could go in his place. But he wouldn’t let me. What do I do? What do I do?” The clear agony in his voice struck her to her core. She bit at her lip and prompted the next flower to speak, but it was a different voice, a different tale. She chewed on her lip, wondering if she should ask Sans about what she heard. She chose not to, seeing as he would probably not want to talk about it.

But she could guess what it was all about.

As they walked, the flower groups got smaller and smaller. Soon they were heading across the water once more and she saw another plaque. As she had with the others, she stopped to read this one as well.

The power to take their Souls. This is the power that the humans feared.

She glanced at Sans. He read over the plaque quick and shrugged. “Yeah…Humans weren’t a fan of being able to have their souls taken. Monsters really weren’t supposed to though – we had rules against it. Not that it mattered to the humans.”

Were you around when the war was going on?

“Me? Nah. I just know someone who was.”

Who?

“Uh…Good question” He seemed confused for a moment. He was silent a moment as if trying to recall this mystery person, but couldn't seem to be able to. “Anyway, we better keep movin’ don’t you think?” He put a hand on her back and guided her forward. He hesitated in the next room, glancing around it, as if he expected something or someone to be there. Flowey cringed into the bag as if he were hiding. She looked around the room, it was just a pathway that curved, surrounded by water. She wrinkled her nose. What was so bad about this place?

She marched forward, not getting Sans’ hesitation. As she walked, she noticed a tentacle coming out of the water. She flinched away from it, stumbling in her haste. Her one hand slipped over the edge of the path and into the water. She yelled out in surprise and Sans reached for her, trying to grab onto her but she tumbled right in.

She could see it wasn’t deep and she struggled right away to head for the surface, but the tentacles wrapped around her, pulling her down…and over? She was pulled what she had to guess was under the path, from the dirt tunnel she passed under and the shoved above the water, cradled in the tentacles yet. She gasped for air, coughing and sputtering.

"You idiot-" Flowey started by he was cut off by another voice.

“Hey! Hey…I didn’t think that was a good idea! You can’t breathe underwater like I can, y’hear?” She looked at the creature, who had a large, bulbous head, but…they seemed friendly from the fact that they had saved her from drowning. “I’m Onionsan! Onionsan, y’hear? You must be new, I’ve never seen you around!”

She didn’t get a chance to reply. She found herself surrounded in blue…the blue that matched Sans’ eyes. She glanced over and saw his eye and his hand glowing. Was he doing this? She lifted gently off Onionsan’s tentacles and floated gently over to the path where she dropped down, landing on her feet. She gave Sans a long look, wondering how he had done that. Magic probably, she remembered her mother once telling her that different types of monsters used different types of magic. Sans was able to pick her up with his apparently. She wondered what else he could do. She'd have to ask him about it, purely out of curiosity. 

“Sansy! You came to visit! Hi!” Onionsan waved with two tentacles, seeming overjoyed to see more than one person in the room. “Is this your friend? Are you guys on a walk? Where are you heading?”

“Yeah, we’re just on a walk” Sans answered good naturedly. He began walking along the path and Frisk, soaked once more, followed after him. Her hair had come down when she had fallen in the water so as she walked, she worked on twisting it up into a bun on top of her head once more. That got alot of the water out of it, though the water just seemed to pour down her back. Good thing she was already soaked or else it would have bothered her. Onionsan was talking as they walked, asking questions and just chatting them up. Sans was polite and answered anything they asked, talking to them, telling them about the different monsters than didn’t visit Waterfall so often.

“Well…this is the end of the room. I guess I’ll see you guys around! Bye! Enjoy your visit to Waterfall!” Frisk waved to them and followed Sans out of the room.

They seemed friendly she said as they entered the next one.

“Onionsan? Yeah…They’re just a bit bonely” He gave her a wink and she shook her head. They followed the path and she soon spotted more plaques.

Who put all of these here? She asked Sans. She traced her finger along the edge of one. It was worn and very old. These things had to be ancient. 

“Huh…I don’t know actually. Not many people look at them anymore. You’re the first in a while to pay any attention to these old things” He put his hands in his pockets. “By the way…you’re soaked, do you want my hoodie? I know its not cold here…but…”

She shook her head I’ll dry off after a while, I’m sure. Thank you though. And she turned herself to the plaque. It was interesting to read the story that they laid out for her. It gave her some insight to the war with Humans and Monsters. It had happened so long ago and her mother had not wanted to talk about it. In fact, her mother had taught her the bare basics of it and moved on, deflecting any further questions.

This though…this was an unrivaled account of why the Humans and Monsters fought. She paused to read the first plaque, hearing Flowey sigh from her bag. Clearly he wasn’t interested at all. That was a shame, considering this was the reason they were all stuck Underground.

This power has no counter. Indeed, a human cannot take a monster’s Soul. When a monster dies, it Soul disappears. An incredible power would be needed to take the Soul of a living monster.

There is only one exception. The Soul of a special species of monster called a “Boss Monster”. A Boss Monster’s Soul is strong enough to persist after death…If only for a few moments. A human could absorb this Soul. But this has never happened and now it never will.

She stared hard at this last plaque. Boss Monsters…and absorbing the soul of other living creatures. It was enough to make her shudder. That was a scary thought. Hurting another to take their soul – she didn’t think she could do that. She didn’t want to be the type of person who could do that. Sans must have mistaken her shudder for a shiver because she found his coat on her shoulders. She glanced at him and gave him a small smile, pulling the coat around herself. Despite not being cold, it was comforting to have his coat.

Thank you she signed. He gave her a small smile, his cheeks slightly blue. That was odd. Was he…blushing?

“No problem kiddo…Hey, uh…listen, Frisk…”He rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t know how good of an idea it is for you to face Asgore. He’s uh…not fond of humans.”

Neither were you She signed.

“Well…I have a different reason. Listen, Frisk, he’s probably going to try and kill you I don’t understand why you’re gonna risk your life for…For what exactly?” He gave her a look and she lowered her eyes.

You wouldn’t understand, Sans. This is something I have to do. I have to go to Asgore.

“You’re not going because…because of what I told you are you?” She could hear a sudden panic in his voice. He grabbed her wrist and forced her to turn towards him. She met his eyes at last. His eye was glowing again. It seemed to do that a lot around her. Without thinking she reached up, touching the edge of his eye socket. He flinched away from her. The glow died out just like that. She wondered if his eye did that when he...was upset or something? That was another question she had for him. Another question for another time she supposed.

I have to go, Sans. Maybe I’m the only one who can convince the King to let this plan go. I’m the seventh human. I should have gone a long time ago, but I was a coward. Its past time. I let things go too long.

“No.” He said simply.

Don’t worry Sans, I’m only going to talk to him. If things get dangerous, I’ll flee. Do you really think I’d let anything happen to me? What would mother think?

He was silent a long moment, that eye of his glowing ever so slightly in the dim blueish lighting of Waterfall. “I’m going with you. To make sure you don’t do anything stupid.” He said simply.

Hey, you can’t spell Frisk without ‘Risk’!

He gave her a gentle glare and then he began to laugh. “Damn, okay you got be with that one, Frisk.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “But seriously, I’m coming with you. No running off again, okay?” She nodded, knowing that sooner or later they’d probably have to separate again. There was no telling what he would do if he found out her real plan was.

She pulled the coat tighter around her shoulders and marched on. They were quiet as they walked, even Flowey who tended to grumble if no one spoke for long periods of time. As they walked, she could hear something like…rain? It sounded like rain falling. It wasn’t like a waterfall, this was much quieter…As they came around another corner there was a statue, with water falling gently on its head. The statue looked so fore lone, its head down, the water running down its face as if it were crying.

She didn’t pause by it, but kept going, knowing if she stopped, Flowey would probably have a fit. He watched the statue as they went by though and there was a sad look in his eyes.

Up ahead she saw a container with umbrellas in it. An idea sparked and she grabbed one, hurrying back, past Sans to the statue. He watched, amused, as she placed the umbrella in the statue’s hand. A gentle melody that sounded both sad and sweet began to play. She stood in front of the statue and listened, a smile on her face. She turned back to Sans who was still watching her, an unreadable expression in his eyes.

“Come on, kiddo” He held out his hand for her. She trotted back to his side and took it, glancing back at the statue one last time. It seemed happier now, that sweet melody echoing against the stone walls. She slipped her hand into his, noting again how warm his boney hand was. She smiled at him and his face seemed to flush – though it was blue so she couldn’t tell if he was blushing or what. He scratched the side of his face, looking embarrassed but didn’t say anything more.

Together they set out once more to the Capital. She knew soon their time together would come to an end, but for as long as they had each other, she was going to enjoy the moments they had together. Soon enough that’d all end, but for now…she chose not think of it. For now, she chose to listen to the echoing melody and focus on the warm hand in her’s.

Chapter Text

The rain suddenly stopped and Frisk looked to the distance. The stones twinkled up against the backdrop of the castle in the distance. A city rose up around it. Frisk stopped to take in the sight, once again breathless about how beautiful it was in this place. Sans stopped next to her, his hands in the pockets of his returned hoodie. When it had started to drizzle water upon them, she had given the hoodie back. It seemed it didn’t matter if she had fallen in the water or not. Waterfall just lived up to its name – it was a wet place and there was no staying dry here.

Is that where we’re headed? She asked Sans. He didn’t answer for a long moment.

“Yeah, that’s the King’s Castle at the Capital. New Home.” His voice was grim and when she glanced at him, the lights in his eyes had disappeared, giving him an abnormally grim look. “We’ve got a long way to go. Let’s keep going”

He turned and walked away without another word. She looked at the castle one more time and then glanced at Flowey. Flowey was watching the castle and then glanced up at her. He opened him mouth like he wanted to say something to her but closed it again. She hurried along, going after Sans, trying to ignore the feeling in her gut. She had a bad feeling about the look he had been giving her. She hoped he wasn’t going to try to stop her from meeting with the King.

Surely by now the King must know she was coming right? Papyrus was stalling Undyne so Undyne must know…and the King must know…right? She wanted to ask Flowey to scout ahead but decided that was a bad idea. Better to have him here with her rather than running off to who knows where. She supposed she’d just find out when she reached the Capital.


The humans, afraid of our power, declared war on us. They attacked suddenly and without mercy.

In the end, it could hardly be called a war. United, the humans were too powerful, and us monsters, too weak. Not a single Soul was taken, and countless monsters were turned to dust…

Frisk looked at Sans. He had read the text from behind her. He didn’t look happy and she turned to face him, a frown on her own face. Reading about the war of humans and monster was sad. There was something…tragic in it. The monsters hadn’t stood a chance and yet they were the ones who paid the price. The look on Sans’ face said he agreed with that thought without her having to say it.

She opened her mouth – to say what? – when they heard the sound of footsteps approaching. They both turned and at the sight of the dark armor, Frisk had a hope that it was Papyrus or the young yellow monster she had met before…but as they got closer and she saw the flash of red hair, she knew it was Undyne.

Sans and Flowey didn’t need to shout, she turned and ran on her own, Sans behind her. She saw blue, magical spears being thrown at them from behind. Sans would block them with his magic sometimes and Frisk wanted to help, but she knew better. She had to keep moving. They came along what appeared to be a pier-like structure, though there didn’t seem to be anything underneath it. Frisk tried not to think about it as she ran.

The spears started to come at them faster and Sans no longer worked about routing them off, instead focusing on running. She ducked under one that might have struck her in the back of the head and barely dodged another that might have hit her in the side. They turned a corner and the spears began to slow. They ran further and they stopped all together. The pair didn’t stop running however…

Until they saw they had nowhere to run to.

The structure ended in a dead end and Frisk looked down at the blackness below. Was it safe to jump down? She was betting it wasn’t. She looked at Sans, wondering where they should go. He was gritting his teeth, his one eye still glowing slightly.

“We have to go back” He said at last and Frisk dreaded that.

Undyne might…

“We’ll deal with that if she is” Sans seemed aggravated, but she knew it was because they were trapped.  “Keep close though” He turned and began walking the way they had come from. She did as he said and stayed close, her fingers tangled in the back of his jacket.

They saw Undyne walking towards them. Undyne stopped several feet away and Sans lifted his hand. She wondered if he were going to fight Undyne to get past them. Before Sans could act though, Undyne had lifted their own hand and then clenched their fist. Three spears appeared and cut into the structure they were standing on. Frisk felt it begin to collapse and her knees buckled, sending her crashing onto the wooden surface.

“Frisk!” She heard Sans yell and she looked up to watch Undyne turn away. She reached out, towards Sans, wanting to keep close to him. She didn't want to loose him. She felt Flowey wrapping his roots around her but then suddenly he let go or was torn away? And then...


 

“Frisk!”

“Frisk!”

“Frisk!”

Frisk opened her eyes slowly and lifted her head. She felt someone shaking her shoulders, calling her name. She leaned up slowly and saw that she was laying on Sans, his hands on her shoulders, his eyes wide and scared. When she met his eyes, she saw relief had flooded his face.

“Oh thank god, you’re okay” He crushed her to his chest, hugging her tightly. “I thought…for a moment…” He didn’t go on and held her close for a very long time. She clung to him, feeling safe for that moment. She wanted to close her eyes and just go to sleep right here... Then she realized she wasn’t wearing her satchel anymore. She sat up fast, spilling out of his arms and into the water once more. She saw he was laying on a bed of golden flowers – and her satchel and Flowey were nowhere to be found.

Sans sat up, trying to see what her panic was and when he realized as well that her satchel was missing, he stood in the calf-deep water. She stood up, angry to be soaked again, but more worried about Flowey. What if he got hurt? What if he got thrown somewhere? He was probably alright...but she couldn't help but worry about the flower. Sans helped her look without a word, but her satchel was nowhere to be found.

“Hey, its okay. I’m sure he can take care of himself” Sans rubbed her shoulder. She gave him a sad smile. They had no choice but to keep moving, she knew. Still, the loss of her things and having Flowey missing was hard. Sans’ hand squeezed her shoulder and she nodded. They had to keep moving. Flowey would probably turn back up soon...and maybe he'd know where her satchel was. More than likely he wouldn't be able to carry it with him, but he could at least direct them back to it.

They were in a garbage dump apparently, where trash from the overworld would spill down into the underworld. She saw some brands she had known on the surface…But she found that thought strange when she couldn’t remember a thing about her life up there and yet she could remember popular brands…or at least ones that had been popular when she had fallen down. She shook the thought aside, and concentrating on walking.

They passed a shop, but Sans didn’t go in. He said the shopkeeper was very old, one of the oldest monsters in the Underground…and that he had a talent for giving everyone embarrassing nicknames that he never seemed to forget. They did rest near the shop though. From her years in the Underground, Frisk knew it was getting towards the evening. The events of the day were catching up with her and yet…They had no safe place to sleep. She supposed she’d just have to keep moving for now.

When their feet didn’t hurt as much, they got going again. It wasn’t long until they found yet more plaques. Sans stood beside her as she read through them, her golden eyes grim. She knew this story was coming to a head.

Hurt, beaten, and fearful for our lives, we surrendered to the humans. Seven of their greatest magicians sealed us underground with a magic spell. Anything can enter through the seal, but only beings with a powerful Soul can leave.

There is only one way to reverse this spell. If a huge power, equivalent to seven human Souls attacks the barrier…It will be destroyed.

She looked at Sans and he shrugged. “That’s what they say at least. Nobody knows if it’s true or not” They moved on, through another small waterfall. So much for either of them getting dry. Frisk was sure she was condemned to spend her life soaked until they reached Hotlands.

But this cursed place has no entrances or exits. There is no way a human could come here. We will remain trapped down here forever.

“A lot of people believe it anymore” Sans told her, having read the plaque from over her shoulder. She didn’t turn to look at him. “We believe we’re destined to stay down here forever now. Its been…a long time since the war. Humans had fallen down but none in a long time…or well, I suppose you’ve been hiding for a long time”

She didn’t turn to look at him. Guilt was chewing up her inside and it hurt to breathe. He made her turn to look at him and she felt his hand hook under her chin, forcing her to look up at him.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” His voice was soft. “C’mon kid, you know me better than that.” She didn’t answer and she lowered her eyes. His hand touched her cheek softly and she looked up at him again. He was standing so close and suddenly all those daydreams she had about him before she had actually met him came flooding back. She remembered always daydreaming about meeting him and him falling madly in love with her and her finding her soulmate in the voice on the other side of the door. Her face flushed at the thought and she stepped back, turning so he couldn’t see her cheeks.

“Kid?”

I’m fine she signed without turning to face him.

“You seem kind flushed there – are you sure?” He seemed pretty clueless. That kinda hurt…It reminded her that her daydreams were nothing more than just that. Silly day dreams.

Let’s just keep moving she decided and she hoped her cheeks weren’t so red when she turned back to him. He gave her a look which made her face flush again but they kept moving on anyway.

They came to a room where the mushrooms lighted the way and the next where the lanterns slowly faded. That room wasn’t so bad. She just used the flame magic her mother had been teaching her since she was a girl to light their way.

“Heh, kid, I knew you were hot but I didn’t know you were on fire” She rolled her eyes – figuring by hot he had meant how she had been sweating since she got to Waterfall. Not that she was…Well, he always called her ‘kid’ so that was probably how he saw her.

She controlled the flame easily. It wasn’t like it would burn anything that wasn’t a threat to her. That included the ground and the soft grass that they were walking on. They kept on moving, past the lantern room and to…another dead end. Frisk sighed softly. They must have missed the way they were going to go. She turned around…only to see Undyne coming towards them once more.

“Seven” A voice from under the mask growled. “Seven human Souls and King Asgore will become a God”

“That’s not the plan anymore though, is it Undyne?” Sans stepped up slightly in front of Frisk. Not quite shielding her, but keeping Undyne from looking directly at her.

“You turned traitor Sans? For a human? What’s gotten into you? We’re so close to freedom – so close to smashing the barrier open and you’re going to ruin it all for her?”

“There are better ways. Now back off Undyne!” His eye began to glow brightly and Frisk readied herself as well. They needed to dodge and run as quick as possible…but then there was the sound of more footsteps. Frisk recognized the yellow monster from earlier in the day and Papyrus.

Undyne glanced back and then focused on them once more. Undyne raised their hand and spears appeared all around them. Frisk shuddered, knowing this was going to be hell to get through.

“Undyne! Wait!” It was Papyrus calling out. “D-Don’t hut the human!”

“Yo! Dude!” The other monster called out.

Undyne either didn’t hear them or didn’t care. Undyne fired the first of their spears and Sans moved fast. Frisk had never seen anyone move like this, dancing back and forth, using his magic to strike down Undyne’s. Frisk saw Undyne’s glare from under the helmet. They raised their hand and a second wave appeared but as their hand went down, Papyrus tackled them the spears didn’t shoot straight. Sans managed to strike down most but one…

“Frisk!”

Everything happened so fast. At one moment, a spear was heading straight for her and the next she was laying on the ground, looking up at the sparkling stones above her. She sat up and saw…

“Sans!” She crawled over to him. She could see he was hurt but it was hard to tell how exactly. He didn’t have flesh, he was just a skeleton. He didn’t respond to her saying his name. “Sans! Sans!”

“Sans!” Papyrus screeched. He fell to his knees by her and Sans. “Hang on Sans!”

“Shit!” Undyne had thrown off their – her – helmet and was down by Sans as well now. “You dumbass! I was aiming for the human! Urgh!” She seemed more frustrated than anything.

“Sans! Sans!” Papyrus was trying to get Sans to stir but he didn’t wake up. Was he…was he dead? She didn’t know what she was going to do if he died. She shook him gently, wishing he would just open his eyes, wishing he would just wake up.

“Nnrgh! Let’s take him to my house. He can recover there! If he hasn’t turned to dust yet, he’s gonna be fine.” Undyne stood but Frisk caught the glare that she threw out.

“A-are you sure?” Papyrus asked, looking up at the armored woman.

“Yeah of course. Now hurry up! Let’s go!” Frisk handed off Sans to Papyrus and stood. They all began the march back to her house. Frisk kept silent the whole way there, praying that Sans would be alright somehow. It wasn’t fair if he died for her – it was fair that he had taken that blow. If she died…She could come back. If he died though…

She pushed the thought aside and hurried to keep up with Papyrus’ long-legged paces. Sans was going to be okay. She had to believe that.

Chapter Text

“Nngrh! Papyrus! Stop your crying! He’s gonna be alright! I-I think…” Undyne hovered over the skeleton brothers, her one eye determined. She was wearing a tank top and some jeans, she had changed shortly after she inspected Sans. Well, Papyrus had looked after Sans in all actuality, but Undyne had stayed the entire time worrying about him. Though Frisk felt that she was more worried about Papyrus’ reaction if anything was to happen to Sans.

 

Frisk knew what her reaction would have been if Sans had died. She would have died too and they both would have come back. That’s how this worked, right?

“I’m fine,” Sans said in a low voice. A thin crack was indented into the center of his skull, running to the back of his head. It had been worse but this was all that remained now. “It will heal on its own in due time,” Sans had said as he waved off his brother's fussing. That didn’t mean Papyrus would let Sans off the couch he lounged on though, and Papyrus continued to hover anxiously over his brother, ready to attend to anything the smaller skeleton could need.

“B-but, your head is still cracked!” Papyrus wasn’t actually crying, although he was clearly very upset. He teetered back and forth on the spot, wringing his hands in a worried sort of way. Frisk patted his shoulder.

Your brother is durable, she told him.

“That’s just the thing! Sans has the lowest HP out of anyone I know!”

HP? she questioned. Frisk was confused as she peered around the room, the other monsters appearing uncomfortable when Papyrus had voiced his concern. Sans and Papyrus, being the only ones who understood her hand gestures, knew what she was asking. She could imagine the other monsters were able to guess her obvious question though.

“You do not know about HP human?” Papyrus asked. “Well-”

“Is this something we should be telling a human?” Undyne cut him off and she gave Frisk a hard glare. Frisk flinched away from her though she was several feet away. Papyrus launched to her defense, saying all of her best traits (her love of puzzles, pasta, and hugs). She turned back to Sans.

What is HP? she asked him.

Your mom never told you? He surprised her by signing back. She gave him a look, wondering why he wasn’t speaking out loud. This isn’t something we typically explain to humans and Undyne might freak the eel out if I was to tell you out loud, he grinned mischievously.

Well tell me already! Her impatience made him laugh but he got right to signing it out.

HP stands for HoPe. The higher your Hope is, the higher your HP is. I haven’t had a lot of Hope in recent years.

Sans…

“But you changed that kid,” he said out loud. He reached out to touch her still damp hair. He was smiling at her and she could hear her heart pounding in her ears. She felt her face heating up and she opened her mouth to speak but no sound came out.

Just then, Papyrus spoke to her, jostling them both out of whatever state of mind they had just been in. “HP stands for Hope! Monsters can be quite creative with naming! Nyeh heh!”

Oh, that’s interesting, she signed, looking up at Papyrus. She wanted to speak to Sans some more, about why she gave him hope, but the others were talking again and there was no room for her and Sans to have a moment. She didn’t pay much mind to what they were talking about, wrapping her arms around herself to keep herself warm. She was still quite damp and while Undyne’s house wasn’t cold, it felt cool.

“Human! You are shivering!” Papyrus, of course, brought attention to her state and she felt herself flush as all eyes in the room turned to her. “…Are you cold?”

“Hey kid, here, take my coat.” Sans had begun to sit up and remove his also soggy jacket and, when he saw the state it was in, he frowned. “Paps, can you get her some new clothes?”

“Of course! I’ll run home and-”

“Why are you all being so nice to her?” Undyne growled. “She’s a human!

“But she is a very nice human!” Papyrus defended her without missing a beat. “She is very kind and loves puzzles and pasta!”

“You aren’t telling me that you actually consider her a friend!” Undyne was visibly flabbergasted. She didn’t seem to understand.

“Why…yes. Frisk is our friend! I mean, I guess not everyone can be friends with a human. It can be quite difficult,” Papyrus shrugged, but Frisk caught a glint in his eye. He was challenging Undyne, tricking her. Even Frisk could see that, but Undyne’s eye glimmered and Frisk had to commend the tall skeleton. Puzzles weren’t the only tricks up his sleeves.

“It can’t be that hard to be friends with a human!” Undyne huffed.

“You seem to be having trouble with it,” Sans commented from his spot on the couch.

“Yes! I mean look and me and Frisk. We’re practically best friends already!” Papyrus threw one boney arm around her shoulder and she grinned up at him, at ease by his closeness.

“It can’t be that hard!” Undyne said again, annoyance plain in her one good eye. “In fact, me and the human are gonna be besties! Right human?” Frisk could only nod her head once, not sure if she was agreeing or not. “And I know how to show it! Your clothes are all wet. C’mon human – er…Frisk! I’ll loan you some of my clothes so you don’t get sick!”

Frisk didn’t get a choice in this matter because Undyne grabbed her arm and dragged her straight into the bedroom toward the back of the house. As soon as the door was shut, Undyne released Frisk as if she had burned her.

“Okay so…you’re scrawny so you’ll probably fit stuff that I wore when I was a teenager…probably.” Undyne gave her a look and Frisk wondered what Undyne meant by ‘scrawny’. Frisk gave herself a once over and she thought was pretty healthy looking. Well, compared to Undyne, she supposed she was scrawny. Undyne was all muscle and her arms were covered in scars. Frisk wanted to ask where those marks came from, but decided against it. She fell into silence as Undyne rooted through her closet.

Undyne’s room was pretty modest, though weapons decorated the walls along with posters from various anime. Her closet seemed to have a lot of clothes stuffed in the back, just out of view. There were only a few outfits hanging in plain sight. Frisk also saw that Undyne’s armor was kept in the corner of her bedroom on a mannequin of some sort. It probably made it easier to clean, she decided, and it looked quite imposing.

“Here!” Frisk barely saw the clothes being thrown at her and she almost didn’t catch them. “Go ahead and change. They should probably fit you. I was about your size when I was a teenager…Probably…” Undyne headed to stand in front of the door, turned away from Frisk to give her some privacy.

Not wanting to remain in her wet clothes any longer, she did as Undyne said and changed her clothes. The clothes she was given weren’t…exactly her style but they fitted her well enough, so she didn’t have any room to complain. Actually, they fitted her very well. Frisk was surprised. She looked towards the mirror on Undyne’s closet and turned this way and that. Her hair was up in another bun and she had to admit, she looked…silly.

She wondered what Undyne was like as a teen because these clothes screamed rebellion.

She was wearing a black off the shoulder top that had a…stain? She couldn’t tell what it was, but it was shaped like a skull and crossbones and it was focused more on the left side of the shirt. The shirt in question looked like it had been torn at the bottom, leaving her stomach bare. She wore shorts with ripped, mesh stockings underneath. Her boots from Snowdin seemed to match well enough so she kept those on. With her hair in a bun, it looked kinda silly, so she let her long hair down. With it falling around her face she looked a little better.

She turned back to face Undyne, only to see the woman already looking at her. She had her hand under her chin, as if she were thinking.

“Hm…Yeah, with your hair down it looks much better, but I have an idea.” She walked closer to Frisk and reached out. Frisk automatically flinched back. “I’m not going to hurt you! Hold still, nerd!”

She held still as Undyne, strangely with a certain gentleness, began to comb through Frisk’s hair with her fingers. Frisk was tense at first, but she relaxed. This woman was scary but at the same time…when she was like this, she reminded Frisk of her mother. Undyne pulled her hair up and she felt the other woman tie her hair up in a high ponytail, with a little bit of hair still down to frame her face.

“There. Better,” Undyne decided when she looked over Frisk once more. Without another word or any warning, Undyne grabbed her and dragged her back out into the main room. Papyrus and Sans were the only remaining guests. The other monster – the yellow one – had left apparently. Maybe to do more patrolling? Who knew, but she was a little relieved to have the room just a little emptier.

“Human! You look…different…” Papyrus commented upon catching sight of her. Sans looked up then and Frisk saw his face take on a funny look. He appeared to be taking a long time to look over her outfit and she felt her face turning red. By the time his eyes met hers, his face was a deep shade of blue. He only met her eyes for a fraction of a second before looking at anything but her.

“Huh…interesting,” Frisk heard Undyne huff from beside her. “Anyway, there! See, Papyrus! We’re practically besties already, right human?” Undyne threw her arm around Frisk’s shoulders, jostling her, but Frisk did her best to smile anyway.

“No Undyne! The Human is my best friend!” Papyrus launched himself at the two, wrapping his arms around Frisk's neck, hugging her, and pulling her away from Undyne’s heavy arm. Suddenly, Frisk was pulled backwards and stumbled into Sans’ chest. He still wouldn’t meet her eyes but he held a protective hand on her shoulder.

“Finders keepers,” he said simply.

“You found her first? A lazy bones like you? Unlikely!” Undyne challenged. Frisk could see her looking for an opening to grab at her again. Frisk was not liking this game. Pass the human was quite traumatizing really.

Chum on now, Undyne. That reel-y hurts my eelings.” Sans winked at Undyne and Frisk let out a giggle. He always made a lot of jokes, but she could just sense his good mood. He must be truly convinced that Undyne was no threat to her if he was joking around. Or at least…she wasn’t a threat right now.

“Uuuuurgh!! Paps! How do you live with this guy and his awful puns?” But from Undyne’s face, she really wasn’t upset. In fact…Frisk would say she was having fun. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by Frisk’s presence anymore. Frisk listened as they exchanged banter back and forth. When she giggled Undyne looked at her again, almost as if she had forgotten Frisk was there.

She looked as if she wanted to wanted to say something but just at that moment, Frisk’s stomach gave a very loud, very angry growl. Her face turned a gentle shade of red. The other three just stared at her for a long moment, and then suddenly, Undyne jumped into action.

“You’re hungry! Let’s cook something together! It’s the ultimate bonding activity!” Frisk didn’t reply because she knew Undyne couldn’t understand her hands anyway. She did lift her hands in a mercy sort of sign, shaking her head gently. She could cook but…she didn’t want to impose on Undyne when it was clear that the monster didn’t favor her.

“Cooking! That’s a great idea! Let’s all cook a great meal! It’ll help Sans recover as well!”

“It’s settled then! C’mon, nerds!”

Once again Frisk found herself being dragged by Undyne, wondering where she could have gone so wrong. She remembered the woman killing her and yet now, here she was, wearing her clothes and cooking dinner with her.

Undyne and Papyrus were getting the noodles, apparently they were making spaghetti. Somehow that didn’t surprise Frisk. She and Sans were in charge of making the sauce. Why they couldn’t use store bought confused her. She honestly didn’t know a thing about making spaghetti sauce anyway. She glanced over at Papyrus and Undyne, and caught Undyne’s eye. She seemed to be watching her and Sans…but maybe not because she was suddenly talking animatedly with Papyrus. Maybe Frisk was just nervous around her.

