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She could see her blurry reflection in the blood pooling around her feet. A mangled cough spurred and dripped from her lips, fingers jerkily wrapping around the femur impaled in her upper abdomen. Her blue sweater was dyed a familiar burgundy.

There was nothing new about what was happening. Only, this time, she couldn’t figure out why it was happening. She didn't understand, she hadn't even hurt anyone... She was, for once, in control.

Frisk looked up, her narrow, brown eyes focusing on the short and blurry shape of a blue cladded monster. “Sah..ns…" 

She reached out, trying to ignore the tibia he was casually twirling in his fingers. If she could just... tell him, if he would just listen. She stepped forward, vision spotting. “Please… I haven—”

His left eye flashed a bright cyan and the bone flew right between her eyes. Her soul shattered in an instant.

 


 

Blackness. Frisk opened her eyes and stared up into blackness; her petite form laid on a wall of blackness. She was breathing in shadows.

Dirty brother killer… The words were branded into her mind, as if they were still being spoken to her.

Tears sprung from the corners of her eyes. “I didn’t even—” She sobbed and sat up, curling her knees toward her and folding over them.

Her soul, which hovered only inches in front of her, dimmed with grief. The red glow illuminated her golden skin into a sickly yellow. Her breaths grew erratic as she continued, “I didn’t even hurt anyone! He just…. He just…”

Laughter quickly accompanied her sobs, Frisk’s body went rigid for a second. “'He just… He just…'” The new voice mimicked, rich with humor. “Spit it out already! He killed you!” Frisk heard footsteps gently tapping toward her.

She wished he wouldn't show up when she was feeling like this.

“Killed you... again, might I add.” Frisk frowned at the addendum, tilting her head up to face the boy standing on the other side of her soul. He looked down at her, a small triangle of shade from his nose to brow, tendrils of creamy brown hair lazily hung over his forehead. Scarlet eyes watched her, crinkled at the corners by an amused grin.

“You know, if you wouldn’t get all weak in the knees and let me do things down at the Judgment Hall, we would be here waaayyy less.” Chara walked around the dimming soul, giving it a small flick and causing Frisk to wince. “Ah!”

Chara grinned and crouched in front of her small frame, giving her a once-over and curling his lip, “You’re too weak to do anything right.” He delivered another flick, this time to Frisk’s forehead. “Which is why big brother Chara is here, isn’t it?” Frisk rolled her eyes, the last of her tears gathering at the bottom of her chin. Chara’s brow twitched, he quickly reached forward and roughly grabbed her face, pinching her cheeks harshly with one hand.

His voice lowered a few octaves. “I said: isn’t it?” Frisk’s face scrunched up, but she remained stoic.

"..." Chara pulled her face in closer, neither of them shied away. He could feel her hot, angry breaths against the palm of his hand, her nostrils were flaring only inches from his. He collected the tears on her chin with his thumb and released her. 

"Tsk, I forget you only like it when a skeleton is rough with you,” he said, grinning. His thumb pressed his lips, tongue darting out like a snake’s to taste her tears. Frisk watched him and inadvertently shivered.

“I-I do not!”

“Do too.”

“Ass.”

“Slut.”

Frisk opened her mouth to reply, but decided it was better kept shut. Slut?  She thought, forcing a blush away from her cheeks. He couldn't mean...

Chara laughed wildly. “Oh wait! You didn’t think I was there for that one?” Another bout of laughter rumbled from his throat, Frisk almost admired how natural his laugh was. “You think I just, what? Tuned out while you… jumped his bones?” He cringed at his wording and tapped his chin, “I don’t know if that was a pun, I meant it quite literally.”

Frisk’s face was burning with embarrassment because yes, she had thought that maybe Chara would have the decency to disappear at a moment like that. At least he had made his presence unknown.

“Just shut up," Frisk said bitingly. She pulled herself to her feet and stepped towards Chara’s hunched form. She was furious she had to share such a sensitive memory with him

Chara stood as well, smirking as he looked down at her, always having stood a good four or five inches above her. She squinted angrily and he cleared his throat.

“You know what I don’t get though?” Chara was clearly just bouncing conversation off of Frisk rather than having one with her.

“What?” Frisk asked, “The value of life? The significance of a conscience?”

This only earned a dismissive flick to the shoulder from Chara, “Yes, but who really does?”

He strolled backwards and then began to walk around the edge of the SOUL’s glow, half of his body bathed in a dim red, the other almost nonexistent in the dark.

“I don’t get how… He can stab you, decapitate you, eviscerate you, rape you…. All for the sake of others who are already fucking dead… And you… You still want whatever it is you want… With him.” Chara’s lips were suddenly right by Frisk’s ear, she felt a shiver run up her spine as he spoke the next sentence lowly.

“You still want to fuck him…” He briskly moved away from her as she tried to shove him.

“I don't! Chara, stop this! I need to-”

“Go die again? That can wait, Frisky.” His playful tone was suddenly quite serious, Frisk wasn’t familiar with it.

A bit curious, she merely nodded for Chara to continue. Chara walked to stand in front of Frisk, his red eyes lidded with some she wasn’t used to seeing in him, his blushed cheeks were pale, cherub features shaded in the burgundy light.

Frisk's brow twitched, her male counterpart becoming more and more alluring to her. Something similar to butterflies swirled in her belly.

“Yet, here I am… here, for you, every time you fall. I am here to tell a joke, pat you on the back, and watch as you go die again. And you die a lot, by the way.”

Frisk swallowed, what is he trying to say? As if reading her mind, hell maybe he did, Chara stepped closer,

“What I’m trying to say is that watching you die… Watching that fucking bag of bones kill you... hurt you… Over and over… It’s lost its fucking charm.”

Frisk stepped backward, but Chara grabbed her shoulder, thumb slowly rubbing circles on the fabric of her sweater. Her dark brown bangs mingled with his lighter ones, her soft, ample chest pressed against his.

Frisk looked from one of his eyes to the other, then naturally down to his lips. When was the last time she’d kissed actual lips?

Had she ever?

“Well, that’s startling…” Frisk murmured, “anyone else would think you've actually started caring about me.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, Frisk felt herself being pushed onto the floor. Her body crashed into the darkness.

“Care? As if,” Chara scoffed. His pinched brows betrayed his tone.

He turned his back to Frisk’s crumpled form. “But like I said, Sans won’t be killing you again.”

Frisk flinched as he spoke those words, suddenly feeling a painful pull at every fiber of her being, she whipped around, eyes huge and full of fear. Chara’s hand was clenched around her SOUL, red light streaming from in between his pale fingers.

“No…” Frisk’s voice was strained, the grip on her SOUL causing her to tremble, she felt as if his hand was wrapped around her, crushing her.

She shakily rose to her feet, watching as two familiar options appeared before Chara.

“Please, d-don’t… Sans is...he's just confused...” She whispered taking a step forward, but the longer he held her soul, the less corporeal she became.

Chara turned his head, arm raised, index finger pointed toward the option to his left.

“I don’t get it…” He said quietly as Frisk advanced, she could’ve sworn he sounded hurt. “Why can’t you see I’m doing this for you?

He turned again and pressed RESET.

“NO!” Frisk screamed digging the ball of her foot down and leaping forward to grasp the collar of Chara's striped sweater, but her hand phased right through. Her body clattered into nothingness, a gust of sweet smelling wind whipping through her brown hair.

Then the blackness faded to white.

Chapter Text

Frisk was ignoring him. Again.

Chara sighed, looking at his/Frisk’s reflection in the mirror. His own red eyes stared back at him, but they were on Frisk’s golden skin, her heart shaped face that was framed by her short and unruly dark hair. Chara watched as he made Frisk’s pink lips curve into a smirk, which seemed so out of place on her warm features.

“Despite everything it’s still… Haha, you wish.”

He groaned and comically dragged his feet down the hall, then down the basement stairs to meet Toriel for the last time.

Frisk rarely spoke to him while he was in control; though sometimes he could hear her soft cries in the back of his mind whilst watching one of her friends draw their last breath. It never really bothered him before; in fact, he liked the quiet. It made him feel as if he was alive again, in his own body, with his own SOUL.

He looked down at the hands he'd covered in dust, rubbing the fingers together. Then again, his skin was never this soft, it was never the mellow sun-kissed color that Frisk’s was. He swallowed, imagining that she probably spent all day in the sun back on the surface. Sometimes, very scarcely, but sometimes he would wonder what things would be like had they met up there; if she had been alive when he was.

Chara shook the thoughts from his head and looked forward, grinning as he walked straight through the pile of dust that had raised him as her own many years ago. He had killed her without even acknowledging her. Must've been a force of habit.

How could you?

Chara’s steps faltered slightly as Frisk’s melodic voice tickled the spot in his head that only she filled.

“How could I what?” He grumbled, climbing up the stairs and walking down the pointlessly long hall that would lead to Asriel, the vegan version.

She did nothing but love you… Frisk’s sickeningly sweet voice continued.

“I didn't ask her to do that.” Chara replied easily, “This conversation is boring, Frisk.”

He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth, she stopped speaking again. Loved me? He thought about Frisk’s words, eyes training on his shoes as they walked across darker gray tiles which signaled the end of the tunnel. His mind twisted and contorted the concept until it was nothing; after all it wasn't like Toriel loved him anymore. She was dead.

He swallowed, not bothering to close his crimson eyes as he gazed upon Asriel, Flowey.

The flower’s fake smile immediately dropped from his face. It was Frisk’s body, but the eyes were all… “Chara?” Flowey yelped. “You're back! I knew you’d beat her eventually! Now we-”

“There’s no we, weed," Chara muttered, blowing a strand of dark brown hair from his face. “Now if you’ll excuse me…” He said, casually continuing his stride, passing Flowey.

Normally Chara would entertain Asriel, after all he was once his favorite plaything. The goat monster once would have done anything for him. Chara looked back at the flower once he stood under the arch. Emotionless plant or not, Chara knew Flowey still would do anything for him. But he didn't care. Not one bit.

“See ya, Daisy Dukes.” Chara half waved and walked through the arch, into the dark room ahead, leaving a crestfallen flower behind.

With pinched brows he thought about where he was going next. He inadvertently clenched his fist.

 


 

 

"*h u m a n... d o n t y o u k n o w h o w t o g r e e t a n e w p a l ?"

Chara was tired of stopping at the same bridge, watching the same trees, hearing the same old greeting, squeezing the same fucking cushion, and hearing that same fucking laugh.

“*t u r n a r o u n d a n d…”

Why do we even bother? Why does Sans? Part of Chara hoped Frisk would answer, but she was busy ignoring him. You’re so fucking petty, he thought to her.

Chara began to turn in the middle of the skeleton’s sentence, but halted half way.

"You know..." He said softly, keeping his eyes closed in his usual Frisk ruse. "I've seen how you greet your favorite stranger, but I'm not gonna laugh so let’s just skip that.”

Chara felt the skeleton stiffen behind him, a huff of surprise puffing from between his teeth.

"*you’re not the kid..." Sans growled, stepping back as Chara fully turned around, the human's eyes spreading open.

"Kid? After what you did, you still call her a kid?" Chara's gleaming red eyes were a strong contrast against the white and blue snow, they seemed to flare brighter than usual because of it.

The skeleton's sockets widened in surprise.

Chara chuckled and lowered his voice to mock Sans, "d o n t p l a y d u m b w i t h m e."

He suddenly burst into a coughing fit, not able to do the stout skeleton’s tone justice since Frisk’s vocal chords couldn't reach such a low octave. Chara then forced an innocent smile, "Now enough with formalities," he looked San's up and down, eyes lingering on his bony hands. The hands he had the luxury of touching Frisk with.

"Let me tell you a story. You know, after my whole SPAREing attempt on... I think it was my thirty fourth go at you, I was done. I was ready to call a quits, because, damn, you do not play fair..."

Sans' brow bones lifted with bemusement, his left eye-socket glowing dimly. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his blue hoodie, looking a bit past Chara to reminisce in the memory that the human was sharing. Sans' smiling expression fell a bit as Chara resumed his 'storytelling.'

"You told me that if I was really sorry, I wouldn't come back. I wasn't, of course, and I'm still not... But..." A half smile flicked across their taunting lips, "But you know who was so... So... Sorry?"

"*stop."

"Frisk. Your favorite kid...."

"*stop. "

"She took control of herself and I was too tired to stop her. She was so determined to right my wrongs."

Sans balled his fists, already putting the pieces together, and Chara relished in the skeleton’s discomfort. He couldn't get enough of it.

"So she went to you with open arms... And you killed her. Which was understandable... But then... You kept doing it, slower each time... Dragging it out." Chara's smile vanished, red eyes flashing with an emotion he wasn't accustomed to.

"You even... Well, we both know what you did, what you said.... Even then she never put up a fight. Never."

Chara leaned forward, "You knew it was her and not me, I bet you wanted it to be her. You wanted innocent little Frisk underneath you."

Sans’ sockets were black, his classic grin now a grimace. Sweat was beading on his skull, despite the snowy gusts of wind. His bony fingers clenched the inside of his pockets.

Chara watched him with careful eyes, wondering if he had miscalculated, maybe Sans hadn't known it was Frisk. He squinted a bit, contemplating his next choice of words and was startled when Sans beat him to it.

“*and why would you care about that?”

There was that word again. Care? I don't care about anything. The look of satisfaction that crossed Sans’ face told Chara that the shock he was feeling showed. Chara quickly inhaled and put on his best look of nonchalance, narrow eyes resembling Frisk’s.

What are you doing?!

Chara flinched feeling Frisk suddenly fill the void in their shared existence, he knitted his brows.

You don't know? Where the hell have you been?

I don't know, I just couldn't watch you kill... So I just didn't. Guess we don't have to be in each other's heads all the time.

That was new. She'd probably just been in that black space, the one between save points where they squabble over RESETs and control. Chara had never been there without her. He didn't like the idea of being there alone. The darkness there reminded him of how things were before Frisk; when he was dead. So he never really tried. He’d never really… wanted to be away from her that badly, he supposed.

Alright, well, I'm letting Mr. TouchyFeely know that I know what he did.

Why?

Chara growled, startling Sans, but Chara was too wrapped up in his own mind to notice. Why was everyone questioning him all of the sudden? I don't have to explain myself to you.

Oh, right, because it's not like it's my  soul or my body. 

Chara was quiet for a moment, thinking before replying.

You're gonna have to get over that.

Her scoff reverberated through his head and his eye twitched. He would like her to stop talking for a moment, it was distracting and he really just needed space, a luxury in his situation, since Sans had pulled the rug from under him with that fucking comment. Frisk had probably said something about how Chara's disregard made her feel; something heartfelt and pestilent with honesty, but he couldn't hear her. He could hear Sans’ baritone voice uttering, but it sounding like background noise and he couldn't understand it. His mind was racing, Fuck I can't think.

One wouldn't think you ever needed to.

“*you alright there murder-mcgee?”

Will you both just SHUT UP.”

Frisk and Sans went mute.

Chara removed his hands from his hair, figuring they had snaked their way up there during his mental break. His red eyes honed in on Sans threateningly.

“I may have the urge to kill her every five seconds, but Frisk is my... vessel. I won't have you fucking her up just to relieve some of your angst .”

San’s eye sockets narrowed, but he didn't get a word out before Chara’s own masculine voice erupted from Frisk’s vocal chords, “She’s mine, okay?” His voice was almost as cold as the snow seeping through Frisk's boots. Chara could feel Frisk’s confusion practically skyrocket, but he’d deal with her later. He cleared his throat, his voice completely reverted back to Frisk’s peachy, feminine voice:

“Now let’s go meet your brother. I think we're a bit off schedule.”

Chapter Text

Snow crunched under foot, fat flurries drifted before his face. The snowflakes seemed bigger than usual, more jagged… Just different . But that could just be Sans’ imagination.

Not-Frisk had acted normal for the most part; pretending to be human, pretending to be her. Even still, Paps had a hard time believing the kid was human and somehow didn't take note of the dust that caked their sweater (he never did).

“THAT’S A ROCK SANS.”

“*behind the rock."

Papyrus had looked to Sans, then to not-Frisk, then back to Sans about a dozen times. His brother was so confused, but also so happy. Sans was confused too.

Sans was so confused.

He and the human had parted ways after the whole Papyrus scenario and they were sure taking their sweet time getting to Papyrus’ puzzles. How was he supposed to deal with this kid? The same way he always does? Wait until they kill their way to Asgore and deal with them… It… There?

Sans’ slippers dragged in the icy snow, leaving long and deep tracks behind. His mind was pondering everything except the obvious.

Frisk.

“You wanted innocent little Frisk underneath you.”

Sans almost fell over as he remembered the words the human had said to him a few hours ago. His skull was suddenly bombarded with memories from that timeline. Not-Frisk had told it to him as if he wouldn't recall, but how could Sans ever forget?

How could he forget how her sweet, apologetic smile had turned into a look of trepidation, then terror? She was so scared of him. She was very still, too. Extremely hesitant, but compliant. All she wanted was his forgiveness, to fix a mess that wasn't even hers. She was so good.

But he just killed her after. It was that easy.

Sans huffed out a sharp breath from his nasal cavity. He wanted to erase that memory, he wanted to forget that timeline so badly. Almost as badly as he wanted to do it again.

 


 

Chara couldn't get to the SAVE point fast enough.

After killing that completely conceited ice monster (Ice hat? Snow hat? Chara didn't even get his name, even the monster only cared about his damn hat), he rushed to press his hand to the little star that was only visible to him and Frisk. The familiar tingling of saving surged through his finger tips and he closed his eyes, letting the darkness overtake him.

His/Frisk’s body slumped limply in the snow.

When Chara’s eyes opened to the shadows of the black space, he couldn't help but smile. Frisk’s anger was practically a drug to him and it seemed to radiate from her.

“What is wrong with you?” Was her greeting of choice.

“No, ‘I missed you, Chara?’” Chara pouted, propping up on his elbows to look down at Frisk, who perched at the end of his outstretched legs.

Frisk’s face scrunched up, her waves of short brown hair swaying as she shook her head disapprovingly. “Why can't you just stick to the routine?”

“Well considering that I haven't destroyed the Underground yet, the routine isn't working for me.” Chara’s tone was malicious, he didn't need her of all people judging him. Then again, he’d kill anyone else who did. So really, she was the only one who could.

Frisk looked panicked, frazzled even, she looked down her hands, which were covered by the long sleeves of her sweater. “You won't beat him,” she murmured, her long lashes beginning to sparkle with tears that clung to them.

“I can and will,” he frowned, looking at her under the glow of her soul. The red light dimmed a bit. “Why are you crying?”

“This is the normal response to knowing that all your friends are going to die... again.” She sniffled, her expression growing harder. “I wouldn't expect you to understand.”

Chara sat up and stared at her intently. Then he burst into laughter, placing a hand over his heart. “Ouch! That almost hurt my feelings, Frisky.” His lips curled into a cat-like smile and he abruptly rose to his feet. Frisk did the same, her knees wobbling at the sudden stance.

The two looked at each other for a while, they did this a lot. Eye contact had always spoke more than words for them. Chara took three leisurely steps forward and stood before her. His pale hand raised slowly allowing the back of his fingers to ghost over the side of Frisk’s round cheek. Frisk trembled slightly, holding her breath and averting her gaze. Chara stared at her with fascination, eyes meticulously flitting over each of her features. His hand slowly slid down the side of her neck.

Even here her skin was so warm. So alive. He could feel her pulse under his thumb. Every beat remind him of how attached they were. He could feel it in his own chest, too. They shared each beat.

“Chara, liste-” Chara’s hand tightened, fingers twisting in her hair, thumb squeezing the side of her throat. Her head was forced upward to look at him. She sucked in a lungful of air, mouth twitching as she tried to hold a neutral expression.

“No, Frisky. I want you to listen.”

Frisk stared into his eyes as he spoke, the red glow of his irises seeming to pulse with each word, coffee colored bangs casting a devious shade over him.

“Those monsters that you call friends… Those creatures…” He grinned, “they would kill you in a heartbeat to be freed from the Underground and you know it.” He laughed, “How can you even consider them friends? Are you stupid? They don't even know you, really! They don't know what you can do. Even the little dinosaur one hasn't scratched the surface of just how DETERMINED you are.” Frisk tried to turn away, but Chara jerked her face back toward him. She whined softly, but he ignored it. “They couldn't even wrap their small brains around what it is you can do, Frisk. Not like me.”

Frisk’s brows furrowed. “You?

“Yes, me! Unlike them, you can trust me!” Chara’s smile grew and he began speaking quickly. “I’ve never killed you have I? There is no one in this hole that I haven't killed, other than you. That’s more than any of them could say! Doesn't that mean anything? At all?” Chara’s voice was heavy, the more he talked the more… Weighted he felt. Sluggish. He looked away from her, fingers unraveling from her hair. Touching her had been a bad idea.

He let her go, she didn't move.

Frisk couldn't help but think about what he had said to Sans earlier.

“She’s mine, okay?”

Whatever the hell that meant.

Frisk massaged her neck gently, chewing on her lip before speaking, “Are you… Trying to say that you’re my friend, Chara?”

He suddenly felt sick. He spun on his heel and was almost blinded at Frisk’s soul shined with DETERMINATION. He felt a hand on his shoulder and fought the urge to cut it off.

“Friendship is a two way street y’know…” Frisk murmured, gently tugging the soft fabric of Chara’s green and yellow striped sweater, but he wouldn't budge. “You’ve got to let me in… Help me understand why you are doing what you’re doing!” Her voice hitched slightly, “Why are you really killing all these innocent monsters, Chara? Trust me with that." Frisk’s voice echoed in the empty space of the void, her passion seeping into Chara’s ears from multiple directions.

Her shoulders sagged slightly as the boy remained quiet, she’d never know what what going on inside that head of his. Her hand slid off of his shoulder and she took a step backwards, eyes focused on the back of his neck, studying the jagged edges of his light brown tendrils.

“...Frisk?”

The girl visibly jolted, standing up a bit straighter, “Y-yes?”

“Are you trying to SAVE me?”

She was silent and Chara grew sicker; he had almost fallen for it, after all.

“Don't bother,” he muttered, “Even you couldn't, no matter how hard you tried.”

Frisk was a bit shaken by how melancholic his voice had become… How human he sounded. Though his back was to her, she could imagine a frown on his thin lips. Her soul flashed as a wave of DETERMINATION flooded through her.

“And why not?” She countered, her voice gaining strength as she stepped forward. Chara dropped his head and slowly turned around, his bangs hung over his face.

He chuckled dryly, “Simply because…” Frisk could've swore she saw something drip down from his chin.

Then he lifted his head.

Frisk couldn't fight back her shriek. She jumped back, her lidded eyes spreading into fearful brown orbs.

“I’m already dead, Frisk.” Chara laughed wildly without humor and Frisk struggled to behold the horror before her. His red eyes were gone, leaving nothing but black sockets, oozing with a thick, onyx fluid. His skin was corroded, pale, and dotted with veins that had burst under the skin.

Frisk heaved in lungful a of air, “Wh-What… How...W...What are you..?!

She panted as he slinked closer, his mouth stretching into a crescent moon of a grin, blackness pouring over his milky lips and pouring like a waterfall down his chin. Chara reached out for Frisk, but she shrieked and recoiled, tripping over her own feet and falling flat on her rear.

"What's the matter, Frisk? Aren't we friends?" His voice was garbled and raspy.

"Chara, please!" She whimpered, eyes glimmering with tears of terror. But he didn't listen, he only lurked closer. Frisk looked up in horror, as her partner towered oveer her. The black ooze dribbled down his face splashed onto her bare calves, staining her golden skin. It was so cold that it burned. “GO AWAY!!” She screamed impulsively, turning her face away and shielding herself with her arm. She breathed heavily, frozen in position. She was waited for a response, a retort, an insult, a demonic screech, anything.

But it was suddenly silent.

She put her arm down and looked at her legs. There was nothing on them. Her eyes narrowed and pinpointed Chara standing a few yards from where she was, her soul lightly rotating in his hand.

“Chara!” She shouted, almost scared to see him turn around. But when he did she didn't see a hair out of place. His red eyes were a bit duller and he wore no smile, just a small frown. His blushed cheeks were pink as usual. He just looked like… A sad boy.

Frisk stood, “Hey, I didn't mean…” She wasn't sure where to start.

Chara’s frown deepened and he turned back around, the CONTINUE option appearing before him. He pressed his finger to it and Frisk felt herself fading a bit. “You can't save everyone,” he said, so lowly she almost didn't catch it, “you can't even save yourself.”

Then he was gone in a flash of white. Frisk squeezed her eyes shut then opened them, realizing she wasn't in Chara’s head. She was alone in the black space.

“Chara?”

But she couldn't even feel him. He had cut her off.

The temperature seemed to drop, Frisk hugged her arms and fell to her knees. She didn't want to be alone, her mind hadn't felt this empty since she was on the surface.

“Chara! Chara! Come back, please!” She cried out.

* But nobody came.

Chapter Text

"Snowy…”

Kick.

“...Piece..”

Kick.

“Of shit!"

Chara brought his foot down again, a loud shatter sounding as yet another one of Snowdrake's icy appendages was snapped off. The monster let out a bird like screech and Chara ceased his attack. He crouched, perching on the balls of his feet and looked at the quivering ice-monster.

"What? No more terrible jokes?" He grinned sadistically, "Here, I have one." Chara looked at the bloodied snow around him, for inspiration. "What's cold, a monster, and still fucking alive?"

Snowdrake couldn't respond, a stick was jammed in his beak. "Nothing?" Chara snaked his hands around Snowdrake's delicate, glass-like neck that was normally hidden beneath icy feathers.

"I'll give you a hint..." Chara leaned in close to the monster's face and whispered: "Neither of us. "

His hands crushed Snowdrake's neck and he watched the white soul floating above him shatter and disintegrate. When Chara looked back down all that was left was a pile of dust, surrounded by red snow. He sighed, sitting on the bloodied ground and letting the cold seep into his shorts.

"Frisk would be so upset with me, Snowthing." He smiled bitterly. "But guess what? She isn't here." Chara then looked over to the steaming pile of dust thoughtfully. "Yeah you're right. She needs this lesson. She'll learn how much she needs me."

He stiffened a bit, his gaze on Snowdrake's deathbed straining as the question What if she learns how much she doesn't?  flared in his thoughts. He started to feel heavy again. It was harder to smile. Chara groaned and snatched the stick from the dust before jumping up.

"I need something else to kill."

 


 

Chara walked through the tall skeleton's puzzles as usual, he didn't care if it put him back in the routine; he just didn't have time for them. He needed to kill something, he needed to stop this nagging feeling in his head that was making his chest tight. He felt so... Empty and just uncoordinated.

When the lanky skeleton threw up his hands and stormed away, officially giving up on trying spook Chara with puzzles- something about how he should show the bridge trap to Undyne (Chara, in his own way, was actually fond of Undyne, she died well)- Chara halted by the end of the walkway. His eyes landed on the casually dressed anatomy model that was Sans the skeleton. Chara took note that he was standing three or four feet to the right of his usual spot by the bridge. The bag of bones must be turning a new goddamn leaf.

Chara looked at him.

Sans looked back.

Chara squinted.

Sans kept staring, white pinpricks like tiny lights in his vast eye sockets.

Chara felt a small chill run up his spine. This was weird, and for the first time... He noticed how fucking creepy that never faulting, lipless, grin was. Annoying, too.

Chara's eyes started to water a bit, unlike Sans, he had to blink at some point. But Chara didn't want to lose this challenge. Stupid, really, but he felt he needed to prove a point. Chara stepped closer, feeling his lower eyelid twitch involuntarily. Shit, he thought right before his eyes fluttered shut. He heard the skeleton chuckle and suddenly Chara wanted to rip his own eyes out for failing him, but they were really Frisk's eyes. He would never do that. Her eyes were... Something to behold, not to hold physically.

" *so you really are human. huh. you had me fooled."

Chara opened his eyes, they still felt a bit dry from all the exposure to the cold Snowdin air. "You'll make that judgment based on a staring contest?"

" *i sure will. i think i won too." Sans smirked, “ *a real bone-afide victory.”

Chara’s lip twitched. "You want a fucking trophy?"

" *a chance to talk to frisk would be nice."

Chara's jaw locked. He began to feel as if he was in Hotland, anger simmering under his skin. His red eyes flared through the thick lashes that were so, beautifully Frisk's. Chara forced a slow laugh, "Ah, you're as dumb as your brother if you think I'm letting that happen."

Now it was Sans' turn to laugh. " *i see, so you have her trapped in there? you don't let her do what she wants? how spineless of you." Chara chose to ignore the pun, it bothered him more than he was willing to let on.

"You think she wants to talk to you? Are you delusional?"

" *what else are friends for? oh wait, you wouldn't know." His cheek bones scrunched up as he grinned wider, his eyes slight with amusement.

Chara stared at the skeleton hard; it was a wonder that the snowflakes passing through his scalding glare didn't melt. Chara hated how what Sans had said was so similar to something Frisk had. He hated it. They shouldn't think the same things! They hadn't even spoken to each other this entire timeline. How is this possible? But his melodic voice of reason was gone. Because of him. “After what you did, I’m not even sure you're clear on the terms of friendship.” Chara bit out, his fists clenching. God, he wanted to stab the skeleton’s teeth out with his own fucking rib.

Why shouldn't he? They aren't following routine anyways.

Why. Not. Kill. Him?

Chara’s foot sloshed through the snow as he took a step forward, unbeknownst to him, similar thoughts were running through Sans’ head as well. All Sans wanted to do was point a big ass gaster blaster at the kid’s temple and blow their head and shoulders away.

