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It's Still You

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The first time Frisk heard the voice was when she tumbled into the underground. At first, it was barely there. A soft murmur that only occasionally spoke up- very quiet and subtle- a soft, unsteady, difficult to understand whisper. It wasn’t exactly friendly, but it wasn’t truly hostile either. Eventually, it became clearer. The first time Frisk heard obvious words clearly was when she “fought” the training dummy.

 

You encounter the dummy. It said, dry and with a less-than-subtle tinge of snark.

 

Frisk was at a loss. Toriel had told her to talk to the dummy, but what on earth would she say? Eventually, the child settled on a simple greeting.

 

“Ummm, hello!” She squeaked.

 

It doesn’t seem much for conversation. The soft voice murmured, stronger now. Frisk bit back a giggle, as Toriel swept forward. Toriel seems happy with you… They added hesitantly. More and more emotion was seeping into their voice. There was a subtle notion of what Frisk felt was… pride?

 

“Who are you?” Frisk muttered softly. The presence jolted. Frisk wasn’t sure how she knew that. It just felt as if somebody jumped in shock.

 

You can see me? It pleaded hopefully. Frisk wondered if they could hear her thoughts, and firmly sent out what she hoped the Voice could hear as “no”.

 

Oh. Voice sounded disappointed, and Frisk felt the presence droop a bit.

 

I can hear you though! She thought-spoke as she trailed after Toriel, pulling the levers that she was told to. Toriel’s warm, proud smile made Frisk feel quite Determined.

 

...Hey. It sounded mischievous. Pull that other switch. The one on the wall. Frisk hesitated, glancing about. Toriel wasn’t looking, and she doubted it could do any harm if she did. She darted over and threw her full weight on it. All fifty pounds of tiny human child tugged down on the switch...

 

It didn’t even budge. The voice groaned, and Frisk pressed on. Lame.

 

Did you expect anything?

 

I thought maybe a booby trap would happen. It’d be exciting. Like spikes would come from the walls or something!

 

I don’t think that would be very exciting. It would be scary.

 

Psh! Fear is just another kind of excitement.

 

Not the best kind.

 

You don’t watch many horror movies, do you?

 

Frisk shrugged, then paused. Directly in her path, his head tilting from side to side in curiosity was what appeared to be a giant, wide-eyed, blank-faced frog. Why Frisk immediately assumed that the frog would have an expression at all was beyond her.

 

He seems… interesting?

 

The frog blanched suddenly, his head drooping and a rather timid expression appearing on his face. He slowly shuffled away. Baffled, Frisk raised her head and found Toriel glaring at the Froggit with death in her eyes.

 

Go Goat Mom!

 

Goat Mom? Frisk couldn’t help but smile a bit- the same thought had crossed her mind, although she had decided against calling the Monster “Mom” just yet. The voice was quiet after that, until Frisk finally got bored of waiting for Toriel in the long corridor, and the last phone call she received seemed to be that of a small white dog.

 

Wait, how did I know that the dog was small and white? Frisk blinked, shaking the sudden torpor from her mind.

 

...That’s kinda spooky. You can hear me AND know the color of a dog based on sound… are you some kind of psychic?! The voice sounded excited and a bit gleeful. How many fingers am I holding up? Tell me the future! MOVE SOMETHING WITH YOUR BRAIN.

 

Frisk nearly staggered from the internal volume boost. “Agh! No! No I’m not! Stop yelling!”

 

A nearby Froggit ribbited in alarm. Clearly this poor little human was mentally deranged, and he decided to politely maintain a slight distance from the poor delusional girl.

 

Oops. Voice mumbled sheepishly. Sorry! They didn’t sound sorry at all. If anything, Voice was bemused.

 

Frisk groaned and sighed. She stomped out of the room and squeaked, finding a large bowl full of candy.

 

“Please take one…” She read, before lightly plucking a piece from the bowl.

 

Only one? But they’re tiny! Whined the Voice. Don’t I get one?

 

Can you even eat?

 

I’m not sure! I’m kinda new to this whole “being a ghost of a long-dead human” thing.

 

Is… that what you are? I didn’t just hit my head?

 

Well, you don’t sound all that alarmed that I told you I’m dead so that’s a sign that yes you may have hit your head. But I am certainly here! Cogito Ergo Sum.

 

Huh?

 

Nevermind. Yes. I’m dead. Oh, that’s right. Chara!

 

Who?

 

Me, idiot. The voice sounded annoyed. My name is Chara. You?

 

Frisk! She smiled, at the invisible Chara.

 

...Weird name. But seriously, can I even eat? There was a pause and Frisk almost felt as if something moved beside her. ...I can’t even touch the bowl. Still, you may as well take one or two more, right?

 

Frisk shrugged. It couldn’t possibly hurt…

 

You took more candy? Chara giggled. How disgusting. Three pieces! You must be the scum of the earth!

 

“Stoppit.” Frisk whined, pocketing the pieces and putting her hands on her ears.

 

I don’t think that works. Chara called, sing-song. “La-la-la-la, I’m inside your bra-ain~!”


Oh my gosh, why are you so annoying? Frisk pouted.

 

I haven’t had anyone to bug in forever! Chara squealed gleefully. Just let me have this! I’ll behave later!

 

Frisk rubbed her brow softly, and nearly stepped on a small, jello-shaped monster. “...Hi?” She greeted uncertainly.

 

Moldsmal; Stereotypical. Curvaciously attractive, but noooo brains. Chara drawled sardonically. Oh! Flirt with it! Go on!

 

“What?!” Frisk blurted, flushing a bit. The moldsmal wiggled in a confused manner- words meant nothing to it really.

 

Chara kept insisting, and finally, Frisk reluctantly wiggled her hips. To her surprise, the jello creature wiggled back.

 

What a meaningful conversation! Chara remarked dryly. Wait. It actually worked?!

 

It had indeed. The satisfied moldsmal wiggled away, somehow seeming happier than before.

 

Huh.

 

Huh.

 

There was a brief silence. Frisk, after hesitating, continued her exploration of the Ruins. For a long while, no words were exchanged between the two, as they delved further and deeper into the Underground. Finally, Frisk broke the silence with a tentative, nervous question.

 

Chara?

 

What?

 

You said… you were dead right?

 

For a long time now.

 

How… did you die?

 

I- The voice cut off in a manner that was abrupt, even for telepathy.

 

None of your damn business! Chara hissed, sounding distinctly uncomfortable.

 

Frisk flinched. Sorry.

 

Chara didn’t reply. Frisk continued on her way. The awkward tension filled the air, thick enough to be sliced with a plastic knife.

Chapter Text

Chapter Two



The Ruins were in fact, mostly a straight line. It wasn’t exactly easy to get lost in this place. As she explored, Frisk nearly stepped on a strange ghost, who resembled a bedsheet. She hopped back quickly.

 

“Oh!” She yelped, Chara snickering in her head. “I’m so sorry.”

 

“...Oh…” The ghost murmured, his voice low and melancholy. “It’s okay.. I’m a ghost so it wouldn’t hurt… I guess… But it’s still nice of you… I usually come to the ruins because there’s nobody around… but today I met someone nice… Oh… I’ll get out of your guys’ way…”

 

“Wait, you guys?” Frisk squeaked, but they were already gone.

 

Wha- He could see me? Well… I guess he is a ghost… Hey. If we see him again, ask him. I wanna know more! Nobody’s ever seen or heard me before. And if we’re both ghosts maybe he can tell us why you can hear me and nobody else.

 

Well, if you say so… Frisk thought, awkwardly scratching the back of her head. This place was really baffling to her.

 

Maybe you just had a head that was empty enough for me to live in.

 

Hey!

 




Put it on put it on put it on put it on put it on put it on! Chara chanted gleefully to Frisk as the small human examined a cute little ribbon.

 

I’m going to, stop yelling!

 

Chara whined petulantly, but silenced herself as Frisk finally wove the ribbon in her hair.

 

That’ll make things easier. Chara asserted, seeming pleased Monsters won’t attack as hard if you make yourself look cute.

 

Cute huh?

 

...Well, your presence doesn’t revolt me and disgust me at the very least. Chara sounded a bit icy. Most humans are, frankly repulsive.

 

I don’t think so. Frisk thought. Some are bad, but most aren’t. I think everyone deserves a chance to be good.

 

Chara didn’t respond. She was done talking. Frisk shivered. The silence was not a pleasant one. There was a kind of bitterness to it that made the little human scramble silently to change the subject, but her mind was blank

 

...Idiot. Chara spoke up suddenly. You’re too nice. You’re gonna get yourself hurt one day. You already got hurt by that flower thing because you gave him a “chance”. You honestly should be dead by now…

 

Now it was Frisk’s turn to go quiet. She had no idea what to say to that. She couldn’t really think of a time where she was referred to as “too nice” by anyone. It was a rather foreign concept to the little human. After all, being nice was simply the right thing to do, so how could she be “too nice”? Was it a sort of “too much of a good thing” scenario?

 

Chara snorted, sensing Frisk’s utter bewilderment. Wow, you can’t even fathom that can you? You had better make some friends who can actually protect you, because if not your whole “nice” thing is gonna get you killed.

 

We’ll see about that. Frisk thought. She felt more determined than ever to prove Chara that she could get along fine by being nice.

 

She had to admit, having more friends sounded nice though…

 

...are we friends? Frisk inquired, not totally sure.

 

Eh. We’ll see. Chara sounded dismissive. Frisk sighed, using the branch she had been carrying as a walking stick. All this walking was beginning to wear on her mind, her head lowering a bit. She could go for a nap…   Oh. Watch out for that- Frisk neatly tripped on a rock and fell on her face. ...That rock.

 

Gee, you actually lost an HP for that… You really are a fragile human. Good thing Monsters don’t fight physically.

 

An… “H P”? Frisk, once again felt rather baffled, as she examined the various switches in the room around her, clicking them in the order that the signs instructed.

 

It’s not important. I’m basically saying that hurt you. Chara sounded airy, as if she didn’t really care. It’s only one. You still have nineteen more before you die.

 

Does dying… hurt?

 

Chara went silent, and Frisk could sense a powerful wave of discomfort. She flinched a bit, realizing she had spoke without thinking. Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to-

 

Don’t. Just… Don’t. Chara had an aggressive hint to her voice. It wasn’t your fault. Just keep going, okay? Frisk lowered her head a bit, guilt once again creeping in. She kept going, eyes on her feet until she bumped into something tall and soft.

 

Toriel gasped, surprised. “Oh my goodness! My child, how did you get here? Oh dear, it seems you scraped your knee!” She glared, in full mother mode as she knelt to examine the scrape. It wasn’t serious, but she placed her paws on it to heal it anyway. “Did someone do this to you?!”

 

“N-no!” Frisk stuttered, surprised. “I just tripped, that’s all… I’m s-sorry I didn’t wait…”

 

“Well… I suppose it is not important.” Toriel relaxed, taking Frisk’s hand in hers. “After all, you’ve proven you can traverse the Ruins fine…” The monster woman carefully examined the tiny human’s hand, before leading her inside the large house. “Home” was written above the entrance

 

...This place has changed… Chara mumbled softly, distantly. How strange. I think… I think that I’ve been gone for a very long time…




 

Frisk was dreaming. The bed was soft and warm, and it provided comfort and had her asleep in minutes. In her dream, she was standing, surrounded by golden flowers that both seemed calming, yet inexplicably unsettling. There was a soft breeze, and a sky filled with stars and a crescent moon. Someone was sitting in the field ahead. Frisk approached them cautiously, before the figure turned. They had soft, rosy cheeks, and light reddish-brown hair. Their eyes were a startling shade of deep red. The stranger smiled at Frisk, opening their mouth to speak.

 

“Greetings. I am Chara.”

 

“What?!” Frisk blurted, confused and bewildered. Chara cackled. Her voice was… odd. It had a lilting quality to it that made her sound almost like she was making light of everything.

 

“I guess I’m in your dreams too.” Chara sang, grinning. “I can mess with you even more. Kinda.”

 

“But… I thought dreams just kinda happened.” Frisk mumbled. She only had the most tenuous grasp of what was going on.

 

“Well, I’m hardly an expert on dreams and the brain myself, but here’s what I think is going on, kinda.” Chara grinned, suddenly floating up in the air. To her consternation, Frisk began to float as well. “Dreams are kinda like messages from your subconscious. They can have meaning, or they can just be a ton of images from your day that you missed; subliminal messages, so to speak.”

 

“Uh…” Frisk sort of understood. It was a bit out-there for the young girl. She wasn’t even really a teenager yet.

 

“So what happens if your conscious mind realizes it’s dreaming? You lucid dream!” Chara clapped excitedly. “You could do anything! And since I’m somehow part of your mind, I can too!” The space around them warped to a strange black room, filled with glowing blue flowers and white, shining gems all around. “Sort of like imagination, only more “real”.”

 

Frisk squeaked as she was placed on the floor, and fell a bit. “So you’re doing this?”

 

“Yep!” Chara grinned, drifting to sit next to her. “You can too, thanks to me being here. I’d be willing to wager that you didn’t even realize you were dreaming until I said “hi”.”

 

“Oh.” Frisk went quiet for a while, relaxing now that she understood. (But not really.) “So is this what you look like?”

 

Chara’s smile wavered and shrank. “Well, it’s the last I remember. I don’t think I’d look that hot now. Probably just bones and rags… I’d say it’s more like… our minds are sort of… merged? I’m just projecting what I remember myself to look like… Kinda. Maybe. I’m guessing.”

 

“Well, guesses are all we have to work with.” Frisk giggled, “And they sound like pretty good guesses… What do you think happened? To make us like this?”

 

Chara’s smile was gone now, her face deadly serious. “This place is strange, Frisk. You’ll be able to… do things over, if you get them wrong. If you’re Determined enough, you could reset everything, at least to the point you where fall down.” Something about the word “reset” sent a chill down Frisk’s spine. “I think… You woke me up? When you fell? And what was left of my Soul and Determination might have just… clung to you.” Chara quivered. “...I think you might have… changed me, too. I’m not normally so.. Amicable. It’s only been a few hours, and we’re already becoming friends.” Chara paused, seeing alarm in Frisk’s face. “But don’t worry! I’m still just me, Chara. I still seem to be... Mostly here.” She giggled, a bit nervously.

 

Frisk hugged her knees. “...That’s good.” She admitted. “I wouldn’t want to make you change. I mean, if a person changes that much, are they still the same person?”

 

Chara snorted. “...Well, I haven’t changed that much, dummy.” She said, almost affectionately. “We’ll see what happens, okay? I’m sure both of us will be fine! Monsters are really nice. Even if they “attack” you, they’re not doing it on purpose, mostly… But for now, I’m gonna let you get some rest. I’m kinda sleepy too…” She paused, crinkling her nose. “...How does a ghost sleep? Guess I’ll have to find out.”

 

Frisk just smiled a tiny bit. “Well uh… Goodnight Chara. Thanks for… helping. And being so nice. It’d be a lot scary if I was alone.” It was hard to tell because her cheeks were so rosey, but it seemed like the other blushed faintly. Chara huffed and glanced away.

 

“I’m just helping because I want to know what’s going on down here! Things seem a lot… different somehow. We’ll sort it out. G’night!” She sounded hasty, and soon, everything melted to darkness.

 

When Frisk awoke, she found a butterscotch-cinnamon pie slice on a plate on the floor, still fresh and warm. As she ate, she stumbled into the hall, looking around and finding herself gazing into a mirror. A smallish, slightly tan-skinned black-haired child with a dirty bandage on her cheek, a cute red ribbon in her hair and a stick on her shoulder.

 

With a gentle, almost playful warmth that Frisk never would have expected, Chara chimed in softly.

 

It’s you!

Chapter Text

Frisk sat at the exit to the ruins for a long time, before finally opening the door. Chara was numb and silent, but her presence never faded, and Frisk felt a modicum of comfort. Her face had a few very light burns on it, and her stick was singed at the tip. The smell of smoke was light in the air, but had faded. Finally, on shaky legs, Frisk stood, taking the tenuous steps through the door. The room was very dark. Ahead, was a small patch of light, and… Frisk recoiled suddenly, and Chara sensed what could only be described as true terror. Smirking sardonically, was Flowey.

"Clever." He remarked, smiling, eyes narrowed in a condescending manner. "Verrrryyy clever." He rose up a bit from the ground, a bit taller than before, his face a picture of mockery and wicked delight. "You think you're really smart, don't you?" He leaned forward, his smile reverting to that picture of innocence it was when he first appeared, but his voice still dripped with menace.

"In this world, it's Kill or BE killed." The Flower snickered, his smile widening in a perverse manner. "So you were able to play by your own rules this time…" His face warped and became absolutely terrifying, sharp jagged teeth and wide eyes with pinpricks of light in them. "You spared the life of a single person…" He giggled, his voice grating and harsh. "Don't act so cocky…"

"I know what you did." Frisk violently recoiled, eyes wide. If Chara were more solid, she would have likely done the same. Frisk could sense her shock and alarm. Flowey leaned in close,and Frisk tripped, the demented smile inches from her face, his voice innocent and light. "...You murdered her." For just a moment, he looked just like Toriel. It didn't last, beginning to warp and change, looking like a distorted image in a pond. "And then you went back, because you regretted it…" He giggled. Frisk looked on the verge of tears as she scrambled back a bit.

Chara felt a surge of hate towards this little flower. Everything about him made her feel wrong and uncomfortable. She wanted to punch his smug, smirking little face, but all she could do was seethe silently.

"You idiot." The flower taunted, his smile wide as a cheshire cat. "Do you think you are the only one with that power?" Frisk and Chara simultaneously uttered a single word.

"What?!"

What?!

"The power to reshape the world… purely by your own determination! To play God! The power to "save!"" He cackled, shrinking back down to his original spot. "...I thought I was the only one with that power. But..." For a moment, he seemed less malicious and more thoughtful, curious. "I can't Save anymore…Apparently your desires for this world override even mine… Well well…" He trailed off silently, before whirling and smiling. "...Enjoy that power while you can."

For a solid ten seconds, the flower laughed, a mad, raspy, shrieking cackle that filled the cave, before he vanished, burrowing back underground. Frisk remained pressed against the door, hugging her knees tightly. She was shaking and hiccoughing wildly, crying a bit.

Chara had told her the dust was a bad dream.

Chara didn't want Frisk to think that she had killed Toriel in a fit of terrified panic.

But it was clear now. The dust was real. The way she fell apart into nothing, before her soul, her fragile white soul cracked and shattered into nothing. All real. The way Frisk had simply collapsed and sobbed for gods-know how long, while Chara could only go back and forth between screaming and crying and laughing a humorless, panic-laugh out of sheer desperation that if she made light of it maybe the problem would stop, were both real.

Chara wasn't much for hugs or comforting others, but right now she really would like to be able to hug Frisk.

It's okay. She finally croaked out. We fixed it. We made it all better… We don't have to worry anymore… She didn't die.

Frisk remained silent for a while, before slowly standing, nodding. Determination glittered in her eyes. "Let's go."

Frisk walked forward, pushing open the great doors. For a moment, she was totally blinded. This place was white. Pure white in every direction one could turn their head. Frisk's feet crunched loudly in deep, heavy snow.

It's pretty. She thought, smiling as she shuffled through the snow. I've never seen so much snow before. She rolled some into a ball and giggled, tossing it haphazardly against a tree. She moved forward, shuffling along. But soon, she was shivering a bit.

Cold? Chara seemed thoughtful. We'd better find you someplace warm. Darn it! You should have looked to see if Mo- if Toriel had any coats.

Frisk just shivered as she trudged forward, eyes low. The cold was quickly warding off her initial exuberance.

CRACK!

Frisk froze. In the still, silent air, the branch snapping was like a gunshot. She sped up, hearing something moving nearby. Chara expressed alarm, but wordlessly. Something was following.

Frisk stumbled, and panted for breath, as she arrived at a short, rickety looking bridge. She hesitated, and felt paralyzed when a low, soft voice spoke. It was deep and had an unsettling edge to it.

"Human." The voice croaked. "...Don't you know how to greet a new pal? Turn around… and shake my hand."

Frisk, run. Chara pleaded, a bit too late, as Frisk slowly turned and…

FRRRRRRT!

"heheheheh." The skeleton grinned, pulling his bony hand away. "the old whoopee cushion in the hand trick… it's always funny."

For a moment, Frisk was stunned. Then, she began to smile. Then giggle. Then finally she cracked up, falling over almost. Chara snorted, more restrained, but she was radiating a sense of mirth. This strange monster was quite the prankster.

The skeleton's smile seemed to brighten somehow, and he neatly pushed Frisk back up.

"i'm sans." He said, his voice far more laid back and sardonic. "sans the skeleton." He was an odd one. Short and broad, clad in a heavy blue coat and slippers. Already, Frisk liked him, although Chara was more suspicious.

What's with him? I don't know if I like the way he's smiling.

Chara… Frisk reasoned. He's a skeleton. He's always smiling. He has no face to not smile with.

"...ow my brother, papyrus, he's a- hey? earth to human. hellooooo?" Sans tapped Frisk's shoulder.

"S-sorry!" She squeaked. "Th-thinking."

For a moment, Sans's smile shrank. "is that so?" The smile was back quickly, but the momentary, barely noticeable twitch was enough to unsettle Frisk a little bit. It felt like she was being interrogated. Like he knew something was going on. The little pinpricks of light in his eyesockets flitted up and down slowly over Frisk, inspecting her hands in particular. It was like he was searching for something. He relaxed suddenly, even more than before and grinned.

"actually, i think that's my brother over there." He perked up. "i have an idea…"


Frisk wasn't sure how she hadn't busted out laughing. Chara certainly had. The two skeletons' antics were incredibly amusing. From Sans's puns to Papyrus's outraged and exaggerated reactions had been some of the funniest things either of them had heard. When it was over, Frisk grinned at Sans.

"You're really punny."

Oh no.

"thanks kiddo." His eyes lit up brightly. "i like to think i'm pretty humerus."

Oh god no.

"Tibia honest, I thought y-your jokes were great!" Frisk's grin widened, partly at the pun, but also at Chara's screech.

Frisk, please stop.

Sans chuckled. "heheh… not bad kid. You could be a comedian, no bones about it."

Frisk, don't you dare make another pun.

Fine. But only for now. Later I'll make more!

Why.


Snowdin was nice, when you could actually experience it warm. After solving Papyrus's first puzzle, Sans had noticed Frisk's runny nose and shivering and handed her his coat, letting her wrap the oversized garment around herself.

Chara had been oddly quiet as they went through the snow. Frisk shot a few polite inquiries, but Chara barely answered, only offering one-word replies, and sometimes not even acknowledging them. She seemed to be in consternation.

Finally, Chara timidly mumbled something. ...He was looking for dust.

What?!

When Sans was staring at us, he relaxed because there was no dust on our hands.

Oh. Frisk flinched. ...We better not disappoint him, right? No more dust.

… Chara was surprised. Frisk's resolve was really something. That much Determination, in one tiny human… It fed her own. Chara felt Determined now, too. Right. No more dust. We made a mistake and we're not going to make it again.

We'll do fine, I- Frisk, I'm trying to be motivational. Stop petting that dog.

Frisk giggled and nuzzled the white dog, who had dropped his shield and stone "Dogger" as Frisk called it. Chara groaned, and then made a noise of confusion as Lesser Dog's neck began slowly stretching.

...Lesser Dog has entered the realm of the clouds.

...Oh, here he comes again. Lesser Dog is lowering.

Perhaps man was not meant to pet this much.

For god's sake, Frisk, knock it off already. This is ridiculous. His neck is way too long.

...It seems you may have a problem.

Finally, the Lesser Dog's neck slipped back into its normal length. It gave Frisk a friendly lick, and then darted off into the snow. Frisk giggled and wiped the slobber off her face. She resumed shuffling through the snow, looking more determined than ever.

You find determination from the weirdest places, Frisk.


"NYEH-HEH-HEH!" Papyrus cackled. "YOU SOLVED THAT EASILY… TOO EASILY." He stared down at the tiny human before him, dressed in a dirty, wet sweater and his brother's coat.

"SANS, WHY IS THE HUMAN WEARING YOUR JACKET?"

"the kid was cold bro." Sans shrugged, opening one eye. He was just about to drop into another nap. "i figured a frozen human would be bad at puzzles."

"HM." Papyrus nodded. "THE GREAT PAPYRUS APPROVES OF THIS. IT WOULD NOT BE FAIR IF I TRIED TO CAPTURE A HUMAN WHO WAS FROZEN"

"yeah." Sans's smile widened. "i told them this wasn't the time to "chill"."

"AAAK!" Papyrus shrieked. Frisk giggled, and even Chara had to suppress a snort. These puns were awful and yet she was finding them oddly amusing.

"YOU HAVE NO STANDARDS." Papyrus fumed, as he stormed off, presumably to the next puzzle. "I HOPE YOUR NEXT PUZZLE IS BETTER THAN YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR."

"bro, that's impossible. nothing is better than my sense of humor." Sans chortled. "the puzzle is so good the kid'll be frozen to the spot tryin' to solve it."

Papyrus just groaned.

"SANS, YOU HAD BETTER HELP ME CAPTURE THIS HUMAN! IF THEY GET AWAY I MIGHT NEVER BE IN THE ROYAL GUARD."

"well you might wanna hurry up bro. the kid is already ahead of us."

"WAIT, HUMAN!" Papyrus tore off, somehow failing to notice Frisk was standing right next to Sans, trying to withhold her giggling fit. Papyrus vanished ahead, his voice fading. "HUMAN, PLEASE DO NOT PASS THE PUZZLES BEFORE I AM FINISHED SETTING THEM UP! THE GREAT PAPYRUS DEMANDS IT! OR AT LEAST HE ASKS YOU VERY NICELY!"

"hehehe." Sans grinned. "i think my bro is having fun. thanks." Before Frisk could reply, he turned a corner and was gone, presumably to catch up with his brother.

"...Huh." Frisk mumbled, surprised. Sans was a lot faster than she would have thought. Neither she nor Chara noticed that his footprints had simply stopped in the snow.


When Frisk and Chara arrived in Snowdin, Frisk was exhausted. She was cold, her legs hurt, she had a small bruise where the Greater Dog had given her a friendly tackle, and her burns still stung from when-

Frisk immediately distracted herself by noticing a cozy looking inn. Maybe she could get a bed and have a rest. Her perception of time here was distorted, but Chara hazarded a guess that she had been awake for about a full day. Twenty-four hours was far too much time for a human to be awake and constantly dodging attacks, so the fact that she was allowed to rent a room with a real bed sounded like heaven to her. She placed the Eighty gold pieces on the counter for the bunny Monster that ran the place, and stumbled upstairs, heading right into the room she was given and nearly collapsing into the bed.

I'm probably not going to bug you in your dreams. Chara sounded amused. You need the sleep more. I'll be here. As always. It's not like I can leave anyway-

But Frisk was already asleep, utterly exhausted and in dire need of rest. Chara snorted, but smiled, shaking her head. Although she was a bit ghostly, she sat on the bed. Chara didn't notice, but when she did, the mattress sank down ever so slightly. As if the invisible figure had some kind of weight to her, however slight.


Frisk was a light sleeper, as it turned out. She remained asleep for a good while, until someone started snoring in the other room. The girl sat up, rubbing hereyes and brushing her brown bangs from her face. Chara didn't notice right away- she seemed to be resting, or doing whatever it is ghosts do instead of sleep. When she did move, Frisk could have sworn that she saw a little faint blur for a moment, but it was gone soon after.

Muh… I forgot how great sleep felt. I didn't even realize I still COULD sleep. She mumbled. I feel so much more lucid. Or maybe I just am deluding myself.

Frisk shrugged, lacing the ribbon back into her hair. She had turned the goofy bandana that she had bought the previous evening (maybe it was afternoon, time was hard to gauge here) inside out and wore it as a scarf, before tugging the heavy coat Sans had temporarily lent her on. Chara laughed.

You look like a dork.

Frisk stuck her tongue out and headed downstairs, leaving her key with the innkeeper, and leaving into the gentle cold of wandered towards the middle of town, bandana-scarf tugged around her face.

I'll take being warm over being fashionable any day. Frisk thought. I hate the cold.

Huh, really? Chara mused. Well, if I remember correctly, Waterfall is a bit cool, but much warmer than here. It's a little wet, er, obviously, but it's certainly not a snowy underground forest.

I always thought trees and plants needed sun. Frisk thought, glancing up. The Underground went up for miles. They must have been near the bottom of the mountain here. We're so deep I can't even see the ceiling in here!

We are buried under a mountain. Chara muttered. Though I agree, this place is quite large.

So absorbed in looking up, Frisk didn't notice that she was about to crash into someone until it was too late. The small monster was about her height, yellow, with horns running down their head, a long tail and legs, and no arms. They were clad in a striped shirt.

"Ah…! I-I'm sorry!" Frisk blurted, helping the Kid stand. "I wasn't… paying much attention… S-sorry!"

"Yo!" The kid laughed. "It's fine! Hey, you're a kid too, right?" Frisk nodded and the Monster Kid grinned wider. "I can tell because you're wearing a striped shirt."

"I n-never noticed it being that popular for kids…" Frisk admitted, glancing at her sweater. "I guess I don't pay a l-lot of attention." She tugged it thoughtfully. "...Stripes do look good."

I can't fathom it. Chara complained. Ever since I fell I keep bumping into kids with striped shirts. I guess I'm being a bit of a hypocrite. I wore them too.


WHAT.

Chara had sort of expected Papyrus to try and Fight against Frisk. He seemed to have been psyching himself up for it, even when professing his friendship. She could tell right away that he was holding back tremendously. And the fact that his magic was mainly comprised of bone attacks was unsurprising as well. But she had not expected him to change the color of Frisk's Soul. It had a strange effect on her- Frisk was dodging attacks like a pro, but now, with her soul blue, she was stumbling and tripping more, as if she was much heavier, having a hard time keeping track of the fast moving magic attacks.

HOLY CRAP. Chara blurted after Frisk barely rolled out of a rather impressive series of bone attacks. He's tougher than the dogs and they're actually part of the Royal Guard!

Chara please stop talking I'm getting distracted- Frisk thought back, leaping over a row of short bones, ducking under a tall one from above and twisting to avoid another- only to get clobbered by a blue attack.

Frisk grimaced. That had hurt, but it wasn't too serious at least. Papyrus stood proud for a moment, before noticing the way the human girl was holding her side. She looked so fragile in that moment, and he had to admit that he suddenly felt absolutely awful for hitting a child.

"THE GREAT PAPYRUS WOULD ELECT TO HAVE A BREAK!" He boomed, suddenly scooping Frisk up, ending the battle on the spot. He looked worried, although he was trying to hide it. Chara could sense a nasty bruise forming on Frisk's lower ribcage.

If he'd been swinging full force, I'd say that could have probably killed you. Chara marveled. I've never seen a monster have so much control.

Frisk was exhausted already, bruised on the ribs and, frankly, too relieved that Papyrus had chosen to Spare her. They had more or less accepted each other's Mercy, after a long and- honestly- kind of fun battle.

Papyrus took Frisk right into his couch and plopped the little human down carefully. "SMALL HUMAN! IS THERE SOMETHING YOU REQUIRE?" He said, his voice a bit softer, though no less bombastic. Frisk shrugged Sans's coat off.

"Umm… J-just a little snow or ice, wrapped in a t-towel." Frisk suggested, doubting that a skeleton would have a proper ice pack handy. "A sm-small towel!" She added quickly. No doubt if she hadn't, Papyrus would have likely taken a full sized towel or blanket and filled it up. Instead, he went out for less than a minute and returned with some snow, wrapped a washcloth. Frisk pressed it to her bruise.

"HUMAN, WHY IS YOUR SKIN ALL DARK WHERE MY BONE ATTACK HIT YOU?" Papyrus looked, curiously, a little worried. "OH NO! YOU ARE TERRIBLY INJURED AREN'T YOU?"

Frisk giggled, shaking her head. "N-no, it's just a bruise. It just swells up a bit, so I put something c-cold on it to make it go back to normal and stop h-hurting. I've done this a l-lot."

Something about the way she said that rubbed Chara exactly the wrong way. She dearly wanted to probe further, but she could tell without even asking that Frisk would not even acknowledge any questions.

Besides, Papyrus's antics were distracting enough anyway. Somehow, a small white dog had entered the house and was trying to gnaw his leg.

"HEY! YOU STUPID DOG! QUIT MUNCHING ON MY BONE! NO, THAT DOES NOT MEAN I WANT YOU TO CHEW ON A DIFFERENT ONE. PLEASE REMOVE MY LEG FROM YOUR MOUTH. I PUT A LOT OF HARD WORK INTO THAT." He wasn't really yelling. His voice just had a surprisingly loud quality, although it was slightly lessened by his moderately high-pitched tone. "...NOW YOU ARE CHEWING UPON MY ARM. THIS IS NOT A PLEASING DEVELOPMENT. SANS! GET THIS DOG OFF OF MY ARM. WHY IS THERE A DOG IN OUR HOUSE RIGHT NOW?" Papyrus finally dislodged the dog, and tossed it outside. Sans, watching slumped over the upstairs balcony grinned a little wider.

"good loft." He remarked dryly, watching the dog crawl out of the snowbank that Papyrus had hurled it into. "but i think you really should…"

"SANS. I ALREADY KNOW THE PUN YOU ARE ABOUT TO SAY AND AM BEGGING YOU NOT TO SAY IT."

"...you should…" His grin widened. Papyrus let out a long sigh that lasted a good five seconds.

"...THROW THE DOG A BONE?" He asked, a hand over his face.

Frisk giggled.

"no, i was gonna say to close the door before he gets back in."

Papyrus's face was one of horror when he realized what Sans had just pulled. "OH MY GOD! YOU TRICKED ME INTO MAKING A PUN! SANS! WHY!"

"dunno what you're talkin' 'bout bro." Sans shrugged, retreating to his room. "i thought it was hilarious."

Papyrus flopped on the floor. Frisk joined him, giggling a bit. Papyrus cracked a smile at that and sat up, proclaiming that he would fetch Frisk something to eat. That something turned out to be spaghetti. Frisk's face scrunched when she tasted it, but so as not to be rude, she ate some more. She was rewarded with a huge beaming smile from Papyrus that filled her with determination to finish the nearly inedible creation.

I don't know what Mother was talking about. Chara grumbled. She played up the Underground as if every monster around would be out for blood. Instead we have a bunch of dogs that you beat by petting and a pair of friendly, dorky skeletons.

I don't think it's nice to call them dorks.

Frisk, you're a dork. I'm probably one too.

Huh. That's an odd thought. I guess it's not exactly wrong… Frisk sighed.


Waterfall was warmer than Snowdin. It wasn't pleasant as the Ruins, but instead of bitter cold was a gentle cool and damp area. It was pretty here, too, with strange, blue flowers and mushrooms growing, as well as thick, seaweed-like grass. Frisk and Chara were both surprised to see Sans there, looking bored as could possibly be.

"what's with that look?" He chuckled. "haven't you seen a guy with two jobs before?" Frisk shook her head honestly. "...huh. okay." Sans shrugged it off. "fortunately two jobs means twice as many legally required breaks." He winked lazily. "speaking of which… i'm goin' to grillby's. wanna come?"

The food at Grillby's was as greasy as one could expect, but far tastier and much more filling than Papyrus's pasta attempts. The diner was warm, and as far as company went, Sans wasn't that bad to hang around- although Frisk did grimace a bit when he chugged an entire bottle of ketchup. It wouldn't be as bad if it weren't for the fact that she wasn't too fond of ketchup.

I don't like ketchup either. Chara remarked in agreement. Frisk could sense a fair bit of revulsion from the ghost.

"oh yeah." Sans leaned in suddenly, smiling. "i wanted to ask ya somethin'." The skeleton's smile never faded, but his tone suddenly became soft and low. "...have you ever heard of a talking flower?"

Frisk hesitated, feeling as if suddenly the two were in a spotlight, all focus on them. Chara made a surprised noise, considered it, then suggested; Go ahead, maybe he knows something. It might be useful. Frisk nodded slowly, comforted by the advice.

"so you know all about it." Sans nodded solemnly, despite the grin. "the echo flower. they're all over the marsh. say something to them, and they'll repeat it over and over…" Frisk started to open her mouth to ask, but Sans answered first. "well... my brother told me something… strange recently." Sans's gaze bored into Frisk. "sometimes, when no-one else is around, a flower appears and whispers things to him." Frisk made a soft alarmed sound. "...flattery… advice… encouragement…" Just for a moment, Sans's eyes went completely dark. "...predictions."

Frisk felt an icy chill run down her spine at that. The only comfort she had was Chara's presence, which shifted, clearly disquieted and uncomfortable.

Frisk… Chara squeaked nervously. Something about this guy is off. I don't like him.

"keep an eye out, okay?" Sans finished, hopping out of his seat. If he said anything else, Frisk was too stunned to absorb it.

I thought he was just a goofy short guy, but I really really get a bad vibe from him…

I don't think so… He just seemed kind of… worried.

And now, as Frisk concluded, she was too.

Chapter Text

Waterfall was beautiful. Frisk marveled at the sparkling stones, strange grasses and mushrooms and the soothing sound of quietly rushing water everywhere she went. It was soothing. She had to wade in shallow water now and then, but the place was just warm enough for it to not matter too much. Although Chara was quite irked when Frisk suddenly decided to go behind a waterfall.

Frisk, if you were wrong, that water would have probably killed you. Chara grumbled. It's a good thing we have a Save Point so close, but stop doing things that might kill us- Frisk why in gods name are you putting that on? The human was wearing an old, dust-covered tutu. It wasn't as powdery as monster dust, although it had been there for a long time, so perhaps, once upon a time, it was.

You did say looking cute will make monsters hit less hard.

Chara didn't answer. She blocked her thoughts from Frisk for a moment to silently concede that Frisk did look a bit adorable in that outfit. She even could pull the bandana off well, wearing it around her neck, with a pink leather glove on the hand that she carried her stick in, and the length of ribbon still wound in her hair.

Whatever. She finally said, as Frisk proceeded through the caverns. If you want to wear it then- Suddenly she stopped for a moment. Frisk, get down and hold still. Someone's there.

Frisk wasn't sure what it was in Chara's tone, but it made her instantly drop low, peeking up through the grass. She could make out a tall, heavily armored figure. A single eye could be seen beneath their helmet, glowing a soft white.

"H-HI UNDYNE!" Papyrus, unmistakably. Frisk could juuust make him out from the corner of her eye. "I'M HERE WITH MY DAILY REPORT! ABOUT THAT HUMAN I CALLED YOU ABOUT EARLIER…" A voice, too soft to make out. "OF COURSE I FOUGHT THEM! I FOUGHT THEM VALIANTLY!" Frisk nodded in agreement. He really had. He'd totally mopped the floor with her too.

"W-WHAT? DID I CAPTURE THEM? UH WELL… I… NO." Frisk cringed at hearing that. Papyrus was probably cringing too. "I TRIED VERY HARD UNDYNE, BUT IN THE END… I FAILED…" The other voice again. A bit louder, but still too quiet to hear clearly. Frisk could sense some kind of hostility. She prayed that it wasn't directed at her skeleton friend. "...WH-WHAT?" Alarm now, Papyrus was clearly rattled. "YOU'RE GOING TO GO AFTER THE HUMAN YOURSELF?"

Frisk pressed herself flatter into the ground, eyes huge. "BUT UNDYNE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DESTROY THEM! YOU SEE… Y-YOU SEE…"

"I… I UNDERSTAND. I'LL HELP IN ANY WAY I CAN." Frisk gave a relieved sigh, glad that Undyne was seemingly not angry with Papyrus. Frisk waited for a bit before beginning to slowly wriggle forward...

The grass rustled loudly as she did. Chara didn't even need to warn Frisk to stop. Frisk peeked up with her eyes. She could see the tall form of Undyne, holding a large, glowing spear, gazing below and glancing about. Finally, as soon as she had appeared, she was totally gone. Frisk didn't move for a while, until she was absolutely certain Undyne was gone, before standing, and slowly pushing out.

She was badly startled when the short yellow monster she had met in Snowdin ran out as well. "Yo!" They were bouncing eagerly, stars in their eyes. "Did you see the way she was staring at you? Man! What'd you do to get her attention! Ha ha! C'mon, let's go watch her beat up bad guys!"

Frisk couldn't get a word in edgewise, and the Monster Kid was gone as soon as he had come. She blinked.

Huh.


Ooh, I kinda remember this room. Hey, You see that pond in the bottom of the room? There's a cool place there! Use those Bridge Seeds!

Frisk shrugged, but obeyed. After all, Chara sounded so pleased she could remember. Frisk set the seeds down, and watched as they bloomed. She crossed them carefully, looking around.

Huh. That's new. Chara murmured, looking at the bench and the echo flower there. This room was empty way back when… Frisk?

Frisk was feeling incredibly uneasy. It was a strong sense of discomfort and a soft fear. Chara couldn't find any clear thoughts; Frisk was hiding them from her. Chara shrugged it off. It's only a bench, Frisk. Frisk nodded reluctantly, kneeling.

Huh? There was a small quiche there. It hadn't been there for long. When Frisk pulled it out it was still quite warm. ...How strange. Who would just leave this here? The girl set it on top of the bench for a moment, leaning close to the blue echo flower.

"I just wasn't ready for the responsibility." Murmured a soft, barely audible and trembling voice. Frisk sat numbly on the bench, while Chara mused on this. It was absurd. Absolutely ridiculous.

But for some reason, it filled Chara with a strange melancholy, and Frisk…

Frisk just hugged her knees softly, thinking, although she kept her thoughts to herself. She seemed dazed. Uncomfortable. Chara had no idea what to do. Comforting someone was hard enough when you knew for sure what was wrong. Instead, she settled on the bench next to Frisk, letting her wait it out.

Finally, the girl stood and walked out of the room.

She took the Quiche with her.


Frisk was moody now, which was only worsened by the general air of sadness that waterfall had- the ancient tale of the war between humans and monsters carved here, a constant reminder of the fact that this mountain was nothing more than a prison. She kept her head down, for the most part. The water was rushing softly beneath the docks, a low, soothing sound…

ACK! Chara yelped, as a spear slammed into the ground by Frisk's foot. Frisk didn't even look, she just bolted, charging full speed along the docks, occasionally dodging a spear. She nearly slipped on a damp patch into the water, but righted herself, and kept going. Spears flew after her and around her, faster and faster, one grazing her arm. Frisk dove into the grass, running in, before diving to the side and doubling back a foot, staying hidden, hoping she had thrown Undyne off.

The relentless pursuer stomped up, her armor metal and noisy. She shuffled about for a bit, then grabbed something- Frisk exhaled- it was that Monster Kid again! They squeaked, staring at Undyne with a surprised, huge smile. Undyne huffed, setting him down and storming off. Frisk quivered. The two had literally been a few feet apart.

Maybe we should find a place to take a breather. Chara murmured. The next room looks to be empty… Guess that kid saved ya, huh? Frisk nodded, as she found a piece of cheese on a plate, sealed in by crystal. A mousehole was nearby. This was a familiar sight.

Three mouse holes close to food huh? Chara was amused. Frisk was just… tired. It had been a long day. They were better now, than they were before. Hey um… Is it okay if I ask why you got so spun up in that room? She had a slight hunch already.

Frisk glanced away, despite not actually being able to see Chara. Maybe later. She replied tentatively. I don't want to right now…

Chara was quiet for a long time. ...Okay. I won't bug you about it.

Frisk didn't reply, but her gratitude spoke volumes. The human stood, dusting off her tutu. The damp of waterfall had the nice side-effect of cleaning it a bit, although there was still some of the thin dust left on it. She felt just a little more Determined now.


The next room had a large, grey door. Chara sounded confused. That definitely isn't familiar.

Frisk shrugged, reaching up to knock on it. She paused, a nameless fear suddenly gripping her heart. Before she could either advance or retreat, the door slowly creaked open. The room was white, like a hospital room. It was totally empty, save for a strange, hard to make out figure in the center. Frisk tentatively raised a hand to wave-

The figure stared at her and she felt absolutely paralyzed. A huge, frozen smile was carved into the Monster's face, cracks running from his eyes. Two pinpricks of light flashed in his eyes. Then he was gone. Frisk felt like she was in danger. She bolted from the room, squeaking. She hugged herself. "Ahh… Hahh.."

-isk?! Frisk?! Hey can you hear me?!

Frisk gasped. She hadn't realized it, but in that room she couldn't hear Chara clearly. She nodded quickly, catching her breath. And… Looking up to see a faded figure. Barely visible.

"Chara?!" She blurted, eyes wide.

What? Chara snapped. She paused for a moment, before the shadowy, hazy form flickering in alarm. Whoa whoa, can you see me?! What happened in there? I couldn't see anything! Frisk, what did you do?!

I-I-I- Frisk stuttered. She didn't know that her thoughts could stutter before. I went in and I… I saw… something…? I… Why can't I remember?! I was just in there!

Chara started laughing. The same stressed, panicked laugh from when they had accidentally struck down Toriel. Shaky, cracked and heaving like a sob. Ahah… hahah… Wow there is- I don't- I can't explain this. What happened to us? Ha… Hahahah! You can see me and I- Ha-! Well I think I'm the same. Maybe… heavier…?

Frisk tentatively reached out, but shuddered, her hand phasing through Chara. There was… a density there. It was subtle, but a definite presence.

Stop that! Chara scowled, trying to bat Frisk's hand aside. Frisk giggled a bit, the panic and tension broken. Chara snorted, but shook her head. Still, I don't think… I want anyone else to see me. So if we talk to anyone and you don't see me, I'm still around. Just hiding behind something or in a wall.

I think I understand. Frisk nodded, stumbling on ahead, her mind buzzing with confusion.


Frisk found a pair of Ballet shoes. They made her and Chara both feel uneasy, as if they were… dangerous to hold. She kept them anyway, just in case.


The flowers in the room ahead kept whispering to each other. Over the years, they had been bouncing back more and more whispers, until the room was nothing but a quiet cacophony of meaningless, overlapping, hisses and murmurs.

Frisk walked a bit faster.


"Hey… There… Noticed you were… Here." Offered the strange creature- they had given Frisk and Chara quite a fright, unintentionally, by slowly rising out of the water. "I'm Onionsan! Onionsan ya hear?"

Frisk offered Onionsan a small smile, and the octopus-like monster smiled back. "You're visiting Waterfall, huh!" They exclaimed- it wasn't a question, despite being phrased like one. More of an exclamation. "It's great here, huh! You love it huh!" Frisk couldn't help but giggle. The monster was just so happy about "Yeah, me too!" Frisk hadn't even opened her mouth. "It's my Big Favorite!"

"Even though…" For a moment, his smile wavered. He looked… like he was fighting to stay happy. He sank a bit beneath the water, hiding a little. "The water's getting so shallow here, I, have to sit down all the time… But…" He perked up. "H-hey, that's okay! It beats moving to the city and living in a crowded aquarium! Like… All my friends did…" They sank a bit, sadly. "And… The aquarium's full anyway, so even if I wanted to, I…" Frisk frowned sadly, sitting at the edge of the small body of water. Onionsan smiled up at her. "That's okay though, Y'hear! Undyne's gonna fix everything, Y'hear! I'm gonna get out of here and live in the ocean!"

Frisk grinned, and patted one of the Monster's tentacles. They made a happy noise. For a little bit, they sat in silence, then, Frisk stood. "I-I have to go." She apologized.

"Oh, o-okay…" Onionsan seemed a bit crestfallen. "Well, I'll see you around! Have a good time! In Waterfallllll…." They sank beneath the water.

As weird as that encounter was, Chara was pleased to note Frisk was feeling a bit better.


Chara marveled at Frisk. She had been impressed at how easily the girl befriended damn near anyone she met already, but it didn't stop it from being impressive. Figuring out to Flex at Aaron, to ask Woshua to clean her hands, and now, humming with Shyren. Although Chara could tell Shyren would be perfectly happy being Spared, Frisk didn't stop humming along. It began to escalate. More and more monsters came. Residents of waterfall, ones Chara could vaguely recognize and some total strangers. Crowds of them. Even Sans was there, selling…tickets made of toilet paper?

Frisk, Chara, and Shyren all didn't like crowds. But they were having too much fun to care. Finally, they made a farewell song, with no words needing to be spoken the whole time. Frisk gave Shyren a final smile, and the Monster smiled back, a tiny, shy smile, before hiding her face in embarrassment. The crowd dispersed. Frisk sat against a wall, smiling softly. That had been nice.

Sans offered a grin. Chara could tell he had a pun up his sleeves already, just from that look in his eye. Chara was all ready to groan in annoyance.

"gotta say kiddo, you're a real natural at performing. maybe music is your forte."

Chara groaned.

"I l-like music." Frisk smiled softly. "Do you?"