Of course, that wasn’t much of a surprise.

Sans stood next to her, not being much of a helper. He was annoying Papyrus with jokes whenever he could, causing Papyrus to make faces at him. Frisk opened a drawer and found it filled…with miniature weapons? Swords, axes, machetes, and other weapons filled the drawer, all small enough to fit in her hand. She picked up a machete…it was about the size of a regular knife.

She held it up, waving it at Sans in a playful manner, with a smile on her face. It was her way of saying, “Look at this, isn’t it silly?” without saying the actual words. He began to smile but, in a second, his eye began glowing blue. She turned and saw Undyne looming, a spear in her hand. Without warning she jumped at Frisk and Frisk swung out the knife, more in defense than to attack. She caught the spear’s tip though and kept it from impaling her.

She fell back, losing her balance. Her knees hit the floor, hard, with Undyne leering over her, her spears sending shades of blue over her. Frisk found…anger in her heart. She was angry. Why was Undyne doing this when Frisk had done nothing to earn this aggression? Frisk hadn’t done anything to her…she had never hurt anyone in her time in the Underground.

It's kill or be killed. Those were Flowey’s words and he had whispered them in her ears so many times over the years…but she could never believe them. She could never bring herself to hurt anyone. She had always run away and, in time, the monsters in the Ruins had just begun to leave her alone. They saw her as Toriel’s child and they had decided she wasn’t worth fighting with anymore, human or not.

They had accepted her as she was.

So why was Undyne attacking her?

“Stop!” Papyrus was yelling.

“She was going to stab your brother!”

“I was not!” Frisk yelled, tired of Undyne’s suspicion. “Sans is my best friend and I would never do anything to hurt him! So shut your mouth! You don’t even know me!” She fell into a coughing fit just after, her poor voice not used to being used, let alone yelling.

“You little-” Undyne’s face twisted with anger. “We can’t trust humans! They’re the reason we’re here underground and-!” Her voice suddenly cut off. Frisk saw Sans standing in front of her.

“Yet, she hasn’t hurt anyone.” His voice was chilling. “She wasn’t going to hurt me Undyne.”

“How do you know?”

“Because, unlike you, Frisk knows mercy.” And that shut everyone up. Everyone stared at Sans. He turned back to Frisk and held out his hands. She took them both and he helped her to her feet. His fingers brushed some of her hair out of her eyes and he looked at her for a long moment, as if making sure she was alright. She nodded slightly and he gave her a small smile.

“I-I just…I can’t…” Undyne didn’t seem to know what to say, her face was flushed, clearly she was embarrassed. Sans took Frisk’s hand and began to walk towards the door but…she saw how Papyrus was teetering, clearing torn between defending Undyne and going with them. She couldn’t make him choose. He was so kind and he shouldn’t have to.

Her fingers slipped from Sans’ hand and she walked back to Undyne, holding out the same hand to shake hers. Undyne met her eyes and she pressed her lips together, clearly not understand. Frisk frowned a moment and then smiled, making a fist and bumping it gently against Undyne’s shoulder.

Undyne looked like she had just realized something.

“You…you’re a big wuss!” She suddenly exclaimed. “I get it now! You don’t fight do you? Heh, I guess that’s okay then…” She looked at Papyrus. “She’s worse than you were before you joined the guard!”

“Nyeh? Frisk is just a gentle human! She’s meant to be hugged! She’s very soft!” And as if making a point, Papyrus immediately hugged her, squeezing her tightly.

“That’s probably because she’s got flesh Papyrus.” Undyne seemed amused by him. Frisk just let out a small laugh. “But really human…if you really mean no harm to the monsters…I guess I can let you go. We might even be friends.”

Papyrus let Frisk go enough so that she could shake Undyne’s hand. Undyne even gave her an almost friendly smile. Frisk could see that Undyne was determined, just like her, though Frisk was willing to bet it was a determination for something different. She smiled. Maybe she and Undyne had more in common than they thought.

And just then, Frisk’s stomach let out another loud growl.

“Hey, why don’t we forget cooking and just order some takeout? Sans, you mind running to Grillby’s for us?” Undyne suggested. Frisk could basically see Sans ready to jump for joy. She clapped her hands in excitement herself, she had liked the food at Grillby’s. Only Papyrus did not seem excited by this turn of events.

“Aw, no,” groaned Papyrus.

“Hell, yes!” Sans agreed.

Chapter Text

In the end, Frisk and Sans stayed the night at Undyne’s. Now that the storm had passed she seemed much more accepting of Frisk. She was still wary of her, but she didn’t seem to outright hate her. Things were certainly looking up. Papyrus had gone home, smiling all the way, happy he had seen two of his friends become friends. Sans had talked to him a little bit outside and Frisk wondered what was said, but hadn’t asked. Clearly, since they had walked away from her, they hadn’t wanted her to hear.

She was lying on the couch and Sans was on the floor nearby. He had already fallen asleep, but Frisk found herself lying away. Sleeping in new places was hard for her and she knew if she closed her eyes she’d find another nightmare.

It made her wonder why she had those. She had no memory before waking up in the Ruins, her head aching, confused and alone.

It was a rebirth of sorts, she supposed. A new start and, from her nightmares, she needed it.

From her nightmares, she could piece together pieces of that darkness in her past. There had been someone, a man she thought – her father? A brother? – who had been…cruel. He scared her. She had been scared to speak because of him. That fear still followed her, a dark hand on her shoulder, and she figured it always would. The thing that bothered her most though, was why had she been on the mountain? Her mother, Toriel, had told her how the mountain was a place that no one went. Why had she been there? Why had she fallen down?

She tossed her arm over her eyes with a groan. She wasn’t sleepy in the least and honestly, she had half a mind to wake Sans up and keep moving. She had to keep moving…It was nearly day three already. Four more days until…She had to reach the Castle and the King before then. She had to. She promised herself that she would.

She rolled on her side with a huff, closing her eyes tightly and bidding herself to fall asleep. Her mind was still racing: her past, where Flowey was, worrying about her mother…

“Can’t sleep, can you?” She opened her eyes. Sans was sitting up, his arm thrown across his one knee. He wasn’t looking at her, but it was clear he was talking to her.

She shook her head.

“Heh. Me neither.”

She sat up, wrapping her hands around her legs and pulling her knees towards her body. They didn’t say anything for a long time. Sans had changed as well right before dinner. He had gone home and gotten some new clothes, though his coat was hanging off the one edge of the couch to dry. It seemed to be his favorite, and Frisk liked it as well. She was simply sleeping in the clothes Undyne had let her borrow.

“Hey kid, what's your plan when you reach the King?” This was a question Sans had asked before and she had avoided answering it. It was a dangerous question. She squeezed her knees a little tighter against her chest, biting at her lip. “Heh, you know…I always dreamed of meeting you. I had no idea what you looked like or what your voice sounded like but…I had always dreamed of it.”

She was silent, not knowing what to say. She had dreamed of meeting him too, though she wished the circumstances were better.

“…When you weren’t at my station, I panicked a little. I won’t lie. I thought of all the bad things that could happen to you, all alone in Waterfall. It’s not a real dangerous type of place, but there are a lot of Royal Guardsmen between here and Hotland…And I worried. But there you were, just standing by the water, looking like you had never seen anything so beautiful…”

His words died off and he fell silent. She waited a moment for him to go on, but then she heard a gentle snore wheeze from his frame. An amused smile touched her lips. He had fallen asleep sitting up. She got up and gently laid him down and covered him back up with the blanket. She sat on her knees by him a moment, watching him sleep.

She felt her face flush when she realized what she was doing. Some part of her wanted to lie down next to him and sleep. It was weird she wanted to do that, right? But at the same time, she knew she’d have no nightmares if she did…

Determined to at least get some sleep that night, she grabbed her pillow and set it down next to Sans. She laid on her side, her back to him, but even so, she felt warm and comfortable, comforted by how close he was. She had her own blanket and yet, somehow, she still felt the feeling of his magic around her. Her mind was still restless, but it began to quiet and soon she found herself drifting in a peaceful sleep.


Frisk felt warm when she woke up. She was still groggy and had every intention of kicking the blankets off and returning to sleep for a short period of time, but she felt a hand around her waist, brushing against the bared skin of her stomach. She was surprised and opened her eyes to see Sans’ boney hand held against her stomach. His other hand was laying straight out, underneath her own. She could hear him snoring gently in her ear.

She laid there for what felt like a long time, unable to move because she didn’t want to wake him. She had dreamed of waking up in his arms, hadn’t she? But she was just a little girl then and now she was an adult. An adult with a duty. She knew she should get up and not revel in this simple moment; she only had four days to go and her journey didn’t seem anywhere close to over…

She heard Undyne stirring in her room and she decided it was time to get up before the other woman came out here and saw this. She gently moved from under his arm and sat up, stretching. She heard him stirring a moment later.

She stood and began to fold up her blanket. He blinked slightly and rubbed at his eyes. She could see from his expression that he wasn’t a morning person – or perhaps it was just the motions of waking up that he found so distasteful. She had always been a morning person – cheerful to a degree due to her being able to put one more night behind her. She placed the pillows back on the couch and as soon as he stood, she began to fold up his blanket as well.

Undyne came out of her room a moment later, dressed in her armor, her hair pulled back once again. Her helmet was in her hands and she glanced at Sans and Frisk, a small smile on her face. She seemed too smug for Frisk’s liking. She had a feeling that Undyne knew something she didn’t.

“You okay to guide her to Hotlands?” Undyne asked Sans.

“Yeah. I’ll wake up by the time we get there.” Sans stretched, his bones popping.

How long will it take us to get there? Frisk asked. They had done some backtracking to bring Sans to Undyne’s house.

“Midday, maybe a little longer, depending on what happens,” Sans answered. She grabbed the bag that Undyne was lending her so she could carry her dried clothes from Snowdin. She could change back, but she was assured that it would be way too hot in Hotlands for them. So…as revealing as the clothes Undyne had lent her were, she would wear them.

“Be careful,” Undyne bid them and she put her helmet on.

“Hey, Undyne, can you do me a favor?” Sans asked suddenly. Undyne glanced at Frisk and then at Sans.

“Uh…sure? What is it?”

“Ask Paps about it. Okay? We’ll catch you later, I’m sure.” And with that Sans walked out the door, slipping his coat on as he did. Frisk looked at Undyne one last time. She gave the other woman a small wave and then hurried after Sans.

What is Paps going to tell her about? she asked as they walked down the path from Undyne’s house.

“Eh, just a little errand I need her to do.” Frisk puffed her cheek out, disliking that Sans was being so secretive. She was just about to give him the what-for when she bumped into – almost – another person and fell flat on her face, tumbling through them.

“Oh…” the soft voice sighed. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you fall.” She looked up and saw Napstablook staring at her. She smiled as soon as she saw them and scooted back so she could stand without standing up inside the ghost.

“Napstablook! Its good to see you!” she said. She had seen them often enough in the Ruins. At first they had shyly avoided her but after a while they’d talk to her for a little bit. She had also gotten them to play hide and seek with her once or twice as a child. Still, they had been considered a friend after a long while, and her mother seemed to approve of her playing with the melancholy ghost.

“Oh! You’re…the girl who used to play in the Ruins. I haven’t seen you for a few days…Why did you leave?”

Napstablook was a sweetheart, that’s what she had always thought. She had saw them mostly when she and her mother would patrol the Ruins for Fallen after she had become an adult. She always had a kind word to say to them and she’d speak for them, if only a little, since they couldn’t understand her hands.

“I have important business to attend to.”

“Oh…” They floated there a moment. “Well don’t let me get in your way…Sorry…” They began to softly float away. They stopped a moment. “But if you ever want to visit me…come by okay? I only live over that way.” They motioned with their head and then disappeared.

She wanted to visit them, but she knew they had to keep moving and that they had no time for visits. It’d probably disappoint Napstablook…But she had to risk that. Four days wasn’t much time and she had honestly though they’d be there by now.

“Why’d you speak out loud to them?” She glanced at Sans, detecting a jealous hint in his voice.

They can’t understand my hands. So I always talked to them. She smiled. They used to play with me in the Ruins. Other than you and Flowey, they were really the only person I talked to.

That thought brought back that Flowey was still missing. She was very worried now. He must be hurt. Why else would he have not found her yet?

“Hm.” Sans remark was almost dismissing. “They didn’t seem in very high spirits.” She raised an eyebrow at Sans’ joke. “Almost like they had one foot in the grave,” he went on. He grinned at her and somehow she felt he was trying to distract her. She let it go with a laugh, walking on.

Her thoughts returned to Flowey and as they came closer to the dead end they had reached before, catching sight of a path that they hadn’t seen before…she stopped. She couldn’t stop worrying. She had to know if Flowey was okay or not.

Can we go back?

“Go back? Why?”

Flowey…He hasn’t come back yet. I’m worried…

“I’m sure he’s just rooted in whatever he’s doing,” Sans said with a shrug. She knew that Sans didn’t like Flowey but…he was being a jerk. She frowned heavily at him and he gave her a look. “That guy is bad news, Frisk. You don’t know-”

“I know well enough,” she said in a low voice.

“You really don’t.” His eyes were dark. “You don’t know what kind of person that guy is. He’s heartless and he wouldn’t hesitate to kill you if you reached the end of your usefulness for him. We’re better off without him."

I want to look for him anyway.

“You’re really gonna show a monster like him mercy?”

If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be a good person, then would I?

Sans suddenly laughed, as if he found something hysterical. “Fine. I’ll go look for him. You keep heading forward. If you run into trouble wait for me. But don’t enter Hotland without me. Just wait for me at the end of Waterfall.” He chuckled again. “Though kid, I gotta say, that was a real underhanded way of calling me a bad person.”

“I never-” she started.

“I’ll be back.” And he was gone.

She worried at her lip. Sans… She hadn’t meant he was a bad person. But he had said she knew mercy to Undyne, and yet…She supposed there was no use in really getting worked up over it. Sans would forgive her when she explained herself…she hoped. She couldn’t do anything else but keep moving for now. So onward she went, alone once more.


However…,the plaque read, there is a prophecy. The Angel…The One Who Has Seen The Surface…They will return. And the underground will go empty.

It gave her the chills to read that. She stood there for longer than necessary, just staring at the prophecy. An Angel…The One Who Has Seen The Surface…But it said they would 'return'. So they had escaped once but will return again? That made very little sense to her…but…She rubbed her shoulders trying to ignore the nagging feeling in the back of her head and just kept moving.

She crossed a rickety bridge and headed ever forward. She was careful, knowing if she fell, that Sans wasn’t here to catch her. Just the thought of how that death would feel…Dying once was enough for her already.

Luckily no incident happened and she soon found herself standing in front of a huge pile of rocks. It probably looked much like the mountain they were underneath. There was a red glow behind it.

That’s Hotland for sure, she thought. She knew that Sans told her to wait inside of Waterfall for him, but she couldn’t stop moving now. Determination made her keep walking. Determination made her take another step, and then another, and it had her walking straight into Hotland.

First thing she noticed was another sentry station. How many of these things did Sans have? Second thing she noticed was that said sentry station had snow on the top of it. She frowned at it, wondering why there was snow on it because it was so damn hot here. She had only been here for a few minutes and she was already sweating. Of course, having lava below her probably didn’t help.

I could probably wait here for Sans, she thought, leaning against the sentry station. If she heard anyone coming, she could just hide behind it. No way did she want a repeat of the whole Undyne-Incident. As she leaned there, she wondered if Sans had found Flowey, and if he had, if Flowey was alright. If he wasn’t, would Frisk reset to save him? How did she even go about doing that? Did she have to …die? Would she have to die to reset and would she reset back far enough to save him?

She couldn’t say….

“Finally alone?” a voice hissed. “Then again, I already saw that trash bag friend of yours…”

She turned. Her mouth opened, ready to shout. To ask him what he meant. He was one step ahead of her though.

“You idiot.”

And she felt his vines pierce her chest. She didn’t even have time to scream.

Chapter Text

Frisk screamed wordlessly as she fell to her knees, the contrasting shadows of the mountain of rocks casting her into darkness. Tears dripped down her cheeks as she remembered the vines piercing her chest. Flowey… Flowey had killed her. Why? What good…or evil…had that served? What had been the point? Then she remembered what Flowey had said.

I already saw that trash bag friend of yours...

“Sans!” She was on her feet in a moment and running, running as fast as she could. Sans was in trouble, Flowey was going to kill him – or hurt him – or – or – or…She didn’t want to think about it. She just moved, crashing through water, running through the marshes, not caring for her clothes or well-being. She just had to get to Sans before Flowey…

But why was he doing this? There was no reason for it! There was no reason for him to attack and kill her and S-Sans. No, he couldn’t have killed Sans. No! He couldn’t have. If he did…If he did….She felt anger and fear build in her chest and plunge into her stomach. She felt physically ill. She pushed the feeling aside. She had to keep moving, she had to keep going. She had to find where Sans had gone.

He had been angry at her when she had set off alone again. Angry that she had wanted him to find Flowey, but she had cared about Flowey…for some reason or another. Now she was seeing that it was a mistake. Flowey was awful, Flowey didn’t care about her. Only his own personal rule: Kill or Be Killed. He had just been waiting for the right moment to kill them both. Why? He had said that she had “stolen” his power of resetting. Did he think she would give it up?

Could she give it up?

She pushed herself faster and skidded around a corner, nearly running straight into Undnye. Undyne seemed shocked to see her and, as Frisk went to dash around her, the other woman caught her shoulder.

“Where are you going?” Undyne seemed concerned but Frisk didn’t have time to stall, to wait. Every moment she wasted made her fear that Flowey was going to find Sans and hurt him – maybe again.

“Sans!” she gasped and Undyne tensed.

“Is something wrong? Did something happen? Are you alright?” Undyne reached for Frisk again, but she flinched away. Even though she knew Undyne could help, the death she underwent because of her persisted in the back of her mind…But now Flowey had killed her too, and had implied that he killed Sans as well.

“I-I can’t find…Sans!” Maybe Undyne would help, maybe she wouldn’t, but Frisk had to find him.

“Whoa, I just saw him…he was near the garbage dump – hey! Frisk!” But Frisk was already running off as fast as her feet could carry her. She splashed through water and down the familiar path to the garbage dump. She found her way to the dead end, where the nest of golden flower bloomed. Sans was not there.

No no no no

Had Flowey already gotten to him?

“You’re so stupid, Frisk.”

Vines encircled her as she turned to face the small yellow flower. She couldn’t move, her arms pinned at her sides. She looked at the flower who she had shown nothing but kindness to, even though the first thing he had done when she had fallen was try to kill her. She had shown him mercy and here he was, trying to destroy her, to kill her. She saw two vines pointed at her chest.

“Die!”

Fire obstructed his vines, scorching them. He yelped in pain but he didn’t let her go. She glared at him, tears running down her cheeks. She could only assume he had already hurt – or killed – Sans. She felt a fury like she never felt before in her chest. She wasn’t prone to anger, but…she wanted to murder Flowey for what he had done.

He hesitated a second, his eyes wide. She stared him down, her rage feeling like an inferno that was going to consume her.

“I-I thought…you…Y-You can’t…” His face hardened again, that intent to kill glimmering in his eyes. Whatever he had thought, it didn’t matter.

She saw his pellets materialize and it didn’t take anything for her to inhibit them with her fire magic. She used it to sever the vines that were holding her. He dropped her with a snarl, smoke rising from his charred vines. He posed ready to strike again and she lifted her hand, prepared to incinerate him to a crisp, when suddenly bright cyan bones appeared in front of her.

Her fingers jerked back from them. She turned, surrounded on all sides. Flowey wasn’t surrounded by them, but a white bone surfaced, knocking him away. Sans appeared, landing on the bed of golden flowers just a few feet from her, her satchel in his one hand. She looked at him in shock…She thought Flowey had…

“Hey kid, you alright?” Sans asked, but the blue bones had yet to disappear. “You were givin that flower a bad time, huh? …What happened?” He seemed…wary and she didn’t understand why. She just watched him, wondering if Flowey had somehow killed her or…

The bones disappeared, blinking out of existence and she rushed at Sans. She threw her arms around his neck and she felt him stumble back. He was surprised, she could tell. She was just so thankful that Flowey hadn’t actually hurt him. She stepped back and looked at her best friend, wondering if he was hurt, eyes roaming for any injuries he might have come upon.

“You’re okay.” Her throat hurt, but there was no way she could move her hands from his shoulders now. She dug her fingers into his coat, determined to never let him go again.

“’Course I am. Are you okay though? You’re acting…weird.”

“I…You don’t know?” She thought he kind of understood when the world reset, but as she asked she saw a sort of recognition in his eye.

“Don’t tell me that…that weed…” He tried to turn the way he had flung Flowey. She kept him from moving. His eye was blazing. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “He tried to…again?”

“He told me he killed you.”

His eyes opened, shocked. “Nah, kid. I’m tougher than that…I don’t think he did anyway. I’d remember if I bit the dust, don’t you think?”

“This is no time for jokes, Sans! I thought you were dead!” Unbidden, a few stray tears dripped down her cheeks. His fingers gently wiped them away and for a moment, just for a moment, she wanted to lean in and…what? Kiss him? How did she even kiss a skeleton? Would he like that? Would he be freaked out? She bit her lip, lowering her head instead.

“Well I’m not. So don’t cry anymore, Frisk.” His arms wrapped around her, pulling her close once more. She hugged him tightly, just happy that he was here. It felt like they were at the end of the world and there was nowhere else to go. She wished she could just stay here, forever with him. Just ignore what she felt was her duty and just stay with Sans.

She was starting to realize how much she cared for him. She was starting to realize she had feelings for him – not just some stupid teenage crush, but real, true feelings.

She felt like a fool. She was a human and he was a monster and, maybe in a perfect world, they might be able to work something out. This was far from a perfect world though and she had a destiny to face. A destiny she had avoided for fifteen long years. Maybe if she had done something different.

Sans pulled back, gave her a smile and she tried to smile back. He handed her back her satchel and she draped it across her chest again, happy for a distraction. She riffled through it and found that she wasn’t missing anything important. Sans touched her shoulder and she looked back up at him.

“C'mon, we better get going. Hold on to me, I’ll get us back to Hotland.” She gave him a questioning look. “…You’re not gonna like it. I suggest you close your eyes, might help. Might not. But it might.” He gave her a cheeky grin and she clung to him, lowering her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes as he had said.

She felt his magic surround them and it felt like for a moment, the world condensed. Then it seemed to expand again, leaving her shaken and feeling ill. She remembered this feeling from before…his “shortcut”. She opened her eyes in time to see the garbage dump fade out and for them to reappear in the area near Undyne’s house. She briefly saw Undyne. She looked shocked to see the two of them, and then the world faded away and they were in another area. Sans was transporting them in short bursts and each burst made her stomach roll uncomfortably. 

They made it to the “Welcome to Hotland” sign before she had to push away from Sans so she could throw up. Her stomach was mostly empty though and she mainly ended up unpleasantly dry retching for several minutes. Sans came over and rubbed her back gently, moving her pony tail out of the way and holding her hair back. When she felt better, she shakily straightened and looked over at Sans.

“Heh, yeah, I know. It’d suck even more if I had just teleported the whole way.”

“Why?” she asked, curious. Not that she wanted to find out, personally, but she was curious.

“Because you’d be even more sick. Anyone with skin and organs and the like tend to be sensitive to teleportation,” he explained. “Doing short bursts is usually easiest on you…at least until you get used to it.”

“Could I get used to it?” she asked.

“Maybe. It really depends.” He seemed uncomfortable and she decided to drop it. “You’ve been awful chatty. What’s up with that, kid?”

It was her turn to be uncomfortable. Talking had always been a thing for her, a fear. With talking always came this feeling of dread in her stomach. A sort of wariness, something she had been taught. Talking brought fear because…Well she still couldn’t remember. But now not talking also brought its own fear. The fear of losing what little she had. If she talked, she and Sans could communicate better, she could make sure where he was, and she could shout if she lost him. She could do none of those things with her hands.

“Because…I guess I just realized I’m not a kid anymore.” It was the best answer she could muster without explaining it all to him. She couldn’t explain it without it sounding overly flowery and romantic. At least that was how she felt.

He didn’t answer but he shrugged lightly. Then he turned the way they had to go. “We should hurry. You’re all wet again and you’ll dry off quick in Hotland.” He lead the way with her following behind. He seemed to be thinking about something and she didn’t want to interrupt him by asking questions. Soon they came into the harsh heat of Hotland again.

Sans was right, she felt like her clothes and hair were drying off the moment they entered Hotland. Even with as little clothes as Frisk was wearing she felt herself beginning to sweat. Sans looked okay, but of course he was a skeleton and probably didn’t mind the heat like she did.

“C’mon, this place can be a little oppressive,” he said and was about to move when his cellphone began ringing. He answered it without looking at who it was. “Huh? Hey Paps…Yeah, Frisk found me. Yeah…Well we split up because- …Don’t worry Paps, I’m looking out for her.” He sighed. “Yeah…Yeah…Okay. Hold on.” He held the phone out for her and she timidly took it.

“FRISK!” Papyrus practically screeched. “He did really find you right? Why would you two split up? Its dangerous for a human in the Underground. You could have gotten hurt and what would I do without my newest, bestest friend?”

“Papyrus!” another voice growled and she knew it was Undyne. “I told you that Frisk is my best friend! Besides, I also told you that I saw her and Sans together before I came over here.”

“I know you did, but I had to make sure that she’s alright and that my brother was alright too. I don’t want to lose either of them!”

“I’m okay, Papyrus,” she assured him when he paused for a moment. “I asked Sans to look for something for me.”

“Did he find it?”

“Yeah, of course. Your brother is very capable”

“Capable? Does that mean lazy?”

“Psh, no Papyrus!” Undyne was laughing. There was the sound of a brief struggle and Papyrus yelled out something that Frisk didn’t understand. “Hey kid, listen, if you do run into trouble, you should call us. Even if you’re in Hotland, we’ll come and help you out.”

“Thanks Undyne.”

“What are friends for?” She paused a moment. “Oh…I should say that you should be careful in Hotland. There are some Royal Guards there too and I…might have put an order out before I met you that they were to kill a human on sight. But don’t worry! They don’t know what a human looks like so you can probably just walk right by them!”

“But Undyne, why don’t you just take back that order?” Papyrus’ voice asked.

“…Because I hate Hotland and I don’t want to run all the way out there. Besides, if I took it back now, saying I became friends with the human, I’d look like a traitor wouldn’t I?”

“Don’t do anything to get yourself in trouble, Undyne,” Frisk frowned. “We’ll be fine. I have Sans here with me. We’ll find our way though…somehow.”

“By the way, you’ll also have to go through Alphys’ lab. Say hi for me, okay?”

“Don’t you mean say ‘I lo-‘”

“PAPYRUS I WILL HURT YOU!”

“Nyheh!” And then the connection broke off, leading her to suspect that Undyne or Papyrus either hung up…or more than likely broke the phone. She gave a gentle laugh and handed the phone back to Sans. He put in his pocket and gave her a grin.

“Riled up her gills, didn’t he?”

“Yup.”

“He’s a real bonehead sometimes, heh.”

They were just about to get moving again when the sound of a cellphone ringing stopped them again. Sans flipped his open and put it up against his head – she supposed where his ear would be – and said “Hello” into the receiver, only for the ring to play again. He looked at his phone. “Welp, it ain’t me whose ringing, kid.”

She dug through her satchel to find her old phone, the one her mother gave her when she was a child. It could be no one else but her mother calling and when she looked, she saw it was indeed Toriel calling. She looked at Sans and then back at the phone, unsure if she should answer it or not. She knew her mother didn’t know how far Frisk had been planning on wandering. Sans shrugged, probably figuring who it was. Who else would call Frisk?

She lifted the phone to her ear and was immediately greeted with her mother’s voice. She felt her eyes tear at the sound. It felt like forever since she had seen her mother, though it had only been a few days.

“Hello, my child! I’m calling to see how you are! I know you don’t like talking but a few minutes on the phone with a silly old lady couldn’t hurt, could it?”

“Mom, I miss you.” It was the only thing that came to mind first.

“Oh, my dear, sweet, Frisk. I miss you too. It’s very lonely here.”

“I’ll be home soon. Before you know it,” she said, though her stomach twisted at her own lie.

“Is your friend there? Is he taking care of you?”

“Yeah, he’s keepin’ an eye out for me. He’s been with me the whole time.” Another lie, but her mother would never have to know the truth. Sans scowled at her for the lie, but she turned away from him. “Listen, mom, we’re looking for a place to stay tonight so…”

“Oh yes! I don’t want to distract you. I hope you have not traveled too far from home though. I have thought…well I have thought of leaving the Ruins perhaps…”

“No. Mom. I’m okay, really. I’m fine.”

“…I’m sure you are, my child. You have grown into such a smart and beautiful young woman. I just hope you know how proud I am of you.” At those words, guilt settled thick and deep in Frisk’s belly. She hated lying to her mom. She hated that she felt the need to lie to her, to leave her.

“I love you mom.”

“I love you too, Frisk.”

And then the phone beeped to let Frisk know that Toriel had hung up. She sniffled, trying to hold back her tears. All the fear, all the anger, all the anxiety, it spilled out across her cheeks. She felt Sans touch her shoulder, comforting but not intruding. She turned, burying her head in his shoulder, just wanting a moment of comfort, a moment to forget.

A part of her wished she had never left.

Chapter Text

Her tears dried quickly in the heat of Hotlands and it reminded Frisk that she had to keep moving, she had to keep going. Most of the day had been wasted and it was time. Eve was coming and they needed a place to stay. She was already beginning to feel quite tired from the events of the day. Especially the emotional pull of thinking Sans was dead.

Yet here he was, beside her, seemingly unbothered by the heat around them.

Coming so close to losing him was a good wakeup call though. It made her realize just…just how much he meant to her. How much she treasured him as a friend and…how much more she felt for him. She had pushed her feelings aside before, because she felt they wouldn’t be returned. Now she was wondering if it wouldn’t just be better to know outright. Just to say that she liked him and if he refused her, fine. If he accepted though…

Well she tried not to daydream about him accepting and returning her feelings. That had been a daydream for a child and she wasn’t a child anymore, despite the fact that he called her ‘kid’ all the time. She had a feeling that was just how he talked though and he didn’t mean that he saw her as a child. Or well, she simply hoped he didn’t.

They walked through the heat and soon she saw a large building simply labeled “Lab” up ahead. She stopped, gazing at the structure. It had a single door, no windows. It was strange looking, for a lab and all. She wondered what it looked like inside, but from where Sans was heading, she wouldn’t have to wonder long.