“ *maybe i’m not,” Sans said finally, managing to put his impulsive decisions aside, “ *but you of all people can't really determine the terms now can you?”

“That’s where you're wrong.” Chara replied speedily.

“You seem to have forgotten that Frisk is mine. She is my vessel, my SOUL…” my only friend, “mine.” He concluded, relaxing a bit and stepping back as the skeleton bristled.

Sans looked into not-Frisk’s eyes, red glow peeking out slightly though he couldn't see their irises. Sans knew she was in there somewhere, so why wasn’t she stopping this? Didn't she care about Papyrus? About Undyne? About him ? Was she really going to let this kid tear through the underground again? Did she hate him that much?

“ *frisk…” Sans muttered, Chara raised his brows in surprise. “ *if you’re in there… stop him.” Sans’ eyes were pleading, pinpricks growing with emotion. Then his face fell, grin stretching, eye sockets growing into vast, black voids. “ *and if you can't… you're gonna have a bad time.” Sans was gone within seconds of his warning.

Chara cursed and kicked up snow.

How does he even do that?

Chara exhaled and continued his pilgrimage of destruction. His mind kept rerunning his encounter with Sans. He didn't like that the skeleton was adamant on speaking with Frisk.

Not one bit.

 


 

Chara walked in circles singing in a loud voice, “I’m a human! Yes I am! I’m a human so (please) FIGHT me.” In all honesty, it was more frightening than anything. But it was enough for Lesser Dog to come a’runnin.

The dog ones are never too bright, Chara thought smugly, smiling at the cladded canine. He twirled the toy knife in his hand expertly and felt a rush when Frisk’s SOUL was tugged from his chest.

Something was wrong.

Even the dog was confused, or maybe that was just its face.

“Wait, hold up, buddy…” Chara muttered, raising a hand to caution the monster, it barked, “Fuck, I mean, stay… Or something.”

Lesser dog sat down, tail wagging as he waited patiently.

Chara swallowed as he examined Frisk’s SOUL. It looked terrible. Its bright red had faded into a dark, murky burgundy. It no longer emitted any light, just a mass of opaque matter. Chara was disgusted. The SOUL seemed to be dimming more and more by the second, at this rate, even a froggit could take him down. He looked from his SOUL then to the dog, he groaned and began fishing for through his pockets. He stopped when his fingers curled around what he was looking for.

“God I can't believe I’m doing this…”

He grimaced and pulled the stick from his pocket, there was a bit of Snowdrake still on it, but Lesser Dog didn't care, his eyes shined with pure joy.

Chara felt like the scum of the earth.

“Here go… Fetch.” Chara threw the stick, Lesser Dog ran off with lightning speed, kicking up snow in his wake. “Should've thrown it into the river…” Chara regretted before hiking through the snow to the closest SAVE point.

 


 

 This was her fault. It had to be.

The black space was black, as usual. Even darker since Frisk’s SOUL provided no glow. Chara waded through the shadows blindly. When Chara's eyes landed on her, he felt the tightness in his chest significantly lessen, like his inner-scale had just balanced out.

She was sitting with her back to him, hugging her knees most likely. She seemed to be drifting slightly in the darkness, shadows licking at her sides. He knew that she knew he was there. Why wasn't she rushing to meet him?

"Frisk?"

Chara's voice echoed as did his steps. He walked toward her and stopped as she turned around. Chara felt himself smile, she looked just how he'd left her. Depressed. She must have… Missed him . "I'm here now, Frisk." His voice was low and comforting. "I'm here."

She still said nothing.

It bothered him. Was she still sore about the whole dead-face thing? Was she really that squeamish? Chara always thought it looked kinda cool. "Why aren't you saying anything?"

He hardly blinked before she replied with extra sass. "Why? So you can freak out and leave again? Just go if that's the case."

Chara flinched, anger rising in his stomach, "Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the void."

She scoffed, tossing her waves of hair childishly.

Chara's lips shaped into a flat line, "Wait.. Wait... I seem to remember you telling, no, screaming for me to 'Go away.' Am I wrong?"

Frisk slumped slightly, she actually had felt bad about that. "You're..not... Fine, I'm sorry, really. That wasn't kind at all, but you did try and scare me." Chara couldn't argue that. Frisk looked over at him. "Did you just come for an apology?" The sass was back.

Part of Chara actually wished he had a better reason for visiting. “Uh…” He motioned to her SOUL, “your DETERMINATION isn't doing too good at the moment.”

She laughed bitterly, “Well sor-ree, blackness, darkness, and more blackness doesn't exactly fill one with DETERMINATION.”

Chara looked around at the void that engulfed them both, “It isn't too bad..”

His red eyes met with Frisk’s glare. He just shrugged.

She stood up suddenly and began marching toward Chara with a fire in her eyes. Chara flinched as red light practically exploded from the SOUL behind him.

“Ah, there is it…” He observed, turning to look at the illuminating red heart behind him.

When he turned back around, he found Frisk’s face only inches from his. “Give it back, Chara.”

Chara mocked ignorance, “Give what back?”

She glared harder, brows creasing, lower halves of her brown irises visible.

He chuckled.

Wrong move. Suddenly Frisk was upon him. She let out a girly shriek as she tackled Chara to the ground.

“It's. My. SOUL. You. JERK!”

Chara fell back with a baffled, "oof!" He was more surprised than anything which gave her the advantage, but soon the tables turned. After some awkward scuffling, Frisk threw a punch, not a good one, but a punch nonetheless. Chara dodged it and in a single breath he grabbed her wrist and twisted it behind her back, tossing her to the side and rolling on top of her.

“I hate you! I hate you!” She yelped half-heartedly, already beginning to accept defeat.

Frisk wriggled underneath him, but he had her hands pinned. He looked at her, golden skin flushed, eyes squeezed shut, pink lips parted. It was… Distracting.

Chara cleared his throat and forced a glare, “I’ve been at this a lot longer than you, Frisky. FIGHTing is kind of my thing.”

She seemed to pause and think about this. Frisk suddenly abruptly struggling and her whole demeanor changed. She slowly turned her head, long lashes batting as she met Chara’s eyes. Chara stiffened, what the hell is she…

Frisk took in a long, deep breath, chest rising dramatically and stressing the fabric of her sweater, “You're right. What was I thinking? You're so strong, Chara. You have me trapped…” Her voice was like saccharine.

Chara blinked.

“But tell me…”

Chara blinked again, red eyes watching her lips form each word. Tell you... what? She had consumed his thoughts completely.

Frisk’s lips bent into a smile that made Chara feel so… weak.

She leaned up as much as his grip on her would allow and whispered: “Now what are you going to do with me?”

Chara’s adam’s apple bobbed, his pale skin flushing a bright pink. “What am I…going to...?” He looked so lost. Frisk bit her lower lip. Her heart was beating a mile a minute, she could feel his warm, human breaths on her skin, but she had to stay determined. Finally, Chara let her go and fell backward into a sitting position. Frisk sat up as well.

Chara felt so weird, so fucking strange, and… it was nice. She couldn't mean… With him? What? What? ... Why hadn't Chara thought about that before? He was torn from his thoughts when a bright red light nearly blinded him.

His head snapped up. “Shit."

He'd been too busy thinking about what had just happened to notice Frisk as she approached her SOUL, which was now floating happily in front of her chest (Chara damned that chest) between her hands on either side. She noticed Chara looking her way and winked.

Fucking winked.

“What’s wrong, Chara? Never been FLIRTed with before?” If looks could kill, Frisk would be a bloody mess on the ground. “I know you want to protect me.” She sounded winded. "But we have to do right by these monsters. And I'm going to show you how."

Chara's gaze softened and Frisk selected CONTINUE.

There's good in him, she thought, closing her eyes as the scenery changed, there has to be.

Frisk wasn't sure why she needed to believe that. All she knew was that her heart was still racing.

Chapter Text

Frisk inhaled deeply as she got to the town, a large "Welcome to Snowdin" banner welcoming her with Christmas lights flickering gleefully on the lining. The snow was lower here, probably cleared out daily by the residents. Cheery music could be heard from the random speakers dotting the sparse buildings, though the rhythm it was a bit slower than Frisk remembered.

The small area was full of memories. Happy ones. Snowball fights, she reminisced.

Pfft.

The few monsters that were out scurried around and avoided her gaze. They must've heard about the murderer loose in the Underground. Frisk understood the damage Chara had already done, she wondered how he could stand to be looked at this way. The monsters were scared of her now. They probably hated her.

She offered a cordial smile to a small bear-like monster as she opened the shop door for them. Beady black eyes peered up at her through the folds of their scarf. They soon squeaked an “eep!” of fear and darted away. Frisk frowned, shoulders sagging.

They’ll forget soon enough. A shiver ran through her as Chara's voice slithered into her mind.

I know, it's just hard.

She felt a tingle, as if he was going to say something, but nothing came. He had been fairly humble and calm since she got her SOUL back. It was... unsettling. She went to the shop, sighing in relief upon seeing that the the bunny owner was still there. The shopkeeper looked startled, arms crossed tightly, buckteeth visibly chattering as she laid eyes on the petite human who was covered in dust.

Frisk bit her lip, I can't say anything to make this better.

Then don't.

After a few moments of awkward eye contact, Frisk spoke up. “I need clothes.” She said simply, “anything works.” Really Frisk wanted a shower, steaming hot enough to scorch all the dust from her skin. But fresh clothes would have to work for now.

The bunny said nothing, ears flattened as she rummaged into the back of the shop.

Why don't you just RESET?

There's something I need to do first.

Chara didn't reply. A sense of knowing flowed over Frisk. He knew exactly what she was going to do. Who she needed to see. When the storekeeper returned she slid the a pile of humanoid fit clothing over the counter.

“J-Just take it and leave, please.”

Frisk felt so sick, this was a world she never wanted to be in. The bunny monster was practically begging Frisk to rob her. She was the bad guy, covered in blood. Frisk merely slid a generous handful of gold across the table and grabbed the clothes. She didn't look at them until she was outside of the shop, figuring she’d change out back in the cold rather than scar the bunny for life.

Rather than make the bunny look at the naked skin of a murderer.

The shop door jingled as she made her way out, fingers closing around the handle as she shut the door behind her. She stepped forward and was violently jerked back. Gasping, Frisk swiveled around and saw her fingers still wrapped around the handle. Her face heated up. "How embarrassing," she mumbled.

She tried pulling away again, but her fingers weren't uncurling. Her body wouldn't listen to her. Geez, what is this?  With a forceful tug her hand slipped off the handle and she stumbled back, examining each of her digits, jarred.

Her hand tingled familiarly, she made a fist and stomped through the snow, going around to the back of the shop to change, hoping the cover of the forest and dumpsters would be enough.

What was that?

A new trick.

The human huffed in response, she didn't have time for his taunting.

It was freezing, but Frisk hardly cared, ankle deep in the snow behind the shop, she pulled her sweater off. She wished Chara's crimes would come off with it. Snowflakes melted against the warm skin of her chest. She glanced down at her bare torso, golden skin paling in the cold, breasts peaked in the chilly breeze. Her fingers looped in the fabric of her shorts, which were tight on her hips, and she slowly dragged the fabric down, it landed with a puff in the powdery snow.

Frisk’s hands then traced up the curve of her thighs, index finger snagging in the hem of her panties. Her hand went rigid. “Huh?” She pulled her hand away and reached to grab the new clothes.

Then she dropped them.

Her mouth opened in puzzlement and Frisk then felt the urge to touch her own face. So she did. Her dry fingers trailed from under her soft, brown bangs, down the bridge of her nose. Three fingers skimmed her philtrum then shakily caressed her plush lips before dipping into the wetness of her mouth.

So warm.

Frisk tensed, but her thumb light scraped over the fullness of her cheek, her skin was flushed with heat. She realized now that this wasn't her doing.

So soft.

Frisk’s hands moved their own accord, falling down her neck and scooping her breasts into her hands, goosebumped skin smoothing out under heated caresses. Frisk’s breath hitched, her own touches felt so foreign, she stumbled backward into the wall of the shop, toes curling in her damp socks.

The lamplight above flickered and rocked as she writhed against the shabby structure. Her was back pressed against the snowy wood of the wall, hands gripping her flesh more heatedly. A small moan fluttered from between her lips.

It feels so good to touch you.

I think you feel the same?

Should’ve been me, not him.

Chara sent waves of desire and lust through Frisk, so she could feel just how she'd made him feel.

"You can't..."

I'm only finishing what you started, Frisky.

His fingers pinched her breast, kneading the ample flesh roughly.

Just wait until I can really get my hands on you.

"That's impossib-ahn..." She cried out softly, trying to bite her lip. If anyone saw her now, god what would they think?  Plus she still had to- Mmmm… After your little stint, I had to wonder why we haven't tried something like this before...

Chara’s playful voice was low as it slid through her senses, filling her every thought. She felt her hand slide down her stomach, her soft belly melding and dipping a bit under her own touch. Two of her fingers slid over the white fabric of her panties. We're pretty much two halves of one whole, after all...

"N-Not... t-true..." Frisk stammered. "It's my b-body... my soul..."

Her hand stilled and she made a small noise. Fine... would you like me to stop?

Frisk's mind went completely blank. Her mouth wouldn't form words, nothing was coming to her.

Yes... No?

"I..." Her face burned despite the snowflakes falling down on her.

Frisk could pretty much feel his pride, which made her sure that he could feel her answer. As strange as it was, she didn't want him to stop.

Her fingers continued their descent, slipping between her legs and sliding over her clothed crotch, rubbing gently, teasingly. Frisk’s eyes fluttered shut, a high moan tumbling from her. 

Say my name...

“How are you…” Her fingers pressed down on her heat, forcing her to trail off.

She didn't hear the echo of a twig snapping from the forest.

My name.

Frisk’s fingers gingerly pushed the fabric to the side and stroked her center. Her back arched.

She didn't hear the crunching of footfalls in the snow.

“Ch...Chara…”

“ *kid?”

Frisk’s body went rigid, her long lashes fanned down as she looked forward.

What the fuck is he doing here?

Frisk stared into the dilated pinpricks of Sans the skeleton. He stood at the edge of the forest, eyes falling upon the naked form of the human, pressed against the wall of a shabby shop, her face flushed with lust, hand sinfully between her legs.

Sans ate it up.

“ *and what is it we have here? finally decided to try her out?” Frisk pinched her brows, then realized. Right, he thinks I'm you.

Keep it that way. And cover up…

Frisk didn't move.

Please.

Frisk threw her best smirk at Sans, remaining mute as she leaned down to grab the clothing she had just bought. It was a brown and maroon sweater dress. Striped at the bottom of the body and sleeves. Frisk audibly tsked, figures. She slid the warm dress over her skin, much to Sans' disappointment. The dress fell a bit above her knees and hung loosely to her slight, feminine figure. Frisk looked down, happy to find a pair of brown stockings in the pile too.

She realized she may or may not have overpaid that rabbit.

Frisk watched Sans through the slits of her bangs as she pulled the tights up her legs. “Can I help you?” Her voice was cold, but shaky.

Sans caught it. “ *you'll be fighting papyrus soon.”

Frisk swallowed, she couldn't imagine hurting him, she couldn't… She wouldn't. All the times Chara cut through the bone of his spine, severing the kind skeleton’s head from his shoulders… And she had watched- Get out of your head.

You get out of my head!

Frisk heard Chara chuckle and she felt warmer. It must’ve been the new clothes. “That's a given, Sans we need to talk.” Frisk quit the low tone, adjusting her dress slightly. She wouldn't hide, not from Sans, not from anyone. She began to step forward, but quickly found her back pressed against the wall once more as Sans appeared in front of her, a hand on either side of her shoulders, caging her in.

He smelled like old ketchup and charcoal. He bent one of his arms and leaned in, the lights in his eyes seeming to stare into her, darting rapidly.

Frisk could feel Chara’s tension. She wasn't sure if she would've spoken up had it not been for him.

“Sans, what are you-” his bone fingers traced the outline of her eye. Then, using his index finger and thumb, he stretched her eye open, lifting her eyelid to stare at her brown iris.

Frisk screamed and squeezed her eyes shut, lashes tickling his phalanges. “Sans!” She gave him a shove, palms feeling the bumps of his ribs under his hoodie before he tumbled backwards. Frisk detached from the wall, Chara?  Of all the times he could choose do disappear... “Chara?!” She repeated in a whisper when her counterpart didn't answer. She swallowed, and raised her gaze to Sans, who stared at her with utter wonder.

“ *you’re here…”

Sans grinned a real grin and Frisk cringed. She’d been here before, and he killed her. After he… They… She shook the memory out of her head. In a few more RESETs and she would forget anyways. It was getting hard to remember them all.

“I am,” Frisk agreed. “So you don't have to worry about Papyrus. I won't let... I won't hurt him.”

Sans felt as if he’d been punched for two reasons. One: Frisk didn't seem remotely pleased to see him, and two: Pap’s safety hadn't even occurred to him. Sans rubbed the back of his neck, bone clattering on bone. “ *r-right kiddo, thanks for that. you know i could never thank you enough.”

Pregnant pause.

“Yeah.” Frisk forced a small smile, mentally screaming Chara’s name. She was worried, why did he leave her? Before he vanished she was almost positive she felt a tinge of… Her eyes narrowed at Sans. Jealousy?

“ *so your bud has turned you against me.” Sans’ voice was gruff, malleable bone forming a frown, the lights in his sockets dimming.

“You did that yourself.” Frisk responded, “but at least you had fun. Trying me out.

Sans looked up, a puff of breathe visibly floating from his nasal passage, “ *kid, ‘s not like that, you know i don't see it like that, i just wanted to grind… the other one’s gears.”

“Chara.”

“ *what?”

“His name. It’s Chara.”

“ *hff, whatever.”

Frisk bristled, “I guess it is whatever.”

She began to walk out from behind the shop, knees high as she hiked through the snow. The flurries were huge, she hadn't noticed how blizzard-like it had gotten. She wasn't surprised when she heard Sans tromping after her.

“ *frisk! please!” S

he stopped and turned, meeting his gaze.

“ *i'm so sorry…” He continued, “ *you know what about.” Sans noticed how she seemed to relax, she must have been glad he wasn't dancing around it anymore. “ *what i did to you… took  from you. It was sick, so, so fucking sick.” His voice was caked in self loathing and Frisk felt her cold exterior fracture. Why was it she always felt for those who are hurting, despite how badly they've hurt her?

It was her Achilles heel.

" *all those resets kid, waking up the same way, findin' him dead..." His bones rattled as he drew in a breath of icy air. " *feelin' all that... it... it's no excuse, kid, but i, uh... i snapped." Sans was quiet for a moment, thinking about what he did. He was so mad that even when Frisk returned, smiling, but crying, red soul full of light, he felt it was her fault. That she owed him some happiness, for once in his fucking life he just wanted to be happy.

And he knew she would feel too guilty to deny it from him.

Sans wondered if she still did.

Sans watched Frisk look down, bangs falling over her eyes, she was so cold, she was tired, she was confused.

And despite how much she wanted to, she couldn't hate Sans.

“ *i need ya, tibia honest im goin’ crazy without ya.” His words hit her hard, her mind had stopped searching for Chara and began to stir feelings which she had buried since that timeline. Sans had once been her… Her best friend, her comedian, her rock when the urges to kill were still foreign to her. How could she have nearly forgotten that?

“ *i know you have to have been rather bonely without me, too."

The joke almost fell flat, but Sans spotted the tiniest of smiles on her lips. She was still his Frisk after all.

" *remember the timeline where you stayed in snowdin?”

She did.

“ *with me and paps?”

Of course she did.

“ *we got grillby’s for dinner every night so my bro wouldn't cook?”

Fuck, was she crying?

“ *but he still made us eat-”

“Breakfast spaghetti…” Frisk laughed tearfully, her cheeks bunching. It warmed Sans to the bone.

“ *yeah, even though it had confetti in it, you never said it was anything but delicious.”

Frisk was still giggling, remembering how she and Sans begged Paps to go into the kitchen and make more just so they’d have a chance to scoop the glittery mess off their plates. Then they’d tell him never mind. They’d tell him that one plate was enough. Papyrus never thought twice about, he had chalked it up to his 'extra savory flavors.'

“ *why don't we go back to that?"

Frisk’s smile faltered. Selfishly staying in the Underground with Papyrus... With Sans. Smiling, laughing... living. Sans could tell from the tears beading at the corners of her eyes how much the offer meant to her.

That timeline in question was really early. Like, pre-genocide early. It was before she knew Chara. She had gotten tired of dying in Hotland and just stayed in Snowdin. Frisk realized she was chewing on this dream longer than she should've been. It would never work out. Just like it didn't work before.

“Because Undyne showed up and shoved a spear through me.”

Sans grimaced, “ *we could plan around that.”

“It wouldn't work.”

“ *it could, really, i’d keep you safe kid, cross my SOUL.” He winked and traced an invisible X across the center of his chest.

“Sans, we wouldn't work.”

His eye socket slowly opened,“ *he tellin’ you that?”

“For Asgore’s sake…” Frisk groaned, rolling her eyes and turning away. “No, he didn't tell me that. I just know, okay? What you want, Sans, with me… It can never end well.”

“ *and how can a fuckin' voice in your head give you better?”

Frisk let out a groan of annoyance, but stiffened when she felt a hand on her wrist. “Sans, let go of me right now.” She jerked her wrist away and rubbed it with her other hand. “That kind of hurt, geez.” She mumbled, looking down at the reddened area. Her brows pinched, a dull blue glow began to emanate from her honey-gold skin.

Her SOUL pulsed, she could've sworn her insides were beginning to ice over. Frisk felt herself gently lift from the ground, feet sliding out of the snow’s slippery grip. The whole town of Snowdin seemed to be on mute. Frisk couldn't hear the scuffling of her own body as she struggled to pry out of his grip, she couldn’t hear her own shouts, she couldn't hear anything except a faint suctioning sound. Her panic rose like boiling water.

She peered down into Sans’s sockets, one empty and the other glowing a bright cyan. Suddenly she felt him jerk her towards him with a mere flick of his finger. His bony arms wrapped around her, teeth pressed to her ear. She couldn't hear her own cries, just his deep, deep voice.

“ *i just can't let you go, kiddo.” Then he pulled her into the void.

Chapter Text

“Hnnng…”

“HUMAN, ARE YOU ALRIGHT!?”

Frisk offered a shaky thumbs up in response.

“ *bro i think she’s just in awe.”

“AWE? W-WOWIE! ANOTHER MEAL WELL DONE.”

“Oh it’s well done alright,” Frisk mumbled, black noodles crunching as she chewed. How the skeleton burned noodles to a crisp was beyond her.

Her watery eyes drifted over to Sans eating like there was no tomorrow. He flashed a saucy grin that made her heart flip-flop. Then she gagged as the charcoaled pasta slid down her throat. He burst into laughter while Frisk turned pink. Papyrus let out a quiet nyeh of confusion, he wore a big smile on his face anyway.

Sans sat at the end of the table beside his pet rock, a bit of spaghetti draped over its gray sediment; Papyrus was seated right across from Frisk, the back of his chair leaned against the maroon wall. Frisk looked from one skeleton to the other and soon found herself grinning as well. After all, it wasn’t every day that she had the zesty tang of lemon in her tomato sauce.

Snow was drifting slowly outside the house, thickening Snowdin’s usual blanket of white. Christmas lights jingled and glowed, leaving colorful glares on the windows of the Skeleton residence. The town’s festive music managed to seep under the door stopper and dance around the dinner table. Frisk slid her half-full bowl to the side and leaned on her palm, elbow on the table, gazing over her shoulder and out the window. She wondered if there were any new recipes around the Underground.

“Ever thought of getting a cook book, Paps?” Frisk asked, turning her attention back to the table. Papyrus looked inspired by the idea, but Sans cut in before he could comment, left eye socket closing in a lazy wink.

“ *don't bother bro, those things are written by impastas.”

“SANS! JUST FOR THAT I’M GOING TO PURCHASE THE VERY BEST OF COOK BOOKS.”

The shorter skeleton shrugged. “ *don't get upsetti, it’s just spaghetti.”

“SAAAAAANNNNSSSS!”

Frisk laughed as Papyrus lost his head, shouting about how trivial Sans’s puns were. Papyrus rose from the table, slapping two skeletal hands on the wooden surface with a sharp clatter. “YOU DON’T GET ANY MORE,” Papyrus concluded, snatching Sans’s bowl and stomping away from the kitchen table, probably to go to his room and eat it himself as he sulked.

Frisk flinched as she heard the door slam. Yup, he was definitely sulking in his room.

“ *i’ll take that, kiddo.”

Frisk looked up and saw Sans standing beside her with his bony hand outstretched. She smiled, handing him the bowl of ‘pasta’ before leaning back in her chair with a sigh. Day 10 with the skelebros. It was crazy to Frisk how domestic the Underground had become now that she was staying put, finally giving a rest to her wayfaring lifestyle.

She stood from her chair and walked over to the window behind the cozy green couch, looking out onto the white snow. She was soon accompanied by Sans who stood close beside her with his hands in his pockets.

" *glad you stayed?" His deep voice sunk into her ears, she nodded with a small smile. " *me too."

Frisk leaned against his shoulder, the fur from his hoodie tickled her cheek. The lights in Sans’ eyes glanced down at her, tracing the waves of her brown hair in a mesmerized manner. A blue tinge crept over his cheekbones as his smile relaxed.

“ *still hungry?”

His voice reverberated against the top of Frisk’s head.

“Grillby’s?” She anticipated, standing straight once more. Sans started for the door, zipping up his jacket. “ *you already know. grab yer coat,” he said simply.

This has become so routine, so normal. Frisk felt... normal. Then the feeling changed.

Sans opened the front door and a gust of snowy wind blasted into the living room, Frisk winced and recoiled from the coat rack. She hissed at the sudden cold, shielding herself with one arm. Sans continued walking out onto the front porch. “Wait up!” Frisk yelped, dropping her arm and snatching the coat before starting after him.

“Forgetting someone?”

Frisk froze, a chill painfully coursing up her spine as a lump formed in her throat.

“Actually, you’re forgetting two someones....”

Frisk turned around slowly, lips parted in shock. Chara stood at the foot of the stairs across the living room. His head was tilted to the side, lips curled in a smirk she had grown used to. In one hand he held a knife, bloodied. In the other he held… Frisk gasped, Chara laughed.

“But now it’s just me,” he finished, dropping the red scarf to the ground, dust sprinkling from the fabric. His light brown tendrils of hair fluttered in the gelid wind that whipped from the doorway.

“No!” Frisk screamed, “No… You couldn’t have...” Feet wobbling, she stepped to the side, dropping her coat to the floor. The fabric turned into ash. Her head was pounding painfully, the warmth from the house was gone. Everything looked gray, the front door was still wide open, loud blaring wind against Frisk’s back. Snow was piling around the interior.

“No, I couldn't have.” Chara walked closer, wiping the blade clean on his sweater. “Not without you.”

Frisk was dizzy, the patterned carpet below her began to wobble and whirl as if it were water. She couldn’t stand straight, a gush of frigid air knocked her to the ground, snowflakes clinging to her sweater. Her hands, covered in blood, pressed against the contorted floor.

“I didn’t!” She screeched, furiously palming her hands into the carpet, rubbing her skin raw.

Warm breath dusted her bangs. She looked up, suddenly finding Chara’s face only inches from hers. The murderous glint in his eyes died away. “Calm down, it isn’t real,” he sighed, a bit disappointed with the fact. Frisk furrowed her brows.

“Isn’t real?” she repeated. “This is a dream?" She sighed as well, things definitely made more sense now. Her face heated slightly. "Wait you’re in my dreams now?!”

Chara chuckled at her tone, though his voice seemed labored, “Don’t act like this is a new development.” He cupped a hand over her mouth before she could argue. “There’s no time,” he explained, “You need to wake up, Frisky… Something’s happening.”

Both of them looked up, instead of a roof over their heads, there was nothing but vast darkness; a familiar empty space. Chara’s hand fell from her lips. He wasn’t smirking anymore, his eyes were wide.

“What are you talking about? Is it that?” Frisk finally found her voice, looking back to her ‘partner.’ Chara’s face seemed to blur a bit, she was having trouble focusing on it.

“The trashbag… he’s changing things. Seriously changi-” Chara’s face froze up, he was now looking behind Frisk. “No…” He muttered, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Chara?” Frisk moved to turn, but he grabbed her hand.

“Frisk, you can’t leave me,” He exclaimed with escalating urgency. He looked afraid, desperate. Frisk had never seen him like this, like he had no control.

Frisk tried to talk, she wanted to tell him that she couldn’t leave him, but her lungs were full of fluid. She coughed violently, head dropping as grey liquid spurred out from between her lips, dappling the carpet. Her chest was burning, it was like she was being torn apart.

“Charaaahlghn…” She hacked, feeling Chara’s hands frantically grabbing at the fabric of her sweater. He yanked her up to eye level, Frisk noticed tears shimmering in his wide, red eyes.

“Save me!” He shouted, but Frisk could hardly hear him; despite being so close, he sounded so far away. “I know what I said before, just, please!”

How?!  She wanted to ask, How can I save you? But their link was severed; she wasn’t in his mind and he wasn’t in hers. She hadn't even thought that was possible. Frisk’s grip on everything was slipping, the world around her blurred, it all seemed surreal, she felt as if she could sink into the ground.

“Frisk, hold on to me!” A pale hand stretched out to her, fingers spread wide. She tried, but her hand phased through. The boy’s panic spiked. The room was getting darker.

“FRISK!” The scared boy was getting father away, his fingers separated from her as she floated down into nothingness. His red eyes were all she could see now, they looked like small flames dancing in the darkness that enshrouded him.