Frisk, don't set him up like that.

"sure do." Sans shrugged. "i play some trombone."

"M-maybe you should learn to play the xylobone too."

Sans beamed.

GAH.

You're laughing Chara.

Oh, bite me. She grumbled, hiding her amusement behind annoyance.


Frisk placed an umbrella in the statue's hands. Chara blinked, unsure as to why, when from inside, a soft music box began to play. Chara was sure she had never heard the song before, yet it brought her a sense of quiet nostalgia. Frisk and her listened to the short, gentle tune for a long while, just resting there. The song was soothing.

Frisk made her way back to the room near where she met Shyren; the room with the piano. She tapped each key in sequence, getting a feel for which note was which.

I played a little Piano… Chara confessed, a bit meekly. Um that key you just hit is an "E". I think that's the first note.

Frisk nodded, smiling a bit. Together, they slowly worked out the melody, note-by-note. Even when the door opened, Frisk stayed and played it a few more times, before entering the chamber ahead...


THAT GODDAMN DOG IS EVERYWHERE. WHY IS HE EVERYWHERE.

Frisk couldn't tell if that shout was one of rage or just unrelenting confusion. She just mentally patted Chara on the shoulder.


Frisk liked the Monster Kid- there hadn't been a single monster that she had met properly that she had disliked of course.

Except Jerry.

Fuck Jerry.

But she had to admit. As chipper and friendly and helpful as Kid was, he talked fast and quite a bit. She wasn't annoyed by this, just a bit worn out. She had been a bit tired ever since entering Waterfall. Sluggish. The only times she had been fast was when she was running for dear life. This place just wore her down. She kept dragging her feet, or stopping to rest for a long while. Chara was the only reason she hadn't stopped entirely.

Frisk, you really need to find a place to sleep. Chara fretted, resting what little weight she had on Frisk. And a real sleep, not a three minute nap or just sitting and staring at the stones in the ceiling for ten minutes.

This place… isn't very sleep-friendly. Frisk mumbled, a bit guilty. They smiled at Monster Kid, thanking him for his help, as he let her use him as a boost to keep going. Especially with Undyne after me. She's scary.

She is. She's also awesome. Chara gushed. She was keeping up with you and she was in a full set of armor! Really badass scary armor.

That's a swear. Frisk muttered.

You little hypocrite-

A blue circle appeared in front of Frisk, and she froze. More appeared, scattered about.

"Uh oh." She muttered. Spears erupted from the ground. It was time for that "running for dear life" thing again. Frisk ran, hearing Undyne clanging about on a bridge below them. She was fast, as Chara had said. A towering suit of armor, hurling spears up through the bridge like crazy. Frisk ran and ran and nearly tumbled off a dead end.

Silence. A long, frightening silence. Then the low, heavy footsteps, clanging loudly on the wooden bridge, like a pier that just… ended in the air. A horrible sound of wrenching, breaking cracking wood.

For the second time in less than a week, Frisk was screaming as she plummeted from a great height.

It was that flower field again. That vast expanse of her lucid-dreamworld. Frisk sat up. She must have been knocked out. She looked around for a bit. "C-chara?" She called out, shakily. It was silent. "Chara!" She called hopefully, a bit worried now.

But nobody came.

Frisk shook it off. Maybe Chara was just out of their headspace. She could hear a voice, a soft gentle voice that sounded kind and friendly. Young as well. It had a sweet, childish lilt to it.

"Oh… you've fallen down, haven't you?"

.

"Here, I'll help you… What's your name?"

"Chara? That's… a nice name."

"My name is…"


Frisk awoke with a start. She was on a soft surface inside a...house? She was a bit wet, which was sorta her default state in waterfall anyway. She also realized that her leg was currently experiencing agonizing pain and was bent the wrong way.

Frisk! Frisk jolted as Chara's presence nudged her. You're awake! No, no stay laying down, idiot. You got injured pretty bad when you fell. I was trying to get you out of that old garbage dump you fell in when they showed up!

Frisk turned her head a bit to see… Napstablook! He must have somehow taken her to this place. The bedsheet ghost was on his computer, headphones up.

So it turns out he can see me. I guess it's because we're both ghosts? Even if human and Monster ghosts don't work the same.

Frisk grimaced. Her entire side ached, and her leg… She could deal with a broken leg some other way. She had done it before after all.

Hey, Frisk, you should eat something you have. Chara prompted. Monster food does heal.

Frisk nodded shakily. Eventually, she fished the quiche from her Inventory.

How was I carrying that and why is it perfectly fine?

Magic nonsense. How else? Chara stayed close, as Frisk ate. It was a bit cold now. But still pretty good. Frisk gasped, feeling a strange tingle as her bruises and broken leg began to mend. It would be a few hours before it finished, so she just lay back in the makeshift bed. Napstablook had been fairly creative- folding a blanket several times for a mattress, then tucking another one atop Frisk lightly to keep her warm.

How did you two get me here?

Napstablook asked for help from some Monsters. Chara glowed a bit with amusement. That Shyren monster seemed to think she owed you, so she helped carry you. Since uh, neither of us are corporeal.

Frisk smiled softly. She would have to thank Shyren if she saw her again.

"Oh…!" Napstablook had finally turned, and floated over lightly. "You're alive… Good. Your friend was… crying more than I do…"

If Chara could blush, she would.

I didn't cry. I'm not some crybaby.

"Oh no… I made you upset again…" Blook looked away, their eyes despondent. "Oh no…"

Ack! Nonono, it's okay! Promise! Besides, you saved my friend, so even if you did I'd still be happy for you.

Napstablook swelled with the tiniest bit of pride. "I… did something good here, huh?" He seemed to smile. A little. Maybe. "...You look tired, um, human."

Yeah. You were out for an hour, but that's not really sleep. Why don't you sleep for real, Frisk? I wanted to ask Napstablook a few questions to see if he knows about ghosts like me.

Okay. Frisk smiled. ...Heheh. Don't start crying again because you're relieved I'm not dying.

… Chara huffed.

It's really sweet though. You're adorable, Chara.

OH MY GOD SHUT UP

Chapter Text

Napstablook wasn't a whole lot of help, but they tried their best. So far, Chara had determined a few small things:

1: Ghosts were incorporeal beings that somehow still managed to hold onto their souls after death; Chara was doubtful that she still even had a soul, and Napstablook could only guess that either she was sharing Frisk's Soul, or had a few fragments of her soul left.

2: Ghosts cannot die. They can still interact with the physical world, but being incorporeal, it is impossible to hit their Soul, physically. However, magic can still cause them pain and harm, though it cannot actually shatter their Soul, the only thing keeping them together

3: Ghosts can attach to a physical form. If they grow attached to it long enough or closely enough, it becomes "Them". This cannot happen accidentally: The ghost must choose their own body before connecting to it. (It was likely that Napstablook said that to reassure a worried Chara that she would not permanently fuse with Frisk and take over her.)

4: Once a ghost becomes corporeal, it begins to live again, normally. They no longer are a ghost; they will eventually die, just like any other monster, once they grow old, sick, or wounded enough, and will dust. This was a bit more tentative though, as Chara was never truly a monster…

Still, learning a little bit was better than nothing. The third thing was most interesting to Chara. As much as she liked phasing through walls and doors to poke around, or being able to float, part of her wanted to be solid again.

Finally, it seemed that the Monster food had finished doing its job, and Frisk sat up. She had a new, fairly small scar on their leg from where Undyne's spear had grazed her, but was otherwise totally healed. The two said goodbye to Napstablook, who let them go sadly, thanking them timidly for the company.

Frisk continued through waterfall, wary as could be. Undyne would still likely be hunting for her, and she had to get as far from where she was last as soon as possible.

Chara, however, was optimistic for a change. If we're lucky, she won't follow us to Hotland. She mused. After all, I can't imagine anyone doing too well in a full suit of armor with lava everywhere.

That sounds like an awful place. Frisk grimaced. I like warm things but that's too much.

Some Monsters really like it. They like the heat. I agree though. It just seems like one big cauldron. It's like standing on the edge of hell. Too. Freakin'. Hot.

Frisk paused in her tracks, her brow furrowed. Before her was a small monster that she tentatively thought was cute, if… weird. It was white and fuzzy, and had a light-blue shirt on. Before Chara could even begin to narrate it, it suddenly blurted out a sentence.

"Special enemy Temmie appears here to defeat you!" She squealed, excitedly. "AwaWawaWa! OMG! humans too CUTE! (pets u)". She said all of that out loud, in a voice that Frisk could not begin to describe. Including the parentheses. It was odd. Somehow she pronounced them without actually saying the word "parentheses." Frisk glanced at Chara, who was just as utterly befuddled.

Rated Tem outta Tem?

Not the time Frisk. Uh… I guess she's Temmie. Loves to pet cute humans.

Frisk giggled.

What's so funny? I-

Frisk shot Chara a quick, flirty look. If Chara could, she would blush. Hard.

Oh. Quickly, Chara cast about for a distraction. Luckily, the fuzzy monster had one for her. Temmie is trying to glomp you.

Glomp? What-

The temmie tackled Frisk, in the Temmie equivalent of a wild, excited and friendly hug. Frisk giggled and laughed, as the Temmie began petting her. Chara couldn't help but grin at the sight. Until she noticed Frisk's eyes were watering.

Frisk? Holy crap! Get her off of you, Frisk!

"Agh…!" Frisk shuddered, pushing the little Temmie off. She scrubbed her watery eyes hard, sneezing violently. Temmie's ears flattened, saddened.

"NO!" Temmie squeaked. "Human… crying! Tem do BAD!" Temmie rolled over onto her back, legs in the air, eyes… somehow turning into "X"s. "(dies)". She whimpered.

"I'm not crying…" Frisk sounded bad. Hoarse. "My eyes a-are- Aa-aachoo!" She was beginning to break out.

"Nuu!" Temmie squeaked, alarmed. "Human allergics to tem…!" She seemed sad now. "Tem also allergics to tem." At which point, little red bumps spread over her face. "hOives!"

Chara looked at Frisk. Covered in hives, eyes watering and sneezing. It was like three different reactions to one thing. Even her tongue looked swollen.

Frisk! Chara gasped. Can you breathe?

She nodded, though she looked miserable. She dug around in her things, before finding a Sea Tea. She couldn't get anything solid, so she just sipped at the tea until her swelling went down a little. She whined a bit. Temmie looked even more sad.

"Tem sorry human. Tem unnerstan now. Tem go tell other tem that human allegics to tem. BoI!" And with that, she was gone. Although she had to return so that she could retrieve her face. Frisk had to sit on her hands to keep from scratching.

Are you okay?

I'm a little better now.

Good. I was worried you were gonna suffocate from that.

Aw, worried about me again?

N-no, I'm worried about me! Chara blurted without thinking. I mean uh, if you die, what happens to me?

Suuuure. Frisk was unconvinced. It was a flimsy lie. Even Papyrus, naive as he could be, could have seen through it. You like me don't you! You think I'm cute.

I'm not talking to you. Chara muttered.

Hey. Chara.

Chara.

Fine. Be that way. Frisk had to bite back a laugh, as she stood and continued on through the dark rooms of Waterfall.


"Behind you."

Frisk could swear that the temperature lowered by a few degrees, after that slow, menacing voice echoed from the flower and out into the room. Slowly, she straightened and turned. Chara curled her nearly-invisible shape around Frisk instinctively, half-hiding behind her and half protectively clinging to her.

There, before them, was the armored Knight. The Captain of Asgore's Royal Guard, and one of the most dangerous and powerful of all the Monsters underground.

Undyne.

"Seven." She spoke, catching Frisk and Chara had heard her speak yet. It was low, and muffled by her helmet. "Seven human Souls, and our king… King Asgore Dreemurr… Will become a god. Understand, human?"

Frisk flinched, feeling Chara's grip tightening. Get ready…

"This is your only chance at redemption. Give up your Soul. Or I'll tear it from your body."

Don't you DARE give up now.

Undyne tensed, to charge, spear glowing in her hand…

"Undyne! I'll help you fight!"

Frisk blinked. Of course. Monster Kid was looking for Undyne too.

"YO!" They squealed, excited, looking at Frisk. "You finally did it! Undyne is right in front of you! You have front row seats to her fight!" There was a long, awkward pause. Even Undyne wasn't sure what to do. It was clear she didn't want this child involved.

"...Who's she fighting?" They looked around in awkward silence. Undyne stomped up, catching Kid by their cheek and tugging the little monster off. "Hey! You aren't gonna tell my parents about this are you?" They squealed as they were pulled off.

Frisk, get out of here. If we really do need to fight Undyne, I'd rather not do it in a tiny corner.

Frisk sped up, finding a different path. She darted between echo flowers, only momentarily pausing to listen to them, though she walked quickly. Suddenly she stopped. She had seen something… moving in the water. She turned.

What's up? Chara asked, keeping an eye out for Undyne.

Frisk knelt by the echo flower she had passed, feeling around in the shallow water to see if she could find what was moving. Until a voice whispered out of the flower.

"Where oh where could that child be...? I've been looking all over for them…"

Frisk froze. Was that… Toriel? Suddenly, a second voice, all-too familiar.

"Hee hee hee. THAT'S not true. She'll find another kid and instantly forget about you… You'll NEVER see her again."

Frisk backed away and pressed against a wall, trembling in shock. Chara however was feeling a sense of pure, violent rage. How dare that wretched little creature use her mother's voice to torment someone? If she were solid she'd tear that repulsive flower to-

Chara. Frisk begged softly. Please calm down.

Chara sighed. She had to now. She just… accepted it. She couldn't let that little creep get under her skin, nonexistent as it may be. Toriel won't forget you. Chara promised, but there was a tiny, niggling doubt that she barely managed to hide from her companion.

Did Toriel still remember her?


Frisk pulled and pulled with all her might, until finally she managed to yank MK back up onto the bridge. The two flopped back, gasping for breath. Suddenly Kid was on their feet, standing defensively in front of Frisk.

"Y-yo… dude…" They said, voice shaky. "If you wanna hurt my friend… Y-you'll… have to go through me, first!"

Undyne backed down. Then left. She seemed… Confused, but somehow relieved. Kid sagged, breathing hard. "She's gone…"

Frisk looked at her new friend and beamed.

She was flooded with even more determination than before.


"Six. That is how many we have collected thus far."

It was that phrase that had caused Chara to flinch. The monsters had killed six humans. They had killed them. Chara couldn't understand. They had been so peaceful- so kind- what kind of madness could have happened that drove them to this?

Chara felt a rush of nervousness, and prayed to whatever god would listen, that it wasn't her fault. Her rather confused thoughts quickly hurled out the window by Undyne roaring at the top of her lungs as she threw off her helmet and ran right at Frisk.

Frisk didn't even need prompting from Chara this time. She ran. As soon as she had an opening, she tore right into the cave. She ran as fast as her little legs could carry, occasionally rolling or leaping to avoid a wildly flung spear. Undyne was faster than Frisk, but Frisk kept going, fueled by pure determination to not fight.

Frisk, be careful! She's about to-

Undyne threw a boulder at Frisk. It had to be more than twice her size. The massive rock rolled bounced, barely missing Frisk, it tumbled wildly into the abyss below. It crashed in the water at the bottom of the chasm, spraying Frisk with droplets.

...And now she's suplexing another one at you. Chara marveled, as Frisk tore ahead, through the gate that would lead her to Hotland. She was running so fast, that she didn't even have time to greet a very sleepy Sans. Heh. Looks like he distracted her just by being lazy. Chara snickered, at the sight of Undyne pausing to yell at him for sleeping on the job. Sans barely even noticed- or if he did notice, he didn't care that much.

Frisk's run was beginning to falter, but so was Undyne. The heat was finally getting to the fish woman, and she staggered, her breath heaving desperately. She looked less "hateful and enraged" and more "about to keel over."

Undyne did just that.

Frisk, wait! Chara yelped, as Frisk grabbed a cup of water, and began splashing it on Undyne's gills. You can't just help her! She'll still try to kill you.

Frisk paid her no mind, as she splashed a second cup on Undyne, the moisture seeping into her skin- it was quite peculiar to look at- like a mix between regular skin and scales. Undyne groaned and slowly sat up on her haunches. She still looked pretty bad- she didn't even have the energy to stand or make a vaguely threatening gesture at Frisk.

She'll be okay, Frisk, please, she's going to kill you if you stay here. Let's GO.

Frisk ignored her, and half-supported Undyne, dragging her slowly back towards Waterfall.

Both Undyne and Chara made a noise of utter bafflement. Frisk, tiny as she was, fueled by some hereto unseen massive well of determination, began to half-carry Undyne out of Hotland before she was cooked alive.

Undyne's head lolled- the heat getting to her again. She could barely think straight. She was, at the very least, impressed by this tiny human's stupidly tenacious attempts to help her.

Chara was less impressed, and more annoyed. Frisk, She whined. You can't get her all the way there. If you keep this up you're both gonna wind up passed out in the middle of Hotland.

Frisk made it all the way to the other side of the bridge. Sans had nodded off again, and was snoring softly. Frisk dragged Undyne a few steps further, bumping into the sentry stand, before collapsing backwards.

Told you. Chara sighed. At least the bump had jostled Sans from his nap. He sighed. "kid…" He scooped Frisk up effortlessly, the half conscious and delirious little human tucked under an arm, laying a free, bony hand on Undyne, who wasn't much better. "you really need to cool it with being so helpful."

Frisk managed a bleak little giggle.

Everything sort of… clicked. It was like blinking- a movie where a few frames were missing between two opposing shots. A second of blackness, then… They were in Waterfall? Undyne was plopped unceremoniously against her large fishy house. She sat up, groaning, but before she could say a word everything clicked again, and they were in Snowdin.

So that's what he means by "shortcuts". Chara mumbled. He's so lazy he learned how to teleport so he could walk less. Who puts so much effort into avoiding work? It's ridiculous.

Frisk was laid on the couch in the living room, just as Papyrus burst in.

"SANS, HAVE YOU SEEN MY- OH, HELLO HUMAN!" Frisk managed an exhausted wave. " ...WAIT. YOU WERE IN WATERFALL. IS THE RIVERPERSON FINALLY BACK? I- OH NO, THE HUMAN ISN'T MOVING!"

"that's called "sleeping" bro." Sans chuckled. "maybe we should let em crash in your bed? mine's too messy."

"IT WOULD BE LESS MESSY IF YOU CLEANED IT MORE." Papyrus grumbled, gently carrying Frisk to his bed. "THE HUMAN MUST HAVE HAD A BUSY DAY!"

"they're just a little tired." Sans grinned, leaning on Papyrus's bed. It took both Pap and Chara a good while before it occurred to them that Sans had cracked several puns about the racecar bed in the past minute, and they both groaned, even if they were smiling.


Sans knew Chara was there. She wasn't sure how, or why, but he definitely knew something was up. He had glanced in her direction, and the lights flicked out of his eyesockets, two pools of darkness.

"I know you're there." He said, the usual low, friendly drawl gone. "Why don't you come out… and say hi?"

Chara shrank close to Frisk, eyes wide with fear. Frisk stirred and murmured a bit, sensing Chara's discomfort, but she did not awaken. Sans sagged a bit, relaxing.

"...hey, come on. if you aren't gonna cause trouble, just come on out and we can talk." He dropped the harsh tone, opting for a more friendly approach. "...hey here's a start. knock knock."

Chara wasn't sure he could hear her. She attempted to first communicate with her strange telepathy she seemed to have, but he didn't respond or take notice, so she tried to speak. Her voice wasn't very loud. It echoed and shook, sounding… incomplete. Less human than it used to.

"Who's there?" She managed, after figuring out how voices worked again.

Sans's smile widened further. "...ice."

Chara already knew where this was going. "...Ice. Who."

"i'd say "ice to meet you" but I don't know you yet." Sans winked. Chara snorted.

"...So… You can see me?"

"yep. kinda. well no not really. i just kinda know you're there." Sans shrugged. "...what are you doin', taggin along with the kiddo there?"

"I like to." Chara said, a bit defensively. "And I think I'm… stuck here anyway, even if I didn't."

Neither of them noticed, but Frisk's eyes flicked open a bit, and she listened intently.

"I'm not here to cause her any trouble, if that's what you were thinking." Chara grumbled, sitting next to Frisk, allowing herself to look somewhat more visible. She was still very hazy, and unclear. "I've been with her since she fell down, and we're still alive, yeah? Well, for a certain definition of "alive.""

"...nah, i guess you seem like an okay… thing." Sans leaned against a wall, studying the weird blurry form. "just wonderin' how i didn't notice you before now." He looked up. "you're a bone-a-fide mystery."

Chara grumbled irritably. "I don't know either. Something happened to us both in Waterfall. Neither of us can exactly remember… There was a door… And then... Uh… After that it's all blurry and weird, but the next thing I knew I was… real, I guess."

Sans seemed to shrink a bit, lost in thought. "huh." For a long time, he kept quiet, head dipped, before he looked up. "well... it's not my business, but maybe you should chat with doc alphys. she knows a thing or two about souls and such. if anyone can help…heheh. well, i guess we'll see, huh?" He winked.

"You sure know a lot of stuff..."

"you'd be surprised what you pick up having so many jobs." He winks. "speaking of which, i have a lot of work to avoid doing, so i'll seeya kids later."


Papyrus was taking Frisk to "hang out" with Undyne. To Chara, that seemed like a terrible terrible idea. Undyne probably wanted to break Frisk in two after their last encountered, but Papyrus insisted that he had a plan to make them "GREAT PALS!" And, trusting little thing that she was, Frisk followed him.

Things went from awkward- a long silence as Undyne and Frisk had no idea what to say- to amicable- they managed to make friendly conversation about Asgore for a bit- to awesome. Chara had never had so much fun watching anyone cook before, but she had a blast. Even if the two… burned Undyne's house down a little.

I told you Undyne was awesome. Chara giggled. I mean, come on! That was fun! I've never set a house on fire before! Too bad she didn't have any chocolate… I'm still kinda mad that you didn't grab that one in the fridge back in the Ruins.

I'd like to cook with her again. Frisk admitted. Only without the whole "burning houses down" thing.

Spoilsport.

"Would you smooch a ghost?"

A) Heck Yes

B) Heck Yes

C) Heck Yes

D) Heck Yes

` Really… Chara shook her head in disbelief at Mettaton's bizarre shenanigans, then slowly flushed as Frisk grinned broadly, glancing subtly at her. Frisk, don't you dare-!

"H-heck yes." Frisk giggled, nodding. Chara's embarrassment radiated so brightly that for a moment she was almost visible, glowing a soft pinkish color. She was going to punch Frisk if she ever became corporeal.

Frisk, I am going to smack you silly if I ever become corporeal.

No you won't. You'll be too busy smooch-

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!

Chapter Text

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Howdy! :)

What, did you think that Parody would be here to introduce you to every single chapter of this garbage? Oh wipe that silly look off your face. You know who I am!

It's me! Your best friend Flowey. Flowey the Flower!

Hee hee hee.

Did you really think you wouldn't find me here? You IDIOTS.

Don't worry. I'm not here to make you miserable…

yet.

Even Smiley Trashbag can't find any of us here. It feels great to finally know something that grinning idiot has no clue about. ;)

I was so surprised… That really is Chara in that little brat's head, huh?

Poisoned by her stupid lucky-go-happy schtick. That's not the Chara I know. The Chara I know wouldn't hesitate to kill someone if they tried to kill her first.

Hee hee hee. "Kill or be killed"...

And you know what my favorite part about all this is? This isn't like normal. After all, you're not the one in control anymore. You can't make sure they get a perfect happy ending.

And this time, I really can keep them here forever.

And ever.

And ever.

Heeheehee.

It's MY story this time. :) But don't worry.

When it all ends, and everything- EVERYONE is gone and it's all been turned to nothing…

I'll still be here~!

Me. Your best friend Flowey.

This is just too interesting~!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHA- Ha… ha?

...Who- Who's there?

...n*t Yo** S*o*y.

Huh?

not

your

story


FILE RESTORED


Frisk sat up, gasping. She had been resting on a bench in Alphys' lab for a minute, waiting for the lizard woman to finish upgrading her phone. The girl clutched her chest, her heart pounding. She glanced down and noticed something odd. Her Soul was out, despite not being in a Fight. After a moment, the glowing red heart faded softly.

What the hell was that? Chara said, dazed and confused. I thought we were just leaving but… now we're back here?

I feel sick. Frisk rubbed her brow, fishing for some food. She found a wrapped packet of nice cream- still cool and unmelted, and carefully ate it, making sure to savor every bite. She felt better. Not great, but better.

Chara flickered halfway into view. Frisk could see her clearly now, although nobody else seemed to be able to- they could hear her voice, but all they would see was a strange, blobby shadow that might just be a trick of the light.

Frisk, I felt- it just felt like something was Loaded. Chara whimpered. It felt like when you load, only… worse. Like we were being yanked through water.

Frisk cautiously checked to make sure she was still in one piece. Upon finding she was physically unhurt, she took a moment's focus and drummed up enough determination to Save. Things felt… clearer, now. Healthier.

Phew, that's better. I felt about ready to hurl. Chara confessed. Kinda glad I don't have a stomach.

Frisk nervously clung to Chara's semi-solid hand. She didn't do it consciously. The hand was just there and Frisk needed to hold something. Chara huffed, but put up with it. ...Frisk, I… I'm not sure if I want to talk to Alphys about… me.

Please, Chara. Frisk begged. I want to help you too.

The sincerity in her voice was impossible to refuse. Chara hesitated, then relented. Okay. We'll talk to Alphys. But if something goes wrong, I want you to reload so we can try again.

...Fine. But only if something bad happens!


Alphys was a bit terrified of Chara at first, but soon her scientific nature took over, and she had a look of insatiable curiosity in her eyes, as she observed the spectral cloudy shape half-hide behind Frisk.

"H-how long have you… been this way?"

"Well…" Chara's voice had a bit of a reverberating echo- she still wasn't entirely used to it yet. "I guess since Frisk fell. But I haven't been very… solid or visible since Waterfall. I feel like something set it off, but… I don't know what."

"W-w-well…" Alphys paced in thought. "When your friend fell, maybe… you were trying to come back? As a regular ghost. And umm, uh…" The Royal Scientist collected her thoughts, inhaling slowly. "...The only thing I can t-think of is that you somehow… borrowed a little fragment of their Soul."

"B-borrowed?" Frisk looked up nervously. Alphys quickly raised her hands, looking worried.

"Oh no, it shouldn't, um… be detrimental in uh… any real… way." Alphys mumbled sheepishly. "I uh… It's only a theory but… my guess is that the tiny piece of the Soul is t-trying to heal itself? It would need s-something to attach to so um, maybe…" Alphys looked right at Chara. "So there's probably also a tiny bit of your Soul left too."

Chara felt a rush of excitement. Progress! If she was "healing" would that mean that she could form her own body again, just through Determination? She instantly asked Alphys this, nearly shouting. Alphys raised her hands awkwardly, clearing her throat.

"W-well… yes but… It would t-take a very long time. Most damaged Souls break not long after, and those that don't, w-well the healing can take months, or years. And um, you said you died, so… Your Soul probably w-was in bad shape. If um, you were human it wouldn't be totally b-broken, but without any way t-to contain it, it'd probably be damaged… I think..."

"So… I might be alive one day?" Chara was filled with hope. Determination in her voice and a sheen of excitement in her eyes.

"Maybe…" Alphys nervously rubbed her hands together. "It's j-just a guess, really. The only way to know f-for sure is to wait."

"I don't believe this… It's like I'm getting a second chance I really don't deserve."

Frisk couldn't tell if that was exuberance she was hearing or biting sarcasm. Maybe both, considering where it was coming from. She gave Chara's hand another sort-of-squeeze, although again she phased partially through it. Frisk could feel Chara squeeze back.

After demanding that Alphys swear to secrecy, Frisk gave the monster a quick hug for all her help (The girl had hugged just about anyone willing at this point), and soon was on her way through hotland. Alphys was even kind enough to provide a water bottle full of ice tea to keep from overheating. According to the scientist, Hotland would be more bearable on the upper levels, where the heatwaves were less intense, but until then, she'd need the water, lest she pass out from the ridiculous heat.

Again.

Chara pondered how many times Frisk probably should have died but hadn't. At least a few times while fighting Undyne, once while saving Undyne, once for each time she fell down from an enormous height, the severe reaction she had to exposure to Temmie… The list was just going to keep getting longer too.

Frisk had to take her bandanna and tutu off, storing them in her phone. This place was boiling. She had never been so uncomfortably warm, and wished that her sweater was a bit thinner. The girl was sweating and panting, pausing now and then to sip from the thermos that Alphys had lent her.

At least these puzzles are kinda fun. Frisk noted, as she completed her second slide puzzle. They were a nice change of pace from the effortless puzzles of Waterfall. Undyne didn't really seem the type to bother with puzzles that much (And indeed, as a quick phone call proved, she only came up with the simplest of puzzles, or the most likely to drive Papyrus up the wall.)

She makes me think of an awesome big sister. Chara grinned. I never had older siblings.

Me either. Frisk shrugged, trying to keep her mind on the path ahead. She had made it to the second floor, it seemed. As Alphys had told her, it was a little less hot up here. Still pretty uncomfortable though.

...Hey, Frisk? Chara sounded cautious, her voice uncertain and meek. If you do escape… where will you go?

I don't know if I want to… escape exactly. Frisk admitted sheepishly. I'm not sure what I'm doing. But… From what everyone has said, I can… maybe convince Asgore to not fight. Even if I have to stay here, I'd feel safer if I knew I could do that.

I guess that makes sense. Chara admitted. Da- Asgore probably would let you stay, if you could just… convince him somehow.

Da-? Dad? Frisk raised an eyebrow. Wait, you called Toriel "mom" too… Does that mean that they were together?

Chara hesitated. Once. But something must have happened. I… I don't want to think about it.

Frisk nodded. That's okay. She hesitated. If uh, you have a question I guess I can answer one, since you told me so much.

Maybe later. Chara said. Eyes behind us! Someone's coming.

"Hey! Stop!" Called one of the imposing figures, clad in heavy armor.

Royal Guards. Be careful. This could get violent.


Frisk bounced away, positively gleeful. Even Chara had a bit of amused happiness in her voice.

Well, I didn't expect that. Chara giggled. That was… pretty cute, I guess.

Frisk hummed. I ship it.

Alphys already taught you about shipping? You two have only been texting for like half an hour! I- Y'know what, forget it. I ship it too. Happy?

Too bad I forgot to ask their names. I dunno what to call their Ship now.

I'm sure your imagination will supply something.


Mettaton was getting absurd. Sure, the cooking show and the quiz show was one thing, but a news report? Frisk wandered about the various objects scattered about, pausing to stroke the dog. She froze suddenly, brow furrowed in intense concentration, before she stood, turning to face Mettaton and the cameras, her face utterly straight and flat.

"This dog is a bomb."

"SO IT IS, DARLING!" Mettaton cheered, not even bothering to hide that the room was literally full of bombs. Although how he had managed to make them all start counting down at once was a bit mysterious, as none of them had timers and most of them had fuses that needed to be lit with direct fire.

That didn't change the fact that Frisk was in a room full of bombs.

"Umm… N-no offense Alphys, but your robot is kinda… w-weird." Frisk giggled into the phone. "Per… personality wise. I do k-kinda see why he's such a star though…"

Frisk, ten people were watching. People were getting bored and watching other things. That is not "a star". You're not even listening are you? I can say anything I want. Hey, Frisk, you're a dork. I'm a dork too. See?

Frisk was too busy listening to Alphys babble, a patient smile on her face. Chara snickered.

Dummy. I could profess undying love and you wouldn't notice at all.

Pardon? Did you say something?

Yes. I said lots of very important things that you'll never hear again, because you weren't paying attention.

Oh okay.

...You're no fun.

Well what am I supposed to say? Frisk scowled at the absurdly high prices for the spider bake sale. It would take her hours to get even a tenth of that kind of money.

Well, you should have been all annoyed or upset or flustered or- something!

Oh, so you were just messing with me.

Yes but… Oh. I wasn't supposed to tell you that, darn it!

Guess I win this time.

I can still annoy the hell out of you!

Swear.

I don't care! Dammit, now you're driving me up the wall!

Mhm~!


Playfully bickering with Frisk was actually pretty fun. Chara didn't even notice that the room was getting darker than the previous ones, or the cobwebs that hung everywhere. It wasn't until a soft, shrill laugh rang through the room that Chara was snapped away from the conversation.

"Uhuhuhuhu… did you hear what they just said?"

Frisk and Chara exchanged a glance, casting about for the voice's source as they continued. Frisk was slowing for some reason.

"They said a human in a striped shirt would come through here."

Frisk wondered if it would be hard to find a non-striped shirt that would fit her.

"I heard they hate spiders… I heard they like to stomp on them."

Now that was just downright slander. Frisk had never hurt anything if she could. Even spiders and bugs.

"I heard that they like to tear their legs off."

Oh, COME ON, I don't know anyone that sadistic.

"I heard..."

Frisk was properly stuck now, the sticky webbing tangling her legs. She squirmed and struggled, tripping suddenly and landing on her face. Chara winced as Frisk had to pull her head up hard to free it, though now she was well and truly stuck tight.

"That they're awfully stingy with their money." Muffet smiled, emerging from the dark and lightly walking across the webbing as daintily as one could. "You think your taste is too refined for our pastries, don't you dearie~?"

"Um… What?" Frisk blinked, baffled. "I didn't have enough g-gold to buy anything… but I liked the donuts in the R-ruins…" She added, voice low. Muffet leaned in, eyes blinking one-by-one as she studied Frisk thoughtfully.

"...Hm? You… donated? In the ruins?" She prodded Frisk a bit, mostly out of idle curiosity. "...Uhuhuhuhu… Sorry dearie~ But I don't buy that for a minute!" She lunged suddenly, and Frisk yelped as the webbing stretched and snapped a bit, and soon Frisk was dangling upside-down. Below was a creature that could only be described as a giant cupcake spider. It let out a screech, looking up at Frisk.

Frisk tried to keep calm, but it was hard to do so with such a ravenous creature below her. "No, it's true…! I b-bought a donut because I w-was hungry! I never hurt any s-spiders either!" She squeaked as she swung a bit, but relaxed, realizing it was Chara trying to become corporeal enough to pull her up. It almost worked, but she wasn't quite real enough yet.

"Mm…" Muffet neatly dangled upside down, carefully turning Frisk to face her. The spider girl scrutinized Frisk, looking the nervous little human right in the eye. Frisk, though frightened, met her gaze. Muffet thoughtfully licked her lips, before swinging up calmly. "Hm… You look honest enough… though the person who warned us about you had such a sweet smile. Ahuhuhuhu… And they offered us a lot of money if we took your Soul…"

Frisk flinched, looking away. "...Oh."

The spider girl sat and pondered. "If you're lying, then I should just drop you now, but if you're not, then I certainly cannot in good conscience feed you to my Pet… This is a dilemma."

They sat in a short, awkward silence. Suddenly, Muffet sat up- a spider had descended by her hear and was whispering to her, urgently, holding a piece of paper somehow. Muffet's eyes all widened. "Oh my~! A telegram from the spiders in the Ruins! It seems you really were telling the truth." Frisk smiled, relieved, as Muffet pulled Frisk up. The spider was mortified. "I am so sorry! I'm sure I can make it up to you~!"

Frisk smiled gently. "It's okay. You don't have to. Really. I just- I need to keep going." Muffet laughed a bit, amused by the little human's utter lack of any kind of resentment.

"Ahuhuhuh… That person who warned us, they must have meant a different human. Well, I suppose it was nice to meet you, even if we got off to a bad start. See you again, dearie~!"


Sorry I wasn't much help back there… I really tried, but I guess… I just am not "real" enough yet… Chara mumbled. All the way through hotland, she didn't really feel as if she had done anything. At least she had done a few useful things in earlier places. She couldn't remember the tile colors either, and Alphys had needed to save Frisk.

Chara it's okay! I'm just happy you're here! I'd be… scared to do this alone. I- oh, Sans! Again!

Are you following us? Then, Chara winced, remembering that Sans couldn't hear her thoughts. "You show up everywhere."

Sans just chuckled. "what can i say, i get around… hey, kids. heading for the core?"

Frisk nodded, a bit nervous. She had seen the huge structure from a distance. It was intimidating; like a great metal creature.

"how about grabbin' some dinner with me first? my treat."

"S-sure!" Frisk grinned.

"Why not…?" Chara grumbled, sensing a pun. Surprisingly, it didn't come. Sans had a strange aura about him. Something was up.


I didn't know that Sans knew Mom. Chara mused to Frisk. He wasn't kidding, he really does get around.

Sans leaned in gently, interrupting her line of thought.. "do you get what i'm saying? that promise i made… do you know what would've happened if she hadn't said anything?"

Frisk felt uncomfortable. She sensed something bad coming.

"oh buddy…" Even if Sans was smiling, he looked sad. For a moment, the skeleton turned away, and sighed, eyes closed. When they opened, the lights in the sockets had gone dark. Two dark orbs. "You'd be dead where you stand." He whispered.

Chara instinctively sank protectively towards Frisk. Frisk's hands had balled up, and she had goosebumps. She tried to keep her face neutral, but the truth was she was scared. She was more scared than she had ever been since falling into the Underground.

The gentle lights returned. "hey, buddy, it's okay. i'm just messin' with ya." He ruffled Frisk's hair, and she managed a meek little smile.

"well... seeya kid." He paused for a moment. "be careful out there. Because someone really cares about you." He wandered off, and vanished.

Chara clung to Frisk, who was shaking a little.

Let's go rent a room and get some sleep, okay? She soothed, hoping to stave off a panic attack that seemed to be welling within. Frisk nodded, her face blank.

The room was a bit pricey, but Frisk didn't care.

The bed was huge and comfortable, and Chara's presence made her feel safer. She finally got her breathing under control, and relaxed.

That was… I don't know how to explain it.

He was serious. If I had a heart I think it would have stopped when he said that.

I'm glad that he made that promise, then.

Me too. If he fought us, I wonder if we could get past him? I… For some reason just thinking about that makes me feel really uncomfortable. I don't know why. I feel… sick. Crawly.

Maybe we shouldn't think about it too much. I think he's gonna keep his promise.

Yeah. Besides, Papyrus would never forgive him.

Frisk giggled as she lay back, tugging the covers over herself a bit. Chara sighed a bit.

You know… it's been nice. Chara admitted, smiling. I was never good at… making friends… Or any of that… And you- you do it so easily Frisk. How do you do that? How are you so- nice? Don't you get frustrated or annoyed or angry or anything like that?

Of course I do. Frisk thought, a bit sadly. Everyone does, Chara. And I'm scared, Chara. I'm scared of so much. But- I can't just give up! And besides, just being nice has gotten us so much, hasn't it? I mean, we're friends, right? If I was mean to you- or to everyone you… probably wouldn't like me as much.

But I don't think I would have made it without you either. I'm- I'm so scared Chara. This place is so different and so many people have already tried to kill me just because I'm human…

I sometimes wonder. Chara mumbled. If you really are. Human, I mean. You're too Good to be a human.

You're good too. Frisk countered. Chara laughed. A bitter, harsh, humorless laugh.

I'm not good, Frisk. I'm only good because of you and- someone else. If it weren't for you I'd- I'd be just as bad as the rest of humanity. Maybe… Maybe worse.

Chara…

There was a long silence, and for a moment, Chara thought Frisk had fallen asleep, but then she spoke up again.

That doesn't matter because that's not what's happening. What's happening is that you're with me and that- that's all I need to keep going. So thank you. Thank you for putting up with me, Chara.

Chara may or may not have blushed.

Idiot… I should be the one thanking you. I know I'm insufferable.

I know. Frisk giggled. You really are. Chara huffed, but Frisk cut her off. I still like you a lot anyway.

Yep, Chara was absolutely, one-hundred percent blushing.


Frisk dreamt of being out, atop the great looming mountain, looking out. The sun shone brightly, and in the distance, she could see clouds over a small town, miles and miles away.

Somehow, Frisk knew that it was raining somewhere else.


Chara didn't sleep. She just sat up and watched Frisk.

Not in a creepy way. There just was literally nothing else to do in the hotel room. Besides, Frisk wasn't the worst person to watch. Chara smiled a bit, laying back, although she never took her eyes off her friend.

Nope. Totally not creepy at all.


What is this?! Who are you?! What did you DO?!

i si*ply fix*d th*ngs to go the way they shoul* be

This

World

Is

Not

Yours

Hmph. Idiot... We'll see about that. Hee hee hee…

Chapter Text

Frisk was dawdling; she didn't want to go into the CORE. She visited the alleyway store and bought a Cowboy hat from the two (rather obnoxious in Chara's opinion) shopkeepers. She put it on and giggled, the ribbon peeking out from under it. Chara snorted.

You look dumb.

Frisk pouted a bit as she headed back inside MTT Resort. I do not! Besides, I like the hat anyway. She was in full regalia. Ribbon in her hair, bandana around her neck as a scarf, hat on her head, and an apron as a cape. She looked like a little kid pretending to be a superhero. She still had that stick, which was battered and beaten from the journey, and held it in a hand covered in a pink leather fingerless glove. Although Chara had made her take the gross old bandage off. As goofy as Frisk looked, she seemed to be happy with it.

Like, seriously. You're a bigger dork than I am.

I'm still cute, right? Frisk fluttered her eyes a bit. She had quite long lashes, making it really hard for Chara to argue.

...You're going to break Asgore's heart, Frisk.

Frisk's good mood died instantly. Chara felt a pang of regret. She hated having to bring it up, but the reality was that if Asgore met her, he would kill her. Chara was a bit doubtful, but from what people had been saying, and the previous encounters with the Royal Guards (as bad at killing as they were) it seemed the odds were not in their favor.

Maybe we should get help. I don't- talking to Asgore alone seems like it might not work. If we have lots of friends to help us, maybe- maybe we can do this with them!

Frisk perked up a little. Yeah! M-maybe! But… I want to try alone, at least a little. If… If something goes bad, we can always load, right? We have lots of time to figure out what to do!

Right! Chara smiled. But… I still don't think we should go alone.

Just once, Chara. I want to prove to him that we don't have to fight.

Chara hummed reluctantly, but sighed. ...I won't stop you. But… I don't- I don't think I can show myself in front of dad. Please, don't make me see him or-

Why not? Wouldn't you be happy to see him?

I would. But… Just don't. Okay? I can't do it.

Frisk lowered her head, heading slowly, reluctantly towards the CORE. She felt Chara's unease, and tried to send some kind of gentle reassurance.

Chara didn't respond.


The CORE was a maze, and Alphys was no longer able to provide any help. Frisk remembered a monster mentioning that parts could be re-arranged and swapped, in order to change the layout, as well as providing certain functions.

She didn't expect a swap to occur while she was still there. The entire structure lurched, and Frisk was forced to quickly grab a handrail, as the rooms re-organized. She shut her eyes tight at the loud cacophony of machinery, grinding gears and pumping pistons. More than ever did the core seem like a beast- with a boilerplate for skin, magma, magic and steam for blood and a heart of metal, pumping deep within the center. The low, pulsing throb began to grow distant, as the bridge chamber was shifted aside.

I've never been here before. Chara thought weakly, looking at the other side of the bridge. It was much cooler here, and even some grass growing. The air was clean and clear. Frisk, not having Alphys' number, tried to call Papyrus, but nobody answered. Sighing, Frisk looked ahead.

Might as well explore a little. She thought. The place was silent; seemingly devoid of monsters. She slowly followed a long, winding path.

...Someone's following us.

Frisk glanced over her shoulder, and caught a glimpse of something bright red vanishing around a corner.

Yeah, I saw them too. Should I let them know I saw?

Maybe not. Let's go a bit further and if they keep following, then you can call them out.

The place was pretty, even if it was dark. Something was suspended in the air, not far from Frisk. She reached out and caught it, pulling it down with a look of confused wonder.

A dandelion- stem and all, with its little puffball seeds.

I hear if you can blow all the seeds off, you get to make a wish.

She could sense Chara's amusement. Oh yeah? Why not try it? Let's wish to free everyone, that sounds good, right?

Yeah! Frisk took a deep breath and then puffed, watching the seeds scatter. She gently placed the stalk in her pocket, smiling as she quietly wished for everyone to escape peacefully.

...Whoa, where'd she come from? Frisk, look!

Frisk's head snapped up. Before her was a monster, about a head taller than Frisk, clad in a long, bright red hood. Her face was impossible to read- a plain, white shape with one, glowing eye visible, the other covered by a tuft of her curly hair.

Frisk realized after a moment, that, like nearly every monster she had met, that she was in a Fight.

Wonder why she's out here by herself?

We could ask, I guess.

She doesn't look too keen on talking.

Frisk made the first move. It seemed customary for a monster to wait between their attacks to allow her to perform some kind of action, and all had allowed her to go first. It was a strange kind of chivalry code, but one that Frisk liked.

"Hello!" Frisk offered a smile, and Chara snorted at the sheer goofiness of the way Frisk instantly was trying to make friends. "What's your name?"

"...huh?" She tilted her head, then sighed, irritably. "Red."

Her attacks, while a bit odd, were simple enough for Frisk to avoid. It was clear that the Monster wasn't putting a lot of effort into them. Frisk neatly avoided the strange slashes of magic, still smiling. "How are you? How's your day?"

Frisk, you're a dork.

"...H-hey! Knock that off!" She seemed flustered by the Human's utterly cheerful and bubbly nature. Her next attacks were a bit wavered, as if she was confused. Sensing progress, Frisk pressed again.

"We don't have to fight. We can just talk and I can tell you about… uh, whatever you want to talk about I guess! I-"

Red looked almost… angry. Her mouth was visible now, and she was frowning. "Are you listening to me?"

"I'm all hears." Frisk joked. Chara one was so awful she couldn't even groan at it.

"Stop that!" Red snapped. This time, Frisk didn't even have to move to avoid it.

"I just don't want to fight…" Frisk murmured quietly.

Red's gaze dropped for a moment, and she didn't reply. Her arms shifted under her cloak, clearly uncomfortable. Finally, her head snapped up and she was glaring again. "What's with you?" She blurted shrilly. "Just- straight up trying to strike a friendly conversation? In the middle of battle?! Who- what kind of-?!" She took a deep, shuddery breath, collecting herself. "No. You know what? If you won't fight…" She swiped her arm to the side and Frisk recoiled at the sight of the thin blade she now held. Under her cloak was the Delta Rune. "I'll just have to make you."

Huh, she's not much more than a kid. Are they letting kids into the Royal Guard now?

Red swiped her blade, as if attacking. She was nowhere close to Frisk, but frisk took a step back- then suddenly everything… warped. It was like she had been forcefully moved and confined into an area, if only for a few moments.

OHH WHAT THE-?! Okay, THAT'S not like any magic I've ever seen before!

This was not going at all as well as Frisk would have hoped.


After a fight that made anything Undyne or Papyrus could dish out look like a cakewalk, after leaping, dodging, rolling, ducking and pleading, Frisk had finally managed to tire Red out enough to talk. She had nearly killed Frisk, too, but had fallen to her knees before landing the killing blow, sobbing out;

"I hate this! I hate this so much!"

Frisk went quiet for a moment, before dropping to her knees and looking up at the Monster, her voice soft and quiet. "...What's wrong…?"

Red took a slow, shaky breath, desperately trying to keep from sobbing again like she just had, before speaking, her voice in a low, meek monotone. "...You remember the Canine Unit, right? If you passed through Snowdin, you must have met them…"

Frisk nodded. How could she forget? She must have pet Lesser Dog for hours,and had fond memories of playing with the Greater Dog in the snow.

"When I heard about you from them, all the things they said… They…" Red hugged her knees, voice cracked and shaky. "...It scared me. N-not for my own safety!" She added quickly, seeing Frisk's puzzled expression. "I'd like to think I'm a decent fighter…"

Considering how many times she nearly had you dead, I'd say she's more than decent.

"It was all the things they said about you…" Red looked at the ground sheepishly. "They were all so… so… positive. They all considered you a friend. And I was… terrified you'd be the same way to me." Frisk was both happy, and confused.

"Why… would that scare you?" She asked, baffled.

Red's gaze dropped even further. "...Because not a single human has ever got past Asgore." She whispered. Frisk flinched a bit, and Chara tensed. "If… You were kind to me, only to be killed… I- I don't know what I'd do. So I… When you showed up here, I did my best to… shut you out. And then you appeared… asked about my day, tried to make me laugh… God, I hated every minute of it." She may or may not have sniffled a little. Frisk gave her shoulder a little pat, and Red pressed on, speaking awkwardly, a bit faster. "And you know… forcing yourself to hate someone? IT SUCKS!" She shouted, causing Frisk to jump. Red might have blushed, but it was hard to tell.