“C’mon” he bided her. “This is Alphys’ lab.”

They walked towards it and Frisk felt optimistic about meeting Alphys. If she had a lab, she had to be smart right? And maybe she would have interesting things to tell Frisk about monsters. It would be cool to meet her, Frisk decided. Not that Papyrus and Undyne were uncool, but she was really looking forward to meeting Alphys.

The door to the lab slid open as they approached and they entered the dimly lit facility. She slowed, though Sans didn’t seem bothered at all. As they walked in, she saw a giant glowing monitor and on it was…her?!

“Wh-what is this?” She exclaimed, walking up to her. It showed her leaning closer to the monitor from behind. She turned around, trying to pinpoint the camera in the darkness, her face flushed. How long had this person – Alphys? – been watching her? Sans was looking at the screen now too and she felt…so exposed. She didn’t like the feeling of someone watching her adventures on a screen like this. What would be the point…? Why…?

“H-hello?” The lights suddenly flickered on. She turned to see a small yellow lizard-like monster looking at her. “Oh! Yo-you’re here so early! I had thought when you went back to Waterfall that I…I had some time.” She seemed nervous and it made Frisk nervous. “I…I’m Alphys, the Royal Scientist of the Underground an I…uh…well…” Her eyes flicked to the monitor and her face flushed. “I’ve been watching you” The words came out in a rush this time.

“We can see that Alphy” Sans seemed extremely okay with that. His hands were in his pockets and Frisk couldn’t sense an ounce of stress radiating from him. He clearly trusted Alphys and if he did, she could. She knew he wouldn’t lead her astray.

“So anyway…I uh…I want to help you!” Frisk gave her a confused look. “I really…I really admire you, you know. You’re so b-brave and…watching your adventure…I can’t help but adm-admire you…”

Brave was the last word Frisk would use to describe herself. She let Alphys think as she liked though…but somehow it felt like lying.

“I can h-help you navigate Hotland. I’m r-really knowledgeable about…” And she went on. Frisk glanced at Sans, wondering what he thought of Alphys guiding them. He didn’t seem bothered by it at least. In fact, he almost seemed amused.  She glanced back at Alphys again to see her brow furrowed.

“What?”

“D-do you hear that? It…it couldn’t be. He’s supposed to have a show at his hotel today” Alphys began to titter. Frisk didn’t hear anything though. Sans was suddenly tense though and Alphys didn’t seem to know what to do with herself.

“Oh no” Sans groaned. “C’mon, Frisk, we gotta go” He grabbed her arm and started to drag her across the lab. Alphys followed behind, they were all nearly running. The door was so close. She wanted to ask what they were running from – or who. They were about twenty steps from the other door now

….fifteen…

…ten…

And the door slammed open.

Sans skidded to a stop, shoving her behind him protectively. Alphys stopped beside him, twirling her fingers nervously. Someone – a robot – stepped into the room and…

Holy mother of monsters, he was gorgeous. With a swoop of hair and fabulous legs, he walked like he knew he was hot. He probably did. He stood just inside the door and his eyes swept across the room. When he saw Sans and Alphys, a slow smile spread across his face.

“Alphys! Darling! I heard that someone important was going to be coming through here soon…someone you’re a big fan of. Actually a lot of the Underground is her fan now.” He further into the room, his boots (or were they just his feet?) echoed in the now silent lab. “And…seeing that the skeleton is here, I know she can’t be far. Could it be…”

And then suddenly Sans had been pushed down and she stumbled back. Alphys was shouting “Mettaton! No!” and Frisk was face to face with the robot. She wasn’t scared though, despite that fact that both Sans and Alphys seemed tense.

“So you’re the one everyone is going on about. Well, well, well, darling. I think I can make this work”

“Work?” She questioned.

“Hurry up now!” He had suddenly turned back towards the door. She peeked around him and…there was a studio crew coming in the door? Eight or nine people, some with cameras, some with props, all hurrying to get in as Mettaton snapped at them to be quicker. She watched, bemused as they quickly set up a stage, lights and a began to ready to film…what?

“Wait, wait, wait! We can’t start! Not with her dressed like that!” Mettaton motioned to her outfit and she glanced at it, wondering what was really wrong with it. “No, no, no! It’ll never do! Costumes! Makeup! Get this woman a proper outfit for television!”

There was a stampede of feet and before Frisk knew it she was being dragged away from her friends to an impromptu dressing room set in the corner of the room.  It was literally just two folding screens cutting the room off from the rest, but Frisk supposed it would do…

Wait, what? What kind of thought was that? A costume? What was this strange man – robot – whatever! – doing?

She found herself shoved behind the screen with two female monsters – one who looked like a crocodile and the other like a cat. They both had beautifully styled hair and fashionable clothes, but they seemed to wear too much makeup. Or well…Frisk supposed any amount of makeup was too much to her. She had never had the luxury of wearing it in the Ruins.

“Like oh my gosh!” the crocodile exclaimed, “You’re like, really a human, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, like oh my gosh!” the cat joined in. “You look like a human!”

“I…I am” Frisk didn’t know what to say really.

“That’s pretty…awesome!” the cat girl exclaimed.

“Catty! We’re supposed to be getting her dressed. We don’t want to keep Mettaton waiting!”

“Alright, alright! Like, let’s get her ready!”

Catty – and Bratty – as Frisk learned were Mettaton’s makeup and costume crew and they thought he was a super hottie. It was their big secret (that wasn’t such a secret at all) and Frisk didn’t have the heart to tell them that Mettaton was simply just on the other side of a screen. He could probably hear them. She was reassured that Sans and Alphys were there too. She could hear Alphys talking to Mettaton and Mettaton brushing off whatever her worries were. Frisk couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, but she was sure that it would be okay. Sans would intervene of anything dangerous was going to happen, right?

Catty and Bratty helped her out of the clothes Undyne had lent her and pushed her into some new ones and…Oh god, she couldn’t go out there like this! What were they thinking?

“Like wow!” They both exclaimed.

“You look like, really cute like that.”

“Like super amazing cute!”

“I-I don’t know” She crossed her arms across her chest.

“Like come on!”

“Yeah, come on!” And they had grabbed her arms and were dragging her out for everyone to see. She felt…exposed in this outfit. For one, it felt much, much too short. The heels were hard to walk in too and she practically had to jog to keep up with the pace Catty and Bratty were taking.

It was a pretty dress with a flowery pattern on it. The dress itself was dark blue, but had black flowers on it, barely visible against the blue. It had a corset that laced under her breasts and a white undershirt that was tucked under the main part of the dress, though it did have a halter that tied around her neck and left her shoulders and the top part of her back bare. The white top had off the shoulder sleeves and they were really puffy and unnecessary, if anyone asked Frisk(not that they did). The dress was a little short, barely covering her or so she felt. With the heels added on, it just felt like a bit much…

And her hair! They had somehow done some sort of magic and curled it, making her usually straight hair fall in soft waves around her face, held back with a few ribbon clips and a hairband. She couldn’t see what she looked like but she was sure it was something close to pretty.

She supposed a part of her was pleased that Sans would see her in such a state. She still felt that crush being harbored deep down in her chest and she really wanted him to like her.

Mettaton caught first glimpse of her and from his face, he approved. Alphys was next and her face flushed and she began stuttering out half-formed compliments. Sans turned last, almost in apprehension. When he saw her, his entire face turned blue, the pinpoints of light that were his eyes disappearing. He turned away, his face a furiously bright shade of blue and Frisk felt a little…smug.

Of course, it could be that her dress was too short but she liked to think it was because she was at least pretty in the dress.

“M-M-Mettaton! You can’t j-just force people to wear-”

“Oh hush, Alphys darling! I have to make sure she looks good if shes going to be standing next to me. And now she looks amazing. Good work girls! Okay, human, over here!” Without any input from Frisk she was suddenly standing next to Mettaton, while he held a microphone and lights danced around them.

A lion-like monster in a blue dress was behind the camera pointed at her and Mettaton and Sans and Alphys stood just behind him. The Camera was at an angle to Mettaton and Frisk noticed that Alphys and Sans were just out of his range of sight. Of course, Sans was still not looking at her, his face still blue from his chin to the top of his head.

“Hello everybody and welcome to the debut of my newest show: Answer or Die!” Frisk about jumped out of her skin when she heard that. Alphys tittered in her spot and she could see Sans’ eye beginning to glow, the embarrassment gone in need to protect her. “Today’s first guest is the human who has been taking the Underground by storm! You either love her or hate her but here she is today!”

The lights focused on her and she didn’t know if she needed to smile or wave or what. She didn’t have time to decide because the light swung back to focus on Mettaton. She wondered who was controlling the light, but couldn’t see past the camera man. How was he doing all this? Did he just lead a bunch of people ready to make any place into a studio at any time?

“Alright, darling, the rules are simple: if you answer all the questions correctly, you win a prize!” There was fake cheering along with some actual cheers from Bratty and Catty who stood on the sidelines, eyes focused on Mettaton. “If you get even one question wrong, you die! Easy right? Alright and your first question is…”

Frisk was afraid…What if she didn’t know the answers to any of the questions? She found her eyes going to Sans, as always, and she saw he was ready to step in but Alphys appeared to be talking him down. She was making a shape with her hands…was that an A?

Frisk looked before her and a small panel had appeared. On it were answers and an A-D choice. She glanced at Alphys again and chose A.

“Correct! Lucky first guess, darling. Let’s move onto the next question!”

So Mettaton moved from question to question while Frisk looked to Alphys for the answers. Sans stood beside her, eye glowing yet, ready to remove Frisk from danger whenever it reared its head. But Frisk was doing so well and she was curious to what her “prize” would be for winning. With Alphys’ help, she was sure she was going to win!

“Hmm…You’re smarter than I thought, darling. Well! I have a question that I think all our viewers are interested in knowing the answer to!” He looked so smug that Frisk felt a little…wary, but Sans was right there. She knew she’d be safe so she gave him a cocky smile and waited for the question.

“Alrighty, now darling, be honest with me: Would you smooch a skeleton?” His eyes slid over to where Sans stood as he asked that and it was clear that the question was really “Would you smooch that skeleton?”

She looked down at her answer panel and the answers were:

A: Heck Yeah!
B: Heck Yeah!
C: Heck Yeah!
D: Oh Heck Yeah!

She was sure her entire face was red and a quick glance at Sans showed that his eye was no longer glowing and his face had returned to blue. She was frozen for a moment, unable to really process what she needed to be doing. Alphys was glancing back and forth between her and Sans so she was no help at all.

Honestly? Would she smooch Sans? Hell yes, if she had the chance she would. But…

She took a deep breath and pressed her hand against D.

And there we have it darlings!” Mettaton cheered. “She would smooch the skeleton!”

Fake cheers filled the room, but Frisk could barely see it. Her face was burning, it felt like her entire body was on fire. She couldn’t believe this robot – this person would…He was still talking, excitedly into the camera and just like that the show was over. The camera was shut down, the bright lights went off, the regular lights came back on. Catty and Bratty were in front of Mettaton, telling him how amazing he had been.

“Now darling, you may have won…but I can’t have you stealing my spotlight” His step was suddenly threatening and Frisk drew back. Sans was there suddenly, his eye glowing, ready to fight Mettaton off…

But Mettaton was fast. He moved, his leg swinging out and catching Sans in the ribs. Sans hit the wall – hard – but was on his feet in a moment, his eye blazing brighter than before, anger clear in it. Mettaton already had her arms and she struggled. He was strong but she wasn’t going to die, not this time.

Fire flooded from her hands, and she heard Alphys yelling for them not to fight – Mettaton didn’t really mean any harm – it was going to be alright! It sure as hell felt like he meant harm. His hands tightened on her arms and she shoved her hands towards him, burning hot with the magical fire she wielded and he gave out a sudden yelp – of pain? Of surprise?

He threw her – literally threw her – away from him and she crashed into a door. The door gave way and she found herself in…an elevator?

“Wha-? G-get your boney hands off of me!” Mettaton’s voice was panicked.

“Don’t you touch him!”

“Like yeah! Leave him alone, you creep!” Catty and Bratty had clearly joined in. Frisk stood slowly, rubbing at her head. Alphys appeared in the doorway, her eyes wide and worried.

“Frisk…? Are you okay?”

“Y-yeah I…” She put her hand against the wall to steady herself and Alphys’ eyes widened.

“N-no! Wait!” She started forward but the elevator Frisk was in began to pitch downward. Not a steady, slow pace like it was supposed to – but fast. Faster than she felt comfortable with. Red lights flashed, filling the elevator with sporadic light and she pressed her back against the wall, sinking to the floor as she felt her stomach roll.

It was going too fast. It had to hit the bottom sometime, right? Right?

She could only imagine what would happen when it did. It would crash. She was going to die in a painful, horrible way. She closed her eyes, wishing that she was home with her mother, that she had not been brave. This was terrifying. She couldn’t do this! She couldn’t do it anymore!

And then abruptly the elevator stopped, jerking violently, but it didn’t crash. She found herself on the floor once more, head aching, stomach twisted in a knot, tears in her eyes. She pushed herself to her feet, cursing the heels she wore and watched the elevator’s door opened slowly…and then stopped. There was a small gap, just big enough for her to squeeze through. She pressed the close doors button so that she could get the heck back up to the top floor and realized… 

“It’s dead. Oh hell”

Chapter Text

Frisk shimmed out of the dead elevator and found herself in a cold basement…Though it looked like a lab. One of those awful, horror-type labs in a few of the scary books that Toriel had found for her when she was a teenager; she had read them all but…she had never been a fan of the lab-sort of scene. It just wasn’t scary to her. This place was creepy, sure, but she wasn’t too afraid. Just a little surprised that she had fallen all the way down here and hadn’t been hurt. Her heels clicked on the floor tiles as she walked down the hall, gazing around herself, wondering if anyone else knew this was down here.

No! Wait! Alphys had cried.

She knew. Frisk had a feeling that she knew. And she hadn’t wanted Frisk down here, did she? Was it dangerous? She walked slowly, down the hall, her heels casting echoes down the hall. She was going to be cautious. There had to be a way out of here. She just had to find it. As she walked down the hall, she saw what appeared to be a screen on the wall. It blinked to life as she got close.

Weird she thought. There were lights on, of course, down here, but they were dim. It really fed into the creepy, abandoned lab vibe it had going on. She crept closer to the screen as there seemed to be words flickering across it. They were hard to read as the screen dimmed and flickered every once in a while. She could barely make out the words on the screen….Something about the doing what the King asked them to do…

I will unleash the power of the Soul

That part stood out to her in particular. If this was Alphys’ lab – and it had to be since it was under her other one and she clearly knew it was here – then what…in the world had she been doing down here? To experiment with Souls…something seemed wrong right there. Her mother had taught her that every Soul was alive and vibrant and needed to be respected. And this seemed far out of those bounds.

She walked on, stopping to look at other screens, but they were so warped that they were hard to read. Things about Soul power and about monster Souls. She didn’t want her eyes to linger on any of them too long. There was a darkness about these entries and while they seemed to be written by Alphys…something wasn’t quite right.

Frisk just couldn’t put her finger on it.

I will call this power “Determination”.

A darkness seemed to touch Frisk’s heart when she read that. Determination. The will to keep living, to change fate. Was that what allowed her to come back after she had died? To reset the world around her? Was it simply her will to live? She remembered Flowey claiming she had stolen that power from him. What if…

She pushed it to the side. She had to keep moving.

She walked until she found a room, a large door right in the middle of it. It had to lead somewhere important. She tried to open it but quickly figured out it was locked. She crossed her arms across her chest and huffed out an annoyed sigh.

She glanced over, trying to sort out what else might be in the room, and saw there was also a Vending Machine and her stomach rumbled with hunger. All her money was in her bag upstairs though, of course. She frowned, ready to just walk off when a shiny glint caught her eye, sticking out from underneath the machine. Could it be…?

Yes, indeed it was! She reached under and pulled out just enough to get some chisps from the machine. Maybe today wasn’t so bad after all. She was only stuck in a creepy abandoned lab – but she found enough money so she wouldn’t starve! She slipped the money into the slot and was rewarded with some chisps. She opened the bag and popped on in her mouth, pleased to find that it wasn’t stale and had a delightful crunch to it. Enforced with a bag of chisps, she decided she’d poke around down here a little bit. There had to be another way out. The sign next to this door claimed there was a power room on the other side…all she had to do was reach it and she could get out of here probably.

To her left appeared to be a hallway, to her right a door. She tried the door first – it was locked as well. To the hallway she went. There were more screens there, more detailing on the Souls and experiments with them. One of them talked about monsters who had “fallen down”.

Died but had not yet turned to dust.

Her mother spoke of that sometimes, of monsters who would die, but their souls did not shatter quite yet as they were hanging onto life by threads. Usually they’d turn to dust within a day or two. Frisk shuddered at the thought of these experiments. They didn’t sound like Alphys at all.

She didn’t know how to explain it, maybe Sans would be able to figure it out. She knew he was a very intelligent person, when he wasn’t being too lazy to be a genius.

Onward, she found a room with what looked to be operating tables in it. Her brow furrowed. They were covered with a white, thick looking liquid. She approached the first bed and ran a single finger though the goo and found it was thick, almost like pudding. She wiped her finger off on the clean part of the bed, grimacing.

What was this stuff? It was…disgusting. She glanced at all the tables and saw they all had it on them. A frown touched her face. What had gone on down here? She walked towards what appeared to be sinks on the other side of the room when there was a sound like laughter, though it was filled with static. Frisk covered her ears, as they begin to ring violently.

A white bulb began to rise from the sink. It began to spill over the side and as it rose from the ground it formed a grotesque horror. Frisk took a step back from it. More of them formed until there were three of these creatures looking at her, seemingly floating above the ground, their multiple eyes rolling, unfocused.

A sound rung across the room, static-like laughter that made Frisk’s ears ring again. She covered them again, realizing that it was these creatures making that noise. They seemed to be trying to…say something. Do something? It was hard to tell. They seemed wrong, even by monster standards.

They seemed to be trying to say something now, but she couldn’t hear them past the static and a something that sounded like…ringing? A cellphone ringing? Did she have reception down here? She put her phone to her ear, hoping it might be her mother or Sans or anyone but instead she heard a voice say through the phone:

“Come join the fun”

She jerked her head away from her phone, staring at it hard. The ringing that those creatures seemed to emit was gone and instead the static was coming from her phone, though it was bearable. She lifted it hesitantly to her ear once more.

“H-hello?”

“Become one of us” The voice hissed and her eyes went back to the creatures, their eyes seemed expectant.

“No! I don’t want to become like you!” She took another step back, ready to flee. Its eyes widened and they moved forward, ready to attack she was sure of it. But last minute they hesitated and their eyes grew disappointed.

“That’s a shame” They all seemed to whisper at once, though the static in her phone. They seemed…lonely. Despite their looks, she felt bad for them. Whatever they were, they could obviously feel…something. There was clear disappointment in their eyes and despite their creep stature…Frisk wanted to be kind to them.

“Do you…want some chisps?” She grabbed the bag from where it fell when she covered her ears and held out a handful of the salty chisps towards the creatures. They hesitated and then they began to move towards her extended hand. They took the chisps from her and then began to leave the room, wiggling grotesquely, though they seemed pleased now.

One hesitated and looked back at Frisk. It wiggled its body and Frisk watched as a glittering object dropped from it. Then it joined the others and quickly disappeared down the hall. She went over and picked it up, finding it to be some sort of key. Perhaps she needed this…

Her eyes went to the doorway just before the sinks. It was dark but she moved forward anyway. She had to be brave. She had to get herself out of this mess…somehow. Inside was a strange device but…

“Ah! I bet this key goes, here!” And she slipped the key right into the machine. The screen began to glow a dull red and it began to hum lightly. She was sure this was going to help her move forward…somehow. She exited the room, heading back towards the main area, wondering where the creatures had gone. Probably somewhere to enjoy their chisps.

As she returned she saw the locked door had a single red light on. There were three more lights…so that meant three more keys right? Not so hard. It was like a puzzle game of some sort. Just knowing that there was an endgame to this filled Frisk with determination. She’d be back with Sans and Alphys soon enough. Hopefully by now they had Mettaton calmed down or had just…left or something.

If he hadn’t…well she was going to give him a real piece of her mind.

She peeked around the corner and as she suspected, the door had opened. She hurried through it, clutching her bag of chisps, eager to get this over with. The next hall had more screens for her to read as she went along. Who left these here she wondered? Were these really by Alphys or…

Entry 13. One of the bodies opened its eyes

So the experiment had worked then?

Frisk found herself doubtful, but there was a sudden chill in the air, as if something or someone where watching her. She looked around, but there was no one in the hall. She hurried forward, her heels echoing in the empty hall.

The next room was a room full of comfortable looking beds. She ran her fingers across them. They were recently made…recently used. Why were there all these beds down here? Why…A lump in one caught her eye. She riffled under the covers and found herself a key. She smiled, holding tight to it. She was feeling pretty confident. Two keys down, two to go…only she had to find where this one went as well. 

She noticed a door against the wall, a dark doorway leading who knew where…but it might lead to more keys and more places to put the keys. She kept a tight hold on her newly acquired key and what was left of her chips and headed out.

More Entries awaited her. The first was quite happy – everyone was alive. It seemed whatever experiment had been going on down here had gone well. It made Frisk happy to know that. The next was just the word ‘No’ written over and over again.  She bit at her lip but kept going, wondering what had happened now. How was she so invested in this? It had probably happened forever ago and now…

She saw another doorway, but the hallway stretched on. She kept walking. She could come back later. A room was at the end and she was curious about it.

She walked in and the room smelled…strange. Against the wall was a huge machine that looked like a skull. It was frightening just to look at. She moved slowly towards it, as if it were drawing her in. She wanted to reach out and touch it, see if it were as cold as it looked.

She heard a sound like a growl behind her and turned. A gasp left her throat.

The creature in front of her looked…to be in some sort of pain but then the mouth opened, the eyes narrowed and that growl came from their lips and Frisk knew that they meant her harm. It was aggressive. It moved towards her and she saw its teeth flash. Frisk let out a yell and tried to jerk back but the teeth caught the skin of her arm.

Frisk saw the blood and acted quick, summoning fire to keep the creature back. She retreated towards the end of the room, holding onto her bleeding arm. Blood dripped from between her fingers onto the ground and the creature circled. She backed until her back was against the wall and the creature stared her down. It knew it had the upper hand, it could smell her blood.

She had dropped her key and the chisps a few feet away. The chisps she didn’t care so much about but she needed that key! Her eyes darted between the key and the creature. There was no way she could grab it without the creature getting her again.

But she couldn’t get out of here without that key.

She dove for it and her bloodied hand wrapped around the key but as she turned the creature was atop her, growling in her face, its breath warm against her skin. She cried out and reached for anything to be a weapon. Her fingers wrapped around the bag of chisps and it crunched in her fingers. The creature turned its head towards the bag and climbed off her to sniff curiously at the bag.

“I-is this what you want?” She asked it. “Are you…hungry?” She pulled the bag to her and grabbed a handful of chisps out of it, tossing them towards the way she had come in. The creature followed them eagerly and no longer seemed interested in her. She rolled to her side and pushed herself to her knees. The creature was scooping them up and shoving them into its mouth, crunching happily on the chisps.

All that for some food? Was there no food for it down here?

What kind of creatures were these down here?

Then again, Frisk was always really grumpy when she was hungry. Not murderously grumpy, but she still could guess she was pretty bad. Were these creatures starving or…? Maybe chisps were just their favorite thing. Maybe if she could, she’d ask the next one she came across.

She turned her attention to her arm. The bleeding was slowing, but there were some strips of flesh hanging off of it. It probably needed to be stitched but Frisk had no idea how to do it herself.  She would just have to wrap it and hope for the best. Now where to find wrappings down here?

There was a doorway next to the strange machine. Maybe whatever was in there could help her. She headed towards it and found an old, dusty room. It looked like it hadn’t been touched in a while. There was a television sitting against the wall and several old VHS tapes sitting next to it. Frisk’s brow wrinkled.

Her wound forgotten for the moment, she reached for the first of the tapes. ‘Tape 1’ it was labeled.

Psst! Gorey! Wake up! The picture was blurry and dark. She could just barely see someone sitting up in what looked to be a bed. They were some kind of monster with great horns.

Mmm? What is it, dear? Frisk saw their mouth moving. Their voice was very deep…and she couldn’t help but feel like she had heard it before a long time ago. Er…? And why do you have that video camera?

Shush! But the woman’s voice was playful and also very familiar. I want to get your reaction!  A familiar laugh. Frisk realized who it was…but no, it couldn’t be could it? Gorey, dearest…What is my favorite vegetable?

Hmm…Carrots, right?

No, no, no! My FAVORITE vegetable is….Eda-mom-e! And the woman laughed and Frisk knew it was none other than Toriel, her mother. Only her mother made such silly jokes. Only her mother laughed like that. She sounded younger though, more carefree. Frisk felt her eyes water, homesickness making her sink to her knees before the dark television.

Go back to bed, dear

The video was still going, but Frisk didn’t want to hear anymore. She lifted her fingers to eject it but something made her stop. She listened. Her mother made another bad joke and the man let out a laugh.

You sure are excited to have this child!

A child? Her mother had a child. It made sense, but Toriel had never talked about a child. Had she…lost them? She must have. As a baby or slightly older, it didn’t really matter did it? Frisk had saw sadness deep in her mother’s eyes as she had grown older. Had she thought often of the child she lost?

…Had Frisk been a replacement?

No, no, no! Her mother wasn’t like that. She was kind and caring. She loved Frisk and Frisk loved her mother so much. That woman had cared and protected her all these years. Whatever had happened to her child, Frisk had not been a replacement.

The video ended and she put it on the other side of the television. She had to watch all of these, something made her press on. Determined, she wanted to see what they all held. Was it more information about her mother?

The second tape was dark, it looked like a lens cap was covering the camera. There was the sound of static and then children laughing.

Okay, Chara, are you ready? Do your creepy face! The child talking screamed and then began to laugh, almost hysterically. Oh! Wait! I had the lens cap on…

Well I’m not going to do it again. A voice said, amusement coloring their tone. It sounded like a child but their voice was wispy, as if they weren’t used to speaking.

What?! You’re not going to do it again…? There was the sound of a slight struggle, clearly two kids messing around. Come on! Quit tricking me! And then more laughter, from both of the children.

The tape ended after more static. She stared at the screen a long time and then switched to the next tape. It was the same children, laughing and messing around. The first child called for the other, Chara, to smile for the camera.  Then the child laughed and stated that they had kept the lens on the camera on purpose.  They seemed to find this joke hilarious.

Then the other child spoke…but their voice was too low or too far away for Frisk to hear.

What? Oh, yeah I remember….When we tried to make butterscotch pie for dad, right? There was nervous laughter. It sounded familiar, that nervous laughter almost like…The recipe asked for cups of butter but we accidently put in buttercups instead.

Another muttered reply from the child called Chara.

Yeah! Those flowers got him really sick. I felt so bad…we made mom really upset. I should have laughed it off like you did. Um…anyway, where are you going with this? Another muted reply. Huh? Turn off the camera…? Okay.

And the video cut off there.

The next video was taken shakily. There was someone on a bed, though she could only see their hand and the cuff of what looked to be a green sweater. The hand looked…human. Had Chara been a human? It was the other child speaking at first, sounding like they were crying. The other was quick to knock aside their fears, though they didn’t sound well. What had happened to them.

I’ll go get the flowers

Frisk took in a deep breath as she began to piece this together. Her mother had not one child but two and one might have been…human?

It was as if her whole life had been a lie. Why hadn’t Toriel told her about the children? Frisk could understand not wanting to talk about it…but, didn’t she think it was important? Then again Toriel had said that children and come through the Ruins and died on the outside.  Frisk’s head felt like it was splitting.

She put in the last tape.

It was sad. Clearly the child, Chara, was very ill. The video was focused mostly on the wall, though the blankets could be seen beneath it, the child’s hand resting just before it again, as if it had carelessly been placed. They probably didn’t even know it was on. She could hear her mother speaking. She wanted to reach out and touch her through the screen. Comfort her. She sounded like she was crying.

The picture was blurry and the tape skipped and jumped, though the audio seemed okay. They were all talking, encouraging the sickly child to get better.

Six, right?

Six human souls. It’d make seven if they sickly child was a human. What had gone on here? Frisk sat in front of the television a long time, trying to make sense of it all. If she survived this she was going to talk to her mother about this. She needed answers and she needed them now. She felt like her head was going to split from all of this.

She felt like she didn’t even know her own mother. She had lived with her for fifteen years. Everyone had their secrets, but Frisk’s own were her dark spots in her memory and half-forgotten fears. Her mother's were rotting in a creepy lab, probably forgotten about by the woman herself. She touched the wound on her arm, sticky with her own drying blood.

She had to get out of here already. She had wasted too much time.

She looked around the room, spotting what she had missed when she first came in. A machine much like the last one she had put a key in. She slipped the key acquired from under the bedsheets in and heard the machine click and begin to hum gently.

She turned and looked at the television once more, biting at her lip. She took a deep breath and turned away.

She had to get out of here. Then she might get some answers.

Chapter Text

Frisk looked around the room, the fog was so thick, she almost couldn’t see the doorway behind her. She knew that she should turn back and go to another room, find another way but…A shadow moved in the fog. She followed it. It was the reason she had entered the room to begin with. It was in the shape of a man…and she thought that maybe someone else was down here with her, someone with some sanity, someone who could help her. She reached out her hand and nearly yelped when a hand grabbed her wrist. They jerked her forward and her eyes widened as she saw what they looked like.

Distorted – wrong. Their face was skeletal and at first they – he? – almost looked like Sans…then Papyrus and then she realized his eyes were glowing both orange and blue, cracks running across each of his glowing eyes. His hand, a large hole in the center back of it, gripped her wrist tighter and she cried out in pain, trying to pull away. She pushed her hand against his chest, only to have her fingers brush through him.

There was a voice, distorted, all around her. She couldn’t understand it and it rang in her ears, filling the void around them. It was a desperate type of voice, the voice of someone who was running out of time, but she couldn’t understand.

And then just like that, she was alone. She fell forward, as he was no longer there to support her weight, her cheek pressed against the cold ground as she hissed each breath, too fast, too hard, through her teeth. Her whole body shivered violently, although she was too warm. The world spun and it felt like there were needles digging into every inch of skin. The world condensed and expanded again, she couldn’t focus. She wondered if her experience with the man was real or….?