Wait…

“FRISK, COME BACK! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE!” A boy's echoing voice shouted.

Where’d he go?

“I’m sorry…”

”Don’t leave me alone…” A quiet whimper.

Who was he again?

And then she woke up.

Chapter Text

She felt like she was floating. The skeleton residence had disappeared from sight and everything was black. She was drifting, slowly drifting back into consciousness.

Frisk's eyes fluttered open to a gray ceiling. A low glass dome dotted with small holes separated her from it. It reminded her of catching butterflies on the surface and poking holes in the plastic top so the winged insects could breathe. She imagined her slow sense of being trapped was fairly similar to what those bugs had felt. The only audible sounds were a faint sloshing in her ears and the indistinct whirring of an engine.

Gray. Everything was so gray and worn. Her eyes lazily traced the lines of cobwebs on the ceiling. Piece by piece her body seemed to wake up, reminding her that she had one. She felt so... vacant. From the looks of it (from what she could see, that is), this building was too.

Where am I? No response. Then again, who would she even be talking to?

A new sound greeted her muted ears. A faint beeping that matched a rhythm that she could feel in her bones. Her heartbeat. Maybe she was in a hospital? Why was she all wet?

Frisk shifted, her movements were so easy and graceful, like she was swimming.

Garbled voices. If she focused she could hear them, arguing it seemed. One was rather upset, the other nervous. A male and a female. Frisk could tell that much.

The Underground; right. Monsters; okay.

ResetsSansPapyrusResetsTorielUndyneResetsAlphysMettatonResetsAsgore- "Aaah!" Frisk shrieked, timelines and timelines of memories and experiences bombarded her mind, she thrashed, salty tasting solution splashing all around her. Her brain was still reeling from recollection, but her thoughts still seemed foggy. A huge chunk of time was missing.

The beeping, of whatever was measuring her heartbeat, sped rapidly. The garbled voices grew frantic. Frisk looked down at her body, suspended in a murky gray liquid with only the slightest parts of her breasts, stomach, and thighs above the surface.

"What…!?!” She screamed, voice growing louder as the word stretched to suit her blooming realization. She was scantily clad in just her undergarments, soaked to the brim with whatever that fluid was. Wires were randomly stuck around her chest, taped to her golden skin.

How did she get here? The last person she was with was… "SANS!?" She yelled, looking around wildly. With much effort, the girl brought her arms out of the solution she floated in, thin strips of the fluid dripping from them. Her elbows were still bent as she pressed her hands to the glass. Balling them into fists, she slammed them into the glass,

"SOMEONE!" She screamed, "SOMEONE PLEASE!" A shape appeared over her, casting shade on the tinted glass.

Speak of the devil, and he will arrive.

"*kiddo..."

She couldn't really hear him through the glass, or the fluid, but she knew from the way his eye sockets rounded and the little lights flashed, that is what he said. He always called her that. It was comforting.

Frisk squinted, why is he wearing a lab coat?

"Sans?" She looked at him through the glass, pressing her hands against its cold surface, "What am I doing here?"

He looked to the side. Guilt. Frisk didn't understand it, why would he....

“*i just can't let you go, kiddo...” Then he pulled her into the void.

Oh, right.

She recoiled from the glass, shock on her face. Sans reluctantly pulled away as well, white pinpricks lingering on Frisk before he moved from sight.

Frisk tried to lift her head and keep an eye on him, but found she couldn't. It was secured tightly by what felt like a stronger form of Velcro, anchored to keep her face above the liquid. The girl supposed it was so she didn't drown while she was unconscious. Or just drown herself to get back to her last SAVE, which is seriously becoming something she wished Sans hadn’t counted on.

Minutes went by, each feeling like they were an hour long. Frisk noted the IV that was embedded in the bend of her arm, steadily pumping what she hoped was saline into her vein. Sans had kidnapped her. That's what this was wasn't it? The last thing she remembered was him using his magic on her soul and holding her tight as he forced the both of them through one of his ‘shortcuts.’

Classy.

Frisk felt whatever kind of container she was in shift slightly, a large hissing filled her ears as the glass dome was lifted to the side. Frisk gasped as if she couldn’t breathe before, at least the open air smelled less like… No it still smelled like chemicals.

She tried sitting up again, but the strap on her head prevented her once more. Frisk’s confusion was quickly turning to anger, “My head’s still restrained!” She yelled.

“O-Oh, r-right. Let me, ah, uh, get that…”

That voice. Yellow clawed hands swooped down from the side of Frisk’s container, loosening the strap and then finally pulling it off completely.

Frisk shot up immediately, ears popping as they were exposed to the less dense pressure of the air. Frisk wondered just how long she had been floating like that. Her weight shifted as she sat up, sinking further into the container until she was seated on the bottom of the tank, leaving her waist deep in grey goop.

Frisk’s eyes trained on her releaser, betrayal was her expression. “Alphys?!” Frisk asked, eyeing the monster's yellow scales that seemed to be glistening with sweat.

When seconds went by and Frisk received no response from Alphys, she turned to the other supposed scientist.

“Sans?!” She asked with the same baffled tone.

Sans stepped up as Alphys stepped back, both still remaining at least three feet away from her. Alphys looked shocked and Sans was wary. Wary of Frisk despite the fact that he had kidnapped her.

"What the h-... What is going on, guys!?" Frisk wouldn't lose her head completely. Not yet, at least. There could be a very good reason for this after all. Maybe... Yeah... no... she couldn't think of anything.

Silence hung in the space like a bad odor... Silence... then...

Sans spoke, setting the clipboard he was holding down on some table covered in notes.

"*i know how this seems kid, and i'm sorry... we needed to remove your clothes so we could keep ya hydrated, and monitor your heart rate... plus we, uh, doubted ya would wanna get your clothes covered in this stuff. believe me ya don’t, heh. alphys was the one wh-"

"Not that, you numbskull!" Frisk shouted, looking down at the gray fluid she was seated in, "What is all of this!? Why am I..." She looked around, "in the True Lab?"

Frisk recognized the dusty science facility, they were in the room where the pre-amalgamated Amalgamates were kept. The six cots had all been slid into the corner, probably to make room for the tank she was currently seated in. Frisk noted two desks were against the wall by the entrance, lamps with flickering bulbs adorning each along with stacks of papers, reports, with writing she couldn’t read.

They’d been studying her. Great.

Frisk saw Alphys’ gaze widen, clearly surprised that Frisk already knew where she was, the dinosaur-like monster then proceeded to write this discovery down while muttering: “A-Amazing…”

Sans fiddled with the fabric of his lab coat, Frisk observed the worn name tag pinned to the pocket beside a pen. The yellowed paper was a bit torn under the plastic surface, but Frisk could read the name 'Sans' clearly.

The lab coat was his… And by the looks of it Frisk assumed it had been his for a while. Curiouser and curiouser.

"*alright... here's the deal," Frisk didn't recall asking for a deal, "*we're going to help you, okay? we'll fix you up and then you can come back home with me n' paps... alright?"

Home, Frisk thought back to the dream she had awoken from. It was a memory really, from the timeline she had stuck around in Snowdin, only it ended differently. Instead of Undyne bursting through the door and shoving a spear through the back of her skull… What did happen? She couldn’t remember how it ended, all she could remember was feeling… alone.

The more she dug into her head, the farther the dream slipped away. All she could snag was the evanescent glow of red eyes. Frisk didn’t know any monsters with red eyes.

“ *frisk?” Sans waggled a pen in front of her button nose. Frisk snapped back into the moment, “Yeah?” She mumbled, running a few fingers through her slimy hair, bangs pasted onto her forehead.

Alphys scurried over to her desk for more paper, notes covering both the front and back of her last two pages. The scientist seemed to be writing down every single thing Frisk did, her claws nervous tapping against the tiled floor. It made Frisk more than a little self-conscious.

Her eyes stayed on Alphys, hunched over her little place of work. “A-Anyways, what part of me even needs-” Frisk bristled, eyes locking on an illuminated glass container sitting against the wall on the corner of Alphys’ workbench.

The container itself seemed to have its own faint green glow, but inside a bright red heart hovered cheerily in a steady rhythm. The crimson light of the heart flared with Frisk’s anger. Frisk waned it back now. Simply looking at it from so far away made her insides churn.

“Why is my soul over there?” She asked curtly, narrow brown eyes darting between Sans and Alphys multiple times.

Sans cringed and looked over his shoulder, meeting Alphys’ dumbstruck gaze with a glare. The yellow monster laughed nervously and slid the jar further behind her, blocking Frisk’s soul from view.

The pinpricks in Sans’ eyes rolled.

Frisk slammed her hands into the solution, some of the grey fluid splashing onto the skeleton’s lab coat. “One, or both of you please tell me what is going on!” She yelled, voice cracking. Is this why she felt so empty before? Her soul being removed? It's not like it hasn't gotten removed during FIGHTs… Maybe because it is being contained?

Frisk, increasingly becoming more aware of the tactlessness of this situation, felt as if she were missing something big.

Finally, Alphys spoke. “Sa-Sans wasn't lying… W-We are trying to help y-you, really.”

“With what?”

Alphys looked to Sans, claws tapping together nervously, “Ah, well… I’ll explain it how Sans explained it to me.” She pushed her glasses up and cleared her throat. “Basically there is a blight on your soul, a u-uh… A darkness that has attached itself to you. It was, uh, very easy to remove your soul from you, so you’re safe for the time being, but removing the b-blight from your soul… That’s tricky. So… Uh, for now we’ll be keeping it in a shielded container… So the darkness can’t directly affect you.” Alphys didn't mention the part where keeping the human, Frisk, detached from her soul for too long would, in fact, kill her.

Sans nodded approvingly at Alphys’ explanation, but watched Frisk’s reaction carefully. The girl blinked a few times in a bemused manner. “A darkness?” She echoed, a strange sensation of deja-vu clouded her mind. Then it was gone. “Well, I sure don’t feel blighted!” Her tone was disdainful and harsh, it made Alphys flinch. The reptilian monster cupped a hand over her muzzle and leaned into her partner’s ear-hole. “Are you sure we got it all?” She whispered to Sans.

Frisk’s eyebrow twitched, her gaze was smoldering.

Sans chuckled, “ *give her a break, alphy. kid’s just feelin’ a bit,” he glanced back at Frisk’s soul thrumming within its jar, “heartless .”

No one in the room was amused. Frisk glared for a few moments longer, and then started pulling wires from her chest, hissing a bit as the ones embedded in her skin ripped through.

“W-Wait!” Alphys ran over, “We aren’t finished! There a-are so many tests to ru-run!” Her shaky claws gently covered Frisk’s hands, encouraging her to cease.

Frisk looked up from Alphys' hands over hers and stared into the scientist's eyes. Surely the monster didn’t know her yet, she hadn’t even made it to Hotland before Sans swept her away, but it still hurt. Two people whom she had come to care for countless times had teamed up and locked her in a tube to do heaven knows what. And to make matters worse, Frisk also felt- knew the two of them were hiding something.

The girl sucked in a deep breath, closing her eyes and trying to regain the composure she hadn’t had for a while. Being hostile was no way to get answers. “Tests?” Frisk asked softly, looking over Alphys' shoulder at Sans.

Alphys began replacing the wires on Frisk’s chest. The lighting above flickered slightly as Sans stepped forward, the small lights in his black voids trained onto Frisk’s form, half submerged in the murky fluid. “ *we’re going to try and extract the darkness from your SOUL before it does any more damage.”

“Don’t you need my consent for that sort of thing?” Sans flinched at her phrasing. His eyes scanned over her, checking for any microexpressions that may have fluttered over her face. He was relieved when all he found was confusion.

Frisk squinted (more than usual) at Sans's reaction, but before she could ask, he quickly recovered, “ *heh, we would… if you hadn’t already hurt people.”

Hurt people? Frisk’s blood went cold, she stared into Sans’ eyes and waited for a punchline, but his usual grin was grave, skeletal features shaded grinly in the rickety lighting.

“Who have I hurt?”

Sans was surprised she didn’t deny it straight away, he heard the sound of Alphys furiously writing something down. “ *kid… you killed snowdrake, ice cap, and probably more back in the ruins…” Frisk could hardly believe what she was hearing, she probably wouldn’t have believed it had she not remembered doing it. With each name, Frisk remembered their pitiful faces, begging for MERCY . She remembered jamming her stick into Snowdrake’s beak so he would be quiet. She remembered impaling Snow Cap with his own hat, over and over and over until the hat itself turned to dust.

Hot tears traveled down Frisk’s face, collecting on her chin. “Why did I do th-that?” She looked down at her hands, she could still remembered how the bloody dust felt, caked between her fingers.

Frisk's throat constricted, she felt as if her blood was running the wrong way. Each memory tore at a fiber of her being. "Why-Why.. would... hahn ..." She felt sick and breathless, choking on her own self-disgust.

“ *that was the blight kid, it wasn’t you.” Sans stepped forward until his hips were against the side of the tank. He opened his arms and Frisk collapsed against his bony chest, face digging into his collarbone which was exposed just above the collar of his lab coat.

Her body wracked violently with sobs, eyes stuck open in horror. Each memory recurring before her eyes, simultaneously, over and over, yet she still couldn't attach to them. It wasn't her, she had to believe that. It was the blight.

Alphys stopped writing, watching the display confoundedly. She glanced back at the girl’s soul and noticed the glow fade slightly into a more dim, almost opaque shade of maroon.

Sans wrapped his arms around Frisk’s trembling form, chin resting in the softness of her hair, heat radiating from her scalp. "The... blight..." Frisk managed, "I.. I didn't..." Sans shushed her gently, pressing his teeth against her glossy bangs.

“ *it’s okay kiddo, you’re safe now…” He rubbed her back soothingly, his baritone voice heavy with emotions Frisk couldn’t interpret.

“ *i’ve got you now…”

Alphys swallowed nervously and crossed her arms over her chest, clipboard flat against her lab coat. She wasn't sure how to console the human, so she settled on doing nothing at all. Alphys would never be so quick to hug a killer after all, blighted or not.

Ping... Ping, ping.

Alphys raised a scaly brow and squinted.

Ping! Pingpinging...

Alphys' tail twitched. "Sans!" She whispered, her quiet voice excited as she took a step forward and reached out to grab his shoulder. "Do you hear-" The skeleton waved his partner off with a languid hand motion. Alphys huffed and retracted her hand, beady eyes flitting to the side.

She turned slightly when she heard the faint pinging continue from behind them. The dinosaur-like monster pushed her glasses up and quickly scurried over to her desk, going unnoticed by both Sans and Frisk.

Alphys proceeded to grab the pen from her pocket and flip to a fresh note page on her clipboard. "Interesting..." She murmured, observing the source of the high pitched pinging. Her tail inadvertently wagged with the spirit of inquiry, pale bone colored ridges peeking out from under the folds of her coat.

Inside the shielded jar that sat on the corner of Alphys' work bench, the human's soul was dull and cloudy, but something deep inside lit up every now and then. 'Dark crimson light, small ringing noise... probably spat of wayward energy from stress of...' Alphys' handwriting was chicken scratch, but she would interpret it later.

Alphys paused from writing, stopping to watch the little glow for a few moments, just observing. She smiled slightly, it was almost as if it were calling out to the girl itself.

Chapter Text

When Alphys said “testing” this is not what Frisk had in mind.

Really, by “testing,” she meant needles, lots and lots of needles. Tests that didn't even require Frisk in the room. Experiments that didn't involve anything but her blood, a swab of her spit, maybe a strand of hair plucked from her scalp, and her soul (wherever that was).

Frisk had way more spare time on her hands than she knew what to do with. For the most part, her only company was Alphys, and the reptilian monster was too suspicious of the girl to be much for meaningful conversation. Not that Frisk could blame her. The amalgamates offered some sense of community, but they mainly kept to their corners.

Sans came at night, after he put Papyrus to bed, which Frisk was grateful for because it gave her a sense of time. Without a constant, time was a blur, there wasn't a single natural reminder for her in the lab. Not even her body cooperated with any kind of sleep schedule. She was just awake sometimes and asleep the rest.

On the plus side, she didn’t have to sleep in the tank anymore, now she had a cot.

In a way, part of the girl resented Sans for leaving every morning, or midday, whatever time it was that he left. It was like he was teasing her with a big sign on his back reading: “Look at what I can do that you can't!” Followed by a crude drawing of himself uttering: “*hehehehe” or something ridiculously irritating like that. Frisk had never felt this cut off from the world, specially from the Underground. She was so used to just doing whatever.

Whatever she wanted.

Funny how even after falling into the Underground, she’s managed to dig herself into a deeper hole.

So far, Frisk has counted three nights; meaning that this would be her fourth day in the lab. Fourth day. They had kept her here for four days. Confined her to this cold lab for four days. Frisk had never been ancier. She probably could have run the expanse of the Underground twice by now.

There were times during her stay that she found herself counting the blemishes on the ceiling, purposely forgetting to write down the number just for a reason to do it again the next day.

Despite her anxiousness, Frisk was determined to be cooperative. Sure, if she really tried, Frisk felt she could escape, but she wouldn't. After all, she did deserve this, didn't she? She had killed Sn…

She had killed.

A knot formed in her stomach and she curled into herself, pulling her legs to her chest, the fabric of her gown crunching slightly.

There should be no punishment she doesn't deserve, even if it was the blight’s fault.

The girl was seated at Sans’ workbench, squinting through her bangs and lazily flipping through pages of notes written in a language she didn't even understand. Did anyone understand this? It was gibberish! All lowercase letters or symbols. At least Alphys’ notes were in English (though the jargon was far beyond Frisk’s comprehension.)

Every page was about her, her soul, her soul’s blight. All the secrets they were keeping from her were so arrogantly left in plain sight. Frisk flipped over to the back of another sheet of paper, scrawled with scientific nothings.

She smirked slightly at a small drawing of a heart beside one of Sans’ bullet points. It was drawn in a different color, not black ink, but blue. She wondered what that meant. She really wanted to know, actually. She shouldn't, she shouldn't care.

A dull beep echoed through the lab and papers flew as Frisk flailed in surprise. Once her thoughts reassembled into coherency, she realized the beeping came from down the hall.
Sans was here, marking her fourth night in the True Lab.

She listened to the familiar yawn followed by the shuffling of slippers and dragging of a lab coat against the cold tile floor. She could hear Alphys’ claws tapping as she walked after her partner, babbling about something.

Knock, knock, knock.

Frisk appreciated the novelty, knocking on the side of the open double doors as if she actually had some privacy. Frisk leaned back in Sans’ chair, “Come in,” she sighed out, spinning lazily in the swivel chair.

Her sour mood disappeared when she saw him. Just like it did every night before, only something was different about him tonight.

Adorning the top of San’s skull was a bright red hat with a fluffy, white, ketchup stained-trim, and an iconic bulb hanging from the pointed tip.

She sucked in a small breath. Was that… A Santa hat?

Aside from that, everything else struck the normal chord. His wide sockets were complimented by permanent dark rings, the eggshell white of his skull was almost gray in the dim lighting, the lab coat he wore seemed too big, just like every other article of his clothing, and his grin was stretched across his face in its usual lazy demeanor (there may or may not have been a hint of jolliness).

At first glance, he was almost creepy. Like a demonic Santa. Yet, Frisk never thought that about him as creepy—well, she never thought that before he kidnapped her. But that was for the greater good... right?

Why was her head so damn foggy?

The monster made his way into the lab, he held a large brown bag with grease stains at the bottom that indicated one thing: Grillby’s. Another bag dangled from his other arm, looped around the bend of his elbow. It was an off shade of red, there was… green decorative paper spilling over the top. A gift? Frisk furrowed her brows.

“*alphys!” The skeleton exclaimed, eyes landing on Frisk, curled up at his desk, “*replacing me already?”

The reptilian monster rushed in moments after, “Well I must say I am considering it. I keep telling you that-” she reached for the brown bag in Sans’ hand and he lifted it out of her reach with ease, “-you can't keep bringing-” she leaped for it, the bag suddenly illuminated in a light blue and levitated high over both scientists.

Alphys sighed and adjusted her lab coat, the scales of her face flushed with effort. “Y-you can't keep bringing Grillby’s to work! T-the Amalgamates will smell it, a-and they’ll be dissatisfied with their c-current re-regimens. Eat it outside!

Frisk frowned slightly, she hadn't thought about that. What did Alphys feed them anyways?

The bag suddenly dropped from above and Sans caught it with ease, closing one eye and peering at its contents.

“*it rattles my bones jus’ how little you think of me, alphy,” He chuckled and tipped the bag towards Alphys. Her gaze immediately softened when she saw what was inside.

“These can't all be for Frisk?” Alphys asked, pushing her glasses up.

Sans shrugged, “*they could be, but they aren't. even amalgamates need a treat every now an’ then, right?”

Frisk hadn't seen Alphys smile that widely around anyone other than Undyne. Alphys bounced on her toes and nodded, “Thank you, Sans… they’ll love it.” The scientist sounded like she would cry.

“*tell em merry christmas for me.”

Alphys let out a small gasp, “O-Oh… Is it that time of year already...?” she trailed off, calculating a present for a certain fish monster.

Sans, with one eye still closed, looked back to Frisk who was still looking at him. His grin widened and the girl saw a light bulb go off in his skull.

Sans shuffled forward, “*but hey, maybe taking this outside to eat isn't too bad a thought?”

Frisk froze, so did Alphys.

Sans shrugged, taking the silence as confirmation. “*didn’t think so. kiddo, whaddya say we have a lil' xmas picnic?”

Frisk felt like the barrier had just collapsed before her eyes. Was this a test? No, Sans wouldn't be so cruel. He was being the opposite. He was being kind. The same kindness that drew her to him.

So badly did she want to walk on ground that wasn’t tiled… or a treadmill.

Frisk’s mouth opened and closed, unable to subdue the smile that twitched onto her lips. She looked over at Alphys questioningly.

“A-I...Well, so long at she doesn't leave your si-sight?” She nodded to Frisk, “Y-You uh… won't, right?”

Frisk shook her head with such vigor, it made her dizzy, “No, I won't! Thank you! Thank you!” All of her pearly whites were on display as she stood up from Sans’ chair.

Alphys smiled, “W-Well… then… wha-what’s the harm?” She laughed nervously, “I’ll, just ah, s-stay here with the Amalgamates… outside is-isn't really my, ah, thing.”

Sans had figured as much, and shrugged nonchalantly, “*s’not a problem, we will be back soon so ya won't miss us too badly.”

Frisk looked between Alphys and Sans excitedly, watching as Alphys turned away and started out the room.

Her mind was racing. She was going outside! Four days in this lab felt like years and…

She would have to come back, wouldn’t she? The thought forced her to collapse back into Sans’ chair.

“*your clothes are cleaned up, you can put those on for now. can’t have you walking around outside like a hospital patient.”

Frisk nodded and smiled before raising an eyebrow. “Is it actually Christmas?”

Sans matched her smile with a smirk, flicking the bulb of his hat with bony fingers. “*eh, it’s always christmas in snowdin.”

Frisk snorted and kicked Sans' lower leg, his tibia if she recalled correctly. He flinched away with a hearty chuckle, shaking his head subtly. “*m’patella ’n ya, it'snow big deal. who is a second christmas gonna hurt anyway—hey! stop that, keep that on.”

Frisk paused, fingers on the tape that secured the IV into her vein. “What? Don't tell me the drip is coming.”

“*alright, i won't.”

"You won't make me bring it?"

"*i won't tell you that i’m making you bring it."

Frisk thinned her lips, “I thought you said you didn't want me to look like a hospital patient! An I.V. screams hospital patient!”

“*that was more for you than anythin'. you can keep on the gown, doesn't bother me. s'kinda cute actually.”

Frisk’s face grew hot as his pinpricks rose from her bare feet to her eyes, her dark and now puffy bangs almost hid her glare. Sans reached a hand out and she took it, allowing him to pull her to her feet and towards him a few steps as he walked her across the lab.

“*kid, keepin’ you safe is the most important piece to all this. once you're better you probably won't see another i.v. again. ‘least not from me.”

Frisk plopped on the bed and bit her lip. She had a sinking feeling about the ‘once you're better’ part, but she looked into Sans’ earnest expression and nodded anyways. He grinned and set the gift bag beside her, “*jus a lil’ somethin’ from me and paps, don't open it til later though, okay?”

Frisk looked at the bag with round eyed curiosity for a few moments, “Okay.” Sans left her to get dressed and Frisk was left to wonder if her soul would be going with them. Surely being that far from it would be dangerous, right?

Dangerous for who? A quiet voice in her head asked as her gown pooled at her hips.

Frisk pulled the collar of her sweater dress over her head, the thick fabric dragging over her face. She couldn't get her mind off of her soul, pulsing in a jar in a cold, gray room—isolated from her. She sighed with discontent and then forced a smiled before breathing out a soft:

“Merry Christmas.”

Chapter Text

Sans had discarded the festive hat before they even left the lab and Frisk had to hide her disappointment. There was something oddly charming about the stocky skeleton in such jovial attire.

Adding to her disappointment, their destination was only a shortcut away, rather than a walk. She just wanted to walk , but she wouldn’t push her luck… yet.

Sans’ smooth hand clasped around hers and he grinned at her warmly before they both vanished into blackness. Frisk paid closer attention to the place in-between shortcuts, this time. The void, as she had learned to call it. It wasn’t cold how she remembered, something felt off. She felt a tug, a pull, like there was something there. Did that make sens- RED.

She saw red. Two red dots. Red eyes. They were surprised to see her.

Who.

Is.

That?

“ *kid?”

Frisk’s eyes snapped open and then relaxed into their usual lashy slits. Sans’ voice was echoed by the trickling of moving water, the air was muggy, humid, and fresh. “Sorry, a little woozy,” she lied casually.

“We're in Waterfall?” She took a moment to suck in a lungful of the sweet air. The cave was hued in indigo, dark grass tickling her ankles.

"*mhm," Sans mumbled and gently tugged her forward, her hand still in his. She watched the back of Sans’ skull, then glanced down to their joined hands and smiled. Her cheeks felt hot.

He led her to the hidden bench, using a small amount of magic to keep the bridge seeds steady for her as if she hadn’t done walked across them countless times before; the novelty of normalcy was never lost on Frisk. The tranquil silence that settled between them was warmed by the soft jingles of crystals embedded in the cave ceiling, shining like stars overhead.

Sans seemed to fade into the scenery. He had changed back into his blue hoodie, the color complementing the shades of purple around them. Frisk’s hand slipped out of his as he took a seat on the bench, dark vines curled around the wood legs.

The girl watched him for a few moments longer, seeing him in a light she had long forgotten. Kind, lazy, funny Sans. The first significant crush she had ever had. What had happened to that? Why had she ruined the moments like this?

Frisk snagged her lower lip between her teeth, Snowdrake's muffled cries bouncing around her skull. No reset would change the damage I’ve done, Frisk thought as she sat on the bench beside Sans. Sans rummaged through the bag before handing her a foil wrapped burger. She stared down at the burger feeling the warmth seeping into her fingertips, the savory smell wafting to her nostrils.

Tears welled in her eyes. Sans knows that; he knows what I’ve done and he still… Her lip trembled and she raised her head to face him.

“Sans, I… can't begin to thank you for this…” Frisk said after a moment, legs swinging.

“After… what I’ve done. I just… can't thank you enough for… trusting me.”

For caring about me.

Sans’ sockets stayed on her for a while and Frisk wondered if she had said something wrong, He doesn’t trust me... of course he doesn’t… Frisk was already pondering ways to word a proper apology.

Sans took a long swig of his ketchup and finally cracked a thin grin. “*there's no thanks needed,” he replied coolly.

“*although…”

He leaned into Frisk slightly, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and pulling her close.

“*a kiss would be nice.” His voice was a slow mumble.

Frisk stared into his sockets, tears being shocked still and fixed to the corners of her eyes.

“Ahm… hah… sorry, what?

Sans shifted closer, his other arm moving over her lap and setting the bottled ketchup down on her side of the bench. Frisk’s eyes nervously raked over his skull, gaze darting downward as he loomed closer and closer. A few inches closer and Frisk was positive her nose would be wedged into his nasal cavity.

“*i said…”

She gulped.

“*how about… a quiche?” Sans sat up straight again and in the hand where the ketchup had been, there was a white plate with a perfect slice of quiche in the middle. It looked like it just came out of the oven.

Ohmy…” Frisk sputtered into laughter, “Oh my god!” She wheezed.

Sans threw his head back, sliding down against the bench as he laughed. He looked over at Frisk, watching the way her narrow eyes crinkle at the corners, lashes engulfing them completely. The tears that had gathered in sadness now fell down her cheeks for a completely different reason.

“You are such a bonehead!”

Sans was still laughing, an image of her flustered face burned into his mind. “*uhuh,” he agreed.

“A real numbskull!”

“*yup.”

She doubled over, glad the burger was safely wrapped up. Her sides were stitching, but she couldn't stop giggling.

“That joke was really…” wheeze, “h..half-baked!”

Now Sans was the one doubling over, using magic to keep the quiche suspended in mid-air while he clutched his sides, hood falling over his skull. His sockets shaped into upside-down crescents as his chuckled.

“ *heheh, w-welp, i suppose it’s good thing the quiche isn't, huh?”

“How am I supposed to eat a burger, fries, and a quiche?”

“ *team effort.”

Frisk rolled her eyes and failed to stop giggling as she began unraveling the foil covering her burger. She felt something in her unravel as well. A knot of guilt that she never thought would move.

The rest of the outing went without a single hitch; conversation flowed unhindered. Frisk’s belly ached with food and her sides with laughter by the time they began the trek back to the lab.