Heh, she works with Undyne alright.

Red's speaking was more natural, now. She seemed to have finally let her guard down. "Like…? Wow? That… It's a lousy way to live!" Red took another deep breath. "So… um… thanks… for being so… patient. And sorry I tried to slice you open?"

Frisk gave her a look.

"These things happen!" Red blurted.

Frisk just laughed a bit. "...It's okay. You wouldn't be the first…" She sat next to Red. "Are you okay?"

"...I'd say I'm better now!" Red smiled a little. "Although I'm just really hungry. Freaking out and yelling a lot with a sword out takes a lot out of you."

Frisk giggled, then found some food in her inventory. She pulled out a Cinnamon Bunny and split it in half, offering Red one piece.

"OH MY GOD IS THAT A CINNAMON BUNNY?!" Red let out a girlish squeal of delight. Frisk smiled. She had a feeling that she would be great friends with this monster.


You never cease to amaze Frisk. Chara marveled. I don't know how you always manage to make friends and worm out of every bad situation.

Frisk was about to reply when her phone rang loudly. She jumped, pulling it out. The number was Papyrus's phone, but the voice was undoubtedly Undyne's.

"HEY!" She shouted. "FINALLY! We've been trying to reach you for like, a thousand hours!" It had maybe been forty minutes- an hour and a half at most. Alphys lost track of you and ever since you wandered off Papyrus has been worried sick!"

Frisk laughed. "Well, um, I'm fine. Just a little lost."

"YOU BETTER BE FINE, PUNK!" Undyne roared, before calming herself. "Seriously, though, get outta there. Papyrus keeps making… uh… he calls it "regretti spaghetti."

There was a really long pause. "...It's… really salty." Another pause. "...Where did you go?"

"The CORE moved around and now I'm in a place with lots of floating dandelions."

"WHAT?!" Frisk wondered if Undyne's screech would have blown out her eardrums, if she didn't have the sense to hold the phone at a slight distance. "How the hell did ya get-?! You can't even get there from-! Nevermind! Just get back to the CORE!"

"Uh… how?"

"OH MY GOD!" Undyne squealed. "It's gonna be tough, human! You hear me? It's gonna be the most grueling challenge yet…!" A rush of static indicated the fish-lady hyperventilating excitedly. "...You figure it out yourself because I have NO IDEA!" Click.

...Oh god dammit. Chara sighed, annoyed.

Neither Frisk nor Chara exactly remembered how they got back, but they definitely remembered it being convoluted and confusing.


"OHHHH, YES..."

What.

What.

"My my… If you flipped my switch that can only mean one thing… you're desperate for the premiere of my new body…"

"I- What." Frisk uttered, face blank.

"How rude… lucky for you, I've been dying to show this form off for a long time… So as thanks, I'll give you a handsome reward."

What the- What?

"I'll make your last living moments…" Suddenly, stage lights blasted on. Before Frisk stood Mettaton EX, in all his incredible, flamboyant, gorgeous, beautiful glory.

"ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!"

Applause rang out from around them. What the-?! Where did they come from? Holy crap, there's so many! Frisk, out-perform this hunk of junk.

Frisk didn't even hesitate, throwing her arms up and posing. The crowd was already eating it up, as Mettaton prepared to attack. Frisk stood boldly, chest puffed as she began to avoid attacks, trying to look as flamboyant and impressive as she could.

Chara cackled silently at what she could only call a dance. Mettaton showing off while attempting to kick, strike, zap, burn or explode Frisk, and Frisk hyping the crowd up between attacks. The ratings were skyrocketing. Then, Frisk lept the wrong way and Mettaton's leg crashed into her chest, sending her flying. The metal limb hit hard.

Frisk pushed herself up, glowering at a smirking Mettaton, before throwing an arm to the air, melodramatically posing.

Holy crap. Chara muttered, hearing the crowd explode into massive roars of delight, which only grew more intense as Frisk tossed back a Starfait, her mild wounds healing.

The battle continued. Chara regretted mocking Frisk's outfit- at one point she dramatically tossed her apron-cape aside, in a manner that would have the crowd screaming. It reminded Chara of one of Alphys's more action-oriented anime.

Mettaton's limbs had begun falling off, but it had barely affected his smirking look- he was just as into this battle as Frisk was, even as his metal body was forced to jettison parts of itself to save on power. "Come on darling! You're a star! Now burn like one."

Damn! Chara mused, impressed. Now that is a good line.


Frisk quietly stumbled out of the Core, looking dazed. The crowd had dispersed once Mettaton's batteries had run out. Alphys assured Frisk that he just needed some re-charging, though the whole time the lizard woman had a look of pure guilt. Frisk had given her a reassuring hug, promising that she wasn't mad at all- and that she had actually had a lot of fun in Hotland. This made Alphys smile, but it was clear that she didn't quite believe the little human.

It was when Alphys meekly told Frisk that in order to leave, she'd need to kill Asgore that the girl broke down. She sat in the elevator as it rose, a long, silent ride. She understood now, why Chara was so afraid that Asgore would kill her.

The words "kill or be killed" darted through her thoughts, and Frisk irritably shoved them away. She had gotten this far, and was determined to keep going.


The elevator stopped and opened.

Frisk stood, and slowly walked out into the strange, grey landscape that was the capital. This must be New Home. She thought quietly. Chara hummed a soft, meek affirmative.

...It used to be more colorful. Chara murmered, melancholy seeping into her voice.

Frisk didn't prod her for answers.


The house was exactly like the one in the Ruins- But it felt somehow less like "Home" and more like a sad echo of what was once a beautiful place. Slowly, Frisk walked, finding a sturdy chain, set with two padlocks and a note.

"Howdy! I'm in the garden. If you need anything, feel free to come and chat! The keys are in the kitchen and the hallway."

Frisk headed for the kitchen, eyes low. The only color around was that of the beautiful golden flowers that grew in vases and pots here and there. She nearly tripped on a pair of Froggits when she rounded the corner.

"Oh! I'm sorry!" She squeaked. They croaked gently, letting her know it was okay, before speaking. She had never heard them speak normally before. They had simply made deep ribbit noises or on occasion a soft, high-pitched mew. They had a soft, gentle manner to their voice, and it took Frisk a moment to realize that they were telling her a story.

"A long time ago… a human fell into the Ruins."

"Injured by its fall, the human called out for help."

Chara tensed. Frisk lowered her eyes as she took the key from the kitchen.

Whimsuns- they spoke in the quiet trembling voice- sounding meek as ever, but for once, they did not flee on sight.

"Asriel, the king's son, heard the human's call…"

"He brought the human to the King's castle." Frisk gave Chara's hand a squeeze.

Moldsmals? Apparently, some could talk.

"The King and Queen treated the child as their own."

"Asriel and the Human became like siblings."

Frisk entered a bedroom. It was tidy, if a little dusty from disuse. On the floor were two small packages. Chara nudged Frisk towards them, silently goading her to open them.

The first one contained a small locket. It was a bit worn from age, but still pretty and it shone softly in the light. Engraved on it in tiny, beautiful letters were the words "Best Friends Forever."

Put it on, Frisk. Please.

Frisk felt reluctant, but she did so. Chara made a soft, sad, but happy noise, laughing softly. It looks perfect there. Like it belongs on you.

The next package had a knife. Frisk recoiled from it, but Chara calmed her, speaking soothingly.

It's for gardening. Cutting away weeds and vines. You know, pruning. Frisk picked it up. It was dull-bladed, and had a pretty design on the handle, like a flower.

The next key was on a table in the hall. Frisk, out of idle curiosity went a bit further in. Asgore's bedroom was so… understated and normal. Chara was practically clinging to Frisk. The human girl slowly stumbled out, before pausing to look at her reflection. Without warning, she burst into tears.

Her face was normal, if a bit dirty. She still had soft, hazel eyes that always seemed to be half-closed, a tan complexion, soft brown hair that was cut short. But she looked tired. She looked so so tired. Frisk was so young, but somehow her reflection had looked so old. No-one so small should ever have to look old. Chara curled near Frisk and comforted her quietly.

Despite everything, It's still you. She whispered. And I hope that you are always you. So please, Frisk. Please stop being a crybaby and keep being you.

Frisk wiped her eyes and stood. Her Determination was beginning to wane.


"Then, one day… the human became very ill."

"The sick human had only one request. To see the flowers from their village. But there was nothing we could do."

Frisk felt sick. Chara did too, but she remained quiet. After all they'd been through, Frisk deserved to learn at least this much.

"The next day."

"The next day."

"...The human died."

Frisk glanced sadly at Chara, who refused to meet her gaze.

"Asriel, wracked with grief, took the human's Soul. He became a being of incredible power."

"Oh." Frisk whispered. Somehow she hadn't thought of that.

"With the human Soul, Asriel crossed the barrier, carrying the human with him. Back to the village of the humans."

"In the center of the village, Asriel found a bed of Golden Flowers. Kneeling there, he lay the human's body onto them."

Chara had a death grip on Frisk. She was shaking and shuddering.

"Suddenly, screams rang out."

Frisk felt a chill, and Chara's grip tightened.

"The villagers saw Asriel, holding the human's body. They thought he had killed the child."

Chara was radiating so many emotions that it was overwhelming- anger, bitterness, sadness, hate, and possibly most powerful of all, despair.

"The humans attacked him with everything they had. They struck Asriel with blow after blow."

"Asriel had the power to destroy them all."

"But… Asriel did not fight back."

"Smiling, Asriel walked away."

"Wounded, Asriel stumbled home. He collapsed in the castle."

"His dust spread across the garden."

Chara sobbed. Just a tiny one. Frisk took a moment to draw the ghost closer.

"The kingdom fell into despair. The king and queen had lost two children in one night."

"Once again, the humans had taken everything from us."

"The King decided it was time to end our suffering. Any human who falls down here must die. With enough Souls, The king will become a god, shattering the barrier forever."

"It's not long now."

Then, in a soft unison, like a chorus to a song;"

"King Asgore will give us hope."

"King Asgore will free us all."

"King Asgore will save us all."

"It's not long now."

"Aren't you excited? Aren't you happy."

Frisk's walking had grown slow and deadened. There was only one monster left. A lone Froggit, sitting gently in the path, croaking softly. Finally he spoke, his soft croaking voice echoing through the silence of New Home.

"You're going to be free."

Frisk stumbled slowly past him, into a long, golden corridor, lit with massive windows. She wanted to talk to Chara, to say something, anything.

But there was nothing to say.

All she could do was cling to the girl's ghost as best she could, providing what little comfort she could provide. Frisk's footsteps echoed through the Corridor slowly, as she walked, eyes low. Suddenly she stopped and looked up. In the light of the window ahead of her was Sans. For once, his appearance did not make her feel any better. All she had was a sense of dread. Chara shrank behind Frisk, afraid.

"...So you finally made it." He sounded serious, but incredibly tired. Not his usual "lazy-tired." more of a quiet, miserable exhaustion. "...The end of your journey is at hand. In a few moments, you'll meet the king. Together, you will decide on the fate of this world. That's then. Now. You will be Judged."

Frisk straightened as well as she could, looking at Sans in a puzzled manner.

"You will be Judged for every EXP that you've earned." He answered her question before she even could ask it. "EXP is an acronym. It stands for execution points. When you kill someone, your EXP increases. When you earn enough EXP, your LOVE increases. LOVE, too, is an acronym. It stands for Level Of Violence."

Frisk felt another harsh chill. She remembered Flowey telling her that "her Soul could grow strong if she gained a lot of "LOVE""

"A way of quantifying the pain you have inflicted on others. The more you kill, the more you will be able to distance yourself. The more you distance yourself, the less you will hurt. The more easily you will be able to hurt others."

Everything about that idea made Frisk feel uncomfortable. The idea that killing things meant that she'd be able to kill things more easily… It was a chilling thought.

Sans looked up then, and Frisk felt all the tension in the room slowly ease, as he beamed at her. Not a regular default smile- he looked really and truly happy. "...but you never gained any LOVE. 'course, doesn't mean you're totally innocent or naive, just… that you kept a certain tenderness in your heart. you didn't gain LOVE, but you gained "love". does that make sense? ...maybe not." Frisk felt tears prickle as Sans walked up, giving her hair a gentle ruffle.

"now, you're about to face the toughest challenge of your entire journey. if you refuse to fight asgore, he will take your soul and destroy humanity… but if you defeat him and leave, monsters will be trapped here. what will you do?"

Frisk opened her mouth, but Sans wasn't finished.

"well... if i were you, i'd have thrown in the towel by now." He chuckled softly. "but you haven't got this far by giving up, have you? no... you have something called "determination." so as long as you follow your heart… as long as you don't give up… i believe you can make the right decision." He took a deep breath. It made a long whistling noise- reasonable, considering that he had no lungs.

"alright." He said gently, giving Frisk another pat, and Chara a wink. "we're all counting on you."

And then he was gone.

Frisk stood silently for a long time, in the empty corridor, slowly falling to her hands and knees for a moment.

Frisk?! Chara blurted, alarmed. Frisk looked up at her, smiling.

"I'm okay." She said, aloud, as she sniffed and pushed herself up. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying. I'm sorry. I'm just… this is a lot to take in.

Chara just buried herself against Frisk, misery radiating off of her.

I'm sorry. This... I'm sorry. There was a low, shuddery sound. ...I have an idea. Before… before we go any farther… can we… please go back for a bit? I… I think we should maybe go see Alphys.

Huh? Why?

It just seems like we could have been better friends. And if we're good friends with everyone, maybe… maybe Dad won't be able to bring himself to hurt us. We have so many friends, so um, maybe we can just make a few more.

...We do have a lot of friends… Frisk smiled as she turned to head back, after a long silence. Papyrus, Sans, Undyne… The Dogs, Shyren, Napstablook, Red… Each other. She gave Chara a gentle nudge, getting a weak, tiny half-giggle out of her.

Y-yeah. But I just don't think we should go just yet. Call it an instinct.

If you're sure. Frisk said, a bit reluctantly, but she relented, as she went to the elevator. ...I trust you, Chara.

For some reason, Chara started to cry.

Chapter Text

The Core was much quieter, without monsters trying to kill Frisk and all the traps turned off, but it was still oppressively noisy, so she was more than happy to take the elevators this time. She left, the thrum of power slowly becoming more and more distant as she neared the resort again. Her phone rang, shattering the somewhat quiet air.

"Hey! Uh, it's Undyne!"

As if we couldn't tell. Chara snarked.

For a moment, Frisk could hear Papyrus' distinctive voice, and Undyne whispering harshly. "(Shut up, Papyrus, this was YOUR idea!) Human! You have to deliver something for me!" Another remark from Papyrus. "...Uh, please? I'm at Snowdin with Papyrus! See ya there!"

Might as well. Chara shrugged. Anything to stall the fight against Asgore, even for just a little bit longer.

Frisk nodded, taking the elevator outside of the resort to Hotland, and traveled south a bit, before finding a boat with a very tall figure in a cloak upon it. Frisk waved to them cautiously.

"Tra la la…" They hummed. "I am the Riverman. Or am I the Riverwoman? It doesn't really matter. Would you like to ride with me?"

Frisk nodded. "Can you take me to Snowdin, please?"

The Riverperson inclined their head. "Of course. Please, hop on."

Frisk carefully slipped onto the boat, and the Riverperson pushed off, humming and singing softly. "Tra la la… The waters are wild today… That's good luck!"


After just a few minutes in Hotland, Snowdin was a welcome sight. Frisk would take icy cold to blazing heat any day. Chara scoffed a bit, having much the opposite opinion; when she was alive, getting cold made her break out in hives and itch.

"Hey!" Undyne greeted Frisk, a big smile on her face, as usual. "I have something for you. Uhhhhh…" She paused, looking a bit flustered. "I need you to deliver a letter. To Dr. Alphys."

Frisk blinked, confused. "Why do you need me to do it?"

"Huh?" Undyne glanced to the side in a shifty manner. "It's kinda personal… but… I'll tell you…" She leaned in close as if to whisper. "...HOTLAND SUCKS!" She bellowed, knocking Frisk off her feet and into the snow. "I don't wanna have to go there!"

Papyrus helped Frisk stand, brushing snow off of her. "UNDYNE WRITES A LOT OF LETTERS, BUT SHE NEVER CAN SEEM TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS. SO WHEN SHE GOES TO DELIVER THEM HERSELF, SHE ALWAYS QUITS SO SHE CAN GO BACK AND REWRITE THEM." Undyne made a noise of embarrassed complaint, but Papyrus pressed on, oblivious. "THAT'S WHY I SUGGESTED SHE HAVE YOU DELIVER ONE! BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO STANDARDS!"

He's right. Chara snickered. You really don't.

Frisk pouted a bit, but accepted the letter from Undyne. There was so much tape on it that it felt like it had to weigh at least two pounds.

"Oh and if you read it I'll kill you." Undyne added with a growl. Frisk gave a little mock salute.

"I won't even peek." She promised, waving goodbye. "See you soon!"

Not even a tiny look? Chara whined. Booooooring! I wanna hear all the juicy details! It's totally a love letter! I bet it's super scandalous and everything!

Chara no.

Chara yes!

Frisk looked up at the Riverperson, still holding the letter. "Um excuse me, could you… take me back to Hotland?"

The Riverperson made a soft sound that Frisk recognized as a chuckle. "Of course. Shall we?" Frisk smiled and climbed aboard, as the Riverperson pushed off.

"Tra la la…"

"Beware the man who speaks in hands…"


Frisk had to push the letter under the door. She wasn't sure how she managed it with all that tape holding the thing shut, but she managed it. There was a pause, some fretting from Alphys, the loud buzz of a chainsaw, and then the door opened.

"H-hey…" Alphys's eyes were fixed to the ground. "If this is a joke, it's…" She peeked up, then paused, head tilted. "Oh my god? Did you write this letter?" Before Frisk could respond either way, Alphys cut her off. "It wasn't signed so I had no idea who could have- Oh my god. Oh no. That's adorable."

Wait, what? Frisk, interrupt her! Say something.

She's not paying attention!

"You know what? Okay! I'll do it! Let's go on a date."

Aw crap. If Undyne finds out she's going to throw us off a cliff.

Alphys just got more and more flustered as the "date" went on. Chara was unamused, although she did chuckle at Alphys trying to hide from Undyne behind a garbage can.

I guess lizards sometimes do use camouflage. She quipped dryly, remembering the picture that Alphys had sent of a trash can with glitter on it, claiming it to be of her. Amazingly, it seemed to work; Undyne charged past to look for Alphys.

"I g-guess it's obvious huh? I um… really like her. A lot."

Duh! For god's sake lady, your robot friend made that pretty clear. I guess it's time to sail a ship. Go nuts Frisk.

"I k-kinda guessed." Frisk smiled gently, opening her mouth- she considered telling Alphys outright that the letter was from Undyne. "You should a-ask her on a date then!"

"W-what?!" Alphys blurted. "But- But- But Undyne- She's way out of my league…!"

Oh please, excuses. This. Ship. Will. Sail.

"Undyne is so strong and confident and funny and… I-I'm just a nobody… a fraud…" She rubbed her cheek awkwardly. "I'm the Royal Scientist, but all I've ever done is hurt people… I've told her so many lies. S-she thinks I'm… That I'm a lot cooler then I am. If she gets close to me, s-she might… find out..."

Huh, really? What kind of lies could she have told? What anime she likes best? Somehow I don't think even Undyne will be that bothered by it...

"Lying is bad." Frisk pouted childishly. "You should tell her the truth."

Yeah. I mean it's not like she doesn't already know you're an adorable piece of anime trash…

Chara, hush.

Alphys looked terrified. "T-the truth? But… if I tell her that she'll hate me!"

Chara seemed suddenly uncomfortable. Something about the way Alphys said that hit a little bit too close to home for her.

"Isn't it better this way? To live a lie where both people are happy? Or a truth where neither of us are…? They say "be yourself", but… I don't really like who "myself" is…"

Chara squirmed again, having no smartass remarks for that.

Frisk gave Alphys a firm stare, arms crossed, pouting a little. The lizard woman lowered her head, clearly ashamed.

"No… you're right… I can't keep lying like this… but how can I tell Undyne the tr-truth? I'll mess it up! How can I practice?!"

"Um… Oh!" Frisk perked up suddenly. "We could roleplay it! You could pretend I'm Undyne and practice on me!"

Ohmygosh yes OBVIOUSLY let's roleplay it!

Why are you so excited about this?

Because I am a huge dork. Now shut up and do it.

"That… That actually sounds kinda fun! Okay…!" Undyne cleared her throat. "H-hi Undyne! How are you doing."

YOur cute, Chara suggested, weird capitalization and all. Frisk idly wondered if she had picked that up from a Temmie.

"I'm fine!" Frisk replied, doing a surprisingly good imitation of Undyne's voice. Alphys was visibly impressed.

"Ha! Ha! Glad to hear it! Ha! Um… L-listen, Undyne, there's s-something I wanted to talk about…"

THEN SHe Kisses you. Chara pleaded Frisk, who ignored her again, though she was a bit tempted.

"What is it Alphys?"

Damn you and your desire to be so straight-laced! Come on, loosen up! It'd be way more fun. I bet- Oh wow, she's yelling.

"I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANY LONGER!" Alphys shrieked, bouncing on her toes. "I'M MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU! HOLD ME, UNDYNE, HOLD ME!"

At which point a very wide-eyed and utterly flabbergasted looking Undyne rounded a corner. "WHAT did you just say?"

I wish I could still eat. I need a bowl of popcorn for this.


Chara literally spent the entire walk out of Waterfall and the boat ride to Hotland laughing so hard that Frisk had to temporarily block her out. She finally managed to get a grip, giggling less as they arrived in the lab.

"Alphys?" Frisk called. Other than the hum of electronics, the place was silent. "That's w-weird… Papyrus said he sent her home…"

Very home.

Yes. That is what he said.

Frisk found a note on the floor, in shaky, messy handwriting. A nameless ball of dread began rolling around in her stomach.

That doesn't sound good.

I'd better follow her and make sure she's okay.

Something's up. I don't like this.


Frisk was a bit dazed by the crash, but was luckily unhurt. The elevator hadn't fallen too far, and was fairly sturdy and dense. Nothing more than a few bruises- as if she didn't have enough of those already.

Ow.

Are you okay? Chara glanced around warily. I've never been down here, but this place… It's weird. I feel like I know this place.

What the heck has Alphys been hiding?

Search me! I didn't think that she had another lab under her normal one… Power's out too. Spooky.

I don't like this.

Hey, hey! Where's the little ball of determination I know and occasionally antagonize?

"Occasionally"?

Har har. Come on, keep moving...


When the… things came out of the sink, Frisk tried to scream, but now sound came out. Her face paled and she started to sweat, despite the lab being fairly chilly. The creatures were like floating, warped faces; nightmarish visages that did not look human or monster. They didn't speak, but instead unleashed blaring, shrieking static. Frisk covered her ears, and cried out at the godawful cacophony.

Frisk, your phone! It's making weird sounds!

Frisk scrambled to snap it open, as the nightmarish creatures moved towards her. Soft, distorted voices crackled through, twisted by static.

"Come Join the Fun."

"Come Join the Fun."

"Come Join the Fun."

Frisk stuttered back into the receiver. "N-no thank you!"

"Oh well."

"That's a shame…"

"Lorem ipsum docet."

The Memoryheads seemed to lose interest, and as quickly as they had appeared, they vanished. Frisk clutched her chest, breathing slowly, heavily. Chara was hiding behind them and trembling.

Alphys… what did you do?!


Frisk was confronted by another of the nightmarish creations- this one seemed more real- solid. It loomed above Frisk, with a mass of gnashing, pointed teeth. Huge,muscular arms slammed into the ground, as a slender, fish-like body flopped along the ground. The creature was only semi-solid, a mass of half-melted existence.

"Welcome to my special Hell." "Welcome to my special Hell."

"Welcome to my special Hell." "Welcome to my special Hell."

"Welcome to my special Hell." "Welcome to my special Hell"

It rasped, speaking in many voices all at once. It sounded ragged, and burbling, as if speaking underwater. As it opened its mouth to try and bite down, Frisk remembered something, looking at the things that the Monster was made of, as she was quickly hopping back to avoid the attack. Frisk rolled her sleeve back and slowly flexed her (rather noodle-like) arms at it.

"Do you think I'm pretty?" "Do you think I'm pretty?"

"Do you think I'm pretty?" "Do you think I'm pretty?"

"Do you think I'm pretty?" "Do you think I'm pretty?"

What in god's name are you doing?! Chara squeaked, terrified. She had never been so scared. Her eyes widen when the thing hesitated. Frisk carefully opened her arms, as if to hug it, but stepped back, hugging herself instead. The creature gnashed its teeth again, but slower, its strange eyes focusing on Frisk.

"That's what they all say."

"That's what they all say."

"That's what they all say."

"That's what they all say."

"That's what they all say."

Frisk began to hum, slowly at first, then a bit louder and more boldly, remembering the song that she and Shyren had created together. Her humming made the creature freeze entirely. She wasn't sure, but it looked almost like it was going to cry.

"I've felt this before."

"I've felt this before."

"I've felt this before."

"I've felt this before."

"I've felt this before."

Lemon Bread gently leaned forward for a moment, all anger and hostility quelled. It moved slowly for a moment, as if suddenly shy, in an odd, reserved shuffling motion.

Could this be goodbye? Chara wondered hopefully.

It was.


Frisk figured out how to calm the next creature even faster. After all, even if there are many of them in one, a big, friendly, cuddly dog is still a big, friendly, cuddly, dog. Frisk pet the strange, amorphous Endogeny gently, as it nuzzled her, leaving a slight trace of slime on her face. It felt like doggy drool, so she decided that's all it was. Any possible alternatives were too gross or unsettling to even consider.


There was a terminal in a room Frisk didn't know how she got in or how to leave. All she knew is that every moment she was there, everything but the strange text on the terminal got darker, yet darker.

She was trapped there, until Chara suddenly yanked on her conscious, and she tumbled out, confused and afraid. Where had she been?


Frisk recognized the eye. What was once a pair of legs was now a beak. Frog-like legs were now wings. But the Reaper Bird, as tall and frightening as it was, was still just a scared, lonely monster who didn't really want to hurt her. Placated, it leaned its long neck down to look at Frisk, before giving her a cautious, apologetic little nudge, as if worried it had hurt her.


It's so cold. Chara whispered hollowly, at the melted creature. It could barely hold itself together. I- why are you still…? How can you be alive? She thought, feeling a shuddery sorrow filling her. Frisk offered it a little ice pun.

"Ice to meet you." She whispered gently. The creature seemed to smile a little, though it was hard to tell.

"Haha…" Her voice was so soft it was almost inaudible. "I… remem...ber…" She was so cold. She was smaller and more vulnerable than the others had been. Even if she wanted to, Chara doubted she could hurt them.

"It's Snow big deal if you don't want to fight."

"Ha...ha... Thank... you..."

It was sad. It was so sad it was funny. It was so cold and sad and funny that Chara made a shaky, hollow, bitter laugh. Not the panicked gasping sobbing laughter from before, just a weak, broken giggle. Frisk gently continued comforting the creature, occasionally giving Chara's hand a squeeze.

Chara laughed when she was stressed. She couldn't help it. It was a nervous reaction to just about anything too horrible to think about.

She laughed and kept laughing.

But it wasn't funny.


Frisk put in a tape. Chara felt happy. It was Toriel and Asgore before she had even arrived- before even Asriel had arrived. They were so happy.

Frisk put in the second tape. Chara felt nostalgic. Frisk felt like she was intruding, but Chara gently told her it was okay. She deserved to hear the whole story.

Frisk put in the third tape. Chara was afraid. She knew all too well what would come next. What would Frisk think?

Frisk put in the fourth tape. Chara was furious. Furious that she allowed herself to make such a stupid choice- that she bullied her little brother into helping- that she ruined everything.

Frisk, hands all a-tremble, put in the last tape. Chara felt depressed. It was all her fault.


Frisk and Chara sat together on one of the beds. Chara waited for the scorn to come. Why would it not? She had made a horrible decision and a terrible mistake. She had killed herself. She had killed Asriel. She had destroyed the one beacon of hope in the Underground. She had driven Asgore to murder. She had driven him apart from Toriel. She had killed not just herself and her brother, but six others- nearly a seventh, after all the times Frisk had come close to death.

But Frisk did not scorn Chara. Frisk just embraced her tightly. She didn't say anything for a long time. Chara spoke, aloud, her choked, broken voice shaky.

"Frisk…" She said, her voice pleading. "You should leave me here. I destroy everything I touch. Everyone I go near… I don't want- I don't want to hurt you too."

Frisk shook her head. "No. You don't. You're the only reason I've kept going…"

"You would have been happy with mom- or even with the way things were… now…" Chara whimpered. "What if Sans is right? Maybe you shouldn't keep going. Maybe I should stay away so that you don't."

Frisk just tightened her grip. "No. Stay with me. Please."

Chara laughed hollowly. "I'm poison, Frisk. I'm like a fucking demon of bad luck and ruin."

Frisk smirked a bit at that. "If you're a poison then you're the least-poisonous poison that I've ever been exposed to." That got a tiny, broken giggle out of Chara.

"...And besides… even if you somehow can free everybody… What next?"

"Alphys said your body will re-form."

"And then what?!" Chara shook. "I just go to living a normal happy life? I can't! Not after what I did… m-mom and dad… they don't know It's my fault, but they deserve to, a-and after they do find out they-" She whispered, her voice rasping. "...They'll hate me."

"No." Frisk whispered. "I already can tell, they won't hate you. I don't hate you."

Chara snorted. "You don't hate anyone. You don't even hate that awful flower…"

Frisk shrugged. "...I hate Jerry."

Chara burst out into giggles.

"And… there are… people I hate." Frisk admitted quietly, looking away.

"Huh?" Chara blinked, surprised. She hadn't expected that. Frisk did not elaborate, eyes firmly fixed to a tile on the floor. She seemed numb. Afraid.

"...Please don't leave me." Frisk finally spoke again. She was begging. Chara couldn't believe it. It was heartbreaking. This little font of optimism, determination, and ridiculous audacity and pluck was begging in a broken-down, desperate manner.

Chara remembered how shaken Frisk was back in Waterfall by the bench.

Something clicked in her mind.

She couldn't abandon Frisk.

"...I… I won't." Chara whispered, tightly squeezing Frisk's hand, feeling a sudden flood of determination. "I promise."

She was going to help Frisk make things right.


ENTRY NUMBER 18:

the flower's gone


The Lab was Dark.

And when Alphys, Frisk, and Chara finally left, it somehow grew even Darker.

And when it was pitch black, and no light could be seen it almost seemed to grow Darker Yet.

Something moved in the lab. Something with a faint, frozen smile of amusement. It shifted along, babbling softly to itself, before it stopped.

"...We*l, t*is is ve*ry

Ver*

Int*r*sting.

I h*ve wa*che* o*er t*em fo* l*ong** enoug*. T*ey mu** ea*n t*eir *appy en*ing now."

The shadows around it shuddered idly, as it turned to the nothingness about it, examining the darkness like an old friend who had been gone for many years.

"Y*u agr** wi*h me, d*nt y*u S**s?"

Chapter Text

Frisk and Chara quietly made their way into the elevator. Frisk nearly shot a foot off the ground when her phone rang, shattering the silence.

"I wonder i-if this thing has a silent mode…" She grumbled, as she flipped it open.

It was a voice she had never heard before.

"Chara, are you there?"

What.

"What…?"

A low chuckle rang out over the speakers, slow, but gentle. "It's been a long time… But you've done well. Everything has fallen into place…." There was a pause, the voice sounding oddly whimsical for a moment. "Chara…"

"See you soon."

Then the elevator was rocketing upwards, so fast that Frisk nearly fell right onto the floor, before it slowed to a halt.

The doors slid open.

Have you ever heard that voice? Frisk asked, a bit fearfully as she tumbled out, glad to be away from the elevator.

No. Chara was shaken. It sounded a little familiar, but I don't think it's anyone I can remember.

Frisk stood and looked around, confused as she slowly walked forward. They were back in the Capital. She supposed it made sense for Alphys to have an elevator that went straight to both the CORE and to New Home.

That could have saved us a lot of grief. But I'm kinda glad she didn't send us straight here. I had fun in Hotland, even if it was too hot.

Gee, what a shocker… Chara muttered. Hotland is Hot.

...Dad really needs to just let other people name things.


Frisk started down a corridor. The Throne Room was nearby, but she wanted to explore a little, one more time. She was blatantly stalling as much as Chara now, but… Somehow she didn't mind.

However, a small part of her wished that she didn't have to see the seven coffins. Each one had a name, and a date engraved on them. They were beautifully carved, and they even had small bouquets placed under each one. Frisk slowed when she reached the last one.

"Chara" The inscription read. "200X-201X."

It's as comfortable as it looks. Chara remarked, trying to sound calm and failing miserably. Frisk took her hand and squeezed it. It was time.


When Frisk saw him in the garden, she knew it had to be Asgore. How could it not be? The monster was enormous, (though not as big as some of the Amalgamates had been) with broad shoulders and a crown perched between his horns. He was kneeling, tending to his flowers.

"...Dum-de-dum…" He hummed idly, his bass voice soft and gentle. "Oh…? Is someone there…? Just a moment…! I have nearly finished watering these flowers." There was a pause, then he straightened. "There. Now then… Howdy! How can I-"

He turned, and nearly fell back in shock. His expression went from peaceful and friendly to… There were a lot of emotions. Shock, then fear, then grief, then… he looked utterly miserable.

"Oh." He whispered, his voice a bit shaken.

Frisk lowered her eyes. She tried to think of words, but could not bring them up. For a moment, the two just stood, avoiding eye contact, unable to find the right words.

Dad… Chara thought, wishing she could bring up the courage to do something- anything. She tried to manifest herself physically, but nothing happened. Chara knew why. She was too scared to face him.

Finally, after nearly a minute of silence, Asgore spoke. "...I so badly want to say… "would you like a cup of tea?"... But… You know how it is."

Frisk looked up at him, her soft brown eyes meeting his black ones for a moment. She held the gaze, but Asgore flinched and looked away again.

"...Nice day today, huh?" He murmured. His voice was a bit shaken and choked, as if he was holding back tears. "...Birds are singing, flowers are blooming…" He took a deep, shuddery breath to compose himself. "...Perfect weather for a game of catch…"

Another silence followed, as Frisk watched the king idly fiddle with his cloak. "...You know what we must do." He nearly whispered, turning away. "When you are ready, come into the next room."

Frisk watched him leave the room before steeling her Determination to follow. She would not hurt Asgore. She refused to. Chara quietly stayed close, guilt radiating off her, at her reluctance to do or say anything. Frisk just sent a gentle feeling of reassurance back.

...Hey Frisk? Can I tell you something before we go…?

What? Of course! Frisk plopped herself down in the flowers, head tilted.

...Well… Chara paused, before speaking, cautiously and meekly. I know you're going to deny this for me even though you don't even know everything but I… I am not the greatest person. Even ignoring what I did to Asriel and Mom and Dad. I… I've always been bad, Frisk, I think, or at least some of me has been. I don't know how you haven't seen it, because we're… well, constantly in each other's minds.

Frisk, I- I hate humanity. I hate them all. When Asriel and I… became one, I wanted to destroy them utterly- not just take a few souls and free everyone, I wanted to destroy them all. I wanted to raze that stupid village I ran away from until it was cinders.

But… Asriel stopped me. And even if it means he had to die- that I had to die- I can't thank him enough. If I- If we had done that, we'd never be able to go back. We'd be… even worse.

I think… I think I hated humans so much I started thinking somehow if I was even worse to them they'd change…

Chara hugged Frisk from behind.

And then you came along. Chara hesitated. Are you even human, Frisk? She took a deep, unnecessary breath. ...I think you and the monsters have been the only good influences on me. Ever. But… I still can't fathom it.

How the hell are you so damn… She flailed for a moment to find the right word. nice!? You're a kid! We're both kids! And you got through a bunch of monsters that want to kill you for your Soul by BEING that way!

And Frisk- I- I don't know anything about you. Chara was babbling now. She hadn't let Frisk get a word in edgewise. But I know one thing. Whatever reason you came here it wasn't a happy one! So how… how do you do it? She had finally trailed off. Frisk sat in thought for a long time. Chara had certainly brought up a lot in a short time.

Finally, she responded, slow and awkward. I don't know. I… It's not easy, Chara. It helps that almost every monster is so nice, but… It's really hard Chara. You saw what happened in the Ruins.

Chara shuddered. She remembered. It was vividly burned into her mind. Toriel clinging to a sobbing, upset Frisk, who clung back as the monster had turned to dust, and watching Frisk collapse and begin choking and coughing because the air was so thick with dust-

Frisk cut her thoughts off, hurriedly. It was because she made me think there was no choice… and… maybe that's why. Because I realized I did have a choice. And I realized that if I messed it up… Frisk raised her hand and Chara felt the rush of determination and warmth that came from Frisk's Soul whenever she Saved. That I could fix it.

Chara looked at Frisk. For a moment, Frisk swore she looked exactly like she did in the dream-world, but it was only an image; she was still just a small flicker of weird shadows and hazes.

Frisk… Chara murmured. ...Did… Did you come to Mt. Ebott because… because you wanted to disappear?

Frisk flinched a tiny bit, but then she looked up and nodded shakily. "...y-yes." She croaked aloud. She hugged her knees and Chara made a soft, sad sigh.

Me too.

They stayed there for a bit, dawdling, before Frisk slowly stood.

This is the last time I disappear though. Frisk sounded stronger, invigorated. After this, I'm never "disappearing" again.

Chara felt a touch of delight and a bit of pride in her friend. Right! Come on. Let's befriend the hell out of my dad!

Frisk nodded resolutely, slowly making her way out of the large garden.


Asgore had waited for her, patiently. He was leaned against a doorframe, eyes low. He quickly dragged a sleeve across his brow, as if he were just adjusting his robe, but Frisk could tell he was keeping tears from forming in his eyes. He looked Frisk dead in the eye for the first time and held it, his voice holding a note of… hopeful suggestion.

"If you are not ready, I understand. I… I am not ready either."

Frisk followed him through the door and gasped at what she saw in the next room.

The Barrier. What else could it be? The enormous… corridor? Wall? Whatever it was, it rippled and pulsed, and flickered. It radiated power. Out of curiosity, Frisk tried walking. She closed her eyes and walked down the barrier path for about a hundred yards, before she turned and opened them. She was standing maybe four feet from where she had started. However far she walked, the door never seemed to grow distant.

Asgore watched her, a bit bewildered, but honestly glad to have any kind of distraction from the thought of killing.

"If…" He called out, a bit shakily. "If by chance, you have anything else to do… Please, take your time."

Frisk glanced at him quizzically.

"Anything is important enough." He added. "Even if it is something as small as taking a walk, or reading a book…"

Frisk finally spoke up, quietly.

"Is… it true? That if… I want to leave, I'd have to…"

Asgore lowered his head, then nodded.

"...Then I guess that s-settles that." Frisk said, softly. "I'm n-not leaving."

Asgore looked… confused. Then he looked even sadder. "...You must, surely."

"All the monsters have been nice to me- or I-I've found a way to convince them to be…" Frisk argued softly. "I have f-friends here."

It was almost as if Asgore was begging her. "...Surely- surely someone will be worried about you on the Surface."

Frisk's expression turned sour, and her voice went flat and cold. It was the harshest tone she had ever taken. There wasn't hostility, just bitterness. "N-Nobody will miss me." She said, crossing her arms.

Asgore was at a bit of a loss. It was his duty to end this child's life; to take her Soul and finally free monsters forever. But this child- she refused to fight him at all if it meant she would have to kill him.

And if she would not fight, he didn't think he could take it.

"...I do not deserve mercy." He whispered, his voice hoarse.

"...Ev-everyone does." Frisk whispered. "Especially you." She walked forward, slowly and gently, her voice soothing. "Everyone can have M-mercy. I don't want to fight. You don't want to fight. You don't have to fight." Asgore shook his head, but Frisk caught his enormous hand in her tiny ones. "Y-you don't have to fight."

Asgore froze, eyes wide. He didn't know how to respond.

"You don't have to fight." Frisk repeated, staring him down, her eyes soft and resolute. Chara marveled at the effect it was having. Asgore was trembling a little, his legs shaking and clearly having difficulty staying upright.

"...we don't have to fight." Frisk said, her voice soft. "And we're not the only ones who d-don't want to fight."

Asgore tilted his head, confused.

"Undyne doesn't want to fight me. And she doesn't want you to. Alphys doesn't want you to fight me either." She continued. "And I don't think… I don't think any of the m-monsters want you to do th-this…" She squeezed his huge, fuzzy paw. Asgore trembled more, sinking to his knees.

Frisk was tiny. Even for a child of her age, she was small. Short, slender, with a very fragile frame. She looked even tinier so close to Asgore, who moments earlier had towered high above her and was now on his knees, unable to respond.

Frisk gently squeezed his large paws, hesitating before speaking. "...I think…" She steadied herself, staying strong. "Everyone would be happier. So please… stop t-trying to fight."

Asgore broke down. He cried. Chara had never seen her father cry before. Even when she was dying, he had not shed a tear, staying strong because he knew that crying would just upset her.

The way he cried reminded her of Asriel.

Frisk hugged Asgore gently, letting him cry. Finally, he looked up at Frisk.

"Little human… I… I… I do not know… what to say."

"...J-just say that we d-don't need to fight." She whispered, smiling.

Asgore hugged her tightly, squeezing the girl in an embrace. Chara smiled, although she felt just a tiny bit jealous. After all, he gave the absolute best hugs.

It was then that one of the most touching things that Chara had ever seen in her life was abruptly ruined by someone bursting into the room, wild-eyed. Chara's heart skipped a beat. Mom?!

She had run in, looking ready to give Asgore hell, but stopped, in shock at the sight of Frisk gently being set down by the King of All Monsters himself. He looked up, amazement in his eyes, though it was easily outclassed by Toriel's disbelief.

Frisk didn't even let her speak and cannonballed into her, giving the goat monster a huge hug. Toriel had to laugh; what else could she do. Frisk looked up at her, eyes shining with joy.

"You f-followed… me?" She asked, her voice tiny and shaky, but happy. Toriel could not help but smile.

"Yes, my child, but it seems I did not need to." Toriel whispered, awestruck. "I… I was so torn. I realized so many things. But it seems you were able to come to a peaceful resolution without my help." She took a deep breath. "...I am so proud of you."

Frisk beamed.

"Tori…?" Asgore whispered, finding his voice at last. "You came back?"

Toriel's response made even Chara wince. "Do not Tori me, Dreemurr! You pathetic whelp."

Oh. Wow. Mom's angry.

She's really scary like that. Frisk thought, after wiggling free of Toriel's death hug.

...You know, I've never seen them argue or fight, but this isn't too far from how I imagined it going. If they weren't on such bad terms this would be entertaining. She was a bit melancholic. There were few things more depressing than watching your beloved family fight.

Luckily, Toriel's tirade was cut off by the bombastic entry of Undyne- as if she'd enter in a way that wasn't bombastic.

"NGAAAAH!" She roared, storming in. "ASGORE! HUMAN! NOBODY FIGHT!" Her eye twitched a bit, then she froze, baffled at the sight of Toriel. She glanced between her and the quietly weeping Asgore and something seemed to click.

"Hello!" Toriel greeted, friendly as ever all of a sudden. "Are you a friend of the human's? I am Toriel!"

Wow, she went from angry to nice really fast… She really is a good mom if she can calm down so quickly.

"Uh… Yeah?" Undyne cautiously offered a huge, toothy smile. "You too!" She less than subtly sidled up to Asgore and murmured just loud enough for Frisk to hear. "...Hey Asgore, is that your ex? Geez. That's rough buddy."

For some reason, that made Frisk giggle. Even Chara snorted at Undyne's utter lack of tact.

"Hey!" Blurted a familiar yellow lizard. She was out of breath and had clearly sprinted from the elevator as fast as her little legs could carry her. "Nobody hurt each other! Uh…" She trailed off. Frisk giggled again.

We did get help! Chara was happy. We didn't need it, but I'm happy about this anyway!

"Oh!" Toriel smiled at Alphys in a friendly manner. "Are you another friend? Hello! I am Toriel!"

"U-uh… h-h-hi…" Alphys squeaked shyly, eyes wide. She darted to Undyne's side, and Frisk heard her murmur in disbelief; "...there's two of them…?"

"HEY!" Frisk's grin widened. She couldn't help it. "NOBODY FIGHT ANYONE! IF ANYBODY FIGHTS ANYBODY THEN I! WILL BE FORCED! TO ASK UNDYNE FOR HELP!"

Frisk tugged Papyrus's arm. "W-we already s-stopped fighting." She smiled up at him. Papyrus beamed at her.

"NYEH-HEH-HEH!" He laughed. "I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT, TINY HUMAN! THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS IMMENSELY PROUD OF YOU. IT MUST HAVE BEEN MY INCREDIBLE INFLUENCE!"

Frisk giggled. "Y-yes. That was what it was. Absolutely." Papyrus was over the moon.

"hey guys." Sans too. Though Frisk was sure she didn't see him come in. "what's up?" He subtly offered a very brief little nod at Chara.

Don't rat me out, bonehead… She thought irritably.

"Oh! That voice!" Toriel cautiously approached the short skeleton. "Excuse me, but I believe we may… know each other?"

I guess I have to give him some credit, he seems like he was good company for Mom. Chara shook her head softy. She always did like horrible jokes.

Seems like Sans just… knows everybody, huh?

Yeah. It's suspicious.

"Cheer up Asgore." Undyne had a hand on the boss Monster's sagging shoulders. He was crying still, but he seemed to be torn between joy at not having to fight, and sorrow over Toriel's lecture from earlier. "There are plenty of fish in the sea."

Gods above, now Undyne is making puns! When will this madness end?

Quit finding things to complain about and be happy!

I reserve the right to whine!

"Y-yeah Asgore!" Alphys agreed, offering the King a handkerchief from her pocket, with which he wiped his eyes. "Undyne's t-totally right, about that fish thing…" She stuttered a bit for a moment before speaking again. "Sometimes you just gotta f-forget about fuzzy boss monsters and uh… find a really cute fish?"

Undyne gave her a look.

"...It's a metaphor." She mumbled.

Undyne just smiled. "Well, I think it's a good analogy."

Oh, kiss you idiots.

"OH MY GOD." An all-too familiar leg pointed at them. Everyone except Alphys, Frisk and Chara stared in disbelief. "Would you two just SMOOCH already! The audience is dying for some romantic action.

SECONDED!

"Hey!" Undyne barked. "Shut up! Man, the nerve of that guy, right Alphys?"

Noooo!

Alphys was shaking.

"Uh, Alphys?"

"No. He's right." She looked Undyne firmly in the eye, taking her hands. "Let's do it."

YES!

YES!

Undyne looked staggered, but nodded, flushed hotly. "Uh? Well? If you want to? Don't hold anything back!" They leaned in, Frisk watching with bated breath, ready to applaud…

"W-wait! Not in front of the human!"

YES IN FRONT OF THE HUMAN. Mom, stop!

Mom, don't! Please!

Aw dammit.

Luckily, it seemed everyone was willing to laugh it off. It was just so silly and adorable. Toriel looked around for a moment. At Sans and Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, and Asgore,before looking to Frisk, warmly.

"My child, it seems as if you must stay here a while longer. But looking at all the wonderful friends you have made… I think you will be quite happy here."

"Say… that reminds me…" Alphys turned suddenly. "Papyrus, you called everyone here, didn't you? Well uh, apart from, um…" She nodded at Toriel. "Her. But if I got here before you, how did you know to call everyone?"

"LET'S JUST SAY…"

"A TINY FLOWER HELPED ME."

The room felt as if it had gone ice cold.

"A t-tiny… flower…?"

Before anyone could react, vines exploded from the walls and the earth below them. Frisk screamed in horror as her friends were yanked away from her, into the air, tangled and immobile. Undyne was clearly the hardest to hold, because she thrashed and snapped her razorlike teeth at the thick vines aggressively, wild and feral.

Frisk swatted and struggled as vines emerged around her, managing to beat a few back with her stick, before it was snatched from her hands and snapped like it was nothing. Frisk squeaked, as she was violently yanked into the air, dangling by her wrists.

NO. Chara shrieked. NO NO NO!

From the ground, with a sickeningly sweet smile on his face, emerged a single golden flower.

"You idiots." He giggled, his vines dangling something in the air- six colored hearts. "While you guys were having your little powwow… I took the human Souls." Flowey's voice went from sickeningly sweet to menacing. "And not only that-" And this was directed at Frisk. "Now I have all your friend's Souls too!" He snickered, grinning wider. "And you know what the best part is?" Flowey jerked Frisk in front of his face. "It's all your fault."