She pushed herself to her knees and crawled a few feet until she felt stable enough to get back on her feet and wobble, every step uncertain, out of the room. She sunk to the ground once she was outside of the room, still gasping for air like a fish pulled out of the water. That man, real or not, had terrified her. She wished Sans was here. She wanted him with her so badly. She hated this. Whatever had happened, she hated it.

Frisk wasn’t sure how long she sat there but she stood eventually, still shaking, but her breathing was normal again. She moved onward, ever onward. If she wanted to see Sans again, she had to keep moving. She couldn’t give up. Sans might not find her down here…And she would hate to think what would happen if she was left down here to rot. She’d die and then…

Dying! That was it!

If she ‘reset’ she could get out of here!

But…Sans would know. Would he be disappointed? Or would he understand?

The thought of disappointing Sans made her hesitate. She should save it for the last possible outcome. She should try to get out of here alive and if she couldn’t…She couldn’t give up like that. She sighed, taking a deep breath, clearing her mind.

Her shivers calmed and she knew the panic attack that had been pressing down on her was finally going away. She pushed herself back the way she came, past the room with the videos, the room with more mysteries than answers. She stopped, thinking of her mother.

What was she doing? Was Toriel waiting for her stupid, cowardly daughter to come running back home?

She closed her eyes and she felt tears threaten. What was she doing here? Alone, scared, hurt…There were things down here with her. Things that wanted to hurt her. She remembered the cold feeling of that…that man’s hand around her wrist. She, thinking about it at last, looked at her wrist.

A bruise. A large bruise from his hand, each finger distinct against her pale skin. She touched it gently, wrapping her fingers around it. His hand had been bigger than her’s. Her shoulder hurt, her wrist hurt. She whimpered without meaning to. She just wanted to see Sans again. She knew she had said she wasn’t going to give up, but the urge to just lay down and die was overwhelming. She could change things, make it so she never had to come down here.

She could forget what she learned about her mother.

But not really.

She forced herself to move forward, down the hall, straight, forward. She didn’t stop until she came to a room with a few large fans and a switch. She looked at it a long moment before pressing it. Her mind felt muddy, heavy with fear and worry…and longing. Sans…Was she ever going to get out of here? Could he find her down here?

The fans began to buzz and she watched as the air in the room cleared.  She took one step forward when she saw the creature drop from within the fans to the ground. Huge, towering, it was a dog-like creature. Its ears were perked up, turned straight towards her. She stepped back, her back to the wall. She was tired. So tired.

She couldn’t keep fighting. Not like this.

I’m sorry Sans she thought. It wasn’t fair for her to give up, but it was easier. It was easier on her. She’d do it better next time. That much she could promise herself and him. She closed her eyes. She didn’t want to see it.

It never came though.

She opened her eyes and the monster had stopped because there was something – someone – between her and it. She saw a blue hoodie and familiar blue magic and tears filled Frisk’s eyes. It was Sans. Sans had found her! But the dog-like creature had not stopped its march. It leapt and Sans dodged, but he only had so much room between her and the creature. He was shielding her.

“No wait! Sans!” She called, trying to tell him that the creature was probably just hungry, just like the others. He shot bones at it but it jumped.

If he moved, it would land on her…So he simply didn’t move.

The full weight of the dog crashed onto him and they both went down onto the ground. Frisk finally found herself on her feet. She threw what was left of the bag as far as she could. It hit the side of the dog’s face and it turned its head, one large orifice dripping a strange goo as it looked at her. Its tail began to wag gently.

“Go get it!” She pointed at the bag. It stared at her for a moment and she stomped her foot. It yipped, clearly surprised and backed away from her…and away from Sans. She hurried forward, grabbing the bag and offering it out to the creature. The orifice on its face began to drip faster. “Take it!” She snapped, trying to act like she was talking to a disobedient dog. It took the bag, slobbering on her arm as it did and then retreated, as if sensing her mood.

She fell to her knees by Sans, who hadn’t moved since the dog had moved away from him.

“Sans?” She wanted to hold him up a little bit, but she wasn’t sure if he was hurt or how badly. There was a trace of red liquid dripping from his mouth, but he wasn’t turning to dust so… “Sans?! Answer me!”

He took a shuddering breath. “I-I’m okay, kiddo” He tried to push himself up but she hovered her hands above his chest.

“Lemme see” She insisted.

“Frisk…”

“Just let me…”

“I’m fine” he sat up, a bit forcefully and wheezed in pain.  She put her hand behind his back, in case he’d fall. “Really, kid, I’m fine” His eye was glowing gently and she knew he was in some serious pain.

“You should have moved” She told him.

“And let you get hurt?” His eye went to the cut on her shoulder. “Worse? C’mon, let’s just get out of here. This place give me the dog gone creeps”

“Ugh, if you can make jokes, you’re fine” She huffed and she stood. She offered him her hand and he took it. She helped him to his feet and held his hand tightly in her’s. He looked at her and pulled her closer. She felt his magic build around him and suddenly he cried out in pain, stumbling away. He fell against the wall, wheezing. “Sans! Sans are you okay? What’s wrong?”

“I…ugh…” He pressed his hand to his chest. Frisk let out an angry huff and grabbed the hem of his shirt, pulling it up, not caring what he thought. He cried out in shock and surprise but as she looked, she saw that the bones of his ribs were cracked and his soul…

“You’re hurt. Bad.” She told him.

“I’m fine”

“Your soul is cracked Sans” She bit at her lip. Cracks in souls happened when the damage to the body was critical or so her mother had told her. He needed healing because if he took any more damage he could… “You can’t use magic right now. Your soul is hurt. Let’s just keep moving okay?”

“But if we get attacked…”

“I’ll handle it” She set her face and hoped she looked determined. Sans sighed, his fingers reaching out to touch her cheek.

“I’m supposed to protect you, y’know?”

She felt her face flush and she stepped away before she did something stupid, like kiss him, and shook her head. “I can protect us Sans. Just work on relaxing.”

“That’s easy – I’m a rela-KING” She pressed her lips together and tried not to laugh but it slipped out anyway.

“You silly skeleton.” She shook her head again. “Hey, how’d you find me anyway?”

“Alphys. She told me that…there was another lab under here. I…kinda knew I think. I’ve been looking around for you.”

“You kinda knew?” She asked. They began walking out of the room. Sans wasn’t limping, not quite, but it was clear now that he was moving that he was hurt pretty bad.

“I…” He didn’t seem to know how to explain it so he stayed silent. They walked down the hall together, now both silent, lost in their own thoughts. Suddenly Sans stopped and grabbed her arm, pulling up for him to inspect.  “Where did you get this bruise? What happened?”

“S-some guy…In this one room. He actually…kinda reminded me of you” He seemed troubled by that. Frisk frowned. “Is…something wrong?”

“Can you take me to the room you saw him in?” She nodded and she led the way. He followed and that was the only reason she stepped back into the room. But…it wasn’t foggy anymore. It was just clear and she could see it was much like the other rooms. Monitors lined the walls and there were refrigerators standing in silent rows. Sans walked further into the room and stopped in the center, as if he could see something she couldn’t.

“Sans?” She placed her hand on his shoulder gently.  His hand touched her’s, holding in there.

“I…I thought I had found him. Maybe.”

“Who?”

“Someone…I…can’t remember.” He shook his head and turned to give her a sad look. “Look, it doesn’t matter anymore. Let’s just…” His eyes swept across the room and eventually landed on a screen on the wall, like the many that Frisk had been reading. She was about to suggest they keep moving but he headed towards the screen.

This was when Frisk realized that it was not like the others. The color of the font was not green, it was white.

She followed behind and there was a strange…message on it. She couldn’t read it. It was in strange characters but Sans stared hard at it and she watched as his hand touched the screen gently.

“I knew it. You were here…weren’t you?” he said softly, almost to himself.

“Sans, what’s going on?” she demanded.

His eyes went to her, as if he had forgotten that she was there. He turned away from the screen and focused on her once more, his face troubled. He took a deep breath and sighed.

“This was written by my father. I know it had to be him. I…I don’t…”

“Your father?” She didn’t know what to say.

“He disappeared years ago and…no one remembers. I don’t…I don’t really remember him, but I’ve…forced myself to try to.” He seemed to have trouble speaking. It was like he was straining himself. She took a step forward and had him sit. She sat next to him, holding his hand tightly.

“Sans…What happened?” She asked. She didn’t know if he wanted to talk about it but maybe…

“Humans. Humans happened.” He leaned back against the wall, looking up, seemingly at nothing. His eyes closed and he didn’t speak a long time. “Skeletons…live a while. My dad was pretty young when the barrier was erected but he was around. He got…passionate about tearing it down, about escaping. He met mom and he knew that he wanted his children to see the outside world. He wanted us to see the sun…”

Frisk was silent. He didn’t really seem to be talking to her. Sure he knew she was there, but he wasn’t talking to her. He was just…talking, to the air, to himself. She stayed silent listening.

“Mom got sick after Papyrus was born. I remember that. And it’s how I know that someone was there. It had to be dad. It had to be. Someone was there, taking care of us. Mom was always in bed, so it couldn’t have been her and she was an only child, that’s why she wanted two children. She didn’t want me to be lonely…I…” She watched as Sans wiped a tear away with is free hand.

“You don’t have to…” She started to say, intending to tell him it was okay to stop talking about this. It was clearly painful for him.

“No, no…I mean, you want an answer don’t you?” He let out a bitter laugh. She didn’t understand but didn’t get the chance to ask. “Mom died.” His voice quivered, as if he was about to burst into tears and Frisk felt tears swell at the corner of her own eyes. He cleared his throat and went on. “Someone was still there though. Papyrus was just a baby and I…I was just a kid. Someone was taking care of us coz, hell I couldn’t do it. Not by myself. Someone was there and I…I know I loved them so it had to be Dad. It had to be dad who was there”

“Why…don’t you remember?”

“No one does.” He took in a deep breath. “I’m still trying to figure that part out…but…He was there. I don’t remember him, but I know. I’ve…I’ve seen him here and there. Sometimes. I feel like he’s still watching over me and Paps. So I know…he existed. Somehow…he still does”

She didn’t know what to make of what he had told her, but one question was burning her tongue. She had to say it, though she was afraid of the answer.

“Why is it the humans’ fault that he’s….gone?”

“I told you, he wanted me and Paps to see the sun. I remember…I’m sure I remember that. Him sitting there and telling me about the sunlight – and the grass. The air. He wanted me and my brother to see that. He wanted to sit under a tree with mom.” Again silence. “I…hated humans. I hated them. Because dad disappeared when something went wrong with one of his experiments. It was like he was…erased. I had trouble remembering him and no one else seems to know who me and Papyrus’ dad is. If you ask them, they just…get confused. He was gone because he wanted to escape and the only reason we had to escape was because humans locked us down here”

Frisk stayed silence. There was a darkness she had never heard in Sans’ voice. A darkness Frisk felt in her own heart, with every heartbeat, a darkness she beat back time and time again. Anger, hate. Tears were running down his face and his eyes were dark voids. She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear anymore.

“So when humans began falling in the Underground, I would kill them”

Frisk felt her breath catch in her throat.

“It never bothered me to kill humans. They deserved it, I told myself. They locked us down here. It’s because of them that me and Papyrus are alone. I shoved all the blame I didn’t have a place for onto humans. I hated them. Every single one of them and in my own way, I wanted to go to the surface and show humans that they had every right to fear monsters. It was right of them to lock us away because we were their nightmare.”

Frisk let go of his hand and he looked at her. His eyes were still blank and dark, an infinite void that she feared. She felt tears in her own eyes and she choked on them, trying to stutter something out. She found herself backing away from him. Afraid. No, not afraid. Angry.

Was everyone in her life hiding a dark past from her? She didn’t even really know Sans – she never did. How could she call him her best friend? Here it was, the truth of his hate, slapping her in the face. It hurt. It stung. He had hurt people – no, no, Frisk couldn’t be a child about this one. He had killed people. Because he hated them – that was just…

She pushed herself to her feet and turned away from him, covering her face with her hands.

“Do you hate me now?” Sans voice was gentle, acceptant. He expected this reaction and how couldn’t have he? She stood, her back to him, choking on her own tears for a long time, trying to not let the sobs make their way from her throat. He didn’t move, he didn’t speak, he just let her sort out her own thoughts.

And she was grateful for that – so grateful. She needed that moment, to figure out…well to figure out how to react…because -

How the hell did you react to that?

She tried to sort out two categories in her mind; The Sans She Knew and The Person Sans Was. The list was pretty high on each side but only one question really burned in her mind now. It was the one thing she needed to know before they moved on, before she decided if she could trust him anymore or not. Before she could set her heart to ease.

“Were you going to kill me?”

There was silence.

“Frisk…I couldn’t have. Not after getting to know you. I watched you grow up, I could never, ever hurt you.” She heard him move at last. “And before you ask, no that has nothing to do with the promise I made your mom. You’re my friend – and believe me, you’ve made me seen that I was wrong. I was wrong to hate humans and I was wrong to ever think of committing a genocide. Believe me, I see that now. If there is one thing you ever believe me on…”

She turned to face him just before he touched her shoulder, ready to ask him how she changed his mind but, how close he was threw any other words right out the window. He face was in her’s, his body less than an inch from her’s. She opened her mouth to say something – anything – but her mouth felt suddenly dry and her throat closed up. It wasn’t fear she felt, her body was too warm for that. She felt like she was on fire.

His fingers brushed against her cheek but there was a different feeling in his touch than last time. Her heart hammered in her chest. She tried to find those words again but she was coming up empty. And then it hit her – she didn’t hate him for his hate for humans. In some weird, twisted way she understood. Just like he had always understood him. That darkness, that pain. It was familiar because she carried her own darkness and pain; hidden away by her own mind but she felt them all the same.

“Frisk…Can I….?”

She grew vaguely aware that his one hand was on the back of her neck, tangled in her long hair, the other was holding onto her waist. It was almost as if he was doing it to hold her up. He might have been. She felt weak at the knees. The unexpected closeness, the feeling of his hands against her skin. She was dizzy with pleasure, with expectation.

And then she realized what he was asking.

She tried to find words, remember how to speak, but she couldn’t. She nodded ever so slightly and his face loomed closer and she closed her eyes…but the moment never came. When she opened them, he had pulled away slightly. Did he not want…?

“Sans…?”

“Sorry, it’s just…” His face was all blue. “It’s a lot…you know? What I just told you, everything. I just don’t think I should…”

“Oh” Was all she could think to say. Her brain was still catching up with her. The fear. The anger. The pain. The understanding. The nearness. The desire.

“I don’t want to overwhelm you. Not here. When we get out of here we’ll…talk about…” His face flushed more and a small smile touched her lips. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to. He did! Or so it seemed.

“Um, yes” She agreed. “We should uh…we should find the way out.”

She untangled himself from his arms and began to walk away but his hand caught her wrist. She felt a little hurt, a little…blindsided. It wasn’t fair that he got to do that and then just…stop.

“Frisk…Just so you know I want to kiss you. I really do. I have for a while now” And then he let her go and began to lead the way. Her brain felt cluttered again, like she was dreaming. She sometimes hated how he could do that to her – but at the same time, her heart was soaring.

As stupid as her crush him had always felt – it was being returned. Despite the grim circumstances, despite learning what she had about Sans, her heart was soaring.

Chapter Text

They wandered through the lab and Frisk noted how Sans looked around, probably looking for evidence of his father. She could tell when he found some, from the tightness in his face, how he gritted his teeth. She didn’t say anything. These moments seemed private. It was another side to Sans she had never seen – a desperation, a fixation seeing if his father was real or not. He had to be real though, right? There had to be someone there in his life after his mother died. He needed to believe it – and she did believe it. How would he have taken care of himself and a baby?

Of course, she had no idea what skeletons needed when they were young – or most children for that matter. She had never been around other children, at least not that she – her head suddenly hurt. She remembered a baby crying and her covering her ears. Her mouthing words that she would not be allowed to say. Someone else was crying, a man she thought. His tears scared her. A shadow of a memory that she pushed away. Now was not the time for that.

They came back to the elevator. It opened, after they had painstakingly found all the keys and the correct places to put them. It was, of course dead, but they moved into the hall beyond it. There were monitors here as well, but they were also dead. Sans kept moving until they found the power room. Frisk could tell he was sore, hurting, extremely tired from the dazed way he walked. Her feet were killing her because of the heels and she knew she had blisters. Not to mention the cut on her arm was aching, throbbing with every beat of her heart.

But as the power flickered back on, Frisk felt relief. They could go upstairs and get treated and sleep. Sans had informed her that Mettaton had left after she had fallen, though Sans had thrown him out in reality. Sleep was such a heavenly thought, Frisk nearly collapsed.  Sans was at the end of his rope as well, his eyes hazy and his body moving slowly. He stopped, to lean against a wall on their way back to the elevator.

There had been other…creatures and Sans had kept them at bay, but he was tired, his magic nearly fizzled out every time he called upon it now. He was at the edge of his endurance. It was this that allowed her to see that the monitor on the wall was now on.

Entry Number Eight
I’ve chosen a candidate. I haven’t told Asgore yet, because I want to surprise him with it…In the center of his garden, there’s something special. The first golden flower, that grew before all the others. The flower from the outside world. It appeared just before the queen left. I wonder…What happens if something without a soul gains the will to live?

A golden flower.

A face flashed in her mind, a leering face that appeared just before vines pierced her chest.

Without waiting for Sans she hurried to the other screen, the worlds flashing on it, plain and haunting, staring her in the face.

Entry Number Eighteen
the flower’s gone

Gone, left. Of its own accord, Frisk was willing to bet. She closed her eyes. No one told her anything. She had to find it out here, down in the darkness of this place. Her head was pounding. She felt sick to her stomach. She leaned her head into the wall, trying to hold in all this confusion, anger and grief.

The truth about her mother. The truth about Sans. The truth about Flowey. All of it, all of it was so much to take in.

“Frisk?” Sans’ voice was rough, tired.

That’s right, she had to be strong. She had to be brave. Sans needed her to be strong, to be brave. She had to walk this line.

“I’m okay. Just tired” She lied.  She straightened and she smiled at him. He didn’t look convinced but he nodded ever so slightly. He was too tired to argue with her. He was too tired to find a reason in her lie. She knew that and that was the only reason she had bothered with it.

They made their way to the elevator and she pressed the button. Sans sat on the floor and she stood nearby, her arms behind her back. They were silent as the elevator began a creaky journey upward. Sans’ eyes were dark and blank, but this time it was because he was exhausted. He couldn’t keep up face any longer. She was having trouble herself, but knowing Sans was exhausted was the only reason she was pressing forward, determined to stay strong for him.

“I’ve known” Sans said at last.

“Known what?”

“That you were human. Your mom, she…she never told me. She kind of…knew how I felt about humans. She’s perceptive, that old lady is. So I think she never wanted us to meet…because I think she knew that I had killed humans before. I think she was afraid that I’d kill you too. But I knew you were human. I could just…tell. But I knew you were different too. I felt like I knew you from before”

She didn’t know what to say.

“I didn’t mean…to kill the first human I killed.” His words kind of choked. “I really…didn’t mean to. I didn’t even know what she was. She was so scared and she was just sitting there, soaking wet, shivering. And I offered her my hand and…” He was silent a long time. “I’m sorry Frisk. I’m supposed to protect you and instead here I am, letting my sins…”

She knelt by him and put her arms around him, hugging him close. “It’s okay Sans”

That was a lie. None of this was okay. None of it was okay. But she had to say it, she had to comfort him. Despite that darkness in him, despite the sins leaking from his mouth, she knew that she had to be here for him. He was her best friend. Her own darkness was hardly held within her chest.  He didn’t speak and she drew back to look at him. He was looking at her.

“I wish I would have kissed you down there. Just once. I just feel…Frisk, I’ve made so many mistakes, how can you even look at me?” His voice was broken, lost, so very sad. She felt her heart breaking. He was hurting.

She couldn't answer right away, unable to find the words she wanted. His pain was right there and she knew she had to pick her words carefully. Her next words could help him heal or hurt him deeper.

“I’ve killed humans. Multiple humans and I wanted to kill more of them” He went on when she said nothing. She felt as if he were rambling because he thought she was rejecting him. 

“Wanted to” She said softly. “We all make mistakes Sans and yours were made in grief. I honestly believe that you are a good person. You’re my best friend.” She laced her fingers through his and he bowed his head, unable to say a word she guessed. The elevator started to slow. She pulled Sans to his feet, but he could hardly stand, swaying where he was. She was exhausted too. She only stayed strong for him. It was the only thing she could do for them now.

But they managed out of the elevator and found themselves once more in Alphys’ lab. She was waiting outside the elevator, slumped against the wall, sleeping as well. She must have been waiting for them for a while. Maybe it hadn’t been that long. Frisk had no idea what time it was.  When they stepped out, she startled and jumped to her feet.

“Y-y-you’re back! Sans why di-didn’t you just teleport out of there?” Then she got a good look at both of them. “Oh my gosh! Y-you’re both h-hurt! I’m s-s-sorry!” Tears were forming in her eyes and Frisk frowned, though it wasn’t at Alphys. None of this was her fault…or Frisk wasn’t willing to let the lizard-like monster shoulder that blame.

“Can you look after Sans? We’re okay…just really tired. Those…monsters down there, they attacked us for food.”

“O-oh” Her face fell a little. “This elevator has been d-dead so I…I haven’t been ab-able to get down there and f-feed them” With the other elevator crashed, Frisk could understand.  “C-come on downstairs. I-I had beds set up f-for you. I’ll take a look at you b-both down there”

Frisk and Sans followed Alphys downstairs though Frisk was practically dragging Sans. There were two beds, that looked as comfy and as soft as the one at her mother’s home and Alphys directed Frisk to lay Sans on the first one. She did, hoping he was comfortable. Alphys began checking Sans out while Frisk waited behind her, watching with worried eyes. She was dead on her feet, swaying slightly where she stood but she needed to know Sans was okay before she collapsed.

Finally, after what felt like forever, Alphys stepped back and sighed. Frisk could see the cracks on Sans head had been healed and he looked to be sleeping peacefully.

“H-he’s okay. Mainly it was j-just exhaustion.” She gave Frisk a gentle smile. “N-now let me see you”

She had Frisk sit down on the bed and she healed up her shoulder as much as she could. There was still a small cut, but it didn’t hurt anymore. She healed up other various small wounds and then stepped back, looking exhausted herself.

“Go get some sleep.” Frisk suggested.

“R-right. T-thanks” And Alphys headed back towards upstairs, probably to collapse in her own bed. Frisk laid back and looked over at Sans who was snoring softly in his own bed. She let out a little sigh and closed her eyes. She was just glad he was alright and they were out of that dark place.


 

Exhausted as she was, Frisk did not sleep well. She was haunted by all she had learned. She lay, with her eyes closed, thinking it all over, it all swirling in her head. The fact that she had wasted the rest of this day bothered her as well. Three more days, that was all she had before Sans lost his brother, before Undyne left, before others offered their life to what lay on the other side of the barrier.

She wished she could at least know what that was.

Her memories of being a child above the underground were still so fuzzy and if she could remember, she could at least part some wisdom on the people she had come to care about and love in such a short time.

She rolled onto her side to look at Sans once more. He was still dead to the world, but he was also still snoring. It was a reassuring sound, it let her know that he was still very much alive and still very much okay. She wondered if he’d be his usual self when he woke up. She sighed to herself and closed her eyes again but in the silence of the lab she heard a sound like…sobbing?

She sat up very slowly and tilted her head as she listened. It must be Alphys. She didn’t know the monster well and yet…

She got up and headed towards the stairs that would take her up. Sure enough, Alphys was up, seemingly on the phone with someone.

“N-no, I don’t want you to c-come over. I-I-I’m f-fine”

“Alphys, darling, you’re sobbing. You are NOT fine. I’m coming over”

“No! N-no, I’m fine!” She caught sight of Frisk and her face paled. “Frisk, what are you doing up here? Mettaton, I-I gotta go!” She clicked a button on her phone and shoved it into the pocket of the lab coat she still wore.

“Are you okay?” Frisk asked. She didn’t know Alphys well, but she felt that she was a kind monster. She had healed her and Sans – and she had tried to save the lives of monsters she didn’t even know.

“Y-yeah…I-I…I mean n-no. I guess its…ob-obvious huh?” Frisk gave her a little nod and then came to sit down next to her. Alphys wiped at the tears of her face and was silent. “A-are you gonna te-tell people wh-what you saw d-d-done there?”

Frisk looked at her a long moment and then slowly shook her head. “No, I wasn’t”

Tears flooded from Alphys’ eyes. “Th-thank god”

“Alphys…What happened down there? I mean I know what happened. I read the notes on the wall but…why didn’t you ever tell anyone? Why keep this a secret?”

“Th-they’ll h-h-hate me.”

“Why? You tried your best – no one can fault you for that” Alphys looked at her, tears dripping down her cheeks. “You tried, Alphys. Maybe you failed, but that’s part of trying. There’s always a chance that you’ll fail”

She was silent. Suddenly she heard someone coming up the steps. She turned, expecting it was Sans. He had probably woken up, seen she wasn’t there and got worried…but it wasn’t. It was Mettaton. He looked…tired though, ready for bed. He didn’t even seem to really care she was there. He trotted over and sat on the other side of Alphys, throwing his arms around her and giving her a squeeze.

“There, there, Alphy, darling. Things will be alright” His voice was tired and his eyes closed, but Frisk felt he had done this plenty of times. Alphys seemed to calm down just with Mettaton there. “Everything will be alright.”

“B-but…”

“I know, I know…But she won’t say anything to anyone. I won’t let her.” Now Mettaton’s eyes opened and they glared right at Frisk. She felt her breath catch in her throat, fear making her pale ever so slightly.

“M-Mettaton, you c-can’t just-!”

“Alphys…You’re afraid of someone telling them before you’re ready right? I won’t let anything like that happen. You’ve done so much for me.”

“I-I wouldn’t…I’m n-not going to…”Frisk started but Mettaton’s glare didn’t lessen. In fact his eyes just seemed to glow brighter.

“If you even think about it, I’ll kill you”

“Mettaton!” Alphys pushed him away. “Y-you can’t do that! S-she’s-“

“A human, I know. The seventh human – with her soul we could all escape. It’d be better for everyone if she died.”

“Mettaton – it-its never better wh-when someone d-d-d-dies!” She sniffled and wiped at the tears in her eyes. “And if sh-she dies…s-so many people would be s-sad. It would not be better i-if she died. Sh-she was k-kind to those below. Sh-she only tried t-to defend herself from t-t-them”

“That doesn’t mean-“

“I-it doesn’t! Y-you’re right but Frisk is a-a good p-person. I…I trust her”

“Just because your friends can trust her doesn’t mean-“

“You don’t know her!” And this time Alphys didn’t stutter, but she did yell, her voice echoing through the lab. “I…I don’t k-know he personally, but I do know Undyne trusts her and I saw…I saw her refuse to fight Undyne. She’s kind and she’s brave and she’s a good person. If she says she won’t tell anyone, I believe her”

Mettaton was silent and his eye softened, a frown turning his lips.

“I’m just trying to protect you” His voice went soft. “I know you’re scared. I know you’re at your wits end some days. I just want…to keep you safe Alphys. I don’t say it but you’re one of my best friends. You’re the reason I can be a star”

“M-Mettaton…”

The three of them were silent.

“I’m not gonna tell anyone.” Frisk said at last. “I like Alphys. She seems like a kind person. I do think she needs to tell them – but on her own terms, not on mine. Not on anyone else’s.” She sighed. “She may have saved Sans’ life – I owe her a lot.”

“You l-love him” Alphys spoke but her face flushed right after saying that. “I-I-I-I di-didn’t mean t-t-to say…”

“No, you’re right.” Frisk said, a frown on her face now. “I really do love him, but I haven’t been able to tell him yet.” She looked at them and smiled. “But it’s alright. Someday, right?”

“O-of course” Alphys smiled. “You’re brave so I k-know someday you’ll be able to tell him.”

Frisk had the urge to tell Alphys that she wasn’t brave. It took her fifteen years to leave the Ruins, to step outside, to even meet Sans. She was not brave.  She was a coward. But Alphys needed someone to look up to, she needed someone to be strong. She had Undyne, it was clear the two were friends, but for some reason, Alphys seemed to have latched to her.

So once again, Frisk had to be brave – actually brave. She gave Alphys a smile. “Anyway, why don’t you get some sleep Alphys? Me and Sans are going to set out in the morning. I’d love for you to see us off”

“O-of course! You get some sleep too!” She turned to Mettaton. “Thank yo-you for coming over. R-really Mettaton. Its nice to know…someone cares” She seemed downcast again. Frisk took her hand, giving it a squeeze.

“A lot of people care about you Alphys. Me included. You’re stronger than you know”  Alphys looked up at Frisk and nodded gently. She gave Alphys’ hand one more squeeze and then got up, heading back downstairs.

“Human” Frisk stopped and looked at Mettaton. She wasn’t aware he had followed her downstairs. “Thank you. You’re really helping Alphys. I worry about her, so please…keep being her friend.”

“I…” She didn’t know what to say to that. “I’m glad. I’m glad I can help her” That much was true. Mettaton put a hand on his hip and sighed, looking off into the distance.

“She’s…blamed herself so much for what’s below this lab. She’s hidden it for so long…Sometimes I worry I’m going to come here and she’ll have…You know” He focused on Frisk again. “Anyway, thank you human….Frisk. You’re different.”

“Th-thank you?”

“Just don’t try to steal my spotlight.” His eyes narrowed a little, though there was still a smile on his lips, and then he swept out of the lab, looking graceful and stunning. She watched the door close behind him, bemused. He was a strange one. Then again, all the monsters were strange in their own way. She returned to her bed and flopped down, exhausted but still restless.

She knew when she closed her eyes the nightmares would come. They were there lingering on the corners of her mind, like shadows sinking their claws into her skin. She closed her eyes, hoping her exhaustion would starve them off tonight. Just for once, it was all she was asking for.

But as her mind drifted off, she knew only darkness awaited her in her dreams.

Chapter Text

“Quiet! I to-told you to be quiet!” The man shook her, her head shaking back and forth, his huge hands digging into her tiny shoulders, crushing them. It hurt, it hurt, it hurt. Why was he hurting her? Tears dripped down her cheeks and she opened her mouth to cry out.

He was fast, his hand coming across her face in a startling smack, so hard her head snapped back. So hard, she would have fell if not for his huge hand still crushing her shoulder. She sobbed and he hit her again, across the mouth this time. Her sob fell into a hiccup. Her sobs grew silent. She tasted blood in her mouth.