She had asked to walk, rather than take a 'shortcut'. He complied with ease. He was so nice. So kind. Yet, his kindness didn’t fill her with DETERMINATION. Nothing has lately.

Should she be worried?


 

Frisk was sad to see Sans go, but Papyrus needed his brother more than she. Sans had her ‘civilian’ clothes (the sweater dress and tights) folded over his forearm and was taking them with him for whatever reason, weird.

He waved from the lab doorway and then, in the blink of an eye, he was gone; nothing but the rocking of the revolving doors showed he was there to begin with.

Frisk leaned against the wall, an odd emptiness filling her chest. She wrapped her arms around herself, feeling the goosebumps along her bare arms. The girl's gaze soon fell on her SOUL. Alphys must've been studying while she and Sans were out. The red-lit jar sat on the scientist's desk.

Red.

Red.

Frisk craved the color. She slowly walked forward, eyes fixed on the dim light of her SOUL. She felt it was watching her almost as closely as she watched it. Ping!

A dark burgundy light flashed in the center of her soul. “Huh?” Frisk’s hand grasped the fabric covering her chest, she felt warmer upon seeing it, but confused. That’s the blight?

Ping!

Watching the dark little light roused the same feeling she had in the void. The feeling that she was close to something significant. The low green glow of the container holding her soul sparked irritation and anger quickly took root. They caged her soul! It was information she knew, but the longer she stared the more it bothered her. She balled her small fists. Who the hell were they to-

“O-Oh, I believe this was left for you…”

Frisk jolted, quickly turning to see Alphys holding the gift bag from earlier. She took a moment to decide what emotion to display. Alphys glanced at the soul before continuing, “It was, uh, o-on your bed…”

Frisk put on a smile and accepted it eagerly, “Right, yeah, hah. I totally forgot, thanks!” She looked down at the little gift bag, smile softening into a more genuine one.

“N-no problem. I-I'll be in the sample room, just come when you're d-done, uh, so I can draw your blood… DT levels are going to be raised in the IV as well.” Alphys shuffled off, not waiting for a reply from the girl.

Frisk had only been half listening. Her gaze was pinned on the fabric peeking out from inside of the bag. She quickly sank to her knees tore into the gift. Her eyes stung with tears when she saw what was inside. It was a sweater, the pink and blue were a few shades off, but it was her sweater. Well, the closest thing to it. She held it up to the light before flipping it to look at the back.

Her laugh echoed through the vacant lab as she read the words “Puzzles R Cool” stitched unevenly through the stripes in white thread. She quickly pulled the sweater over her head, the fabric of her gown crinkled in protest, but she ignored it and wrapped her arms around herself. It was a perfect fit, a bit baggy and incredibly warm. As she reopened her eyes, she caught sight of a little card that must’ve fallen out, Sans’ handwriting adorned it.

‘dunno if you can tell, but i didn't make this. paps did. he really wants you to appreciate his puzzles, he said that-’ Frisk laughed as Sans’ handwriting was replaced by scrawny capitalized letters ‘YOU CAN'T DENY THE GREAT PAPYRUS PUZZLE APPRECIATION IF YOUR SWEATER ADVERTISES PUZZLES!!!!!!’ The handwriting returned rounded lowercase letters. ‘yeah, that. i did contribute somethin tho. i wonder if you’ll find it.’

Frisk flipped over the card, disappointed to see that Sans left no more clues. She rummaged through the torn bag for a bit and came up with nothing.

“Silly skeletons…” she muttered, unable to force away the grin that appled her cheeks.

Her knees popped as she rose to her feet, wincing slightly before trudging through ‘her room’ and turning down the hall to meet up with Alphys for samples. The lights hissed and buzzed overhead, dead screens lit up in dim, unreadable green letters.

Frisk pressed her finger against the screen, squinting to see the dull silhouette of her reflection. Her smile fell, she almost looked creepy in the distorted glass.

Frisk continued down the hall and was soon met by the hulking figure of Endogeny, curled up in doorway of the sample room, leaving only a slim space for her to walk through. Alphys was already apologizing, rushing up to meet Frisk.

“S-Sorry about him… He wouldn't leave. I can get him to m-move-” Frisk shook her head, watching the sleeping giant and listening to the multiple snores tumbling from each orifice. Cute?

“He’s fine! I don't mind really,” Frisk said, smiling once more and squeezing past the white furred beast. Alphys nodded, turning around and muttering something in appreciation.

The scientist quickly did a double take, “O-Oh wow, I like your sw-sweater,” she complimented and Frisk beamed.

“Papyrus made it for me,” she said proudly. She turned around and used her thumbs to point to the words on the back, “Check it.”

Alphys placed a claw over her muzzle and giggled, “N-No doubting Pap-Papyrus did that.”

Frisk nodded with satisfaction, holding the pose a few moments longer before trudging over to the gray reclining chair in the center of the room. She sat with her legs uncrossed, arms rested on either side of her, a position she has grown accustomed to. It was pretty easy to fall into the routine. She closed her eyes and listened to the low squeaking of Alphys wheeling over the cart of needles and tubes and whatever else it was they used on her.

“Sleeves, please.” The monster’s voice was gentle.

“Oh, right!” I have sleeves now! Frisk opened her eyes, turned over her wrist and began to tug up her sleeve when her gaze locked on a glint in the fabric. She quickly rolled the sleeve up a little and let out a small gasp.

There, stitched into the seam of her sleeve, was a tiny blue heart charm.

Blue.

It was enough to distract her from the prick of the needle.

Chapter Text

The darkness was perplexing.

It appeared to stretch on for miles and miles, though maybe it was only a few feet. The blacks and purples were ever-moving, always shifting, the shadows constantly licking along whatever they could find. It was suffocating, it asphyxiated all pungent life.

Luckily, Chara was dead.

The fact that it was so fucking dark made Chara really fucking angry; not that he didn’t have reason to be anything short of pissed off already. He’d tried reaching out to Frisk many times, almost always failing. He knew she couldn’t hear him, but he tried and tried anyway. Even the idea of possibly reaching her kept him from going completely insane.

However, just now Chara knew Frisk had heard him. He could feel it: the tether between them, anchored in their chests. A heavy feeling pulling her closer and closer… egging both of them on. She was on the cusp of something, the boy wasn't sure what, but she was reaching out to him, just as he had to her. And then the fucking dinosaur showed up.

He knew this because despite the soul being caged, or bagged, or contained in whatever way, he still managed to retain a very vague awareness of his surroundings. Mainly, the emotions of those within a close enough range.

Chara could feel the reptile’s curiosity, Frisk’s… depressing indifference, and the skeleton’s unadulterated animosity.

He had no doubts that Sans was whispering hateful words to the red soul in hopes that the human inside might just hear them. Fortunately, Chara’s outlook wasn't clear enough for fucking subtitles, so the skeleton’s pitiful rants fell, blissfully, mute. Chara's brow twitched, sniffing slightly as he felt both Frisk and the scientist draw away from him, leaving him alone in the dark once more.

Neither Sans nor the empty space around Chara was truly the worst part of being stuck in the void.

It was the voices. That’s what really got to him. Without any orientation, any physical connection to the outside, Chara “lived” how he had before Frisk ever fell.

How he "lived" while his body was rotting away under the sweet soil littered with golden flowers.

“Do your creepy face!”

In his memories.

“Ahhh! Hee hee hee… Oh! Wait! I had the lens cap on...”

Chara closed his eyes and collapsed into the darkness, but the voice was persistent. They always came when he tried to think about something too hard.

“Come on, quit tricking me!”

Or whenever he almost felt something.

Chara gritted his teeth, “Go away, Azzy…” The nickname spilled from his lips habitually, though he hadn't used it in some time. The remembrance was so rich that Chara could almost smell the flowers that had been around them. He began to see a hazy picture of Asriel, grinning like an idiot, behind a camera with the lens cap on. The picture shifted slightly and Asriel wasn't smiling anymore; now there were tears is his eyes.

“I don’t like this idea, Chara… ”

Chara whispered for the memory to stop, but it kept going, other voices and recollections beginning to overlap with it, images and voices mixing together and creating a heavy stone that sat in Chara's gut.

“Chara! Stay determined…”

Guilt.

“Here’s another fun fact about snails…”

Stop...

“We’ll free everyone.”

“Go away!” He screamed, cupping his ears so roughly that his nails drew blood from the thinner skin behind them.

He could see them all. At the dinner table, he watching everyone from his own eyes. Chocolate pie was steaming in front of him. He remembered swatting at Asriel playfully. Why had he done that?

Asriel had been a pawn.

The king's laughter echoed around the room, giddy as he watched his sons bicker. Chara remembered how soothing the sound was.

They had all been pawns.

It wasn't real... Not for one moment. It just... wasn't.

The sound of his breathing drowned out their voices. The memory of their last family dinner distorting and fading away, like it had been a puddle Chara cast a rock into.

A chill ran down his spine and he quickly quieted, regaining some composure as the susurrus was replaced by garbled static.

I really can't get a fucking break, can I?

He opened his eyes, red irises darting around anxiously. The shadows that had been snaking around his ankles drew away, like a tide collecting for a larger wave.

Looking up through the cover of his bangs, Chara slowly moved out of the ball he’d curled in. He immediately frowned with discomfort at what the shadows gathering to form.

Darkness swirled and funneled, slowly rising to tower over him, a stark white face emerged from underneath to look down at the boy’s bloodless face.

Whispers littered the silence just before it spoke.

“Go away..? But I just got here…” The tall monster’s inky grin widened wickedly, his face like a mask.

Fuck.

Chara didn't know what was worse: this guy or the memories.

He said nothing as the eery creature drew close to him, a disembodied hand brushing Chara's bangs from his eyes; a gesture Chara's father used to preform just before sitting Chara on his lap and handing him a cup of sweetened golden flower tea.

The gesture bothered him.

"Don't fuck with me." Chara said venomously, catching the hand and tossing it away from him.

Gaster was unbothered, make-shift shoulders forming a shrug.

“What seems to be the issue, fallen prince?” The monster moved forward, the white of his skull stark against the darkness of the void, cracks that jutted through his sockets flared ever-so-slightly with purple wisps. "This is longest you've been here in quite some time."

The fact that that thing had been keeping tabs on Chara really creeped him out. “How the hell did you find me here?”

“You’re always so hostile to me; I only wish to help…”

They were both deflecting? Fine.

“Did I ever mention that your son looks like a fucking egg?”

Gaster chuckled, "many times," and Chara slumped further into the darkness, fisting his fingers into his creamy brown locks of hair exasperatedly. Gaster continued sliding around him, risen shadows following him like a train. Despite Chara feeling as if he was up against a wall, the molten form of Gaster slinked behind him, slowly circling the human as he spoke in a raspy, fluid voice.

“Whatever happened to your little plan? You were hell-bent on destroying all of creation last time we talked. It was... intriguing." The black corners of Gaster's mouth drew up languidly.

Chara sighed, “Yeah, yeah. It was going fine... I killed your idiot son- er-creation more times than I can count… It’s the other one that’s just…” The mere image of Sans sparked deep in resentment Chara and he scoffed angrily, red eyes flashing as he lashed out, hands savagely gripping at an imaginary Sans. The trashbag was probably with Frisk right now. She was probably being so nice to him too. She was always so fucking kind. Well, not always to Chara. But to the comedian she was all smiles.

Chara was shaken from his childish burst when he realized Gaster’s face was right in front of his, the mere scent of the monster's aura made his undead lungs sting. He smelled of burnt plastic and chemicals.

“Back up!” Chara grunted, turning his face swiftly and balling his hands into fists. As Gaster’s goopy form slowly retreated, Chara finished his thought.

“ I was just saying that Sans… complicated the plan and… my erm, host only made things worse. She kept interfering, never letting me finish the job.”

“Mmm…” Gaster hummed thoughtfully. “It’s a wonder that her soul isn’t green… Maybe orange…”

Chara grew a little quiet at that. It didn’t go unnoticed.

The melting skeleton seemed to grow in height as his genius worked, already forming a brainchild that he quite liked. “You said… Frisk, was it?”

Chara nodded reluctantly

“This… Frisk… She sounds like quite the specimen…”

Chara tossed a glare at Gaster and the monster laughed, raising two hands in mock surrender. Chara eyed the holes in the palms for a moment, then lost interest.

“What I mean, boy, is that her sainthood… It just can’t be...”

Chara pinched his brows together, “Why not?”

Gaster’s grin grew, whispers gathering around him as he quite literally thought out loud in a language that Chara couldn’t care less about.

“How could something so evil latch onto something so good?”

Chara grumbled something about not being evil, just realistic.

“Or vice versa… When it comes to souls… opposites do not attract, prince.”

Chara glanced around with some anxiety as the shadows swirled vigorously, a small breeze fluttering through his hair. “Well, I must just be pretty damn attractive then.”

Gaster was too elated with his thoughts to hear the humor in Chara’s tone. “No, no… In order for you to have clamped onto her…For the remnants of your soul to be roused by hers..."
Gaster’s smirk was enough to make Chara shiver.

“There was evil in her to begin with.”

The void was silent for a moment and Gaster stared at Chara, and Chara stared back. The human’s expression grew more and more insipid while the monster’s faded into something insidious. “Prince Chara-”

“Haven’t I told you that that’s kind of not my title anymore?”

Prince Chara, it's curious that your soul found reason to room with hers…” Gaster hissed out, ignoring Chara's interjection.

Chara bristled slightly and Gaster rambled a bit more.

“A soul taking on the remnants of another, for no reason? It’s curious really, I mean-”

“So, uh, did I ask for a lesson in Soul-ology, or whatever this is?”

“It’s actually-”

“Wait, I don’t care.”

Gaster rolled his eyes, hazy pinpricks growing dull with disappointment as he saw the withdrawal on Chara’s face, his blushed cheeks were flushed with discomfort on the subject. Chara rose to his feet and watched the monster retreat into the shadows. The fucker.

He'd heard some crazy shit from that guy, but this? Frisk being evil? That took the entire cake.

Though, Chara couldn’t ignore what Gaster had said implicitly.

If Frisk had even a touch of evil, didn’t he have a smidgen of good?

He let the idea fall and crumble away. It wouldn't do him any favors now.

A long sigh blew between Chara's lips and he folded his arms around himself, searching the immediate surroundings for his partner. He thought about her smile, he even conjured up a memory of her voice...“Are you… Trying to say that you’re my friend, Chara?”

He felt a little bit of resentment towards himself for literally pushing her away just moments after.

Had he been trying to say that?

Chara’s stomach twisted with a sick feeling while his chest felt like it was caving in. His search failed, she was no longer nearby.

The boy slowly slunk back to his knees, familiar murmurings from his past greeting him.

Frisk… where are you?

Chapter Text

“Th-things have been going better than expected, huh? At least, n-note-wise. I-I’ve never had such a h-hands on way to study both a living h-human and their soul.” Alphys set her floral patterned chopsticks down into the empty cup-a-noodles, her chair was faced towards her former colleague, knees a foot from his. “Sh-She’s cooperating quite nicely too!”

Sans 'mhmm'ed in agreement, head tilted back as he poured ketchup in between his parted teeth. He closed his mouth with a quiet click and looked to Alphys, one of his eyes lazily closed.

“ *s’goin’ decent. couldn’t have done this without you, alphy.”

‘Decent’ was a generous way of putting it; they both knew that. Though, Alphys was making more progress than she ever had in all her years of being the royal scientist, neither of them have found success in their task yet. They couldn't figure out why the blight was embedded in Frisk’s soul, or why the kid was dying so quickly.

So basically, nothing Sans wanted to happen was happening. All the research in the world was nothing to him if Frisk was still stuck with that thing.

Alphys glanced over to the cot that Frisk the human was tucked in, her petite form rising and falling in her slumber.

“How could I refuse? Y-You were contemplating taking a...a knife to her soul and cutting the... blight out y-yourself!”

Sans chuckled dryly. He had considered something like that hadn’t he? How was he to know then that it wouldn't have worked?

“Ahm… Would you really have done that, Sans?” Alphys was looking at him now, her beady eyes peering from over the rim of her glasses.

“*eh…” He shrugged.

The skeleton thought back to when he decided to bring Frisk to the lab and solve the Chara problem. She had fallen unconscious the second they stepped into the void, her delicate, human was borderline lifeless in his arms. She was probably weak from re-entering a timeline after switching up with Chara. It was then, when he was looking down at her cherubic features, radiating a sweet kind of exhaustion, that he decided to take her to Alphys.

He had changed course mid-shortcut so he could get her soul into a proper container. He knew he had to set her free. He had to get that evil out of her. That’s what she wanted. It had to be, and by any means necessary too.

“ *there isn’t much i wouldn’t do for her, alphys,” he answered finally. Sans looked over at the human in question, as she silently slept in her cot. Frisk brought out a new side of Sans. A side that he hated as much as he enjoyed.

His eyes trailed down the dip of her waist, blanket tossed over her hip. She was lain with her back facing them, the ties of her gown in lopsided knots, gaps in the seam exposing the scrumptiously sun kissed skin of her back, she hugged the sweater Papyrus had made for her to her chest.

“ *not much…” He repeated, his gaze weary.

Alphys nodded in response. Sans had been very forthright when it came to information. Every question she had about RESETs or SAVEs he would answer with ease. He even told her the truth about the blight, how it was really the spirit of a human by the name of Chara, who, most likely, was one of the dead princes (neither of them were really sure how that was possible and further experimentation would occur once Frisk was separated).

However, what Sans hadn’t told her, and what she had been too nervous to ask about, was his relationship with the human.

Over the time that Frisk has been here in the True Lab, the two seemed to be the best of friends. They pranked the amalgamates, much to Alphys’ horror, and even cracked a joke on her from time to time. Sans sat with the human until she fell asleep almost every night now and he occasionally brought her samples of his brother’s spaghetti (Alphys definitely preferred her instant noodles).

Alphys almost shipped it.

Despite both her and Sans acting as Frisk’s only companions for the time being, the two had this vibe that excluded Alphys. She assumed it was because they both shared the burden of the RESET phenomenon.

Nevertheless, Alphys had thought Sans and Frisk were two peas in a pod. Yet, in moments like this, when the human was asleep or not in the room, the lights in his eyes would dim. He was suddenly older, anguished, and pained. Alphys sometimes noted a similar look on Frisk’s features when she spaced out (which she did a lot). Things weren’t as peachy between them as they seemed.

This was one discovery Alphys wouldn’t write down in her notes, but would keep in her mind instead. The obscurity that was Sans and Frisk. 

 


 

“ *rise and shine, it’s testing time.”

Frisk felt hard fingers wrap around her shoulder; she hadn't been asleep, but she couldn't let him know that. “Five more minutes…” She whined, moving her shoulder away.

“ *alright, alright. i’ll give ya five.” Frisk listened as his slippers shuffled against the hard floor, desk chair creaking as he sat down. He was probably going to take a five minute nap. She let out a small sigh, closing her eyes and concentrating once more, nuzzling her face into the softness of her new sweater.

Frisk had dreamed last night; neither dreams nor nightmares were something new for her, but this one… It was bizarre.

There had been another human. He was very pretty, at least to her. Skin like a porcelain doll with a lanky boyish shape. His hair was bone straight, bangs reminding her of her own fringe. Though, it was his eyes that really held value; they were like the ripest red apple that dangled dangerously from a low hanging branch. Just within her reach, but just out of it as well. The crimson orbs seemed to hold a piece of her in them, the piece she felt she was missing even now. They were the same red eyes she had been seeing everywhere.

Everything about him was familiar, but throughout all the RESETs a memory pertaining to him hadn't come up once. So who was he? In the dream, she had been arguing with him, but suddenly in a shift he was begging for her to hold onto him. Frisk didn't think she succeeded. She thinks she let him go.

And that was it. That was the dream. She wasn’t even sure where it had taken place. All she could remember were those eyes and that sweet blush that clung to his milky skin. She needed to see him again, she needed that piece of herself back.

An alarm chimed from across the lab and Frisk jolted, sitting up straight like she had been caught red handed, only there was no one to catch her. She looked over her shoulder and chuckled lightly. Sans was at his workbench, feet kicked up, hood pulled down to shade his skull. He was snoozing right through the five minute alarm.

Frisk threw off her baby pink blanket (a color she had not requested), cold air puffed up her gown and she wasted no time in tugging on her newly gifted sweater. The girl twisted her hips and let her legs dangle over the side of the cot before pressing her feet the the freezing tile and walking across the lab to wake Sans. What would that bag of bones do without her? 

 


 

“.032ml of dt will be added to your iv, is that alright? it’s a sudden increase, i know, but the changes have been rather subtle…” Plus, they were pressed for time. Sans had already noticed the healthy glow from her skin paled more and more each day. She had lost weight and was beginning to look like a skeleton herself.

He should've known that such a strong SOUL would weaken the holder more significantly when removed. Though even that wouldn’t explain why the DT wasn’t taking. Supplemental or not.

“Sure,” Frisk shrugged, not really knowing what the numbers meant, “you’d just do it anyway, right?” She laughed slightly, but her eyes didn't leave Sans’ sockets. It rattled him. A bead of sweat broke out on his skull, “heh.”

He pitched her IV drip and proceeded to switch out the bags. Frisk noticed the liquid in this bag was a little pinker. Tinted red with increased DETERMINATION, DT.

“Why are you guys doing this?” Frisk asked, scooting around in the metal chair, “You could just take my soul and-”

Sans’ stare forced her to stop speaking. He looked appalled. " *don’t" was all he said.

So she didn’t; she let it go. Sans wasn’t in much of a talking mood after that. He left the lab early.

Frisk felt something in her grow colder.

Chapter Text

Sweat beaded on Frisk’s forehead as her feet pounded against the treadmill belt. Her chest felt tight and without a second thought she pressed the “STOP” button. Her knees wobbled as she slowly faded from a sprint, to a light jog, to a brisk walk, and, finally, to a complete stop. She removed her hands from the heart monitor, the beeping stuttering and then flat-lining as if she’d just died. She listened intently to the sound; how easily her life could be snuffed out. Especially now, when she was feeling so weak. Alphys stirred in her seat, surprised at the human's sudden halt, it was the shortest distance Frisk had ever run, “You c-can't go an-any further?”

Frisk shook her head.

“Y-You're sure?”

Frisk heard concern slip into the monster’s tone and bit her lip, stepping away from the machine, “I’m sure.”

Alphys nodded and began scribbling in her notes; neither her nor Sans were well versed in hiding their disappointment. Frisk knew she’d been disappointing them a lot these days. Her DT levels were dropping and she could only assume that meant the supplement wasn’t taking. She wasn't blind to the emaciation of her own body, either. Frisk realized they had left out some details when informing her of the effects that may occur after the removal of the soul. Or perhaps they hadn't known. She chose to believe the latter.

Frisk's legs trembled slightly, vision blurring for a split second. Am I dying or something? She wanted to ask. Would it even matter if I did? The darker thought kept the first away. Though, she did wonder...

“Alphys?”

The scientist's head snapped up from her notes, turning in the swivel chair to look at Frisk as the human leaned her weight against the cool wall. “Y-Yes, Frisk?”

Frisk’s voice was completely monotonous: “If I die without my SOUL, while my body is drained of determination, would I come back?”

Alphys wheezed, “U-Uh, I'm going to g-go g-get you s-some w-w-water!” She babbled nonsense until she was out of the True Lab and into her main quarters. She scrambled for her cell phone and called Sans immediately, leaving Frisk to her own devices.

A long sigh traversed from Frisk’s lungs and into the space around her. First Sans, and now Alphys. The only two people in her life right now and she’d scared them both away with simple questions. Frisk dragged herself out of the testing room and down the long gray hall until she reached the bathroom. She ignored her reflection in the mirror and headed straight to the bath. Maybe a nice soak would halt the coldness that spread inside her more and more each day. It was because of this idea that Frisk made sure the water was scalding.

Minutes passed and she was now waist deep in tinted water. Her empty eyes vaguely watched condensation drip down the greenish-white tile, muddled with age. She pulled her legs to her chest and sniffled, rocking with the small waves she’d caused in the stagnant, soapy water. Frisk probably worried Alphys earlier; she probably even scared her. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to care. They're ignoring the big picture, she thought, why? The scientists were babying her while she was dying. Like she didn't know. Then, they get flustered when she asks about it? That's really “fucked up,” as…. who would phrase it that way? Her train of thought grew fuzzy and she sank further into the water, this time allowing her head to be submerged.

When Frisk finally came out of the bathroom, skin scrubbed raw and steaming with moisture, she found a bottle of water by the door, a sticky note stuck to it. 'Here's that water!' the note read. Frisk smiled wryly. Gee, thanks.

Noises as well as disgruntled bickering floated from down the hall. She snatched the bottle up and took a long sip. Flavorless; she swallowed it anyways and followed after the voices that drifted down the hall.

“*she’ll love it!”

“Y-You didn't see her Sans-”

Frisk wasn't one for snooping so she strolled right into the main room and was greeted by Sans and Alphys, awkwardly holding a tarp over a large area at the front of the lab.

Frisk raised a brow.

“O-oh? Uh, should we?”

Sans nodded to Alphys before exclaiming: “*ta-da!” He waved jazz hands as Alphys pulled the tarp off of the ambiguous lumps it had been haphazardly cast over. The curtain yank revealed a television, a rugged, but homey looking couch, and a patterned rug between the two. Frisk lifted her eyebrows, a smile twitching to her lips.

“Whoa…” she said, her tone lacking its usual ring, “A T.V.?” Frisk could practically tell this was an apology. The gift screamed “We’re so sorry we’re murdering you for what we think is your own good!” She laughed at her own thought. “U-Uh bo-both M-Mew Mew Kissy Cutie One and Two are available on Webflix! I-I put you o-on my account… Hope that’s o-okay…” Frisk watched Alphys and forced away her dark humor, “Perfectly okay! Thank you, Alphys!”

“A-Any time! I’I-d rewatch it w-with you, but I-I actually… uhm… ahm… Have a…” Alphys began blushing profusely and looked to Sans, who was chuckling beside her. “*she’s got a date, kid.”

“Ye-Yeah!”

Frisk plopped on the couch and looked at Alphys, she hadn't realized how sore her legs were until she’d sat down. “That’s wonderful, Alphys!” The scientist grinned and clicked her claws together, “Th-Thanks Frisk. D-Don't worry about be-being alone though! S-Sans will sp-spend the night in the lab, because I- hah… I’ll be out l-late, uh, ah... because… becau-”

“*just know i’m fillin’ in for alph tonight, ‘kay?”

Alphys shot Sans a grateful look, blushing mildly. “Y-Yeah…”

Frisk nodded, “Well have fun! We’ll be here!” Trying to act like this isn't awkward or anything. Alphys said goodbye and quickly scurried away, clearly excited for her night out with the head of the Royal Guard.

Frisk watched the doorway for a while after she’d left, wondering how was it that Alphys and Undyne found a way to love each-other in every timeline. Even in the darkest, their love was always there, felt if not spoken; understood all the same. Frisk’s chest began to hurt, the emptiness growing more noticeable. She glanced over her shoulder and was met by Sans’ grin, he offered a small wave. She always found him, didn’t she? Was Sans... Her Undyne? Frisk’s head began to ache and she winced.

Heavy. Bones. On top of her. He was laughing. She… wasn’t? He loved her. Sans. Frisk was so sorry. She would do anything to make him forgive her… His teeth were rough, he was everywhere.

“*so, uh, what’re you gonna watch?”

Frisk hadn't even noticed Sans was now leaning over the couch, she hadn't even realized she was holding the remote and had turned the TV on. Was that a memory?

“Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, duh.” Despite her moment, her reply didn't even miss a beat.

Sans scoffed and glanced over at Frisk, she didn't return the look. He stood up straight and sighed, “*i’ll be right over there at m’desk, kay?”

“Gotcha.”

Sans stared at her for a few moments longer, eye lights tracing down her collarbone, then her thin arms, to the swell of her chest. She didn't have much time left, not without DT.

Sans moved away from the couch and over to his desk. He pulled the cap of his pen off with his teeth and glanced at the soul. It was significantly dimmer than when it was initially extracted. Yet, Sans knew this waiting game was too dangerous to play. There was no way they had time to wait for her soul to die out. That would take all of a human’s life-span and then some. They weren't even sure souls could die, but this one sure looked on its way.

He tapped his pen to a sheet of notes, but there was nothing to write. The options were bleak. He looked over his shoulder, watching her watch anime. If this next dosage didn't take... she'd have to be reunited with her soul. At least temporarily. Sans’ jaw set with distaste. She was right here and he may just lose her again. Fall into the routine again.

A glint suddenly caught his gaze, a silver of water dripping down the back of her neck, slowly vanishing behind the loose collar of her gown. Her hair was damp, he tentatively inhaled through his nasal cavity- a mistake on his part. Sans’ pinpricks immediately shrunk and he turned to face his desk with a quickness, clicking his pen anxiously. Her scent was so fresh. She must've just bathed with the soap he’d brought her. Sans wasn't sure he’d done himself a service or disservice by gifting her with such a fragrance. How was he to know how much sweeter it would smell on her?

“Hey Sans?”

He swiveled around speedily, seeing Frisk watching him over the back of the couch. “*yea?”

She spun around completely, the front of her knees against the couch pillows, breasts squeezed against the back of the couch. “About… what I said before…”

Sans swallowed, somehow. “*s’okay.” He said quickly. Of course his mind wanted to think about how they had the lab to themselves for the night. Of fucking course. And she was getting all apologetic and, ugh, not good. She really knew how to get him going. Or didn't. Did it really matter?