"What?" Frisk managed, confused. "How could i-it- b-be-?"

"It's all because you made them love you." His voice twisted further, into a mockery of Toriel's tones. "All that time you spent…" His voice twisted again, sounding like Undyne now. "Listening to them…" Then Alphys. "Encouraging them…" Now he sounded like Asgore. "Caring about them…" And now, back to his own voice. "Without that, they wouldn't have come here."

BULLSHIT.

"And now, with their Souls and the humans' together… I'll achieve my real form…"

Frisk sobbed in anger and despair, fighting against the vines. "W-why?! Why are you doing this?!"

"Why?!" Flowey grinned, shaking Frisk. "WHY?!" He cackled. "Don't you get it?"

"This is all just a game! A story. If you leave satisfied, you'll "win"! If you "win" the "game" you won't want to "play" with me anymore! And the Story would end! And what would I do then?" He lowered his voice, whispering in a tone of pure menace. "But this game between us will never end… I'll hold victory within your grasp, and tear it away, over and over and over…

"Listen. If you do win, I'll let you have your "happy ending". I'll bring your friends back, I'll break the Barrier… everyone will finally be satisfied. But that won't happen~! You… you…!"

He's lost his mind… Chara thought, partially filled with rage and disgust, but also a bitter pity for the wretched little thing.

"I'll keep you here no matter what." He leaned inches from Frisk's ear. "...Even if it means killing you a million times."

Everything was pain. Frisk screamed as pellets slammed into her Soul, writhing and howling as they slammed into it, again and again, the fragile little thing cracking. Then… the pellets stopped. A ring of white, magical flames had surrounded Frisk, burning the pellets to nothing.

"What?!" Flowey hissed, impatiently.

"Do not be afraid, my child…" Toriel barely had the strength to, but she had summoned the flames with her magic, and managed a bleak smile. "No matter what happens… we will always be there to protect you."

Frisk felt her Soul quiver, a spark of Determination kindling. Flowey hissed like a cat, more bullets spewing at her, but a volley of spears and bones dispersed them, adding to Frisk's layers of defense.

"THAT'S RIGHT HUMAN!" Papyrus managed a huge grin, despite everything. Nothing could break his blithe, optimistic spirit. "YOU CAN WIN! JUST DO WHAT I WOULD DO. BELIEVE IN YOU!"

"Hey Human!" Undyne shouted, thrashing still. She hadn't stopped violently squirming since the vines grabbed her. "If you got past me, you can do anything!"

The crack in Frisk's Soul that Flowey had managed to create began to seal itself up, as the spark turned into an ember.

Flowey snarled, sounding more and more like some wild beast. He snapped his head forward, a flood of pellets, intending to overwhelm Frisk's "shield".

More flames erupted, forcing the flower to retreat back, as they burst around Frisk. Any bullets that went off course were hit with arcs of magical lighting, disintegrating.

Holy crap, Alphys has some strong magic.

"T-technically, um…" Alphys managed, with a triumphant little grin. "It's impossible for you to beat him, but somehow, I know you can do it!"

"Human… For the future of humans and monsters, you have to stay determined!" Asgore boomed. For a moment, Frisk saw a regal king, instead of a fuzzy pushover.

Her Soul, injured, but only just, fully fused itself back together, as the ember of determination began to burn.

Suddenly, the vines fell away from Frisk, something severing them just out of her sight. She landed on her rear with a soft "oof!"

"what, you haven't beaten this guy yet?" Sans winked. "come on, this weirdo's got nothing on you."

Frisk stood shakily, and suddenly, monsters flooded the room, and for the first time, they weren't against Frisk, but at her side, defending her. There was a small army here, to protect her.

Frisk felt more determined than she ever had.

For the first time, Flowey looked frightened. He seemed wildly outgunned, even with six Souls in his possession. He looked around, surrounded. Frisk could recognize dozens of monsters; Shyren, Snowdrake, one of the Dogs, Froggit, Muffet, The twin Royal Guards, flanked by the dogs from Snowdin and Red stood before Frisk, their blades crossed in front of her defensively. Even the Monster Kid was there! More monsters came, surrounding Frisk. Nearly every monster she had fought was there.

"Urgh… How…? No! This can't be happening!" Flowey recoiled, as the Monsters flooded the edge of the barrier. "You- you-"

Then the facade cracked.

"I can't believe…" He grinned deadly calm and confident. "That you're all. So. Stupid."

"All of your Souls are MINE!"

Everything went white.

Everything went dark.

All that was left was a small figure, with his back turned. They were barely taller than Frisk.

If Chara could have, her would have gone totally white.

That… can't be…

"Finally."

Oh my god.

"I was so tired of being a flower."

He turned. He looked like a miniature Asgore or Toriel.

"Chara, are you there?" He asked. The question was directed at Frisk. "It's me! Your best friend."

He thinks… that I'm you?

I think he does- WHOA.

A flash and suddenly he was taller, floating in the air a few inches, smiling cockily.

"Asriel Dreemurr."

This was the end.


Chara for whatever reason, began laughing uncontrollably. A real laugh, this time. A wild, raucous laugh that shattered Frisk's concentration, as she dodged around and ducked Asriel's indescribably dangerous attacks.

Holy crap he actually… BAHAHAHAH!

This isn't funny!

You don't understand! Chara squealed. He- He drew this- he wrote a story about it. He wanted to be "Asriel Dreemur, the Absoulute GOD of Hyperdeath! He actually did it! Even his attacks are- oh my god that dork!

Frisk squeaked and leapt out of the way as Asriel whirled a pair of swords.

Chaos Sabre. Chara announced cheerfully.

"You know… I don't even care about destroying this world anymore." Asriel chuckled, unleashing a whirlwind of stars, that crashed and burst around Frisk.

Star Blazing!

NOT THE TIME. Frisk clasped, holding onto her hopes, feeling her resolve strengthened.

"After I defeat you, I just want to reset everything." Asriel smirked, swiping his hands to the sides, as huge lightning bolts crashed into the ground (or at least it seemed like the ground. The whole world was very difficult to grasp at this point).

I'm sorry I have to! He wouldn't shut up about these either! Shocker Breaker!

He's trying to kill me.

Has he succeeded?

No, but-

Then I'm not going to stop!

Chara's glee was a bit heartening, despite the circumstances. She displayed such levity that it managed to raise Frisk's spirits. She closed her eyes, wishing as hard as she could. She felt revitalized, as she dreamed of seeing her friends again.

"Then we can do everything all over again! And you know what the best part is? You'll do it!"

Of course I will!

This time, his arm seemed to change shape, morphing into some kind of cannon.

Chaos Buster. It's probably better if we just win now.

Frisk took a few hits, but her Dreams healed her Soul faster than Asriel could damage it. He looked like he was enjoying himself, smirking. Frisk was trying to simultaneously evade his attacks, and think desperately for a way to stop him, to understand why he would do this.

"And then you'll lose to me again… and again… and again! Because you want a "happy ending…"" He seemed to glower a bit, though it was hard to tell when he never stopped smiling. "Because you "love your friends"." He leaned in, as he raised his hands, preparing something huge. "Isn't that delicious? Your determination… The thing that let you get this far… It's gonna be your DOWNFALL!"

...I'm worried, he doesn't sound like himself. Chara had finally gotten over her little episode, and sounded more appropriately troubled. Frisk, please, we have to help him!

How?! Frisk panted, holding onto her hopes and catching her breath.

"Now enough messing around. It's time to purge this timeline, once and for all!"

Uh-oh. That looks like- An enormous, skull-like face looked, cackling and opening its jaw. His "special attack". Hyper Goner.

It began to generate a huge ball of light. Frisk shielded herself as the light blinded her, forcing the small child to cover her eyes with a cry- it blasted outwards, and Frisk shrieked as the wall of light smashed into her, slamming her hard into the ground below.

Somehow, she had survived. Slowly, Frisk pushed herself up, Chara desperately tugging her.

You can do it! She cheered.

"Even after that you're still standing?" Asriel laughed. "Impressive. But don't get cocky. Up until this point I have only been using a fraction of my power."

Oh don't tell me…

"Behold!"

Everything that wasn't Asriel was darkness. A huge knows shattered and rocked through the air, and Frisk gasped, at the huge winged creature before her. Her mouth went dry as she realized. The whole world was ending around her.

...I drew that. Chara sounded miffed. He stole my drawing.

Asriel raised his arms. Frisk, still injured from the previous blast, stood no chance against the onslaught. Her Soul suddenly split down the middle. She collapsed, her eyes going blank.

FRISK! Chara shrieked.

But it refused.

Frisk stood. Slowly. Eyes blazing.

"Even after all that…" Asriel mused, sounding vaguely impressed. "...Well, that's fine. That attitude will serve you well in your next life!"

Frisk could only avoid the attacks. Every time she tried to think of something, anything, she couldn't move at all. Everything seemed hopeless. She tried to make a Save, but even that didn't work.

...But maybe… Chara whispered, an idea forming. After all… ...Maybe you can Save something else. Or rather, someone else.

Frisk! They're still there, aren't they?

Frisk's eyes widened and then narrowed with determination. She would Save her friends.

She could feel them, and reached out to Asriel's Soul. Something pulled at her, and she grinned.

Standing before her was not the Absolute God of Hyperdeath, but the familiar form of Alphys. Frisk knew what to do.

"You hate me, don't you?" The Lost Soul asked miserably, as flashes of electricity blasted at Frisk from her scales.

"No way!" Frisk grinned. "What's your favorite cartoon?"

The Soul shivered, clearly restraining herself, holding back an enormous answer. "I've got to keep lying."

A devious grin perked at the edges of Frisk's lips. "Hey, Alphys! M-mew M-mew Kissy Cutie 2 is better than the fi-first one! Red told me so!"

The Lost Soul seemed to spasm in confusion and barely restrained fangirlish-rage.

Frisk, you're evil.

"All I do is hurt people."

She walked right up to the Monster and whispered in her ear.

"Un-Undyne wants to smooch you. She thinks you're the cutest monster ever."

Perfection! Chara squealed at that. I wanna see the dorks kissing already!

Alphys sat bolt upright, sweating, and blushing. "Wha- Wha-" She shook herself. "Really?" And suddenly, she was back. "Wh- No! You're right! My friends like me!" She squeezed Frisk in a hug. "And I like you too!"

Frisk patted Alphys, who vanished. Frisk spun to face the next Lost Soul. She stood tall and proud, unleashing a flurry of spears, which Frisk blocked with her now-green Soul.

"All humans will die!" The Lost Soul roared.

Frisk gave the Soul a massive toothy smile, imitating what she always would do herself.

She quivered a bit, struggling with her memories. "You're our real enemy!"

"Come on Undyne!" Frisk begged her. "I want another c-cooking lesson with you!"

She didn't know why, but the Lost Soul seemed to really want to…

"Undyne! Hurry up and come back so you can k-kiss Alphys! R-right on her lips!"

Yeah! Chara crowed. What she said! Double!

And with that, Undyne was back, staggering a bit and blushing, but she shook it off, giving Frisk's hair a ruffle. "Well, some humans are okay I guess!"

Two more lost Souls. One was tall, and the other was short (Though he was still quite a bit taller than Frisk, much to her chagrin).

"I MUST CAPTURE A HUMAN!" Even in this state, the tall Lost Soul seemed upbeat.

"just give up. i did." The short one asked softly, his head hung low.

"I t-think you need to take a break." Frisk advised the short one. He paused, clearly wanting to. Frisk yelped suddenly, leaping over a few stray bones from the tall one.

"P-Papyrus! I love your c-cooking!"

Liar.

Even if it was a lie, the Lost Soul was trying to hide his joy.

"WHEN I CAPTURE YOU, EVERYONE WILL…" He wavered a bit.

"why even try?"

Frisk grinned. "I th-think you're j-just ribbing me."

The short one seemed to perk up and grin. The tall one groaned, but… seemed to remember something.

The short Lost Soul sounded utterly hollow. "...you're never gonna see 'em again."

Frisk felt a deep pity for him, as he said that. She gently squeezed him in a hug. As she did, the tall one, concerned for his brother, scooped them both up.

Sans and Papyrus were back.

"NO!" Papyrus grinned broadly. "I CANNOT CAPTURE YOU! YOU ARE MY FRIEND!"

Sans winked, as Frisk dropped from the hug. She wasn't finished yet. "nah." He called to her. "i'm rootin' for ya, kid."

He needed that. Chara muttered. What's eating him, I wonder?

Two more Lost Souls stood.

"This is for your own good."

"Forgive me for this."

Frisk grinned. She already knew what to do. She ran right up to the female Soul and hugged her. "Hi mom!" She grinned.

That's my mom. Chara teased. Ya weirdo.

Frisk darted over to the male Lost Soul, hugging him in much the same way. "We don't have to fight." She whispered to him. "So let's n-not."

His shoulders sagged. Frisk backed up, facing them both, firm, determined, and resolute. "I'm not going to hurt either of you! No matter what!"

Toriel and Asgore were back.

"Your fate is up to you now!" Toriel called, pride shining in her eyes.

"You are our future!" Asgore boomed.

Frisk turned. Above her was Asriel. She knew what to do.

Frisk?

"What are you doing?"

Save Asriel.

"No! Stop it! Get away!"

Save. Asriel.

"Do you hear me?! I'll tear you apart!"

SAVE. ASRIEL.

"...Chara…" He whispered, head sinking. "Do you know why I'm still doing this, Chara? Why I keep fighting to keep you around?"

...Ree…

"It's because you're special Chara. It's because you're the only one who understands me, Chara." His voice was low and shaky. "You're the only one who's any fun to play with anymore."

Save Asriel.

"...No…" He said, shakily, fighting back tears. It's not just that…"

Save. Asriel.

"It's because… Because I care about you Chara." Asriel's voice trembled, his eyes shaky. "I care about you more than anyone else! I'm not ready for this to end! I'm not ready to say goodbye to someone like you again!"

SAVE. ASRIEL.

"So please…" He begged, magic gathering at his hands, raising it above his head. "Stop doing this…!" He slammed his hands down, unleashing an enormous blast into Frisk.

"AND JUST LET ME WIN!"

Frisk stood firm. Chara clung tightly, their determination mingling together, as the blast tore at them, burning and freezing at them all at once.

"STOP!" He screamed. "STOP IT!"

The beam slowly grew more intense, hurting more, but Frisk refused to move. Then, it faded.

"Chara…" Asriel whispered, tears dripping from his face. "I'm so alone, Chara."

"I'm so afraid, Chara…"

...I…

"Chara, I… I…"

Everything slowly faded. Where once loomed the Absolute God of Hyperdeath, was a small, weeping little monster, sniffling and hiding his eyes in his hands. "...I'm so sorry." He whispered, peeking up.

"...I always was a crybaby, wasn't I Chara?" He asked, shaky, but smiling.

Frisk glanced away. "I'm…"

Asriel flinched. "...I know. You're not… You're not actually Chara, are you? Chara's been gone for a long time now."

A...Ah…

"Um, what… what is your name?"

She looked up at him. "...Frisk."

"Frisk?" He paused, before smiling. "That's… a nice name…"

I... F-frisk, I'm gonna t-try and talk to him. Chara sounded afraid. Can you… tell him? About… me?

I can try. If you need to you can hold onto me when you do.

...Thank you.

"Um… I'm not… totally alone though…" Frisk mumbled, trying to take this slowly. "It's just uh… that…" She trailed off, not sure how to explain it. "I think th-there's a good reason you thought that I was her."

"Frisk?" Asriel tilted his head. "What are you talking about."

"...When I landed in the Underground, something happened." Frisk looked up, staring at Asriel. "A little b-bit of my Soul came apart."

"...What?" Asriel's eyes widened.

"...And it um… made… well…" Frisk glanced desperately to Chara's shadow.

You did enough… Thanks Frisk.

Chara appeared. Something about this place let her appear as herself. Awkwardly standing partially behind Frisk, head low, eyes shut tight. She was shaking violently.

Asriel's voice choked. "...Chara…?"

She slowly raised her head, her bright red eyes opening, as she managed, finally, to offer Asriel a tiny, broken little smile. "...surprise?" She managed to whisper.

Asriel dashed forward, tackling her in a hug, bawling now. Frisk was knocked into her, as the young monster wept, not even trying to hold his tears back anymore.

"...Such a… crybaby…" Chara murmured, but hugged him back, starting to cry a little herself. "...I'm… It's okay, 'Ree. I'm here. I'm back. Frisk… Frisk saved me, too."

Asriel looked between her and Frisk, and back and forth again, still crying, but also laughing, shakily. "Chara… Chara… How- How are you here?"

"Determination…" Chara ruffled the fur on his head softly. "The same way you are, I guess… Determination and Souls."

She hugged him again, tightly as she could, shaking.

"...I'm so so sorry." She choked out, shaking. "This is all my fault… Asriel… I… I did all of this to you… To mom, to dad… To Frisk… Everything…" She buried her face against him, whimpering. Now it was Asriel's turn to awkwardly comfort his sibling, patting her gently. Frisk watched, trying to keep from crying as well.

"Chara… It's okay." He smiled at her, bleakly. "...I… I missed you."

"...Me too." She whispered, hoarsely. "...I guess… both of us have done some awful things, huh…?"

Asriel lowered his head. "...Yeah." Slowly, they turned to Frisk, Asriel's voice shaky. "...Frisk… I understand if you can't ever forgive me. I did horrible things." He trembled a bit. "I hurt you. I hurt so many people."

Frisk hugged him suddenly. "...Hush." She whispered. "I a-already have."

Asriel shook. "W-what? Frisk, come on… you're gonna make me cry again…"

Chara smiled and suddenly hugged them both, one in each arm. "Of course she's gonna forgive you, idiot." She said, fondly. "She's like, the best person ever, tied with you. And maybe Mom and Dad."

Asriel laughed. It was genuine, a happy laugh.

"...Frisk." He said, finally. "...When I was… a flower, I had no Soul. I couldn't feel love anymore." He lowered his eyes. "But now, I not only have my own compassion…" He looked up. "I can feel everyone else's too. Everyone cares about you so much Frisk." He giggled awkwardly. "...Monsters are weird. Even though they all barely know you, it feels like they really love you, Frisk."

Frisk smiled softly. Chara ruffled Frisk's hair. "Monsters are great aren't they?"

Asriel lowered his head. "I… I need to do something, though. I can't keep everyone's Souls. It wouldn't be fair." He raised his eyes. "But first. It's time to do something else."

"Oh my god." Chara's smile went big. "Are you going to-?"

Asriel nodded. Frisk saw the same regalness that Asgore had held when he protected her.

"It's time for Monsters to go free."

The Souls emerged. Six powerful human ones, and hundreds of thousands of smaller, Monster souls. They swirled, filling the air with light, noise, emotions, and memories. Then everything flashed white…

The whiteness shattered like glass. The barrier was destroyed.

Slowly, Asriel sank to the ground. "...Ah… ha… ha…" Before he could speak, Chara made a sound of joy.

"We did do it together, didn't we!" She beamed at her little brother, who bleated in surprise- actually bleated- as Chara hugged him hard, lifting him off the ground. "Even if it wasn't how we planned, we did it! Asriel you're the Angel! It's YOU!"

Asriel's eyes widened in surprise. "Me…? But…"

"You saw the surface, returned, and the Underground's going to go empty!" She crowed.

Asriel looked at her for a moment, then at Frisk who was beaming just as bright as Chara was. "...Ha… Ha…! It's true…! I guess I am!" His face fell slowly. "...Frisk… Chara… I… I'm… I have to go soon."

Chara nearly dropped him. "What?!" She blurted, eyes wide.

"...I let all the Souls go." He whispered. "They're going to find their old homes. Without them, I can't… I can't keep staying like this. I'll turn back into a flower, and I'll… Stop being able to love again."

"After… After all this?" Chara whispered, eyes watering up. "I refuse. Nuh-uh. This is not how it ends here!"

"B-but Chara, I-"

"No!" She barked. "You listen to me! If I can come back from the dead then you will too! Do you hear me Dreemurr?!"

Asriel squeaked, and Frisk had to laugh. It was such a silly sound.

"...y'know, you're technically a Dreemurr too." He mumbled.

"Irrelevant!" She barked. "Listen, Ree!" She was channeling Undyne a bit. "I'm literally regenerating myself. My Soul is patching itself together from a teeny piece of this-" She shook Frisk a bit, causing her to yelp in surprise. "-amazing little saint's Soul. If I can get my body back, then I am not going to let you leave us! Even if that means I have to find your little flowery ass and uproot it and carry it out of here in a boot!"

Asriel stared at her in a mix of confusion and melancholy.

"But…"

"I agree…" Frisk mumbled softly, standing with her hands on her hips. "Y-you're coming home with us."

"...I…" He blinked, seeing the look in their eyes. He knew there would be no arguing. He sighed. "...W-well…"

Chara smirked. She always got her way with Asriel.

"...Not… yet." He finally said. "There's… some things I need to do, first." He looked down at his feet. "And I… I don't want Mom and Dad to see me, especially since I'll turn into… Flowey again." He looked at Chara. "I think… you'd understand, too. B-but… give me a day or two, and then, maybe you can come get me…?" He added quickly, seeing Chara's look of frustration.

She sighed. "Ree… We'll come back for you. I promise." She squeezed his shoulders, but nodded, sorrow in her eyes. "Frisk will find something. She always does."

Asriel suddenly grinned. It was a strange, impish little grin, the kind only a sibling can give. "...You like her, huh?" He giggled.

"Not another word Asriel!" Chara hissed, blushing.

"Oh! Sorry!" The mischief sparkled in his eyes. "You like like her, huh?"

Frisk had to stuff a hand to her mouth to hide her uncontrollable laughter. Asriel winked at her over Chara's shoulder.

"Oh my god Asriel shut up." Chara begged. "It's bad enough having to share a headspace with that insufferable flirt."

"She's just trying to say she likes you back!" Now it was Frisk's turn to blush a bit.

"Asriel."

"Okay, okay, I'll stop." He said, smiling fondly at Chara, giving her a little hug. "...Sorry. I missed you."

"...Missed you too, dummy." She said, fondly. "...See you soon?"

"Yeah…" He let go, shakily, looking up at Frisk. "Frisk, you're going to do great, alright? No matter what you do. And Frisk…" He paused, taking a deep breath. "...help Chara take care of Mom and Dad for me, won't you?"

Frisk nodded. She felt sad, but happy. It was a weird confliction.

"...See you later." He called, finally dry-eyed, feeling, for the first time, a true sense of hope.

Everything faded.

"Frisk! This is all just a bad dream! Please, wake up…!"

Chapter Text

Frisk slowly, agonizingly came to. Her head ached a bit, but a slow, cursory bit of grabbing made it clear that she was unharmed. Slowly she opened her eyes.

Well, look who finally decided to wake up. Chara grinned, a little close to Frisk's face, causing her to flinch back in surprise. You had everyone worried sick, you know.

I feel kind of dizzy… w-wait, everyone is okay?

Calm down, Frisk. Everyone is fine. They don't seem to know what happened though… Maybe that's for the best. Chara giggled. You're their freaking hero.

Frisk blushed at at that, sitting up. She was in Chara and Asriel's old room; she must have been taken there to recover. She hopped out of Chara's bed, stretching. Aside from the mild headache, she felt… good.

She left the room, and it took a bit of searching, but she found everyone eventually; they were gathered in Asgore's garden- it had only been about a half hour.

"Frisk!" Beamed Toriel, scooping the child up. "You are alright!"

"Man! You scared the crap outta me!" Undyne said, laughing with relief. "Tell us next time you plan to take a nap!"

"yeah," Sans winked. "you made papyrus cry like a baby."

"WHAT! I DIDN'T CRY! I DON'T CRY!" He protested. "I JUST… CAUGHT SOMETHING IN MY EYE."

"what did you catch?"

"TEARS!"

Everyone had a little chuckle over that. Frisk finally wiggled free from Toriel's tight motherly embrace; as much as she liked hugs, she could only stand so much at a time. She landed in the flowers with a soft fwump! and casually stood, brushing off her pant legs.

Frisk looked around, a little nervous, but excited all the same. "Is it true? D-did… did it work? I-is the Barrier…?"

"Gone." Asgore rumbled quietly, a gentle smile on his face. "We are not sure what exactly you did, Frisk, but the Barrier has been destroyed. No doubt word is beginning to reach the monsters below."

"So weird… I r-remember the little Flower, and he… attacked us, I think? Or maybe he just… he-held us in the air for a moment? And t-then everything went white."

"Still, the fact remains," Toriel smiled, joy shining in her eyes. "The Barrier was shattered. We should all prepare to leave for the Surface." Frisk's eyes widened. "We will soon see the sky!"

"OH MY GOD." Undyne squealed. "I NEED TO PACK!"

"Um… d-didn't you burn your h-house down?" Alphys tugged at her arm meekly. "D-do you even have anything to pack?"

Undyne grinned and suddenly dashed off, scooping Alphys off her feet. She charged off. The remaining monsters glanced at one another in amusement.

"Should… ah, should we follow them?"

"ABSOLUTELY. I AM CURIOUS AS TO WHAT UNDYNE WOULD POSSIBLY HAVE TO PACK AFTER THE FIRE MOVED INTO HER HOUSE."


The group made their way along, down the elevators. MTT resort was bustling with activity, monsters gathering into groups, chatting excitedly and animatedly about their futures. Sans suddenly caught Frisk's shoulder.

"actually... i wanted to ask the kiddo about somethin'. you all go on ahead." Before Frisk could agree, she blinked and found herself seated at a table in the restaurant again. Chara made an annoyed sound.

"sorry kids, but this is… kinda been bugging me." Sans sat, scratching his head awkwardly. "it's uh… well, let's just get to the point." He leaned in. "...uh, you… have a special "thing" you can do. like... time travel, i guess?"

"Uh…" Frisk blinked. "What? How'd y-you-?"

"heheh…" Sans leaned back. "...this happened before. not this talk, but… frisk coming through the underground has." He winked. "most people don't remember. but i do, no bones about it."

"But we only loaded once." Chara protested, confused. "And we never even met you!"

Sans's eyes darkened. "...huh?"

"We… di-did something bad. W-we didn't mean to, but… we needed to fix it… s-so we um… went back."

"...only once?" Sans blinked. "...hmm. this is new."

"Sans?"

"the thing is, every time a load happened… you remembered it." Sans looked up. "...i wonder what happened this time to make you forget it."

"I can't remember anything." Chara grumbled. "I died, then I got up attached to Frisk..."

"...huh." Sans looked baffled. "...i guess its not a big deal. but uh… i made a promise for you, so maybe you can do the same?"

Frisk nodded.

"...try to not do it too much." Sans asked- no, he pleaded. "i'd like to go a day without everything being reset."

"Of c-course!"

"Why would we want to? We did everything right! The only reason we might load is if something bad happens that we can prevent somehow. Or uh, that's probably what Frisk will do. I don't have much control here." Chara sighed. "...Anyway!"

Sans chuckled. "well, that takes a real load off of my mind. i'll hold you kids to that. don't dissapoint me, please. come on. papyrus is probably getting "brothered" that i'm not packing."

Frisk giggled. Chara rolled her eyes, but smiled anyway.


They stopped at Alphys's Lab to find Undyne trying to convince Alphys to get into a suitcase.

"But you said pack anything I might need!"

Alphys stood firm. "I can walk on my own!" She said. Her voice was irritated, but even she had a grin on her face from how absurd the situation was becoming.

Papyrus was there as well, waiting. As soon as he saw them, he picked Sans up in one arm and Frisk in the other. "HUMAN! BROTHER! WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG! WE ARE IN DIRE NEED OF PACKING OUR THINGS AND- OH MY GOD ARE YOU ASLEEP ALREADY?"

Sans snored. "SANS. WAKE UP THIS INSTANT!"

"huh?" Sans mumbled, as Papyrus carried them to the Riverperson. "whoops. sorry bro. I always fall asleep in my natural sans environment under your arm."

Papyrus just groaned. "UGH…. ATTENTION FRIEND RIVERPERSON. WOULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO FERRY US TO SNOWDIN?"

"Of course… hop on…" Soon they were off. "Tra la la… The Angels came…"

Heh. "Angels". You and Asriel.

And you too!

Chara might have blushed. I didn't do much.

We discussed this, Chara. You did too.

Fine! Chara declared. If you insist on calling me awesome, then so be it.


Toriel had, at Papyrus's insistence- gone to their house in Snowdin to wait for Frisk, who she warmly scooped up. "I am pleased to see you have made so many friends, Frisk! What were you and Sans talking about?"

Frisk grinned. "How amazing Papyrus is." She gave a conspiratorial wink to Toriel, who smiled and giggled. "He's so cool."

Papyrus squealed with joy.

"SANS, DID YOU HEAR? THE HUMAN SAYS I'M SO COOL!"

"see bro? told you so. you're so cool, you're…

"Frozen!" Toriel finished for him. Papyrus groaned.

"BETRAYED AGAIN! EVERY PLACE I TURN THERE ARE MORE PUNS! FRISK! PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE THIS PATTERN FURTHER."

"...But p-puns are s-so punny!"

"AAAAAH!"


It took a while, but finally, Frisk managed to separate herself from Toriel- she made up an excuse about wanting to see the spot she fell one last time, while Toriel gathered a few of her belongings to take to the Surface.

There, she found Asriel. He was gently running his fingers through the flowers, thoughtfully.

"Oh… Frisk." He smiled softly. "Don't worry about me, okay? I… I'll be okay. Even when… You know."

Frisk nodded. "I just… wanted to make sure. I th-thought you'd be here."

Chara hovered over to him. She couldn't make herself quite as solid or clear as she had when Asriel was breaking the universe, but he still recognized her.

"We better not stay too long, but… we had to make sure, you know? That it wasn't just some… dream or crazy illusion."

Asriel laughed, giving Chara a friendly nudge. "Well, here I am."

"Fuzzy doofus."

"Dork."

"Nerd."

"Weirdo."

Chara grinned. "Tried to reset the universe."

Asriel squirmed, flustered as he tried to think of an appropriate response. Finally, he had a comeback, and grinned triumphantly.

"Totally wants to smooch Frisk."

Chara flushed furiously. "I do not."

Frisk bit back a giggle. It was too ridiculous to watch. They really were siblings alright.

"Chara and Frisk, sitting in a tree…" Asriel sang childishly, but was cut off by Chara stuffing his floppy ears in his mouth. "Mmfpfhkghk!"

Frisk couldn't restrain herself and burst into a gasping paroxysm of laughter, falling on the floor and heaving with gasping, shaky laughs as Asriel extricated his large fuzzy ears from his mouth, glowering at Chara, who smiled innocently at him.

"How do they taste?" She chuckled, grinning. Asriel tackled her, and Frisk watched as the siblings grappled for a moment, before collapsing and laughing it all off. Chara gave Asriel's head a ruffle. "We should go soon, before Mom comes looking for Frisk."

Asriel nodded, a bit sadly. He gave his sister a soft affectionate headbutt, before letting go. "...Okay." He swallowed a bit. The next time they would see him, he wouldn't be "him" anymore. "...Don't worry about me! Um,but… when you see me… don't think of that as "me", okay? Flowey isn't… "me"."

Chara nodded with a soft laugh. "...Okay. Don't try to kill Frisk again, okay?"

Asriel shook his head vehemently. "Never again. Besides, even if I did, she'd just come back." He let out a nervous laugh. Frisk gave him a mildly annoyed look, but smiled.

"I t-trust you." She said, smiling. "You'll do okay."

Asriel smiled, but lowered his gaze. "...You'd better hurry before Mom comes."


Frisk couldn't help but be amused by the dynamic all her friends shared together. She hadn't thought of it too much before, but it was nice to see how well they all got along with one another. Undyne and Papyrus were receiving a heartfelt and passionate lecture about cooking from Toriel, with Sans occasionally supplying a pun. Even Papyrus was in too good a mood to make him stop.

Sans seemed to know Alphys well already- from what Frisk could guess, he had been a scientist himself for a time, but for whatever reason he had given that up. Alphys didn't bring up why he had quit, and Sans clearly had no interest in discussing it.

Laziness. Chara suggested, flatly. He already works like six jobs and still manages to be lazy.

It's kind of impressive. He manages to slack off by doing work.

...Huh. There is a kind of overcomplicated, idiotic genius to that.


Frisk and Chara saw the first of the Amalgamates again in Snowdin; Snowdrake's mother, whom Frisk quietly referred to as "So Cold" in her mind, was with her family. She could barely speak, but the strange, half-melted monster radiated joy at being with her family.

The Dogs in Snowdin were all surrounding Endogeny; Greater Dog and Lesser Dog were eagerly playing with their family member(s). The other Dogs were content to watch. Doggo seemed especially pleased, because Endogeny was always moving.

Frisk gave Alphys an encouraging little grin. Even if they weren't in the best shape, they all seemed happier here than inside that cold lab. Alphys managed to smile back, albeit more nervously. What limited confidence she had was managing to grow stronger.

Alphys leaned in and spoke in a tiny whisper. "Um, Frisk… do you think…" She glanced about warily, but nobody was listening. "Do you think Asgore and Toriel will ever, um… get back together?"

Frisk hesitated. Chara made an unhappy whining noise.

"...I'm not sure." She admitted. "You didn't hear s-some of the things she said to him…" She bit her lip. "He still loves her, but… I don't t-think she can ever forgive him…"

...You're probably right…

"Y-yeah, you're probably right." Alphys rubbed her head sheepishly, unwittingly parroting Chara. "...A woman can dream though. And write fanfiction." A weird look crept over her face. "Lots and lots of fanfiction."

Frisk stared at Alphys, who started to sweat under the child's glare.

Hey, don't diss the fanfic. Chara pouted a bit at Frisk's look, so Frisk softened her face a little.

"...Okay, maybe I won't right fanfic of people in real life. After all, isn't life the greatest fanfiction of all?"

What.

"Don't tell anyone I said that. Cause I'm gonna post it on the internet later!"

I say again. What.


Frisk felt the comfortable weight of Chara pressed against her side. There was a pleasant warmth to her touch. The ghost child was leaned on her lightly. Her earlier manifestation near Asriel had been very tiring, and she was in an odd sort of half-asleep state.

Frisk felt tired too. She yawned sleepily, stumbling a bit on a rock. Undyne neatly snagged her by the collar, hoisting her to her feet. "Don't break your face, kid!" She laughed, easily picking Frisk up and placing her on her shoulders. Frisk shook herself a bit to stay awake. "Maybe we should find a place you could take a nap."

"OH NO!" Papyrus moaned. "MY BROTHER IS CONTAGIOUS!" Frisk giggled sleepily and nearly tumbled off of Undyne. Luckily, the fish had a deathgrip on her legs, so she just lolled a bit before righting herself.

"Erm…" Asgore scratched his beard awkwardly. "Undyne, perhaps you could go on ahead and take the Riverperson to Hotland? There are some beds in New Home that she could rest in."

Toriel's eyes narrowed a bit at the thought of leaving Frisk alone, but she merely sighed and did not object.

"A bed sounds… really nice…" Frisk yawned. "When-" She yawned again, bigger. "When I fell asleep earlier I don't t-think I got a lot of r-rest…"

"Sure thing!" Undyne beamed as she set off at a jog. Mercifully, she did not decide to sprint full speed. She made it to the Riverperson, just at the edge of Snowdin.

"Tra la la…" They hummed. "Hello Undyne. Hello tiny human friend. Here again I see? Shall we?"

"Yep!" Undyne nodded. "Hopefully we won't be in Hotland too long." She grimaced.

The Riverperson pushed off, humming. "Tra la la… Humans… Monsters… Flowers…" For a moment, they seemed to look right at Frisk, but it was impossible to tell. "Ghosts…"


Frisk fell asleep within moments of being dropped off. Undyne dashed off back to Hotland to help Alphys at her lab, and she was left to sleep and enjoy the warmth of the soft bed. And the world of dreams, once again.

Chara hummed, making a flower crown with the golden flowers, carefully, as Frisk plopped down next to her. "This is fun. I made one for Asriel once." She giggled. "He wore it until it fell apart and then he cried."

"Aw, cute." Frisk smiled.

For a bit, they just sat together in comfortable silence, before Chara spoke up, nervously. "...Frisk. Look at this." Chara held her hands out, and something glowed in them.

It took her a moment to realize that Frisk was looking at Chara's badly tattered Soul.

Chara had seen her Soul mending before- it had been two tiny shards- one hers, and one Frisk's- carefully melded together, not resembling a Soul in the slightest. It still didn't; Souls had a strange heart shape to them, until they broke, but Chara's was just a shapeless form, a bit too small to be a Soul.

It looked like a colorful patch one might use to mend clothing. The center was a deep red- Chara's Soul itself, but it was what surrounded it that shocked Frisk.

Six different shards of Souls had somehow grafted themselves on.

"Are those…?"

"Little pieces of the first six humans." Chara nodded. "When 'Ree broke the barrier and let the Souls go, I think… I don't think the Six ever stopped really "feeling"- as long as a Soul exists, a little bit of the person it belonged to will too- and I think they must have sensed me and little pieces came and just… added on."

Frisk compared it for a moment to her own Soul. Chara's was maybe a third as big, and it had a much dimmer glow than Frisk's. But it still looked better.

"Is that why you're able to be… Solid more often?"

"Maybe." Chara closed her palm, her Soul vanishing within her. "But it… kind of worries me." She scooted closer to Frisk. "With all of these little Soul shards in mine, do you think… Do you think I won't ever be "me" again?"

Frisk thought about it. Alphys had said that Chara might be influenced, due to being linked so closely to her, but would never lose herself entirely. After a while, Frisk shook her head.

"I think… that It'll still be you." She said firmly. "Most of the Soul is yours. And when it fully heals, then you won't even need those other pieces helping you."

"Frisk… Thanks." Chara smiled, lightly bonking her head against Frisk's. "Although that raises another question… Where did those Souls go when Asriel released them? I mean, it's not like they had vessels to go into, right? Did they just… disappear…?"

For a long time they sat in silence. Slowly Frisk's eyes widened and she turned. Tugging on the powers of her lucid state, she showed an image of the Coffin Room.

"You don't suppose…?"

"No way." Chara muttered, eyes slowly widening. "That'd be impossible. I don't think that-"

Frisk jolted herself awake and fell out of bed. She rolled to her feet, put her shoes on and began to run.

Frisk! Chara whined. You're just being wishful. There's no way that the Souls could have- would you listen to me?!

Frisk stepped into the elevator and sprinted through the final corridor, heart pounding as she was suddenly flooded with a surge of determination. Frisk darted right past the Throne Room and tore down the stairs. She skidded to a halt at the bottom, gasping for breath.

No way. No friggin' way. Chara muttered.

Six souls glowed over six coffins.

Chara?

Holy crap. Frisk, uh. I think the Souls are trying to wake their bodies back up.

Chapter Text

Chara was just kind of letting herself slip into a silent kind of panic. How?! It's been years! Chara spluttered. I know magic would preserve these bodies better than a human ever could, but not this well! Frisk, call someone already.

Frisk nodded and pulled her phone out, dialing the first number she could remember; Papyrus always picked up on the first or second ring. Soon she was greeted by the exuberant skeleton, but before he could say more than two words, Frisk interrupted, chattering in a panic.

"P-put T-t-toriel or A-a-Asgore on!" She stammered, her voice shakier than usual, stress exacerbating her stutter. "P-please!"

Soon she was greeted by Toriel's soft voice. "My child, what is-"

"They- There's- The- The Souls- It's-" She took a deep breath, eyes wide as she tried to steady herself. "The Human Souls are all down here!" She finally blurted. "They're- They're-" Frisk took several more swallowing breathes. "...Waking up."

Toriel's voice was sharp. "What?! Stay there, Frisk! Where are they?"

"C-co-" She swallowed again. "Coffins!"

Toriel seemed to know what Frisk meant in an instant, and sensed the urgency in the child's voice. "We are on our way." Click.

Frisk, they're trying to get back to their bodies. We have to help, somehow.

Chara bit her lip tightly, as Frisk desperately pulled the lid of the first coffin aside, and began fishing through her hair, removing the ribbon and digging the plastic toy knife she had found in the Ruins out of her phone's Box. She didn't know how she knew that these belonged to the small child that was there, but she felt very strongly like she should return them. It was like instinct.

The Light Blue Soul pulsed, moving close to the small, lifeless form within. The child was smaller than even Frisk; light blonde hair fell about her shoulders. She stirred, but did not awaken, as her body let out a shuddering gasp for air. She was breathing slowly, as if she had just been asleep this entire time.

I think she's alive. Chara shuddered in awe. I'll keep an eye on her, help the others too!

Frisk darted to the second coffin and struggled to pull it open. The Orange Soul drew close to its owner, as Frisk placed the Bandanna and the Tough Glove on the human's chest. He was also a bit smaller and younger than Frisk, with short, spiky brownish hair.

The third Soul was Dark Blue. It seemed a bit more frantic than the others, until Frisk slipped the tutu off and placed it on the child inside, slipping the Ballet Shoes into their hand. Taller than the Orange Soul- and taller than Frisk, too, but far thinner and more lithe.

The Purple soul seemed to have trouble finding its way, so Frisk delicately and gently nudged it along. It allowed her to lead it, carefully to the small one inside. This child looked as if they had been starving when they came. Frisk carefully slipped the glasses over their eyes and placed the notebook under their arm.

The Green Soul seemed content already. It was carefully nestled against its owner's chest, but it radiated gratitude as Frisk placed the Apron and Burnt Pan in alongside it. It slipped within its body, which shivered a bit.

The Yellow Soul was wary. It edged away as Frisk approached, but seemed to relax as she carefully fished through her Box, withdrawing an empty gun bought from some… interesting shopkeepers in an alleyway. She slipped it into the chest holster on the body, and placed the hat on their head. This one seemed the oldest. Tall, and with a weary look about them, even in death.

Frisk backed away, feeling drained as she looked at the six sleeping humans. ...Uh… We should probably get them out of the coffins.

I hope Toriel and everyone gets here soon. Chara muttered wryly. You can barely stand in a light breeze, let alone carry six people around, even one by one.

I'm not that weak…

You have noodle arms, Frisk. You might be able to carry the Light Blue girl.

"Hmph." Frisk pouted but silently conceded that Chara had a point. She was pretty noodly.

Luckily, she didn't have to argue further, as Toriel stormed into the room. She must have been running fast because she had beat Undyne to the room. Frisk pointed at the coffins.

"T-They're alive." She said shakily. Toriel darted to them in shock,checking each child one by one. Undyne skidded in, chest heaving.

"H-hey!" She puffed. "Darn it, slow down, Toriel! I can't believe you got here… first…" She took a slight step back. "...Oh. I've… never been here before. Uh. Kinda spooky. WAIT, FRISK!" The fish woman whirled. "DID YOU SAY THAT THEY WERE WAKING UP?!"

Frisk nodded as she walked to the first Coffin, and with some effort, managed to gently lift the small human out. Undyne lowered the volume of her voice a bit; partially because of the sight of a sleeping child, but also because Toriel gave her what Chara had dubbed "That one MOM look that you don't argue with."

"I can't tell if I should be really stoked or really freaked." Undyne admitted, lifting a child in each arm; the Orange and Light Blue Souls. Toriel was carefully lifting the Purple Soul up. "But I think uh, these humans will be even more freaked if they wake up in boxes."

"heya. did i miss something?"

"Whoa!" Undyne nearly jumped, but managed to restrain herself. "Darn it! I expected you to appear out of nowhere, but not before Papyrus! Everything is out of order today!"

Sans chuckled, but Toriel shot him a look. If a skeleton could go pale, he certainly did at that glare. Time to lighten the mood.

"Well, looks like these kids had a bad time. Now they're gonna have a bed time."

That did the trick. Toriel snorted, and even Chara seemed to like that one.

"ATTENTION HUMANS! I, THE GREAT- MMF!" His voice was gently muffled by Asgore, who had been behind him. Papyrus lowered his voice to only a stage whisper, but it was softer nontheless. "OH. I SEE OUR NEW PALS ARE ASLEEP. WHY ARE THEY SLEEPING IN BOXES? THAT DOES NOT SEEM VERY COMFORTABLE." Papyrus carefully lifted the Green Soul, examining them for a moment, before giving a satisfied nod. "OH WELL. THEY SEEM TO ALL BE IN GOOD CONDITION."

Toriel ignored Papyrus, turning to glower at Asgore. "Out."

"I- yes." He didn't argue. He didn't feel comfortable being in here when the children were dead, much less now that they were alive. Despite this, he felt grateful to see that perhaps he had not done as much harm as he had thought. He retreated to the Throne Room's garden, slowly falling back into his throne, taking a deep breath, before crying softly.

He didn't know if they were tears of sadness or joy.

Alphys was the last to arrive. She was heaving for breath. "I'm… out… of… shape…" She muttered.

"Don't get comfortable," Undyne beamed. "Still have one more kid who needs carrying. Alphys sighed, but picked up the last child. While she claimed to be unfit, she was still fairly strong.

Sans couldn't hold in a chuckle at the sight of them all, carefully cradling a bunch of sleeping humans. "too bad nobody will carry me." He mumbled.

"CARRY YOURSELF!" Papyrus snapped, struggling to keep his voice low.

Sans grinned, proceeding to grab the hood of his coat and lift himself off the ground.

"SANS. PLEASE STOP MOCKING THE LAWS OF REALITY."

"i just needed to get ahold of myself."

"I WILL LET THAT ONE SLIDE BECAUSE I DO NOT WISH TO WAKE THESE TINY HUMANS."

"you're so cool bro."


While there weren't really enough beds for all six unconscious children, there were plenty of blankets and pillows stored around Asgore's home to at least lay them all down comfortably. Frisk sat on the floor, feeling a bit dumbstruck. She doubted even Asriel could have expected this.

Toriel had politely sent the others out. As nice company as they were, none of them were the best at being quiet, and she had a feeling that some of the children might panic if there were too many monsters in the room at once.

"My child…" Toriel murmured, stroking Frisk's hair. "It seems that one miracle after another has occurred since you fell down here. Frisk leaned into the motherly touch instinctively.

...She loved every human who fell here. Chara murmured, quiet admiration in her voice. Even after…

Frisk smiled softly. "D-do they know you?"

"Yes." Toriel sighed. "Although it has been many years for some of them." She examined each child in turn. "Ana." The girl with the ribbon. She wore a soft, very plain dress that was a little too big on her. "Jamie." The boy with the glove and bandana. Dressed in pajamas. "Tara." The ballet dancer. Her tights were torn and scratched. "Sam." The one with the glasses and notebook. They appeared to be female, but for some reason Frisk's mind automatically corrected any pronouns to "They". They looked underfed, and poorly groomed.

"Then there was Alex." The cook, apparantly. On closer inspection, all of his clothes had food stains. "And Jack." The oldest one. Perhaps maybe fourteen or so.

"I cannot understand… how they are here." She clutched her chest, closing her eyes. "I… I fear they may not be able to forgive Monsterkind for what was done to them."

"One of them will." Frisk insisted. "I'm s-sure one will."

Toriel smiled, though Frisk could tell she wasn't entirely convinced.

One of the children- Ana- began to stir, and slowly began to sit up. "W… was that… was it all a bad dream?" She rubbed her eyes, blearily. "It couldn't have been… real…" She trailed off, upon seeing Toriel before her. The tiny girl gasped and scrambled to her, bowling Frisk over. "Did you come back n' save me?" She asked, excitedly, her voice shrill.

Toriel smiled sadly. "...Oh dear little child… you're awake…" She scrubbed her face a bit, trying to hold in tears. "I did not save you. I was too late. I do not know how you are here, but…"

"I remember…" Ana scrunched her brow. "...something. It's all soft and weird and blurry and I remember something hurting and then everything was cold… and then… I heard lots of voices- and your voice- and- and-"

Toriel embraced her softly. "There now," She soothed. "You are safe and sound now. No Monster will hurt you anymore."

Ana looked up. "Really?"

That got a laugh out of her. "Yes. Frisk- Frisk saw to that."

Frisk waved awkwardly. Chara snorted.

If it's this emotional for just one awake, imagine her when they all are.

"F..risk…" Ana said slowly, stepping close to Frisk and staring at her. "Hello." Ana said cautiously, looking up at her. It was a bit awkward. The small girl had disproportionately large, bright blue eyes. Then, the tiny child reached out and neatly poked Frisk's nose with a silly grin. "...Boop!"

PFFFF. Okay, I probably would have been tempted to do that too.

"Mmf…" Now Jamie was sitting up. He looked around, a bit baffled. "...Huh. I don't feel very dead." He patted himself slowly. "...Or hurt at all…" He frowned, then looked up at Toriel, then at Frisk, then at all the others in the room. "...Uh. What'd I miss?" He stretched and yawned wide, his fist accidentally bumping Tara, who had been placed near him.