“Good.” The man said. He shook her once more, her head bobbling back and forth as if she were a doll. “Good.” He stood, straightening and patted her head. “Just…just stay quiet okay? You can’t….you can’t make a sound. You gotta be quiet”  

He turned towards the doorway and a woman was leaning there. Her stomach was ever so slightly round and she saw the man look away from the woman. The woman touched the bulge of her stomach, stroking it gently, but her face was sad too. Disappointed maybe…

Suddenly the woman was no longer there. There was a crib in the room and a baby crying. The man was screaming at the child to be quiet. She was sitting in the corner, covering her ears, tears streaming silently down her face. She had to be quiet.

If she made a sound, he’d hurt her again. Bruises already lined her skin.

She couldn’t speak, couldn’t make a sound. Silence. Always silent. He screamed and the baby screamed and she closed her eyes, willing herself to wake up from this awful nightmare…

And then she did.

The lab was still dark – so maybe it was still night? Or perhaps Alphys had not turned on the lights yet. Tears were running down Frisk’s face and she pressed her face into her hands, forcing her sobs to be silent as she had so long ago. She already knew that nightmare had a root of truth in it – the truth of her past that she had kept hidden from herself for so long.

She glanced over at the other bed where Sans was still snoring. Good. She was happy he was still asleep. She would have felt bad had she woken him up. He was so exhausted and it was her fault. She got up, heading towards the bathroom. Alphys had instructed her where they were. Alphys had also said for Frisk to make herself at home – take a shower if she wanted. But she had been too tired before. Now the only thing she could think of was getting this girly dress off, washing the grime from her body and changing into something else – anything else.

She entered the bathroom and saw it was quite large. The shower itself was the biggest part. It had to be though, she imagined with her tail included, Alphys needed quite a bit of room in the shower. It was clean and white and she checked to see that Alphys had several bottles of MTT-Brand shampoo and conditioner…Which seem strange. Alphys didn’t have hair.

Still…After making sure the door was locked, Frisks stripped off the blood-stained, dirty clothes that Mettaton had her in. She stepped into the hot water and pressed her forehead against the wall. She knew she wouldn’t sleep again tonight – if it was even still night. She was exhausted and yet her mind focused on the goal of her journey.

The King.

She told Sans it was to talk…but she knew Sans saw through her. Sans knew what she was going to do, didn’t he? If so, why was he helping her in this farce? Her mind wandered, trying to find answers but ultimately it found its way back to her nightmare – the bubbling memory. It was toxic sludge in her brain, oozing out of her eyes in the form of tears

Tears?

When did she begin crying?

She forced herself to stop. She couldn’t be like this now. She was so close…a day, maybe two and then…And then…Well she supposed she wouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore.  For now, she was trying to keep it together. For Sans. For her mother.

For Alphys, Undyne, Papyrus…

For the others she had met, the others that had been kind to her. She had so many people she was doing this for now. It was bitter sweet really. This journey allowed her to make so many wonderful friends – but she would lose them all.

No, she would not lose anything. They would lose her.

She ran her fingers through her damp hair. She really was selfish she supposed. She tried to focus on her shower, on getting clean. When she was, she felt so much better physically. She let her long hair down and found a robe laying out on the sink. She dimly remembered Alphys said she’d set something for them to wear out until she found them actual clothes. There was a second robe there too…probably meant for Sans.

Did skeletons even take showers?

She pulled the robe on and headed back into the lab. Sans was still sleeping and the lab was still dim. She wasn’t tired anymore though. She was restless now. She wanted to keep going. She found herself walking outside, to stand in the blistering heat and watch the lava flow so far below her. She stood on the edge, looking down into the magma, wondering how much hotter it got.

How would it feel to fall into it?

“Are you going to jump?” A voice asked and she turned. Flowey! She raised her hands, ready to fight him if she had to. She remembered what he had done, how he had killed her – how he had told her that she had killed Sans. “I’m not here to fight you! Idiot!”

“You’re not here to fight?” She didn’t lower her hands, but her brow furrowed.

“What would it change? Obviously, you’ll just Reset and come back anyway. Then that stupid, lazy skeleton will figure it out and he’ll try to fry me again” He looked annoyed. “It’s not worth it. Not right now at least.”

“Why are you here then?”

“I already told you that – I was wondering if you were going to jump”

“Well I’m not” She lowered her hands, but she kept herself tense, ready. He looked at a moment, rolled his eyes and looked away, seeming more interested in the lava below. She remembered what she had read in the lab. How he was created.  “I…I read the lab’s notes. About you I mean.”

He was silent but she could tell he was tense.

“You were…created in that lab. By Alphys”

“Shut up”

“Flowey-“

“You don’t know anything” He snarled. His thorny vines lifted out of the ground, his face twisting in his anger…But strangely Frisk wasn’t afraid. It was as if she knew his anger was really from sadness, loneliness, fear.

She reached out and softly touched his head and gave it a little rub. He was so shocked, he didn’t do anything at first, but then one of his vines came down on her hand, the thorn ripping at her skin. She recalled her hand but didn’t cry out.

“Mom never taught me healing magic. I don’t think its because she didn’t want me to know. I think it was more that she thought I’d never really need to know it. I think she thought I’d stay there forever, with her” She told him, as she examined the wound.

“Maybe you should have. You’re nothing more than a coward” Flowey hissed. Her hand hurt, the wound wasn’t large or deep but regardless a few beads of blood welled and rolled off her skin.

“I am more than a coward though.” She glanced at Flowey. She was smiling slightly “And you’re more than some experiment created in a lab. You’re a person”

“I don’t need your pity! You don’t know anything about me!”

“That’s true. I don’t know much about…well any of my friends.” He was silent again. “But I’d like to learn more. Tell me about yourself Flowey.”

“You’re an idiot”

She laughed. “I know.”

She focused on the lava below them and she wondered if Flowey was going to join up with her and Sans again. Her answer came soon in the sound of Flowey shifting uncomfortably.

“Are you still going to the King?”

“Yes.” She answered a smile on her face.

“It won’t take long.”

“I know”

“That trashbag isn’t going to like it when you get there.”

“His name is Sans”

“He’s still not going to like it”

She didn’t have an answer for that. He was right though. Sans wasn’t going to like it. She had already accepted that though. She looked at Flowey and she frowned slightly. It was a soft frown – a frown at herself mostly.

“If you show me the rest of the way now, he’ll never have to know”

“You really expect me to show you the rest of the way?” He laughed. “Why would I help you?”

“Because I’m your friend. Maybe the only one you have” That was harsh to say, but she didn’t doubt it. Flowey was abrasive. He didn’t seem to like anyone- not even Toriel. He had always disappeared when she were near. That or he’d pointedly go lengths to ignore her and pretend he didn’t see or hear her. It was almost as if…

No, he couldn’t know her. She hadn’t known him after all.

“You’re not my friend! You’re an idiot you who keeps acting like we’re such great buddies. I hate you!” But she could see tears in his eyes. She reached out for him again but his vines stopped her. Before she could say anything else, he disappeared into the ground.

She crossed her arms across her chest, feeling only pity for Flowey now. He was very lonely. That much was clear. She wished she could help him somehow. He was acting out, as a child acted out, begging for attention and love. She stood outside for a long time, or maybe it was only a few minutes, it was very hard to tell in the Underground sometimes.

She hurried back inside the lab after those moments and she found Sans, struggling to get up from bed. She hurried to his side, helping him up. He still looked worn out but when she looked into his eyes, she could see he was much better than he had been. She smiled, feeling relieved that he was feeling better.

“Frisk? Wh-where were you?” He still seemed groggy.

“Outside. Sorry. I was talking to Flowey”

“Flowey?!” His eye began glowing instant and she was heartened to see he had his magic back.

“He didn’t hurt me. He just wanted someone to talk to I think” He sighed and shook his head. “I know he’s still dangerous, but I can defend myself, Sans”

“Yeah…I know” He sighed, rubbing at his face. He was dirty too, his clothes needed washed. He seemed to notice this the same time she did. “I think…I’m gonna head home quick and change. I’ll be back in a flash” And just like that he had teleported away.

“Frisk…are you up?” a voice called half a second later. It was Alphys and bless her, she didn’t look like she had slept a wink. But she was smiling, seeming excited about something. “I-I uh…I worked…I worked on s-something last night and I-I want you t-to see it”

“You should have slept, Alphys” Frisk scolded gently, but she followed Alphys towards the stairs that went back up.

“A-after I talked with you I couldn’t! I just th-thought about…well…everything. I’m…I’m gonna tell everyone what I’ve done. And…I hope they can forgive me” She sighed. “But b-before that I gotta k-keep a promise.” They were heading upstairs now. They came to her workstation and on it sat another robot. This one was blue and silver, a little more bulky and definitely really cool looking.  

“Another robot?”

“Y-yeah” Alphys nodded. “I had t-the blue prints for him done and…well, he’s not done yet. T-this is just the body and the basics of it at that. But he’s l-looking good I think!”

“He looks amazing. I can’t believe you did this in a couple hours!”

“Y-you really…inspired me” Alphys admitted.  “And…I’ve decided that I-I’m gonna…I’m gonna tell everyone…what…what I’ve done” She took a deep breath after she said that. “I…I’m gonna be brave! Like you, Frisk!”

“Oh” Frisk didn’t know what to say. She didn’t have to say anything though, because Alphys went on talking anyway.

“W-watching you. I-I mean wh-when you came out of the Ruins you…well you barely spoke and now well, look at you! And you’ve gone through s-so much. And yet you’re still going. I…I want to be braver. Like you. S-so I’m gonna admit to my mistake…A-and…Well…whatever happens after that…”

“That’s…It’s all gonna be alright Alphys.”

“I kept this a secret for a long time”

“I know…But I know they know you’re a good person. I know you’re a good person”

Alphys looked at her, tears in her eyes. Without thinking about it, Frisk hugged the monster tightly. She wanted to help Alphys, she really did. There wasn’t anything she could do though. Alphys had made her choices long ago. What happened now…Well she was right at least.

“Frisk?” She heard Sans voice calling for her. It was time to go. She let go of Alphys and stood back.

“You’re braver than you know Alphys.” She told her. She knew that it’d be hard, but she also knew that Alphys could do this.

“Thank you Frisk” Alphys wiped the tears from her eyes and together they walked towards the stairs. Sans was waiting and it was time for them to keep moving. It was time for her to make the final part of her journey and she knew this was the final part. What happened after this…well…

She didn’t want to think about it. Not yet.

Not right now.

Chapter Text

Before they could leave, Alphys did them some favors. First off, she gave Frisk some clothes that she had gotten “just in case”. That seemed a little odd, but she had gotten clothes from every area she had been too already so…she supposed it was just part of the deal now.

Now Frisk’s long hair was braided and she was wearing a pair of black shorts and boots to match. The boots would protect her feet from the hot ground, Alphys said. Frisk hadn’t thought it was that hot, but maybe she was just used to the heat from using fire magic. She was also wearing a dark red tank top with a sleeveless vest thrown over it. The vest was white, making her feel like she stood out too much. Still, it was a cute outfit and it was practical enough for travel. Her feet still hurt because of the heels she had worn, but she walked on regardless.

Alphys had also taken some time to upgrade her phone so that she could text. She had also signed Frisk up for Undernet, which was a type of social media that was done over the computers and phones. It was a little strange, but it was nice to be connected. Almost right away, several of her friends added her – Papyrus, Undyne and Alphys. There were others too but she didn’t have time to go through the list and accept all the friends requests right away.

Maybe later…

They left through the back door of Alphys’ lab, by her advice. The elevators had been acting up. It was better to take the long way. Frisk wished they had been working, as according to Sans, if they had been, it would have literally only taken them about ten minutes to reach the core and from there, New Home.

Instead, they wandered forward, following the path, the scorching heat of Hotlands burning around them. They walked in silence, Sans hands in his pockets, Frisk’s hands resting on the straps of her satchel. It was getting heavy, filled with clothes and the few objects she had brought from home.

They walked in silence. Frisk didn’t know what to say. They walked until they came to what looked to be a conveyor belt. There were two, one leading back to the path they were on and one that went away from it. She stopped, looking at it curiously.

“What is this?”

“Oh…this was made to speed travel…but kids mainly just play on them nowadays. I think they’re pretty cool. C’mon” He grabbed her hand and stepped onto the belt. It began to sweep him away, Frisk with him. She stumbled onto it, but he didn’t let her fall, pulling her against his chest and keeping her upright when they were dumped on the other side.

She laughed and looked back at it. “That wasn’t so bad. Not as bad as your "shortcuts".”

“No?” Sans led her on. He seemed amused that she still considered his shortcuts worse than the belts. They made her sick though, it felt like someone was squeezing her stomach when he used his power to teleport them. They stopped before a second belt, but calling it one belt was a bit of lie. It was several all curving into each other. 

“Theres more of them?” She grabbed Sans hand, squeezing it nervously. 

“Belt-ter believe it” Sans winked at her. His hand gave her’s a gentle squeeze. Then they were moving forward, to the next belt. It was faster, but she held onto Sans and it zoomed them across the space quicker than she would have thought. It kind of lashed them back and forth but she laughed. It was kind of fun.

“No so bad, right?” Sans still had her hand in his. His hand was surprisingly warm. She didn’t know what she had expected from a skeleton but it wasn’t such warmth. Such comfort. She just smiled at him, nodding vigorously. He led her on and soon they came to some vents, though there was no path around them. Arrows were painted on the vents, pointing this way and that.

“We…have to step on the vents  don’t we?” She asked, in a meek voice. She wondered if it were safe…but then again, she had decided she wanted to go on this journey. She had stepped outside the door. She let go of San’s hand and walked right into the first vent. The steam shot up and pushed her up and over. Suddenly Sans was below her and he caught her, saving her from falling right on her rear end.

“Woah, careful!” He chided as he set her back on her feet. “You should have waited for me, kiddo”

“Well you can’t spell Frisk without ‘risk’, Sans!”

He just looked at her a long moment and then began laughing. He leaned forward, his forehead pressing against her’s. She felt her face flush but she didn’t pull away. It seemed to be an affection gesture, as if he forgot where they were and what they were doing.

For a moment, Frisk did too.

It would have been easy to lean in and kiss him in that moment, but…She couldn’t let this go on. She loved him. She had for a long time. She could see that he loved her too and it hurt. She hated herself for a moment. She was going to hurt him – and for what?

“Frisk?” His voice was soft among the whooshing of the vents.

“Let’s go. We have a long way to go, don’t we?” She asked him. He nodded, but he seemed happy. He took her hand again and together they ran across the vents, spinning through the air and laughing. It was fun – it was enchanting. It was like the fairy tales she had read as a child in a way.

Except she was no princess and he was no prince. They were just two people who had come from different worlds. A human and a monster. It probably looked odd on the outside. It probably looked strange to anyone watching them, knowing they were both in love with each other. Knowing their love had nowhere to go.

They carried on. Alphys would text her, instructing her on puzzles and whatnot, but Sans seemed to know the way just fine. It was nice that Alphys was concerned however. They made their way through the area until they came to a place that was…well it almost looks like a set for a television show. Sans grimaced.

“Well shit”

“Hey now!” Mettaton popped up. Seemingly from nowhere. “This is a family friendly show!”

“Show?”

“That’s right, beauty! Cooking with a fabulous robot! And today we’re making a very special dish, aren’t we sweethearts?” He winked at the camera and Frisk glanced at Sans, wondering if this guy was for real. “Today we’re going to learn how to prepare the human’s favorite food. Aren’t we human? So why don’t you say what we’re making today out loud for the beautiful folks at home!”

“Uh…” Frisk literally didn’t know what to say. “I um…”

“Go on, darling. Tell us all what your favorite human food is”

“I…uh…” That was the thing. She hadn’t spent enough time in the world above to remember what humans even ate. She couldn’t imagine it was much different than what monsters ate though. There was one dish that stuck out in her mind though. “M-my mother, she uh, she used to make this really good dish a lot. It was snail pie”

“Snail…pie?” Mettaton’s brows furrowed. He looked almost like he had tasted something bitter. “That sounds….”

“Kind of gross I know. Believe me, the first time she gave it to me I didn’t want to eat it but its great!”

Mettaton shook his head and the troubled look on his face disappeared. “Alright, lovely. Then lets make some snail pie and show everyone watching how to do it too. Follow along, beauties!”

So Frisk showed Mettaton how to make her mother’s famous snail pie. He somehow had all the ingredients – actually she noticed the set just seemed to have a lot of random ingredients. Some of it looked like it had been human brand food. Them items were so random and weird though, she had no idea what she would have made out of those if she had been forced to make something.

“And how long to we bake this for?” Mettaton asked. During some point of the show he had acquired a chef’s hat which he now wore, along with an apron. Frisk had been forced to don a matching hat and apron. Sans simply wore the hat, though he was snoozing against the fridge behind them, using her satchel as a sort of pillow. She was sure he could still be seen by the camera though.

She wondered if Papyrus was watching…That’d be kinda funny.

“Well, that I’m not sure about because me and mom always used fire magic to bake our pies. Its quicker and less messy.” Somehow during this whole thing, Frisk had begun acting like this was a completely normal thing. It was rather strange, but Mettaton seemed to be soaking up the views and Frisk couldn’t lie. This was actually pretty fun. Mettaton was a little over the top, but that was probably what the monsters of the Underground liked about him.

“Well show us how its done, darling!”

So Frisk did. With her fire magic, the pie was baked by the time the commercial break was over. Mettaton cut up three slices, though Sans was still napping in the background. They ate some while Mettaton gushed about how good it was. Frisk thought it was pretty good for her first try at baking it without her mother…though she wondered if Mettaton could taste at all. He was a robot after all.

The show closed up and the camera turned off and Mettaton sighed, turning towards her. “You really make my ratings something, sweetheart. This is the highest views I’ve gotten in a while. Are you sure you don’t want to be a star?”

“I’m good, thanks Mettaton” She laughed, shaking her head.  He grinned. He seemed a lot less…scary than he had last time. At ease with her even. She supposed it might have something to do with how she handled the whole Alphys thing.

There was a ring that sounded like a phone – though it seemed to also come from Mettaton - and he touched his ear. “Sorry darling, business call!” And then he turned away, talking loudly to whoever it was – though it sounded like Alphys.  She turned her attention back to Sans. He opened open eye as she approached.

“Wrapped up?” He asked. 

“C’mon, we can eat snail pie while we walk"

“Well let’s escargot.” He stood and stretched, his bones popping. They grabbed their slices of pie, eating it as they walked slowly away. Mettaton waved to them and Frisk smiled, waving back.

“What do you think?” She asked Sans, a little nervously.

“I gotta hand it to you Frisk, you really snailed this recipe.” She rolled her eyes, laughing gently. As they walked off the set they came to the view of a huge structure sitting out in the lava. Frisk stopped, looking at it. It was making eerie sounds, grinding and pounding noises that she could hear from where she was.

“What is that?”

“That’s the Core.” Sans answered without looking. “It provides power to the entire Underground. We’re heading towards it”

“Its….creepy”

“Yeah, I guess so” He shrugged. He threw his pie plate towards the lava below, having finished his snack. She hurried to do the same and mimicked the action. He began to move on but she lingered, looking at the frightening structure. It looked like a crouching beast in the lava. Waiting, hunting. He stopped, turning back to her. “It’s gonna be alright Frisk. We’re almost there.”

She hurried forward to his outstretched hand, lacing her fingers through his. It was comfort. It was belonging. They were going to get through this together. There was no other way.


They didn’t get far from Mettaton’s set, the groaning of the core still filling the air,  when Sans’ phone rang. He checked it – it was Papyrus. He sighed, as if he knew what was coming next and answered the phone.

“SANS!” Papyrus’ voice was loud enough she could hear it. “Why didn’t you tell me you were gonna meet Mettaton! And go on his cooking show!”

Frisk held her hand out for the phone and Sans muttered “Hold on, bro” and handed her the phone.

“Sorry Papyrus” She said, a frown on her face. “Both times we met Mettaton, it was a little random. We didn’t expect him”

“You’re so lucky to have met him though!” Papyrus said. “He’s really great isn’t he? In person as well?”

Could it be…? Was Papyrus, star-struck? Frisk felt an amused smile curl her lips upwards. She supposed Mettaton was popular. She doubted there were many stars in the Underground. Maybe Mettaton was the only one?

“Yeah, Mettaton is pretty fabulous.” She told him.

“Wowie!” She laughed despite herself. “Do you think…someday I could meet him?”

“Of course” Frisk told him but before she could say any more Sans was holding his hand out for his phone. Frisk handed it back to him.

“Listen Bro, next time we meet Mettaton, we’ll call you” Sans told him. He paused, listening to whatever Papyrus had to say. Frisk didn’t hear it though, as Sans had turned slightly. She didn’t think he had done this on purpose, he was trying to attend to his brother after all. “I think you’ll get here in plenty of time. Don’t worry, Paps. You got this. Like I said, we’ll give you a buzz if we meet him again.” Another pause.  “Nah, bro, you’re the coolest.”

That was so sweet to hear. Frisk found herself smiling, her across gently crossed against her chest. Sans said a brief goodbye to his brother and hung up, stuffing his phone back in his pocket.  He glanced at Frisk.

“Should we get moving again?” She asked him.

“Yeah. There’s lots of puzzles ahead. Heh, maybe we shoulda had him come with us. That’d be right up his alley.”

That was a nice thought, to have more of her friends by her side. But she knew that wasn’t the way this was supposed to go. Sans wasn’t even supposed to be here. She should have been doing this alone. But she was happy here was here.

“Let’s get going then. We have a long way to go don’t we?”

“Yeah, but we’re almost there”

That was the best thing she had heard in a long time. It gave her the determination to keep moving forward. Together they walked, towards the core. She could still hear it groaning in the distance, as it were a great beast, waiting for her with its terrible maw open, waiting to swallow her up.

She felt nervous. There were almost to the end of this. This was almost over. She just had to keep going, determined to reach the end.

Chapter Text

They traveled through Hotlands and Frisk had to say it was pretty fun. They weren’t hassled by Mettaton again, but they did have to go through different elevators. She had questions about that, like how did R2 get to L3? But when she asked Sans he just shrugged his shoulders.  They did end up passing the Core again. Its growling rung in her ears, making her shiver despite herself. But onward they walked.

They came across a stand with a woman behind it. She had four arms and her hair was in pigtails. She blinked her eyes at the sight of Frisk and covered her fanged mouth to let out a little laugh.

“You’re human, aren’t you dearie?”

“How did you…?”

“I’ve seen a few in my time fuhuhuhu…Spiders notice things other miss” She tapped her long, black nails on the table before her. “So tell me, dearie, do you want some spider pastries?”

“We’re kinda in a hurry here” Sans butted in.

“I wasn’t talking to you, skeleton” The woman gave him a glare. It sent chills down her spine. This woman wasn’t threatened by Sans in the least. Her eyes were focused on Frisk again.

“Um…H-how much?”

“Ask the spiders in their web, fuhuhuh…” She waved with one of her hands towards the webs on the other side of her stand. Frisk gave her one more glance but the woman motioned her to go. She walked over to the huge spider web where several small spiders were sitting; drinking what appeared to be tea.

“E-excuse me? How much are your baked goods?”

The price they squeaked at her with their little voices made Frisk balk. She made an excuse and quickly hurried to Sans and the two walked quickly away. She could feel the woman staring at her while she walked away.  She waited until they had gotten well away from her to sigh.

“She was kinda…creepy” Frisk glanced back where she would be at her table, possibly waiting for the next person to come along.

“Yeah…the Spiders kind of do their own thing. They’re usually not fond of outsiders other than to rip them off” He shrugged his shoulders. “Anyway, let’s keep moving”

There were more puzzles ahead and another vent maze. Sans appeared to be getting a little restless. She wondered what was up ahead, but strangely she wasn’t scared. Actually, a part of her was excited. Curious. Adventurous. She wanted to keep moving – to see what lay ahead.

It wasn’t long though, before they came upon a spider’s den. Parlor might be the more correct term. It was…well it was lovely. It was warm inside, but not too warm. Spiders were everywhere, on the walls, above them, crawling through webs. They were of various shapes, colors and sizes. They scurried away from Frisk and Sans, though they were both very careful to not step on ay was they made their way through the parlor.

“So you think you’re too good for our pastries, do you dearie?” A voice rang out from the darkened corners of the room. Suddenly a net – a web?! – closed underneath Frisk and dragged her upwards. She yelled out in surprise and Sans turned, his eye glowing in the darkness.

Out of nowhere another web shot from the darkness and slammed Sans into the wall. Frisk watched as he went limp and she could only hope that he was just knocked out. There wasn’t much room to move in her net yet she heard footsteps coming towards her.

“You’re not too good to walk right through my parlor though” It was the woman from earlier, one set of her arms crossed across her chest and the other on her hips. She looked very smug from where she was. “But not smart enough to avoid my traps, I see…” She giggled, covering her mouth with one of her hands. “Now, then, dearie. Let’s get you wrapped up, someone will pay a lot of money for a human, I’m sure”

“I’m not going anywhere with you” Frisk’s hands grew warm and her fire magic ate right through the web that had trapped her. She landed on the ground and turned to face the woman. “Let me go now. I don’t want to fight you”

“I don’t want to fight you either, dearie. But…Maybe you’d like to play with my pet?” She turned to look behind her and Frisk heard a rumble.  A…well Frisk wasn’t sure what it was, but it was huge, multi-legged and it towered over her, breathing heavily.

She backed away, losing her gull just like that. The creature didn’t advance past the woman and she rested a hand affectionately on its side. She laughed again, covering her mouth and leaning in towards the creature, as if to hide her laughter.

“Not a fan of my pet, are you dearie? Don’t worry…he doesn’t bite too much” The creature’s mouth quivered and something like a growl left his mouth.

“Why are you doing this?” Frisk asked her. “I never hurt you!”

“No…but as I said, you’re worth quite a bit, I’d say. We’ll see who wants to give us the most money for you and then…” She sighed. “Then everyone can be reunited”

“What…are you talking about?”

Her pet growled softly and she rubbed it’s side. “Our family is trapped in the Ruins, which are seal. Even if they could get out, the cold in Snowdin would kill many of them before they could reach Waterfall.” Her eyes closed for a moment. “But what we get for you…well that’ll probably be enough to find a way to get them here, don’t you think so, dearie?”

“That’s not fair though!” Frisk backed away again. She was nearly next to Sans. He was still out cold. She was worried for him. She had to at least get him out of the webs. Her pet stirred, focusing on her, its body lowering.

“Not many things are, my dear”

She knew the beast was coming, but Frisk turned back towards Sans. He was still limp in the netting that held him to the wall but a touch from her hot hands freed him. She grabbed him, with every intent to run but she felt claws – teeth? – in her back. She fell, Sans spilling on the ground before her. Her back was hot with blood.

“I mean, we could keep you, but just your soul will do I’m sure” The woman was saying.

Frisk’s body hurt. She grunted as she pulled herself along the ground. She heard the beast behind her chittering, enjoying watching her drag herself across the ground, leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

“S-Sans!” She pulled herself painfully to her feet. She could barely stand, it hurt. Oh it hurt so bad. She reached for Sans, knowing the creature was rearing for a final blow. Her fingers wrapped around his and she held tight. If this was the end, at least she could look at Sans. At least she could find some sort of peace. Suddenly though she was against the wall and Sans…

Sans head was pierced by the beast’s leg. He was smiling, despite the cracks in his skull. His eyes were on her – or his one remaining eye at least. Tears dripped down his cheek.

“Heh…sorry kid”

His soul was there, glowing in front his coat. Cracks appeared down the center of it, as cracks appeared across his face, his smile, down all the bones she could see. His remaining eye went dim and black, empty and hollow.

 His soul shattered and his body turned to dust.

Frisk felt her stomach drop, her hands clasped against her mouth. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t breathe. She was dimly aware of the tears running down her face. Slowly, her eyes turned to the spider woman who was standing just as shocked as Frisk. She looked at Frisk, her mouth open, as if she didn’t know what to say.

Flames began to lick up Frisk’s arms. She had never felt so helplessly angry. So hopeless. She couldn’t see because of the tears, but she knew the flames were hot, hotter than any she had summoned before. They kind of burned her too, burning at her long hair, at her clothes, at her skin. The woman was speaking, perhaps pleading with Frisk but Frisk couldn’t understand her. Her ears were ringing. Suddenly her pet charged, shoving Frisk from the parlor, back into the overwhelming heat outside. She couldn’t have dodged it. She barely had the energy to move. All she could do was burn in her fury, in her grief.

But outside, all she could do is lay there, smelling the smoke, hearing the distant growl of the Core…Spiders were screaming. She had burned their home and they were going to die. They were going to die, just as they had killed Sans. Just as they would have her. For what? For what cost?

She pushed herself up onto her hands and knees, her body too weak for much else. She crawled to the edge of the path and looked down at the lava below.

“I’m sorry” She whispered. “I’m sorry I…” she didn’t know who she was apologizing too. Herself? Sans? Her mother? She guessed it didn’t matter. She pulled herself forward, trembling. This was the only way though.

Sans…

She couldn’t go on without Sans. She had to…She had to do this.

But she was so scared. She was so scared of how it was going to hurt. She didn’t want it to hurt. If she lay here long enough perhaps some other monster would finish her off or she’d just bleed out and die. But she knew she had to do this. She had to keep moving. Keep going forward.

And she couldn’t do it without Sans. So this was forward – this was to keep moving.

She pulled herself over the edge. She fell, forward towards the hot lava below. She closed her eyes, hoping that if she didn’t see it, it wouldn’t hurt as much.


Frisk flinched back, stumbling onto her rear end. Sans stopped, freezing in his tracks and looked back at her. She knew this place. It was shortly before they entered the parlor. She looked at Sans and he at her. She felt her breathing hitch and she began to sob, tears running down her face.

“Frisk…W-what? What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

She jumped up to her feet and threw her arms around Sans, hugging him with all her strength. She babbled to him about what happened, unsure if her story was making any sense at all. He held her though. He held her and rubbed her back. He tried to sooth her with words but she just wanted to hold onto him and just know that he was alright, that he was alive.

It had hurt. It had hurt so bad.

But Sans was here and he was alive and he was with her again. She could go on. She could bear the burden of that pain because she had Sans.

“Frisk? Are you alright?” Sans asked, gently pulling her back so he could look at her tear stained face. She looked up at him and he seemed to…remember something. She saw his eyes widen. “Did I…?” She nodded. “God…I’m sorry that must have been….Frisk…I…” His hand touched her cheek.

Her hands tangled into his jacket and she didn’t think about it anymore. She had wanted a perfect moment for this – she had dreamed of it. She had learned that perfect moments never came. So she took it into her own hands.