“No, really…” Frisk said, her fingers dancing on the fluffy fabric of the couch. “I know it probably seemed pretty tactless, but in a way… I meant it, and I'm sorry that it offended you.” “*ya meant it?” Sans stood from his desk chair. “*ya can't think of a good reason why me n’ alphys want to help ya?”

“No, not after… after all I've done, what I've done.”

Sans walked forward and Frisk listened to each slow step until she was looking up at his from her position on the couch. “*s’easy. you really can't think of any reason, kid?” Frisk watched him closely, he was practically on top of her, reminding her of her little flashback. She took a shot in the dark:

“Is it because...we together once, Sans? Is that...why…?”

Sans’ sockets went black, only long enough for Frisk to wonder it actually happened. “*you remembered somethin’?” Sans cautiously prodded.

“Uh…” Frisk curled a puffy piece of hair around her finger, still damp from her bath. “Yeah. A memory of us being… very… together.”

Sans grinned inwardly. She didn't remember everything then. Only the good (ish) parts.

“*mmph.” He replied cryptically, suddenly walking backwards and back to his desk in a lazy manner.

She went for it. He knew she would.

“Wait! So did we?!”

Sans shrugged, showing her a smirk from over his shoulder.

Frisk’s face grew hot and she climbed off the couch, marching up to Sans. “Tell me! Did we date or not!?”

He wanted to laugh, he wanted to tell her that he was just joshing her, that she can settle down. He wanted to be good. But, at the same time, he didn't. Ideas were flooding through Sans’ skull. Maybe she asking because she wanted to date? Maybe she had remembered what she wanted to, right? Plus, would ‘yes,’ even be an incorrect answer? Sure, they hadn't dated in a traditional sense… or even the consensual one... and it wasn't really dating... okay, fuck, nevermind. What was he thinking? His mind was moving two steps at a time, already guiding this conversation into a questionable direction.

Sans willed away his doubt and narrowed his sockets, keeping on a persona of nonchalance.

“*heh, something like that…” he saw the confusion scribble itself across her face, her next words would most likely direct this conversation exactly where he wanted it to go. Alphys really picked a bad time to leave, didn't she?

Chapter Text

“*uh… something like that.”

Something like that?”

Sans’ cheekbones colored blue in a deep blush, his hands clattered against the back of his neck, fingers clicking along the ridges of his spine. He hadn’t noticed that he had been staring intensely at his crossed legs, mute, until the chatter of the TV stopped and the silence grew deafening. He glanced up and found Frisk staring at him pointedly. He coughed unnecessarily, “*well… ha…”

Don’t be like this… He told himself, come on don’t be like this.

Frisk sighed and looked down, “I mean, I was only asking because…you know...” Now her cheeks were coloring. Sans urged her to specify.

“I keep remembering bits and pieces of us.”

He loved the way the word rolled off of her tongue. Us.

It was exciting.

The fuzzy lights in Sans’ sockets grew sharp as he watched Frisk, probably subconsciously, shift forward. He ignored how slim her legs were, how jaundiced her skin. She was perfect. She was beautiful. She was standing at his desk now.

“*i could… maybe jog your, ah, memory?”

Oh boy.

He really couldn’t help himself.

“What did you have in mind?” Frisk smiled slightly, the lower halves of her brown irises peeked out from under her thick lashes. Her pretty lips glistened from the residue of her tongue, a perfect pink appendage that had just swiped over the sensual area.

“*oh uh…”

His body moved on its own accord. Its own agenda.

Sans was in front of her in seconds, hard bones pressing against her, only separated by their thin layers of clothing. He stretched an arm behind her to clear his workbench, bony hand swiping it clean. Papers, pens, a plastic mug, it all clattered to the floor and echoed throughout the room, commotion bouncing off the metal walls. His face was pressed into her hair, just by her ear. He inhaled deeply, crazed by her fresh scent.

“*tibia honest, i was hopin' for somethin’ like this.

His bony hands traced up the warmth of Frisk’s thighs and grabbed them tightly hoisting her onto the metal desk with ease. She looked at him, bewildered and speechless; a shaky, sweet breath ghosted over his skull. Her small yelp was cut off as he pressed a graceless psuedo kiss to her mouth.

Frisk could hear her heart pounding in her ears, adrenaline pumped through her veins, lit ablaze by the supplemented DT that was already flowing there. She parted her lips, teeth lightly bumping Sans’ as his tongue slid into her stiff mouth. She squirmed a little, but soon tired, her face relaxing into an expression of numb acceptance.

He tastes like blue, she thought, if the color blue could have a flavor, it would be him. His tongue was cool and seemed eerily familiar, as did this entire exchange; so familiar that she wasn't questioning that he even had a tongue. The smooth appendage played with hers as his hands savagely tugged at her skimpy gown.

She tried to reason within herself, even in the discord that was this.

So this must be a yes, right? They must have been together if he felt comfortable doing this. So she should be comfortable too, right? Soon enough, her lips were malleable and compliant against his magic, head tilting to the side and causing her short waves of brown hair to tumble off her shoulder.

Frisk was dizzy, everything was blurry and happening so fast. His greedy hands were one place then another; she hadn't even noticed when his teeth left her lips and began teasing the tender skin of her neck. She couldn't keep up, she couldn't match his intensity; his passion.

“Ahn, Sans…”

His hips bucked against the table in response to hearing his name on her tongue, wedging himself further between her thighs. Her lower belly tingled in response, but she felt lightheaded.

“Sans…” she said again, having not gotten through to the skeleton in question. Slow down, she wanted to say, but she only gasped as his teeth pulled at her neck, hot breath washing over her collarbone and making her shiver.

“*frisk…” he rumbled, finally, holding the human close, “haven't you missed this?”

That struck a chord of indifference for the girl. Prior to a few moments ago, she hadn't even known there was a ‘this.’

“*oh, i know i have.”

She could tell.

“I, uh, ow!” Her response was cut short by a sharp pain in her arm. She glanced down, Sans’ quick hands had snagged her IV, crushing it between their bodies, tugging at the little needle in her arm. “The IV…” She explained hastily, her voice lilted and soft.

He opened one eye-socket, a look of irritation flashing over his flushed skull.

“*fuck it,” Sans panted, pulling his arm up and articulately jerking the needle from her vein. Frisk blinked a few times, glancing from her arm to Sans’ ravenous gaze. The white lights in his eyes were shrunken with desire. “But the DT-”

“*i’ll reapply later, double up, plus...” he smirked and leaned forward, translucent blue tongue lolling out and licking the curve of Frisk’s reddening ear, “it’s not like i’ll last too long anyways.”

Frisk’s whole body went frigid, “Wha-” His mouth was on hers again, but whatever lust there was in her had been was pulled out with that IV. Frisk pushed at his sternum weakly, very weakly.

“*not if ya feel as good as ya did last time,”  he continued, now rutting against her, tugging at the ties of her night gown. “*fuck, you were tight, and almost dripping for me, weren’t ya?” The little work bench was squeaking on its hinges. She turned her face away from his, feeling breaths dancing over her cheek and ear, his smooth mandible moving against her skin as he leaned down to nuzzle into her chest, his bones humming.

“*you don't have to remember, i’ll show ya…” His voice made her shiver, she felt disgusted by the heat pooling inside of her. She wanted him, but it was wrong. All of this was so fucking wrong! She couldn’t… what were they even…? This was too fast, too fast! She was borderline nauseated.

She was nauseated.

Frisk felt sick, like she were actually going to-

"HRK! " The girl pulled away with whatever strength she had left and spilled her dinner over the side of Sans’ workbench.

“*...”

She coughed a few times before wiping her mouth on the back of her hand, body stuck in position as she stared, mortified. “Hahg…” She couldn't meet his gaze after that, only managing to lift her eyes just enough to view his jaw.

The skeleton was frozen in place, watching the contents of her stomach drip onto all the papers he had haphazardly cast aside earlier. The little lights in his sockets grew with concern, “*kid, i-”

“Move please.”

He did. He stepped to the side and watched her slink off the metal desk, feet slapping against the cold tile as she darted away with a hand cupped over her mouth.

Pat, pat, pat, pat… Until she was down the hall and out of sight. He heard the bathroom door groan shut.

Sans took a few steps backwards and used magic to pull his desk chair against the back of his knees before he collapsed onto the floor. He fell back into his chair limply and stared at the ceiling, slowly spinning. “*shit…” He sighed softly, phalanges tapping against the smooth bone of his skull. He was such a bonehead! She was malnourished, undetermined, of course she wouldn't be able to handle something like that…

He forced him to believe that was the only reason she reacted how she did. Sans palmed his face before getting up to find some basic cleaning supplies. He didn’t notice the traces of blood mixed with the vomit until later.

 


 

“I can't!” Frisk cried, splashing water onto her face. It was cold, everything about this place was so cold! Sans was cold, the damn floors were cold, all she had on was a hospital gown! “I want… I just…” but she didn't even know what she wanted. Frisk wiped her face on her gown and choked out a small sob. Her body was still tingling with sensations Sans had left, but it still felt wrong. He implied they'd done this before, been this way before, so why couldn't she feel it? Why did he feel like… the wrong person?

Frisk needed answers, and she needed them now. She was done letting these monsters play God. Frisk looked into her reflection, an unfamiliar tinge of anger was on her face, a bit of red smeared on her lips.

Aren’t I the closest thing to a god in this dusty lab, anyways?

“That's not a very pretty look.”

The girl flinched, swiveling around and finding no one but her own shadow in the small bathroom. “I must say, if you looked at him like that, I doubt he would've touched you with a ten foot pole!”

Frisk stiffened, dropping the hem of her gown and looking around. She knew that voice, oh she knew it well. “Where are you?” She asked, her voice gravelly.

“Howdy!”

Frisk saw bright yellow petals peeking out from behind her reflection in the grimy bathroom mirror. She swiveled around again and folded her arms over her chest, this time seeing the culprit. “Flowey,” she greeted curtly, solidifying that the demonic flower was in fact here. Despite the flower's deceitful tendencies, she felt more curious than hostile. Why would he be here?

“I take it from that little scene earlier, you aren't my brother, are you?”

What?

“What?” Frisk asked, furrowing her eyebrows. Flowey ignored her confusion, plastic smile on his face as he tilted from side to side on his stem, petals moving in a rhythm she couldn't hear. “You look terrible, like, almost dead.” He squinted, “That’s funny because your HP is just fine… You letting them find new ways to kill you or something?” Frisk’s blood went cold, “Ah… no?”

“Then what're they doing to you, idiot?”

“Well… they're trying to remove something…” Frisk didn't understand why she was explaining this to him, was she really this desperate for social contact outside of Alphys and Sans?

“A blight, I think.” Yes, yes she was.

“Boy howdy….” Flowey’s voice was low, “What have you gotten yourself into?” He shook his floral head, petals bouncing, while wearing a face of disappointment.

Flowey was looking down on her? She really must've hit rock bottom. This whole thing was so embarrassing… dehumanizing. The girl suddenly found herself on the floor, hugging her knees. “I have no idea!” She admitted, “I can't… I can't remember anything important! I remember killing those monsters, but… Alphys and Sans say it was the blight. Sans says he cares about me, but he doesn't act like it. He treats me like a subject, a toy even. Alphys only sees me as a murderer! I’ve never felt so lost… I just want my soul back! I don't want to be here any more! I know I deserve it, but I just… I can't accept this…” she wheezed, sniveling and trembling.

Flowey listened patiently, cleverly putting together a few pieces of the girl’s puzzle. When she broke off, he pondered the proper emotion to exhibit towards her. It grossed him out how weak she appeared. A soulless carcass, just like him. He hated it.

“Fine.”

Frisk looked up, “fine, what?”

“Fine, I’ll help you, you idiot.” Flowey watched the girl lift her head from her knees, bangs lightly shading her narrow eyes. The way she smiled at him made him uncomfortable. She’ll realize eventually that he isn't doing this for her, right?

“Thank you,” she said, her own smile feeling foreign.

“Yeah, yea-” Flowey stiffened, “Trashbag’s coming.” He looked at the bathroom door, then to Frisk who was still curled up under the sink. “I can't do much,” Flowey admitted, “but here’s a name to drop: Chara.”

Frisk could almost taste the name when it was spoke into the air. “Chara…” she sighed out, saying the name alone felt like weight off of her shoulders. “Wait..” she squinted, “Isn't that the name from those tapes?” The royal family, their sons. Chara and Asriel. “Why would that name-”

“Bye!” Flowey disappeared into the ground and Frisk’s hope plummeted. A name? That's all she got?

She found herself wishing he hadn't gone. She didn't want to be alone again. Alone with Sans, especially. She could hear his slippers shuffling down the hall and bile threatened to emerge again. She could still feel his hands all over, groping her. Frisk shifted in discomfort underneath the sink and winced as the textured tile wall scratched across her back, ripping her tattered gown more. She scooted forward and immediately forgot the pain as she peered over her shoulder. There, underneath the sink, was a cracked tile, barely hanging on, jagged lines disconnecting it from the rest.

Sharp.

The knocking on the metal bathroom door made her jump. She scrambled to her feet and checked her reflection. “Y-yeah?” She asked, nervously tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.

“*i… uh… sorry about that.”

“You can come in, I was just washing up…”

The bathroom door swung open, revealing Sans. Frisk hadn't noticed how tired he seemed. This place must drain the life out of everyone.

“What were you saying?” Frisk inquired. She heard him through the door, but wanted to hear it again. Sans looked down, pinpricks large and round, “ *just that i’m so sorry, kiddo… you aren't ready for that kind of-”

“Don't tell me what I’m ready for.”

Sans’ gaze snapped up, that was coldest tone he’d ever heard from her. He would've checked her eye color in a different timeline.

Frisk slowly walked forward, her eyes unwavering. Her silence urged him to reply.

“*right, right… i just need ya to know i’m sorry.”

Frisk nodded, “Alright, now I know.” She said simply, Sans wasn't sure what to say so he settled on listening. “Sans…” Frisk said calmly, “I care about you, I really do…” Her gaze softened, and she sighed, “But I don't remember the extent of that care. And I'm pretty sure it's your fault that I can’t.”

Sans gulped, tips of his bony fingers clattering against the door, he wanted to speak up, but Frisk wasn't done.

“So, I know you're sorry, for a multitude of things, I know this is all for the greater good or whatever, but there is something I don't know. And I need you to answer me.”

There was something resembling desperation on her face and Sans was transfixed by it. He wanted to give her what she needed.

“ *of course, kid.”

Frisk smiled and placed one hand over his, gently holding it and running her own fingers along them. Warmth spread through the skeleton and his smile relaxed just before Frisk spoke.

“Alright then, who is Chara?”

The warmth was gone and Sans felt something change. Frisk patiently waited for a response, continuing to hold his hand while the other was behind her back, fiddling with the jagged tile that she had pulled from the wall.

Chapter Text

Silence. It was silent between them. The air was heavy, still muggy from the bath Frisk had taken an hour ago.

Sans knew he wasn't steering the conversation anymore. Things were no longer predictable. She was no longer predictable. There was something wild about her position, the way her hold on his hand grew tighter as the silence continued, her knees slightly bent, legs apart, poised on the balls of her feet. He wasn’t sure if she was ready to snap, or was trying to brace herself if he did.

“Well?” Her voice was snarky, nasty, loathsome. Then it was loud, “Tell me what the name from those fucking tapes has to do with ME!”

Sans flinched back, sockets widening. He tried to draw away from her, but she wouldn’t let go, instead she jerked him closer. He couldn’t see her eyes, her bangs covered them as she lowered her head. “The longer you say nothing, the less I’ll trust what comes out of your mouth next.”

Sans’ rib cage was heaving, the lights in his eyes shivering and growing fuzzy. He was panicking, his mind in a hot blur. All his work, albeit ineffective, was coming undone. One stray string was tugged and the web of half-truths and experiments he had woven was unraveling. He didn’t know if the wrong sentence would bring everything she had forgotten back to her. He didn’t know if the right one would bring her back to him. Sans hated not knowing.

“Pathetic.”

He saw Frisk’s lips pull into a small and wry grin. She looked up with cold, calculating brown eyes, thinned with disgust, shimmering with disappointment. “You’re pathetic,” She clarified, dropping his hand. “You’re a liar…” She continued, “You’re a monster…” Her grin reappeared with that one. “...You all are.”

He had made her like this hadn’t he? Sans spoke with weighty trepidation, he leaned against the door frame, “*i’m… sorry.”

“Then try to make me forgive you, Sans,” His name was uttered with venom, “Tell me what I want—what I need to know!”

He hated it. He hated it all. All of this, Sans had done all of this and she still needed that leech. She still wanted that thing, more than him. “*why?” His sockets went black, the exhaustion he’d been fighting was showing. “Answer me!” The hand behind Frisk’s back slowly made an appearance, her own blood dripping from how tightly she squeezed the tile. Drip, drip, drip…

How… 

 

 

“*name’s sans, sans the skeleton.”

“Your last name’s ‘the skeleton’? Hehe, that’s cute-er, f-funny… I mean…” She pushed aside the whoopee cushion, much to his surprise, and shook his hand firmly, warmth spreading through the both of them. “I’m Frisk. Frisk the human, I guess.”

He grinned, “*so you’re a human? thas hilarious.”

How did they get here?

“*chara…” Sans began, his sockets devoid of light, a pained grin on his face. “*he’s the blight. he’s a dead human. asgore and toriel’s adopted brat, he uh, latched onto ya somehow…” Sans felt like he was chewing rocks.

“A ghost? You expect me to believe that?” Frisk asked in a deadpan, though the words seemed to strike true. “*believe what you want,” Sans said quietly, only now noting the potential weapon in her hand.

 

 

“This lamp really is convenient.”

“*what did i tell ya?”

Sans reckoned that her laughter could’ve thawed the snow if she wished it so. She was full of light, skin glowing with the sun he’d never seen.

“*yer not gonna use that…” Sans cautioned, glancing at the tile. “*c’mon kid…”

The tile was suddenly pointed between Sans’ sockets, her hard chocolate glare making it seem even sharper. He froze. “You don’t get to tell me what I’m going to do, judge.” Sans flinched at the name and Frisk trailed the tile downward. It skimmed his mandible, ghosted over his bony neck, and continued down until there was only a split of an inch between the ceramic and Sans’ sternum.

“Why do you look surprised? That’s who you are, isn’t it? So come on, judge me now! What am I!? I’m not Chara, I’m not blighted, I’m just me! Just Frisk! Holding a weapon at you.”

The mortified look on Sans’ face brought a painful pang of guilt into Frisk’s head. Why did she feel bad!? He deserved this! He lied to her! If anything they all deserved it. They all tried to hurt her once. Even if they don't remember.

“Nothing to say?” He looked down. Frisk was filled with so much indifference at that point, not even her rage was sticking. She dropped her arm to her side. “Fine. Get out of my way, then."  

 

 

The hamburger literally melted in her mouth and her heart fluttered. It was delicious, decadent. “Mmmm!” Frisk exclaimed, nodding approvingly towards Grillby.

The fire elemental seemed to blush before turning away to rinse glasses. “*he’s glad ya like it.”

“I am too!” she laughed before digging back into her food.

Sans felt sick, he stepped back into the hallway, allowing her to pass. “*i...i-”

“It doesn’t matter,” Frisk answered, cold as the snow they’d first met in. “Nothing does, right?” She walked down the hall and Sans paused as he began to trail after her.

She was limping, her body ached all over. Frisk was really dying now; nerve-endings and small parts of her body shutting down. They both knew it.

The true lab seemed darker than it's ever been, the whirring of machines echoing through the vacant space, constantly keeping a dead building alive. Finally gaining some nerve, Sans followed the path she’d taken, eventually turning out of the hall and spotting her at Alphys’ desk, the shielded container in one of her hands. She was eyeing her soul with thin, dark eyes, the red color shining on her features.

“Chara?” She said to it, “Are you in there…?” The soul lit up immediately and Frisk smiled out of reflex.

Her voice came out loopy and airy, “Holy shit, you weren’t lying…” Her smile then fell, “So… he’s the reason I killed everyone then?” She suddenly dropped the container.

Surprisingly, it didn’t shatter, but simply rolled under Alphys’ desk. The light dimmed.

Sans let out a breath, but he wasn’t relieved. If she didn’t take her soul soon, she’d die. Didn’t she know that? Frisk’s lower eyelid twitched slightly, vision blurring. She walked away from the desk and sat down on her cot. Her mind was swimming, struggling to hold on to coherent thought, yet even in this dull chaos, things seemed clearer than they’d ever been.

“It seems I never have a choice, do I?” She rested her elbows on her knees, feet tickling the cool floor. “Someone was always deciding my actions for me… I catered to everyone…” She knitted her eyebrows together, “Was I really happy?” 

 

 

“If I sing to them, will they sing to me?”

Sans had never tried that, he wasn’t much of a singer, but it was a good question. “*dunno, why don’t you try it?”

She did. Sans found out she wasn’t much of a singer either. They both laughed and giggled through the whole thing.

And the echo flower repeated it all in a beautiful voice. Even the broken laughs and suppressed giggles.

“*yer really growin’ on me kid. All these new ideas just seem to sprout from you.”

She laughed harder and pushed Sans playfully, hand lingering on his arm as she hid her face. She didn't want him to see the smile and blush that she couldn't fight off.

“*yeah.” He answered, surprising Frisk. “*you were.” He moved across the lab towards her and sat on the bed beside her. He noticed her stiffen; that was his fault. “*cause that’s who you are. you’re kind… good… selfless…” everything i’m not. “*jus’ makin’ others smile is enough for you.”

“I sure sound great…” Frisk looked over at Sans, “I sure sound like someone people would cherish. Not lie to. Not torture. Not hurt.”

Sans flinched. She must have remembered more then.

“*s’more complicated than that…”

“It’s not,” Frisk said, resolve lowering her voice. “It’s simple actually. Being selfless, being good… gets me hurt. I didn't deserve to be torn apart by bones. I didn't deserve to be impaled by spears...” Her sullen expression contorted into a  wry grin. “I might as well try to earn all the shit that’s been done to me while I can, right?”

Sans raised a brow bone. There was an eery stillness between them before a strange expression shivered over Frisk's facial features—a grimace joined with the grin she’d been wearing. The girl quickly leaned over, bringing her bloodied hand up and then slamming it down, the tile tearing into Sans’ shorts and cracking into his femur.

Sans shouted, cyan flickering to life in his left socket, “*fuck!”

Frisk’s body masked in bright blue, she was suddenly lifted from the cot and hurled into the wall. Her side slammed into the corner of a file cabinet as she toppled down, knocking it over. She wheezed once she hit the floor, but was back on her feet in no time. Sans looked at his hand and cursed,

“*s-sorry, fuck, the hell are you doin’?!”

“Repaying you.” She ran at him again, using energy neither of them knew she had. Her hand jutted out and lashed forward, tile sharp and ready.

Sans dodged her first strike, but she was relentless. He dodged and dodged again, each time the sharp tile drew closer, nicking his bone or lab coat. She was more precise that Chara, lighter on her feet, less reckless. Not to mention Chara wracked up some LV in this timeline… shit, this is not good.

“Come on Sansy! Where’s the light show!?” She laughed and brought her knee up as Sans leaned back from a strike, nailing him right under the ribs. The blunt attack knocked the air right through him, he fell back into a desk chair.

“Attack me for fuck’s sake! I deserve it now more than I ever have!” She gripped his collar and shoved him back into Alphys’ desk. Pens and papers scattered around them.

“*no…” He whispered. “*i… won’t…”

Anger seared in Frisk, tears springing to her eyes, “Why not!?”

“*you’ll die! for good! no resets, no nothing!”

Frisk screamed and delivered a hard kick to Sans’ side. “There it is again! Someone making choices for me!” Hot tears streamed down her face, she was trembling with emotions she couldn’t manage. “You think you know what’s best for me!?” She yelled.

Sans’ abused form slowly rose to a sitting position. His HP had already dropped to decimal places. “*i just want you here , kiddo… alive… i don’t care how, anymore… you gotta take your soul, go on… just-”

“No.”

Sans stared at her, anger contorting the malleable bone of his skull, “*now isn’t the time to be vindictive! i-”

“I’m not here for you and I won’t stay for you.” Frisk coughed into her elbow, adrenaline dying down, she drew her arm away- it was bloody.

The exhaustion hit her like a truck and after a moment of trembling, the tile clattered to the floor and Frisk’s body soon followed, her knees roughly hitting the cold surface. “I just want to make my own ch-choices… Earn m-my own consequences…” Her vision was getting blurrier and she wobbling backwards, the paneled ceiling turning into a sea of gray right before her eyes.

Sans rushed to her side without a second thought, ignoring her weak pushes as she tried to move away from him. He held her still.

“*now look what you’ve done…” He said lowly. 

 

 

She stared into darkness. Sans tried to contain his laughter.

“I.. don’t see anything. Is it broken?”

Sans forced a confused tone, “*huh? broken? no way, let me take a look…”

The grass along the side of the pathway tickled Frisk’s calves as she stepped away from the dark telescope.

Sans stared at her with an amused expression, a large magenta ring of paint splotched her right eye. He burst into laughter and Frisk blushed, “Wh-What is it?!”

Frisk’s words began to dribble into incoherence, “Don’t... mmm… I want to… chose… die… wha...t is it?

Sans swept a piece of hair from her face and checked her HP. It was perfectly fine, but he knew she’d be dead within the hour. “*what a beautiful mess we’ve made, kid…” He said quietly, the warmth from the back of her head spreading through his injured femur.

His HP was in a steady drop. He could feel it. The emotion behind her attacks acted like poison. Damn, humans sure were something.

And there they were, together, dying on the floor of the True Lab. The gold of her sweat dotted skin was dulled to pale, mustard yellow. Her eyes held dark purple bags of exhaustion beneath them, matching Sans’. She’d fallen asleep for what she believes is the last time.

Sans continued to pet her face, brushing through her hair, tracing her lips. They could disappear together. All the anguish, the pain, the RESETs, it could end here with them, dead in each other’s arms.

Sans smiled at that, “*out of all the choices… this is the one you wanted to make, kid?”

She was silent as the grave. A slow breath whistled from his nasal cavity. Things were going dark now, he could recognize the soft pull of death’s hands in the back of his mind.

“*well… ‘m sorry, Frisk....” Sans used his last bit of magic to roll the jar out from under Alphys’ desk. “*i’m jus…” He unscrewed the top and watched the bright red soul oscillate for a few moments. “*too selfish, i guess.”

He stared as the soul slipped into Frisk’s lithe form, color immediately returning to her lips and skin, though she remained unconscious. Sans smiled, a small weight on his chest being lifted; the weight that had anchored him to this plane.

.1

 

“*hope ya…”

 

.01

 

“*make the”

 

.0001

 

“*right choice next time,”

 

.00001

 

“*kiddo…”

 

0.

Chapter Text

The former prince was locked in his own mind; finally left alone by Gaster, he had no buffer between himself and the uncomfortable weight in the pit of his stomach. His mind cycled and swirled through various memories, even the blurrier ones with his biological mother back on the surface. However, the memory he kept coming back to was the defining moment when he first met all the Dreemurrs, only half an hour after he’d fallen into the Underground. When he became the first Fallen Human.

Where it all began, really.

Asriel had taken a bewildered Chara by the hands and ran him through the entirety of the Underground (in record time), keeping onto backstreets and little shortcuts. The young caprine monster was going on and on about his parents, himself, and how he’d always wanted a younger sibling (clearly the pawn hadn't known then who was really the elder between them). Chara honestly can't recall the specifics of what Asriel had been saying because, at the time, he was still reeling in the revelation of being alive; limping and banged up, but alive.

After being thrown through various temperatures, meeting a cloaked person on a cat-designed gondola, and climbing a million stairs—they finally reached the castle Asriel had mentioned. They walked down the long hall with golden and yellow tiles, mysterious light bleeding onto them through stained glass windows.

Chara hadn't know then how significant that hall would come to be; how many times he would die there.

“A family?” Chara had looked up with big red eyes, clearly perplexed by the notion. He was standing with his new ‘friend’ (pawn, pawn, pawn) in the midst of a garden filled with citrusy flowers unlike Chara had ever seen (though Chara was never into the flora and fauna of the surface either, he much preferred the small animals that dwell in the underbrush). Even bigger green eyes returned his gaze with unabashed reassurance, white furry paws holding the human’s clammy hands.

“Yeah! A family! You, me, mom, and dad!”

Chara blinked a few times, glancing past Asriel at the intimidating, tall figures of Toriel and Asgore who had appeared only moments before at their son’s relentless coaxing. The monsters were huge, the king had horns like the devil, but his face was kind. Their faces were kind and warm. The exact opposite of the expression Chara’s mother had worn the night he ran away.

The air smelled of sweet nectar, along with the tingly scent of pollen, most likely from the blossoms blooming all around the courtyard. Green vines spiraled around golden columns; Chara was humbled by it (initially).

“We’d live here! The four of us!” Asriel excitedly spun Chara around to gaze at one of the true gems of the Underground. “In the castle?” He quietly asked.

“Duh, I’m a prince! And you would be too.”

Chara looked over his shoulder to the king and queen, clearly wary of them. “What’s wrong, dear? Prince Chara has a nice ring to it, does it not?” Chara’s chest grew tight at the amiable lilt in the queen’s voice. It was strange to hear such a melting tone say his name, he’d almost forgotten that Asriel introduced them. Her eyes were so warm, so welcoming. He wanted to hug her. He wanted to cry. Is this how all families were? Or just monster ones? Maybe even just royal ones.

“I’m human…” Chara said finally, “Why would you want me?” A filthy, evil boy, his mother’s words.