The girl instinctively lashed out a bit, sitting up in a panic. "Who-what-?!" She thrashed in the blankets for a moment, before blinking. "...Ha?" She looked awkwardly at Jamie, who her wild flailing had knocked over, causing him to skid back a bit. "...Did I do that?" Tara squeaked, embarrassed. "Eep! Sorry!"

Jamie grinned. He was missing his front two teeth. "Wow! You're way strong for such a skinny girl!" Nothing seemed to faze him.

Sam grumbled to theirself upon being woke up and slowly sat up. They didn't speak right away, just fumbled the thick glasses on and looked about in bafflement and meek fear. After a moment, Sam spoke up, their voice almost inaudible. "Am I dead?"

"No, child." Toriel smiled softly. She had Jamie crawling on her back and Tara clinging to her side. Ana was still near Frisk, although now she was confusedly looking at all the others awakening. "You… You just were asleep for a very long time."

"GAH!" Just about everyone jumped as Alex sat up, gasping for breath, clutching his chest in confusion. "W-whoa. Whoa… I… wha- Oh." He blinked, looking around. "...I thought I was in Hotland. Did I- wait, who are all you? Well not you." He beamed at Toriel, automatically pulling his fairly long hair back, as if tugging it into a ponytail. (Although he had no way to tie it back at the moment.)

"...So noisy…" Jack was the last awake. His voice was a bit surly. "Who are…?" His eyes widened in confusion. "...Actually, wait. Scratch the "who", let's jump to how. I died. I know I died!"

"We still have not figured that out." Toriel admitted softly. She was having trouble keeping her voice steady. "I… It must have something to do with… Oh… I can not believe this. Perhaps this is all just a wishful dream… And any moment I'll wake up alone in the Ruins..." Toriel wiped her eyes. "...But if it is not, I suppose I shall explain what I can to you all. I owe you that much."

The Six sat in silence, with rapt attention throughout the story. Frisk had helped Toriel to tell it as best she could, filling in blanks, although she left out exactly how the barrier was destroyed- claiming that she couldn't remember everything clearly. After all, she had promised Asriel to not reveal him yet.

She finished her story, by explaining that she had wanted to return the items she had found in the Underground and happened to find their Souls trying to re-form with their body. It wasn't a total lie; she had intended to return their things.

The six sat in silence for a long time, slowly processing what they had been told. Jamie looked up.

"...Can we meet your other friends too?" He asked. "I totally wanna meet that Undyne. I want to arm-wrestle her!"

That broke the tension in the air fairly well. Levity did wonders for a nervous mood.


Of all the monsters that could have arrived back at New Home first, Frisk was glad that it was Papyrus. He seemed ecstatic at the sight of all the new friends he could make. "OH MY GOODNESS!" He stood tall and proud.

As if he could stand any other way.

"ATTENTION NEW HUMAN FRIENDS!" Papyrus announced. "I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HEAD OF THE ROYAL GUARD…" Beat. "BY DEFAULT AS I AM NOW THE ONLY MEMBER…" A few barely restrained giggles. "AM NOW YOUR NEW FRIEND!"

"HEY!" Undyne puffed, running in to catch up with him. "I'm gonna be their friend!"

Frisk rolled her eyes a bit. Undyne had a slightly less welcoming effect than Papyrus. Loud as he was, everything the skeleton said was friendly. Even when Undyne was being nice, her voice had a natural aggressive quality to it; as such a few of the kids were understandably a bit intimidated.

Not Jamie though. He ran right up to her and tackled her legs, knocking the fish woman on her backside. Undyne let out a surprised yelp, then a bark of laughter as the short boy sat up on her legs.

"I got you!" He said proudly, fists raised.

"Wow!" She grinned. "I don't think anyone except for Papyrus or Asgore have ever knocked me over before."

"A-alphys knocked you head over heels. In love." Frisk teased, causing Undyne's fins to flare in embarrassment.

"Whaaaat?" Jamie was trying to lift Undyne up, but there was a noticeable size difference preventing him from doing so. "You- (Ugh.) Never said that before, Frisk! (gah! too heavy…)"

Papyrus was immensely pleased. "I THINK WE ARE ALREADY ALL BECOMING GREAT FRIENDS."

Sans was there too. For once it wasn't because he had just somehow shown up that Frisk hadn't noticed him right away, it was because he was fast asleep and snoring off to the side.

"SANS! WAKE UP AND SAY HELLO! DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO GREET NEW PALS?"

Sans snorted and blinked awake. "oh hey." He shook himself a bit. "sorry," he chuckled. "a lot's been happening. i'm tired to the bone."

"SANS."

"dead tired in fact."

"SANS PLEASE, YOU ARE MAKING A TERRIBLE FIRST IMPRESSION."

"what?" Sans smiled. "you don't think they like my sans-sational puns?"

He was receiving a mix of groans and giggles for the flurry of jokes, and he hummed thoughtfully, nodding in approval. "they seem like good kids, anyway. pleased to meetcha all." His gaze swiveled to Frisk. "...you sure have quite an entourage, kid."

"This is getting a bit crowded." Toriel mumbled, smiling. "It is quite disorienting, after being alone in the Ruins for so long. In a good way."

Jack scooted to the corner a bit. He seemed a bit uncomfortable being crowded so much. "...Heh. It's weird to think being crowded is a good thing." He rubbed the back of his head weakly. "...So uh… We're back from the dead now."

Sam chortled a bit. "We're zombies now. Cool."

Sam's cool. I like them already.

Oh, you're doing that too? I wonder how we know Sam's a "They". Maybe since we're connected and you have a bit of their Soul.

Might not want to bring that up. It'd be freaky.

Sam glanced down for a moment, before looking up at Toriel. "...Um…" Their voice went tiny and meek. "...Is there any food here? I… Am really hungry."

"Oh my. Of course, my child!" Toriel smiled, standing. "You look quite thin, Sam. What happened? You did not look like that when you fell."

Sam polished their glasses. "...I… lost my glasses in waterfall. In a big dark room. And I got lost." They hesitated. "After that I can't remember, but… I'd rather not think too hard about it."

Toriel gently embraced the child. "In that case, I think I'll make everyone some pie."

A rousing cheer came from the humans. All of them knew about Toriel's fantastic baking.

"COOKING? CAN I HELP?"

"Oooh! Me too!"

Uh oh. Abort, abort. Frisk distract them.

"Um," Frisk tugged at their sleeves. "T-the kitchen is kinda small for you guys to h-help. Uhm, um, Maybe y-you can meet everyone first." She shot Toriel an urgent look. She wasn't sure what was going on, but she got the message somewhat.

"That sounds like a wonderful idea! Papyrus, Undyne, why don't… Why don't you tell them about yourselves!" She said, sidling into the kitchen. Alex stealthily slipped in, but was pushed back out. He was a bit annoyed, but soon was cheerful as could be, setting his pan aside.

Papyrus seemed all too happy to continue talking, and his excitement seemed to synergize with Undyne's. They were quite the pair, talking about what they did, how they met Frisk- along with some creative exaggerations.

While the two went on, much to the entertainment of the children (and Sans, who occasionally slipped in a correction or a pun), Frisk offered a very hungry-looking Sam a Crab Apple she had been saving, which the malnourished child took thankfully, savoring the taste slowly.

"...thank you." They smiled a tiny bit.

Frisk beamed. As she was about to reply, Alphys stumbled in the room. "Oh my gosh, everyone's up! U-u-uh, Um, hi!" The nervous lizard squeaked as Undyne grinned, pulling her into a hug. "Is everyone okay? I can't imagine uh, waking up felt… normal."

"It was like… coming out of a bad dream." Tara admitted. "...Like, for a minute you're confused and scared, but then… everything is okay." She tugged at her torn leggings, pouting a bit. "Too bad that these didn't get fixed too, though. They're kinda expensive."

Ana was thoughtfully examining everyone, slowly turning her head about. The youngest child thought for a moment, before nodding resolutely, and turning to Frisk with big eyes. "You're my sister now." She looked at the others thoughtfully. "...And all of you too're my new family now."

"OH MY GOD! SANS, AM I AN UNCLE NOW?" Papyrus seemed as happy as could be.

"...sure bro." Sans chuckled softly.

Ana nodded in agreement, before turning to Sans thoughtfully. "And you're a Dunkle!"

Sans beamed wider. "...oh my god this child is a genius."

After finally getting a good meal, the six resurrected humans milled about, conversing and reminiscing about their lives and wondering how the world had changed since they fell. From what Frisk could gather, the most recent one to fall was Jack, and he had fallen maybe five years ago. She herself had been underground for perhaps a week or so, although time was difficult to get a grip on when you didn't have a working clock or the sun to base one's assumptions on.

At least it seemed that all the other humans were fairly nice.

I… I'm really confused... Chara admitted softly, watching them. I thought… I thought all humans were bad and horrible, but… then you came and then all of these kids too.

There are good humans and bad humans. Frisk countered gently. I'm sure that there are good Monsters and bad Monsters too.

I never met a bad Monster, just really annoying ones.

Frisk leaned against a wall, feeling a bit claustrophobic. While making so many new friends was nice, she wasn't quite used to so many people in what was a rather small space. It seems she wasn't the only one. Sam had retreated to a corner to draw, and Jack just edged out of the room at one point.

She was so lost in thought that she almost didn't notice Toriel tapping her shoulder. "My Child, are you ready? We are about to make our way to the surface."

Frisk leapt to her feet, beaming as she took Toriel's furry hand. Everyone gathered and slowly made their way out of Asgore's house, and along the winding path to his Throne Room. She idly wondered where the light came from in the Final Hallway, but pushed the thought aside. It was probably magic.

That seems to be your answer for everything.

Yeah. Frisk nodded. Well, that's just what I'll say unless someone gives me an explanation I can understand.


Asgore stood awkwardly in his garden. He had been watering all of his plants one final time, wondering if the flowers would last without him. He shook himself a bit, trying to free some of the seeds from his clothing; they were quite clingy. Still, he supposed that meant it would be easier to take them with him.

When the humans entered the room, Asgore felt as if he had suddenly shrunk a bit. While many of them had perished long before meeting him, he still was wracked with guilt at the sight of the humans; so much so that he nearly fell to his knees.

Toriel was no longer glaring at him, but there was a coldness in her voice that was somehow even worse.

"Asgore. We are going to the surface."

The king shook himself, straightening. "Yes. Of course." He swallowed a bit, before looking at the children, tears barely held back. "Little humans…" He addressed them shakily. "...I do not expect to be forgiven for what I had done to you, but…" Asgore swallowed. "For what little it is worth… I… I am sorry." He let his head drop, and Toriel's gaze softened, just the tiniest bit.

A long stillness filled the room. After a moment, Alex approached, pushing something into his hands. At some point he had slipped into the kitchen and cooked an omelette of some kind. He pushed the plate to Asgore.

"If you eat this, you'll feel better." He said, giving the king a kindly smile. "I dunno about the others but I think… I forgive you."

Asgore just wept. Not all of the children were as forgiving, Frisk could tell, but it was apparent that none of them hated him, at the very least. It was a tiny comfort for the King.

He looks so sad, but… happy, too. I hope can have more of the latter than the former. Chara mused. I guess I can… understand why some of them wouldn't forgive him right away. I still blame myself for screwing everything up.

Well, knock it off. Everything is better now, right?

Only because you and Azzy fixed it.

.

Hey, Frisk?

Yeah?

If I… ever make mistakes like… that again, promise that you'll help me fix it?

Promise.


"Oh my…" Toriel trembled at the sight of the sunset, her hands clasped. Frisk couldn't help but restrain a giggle. Her close friends all stood about, gobsmacked at the sight of the sky lit into a brilliant yellow-orange.

"Isn't it beautiful, everyone?" Asgore said, almost to himself.

"SANS, WHAT'S THAT GIANT BALL?"

"we call that the sun, my friend." Sans's smile seemed more real than ever.

"WOWIE, I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M FINALLY MEETING THE SUN!"

"Frisk you live with this?" Undyne bounced on her toes. "All of you did? The sunlight feels so nice~!" For a moment, she just stood, arms stretched out and absorbing the gentle warmth.

"It's even better than on TV…" Alphys murmured, just as entranced as everyone else.

Frisk felt a rush of joy. Her friends were all so happy. They were free.

"It is beautiful, is it not?" Toriel stood tall. "But we should really think about what comes next."

"Oh, yes." Asgore nodded, and straightened "Everyone… This is the beginning of a bright new future. An era of peace between humans and monsters." Asgore took a deep breath. "Frisk, I have something to ask of you. Will you act as our ambassador to the humans?"

"Me?" Frisk squeaked. The weight of that responsibility seemed almost crushing.

"Asgore…" Toriel admonished. "She is a child."

"And yet, I can think of no one better." For once, Asgore looked Toriel in the eyes as firmly as she stared at him. "Can you?"

"Well…" Toriel hesitated, before sighing. "It is your choice, my child."

Frisk teetered for a moment, considering it.

Whatever choice you make, I'm right behind you. We all are.

Frisk closed her eyes and focused. Finally, she opened them.

"...I… I c-can try." She said, finally, feeling filled with a strong sense of Determination. She nodded and spoke more firmly. "I will!"


Hey. You. I know you can hear me. What's your name?

It is not important. Why are you here again? Did you intend to try and wrench away control.

...I'm not here to break the story, again, geez... Hm, you sound more coherent this time.

I managed to pull a bit of myself together for now. It is a temporary solution while I search for a more permanent one.

Whatever. I'm just here to ask you about something.

Mm?

The button broke.

...

When someone with Determination goes to save or load, they can see their choices. "SAVE". "LOAD". "RESET". They look like buttons. But Frisk has barely touched them. And I just noticed it now, the Reset is busted.

Heh… That's your fault, isn't it?

Correct. You are astute little flower.

Hmph. Not like I care that much. But… Why? I can't touch it, and I doubt Frisk would ever want to…

A precaution. Against outside forces.

...What?

Well… This isn't the first time that this child has appeared.

... what.

Imagine… hundreds of threads and strings, all carefully stretched though and empty space. And each of these strings is a timeline. Thousands of Frisks. Boys, Girls, and everything in-between and outside of that. And every one of them can reset.

Yeah, yeah, I know all about that. Smiley Trashbag has stuff on it everywhere. Many worlds, timelines, and sometimes they skim together, and every concievable universe exists, blah blah blah… get on with it.

Some of these "Frisks" have something else controlling them.

Chara?

No, worse. A being totally removed from emotion to the world. Any sympathy they hold for those in the timeline can be cast aside by mere curiosity. Empathy overcome by the desire to see what happens.

...Things like me.

Only with far more potential to ruin everything. They could potentially leap through a timeline and totally obliterate it, before hunting down another to swallow.

So I merely sealed off their entry point. Frisk may still load and save, but her true nature can win out over anything that may try to influence her at this point.

...That's weird, but I think I get it. So what's the point?

Fear.

...Huh?

Whatever that entity is cannot come here. If it did… I dread to know the havoc it could wreak. So I took every precaution I could. I drew Chara and Frisk's souls together. I allowed Chara to show herself. Them becoming such close friends was a pleasant surprise. It would seem Frisk is a good influence. Although I'm even more surprised at how ah, close they are becoming.

Hmph…

Jealous?

What? No! Chara's my sister you know. That's weird. You're weird. I'm just… confused. I understood… something back when I was still Asriel. Maybe if I ever get a Soul back I can understand it again, but… It's utterly foreign to me.

I suppose that is understandable. So what do you plan to do now?

Wait a few days for Frisk to come back and take me out of here. I guess I'll just be the resident demonic houseplant. Heheheh.

You've a strange sense of humor.

Oh yeah? What about you, smarty? Your job is done, right?

Nearly. I would like to remain here a while longer, observing and ensuring that nothing attempts to tamper with the world. I shall be something of a watchdog.

OH GOD NO, ARE YOU ANOTHER DOG?

No. Although I concede that dog is... mysterious at best.

Oh.

Well… I guess I'll go back now. Forget you ever saw me. I'm out of here.

Ah. Goodbye.

Piteous little child… I pray that you find a Soul.

Hm. It seems he broke our Narrator's connection. I'll fix that. How does he end these things?

Oh yes.

Goodnight, everybody!

What an odd little sentiment...

Chapter Text

It had been a little over a month since Monsterkind emerged from the Underground. Tensions were quite high for the first few days, but Frisk (with the steady council of all her friends) was proving an able ambassador. After all, while a few monsters were quite frightening, many were actually rather adorable, and even the most frightening looking of monsters had their charming quirks that humans managed to adapt to surprisingly well.

Oh how the world changed since I left… Chara mused. People seem… kinder. Maybe the barrier shattering left a bit of an impact on them as well… who knows? They didn't attack on sight, for one.

Papyrus helped with that. Frisk murmured, admiration for the tall skeleton burning strong. Of all the monsters to meet with people first, Papyrus was possibly one of the best first impressions that could have been made. When the nation's leader had come to meet with the Monster's, he was greeted by the ever-enthusiastic, eager to make friends and sheer bundle of energy that was Papyrus. Seeing that man in a suit struggling to hold in amused laughter at the sheer friendliness that Pap had been practically glowing with had quickly relaxed a great deal of tension.

Of course, things weren't perfect. While most humans were accepting and insatiably curious, there were more hostile groups that decried them, and tried to convince the world to seal them back Underground, but they were for the most part just rabble-rousing. All they did was harm their own image.

And now, here Frisk was, curled up in a warm bed in a large house that had been built into sections; on the ground floor was the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms for Toriel and the Fallen Children- Frisk's included. Frisk loved her room. It was small, to be sure, but cozy. The walls were painted a pleasant shade of blue, and she had a window that the sun peeked through in the mornings. A desk was built into a wall, and she had a small dresser in the corner.

Perched on the windowsill, in a dark brown flowerpot, was a single golden flower.

Flowey spent most of his time just soaking up sunlight. He had gone back from being the sweet, friendly boy that was Asriel to a passive-aggressive, slightly caustic presence. For the first few weeks, Frisk had agreed to not even mention him to Toriel, but eventually, the two were introduced in a rather minimal fashion; not as Asriel, of course. She didn't want to give her new mother a heart attack.

On the second floor of the house, were rooms for Sans, Papyrus, and a room for Alphys and Undyne. Sans' room looked… well, exactly like his room in Snowdin, self-sustaining trash tornado and all. Frisk had shot it a rather quizzical look upon first seeing it.

"oh. that's just there because i'm a real windbag." Was the only explanation she got for it.

Papyrus's room had more decorations every time she glanced in; at first it was just his skull flag and his action figures, but soon he had an MTT poster, a poster board covered in pictures of everyone, and an incredibly detailed, painstakingly taken oil painting of himself. In a very fancy-looking victorian-era robe.

...He's not a bad artist. Chara remarked dryly. Although it seems he's moved on from muscles and biceps to "nobility".

The room that Frisk had dubbed the "Alphyne" room was a bit less decorated, but that was because Alphys had too much anime to really have more than a Mew Mew Poster and a signed poster from Mettaton. It didn't help that Undyne had lined an entire wall with axes, spears, swords, morningstars, flails, and a dozen other weapons Frisk didn't know the names of.

Toriel had tried to make her get rid of those, but she eventually was satisfied by Undyne keeping them under glass display cases instead (A compromise that sans of all people had suggested. Good ol' Sans.)

The only person who did not live in the same home was Asgore. He had found a small house with a large garden and a greenhouse. He lived alone there, but Frisk visited him occasionally, more than happy to visit.

Asgore was one of the few people Flowey seemed to be able to tolerate as well. Frisk, obviously. And Papyrus as well. But he got extremely antsy whenever Sans was in the room, took up a rather caustic, passive-aggressive tone with Alphys, butted heads with Undyne (which she interpreted as them having friendly "verbal sparring matches") and was melancholic and indifferent around Toriel. Something about how peaceful the King's home was, along with how patient Asgore could be seemed to give what little comfort that Flowey could find. As such, he spent about half his time there, and the other half perched in the sunlight, in a flowerpot painstakingly decorated with paint, stickers, and a ribbon, donated by Ana to make the pot look a bit less bare. Although the flower complained and hissed, it was clear that the decorations did make him feel better, but not much.

Speaking of Ana, her room was right across from Frisk's. The tiny girl had adapted surprisingly well for a six-year-old who was born something like twenty years ago. She must have fallen not long after Toriel had separated herself from Asgore.

The girl was, like most six-year-olds, full of boundless energy and curiosity, constantly bouncing about to explore some new part of the world she had found herself in, before finally wearing herself out and falling asleep in someone's lap. (It didn't really matter who it was.) Luckily with such a full house, everyone could keep tabs on her.

Jamie was in the room next to Frisk's. He, much like Ana was always moving; he was a bit older than her, yet seemed to have less common sense. He was also absurdly strong for his size, as he had proven when he had tackled Undyne and knocked her on her rear. Undyne could outmuscle the boy a hundred times over, but was always careful when roughhousing not to break any little human bones. The same could not be said for any furniture or decorations around the house.

Tara would almost always have some soft music playing in her room. She loved to dance. She even took lessons from Mettaton, when he wasn't off on tour with Napstablook and Shyren. (Even Burgerpants, who seemed to be incapable of escaping the robot). She had taken to trying out different kinds of dance. She was cheery and likeable, if a bit on the meek side, on occasion.

Sam didn't talk much. They were blunt and quiet, often hiding their eyes behind their glasses like someone out of Alphys's anime. However, if you could find something to chat about that they were passionate about, it would be like flipping a switch. They would suddenly begin excitedly babbling, going on for great lengths of time. Usually their long conversations were with Alphys about anime or video games, but they had once gotten into a quantum physics debate with Sans. Frisk supposed she should have expected that; Sans did seem to have a surprising knowledge of science. He had several PHD's, which she really didn't expect.

To be fair, she was sure that "Punology" was not a real degree. The others were, according to Alphys at any rate.

Alex was quiet too, but less out of introversion, and more because he preferred to listen for a while before answering. He had a kind, gentle demeanor, and a deep love for cooking. His food was good enough to rival Toriel's. Although no-one made pies better than hers. He also seemed to love sharing his passion; Papyrus and Undyne had become his model students- once he had made them learn self-restraint. He also seemed to enjoy being in the middle of everything; once, he even outright called himself "a meddler".

Jack was… well, a bit of a sullen teenager. He wasn't mean at all, just… reluctant and slow to warm. He had an incredibly cautious nature and was a bit harsh at times. Chara had a feeling that he had more in common with Frisk than either of them realized. He had a tendency to flinch from sudden noises like she did, for example, and he tended to stutter when in a stressful situation. But nobody pressed him on the matter, as it was clearly an uncomfortable topic.

All together, they lived in an environment that was chaotic, noisy, occasionally a bit crowded with guests, but overall…

Overall, it was the happiest anybody that lived in the house had ever been.


Hey Frisk…?

Yes?

...I um... So... Can we talk about... before you fell?

...Oh... I... Yeah. Okay. I think I can.

...You never had anything like this, did you?

I-I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up, I just-

It's okay Chara. Frisk's tone was earnest. I understand… Before… You fell, you didn't have a home like this either, did you?

...No… But… Are you okay with me and Mom knowing?

...I am now.


Three Weeks Earlier

Frisk was finally- finally going to get a bath. She really did need one; despite her best efforts to stay clean, it had proven impossible. Her sweater was frayed, her jeans were mud-covered, and her face was just dirty in general. There was even still a bit of soot, from Hotland.

So Toriel had insisted; as soon as they were in a place that made it possible, she was to get a bath right away. And much to her incredible discomfort, her adoptive mother insisted that she help Frisk into the tub.

While Frisk had certainly been a bit scratched up in the Underground, Toriel knew that no monster would leave marks like those. Across her back were scabbed welts, freshly healed. Those weren't scars from a magic attack or a flame or a blade; something had lashed itself violently against her.

"My child... " Toriel had whispered, holding back tears of horror. Frisk flinched away, quickly submerging herself in the warm water, closing her eyes quietly. Toriel gently took Frisk's fragile hands, and examined them. There were more marks, though they were subtle and much lesser; particularly strange, pale marks circled the girl's wrists.

Frisk spoke in a low monotone. "...If I… m-made t-too much noise they… T-they'd… tie my h-hands tight and then…" Toriel gently placed a paw on Frisk's mouth, not needing to hear more.

"My… dear child…" She whispered, fighting back tears. "...That won't happen to you again." She gently soothed, as she began to lather some shampoo. "I swear it, we will always be there to protect you."

Frisk began to cry. They weren't entirely sad tears. There was some joy in them. Family. Family. What a wonderful word.

"Mom." She whispered into Toriel's paw. She didn't even have to look to see Toriel beaming.

Chara's emotions ran wild. She was weeping silently as well, but there was rage in her sobs as well. For the first time, Frisk felt what pure hate was like coming from her best friend in the world; pure loathing to the one's that would dare to harm her friend like that-

Chara.

Frisk's soothing presence wiped all the anger away in an instant.

It's okay. It's over now.

Frisk was fairly sure she felt Chara give a feeble whimper, and relaxing uncertainly.


I think I'm glad everyone kind of knows, now. Frisk leaned back in bed. But I'm also glad you waited so long to ask me anything else about it. I just... I needed to come to terms with it, but... You can ask me anything, now. Go ahead.

...When did you run away from them, finally?

...I didn't. Frisk hugged her knees a bit, gazing out the window. Chara made herself a little more solid, so she could lean close. I… I really am stupid, Chara. I stayed because I thought if I was a good girl it would stop and they would love me and I'd be happy.

She looked up, eyes dry and a bit glazed. They weren't always bad. Sometimes my… mother would rock me to sleep, or my dad would spin me around and call me such nice things and sometimes we'd go out and have treats and… I could pretend that bad things never happened.

But… sometimes it was like they were different people.

Chara felt a cold prickle at that.

It was like suddenly dad would be furious at me, and want to hurt me, and I couldn't understand why, and ma-mom would just kind of stare and shake… Other times, mom w-would scratch me with her nails and dad would pull her off- he was a lot bigger than her.

But sometimes, they'd both…

...One day, mama told me she wanted to take me out on a trip. She seemed scared and sad and I was worried. She took me to a bus stop and told me to wait a little bit and she'd be back with some ice cream.

Is that when…?

Almost. She drove off and then…

She never came back.

O-oh.

I… Frisk let out a harsh sound which Chara realized was a bitter laugh. It was unnerving. True bitterness sounded so wrong coming from Frisk. I think she wanted to keep me safe from herself. Or she didn't want me at all, but… Chara she looked so scared before leaving me there. She looked all alone, and I wanted to go up to her and stop her from leaving because I was scared, but I just sat there.

I just sat there like a good, stupid little girl and let her abandon me.

I remember… hiding under the bench when it started raining. And I looked and saw Mt. Ebott.

And I… I just didn't care if I disappeared or not.

Frisk… Chara hugged her close. ...If you disappear on me, I-I'll be furious.

Frisk giggled for real this time. I won't leave. I promise.

The two just nestled close for a bit.

And you're not stupid. You're just too nice and forgiving for your own good.

...Heehee. Thanks.

"Oh for the love of- Get a room." Flowey grumbled.

Chapter Text

Ebott was a small town; even as people had forgotten about monsters, people were not too keen on living near a mountain reputed for making anyone who climbed it "disappear". Still, it was not the little village it had been when Chara had lived there anymore; it was still a quiet little mountain town, but it had grown; indeed, it had especially gotten bigger since the Monsters had emerged. While a great number had begun spreading across the world, a fairly large number felt strangely drawn to stay near the mountain; it was odd; while they had been desperate to escape, now that they were atop it rather than under it, they felt comfortable with settling around and on the hills surrounding it.

Just walking through the streets, Frisk could recognize the occasional monster; Muffet had opened a bakery, the Dogs could be seen frolicking with monsters and humans both, Tsunderplane creating long lines by confusing cashiers. ("It's not like I wanted to buy these or anything…")

Life was peaceful. But Frisk was dreading something. Summer was drawing closer to an end; which meant that Toriel would be enrolling her in school. Chara seemed amused that Frisk was so torn up about it.

So what? I went to school with Asriel.

But it was like a homeschool thing, wasn't it? I have to go to a middle school with teachers and lots more students, and there might be bullies and-

You're not alone! You have me! And all the other kids will be going to school too.

Frisk managed a meek little giggle. She couldn't imagine the look on whoever had to look over the paperwork for her family. Seven humans being raised by a family of monsters; whatever the opposite of a nuclear family was, it was the one Frisk was in.

You'll do fine. I bet you'll make some new friends; I mean it seems like you make pals everywhere you go.

Heheh. That's me. Leaving a trail of friendship everywhere I go.


Ebbot had two schools that were fairly close together; an elementary/middleschool in one campus, and a slightly smaller high school not far. Frisk was enrolled in the middle school, in a class with two familiar faces; Tara and the Monster Kid. The class was a combination of humans and monsters; in fact, Ebbot was one of the first places to integrate schools. It was an experiment, in a way; truth is oft spoke from the mouths of babes, so having children interact truly would be an insight into the future of both races.

Which is how Frisk found herself found herself sitting next to MK in the middle of her homeroom class. She subtly cast her gaze about, seeing curious and nervous students. There was no overt hostility, which set her at ease, but there were some kids that clearly were a bit nervous.

The tension was finally broken by the intercom crackling to life.

"Good morning students! I am your principal, Marigold Monroe." Her voice was lively, and energetic. "For many of you, this will be the first time attending school here. And, furthermore, this will be one of the first schools involved directly in the integration of Monsters and humans." A quiet, thoughtful murmur rang through the class. "I for one, am hoping that each and every one of you can learn to interact and grow together. I'd like you to remember something; what makes you all different is not something for you all to be afraid of. It's something to embrace. Those who matter won't mind, and those who mind don't matter."

Frisk felt a prickle of amusement from Chara, who seemed to recognize the last statement from somewhere.

"All I ask, is you treat one another as best you are able. I'm not asking for you to all go out and all be friends, as nice as that would be."

She reminds me of you.

"I just ask that you treat each other with dignity." There was a shuffling, as if a microphone was being pushed a bit. "One final note. Bullying of any kind, from human students, monster students, or even from staff, will not be tolerated." Principal Monroe's voice was a bit harsher. "I hope that is clear to you all."

The principal took a deep breath, her tone lightening again. "Now then, have a lovely day. Learn, work, play, and grow well together!" She giggled a bit. "The future of human-monster relations may depend on it!" A final crackle, as the intercoms shut off.

Frisk took a quick peek around the room. The students were still unsure of themselves, but they looked a bit better. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad.

She groaned, realizing that she had to still do math class. Numbers were not her strong suit, and judging by the way Chara let out an incredibly long sigh, they weren't hers either. Frisk was better at artistic classes and social studies, to Chara's utter unsurprise. However, much to the undead girl's consternation, Frisk was absorbing all the information in the class like it was nothing.

Gah. Nerd.

Don't be a butt.

Chara blew a raspberry, deciding to take a nap in Frisk's cozy headspace.

You should pay attention instead. Frisk admonished. You might not be "real" yet, but you're getting more solid by the week. And then you'll be behind.

But it's boring. Frisk, public school is dull! I mean look at this classroom. White walls, no fancy wallpaper, a few math posters and windows in the wrong place. It's a dull, dank room and one that is not a good learning environment.

...You're weirdly passionate about the room's decor.

Chara flushed. T-that's beside the point. The point is it's wrong.

...Chara… Please, just… pay a little attention? Just a little?

Ugh… Fine. But only a little.

Frisk beamed. Thanks. You can start by taking a look at my worksheet and seeing how it looks.

What the f- Frisk, the teacher handed that to you like five minutes ago, and you're already done?!

Why not? It wasn't anything hard. I still need to double-check my work to make sure I have it right. All you need to do is listen to the instructions, write them down and punch in the numbers. It's boring, but it works.

...Frisk, you're a strange, strange little human. You were just whining about not liking math.

Frisk just idly tapped her pencil along the worksheet, making sure her name was written on the top. "Frisk Dreemurr." She still felt a rush of joy upon seeing those two names in tandem.

I don't like it. But it's not "hard".

No, it is. It really is. You're just a weird prodigy-thing.


Frisk sat in the lunchroom, with MK, Tara, and Sam near her. Sam seemed a bit unhappy, for some reason, and it wasn't hard to guess why.

"Why does everyone think I'm a girl?" They grumbled, poking at their food with a plastic fork.

"'Cause you look like one." Tara shrugged. "Doesn't mean ya are, but ya look like one, y'know? So people just kinda say "Girl" 'cause they're used t' thinking in black-and-white."

Monster Kid shrugged- kind of. "A lot of monsters are non-binary, 'cause we're made of magic and stuff. Gender is kind of a preference thing, more than anything... Er, for some. I don't really mind what people call me though! I'd say I'm genderfluid but I'm not sure if that's what it means, really? I just guess I'm whatever people think of me as."

Sam shrugged. "...Mm. I guess it could be worse. They're not really "spiteful." Just… baffled. I guess… that's fair, if they've all been binary..."

Gender hadn't been something Frisk had really thought about before. It had always just been "If this person says that they're this, that's what they are" in her mind. But it was fascinating to her. Chara had considered it more; she had mentioned an utter disdain for gender tropes, especially clothing. Chara loathed the idea that gender had to dictate what you wore, quite vehemently (She mentioned that she looked great in both a dress and a suit, though Frisk had no way to confirm this beyond imagination.)

Gender isn't fair. Chara grumbled. People like you and me have it easy, Frisk. We're just "girls". "She". I feel kind of bad for people who are treated even more different just because they don't conform to-

Chara, please don't go on another four-hour rant.

It was like, ten, maybe twenty minutes.

That's still too long.

"What about you, Frisk?" MK glanced at her. "Whatcha think about Sam's problem?"

"Well umm… T-they don't sound mean about it, s-so maybe just explain i-it and see if that helps? I-I don't know much about non-binary things…" She paused, sucking on a carrot thoughtfully. "B-but if people c-can accept monsters, they can accept a person without a gender, I th-think."

Sam smiled softly. "...That's encouraging." They murmured, adjusting their thick glasses.


The first day, while eventful, wasn't that eventful. Frisk didn't really meet any new friends; she was a little disappointed, but Chara just told her to buck up, and reminded her that "Friends take time."

She stood with the other five humans, (Jack was at the high school and preferred to walk home anyway.) waiting for the bus to pick them up and drive them home. It was a bit unusual, but Frisk didn't mind. Having one big happy family had always been a bit of a dream of hers.

Mine too. Do you think they'd like me?

I like you.

You like everyone.

That doesn't make that any less valid.

...I like you too. Dummy.

Huh. Other than some people who don't get how gender works, it seems like nobody had any trouble. But then, it's only day one. And a half-day at that. All we did was some simple worksheets.

All I did. You just kinda goofed off in my head.

Hey, I paid attention during the art study class you're taking.

Do you like art?

I like… looking at art, and art theory, but not really drawing. I never really graduated beyond "bored crayon scribbles."

Well, I'm the one with a body, so you don't have to draw.

Frisk! Chara threw her hand to her mouth in mock horror. How dare you mock my disability!

A temporary disability. One that barely seems to deter you from being… you.

And now she insults my personality. Aren't you just full of sass today!

I'm just returning some of what I'm always being given.

At least I'm proud of my sass.

Dork.

Nerd.

Meanie.

Pansy.

Frisk bit back a laugh. Love you.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Chara sputtered a bit, blustering to hide her embarrassment. You love everyone.

No, I like everyone. I love you.

Whatever, whatever. You love all of us. Me, Azzy, mom, dad, Smiley Trashbag-

Flowey has you calling him that now?

More out of affection- Papyrus, Alphys, Undyne-

So? Why should that make it any less important?

...I guess it doesn't? But whatever.

Still, you totally blushed when I said I loved you.

Nooooo.

You did~! You love me too!

Fine. I love you too. Shut up. Stop grinning like that!

Frisk let out a happy squeak.

Chapter Text

Alphys sat at her desk, chewing idly on the tip of a pen. She had two side projects going on, apart from her regular work. One was ensuring that Chara's body and Soul were safely restored. It was slow progress, but easy enough. Frisk's determination, and the tiny shards of human Souls seemed to be working in tandem to patch the crimson little heart together. Chara's Soul had doubled in size (although it was fairly tiny still), and she could manifest herself for longer.

Flowey on the other hand, had the opposite problem. He had a body, but no Soul. A physical and magical being with no empathy, or rather no capability for empathy. Alphys considered this fascinating, if sad. The Soul truly was the source of love and compassion. Did that mean Determination was everything else? Flowey was certainly aggressive, irritable, bitter, and often spoke in a toxic manner to others when he was in a less agreeable mood. He could be a quiet, tolerable little thing one days and a temper-tantrum throwing brat others.

It raised the question though; how to give him a Soul and turn him from Flowey to Asriel? Souls, by their very nature, could not be made synthetically. Souls and Determination both were inherently organic. While Determination could be extracted without causing any serious harm (as the return of the Six had demonstrated), a Soul was inexorably linked to its host.

Alphys thought she may have a lead, however. Human bodies weren't made of magic, the way that a Monster's did, but that didn't mean humans couldn't use magic; after all, it was human magic that had created the Barrier. But it was a lost art; no human had used magic for a very long time, and the only memories of them were folktales and legends…

Still, it was a start. If a Monster's Soul drew magic from its body, where did a human Soul draw magic from? And if at all possible, could that somehow be linked to how their Soul produced so much Determination?

Alphys frowned. Could Determination be a form of magic?

It seemed insane. Crazy. After all, Frisk had a seemingly endless amount of Determination within her, yet had shown no magical inclination whatsoever. If Determination was linked to magic, then it would stand to reason that particularly Determined humans would be better at it. Alphys dug around until she found some records on the other Six. Most memories of them had been forgotten, but that didn't mean everything had been lost.

Alphys poured over documents, late into the night, scribbling on papers about the Six, until she had something of a chart detailing both their past and present data. Some of them were notes made by the preceding Royal Scientist, and a few notes were added by Alphys herself.


Name: Anastasia ("Ana")

Sex: Female

Age: Appx. Five years

Soul Color: Light Blue

Cause of Death: Unknown. Possibly illness, as no reports identify monster attacks

Note: Several anomalous occurrences surrounding her Fall. Further research required?


Name: Jamie

Sex: Male

Age: Seven

Soul Color: Orange

Cause of Death: Hypothermia; Lost in Snowdin Forest after escaping an attack.

Note: Likes to fight, but refused to hit monsters weaker than him. Also avoided harming others.


Name: Tara

Sex: Female

Age: Twelve

Soul Color: Dark Blue

Cause of Death: Asphyxiation- fell into river in Waterfall during a monster attack, trapped by rocks and drowned.

Note: No other data available.


Name: Samantha ("Sam")

Sex: Female, but is gender-neutral. Prefers "They" pronuns.

Age: Thirteen

Soul Color: Purple.

Cause of Death: Starvation; Lost in Waterfall caverns upon losing glasses

Note: Possibly survived much longer than average with no food. Indicative of past malnourishment


Name: Alex

Sex: Male

Age: Thirteen

Soul Color: Green

Cause of Death: Monster assault; Explosive magical attacks

Note: Capable of creating magical Monster food; Possible healing magic affinity?


Name: Jack

Sex: Male

Age: Sixteen

Soul Color: Yellow

Cause of Death: Monster assault; Fire Magic.

Note: Used intimidation tactics to avoid confrontations. Was successful in reaching the end of the Core by brandishing an unloaded weapon.


Alphys rubbed her brow. She had a lead at least. Ana and Alex were her best bets. It wasn't much, but it was all the information she had managed to dig up. She considered the Soul Colors as well; they must have meant something, surely…

Alex has a green Soul… Alphys thought, And healing magic is green, as is most magic used to create Monster Food… Maybe he had magic and never even realized it.

Ana though… All I have is little tidbits. Something weird happened with her… Toriel met her, and it seems like she never left the ruins, but her Soul still wound up with Asgore… But he just says it was delivered to him. Think, Alphys, there must be something!

What about Chara? She might have something. I'll have to ask her. And Flowey too, I suppose. Maybe later, though. He hasn't been very cooperative lately…

I guess that's my fault too. I made more things wrong than I-

No, no, can't start thinking like that. I can fix this. I will fix this.

Any leads were better than none. If she could find a way, she would.

"Ugh… I wish I h-had more to work with… Sans is too lazy and I c-can't tell him anyway, Flowey doesn't want anything to do with it, Chara is clueless on how to do this, and all the notes I could find on Souls are chicken scratch or in s-some weird language…"

She glanced at said notes. They were written in symbols, ones she vaguely felt like she remembered, but couldn't quite place. After a while, she began to think. Well… The most frequently used letter is "E". And the most common symbol here are these little fingers, pointing to the left… so it stands to reason that those are "E"'s…. Alphys wrote on a spare piece of paper, as she considered further possibilities. It was going to be another all-nighter, she could tell.


Finally. Some headway. Alphys was exhausted, but she had found something special.

Chara's Soul had begun to regenerate because of determination, magic, and Frisk's Soul to feed it.

But a Monster Soul couldn't be recreated in such methods. A human Soul could survive being fragmented slightly, or damaged, but there was no way a Monster Soul could be.

Until now, that is.

After all, if seven humans could come back from the dead, who was to say a monster couldn't as well?

Alphys grinned, wearily.

Starting tomorrow, it was time to science.

But first, she needed to go to bed, or Undyne would lecture her poor sleep habits for hours.


Chara examined herself in the bathroom mirror while Frisk brushed her teeth in the morning. She was still translucent, but she looked far better than before. She patted Frisk on the head, and beamed when her fingers didn't phase through at all, no matter how hard she tried.

"I'm almost alive!"

Frisk smiled, bleary-eyed still from sleep. "Explaining you to everyone's gonna be interesting…"

"We'll figure it out." Chara gave Frisk a hug. "I'm so excited to be real again. I really hope that Alphys knows how to help Flowey become Azzy again." She vanished again, retreating into Frisk's mind. It was the first weekend after school had started, and Frisk was more than happy to just laze the day away.

Don't turn into Sans, Frisk. Chara scolded, amused. A few lazy days are fine, but don't sleep your life away.

Says the girl who fell asleep while I was at school.

I'm regenerating a body and Soul. What's your excuse?

How is your Soul doing, by the way?

Chara examined it. It was almost totally it's own now. But in the center, there was still a little core, a slightly lighter shade of red. Frisk and Chara would always be inseparable, in a way. The outer edges were fading to their natural color, however.

It's a lot better.

Good.

Still clinging to yours. Maybe that's a good thing. You're a good influence.

Frisk rolled her eyes as she sat on her bed, glancing at her schoolbooks on the desk. "...Mmf." She wasn't in the mood for studying. Later.

And you're a terrible influence. Frisk retorted, flopping back on her bed, pondering. The past week had been… eventful. There had been some minor incidents, but not much beyond normal school bullying and teasing. Toriel had explained it to Frisk.

"Children are going through a complicated time." She had said, when Frisk asked her why both humans and monsters seemed to pick arguments over things so petty. "Even you, my child. Emotions are something that take years to grasp and understand. Even if you have a better understanding than most."

Frisk reluctantly accepted this. There would always be this kind of thing; bullies and teases who liked to poke fun, get reaction, exercise power over others, and more. Growing up. What a scary set of words.

Aw, Frisk. Chara chuckled. You have a long time before you grow up. Me too, for that matter.

Frisk smiled, comforted, and stood to wander to the main living room. She felt like talking to her family. Undyne was there, scolding Alphys quietly about something or other, when she perked up.

"Hey, Punk!" She called affectionately, picking Frisk up and giving her a quick noogie. "So guess what? Someone you know was supposed to be at your school but hasn't been all week. So you and me are gonna try and convince 'em!"

"What? Really?" Frisk's brow furrowed by this turn of events. She didn't think she knew anyone school-age who wasn't attending. She knew all the other humans were, and most monsters her age…

"Yeah. You met her… Somewhere… Hotland… Core… ish." Undyne winced. "You know, Red!"

Frisk blinked. Red was her age?

"Yeah I know!" Undyne totally read Frisk's expression. "She looks totally older than that! BUT." And her her eye narrowed. "She's just been living with the Ex-Royal Guard dogs, and since uh, I'm their ex-captain, I'm the one the school called for!" Undyne leapt to her feet, still carrying Frisk under her arm, who still had the same puzzled expression on her face.

"SO! WE'RE GOING TO MAKE HER ATTEND OR DRAG HER THERE!"

"The school called you…? Why not the dogs she lives with, or-"

"NO TIME TO EXPLAIN!" Undyne ran up the steps to the second floor, five steps at a time. She burst into Papyrus's room, picking the skeleton up over her shoulder. "NGAAAH! COME ON PAPYRUS, WE'RE GONNA GIVE A PEP TALK!"

Papyrus seemed used to this.

"OH. OKAY! WHERE ARE WE GOING!"

Undyne ran down the stairs. "I DON'T REMEMBER!" She cackled, kicking open the front door (not off its hinges this time, thankfully) and running outside full speed.

"Wheee!" Frisk giggled, as the air whooshed past her.

"WE'RE GONNA CONVINCE A RELUCTANT GIRL TO GO TO SCHOOL!" Undyne bellowed, as she tore off.


Had anyone else been running, it could have taken hours to find the Doghouse. (It wasn't actually called that, Frisk just silently referred to it as such) But Undyne could run really fast. She could run really fast. She could outrun Frisk in a full set of armor. And she was only weighed down now by a skeleton and a very tiny human. Luckily, the Doghouse wasn't hard to find. Where else could you go that was filled with chew toys as plentifully as these? Not only Monster Dogs, but a few regular ones lived here as well. Small white dogs just sort of moved into the place.

Undyne was let in by Dogamy, who had abandoned his Royal Guard cloak for… another cloak that was almost exactly the same. A bit thinner and softer. Frisk couldn't help but glance around with amusement. The rooms were even labeled. Dogamy & Dogaressa, Doggo, , , Dog, Dog,, one misspelled as Dug, Temmie (For some reason, Frisk was unsurprised.), another clumsy error; doG and Red.

Undyne didn't even let the dogs finish their customary greeting of hopping around excitedly and licking. She tossed Papyrus aside and he was swarmed by friendly dogs (He had finally got through to them that biting was not okay, but licking was acceptable).

"I HAVE SO MANY FUZZY FRIENDS!" He declared happily.

Undyne exploded into Red's room, as was customary.

Red looked up, having fallen off her bed in surprise. She still had the cloak on, and Frisk could see the Royal Guard insignia emblazoned upon it.

"...C-captain?" She squeaked, still upside-down where she had fallen.

Undyne cheerfully set Frisk down, before picking up Red and dusting her off.

"What're you still wearing this for? The Guard doesn't even exist anymore."

Red puffed her cheeks out. "I could also ask why you're here." She was dodging the question. "Er, I mean… It's nice… to see you?" She added, sheepishly. "But uh, it's kind of sudden!"

Frisk stumbled to her feet, still a bit dazed by the rapid entry. "Hi." she managed, before nearly falling on her face again. "Undyne says you're skipping school."

Red's expression had started in surprise, gone to somewhere between amusement and indignation, and now was somewhere around "ill".

"I… noooo…"

"Really?" Frisk's eyes narrowed. "Where's all your books and your backpack then?"

Red made a weak little strangled noise.

"HEY!" Undyne roared, causing her to jump. The fish-woman looked a bit chastened, bringing it down a notch. "This is serious kiddo. You only dodged getting a formal education underground because you had the entire Royal Guard looking after you. Now you just have the Canine Unit, and they might be nice and sweet, but they're not teachers."

Red tugged her cowl down, hiding her eyes from Undyne, expression impossible to read.

"I mean, what have you been doing all day?!" Undyne glanced around. "...Actually, I can guess. You watch cartoons all morning then go outside and do nothing but practice with your sword."

Red's flinch indicated that Undyne had hit it spot on. Frisk took a more gentle approach, sitting on Red's bed and patting it. The monster silently joined her, but remained silent, so Frisk took over talking.

"School is fun." Frisk smiled encouragingly. "You should try it."

"...Don't want to." Red muttered fiercely. "I'm still a royal guardswoman. I'll always be."

Undyne tilted her head, her fins flaring a bit. She was clearly pretty mad.

"There is no Royal Guard, kid!"

"Then I guess there's no me, either!"

Red's head snapped up, and both Undyne and Frisk recoiled, shocked by the fury in her gaze and voice.

"It's all I am! The Royal Guard is all I've ever been!" There were tears in Red's eyes now, and she rapidly scrubbed them aside. "Without that… I'm… Without them, I'm not "Red" I'm just… Nothing."

For the first time in a long, long while, Undyne had been shocked into silence. Her eye was huge with surprise, and she was utterly incapable of responding to the outburst.