She kissed him; she kissed his mouth, her face red and stained with tears. She pulled away slightly after only a moment and saw his face was as blue as her’s was red. A sudden cheeky smile came over his features and he grabbed her gently under her chin and pulled her lips back to his mouth. It was different this time, it was like he was kissing her, though he had no lips. He would later tell it was a trick of his magic.

He kissed her for what seemed forever, but she knew hadn’t been anywhere near that long. She looked up at him, feeling a little light-headed at her own action. It had to have been okay since he kissed her back right? His hand ran across her cheek and down to her chin again, before coming back up to brush a few stray hairs from her face.

“I guess you finally smooched a skeleton huh?”

Her face turned red again. “I’ve been wanting to for a while” She admitted, that giddy bravery still making her feel a little light-headed.

He just laughed, pulling her against his chest. He held her there and she clung to him. Together they stood there for a long time, trying to forget the terrible things that had just happened. She had fixed it, but for how long? How different could their second trip into the parlor be?

Whatever happened, Frisk couldn’t watch Sans die again. It broke her heart once and she was able to fix it…but she was smart enough to realize that she might not get a chance if there was a next time. And she wouldn’t be able to live without Sans. She loved him. She loved him so much.

They had to finish this together or not at all.

Chapter Text

“Just my follow my plan, Sans” Frisk told him. He held her hand tightly as they stood outside the spider’s parlor. His eye was already glowing blue, prepped for what they were going to do. They had planned and replanned and then planned again. She didn’t want anyone to get hurt. She was here to save monsters - not hurt them.

She remembered the screams of the spiders, the smell of smoke, the burning sensations on her skin. She would not make this mistake again. Instead she would get them safely through this. The spiders included. She remembered the woman talking about how she just wanted to reunite the spiders of the Ruins with the spiders that were here. She had a plan to ensure that happened too. Being separated from their friends and family for so long must be horrible. That thought made Frisk think of Toriel, her mother, and her heart ached. After this she should call her again. Sans spoke then, interrupting her thoughts.

“I hate to say this, but that thing you can do can be useful” His comment was casual, but his voice was tense.

“It can” She took a deep breath. She remembered Sans turning to dust. She remembered Undyne stabbing her with a spear. She remembered Flowey killing her. She remembered the heat that consumed her as she threw herself into the lava below. “But let’s not depend on it”

Every death was a scar on her soul, the memories of the deaths were imprinted on her brain. She did not want to depend on her power to Reset. It was something she could only do in death after all. A death she would remember, a death she would carry with her.

Hand in hand they entered the spider parlor. It was exactly as it was before, the spiders scurrying to get out of their way. They stopped before the middle of the room and Sans’ magic did the rest. There was the glow of a blue heart in the darkness and Sans yanked her out of the shadows. The spider woman stopped in front of them, floating a few inches off the ground.

“You dirty--!! Let me go!” She hissed.

“Let’s have a talk, eh, Muffet?” Sans said to her, his smile was dark.

“Sans” He looked at her, hearing the edge in her voice. She looked at Muffet. “Let her go, Sans”

“What? But she-“

“We wanted to talk to her and here she is. No need to keep ahold of her now.”

“…Fine” Muffet dropped gracefully to the ground and brushed herself off, combing one set of her hands through her hair. She folded the other set in front of her, looking annoyed and suspicious.

“That’s a little better.” There was a snarl from the darkness and the creature she called her pet stepped up behind her, looking as much of a beast as it had before. But Frisk wasn’t scared this time.

“You know the spiders in the Ruin, right?”

“…Yes. We’re doing this bake sale so we can all be reunited once more.” Muffet put a hand on her beast of a pet, holding it back. It quivered, ready to pounce the moment its mistress gave the word.

“I know them too. I bought a lot of baked goods from them growing up. They were always so kind and the baked goods were always delicious. Mom would buy me Spider Cider if I was good sometimes…” She had a wistful smile, remembering those silly memories. How excited she was to have some Spider Cider.

Muffet made no reply. She seemed to be trying to determine if Frisk was lying or not. Frisk knew she was buying time. Maybe Sans could sneak out the other side or…

“Muffet!” A small voice squeaked. A very small spider came running in, carrying a letter. “Take a look at this! A telegram from the Spiders in the Ruins.” Muffet took it and read it over, a frown coming over her face. She laughed gently afterwards.

“Ah…They said that they knew a human who used to live in the Ruins with gold eyes…” Muffet looked up at Frisk. “You certainly fit that description. They said you were very kind to them and bought lots of sweets…Well…I can’t hurt someone who buys our pastries, now can I dearie?” She patted her pet on the side. Frisk sighed. “But…Ah, well I suppose it doesn’t matter. We’ll figure out a way to save the others in the Ruins somehow.”

“My mother lives there yet. Perhaps when I call her next I’ll have a talk with her. Maybe she can think of something” Frisk offered.

“…We don’t have much to pay her with.” Muffet seemed hesitant to accept the offer.

“My mother probably wouldn’t take your money anyway” Frisk laughed. “She’d do it just so your families could be reunited.”

“That would be very kind of her. And very kind of you, human…And here I was thinking of taking your Soul to sell. Rather glad I didn’t” And she laughed, as if that were funny. Frisk glanced at Sans who was just watching Muffet, waiting to see if she was really going to let them go. “You’re very kind for a human, dearie. Please come back to my Parlor anytime. My dear pet just loves to play, don’t you?” She turned to give her pet a rub on the side. It leaned against her and whined like a dog.

“I-I’ll keep that in mind” She and Sans began to walk out, her keeping a tight hold on the skeleton’s hand. She was probably hurting him, she was gripping his hand so tightly but she couldn’t let go. She was so scared something was going to go wrong…that Muffet was going to change her mind…

But they reached the other side without incident. Frisk sighed, feeling her stomach drop to her knees. They had made it, both of them this time. She looked at Sans, the oppressive heat of Hotlands surrounding them and then she grabbed him and kissed him. He laughed and just held her close, kissing her back in his strange way.

“We lived!” She said, pulling away. It wasn’t like it was a great feat to be alive, but the thought of Sans being reduced to dust again…it was too much for her heart o bear. But they were alive, they could go on. And hand in hand they did.

“That was pretty smart of you to have me contact the spiders in the Ruins. Didn’t know they could get a telegram here that fast though” Sans commented, swinging their hands as they walked.

“I have some good ideas, sometimes” Frisk winked at him and he smiled. That of course, tempted Sans to make some awful jokes - and she laughed at them. Able to forget the horror and fear if only for a moment.

Until they came across the lion-like monster in that same blue dress. It looked quite good on him actually and Frisk would have said as much if he didn’t hold out some clothes for Frisk to change into. “There's a changing room right here, before the stage”

Sans groaned and looked annoyed. Frisk followed along, amused. “You should call your brother” She told him as she took the clothes and headed into the changing room, knowing this was a clear sign of Mettaton. They had promised after all. She closed the door, knowing he didn’t like playing along with Mettaton’s silly games. But it was fun and interesting to see what he had thought up.

Before long she found herself dressed in quite the princely outfit – a cape included. She looked at the mirror in the changing room and decided to leave her long hair braided. She looked princely enough with the braid. Hopefully Mettaton would approve.

Sans had since disappeared and she could only assume that he was off somewhere hiding from Mettaton. The same lion monster came and took her to the edge of a stage. He motioned her to walk onto it. Strange, she had no lines or anything, so she supposed she was just to wing it.

So Frisk matched onto the stage, not knowing what to expect this time. She noticed the stage was set with a castle and the background was a very lovely night drop, complete with sparkling stars in the distance. She glanced around as she approached the castle, intrigued by the beauty of the set.

“Oh!” A voice cried from the tower of the castle, very nearly startling her. “Could it be? My one true love?” A face peeked from the balcony and Frisk found herself amused at the costume Mettaton was wearing. Of course, he was a princess and Frisk his prince. She gave a mock bow.

“Indeed, it is I!” She called to him.

He smiled brightly and disappeared, only to gracefully descend down the stairs next to the tower. His dress was sparkling and blue, with swooping sleeves and it hugged his metal body just right. Frisk thought he looked stunning it it. He was an actor though, he would only wear things he looked stunning in.

“Oh, my one true love! You have come too late! The Monster King has forbidden our union!” He threw his arm across his forehead dramatically.

“We shall marry anyway, my love!” She declared.

The “play” (if one could call it that, as Frisk was just making up lines as she went. Mettaton seemed to think she was doing a good job however.) went on, mainly Frisk trying to convince Mettaton they they would defeat all adversaries and marry - despite her being human and he a monster...well robot, technically.

Suddenly, as she and Mettaton were about to sweep away to get married, there came a stomping sound. Mettaton paused, looking off stage, squinting.

“Oh dear? What is that?” He wondered, aloud. “Could it be some awful monster come to oppose us?”

But then Frisk saw it was Papyrus. The lion monster tried to stop him, but Papyrus probably didn’t hear him as he came right on stage anyway.

“Wowie! Human! You look amazing!” He had his full armor on, including a his spiky mask. Mettaton covered his mouth in mock horror.

“Could it be? One of the King’s dark knights? Alas, my one true love, we are truly doomed!” Papyrus removed his mask and Mettaton glanced at him again. “Oh my, a very handsome knight that is…Perhaps we aren’t so doomed…”

“Nyheh? Y-you think I’m handsome?” Papyrus was...blushing? Frisk gave an evil little smile and jumped between Mettaton and Papyrus.

“And I am not truly your one true love, but an evil wizard who has taken their form!” She lifted her hands and fire formed there, though she made sure it was the kind that wouldn’t actually burn very hot. She didn’t want to hurt anyone after all. Mettaton jumped, looking shocked.

“Oh my true love, where thee?” He swooned and Papyrus caught him. He glanced at Frisk, as if unsure of what to do but Frisk gave him and wink and he seemed to realize what was going on. His face grew serious.

“We will find them together! For now I will protect you from this evil wizard!” He held his hand up and a long bone appeared in his hand, which he wielded like a sword. “Take this, foul one!” He swung it at her and she jumped aside.

“You are no match for my evil magic!” And she swept her fire across the stage. Papyrus jumped back, pulling Mettaton against him as he did. He quickly put himself between Mettaton and her.

“Stand back fair one! I must battle the evil wizard!”

And they had a lovely mock battle where Papyrus pretended to slay her. She stuck the bone between her side and her arm to make it look as if she were impaled and lay across the stars the Mettaton had come down from.

“My hero!” She heard Mettaton gasp. “Why, you might be my one true love, darling.” She opened one eye to see Mettaton practically flirting with Papyrus on stage. She wondered what Sans might think of that, but she still had no idea where he was. “And for saving me from the evil wizard, a kiss, from me” And Mettaton gave Papyrus a peck on the cheek. Papyrus’ whole face turned orange in an instant.

“T-thank you!” He barely could even say those words. The play wrapped up and Papyrus seemed flustered yet. Mettaton was talking to him, praising his acting skills. Frisk went and got changed back into the clothes she had been wearing before and when she came back, Sans was standing almost threatening close to Mettaton, his eye slightly glowing. Mettaton seemed nervous, but Papyrus was happily, perhaps obliviously talking to them both.

“Sans, are you ready to go?” She called to him. He seemed hesitant to even take his eyes off Mettaton.

“Yeah. A minute. Hey bro, you heading home now?”

“Well I was thinking…”

“Oh wait!” Mettaton cut him off and hurried over to Frisk. “You’re such a darling, Frisk. And such a good actress too. These are for you and your...friend.” He handed her two...tickets? “They’re vouchers for my hotel. They’ll get you the best room in the place. You’re headed that way right? Couldn’t hurt to spend a night in a fancy hotel...it even includes a fancy dinner and one more surprise for you!”

“A surprise…? Like what?”

“Oh you’ll see when you get there, darling” And Mettaton laughed in a sneaky way that Frisk didn’t like. “Anyway, you better get going! You two, skeleton”

“Gladly, bucket of bolts” Sans was being strangely aggressive. As he passed Mettaton, he grabbed the robot’s arm, pulling him slightly downward so they were face to face. Frisk didn’t hear what he said, but Mettaton looked frightened...and as Sans walked away, that look turned angry. Frisk wanted to ask but felt it wasn’t really her place.

Sans took her hand and tugged it, leading her away from the stage. She turned to wave goodbye to Payrus and Mettaton and they were both smiling as they waved back. Whatever Sans said must not have bothered him too much then. She turned back to Sans and gave him a smile. He just looked grim.

“What?” She asked him.

“I don’t trust that guy around my brother. Paps is too...sweet for a guy like him”

“Oh I think its cute. Plus, nothing serious will probably come out of a little harmless flirting.”

“Harmless flirting...right.”

Frisk just let out a little laugh. Sans could be so weird about things but it was cute to see how protective he was of Papyrus. It was nice to see he loved his brother so much. Then again, he and Mettaton would make a really cute couple. She supposed that only time would tell at this rate. She just hoped Sans didn’t get too mad if they did go on a date.

And if she did, she just hoped she could talk him down.

Chapter Text

The hotel was almost literally outside the stage. They walked out and took a left turn and there it was, looming before them. It was quite nice looking; like the really fancy type of apartments that only celebrities stayed at. Then again, from the looks some monsters were giving her, Frisk was a minor celebrity here. She had been on television with Mettaton a few times, not to mention she was a human. She supposed she would make some waves. She just did her best to lower her gaze and pretend she didn’t see the monsters staring at her.

They went to the desk and turned in the vouchers. The monster behind the counter told the two of them that dinner would be served soon and they should settle quickly so they weren’t late. Frisk found that a little weird but she and Sans hurried to their room. It was on the same floor, just down a hall. The bedroom was lovely, though there was only one bed. It was absolutely humongous though. It took up a majority of the room. There was also a bathroom attached to the bedroom, with a huge shower taking up most of the room in there. Frisk wondered what it was with this hotel...It was so strange.

“Hey, Frisk. Looks like this is for you” Sans’ voice had her coming back into the main room. There was a present of some sort sitting on the bed, all wrapped up with a pink bow. Sans held out a card that must have been with the box.

A gift for all your hard work. Sweep him off his feet, darling.

And there was a heart next to Mettaton’s name. She opened the box and just stared blankly a moment. She put the lid back on before Sans could see.

“Ookay….Well, I wanna go check on Paps before dinner. I’ll be back okay?” With that he disappeared.

As soon as he was gone, she looked back in the box. Man oh man, Mettaton was one evil monster - robot - whatever. But she supposed she was even more evil than he was because she spirited his package away to the bathroom to try it on.


She turned in front of the mirror. She had left a note for Sans to meet her in the hotel dining room. He had come and gone already, knocking on the bathroom, wondering if she were okay. She had called out that she was fine and she was simply getting ready. He had muttered about something, though she couldn’t hear him, but she had heard the door close behind him. She had let out a little sigh of relief then. She focused on getting ready, she wanted to look perfect.

The dress was sleeveless and only went to right above her knees. The top was black and the bottom was red and black, lace and slightly transparent at the bottom. There were shoes in the box as well as panty hose; so it wasn’t like she was being indecent. The shoes were really cute too, even if they were high heeled - black with little bows on the tops. The bows were red to match the dress. Her hair was washed and braided again. There had been fake roses hair clips for her hair as well in the box - there were three of them. She put them in the middle of her braid and threw it over her shoulder. There had been makeup in the box but she only used the lip gloss. The other stuff seemed too flashy and she didn’t have the foggiest on how to put it on and have it look good.

Besides, she was sure Sans would like her outfit already.

They had kissed - more than once now - but she wanted…

What? A relationship? It wouldn’t last long. She was a human and he was a monster. She had to be realistic. But she wanted to be happy, if only for tonight. She was going to be happy tonight.

Dressed and ready, she headed out of the room and towards the dining room. Monsters stared at her as she did. She couldn’t tell if it was because she was a human or because they were surprised by how she was dressed. She ignored them and walked on, head held high. She entered the dining room and no one looked up, everyone already intent in their meals. She glanced over the room, looking for Sans.

There he was, towards the back. His back was to her.

She walked towards him, trying to calm the pounding of her heart. Her throat felt tight, her chest heavy and her head was light. She had no idea what kind of reaction he might have and it made her feel so anxious and nervous - almost like she was going to pass out.

It was kind of funny. She had faced horrors - she had died several times - yet having this “date” with Sans was going to give her an anxiety attack. She forced herself to be calm, to take a deep breath. Sans must have heard her because he turned in his seat.

“Heya, kiddo. You’re a little…” His sentence died when he got an actual look at her. His entire face began to turn a light shade of blue as he blushed. “I uh…” She took a seat across from him finally and he looked at her, seeming to try and find the words he wanted to say. “You’re a little...Uh…”

A delighted thrill made her almost shiver. She smiled a little, feeling victorious. She’d have to thank Mettaton later.

“Sorry. I know I’m late...but I wanted to look nice. For you.” She didn’t know it was possible for his face to be more blue than it was.

“Well, I relish your efforts, Frisk. You look...good” She rolled her eyes at the minor pun. Their food was put down in front of them - some sort of steak with a side of vegetables. Frisk started to eat, relishing the taste. As she looked up, she saw Sans hadn’t touched his food.

“Sans?”

“Ya know...I met the old lady because I just wanted a place to practice my knock knock jokes.” She was silent. “I was just cracking them out one day and a gentle who's there? Came from the other side of the door. I was always told that the Ruins were empty - but here was this old lady who loved bad jokes. It was rib-tickling.” He was grinning and she smiled too. “She always talked about you too kid. You’re her pride and joy, y’know?”

“I know” She said softly.

“She asked me to keep an eye out for you, a long time ago. Almost like she knew you might leave the Ruins someday. I think she expected that day to be much sooner honestly. I told I would keep my eye socket on ya if you ever left. You’re kinda lucky y’know?”

“Lucky, how?”

“Coz had you left earlier, without your mom saying anything to me -- well you woulda been dead where you stood”

The room seemed to go cold for a moment. She looked at Sans and he looked at her. Suddenly he let out a little chuckle.

“I’m kidding. Do I look the type to really do somethin’ like that?”

“I know you’re more powerful than you let on, Sans” She said simply. He just let out another chuckle, almost as if darkly amused by her statement. “And I know if you really wanted me to be, I’d be dead.”

He was silent, his eyes dark and empty.

“But you wouldn’t hurt me now, though” She went on.

“What makes you say that?” He tilted his head to the side slightly.

“Because I love you and I think you love me”

From nearly sick to her stomach from the thought of being here, to being braver than she knew. It was like she was watching someone else talk to Sans. It was like some inner bravery had decided to surface. He stared at her for a long time and then laughed.

“Alright kiddo, you’ve got me” He sighed. “A little crazy though isn’t it? You’re a human and I’m a monster”

“My mother always told me humans and monsters were very much alike if anyone cared to look closely enough” She looked at her near empty plate. When had she eaten it? Had she been eating on autopilot? She looked back at Sans.

“Your mom is pretty smart”

There was another pause between them, almost painful. Sans finally stood and took a deep breath. She stood as well and he offered her his hand.

“I want to show you something. Close your eyes. We’re taking a really long shortcut”

“Sans I just ate” She felt her stomach clench at the very thought of his “shortcut”.

“You’ll be fine. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you” And then he led her towards the edge of the room, walking swiftly and with purpose.

She trusted him so she closed her eyes and squeezed his warm, bony hand in her own. She felt the tingle of his magic and then the free-fall feeling of his “shortcut”. Her stomach turned regardless of his words. It was her body’s natural reaction she supposed. It had to be so much easier when you didn’t have internal organs. Just when she thought she had to open her eyes and see where they were, she felt the cold against her face and she felt the familiar crunch under her feet.

She opened her eyes and looked down.

Snow.

“We’re in...Snowdin?” She looked around. She even knew where they were. They were right by Sans’ house.

“Yeah. I wanna show you something kiddo. Something not even my bro knows about” He gave her hand a gentle tug and she followed behind him as he led her to the back of the house. Between the trees and the house was a door that led downwards. A basement?

“What…?”

“I can’t explain. Just...let me show you”

He opened the door and walked down the stairs, pulling her along. It was a little slow going down the stairs, her heels and the wet snow were not a good mix. She was silent as they walked down, wondering what Sans could be hiding from her. Of course, she knew everyone had their secrets, but how far down did Sans’ go?

A quote from one of the books she had read as a child popped into her mind at that moment: In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

Would Frisk be able to see Sans in the same light if they reached a certain point? The thought scared her. Everyone has secrets, yes, but some of Sans were dark. She thought of what she already knew and by the time they reached the bottom of the stairs where a doorway waited for them, her heart was pounding.

Inside was...a lab. A small lab. Clean and tidy, all but a huge...thing sitting in the corner, a sheet thrown over it. A wrench and some gears and screws lay at its base. It looked broken, whatever it was.

She stepped into the room, curious. Sans let go of her hand and stood in the doorway, as if unable to go on. When she looked at him, she realized that it might be just that. He was staring blankly at the walls. She decided to let him be. She turned back to the room and approached the thing in the corner. She wanted to lift the sheet, but had a feeling it was a bad idea. She examined it for a moment and then turned back towards the opposite wall, where there was a blueprint lying on a lab table. There were shelves in the table as well.

She walked up to the blueprint and looked at it. It was all scribbles, in a language she couldn’t read. She tried to make heads or tails of it, but she wasn’t sure what she was looking at. The more she looked at it though...the more it almost looked like the huge machine that had been in Alphys’ lab. She wondered what some sort of plans for it were doing in Sans’ basement.

She moved on to the drawers and opened the first one up. Inside of it was a picture of Sans and some other people. She didn’t know any of them, but Sans seemed...happy. She glanced back in the drawer and noticed there was a whole photo album in there. She picked it up and noticed a piece of paper sticking out of the back. She gently tugged it out.

Don’t Forget was scrawled on it and there was drawing of three people - himself, Papyrus and a third person. A taller man with what looked to be cracks in his face. Their father?

“Heh, pathetic, I know” Sans’ voice startled her. She almost forgot he was there.

“What?”

“That I keep all this locked down here, away from Papyrus. It’d probably upset him. He...He doesn’t remember” Sans sighed. “Sometimes I think he does a little but...Not often. Not enough.”

She didn’t know what to say. She gently put the picture album and the drawn picture away and went to Sans. She took his hands in her’s.

“I want to go back to the hotel now” She told him. “I...I’ve seen enough”

He was silent but he wrapped his arms around her. She closed her eyes at the familiar feeling of his magic and she found herself back in their hotel room. She was still in Sans’ warm arms. His head rested against her shoulder. He seemed tired.

“Do you want to go to bed?” Her voice was soft.

“Frisk...what are you going to do when you reach the King?”

She swallowed hard. This wasn’t a conversation she wanted to have right now.

“I’m going to talk to him”

“He’s not going to listen”

“How do I know if I don’t try?”

“He’s going to kill you”

“You’ll be with me.”

But even as she said that, she knew that she was going to have to leave Sans soon. Maybe tonight. That would be smart. Leave in the middle of the night, head straight to the King. End this here and now.

Her mother’s face flashed through her mind and she thought that one more day wouldn’t hurt anything.

“Yeah…” His voice sounded a little more normal. “Yeah. Of course.”

He lifted his head and his eyes met her’s. That slow, familiar smile appeared on his face. She felt herself smile as well. She couldn’t leave him, not yet. This tender, new, love was blossoming in her chest - she wanted to encourage it, even if it couldn’t go anywhere. Even if it was only going to lead to pain.

“Let’s go to bed, kid. Its gonna be a long day tomorrow” He kissed her forehead and she suddenly felt completely exhausted. It was all she had to just pull off her shoes and climb onto the bed and into his arms. They wrapped their arms around each other, comforted simply by the other's presence. 

Chapter Text

Frisk woke in the middle of the night, her throat dry. It felt nice for it not to be a nightmare that woke her. She untangled herself from Sans’ arms carefully and got up, stretching. She was still in her nice dress - no wonder she was so uncomfortable. She’d have to change, but first she needed that drink. She walked to the bathroom and cupped her hands under the water from the sink. She drank a little bit and headed back into the bedroom so she could find her pajamas and change.

“Can’t sleep?”

A voice startled her. Sans was now sitting up, on the edge of the bed. She let out a breathy laugh. Of course it was only Sans. Who else could be in here?

“No...I just got thirsty” She answered. She walked over to him. “Are you okay? After what…”

“Yeah.” He answered, but he didn’t exactly sound fine. She sat down next to him and took his hand. He didn’t look at her, he was just starting ahead.

“Sans…”

“Its just when you try so hard not to try so hard, it becomes your norm you know? It becomes who you are. Now I want to try, I want to just…” He looked at her finally. “Frisk, I do love you, you know that right?”

“I know.” She let go of his hand to cup his face instead. “Of course I know, how could I not have known, my silly skeleton?” His fingers cupped her face and he pulled her close enough to rest her forehead against his.

She wanted to say something, anything. Comforting or maybe...He seemed to know what she was thinking in that moment. One of his hands traced gently down along her neck, to her shoulder, down her back. When he reached the small of her back, he pushed her closer, lifted his head and he kissed her.

This wasn’t like the other kisses they had shared - this one was just passion and want. It was lust and Frisk was surprised by it. Not that she didn’t want...but the fact that he wanted her . It was almost overwhelming, it was almost all consuming. His arms kept her close and her fingers held onto him desperately. It went from want to need.

Sans’ fingers were now tracing her body, touching her in ways she had only ever imagined. Caressing her, gentle touches, barely there, warm bones against soft skin. He pulled away ever so slightly, his eye glowing brightly in the dark room.

“I’m sorry...I shouldn’t-” he started but she pulled him back against her, kissing him hard. She felt warm, but she trembled. She was nervous, she was scared, but she wanted him. Oh how she wanted him. More than anything else…

His fingers touched her legs now, tracing above them, to the inside of her thigh. She felt herself gasp. He took the moment to pull back slightly.

“You’ve never?” It was clear what he was implying. She shook her head. Who would she have done so with? “Okay. Just trust me” She could only nod, her throat not able to force the words out.

She didn’t know what she expected him to do but she didn’t expect him to stand, grab her legs and swing her towards the edge of the bed. He knelt there and she felt his hand against her, touching her through the cloth of her panties. She let out a little whimper, eager and expecting, her fingers digging into the bedspread.

“Don’t worry, Frisky, I know what I’m doing”

And then-

She woke up.

Frisk’s eyes snapped open and she found herself still curled in Sans’ arms, her mind muddled by the terribly dirty dream it had invented. She was a little confused and then when it dawned on her she quickly worked her way out of his arms. She remembered the feel of his fingers caressing her and the heat of his kiss and…

She needed a cold shower.

She stood and began to hurry towards the bathroom when she heard Sans stir.

“Frisk? Wh-where are you going?”

“Uh...Sho-I-I mean I need a drink of water. I’m just getting a drink of water” She didn’t turn to face him, afraid he’d see how red her face must have been, even in the darkness of the room. With her answer out of her mouth, she hurried to the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

He would hear if the shower began to run so she purposefully got a drink. She remembered this was how her dream started. A drink of water and then...She couldn’t think about it without nearly choking on her drink. A need she didn’t know she had awoken with that dream. It wasn’t like she didn’t know about sex - she had read plenty of romance books she had found hidden in her mom’s house. She had eaten them up, reading them in a single night so her mother wouldn’t know what she had been reading.

Of course, it probably didn’t work the same way in real life as it did in writing. Her dream had been fueled by what she read since she had no real experience. That was probably why it had cut off suddenly as well. She sighed and washed her face off, the cool water flinging the thoughts from her head. She was more focused now, but she was also completely awake.

She couldn’t believe she had a dirty dream about Sans...and that she almost hoped it came true. What was wrong with her? She had almost reach the end of her journey and now she was getting distracted?

I need to stay determined she thought, setting the glass down. She wondered if he had fallen back asleep. She crept out of the bathroom, hoping to get a little bit more sleep. She sat on the bed and she felt his arms wrap around her waist, his forehead against her back.

“Nightmare?” He asked, his voice heavy with sleep.

“No”

“Weird dream?”

“Yeah” That was the best way to put it right? It was nothing but a weird dream...A weird dream that would never come true.

“Don’t let it…” He paused to yawn “...bother you. Get some sleep. We’re gonna have a long walk tomorrow…”

She didn’t reply and sure enough within a minute or two he was snoring softly. She sat there for a long time,a part of her wanting to get up and just go . She knew she couldn’t just…leave Sans, but a part of her wanted to. The hard part of her journey was coming up and she was scared.

She was scared to die.

But it had to happen like this - that’s what she told herself. It was meant to happen this way. This was her destiny, this was what she had fallen down here for. To save everyone, to let them go to the surface. There was no other way.

Something stirred in her, a determination. Didn’t monsters deserve to be saved? Look at the kindness they had given her, the joy they had brought her. There had been moments of fear, but the good times greatly outweighed the bad. Did she not owe it to them to rise now and go, to the King and to her own end?

She stayed in bed though, Sans arm around her, his gentle snores filling the empty room. Her eyes began to feel heavy again and she laid down next to him. In the morning things would be different. She knew leaving now would be better, leave Sans now, not see the hurt on his face...but she couldn’t bring herself to go. She wanted to be with him as long as she could.


 

“This is the entrance to the core?” She asked, her eyes staring into what seemed to be endless rows of machinery.

“Yup. That’s it” Sans seemed...reserved this morning. They hadn’t spoken much after they had left. She had simply gotten dressed in the clothes that Alphys had gifted her and they had headed out after a light breakfast.

Now as she stared into the core, she could feel the weight of her journey on her shoulders. She glanced at Sans and it was as if he could see it too. She wasn’t sure if he could, but his eyes were dim, almost as if he were distracted by something.

Sans led the way through the core until they came to a doorway next to an elevator. Sans tried the elevator first but...it didn’t seem to be working. She saw his face twist in confusion. He tried it again but it wasn’t getting them anywhere

“Is there a way around?” She asked.

“Yeah.” His answer was short, but she could sense it was because he was still confused over the elevator not working. He gestured to the doorway beside the elevator and she entered it, finding herself in a dark room.

Her heart began to pound, memories of the spider’s parlor flooding back. The smell of burning spiders and their horrible screams, the sight of Sans reducing to dust, the taste of blood in her mouth. She was frozen for what felt like a long time, but she felt Sans’ hand against her’s and she looked at him. It was as if he sensed her impending panic attack and sought to sooth it before it could begin.

She took a deep breath and they moved forward…

Onto a stage?

Mettaton was there, looking gorgeous and fabulous, his one leg cocked out, his hand under his chin, his eyes focused on her. She could see his camera crew not too far away and she knew this was going to be a live thing. She tensed a little, unsure of what tricks he must have up his sleeve this time.

“Human!” He dramatically pointed towards her. “You’re trying to leave us all forever aren’t you? Well I won’t let you! Don’t you know you’re a star?”