“Because, small… human, we want to protect you. There are monsters down here who wouldn’t have been so… accepting. Stars, imagine if Asriel hadn’t been the one to find you…” Despite only knowing Chara for less than a day, the king held so much emotion in his voice. So much care. How could anyone have so much love to give?

Chara looked down at his boots, the brown leather was discolored from his venturing, the bright green moss on the ground cushioned his dirt caked soles. He fidgeted slightly, unsure what to make of all this. He wasn’t used to making decisions. No one ever let him.

“We understand that you may want to go home, child…” Toriel began with her saccharine voice. Chara brought his gaze up immediately, “No!” He shouted. The goat monsters looked at him with surprise and Chara grabbed his arm, holding his sleeve. “I...I don’t want to go home… ever.” He mumbled quietly. Toriel and Asgore shared a look while Asriel shuffled forward and grabbed Chara’s hand for the eighth time since they’d met (Chara sneakily dropped his hand every time, but the monster prince didn't seem to notice it was intentional). “That’s good then! Because you couldn’t even if you wanted to!"

That had been shocking.

“Asriel!” The prince’s ears drooped at the sound of his father’s booming voice and he quieted. “Chara, we will let you think about our offer, but it would be best for you to stay in the castle in the meantime…”

“You can wear one of my sweater’s since your clothes are all dirty! Every kid needs stripes!”

“And I will heal you child… look at you littered in bruises, oh...” Toriel cooed.

And just like that, Chara was led into the castle with gentle touches and kind words.

“I’ll ruin everything… I always do…” Chara said quietly, only heard by the keen ears of the king who trailed behind. “Nonsense,” He had said quietly, unheard by his wife and son, “Never say such things, Chara.”


The memory began to grow blurry and Chara hissed at the stinging in his eyes. “I tried to tell them and Asgore didn't listen. Idiots.” His voice cracked. The void was really beginning to get to him, but he refused to let a single tear fall. “I don’t care how many times I see it, how many times I live it… they were all…” He trailed off, even saying the word ‘pawn’ had grown difficult, he was stumbling out of his own lie. His face fixed in a bitter expression; there was one thing Chara hated more than anything, it was regret. He didn't want to regret what he did. He couldn't. Especially since… he hadn't meant for it to end so horribly. He really had thought the plan would work.

He thought that Asriel would cross the barrier.

That he would be strong enough, with Chara’s soul, to kill six humans.

That the barrier would shatter, and with luck, monsters would wipe out humanity (a brainchild Asriel wasn't aware of).

Yet, Asriel was too weak, and Chara died for nothing.

The boy laid on his back and stared up into the empty, endless sky of black. He should have known Asriel was too weak. His cry baby brother couldn't hurt a fly. Which leaves Chara where he is now. Dealing with the bitter taste of regret on his tongue. Fortunately, a voice soon shook him from his thoughts.

"Chara?”

It was her, it was Frisk. He felt her presence, but it was weaker than usual. Like she was… dying? Chara had figured death could be a side-effect from having one’s soul removed. That just sounds like a bad idea. To anyone. Seriously, what the hell had Sans been thinking? Chara cracked his knuckles and smirked, that comedian was going to get it good. So was the dinosaur. Her scales would be tough, sure, but definitely not tougher than bone.

“Are you in there?"

Her voice shook through every fiber of his being, ruffling through him like a gust of wind. He basked in it, the sound anchoring him from the chaos of his own thoughts. "Right here!" He shouted, standing up immediately. "I'm right here, Frisky!" Determination filled him, now they could be reunited and he could-

"So he's the reason I killed everyone then?"

Her voice was strangely cold and no longer directed towards him. He’d never heard such a tone from her. Before he had time to ponder it further, she let him go. Everything went dark again, the red illumination of the soul dimmed. The void was vast and full of emptiness once more. Chara's red eyes darted from side to side. He always knew she blamed him, but she had never said it so frankly. There was that bitter taste again. His face scrunched up.

She didn't want her soul back… because of him?

Wouldn't she die?

Is that what she would prefer?

Chara's lips pulled into a wry grin and he sat down once more, eyes at half-mast. Was it that surprising? It wasn't the first time he'd been abandoned. Even Toriel stopped visiting his grave after a couple of years. Asgore had never started. If monsters could abandon him, why the hell wouldn't a human? They were the cruelest of all. He was proof of that; what he did to the Dreemurrs was proof of that.

But she's Frisk, a voice in his head said. And she left, another answered. Frisk left, not once but twice. Once by force; again by choice. “Fuck!” He shouted. Chara ran his fingers through his hair. What could he do? He couldn’t talk to anyone (worth talking to), he couldn’t FIGHT, he couldn’t kill, and he wouldn’t cry. He would listen to every fucking memory a hundred times over, but he would not cry. He wasn't weak like Asriel. Like Frisk even.

(They're not weak)

(You are)

Chara paced from side to side, angrily. His face had contorted with rage, black beginning to ooze from his eyes, smooth porcelain skin growing sickly and mottled. He could feel their presences outside. Sans and hers. Together. That’s cute. No matter how hard Chara tried he could not see the appeal in Sans the skeleton. Papyrus? Mayb- scratch that, no. Chara couldn't see the appeal in anyone, really. Except Frisk. Maybe she was into the whole ‘damaged good guy’ thing, but Chara reckoned he was as damaged as they come. How did a skeleton win Frisk’s heart? And how did he keep it through all the fucked up shit he’s done?

(Because of you)

Chara swallowed and fidgeted with his hands. Yeah, maybe it was because of him; her life had gotten so fucked up that slightly less fucked up seemed like the best damned thing since sliced bread. But everything he did to foil Frisk… it had its purpose. Sure it was fun, killing monsters (though he would rather kill humans), but he didn't do it just for kicks. He did it for her. And she’d never know. If he could help it. It was a secret he would take to the… afterlife, if he ever finds it.

(Where would that leave her?)

Chara was pulled from his thoughts by the pungent vibration of magic. He could sense its use. His ghoulish face fixed into one of puzzlement. The void seemed to grow darker in response to something Frisk was… doing? Feeling? It felt hauntingly similar to Chara's own feelings.

Then she seemed to just… vanish.

"She can't... no way," His breath stuttered and the darkness around him began to swim. For the first time since he'd died, Chara felt cold. Isn't that funny? He inhaled and focused on the outside again. There was still no presence other than Sans'.

Again.

Still just Sans; no Frisk. Her energy just went poof. It hadn't faded from range; it was already dim… and then it just died. And she didn't have her soul so… no, she couldn't come back either... He scanned again. Just Sans, who had a significantly dimmed energy level too, but Chara chalked it up to his 1 HP.

His eyes were wide. A few minutes passed (he thinks). People just loved leaving him didn’t they?

(You're the one pushing them to that point)

Just as the thought trickled into his mind and a sick feeling into his undead stomach, her presence returned, brightly too. A red glow shone around the darkness and Chara let out a breath he hadn't realized he’d been holding. His chest swelled and warmth crept under his skin, shivers of determination flooded through him and the void’s temperature seemed to rise by a few degrees. She was here, somewhere. He closed his eyes, and used their link to guide him.

(She still left)

He faltered.

(She blames you)

He dragged his feet.

Step after step, the void in his chest filled a little more. When he opened his eyes, there she was. Laying amongst the shadows, significantly thinner than he remembered, was Frisk:

His partner.

Chapter Text

Darkness swam around her, she recognized its touch anywhere. Gray scale and onyx shadows were like fog around her body, gently whisking in a wind that would never blow. “No…” She murmured, shifting slightly and finally managing to pull her eyes open. Her bangs obscured her vision slightly, but there wasn’t much to see aside from darkness. She ran her fingers along her body, still dressed in the tattered hospital gown. All her pain was gone and she felt more rested than she had in forever, yet she was furious.

Because the girl knew she was still, painfully, alive.

“No…” Frisk repeated tears welling in her eyes. She sat up and immediately curled forward, hugging her bent knees. “I wasn’t supposed to… why am I…” No, her plan hadn’t been foolproof, but the failure was shattering anyways.

“Why am I still here?” She voiced. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fist, “FUCKING SANS!” She screamed. Her eyes glimmered with tears, fully open and empty. She should have pushed harder, maybe she should’ve threatened Papyrus. No… She should just do it herself. Frisk’s skin seemed to crawl with the idea and she wanted to scratch it off. Her own damn body doesn’t understand how awful it is. How awful it all is.

“Sounds like, for once, that comedian did something I can approve of.”

Frisk flinched; that voice. She scrambled to her feet and turned around.

There he was. She didn’t need her memories to know it was Chara, he was the boy she’d been dreaming about. Those eyes were unmistakable.

“That’s just what I think though, can’t really tell from in here…”

He was slowly walking towards her, his pale skin contrasted starkly with the darkness around them. He wore a brightly colored green sweater, striped with yellow. He looked angelic, yet sinister, the way he carried himself gave the illusion that he was floating to her, a small smile on his lips. She was entranced by his red gaze, mind blank as she watched him until he was only inches from her. All words died on her lips, she wasn’t sure what to say. How do you greet someone you know that you know, but don’t remember?

She wasn’t given very long to formulate said greeting because his hands were suddenly wrenched on either of her arms, lifting her off her ground and shaking her violently. “What the fuck were you thinking? Huh?!”

Frisk’s eyes grew wide, and she immediately defended herself, trance broken, “Put me down! I didn’t ask to get kidnapped!” “‘I didn’t ask to get kidnapped-’” Chara mocked her voice. “No fucking shit! I’m talking about you trying to off yourself, you suicidal i d i o t!” He tossed her down and Frisk landed with a slight huff, it didn’t hurt but it rattled her thoughts. How did he know about that? “Oh yeah, toss me around, that’ll make me feel all better!” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm, but it wasn’t a complete lie. The longer she looked at him and the closer he was, the stronger she felt.

Who was Chara Dreemurr to her?

He scoffed and crouched before her. She tried to back away in a pitiful crab-walk, but he grabbed her ankle and pulled her back to him. Her flimsy gown rose to her upper thigh and she struggled to pull it down, stopping when she met Chara’s gaze. “I don’t care how you feel, ” His eyes seemed to glow. “Never do that again.

Frisk set her jaw, eyes narrowing. “You don’t get it.”

“You’re damn right I don’t!” Chara yelled, surprising both of them with the passion in his voice. “Of all the people down here, you think you deserve to die? If it'll get it through your thick fucking skull, fine, I'll say it. It’s my fault Frisk!”

“I just wanted to make a decision… for myself.” It aggravated Frisk how pitiful she sounded.

“Then decide to live,” Chara said. Frisk knitted her brows together. “Whatever,” she settled on. She wasn’t tricked. She knew that this still didn’t count as her own choice. Sans had kept her alive with no thoughts on how she’d felt. Even as he died, he remained entirely ignorant to his trespasses.

Maybe this time around, she wouldn’t give anyone the chance to take her choices from her. Putting herself first, a small smile flickered to Frisk’s lips, that was something she could do. She’d make everyone wish he’d let her die while she could.

 

Chara was a little surprised at how easily she complied, he wondered what exactly she'd gone through out there. There was something off, the way she looked at him was transparent, almost bashful too. He stared harder and she… blushed and looked away.

Holy shit.

Chara flicked his bangs to the side and leaned forward, the hand he had on her ankle slowly sliding up her calf. “Well now that that's settled… We have unfinished business, you and I.”

Frisk looked like a deer in headlights. “Oh?” She chirped.

Oh yes we do.

He struggled to keep his predatory expression under wraps.

“You don't remember,” he retracted slightly and she lunged forward instantly.

“I do!”

Liar.

He could tell. But it was an understandable lie. As long as they had known each other, Frisk and Chara had always felt more comfortable together. Especially in the void when a few inches of distance could feel like miles. Frisk, before, had learned to ignore the persistent tether of theirs, mainly because she was angry with him all of the time. But… she doesn't seem to be angry at him at all right now.

I wonder why that is… “Oh, good then,” He pulled Frisk forward and slowly reclined as he did. Frisk hesitantly crawled forward, her hand resting on his covered torso. “I think I said something like ‘I’m going to fuck you senseless next time you come by,’ right?”

Chara had never seen Frisk’s eyes so wide (while being brown), her lips parted and closed. What he would give to hear the exact thoughts rushing through her mind. He would probably be disappointed in truth though, because he didn't notice the calculation in the girl’s expression.

Chara glanced to the side, her morals sure were set in stone, she was going to tell him the truth then...

He jolted when Frisk crawled on top of him, her thighs on either side of his hips, hands sliding up his torso, "Right," she murmured.

Chara lost face for a second.

“So long as I get to be on top,” She said quietly; feeling the hardness of his lithe body through his sweater.

As if, Chara wanted to tell her, then he’d flip and and show her how it was really going to happen. Exactly how he'd imagined it.

Only Chara knew he couldn't go through with this; he just wanted to embarrass her a little. They'd laugh about it later.

His hands moved to her hips and he leaned forward. She closed her eyes. I'm not going through with this, he reminded himself.

His gaze dropped to her lips; he had always wondered how they would feel against his own. Frisk shifted slightly, hips inadvertently rocking into him and Chara groaned softly at the friction. She was leaning towards him, open and unabashed.

For a moment Chara wondered just how mad she would be later if they did this.

Very mad, he sighed softly.

There’s already enough I need her to forgive me for.

“It's a lie,” Chara mumbled, shaking his head and delicately grabbing her chin to stop her from coming closer. Her eyes opened hazily, plush lips parted and inviting, heart shaped face like a babydoll (he actually did call her ‘doll’ sometime because of that).

Why does doing something decent feel so disappointing?

Frisk tilted her head and Chara rolled his eyes, “I know you don't remember me, for fuck’s sake.”

“Oh…” She didn't look phased.

He cocked up a brow.

“How did you know?” She asked curiously

“One: I never said that,” to her face, “And two: You kind of hate me,” Chara gestured to her, still on his lap, “So this... this is definitely a giveaway.” Frisk looked surprised, “I hate you?” She tapped her chin,“I guess that would make sense.”

Chara suppressed a wince.

“But I don't think you're right.”

He lifted his eyebrows, “How's that?”

Frisk rested her arms over his shoulders, locking her fingers behind his head, “This doesn't feel like hate, does it?” Her tone was lower now, she peered at him from under the cover of long and dark lashes.

Chara swallowed, “It doesn't.”

Frisk also knew she couldn't hate Chara because, well, she couldn't really hate anyone. Her fatal flaw. A flaw she so badly wanted to crush, but failed to do so, even now. Frisk rocked her hips slightly, with purpose this time, and Chara squirmed, “Frisk-”

“It feels good, right?” Her voice was low, strange. Chara didn't respond, but she could tell from his expression, and from the arousal pressed against her through his pants, that it did. “It does for me too. It didn't with him.

Chara froze up, but Frisk continued. “But with you… I just want to get closer,” she rocked and Chara cursed quietly, “and closer, ” rock, moan, “until we’re one.” Chara’s hand had dropped from her chin by then and she quickly closed the space between them, pulling him forward with the hands behind his head.

Chara wondered if this is what MERCY felt like. Frisk's soft lips against his.

His arms reflexively wrapped around her waist and he rolled them over, pushing her into the darkness, lips never disconnecting.

Yes, Frisk thought. She just wanted to disappear, lose herself in the budding heat that sparked between them. Didn't she deserve that much?

Didn't she deserve pleasure?

If the universe hadn't let her disappear then it better damn well make sure she enjoys her stay.

Chara pulled away from her lips and kissed down her jaw, she gripped his sweater and pulled him flush against her, hooking a leg around his hip and flipping them once more. “I said that I’d be on top, remember?” She caught a glint in his left eye, but his gaze was still cloudy. She almost felt guilty, like she were using him. Taking advantage of his… testosterone.

She grinned against the smooth skin of his neck and lifted to nip his ear.

What did any of it matter though?

Use, use, use.

It's all anyone ever does.

Monster or human.

They want her SOUL. They want her body. They want her life.

She's allowed to want too, then.

Frisk pulled up and looked down at Chara, flushed and panting beneath her, sweater risen to show the rising and falling of his bare stomach. It was a beautiful sight, porcelain skin stretched over the lean abdominal muscles underneath. Frisk pulled his shirt up more and lightly raked her hands down his chest.

Chara arched against her, hips bucking in response to her teasing.

Frisk felt powerful.

He was the first fallen human, a demon of a person, and she had him on his back. She saw conflicted feelings on his face: lust, confusion, lust, hurt, and lust.

He wasn't happy.

She didn't care.

Frisk lifted slightly, pressure on her knees, and reached to begin tugging up her gown.

Chara blinked slowly, watching caramel skin reveal itself to him, he had just caught sight of her white panties before his hands moved on their own accord, grabbing hers. Frisk wore a loopy expression, “What? You want to take it off?” She simpered.

He struggled to gather his thoughts, because for a moment he didn't know why he had stopped her.

His thumbs rubbed small circles on the backs of her hands and Frisk bit her lip. It wasn't a sensual touch, it was… sweet.

She couldn't deal with that right now.

“Hurry up-” she tried to jerk her hands from his, but Chara held on tight; Frisk felt irritated.

“What the hell are you…” Frisk trailed off and narrowed her eyes.

The darkness had been gathering around them, excited by their own excitement. It licked at the sides of Chara’s face, sifting through his strands of brown hair, as a ghostly silence grew between them.

The first fallen human sat up slowly letting go of her hands and holding her waist softly to steady her, so she wouldn't tumble off. “I don't know about Sans…” Chara said quietly, looking down at her with hard red eyes, “but I take what I want, not whatever I can get.” His gaze dropped, “And until you're whole… you're not her. So let's go ahead and RESET.”

Frisk’s eyes widened.

He didn't want her.

Her face burned with humiliation and anger and she slumped slightly, fingers naturally curling as they rested on her thighs. Her head dropped and Chara couldn't see her stoic expression through the cover of her frizzy fringe.

Frisk almost wanted to laugh at the irony.

In the course of a few hours, she had felt betrayed by Sans for throwing himself at her. And now she felt the same because Chara wouldn't. Was her life a cosmic joke at this point?

Frisk felt Chara’s cool fingers cup the side of her face and brush her bangs up, holding them on top of her head. She glared up at him. A crack echoed through the void and Chara fell backwards as she pushed him and stood up. His hand stung from where she’d slapped it.

The pain he felt from it was unusual, and not completely in his hand. His chest was hurting as well.

Chara let out a long sigh and slowly drew his gaze to meet Frisk. She was looking down at him with a malicious smile.

“Let me ask you something…”

Chara had nothing to do but listen.

“Did I know that you cared about me?”

His face had just cooled down when it turned into a strawberry red. He wanted to laugh out loud, like he would've before (if Frisk ever had the nerve to ask something like that). ‘We’ve been over this: I don't care about anyone, Frisky. Sorry for getting your hopes up.' He wished he could say that, he wished he could continue to guard himself. But this version of his partner, her eyes were sharper, they sliced through him, and the void had weakened him to the point where he could hardly ignore his emotions any longer. He did care about Frisk, and he unknowingly had for a long time. Even after first observing her… he wanted to protect her, in a way that suited him of course.

Chara met her gaze after a long moment, not moving, remaining on his back with the cool, soft shadows dancing around him.

“No,” he admitted finally, “No you didn’t.”

Chara didn't even mind when she smiled at him cruelly, he was mortified by his own words because saying them made it real. His chest felt tighter than it had ever been. Frisk crossed her arms and giggled, “That's really too bad then.”

Chara’s eye twitched, “Can you just fucking RESET and get this whole shitshow over with? God you're such a bitch right now, it’s-”

“I'm a bitch!?” Frisk snapped, “I’m a bitch…” she repeated.

Chara nodded.

Frisk’s anger vanished. That was a first. It felt good to be called something maliciously, not being put on a fucking pedestal. She stepped forward, leering over Chara's seated form with a depraved grin. "Say it again," she whispered, her gown gapping at the collar just enough for Chara to view straight down it. Chara scooted back hastily, lip curling. "Fucking sicko," He uttered heatedly. Had this part of Frisk been in her the whole time? Chara wondered, or had what happened out there been so awful she had to disappear?

Frisk giggled and twirled around as she straightened up, "You'll come around. Oh! And to answer your question: no.”

“No… what?” Chara was sitting up straight now.

“I'm not going to RESET.”

He fucking hated her.

Chara pulled himself to his feet and gritted his teeth. Frisk seemed taller now; still shorter than him, but more intimidating. “Why not, Frisk?” He said her name with an irritated groan.

“If I RESET, chances are that the scrambling of my brain would've never happened, and I'd get my memories of you back, I’d be able to feel regret in the same way I had before. I don't want that. Can you imagine how the old me would react to all this? I'd probably be incapacitated for days!" Chara narrowed his eyes, but remained quiet. There was a flaw in her logic somewhere, but he didn't really feel like getting smacked again.

"And then, I would probably start letting people use me again. Maybe Sans would try and fuck the grief out of me, or maybe he would just kill me. Over and over. Every monster down here just tries to kill me. But you know that, right? Oh! And you, you would…” Frisk trailed off at that part, “I actually have no idea what you'd do, I don't know you very well.”

Chara’s chest was burning and his throat felt dry, but he laughed slightly at that and shrugged, “I’d be there to call you an idiot.”

Frisk made a face, “A real Prince Charming you are.”

“My reputation precedes me. So if you aren't going to RESET, then what the hell are you going to do?”

Frisk smirked, “Just going to pick up where I left off. It'll be different for once. Considering, I- we have never killed Sans before.”

“You what?”

Frisk pressed a finger to her lips and winked, “Did I forget to mention that? The judge is dead, gone, dusted.”

Chara was at a loss for words about that. Frisk killed Sans? The prince’s brows knitted together. God damn it, he thought about what Gaster had said, the bastard was right.

“Neat,” Chara said casually, “I was wondering why is was so quiet out there.”

Frisk stretched her arms above her head, shoulders popping, gown rising up just enough for Chara to see the curve of her ass. He looked away, but he knew she was smirking. She had done it on purpose.

Energy gathered before them and suddenly a red heart was floating in front of Frisk, it was brighter than it had ever been before, a deeper shade too. Frisk’s eyes reflected the crimson light and she glanced at Chara with a red gaze similar to his own, “Let's turn everyone in this hole to dust.”

LOADING…

Chapter Text


The true test of Frisk’s resolve had been waking up upon Sans’ dust and clothes. The powder was flecked with blue and reeked of old ketchup and Sans’ indescribable scent.

Frisk had sat up, dusted off her behind, and turned to look down at the pile.

Holy shit, you really did it.

She couldn't help but feel pride at the shock in Chara’s voice, because yes she had. The pride was so strong she actually felt sick.

That's pretty fucked up.

She rolled her eyes, ignoring the nausea that spread through her belly. “So was he.” Frisk gazed at the pile a little longer and felt herself frowning. She didn't feel great about what she did, but he did deserve it. “You’re just jealous because I beat you to it.”

She was met with silence.

A smug expression contorted her face and Frisk sat up. The lab was a mess from her confrontation with the judge earlier. She looked over to his desk and for a second she could’ve sworn he was there, sitting.

“*heya kid.”

Frisk flinched.

There was no one there.

She walked toward the desk and ran her fingers across the surface. She looked over the side of the desk, it seemed Sans cleaned up the mess from before.

“He called me ‘the anomaly,’ you know that?” She shook her head with disapproval.

I can think of worse things.

Frisk ignored him, “Sans made me into someone so miraculous… so precious and pure,” she looked up at the ceiling, “I want to bring him back just to show him how fucking wrong he was.” She kicked his desk chair over, hot rage filling her suddenly. Frisk looked over to Alphys’ desk.

“Guess she’ll have to learn the lesson for him.”

I think he got the message, Frisk.

She cocked up a brow, “How many times did you die before learning yours, Chara?”

What exactly was it I needed to learn again?

Frisk opened her mouth to speak and then closed it. He wanted her to contradict herself. “Nice try.”

 


 

Frisk yawned and reclined in Alphys’ chair. Her nose tingled with an impending sneeze, but the urge vanished, leaving her feeling utterly unsatisfied. “I don't even know what time it is…” she spun languidly, watching the panels of the ceiling go round and round, head leaned back.

You probably could find a clock. If you tried.

She hummed thoughtfully but made it clear she didn't care that much about the time. Her mind was on other things, like what exactly she would do when the yellow monster returned. She sat up and scooted towards Alphys’ desk, curiously going through a few drawers. “A little snooping never hurt anyone.”

I think we both know that's a lie.

“Well, a little snooping won't hurt me.” She restated. Chara was quiet. “How does she have so many notes on me?” Frisk grumbled, pulling out all the files labeled ‘Frisk the Human.’ Iconic, the girl thought. “Didn't they fail anyway, what was there to study?”

You know how scientists love to observe everything. Analyze everything.

“I guess…” Frisk leaned an elbow on the desk, using more brain power than she had in days trying to read through Alphys’ notes. Some pages were way more coherent than others, so she stuck with those.

“‘Human has become colder since being here.’”

Amazing.

Frisk kept reading, “‘Something is off. Her soul is unlike the others I’ve seen,’” She broke off and tilted her head, “probably because she's never seen a determin-” Frisk paused. “Wait, she's seen your soul, hasn't she, Chara?”

What's left of it, yeah. W-Well, probably who knows if Asgore let her.

Frisk didn't even comment on the stutter, suddenly finding herself engrossed and enraged by the notes. It angered her that she was discussed so objectively. Heartlessly. It wasn't uncommon to find ‘it’ written, rather than ‘she.’

Frisk finished one page that seemingly highlighted her mental withdrawal and glanced at a journal labeled ‘personal.’ She opened to a random page and found a sketch of Undyne. With an eye roll she moved to another that mentioned Sans? She scanned the page randomly, ignoring the doodles and sketches etched on the back of the page before. Alphys either use different ink colors purposely or wrote this at different points of that day. A lot of it talked about how much easier things were with a partner. She talked about how it was nice to have Sans back. Frisk wasn't really interested in his past anymore, but it was nice to have her suspicions confirmed. Frisk’s eyes widened as she read over one line. Again and again and again.

Workplace shenanigans?

“She knew,” Frisk’s blood was practically boiling.

“‘Sans’ obsession with the human is comical as it is concerning.’” Frisk flipped to another page and found there was only one more entry after that, the rest were blank. “She left me alone with him… knowing that?”

With a long sigh, Frisk forced herself to calm down. “She’ll be dead soon enough,” she mumbled.

Great resolve.

Frisk ignored Chara’s sarcasm and read the very last entry, which was also about Sans, but more so about how difficult he was being.

'As shown in the tape where I recorded our findings, Sans yet again grew too emotional. He refused to believe the obvious solution to the issue of removing the blight!'

“Good thing they didn't find a way, huh Chara?”

I’d say they did something worse.

Frisk got what he was hinting at. He made it very clear that he wasn't fond of this version of herself. It was too bad. She wasn't doing this for him either. She wasn't trying to save him or anyone else.

Not even herself.

Why did those words sound so familiar?

“Wonder what tape Alphys was talking about…” Frisk looked through a few drawers with narrow eyes, yawning as she did. Alphys probably wouldn't be back for a while. The night was still kind of young when Sans… ruined it.

When she ruined him after.

Frisk’s fingers tugged at the bottom drawer and she found it was locked.

Darn! His voice was dripping with sarcasm.

“Were you this annoying before?”

RESET and you’ll find out.

“Ugh,” Frisk got up and looked around. Where am I going to find a key?  She wondered.

Frisk had half a mind to give up and just continue waiting for Alphys. But at the same time, she was curious. Maybe in this space of downtime, she should learn a thing or two about what they learned from her. Why should anyone know more about Frisk than Frisk?

She walked down the halls, with more pep in her step than when she was without her SOUL. At some points, she was so determined it actually burned. Her arms and legs would itch. She recognized the feeling, but this was the first time she thought anything of it.

Every room passed in a blur of gray, the amalgamates seemed fairly clueless as to what was happening. They steered clear of Frisk though she heard some low growls. Even they could sense a shift in her. Frisk passed through the large room with the giant… skull thing.

“DT extractor, right?” She pondered aloud, running her fingers along the dusty railing. Frisk looked up, finding dark wires and coils stretched out above her head. She looked down, over the railing and found an endless stretch of darkness. What could be under the Underground? Frisk knew enough about the true lab to understand what the scientists had used this thing for.

They had tried to synthesize DT, that fake stuff that Frisk’s body wouldn't accept.

Frisk glanced behind her and found herself staring back. She didn't think she would recognize herself, but she did. She pressed toward her reflection and held a hand to the glass, brown eyes unwavering. Her hair was unruly, brown tendrils intermingled with gray dust. She turned and saw the back of her gown all covered in ashy gray, too. She curled her lip. Ugh.

Frisk already knew it was a two-way mirror, there was a door on the left that led her into a small observation room. She flipped on a light switch; off-white paint was peeling from the walls. There were three (why three?) chairs in front of the control panel of a million buttons. Frisk’s eyes fell on the largest, and reddest, one. It was the least dusty too; probably the most used. EXTRACT.

Frisk smiled at an idea.

The girl continued her search for a key but came up empty-handed. She considered traveling out into the main lab and leaving the desolate true lab, but soon decided against it. If Alphys came early, it would be better if Frisk was right here. Things would be easier to take care of in the True lab.

She drifted from room to room with a glum expression. Her slim eyes examined under every shelf, between every tile, in every nook and cranny.

You know, if she didn't want you to find it… she’d probably keep it out of the lab.

“You're just now telling me this because…?”

I’m a good friend.

Frisk rolled her eyes at the subtle friend-zoning.