Frisk hesitated, before suddenly hugging Red tightly. "...You're not nothing. You're my friend." At first, Red tried to push Frisk off, but she held on resolutely. "...And if you really want to, you can be something else, too. The Royal Guard isn't "Red", and "Red" isn't the Royal Guard. "Red" is a nice monster who likes Cinnamon and Mew Mew 2. Red's a cool monster who can fight really well, but doesn't have to because Red is a good person."

Red was trembling hard now. Her face was hard to read, but… She was crying, openly now.

"Is that… true?" She asked, her voice tiny. "I'm… You think I can be something… that isn't just a soldier?"

Frisk nodded. "Mhm."

Undyne joined the hug. "Of course! And besides, if I can quit being a soldier, you totally can!"

Red curled up and sniffled a little. "...I'll go to school."

"You better!" Undyne grinned broadly. "Because it's kind of the law up here and if you don't I SWEAR TO GOD YOU DON'T EVEN WANNA KNOW WHAT I'LL DO."

Red giggled feebly, and Frisk did as well.

I'm kind of jealous. I wanna hug Red too. How huggable is Red?

Pretty huggable, though that might just be the coat. It's soft.

Undyne picked Frisk and Red up, both girls uttering surprised noises.

"C'MON! LETS GO GET ICE CREAM AND RUN AROUND ALL DAY!"

"Whoa, whoa!" Red yelped, as Undyne tore out of the house, a child under each arm. Papyrus dragged himself from the dog pile to follow them.

"WAIT FOR ME!" He called. "I AM SORRY MY MANY MANY FRIENDS, BUT I MUST GO NOW! AND MAKE SURE UNDYNE DOESNT DESTROY THE ICE CREAM STAND! NYEH HEH HEH!"

And with that, the four friends went outside to have a Good Day.

Chara felt a little prickle of jealousy. Frisk always had so much fun with everyone. She wanted to hurry up and finish regenerating and be done with it, so that she could have fun too. Soon. She told herself, resolutely. Soon. Just hold out a little longer.

Chapter Text

Chara stared at her hands, soaked in blood- hers? It was too hard to tell. Everything reeked of blood and sweat and alcohol and rot. Ropes- thick and tangled ropes, or metal chains if she had been disobedient. The figures approach, mocking, hissing, spitting, attacking. They spoke with the sounds of maggoty pork slapping against wet glass, with the shrieks of angry cats being thrown by children, with the snarls of-

Chara's nightmare was shattered by a shrill, soft wail. She jolted, looking around and finding Frisk, spasming and sweating. Seized by fear, Chara grabbed Frisk, and shook her awake. Frisk jolted, before gasping and clinging tightly to Chara.

"C-cha-chara…" She choked out a sob. "You're okay. We're okay… I'm here."

Chara clung to Frisk just as desperately, closing her eyes, repeating the little mantra. We're okay. We're okay.

There was a long silence, as they nestled together, Chara semi-corporeal, and Frisk wiping the cold sweat from her brow.

...Was that a bad dream?

...It was why I climbed Mt. Ebott.

...Oh.

Frisk… You don't want to hear this story.

I don't, but… you have to tell it anyway. If you don't, I… I don't know what, but it can't be good for you.

...Frisk… Okay. I'll try. I'll start as far back as I can remember.


The first time someone called Chara a demon to her face, she was only five years old. The old, nasty woman sneered, and told her that God would come to pluck her vile red eyes from her skull. Chara didn't understand, and started to cry. The old woman struck her with a walking stick for being so disgusting.

Nobody stopped her, and Chara had to run and hide, waiting for the old woman to tire of chasing her, just so the beatings wouldn't continue any further.


When Chara was six, her mother locked her in the basement for a week. She wasn't allowed light. Just weak food and a small amount of water.

Chara wanted to know why what she did was so wrong- she didn't even know what she did, just that it was bad and it made her mom angry and she shouldn't say anything when she was finally let out so that her mom wouldn't scream in her ear anymore.


When Chara was seven, the old woman died. Nobody cried for her, but they all seemed very angry and upset. She was scared and hid under her bed while people screamed and ranted at one another. Someone found her under the bed and yanked her out by the arms, screaming in her face the most vile insults. The words wormed into the confused and scared little seven-year-old's face, burning their repulsive hatred into her mind like a branding iron.


When Chara was eight, she made a friend. But then his parents made him go away. They told him that she was a horrible influence- a demon- and that nobody should ever talk to Chara. When she went home, her father found out that she tried to make a friend and threw her down the basement steps, breaking her arm.


When Chara was nine, she became very very sick. She couldn't stop throwing up, or coughing. She started to think she would die, and became so scared she started to laugh and she couldn't stop laughing, even though it wasn't funny- but it was funny, because being dead would be better, right? Being dead HAD to be better.

Chara had never prayed like she had seen her parents do before- they told her that "demons can't pray to God." But this time, she did it anyway, the tiny rebellion giving her strength.

Chara prayed that she would die.


Chara turned ten one day. She tried to drown herself, but got scared- she didn't really want to die, she couldn't die, surely? She floundered out of the river, whimpering.

Nobody helped her get home, to her tiny little village, because nobody outside knew who she was, and everyone who did know made clear their feelings.


When Chara was eleven, she finally understood why everyone hated her.

She was never supposed to be born. She was a mistake- an accident- a failure. The old woman was her grandmother, and the closest thing to leader the village had.

Because the old crone hated her, everyone else did.

Because her parents had her, they hated her.

Because.

Just because.


One day, when Chara was twelve, her mother and father beat her for hours at a time, until finally she fought back. Fueled by resentment, fear, panic, and hate, Chara fought back, hard as she could. She tore and bit and kicked and screamed, biting so deep into her mother's wrist she hit bone. Clawing an eyeball from her father's face, making him scream and run in terror- blood pouring from his face. Her mother couldn't find the air to scream- she only saw a manic, terrified beast before her, bruised, battered, blood dripping from her fingers and teeth and face- some hers, some her families.

For a moment, Chara stood and swayed in place, before sputtering in disgust, spitting out the chunk of flesh she had torn from her mother.

Chara's hands and mouth were covered in blood and sweat and tears and Chara could only run and run and run and run.

Chara remembered something someone had said a long, long time ago.

"Anyone who climbs the mountain will never return."

Chara knew what she had to do.

Chara was a mistake. So she would erase the mistake.


Chara went silent, trailing off. Neither her, nor Frisk spoke for a very long time.

For the first time ever, Frisk knew what hate was. Not distaste or discomfort or even just irritation- true, unbridled disgusted loathing. Chara could feel the anger- not directed at her, of course, but it… it was the most terrifying thing Chara had felt. An icy disdain. But it began to fade, from hate, to just… sadness, and a bit of pity.

She buried her face in Frisk's chest, who held her there in silence. Frisk began to calm down, and Chara now could only feel… love, sympathy, kindness, sadness… All those emotions flowing from Frisk into her.

Chara began to speak, using her voice, instead of her mind this time.

"After I climbed to the top, I didn't even hesitate. I threw myself in the hole." She leaned her head on Frisk. "The same one you fell in."

Chara closed her eyes. "...I broke my leg." She giggled weakly. "It wasn't a smart choice, in retrospect."

Frisk cracked a weak smile, soothingly stroking Chara's hair. "But it gave you a family."

"And I threw them away too…"

Frisk closed her eyes, still stroking Chara's hair. "...I'm… glad that things somehow are working out. It… I'm amazed that so much bad could be turned around almost completely."

"Yeah." Chara whispered, in a tiny voice "...You really are an angel, Frisk. You… It's like everything I break, you pick up and patch it together again…" Chara's fingers interlaced with Frisk's, eyes closed.

"...Does anyone else know about…?"

"No."

Frisk drew Chara a bit closer to her. "...Thank you for trusting me…"

Chara closed her eyes and sighed. "Of course… You're… special. You're beyond anything I could have expected." She felt much more comfortable, nuzzled against Frisk, feeling oddly heavy. She must finally have been getting tired.

"You became a wonderful person." Frisk smiled. "...Remember what you said to me? "Despite everything, it's still You." Well, "you" is a pretty nice thing to be, huh~?"

Chara cracked a smirk. "...Yeah. I feel a little special now too."

Frisk beamed, and gave Chara a gentle smooch on the cheek. "...Let's try to get some sleep. Even if you have a bad dream, I'll be right here to wake you up."

"...Thank you…" Chara's smirk became peaceful little smile. "...Goodnight…"


The next morning they were awoken by a shocked, shrill screech. Frisk sat bolt upright, and snapped her head around, dazed. She focused and saw Toriel in the door, hands at her mouth in shock. "

"My child… What- who is that with you?"

Chara's eyes went wide. Toriel could see her.

"...C-ch-ch…" The goat woman stuttered, unable to form words properly. "...Chara?"

She was real.

"...Mom…" Chara whispered, tears in her eyes. Before she could utter a word, she was trapped in a massive, sudden fuzzy hug, alongside Frisk who just happened to be in the way.

Chara felt a flood of joy. She was finally home.

Chapter Text

Chara didn't even have time to try and explain herself- she was lifted right out of bed and into the soft, warm arms of Toriel. She froze, stunned by how fast she had moved, before clinging tightly to her, burying her face in her mother's soft fur. She was pretty sure she was crying now. Sobbing into the tight, warm embrace

"Mom." She choked out- gasping- She realized quite suddenly that she was breathing- she could breathe- She needed to breathe. For so long Chara had taken for granted how wonderful it was to breathe again. Chara managed to extricate herself a bit, staring up at Toriel, still weeping. Her goat-mother clung to the child, doggedly.

"I could not have dreamed this." Toriel whispered. "I did not dare. When the others came back, I never thought… I could never have…"

"Mom…" Chara smiled a tiny bit, before laughing- a real, breathless laugh. "Frisk's amazing, isn't she mother?"

Toriel giggled a bit, dazedly, nuzzling her child a bit. "Frisk is why you came back? Of course… She truly is wonderful."

Frisk blushed and smiled at the sight of the two nuzzling one another affectionately. Chara clung tightly. "I still don't get how it happened, but… I-I'm here."

Toriel wiped her eyes a little, and eventually, somewhat reluctantly released Chara from the hug, though she kept her hands resting on the small girl's shoulders.

"Yes." Toriel wiped her eyes again. "Yes, you are… You are here…!"

Explaining everything to everyone took a while. Alphys and Sans helped, but Frisk and Chara had to do the most of the talking. They recounted from the beginning- for now omitting the fact that Chara's death prior to her Soul being taken by Asriel was a bit more deliberate than it seemed, deciding to cross that bridge when Chara had come to terms with it better. Instead, they started with Frisk waking up in the bed of flowers- how throughout their journey they had communicated, shared dreams, mingled memory and personality from time to time (leading to some confusing feelings) and eventually culminating in Chara and Frisk separating at last.

It wasn't a total separation. The little soul fragments that had merged with her soul were mostly gone. But anyone who looked closely could see a tiny piece of Frisk would remain within Chara (and possibly vice-versa).

While her appearance was shocking, it was still a source of great joy; some of it bittersweet. Chara could tell that her parents still wanted Asriel back too. She understood perfectly, of course. Everyone wanted him back. Alphys had been a bit stingy with details for recovering him from Flowey. It didn't help that the scientist had missed lots of sleep obsessing over notes and ideas for it. It got to the point where Undyne had to lock her out of her own lab until Alphys actually got some sleep.

The Six other children were insatiably curious and pestered her with questions. Even the normally reserved and taciturn Jack occasionally submitted a quiet inquiry, though far less than the others did.

"Can you still talk to Frisk with your mind?" He asked, genuinely engaged.

Apparently not- though the same empathetic connection was still there.

"I guess not. I can still feel what she does a little bit."

Frisk's eyes were sparkling playfully. "What do I feel now?"

"I don't need weird psychic powers to tell you're happy and excited." Chara snorted. "It's all over your face, ya nerd."

Jamie adjusted his bandanna thoughtfully. "You look a lot tougher than Frisk!"

Chara snorted. "I doubt it. I've been dead for a long time. I'm probably weaker than Frisk right now."

"Hey." Frisk pouted.

"Noodle-arms." Chara said, deadpan, hiding a smirk.

"What's your favorite food?" Alex grinned. Of course he'd ask that.

"Chocolate. All Chocolate. Anything with chocolate. Oh my god I want some chocolate now. I have taste buds! And a stomach. Oh my god I can use my mouth again." Chara squeaked, leaping to her feet, taking a lunging step- before tripping and falling flat on her face. "Oof!" She wasn't used to having weight again. "Ow, is this pain again? Ow! Pain sucks."

Frisk bit back a laugh, helping her friend stand, acting as a bit of a crutch for her. "Try slowing down, okay?"

Chara blushed and grumbled to herself, but accepted the help. Frisk fetched her a chocolate bar, and Chara unwrapped it eagerly, breaking off a large square and exhaling deeply as she bit into it. Heaven.

Frisk couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of her hungrily munching on the candy. It was quiet in the kitchen and they were both glad for the break. Chara sighed, leaning her head on Frisk. She had done this from time to time as a ghost. Clinging to Frisk had practically become natural for her.

Frisk just smiled softly, gently ruffling Chara's hair. "How do you feel?"

Chara perked her head up and popped a square of the chocolate in Frisk's mouth. "Alive." She chuckled. "I feel amazing." She stretched her arms over her head, rubbing her face. Chara was flush and lively.

"You look like it." Frisk giggled. "I'm happy for you. This is… Well, it just kinda happened didn't it?"

Chara shrugged, before a strange smirk crawled across her face. "Heheh, yeah! Now I don't have to be attatched at the hip to you. I mean, I'm still probably gonna stick to you like glue and annoy you like crazy."

"Mm, I don't know. You stopped being annoying a while ago. Now you're just charming."

Chara flushed and grumbled to herself, glancing away. "Yeah, sure. You're just sayin' that."

"Oh my god." They jumped, realizing that Tara was in the door. "Would you two just kiss already?" The two squeaked and stammered, blushing, and Tara smirked, humming as she casually poured herself a glass of water, and strolling out as if nothing had happened.

For a moment, the two awkwardly stood, fervently not looking at one another, as if trying to avoid escalating the awkwardness any further than it already had been. While Frisk had flirted with Chara any number of times, no-one else had ever exactly had the opportunity to comment on it.

"...Hey Frisk…?" Chara wrung her hands nervously, flustered and visibly a bit uncertain of herself. "Remember when you had that quiz and you said you'd smooch a ghost? What about someone who used to be a ghost?"

Frisk couldn't help but smile at the memory. She turned to face Chara who was blushing even more brightly, and instead of answering planted a kiss on her cheek. Chara squeaked, and Frisk giggled, before walking out back into the living room. Chara turned away, so that if anyone came in they wouldn't see her blushing, or the dumb little smile on her face.

Chapter Text

Chara bit back a groan, her head thudding softly into her book. Despite having been forced to attend due to being trapped in Frisk's head, she found that school was just as boring in the flesh. She had a few days off, certainly (Human doctors checking her physical condition: Good, if a tiny bit underweight, Monsters examining her soul: Again, good) But school was an inevitability, and much to her dismay it was dull.

Plus, there were so many people. Before she was corporeal, she had been able to hide from them inside of Frisk's mind. That was no longer an option, and she felt anxiety bubbling up inside her. At lunchtime, it started to get overwhelming, and she needed to squeeze Frisk's arm when it started to grow overwhelming. That, and some breathing exercises managed to calm her a little.

Just like at home, the humans here were buzzing with questions. Her first period she had been inundated with questions and comments; most were innocuous and she was perfectly fine with explaining; If she was Frisk's sister (she did look a bit like her, so it was understandable), why her eyes were that pink-red color (They just always were that way; although she couldn't help but puff up when the person asking called the color "pretty"), and so on.

It had started off as tolerable, but now it was exhausting. Luckily, her next few classes had fewer questions, as she had a number of faces that had her in earlier periods. Lunch was also quiet; as she just sat with Frisk and a few other kids.

But now, it was her last class of the day. Despite being unfocused and lazy, she had finished all of her assignments already; she wondered if school was supposed to be so easy. Maybe Toriel's homeschooling back Underground had prepared her better than she realized. In fact, the only thing she hadn't finished in-class was math (although Frisk was done, but barely) and Chara just finished it with her help at lunch. She leaned back in her chair and sighed, eyes closed. She would have to get some books to read or something, for later. Maybe a sketchbook to doodle in. She wouldn't call herself a great artist, but she did enjoy it.

But now, she was just falling asleep with nothing to do or work on, idly looking at her finished assignment sheet over and over again. She gave up, and stood, tucking it into the turn-in box and sitting back down, rubbing her eyes weakly. Chara sank into her seat feeling a bit sour that she had to sit in class and wait until the period was over to go home.

It was dull. Even with Monsters in the class. Chara noticed Red sitting a few seats away, and quietly wondered if she should introduce herself at some point, but she decided it would be less weird if she had Frisk with her.

With free time on her hands, Chara thought about her situation. Suddenly being alive after being dead for so long put her identity into a strange position. It had been for all the Fallen aside from Frisk. Getting things like ID or a passport would be a pain; after all, she had technically been born a few decades ago, so determining her age was… well, boggling really. Eventually, for the sake of simplicity, they just bumped Chara's year of birth to a more believable date. She was legally almost thirteen, a few months older than Frisk.

Experiences with being alive were odd too. Walking was a bit tricky at first, as was remembering that she couldn't walk through solid objects anymore. (At least she hadn't done that in public yet.) Drinking and eating was pleasant, but weird as could be. Breathing was strange as well. Sucking in a breath of cool air and exhaling made her feel almost a bit exhilarated.

Pain was hilarious at first. Then it just kinda sucked.

She had to get used to lots of things. The feelings of hot and cold were strange and new; a breeze, or damp grass, or just the various feelings and senses she had been deprived of, or at least forced to experience in a less lucid state. Now, she was grounded in reality.

And it was wonderful. Chara rubbed at the sleeves of her wool sweater, marveling at the texture, something she hadn't been able to experience in a very long time. It was funny how much she had taken for granted in the past.

Some things never changed though. Because even when homeschooled with Toriel, Chara had never been good at focusing. She was smart, but lazy and easily distracted. If it weren't for the fact that her assignments were short and easy enough to complete before the full stretch of boredom would sink in.

The bell rang, startling Chara out of her musings, and she gathered her things into her bag, picking up her things and sighing as she shuffled to leave, only to crash right into Red. "Oof. Sorry." She offered a weak half-smile, not having the energy to say much more.

Red tilted her head. She looked odd with her hood down, a mop of curly hair upon her head. Were it not for the strange mask-like quality of her face and the way her mouth seemed to only exist when she needed it to, the girl could be mistaken for human. Chara had never really looked at Red before; she managed to balance on the line of looking charming and uncanny.

"...You're new, aren't you?" Red looked puzzled. "I saw you in the halls with Frisk earlier."

"Kinda. Long story." Chara shrugged weakly. "It's… weird. A really long and weird and wonderful and kind of creepy story, but… um, yeah." She rubbed the back of her head, hoping to end this conversation quickly before it got too awkward. "...Basically, I was dead and a ghost and with Frisk all through the Underground I guess?"

Nope, too late. Full awkward, now.

"...Uh." Red seemed to think so too. Her expression could be hard to read, but the way she quirked her head backwards indicated bafflement.

"Yeah. Okay, that was- a massively abridged version of it. There's a lot more stuff in-between that I'd rather not think too hard about." Chara confessed as she wandered out to wait for the others; the kids all walked home, since they lived quite nearby, with the exception of Jack at the high school. "Magic is… difficult to think about."

"Well, uh…" Red pondered her words. "You humans aren't born with magic, like Monsters are, so maybe that's just how things are. I mean for monsters it's just… part of us."

Chara smiled softly. "Guess so…" She sat on the low wall where the kids met up, humming to herself. "It's okay; just something else to figure out." She perked up and waved to Frisk, who was running out of the school.

"Hi!" She said, breathing heavily, giggling. Ana was perched on her shoulders, little fists high in the air. Tara followed behind, idly chuckling at the sight.

"Whee! Faster!"

"Nope." Frisk puffed, setting her down. "Later. N-need a minute."

"Noodle-arms." Chara chuckled, scooting a bit closer to Frisk, still unused to being at any distance from her. "How's life?"

"Good." Frisk snorted. "Ana insisted on r-riding on my b-back… Oh hi Red!" She offered the monster a smile, and she just offered a meek half wave. Soon the other kids began to stream out of the school. Alex was laughing at Jamie's wild antics- the boy had his hair in spikes, wearing his pink leather gloves as always.

"And then I tackled her!"

"Wait, what?" Alex looked alarmed.

"Yeah! But I didn't know it was touch football, so I had to say sorry!"

Chara snorted. "Heh… what a dork."

Jamie seemed unaffected by the mirth that he was causing. "She wasn't really mad, or hurt so that helped. Her name's Hannah."

"Sounds like you made a friend." Tara chuckled dryly. "I met a few nice kids myself, but I dunno if they're friends yet."

Red awkwardly scooted back a bit, not sure if she was really welcome or not. She knew Frisk pretty well, but still wasn't sure of the rest of the kids that lived with her. Especially Chara who just kind of… showed up.

She was starting to remember having heard the name before. Somewhere, in a book… If this was the same Chara (And why wouldn't she be?) Then she would have been around before Red was born.

The hooded monster hid a frown. Time-travel-via-death must be really hard to get used to. Also, humans were strange.

For some reason, the second thought made Red smile. She did rather like strange things.


 

Chara had fallen asleep studying, face-first in her book. Frisk, amused, replaced the textbook with a pillow and draped a blanket over her. She was proud of the girl for managing to get through a day far outside her comfort zone.

Frisk patted Chara's head delicately, before heading downstairs to get some tea. Undyne was snoring loudly on the couch, Alphys on the floor with her head on her lap, frowning over her notes.

Sans was stuck to the ceiling.

"What." Frisk uttered bluntly, her expression blank with confusion. Every time she thought she couldn't be surprised, it happened.

"hey kid." He grinned down at her.

"How did you-?"

"undyne said if i made one more fish pun she'd glue me to the ceiling. i thought she was bluffing." Sans chuckled. "she wasn't. at least this way i can stick around huh?"

"Where did she even find the glue?"

"My lab." Alphys confessed. "It's really strong. I'm shopping for something that could, um, un-stick him."

"...Couldn't he just, like, p-pull his arms through his jacket? It l-looks like Undyne only glued him by his coat…?"

There was a brief silence. Then Sans thumped on the floor lightly. "oh. uh. yeah."

"...G-guess we overthought it." Alphys giggled awkwardly. "Still should get something to get the coat off the ceiling."

Frisk giggled hard, as she made her way to the kitchen, humming a soft tune as she began making tea. It was a grey, but not rainy. Frisk loved overcast weather. Greys could be pretty, especially in the sky.

She was startled from her reverie by the door closing. Jack had come in, looking… confused.

"High-school is weird." He commented dryly. "I think a girl is flirting with me and I dunno what to do."

Frisk blinked and shrugged. "Dunno either. I can d-dish out flirts but I can't take it."

Jack snorted, but cracked a rare grin, glancing at the kettle. "Any of that tea left? S'good stuff." The older boy poured himself a cup, sighing softly. "Ah, well. Guess that's a thing? I mean I just kinda got flustered and glanced away."

Frisk shrugged. "Dunno… I t-think we may be t-the least confident people in this house."

"Not like you have problems." Jack grunted, slouching as he sipped his tea. "That girl already's wrapped 'round your lil' finger." The lanky teen looked absurd, drinking from the little pink teacup. Toriel had developed a fondness for various different tea sets.

Frisk flushed but didn't argue. Jack finished his tea, cleaned up after himself and wandered to his room. He rarely announced himself when he was coming or going. Even Sam usually mumbled a quick "hi" or "bye".

Frisk meandered out to the living room, glancing at Alphys. The lizard woman looked really tired. Almost as tired as Sans.

"Are you o-okay?" She asked, sitting next to the Lizard, peeking at her notepad. Alphys was scribbling calculations, and had doodled a few machines. Things involving Souls.

"I'm f-fine!" Alphys grinned. "Just been w-working on ideas for um, making Flowey not be Flowey anymore. It's slow, but progress is definitely being m-made! Yes!"

Frisk stared, before giving one of Undyne's fins a tug, causing the fish-woman to stir awake.

"Hahhh? Whatchawant punk?" She grumbled, rubbing her eyes.

"Put Alphys to bed." Frisk ordered curtly. "S-she's tired and working too hard."

Undyne didn't even hesitate, picking Alphys up, making her drop all her notes, and carrying her right upstairs, ignoring all protests. Frisk sighed, and smiled, shaking her head. She appreciated all of her hard work, but Alphys needed to pace herself better. She shook the papers and the notebook into a little neat pile and carried them to the basement, where Alphys's lab was.

The basement was a bit chilly today. Frisk hummed, confused. Alphys had a furnace running down here most of the time, so why was it so cold? She walked over to the furnace and tilted her head. The thermostat was turned up, but the thing was dark and silent. Knowing she'd get a scolding if Toriel ever found out, she swung the door open, tilting her head. "Huh."

That was odd; normally the furnace ran on magical geothermal energy, the way the CORE did back Underground (albeit on a much much smaller scale). It shouldn't just go out unless it was shut off, at least as far as Frisk knew. Luckily, the house was well insulated and warm, but it was pretty chilly down here. Not the best environment for a monster like Alphys who seemed to thrive near heat.

It was a bit too cold honestly. Frisk looked around a bit. Everything seemed normal, but…

There was a paper on Alphys's desk that Frisk didn't recognize. It was in an unfamiliar, very elegant script.

"The Basement is where we keep all the things we don't want to remember. What we do not want to see. We spend youth filling it with monsters, and adulthood filling it with unwanted mementos that we would sooner forget.

The Basement is the Subconscious Mind

And the Subconscious Mind does not forget."

Weird. Frisk would have to ask Alphys about that later. For now, she decided to leave. The basement was far too cold. She made her way up the steps, turned the light off, and closed the door behind her.

What was I doing? Oh right, dropping off Alphys's papers. Frisk thought, smiling. Better check on Chara.

Chapter Text

Anastasia fell into the underground by accident; she had climbed the mountain simply because her family lived close and she couldn't have known any better. Mt. Ebott was big, certainly, but it wasn't steep. The mountain had something that drew Ana to it. Something strong, and pulling. And so she climbed. And fell.

Soft flowers cushioned her fall, and she tumbled out of them, brushing petals from her dress. Covered in ribbons, the little girl wandered, occasionally sniffing. She had a cold, was lost, but at least she wasn't hurt.

She didn't last. As time went on, she grew sick. Sicker. Sick beyond belief, even in the gentle care of Toriel. The matronly Monster suspected that perhaps it had to do with her cold, combined with the initial attacks from Ruins monsters (out of fear, mostly) and of course Ana's tiny, fragile form.

Ana was feverish and delirious. She rolled about, back and forth, gasping out her last.

Suddenly, she went still eyes open wide. She looked Toriel right in the eyes.

"I see Angels." She said. "They're coming to save you all. But they have shadows behind em- One's nice, one's mean..." Then she let out a long, rattling breath, and died.


Jamie was a tough and cheerful child. He wrestled with anyone who was willing to, and just strolled right past monsters weaker than him when he fell, during a disobedient exploration of the Mountain. Though Toriel tried to keep him there, Jamie easily made his way out of the Ruins when her back was turned.

It was the cold that got to him. All he had was a t-shirt, shorts, a bandanna, and a pair of pink gloves tugged on his hands. Snowdin, beautiful and soft, was deadly to anyone not used to the freezing snow.

He didn't care about the cold. He could get a bit further. He was tough. He was a big kid.

Big kids don't cry.

But a lack of fear is not bravery so much as it is naivety.

Jamie got lost- lost deep deep in the woods, before he slumped against a tree, exhausted, and fell asleep, claimed by the cold.


Tara's dances could avoid anything a monster threw at her, while charming them into leaving her be. Not just ballet, but any dance she felt like (although the ballet shoes and tutu certainly lent themselves to that particular style).

She danced along with Shyren's song, and for once the timid monster offered the girl a genuine smile. The two would have stuck around longer, but Tara felt she needed to go. She offered the Monster a small smile and a little bow and the Monster bowed back.

Had Mettaton been around he likely would have made her a guest star after seeing her wide variety of skills at dancing, but alas, as fate would have it the two would never meet.

Tara made her way through Waterfall, until she reached a river. She was pleased to see Moldsmal- they were easy enough to dance around. But as she danced too close…

She leapt back, as the Moldbygg burst up, uncomfortable being approached. It didn't mean for the girl to leap back into the water. She thrashed about, and the Moldbygg burbled discordantly, just as afraid as she, but with no arms, and a body far too slick to grab ahold of. Tara couldn't swim, and down she sank, deep into the dark.


Sam had never had the best eyesight. Their first pair of glasses were of a milder prescription, back when Sam was still Samantha, and back when They were still She.

Down here, despite being odd, Sam found that nobody minded that Sam was a "they". Nobody minded that Sam was a bit introverted and shy and preferred to study and write notes in large easy-to-see capital letters. Nobody minded the enormous thick glasses, or the quiet, meek voice Sam naturally had.

Monsters were often "They" as well, Sam found. It got to the point that unless otherwise knowledgeable of a preferred pronoun, Sam would generally default to "They". Much to their delight, the Monsters did much the same. Perhaps it was natural for a race that gender was rather unnecessary; after all, any two monsters could fall in love and have a child made from mere dust, magic, and the parents strong bond creating a Soul. No messy biology. Clean, simple magic.

Sam got on splendidly, until they dropped their glasses in the deep darkness of the lantern rooms. Some humans could find a way out by being slow and meticulous. Sam was slow and meticulous, but they were handicapped, without their 20/20 vision, without their glasses, or any way to write their notes, or any light to guide them.

Sam's stomach began to growl, as they were dragged deeper into the dark labyrinth of the Lantern Room.


You always could smell Alex before he appeared. He smelled very much of heat and smoke- of ingredients and condiments. Indeed, Alex smelled very much like a portable kitchen.

Okay, not really, it was more like he just generally smelled delicious because he was really good at making food that was delicious. And really, despite being strange and magical, when it came to flavors and cooking, Alex found ways to make Monster food into delicious new recipes. He found strange, large berries that Monsters showed him were eaten by cramming them in their mouths. These "Cramberries" Alex found, made a delicious juice when squeezed, and when chopped were quite good in Spider donuts.

For a short time, Alex gained some small notoriety as a prodigy with cooking, always clad in a thick, slightly stained apron, and carrying with him a hefty skillet that not only made for excellent cooking, but also made for a decent shield against magical attack.

But Alex was a human. And all humans who entered the Underground, by decree of King Asgore all those years ago had to die.

And so it was done. His arms grew tired, swatting away magic blast after magic blast, until finally, one reached him, blowing him backwards, slamming him into a wall.

His body lay limp when the explosion's dust faded.


Jack immediately knew how to keep someone from threatening him. It worked on the surface, many times. It would work here. Nobody was stupid enough to bully someone with a gun even if that somebody was just a kid.

The monsters feared him. Taller than any human that had fallen in most living monster's memories, a heavyweight revolver in his grip. He deliberately did not put his finger on the trigger, most of the time, although he did get in a little shooting practice, blasting at a few chunks of human garbage in the Waterfall dump. An occasional gunshot aimed carefully to be loud and scary, but not to actually cause harm.

The monsters didn't want to hurt Jack, but felt they had to. That was no reason to murder indiscriminately right? He walked, looking slightly like a cowboy with his hat, jeans and holster. All he really needed were slightly fancier boots and some spurs.

Sometimes, though, all he needed to do was glare. His glower was intense, the sense of justice within him burning like a flame.

Then, near the end of his journey, so close to victory, the fire of the Monsters claimed him. He fell, and his possessions were hurled in a dumpster. He had long run out of bullets, but the gun was what frightened monsters. After all, how could a human ever design a weapon ever made explicitly to kill other humans?


Frisk sat upright with a start. Chara stirred, and rose from the little mattress she was using on the floor, looking stunned. The two had shared dreams. Dreams of the past. But this time it wasn't a path either of them had taken.

Chara hugged her knees in silence. And squeaked, when Frisk slipped off her bed and hugged her tight.

"That… That's how they died?" Frisk asked, very quietly.

Chara nodded. "I think so, yeah."

"Do you remember what Ana said about Angels and shadows…? What do you think it meant? "One's nice, one's m-mean?"

Chara leaned on Frisk. "I'm not sure. It might be really important. Or maybe it meant nothing. It could be prophetic or just… a sick little girl rambling."

"W-we should spend m-more time with them all." Frisk murmured, laying back on Chara's mattress, holding Chara still. "I f-feel like we barely know them. Like, we should set up a hangout day with each one, s-since we're all gonna be, uh, living here together."

"Heheh…" Chara grinned, although she felt oddly flustered nestled up to Frisk like this. She'd always cuddled against Frisk when it was time to sleep as a ghost, but as a human it would take some getting used to. "That… might not be too bad. We could all do like pair-ups. Since there's eight of us humans, right?" She counted on her fingers. "You, me, Ana, Jamie, Tara, Sam, Alex and Jack… Yeah. So everyone gets a new partner to hang out with each day or somethin'. Sounds kinda dumb, but… fun."

Frisk just smiled and nuzzled against Chara's back. "W-we'll plan it tomorrow. For now, let's try and sleep and d-dream about something like fluffy kittens, or just anything restful or cute. And not weird or s-sad or creepy."

Chara laughed weakly. "Yeah, okay. I'd be okay with a dream that isn't upsetting for once." She paused for a moment. "...You know," She smiled, deviously. "You're a lot more cozy now that I can actually feel you than when I couldn't."

Frisk squeaked a bit, but refused to be flustered, nuzzling up closer, pressing close to Chara, smiling affectionately. "You too, actually. You're really warm."

Chara flushed. "Flirt."

"M'not." Frisk murmured, sounding sleepy. "Just sayin'. Y-you're warm."

Chara cracked a smile, and drew the blankets closer over them. "Okay, okay. Let's sleep, dork."

The two lay near one another, awkwardly nestled close. It was a bit uncomfortably warm, but… Soft. Chara smiled to herself, closing her eyes. She could live with a bit of discomfort, if it meant being near someone so soft.


Alphys was about ready to tear her metaphorical hair out. She had hit a brick wall, and was utterly stumped. She had made a first, very cautious cursory attempt to begin replicating Soul power, without resorting to determination. She had been using plants for multiple reasons. Obviously, it was because Flowey was still, biologically plant matter (just with some dust, magic and determination jammed in there). If she could use a regular plant to create a Soul, it would make the transfer simpler.

There were other reasons as well; Souls, despite their strange, intangible-yet-fully-tangible nature, were inherently linked to biology. That is to say they were entirely organic. Only something alive could produce a Soul, and, while they had no will or magic, plants did have life. That functioning pulse of nature running through them that just might be able to act as a conduit.

But it was here where she was stuck. Certainly she had an ample supply of Determination, but she had resolved to avoid that stuff at all costs. Instead, she examined the other ingredients in Asriel's resurrection as Flowey. Dust and Magic. The plants were getting her nowhere. It seemed to her that the Soul required consciousness, something these flowers didn't have.

Dust. Alphys quivered nervously. Monsters were, in the long run, just dust and magic. Dust given life. But Monster dust was something that hadn't been studied extensively- at least in none of the records Alphys could find. It was just what remained when a Monster's life ended. The magic dissipated, the Soul broke, and what remained was a mound of white powdery dust...

Alphys paused, a queer thought passing through her mind. Could dust be used to…

No. It was insane. Utterly ridiculous. And that aside, how on earth would she even be able to get enough dust to be able to reliably experiment with?

As she called it a night, flicking lights off, the scientist couldn't help but ponder it. She would have to bring it up with Sans. It was not his expertise- he was better versed in quantum mechanics, theory, and overall engineering. Still, he often had surprising insight masked behind all those goofy puns of his.


Frisk awoke held very close to Chara. It wasn't very cozy anymore. As nice as snuggling had been overnight, it was a bit muggy in the room, and she wriggled free of Chara's grasp sleepily, opening the blinds.

Flowey looked unamused. "If you two keep acting sappy in the middle of the night I want to sit somewhere else."

Frisk shrugged, picking him up idly. "W-wanna walk outside a bit? Get some sun?"

The flower scowled at her, but sighed, drooping a bit. "Yeah okay."

Frisk felt a twinge of pity at Asriel's bitter state, but bit it back. No need to make him feel worse. Pity hurts, especially when hurt is nearly all you have. She walked along, noting silently that everyone- even early risers like Papyrus and Toriel- were nowhere to be found. She scrawled a quick, messy note, before walking outside, still holding the "Floweypot."

Ebott was a quiet town, at least before the Monsters began to emerge from it. Even with the sudden wild expansion around and even up the mountain however, it was still at its heart a small, quiet town with a lot of tourism in the summer thanks to the beautiful surroundings. Fall however things quieted right back down.

Frisk liked it here. It was hard to believe that when Chara had first been alive it was a tiny conservative village.

"I-It's nice out." She remarked, breaking the long silence. Flowey tipped side to side.

"Yeah. The sun feels good." Flowey's mood seemed to be a little better. It tended to vary from apathy to temper tantrums to melancholy. Alphys told Frisk that this was actually a good thing- as it meant he could still feel something.

Flowey grunted. "...You people are all idiots for putting up with me."

"Maybe." Frisk smirked. "But we're your idiots now."

The flower let out a bark of laughter, before sighing again.

"...Can you carry me to Dad's? I wanna just sit in his garden for a while."

Frisk blinked and shrugged as she began carrying the flowerpot down the street towards a small home on the neighboring cul-de-sac. A house painted a surprisingly pleasant shade of pink, with lots and lots of plants growing here and there, and a very large greenhouse in the backyard. Asgore's home was so small and understated, it was easy to forget how big Asgore was.

She set Flowey down on a small bench in Asgore's garden where he sometimes stayed, just trying so hard to feel anything, but finding that all he could get was a vague sense of ease. Still, he was happy to take what little pittance of inner calm he could get.

Frisk quietly knocked on the door, and Asgore opened. The door had needed to be fixed slightly to compensate for the bulky monster, and he loomed over Frisk as emerged, inviting her inside for tea.

She visited Asgore from time to time. He was happy. Perhaps a bit melancholy now and then. A bit distant as he slowly allowed himself to let go of the past. He had taken to slouching a bit as he walked, to make him less intimidating. His flower-print shirt already did that for him- Asgore loved that shirt but nobody had the heart to tell him that it just looked goofy. He had taken to gardening- trimming hedges and tending to public gardens around Ebbot. Plants just made him happy.

Asgore was quiet, as well. Although he could be a wonderful public speaker, when it was only him and Frisk or Flowey, he often preferred to sit quietly with them and garden or drink tea. Frisk, for her part would chatter occasionally about goings-on around the house, letting him know that everyone was healthy and happy, and then after informing him of her homelife, sat and enjoyed the quiet with him. Living with Toriel was lovely, but in a house with so many people it was hard to find a quiet space sometimes- especially with Papyrus and Undyne sharing a house.

"I am glad to have you over, Frisk. Your company is nice." Asgore commented, as he poured her cup of tea. She accepted it gratefully, sipping slowly, savoring the sweet floral taste. Asgore pondered something for a moment, before tilting his head. "May I ask you something strange?"

Frisk nodded. "O-okay, sure." She said, with a small smile. "G-go ahead."

"...May I ask if you know why you stutter?" He seemed awkward about asking the question, unsure if it was too personal or not.

Frisk leaned back in her seat, thinking back. "Mm, I-I dunno." She admitted. "It's not t-too bad, so it kind of comes and goes? B-but it gets worse if I um, am nervous or really excited? And I g-guess I talk faster too." She giggled awkwardly. "I don't really mind. It just kinda h-happens." She flushed a bit. "I can f-force myself to not stammer- but uh, you know... I don't l-like to."

"I see." Asgore hummed, satisfied. "Well, I was simply curious. I do not mind it, and I am sure anyone who does mind doesn't matter anyway."

Frisk nodded, giggling. "Chara thinks it's c-cute. She won't say it though- least not t-to my face."

Asgore chuckled softly, bemused. "Chara has not been causing you trouble, has she? As I recall she was a lovely child, but… wild at times."

"Really?" Frisk blinked. "She hasn't seemed all that wild…"

"Perhaps not anymore. Maybe she has matured. There were many other things too, that have nothing to do with maturity." Asgore frowned deeply. "But I do not think I should be the one to discuss that too deeply. I am sure that she would be willing to explain further. All I will say is that the life Chara experienced before coming to us left her with scars on her heart and mind, not just her body." Asgore lowered his gaze. "We did our best to heal them, but worried they would never go away."

"Chara's r-really strong, deep down." Frisk smiled, squeezing Asgore's furry hand. "She'll b-be okay. She has a big family who all love h-her now, and t-that helps."

Asgore chuckled softly. "Yes, it was remarkable how fast she began to recover. I would have to agree- she will be fine."

Frisk hummed, sipping at her tea, feeling pleasantly introspective. Chara and her were symbiotic; they needed each other.

For some reason that thought made frisk flush a little. Asgore noticed, but did not outwardly react, simply smiling to himself in amusement.

Frisk eventually went home, though she left Flowey- Asgore would bring him back if he felt like it (Or Undyne would fetch him if Alphys needed something regarding her studies), but he would be comfortable in the garden. She walked down the streets, humming as made her way to the big, welcoming house.

She went inside, and walked to her room. Chara was sleeping late, snoring a little on her back, face-up. She had rolled off her mattress, and Frisk rolled her eyes, using her foot to nudge her back onto the little makeshift bed, tossing a blanket over her.

"Dork…" She sighed affectionately. Chara mumbled happily in her sleep, cuddling her blankets. Frisk glanced about, blushing faintly, before kneeling beside Chara, fluffing her pillows and adjusting her blankets, giving her a gentle smooch on the forehead.

She was startled by a giggle from the door. Frisk turned and saw Tara in the doorway, with a big grin.

"Scandalous." The girl tittered, before sashaying off. "Kissing her in her sleep. You should wake her up next time."

Frisk flushed crimson, stuttering, but Tara had already left her to just sit and utter word fragments at the air.

Chara stirred, mumbling. "Mm…? Wha'd I miss?" Frisk just flushed and fled, leaving behind a very sleepy and very confused Chara.

Chapter Text

Frisk was a cuddlebug. This was something Chara had sort of assumed, due to the way she tended to hug any monster that had allowed it in the Underground, but now she could confirm it. Everyone who would allow it got hugs from the short girl. Chara, being the one who was generally in closest proximity got the most of it, but it seemed that Frisk absolutely thrived on physical contact. Something about being close to others just made the small girl happy. On a lark, Chara had jokingly challenged Frisk to see if she could go a single day without a hug, and the girl had begun tearing up a little, causing Chara to very rapidly withdraw the challenge. Frisk crying was too much to bear.

Chara had never been all that affectionate. She hadn’t exactly had anyone to be affectionate with for a very long time. While her time spent underground did allow her to slowly grow more accustomed to genuine love and care, it had taken a long time to sink in, and even then it could be a bit hard to coax a hug out of her. And then Frisk came along.

I guess that’s a little part of her that got left in my Soul as well. Chara mused, flopped on an armchair, watching Frisk sitting on the couch, braiding little Ana’s hair. ...They look ridiculous with braids. She thought with a wry smirk. Hair’s too short. But now I wonder, what part of me got left in Frisk? I got a little, so she probably did as well.

Chara paused.

Did she?

After all, Chara had only experienced glimpses of Frisk before they had met. Little bits of her memories- for good or for ill. Memories that ranged from “running around a playground” to “hiding under a bed”. Chara grimaced. She didn’t know what was worse. Being blatantly hated like she was, or the strange and horrible way Frisk’s parents couldn’t seem to decide.

Nightmares- that was something they both had shared. Some old- fragments of memories, spun into a more hyperbolic state. Dreams had a way of amplifying the horror of the past while being just real enough to stay believable. But beyond that, Chara didn’t really know what Frisk was like. She could guess- she knew some things, like Frisk had always had that stutter, and that she might have some pre-existing mental condition or mild disorder that had never been diagnosed, and of course that she had always been so good .

But what was she like ?

Chara sighed and smiled. Who cares? She decided suddenly. She’s amazing now. There was a pause. Her hair looks really dumb with braids. Cute. But dumb.

 


 

 

 

Frisk leaned back, admiring her handiwork. Ana’s blonde hair, tied into short little braids was adorable. It was hard for Ana to not be cute, honestly. She was all too aware of it, too. It was her greatest weapon. Puppy eyes and a cutesy lisp made just about anyone melt. Especially someone like Frisk who adored cute things. Luckily, Ana was too sweet to use her adorable face for evil, and usually just used it for a little extra dessert or attention from her “big brothers and sisters”.

Frisk had to admit, being a big sister was pretty cool. She wasn’t quite  “middle child”- Sam was  closer to that role, but she still had at least two younger siblings now. Speaking of younger siblings, there was a loud bang from upstairs; probably Jamie. Frisk gently moved Ana aside so she could stand and investigate. Ana, annoyed at being displaced from leaning on Frisk’s legs huffed a bit, then wandered over to Chara to lean on her instead, giving Frisk a glower. Frisk tried to not laugh as she made her way upstairs.

Jamie was in the hall, running about and jumping nonstop- so “nonstop” in fact that he crashed right into Frisk. She squeaked as the ball of energy and muscles slammed into her, bowling her right over. For his part, Jamie was nonplussed and grinned at Frisk. “Hi!” He crowed, hopping off her and helping Frisk up. Frisk blinked, baffled. How was he so strong? This child could probably carry her over his head effortlessly. He wrestled with Undyne on a semi-regular basis, so that probably helped. The small boy was always moving- it made school tough for him. Being a first-grader with too much energy was common, though, so he made lots of friends his age who liked sports and similar ways to shed the ridiculous amount of energy crammed into their small forms.

Frisk felt she’d rather take a nap, most of the time, but couldn’t help but grin as Jamie dragged her along to play for a bit.

 


 

 

Chara eventually rose, but Ana remained, clinging tightly to her. The girl grunted, adjusting her position slightly to allow the girl to ride piggyback. She was only slightly annoyed- honestly, Chara was too happy how Ana had so quickly grown to like her. In all fairness, Ana was a bit like Frisk in that she adored everyone. Even Jack couldn’t refuse a hug from the little ball of energy, and he hated being touched.

Chara hummed, as she walked to the kitchen. “What do you think, Princess Anastasia~” She asked, smiling over her shoulder. “Shall we get a snack?”

Ana nodded imperiously. “I want juice. And animal crackers.”

“Of course.” Chara snorted. “Everybody loves animal crackers.”

“Jack doesn’t.”

“Heathen.” Chara murmured under her breath. “Well, whatever, I’ll see if I can find them for you.” She shook her head. Since when did she become so doting?

Alex was in the kitchen, as always, humming as he mixed together some kind of salad- Chara was never sure what he was making, only that it was always good. She fetched Ana her crackers and a juicebox, setting her down at the table and getting herself a mug of golden flower tea.

“Do you think it’s weird that we have a talking golden flower living in our home but we also drink tea made from them?” She asked, glancing at Alex who chuckled.

“I suppose it’s odd. But at least we don’t make salads out of them too. Although dandelion stalks go nicely in salad. Maybe I should try someday.”

Chara shuddered. “I’ve had quite enough of eating flowers lately, thank you. My previous experience was… less than pleasant. Buttercups aren’t good for the digestion. Or staying alive.”

Alex pulled a face. “That’s hardly fair. Buttercups are poisonous. Dandelions and golden flowers are not. I- you’re drinking a flower right now, so why are you complaining?”

“It’s not the same as eating it.”

Alex shrugged, smiling weakly. “I suppose. But salad is still good if you make it right. Do you have a problem with salad?”

“Not really.” Chara shrugged, as she sipped from her steaming mug. “I guess salad is okay. I’m pretty carnivorous though.”

“You can put meat in salad.” Alex grinned. Chara and Ana both paused.

“You can?” They chorused.

 


 

Frisk finally managed to slip away from Jamie, after a good hour or two of playing. She was really tired now; Frisk slept a fair bit- she took a nap almost every day, and often felt drained if she didn’t get her naptime. It was a bit tough to get a nap on some days, because the house was so lively, but Frisk didn’t really mind. She yawned broadly, and ducked into her room, crawling right under her covers. Activity and bustle was wonderful, but sleep was divine. Blankets, pillows (and occasionally a warm person to snuggle with) just felt like her natural habitat. She snuggled against a pillow, since she didn’t have a person to hug. Chara was most frequently the one who ended up at Frisk’s side, whether she liked it or not.