“I’m not a star” She couldn’t imagine anyone watching a show because of her.

“Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong, darling!” Mettaton’s arm dropped and he placed a finger on the side of his cheek, tilting his head ever so slightly. “You are the Hopes and Dreams of the Underground! You have inspired us! And you just want to leave?”

She was silent. She didn’t realize people might be looking up to here. Sans was relaxed by her side.

“Don’t worry you bucket of bolts, she’s not actually going to leave” Now the attention was on Sans. He was looking at her though. “Did you really think I wouldn’t figure out your little plan? I was suspicious from the start but now I’m sure. You were planning on giving up on everything to set us all free.”

“I still am” She leveled her gaze with his. She could see the anger starting on his face but she cut him off. “What happens if I don’t? What happens? You go to war Sans! Your brother goes to war! If I don’t go, if I don’t set you guys free, people are going to die. Not just a couple, hundreds may. Monsters will die too. There will be no chance for peace, just war. What kind of life will that be? What kind of freedom is that?”

Sans was silent and she could see Mettaton out of the corner of her eye, shocked as well.

“Is it really...worth your life though?” Sans was talking in a gritted tone, like it was painful for him to ask.

“Is it worth your life? Your brother’s?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” He snapped.

“I do! And I’m going to finish this Sans! I owe you that much. I owe this world that much!”

“You’re an idiot”

“I want you to be free”

“I’d rather see the world end” And with that, he was gone. He just disappeared, teleporting to god knows where. Frisk was so shocked, she felt her breath catch in her throat. She stood there, staring at the spot where Sans had been.

And now he wasn’t.

The Frisk of a few days ago would have broken down, she would have cried. As it was Frisk just closed her eyes and took a deep breath, telling herself it was better this way. What did she expect? Sans to stand aside as she let the King kill her? No, it was better if she was ending this alone.

“Turn them off! Turn them off! I don’t care if this is great drama, turn those cameras off!”

She could heart Mettaton growling at his camera crew but she couldn’t force herself to open her eyes. Not yet. She just needed a moment in the darkness to remember why she was doing this. She wanted to save her friends, she wanted to ensure they lived on. Sans rather see it all burn to keep her alive. It was a painful thought - couldn’t he see she was doing this because she loved him?

“Darling? Are you alright?” It was Mettaton. She opened her eyes to see he was near her now, looking like a mouse approaching a wounded cat.

“I’m fine. I...knew that was what would happen when he figured it out” She let out a shaken laugh. “That or he’d take me home and let me to the mercy of my mother…”

“Are you really going to…?” He didn’t seem to be able to say it.

“You’re gonna be a star Mettaton, to humans and monsters alike. They’re gonna love you.” She said instead, a smile on her face. “I can see you now with a talk show and maybe a couple cooking shows too. Music and lights and…” She swallowed hard to keep the tears at bay. “Just, don’t forget me, okay?”

And then she walked on. Mettaton didn’t try to stop her and in fact he seemed more shocked than anything. She walked past his camera crew and Bratty and Catty, all who moved to let her walk. Her cell phone began to ring, but she ignored it. She walked on until she came to an elevator.

It only went to two different floors so it wasn’t hard to figure out which one she was going to. It took a long time for her to get from the core to whatever place she was going. She tried to still her thoughts so they didn’t choke her with tears but it was hard. She was alone now. She knew it was for the best but it was hard.

As she stepped out of the elevator her cell phone began to ring again. She silenced it. She didn’t bother to look at who was calling. She moved through what appeared to be a city. The buildings were tightly packed, letting her know how overpopulated this place truly was. There was only so much room down here after all.

She walked through the quiet city, as if everyone was silently letting her pass. She walked until she came to the yard of a familiar looking house.

Here she had to stop because...it looked just as Toriel’s home had. She was unable to stop herself, she ran forward, slamming the door open.

“Mom!”

Of course there was no answer. There was no one here. Her mother was not here and she was alone. It was almost too painful for her to accept at that moment. She wanted nothing more than to fall to her knees and begin to sob. Something pushed her forward though, something made her walk towards the hallway, where her bedroom would be.

She opened the door and found a different bedroom here. There were two beds instead of one and in the middle of the floor was what looked to be a present. It was wrapped with a red bow. She couldn’t help but feel like it was for her.

She walked forward, tugging gently on the ribbon so it would unwind and she could remove the top of the box. There were two items inside the box. A golden heart-shaped locket and a knife. She picked them both up, slipping the necklace on.

In that moment, her clothes felt...silly to her. She took them off, stuffing them in her bag and changed her original outfit. The outfit that resembled Toriel’, the crest of the Underground on her chest. Her flats felt comfortable on her feet and she knew this was right. She left her satchel and her phone in the room, tucked against the bed. It would not help her any longer.

She left the room and headed down the hall where there was a mirror. She touched it gently. Her long hair fell in waves around her and suddenly, she hated that too. She took the knife and used it to cut her hair. It felt like a weight was off her shoulders the moment those long locks fell.

She looked in the mirror again, startled and mesmerized. The person in the mirror looked like her...only...Had her eyes always been red? She closed her eyes and shook her head.

There she was, golden eyes and all. She had to admit, the shorter hair looked nicer on her. She liked it. This was her.

She explored the rest of the house, finding it to be exactly like her mother’s. It was strange. Had this house been built to look like her’s or the other way around? She supposed it didn’t matter. She headed down into the basement, remembering the start of this journey, of her mother's tearful goodbye. It was time to go though. She had to keep moving.

She found herself walking down a hallway, not unlike the one that led her out of the Ruins. Only, this one eventually opened and showed her another view of the city. She looked out at it and then turned towards the doorway, her way into the castle she supposed.

She expected to see more grey, to see the listless place that she expected but instead was met with a beautiful golden room. Pillars and stained glass windows lined the hall. It was beautiful and as she stepped out further into the room, she got the distinct feeling that she wasn’t alone.

She turned towards the feeling and saw the last person she would expect standing there, eye glowing. His hand extended outward towards her, as if he might be asking her to dance.

“Welcome to the Judgement Hall. Prepare to be judged.”

Chapter Text

“Welcome to the Judgement Hall. Prepare to be judged.”

The words sent a chill down her spine. He said them with such conviction, like he knew it would all boil down to this. His hood was up, shading his eyes, but she could see one of his eyes, glowing like hellfire. His hand was extended towards her, as if beckoning to drop this facade and let things go back to how they had been. It had to be less than an hour ago...or had it been a lifetime ago?

She didn’t answer him and sighed instead. She began to walk forward, intent on walking around him, ending this now. As she got closer and as he saw her intent, she saw a flash in that one blue eye.

Suddenly bones shot out of the ground at an angle, nearly hitting her face. She got the idea that they weren’t there to harm her, only to warn her from taking another step forward. She stumbled back, lifting the knife instinctually.

“You’ll be judged.” His tone was grim. She couldn’t see his face to truly gauge his expression. What was he thinking?

“Sans, I don’t want to fight you” But she would. Something inside of her was breaking. Something deep in her heart stirred. A...determination? For what?

“Just turn around, Frisk. You can’t beat judgement. Please” Now there was a hint of desperation. She didn’t think he really meant that. He was trying to scare her.

Or that was what her instinct said. No, not instinct but...What was it? Like a voice whispering at her ear. She listened to it though and she was going to call Sans out on his bluff. She moved, running towards the exit on the other side of the room. More bones appeared in front of her and she skidded to a stop. She turned, the knife flashing in her hand.

The bones closed around her, trapping her within. She wasn't going to take this, she didn’t have to. She swung the knife and it sliced easily through the bones. She jumped out of the enclosure and turned towards Sans again.

He didn’t say anything and his expression was still hidden from her. He raised his hand, blue glinting in his eye. She moved as the bones jutted from the ground. His hand moved and she darted forward as they came up from behind. She watched him, easily predicting his next move and then…

Well she found herself where she started, at the far end of the hall. He had herded her like a sheep to the other end of the hall again. She griped the knife tightly. He was just playing games, that much was clear. She took a deep breath. She didn’t want to fight him but she could wear him down.

She charged again and predictably he tried to stop her. He would herd her back towards the way she had come in and she could sense he was getting frustrated. He didn’t want to do this like this. That much was clear. She moved, heading for the door but switching direction at the last minute, heading towards him.

He lifted his hand and caught her with his magic, throwing her backwards. Her landing was gentle, the fall slowing as she arched through the air. For some reason it only served to fuel her - what? Fuel what? Was she angry? Was she…? What was wrong with her? She shook her head and tried to focus. This wasn’t a fight. She loved him. She could never hurt him.

She circled around, her eyes never leaving him. This wasn’t a battle, it was almost like a dance. Their moves were predictable. Their attacks were harmless. Not once did they actually make contact. He would threaten her, but he wasn’t trying to hurt her.

And she wasn’t trying to hurt him. Right? Right?

But something was stirring in her, something...frightening. It was like a piece of her had laid asleep, deep inside of her. It was awakening now, stirring, a beast that could not be controlled.

“Frisk you need to stop!” Sans’ voice cut across her and she paused. “Where do you think there is to go after this? Where are we gonna go?”

“Sans, I’m not going-

“Stop it! Don’t you bullshit me. Not me!” He was huffing, breathing heavy. He was getting tired already. “You’re going to die. You’re going there to die

“Sans…”

“You’re going to let yourself die so we can be free and that’s not fair. It’s not fair. No one asked you to do this”

“No one had to. I chose to do this” 

“Why?” She opened her mouth to say something but he went right on speaking. “What was the point of loving you if you were just going to die a few days later? Why didn’t you just...why didn’t you just keep going by yourself? Why didn’t you just...leave me?”

She didn’t answer. She didn’t have one. Maybe it was because she wanted time with the voice who had been her friend all this time, this voice she had fallen in love with. This voice who had meant the world to her. Maybe. But she doubted that this answer would sate him. 

“There isn’t anywhere else to go”

“There is”

“Not for us”

“No, not for us”

“I don’t want to go alone”

“You won’t be alone”

“I don’t want to go without you

“I know”

They were running out of words. She could see his anger building again. She could see he was frustrated and scared. She was just...worried. Was she making the right choice? Was there any other way? A way she couldn’t see?

“Sans…”

But he looked up, his eye flashing, the glare blinding her for a moment. Behind him formed a...well she wasn’t sure what it was. It was the manifest of his fear and anger though, that was for sure. Skeletal, with one glowing eye as well, it stared her down. Its gaping mouth opened, showing her the row of sharp teeth it had and allowing her to see as something began to building in its jaws.

Don’t be scared someone seemed to whisper to her. It was as if her body moved on its own accord. The blaster’s attack was ready and she lifted the knife. Its edge began to glow red and she slashed the air. With the sound of a small explosion, the blaster was destroyed. She moved backwards and Sans didn’t make a move to stop her. He seemed shocked…

But then he raised his hand and she knew the real fight was just beginning.

It wasn’t easy fighting him - she imagined it wasn’t easy for him either. They weren’t trying to hurt each other, just wear the other down. The dodging made her tired and sloppy and slow but she could see he was tiring alot faster than her. She kept telling herself it’d just be another minute or two. Another minute or three. He’d tire soon. He’d give up. She remembered when they were underneath the lab, how he had tired from protecting her there. She could tire him now.

But he seemed to just keep going, desperate. She realized this was the endgame for him. It was do or die. It wasn’t the endgame for her, not yet. She hadn’t invested everything in this fight like he had. She realized this and she felt bad.

She dodged and destroyed his attacks, trying to suppress the urge to fight back. She wouldn’t hurt him, she loved him.

But if you really loved him, would you really be walking to your death?

She barely dodged that last attack, how own thoughts biting into her. Were they her own though? Something felt off, wrong...But she just couldn’t put her finger on it. She dodged and parried and watched Sans with worried eyes.

Suddenly, he had summoned another blaster and she readied to destroy it, but he summoned another and another and another...A circle of them, surrounding her. She looked around and then at Sans. She still couldn’t see his face but she saw how he was huffing, how heavy his breathing was.

This was it.

The first blaster went off and then the second, in a circle. She wasn’t sure how she managed but that instinct deep inside her kept her going. Circling and circling until she was dizzy. This truly was like a dance, a dance for the hopeless. Just like that the blasters were gone, fizzling out, as Sans ran out of the energy to maintain them. He fell to one knee, wheezing.

She wanted to say something, but she felt there was nothing she could say to make this any better. This was the end. She was going to leave and that would be that.

“Stay with me” She heard him say. She had reached the end of the hall and she turned to look back at him. His hood had fallen back and she could see the blankness of his eyes and the tears running down his face. “There isn’t anywhere left to go so...stay with me”

She bit her lip and looked down, fighting the tears. She looked up at him again and took a shaky breath.

“I can’t. I’m sorry. I love you” She turned, hurrying away. She couldn’t hear anymore or it’d break her and she would stay.

She’d damn them all and she’d stay.

She had made her choice and she had to live, and die, by it. She was doing this for him. She was doing this for all of them. This was what she needed to do. This was what she expected of herself. The walls turned grey again but she could hardly seem them.

She had to stop to catch her breath and she had to stop so she could halt her tears.


The garden was beautiful, filled with yellow blossoms that were clearly the sunshine in this dark underground place. In the field of flowers was a large monster, his horns curling backwards. He was humming to himself, watering the flowers, his purple cape rippling as he moved. Frisk did not want to disturb him, but she knew there was no other way. She had come this far.

She stepped into the garden and he turned to look towards her, a smile on his face.

“How can I – Oh…”

The smile was gone in an instant, replaced with a worried frown. She stood before him slightly battered, her hair a mess, in the purple robes her  mother had given her. He looked at her and then looked at the robes, at the symbol on her chest. It matched the symbol on his – on her mother’s.

“Child, where did you get those robes?”

“My mother gave them to me” She replied simply.

“Your mother” His voice was a little shell shocked.

“Yes, my mother. Toriel”

His face became sad in that instant. “I knew she had only hidden herself…I had just not known where…” He sighed and he looked at her. “You call Toriel your mother…she raised you?”

“I fell into the Underground a long time ago and she kept me safe”

“That’s good. That sounds like her…” He seemed troubled. “Why don’t we…go have a cup of tea? We have a lot to talk about I think”

“With all due respect, King Asgore, we have something more important to tend to” His brow furrowed. “I’m the seventh human. With my soul you can break out of the Underground”

“…I do not feel this is a wise choice. Toriel…your mother…She would not be pleased”

“I know…But, I have such horrid memories of the humans above. I remember being scared, I couldn’t talk. I was always so scared. I can only think I ran away to the mountain in hope of a better life” A single tear ran down her face. “I had it. I’ve had the best life here. My mother, my friends, I’ve learned so much and I can’t…It’d be selfish not to allow you to have my soul, to not allow you to return to the world above. You deserve it; you deserve it so much.”

“You deserve a life too” Asgore said softly. “You deserve to be happy, I’m sure you have many friends who think the same.”

Another tear rolled down her cheeks. The dam was breaking again. She thought of Sans and the desperate look in his eyes, his plead for her to stay with him. She knew Asgore was right.

“But the war…”

“Ah.” He lowered his head. “My promise of war to open the gates of the Underground…This is why brought you here, child?” 

“Yes. I have a friend whose brother would be sent away. I have friends who would be sent away”

“It was a foolish notion on my part to declare I was going to lead us to war right now. We would only be slaughtered again…but the people have been desperate. Until lately. Suddenly there’s an air of hope once more and I think that’s because of you, human”

“Because I’m the seventh soul”

“Because you are a kind soul” The King corrected her. He knelt down so he wouldn’t have to look down at her any longer. They weren’t eye level but they were much closer now. He held a great paw out to her. “You are the future of humans and monsters. I can see it. I will not harm you, child. In fact, I have a different arrangement to ask of you”

“What is that?”

“If you take my soul you can cross the barrier. Perhaps you can find human who can use their magic to undo this barrier and then you and Toriel can begin mending the bridge.”

“I’m not going to hurt you. I won’t take your soul”

“You came here to give me yours”

“That’s different.”

“It’s really not” He chuckled gently and reached towards her once again. “Let me show you something, human” 

She took his paw and he led her from the garden. His hand felt much like Toriel’s, only bigger. He walked slowly, so not to drag her along. They exited the throne room and made their way to the barrier to stand before it. He let go of her hand and walked to the edge where twilight was shining through the barrier, distorted by its light.

“This is the barrier between us and the outside world”

“It’s…almost pretty”

“It is…” He sighed again. “Listen human, if you will not take my soul and I will not take yours, I suggest we return to Toriel and speak to her. Perhaps some arrangement can be had that you can be-“

Suddenly flames erupted between them and Frisk fell back covering her face. They were hot and burned high, a wall between her and Asgore although not burning either of them. She screamed out for him, unsure what was happening. She saw him flinching away from the flames but looking behind her, as if he was looking for the source. She stood and turned, her eyes straining but seeing nothing. Suddenly she saw a large figure moving...and heading straight for her.

Chapter Text

“Stay away from my child, Dreemurr!” A voice shouted and she recognized in an instant.

“Mom!” She shouted and her mother came running towards her. Toriel scooped her up and the flames died in an instant.

“Are you alright, my child? I should have never let you go on this journey by yourself!”

“Tori…” Asgore started.

“Don’t you ‘Tori’ me, Dreemurr. How dare you try and harm my child!”

“Mom!” Frisk pushed herself out of her mother’s arms. “He wasn’t trying to hurt me! He wasn’t going to hurt me at all!”

“He…wasn’t going to hurt you?”

“No!” She looked up at her mother, her golden eyes filling with tears. It was so good to see her again. She never thought…She could see her mother’s red eyes welling with tears as well. This reunion should have never happened but Frisk was beyond thankful that it had.

“King Asgore! Wait!” A voice called and suddenly two more people burst into the area.

“Yes! King Asgore, wait!”

She looked and saw Papyrus and Undyne, who looked like they had run here. Undyne ran up to the King, putting herself between Frisk and him.

“Listen, I know most humans suck, but this human is actually pretty cool!”

“Yes, this human is my best friend!”

“No, dork, she’s my best friend!” Undyne looked back at her. “Are you okay, kid?”

Before she could answer, she heard her mother giggle. “Are these friends of yours, Frisk?”

“Uh…” Undyne was suddenly looking at Toriel and then back at Asgore. Papyrus had noticed her now too.

“Your highness, when did you clone yourself?” Papyrus asked, glancing between the two.

“I am not a clone of him” Toriel assured him. “I am Toriel, caretaker of the Ruins”

“And my mother too!” Frisk inputted.

“She is your mother? Well you raised a very fine human, Toriel!” Papyrus grinned. Undyne seemed troubled but hadn’t said anything.

“W-W-Wait!” A voice called. “P-please no fighting!” And Alphys scuttled onto the scene.

“No one is fighting anyone today!” Papyrus declared and Alphys looked visibly relieved to see Undyne and Papyrus already there.

“Not anymore at least” A voice cut in and Sans walked into the area. He still looked exhausted, his eyes seeming to glow dimly within his skull. He was smiling though. Frisk could sense pain in the smile though and he walked as if every step pained him greatly.

“Sans! There you are! You’re late, after you called everyone here, you lazy bones”

Papyrus said more, but Frisk couldn’t hear it. She was focused on Sans. It was like a cloud had lifted and she felt the tears running down her face. She knew all her friends, her mother included, were watching but she didn’t care. She launched herself at him, wrapping her arms tightly around the skeleton. She sobbed, barely able to get a word out but she wanted him to know how sorry she was. He held her though, tightly, shielding her against the curious stares of her friends.

“Frisk, is there something you are not telling me?” Her mother’s voice stirred her but Sans held her tight. He didn't let her leave his arms. She was glad. She just wanted to bury herself in his jack and forget the world for a few hours.

“Uh…yeah, sorry. I know you said to keep an eye socket out for her but…”

“That voice…! You are…? With my daughter…?”

“Heh, life has a way of happenin’ I guess” She felt Sans shrug. “I’m Sans, Sans the Skeleton”

“Oh, then you must be Papyrus!” She said probably glancing over at Papyrus. “But I must tell you Sans, there will be rules for dating my daughter.” At this Frisk struggled her way out of Sans’ arms. She wiped at her tears, trying to look serious instead of watery.

“Mom, I’m not a little girl anymore!” She glanced at the entrance to the area they were in and noticed a small yellow flower. Flowey…?

Alphys had noticed him too. “H-hey, wait!”

Then Flower was suddenly before Frisk, her friends and loved ones torn away from her, wrapped in Flowey’s thorny vines. A moment that had been so gentle before suddenly turned into a nightmare. Flowey was laughing, holding all her friends above the ground, the thorns digging into them. 

“What are you doing?” She screamed, “Flowey, what is this?”

“It’s you, being an idioit” He hissed. “Do you know how long I waited for this chance? A chance to get six human souls?” Seven glass jars rose up behind them, six of them with souls in them. Flowey smashed the glass and took the souls, gathering them close. His eyes focused on her, the seventh and final soul.

His vines shot forward and suddenly there was a wall of fire blocking the way. The vines burnt up before they could touch her.

“Do not be mistaken…plant…” Toriel was panting. “Despite having me captive, it does not mean I will allow you to hurt my child”

“Shut up!” The vines began to squeeze Toriel tighter and the flames she had between Frisk and Flowey disappeared. “Now where were we…?”

Once again he attacked but another wall of fire erupted. “You will not hurt the child!” This time it was Asgore’s voice that spoke. Flowey’s vines began to constrict around him but then there was a wall of spears and a wall of bones as well.

“She is our friend!”

“Our best friend!”

“W-we won’t allow this to happen!”

“You think you can really stop me?” Flowey challenged.

“Maybe not alone” “But together we all can” “There are more of us than you” “And we’ll protect her!”

More monsters were pouring in the room and Flowey tried to snatch them all up, but there were more than Frisk could count.

“You truly are the hope of the Underground” Frisk turned towards Asgore at the sound of his voice, clear over all the other voices, swearing to protect her from the demented flower. She looked at them all and determination blossomed in her heart; no matter Flowey’s plot, he couldn’t succeede with so many people against him!

“You are all so stupid!”  

His words brought reality crashing back down upon them. He began to laugh, maniacally and she knew something was happening. The world around her seemed to shake and she watched as the souls of the past fallen humans began to glow brightly, swirling around Flowey, like a windmill. She saw the shocked faces of all her friends and allies around her, the pain flashing across their faces and then the blankness of their eyes.

The world went black…

And there was only her.

Did everyone…die? She thought, frightened. “Mom! Sans! Undyne! Papyrus! Alphys! Anyone! Anyone!”

I’m still here

“Who?”

“I can’t believe…it worked…!” A voice echoed across the space she was in. She turned and saw a single person standing there. They appeared to be a child, in a green sweater. Their voice was familiar. Their back was to her and she walked slowly towards, them, wary.

“Who…are you?”

Their shoulders shook, a laugh escaping them. “Don’t you remember me? After all this time? It’s me, your best friend” They turned to look at her and she was so shocked by the young monster before her. He looked just like his parents and there was no mistaking whose child he was. “Asriel Dreemurr”

And then there was a flash of light and he was no longer a child, but an adult with twisted horns in a long purple cloak, a mock of the one that Frisk herself wore. He grinned at her, leering.

“Of course, you’re not really Chara are you? Yet I can sense…a bit of you is them. Are you still there Chara? Does your determination keep you here yet?”

“I don’t know who you’re talking about” Frisk took a step back.

“Of course you don’t Frisk. You’re not them. I thought, a long time ago, that you might have been them, fallen again, having come to take this world back. But you’re not. Chara wasn’t a coward and you are”

He was right. She was a coward. There was no way she could stand up to him…but her friends. Her friends who meant the world to her. If anything, she had to do this for them. She would do this for them. She stood her ground and he laughed.

“I just need your soul and then all of this, all of this waiting…Don’t worry, Chara. I know what to do this time” He was smiling, “I’m going to take your soul, Frisk, and then I’ll have control over all the timelines.”

She felt something stirring inside of her, reacting to his words. She worried over that a little. Was there something…No. She had to just be imagining things.

She focused on him and took a deep breath. She had to do this. Her friends…they were counting on her more than anything. He summoned twin swords and brandished them at her. She held up her knife.  Her hand was shaking and she knew it, but she had to do this. She had to, there was no one else.

He slashed at her and she dodged, barely. He attacked her again and again with his swords and she dodged the best she could. The blades caught on her robes several times, ripping them. It didn’t take her long to realize he was messing with her, that this was all a game to him. She stumbled back from him, falling to her side. He had gotten her that time, on her arm. She could feel the blood running down it.

“Pathetic” He snorted, walking closer. She felt the tip of his sword on the back of her neck. “I’m going to reset everything to zero. Everyone’s memories, including yours. Then we get to do this again and again and again!”

“Why?” She asked.

“Because, you want a ‘happy ending’ don’t you? You ‘love your friends’. You ‘never give up’” His voice was mocking and she wished she could look up at him, but she was aware of his bland still resting on the back of her neck. “Your ‘determination’, what got you to this point – its going to be your downfall. Even if it is yours. I bet most of it comes from Chara. Somehow…”

“Do you remember that time in mom’s garden?”  She said, thinking quickly. She had to appeal to him.. He stiffened, clearly confused on where this was going. “That was before mom knew that you were around. You were really grumpy that day so I went inside and stole a piece of pie for you. You told me you hated me…but you ate it anyway. I guess mom’s pie is hard to forget, huh?”

“Shut up”

“I never knew much about Asgore – not until a couple of days ago at least. I found a tape in the cellar of Alphys’ lab…I guess that place is also her lab. He seems nice. Like he’d be a good dad…”

Shut up

His sword disappeared and she heard him stomp around to look down at her. As if he needed confirmation in her face.

“And then when I found this knife…and this necklace, it was like something clicked, you know? I felt like I belonged here. Like I always had” She lifted her head, the heart-shaped locket laying on her chest. She saw a matching one around Asriel’s throat. He seemed to be looking at the locket, something like tears in his eyes.

“You don’t deserve to wear that” He said finally. “It belonged to Chara! Chara was my best friend! Not you!” He lifted both swords to let them crash down on her head. She froze, unsure what to do.

Block him, you idiot!

She lifted the knife just in time and blocked the attack. Her injured arm burned. She pushed back and scrambled away from him before he could hurt her. He was mad, she could tell. But she could almost hear her friends calling out to her – as if his pain made him separate from them.

There had to be a way to save them, she just didn’t know how.  She just had to…

“I’m going to make everyone forget you!” He renewed his attack, but she could see how he hesitated just slightly before every blow. Her friends, they were fighting their own battle and they were winning. Protecting her even now. She was going to win this, she was going to survive. “No! I-I have enough determination to stop you!”

Then suddenly he swept his leg under her feet and she went down hard. He was above her, his sword pinned to go through her chest. She was going to die. She was afraid to die. She closed her eyes and suddenly felt warm.

She opened them and Asriel was staring at her, as if she had shown him a ghost. She noticed her soul glowing brightly, as if it had a life of its own. Then it seemed to shadow itself, and began to split. It hurt her and she screamed, arching her back as the split pulled itself away from her soul. Asriel shook himself and narrowed his eyes at her, where she lay panting and shaking. The part of her soul that had spilt off was gone. What even was that?

He lifted his sword again, ready to strike when a sudden voice hit them, strained as if they were not used to talking. Strained, as if something were wrong with their vocal cords.

“Asriel, stop”

They both looked and from the shadows approached a child with ruddy cheeks and redish-brown hair. Their red eyes were tired.

“This isn’t like you. Stop” 

“Chara…?”

Frisk could only stare at the child who could be her sibling. They looked very alike, though Chara’s eyes and hair was a different color. Chara looked very much like herself when she was a child, though they also wore a green sweater, much like Asriel had before his transformation.  The child stood there and tilted their head ever so slightly to the side and it was then that Frisk noticed that jagged scar across their throat.

Her head suddenly hurt.

Those dark holes, her memories, were suddenly filled in flashes. Her town – her village – her home – they…they…they had given children to the mountain. First borns. Made them mute from childhood…

“Slit their throats and threw them into the mountain” Chara finished her thoughts, a ghost of a smile on their lips. “They thought they were feeding the monsters. They thought they were protecting the world. It is their sacred duty to watch the barrier.”

“And they thought they were keeping the monsters calm, not realizing that some children would survive.” Frisk closed her eyes.

“That some children had enough determination to survive” Chara corrected. “Every human has varying amounts of determination, but some have more than others.”

“What…what are you talking about?” Asriel’s eyes were darting between the two humans.

“Just about why humans are terrible” The child rasped. Their hand touched their throat, rubbing at the old scar. Asriel saw this and his hand went to his own throat, something he probably did in sympathy. Frisk let out a strangled sob. Chara’s eyes went back to her. “But they never slit your throat. You were a coward who ran away from their “destiny””

“I’m…I’m not a coward”

“But that’s where you’re wrong” Chara seemed to be gloating. They flicked their eyes back to Asriel “And you were always a crybaby…I miss that. You’re right, we should purge this timeline and make sure it never happens”

“What?” Asriel seemed confused.

“Give me the souls, Asriel. I’m going to destroy the humans. They’ll never hurt anyone again.” Their smile faltered though. “Then again, I should destroy everyone. After all, monsters have proved they’re no better than the humans above”

“What? We never hurt you!” Asriel seemed shocked now. Frisk began to scoot back, her hand tightening on her knife. She didn’t like what was going on.

“Not me. But I’ll let you know why monsters are just as bad; they’re murders too” Their smile became dark and twisted, Asriel backed away and Frisk knew that things were going to go south fast. She wished she could just wake up from this nightmare, be back home, safe with her mother. Safe with her voice behind the door. Safety was just an illusion though and she had shattered it to come here. 

Chapter Text

Silence. Always silence. She was no allowed to speak. Only listen. It was hard sometimes. If she messed up he hit her, but only if other people were around. He always said how he wanted children, to be a good father. She heard him sobbing at night, in grief and fear of the future. She cried too sometimes, silently on the floor.

Her mother though? She was a cold woman, distant from her. It didn’t matter, she was just going to die anyway. Another “runaway” from the village. Or at least that was what the little village claimed. They couldn’t let anyone known of their practices. It had been a long time since they had found themselves in charge of watching the barrier and they would watch it until the world around them crumbled. The monsters were real creatures, truly in the mountain and they had to be contained.

She was just a child, but she knew what was going to happen. She had seen them drag other children to the mountain, muted children just like her. First Borns, chosen to go into the mountain and never return.

But Frisk was afraid. Her father told her what they would do and…and…she didn’t want that. Her younger sister was born and she knew soon she would be taken. They took one child a year and it was her year. She should have thought about doing it for her sister – to ensure she had a good life, so the monsters would be appeased but…

No.