There was a shuffle, then a clatter. She slowly turned around, suddenly regretting leaving the shard of tile behind in the main area of the lab. Frisk glanced around the room she’s decided to deem the ‘control room’ and her eyes landed on one of the three chairs.

That’ll have to do.

Frisk exited the control room with a chair held like a shield, the wheels spinning. Her arms trembled a little, she was still a bit malnourished, her body no longer depreciating, but not fully healed either.

Frisk’s eyes narrowed, she took a step forward, casting away all trepidation.

Behind you.

“Welcome to my special hell.” The voice was surrounded by smaller ones, each whispering different words, different languages even.

Frisk whipped around and slammed the desk chair into the amalgamate stupid enough to attack her.

“Th-THANKS!” Her thank-you to Chara was pitched by a screech off effort as she swung the chair at the amalgamate again and again.

She felt slime on her ankle. “Seriously, what the fu-” The slime solidified with a grip on her ankle. Frisk was airborne for the second time that night. She was also slammed into the wall, again. She was honestly growing tired of it.

She was determined to make it stop.

Frisk slid down the wall and managed to land on her feet, despite the protest of her knees. She noticed something around the amalgamate Lemon Bread’s neck.

A key.

Frisk’s brown eyes glinted.

How convenient.

“Indeed,” Frisk lunged forward, determination burned like fire under her skin.

 


 

The key hung from Frisk’s neck and she held it to the light triumphantly as she made her way back to Alphys’ desk.

The lock made a satisfying click when she turned the key in it, and the drawer popped open. Inside there were tapes with various dates as well as a tape player.

Oohh, wonder what’s on those? Chara’s voice fluctuated suggestively and Frisk sighed, fishing around the black tapes.

“They’re audiotapes, smarty.”

Frisk had no idea what the date was, but the one on top seemed to be the most recent.

Had it really been that long?

She slid the small audio tape into the hand-held tape player and pressed the triangular play button. The little white cogs of the tape began to roll and audio played:

“S-Sans…” Alphys’ voice was distinguishable enough. “The test results a-are the same and I th-think-”

“*run em again, alph”

Frisk tried to ignore the painful clench in her stomach at the sound of his voice.

“Sans.”

“*we’re missin’ something. you know it.”

“W-we’re ignoring something, Sans. Y-you are.”

Frisk heard a shift and assumed Sans was getting out of his chair, the sound of shuffling footsteps proved she was right. “*how does this-” Frisk heard paper ruffling, “make any sense?”

“It m-makes more sense than a blight Sans! S-Souls d-don't get sick. The-they don't get viruses! W-who had ever heard of a lone s-soul attacking a-another!? A partial one n-n-nonetheless!”

Frisk heard claws tapping against metal through the gravelly speakers of the tape recorder. “Chara?” Frisk questioned, pausing the tape. “They're talking about you…” she teased.

Her partner didn't respond.

Frisk pressed play again and was startled by the blare in audio, the device buzzed with the bass of Sans’ voice.

"*it's bullshit!”

"They've been saying the same things for weeks, Sans..." Frisk heard a sigh. "I've been saying the same thing for weeks now, too."

"*alphy, we've been over this. frisk, the kid, she-"

“E-Even i-if we were to succeed, Sans… she would die.”

Frisk heard a clatter and a frustrated grunt. Alphys pressed on.

“And maybe we should let her.”

Frisk’s brows arched. Oh?  “We’ll see who turns up dead, Alphy.”

The tape played on and it consisted of Sans arguing with Alphys about what she’d said. Alphys demanded justice. That's exactly what she would get. Sans promised that once Frisk was okay, she would RESET and fix everything.

“And th-then what Sans?”

“*whaddya mean?”

“Wh-when she ‘RESET’s th-then what?”

“*i’d take her home. pap already likes her, he’ll like her even more next time around.”

“And we’d all still be stuck Underground.”

Silence.

.

.

“*...yeah.”

The tape stopped.

Frisk sat there looking at it for a while. Part of her longed for it to play again. A small part of her wanted... her eyes watered and she hated herself for it.

A small part of her wanted to hear his voice again.

“God damn it!” Frisk cursed, she raised a shaky hand and then brought it down hard against her own face.

Then she did it again. And again.

What the fuck, Frisk?

“Oh, welcome back...” she chuckled, patting her stinging cheeks lights. They were damp with tears.

Sure doesn't seem like something any ol’ regretless Joe would do. Hm?

Frisk sighed, pushing Sans out of her mind, which was kind of hard when his dust was a few feet away from her… feet. “I may not get joy. But I'll get justice.”

Then what?

Frisk found herself beginning to hate that question. “I wouldn't think I'd have to tell you. From what I've heard you wanted something similar.”

And you asked me why. You asked me why I was hurting people, why I wouldn’t listen to you… I didn’t have a real reason Frisk, at least… not one that was worthwhile.

“Well, I do!” Frisk snapped, “I have a reason! Everyone in this fucking hole has tried to kill me! More than once! Most of them have-”

Frisk heard the sound of the lab doors swinging. She tensed and forced herself to relax. Why should I be scared? Frisk decided to stay seated. She wanted Alphys to make sense of the scene herself. She wanted to show Alphys what she had allowed to happen.

You know… Frisk...

“You’re still talking?” She said quietly.

While you were away, I really got to thinking.

"Dangerous stuff." Her voice was lowered to a whisper.

I started to think… maybe our soul color… is the worst one.

Frisk crossed her legs and leaned back, watching with avid interest as Alphys scurried through the double doors. Her scales were already pale. Frisk could see the mild concern on her reptilian features.

We can never just… be. There always has to be something we’re driven to.

His smooth voice was background noise to Frisk, she was really focusing on Alphys, whose beady eyes were now fixed on the pile of dust beside Frisk. Neither of them had spoken yet. A true maniac would’ve felt some sort of gratification when tears sprung from the corners of Alphys’ eyes, a real psycho would’ve felt giddy even as her claws cupped over her muzzle with a look of unrelenting horror. Neither of them had said a word yet, but their gazes finally met.

No, Frisk didn’t feel good when Alphys shrieked.

She didn’t feel bad either.

Other souls, whether they know it or not, has some guidance… a purpose; some incentive to be good.

The scientist took a step back, and Frisk was up in an instant.

But what do we have?

And then she was upon her.

Chapter Text

Alphys winced in pain as the cord was tightened around her wrists, so snug that her shoulder blades practically ground against each other. The point of a scalpel was against her once more and she tensed.

“Think that’s tight enough?”

Silence.

The human began to laugh and suddenly Alphys was pulled to her feet, her heart was thudding in her chest, sweat glistening on each scale.

“If you’re not going to say anything nice, don’t say it at all.”

Alphys glanced over her shoulder with confused eyes. The human’s smile fell and her pink lips flattened. “Not talking to you, now walk.” Alphys practically jumped forward as the scalpel encouraged her with a tentative jab. The two walked across Frisk’s room and took a right down the hall. Alphys noticed that every examination room was lit and she wondered what the human had gotten into while Sans was… Oh God,  she thought in horror. Alphys still couldn’t believe Sans was dead. She couldn’t believe she wasn’t more surprised by it either. 

He was playing with fire. She had warned him not to.

Alphys looked down at her feet as they reluctantly dragged across the lab floor with lighter steps following close behind. Alphys should have known better as well.

She had a feeling Sans wouldn’t be the only one to get burned.

“If I wanted your advice I would’ve asked for it, Chara.”

Alphys flinched. It was so strange to see everything Sans told her prove to be true. The dead prince truly was attached to Frisk’s soul. Frisk really did have enough determination to turn back time, to RESET. How Sans hadn’t seen the danger in that was beyond Alphys.

They should’ve contained the anomaly while they could’ve; they should have controlled it. Alphys glanced back at the girl, her brown hair past her shoulders, bangs long enough to cover her eyes fully. Her skin held a reddish tint to it and Alphys didn’t quite like that. It wasn’t simply flushed, but irritated from underneath. Something was wrong.

“Turn around!” The anomaly barked, impatience scribbled on her face. Alphys whipped back to watch the hall before her. Gray ceiling and gray walls stretched in front of her as they headed towards the lackluster doorway at the end.

They were headed to the extraction room, or maybe beyond it.

“You probably don’t think you deserve this,” Frisk said aloud. When Alphys didn’t reply, irritation sprung into the girl’s tone. “I’m talking to you!”

“O-Oh… sorry… kind of hard to tell.” Alphys’ claws twisted a little in their restraints. “N-No, I don’t believe I deserve this, Frisk.” Alphys had a very bad feeling about what this was going to be.

“Maybe you’re right…” Frisk said quietly. Alphys hadn’t been expecting that. “Nonetheless, justice needs to be served, and it seems I’m the only judge left.”

Silence.

“That wasn’t fucking corny, it’s true!”

Alphys felt a little smug, she had a feeling her and ‘Chara’ had thought the same thing. Frisk blew out a long sigh, “The fact of the matter is: everyone here has hurt me once. In fact, the way you betrayed me was almost the worst of them all. Set me up, spied on me, had Mettaton fight me… All so you could… what exactly?”

Alphys froze. The anomaly truly did know everything, didn’t she? The Mettaton plan had been in the works but it hadn't even happened. “Amazing,” Alphys said. Frisk stopped in her tracks, stopping Alphys along with her. They stood at the end of the hall, right before crossing the threshold into the extraction room. “Amazing?” Frisk asked. “What’s amazing?”

Alphys turned around. “Y-You are,” she said. “It’s li-like you’re all-knowing, but you’re r-really just all-remembering.”

Her eyes met the girl’s and Alphys felt a chill run all the way down to the tip of her tail. “I-It must be lonely… i-isn’t it?” Frisk’s eyes narrowed and she tilted her head up. “I’m not the only one who remembers. How could I be lonely with someone talking in my head all the time anyway?”

“But no one knows wh-what that’s like,” Alphys said. “Y-You’re the one anyone would b-blame, but really you didn’t ask for it either.”

Frisk’s face was unchanging, but there was the smallest glint of curiosity in her thin eyes. Maybe Alphys imagined it, but she pushed on nonetheless, just about to confirm a theory she’d been working on behind Sans’ back--only because he wouldn’t listen. “Y-You didn’t ask to-”

“Stop screaming! God! ” the girl’s eye twitched and she shook whatever led her to entertain Alphys away. The girl lifted the scalpel and twirled it, signaling to Alphys that it was time to turn around. The monster did so begrudgingly, unable to really see since her glasses had gotten lost in the scuffle that had led to her capture.

Call it coincidence, but Alphys’ mind was stuck on the fact that this ‘Chara’ had interrupted her with screaming--unintelligible, probably a rushed decision. Did that mean he knew? And didn’t want Frisk to know?

Now, just why would that be?

The ceiling expanded above them as they entered the extraction room, their footsteps echoed through the vast area. Alphys felt a strange falling sensation as Frisk led her toward the DT extractor.

The tell-tale feeling anyone gets when horrible events are about to transpire.

“You know what this thing does, right?” Frisk asked, vaguely gesturing to the giant, dusty contraption-- the body of it was shaped like an animal’s skull, pipes and ribbed cords coiled and spun like dead serpents dangling from the machinery. “I-Is that… r-rhetorical?” Alphys asked.

Frisk giggled and the reptilian monster felt her scales crawl at the sound of amusement in Frisk’s voice as she hunched to speak directly into Alphys’ ear. “Someone’s learning…” she crooned, her soft child-like tone ringing eerily through the space around them. Frisk then stood, resting her chin on Alphys’ head and her arms on the monster’s shoulders. Alphys began to sweat. 1) Because she was scared shitless, and 2) the human was like a furnace. Frisk’s skin was red and burning hot.

“Say, Alphys…” Frisk asked. “What would happen if I put a gutless reptile with a speech impediment in the determination extractor?”

Alphys went pale.

“Just curious, is all…” Frisk continued, her thin fingers tracing along the front of Alphys’ lab coat. She still wore her red and white ‘date dress’ underneath.

At least I’ll die in style, Alphys thought morbidly. She realized she was going to die the second she saw Sans’ dust adorning the True Lab’s floor. She supposed spending her final night with Undyne had been the best way to prepare for the following morning.

“I know,” Frisk said, using a cordial tone. “It is rude to keep a girl waiting.”

Alphys gathered that the human, once again, wasn’t talking to her.

“Come on, Alphys! I’m dying to know…”

Alphys opened her mouth and spoke the cold hard facts. “A subject without a substantial amount of determination would not survive the first drawing.”

“Why?”

“W-Well… Because the machine would search for something of equal potency… which would be whatever their dominant soul trait is… H-However… Nothing is as potent as DT. It’s the densest soul. Thus the machine would…. Keep drawing and drawing… Until…”

“There’s nothing left,” Frisk finished for her. Alphys felt a rush of cool air when the human finally removed herself from Alphys’ shoulders. “I wonder what it’s like… to be nothing, Alphys.”

Alphys slowly turned. The human’s footsteps fell at strange intervals as she began to languidly stroll around, feet bare and unbothered by the perforated metal flooring. “You would have no worries… no obligations…”

“Y-You wouldn’t be you…” Alphys said.

“Is that not the best part?” Frisk’s voice was quiet.

Alphys didn’t have a comment for that. The girl truly didn’t realize the irony in what she was saying, did she?

“I wish…” Frisk stopped her pacing and moved over to Alphys. Alphys stared into the human’s eyes and for a moment, she believed she was seeing the true Frisk. Her brown eyes were soft and glittering, her mouth was open with words she seemed afraid to say; words she swallowed instead. The girl’s eyes were hidden by a duvet of hair. “I wish you could be able to tell me what it’s like.”

Frisk reached forward and grabbed Alphys by her arms. The monster screamed, struggling against her binds with vigor, still it wasn’t enough and she was forced backward by overwhelming strength. “Frisk, please! St-Stop! D-D-Don’t do this!” Alphys was on the verge of tears, her heart was hammering in her chest. She heard the hissing of the extractor door opening, a sound she never wanted to hear again.

Death was coming for her with that scythe of his, no matter what she said.

“Oof!” Alphys cried as her feet lifted from the spiky metal floor and planted on a dusty, solid one. The harshness of her back hitting the leather padded wall knocked the air right out of her. “Frisk!” She wheezed. “Please -”

“SHUT UP!” Frisk screamed. “Why the hell are you talking!? Why do you think you can stop me?”

“Sans!” Alphys fired back.

Frisk paused.

It was like the girl’s brain was stalling and for a long moment, there was no emotion on her face. Just freakish neutrality.

“What-” Alphys noted that she had stopped yelling. “-about Sans?”

“H-He…” Alphys struggled to find words other than ‘please don’t kill me!’ “H-He s-s-s-saw something i-in you...He b-believed yo-you were n-naturally good…”

The girl lifted an arm, resting it on the side of the glass and metal door that would decide Alphys’ fate. “And did you believe him?”

Alphys looked directly at the human’s face and felt bitterness, unlike anything she had felt before. “...No.”

The human’s face remained neutral when slammed the door shut. Alphys heard the hissing of decompression. Her breathing soon became the only sound, along with the occasional beating of her fists against the glass. It was pointless, she’d trapped monsters much stronger than herself inside of here, once upon a time. Even as sick as they were, they still held more physical strength than she, and not one of them escaped.

Alphys wasn’t sure who it was who said it… a former colleague most likely (why she can’t recall who is strange, actually), but someone once told her that she would never understand the plight of those convalescent monsters she had damned. They had told her it was pointless to even try and that continuing her research was the only way to justify any of it.

Yet then, watching Frisk make her way into the control room, hiding behind the two-way mirror, Alphys knew exactly what they had felt. The anger was faded away, there was only fear. There was only the indescribable lightness in her bones, the shaking of her fists, the wetness of her eyes. There would be no warning before her life was taken away, it would be a complete surprise.

Not even her soul would remain.

Every bit of her would be reduced to hardly a drop of supplemental DT.

Alphys let her claws fall away from the glass and she choked out a sob. What silly scientists they had been. Complete idiots from start to finish. There were no apologies left to give, she knew she was beyond that. Taking care of the amalgamates was hardly the penance she deserved.

This was true atonement right here, in the form of a human girl.

The machine came to life, sparks fell in front of the glass, the room was awash with light. At first, Alphys felt nothing. Then she couldn’t breathe. After that went on long enough, she began to seize, the interior of the DT extractor glowed brightly with the color of her soul, sucking away at the essence of her being.

The only fortunate part of it was that her mind withered into nothing before her body. The machine was ruthless, it sucked and sucked until nothing of Alphys remained.

The whirring stopped on its own, machine shutting off automatically. Frisk wasn’t interested in the miniscule fleck of red that was produced by the process. She was only interested in what was left behind. Frisk strolled out from the control room and pulled the extractor door open.

The smell of ramen wafted from the large, opened capsule.

Frisk wrinkled her nose and crouched, touching the smallest spot of dust left on the center of the floor. She rubbed her fingers together, smudging them gray.

She looked envious of the monster she had just killed.

Chapter Text

Frisk stepped away from the DT extractor. As expected, she wasn't contented; not entirely displeased, either. She looked down at her dusty hands and then left the extraction room, now out of commission.

Pat, pat, pat…

Her bare feet slapped against the hall floors and a sudden chill ran up her spine. She halted, one of the dark screens in the hall lighting up with uninteresting green text. Frisk looked over her shoulder, expecting an amalgamate. There was no one there, but Frisk had an idea of who it could’ve been.

“Chara?” Frisk asked.

Don't worry, I heard it too, crazy.

Frisk frowned. “I don't like that one,” she said in reference to the nickname ‘crazy.’

Don't care.

“You think I'm insane?”

For good reason, I'm sure.

“But you think I'm not in the right mind?”

Hell yes. You're batshit, Frisky. His voice was lacking its usual bite.

Frisk laughed a bit, despite herself, “Yeah…” She said, glancing at her distorted reflection in a vacant black screen. “I just might be.”

Her skin itched. Her arms were budding with hive-like blossoms of red. It was irritating, but bearable. Something had quite literally gotten under her skin: the supplemental DT.

Frisk recalled overhearing one of Alphys’ and Sans’ scuffles over her ‘treatment.’

“W-We don't have enough of this st-stuff to dump it all in her, w-willy nilly, Sans!” Alphys had shouted. Frisk had been pretending to sleep as she eavesdropped. She heard Sans’ baritone chuckle, eliciting a sigh from Alphys. “I-I could've ph-phrased that b-better.”

“*damn right you could've, alph.”

“That's beside the po-point! The st-stuff isn't sticking! We’re wasting the supplement.”

“*ain't nothin’ better to use it on.”

“…”

“*shit, alph… i just, uh… ain't nothin’ better to use it on… yet.”

Frisk had heard the sound of someone sitting down. She'd felt like there were eyes on her. Self-consciously, she mumbled in her ‘sleep’ and shifted slightly.

“I… I know what you meant. But, i-it's not just that. We don't, uh, we still don't know how long th-this stuff will stay in her system. How will it react wi-with her soul?”

Frisk remembered the red-hot anger she’d felt at that statement. They were toying with her life, her wellbeing, on guesses and whims.

“*it’ll be alright, alph…” Sans said. “and if it isn't… ya won't remember anyway.”

Frisk had wondered if her ability made it okay for them to try such things on her. Within the week she’d answered her own question.

No, it wasn’t.

Frisk shook the memory away and noticed the deep red lines she'd scratched onto her forearm. She needed to find some mittens, too bad the only glove she knew of was back in Snowdin.

You really gotta tell me what they did to you in here, Frisk.

The girl tried not to notice how serious he was about that. "It's not really something for show and tell."

Frisk walked past the main area of the True Lab (her old ‘room') and followed the bend of the hall to the bathroom. The lights seemed a little brighter since the extractor had been run. The building was made to be bloodthirsty.

Where are you going?

Following a hunch.

The hunch was confirmed as she opened the bathroom door and locked eyes with an unpotted plant. “Flowey,” Frisk greeted. “Were you spying on me?”

The flower’s eyes narrowed and he attempted to assess the situation. “I noticed the smiling trash bag isn’t smiling anymore…”

“Dust doesn’t smile,” Frisk agreed. She smirked at the way the soulless creature had avoided the question. Frisk wouldn’t get ahead of herself, he wasn’t scared. Not yet. Chara seemed to take a backseat, allowing the two… acquaintances to talk. Frisk walked into the bathroom, her fingers dragging along the chilled tiles. She squatted before the soulless monster. “I killed him,” Frisk told him. “I killed him, and I killed Alphys just a few minutes ago.”

Frisk was a bit disappointed by the lack of shock on Flowey’s face, but the lack of humor showed that he wasn’t entirely unperturbed either. “Didn’t really think you had it in you.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Neither did they.”

“Because you aren’t my brother. You’re just… you?”

Frisk nodded, “I’m just me.”

Plus the crazy.

Her eyebrow twitched.

“So… what’s your plan now?” Flowey inquired, sounding genuinely curious. Frisk was about to open her mouth and say exactly what she’d told Chara: ‘To kill everyone who’s ever wronged me,’ but after killing Alphys, Frisk had been underwhelmed by dissatisfaction.

It wasn’t enough.

She wasn’t a sadist, try she might. Once everyone who’d hurt her was dead, Frisk was sure she’d feel every bit as unhappy as she was now. So then what would she do? Frisk’s lashes lowered and she considered something that she hadn’t in a long time.

“I’m… going to leave…”

“What do you mean?” Flowey pressed.

Frisk wasn’t sure why the words tasted so foreign. She hadn’t even considered them since her first run. “I…” Frisk said, “I want to leave.”

Flowey’s stem angled as he leaned closer. “The surface, you mean?” Frisk nodded. “Yes.” She bit her inner cheek. Why did the notion seem so enormous? So utterly impossible? Frisk killed the main obstacle already, hadn’t she? All that was left was Asgore.

He may not have hurt her, but he would for monsterkind. It was his fault she wasn't hunted in the first place. She would have no qualms bringing him down.

The girl’s hands twitched as she sifted through the idea of the surface. It all seemed so foggy, like a dream. Her eyes impassively rested on the soulless monster before her. He looked incredibly stressed over something.

“Frisk…” Flowey said, his voice quiet. “What’ll happen to Chara if you do?”

Frisk averted her eyes then. She never answered him.

 


 

Why did he take your clothes?

“I don’t know! He was a creepy ass guy with an even creepier ass crush on me.”

You had a crush on him  first.

“Shut up.”

Don’t think I’m going to ever let you forget that. Chara snickered.

Frisk had decided to wear the sweater Papyrus made for her. It was long enough to cover her in a somewhat decent fashion so long as she didn’t raise her arms (which would inevitably happen during combat). Frisk rolled the sleeves up to her elbows and stepped through the revolving doors of the true lab, finally leaving that wretched place and the dust of those who trapped her there.

So we’re really doing this, huh? We’re killing everyone?

I’m avenging myself. You’re watching.”

And then… you’re going to the Surface.

“Yes.”

Frisk stepped out of the fake bathroom that hid the True-Lab’s entrance and entered the regular lab. It was still lit up, so Frisk didn’t need to fumble around in the dark. The only things powered off were the monitors that Alphys once used to spy on Frisk. The girl absent-mindedly scratched at her neck, walking through the lab with a scrutinizing gaze. There was nothing of use to her here, she grabbed a pack of instant noodles and bit into them dry. She couldn’t even taste them.

Taking a page from my book, I see.

Frisk didn’t respond, suddenly enthralled by biting into the flavorless noodles, using two hands to shove the dried pasta into her mouth until it was all gone. She licked the crumbs from her lips.

That was… horrifying.

“Hungry,” Frisk said simply. “They fed me the bare minimum in there.”

That wasn’t completely true, Sans made sure she had home-cooked meals (Papyrus cooked meals) and Grillby’s every now and then. But who was there to say she was lying? Frisk grinned. There wasn’t anyone. Not even Chara. No one knew! No one! Her mind had been completely hers then. She was beginning to miss that, but the pleasure of her soul thrumming in her chest was worth it. Frisk never wanted to feel that empty again.

Frisk’s legs carried her out of the true lab and she hissed at the feeling of hot rock against her feet. She jumped back and glared outside, the automatic doors closing in front of her.

Even psychos need footwear.

“You would know,” Frisk hummed. “Though I suppose I’m not a psycho.” Her face fixed into one of determination. “Because I don’t.” The doors opened again and she stepped out onto the hot rock, this time ignoring the initial sting and then feeling nothing. She realized the heat was nothing compared to what was already burning inside of her. The DT that was like a fire under her skin.

Maybe you’re just something worse then.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” Frisk replied, and scorned she was. Frisk was only a step or two from the opened lab doors when she noticed something was off. There was a ringing echoing in the distance, probably deafening up close; a blaring ruckus. Red lights flashed from the cave ceiling. “An alarm,” Frisk stated. “When the hell did Alphys alert-”

Wind whistled and Frisk was blinded by a flash of turquoise. She felt the tingling of magic in the air and without a second’s hesitation, she darted to the right. A spear whizzed past Frisk, a hair’s width from her arm, as it stabbed into the sealed lab doors behind her, a small cut opened on her upper arm, blood trickling down. She almost hadn’t been quick enough. Frisk narrowed her eyes immediately. She hadn't anticipated Undyne until later, and it showed.

Frisk wasn’t even able to get the words ‘fucking fish’ out of her mouth before a barrage of spears descended on her, each glowing cyan, leaving white tails of light behind. She dodged the first but the second lodged in her thigh, sending her tumbling backward as it stabbed into the ground behind her, pinning her there. Immobilized, Frisk knew she was done for. The girl didn’t make a sound as the third struck her in the middle of her torso.

Geez, bullseye.

Frisk wheezed and loud clanking footsteps could be heard more loudly with each step. She was still pinned to the ground by spears that hadn’t yet dissipated, her blood leaked around her, yet she only really felt that first little cut; her first mistake.

I’ll need to dodge that one quicker the next time,  she thought. Chara was silent. Frisk saw the top of Undyne’s head, fiery red ponytail pushed to the side by wind from the heat flares around them. She wasn’t wearing armour, just a tank top and black ripped jeans, chains dangling from the belt hoops. There wasn’t a drop of sweat on her; fish don’t sweat. She must be uncomfortably hot.

“You…” Undyne’s voice was scratchy, her visible eye was red and puffy. “You don’t deserve words, you sick fuck.” A spear materialized in her hand, but Frisk could hardly see it. Her vision was blurred. Frisk closed her eyes and focused on what she would do differently next time.

She hadn't really been paying attention when Undyne finished the job. But she knew that it hurt. A lot.

When Frisk opened her eyes, she saw Chara staring down at her, darkness swimming around him. She laid on her back and he sat by her side. Frisk noticed his hand was against her cheek. Neither of them said anything.

Chara silently stroked the side of her face and Frisk acted as if it meant nothing to her. The worst part was that she convinced him and he stopped.

Frisk’s eyes traced over his face, her hand slowly lifting to touch Chara’s cheek, the same way he had hers. She noticed how long his eyelashes were, how smooth his skin. He was almost feminine. Almost.

“See? Isn’t being a murderer hard?” Chara prodded.

Frisk’s fingers froze against his cheek.

“It’s thankless,” he continued.

Frisk almost laughed. “So is being merciful. I think I might die less this way, actually.”

“Frisk-”

Frisk suddenly felt very irritated and she snatched her hand away. Whatever moment of understanding they’d had was shattered. “When are you going to understand that I’m not wrong here! Every fucking second, I have you in my head--judging me  when you’re no better!”

“I’m trying to be Frisk! I-I’m trying to help you out here. We both know this isn’t what you want! I can feel it; I can tell this isn’t you!”

“Who the hell am I then!?” She snapped, her eyes beginning to burn, her voice strained with the desire to scream. “WHO AM I!?”

Chara’s eyes widened into orbs as he stared at her, the darkness around her was tinted with red; the hellish color practically emanated from her. His brow relaxed and he stood up. He watched her for a moment longer before turning and walking away.

“You need to stop searching for someone who's already gone!” Frisk shouted after him, her voice cracking. She struggled to look the other way and face the options behind her, an aggravated scream stuck in her throat. Her hand trembled as she lifted it to press *CONTINUE.

Something in her heart pulsed with pain as Chara retreated into the darkness. She knew he left because he didn’t have an answer. Even Chara had no idea who she was.

What had she expected, anyway?

The *CONTINUE glitched a bit, red and white squares flickering over the letters. Her fingertips stung, but eventually the darkness faded to white.

She appeared in the main area of the laboratory feeling lightheaded. She immediately began searching for a weapon to use against Undyne. Everything was borderline harmless. She walked to the control panel, standing before the monitors Alphys had used to spy on her in a timeline that technically never happened. She glanced down at the red and blue knobbed levers that protruded from the surface.

Frisk grabbed one of the levers and began to pull. There was a crackle, then a pop, her clammy hands slipped against the surface. Frisk gritted her teeth and put her hips into it. Her arms began to burn and she let out a growl.The sound of metal scraping together screeched through the lab and sparks flew around the lever until finally Frisk pulled it out, cords hanging from it like intestines, sparks spurting like blood.

The end of the lever was sharp. Frisk smirked.

Well, aren’t you an innovator.

She scratched at her arm and headed toward the exit on the opposite end of the lab, a bit glad her partner had decided to stay tuned.

When she dodged the first spear outside the lab doors, the sadness over Chara’s estrangement faded. All she felt was determination.

 


 

Frisk was at a disadvantage. In this area, there was nothing for her to shield her body with, she only had sheer instinct to rely on. And of course, her ability to die repeatedly, which she used... a multitude of times.

Undyne was furious, Frisk could see it in every move the monster made. The spears were vibrating with unstable magic, charged with emotion.