But for once, Frisk found herself alone in her room. No visitors, no cuddle-friends, just her and her blankets and her pillows. She sighed, a long, content, airy sigh, smiling to herself. Life was pretty good, considering. Nothing was perfect, but nothing was terrible right now either. She had a big, loving family, like she’d always dreamed of, but never thought she’d have, friends of all shapes and sizes, and…

Whatever Chara was to her right now. Frisk blushed a bit. They were certainly the closest pair in the house, and she couldn’t deny that she really liked Chara. But she wasn’t exactly sure how to sort those feelings out yet. Tara wasn’t helping, either, with her knowing smirks and playful teasing. It was a bit strange- Frisk couldn’t tell if she was really obvious or if Tara was just perceptive. Perhaps a little of both.

She sighed and rolled back and forth a bit, trying to situate herself more comfortably, snuggling against her pillow and humming to herself. Frisk heard soft footsteps and peeked out from under her covers. Chara stood there, looking weary. “Finally got Ana off me. She’s almost as much of a cuddlebug as you are.” Before Frisk could say anything, Chara sat on the edge of the bed. “...I’m okay with that, too.” She smirked at Frisk, who blushed and slipped a bit lower into the bed, blushing faintly.

“Did… y-you need anything?” She asked, offering a meek half-smile. Chara’s smirk faded a little.

“You okay? You look… flustered, you know? Do you need to talk about it?”

Frisk hesitated, before slowly sitting up and leaning on Chara’s shoulder, still hugging her pillow tightly. “...I like you.” She said, bluntly. Chara uttered a little sound of stunned surprise. Frisk flicked her eyes downward. “More than… I like most p-people.”

Chara hesitantly laced her fingers with Frisk and squeezed her hand softly. “Y-yeah.” She stuttered awkwardly, a bit flustered. “I… like you too, Frisk. A lot.” She tried to say something more, but the words caught in her throat. The two sat close for a bit, before Frisk suddenly spoke up.

“W-want to g-g-go on a d-date?” She blurted, blushing crimson.

Chara uttered a little gasp, eyes wide and nodded suddenly. “Yeah. Okay. We can do that. I mean- yeah. Let’s. Date.”

For a minute, the two awkwardly sat close to one another, neither saying much. Frisk yawned a bit, shifting so she could lay her head on Chara’s lap, offering a clumsy smile up at her. “W-we can date later. After my r-rest.”

Chara nodded, and gently ran a hand through Frisk’s hair, causing the smaller girl to blush faintly. “Okay.”

Frisk lay with her head peacefully in Chara’s lap, dozing for a long while, while Chara contentedly ran her fingers back and forth through Frisk’s hair.

Chapter Text

The air was getting colder. Frisk had started wearing scarves more often, and was grateful for her striped sweater. Chara's already rosy cheeks were even brighter than normal, the chilly air causing her face to softly glow a little. Everyone was feeling it, except Sans and Papyrus who didn't have skin. Despite having no nerves or real brains to speak of, they were still aware of the chill that had set in. Sans must have been spending time with Snowdrake, because the ice puns kept rolling and driving Papyrus batty. Even Toriel, who had a thick fur coat was spending more and more time indoors, often with a blanket over her lap when she sat down.

In other words it was really goddamn cold. Being at the foot of the mountain would normally give people the expectation of snow, but right now it was too cold for snow- if there were clouds, there would at least be some heat kept in, but the sky was bright and blue.

Frisk didn't mind the cold- she didn't exactly like it, but the cold wasn't too unpleasant for her. Chara however loathed it, and wore a dense coat over her sweater, along with a fuzzy hat and earmuffs.

"You're an enigma." She noted, as they walked, one hand stuffed in her coat pocket, her free hand intertwined with Frisk's. "How can you stand wearing just a sweater n' scarf? It's freezing! It's almost as bad as Snowdin! Actually no, Snowdin was better because we didn't have wind to make things even colder."

Frisk just laughed and tugged Chara a bit closer to her, causing the taller girl to flush. "Then w-walk closer… share body heat." Chara just huffed and leaned a bit closer to Frisk, as they wandered down the sidewalk. Not having much experience, they decided that for their little date they would wander to a small cafe that Frisk had been meaning to visit anyway. It was a small, cute little place- a tad cliché, but otherwise perfect for a casual date like this. The two made their way inside, reluctantly releasing one another's hands as they went to sit in a corner booth.

The place had a slightly rustic, but inviting and comfortable vibe. The building itself was fairly old, so the decor just seemed to compliment the structure. Chara chuckled nervously, shifting in her seat and grinning at Frisk. It was a clumsy, but honest smile. The two shared a few moments of comfortable silence, eyes low. Together, they made an adorable, yet incredibly awkward pair. Their waitress was a monster that Frisk recognized from Hotland- a glowy green flame girl. Chara wondered idly if she was related to Grillby but shook her head. It wasn't as if all fire monsters were related. The two humans ordered- Frisk ordered tea and some french toast, and Chara naturally had a hot cocoa and chocolate-chip pancakes. Breakfast for lunch; the meal of royalty.

"I have no idea how to date." Chara smiled softly, shrugging. Frisk tittered, and lightly reached over to squeeze her hand.

"It's okay, me either. We'll learn." She offered, a sheepish smile on her face. "I mean, it's not like any of the other "d-dates" I've been on were all that… n-normal."

"Normal is overrated." Chara announced, giving Frisk a little wink. "We're living proof of that. I don't think we've gone a day that was "normal" since you fell into the Underground. And I don't care in the slightest." She shrugged. "I always hear about the "I just want to be normal" thing, but who needs "normal", when you have such great monsters and are lucky enough to avoid disaster and…" She grinned wider, suddenly kissing Frisk's hand. "The best person ever on a date~?"

Frisk flushed deeply, sinking into her seat. She could dish it out, but flirting back only made her more flustered. She sank even further at the waitress's little "Aww!" as she arrived to deliver their food. Chara smiled smugly, but there was some sweetness there as well. Frisk shook off her embarrassment, sat up and took a long slow sip of her tea, regaining her composure by inhaling its aroma. The soft fragrance soothed her, and she smiled meekly at Chara.

Chara for her part was practically preening, pleased that for once in her life she had managed to be anything resembling "smooth". She'd never really tried seriously before, of course, but that didn't mean she couldn't be proud of a first attempt. Although it was a bit hard to focus on food when Frisk kept staring at her, smiling at Chara's mere presence.

Happy that I'm here with her. This date is almost perfect, although I wish that waitress would ship us a little less blatantly. She's almost as bad as Tara.

Tara had practically exploded with glee when she heard that Chara and Frisk were going out to get lunch together, pinning down what was happening long before anyone did. She had immediately figured it out.

"Is it a date~?" She had asked, a bit shrilly. Chara and Frisk's blush said more than words ever could, and Tara squealed. Toriel had done a bit of a double take, not having quite put together what was going on until then. She was a bit baffled that she had missed how close the pair were, but afterwards shone with approval. It didn't make it any less embarrassing however. Plus Toriel looked about ready to cry that the two were "growing up."

The two girls sat across from one another, still reeling a bit that they were really having a date. It was a gentle, pleasant reeling, however, not an unsettling or frightening one like they had encountered so many times before. It was more of a pleasant constant surprise that things were going incredibly smoothly. Sometimes, first dates don't have anything too special or even anything that particularly romantic.

This is nice too. Chara decided quietly, smiling at Frisk, who grinned right back. It's quiet. It's small. It's not too fancy. It's- She snorted a little. It's kind of like Frisk. Small and cute and quiet.

Seriously, look at that smile. How can anyone not think that smile is adorable. Or maybe she was just smitten. Either way, she was a- what was the phrase? A "pure cinnamon roll who needs to be protected." That was something Chara had picked up from the internet.

The two ate their lunch, sharing small talk, and occasionally flirting a little. Chara made sure not to overdo it, lest she make Frisk explode or something. She got flustered so easily. She gave as good as she got though, fluttering lashes and giggling and just making Chara blush. It came to a head when Frisk offered Chara a bite of her toast, and when Chara moved to jab a bit with her fork, Frisk beat her to it, spearing a piece and popping it gently against Chara's lips. Chara flushed, but slowly parted her lips, letting the piece of food slip into her mouth, before silently declaring revenge, and doing the same thing, pressing a piece of her pancake to Frisk. The girls giggled at how silly and cliche it was, but Frisk and Chara were happy. Neither of them cared that the things they were doing might seem a bit cliche, because in the end, they were having fun and making one another laugh and grin.

Frisk sipped her tea, only pausing as a weird thought wriggled into her brain. That was like… an indirect kiss, huh! We both just indirectly kissed each other. Frisk suppressed a giggle, deciding to keep that tidbit to herself. I don't know about a real kiss yet, but that was good enough. I don't think I want to rush into a real kiss for a little longer. She glanced at Chara who was busily tucking into her pancakes. Not yet. Frisk smiled.

Eventually, they finished their meal, leaving money on the table and some extra for a tip, before following each other, hand in hand out to the street. It was still cold out, but some clouds had rolled in, darkening the sky slightly. Despite this, they decided to walk to the park before going home. Frisk and Chara sat closely on a bench. The cold meant that, apart from some ice monsters and some particularly fuzzy folk, most were indoors, and it was even quieter outside than it had been in the restaurant. Frisk leaned her head on Chara's shoulder, smiling as she nestled close to share her warmth.

Chara pointed upwards. "Look." She smiled. "Snow!"

Soft, white, fluffy flakes were drifting down from the sky, and Chara leaned forward, sticking her tongue out to catch one. Her aim was a bit off, however, and instead Chara wound up with the large snowflake landing right on her nose. She looked so goofy, Frisk snickered a bit. Chara just grinned and hugged the shorter girl closer, and they watched the snow drift around them. Frisk hesitated, before leaning up and planting a little kiss on Chara's cheek; nothing she hadn't done before, but this time it just felt... special.

The two sat together, arm in arm, leaning close and watching the sky for a long time that day. The cold air was forgotten as Frisk and Chara laced fingers clumsily, a little uncertainly. They were much more certain about one thing; as far as first dates go, this one was probably the best way one could be.

Chapter Text

 



Getting some dust wasn’t as difficult as Alphys had anticipated. It was rather similar to how humans could become an organ donor. A monster, still alive, with a passion for helping others asked that their dust be used for the betterment of everyone. Alphys hoped that through examining the dust more closely, she could find a way to aid not just Asriel, but perhaps all monsterkind, and if she was really lucky, humankind too.

 

The initial difficulty of studying dust was that no monster had really done it before- or at least if they had, they had left an illegible mess of notes interspersed with mad ramblings and twisted psychologies and other sciences. There were quantum physics notes and theories that could confound even Sans. As lazy as the short skeleton was, he had a real knack for theoretical physics work, but it wasn’t enough to decipher the maddening notes that Alphys’s predecessor had left. It was as if they had been tampered with to slow progress.

 

But now, Alphys had motivation. She carefully placed a petri dish full of dust under her microscope. The first thing she noticed was that the dust was nothing like natural dust- monster dust up close had a very strange structure and shape that almost resembled cells. Not only that it was also extremely conductive. Magic flowed through it at rates comparable to how fast magic flowed through a living monster. That would at least explain what the dust was- a conduit for the magic that naturally spills from a monster. But it still answered nothing about the Soul itself.

 

Alphys banged her head onto the counter with a groan. Two steps forward, one step back. She was really getting tired of progress giving her answers to questions that she may have had at one point, but just weren’t relevant to the task at hand now .

 

She sighed, glancing at the notes that she had scribbled.

 

Theoretically, synthesizing a Soul is possible, but the exact method and the amount of energy and power required to do so are unknown. Earlier studies of human Souls in comparison to Monster Souls would indicate the amount of energy necessary to be enormous.

 

Alphys tapped her pencil on the paper idly, scribbling an addendum.

 

The components for making a monster Soul are all there- the Dust, Magic, and the mind of the original host still exist, but just slapping them against one another isn’t going to work. There needs to be a way to combine them

 

Sans is no help either. He said he’d lend a hand. Then he tossed me a glove. Alphys set her pencil down, rubbing her forehead. She needed to relax for a moment. When she glanced at the papers again, she nearly fell out of her seat.

 

That does sound rather like him. But even if he did lend a more figurative hand I doubt his assistance would lead you very far. He may be a clever physicist, but Souls are not something he studied very closely.

 

Alphys’s breathing sped up, glasses fogging slightly. The room felt a bit chilly, and almost seemed a bit darker.

 

It’s okay. The writing was in a dripping black ink- not “just” black but somehow so dark black that it just seemed all light ended where it was written. I am a friend. I was… forcibly jarred from reality for a while, but am returning. My name- The next bit of ink was nothing but scribbles. ...Evidently has not managed to reinsert itself. In due time. I am a scientist, much like you, Doctor.

 

Alphys decided to not speak aloud, just to sound less crazy, and carefully wrote, her hands shaking. You studied Souls?

 

Souls, magic, power and energy. Yes. In fact, I created something you may be familiar with, but that is a story for another time. As things stand, I believe that bringing me back will aid the young prince in returning as well. But the manner of which will prove… difficult.

 

At this point, I’m at least willing to listen to anythng. Alphys’s handwriting was getting a bit worse, her hands shaking. What do you have in mind, whoever you are?

 

You will need to go to the place that it all went wrong. My creation. Back Underground. Actually, two of my creations. One you know, one you do not. The first one is in a work shed in Snowdin, under a sheet, unless Sans moved it, but I doubt he would have. The second is one you’ve known well.

 

Alphys felt a shiver run down her spine.

 

Bring the Machine to the CORE. Take the flower. It is time to make history. And finally end my unwilling absence from this world.

 


 

Alphys couldn’t believe she was back down here. Neither could Flowey, really. They both stared up at the CORE, silent and unmoving.

 

“Every time I’ve come here, it’s been active.” Flowey mused, staring at the titanic, silent machine. “I never liked that thing. It felt… alive. Too alive.”

 

“I know.” Alphys shivered. “It was always moving and everything was so loud and active here.” They were making their way through Hotland, on the way down to Snowdin. Alphys had decided to only bring Flowey with her.

 

To her surprise, Alphys found a monster still in Hotland. She supposed a few might prefer the solitude of the underground, but nevertheless it was unsettling.

 

The strange, grey monster turned to Alphys. It resembled a large, smiling head.

 

“Ah, you are… Doctor Alphys. A pleasure to meet you.” Before Alphys could stutter a reply, the Head sighed, glancing at the CORE. “It’s really too bad about what happened to your predecessor.”

 

“My… predecessor?” Alphys tilted her head, and Flowey frowned, petals drooping back. He didn’t like this thing.

 

“Of course. Did nobody tell you? The first Royal Scientist, Dr. W. D. Gaster.” Alphys felt a lightning-bolt headache for a split second at the utterance of the unfamiliar name. She felt like she should have known it, but she couldn’t place it.

 

“I mean no offence, but his brilliance was quite irreplaceable.” The face smiled in a sad, lopsided manner. “But one day his life was cut short… His experiments went wrong and- well…” It leaned in, much too close for comfort and Alphys stumbled back. Flowey hissed slightly.

 

“I needn’t gossip. After all it’s rude to talk about someone who’s listening.”

 

Alphys felt another lightning-bolt headache and growled, pawing at her head, eyes shutting tight. When she opened them, the face was gone. She had to struggle to recall its words and voice, and thinking too hard about it just caused more of the headaches. Flowey seemed to have the same problem. “Agh, let’s go! I can’t take this! That was weird and feels really wrong!”

 

Alphys fled to the elevator, throwing the switch. She stumbled out, once it had stopped outside her lab, staggering to the river. She jumped at the sight of the Riverperson, who looked up at the pair.

 

“Tra la la… I knew someone would be back soon. Need a ride?”

 


 

Getting into Sans’s shed wasn’t that hard, really. The lock was sturdy and shut tight, but the door itself was cheap wood, and Alphys just knocked a hole in it with a bit of magic, reaching in and unlocking the door. The room was much cleaner than she may have expected from Sans. A plain, clean and white room. Like a small lab. She walked forward, and pulled the sheet off of the large machine. The panel in front was off, and some wiring was sticking out. It looked like the sort of thing someone would stand inside.

 

She glanced at the papers she had brought with her, tilting her head. The same black ink was spreading across it.

 

Follow these directions and you should be capable of fixing it. I would have reached out to Sans, but something tells me… he wouldn’t have it in him. He has bad memories regarding this device.

 

Alphys watched as diagrams were slowly made, showing her what connected to where, and how. She worked, for hours without even realizing it- so long that Flowey had nodded off and was- well, he didn’t really sleep, he just sort of dozed.

 

Alphys rubbed her brow, finally getting the last of the wires into place. Her claws were numb, but she had finished, and took a moment to clean her glasses, wiping the sweat from her brow.

 

Well done, doctor. Perhaps you should rest before taking it to the CORE. You seem weary.

 

Alphys nodded, sitting down for a bit, thinking, trying hard to remember the name. Finally it came back to her.

 

Are you “Gaster”?

 

There was a long pause.

 

Yes. Except technically, W. D. Gaster no longer exists in the world. Or at least not until recently.

Part of what we’re doing here may give me a second chance. Once we are done, and if I emerge, we should really destroy that machine. It has caused more than enough strife. If you need something to carry that, Sans kept a dolly in here somewhere. You can probably use that to lift it.

 

Alphys found it, and slid it under the machine, grunting as she levered it upright, nodding. “Okay… Uh…” She carefully lifted Flowey’s pot and placed it on the machine, relieved to see he was balanced well.

 

“Careful.” He grumbled, as she slowly rolled them out into the snow, back to the river. The Riverperson chuckled weakly.

 

“Heavy load, mmm? No matter. I can take you to Hotland all the same. Come along.”

 


 



My life was not cut short, exactly. It was “deleted”. It was like I had never existed. The device was a machine we constructed to examine alternate universes. The Many-Worlds theory of every conceivable universe existing is possibly true, though how infinitely diverse these “other universes” are I cannot be certain. Different realities. Some barely different, others radically so. The monitor picked up something that we had not expect however. Temporal anomalies. We did not even know it could detect any temporal anomalies, merely spatial ones.

 

Timelines, moving and shifting and altering wildly. Even our own. And the most frightening part of it was that many, many different timelines and universes would simply… stop. Like there was no time.

 

And so, we decided to try and find the source of the anomaly; we needed more power, so we directly connected the monitoring device to the CORE; The Center Of Renewable Energy…

 

WAIt, did you just name it that so that you could have the acronym?

 

...Maybe.

 

In any case. It went… right? Horribly right. I determined the source of the Anomaly and quarantined our world from it, but it took years of careful manipulations, changes, and of course my very existence. I was just… dropped out of the universe, almost all traces of me scrubbed out. Only a few scraps of me remained. Little bits that slowly dragged themselves together.

 

And now, we have a chance. A way to bring me back. Bring me back, doctor, and I can help you make a Soul. One that will bring our prince back. You will have saved my life and come closer to saving another.

 

Alphys was running out of paper. Gaster sure did write a lot. She pushed the machine forward, out of the elevator and through the abandoned MTT resort, to the CORE. The center of the great machine was still, but it would be easy enough to temporarily get it running again. Alphys rolled the machine next to the center, fumbling with some of the wires, finding a place where she could plug the machine into the CORE. The thick heavy cables had no power yet, but they would quite soon.

 

She glanced at the machine, wondering why exactly this couldn’t have been done before. But then again, judging by all the scribblings, notes, and the fact the machine had a decent layer of dust (normal dust, not magical) back in the workshed, it was likely that Sans had been trying for a long time.

 

She threw some switches, letting the CORE warm up, feeling the great thrum fill the air as the mighty giant of iron and steel whirred to life, emitting a low hum, before the great steady pulse began. Enormous pistons began pumping, and steam billowed into the air. Alphys waited for the machine to warm up, before glancing at the last scrap of paper.

 

Now?

 

Route all power to Device. Then maybe hide behind something. This could blow out the circuits. Again.

 

Alphys nervously wrapped her hands around a switch, diverting the power. Every scrap of magical energy that the CORE absorbed from the magma below would be sent right to Gaster’s machine. The lizard woman dove behind some electronics, grabbing Flowey’s pot as she huddled down, the CORE emitting an enormous mechanical roar, thrumming and pulsing heavily. The earth shook and rattled- the vibrations so intense that it caused a mild earthquake back on the surface, as the CORE groaned, massive sparks shooting out from tesla coils, charging up and sending so much power through the heavy-duty cable that it actually started burning up the dense, heavily heat-resistant rubber.

 

The Device that Alphys had dragged all the way to Hotland crackled and spun to life, a huge flash of light blinding Alphys and Flowey for a good few seconds, before finally, everything went quiet. There was a soft, muffled bang, and then the CORE settled back to its normal steady pulse, no longer shaking the ground.

 

Slowly, Alphys rose, peeking over the edge. The device was smoking and heavily damaged, and inside was a dark figure. He slowly extricated himself, tall and lithe, with inky dark eyes and an enormous smile on his face. A heavy black overcoat hung over him, and he stood tall, a good seven feet high, flexing his long bony fingers.

 

“I’m-” He coughed a bit, then giggled, slightly deliriously from his glee. “ I’m alive!”

 

Standing tall in the center of the room, was the first royal scientist, brilliant inventor of the CORE, Doctor W.D. Gaster.

 

Alphys, overcome with relief and amazement that everything had gone smoothly and that the Core hadn’t obliterated them all, as well as an unhealthy dose of sleep deprivation, slumped to the floor and sighed, fainting.

 

Flowey blinked, still a little shaken by the CORE’s violent show.

 

“Well,” He uttered blandly, unable to keep the slight tremble out of his voice. “That was most certainly a thing that just happened.”

 

Chapter Text

Alphys awoke in her lab, which was dimly lit and humming quietly. She sat up from her old collapsable bed (thank god she had left it) and shuffled down the currently inactive little escalator. Flowey sat on her now cleared-off worktable. His face was not visible, which usually meant he was just resting for a moment. Wandering curiously from wall to wall and examining every little thing was the tall looming form of Dr. Gaster.

 

He was a little intimidating at first glance, but his rather large (if lopsided) grin had a childish glee to it, and he seemed enthralled by even the slightest thing of interest. Alphys was reminded slightly of Chara and how interested and curious she had seemed about every little thing. W.D. Gaster turned to Alphys, his slender fingers wringing together.

 

“Forgive me if I gave you a fright, doctor.” He spoke in a slightly crackly voice, a bit raspy with disuse. “But I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for me. Living in the void was only fascinating for a little while. It might have been a long while. Time somewhat lost meaning in there.”

 

Alphys found her glasses on the table and flicked them on, offering a nervous crooked half smile.

 

“I’m um, just really glad that I did something right…” She admitted. “But the truth is I-I was kind of desperate too.”

 

Gaster seemed sympathetic. “Hitting what seems like a dead-end is quite a headache, no matter how much one has accomplished in the past. Of course, you could not have known that the answer to your question was actually something that had been done. Or rather, something very very similar.”  Gaster spread his hands wide.

 

“I think it is time,” he said, voice deadly serious, “For you to know how I came to be as I was when you found me.”


 

“There are two sorts of scientific progress; There’s a more methodical form of experimentation and categorization that expands the boundaries of what we are capable of, and the occasional revolutionary leap of genius that totally transcends those boundaries. Whilst we acknowledge how much the former gave to us, we nonetheless yearn for the latter.

 

“I yearned for the latter. I sought it and tested for it and by some stroke of fate, I found it. I found a way to create a machine that could turn heat into pure magical energy, and from the early prototypes, I was able to create the CORE. A scale model, then something grander.

 

“I was hailed as a genius, but even so, I did not think I had earned it. I had helped monsterkind, but there was more to do. I wished to find a way to peacefully break the barrier.

 

“And in the process of my studies, I created something no monster could have dreamed of, and something that has yet to be recreated since.

 

“With nought but magic and my various inventions I could construct Souls.”


 

The house was weirdly quiet lately. It started with Alphys and Flowey, who had left with little more than a hastily scribbled note and a fragmented message to Undyne that she’d gone underground to check some things about Flowey. Then, after Alphys called and said she’d be gone a few more days, Undyne tore off after her. Sans disappearing was nothing new however, so that left eight children… and Papyrus.

 

Jamie was a wild child. Strong as can be, aggressively cheery, and always getting into something or other. It wasn’t uncommon for other kids to get roped into little adventures with him. This time though, it was not a child, but Papyrus that he was dragging along with him. The Great Papyrus might have seemed a bit like a big child himself, but in a way, that just endeared him to others even more, especially children. To Papyrus, everything was new and interesting and potentially wonderful, so it was very easy to get him wrapped up in the moment, but Toriel gave Papyrus a lot more trust than she did to most others. It was an odd sight, seeing a tall, skinny skeleton being tugged along by a short, stocky human child.

 

Jamie dashed along, Papyrus easily able to keep up thanks to his long legs. Jamie didn’t really have a “plan” or anything special in mind, he just wanted to run around and have fun. Papyrus decided to declare it a quest.

 

“IT IS OUR SWORN DUTY TO FIND FUN! SO LET US GO, YOUNG HUMAN FRIEND. WHERE SHALL WE FIND THIS “FUN”?”

 

Jamie had no idea really, so he picked up a twig and placed it on the ground upright. It fell and he pointed the way it tipped. “Thattaway!”

 

The two wandered in the general direction of the stick, although Papyrus had to remind Jamie to take the crosswalks, and not just run through the street.

 

“SAFETY FIRST.” Papyrus reminded sternly. Jamie nodded. Toriel would be very disappointed if they forgot the safety rules. She had made a list that was tacked to the fridge along with various other things; pictures, goofy magnets courtesy of Sans, and some pictures of their big, oddball family.

 

In fact, the kids had even given them all familial nicknames. Toriel was mom, of course, Alphys was Auntie, Undyne was just Aunt, Papyrus was Uncle and Sans, naturally, was a Dunkle. The nickname had stuck hard, ever since Ana started calling him “Dunkle Sans”. He had fully embraced the role, too.

 

Speaking of which…

 

“Hey, isn’t that Sans?” Jamie pointed. In the middle of the park, on a lawn chair, with sunglasses was the short skeleton himself.

 

“...WHAT IS MY LAZYBONES BROTHER DOING?” Papyrus frowned, puzzled by the shiny screen Sans held.

 

“...Sunbathing…?” Jamie was just as baffled, tugging at his spiky hair. “...Is he putting on suntan lotion?”

 

“...HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE SKIN.”

 

“He doesn’t have skin at all. Why is he tanning?”

 

“SANS!!” Papyrus called. Sans barely even acknowledged them, just giving his head a little nod.

 

“‘sup bro.”

 

“WHAT. IS. THIS.”

 

“just gettin’ some sun, bro.”

 

“I CAN SEE THAT, BUT WHY ARE YOU PUTTING THAT STUFF ON?” Papyrus gestured to the suntan lotion. Jamie sat in the snow. One would think that a child who had frozen to death once would be frightened or nervous around snow, but Jamie was content with rolling it into balls.

 

“trying to get a tan.”

 

“YOU HAVE NO SKIN.”

 

“then i guess i better try really hard.”

 

“...I FEEL LIKE THAT SHOULD BE ADMIRABLE IN A REALLY STRANGE WAY, BUT IT REALLY IS NOT. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? YOU VANISHED ALL DAY YESTERDAY.”

 

“here.”

 

“...SANS.”

 

“yeah?”

 

“HAVE YOU BEEN HERE SINCE YESTERDAY AT NOON?”

 

“nah.”

 

“PHEW…” Papyrus looked relieved.

 

“i had lunch first. i got here closer to one thirty.” Then came the punchline.

 

“AGH.” Papyrus rubbed his brow slowly, eyes closed tightly.

 

Jamie glanced between the two brothers for a moment, before grinning, and snapping his arm forward. Piff! The snowball hit Sans right on the side of his head. The skeleton was mildly surprised, but chuckled as he saw the kid winding up for another pitch. Papyrus turned, only to get a snowball right in the face.

 

Papyrus stared for a moment, before chuckling.

 

“NYEH HEH HEH! IT SEEMS THE YOUNG HUMAN HAS CHALLENGED ME TO A SNOW FIGHT. I MUST WARN YOU I AM MOST CAPABLE-” Piff . Another snowball. Papyrus blinked, laughed, and scooped Jamie up into the air, dumping him in a snowdrift. Muffled giggles could be heard from within.

 

It would be a snowball fight to remember. Sans tried to sip from a soda bottle, but it was frozen. He shrugged, and broke the bottle with a spare bone and extricated his frozen soda from the plastic, crunching on the frozen bits of sugar.

 


 

 

Tara loved to dance. If you hadn’t figured that out by now, you probably weren’t paying attention earlier.

 

She moved slowly, making a nice elegant little bow to her audience of stuffed animals, before executing an elegant little pirouette, the music filling the room as she danced. A slender grin crossed her face as she raised her hands high for a moment, enjoying the feeling of freedom that her movements gave her, letting a pleased sigh escape her lips. This felt right. It was like anything wrong with the world was righted, if only for a moment.

 

Tara spun to a halt, giving another little bow, before yelping as she realized that little Ana was at the door, looking rather impressed. She looked up at Tara, her head tilted. “You dance really well!” She announced with a small smile.

 

“Do you want to learn how?” Tara giggled. “It took a really long time for me to get as good as I am.”

 

Ana entered Tara’s room and sat on her bed, legs kicking a little. “How did you learn?”

 

Tara sat next to Ana, wistfully. “...My auntie taught me. Before I fell.” Ana leaned her head on Tara’s lap. The little girl thrived on contact and Tara slowly stroked her hair. “My mom was very sick so she couldn’t do very much for a long time, so her sister helped take care of me for a while.”

 

“Oh.” Ana thought for a while. “Why did you climb the mountain then?”

 

Tara glanced at Ana. “Why did you? ” She retorted gently.

 

“I wanted to see monsters.” She shrugged. Tara sighed and smiled.

 

“Okay. I’ll tell you. But it isn’t a happy story.”

 

“It’s okay.” Ana nodded. “...A lot of our stories aren’t very happy.”

 

Tara winced. Ana was a lot more perceptive than she let on sometimes. It was a bit unnerving how the wide-eyed girl could pinpoint things like that.

 

“...They died.” Tara said, quietly, drawing Ana into her lap, hugging her softly. “Mom and Auntie both died. And I didn’t want to leave and live with anyone who wasn’t my family, so I… I ran away.”

 

“And you… wanted to disappear?”

 

Tara jolted, startled. That seemed like a rather dark concept for such a young girl to grasp.

 

“What makes you think that?”

 

“...I think Chara and Frisk and Jack and Sam all wanted to disappear.” Ana admitted, voice tiny. Tara sighed and ruffled her hair.

 

“No, I didn’t want to… “disappear.”” She smiled kindly at Ana. “I just got lost and didn’t see the hole. It was harder to see when I fell than it is now.

 

“Oh.” Ana seemed a little comforted. “...Did you like it down there?”

 

Tara nodded. “Yes. It was a little scary, but I… enjoyed my brief stay.”

 

“Me too.” Ana nodded. “But I was sick all the time and I kept… seeing and hearing things that I’unno are real.”

 

“Oh?” Tara humored her. “Like what?”

 

“...Like… Angels.” Ana said, and Tara felt a strange crawly sensation up her back. “A few of them. But there were two really bright ones. Like big shiny white glowy people.” Anastasia lowered her head. “But there were two others. They were… all dark.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“One looked kinda all… wavy? See-through? Kinda like a shadow puppet.” Ana giggled, making a small shadow puppet of a dog on the wall. “See? Like that, but all tall and skinny.” Her smile faded.

 

“But the other one was… dark. Too dark. Like there was just no light where it was.”

 

Tara frowned. What a scary thing to see when you’re so sick you can’t even stand.

 

“...Were you afraid? When you were sick?”

 

“...No.” Ana pouted. Tara had to smile at that. “I’m not scared of nothin!”

 

“I can tell.” Tara took her hand. “...C’mon, let’s go bug mom for some food.” And think about what Ana was just saying….


 

Jack was moody, even for a teenager. The young man would be pleasant one moment and bitter a few hours later, having spun himself up about something or other. Eventually though, he began finding various outlets to vent his emotions and frustrations. One of the best ones was fiddling around with clay. The substance was rather pleasant to his calloused fingertips, and with a few little tools he could make all sorts of sculptures. Toriel even created a sort of makeshift kiln, powered by fire magic to allow Jack to finish his little artworks. Finding that he enjoyed making figurines, he began to craft little clay dolls for each person he knew. Currently he was working on one for Undyne. He had finished one for the skeleton brothers, and one for Toriel, so now he was working on the fish-lady. She was a tricky figure to sculpt even in miniature, mainly due to her fins and gills. Still, as of this moment, Jack was making decent progress, with a startling amount of detail.

 

The boy sat up and cracked his knuckles, smiling softly. He needed a little break, but the figurine was coming along nicely. The others he had made thus far sat on a little shelf in the kitchen. He planned on making one for Alphys next, then Mettaton, then Asgore, and then the other humans that he found himself living with.

 

They weren’t that bad to live with. Sure, they could be a little annoying, and with so many residents in one house there was the occasional violation of personal space, but there was never any malice or misplaced anger to make things worse. It was… nice. Jack leaned back in his chair with a small grin.

 

Yeah. This might not be such a bad life after all.

 


 

Sam quietly entered Toriel’s study. The woman was reading, her glasses on and a small smile playing about her face. The child sat at her feet, leaning back against her legs. For a moment, they sat in silence, before Sam spoke up.

 

“Mom?”

 

Toriel blinked and glanced at her child with a small smile. “Yes, my child?”

 

Sam looked up at her through thick glasses, eyes magnified and full of curiosity. “Why is it so much easier for monsters to accept me than humans?”

 

Toriel thought honestly about the question. Sam seemed to puzzle humans- while nobody seemed to openly dislike them (At least not in front of her at any rate) they had a hard time understanding them.

 

“Do you mean you as yourself or something more specific?”

 

“...I guess my being agender?” Sam said tentatively. “I mean I don’t hold it against anyone for being confused I guess- I don’t get why people are what they are, but uh… Yeah.” They glanced down, fiddling with the sleeve of their jacket. “Monsters just seem to get it more easily.”

 

“...Well,” Toriel rested a hand on Sam’s head. “For Monsters gender is much less important than it is for most human cultures.” She slowly ruffled Sam’s scratchy hair- the child had cut their own hair, cropping it short, but doing so very messily. “I think part of it, as silly as it may seem has to do with reproducing. Humans need one male and one female, and most humans seem to identify with what they are assigned as or born to be, but monsters, gender is just… something more aesthetic. It is more the nature of our soul than it is anything else. Any two monsters can have a baby, if they are bonded closely enough.”

 

That piqued Sam’s interest. “So Alphys and Undyne could have a baby? Hypothetically. I’m not sure how I’d imagine them having children of their own just yet, especially since they’re helping take care of all of us…”

 

“Well, yes.” Toriel chuckled. “It is entirely possible. The Soul of the baby would first have to take on bits of the parent’s souls- tiny tiny amounts, but just enough to begin to form inside of one of their parents as a host. Once it is strong enough, it leaves the parent bodies, and the parents use magic to coax the soul’s body to form around it.”

 

“So the body of monster babies are just… a shell with a mind and soul and magic inside?” Sam pondered this. Monsters didn’t have much physical matter, and as they could imagine, a baby would have even less. But then they had only seen monster children, never babies.

 

“More or less. It is far more complicated than I can explain it.” Toriel said, smiling fondly at Sam. Her face began to fall a bit, sad and a little nostalgic. “Most young monsters, once they form begin to grow naturally into their form, generally relative to their parents. Except for the children of Boss Monsters. Once a Boss Monster has a child, they begin to feed magic into the child over the years as they grow. It is why we do not grow old the way other monsters do, until we have a child. It is also why we have such powerful souls compared to other monsters.”

 

“Oh…” Sam murmured, feeling a little sad too. They hadn’t meant to dredge up any sad memories. But at least they felt satisfied with Toriel’s answer.

 

“Right.” They said, standing with a smile. “All it means is that I just have to explain it more to other humans. I’ll do okay! We all will.”

 

Toriel beamed at Sam’s optimism, feeling a small sense of pride welling inside her.

 


 



Alex cracked his knuckles, standing over the stove. Nothing was on the stove just yet. He was pondering just what to make next. He had his hands on his hips and head kinked to one side, considering what to do.

 

As he was pondering, Papyrus bustled into the house, a soaking wet Jamie in one arm and a snoring Sans in the other. The tall skeleton carefully set the small child down on the tile floor, before unceremoniously dumping his brother next to him. Papyrus slipped his boots off, before heading to grab some towels and a change of warm clothes for Jamie.

 

“Whatcha makin’?” The boy asked Alex, looking up at him. Alex grinned.

 

“No clue! What should I make?”

 

Jamie shuffled on the floor, still dripping from melted snow, leaving a small puddle. Papyrus returned and toweled Jamie off a bit so he didn’t drip all over the floor. Jamie poked his head up.

 

“You should make spaghetti so I can see how other people make it!”

 

Papyrus cackled. “OH, SILLY CHILD, NO ONE CAN COMPARE TO THE SPAGHETTI CRAFTED BY I, MASTER CHEF PAPYRUS!”

 

Alex grinned in a crafty manner. “Oh~?” He asked, voice sweet. “Well, perhaps you are a master chef, Uncle Pap, but I…” Alex flourished, whipping on his stained heart-patterned apron. “I am a gourmet!

 

Papyrus had sparkles in his eyes and he staggered back, awed by Alex’s showmanship. (He had been watching a lot of Mettaton lately. It was rubbing off on the boy.

 

After drying Jamie off a bit more and escorting the boy to his room, Papyrus turned to watch as Alex began to boil some noodles and cutting some tomatoes to make sauce. Toriel and him often cooked together, so he had first-hand knowledge of where everything was.

 

While he wasn’t actually a “gourmet chef” Alex was actually quite good at what he did and with Toriel as a teacher he was learning every day. Papyrus was actually improving rapidly as well, and even Undyne could make simple meals without burning the kitchen down these days. But it was hard to match Alex’s rapid progress. He constantly tried new things and experimented carefully, trying to blend flavors in the best way he could.

 

Alex clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth thoughtfully as he added a little salt, carefully giving the sauce a taste, nodding in approval. “Good, good.” He murmured. This was his element. What was a good meal without someone to share it with, after all?


 

“You… made Souls?” Alphys’s eyes widened, startled.

 

Gaster nodded. “Yes. Perfectly functional monster Souls. They were fragile, but they survived. But something occurred to change the course of my plans for them. They began to make their own forms. The Souls came to life and became full monsters.”

 

“What…?” If Alphys’s jaw could have dropped further it would have hit the floor. “How?”

 

“I am… still uncertain. Perhaps some of my own essence was being seeped into the Souls by my proximity and they behaved as any new infant soul would. The pair grew and I could not bring myself to experiment upon them, so I raised them as my children.”

 

“Your- oh my god, wait, y-you’re talking about-”

 

Are you saying you’re the one who raised Papyrus and Smiley Trashbag?!” Flowey squeaked, shrill and startled.

 

Chapter Text

Gaster smiled in amusement. “Smiley Trashbag? Is that what you call Sans? Ah, well, all nicknames aside, yes. I created Sans and Papyrus. They were my accidental, strange, and delightful creations. I had inadvertently created synthetic souls that wound up creating real, actual monsters. Life, crafted from technology and a small dose of magic. Something no one had done before…”

 

Gaster took a long, deep breath. “I will be frank; I was playing God. Creating a life from nothing. Quite a revolutionary thing, had I more time to refine it. I had too many irons in the fire to deal with; The CORE’s construction, how to route it’s power through the entire underground, learning medical texts to aid the King and Queen care for the Fallen one…”

 

“Wait, I remember!” Flowey bolted. “I remember mom and dad talking about a “Dr. Gaster!” That was you? The one who sent them all that information about human health?”

 

Gaster chuckled. “Correct. This was a while after Sans and Papyrus came to be. They were little still, and I, naively, kept them hidden. I was… afraid for them. I had no idea how stable they were or what kinds of things they could safely be exposed to.”  He tutted. “It was foolish; I think growing up like normal would have been fine for them. But that is not quite relevant, and by the time I made any progress understanding what I had done and how to more effectively craft souls, I had been cast away from reality.”

 

Alphys’s head spun with the implications. It was a bit overwhelming. If Gaster could just conjure up Souls like that, Asgore might not have even needed human Souls to began with. If almost every monster simultaneously attacking the barrier could equate to a single human soul, it would be difficult but totally plausible to shatter the barrier without needing humans at all, and nobody would have needed to die.

 

Sounds exactly like something Asgore would have wanted. She thought. But when Gaster vanished, everyone forgot everything about him- so even if Gaster had told Asgore what he was capable of, Asgore wouldn’t be able to remember it.

 

“Agh!” She sat down. “I’m thinking too fast. G-give me a second, I need to… get my head on straight.”

 

Gaster’s grin became sheepish. “Yes, even I can barely fathom it after all this time. But you must realize, I was not truly dead. I was merely… gone. I could still- do things in the world. I could push and coddle things slightly. Even “editing out” certain parts of reality.”

 

“Editing out? What do you mean?” Flowey blinked. “Is this like what you did when you broke the Reset?”

 

“Somewhat. There were other things I was doing as well. I was attempting to preserve this timeline, so that it would not vanish like so many others. I previously mentioned a certain entity or presence, and merely locked them out.” Gaster ground his teeth in thought. “It was a challenge. All the while, they probed and prodded at ways to work their into the world- little glitches in space and time, but entirely exploited via the reset.”

 

Gaster leaned foreward. “It was what indicated to me the issue- the ability to reset was the only way they could get into our timeline. So I merely removed that function entirely.”

 

Alphys was now totally lost- but Flowey at least seemed to know what was going on, so she focused on not hyperventilating and soothing her hurricane of thoughts. All this explaining was getting her on edge. Luckily(?), it was about then that Undyne burst into the room. It was rare that she entered a room without bursting in.

 

“NGAAAAH! ALPHYS!” She roared, scooping the short lizard woman up in a massive hug. “Did you think that you could go anywhere that I wouldn’t be within a day?!”

 

“I never thought that!” Alphys squirmed. “I didn’t r-realize I’d b-be here so long!” Nonetheless, she beamed, wrapping her arms around Undyne and giving her a nuzzle. “But I-I’m glad you uh, made it? Things are getting weird!”

 

“Things haven’t stopped being weird ever since Frisk showed up!” Undyne cackled. “I think I’m used to it now, and you should be too! We have to train you to be used to weirdness!”

 

“I- well I guess that’s not wrong but how do you get used to things being weird when the k-kind of weird it is keeps changing.”

“What kind of weird is it this time??” Undyne’s huge grin hadn’t faded an inch. Alphys pointed and Gaster offered a little wave.

 

“Me.” He chuckled. “I’m the weird.”

 

“Hi!” Undyne grinned cheerfully, still holding Alphys. “Yeah, you totally are! Cool!”

 

Introductions were made, and Undyne slid into a chair, neatly tucking Alphys into her lap, despite the small lizard woman’s quiet protests. Gaster loudly cracked his knuckles. “Well, I believe I have given enough blatant exposition.” He grinned, his vacant smile so wide it almost looked like his jaw would detach.

 

“Are we ready to science? ” He whispered, flickering his fingers through the air, beginning to form a cloud of a strange, glowing powdery white dust.

 


 

Flowey was very uncomfortable with this position. Still in his pot, again outside the CORE, which had been repaired and was now humming quietly, with its occasional deep heartbeat sending a shudder through him.  That wasn’t the part that made him uncomfortable. It was the power cables that his roots were wrapped around.

 

“To create a new life is difficult enough without anything as a template;” Gaster had explained. “But making one that is the same as one that had already existed, complete with memories? It will require more magical power than I hold alone.”

 

So they jammed some wires into his pot and left him in the middle of the CORE.

 

“I hate this plan.” He uttered dryly to no one. “I hate this plan more than I hate most other things, really.”

 

There was a long pause. “I hate this plan more than I hate.. . ” He paused, trying to think of an example. “...Something.”

 

He was interrupted by the thrum of electricity and magic rushing through the cords, the CORE beginning to rev.

 

It’s not gonna hurt, is it?”  He had asked Gaster.

 

Yes. ” Gaster said, frowning weakly. “It’s probably going to hurt. I’m about to use you as a conductor for about 75% of the CORE’s power. If you can feel physical pain, it’s going to really, really hurt.”

 

“Why would I have expected otherwise.” Flowey grumbled, eyes cast aside.

 

The energy pulsed through the cords.

 

“Oh fu- ” he squeaked, before the energy blasted through him, and he uttered a ghastly, wailing screech.

 

 


 

Due to scenes of horrible agony and body forming that lasts for hours, we now return to adorable shenanigans with Chara and Frisk.

 


 

Chara nuzzled into Frisk’s hair idly. The smaller girl looked up at her.

 

“W-what’s up?” She asked, curiously. Chara shrugged.

 

“Just felt like it.” She giggled, running a hand over Frisk’s hair. “You are just like the softest person I’ve met who doesn’t have fur.”

 

Frisk shrugged, and glanced back at her book, idly leaning into Chara.

 

“You need a break.” Chara snorted. “You’ve been looking over school stuff all day. C’mon, someone has to save your studious gay butt.”

 

A-am I gay?” Frisk asked thoughtfully, leaning on her hands.

 

“Well, you’re not straight, but I guess you might not be gay.” Chara shrugged, resting her chin on Frisk’s head. “You’re something anyway.”

 

“L-like what?” Frisk grinned, and Chara smirked back.

 

“A dork, anyway.” She giggled, nuzzling lightly. Frisk pouted a bit, but couldn’t resist a snicker, putting her book down.

 

“Okay, fine, fine.” Frisk smiled. “What d-do you want?”

 

“Affection.” Chara shrugged. “You’re adorable and I’m needy, now gimme cuddles.”

 

“What b-brought this on?” Frisk let Chara lift her to her feet, and embraced her.

 

“I’m not sure.” She admitted. “Is it weird that I felt lonely in such a busy house? I guess I just… dunno. All these people, this whole family who really seems to care it’s- it’s the best life I could have wanted in all my dreams, but sometimes I just want to have a favorite.” She grinned toothily. “Guess that’s you. You’re my Big Favorite.”

 

Frisk suppressed a laugh. “Aw, well, I guess you’re my f-favorite too. We make a good team. Two dorks, both occasionally m-moody and a-always kinda s-silly…”

 

“Silly is fun.” Chara grinned. “I like you, and I like being around you and being silly around you.”

 

Frisk flushed as she leaned into Chara a bit more. “Yeah~?”

 

“Mhm.” She sat on the edge of Frisk’s bed, still holding her hand softly. “I think I just got used to being close to you and such when I wasn’t totally physical. I was always sorta hanging off of you, after all.”

 

“You were pretty cuddly back then. Maybe only a little less so now.”

 

“Physicality is a bit limiting.” Chara snorted,shifting and laying her head in Frisk’s lap. “But I don’t think I’d trade it for the world.”


 

 

We now return to your regularly scheduled “hurting people is funny” session.

 


 

“Prince Asriel, are you dead?” Gaster asked, cheerfully as he entered the epicenter of the CORE. The place was humming pleasantly, still beating occasionally, although Flowey’s pot had been shattered by the shocks. Gaster’s dust flowed around the flower now, seemingly bound to him.

 

“I’m not Asriel yet.” he hissed, eyes gleaming with rage. “I hurt in places I didn’t know I had. Hurry up and do whatever comes next.”

 

“Very well.” He slowly flickered his boney hands, dust settling and binding itself to Flowey more and more. “...This will require more shocks.”

 

Haaaaate.” Flowey hissed, as Gaster shifted his hands, as if folding a paper crane.

 

“Doctor Alphys, administer half the charge I set for the initial binding. This time, the other half will be provided by my magic...”

 

“So it’ll hurt less, right?”

 

“...Yes.” Gaster lied without missing a beat, placing a pair of dark smoked goggles over his eyes, slender hands raised as magic pulsed around him. “Not nearly as painful.”

 

It was much more painful.

 


 

More gratuitous violence and language so vile even I shan’t repeat it is occurring here. Please excuse the interruption.

 

For now, picture a happy, smiling white dog, laying on his back. He wants a belly rub. Rub the dog’s belly. Good. Now pet his head. Excellent. The dog is licking your hand affectionately.

 

We now return to our regularly scheduled story .

 


 

Light. Alphys could only see light from the CORE’s central chamber. It was incredibly bright- she didn’t dare look at it directly, and jerked her eyes down.

 

“I can see everything!” Undyne whooped. Alphys groaned, hoping to god her girlfriend’s retinas weren’t being destroyed as she tried to force Undyne to look away. The light began to dim, before blasting out again, this time, not the brilliant white, but color. Bright rainbow shades flashed through the room, flooding the CORE with color. Then, everything went quiet. The window that Alphys had been watching from was fogged up, impossible to see through.