She went to the last place, where they would never think to look for her. She went to Mount Ebott and hid. She knew they’d be desperate to find her, but she was desperate to not be found. So desperate in fact, that she never saw the hole in the mountain until she stumbled right into it…


 

“Monsters are different from humans!” The shout was what stirred Frisk. It wasn’t that she had passed out, it was almost like she had lapsed in alertness, almost like passing out while still on her feet. She blinked and tried to focus, but everything seemed out of focus, blurry, the last few minutes of time lost on her.

She could still hear her father crying…

“They are?” Chara’s cold voice slid across the room. “Please, tell me how the murder of children who were already sent to their deaths makes them different from the humans”

“Well…”

“You know as well as I do, that the monsters celebrated these deaths. They participated in them.”

“They were doing what they thought had to be done” Frisk said.

“Just as the humans are. They kill the children and throw them down here, hoping appease what they believe to be murderous monsters. Instead they’re just creating a mess – the same mess that dad was creating. He killed or had them killed. Six humans and had things played out differently, she would have been the seventh.”

“Dad…” Asriel was trying to find the words, she could see him.

“Give me the souls Asriel. Let me cleanse this wicked world. No one will hurt ever again. It’s the only way”

“That’s now how this should work!” Frisk surprised herself by speaking. Chara and Asriel looked towards her. “That’s not how the world works. Sure there is pain and yes there are people who hurt others just to hurt them but I believe in the monsters and I believe humans can be good as well!”

“Even after everything that has happened to you?”

“Asgore wasn’t going to kill me. Toriel became my mother. Even Undyne became my friend.”

“And the humans?”

“My father didn’t want it to happen to me. He wanted to protect me but…” She felt her throat swell with emotion for a man she barely remembered. Not a nightmare, like she had always assumed. He had wanted to save her. He had loved her, he had wanted her to be able to live a full life. Was he happy she left? Was he relieved? Did he dream that his daughter was somewhere, happy and safe? How she ached to tell him that that dream had come true.

“That’s a small example. There are many more who would hurt just to hurt” Chara seemed unfazed.

Asriel seemed to recover because suddenly he was at Frisk’s side. “What happened to you Chara? What happened…after we died?”

“I went to sleep” Chara shrugged. “After you let us die, I assumed that was it…but every once in a while I’d feel enough determination to stir me. Never enough to wake up. Not until her” Chara pointed at Frisk. They smiled and Frisk noticed that they suddenly had a knife, similar to her own.

“We don’t have to do this Chara. There is another way. If we take the timeline back to the beginning we can do this over, we can-“

“We can do it right?” Chara laughed. “There is no right for us Asriel. The only right thing we can do is to purge everything, destroy the world and everything in it. Monsters, humans, they’re all terrible – they’re all murderers

“I’m not going to give you the souls”

“Then I’ll take them from you” And suddenly Chara was right before Asriel. Asriel pushed Frisk and sent her flying. She didn’t see what happened next but she could see that Asriel was on his knees, a child again. The six souls were lying around Chara’s neck like a necklace, dimly glowing.

“Ugh…Chara…h-how could…” Asriel was trying to push himself up but he fell. Frisk hurried to her feet and ran to his side. He was alright or so she thought. She looked up at Chara and saw their own soul, red like Frisk’s own, glowing on their chest, as if it were a part of Chara’s necklace of souls.

“I already have seven, but using yours too should ensure the destruction of everything. Give me your soul” Their voice was no longer raspy and their eyes were glowing. Frisk stood slowly and positioned herself in front of Asriel. He was alright, but he was still out. Frisk would protect him though.

“I should thank you, you know” Chara said, that smile never leaving their face. A knowing smile, a deadly smile. It was wrong on the face of a child. “It was your determination that got me this far. Because you lingered in the Ruins, I was able to sap determination from you ever so slowly, until I had gathered enough of my own again.” They raised their knife. The edge of it flashed the colors of the souls around their neck and then they cut the air.

She couldn’t move, Asriel was behind her! She held up her own knife, intent on blocking. She saw the edge of her blade glowing red – with determination? – and she threw her own attack at Chara’s. It was nowhere as big and nowhere as strong, but it stopped it – the cuts colliding midair and disappearing.

“You were egging me on to fight Sans!” She didn’t have to ask. She now knew, she didn’t have to guess. Chara shrugged.

“Did you honestly think that was you?” They sneered. “That you’d want to kill the person you love?”

She realized she had heard them throughout this adventure of her’s, getting louder and louder. A nagging voice, singing a siren song in the back of her head, bidding her to listen to the darkness in her heart. She took a deep breath and leveled her gaze with the child – no…

Chara was no longer a child, but a mirror image of Frisk. They must have been using the souls. Chara and Frisk were nearly twins, the hair and eyes being the biggest and easiest to spot difference. The scar on Chara’s throat was another major difference, a pale smile against the pale skin of their neck.

“Let’s end this once and for all. You can’t hope to stand against me!”

Chara attacked, pushing Frisk away from Asriel. Frisk stumbled and blocked, she lost ground but she blocked. She was trying to survive right now. What should she do? Did she have to kill Chara? Could she win this any other way? In a way, she felt bad for Chara as well. It was as if they had the darkness of the world dumped onto their head. They couldn’t possibly, truly feel this way could they?

Frisk screamed as Chara’s knife pierced her shoulder. “Why? Why are you really doing this?”

“Why?” Chara twisted the knife and Frisk grabbed their hand, trying to push the back, tears of pain trailing down her cheeks. “I already told you why.”

“B-but, your parents. Asgore, T-Toriel!” Chara’s hand twitched, jerking the knife ever so slightly, causing Frisk to cry out again.

“Asgore is nothing but a murderer”

“T-Toriel?”

Chara suddenly yanked the knife out of Frisk’s shoulder and kicked her in the stomach. Frisk flew back, landing hard on the ground, her shoulder and arm screaming in pain. She pushed herself up with her good arm, her grip loose on the knife.

“What about the other monsters?” Frisk asked.

Chara was suddenly there. Their foot came down on Frisk’s back, forcing her back to the ground. Frisk struggled to lift herself, but Chara was strong. Too strong.

“They’re all murderers too. Or they would have been if the chance presented itself. Your friends? They all wanted you dead before they became your friend”

“N-no. Not all of them”

“What? Are you talking about that stupid trashbag that you “love”?” Chara rolled their eyes and their foot lifted from Frisk’s back. Frisk tried to push herself up again, only for Chara to kick her in the side, just hard enough to send her rolling. The pain was immense but when she stopped, at least she was laying on her back.

She could hear Chara chuckling as they walked towards her. Frisk struggled to sit up at least. Chara reached her just as she did. They put their knife under her chin and their expression was amused.

“That stupid skeleton of yours, Sans? He killed two humans himself. Even Undyne only killed one. Sans hunted them down, like animals and killed them. He enjoyed it. He felt it was justice. Oh, the irony in that.”

“I-I don’t….How would you even know that?”

Chara tapped their chest. “He’s here, they all are. I can see all their memories, feel what they have felt. I know them all, personally. And I know that each one of them wanted you dead before they even knew your name, Frisk” Chara began to chuckle again, as if it were truly funny. Frisk was tired of this. Tired of Chara feeling like they had won.

“That doesn’t matter!” She shouted. She lifted her leg and kicked Chara, as hard as she could. She stumbled to her feet and Chara drug themselves up to their feet in disbelief. “It doesn’t matter what they felt before they knew me. They’re my friends. I love them!”

“You little bitch…you don’t know when to quit.” Chara’s blade began glowing again. Frisk tightened her grip on own. She was not going to lose. Chara attack and Frisk blocked. They launched themselves at her and she blocked. She was not going to lose. She was not going to let them down. No matter what they thought before, they loved her. She loved them. She was doing this for them.

And then she felt Chara’s blade penetrate her stomach. She couldn’t even scream. She was so shocked, she just dropped her blade and looked up at the demonic child. Was she really going to lose so easily? She stumbled back from them, holding onto the bleeding wound. She was losing so much blood.

“Determination means nothing. Finally, you’re going to fulfill your destiny and die” Chara lifted their blade and it began to glow, flashing through the colors of the souls around their neck.

And then it began to glow white.

Frisk had no defense, but she was going to watch the end come. She was not going to close her eyes. She had to be brave, at least for her final moments.

Chara slashed and it headed for her but it disappeared, hitting a wall of flames, right before it hit Frisk.

“What the hell?” Snarled Chara and Frisk felt a heavy hand on her shoulder. She looked up and saw a white figure standing next to her. It was huge and featureless, but she could tell from the shape of it that it was Asgore.

“You are the future of humans and monsters” His voice echoed in this empty space. Chara snarled and attacked the shadow, sending their slashing attack at it. It disappeared before it could hit and the attack flew off into the void.

Chara focused on her again. Again they slashed and again the attack was blocked. This time it was crisscrossing bones.  Another figure put its hands on her shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze. It was the shadow-figure of Papyrus.

“I could never let one of my best friends be harmed! Nyheh!”

Shadow Papyrus disappeared and Chara charged at her. She stumbled back, only for another shadow figure to jump in front of her and block Chara’s attack with a spear.

“She’s my best friend! And you can’t harm her, punk!” Undyne’s shadow figure threw Chara back. Chara bellowed in rage and began to charge again. A field of what appeared to be electricity surrounded them and kept them back.

“B-by my calculations, you can’t possibly win this…Alone. But with us? We k-know you have this!” Alphys’ shadow figure seemed to be smiling at her. And she was completely right. With all of them helping her, there was no way she could lose.  Chara smashed through the electric field and kept charging.

Suddenly, someone had grabbed Frisk and pulled her back slightly. A huge wall of flames appeared, the shadow-figure in front of her, raising their arms to raise it higher and higher.

“I believe in you, my child.” Toriel’s voice was soft, even among the roaring flames. Frisk heard it perfectly though.

“Alright, Tori, I got this” Frisk looked at the figure holding her. It was Sans’ shadow-figure. Toriel’s faded away and the flame wall fell. Chara was on the other side, shielding their face. The wall was replaced by one of Sans’ blasters. It wasted no time, attacking right away.

Chara flew back, but as far as Frisk could see, they were mostly unhurt.

“Sans, I’m scared” She whimpered. “It hurts so much”

“I know, Frisk, I know. But you got this, kiddo. We all believe in you.”

“Sans, please don’t leave me, please, I can’t do this on my own.”

“Heh, don’t you get it? You’re not alone in this”

Sans was gone from her side, but she could see them, all around her. Every monster in the Underground. All of them, their shadow-figures, were standing around her and Chara. They were watching. Frisk saw Chara’s soul quiver, a crack appearing in it.

“No! No! St-stop! I need your souls to…Urgh” They held onto their chest. The other Souls were quivering too, but like trapped butterflies, aching to be free again. Frisk straightened, dizzy but knowing victory was at hand. She could win this.

“I’m going to rip your soul out of you!” Chara’s voice became demonic, their eyes dark and angry. Their blade began to glow again and the shadow-figures stood aside. Frisk had no idea how she was going to block this time.

Suddenly there was gigantic star between her and Chara. Chara’s attack hit and disappeared, though the star remained.

“You’re not going to hurt her!” It was Asriel, in the flesh, standing beside her. He was back to his adult form, his red eyes glowing. “Chara, what happened to you? You loved monsters!”

“That was before I saw them for what they were” Chara answered. “And you can’t stop me this time, Asriel. This is my body, alone. And I will purge this world”

“No you won’t” Frisk spoke up this time. “Not with all of us against you”

“You can’t stop me, I have the human souls”

“Not anymore” It was as if Frisk’s words were a release and the Souls flew from Chara’s body, creating a ring around Frisk. She didn’t know why they chose her instead of Asriel, but there they were. Chara stumbled back, a child once more, another crack appearing in their soul.

Frisk stepped forward, ready to do what she must.

But did that mean, killing Chara?

It was as if her mother could hear her, because Toriel’s shadow-figure suddenly shot past Frisk, to Chara’s crumpled form. “My child, this hate you are holding onto is not good for you. Let it out…” Toriel’s figure gently touched Chara’s hair. Chara pushed her away.

“No! No! You…you…” But even Frisk knew that Chara had no reason to hate Toriel. She had protected the children and Chara would know that. Tears began to run down Chara’s face and a sob hiccuped out of their throat. “I miss you, I miss you so much, mom!”

Toriel’s figure held the child close, comforting them. Frisk sighed, relief blossoming in her heart. She would not have to kill Chara. She would not have to harm anyone. She swayed on her feet. She felt Asriel put his arms around her, a child once more as well.

“You should go over there as well.” She encouraged. “She’s your mom too”

“Why? Why bother?” His voice was soft. “I’ll just be a flower again after this.”

Chara sniffled gently, wiping at their face. They stood, leaving Toriel’s figure to join the others once more. They walked over to Asriel and Frisk, eyes still bright with tears.

“I guess…I guess there is at least one monster worthy of letting live. And one human.” Chara looked at Frisk really hard. “But nothing is going to change. Most humans are bad. Most monsters aren’t much better.”

“But you can’t choose to end the world because of all the hate you see” Frisk told them.

“I know.” They wiped at the tears once more. “I know. I just…It was just sickening, watching it happen from the Souls point of view. I could see it after they died. Over and over again. Even now though, they don’t hate monsters for what happened. They each had their own adventures and each had friends they made. They don’t even hate humans for what they did. It’s…It’s so weird.” They sniffled again and focused on Asriel. “They want to break the barrier so everyone can go home. That’s what they want. I bet you knew that though.”

“Yeah.”

“Once you break the barrier, you’re going to turn back into a flower, aren’t you?”

“Its not like I have a choice” Asriel seemed resigned.

“Here” Chara held up their cracked soul. “I’ll give you what remains of mine. I’m sure once you have it…It’ll be better.”

“B-but, Chara…”

“I can’t go back anyway. I’m a human, not a monster, Asriel. You, you can have a second chance but me…? There is no second chance for me.” Tears began dripping off of Chara’s cheeks again. “I love you, ya know. You were my best friend, my brother.  And mom and dad? I love them too…so much. I wish I could have just been born a monster, just been born into this family naturally. We could have been so happy.”

“We still could be!” Asriel reached out for Chara but they stepped back.

“No!” Their word was sharp. They took a deep breath and more softly continued. “No, Asriel. There is no second chance for me”

Asriel tried to step forward again, but Frisk grabbed his shoulders.

“Take care of him for me, Frisk. Mom and dad too. We could have been siblings too you know. Had things been different”

“Yeah, that would have been nice” Frisk swallowed hard, trying to keep the tears at bay.

“I love you Asriel. Be strong” And then they fell to their knees and then to the ground, their soul still hovering in their out stretched hand. Asriel trembled and fell as well, sobbing.

The six human souls surrounded Chara’s broken soul and swirled around it for a moment. Frisk watched as the cracks disappeared. They seemed to urge the soul towards Asriel where it hovered. Still sobbing, he cradled it in his paws, close to his chest where it slowly absorbed. The six souls then surrounded him and Frisk watched as all the shadow-figures of the monsters became white monster souls.

“Alright, everyone! We’re getting out of here!” Asriel's voice was heavy with tears, but bright with hope. He had lost his best friend, but he had gotten a future in return. Frisk felt hope blossom in her heart.

Frisk stepped back and watched as Asriel unleashed one final “attack”. An attack on the barrier. The six human souls swirled around him and all the monster souls danced, as if in victory. Asriel’s new red soul shined on his chest, glowing in time with the other souls.

She heard something crack and then shatter. The barrier was gone. Frisk smiled, but she felt faint. Her wounds were taking their toll.

“Alright, Frisk now we can…” Asriel was smiling but he must have seen Frisk’s face. “Oh no!” He ran forward and grabbed her just as she fell to her knees.

Suddenly the darkness around them seemed to lift and they were in the chamber just before the barrier. She could hear confused voices from the throne room.

“MOM! DAD! HELP!” Asriel was screaming at the top of his lungs. She could hear confused shouts and then people running into the room.

“A-Asriel?!” Toriel’s shocked voice jolted Frisk into alertness, but the darkness on the edge of her vision would not be ignored. “How? Y-you…”

“Not now mom! Frisk!”

“Oh my god! Frisk” Suddenly there were hands all around, laying her down on her back, checking over her wounds. Worried faces of all her friends gazed down at her and she smiled. Everyone was here.

“Hey, Frisk…Frisk, look at me” It was Sans. She looked at him and lifted her shaky fingers to his cheekbone.

“T-took ya long enough, lazybones.”

“Heh, you got me, kiddo” He was smiling, but she could see the worry in his eyes. She could feel healing magic flooding over her cold body, making her feel warm. Gosh she was so cold, the warmth of the magic almost hurt.  She closed her eyes. “Hey, Frisk!” She opened them again.

“Don’t go to sleep just yet, okay?” Sans was holding her head on his lap. She could feel that much. It was kinda nice. His hands were on either side of her face. She was happy that he was here.

“I’m tired though…” She groaned.

“I know, I know just…just stay awake okay?” His tone was worried now too. He kept glancing towards her wounds.

“I’m sorry, Sans”

“For what?”

She closed her eyes regardless. She trusted her mom. She was going to be just fine. Sans called out to her, but it didn’t take long for her to drift off into the darkness, into sleep.

Chapter Text

Frisk was first aware that she was still in pain. That let her know that everything had not been a dream. She pushed herself up with her good arm, as her bad one was in a sling. No wonder she was so uncomfortable. Her stomach hurt, just a little above a bad stomach ache. She was in a pair of fresh robes, her slippers sitting next to the bed.

She almost mistook the room as her room back at Toriel’s house. The presence of a second bed let her know that it was not the case. She took a deep breath and slipped her shoes on. She stood gently, wincing as the pain in her stomach only grew. She shuffled to the door and opened it carefully.

She could smell food cooking and hear someone laughing. The sounds of her friends led her to the dining room, in the same spot as it was in her mother’s house. She looked at the table, where several of her friends sat, though they looked up when she entered the room.

“Frisk!” It was Asriel who reacted first. He jumped up from the seat next to his father and ran to her, throwing his arms around her waist. She stumbled back, grunting in unexpected pain. He flinched away, his eyes wide. “S-sorry…I-I didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay…” She rubbed his head gently. “You didn’t realize”

She looked up at the others; Papyrus and Undyne were peeking from the kitchen, Toriel and Alphys were by the door. Asgore was sitting but…

“Where’s Sans?”

“Here.” She felt the familiar feel of his magic. “Sorry, I had to check on some things” He suddenly beside her and she felt like it was all complete. She leaned into him, closing her eyes. “You gave me a scare there, Frisk. I told you to stay awake”

“I was tired” She sighed. Asgore clearing his throat reminded her to stand straight and open her eyes again. Sans and Asriel helped her to the table. She sat down and Toriel got her a cup of tea. She sat and drank it while everyone else filled her in.

Apparently she had been out for three days, in a magically induced sleep, so she could heal and rest without reopening the wound. Sans had been worried, everyone had stayed here while she recovered and the Underground had all heard of the barrier opening. They were only waiting on her to file out. Apparently, everyone was getting ready though.

“It’s not going to be easy” Frisk said softly.

“Of course not” Asgore rumbled. “But, that’s why I want you to be our ambassador…and since you are Toriel’s child, that would also make you our Princess.”

“P-Princess?” Frisk almost choked on her tea.

“Yes, while I left…I am still married to Mister Dreemurr and therefore am still the Queen” She gave a side glance to Asgore who looked away quickly, a frown on his face.

“Mooom!” Asriel groaned. “C’mon, he’s still my dad!”

“I’m aware of that, Asriel but what he did- Well, you’re too young to talk about that” Toriel’s words were stiff and Frisk could see the anger flash across Asriel’s face.

“I know exactly what he did! He killed humans and had them killed! But we’re past that!” The young prince slammed his fists on the table, making all the dishes jump. “I know what’s been going on all these years, mom. I’ve been here in my own way”

There was silence across the table and finally Frisk cleared her throat.

“Well, what are we going to do now?”

It seemed to shake everyone out of the stupor. Everyone but Asriel, who stood and ran from the table, towards the bedrooms. Toriel turned in her seat, calling out to him. She got up but Asgore grabbed her arm.

“Get your hand off me, Dreemurr!”

“Tori…Toriel, stop. We don’t know what happened in these years between” Toriel yanked her hand out of Asgore’s grip.

“He’s still my son!”

“He’s still our son” Asgore corrected, never raising his voice. “And he needs space. Whatever happened…Let’s let him think it out.”

“I…” Toriel’s eyes glanced at everyone. They dropped their eyes, but Frisk met her mother’s eyes. She saw as they filled with tears.  She stood up, her stomach aching.

“I’ll talk to him”

“You are not well, Frisk, you should rest” Toriel’s mothering instinct kicked in instantly.

“No…Let me talk to him” She shuffled herself around the table. It wasn’t so bad really. It did hurt, but she was determined to work past the pain. No one moved to stop her but she felt the familiar feeling of Sans’ magic as he teleported beside her. He took her arm gently and helped her along.

She didn’t lean on him, but let him help her as she walked down the hall. When they got to the bedroom he let go of her and leaned against the wall opposite of the door. He knew she needed to do this alone. She opened the door and found Asriel sitting on the bed she had been resting on. In his hands was the heart shaped pendant, the same one she wore around her own neck.

“They gave their soul to me” Asriel said without looking up. “I can…see everything that they saw. Hear it all. Know it all. I know what they were thinking…what they went through”

She was silent, unsure of what to say.

“They…suffered so much. And yet they really did love us even though they wanted revenge on the humans more than anything. They just wanted monsters to be happy, but they were so consumed with revenge.” She saw a single tear roll down his face. “Do you hate humans too, Frisk?”

“No” She answered truthfully. “I don’t hate them.”

“Why not?”

“Not all of them are bad.” Her answer was simply and truthful. Asriel stood and faced her; she could see the tears in his eyes.

“But they tried to kill Chara! They tried to kill you too!” She was silent. Asriel’s tears dissolved into pained laughter. “I tried to kill you too though. As myself and as a…well a flower. I watched Undyne do it too…” He sniffled. “I guess monsters really aren’t any better than humans.”
 
“We’re all just doing the best we can, Asriel.” She walked over and sat on the bed. He sat back down next to her. “Sometimes…what you believe is harmful to others and you know it, but it’s all you have.”

“But what we’ve all done is evil”

“I…don’t know about that. Do you think your dad is evil?” The question seemed to surprise him and he looked at her in shock, as if questioning why she would ask such a question.

“I…N-no, I don’t…I don’t think dad is evil”

“But killing is evil”

“Yeah…So, my dad is…”

“No, Asriel, that’s not what I’m saying” Frisk took his tiny hand in her’s. “Sometimes good people do evil things, but they’re not evil. Maybe they’re misguided or…or maybe they’re simply trying to do the right thing. Sometimes good people do bad things because they’re trying to do the right thing. Do you understand?”

He didn’t answer her, but she watched the tears roll down his cheeks. He began to sob and she pulled him into her arms, comforting him the best she could. It took him a bit to calm down and when he did, he stayed in her embrace, a gentle whimper leaving his lips.

“I guess…Chara was right. I am a big crybaby”

“There’s nothing wrong with that” Frisk laughed gently.  She gave him another gentle squeeze and released him. “I have an idea; no one has been to the surface yet right? Why don’t we go take a look?”

“All of us?”

“All of us”

He gave her a bright, watery smile and then jumped up. “I’ll go tell mom and dad! They’ll be so excited! I bet Papyrus and Undyne will race me!” He ran out of the room, heading for the dining, shouting for everyone. Sans was still waiting against the wall for her. She stood and carefully walked to him.

“You sure? You really do need to rest, sweetheart” He was nothing but concerned.

“Were you listening?”

“I was trying not to” She took his hand and he kept a steady hold on her. Her whole body was aching. She was defiantly not recovered from her fight with Chara yet. Sans helped her though, he allowed her to be someone to lean on. He really was her support she supposed…

The two of them made their way to the main room where everyone was waiting. Together they headed for the throne room and from there, to where the barrier stood. It was a strange moment for Frisk. She had lived fifteen years in the Underground now…and now she was going to the surface once more. She had lived more of her years among monsters than among humans…

She wondered if she might be able to find her father…She had a mother and a sister too…

The others let her go first, Sans releasing her hand so she could step into the light. The sun was bright and high above them. The whole world seemed to glow. She could see an ocean in the distance, along with a city. Her hometown was hidden by the trees below them…or…No. Her home was on the other side of the mountain wasn’t it? This was the opposite side of the mountain from where she fell.  She had never been on this side of the mountain; she had never seen the towers of this city.

The wind brushed at her short hair and she felt the others come to stand beside her. They were all looking out in wonder. Was it everything they had dreamed of?

“It’s so beautiful…” She heard Asgore rumble.

“It is…” Toriel breathed from next to her. Asriel was looking in awe as well. She remembered that this was his second trip outside. He had come out once before…with Chara. Now he was here, as himself, with his parents. He looked at her, excited, his red eyes bright. Frisk smiled at him, and then looked to Sans, who was looking at Papyrus.

Papyrus, of course, was extremely excited. Undyne looked like she was too. Alphys even looked like she couldn’t wait to explore. Everyone radiated hope and yet…

“Come, my child, why don’t we walk down the path a little and go stand among the trees?” Toriel had taken her son’s hand. She looked at Frisk, tears in her eyes once more, but Frisk could see they were tears of joy.

“Yeah!” Asriel cheered. “Hey, c’mon Frisk!” He had already taken his mother’s hand was basically jumping in place.

“You go ahead with mom and dad” She suggested. “I’m gonna rest a moment.”

Asgore seemed surprised at her casual use of the word dad and Toriel did too. She gave them a smile and slowly the family of three shuffled off. Everyone else quickly wandered off as well, as if they got the simple hint. Soon, only Sans and Frisk remained.

They were silent and she sat down on the edge, letting her legs dangle. Sans sat down next to her. There was a space between them, of which she was painfully aware. A space that was her own fault. A space caused by her selfishness.  He loved her and she loved him; but their trust had been shaken.

“Sans…” She started but she had no idea how to go on at this point. What did she say? Did she apologize for what she had done? Did she just…what did she say?

“What do you expect Frisk?” He asked. “Did you expect I’d just forget?”

“No…No I don’t want you to either” She told him honestly. “I want you to remember that I’ll do whatever I have to so I can protect the people I care about”

“Even fight those same people?”

“If I have to – yes” She took a deep breath. “I know what I did was wrong. I should have been honest with you. I lied and I hurt you…And I am sorry for that.”

“I should have never told you that Asgore wanted to go to war”

“This is not your fault Sans”

“Really?” He looked out into the distance for a moment and then gave her an almost silly grin. “I almost would be okay if it was. Despite everything you did free us…and didn’t die in the process”

A heaviness lifted from her chest. They weren’t going to talk about this anymore. But she knew this conversation wasn’t over. She knew she still had more explaining to do. She was happy he was letting it go right now though. Later would be the time to talk it out.

“Asgore was never going to kill me. He saw my robes – he knew my mom….Well he knew she would not be happy. I wonder how she knew to come after me…”

“That would be my fault” Sans shrugged. “I found your phone and called her. I told her everything.”

“Oh…Ouch. I’m surprised she didn’t try to ground me” She winced. Sans scooted closer to her, his hand gently touching her’s

“Heh, well you do kinda deserve it”

“What, are you gonna ground me, bonehead?”

“Me? Nah. I don’t got the backbone to do something like that.”

“You could always lock me in a ribcage”

Sans began laughing at her terrible pun and she laughed too. She quickly stopped and groaned, touching her stomach. He gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze in sympathy.

“How did you get injured like that anyway?” Sans asked, his eyes going to her stomach and then to her arm.  She remembered the feeling of Chara’s blade digging into her flesh, the pain she had felt. She shivered. “It was just you and Asriel when we found you…Everyone is wondering about that as well…”

She was silent for a long moment. How did she explain to him? She wasn’t sure her mind was ready to process everything that had happened, let alone tell Sans what had happened. He must have taken her thoughtful silence as reluctance.

“Tell me when you’re ready, okay?” He didn’t sound mad, but he did sound worried.

“Thank you” Her mouth felt thick with gratitude. She wasn’t sure she’d ever be ready, but it meant a lot that he was willing to wait.  They sank into silence, as they looked out over the horizon. There was a lot to do yet; humans and monsters had to reacquaint. There was a lot to do. A lot to hope for. A lot to fear.

Eventually Toriel, Asgore and Asriel came back. Asgore was holding his son and they were all talking, though Frisk didn’t miss the careful distance between Toriel and Asgore. She hoped they could learn to get along once more; for Asriel’s sake at the very least.

“You two are still up here? Didn’t you go explore at all?” Asriel asked. Toriel shot Sans a questioning look and he quickly looked away. Jeeze, what did she think they had been doing up here?

“We were up here enjoying the view. I can’t get to where I really wanna go anyway…” She let out a gentle laugh.

“Where is that, my child?”

“To find my father and sister.”

“You have a sister?” Asriel seemed excited by the possibility.

“Oh…I suppose you would want to find your real family” Toriel frowned, but was seemingly trying to look happy.

“No, no. You guys are my family…but I would like to tell my father, my birth father that is, how happy I was in the Underground. He wanted me to be happy and I want to let him know that I have been – that I am”

“That is very kind of you…” Though Toriel still seemed worried. Did she really think that Frisk was just going to leave her upon finding her human family? She would never! She would have to do something to show her mother that she had no intention of leaving sometime soon…She just wasn’t sure what yet. Still…she knew she had to find her father and her sister. Her mother…well she wasn’t so fond of her memories of her mother. Her mother had been cold, distant. She had accepted Frisk’s role in life.

She had accepted that Frisk was to die.

So now Frisk wasn’t sure what to think of her mother. She couldn’t remember much of her after her sister had been born. Maybe she had distanced herself even more from Frisk after the new child had been born. She wasn’t sure. She supposed she would find out.

“Why don’t we find the others and head back down? We have a lot to do before we’re ready to move into our new home” Asgore put Asriel down.

“Yeah! We gotta pack! We’re moving!” He just seemed excited for the next step but as Frisk met his eyes, she saw a small glint of darkness in those red eyes. A small glint of guilt. She ignored it for now; he was probably still thinking of Chara.

Instead she stood, carefully and with Sans’ help, so that way they could go look for Papyrus and Undyne and Alphys. It was time to go back into the Underground for now. Soon they’d have a beautiful home under the sun. Soon everyone would be able to travel the world as they liked.

Frisk was excited, but nervous. There was so much potential here – for good and for bad. But she was ready. She couldn’t wait to see the world, her friends by her side.