If Undyne had been human, perhaps her rage would've made her more lethal, but she wasn't. The emotion made the monster reckless. A bombardment of spears rained down on Frisk and she dropped onto the steaming ground, her arms protected by the sleeves of her sweater, rolling away from them as they pierced the ground she’d just been standing on. Frisk heaved and rose to her feet, charging forward as Undyne summoned more spears.

“NGYYAAAAAHHHHH!” Undyne screamed, but she didn’t retreat as Frisk approached. She didn’t want to back down, Frisk assumed. Stupid.  Frisk readied the lever, particularly the sharp end. “Not so close, human!” Undyne shouted. Frisk’s face was scribbled with confusion before her eyes widened as turquoise light from below temporarily blinded her.

She gritted her teeth, “I won’t-” she jumped away from the light, landing at the edge of the walkway, nearly falling into the lava below. “-let you kill me. Not. One. More. Time.”  Frisk ran faster than she’d ever run before, bare feet kicking up gravel. She watched Undyne’s legs. The fish still wasn’t moving, despite her increased agility without the armor.

“Mistake, mistake, mistake…” Frisk chanted it like a mantra. She was being reckless herself now, but something in her encouraged it. Every time she'd been killed; every choice that was made for her; every creature that hated her for what she is; Frisk imagined Undyne was the embodiment of all those things. Frisk would kill Undyne. By god, she would.

Her knees were scraped, skin torn and bleeding from the various times she'd used the ground to avoid an attack. Her sweater was torn and snagged, she smelled of sweat and grime. Yet, Frisk was only focused on one thing. Undyne was close now, right in her sights.

She would strike her down soon.

Chapter Text

It was almost like an out of (not his) body experience, watching Frisk fight Undyne. He could see the way her eyes moved; viewing exactly what she was seeing and just beyond it as well, reminding him that he was just a spectator in all this.

There was something so damn eerie about watching this fight through his partner’s eyes, something so disturbing that he couldn’t look away.

He used to feel a familiarity with Frisk’s eyes. She had this way of looking at the world, not just philosophically, but literally. There were times in the past that Chara felt visually impaired compared to her. She was always looking into people’s eyes in that wholesome, earnest way (not the prolonged, predatory eye-contact Chara enjoyed).

She was observant, but after a while, her gaze grew impatient. She never overtly focused on one trait or one quality; her gaze would drift all around their face, maybe even to the wall behind them. Chara remembers being irritated by that ever moving gaze of hers, how everything seemed to have the same amount of importance under it. Too much importance if you asked him. With Frisk, everything in her sight held value. From living creatures to inanimate objects—rocks, for example.

Ridiculously annoying, but at least he knew what to expect.

That’s how it was, at least. The familiarity he had once felt was gone. Frisk didn’t look into Undyne’s eyes unless she was gloating (because apparently gloating is a thing Frisk did now). Frisk’s gaze wasn’t drifting at all, it was punctual and unwavering, scarcely leaving her opponent’s body. She was observant as ever and even now Chara was noticing things he wouldn’t have himself, but the things she took note of weren’t… beautiful things. Rather than noticing small rainbows in the shine of stained glass, she saw the limp Undyne was sporting. Instead of marveling at the intricacy of a water sausage, Frisk saw that the scales on Undyne’s forehead were dulled and dried out.

She was unrelenting.

And she was so damned uncomfortable, too.

If he focused more on her corporeal state, he could feel the itching of her skin, the heat pressing up from under, begging to leak out of her pores. Being in Hotland didn’t help either. Still, the discomfort was like an afterthought.

It seemed like Frisk hardly noticed it.

She was so focused, so determined. Chara called out, but she couldn’t even hear him. He wasn’t positive she was aware of it either. As soon as the fight seemed to be drawing to a close, Frisk kicked every one of her senses into the highest gear. There was no room for distractions. That made it clear what her subconscious thought of him.

Frisk was more banged up physically, but she’d struck Undyne a few times with pure and utter hate fueling each hit.

What was she seeing when she looked at Undyne?

Was she seeing Sans? Chara couldn’t help but noticed that she wracked up a lot of hate toward that monster in the time he’d been away. He really wanted to know what went down between them.

Just to sate his curiosity of course… not because… ah, who was he trying to kid?

He wanted to know because he gave a shit.

He gave all the shits when it came to Frisk and god damn was that frustrating. Especially now when she’s being all genocidal.

Despite being dead, Chara felt stress unlike he ever had when he was alive. Probably because he never actually had to try in any of his relationships then. People just liked him. The Dreemurrs? They loved him; no prerequisites needed. Chara supposed Frisk had been that way too, before.

God, why couldn’t he have realized this before? That would make this all so easy.

If he had simply said, “Hey Frisk, I give a shit,” she probably would’ve been ecstatic. Though, Chara might be embellishing. He had always assumed that Frisk just pretended to hate him since she couldn’t actually hate anyone. Though, looking at her now… she may have genuinely hated him and he was just too astoundingly narcissistic to realize it.

...He wasn’t narcissistic, was he?

Chara watched through Frisk’s eyes as she jutted her knife out once more at Undyne. Effusions of blue blood filled her vision.

Guilt was such a putrid emotion. It was useless, but Chara couldn't get it away from him.

He kept thinking about what Frisk had asked him earlier. When she stared at him with deranged brown eyes and screamed for him to tell her who she was. He shouldn't have walked away, but it terrified him to think that he didn’t know.

Watching her watch Undyne’s blood leave her body still leads him to think that he doesn’t know.

Only he does.

Chara knew Frisk better than anyone. She was considerate, she was kind, she cared too much about everything. She’s a fucking idiot, but she always tried her hardest. It's because of those traits that she got to this point. And even now, as she’s collecting dust wherever she goes, Chara can still see her--the Frisk he wants to get back.

Everyone breaks.

That's one of the few things Chara remembers from the surface.

I’m such a hypocrite, Chara thought. He’d acted disgusted by her and he’s continued to do so, but that wasn’t right. He said he cared about her, didn’t he? He should ACT on that, shouldn’t he? If he cared about who she was then he should care for who she’s become. That's how it's supposed to work, right?

Easier said than done, but Chara isn't a quitter.

He didn't give a rat’s ass about anyone in the Underground except her; whether that's because she's his… vessel, or because of something else entirely… he had to back it up.

He wouldn’t choose when to care about her. And who knows, Chara thought. Maybe if I show her that I care… she’ll understand why I hid the truth from her.

Okay, he didn’t hide it.

Not really.

It’s just a misconception. Miscommunication. A simple misunderstanding that he’s allowed to go on since they met. He honestly thought he would never have to tell her. She gave up the idea of the surface a long time ago, refusing to leave without bringing the entire Underground up with her... but now she wanted it again.

Which was inconvenient for Chara.

Frisk has always been under the impression that Chara was a parasite; even those idiotic scientists thought the relationship of Chara and Frisk was textbook parasitism, but they’re wrong. They’re all wrong.

What Chara and Frisk have isn’t one-sided. Chara was sure that old geezer Gaster figured it out. Alphys had been one step from figuring it out too before she was killed. Part of Chara regretted not letting her explain it to Frisk.

Because now he had to.

Frisk and Chara’s soul symbiosis wasn’t parasitism, it wasn’t even commensalism. It was mutualism. The fact of the matter was, Frisk would not be alive if it wasn’t for Chara, and Chara would still be dead if it wasn’t for Frisk.

Frisk was getting flustered with how long this was taking. She’d tried taunting Undyne, but frankly, it was exhausting to think of quips while trying not to get impaled. “Your girlfriend fought harder than this, COME ON!” Frisk yelled. Eye-contact, quick, only to gloat, then done. Frisk watched Undyne’s feet rather than her face. She was fully prepared for the reckless forward charge as Undyne shouted: “DON’T YOU FUCKING TALK ABOUT HER!”

Frisk leapt to the side once the monster was no more than one foot away, wounded leg about to press against the searing ground in a limp-step. The girl brought her elbow up, then slammed it down before Undyne could balance herself on two feet. The monster’s armor dented and Frisk appeared unscathed.

Once grounded and breathless, Undyne tried to crawl forward, but Frisk slammed her heel down on Undyne’s hand once, then twice. Then she did the same with the next.

Chara watched vacantly.

The scene played out on mute for him. There’s that eeriness again. He should be the most desensitized, but his stomach wouldn’t stop churning. He saw Undyne’s mouth open in a scream. Frisk pulled out the broken lever and started… decorating Undyne’s legs.

He supposed there was a lot of understandable resentment here. Only so many times you can be Frisk-kabobed and move on without and grudges, but this was excessive.

He heard her muttering, telling Undyne how she’d been stabbed here (and then proceeding to stab the monster in the same place) and here, oh! And here too!

Chara prodded at Frisk’s mind, curiously. Maybe she’d removed some of the barriers that had blocked him out.

Suddenly there were too many thoughts to manage. There was a pain from deep within, a twang of soreness in their soul.

I can do it. I can kill her. So kill her. Wait longer. Draw it out. Kill her. Wait longer. She killed me. So much. So much. Spears. Spear her. Can I find a spear? What justice is best for her? Spear her. She deserves every spear she’s given me. Her eyes are rolling back. She’s going into shock, I’ll snap her out of it. She needs to understand. There’s no point if she doesn’t understand. She’s incorrigible. There’s no point… There’s no...point… I don’t... like this...

Frisk?

The erratic thought process stopped, though Chara heard faint echoes of ‘there’s no point’ in his own mind. It depressed him.

Chara… Where have you been?

You blocked me out.

Whoops.

Sounds overwhelming.

What does?

Your thoughts. She’s dead by the way.

Frisk looked down, blue blood washing the ground below her feet. So she is. Together, they stared down at Undyne’s body which was face down on the ground, limbs dappled with wounds. Frisk couldn’t bring herself to smile. She couldn’t gloat.

Frisk?

Yes?

What do you think is waiting for you on the surface?

Freedom. Her response didn’t miss a beat.

They sell that down here, too.

Frisk’s eyes nearly got stuck from how hard she rolled them. “Funny.” She wondered if Chara was worried about where he would go.

The only thing holding him to her was magic, right? Frisk didn’t remember much about the surface, but she did know humans didn’t have magic up there. There was no such thing as SOULs. Maybe he would find… peace once they were out. Her lashes lowered at the thought of Chara disappearing from her life. She couldn't imagine what life after all this would be like.

About what Flowey said…

I don’t care what happens to me. Don’t worry about it… it’s just…

“I wasn’t worri-” she stopped herself. It’s just what?

Nevermind. Chara was the picture of cowardice. How was he to tell her ‘you might fall apart if you go up there. Emphasis on might,’ or even ‘I have no idea what’ll happen if you go up there, but it concerns me, because technically we’re both dead.’ Now what?

Frisk’s brows knitted together.

She didn’t really like neverminds… they usually led to secrets.

It bothered her so much that she hesitated before deciding not to care.

Undyne’s body had turned to dust and Frisk stepped away, looking over her shoulder at the long stretch of Hotland before her. Red crisis lights flashed in the distance. “Now, Chara, we find the rest of them.”

Oh boy.

Chapter Text

Chara helped her a little. Against his better judgement, he wanted to be of use to her. The blaring of the alarms got louder the farther they ventured further into Hotland. It’s funny, despite being raised by the king and queen themselves, Chara didn’t even know the Underground had an alarm system, nor an evacuation plan.

Would he tell Frisk where they were all hiding if he did know?

...Is that even a question?

Frisk killed nearly every monster she came across because nearly all of them attacked her once before. Most of the monsters were evacuated anyway.

There was dust up to her knees and elbows, she has been killing on autopilot. The bottoms of her feet were peeling by the time they reached Waterfall. Parts of her puzzle sweater were charred from close calls with the lava bordering the many aisles of Hotland.

Frisk.

“Yes?”

There’s, uh, something-

Frisk heard a clatter behind her and whipped around, seeing a flash of yellow just before it vanished. “I think he’s stalking me.”

...Probably.

Chara suddenly felt like commenting on the scenery was a great idea. He doesn’t remember ever avoiding responsibility in such a way, though that might be because he never had any real responsibility to begin with. None that he knew of, at least. Surface life was a blur to him, he only really remembered the Underground and Asriel sure as hell didn’t boss him around.

Pretty isn't it?

“What is?” 

Hotland.

Frisk looked around for a second. Her eyes darted left, then right. “It’s hot .”

Come on,

“I'm on a mission.”

Indulge me. 

 Frisk wasn't really sure why she smiled at that. She slowed her brutal pace to stroll along the trail. Tiny yellow embers floated around her in slowly, as if moving through a bog. The reddish crystals on the cave ceiling seemed to glow against the dark rocks they clung to. Frisk's eyes slowly drifted down to waves of molten rock below. Reds and oranges, sliding and swirling over each other like a dying fire. There was something beautifully lively about fire… about light. It was almost as if looking at it made her alive too. Like she could feel its energy.

 Still, it was hard to feel anything on her skin while dealing with the burning itch of raw determination. “It’s kinda pretty, I guess.” Frisk moved to the edge of the path, feeling the heat on her face. She stared into the magma. They fell into a comfortable silence, staring into the molten rock and watching it destroy and create new patterns again and again. Frisk, surprisingly, broke the silence. “How is it that I don’t remember you, but the idea of being separated from you again… scares me?”

 Chara thought very carefully about his next words. Guess you could say I’m a part of you.

 Again, Frisk struggled to think about what life without Chara would be like.

“So I can’t help it then?”

 I’d... like to think it’s a choice. It really wasn’t though, was it?

 Frisk laughed and stepped backward. “How can I choose you if I don’t even know you?”

 My good looks.

 Frisk laughed again and then cupped a hand over her mouth, her face flushed and she swallowed. “You’re an idiot.”

 You’ve said that before.

  Frisk bit her lip and glanced to the side. Would it really be right to go to the surface with a chunk of her memories missing? If Chara ended up disappearing when she crossed through the barrier… shouldn’t she at least remember him?

 Then again, what has he ever done for her? She didn’t owe him a thing. Frisk walked forward, headed toward the elevator in the distance. There was a thick cloud of smoke obscuring the path ahead. It kind of looked like a trap. That wouldn’t stop her though, whatever it was she would handle it.

 Frisk, you didn’t deserve any of this.

 Frisk’s entire face scrunched up. Where is this coming from?

 I shouldn’t have… I shouldn’t have used you how I did.

 Quit it.

 I judged Sans, but I’m not… better. It’s my fault he hurt you, anyway. If I hadn’t…

 “I don’t remember any of it.”

 That’s not the point.

 Frisk stopped in her tracks. “There is no point,” she said, reminding him of her thoughts from earlier. “Your apology is too late.”

 I know.

 She started walking again.

 It’s just

 “Oh my god.”

I feel like if I apologize it’ll get through to you.

 “You’re not supposed to tell me that!”

 What do you mean?

 Frisk stopped again and let out a long sigh. “If you’re trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved, you’re not supposed to let them know you are trying to get through to them. Your emotional involvement will only irritate them and show them why it is better not to care. You have to draw them out, it’s got to be subtle so they don’t realize they’re showing their true colors until it’s too late.”

 Huh. Interesting. ‘Wonder why you’re such an expert,’ he didn’t say.

 Frisk rolled her eyes. “You’re really hopeless.”

 I’m not trying to save you, Frisk.

 “Oh? I thought you hated me like this? I thought I was - in your words - a bitch.”

 I mean, you were kind of a bitch before too.

 “Excuse me?”

 Kidding. But I don’t need to save you. There’s no reason. I don’t give a shit about any of them. I’ve done worse to them all.

 I just want you. However you are, Frisk; we’re stuck together, regardless.

 Frisk swallowed. He didn’t want her before, but she had a feeling he meant something a bit different. The implied definition made her more than a little uncomfortable.

 You would’ve done the same for me. And even if you wouldn’t have, I would be saying the same thing because, ah, well… I guess I... kind of l-love you. Right? That’s what… That’s what…   love is. It’s unconditional. It makes a person… better.

 You made me better.

 She was extremely uncomfortable now, her heart nearly skipped a beat and she had to catch herself. Frisk couldn’t fathom how he could confess that to her… being how she is now. This wasn't the place for it. They weren't the people who could have moments like this.

“And you ruined me,” she returned coldly. Frisk’s lips curled into a wry grin, one that didn’t reach her eyes or heart. “So, if you think, for one second, that a fake ‘I love you,’ is going to stop me… You are dead wrong.”

 At that moment, Chara's resolve faltered, his mind filled with diffidence. Is that why he said it? Was he just trying to manipulate her? In truth, he would feel more comfortable with that answer. How simple this would all be if it were actually part of a complex scheme of manipulation? Unfortunately, it wasn’t (he was pretty sure it wasn’t). If Chara were in control, his body would be quaking. If she were in the dark space with him, he wouldn’t be able to look her in the eyes. He probably didn't deserve to acknowledge such feelings, but who the hell could stop him? If Frisk thinks she's the scum of the earth and vengeance is all she's good for, she might as well hear this from him. It took him a few beats to even find words to counter her.

 That’s not it

 Frisk noticed something moving in the fog, she crept forward and readied the sharp lever, palm sweating around the metal. “Shut up for a second.”

Her battered body made its way onto an air vent, leaping in sync with the hot wind so she made it safely over the small trench. There was a monster up ahead. Frisk felt her skin burning, but her head was suddenly liquid.

 She couldn’t stop thinking about Chara’s words, despite the fact that she’d laughed them off. What did he get out of it? Maybe he realized it had been a mistake to push her away before, but he didn’t ask her for anything vulgar. What does he gain from getting through to her? She couldn’t figure out an angle so she considered the other option. If he really meant it… why? Why would he love her?

 It’s a member of the royal guard.

 “I know!” Frisk snapped. She hadn’t even been paying attention. The sound of Chara’s voice diverted her focus even more. Her stomach was churning with the notion of someone loving her, unconditionally nonetheless.

 When Frisk focused, she caught the glint of armor, the clanking of metal plates. There was snarling.

 Lesser Dog? The monster emerged from the smoke and dropped to all fours soundlessly, hackles raised. His sharp teeth were bared, dark gums slick with saliva. Frisk doubted petting him was an option.

Chapter Text

Chara was mortified. Even if she hadn’t believed a thing he said, he’d said it anyway. He, Chara Dreemurr, former prince of the Underground, confessed his...ugh, love, to Frisk, the psychopathic sweetheart. How he hadn’t choked on his own words was beyond him, and what made matters worse?

What could possibly make it all worse?

She rejected him. Kind of. She called him a liar, thinking it was a ploy. 

Since Chara was pretty new to the whole lovey-dovey thing, he didn’t immediately correct her. He wondered if it was a fluke; he considered that his subconscious thought of an amazingly effective plan to use Frisk’s heartstrings like a puppeteer and bring her back to the light, where she belongs. But no. The only heartstrings being played with were his. If this had been a trap, he fell into it himself.

Chara thought that being in, ugh, love was supposed to make everything seem prettier. That the world would be all rainbows and sunshine. Though, he supposed Lesser Dog’s crimson blood was an okay substitute. Frisk looked good in red.

 

Stop humming, I can’t foc- “OW!”

Sorry, Frisky.

Frisk slammed onto the ground and screamed as Lesser Dog’s teeth connected to her shoulder, the blood from his injured maw trickled down to mix with Frisk’s. She hollered and reached for the lever which, of course, was just out of her arm’s reach.

Punch him.

Frisk made a fist and slammed it into the dog’s bloody muzzle. The monster whimpered and retracted, taking tentative steps back before rising to two feet. Frisk’s mouth was still open in a silent scream, clutching her shoulder and rolling from side to side. She stared up at the cave ceiling, her and Lesser Dog both trembling from their wounds. Her skin was slick with sweat, he hair was frizzed beyond recognition. When the monster’s whimpers quieted Frisk rolled over and snatched the lever.

The supplement must be wearing off, Frisk thought, Everything hurts.

Supplement?

Her feet, her knees, her elbow, her shoulder… It was all beginning to pulse with searing pain. Her lips pressed together and her brow wrinkled.

Stay determined.

Frisk’s eyes widened. She then nodded and glared at the canine before her. Slowly, they began to circle each other, never breaking eye contact. Frisk wet her lips and stole a glance behind her, making sure her next step wouldn’t take her into bubbling magma. Lesser Dog licked his chops and Frisk wondered if he intended to eat her.

She stepped forward and that’s all the monster needed to break the circle, dropping to all fours once more and lunging at her. 

The neck.

Frisk fell backward with the lever positioned up, subjecting herself to Lesser Dog’s entire body weight, plus momentum, as he crashed onto her. The breath was knocked out of her and she wheezed as Lesser Dogs jaws opened around her throat.

But they never closed. The dog went still on top of her and Frisk coughed violently below his limp body. He turned to dust within seconds, covering the lever that had been lodged in his neck with gray powder. 

“Why...Why,” Frisk gasped, inhaling dust and then choking on it. Her eyes watered and she burst into another coughing fit. Why are you helping me?

It’s what people who luh...ove.. you do, Frisk. They help.

Frisk cringed for the both of them and coughed even harder.

 

-

 

Chara was being more annoying than usual. He kept dropping the ‘L’ word (with a struggle on his part) and buttering her up with assistance on her journey to the elevator which seemed to get farther and farther away with each step.

Frisk didn't really need his help though, what she needed was food. Her body was in immense pain, even a cinnabunny would be nice, anything to close up a scrape or two. 

Hey Frisk.

“Shut up.”

Want to hear a story?

“No.”

It's about when we first met…

Damn her curiosity. Frisk couldn't help but be curious about how she ‘met’ a ghost in her head. “Let me guess: you possessed me.”

Chara’s sigh reverberated through Frisk’s mind. That wasn't our first meeting.

She looked at the long, laser-ridden trail before her and figured it wouldn't hurt. Especially if it got him to stop trying to profess his love to her. “Very well.”

Chara felt himself smirk and he let himself slip back into a timeline that, technically, never happened.

I met you before you met me… He began, his voice dramatic like he was starting the tale of some ancient epic.

Chara had known Frisk since the second she fell. He was awoken by the sickening crack and squelch of her impact, he had imagined her blood painting the golden flowers above his grave. Part of that image made him very happy. It pleased him that another human suffered a fate worse than his own. More pointless than his own. The rest of him was unhappy to share his grave site, but it couldn’t be helped. Then, for the first time since he had died, there was light. A bright red, scarlet light that reminded him painfully of the soul he had lost decades ago. 

It was a morbid union, he told her vaguely.

Her soul had trembled and quivered, already beginning to leave the body it had piloted for so long. And, without reason, his feelings changed.

I heard your heartbeat... Chara told her. Thump, thump…

“I know what a heartbeat sounds like,” Frisk interjected.

Shh, okay… 

There had been no hesitance on his part when her soul called out to whatever was left of him. The light was blinding and he wanted nothing more than to shield it.

To protect that little shimmer like he hadn't protected his own. He didn't think about the monsters, who would have been freed with the help of that soul.

He only thought about her.

She didn't deserve to die. That had been Chara’s first thought about her. Of course, he could not tell Frisk that.

“Are you going to continue the story?”

She didn't know she had died.

Sorry… so I latched onto you, because being dead sucks. Lying was as easy as breathing to Chara.

“Wow.”

And I didn't say anything to you for a long time… I just watched.

Maybe it had been the shock of being within a living, breathing body again. Or maybe he just wanted to observe her. Probably both.

It was funny watching you meet my brother. 

“You didn't warn me about him?”

Nah.

He hadn't warned her because he was startled himself. Who the fuck is this?  He wondered, but that ‘Howdy,’ was unmistakable. It was his idiot brother.

And he stole Chara’s favorite word: idiot.

Another shocker to Chara was how kind Frisk was to Flowey the Flower—the most uncreative name Chara had ever heard. And when he tried to kill her...

She apologized.

I was kind of in shock,  Chara admitted. You apologized to him.

“I thought I had done something to offend him… I didn't understand then that monsters would just try to kill me without reason.”

It was interesting to me. Honestly, I chalked it up to you just being a dumbass.

“Cute.”

Of course, I was (not) mistaken. Anyway, when Toriel came... that's when it got boring.

Chara was irritated by his late mother’s nurturing antics. It had hit too close to home. A disgusting kind of jealousy bubbled up inside of him as he watched his mother care for a human child, just as she cared for him.

I thought… I thought maybe she was trying to… replace me.

Frisk scoffed and Chara knew he deserved it. It was amazing how he felt like such a different person than he was back then.

You first met me in the mirror at the end of the hall… ring any bells?

“I know the mirror, but no memories. Sorry.”

Worth a shot. Well, you were wandering around the house and you… found that mirror and you stared at yourself. 

Chara hadn't known what she’d looked like before that moment. He was immediately drawn to her slim brown eyes. 

Your eyes… they kind of… reminded me of chocolate.

“Don't get weird."

I really like chocolate, you see.

“Alright, time to stop.”

Your hair, too. It kind of looks like mine… the fringe, you know?

“Yeah, it is kind of similar, I guess.”

Chara heard her tone lighten a bit as she trekked through the active puzzles of Hotland. On her merry way to murder pointlessly. It almost depressed him how far she’d fallen.

And it could be traced back to that day. 

She was beautiful. That had been Chara’s second, and completely superficial thought about Frisk. He considered telling her about how her skin had made him miss the sun, completely tanned and glowing, but he knew it would on cause her to shut down this conversation.

Anyways, that was when I first possessed you. I didn't even mean to... it just kind of happened. 

He remembers blinking and noticing that Frisk’s eyes were no longer a sweet brown, but a familiar red. He had watched as Frisk’s brows knitted in confusion. His confusion.

He had, for the first time in decades, felt air and clothes on his skin, a heart beating in his chest, a voice coming from his mouth. “What?” he had murmured.

A soft voice in the back of his mind had muttered the same thing.

In the beginning, Chara had thought he was just a passenger. But at that moment, he put two and two together. The body didn't feel foreign, despite being a female’s. It felt natural. Chara realized wasn't a leech; he was a part of this girl, just as she was him. Whatever that was left of him filled whatever she lost when she died. That information shocked him back to where he had come and the girl’s eyes turned brown once more. 

 

It was only a second, you were really confused about it.

“Makes sense,” Frisk grumbled.

Then you just went about your day. Until Toriel had business to take care of...

You were going to actually stay, you know? I thought: how fucking boring. So I gave you a push.

You are the reason I went into the basement?”

I suggested it.

There was something addicting about Frisk’s vision. Everything was new to her and he felt her excitement over every detail. He felt her glee like it was his own.

He had pretended it was his own at times.

He had wanted her to see Snowdin. He had wanted to see her play in the snow… splash in the rivers of Waterfall. He wanted her to love it just as much as he had the first time. He wanted happiness.

He had whispered to her. 

Follow her, aren't you curious to see what's down there?

Poor Frisk had thought she was going crazy, but she answered. 

I am.”

So together they went.

Toriel got on my last nerve, but you handled it well. I was impressed. You were scared shitless, but I told you that she wouldn’t hurt you. And just like that, you got her to back down.

“Can we skip over the next part.”

When we ran into my brother again?

“That and the part after.”

Ah, Chara thought. The part after. Sans. 

Frisk had liked him immediately. All it took was a cheap humor and a deep voice. Chara had a deep voice. Well, not that deep, but it wasn’t a bad voice - he hoped. 

She had started punning with the skeleton immediately as they strolled through the snow and too-wide fence. There was no attraction then, only a blooming friendship, similar to Chara and Asriel's.

It made Chara angry, but many things did. So he didn’t say anything when she curiously stared at the skeleton as he walked in the wrong direction and vanished behind a plume of icy wind. Chara could hear all the questions running through her mind, she was so curious about him then.

It had made Chara uncomfortable and he thought, He’s going to take my light away. Still, he stayed silent.

It is so strange to have regrets when you can literally turn back time.

So… Where should I go then?

“When did you ruin my life?”

Chara groaned. That’s not going to send you the right message here.

“There’s a message here?”

Yes.

“And what is it.”

I can’t tell you, or it won’t work!

“You’re not making a fucking wish, Chara.”

I am.

“What is it?”

That you’ll realize that I really do love you, Frisk.

Pregnant pause.

“Good thing you told me, we can’t have that coming true.”

Why not?

Frisk paused in front of the elevator. She had expected more guards, but Hotland was surprisingly vacant. “Just tell me. Tell me about the day when you screwed everything up. What did you do?”

Chara’s heart twisted, wringing out every drop of pain it could. What the hell had be been thinking? Telling her all this, of course it wouldn’t make her see him fondly. They had no good memories! Not a single thing about them was good for her.

He did ruin her, didn’t he? 

He already knew that. He had known that and he said he loved her anyway. So why the fuck did it still hurt?

You weren’t going to do anything…

“Huh?"

It was, uh, after you stayed with Papyrus and… you know who. Undyne showed up and… murdered you because Papyrus was an idiot and told her. It wasn’t even the first time someone killed you, which was frustrating because you still weren’t fed up.

The light of their red soul had been dim. She stood alone in the void. Those chocolate brown eyes of hers were shimmering with tears. She held her left arm and stared down at her feet.

She looked terrified of the options before her:

*CONTINUE

*RESET

She couldn’t bring herself to touch them. Chara watched from the shadows as she began to talk to herself.

“Why…” she mumbled, just before she fell to her knees. Her body was trembling with aftershocks of the wounds that killed her. She suddenly bursted into loud, ugly wails, shouting the words that finally broke Chara.

“I’m sorry!" she cried - again and again and again. 

She was sorry. She, who was just murdered for being human, was sorry.

It had pissed Chara off like nothing else and he wasn’t able to hide anymore. So what could he say other than,

"Shut the fuck up."