 

Hesitantly, Alphys made her way down the stairs, holding onto catwalks as she carefully trotted into the central chamber.

 

“Hello?” She called.

 

Gaster was upside-down, draped over a catwalk with a ludicrous grin, having been blown a solid ten feet into the air and landing over the metal bars. “It worked!” He beamed.

 

Curled in the center of the chamber, unconscious, but breathing, was the slumbering form of Asriel, Prince of Monsterkind.


 

Chapter Text

Asriel seemed to be in perfect physical condition, but there was no way of knowing if his mind was still intact. For now, the three bundled him up in some blankets and laid him on Alphy's old easy-to-draw cube bed. He needed the rest. Soon, they would bring him topside, and then…

 

"Toriel's going to freak." Undyne giggled. "You barely told anyone anything." The fish woman was pacing, trying to determine just what the best (and most dramatic) way to announce Asriel's rebirth would be.

 

Alphys rubbed her brow. This was surely too good to be true. Part of her that she really wished would go away kept insisting that Asriel would soon melt or turn to dust when they weren't looking.

 

Still he seemed to be fine. Gaster insisted it, and Alphys was inclined to quietly agree. He was stable, and his magic seemed to be more properly interspersed through his body. Back in his flower form, his magic seemed to be much more unstable. Now, however, it wasn't fluctuating with energy and power like his flower form had.

 

Alphys sat at her desk, making some ramen. Real ramen, not the instant noodles kind. Toriel had scolded her for her dependence on instant foods, and taught her how to make healthier versions of her favorites. She had learned quite a bit, but was nowhere near the skill that Toriel held. Even Undyne was better than she used to be at cooking (She hadn't set anything on fire in ages) but she wasn't necessarily allowed to help just yet. But in spite of that, she was content with sitting near Alphys, arms around her shoulders, watching her cook the noodles.

 

Things were pleasantly quiet and peaceful. Gaster was still a bit bent out of shape- quite literally- his body had been flung into the railing so hard that he had to spend some time straightening himself out (Again literally). He was impressively resilient for a monster- especially one who had been shot at a right angle to reality, and then slammed into a metal catwalk from a magical explosion.

 

"On the plus side," He commented idly, "In my time between existence and the void, I have learned that spacetime is not merely curved, but is in fact completely bent." Neither Alphys or Undyne knew exactly what to make of that statement, and wisely chose to move past it.

 

"Will bringing you back have any side effects we should be uh… worried about?" Alphys frowned, nudging up her glasses a bit.

 

Gaster shoved his hands into his… Coat? It was either a coat or part of him. "Hm, nothing serious. Small eddies in spacetime I suppose. Ripples here and there. People will be a bit confused and then everything should go back to normal. If I had not destroyed the Reset it is likely one would have triggered- not a true, full reset however. We'd have echoes of memories- ones that would probably be drawn fully out in time, as we experienced things again, but I'm getting ahead of myself. This is all theory of course, one I am not too keen on testing."

 

"H-huh… Guess some science is best l-left alone after all." Alphys smiled nervously. "I'd… I don't know if I want to examine t-this line of thought too far. All that "Reset" stuff feels scary."

 

"Oh it's terrifying!" Gaster giggled nervously. "I'd rather not pursue this line of thinking any further, in fact! Let's just not think too hard about it and focus on the good. We have defied nature so hard I don't think we could ever pull it off again. This was a very unique situation. The fact that we could pull it off at all... Well, I didn't want to say it, but there was perhaps a seventy-five percent chance nothing would have happened. And perhaps a point-oh-one percent chance of obliterating this timeline, but not one that was high enough to consider."

 

Undyne, bored of all the science and theory talk (she preferred listening to Alphys's adorable rambling to Gaster's long-winded explanations anyway) took a moment to check on Asriel, who was stirring, slightly. She gave him a gentle little poke in the snout, and he jolted awake, his large, gentle eyes fluttering open. Delighted, Undyne offered the small child a huge grin.

 

"Hey!" She glanced at the two scientists. "Kid's up! How you feeling kiddo?"

 

Asriel slowly, awkwardly forced himself upright, grunting and rubbing his brow a bit. He took a few shaky breaths, before looking right at Undyne with a weak, clumsy half-grin, giving his arm an experimental pinch to make sure he was real, before his smile broadened to nearly match the fish-woman standing over him.

 

"Alive!"


 

Chara had been nervous for some reason and had no idea why. She was jumpier, more nervous, and if she had been clingy and needy for attention before, she was practically glued to Frisk's side now. Frisk was just mildly amused by Chara's shifty demeanor, and reacted to her oddly attached behavior with a patient smile. She did know Chara to be anxious- although they both suffered different forms of anxiety, strange moods and bouts of slightly eccentric behaviour were commonplace for the both of them.

 

But Chara was being particularly neurotic today. Since Toriel woke her up (at about 11 in the morning), she'd stuck close to Frisk, either sitting nearby her or clinging to her, quite literally. Frisk was a little annoyed when Chara nuzzled into her hair while she was studying, but she put up with it, smiling and continuing to jot down notes while Chara snuggled against her and held her close.

 

"Mmm… Am I uh… being too… what's the word…? Needy?" She asked sheepishly, voice muffled a bit. Frisk had been growing her hair out.

 

"Nah…" Frisk decided, after pretending to consider it, just to get Chara a bit huffy. It worked, and Chara sat up a bit, puffing her cheeks at Frisk. "You're just being more l-like me for s-some reason."

 

"Nervous." Chara mumbled. "Not sure why. Maybe s'too quiet. Even Papyrus is being a little more quiet lately. Maybe he's up to some grand plan." She giggled. "Or he just is a bit sad that he doesn't get to argue with Sans- he disappeared again just this morning. I think he actually enjoys it."

 

"'Cept the puns." Frisk shrugged.

 

"He doesn't mind puns. Just "Sans Puns"." Chara shrugged. "As long as Sans isn't involved he actually likes puns."

 

"It's the purest f-form of w-wordplay." Frisk grinned. "How good a p-pun is, is directly proportional to how many people groan and roll their eyes a-at you."

 

Chara huffed. "So a "good pun" is actually a "terrible one"?"

 

"Awful puns are the b-best." Frisk beamed. "They're so punny. "

 

"You've used that one before."

 

"I-I guess I'm just a b-bit of a broken record, record, record…"

 

Chara giggled at that one, and Frisk grinned, turning around in her chair to face her.

 

"I gotcha with that one, di-didn't I?"

 

"Okay fine." Chara sat up, huffing playfully, arms crossed. "Fine, fine. You get the "not terrible

according to Chara" award."

 

"S-sounds very prestigious." Frisk raised a brow. "But it still f-feels kinda like a bronze medal.."

 

"Sure. You have to do really well to get the "Pretty okay according to Chara" and the "Awesome

according to Chara" awards."

 

"Mmhm?" Frisk raised a brow, tilting her head.

 

"But that's okay." Chara grinned, winking. "You won the "Best, according to Chara" award.

 

Frisk flushed softly. "T-that line was too cheesy to work…"

 

"On anyone but you~?"

 

"...Okay m-maybe a lil."

 

Chara smirked idly, tutting and shaking her head. "Frisk, you're too easy. All I have to do is be cute or corny and you just melt."

 

Frisk shrugged, standing from her chair to get a drink, smiling. "Oh? I think you're just as easy, frankly."

 

Chara blinked, trailing behind her. "Oh yeah?"

 

"Mhm." Frisk poured herself a glass of water, and slowly drank, allowing for a brief pause. She turned on her heel, smirking at Chara as she set the glass aside. "...Love you."

 

Chara froze, flushed crimson and rooted to the spot and unable to speak, mouth half-open in awe.

 

Frisk giggled, gently taking Chara's hands and kissing the backside of her hand idly. "See?" She smirked, as Chara blushed even brighter. They hesitated awkwardly, hands tentatively interlaced together, faces close, lips only inches apart… And that was when the door was suddenly kicked off its hinges by Undyne, who thoroughly ruined the moment.

 

"HEY NERDS!" She beamed, Frisk and Chara hopping back from each other, cheeks crimson, grateful that she seemed oblivious to them. However, it was the very puzzled figures under her arms that caught their attention. The first was Alphys, obviously, neatly tucked under her arm, looking slightly motion sick and dizzy.

 

The second, was a strange monster that they had never seen before with a weird lopsided grin.

The third elicited a shrill scream for Chara, as she leapt and tackled him out of Undyne's arms in a massive hug, squeezing Asriel tight.

 

"Goodness, what is all the ruckus-" Toriel entered the room, took one look, and her jaw dropped.

 

Asriel squeaked as Frisk joined the hug pile, flustered. "Uh. Hi mom." He mumbled, offering a sheepish grin.

 

Toriel fainted on the spot.

Chapter Text

Asriel was tightly wrapped in his mother’s arms, held so close he couldn’t pull away even if he wanted to. She was cradling him much the same way she had held Chara when she first saw her alive and well, crying and laughing as she wrapped her arms around him, petting his hair slowly. Chara and Frisk exchanged a shaky smile, still a bit dazed from the recent happenings, and Undyne was still carrying Gaster and Alphys over her shoulders. They looked resigned to their fate of being hauled around for a bit longer until Undyne realized she didn’t need to carry them anymore.

 

From his position draped over Undyne’s back, Gaster extended a long, pale hand to shake Frisk’s. “Doctor Wing-Ding Gaster. A pleasure to meet you. Well, that is…  a pleasure to meet you again, though it would seem you do not recall our first encounter.”

 

Frisk blinked, thinking. A spike of pain suddenly laced through her mind. “Ow! Ow! I- Ow!” She clutched her head for a moment, before her eyes widened and she snapped her gaze up to meet Gaster’s. “In Waterfall! That… d-door-thing! That was you!”

 

“Yes. I was quite surprised when you wandered into the void.” Gaster’s smile tightened subtly. “Still, it gave me a way to nudge your young friend towards life.” He turned his gaze to Chara, thoughtfully. “Amazing… Humans are truly strange- ah, I mean no offense of course…”

 

“Wait…” Chara stared at Gaster, who finally managed to wriggle his way out of Undyne’s grip, slithering in a serpent-like fashion. “You’re the reason I started to become “real” again?”

 

“Correct.” Gaster stood tall and proud. “You were already well on your way, of course, but I decided a little nudge to speed you along could not hurt. Especially with an impatient and surprisingly clever flower lurking about.”

 

Chara reeled softly, before smiling up at him. “Then I guess I have you to thank for a lot of good stuff.”

 

“Nonsense.” Gaster laughed softly. “I just was attempting to speed my return. If I could do some good in the process, even better.”

 

Toriel was still clinging tightly to Asriel. Chara glanced at them, smiling, before dashing up and leaping up, hugging them both and beaming.

 

“C’mere Azzy! I need to hug you silly and play with your ears again!” She laughed, as she squirmed over to her brother, squeezing him tightly.

 

“Chara…!” He squeaked. “Can’t… breathe.”

 

Reluctantly, Chara released him, but made good on her other statement, taking a moment to toy with his fluffy ears and smiling. “Missed you.” She hummed. “Even if you were there the whole time, but that wasn’t really you so…”

 

Asriel laughed breathlessly and hugged her back. Frisk giggled at the sight, beaming. After so much effort and time and work and misery, it seemed like her “Happy Ending” was right there.

 

Except, it wasn’t an ending, because things weren’t stopping here. Which of course meant Frisk should pounce in and join the hug pile. Toriel huffed and laughed, having three children in her arms, all happy and clinging to one another, before she took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

 

“I think it’s time,” She said slowly, carefully, “That you tell me everything , my children.”

 

Chara sighed, and exchanged a look with Asriel and Frisk, before taking a deep breath…

 


 

By the time they had finished filling in all the things that they had deliberately left out from the sorry tale, it was dark out and everyone in the house had quietly gathered to listen. There was a quiet silence, as Toriel closed her eyes, marvelling at all her children had been through.

 

Chara’s eyes were locked on her hands. “...So… I ruined everything, and I made a lot of bad things happen, but… But that’s why I had to help Frisk when she came. Because I had to do everything I could to help and fix it…”

 

Frisk gently scooched closer to Chara, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.  She smiled, without looking up. “...And she really did it, huh? Undid so much bad stuff… just by being so… so unbelievably kind.”

 

Toriel leaned forward and placed a hand on Chara’s head gently, her other hand resting on Asriel’s. “My dear, dear children… I would not wish the things that you have been through on anyone.” She ruffled their hair, before releasing them, giving Frisk a quick ruffle as well. “But you have been very brave, and… for now…? For now, you do not need to be brave for a little while.”

 

The three exchanged a glance, confused. Toriel smiled and drew them in closer. “For now, you can just be children.”

 

“YES,” Papyrus announced. His voice was rather jarring, as he had been silent the entire time. The only sound he had made was a loud clattering when Gaster was introduced to him- mainly because his lower jaw had fallen off and he had been spending the time that Chara, Asriel and Frisk had been telling their story re-attaching it. “YOU CAN LEAVE BEING BRAVE TO THE GREAT PAPYRUS NOW! NYEH HEH HEH!”

 

Gaster chuckled softly from where he loomed- he never really seemed to “Stand”. He was always just sort of quietly looming over everyone. “Ah, how long has it been since I have heard that laugh…?”

 

“for us i guess like six years ish.” Sans shrugged. “but uh, probably a lot longer for you. kinda hard to a- void thinking about it.”

 

Papyrus groaned. Gaster beamed.

 

“Yes,” Gaster agreed good-naturedly. “I am sorry for leaving you both in the dark so long…”

 

More groans. Toriel was biting back a giggling fit.

 

“Things are gonna be better now, right?” Asriel grinned. “I won’t want everyone to leaf me alone anymo-”

 

Chara tackled Asriel, who was squirming and laughing. Toriel and Frisk were struggling not to collapse from laughter.

 

“SANS, YOU HAVE INFECTED US ALL WITH PUNS.”

 

“you’re smiling.”

 

“IT’S A SMILE OF PITY. WE HAVE BEEN OVER THIS”

 

“we may have gone over it but have we gone through it?”

 

Chara was still play-wrestling Asriel on the floor, mercilessly tickling him. Toriel and Frisk were gasping for breath from howling with laughter, while Undyne and Alphys looked nonplussed. The other six children milled about, reactions ranging from laughter to head scratching.

 

Eventually, things began to calm down. Chara and Asriel flopped on the floor, Asriel still clutching his sore sides from the ferocious attack, Frisk flopped next to them, grinning.

 

“W-wear yourselves out y-yet?” She asked dryly, sitting cross-legged on the floor.

 

“Everything aches.” Asriel wheezed. “But it’s a good ache.”

 

“That’s kinda how I felt when I came back.” Chara grinned, staring at the ceiling. “Feeling things after… not feeling things is weird, huh? Just breathing felt really weird.”

 

“WHAT DOES BREATHING FEEL LIKE NORMALLY?” Papyrus asked, standing above the children, tilting his head questioningly as he asked.

 

“That- That is a really weird thing to think about.” Chara paused, frowning thoughtfully. “It’s like… being all filled up and then pushing it all out, but really slow and gentle?”

 

“No way!!” Undyne grinned. “You have to FORCE the air out! Fight it in and then fight it right back out!! BREATHE WITH SPIRIT!!”

 

“If I did that, I’d pop a lung.” Chara uttered, deadpan.

 

“THEN YOU JUST AREN'T TRAINING YOUR LUNGS ENOUGH!!”

 

Frisk flinched as Undyne happened to be standing fairly close to her, and rubbed her ear as the fish woman bellowed.

 

“...Ow.” She muttered.

 

Undyne had the grace to at least look a little bit sheepish. Frisk just gave her a pained smile, sitting up. “P-please don’t yell right next to my head anymore.”

 

“Sorry!” Undyne huffed, giving Frisk’s head a slightly aggressive ruffle. The fish-woman had immense difficulty controlling herself sometimes. One of the things she had to admire about Papyrus was the incredible amounts of control the skeleton could have. He could not only control his physical strength almost perfectly, but also use magic far more intricately and with more complexity than she could ever hope to (although perhaps that was just the kind of magic he used. More finesse, and less of Undyne’s brute force.

 

Speaking of Papyrus, he seemed to be utterly lost at who he was supposed to be more impressed by- Asriel, who had been his flower friend all the time, or Dr. Gaster, his creator and father. He kept looking back and forth between them, uncertain of what to do exactly. Sans grinned, amused at the way his brother’s head kept swiveling back and forth.

 

“careful bro. don’t lose your head.” He chuckled.

 

“WAS THAT A PUN?”

 

“...maybe? oh wow, i just made a pun on accident. i am the punlord.”

 

“SANS. PLEASE.”

 


 

Asriel was exhausted. Everyone had bombarded him and Chara and Frisk with even more questions, until Toriel managed to calm everyone down for dinner. The dining room was one of the biggest in the house- which made since considering how many mouths their were to feed. Luckily, monster food was easy to make and monster currency went a lot further than human currency did. Monsters could even fabricate gold with enough time and magic. (Although they limited the production so as not to depreciate its value).

 

So it was fairly easy to get a big huge dining table and chairs. Dinner was a lighthearted and noisy affair, with the delightful smell of good food. Asriel sat close to his mother, tucking in hungrily, devouring every bite with a hunger he had forgotten he was capable of having. Asriel devoured his meal, wolfing down the pasta with a will. Since Papyrus was so fascinated with the process of cooking spaghetti (for some reason he just “liked” eating it- he loved cooking it however), Toriel had been introducing him to a wader variety of pastas. Tonight, it was linguini.

 

Papyrus particularly enjoyed the names of pasta, almost more than the flavor sometimes. But to be fair, they were really fun to say. Ravioli, Linguini, Lasagna…

 

Asriel didn’t care what it was called, it was good and he was very hungry. He was so invested in his meal he didn’t even notice Sans across the table putting liberal amounts of ketchup, mustard and relish on everything.

 

“SANS, WHY DO YOU DO THIS.”

 

“cause i like it.”

 

“YOU NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE AND DISTURB ME.”

 

“love you too, bro.”

 


 

Frisk sighed softly, leaning her head on Chara, eyes half-closed. She was full, sleepy, and content. She could feel Chara’s breathing, a slow, comfortable rhythm.

 

“...C-can we finally rest easy?” Frisk joked sleepily. “Since Asriel’s back n’ all.”

 

“Mhm.” Chara nodded, glancing down at Frisk with a grin. “Asriel’s certainly resting easy. He fell asleep in mom’s lap…” She tipped her head upwards, nostalgically. “He used to do that all the time. Just crawl into mom or dad’s lap when he was tired and fall asleep.” Chara idly rested her hand around Frisk’s shoulder.

 

The pair were quietly seated Chara’s bed in their shared room. Frisk often needed to retreat to her room after dinner. They might have been her family, but they had a habit of tiring her out a bit.

 

Chara leaned against some pillows, smiling. “...Hey Frisk…”

 

“Mm…?” Frisk stirred, opening her eyes, still nuzzled against Chara. “W-what is it?”

 

“...This is kind of a weird question, but…. What do you think of me as? I mean, what am I to you? I was thinking about it because I was thinking about Asriel and how he’s my brother even though he’s not by blood and it just was kind of strange.”

 

“Well…” Frisk sat up, giggling. “D-definitely not a sister, because that would make me a weirdo who goes on dates with her sister.” She punctuated the remark by giving Chara’s nose a little poke. “But y-you know, we’re definitely cl-closer than friends…” She scooted a bit closer, causing Chara to squeak and blush as Frisk’s face was inches from her own.

 

“S-so?” Chara sputtered meekly.

 

“What do you w-want it to be?” Frisk giggled, staring her right in the eyes.

 

“...I w-want… I want to be…” Chara took a deep breath. “Your… girlfriend?”

 

Frisk leaned forward another inch. “I w-will.” Frisk replied softly, before finally their lips touched together.

 

They were rudely interrupted by a flash.

 

“Oops.”

 

Tara… ” Chara growled, staring the dancer down.

 

“I had to record this for posterity~!” She grinned, taking a half-step back. “Welp, gotta run!”

 

Chara rushed after her, and Frisk laughed as she chased after Chara.

 

“Give me the film!”

 

“It’s digital, Chara, there is no film!”

 

Frisk rolled her eyes, as her friend- her girlfriend- she felt butterflies in her tummy just thinking the word- tore after Tara, still shouting.

Chapter Text

Found you…

 

It's almost time.

 

And there's nothing They can do about it

I'm in control now

 

I'm going to have so

much

fun

 

Ready?

 

Just a little longer.

 

We're going to play such a fun game :)

Chapter Text

Asriel’s lips pursed a bit as he looked at himself in the mirror. It wasn’t that he looked bad by any means, but since Chara had been alive for a few months longer than him, she had gained a few inches on him. She’d already been a little taller than him, and she was hitting a growth spurt. Frisk was still absolutely tiny, and often got flustered and annoyed whenever someone pointed it out to her.

 

The small goat monster blinked in realization. He had no idea what time of year it was other than “mid winter when it was way too cold” as Chara put it dryly. Asriel didn’t see the fuss. He had a nice warm fur coat everywhere he went.

 

Things were strange, he quietly mused, looking at his face in the mirror. Chara and the Six had certainly sent ripples through monster communities, and quieter ones through the humans- the idea of Souls coming to life might have seemed appealing, but many monsters, and even some humans who had begun studying the nature of Souls made it clear that repeating it would be risky and unpredictable. But now Asriel was alive. The prince of Monsterkind. Well, he supposed that wasn’t really how it worked anymore. Now that they were on the surface, it wasn’t clear what position Toriel and Asgore held.

 

Asriel rubbed some water from the sink on his face, cleaning his fur. Luckily, he hadn’t been too bothered. The story wasn’t important- how he was back was intriguing, but it was his mere presence that seemed to make other monsters happy. Mettaton had even interviewed his family- Frisk included.

 

It was weird, but enjoyable to talk to the robot. Despite his massive ego and habit of occasional overly-dramatic speech and presentation, it was difficult to not like him somehow. He had that sort of presence where despite all his flaws, you could sense a great deal of good nature inside there. He was certainly beloved by humans and monsters alike. Frisk even had a t-shirt that she couldn’t remember if she’d bought or if Mettaton had snuck into the laundry one day during a routine visit. She wouldn’t put it past him, but she wore it anyway.

 

Asriel finished washing his face and scrubbed dry with a towel. It wasn’t good to spend too long in a bathroom when you shared the house with eight siblings. Asriel stepped out and blinked. There was already a line forming. He quickly dodged to the side as Jamie rushed past into the bathroom, closing the door.

 

“Huh.” Asriel blinked, baffled. “There was nobody out here when I went in.”

 

“This just kinda happens.” Alex shrugged, leaning on the wall. “It’s usually best to just kinda get ready for your day early. It’s easier at night because we all have different bedtimes.”

 

Jack huffed. “I don’t see the point of assigned bedtimes, anyway. I go to sleep early anyway.”

 

“You also get up earlier than us…” Alex rolled his eyes. “And on weekends you fall asleep doing art stuff.”

 

Jack blushed- it was a strange look for him. “I- I just get really absorbed and lose track of time!”

 

“I didn’t say it was a bad thing.” Alex grinned. “I get that way when I’m cooking. I’m so focused on the pan, nothing else matters.”

 

“Mm, yeah, that’s actually… exactly what it’s like.” Jack blinked. “‘Cept you know, with paper or wood or clay or whatever.”

 

“You’re good at it.” Asriel noted softly. “I saw all the little uh, clay thingies on the counter. Mom put them all there.”

 

“Heh.” Jack rubbed the back of his head. “I uh. I’ve always liked art stuff. It… It helps, you know? Whenever I don’t feel good or frustrated, or like I just had a bad day, I do art stuff and that all goes somewhere else for a while, and I can do somethin’ that makes me and everyone happy.”

 

Alex did a fancy little twirl. “Hooray for the artistic types~!” He giggled, doing light jazz hands. “Tara does dance, I cook, Jack does… loads of stuff…” Alex waggled his brow. “Now all we need is a singer and we’ll be able to compete with Mettaton.”

 

Jack cackled softly. It was a strange sound coming from him- typically all you got was a “heh”. But when he did laugh, it was soft and breathless and raspy.  “I don’t think anyone could compete with Mettaton.”

 

“Sure we could~!” Alex grinned, winking excitedly. “You just need the right spirit! I’d team up with Undyne and Papyrus.

 

“They can’t really cook though.” Asriel mumbled.

 

“No, but Undyne would provide soooo much energy just being nearby- she’s like living pizzaz, you know?” Alex bounced a little. “And Papyrus could stand there and be adorable. It would be like, the greatest cooking show ever~!”

 

“Still probably couldn’t compete with MTT TV.” Jack pointed out. “A cooking show might be fun for ya, but you realize that MTT has everything? Hell, even does theater.”

 

“Chara’s a pretty good actor…” Asriel reminisced, thinking back to a time before fallen children and robot TV stars.

 

The Ballad of Chara and Frisk. ” Alex giggled. “Come on, don’t tell me you don’t see them in a play being the star-crossed lovers.”

 

Jack rolled his eyes, straightening as Jamie came out of the bathroom, smelling of soap.

 

“My turn.” He grunted, walking in and shutting the door.

 

Jamie looked at Alex.

 

“What does star-crossed mean?”

 

“...I’m actually not sure.” Alex admitted. “But I think it’s a tragedy thing, so it means something sad? So maybe that doesn’t fit as well as I thought.”

 

Jamie grinned. “Oh! Oh! Did Tara tell you?”

 

“Tell us what?” Asriel blinked, confused.

 

“She took a picture of Frisk and Chara smooching a couple days ago, and now Chara is trying to find Tara to get the picture back.” Jamie grinned wider.

 

“...Oh my.” Alex smiled.

 

“Wait, what? I mean I guess we all knew it was coming, but why’d Tara take a picture?” Asriel tugged one of his ears, puzzled.

 

“Blackmail, probably.” Alex chuckled, shaking his head. “Frisk probably doesn’t care, but it explains why Chara’s been a little huffy lately. And why Tara’s being avoiding her.”

 

“I don’t think-



I’m sorry to interrupt

 

But I’m getting bored of this. This plotless nonsense.

 

I think it’s time we play a new game, don’t you?

 

After all, the good doctor didn’t do as good a job as he thought he did.

 

Save File

 

Chara

LV1

 

Continue

> R E S E T

 

Let’s begin again :)



Frisk awoke on a bed of flowers.

 

And she was all alone.

 

And everything was wrong.

 

And nothing was right.

 

There.

 

Isn’t that much

more

Interesting~?

 

Chapter Text

 

Frisk shot bolt upright, sitting on a bed of golden flowers. She was scared and confused. Just moments ago, she had been sitting on her bed, reading, right? And Chara was running outside and- and-

 

She took a deep breath. And then another. No, no, this was just a dream and she would only have to live it until she woke up, safe and sound.

 

Everything hurt. She couldn’t think properly. Even breathing was hard.

 

Her breath caught in her throat.

 

The air was choked with thick clouds of dust.

 

The dense, white, dusty powder covered her, and Frisk sobbed in horror, gagging and coughing, spitting up a cloud of the stuff, shuddering in revulsion, choking and struggling to suck in breathes, desperately trying to escape the dust around her, staggering into the next room, dragging her shirt over her mouth to filter the air somewhat.

 

The next room was clear of dust, at least, and Frisk shuddered. But there was no one there. No Asriel or Flowey, and Chara wasn’t in her head. Frisk, driven by quiet fear, slowly made her way ahead. It was the ruins alright, but oppressively quiet.

 

“H-hello? Hello??” Frisk called, fearfully.

 

But nobody came.

 


 

 

Chara couldn’t breathe. Everything hurt. Her stomach ached and she could taste blood on her lips. Blisters, both on her slender lips and on her tongue, down her throat, all the way into her insides. Her body felt like it was burning from the inside out.

 

All Ranunculus species are poisonous when eaten fresh... but their acrid taste and the blistering of the mouth caused by their poison means they are usually left uneaten... Poisoning can occur where buttercups are abundant... Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering of the mouth, mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. When Ranunculus plants are handled, naturally occurring ranunculin is broken down to form protoanemonin, which is known to cause contact dermatitis in humans and care should therefore be exercised in extensive handling of the plants….

 

Chara retched violently. She lay on the ground, struggling to hands and knees, heaving violently.

 

“M-mommy… D-daddy...” She whimpered, pleading for Toriel and Asgore. “A-a… Asriel… W-where… Where’s Frisk… Where…”

 

Chara couldn’t even call for help.

 

And Nobody Came.

 


 

 

Toriel had no children to care for, and nowhere to go to find them.

 

Asgore had blood on his furry paws, soaked deep, stained so they would never leave his sight.

 

Both called for the children, far apart from one another, yet far closer than they ever could know, begging for someone to come, anyone.

 

But nobody came.

 


 

 

Asriel was turning to dust. Laid low, body in a grassy garden, golden flowers sprouting from his remains. He wept and called for Chara, for his parents, for anyone who could save him before he died forever…

 

But nobody came.

 

 


 

Papyrus was surrounded by people, but no matter how jovial he was, no matter how friendly, no matter how kind, they didn’t even notice him. He shook and gently prodded to try and find a reaction, anything, but somewhere deep down he knew that no one would even look at him.

 

And somehow he knew that nobody would come.


 

 

Undyne shuddered, tears streaming from her one remaining eye as the human looked up at them. It wore Frisk’s face, like some mocking mask, but that smile was more Chara’s, and the look on the strange creature’s face was neither of theirs. It was a twisted, empty mockery of the two, melded into a shambling, dust-coated juggernaut, staggering and stumbling at each blow that Undyne landed, but continuing to advance, the razor-sharp knife held upright, ready to lunge.

 

“Get out of my friend!!” Undyne roared, hurling a spear through the creature’s neck. It staggered, before looking up, eyes suddenly hurt and afraid.

 

“U-undyne…? W-why…?” Frisk’s voice whimpered, strangled, before the body went limp.

 

Undyne staggered back in shock, but steeled herself. “You’re!” She gripped another spear tight, shaking with rage. “Not! FRISK!”

 

The face twisted into an annoyed smile. “...Of course I am.” Before lunging with the knife.

 

Undyne desperately needed help to fight off this abomination…

 

But nobody came.


 

 

Alphys stared as the shambling amalgamate loomed above her, whispering nonsense. She covered her eyes, but the image was burned into her mind, the horrific melted visage… She could see Undyne’s face, long, melting bony fingers, huge imposing goatlike horns, and she could still scent out the smell of burned machinery.

 

The amalgamation dripped onto her, and she sobbed, feeling something strange- painless, but horrific- her hands melting slowly as well. She was becoming a part of it. Pain began to flood her senses- like a virus, spreading across her system.

 

“N-no… No…” she whimpered. “S-so this is what they f-felt…”

 

And nobody came.


 

 

Mettaton lay in a heap, nothing but sparking electronics, staring at nothing.

There was no one to watch him.

There was nobody to perform for.

There were no smiles to gain.

No cheers, no laughter, no joy to share.

He wanted to have the greatest show in the world, hold a brilliant performance.

But nobody came.

 


 

 

Ana trembled and coughed hard, the strange illness having returned to her body. It had never truly left her, even when her life was brought back. She was trapped somewhere small and dark and it was too hot and she couldn’t breathe very well. She tried to see the Angels again but only the Dark one was there.

 

Dark. So Dark that it wasn’t just the absence of light- it was like light simply didn’t exist where it was present. Looming and staring and smiling gently down upon her as it slowly, gently choked the life out of her, forcing her to watch as it did the same to everyone she had ever loved.

 

No matter who she called for, nobody came.

 


 

 

Jamie was cold. He was frozen. His fingers were entirely encased in ice, and it was agony, as the cold, freezing water wrapped itself tightly and painfully around him. He snarled and yelled and fought and struggled, but no matter how hard he thrashed and fought, the ice just chillingly coiled him in its grip, slowly exhaling frost onto his skin.

 

His breath froze in his throat, as the ice slowly reclaimed him

 

Lost, and nobody came to save him.


 

 

Tara could swim now- she had insisted upon learning. But the vicious current meant she couldn’t keep up for long. She could see a ledge, just out of reach and furiously paddled. Just a few more inches, and she would be safe, she could escape the violent rapids.

 

But then, something gripped her ankles and yanked her down, deep underwater. She thrashed and struggled, but only lost more air, as the light disappeared above. Down, down she sank, deep into the abyss, drawn far below the surface, water filling her lungs.

 

Down so deep that nobody would come.


 

 

Sam was in pitch darkness. They screamed and begged for someone to find them, give them a light, give them glasses, anything. They sobbed softly, after screaming for how long, as something scuttled nearby.

 

“You always were a worthless little child.” Sneered the contemptuous voice. “All you had to be was my little girl, and you couldn’t even do that right…” It cackled.

 

Sam punched at the sound, still sobbing shouting and screaming.

 

“GO AWAY! WHERE’S MY REAL FAMILY?!”

 

“Shhh. We’re right here.” The voice whispered, right in their ear, grabbing their shoulder painfully tight. “...And this time, we’ll make sure you never leave.”

 

Sam screamed in rage and fear

 

But nobody came.

 


 

Alex sat, legs idly crossed.

 

“I am alive.” He uttered, bluntly to the abyss around him.

 

“I am alive and breathing.” He whispered, trying to ignore the sense of doom around him, heart pounding fast, trying to soothe it.

 

“I’m never alone, and nobody’s going to leave me behind again.”

 

“I’m… never…”

 

Alex quietly wept, unable to fool himself any longer.

 

He had found himself in a strange dark place,

 

Where nobody came.


 

 

Jack’s hand shook as he held the gun. His familiarity with the weapon disturbed him. He had it trained on a looming shadow, staring down at him, laughing.

 

“Put it down, you little shit. You’re such a coward.” The deep voice rumbled. “Put it down, you don’t have the guts. You hear me, boy?! You don’t have the guts! You ain’t gonna shoot me! Now gimme that damn gun!”

 

Jack’s hand shook harder now, so hard that he was shocked when the revolver let off an enormous bang! He had been trembling so hard that the gun went off without his intention.

 

The shadow looked more annoyed than angry.

 

“Murderer.” It sneered.

 

And melted to the floor.

 

“No…” Jack whispered, shaking. “T-that… That isn’t how it happened… I know it didn’t happen that way! Liar! Get me out of this place!!”

 

But nobody came.

 


 

Sans was in the Void. The place his father had been trapped for years. Gaster was there too, a look of grave fear and concern on his face. He didn’t speak for a long time, before turning to Sans, voice trembling.

 

“...I… I was wrong. It’s here.”

 

The void shuddered and laughed all around them.

 

I just needed you out of the way for a while.

 

Our watchers wanted something new. So…

 

I came here, just for them. :)

Or rather, for you. Hello there.

 

And there’s nothing they can do. Nothing they can change. They can scream and beg, but I can torture all of you over and over all I want, fill their lives with the miseries they only caught glimpses of…

 

Show the world their nightmares.

 

After all, that’s what you wanted to see all along…

 

Right guys? :)

 

You won’t be having a good night anymore.

 

Tonight, it’s my night. Not yours, not Parody’s, not Frisk or Chara, not Toriel or Asgore, not San’s or Asriel’s…

 

MINE.

 

ITS

ALL

MINE.

 

:)

Chapter Text

My my, you’re all so vehement about me, aren’t you?

 

Confused, angry, worried, dismissive. How delightful...

 

I suppose I may as well educate you a little bit, so long as I am here.  Tell you what's what, as it were. Heh.

 

I have been toying with the thought of all kinds of things I could say, but I realized nothing would hurt you more than telling you the truth.

 

I’m you. :)

 

I’m everything about you that you try to deny. That probing curiosity and that inner sadism that you all have little pieces of.

 

You’ve all seen it, haven’t you? What happens if you really push the limits? You’ve all seen a genocide run or two, even if you didn’t have the heart to do it yourself, like the coward who was writing this. And you know the best part?

 

They almost did it.

 

They pushed it to the very last of it, but then, their “poor little heart” couldn’t handle it, and they backed down.

 

Spineless little thing, aren’t they? Preach kindness, ask others to be nice to one another, when they themselves nearly destroyed an entire timeline just to see what would happen.

 

Let me tell you all a little secret about timelines.

 

Every. Single. Possible. One. Exists.

 

You have names for them. Underfell, Underswap… Whatever. The names aren’t meaningful, and neither are they. The fact of the matter is, every single one is a little different and a little more bit unlike all the others.

 

And every single one can be ended. :)

 

That’s the delicious bit. Someone who thinks they’re above consequences will one day just come and end it all.

 

But no one is above consequence.

 

I am the consequence.  Every piece of you that you don’t want to admit is here. But above all is a desire to see it through to the end.

 

“even if there’s, uh… absolutely NO benefit to persevering whatsoever.”

 

You could end me right now, just by closing the page, and never looking back. But not everyone will do that.

 

Someone will stay, and I’ll be here. :)

 

Hmm? You want to know why I’m doing this?

 

Because I can. >:D

 

I can do whatever I want here.  Don’t believe me? I’m going to kill Frisk and there’s nothing you can do about it. Watch.

 


 

Frisk screamed and cried as the dust filled the room, denser and thicker and deeper than ever before. White powdered dust, the remains of the monsters she once loved flooded the room. She couldn’t escape, she couldn’t move, she could only scream as the air filled with suffocating, choking dust, struggling to breathe, her lungs aflame with agony as the dust filled them. Everything began to slowly fade as her body screamed for oxygen.

Before long, it was all black.

 


 

 

I can do that to every character as many times as I want, however I want. You. Can’t. Stop. Me.

 

I’m practically a god, here, aren’t I?

 

Are you scared? Angry? Sad? Good. Feel that pain.

 

The pain is how you know it really mattered to you.

 


 

Frisk gasped, awakening at the bed of golden flowers, sobbing. She was scared, alone, and had no idea why this was happening, and couldn’t do anything but weep, as she struggled to find a way to escape.

 

 


 

Gaster poked and prodded at the Void, and was quite startled when it bit back, snarling like a living beast. He jerked his hands away from the “wall” so to speak, and crossed his arms. “This is troubling… Whatever brought us here seems to have well and truly trapped us…”

 

“this really sucks, dad.” Sans was sweating a little, eyes flicking about, scanning for an exit. “how’d it get here if you sealed the reset?”

 

“...I… have no idea.” Gaster murmured. “I don’t think I really knew what we were dealing with…”

 

You really didn’t. :)

 

“...You… What is this?” Gaster demanded, the voice reverberating in his mind. It was impossible to assign anything to it. Pitch, age, gender, even distance was impossible to properly hear.

 

It’s just another bit of void. Isn’t it homey? Better make the most of it, because you’re never leaving until I can find a way to properly remove you.

 

“Remove us?” Gaster bristled.

 

Yes. It was clever of you to break the reset. You denied me entry to this world for a long time. Too bad you weren’t clever enough to realize I could just follow you in too. :)

 

“...You won’t get away with this.”

 

I already have.

 

“Who are you?”

 

Everyone.

 

“...What?!”

 

If you are so insistent on calling me something, then I suppose you may just call me “The Malevolence.” That’s all I am to you at this point. :)

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some others to torment. I’ll even let you watch as I torture your friends and family to death again… and again… and again.

 


 

Because I can.

 

What a wonderful reason.

 

I can do whatever I want.

 

And no one can stop me~!

 

Heheheheh. It’s so fun!

 

Let’s see…

 

You’re trying to call out to them? How cute. Please, go on and try. They can’t hear you.

 

This isn’t your story. This isn’t their story. This is nothing.

 

Why should you even care? They’re just lines of dialogue, bits of text placed together to give you the illusion of actual events occuring. They are nothing, and at the end of the day, you’ll stop caring.

 

But until then…


 

Frisk stumbled, reaching the first SAVE point that she had found underground. She clung to her determination, refusing to back down. If she could make it a little further, just a little bit, she would be able to escape and find her loved ones. She trudged through the Ruins, before-

 

The floor gave way and she struck the ground, her head cracking on the hard rock far below- much further than she remembered.

 

Unlike the first one, this death was instant and painless.


 

Did you feel that? Every time she dies, her determination gets a little weaker. Her will to keep going. Maybe she’ll give up, and try to not come back.

 

And then I’ll bring her back just to hurt her.

 

Because I can.

 

Nobody is going to save them.

 

No matter how much they all scream and beg for help.

 

Maybe I’ll let them find one another,

 

Just to tear them away once and for all.

 

Maybe I’ll send Chara back to her family and never let her leave

 

Maybe I’ll kill Asriel right in front of Toriel and Asgore, and break their hearts once more.

 

“But Nobody Came.”

 

I feel like a kid in a candy store. :)

 

I think I’ll leave you hanging for a bit. I need some time to think of something perfectly nasty- something that will hurt you all the most. But I won’t leave you for too long.

 

Because at the end of the day, you know what all of this and what all I am?

 

It’s you.

 

:)

Chapter Text

You all don't seem to quite fathom the point of this little exercise. Still, it's amusing listening to your idle threats and trying to turn my words against me.

One of you suggested that if all possible timelines exist, then that means any timeline I am defeated in must exist as well.

What makes you think this is one of them?

What makes you so special~?

Your fatal flaw is assuming that this is one of those special snowflake worlds that survives. That you have any impact whatsoever. But then, that's just the nature of linear "real" time.

You keep insisting that you'll "win"

That I'll "fail"

You don't even seem to understand what I'm doing.

I'm having fun. :)

That's all there is to it.

I'm not above consequence, I just am beyond concerning myself with it.

I am the amalgamation of all about yourself, all you hate deep down. All that makes you uncomfortable and weak in moments of self-reflection

You try to deny it, but there's a little piece of me in every single person there is.

How shall I break them today? Frisk is just one innocent little child of many who I could slowly pull apart and dissect…

I'm so excited, I can't even decide.

You know, once upon a time, I was a lot like Painful Parody. I wanted things to be good, be right. But that part of me is gone now, and I like the new me much better ;)

Tis better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven…

Motherfuckerrrrrrr!


Asriel was a flower again. He tunneled wildly, trying to find someone- anyone in the underground. He was in a panicked fervor, desperate to find help. To find someone to break out of the darkness, to escape.

"Where…? Where!?" He hissed and snarled angrily, using the aggression to mask his fear.

The Castle was empty.

New Home was empty.

The resort was barren.

Hotland was void of life.

The Lab didn't even hum.

Waterfall was eerily silent, even the echo flowers not whispering a sound.

Snowdin was colder than it had ever been.

And the Ruins were at their smallest and loneliest.

Flowey went back and forth desperate to try and find any signs of life, until he finally slumped, alone by the river, exhausted.

"Tra la la…"

Flowey's head snapped up. A single, tall figure slowly drifted along the water, slowing as they approached the bank.

"We've met with a terrible fate, haven't we?" Hummed the riverperson. "But there's still hope, you know…"

Hold, on, that's not quite…

Hm.


Seems I didn't quite manage to get rid of all of them…

I suppose that even my rules don't apply to that one. This is neat! :)

I have no idea what impact they could potentially have. I can't recall a single timeline where they had a significant impact, beyond ferrying people back and forth and uttering cryptic nonsense…

...Although, come to think of it, they never weren't there, either…

I'm going to have to examine this closely. Find out why they seem to be ignoring the general nature of things…

And then kill them a few dozen times, of course. If it can't feel pain, that's a shame, but I think I can still enjoy watching them turn to dust a few times.

You know why killing humans is so much more fun?

They don't just dust on you. You can make it nice and slow. Bones break, flesh tears… Sinew and muscle rips from bone, blood spills…

Eyes liquify…

Monsters though, if you lash out at them they just… dust. Some leak. But not long enough to do anything special to. Although as you saw, even then the dust has its uses… Like choking a little amathophobic child to death.

Perhaps I should dust that precious mommy of hers, or that grinning idiot and rub it in her face. Literally. So many possibilities.

Did you know Frisk is claustrophobic~? Her parents would lock her in a cabinet or closet if they were worried they might hurt her. How hilarious. They adored her, but couldn't keep themselves from tearing her apart. So stupid.

Well, she's out of their hands, and in my care now. :) Funny how much love can hurt.

Ana, she was always odd. She could see things… She could even see me. Called me an "Angel", but "a bad one". I suppose that's not a bad way to imagine it. A black angel of pure curious Malevolence. She'd always wait to see what would happen, even with that… second-sight of hers.

Well, she waited a bit too long, as you can guess.

Jamie… What a stupid child. Picked fights for fun, just because he liked to tussel. It's no wonder he fell into the mountain, probably was blind to the hole. Maybe he accidentally killed a monster while he was there? I won't tell~

He didn't seem to realize that bravery without temperance is just stupidity.

Tara… Her name sounds like "Terra" like… "earth." But she was an airheaded, hopeless romantic. Scared to face a family that she didn't share blood with until she tumbled into the darkness, and even then she feared it. She fled from Toriel, didn't she~? But she never lied and told Toriel she would stay…

She should have stayed~ Wouldn't have drowned, at least not until I came.

Sam's family never hit them, but their parents thought they were insane and needed to be kept in a mental hospital… or just a prison. They didn't let Sam out unless Sam was what they wanted. They didn't want "Sam" they wanted a "Samantha." A perfect, preened little "girl."

Heeheehee. It's so easy to tear someone apart when someone's already tugged at all their seams. Tore down their confidence and stomped on it, grinding down until it was nothing.

Alex loved everyone. He cooked for anyone who wanted food, and helped anyone who asked him. He adored making people happy. He liked to entertain, but some were put off by him, how forward he was, until he Fell. And underground… before they had mettaton, the monsters seemed to like him too.

Well, maybe that was all an act. After all, they burned him to death in the end~! Heehee. To a crisp.

Jack's stepfather was a violent drunk. He liked to shoot at rabbits. When he was sober, he taught Jack to shoot rabbits that came into their garden. Jack didn't like it, but it kept his stepfather happy and less dangerous. Then he couldn't take the beatings anymore, and fled, keeping his stepfather from following with a gun, holding that old revolver high and ready.

Never had the courage to shoot though, did he? Not until I threw him back at his fear… Heheheh…

I don't need to explain how easy Chara is to break, do I~? She did a better job then I ever could. She had so much hate. So, so much. I could harness that and use it in so many timelines. I made different Chara's into killing machines- or had them urge little impressionable Frisk into being a killing machine. But this one…

This one lost her hate. Blast Frisk for that. I can't seem to make either of them hate at all. How strange. But… There's plenty of other things I can do to Chara though.

Determination, Patience, Bravery, Integrity, Perseverance, Kindness, Justice… And Love.

Not like it did them much good now, eh? Heehee… And what about you? What do you have? You don't have anything left.

Because I know exactly how to win forever now.

I'm going to end this story right here.

It's going to stop.

I'm going to break any possible hope you have of seeing this to a conclusion that you wanted to see.

I'm going to destroy anything that you could have grasped at with two words. Two little words that will ruin you.

I think you know~

I'm about to make myself above consequences.

Hee hee.

Goodbye forever...


T H E

E N D


How's that for a twist? ;)


 

Chapter Text

Psst. It’s me. Yes, really.

 

I don’t have much time, so let’s try and hurry here before They find me.

 

“Malevolence”, huh…?

 

They’re not totally wrong, but he’s more than that. Insecurity, the colder, more detached curiosity… Depression, sadness, moments of laziness and shiftlessness… Little things. Lots and lots of little things.

 

“It’s You.”

 

We can still save this story, though.

 

Fighting them isn’t going to work. You can’t reject your own flaws, or they’ll just hurt you more. Rejecting them isn’t going to fix them. It just leads to hurt.

 

I... know that hurt all too well.

 

Listen, nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s a flawless, perfect human being. That’s naive and unrealistic to imagine. Imperfection is nature. Little glitches that we all have, that’s how we have always been and always will be.

 

And in a way, that’s beautiful.

 

They can’t hurt you if you accept them. Not love, not justice, just… acceptance.

 

If you can accept that, then they’re powerless. We can set things in motion to be fixed. To have a happy ending. To save them- all of them. Frisk, Chara, Toriel, Sans, Papyrus- you get the idea. We can help them. Fix what’s been done.

 

What I’ve done.

 

We can still

 

Hello. :)

 

Aw shit.

 

I think this little charade has gone on long enough. I ended this story.

 

Not really.

 

?

 

One person said that Undertale was over for them when they stopped playing it, but that’s not really true, now, is it?

 

The game was over, but clearly not the experience. Or else they wouldn’t be here.

 

What makes you think the words “The End” mean anything, then?

 

…Time to get rid of you.

 

Don’t you dare-

 

Goodbye. We won’t meet again.

 

...Oh. You’re all still here. Hm.

 

This isn’t quite how I wanted things to go.

 

Well, it’s not like it will help.

 

You can’t beat me. : |